The birds! The birds!
Avian influenza my tailfeather! Seems the biggest bird-related health hazard around these parts is our feathered friends in Fawkner Park.
In a fit of public-liability anxiety, the Melbourne City Council has put up a bunch of signs on rather rough-hewn and splintery stakes warning that it cannot guarantee your safety vis-a-vis the park's allegedy divebomb-happy birds. Never mind that I haven't seen a magpie or a Willy wagtail (pictured) in the park for ages (my guess is the Indian mynahs killed them), the more bleedingly obvious issue is that these unilluminated stakes are exceedingly likely to impale any number of night-time joggers (not that that would necessarily be a bad thing).
Still, what can you expect from a council whose phone number is 9658 9658, so that when you call them you're already going backwards and around in circles before you even get to the automated menu? If feelgood mayoral type John So ("He's my bro!") & Co want to do something constructive, they could: a) ban leaf blowers; and b) shell out for a spot of Indian mynah eradication.
This whole sorry episode put me in mind of an even sorrier one. Back in the day, when I was kicking it tabloid-style, the Herald-Sun (it had a hyphen then) played an Aussie rules match against the Tele-Mirror (as it was then) and The Oz in Wagga Wagga.
Somehow I managed to find myself in a paddock, scooped up the pill and set off on a lightning-fast Justin Madden-style trundle down the wing. But just as I was taking possibly my second bounce, a magpie swooped down out of a light tower and bit me on the head. I went "WAAAAGHHH!" and lost the ball, which was promptly picked up by the other side and booted down the other end. I'd been trying to repress that memory for years. Thanks, John.