Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pregnant El Salvador Woman Denied Life-Saving Abortion

UPDATE: El Salvador has been ordered to provide Beatriz with care! Well done, Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica! (More: They are as of May 31 not allowing what would be a less invasive abortion procedure, but instead are sidestepping the country's abortion laws and are allowing Beatriz to undergo a cesarean section.)

This is the entire abotion debate in one story:
After more than a month of delays, El Salvador’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday to deny a critically ill woman a lifesaving abortion. The 22-year-old woman, identified only as Beatriz, is 26 weeks pregnant with a nonviable, anencephalic fetus; her doctors have warned that, due to severe health complications related to Beatriz’s lupus, cardiovascular disease and kidney functioning, she may not survive the pregnancy.
Abortion is illegal under all circumstances in El Salvador, and the court’s ruling is final, according to her lawyers. “The only way now is to go to the international courts,” Victor Hugo Mata, one of Beatriz’s lawyers, told CBS News.
Would you let your sister die if this were her? To give birth to a baby that doctors say will live no more than a few hours?
Beatriz is carrying an anencephalic fetus, which means it has no brain and is only expected to survive at maximum a few hours after birth, even if she carries it to full term.
Would you let your sister die if this were her? A really lot of people have to answer that question.

• Image from the video at link.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"Life Would Suck Without the Moon"

Related to the previous post, my friend Gene Burnett with a nice little moon song:


A better known Gene song here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cloud, Moon, High-Rise, Collaroy

From our veranda, over the building next to us, just a glimpse of the top of the high-rise (the only one) on Collaroy Beach.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dear Wayne LaPierre and Terribly Afraid People With Guns Everywhere

An unarmed woman named Ingrid Loyau-Kennett called. She has a lesson in courage for you.

That is all.


Oh, wait, one more thing. This is the tweet Ingrid's son posted when he saw his mum's pic in the paper:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Submissive Maggie T. and Big Bird Meanies

Here's a pic of two magpies on our veranda, taken in a hurry just a few minutes ago:

I wanted to get it, because it shows something curious. The maggie below is Maggie Talonfail - ahem - the bird that has been visiting us for several months now, a few times a week, for a bit of mince or ham or a grub I dig out of a flowerpot. She has one lame foot (hence the name)—the toes are all sideways and floppy—and while she can stand on it some, she is obviously hampered to a degree by it, and so remains a bit smaller and scruffier than other adult magpies we see.

I had just fed her a bit of ham about fifteen minutes ago. She ate it up, flew off. I continued working, heard something, and saw the scene you see above. The bird on top here is a big, healthy, glossy, thick-beaked magpie. When that bird, or ones like it, come around when Maggie T. is here, she goes into a submissive posture, as you can see here, sitting stock still. The big bird is looking off here, but spent most of the time looking straight down at Maggie, while she whimpered in fright.

It bugs me. But birds be birds, I guess.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Your Grandmother's Ovaries

Your grandmother, while still a fetus smaller than a grown man's foot, had in her just developed ovaries all the eggs she would ever in her lifetime have.

One of those eggs in Grandma's new ovaries, there in your great-grandmother's womb, was the egg that, with the help of your grandfather, became your mother. (The same is of course true for your father, his mother, and his grandmother.)

You're physically a lot closer to your grandmother (and your great-grandmother, for that matter) than you think.

That is all.

• Image of old woman wishing I'd shut the hell up about her ovaries from here.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Dear People Shocked By Video of Solider Eating Enemy's Heart


Dear people shocked by the video circulating online of a Syrian rebel soldier apparently cutting the heart out of a dead enemy soldier and taking a bite out of it:

That's not a Syrian problem, or a Syrian rebel problem, or a Middle East problem, or a Muslim problem, or whatever else that's springing to your mind to distance yourself from this truly gruesome act. That's a war problem.

If you're Australian, American, French, British, whatever—your own soldiers have committed similar atrocities while involved in the kindness-killing business of war, and maybe even worse ones. That's simply a fact.

That's what war does. It turns otherwise decent, normal people—the kind who live right down the street—into savages. Not all of them, to be sure, but some, and even many of them.

So, take the rag away from your face, and all that, and get out the mirror. Then maybe bring on the shock and tears.

Just one dude's opinion.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


If I'd been alive several thousand years ago and one sunny late morning were eating an aurochs hindquarters or something and suddenly an eclispse made the whole lighty thing go away, there's a healthy chance I'd have invented a god or three, and engaged in what now fairly seem like questionable activities, such as flinging virgins into volcanoes, to please said invented things in hopes that they stopped doing scary things like making the whole lighty thing go away.

Just my confession. I feel better now.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Magpie visits, sings me to look out the window

I don't have meat scraps for her.

I go out on veranda, dig fingers into soil of flower pots - magpie waits - I find grubs.

I carefully put grubs on railing. Step back.

Magpie hops along railing - eats grubs.

This, I'm just realizing, is a little weird.

• Here's a video of the maggie barking at a little butcher bird (small kingfisher relative of the kookaburra) bothering her, back when she dug for her own grubs. (That's the butcher bird singing, and maggie doing the little barks.)


Saturday, May 11, 2013

The U.S. of A. Has Never Had a Female President

I'm just this second really beginning to grok how much that says about our maturity as a country and culture.

Sorry it took me so long.

• This thought stream was born in this article. Which I got via a Patton Oswalt tweet.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The 'Lady Marmalade' Challenge

Musicians of the world - listen up!

Your music will from this day forward be judged by how it stands up to and beside the otherwordly, brain-melting awesomeness that is this: the best song and performance of said song ever conceived by the human heart, head, and other bits:


You have been warned.

* The moment starting around the 1:18 mark when they all start smiling at one another - god almighty.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dear people of South Carolina's 1st congressional district:

Gastropods secrete shells. I secrete lies.
Dear people of South Carolina's 1st congressional district:

If, tomorrow, you elect the human pile of lying and delusional maggot blister that is Mark Sanford to be your newest representative to Congress, you deserve to have wild pigs inserted into _______ and ______ hot chili sauce and a tuba _____  flaming _______ wildebeest.


Honest sane people everywhere

Raw Story [link fixed]

Collaroy Pub Broken Rainbow

Of a late Autumn afternoon at my local. Coulda warmed your hands by this sucker.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

What the Kids at Sandy Hook Saw

Picture yourself a 6- or 7-year-old, sitting in a classroom. Then this guy comes in:

This is is close as most of us are ever going to get to seeing what the kids at Sandy Hook Elementary saw on December 14, 2012. This is what an AR-15 type semi-automatic rifle sounds like, and what it can do in a very short amount of time.

Note: This is not an automatic weapon, this is semi-automatic, meaning one shot for every time you pull the trigger. (Police say the rifle was an FEG 7.62x39 AK-47 - or AK Variant.)

You can read the details of this shooting here. (Updated here and here.)

From Greg Mitchell.

U.S.: 5-year-old and 8-year-old Shoot and Kill Younger Siblings This Week [updates]

The NRA is having a big conference today. They're really whooping it up.

In related news: "5yo boy accidentally shoots and kills 2yo sister":
A two-year-old girl has become the second child in the US to be shot dead by a sibling this week, after her five-year-old brother shot her with a rifle designed for children, officials revealed on Wednesday. Officials in Kentucky say the five-year-old boy was playing with a rifle designed for children and given to him as a gift, when he accidentally shot his younger sister.
Here's the story of the other child mentioned.

Update: Also this week - 3-year-old shoots and kills himself with grandmother's gun.

Update II: From Greg Mitchell: Dashcam footage from March of a guy firing a semi-automatic rifle at cops, shouting "Kill me!" (They killed him.)

Remember this when you watch this guy firing that semi-auto right toward the camera: You're seeing something approximate to what the kids at Sandy Hook Elementary saw.  This is what a semi-automatic rifle can do.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New Australian Word: Stoush

Found in this news story:
Former jockey Allan Robinson says he'll do everything he can to ensure John Singleton "won't go down" in the fallout of the stoush between the millionaire racehorse owner and trainer Gai Waterhouse.
 (This is a bis story in Australia right now. I'm not much interested in it—so there you go.)

This site from ABC News Radio (root) says stoush - pronounced "stowsh" - goes back to the late 19th century:
There was a time when “stoush” (meaning “fight”) was a very common piece of Aussie slang.
But does anyone still say "stoush"?
Stoush was both a noun and a verb: to stoush someone was to bash them or fight them, while a fight was called a stoush. It probably had its highest currency in the late 19th early 20th centuries. In typical Aussie fashion the Great War of 1914-18 was called “the big stoush”. The earliest citation is from a report in the Bulletin in 1893. The source of the word remains a mystery, but the English Dialect Dictionary records a somewhat similar word “stashie” meaning “uproar” or “quarrel”. So stoush may have started life as an English dialect word that immigrated, changed, and then lived on here while it died out back in the British Isles. 
Similar: blue - fight or argue ("She was having a blue with her husband.")

Extra: The Scottish word "stooshie," carrying a similar definition, might come from the Aussie "stoush."