Thursday, March 26, 2009

Contraceptives for Gerbils and The Unluckiest Japanese

     I had no idea whatsoever as to what to write for you crazy kids today, so I was doing what I always do when I am in this situation: I was surfing all the newspapers and news services on the Web in order to find a little inspiration. I was striking out like Pedro Cerrano facing a curveball. Until I came to one of my most trusted sources for ridiculous things happening in the world around us: The BBC.
     Oh I love the BBC. For those of you who aren't aware of this fantastic entity, it is the British Broadcasting Corporation and they do British-government subsidized programming on the TV AND the radio. But they also put together this dynamite website and it's a really great place to get a more balanced and judicious look at things that are going on around the world. And there are usually tons of strange and freaky things going on somewhere in the world at any given minute. So I get to there, and suddenly I am confronted with two stores that I really, really want to comment on, but I can't decide on which to focus. So let us compare and contrast these two articles.
     Both come from Asia, from two countries that have historically hated the hell out of one another. First from Japan, the Japanese government has certified a 93-year-old man as the only living survivor of both the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima AND the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki. Then, right next to that headline I see that the Chinese are giving contraceptives to their gerbils. That was when my head exploded.
First let's discuss Tsutomu Yamaguchi. He is 93. He's Japanese. And apparently he really pissed off my grandparents' generation because they dropped two atomic bombs on top of his head. I am not kidding you. Mr. Yamaguchi (no relation to Kristi as far as we know) was a on a business trip to Hiroshima (chosen as a bombing target partially because of its large amount of industry) back in 1945 when the Enola Gay opened its bomb bay doors and unleashed hell on the city. Yamaguchi suffered severe burns and spent a night there recuperating before returning home to Nagasaki. Bad move, home slice.
     So you can imagine what was going through Tsutomu's mind when he heard the Bock's Car droning overhead and the little parachute falling down through the sky three days later. It's very cartoonish in my mind, despite the fact that it was far from that on the ground I am sure. It was actually a double twist of fate acting against Mr. Yamaguchi as Nagasaki was not the original target intended for the second bomb. It was a secondary target chosen because of bad weather over the primary. Wow. I am a big believer in karma, and I can't help but wonder what Tsutomu did that he had to get slapped down THAT hard. Although, he DID live to be 93, so maybe he was pre-paying. I don't know, but I do feel really, really bad for this guy.
I also feel pretty bad that it too the government 64 years to figure out he had survived both bombings. I mean, I understand that the bureaucracy can move at a snail's pace sometimes, but that is downright unacceptable. The government in Japan certifies people who survived the blasts as a hibakusha, which means "radiation survivor" because then they qualify for special health care and funeral subsidies, which is kind of cool. Unfortunately the fact that he survived both bombings isn't going to get him any extra yen for his casket. But it does make him pretty distinct in our world. One of a lot. And he looks pretty good for 93. So good for him.
     Unfortunately I could not find Tsutomu Yamaguchi's opinion on the Chinese giving their wild gerbils contraceptives, which is a shame because I would have liked to know what he thought. I can't imagine he would have much cared, though. Because once you have not one, but two, atomic bombs dropped on you nothing really gets to you no matter how absurd it is. And it is absurd. I don't know that you read that correctly or believed it if you did, but the Chinese, always the model of sanity and consistency, are feeding their wild gerbils contraceptives.
     China has some problems. And unfortunately two of them are on a collision course that will lead to catastrophe. First of all, they can't stop humping. There are over a billion people in China and more keep showing up. They even throw all the baby girls down abandoned wells and yet their population still continues to grow. But they also have another very serious problem. China is running out of water. Oh yeah. Every day more and more of it is turning into a desert. Yet, they don't seem to care about this at all. Instead, they are trying desperately to save the deserts they already have in the northwest part of the country, an area that nobody lives and only about six people care about, from the most destructive thing in the history of the Chinese civilization: the gerbil.
      Yeah, the gerbil. That stupid little fuzzy animal that you bought your four-year-old at the pet store for 56 cents last August that died seven months later is apparently running wild in China and ruining it. And not the good part of China like the opium dens or the Great Wall, it's ruining the shitty desert part. That's like me saying that the suns rays are ruining the paint job on the abandoned 1972 Ford Maverick that has been sinking into my grandfather's farm field for the last twenty years. It just doesn't make any sense. Anyway, the Chinese are trying to control the wild gerbil population in the Gurbantunggut Desert because forestry officials say that their burrows are causing the few plants that actually survive there to lose their roots. So basically, the forestry officials are worried about the desert becoming more of a desert. That sound you are hearing is my mind being blown, and not in the fun way.
     So anyway, the Chinese government installed all around this desert perches for eagles and owls, which are the natural predators for these gerbils. That's a good idea. Help the hunters hunt the prey. But that, apparently, didn't work. You know why? BECAUSE GERBILS DO IT UNDERGROUND! And owls and eagles eat gerbils, and I would guess that if they flew up on two stupid gerbils going at it they probably wouldn't be hungry anymore. So now what the Chinese government has taken to doing is dropping handfuls of contraceptives disguised as bran feed next to the burrows of these gerbils. The contraceptives keep females from getting pregnant AND they cause abortions in females that are already pregnant. And apparently it's working.
      Actually, I kind of like this approach. Because they pretty much do whatever they want whenever they want, I would expect the Chinese government to basically drop rat poison pellets or Chinese baby milk down the holes that would kill anything that came around looking for a snack. But they have used this contraceptive instead and it apparently has no effect on other animals. Or basically no effect. That being said, I am really surprised the PETA isn't piping up about this one. Strange how the losers at PETA won't say a peep about aborting gerbil fetuses in a country that will lock them up and make them disappear for no reason, isn't it? But oh, in the West where they can't get in trouble for saying stupid stuff and throwing paint on furs they just won't go away. Stupid PETA.
      So anyway, yeah. How was I supposed to choose between those two fantastic articles? It can't be done. I mean, you see how I started to get worked up about PETA and the Chinese, but I just couldn't turn away from Tsutomu Yamaguchi, either. So you had to settle for both. And I had to settle for both. Now, if I could just get Tsutomu to talk to me about those gerbils...

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