Friday, January 20, 2006

Great Adventures

Bon voyage!
Congrats NASA on successful first-ever Pluto probe lift off in Florida. New Horizons blasted off at 10 miles p/s: "the fastest man-made object ever to leave Earth's orbit." Yeehaw! I love the Yanks; they always do the cool, sexy stuff! God bless America! Could you imagine launching a plutonium propelled probe from nuke-free NooZeelin? Impossible! We're far too wussy, unimaginative, too broke and fussed with negativity. And then there's bureaucracy... RMA, environment issues, compliance with Treaty & traditional Maori space-travelling rights... and, and, and... (y'know the drill). So glad the US retains pioneering spirit. Unlike NZ, which more resembles Pluto: remote, tiny, quiet, icey. Like the littlest planet, we're utterly useless & of no practical value to anyone. Sorry to be pointless & bleak (like a French novel), just pondering the frigid extremes out there on the cold, dark edge of nowhere - yup, life in NZ, aint nowhere else quite as dull.

Ruatapu's revenge
Quiet giggle to self about invading Japanese Jellyfish, while recalling major
Tairawhiti (East Coast) coming-to-NZ tradition. The tale of "Paikea - The Whale Rider." One variation recounts bloody feud in distant land between insulted sibling, Ruatapu, jealous of Paikea & brothers. Lured out to deep ocean on fishing expedition, club-wielding Ruatapu sinks canoe and dispatches brothers in fatricidal frenzy. Only Paikea survives, swept away by freak ocean surge. Implacably hate-filled, Ruatapu drowns but not before eternally cursing Paikea; promising plagues of jellyfish to forever thwart, harass, attack and bedevil brother's despised descendants.

Adrift mid-ocean, near-drowned with exhaustion, a desperate Paikea recites magical incantations to conjure ancestor, The Whale, who miraculously materialises assuring The Whale Rider safe passage across ocean to shore at Ahuahu (White Island). Paikea would eventually sire entire stocks of coastal people, who enjoy whale's bounty as gifts from 'ancestors' that gladly beach themselves as offerings to sate Paikea's children's hunger.

Yet the curse of Ruatapu remains. When swarms of jellyfish wash up along East Coast beaches, it augurs huge destructive tidal surges; Ruatapu returns seeking vengeance against the Whale People: descendants of - and folk deriving substenance from - Paikea (Whales). Wherever the esteemed Paikea swims or is sought, he's haunted by hordes of unwelcome jellyfish, the spiteful spirit of the wrathful Ruatapu.

ps - Not being superstitious or anything; just seeing signs & observering omens ;-)

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