Archive for Life and/or Death

Apocalypse soon

Francis W. Porretto confers with a friend on the unpleasant prospects of the end of the world as we know it:

A dear friend has often speculated about “what will happen after the crash.” He’s convinced that an event of some sort will strip us of all the technology we’ve developed over the past century or so: what we have and our ability to make more of it. Though those technologies have become self-sustaining, they were bootstrapped from far more basic knowledge, skills, and tools: pencils, slide rules, soldering irons, and extensive knowledge of the sciences. Many of those who were part of the bootstrapping are gone now; the rest will disappear in a generation or two. Should our progeny lose what we’ve bequeathed them after we’ve vanished, would the kiddies be able to recreate it?

My friend is of the opinion that they won’t — that there will come a long Dark Age during which our posterity will have to clamber slowly up from the mud, much as the Cro-Magnons did. He has a good case for it. By indulging our children in the “right” to be ignorant of anything except how to use their smartphones and Google, we’ve denied them the bootstrapping competences that were required to produced our current technologies. Never mind that it was with the kiddies’ willing cooperation; the effect will be no less crippling for that.

A substantial number of alleged “grown-ups” involved in this conspiracy, or collusion, or whatever, did so because they valued their present-day comforts above all else. This describes a number of people you know, rather a lot of people you’ve seen on television, and pretty much everyone elected to Congress in the last decade or so. The sheer mass of their madness makes it a lot easier to tip the scales the wrong way.


Surplus population

Don’t laugh. At some point this could be you:

BabyTrudeau’s courts have not only allowed a broad range of killing of patients, but they will prosecute docs if they refuse to cooperate, meaning that their law is more radical than other countries.

expect to see lots of sob stories about couples offing themselves so they could die together, or about senile old ladies who are being denied euthanasia. The propaganda will persuade a lot of depressed people they are doing a good deed to kill themselves and no longer burden their kids who don’t want to care for them.

and think of all the money you will save!

once this idea becomes common, you will see medical personnel offing people they think are better off dead. I know of two cases where outside (non IHS) docs tried to persuade families to starve their elderly to death because they had strokes. In both cases, the doctors were told off by locals: We don’t do things like that here: we Indians care for our elders.

which is why our people often refused to sign living wills or DNR orders … and “bioethicists” lament this is a problem in the African American community too, and the article wonders why (I can explain why in one word: Tuskegee).

“W-where are you taking me?”

One of the shadowy figures held up some sort of computing device. “Says here you’re an organ donor.”

“But I’m not even sick!”

“Doesn’t matter. The governor’s mistress needs a liver, and you’ve got one.”

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Try not to get sick

The following article contains one palpable untruth:

Dying has been banned on the island since 1950 because bodies simply freeze.

Um, no. (And what would be the penalty? Surely not a life sentence.)

But this is the truth of the cold-as-you-name-it town of Longyearbyen, on the Norwegian island of Svalbard, north latitude 78.2°:

[In 1950] it was discovered that bodies in the local cemetery were not decomposing because of the chilly temperatures.

The island’s climate is so arctic …

How … arctic … is it?

… that in the 2000’s, scientists, morbidly fascinated by the discovery, tested corpses buried there who succumbed to the 1917 influenza virus — and to their amazement, retrieved live samples of the virus.

Residents had been living among the deadly virus for decades, without even realising it.

The graveyard no longer takes any new inhabitants because of fears disease will spread throughout the island, meaning that even those who have lived their whole life on the island, cannot be buried there.

That particular strain of the virus killed one of every twenty people on the planet.

In a bleak prospect, those who are terminally ill are shipped off the island and flown hundreds of miles to the mainland of Oslo, where they will spend the remainder of their days until death.

This is only one of several unusual laws that prevail in this town of 2,000:

Notable examples of such laws include a ban on cats, a restriction on how much alcohol an individual can purchase on a monthly basis, and a requirement that any individuals venturing outside carry a rifle for protection against polar bears.

The deal on cats:

Svalbard is home to abundant Arctic bird populations and cats pose a problem for the bird life. So Svalbard has prohibited them.

A hard life, perhaps, but one adapts, I guess.

(Via Fark.)

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You plan better when you’re alive

But for many of us, perhaps not that much better:

[M]y big, selfish fear: what if everyone you care about and who cares about you dies or moves away, and you’re all alone? This is what happens when you let yourself get fond of people. I have a hard time making in-person friends and so “just find new people to care about” is not easy for me.

This doesn’t describe me so well, if only because I have one foot — well, six inches anyway — in the grave.


And yeah, also selfishly: holy cow, if I were to die suddenly? Nothing in my life is in order. I have a very minimal will; my important paperwork (do your heirs need your social security card and the like?) is kind of scattered … and my house is a mess. (I hate the new concept being foisted on us from Scandinavia of “death cleaning” even as I can see its value: if I were to get hit by a bus, what would people do with all my books and all my fabric and all my My Little Ponies? But at the same time, I cannot see myself living in an empty white box with almost no possessions, waiting for my own death…)

As the young folks say, “It me.” I should point out that the one person I know who actually does engage in this “death cleaning” isn’t, so far as I can tell, doing it for the sake of the estate; she’s just a committed ascetic.

That said, if it’s clear my number is up, I doubt that I’ll spend much time worrying about what little estate planning I did; I’ll have more immediate thoughts to torment me.

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More orphan than not?

Some jerkwads still seem to idolize the Menendez brothers:

A 22-year-old man has been tricked by police into thinking that a hitman he hired had killed his family so that he could inherit their wealth.

Detectives discovered a plot to kill his mother, father and 10-year-old sister in Sochi, Russia.

He detailed how and where his family should be murdered, drawing up a floor plan that showed where the cameras were placed and how to avoid guard dogs.

But the hitman he was giving all the details to and agreed a fee with was actually an undercover police officer.

His parents were said to be devastated by their son’s plan but took part in a police mock-up using fake blood with blood coming out of “fatal” knife wounds.

And apparently the guy was already thinking Big Spender thoughts:

After seeing the pictures, the man expressed “delight” and agreed to pay the promised £38,000 fee to the man he believed was a contract killer as soon as he had collected his inheritance.

Instead the son — who has not been named — was immediately detained by armed police as a police video shows.

The ungrateful child faces a 15-year time-out.

If you’ve forgotten Lyle and Erik Menendez, well, I don’t blame you.

(Via Fark.)

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It’s hard to feel lower than this

Unfortunately, I know this neighborhood:

Burdened by mounting health, job and family troubles, a Florida woman took to the road and headed north from her Cocoa Beach home, police say.

By the time she hit Stafford County on Interstate 95 in Virginia, she was down to her last $14 and had reached her limit: Soon she would pick up a handgun and plead to die at the hands of officers.

The 57-year-old pulled her Kia sedan into a Walmart parking lot just before dawn Dec. 8, triggering a four-hour standoff as she repeatedly waved a silver revolver, cursing Stafford County sheriff’s deputies as she demanded that they shoot her.

“She kept talking to herself, yelling profanities and enticing us to shoot her, over and over and over again,” said Capt. Ben Worcester, a member of the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.

It took a couple of drones and a vehicle resembling a tank, but they subdued her without actually having to kill her:

At 9:15 a.m., police in the armored vehicle rolled over to the car and fired pepper spray into the Kia’s open window before four officers rushed the car and pulled the woman out and handcuffed her.

Stafford authorities charged Donna Lynn Barnes with reckless handling of a firearm and brandishing a firearm, both misdemeanors, police officials said.

Online court documents show that a hearing in her case is scheduled for Feb. 22.

It could have been worse: some police departments seem all too happy to oblige someone who wants to die, or even someone who doesn’t.

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And you thought your roads were bad

Even if I could walk, I wouldn’t dream of walking over this:

What you’re seeing:

Located in Siberia, the Vitim River Bridge is one of the most spectacular bridges in the world. It’s an old train bridge crossing the Vitim River which leaves drivers precariously navigating a tiny six-foot-wide path. Its old metal structure is covered with rotting wooden planks, which can be slippery due to frequent ice in the area.

The Vitim River is a major tributary of the Lena River. This terrifying bridge is a mere six feet wide and teeters precariously over the river. It’s a really old structure without railings, truly narrow even for a standard car. To cross the dilapidated Kuandinsky Bridge in the Trans-Baikal Region drivers must navigate a tiny six-foot-wide path — with no railing or safety features to save them from toppling into the frozen water below. To make matters worse, the old metal structure is covered with wooden planks, which can be slippery due to the frequent snow and ice.

Pro: It was built to hold the weight of a train, so you’re not likely to crash through the surface in your Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Con: Just about everything else.

The bridge is in dreadful condition and requires strong nerves to negotiate it. The route demands 100% concentration. Take a tip from the tortoise: slow and steady wins the race. It’s certainly breathtaking and it has a fearsome reputation. It still remains an adrenaline-pumping journey and is definitely not for the faint of lungs, heart, or legs. Words can’t describe the road and pictures don’t do it justice. There are no railings or fences. Railway slippers are simply placed over the metal base and they are not connected with each other. Strong wind blows over the river. In order not to rock the car, one has to open the car windows to reduce windage.

Now imagine an actual train going over it.

The bridge is 0.57 km long, about 1800 feet. And there’s a Facebook page for survivors. It’s not very busy, for obvious reasons.

(Via Miss Cellania.)

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The rest is silence

Our local BBS community ranged in age from twelve to me to a few years beyond that, which was a good thing, especially since none of us had any reason to pull rank on anyone else.

We lost a member this morning. The triple whammy — first epilepsy, then Parkinson’s, then cancer — took its toll. Even those of us who saw it coming didn’t quite believe it.

More than this, I cannot say, at least for now.

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Live at the 38th

The Z Man considers the fate of North Korea:

One thing that is known is that North Korea knows they cannot win a war against the South. The proof of that is how they have organized their military. Those artillery pieces on the border are a one-shot threat. They get about 72 hours to inflict as much damage as possible, until US air power takes them out. If they play this card, they forgo their opportunity to send their infantry and armor south. Instead, the North will have to wage a defensive war, hoping the South elects a negotiated end rather than an invasion.

This means their best card to play in this game just about guarantees their destruction, either from a land invasion or an extended air campaign. It would certainly end the Kim family dynasty. That makes the threat significantly less credible. The US can pressure China or make a deal with China, to get help putting the screws to the Kim regime, knowing that the Koreans only have a doomsday card to play. In other words, the doomsday card prevents a US invasion, but does not prevent economic war.

And what of those Other Players, anyway?

Of course, it’s possible that the math has changed for the Chinese. Right now is peak China economically and demographically. Now is the best chance they will have to resolve their Korean problem. A decade from now, when China has an aging population and the North Koreans have the ability to strike Beijing, the Americans may not be interested in helping with this problem. The best time to address tough problems is when you have the resources to address them. There is no better time than now for China.

There’s also the Trump factor. Previous presidents have been willing to accept the options presented to them by the foreign policy establishment. Trump is psychologically incapable of accepting the options presented to him for anything. Everyone who has done deals with him says the same thing. Trump thrives under pressure, so he puts everyone under pressure. He’s sure he can wheel and deal with anyone under pressure, so that’s how he changes the negotiating table. He creates uncertainty and puts everyone under the gun.

That seems to be what he is trying to do with Asia. On the one hand, he is encouraging Japan to build out their military and take a more active role in policing the region. This puts enormous pressure on China. He’s helping the South Koreans get ready for war, which puts pressure on the North and on their relationship with China. All of a sudden, the US is doing things very different in Asia. Trump’s willingness to change course on a dime adds an air of unpredictability to him, which always makes Asian leaders nervous.

Maybe “under the gun” wasn’t the best possible choice of words. But that’s Trump’s M.O., and always has been.

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The next step in Media Hatred

Last week:

Walmart has pulled a T-shirt which encouraged the lynching of journalists.

The $18.99 T-shirt bearing the message “Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED” was listed on through third-party seller Teespring.

Walmart removed it after a journalist advocacy group told the retailer it found the shirt threatening.

This week:

A co-owner of the Today’s News-Herald was poisoned with what could have been lethal doses of thallium and other chemicals, according to leading toxicology and medical experts.

After experiencing prolonged, unexplained illness with severe symptoms earlier this year, Joseph Soldwedel sought medical treatment and forensic laboratory testing. Soldwedel is president of Prescott Valley-based Western News & Info.

“The test findings are highly suggestive, but not confirmatory, of an intentional poisoning with an intent to kill,” said Dr. Ernest P. Chiodo, one of the nation’s leading experts in forensic toxicology who reviewed Soldwedel’s test results.

Environmental factors? Not likely:

Doctors concluded that Soldwedel, 65, takes no medications that contain these heavy metals or other toxins, and had no known environmental or occupational exposures to thallium. Water tests conducted at Soldwedel’s places of residence showed no trace of toxic chemicals.

Mr Soldwedel said “he has a good idea” about the identity of the poisoner, but is not ready to go public until law enforcement has a better handle on things. The perp, I suggest, should be hanged by a person wearing a T-shirt.

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Cooler than cremation

This has been out for a while, but I hadn’t seen much of anything about it until now:

The newest comer on the eco-burial stage is a process called Promession, or put more plainly, freeze-drying. Invented by Swedish marine biologist Susanne Wiigh-Mäsak, the process involves immersing the corpse in liquid nitrogen, which makes it very brittle. Vibrations shake the body apart and the water is evaporated away in a special vacuum chamber. Next, a separator filters out any mercury fillings or surgical implants, and the powdered remains are laid to rest in a shallow grave.

With a shallow burial, oxygen and water can mix with the powdered remains, turning them into compost.

Promessa, the firm founded by Wiigh-Mäsak to promote the technology, has a Web site.

(Suggested by our own Holly H.)

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Yellow and porous

Clearly this explains the absorbent little fellow’s enduring popularity:

Didn’t take too long to find this one:

Whelk Attack: He and the rest of Bikini Bottomites are eaten by infected whelks.

This, however, is something to savor:

Jellyfishing: A jellyfish stings Squidward while he is riding his bike, causing him to lose control and ride off a cliff, with an unusual and unexplained nuclear explosion as he hits the ground. The incident leaves Squidward in an electric wheelchair with a full body cast that prevents him from any body movement. And during the welcome party SpongeBob and Patrick had thrown, Patrick blows piping hot soup in his face. Then during when SpongeBob, Patrick and Squidward are at Jellyfish Fields for jellyfishing. Patrick stabs a jellyfish net through his casted hand and when Squidward got a jellyfish he got zapped by a giant jellyfish. This leaves Squidward in an even fuller body cast on an electric bed and at the end of the episode the giant jellyfish returns and zaps Squidward again breaking his body cast.

Littlest Pet Shop, it isn’t.

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It has come to this

The hardest of hard luck befalls some of us:

Melody was in a car accident. It was a hit and run. This is where she had to get a rod in her leg. When that failed, she had her leg amputated. With all the medical bills, she was left homeless. From here she got a flesh eating bacteria virus. She made it though, but after that she had to start getting dialysis every week. Her ports continued to get clogged, so she was always going through alot of surgeries and complications. She passed away from a massive heart attack. At this time we are unsure of the cause of this.

Any help would be great. Thank you.

Melody was a cousin of mine; her mom was my Aunt Nena. She was fifty years old, and that’s too early to say goodbye.

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Pretty much petered out

Merely being dead doesn’t make you immune to peepers and gawkers:

A Denver nursing staff obsessed with another staff got suspended after they opened a dead man’s body bag to look at his staff one last time.

Five nurses at Denver Health Medical Center (who apparently are charter members of Necrophilia, Inc.) were vitally interested in the size of a man’s genitals, and not only uncovered him while he was incapacitated but even opened his body bag after he was dead to take another look.

The nurses’ actions, conducted between March 31 and April 3, were reported on May 8 after another nurse who was not part of the peeping group heard one of them make a comment about what had occurred. The nurse then reported the remark to hospital staff.

That prompted the group of nurses to be suspended for three weeks, according to Denver Health Medical Center spokesman Josh Rasmussen. He added that the nurses received discipline considered “serious,” but four nurses later returned to work. The discipline would be recorded in the nurses’ personal files, he said.

The late Milton Berle was not available for comment.

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Ferret out (almost)

The black-footed ferret was declared extinct in 1979; two years later, their condition was upgraded to Not Quite Extinct when Lucille Hogg’s dog brought a dead black-footed ferret to her door in Meeteetse, Wyoming.

The road back has been long, with many a winding turn, but progress has been made:

The black-footed ferret population near Meeteetse, Wyo. is getting a boost. Last July, 35 black-footed ferrets were released on the Lazy BV and Pitchfork ranches. Now biologists have found wild born kits at the site.

McG remembers those ferretless days:

[Wyoming] Game and Fish biologists were having to release captive-born ferrets to bolster the numbers of the wild population, but ferrets kinda know how to make more ferrets on their own, so it was only a matter of time before they stopped needing the fold-out couch in dad’s basement.

All this material should be considered NSFPD: Not Safe for Prairie Dogs.

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Meanwhile on the Gulf

Several Facebook friends with Houston connections posted this. I’m not sure of the original source.

Things non-Houstonians need to understand:

1. The streets and many of the public parks here are designed to flood. We sit just 35 feet above sea level, and most of the city is as flat as a pool table. We average about 50 inches of rain a year. The streets and parks serve as temporary retention ponds, accommodating slow, steady drainage through our bayous.

2. We average about 50 inches of rain a year, but in the last 48 hours, many areas of greater Houston received 25 to 30 inches of rain. That’s six to nine months’ worth of rain, in two days. The drainage system, which works well in normal conditions, was overwhelmed. Officials are calling this an “800 year flood”: that means there was a one in 800 chance of its occurrence. Even with advance notice, there was little means of preparing for this.

3. It is impossible to evacuate a city the size of Houston. Harris County is 1700+ square miles, with a population of 6.5 million people. How do you evacuate 6.5 million people? During the hours leading to Hurricane Rita’s landfall, tens of thousands of Houstonians attempted evacuation. The traffic jams lasted for days. One hundred people died. So far, six Houstonians have died in Hurricane Harvey, all of them (as far as I have heard) drowned in their automobiles. For more than a decade, the local mantra has been “shelter in place and hunker down.” That’s hard, but it’s the right approach.

4. Some outsiders are treating this disaster with schadenfreude: Texans helped elect an anti-big government president, and now we’re going to need big government help. Houston is one of the bluest spots in Texas, and voted Clinton in 2016. Suggesting this is karmic payback for backing Trump is as inaccurate (and offensive) as Pat Robertson’s suggestion that Hurricane Katrina was God smiting sinners. We really aren’t thinking Red or Blue right now. We are taking a royal beating, all of us. Disasters don’t care about ideology.

5. You are going to feel this. Gasoline and other oil-refined products (everything from PVC pipe to dry cleaning fluid) will rise in price. The stock market will take a hit. New Orleans is a fantastic city, but it’s not a major economic force. Houston is the center of the nation’s energy industry. It’s home to dozens of Fortune 500 companies. And 85% of it is under water. It may be this way for weeks.

And in the meantime, there’s baseball, somewhere:

I checked this with a sports guy at Fox 26 Houston:


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Plenty of longevity

It took a while for this to sink in:

The Civil War may have ended 152 years ago, but for Irene Triplett, it still continues in a way far more tangible than recent fights over Confederate monuments.

For Triplett, 87, the Civil War means a monthly check for $73.13 from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Triplett is the sole surviving person receiving a Civil War pension from the VA.

Her father Moses Triplett (1846-1938) served in the Confederate army, but deserted right before Gettysburg. His first wife died in the early 1920s, and he remarried in 1924, at the age of 76; his new bride, Elida Hall, wasn’t yet out of her twenties. They had one child: Irene.

According to the VA, 84 surviving spouses and children receive benefits tied to the Spanish-American War, which was fought in 1898.

Still, this is nearly as weird as the revelation that John Tyler (1790-1862), 10th President of the United States, has two grandsons still living.

(Via Fark.)

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N-word, indeed

I remember reading this when I was younger:

The line following that one got Dick Gregory hired by the Playboy Club in Chicago by Hugh Hefner himself, circa 1961:

Then these three white boys came up to me and said, “Boy, we’re giving you fair warning. Anything you do to that chicken, we’re gonna do to you.” So I put down my knife and fork, I picked up that chicken and I kissed it. Then I said, “Line up, boys!”

At least once in the retelling, he specified where he kissed that chicken.

And then there was this:

The first time I was called “nigger” was in a little town called Mishawaka, Indiana, which just sounds like something’s going to happen. Guy yelled, “Get off the stage, nigger!” And I said, “Wow, did you hear that? He just called me the Lone Ranger’s horse, Trigger. That got a big laugh and then people were comfortable. I put it into my contract: Every time you say that I make another $50,000.

Trigger was actually Roy Rogers’ horse, but no matter. There was no one quite like Dick Gregory, and he kept doing live shows right up until the end. (Alas, he’ll never make it to his scheduled fall date at Oklahoma City’s Tower Theater.)

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Goodbye, Charlie

File this under “She told you so”:

Remember when Mrs. Palin said she didn’t want some death panel deciding whether her son lives or dies? (Trig was born with a genetic condition as well … who gets to decide whether his quality of life is sufficient to fight for?) she was derided and laughed at. Oh, that dumb hick! (how non-judgmental and tolerant!). The words “death panel” do not appear anywhere in the document! Ha ha! Ho ho! (Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon … where did I read that? Hmmm.)

That would never happen, they said. You’re just fear-mongering. LIES!

So in one of their most vaunted examples of Medical Utopia™, exactly what Mrs. Palin was talking about actually happens, the response is “Stop talking about it.” “Shut Up!”

As Mr. Klavan pointed out years ago, “Shut Up” is typically the central thesis of their argument when anyone argues back.

It’s all they have. And they know it.

And through it all, it was almost lost that what they’re really exposing here — when you read between the lines — is not so much that they thought Mrs. Palin was wrong. No.

It’s that they were OK with the death panels from the beginning.

Of course they were. Were it One Of Them, the outcry would be loud and furious. But Those Other People? Screw ’em. One more carbon footprint erased.

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You can’t take it with you

But this guy says he’s going to try:

I’ve decided I’m going to try and take it all with me. The cars are to be crushed and buried in plots next to me (at the executors’ expense), my bank accounts will hopefully be cleaned out by me prior to my demise and any other remaining trinkets (automobilia, LPs, tapes, Quad stuff, etc) is to be burned.

Why? Well, five generations of my family have died without wills leaving the survivors to their own devices. This has caused many family members’ true colors to emerge what with the theft, the lying, and general ridiculousness that comes when family members feel they are entitled.

Therefore, since I have no children, no spouse and will probably be outlived by a bunch of cousins whom I care nothing for (and the feelings are reciprocated), I’m going to leave them nothing but emptiness and debt.

Well, I might leave one of them a dollar in the hopes the little ******* might finally learn the value of a dollar.

I’ve got plenty of emptiness to show, but the only debt I owe is on the house, and while it’s a substantial sum, it’s far less than the value of the property.

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When it doesn’t matter anymore

Good old Aubrey McClendon. I wasn’t intending to follow his example this morning when I floored it and headed for that brick wall. But after the smoke cleared and I was facing the opposite direction, I figured out that this was the next warning before everything comes to a permanent halt.

And having survived this instant, I began to wonder why: would it not have made more sense to take me out of the picture once and for all? This is the perfect scenario, after all: no one else was affected. I hate the thought of taking someone with me when I go.

So maybe, underneath it all, I was trying to hurry along the process, since life itself is becoming increasingly meaningless and my physical body is nowhere near the road to recovery.

Maybe it is time for me to go.

Update, 5 pm: Total loss. And it gets funnier: well, at least it’s at the body shop, right? Wrong-O, Buffalo Bob. They don’t work on crummy old salvage cars.

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Drop dead already

One year after “ambulatory” was stricken from my vocabulary, I mourn for a moment; and then I contemplate the fate of someone far worse off than I am.

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You are not out

And the umpire meant it, too:

Major League Baseball umpire John Tumpane reportedly saved a woman from a railing on the Roberto Clemente Bridge Wednesday afternoon.

According to Stephen J. Nesbitt and Steph Chambers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Tumpane saw a woman climbing over a railing above the Allegheny River and went over and “locked both arms around her back.”

“At times, she dangled both feet off the bridge’s edge, putting her full weight in his arms,” Nesbitt and Chambers wrote, but he prevented her from falling to the river until police and an ambulance arrived and helped lift her back over the railing.

Tumpane had an emotional conversation with the woman, making sure to express how much he cared for her despite her protestations to the contrary.

“I was thinking, ‘God, this has got to be a good ending, not a bad ending,’ and held on for dear life,” Tumpane said. “She said, ‘You don’t care about me.’ I said, ‘I care.’ She said, ‘I just want to end it right now. I want to be in a better place.’ I said, ‘You’re going to be all right.'”

She was taken to a hospital, where she was diagnosed with non-life-threatening injuries; he went on to PNC Park, where the Pirates defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, 6-2.

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Not at all a delight

Those of us of a certain age will hear “whipped cream” and think something like this:

Whipped Cream and Other Delights by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass

And then they’ll be horrified by this news:

A popular fitness blogger and Instagram model in France died after a pressurized canister used for dispensing whipped cream exploded, hitting her in the chest.

Rebecca Burger’s death from the Saturday incident was announced on social media Wednesday by her family, who warned of the potential risks of defective whip cream dispensers.

The post published on Burger’s Instagram page to her more than 150,000 followers read:

“Here’s an example of the cartridge/siphon for Chantilly cream that exploded and struck Rebecca’s chest, killing her. Take note: the cartridge that caused her death was sealed. Do not use this type of device in your home! Tens of thousands of these appliances are still in circulation.”

According to a leading French consumer magazine, two people were gravely injured by this sort of contraption in 2014. Turns out what makes it go is, um, nitrous oxide. Yep. The same stuff the kid two doors down spent the weekend installing in his Civic before he blew up the engine.

My advice? Stick to safer whipped cream, as offered by Herb Alpert and Allen Toussaint.

(Via Martin Lieberman.)

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Killers R Us

The Z Man tosses up some startling statistics:

Currently [Baltimore] is on pace for over 360 murders and we are just getting into peak killing season. Usually, the winter tamps down the murder rates as it is just not as much fun to pop a cap in an ass when it is snowing sideways. Similarly, the spring has been very rainy and gangsters tend not to like going out to murder people for their sneakers when it is raining. In other words, it’s possible there is a lot of pent up demand for murder that will now be unleashed with the summer weather.

To put this in context, Boston has about 650,000 residents. People think the city is much bigger, but that’s because of the surrounding cities and towns bunched in next to Boston give the feel of a much larger metropolis. Baltimore is around 600,000 people, if the census is correct, which no one thinks is true. Baltimore has a strong incentive to overstate their numbers as they get more Federal money as a result. Boston is on pace for about 40 murders this year, while Baltimore will have 350.

I looked at those population numbers, and I said to myself, “Self, can you name a city with a population between Boston’s and Baltimore’s?”

Of course I can. There were 78 homicides in Oklahoma City in 2016; right now, we’re on pace for 70 in 2017.

2016 Census estimates: Boston, 673,184; OKC, 638,387; Baltimore, 614,664.

For reference, 1950 Census figures: Baltimore, 949,708; Boston, 801,444; OKC, 243,504.

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Accelerated evolution

Or maybe that’s devolution, given the outcome:

Ohio is apparently on pace for ten thousand overdose deaths this year.

Ten thousand.

Bear in mind that Michael Bloomberg and all his concerned Mommy minions go completely off their nut at thirty-something thousand firearm deaths nationwide, and a good chunk of those are suicides who meant to die. Meanwhile ten thousand people in just one state inadvertently offed themselves trying to catch a buzz.

Solutions? What, are you nuts?

I don’t pretend to have a solution. We’re still warring on drugs as hard as ever, and the bodies keep piling up. It’s almost as much hassle to buy a packet of cold medicine now as it is to buy an AR-15, and that doesn’t keep the Montgomery County coroner from giving interviews in a walk-in fridge full of Fentanyled corpsicles.

At this point I’m half tempted to suggest we take all the money we spend on the War on (Some) Drugs and use it to buy narcotics. Pile the dope in every intersection in America, declare a one-week business holiday, and let America get all its fatal overdoses out of its system all at once.

Heck, half those deaths will come from traffic accidents, as all the methheads and such floor it on the way to pick up their share of the contraband.

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Warm up the oven, Louie

This little box appears on top of the obituary page in the Oklahoman every day, an advertisement from a local mortuary:

Ad for John M Ireland and Son funeral home

“Overspending,” notes the advertiser, “is not a symbol of devotion.”

So do you need to save that $400? Katrina Spade, in a TED Talk, says no, but not for the reason you might expect:

In some places, you can’t buy a plot no matter how much money you have. As a result, cremation rates have risen fast. In 1950, if you suggested your grandmother be incinerated after she died, you’d probably be kicked from the family deathbed. But today, almost half of Americans choose cremation, citing simpler, cheaper and more ecological as reasons. I used to think that cremation was a sustainable form of disposition, but just think about it for a second. Cremation destroys the potential we have to give back to the earth after we’ve died. It uses an energy-intensive process to turn bodies into ash, polluting the air and contributing to climate change. All told, cremations in the US emit a staggering 600 million pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually. The truly awful truth is that the very last thing that most of us will do on this earth is poison it.

Then again, those of us in the Exhaling-American community cough up a good thousand pounds of CO2 annually. That’s over 300 billion pounds of the stuff. Obviously they need to shoot 500 of us into the sun just to balance out that one family trying to save $400. (We’ll ignore, for the moment, the carbon footprint of the rocket.)

This argues for the Final Disposition recommended by Lou Grant, former news director of WJM-TV Minneapolis: “When I go, just stand me up next to the garbage with my hat on.”

(Suggested by Holly H.)

Note: Had WJM been licensed to St. Paul, it likely would have had a K as its initial call letter.

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Gone far too soon

An email sent to contributors to her medical-treatment fund, which raised somewhere on the far side of $60,000:

We regret to inform you about this sad tragedy.

On Friday January 7, 2013 at 1:30 PM our loved daughter Kiki took her last breath as her heart stopped. She experienced no pain.

It was unexpected and I don’t really know what went wrong. We had hopes that she will recover since progress was made. A few days prior to her leaving us she had issue with “out of range Potassium and sodium levels”. We tried to balance it with proper drugs which also increased her heart rate and lower her blood pressure. The medical team here at CHOC Hospital in Orange County has tried to increase her blood pressure rate with different medication but without success. Around 11:00 Am on Friday we experienced a drastic drop in her heart rate which basically symbolized the end for the medical staff.

I was standing next to her talking, massaging, kissing and hopping that the heart rate will climb back up. I called my friend Tara Strong and together we have tried to encourage Kiki to keep on going. When the heart rate kept on dropping we realized that this is the end. I asked Tara to sing for Kiki the “My Little Mermaid” song since Kiki loved Tara and this song. It was a magical moment; a few of the nurses in the room whispery joined and sang with Tara as Kiki has taken her last breath. Thank you Tara Strong for everything you have done for Kiki.

We have lost the war but not without a fight. There was NO MEDICAL TREATMENT for the type of cancer Kiki had, especially because of the late diagnostic by the hospital in Los Angeles and the Misdiagnosis of the tumor type by the same medical professionals. Without a doubt I feel that Chemo would have been fatal (32 month ago the doctors told us that Chemo may buy us 1-3 month may be a month or two longer if we are lucky). As parents we cannot deny medical treatment to a child if doctors feel it will be effective. Science and the medical industry went a long way but at this point of the game there is no cure for many illnesses including cancer. As parents we must try anything because a cure can come from any one.

And now, the fight goes on:

This fundraiser is to support legal justice for the wrongful death of our daughter Kiki Havivy.

On January 4, 2011, at the age of 5 years old, Kiki Havivy had surgery at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles and was diagnosed with a tumor type called PNET. On January 13, 2011, 9 days after her surgery Kaiser doctor Jerry Cheng informed the parents that Kiki had a Highly Malignant cancer called Glioblastoma stage IV. Dr. Cheng gave Kiki up to 6 months to live with a (0) zero chance of survival. While later it was discovered that Kiki’s tumor was misdiagnosed by Kaiser and yet, no one at Kaiser ever questioned the discrepancy in her diagnosis nor did anyone ever do a third opinion as to what the correct diagnosis should have been.

Most of that original $60k came from the brony community; I am somewhat surprised that they haven’t rushed in for this new endeavor. Tara Strong, voice of Twilight Sparkle, duly reported the story to Twitter, and I thank her for that. Maybe I can awaken a few memories in the ponyverse.

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In case of tragic birth

Florida is gearing up to provide birth certificates for miscarriages:

Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Wednesday that will allow the state to start issuing “certificates of nonviable birth” beginning July 1.

Under the Grieving Families Act, the state will issue the certificates only if parents request them.

It would be available to women whose pregnancies end after nine weeks and before 20 weeks of gestation.

After 20 weeks, it’s legally no longer a miscarriage, but a stillbirth, and while the birth certificate may still be requested, a death certificate is required.

Not everyone thinks this is a swell idea:

Were these certificates mandatory, I might raise that eyebrow myself. But they aren’t — at least in the bill as passed and signed. Anything, however, can be amended.

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Plants vs. humans

Tucked into a corner of The Alnwick Garden is a subgarden which you visit at your own peril, if they’ll let you visit at all:

Jane Percy, Duchess of Northumberland, added this little slice of death during general renovation of The Alnwick Garden in the early 21st century. Her Grace was undoubtedly familiar with the facts of the matter:

[E]very garden is a poison garden. The plants in the Alnwick Garden Poison Garden, with a very few exceptions, can be found in most domestic gardens or in parks and the countryside. We’ve lived with these plants for a very long time so it is important not to create unnecessary fear about their potential effects.

Just the same, you should probably bring a hazmat suit.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)

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