The Year of the Mozzie

Kerry Cue article several newspapers 2005. 

Bzzzz! Ugh! Bzzzz. Thwack! Missed. Damn mozzie!

It happens every Summer. The Aussies Vs The Mozzies Test Match. And the mozzies win because there are zillions of ‘em. There are, in fact, 400 types of mozzie in Oz with names like Aedes Sollicitans. So at least one blood-sucking pest is also a lawyer makes perfect sense. Now each of these 400 mozzies has its own modus operandi. Some buzz around your head. Some go for the ankles. Some go for plump, sporty blokes.

 According to Tokyo researcher Dr Yoshikazu Shirai mozzies like Type O blood – marinated in a good wine, slightly aged and warmed in the sun – and, apparently, more blokes have it. If you are a fit, fat, sweaty bloke, now you know why you’re invited to barbecues. You’re the mozzie decoy.

But we all get mozzie bites. It’s the female mozzie doing the damage. And here’s the scary bit. She uses your DNA to make mozzie eggs. 200 to 300 of them. She spreads you around. And there may be little Bazza and Shazza mozzies out there that look a little like you about the blood-shot eyes.

But mozzies aren’t just annoying. They’re nano bio-terrorists. They spread fevers, plagues and mental diseases. This may explain the odd behaviour of Queenslanders at times.

So how do you outsmart mozzies? First, you must understand the mozzie psyche. Unionists, they work mostly at dusk and dawn attracted to smell, sound, carbon dioxide, warmth and light. An evening barbie is like yelling ‘come’n get it!’ to a mozzie. 

Aussies use many concoctions and contraptions from coils to sprays to zappers to get rid of mozzies. But do any of these devices work?

I can tell you. For we Aussies have a secret weapon, the Australian Mosquito Control Manual (2004) written by Darwin Medical Entomologist Peter Whelan. And here’s the low down. Anti-mozzie devices from citronella candles to zappers only work in confined spaces. That’s inside, mate. Any device that lures mozzies is useless because the kamikaze mozzies simply snack on you midway through their death dive. Sonic-repellent gizmos don’t work. Mozzies like others with brains the size of a pinhead enjoy one-note techno music. 

Ritual flame torches help. Mozzies aren’t attracted to yellow light. But if you don’t want your backyard to look like a fake tribal set from ‘Survivor’, just use yellow globes. Shrubs don’t help. Maybe you can squash the leaves and rub them on the skin. Or better still just grab some tea tree branches and thrash your guests. It mightn’t deter the mozzies, but it would scare off the neighbours!

Wind is good. Mozzies can’t fly in the wind. So the perfect time for a mozzie-free barbecue is just when the plates are flying off the table in gale-force winds. Sprays and gels work. But Aerogard is not enough. It keeps off flies. You need the big guns for mozzies. Tropical Strength Aerogard. Rid. Bushmans. Muskol. Repel. Use them all!

Now you’re on holiday. Camping. In come swarms of mozzies. It’s an emergency. What do you do?  You open your Australian Mosquito Control Manual and read on. Peter Whelan suggests to avoid mozzies in an emergency you cover yourself in mud, camp downwind near stock (They’re cows, city folk.), burn dung (Well, you’re near cows!) and if necessary bury yourself to the neck in sand and cover your head, which sounds like a fun camping trip for all the family. 

And one other thing. If all else fails. Run. Like the wind, I guess.  

A New Hat for Ivy … or any 4yo Chemo Kid

Ivy came to our house one day while she was undergoing chemo ahead of a bone marrow transplant for Leukemia. She had bald patches. She was bloated. She had the chemo plugs hanging out of her back. She had shingles. Her medicine made her feel sick. She was 4 years old.

I’m a writer. My daughter is an artist. You’ll find the book we made for Ivy (who is now a wonderful young woman) to DOWNLOAD FREE so you can read it, print it or email it to another chemo kid: A New Hat for Ivy compressed

Or just read it out loud from the pages below.

 

How would Shakespeare prove I AM NOT A ROBOT?

So I was wondering ‘How would Shakespeare prove I AM NOT A ROBOT?’. Then I found Ye Olde Tyme News. The rest, as they say, is history, sort of. Link below.

O, Woe Is Me, to Be Haunted by an Apparition that Demandeth, Over and Over, to Prove I Am Not a Robot.

I, the Bard, conjurer of thespian apparitions, am haunted thus by a fiendish vision that doth appear in my looking glass. The eye sees not itself by reflection but, alas, a suit of armor, a robot, so-called, that demandeth, before I can quill one word, I look into the ghostly glass to proveth by some wanton game that I AM NOT A ROBOT. (More here.)

 

How to Get Off an Annoying email list … Fool Proof. Guaranteed.

This is an edited extract from an article I wrote in 2004 for the Herald Sun titled ‘Why is everyone so angry all the time?’ It still seems relevent today. But the best bit is:

“Why are there so many angry people? The first reason is stress. Modern life (including wars and pandemics) is demanding what with the bills, the job, the traffic, the blood pressure pills and rushing around. Then there are the bureaucracies. Large companies today don’t listen, don’t care. You get fobbed off with recorded messages. You line up to fill your own petrol tank and then line up to pay. You can’t even get off a mailing list. This apology was printed recently in Harvard Magazine. ‘We have learned that the obituary of Erik Humphrey Gordon ’95, which appeared in the July-August ‘01 issue, was based on false information provided by the subject himself in an effort to get off Harvard’s mailing list. Mr Gordon is alive and well in New York City. We apologise for the error.’  Bravo Mr Gordon. He got imodern life namely that you have to stage your own death just to get off a bloody annoying email list!!!!!

Why we AUSSIES are LOST & CONFUSED at Easter …

At Easter I think of an Aussie Republic because in 1999 we rejected changing the Constitution PREAMBLE to one that began ‘In God we hope …’

So who was this Aussie GOD meant to be?

And how religious are we anyway? Full article here.

Everyone-Has-A-Say Science for those who believe, like, anything!

I wrote this article in 2005. In view of the Anit-Vax movement it seems more relevant now than ever. 

Good evening parents and welcome to this Information Night about our exciting new subject Everyone-Has-A-Say Science. In this Year 7 program we don’t just respect individual beliefs; we embrace them.

And here are the fascinating topics your children will study this year:

Matter: Matter is made up of small particles called atoms. Atoms can combine to form big molecules like DNA and big crystals, which have mystical powers. Crystals bestow good fortune and can, obviously, help with homework.

Light: Light is a form of energy. Each colour of light has a different wavelength. A crystal with magical powers can split white light into different colours to form a rainbow. A rainbow is a sign of good luck or that it’s been raining. People’s heads can also split light into different colours. This is an aura. An aura is a person’s energy field. Red is for anger; while the flashing red aura means ‘Warning: I’m about to explode’.

Full Article: New Loony Science

St Paddy’s Day, the Oirish, the Green Beer and Me

Edited extract of an article I wrote for The Canberra Times, March 2013

Irish GifIt’d be St Paddy’s Day soon and not just in Oiland. All over, like. Oi’ll be turnin’ meself into a cliché to get in ehead of the rest of yiz. You can drop the accent now. Keep it for Thursday 17th March, 2022. But why do the Irish celebrate St Patrick’s  Day  globally  by  channelling Leprechauns, talking blarney, swilling green beer and  slurring  ‘When  Irish  eyes are smiling … da da dada’ because no-one can remember the lyrics? Happy St Clichés Day.

I have  the  Irish  in  me.  What  with  the Meehans, the O’Donnells and the O’Mearas, Irishness has been layered in my soul like lines of sediment in a fossilised rock. I’ve inherited the fist fighting fury, the lilting poetry, the blarney and, Holy Mother of Sweet Jesus, bog Irish Catholicism. I’d have pure Irishness throbbing  in  my  veins except for one grandmother, a Beardsell of English stock, sent among us, I suspect, to make the rest of us eat with the proper fork.

to read the full article click on title below:

St Paddy’s Day, the Oirish, the Green Beer and Me by Kerry Cue

Damn You 2022! How to be Positively Positive against the Odds!

Here is my favourite quote of all time from American author, Richard Powers. You’ll find a slower read below.

Richard Powers is the author of ten novels, including Galatea 2.2, The Echo Maker , and Generosity. His writing often combines fiction with the themes of historical events or, as with his latest book, scientific developments. His novel The Echo Maker won the 2006 National Book Award for Fiction. He lives in Illinois.

‘Art is a way of saying what it means to be alive, and the most salient feature of existence are the unthinkable odds against it.

For every way there is of being here, there are an infinity of ways of not being here.

Historical accident snuffs out whole universes with every clock tick.

Statistics declare us ridiculous.

Thermodynamics prohibits us.

Life, by any reasonable measure, is impossible, and my life – this, here now – infinitely more so.

Art is a way of saying, in the face of all that impossibility, just how worth celebrating it is to be able to say anything at all.’

Richard Powers, Generosity.