Posted by: scribe9 | July 15, 2010

Claims to fame

Which was the only team unbeaten in the World Cup? Nope, it’s not Spain, which lost a game in the first round. It’s New Zealand’s All-Whites*, which tied a couple of times and didn’t qualify for the next round.

As long as we’re discussing feet, what country has by far the highest incidence of gout? Yup, New Zealand. Kiwis suffer at a rate 16 times higher than the world average, because the Maoris are, unfortunately, the goutiest people in the world. It’s not clear how much is a genetic problem and how much is cultural (eating patterns, etc.).

Willie Apiata, the most trusted man in New Zealand, is a Maori but doesn’t, as far as I know, suffer from gout. He ascended to “most trusted” on the death of Sir Edmund Hillary. (Kiwis may be egalitarian, but they still create Knights and Dames.) Why is he so trusted, even though, as a journalist recently pointed out, he is undoubtedly trained, as a member of New Zealand’s special forces, to kill people with his bare hands? While serving in Afghanistan, Corporal Apiata was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military honor (which allows him to put VC after his name), for carrying a badly-wounded comrade 75 yards under enemy fire to safety. He’s the first Kiwi to win a VC since World War II. His is the first, and only, VC awarded by New Zealand. Earlier Kiwis earned Imperial VCs. There were none awarded in the Viet Nam war, when New Zealand had a serious anti-war faction, with riots and all.

*The national men’s rugby team is the All-Blacks and the women’s team is the Black Ferns; the netball team is the Silver Ferns, the cricket team is the Black Caps, and so on. Maybe that’s why so many New Zealand homes are decorated in neutral tones.

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