Archive for Life and/or Death

Mother and daughter, together forever

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Ooh, shiny!

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has given official notice of its death wish:

North Korea will continue to test missiles, a senior official has told the BBC in Pyongyang, despite international condemnation and growing military tensions with the US.

“We’ll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis,” Vice-Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol told the BBC’s John Sudworth.

He said that an “all-out war” would result if the US took military action.

No, really, he said that:

Mr Han told the BBC: “If the US is planning a military attack against us, we will react with a nuclear pre-emptive strike by our own style and method.”

Which suggests to me that they’re likely going after their neighbors to the south, whom they consider to be clients of the hated US, inasmuch as Nork projectiles don’t seem to have enough gumption to get even halfway to Berkeley.

But even that is risky business for them:

If they somehow manage to nuke Seoul (it’s close enough they could more or less send a bomb over on mule back), the NORK survivors will find that they have cornered the world market on radioactive glass.

If nothing else, it would mean the end, at long last, of the Korean War, which has been going on three years longer than I have.

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It’s a round here somewhere

The next three inmates on Utah’s Death Row have opted for their last shots to be, not injections, but actual bullets, so it’s probably a Good Thing that the Beehive State has released the official state manual for executions. Herewith, a pertinent section:

Portion of Utah manual for executions pertinent to firing squad

This is the subsection I’d wonder about: “Care shall be taken to prevent any knowledge by the members of the firing squad of who is issued the weapon with two blank cartridges.” All the other members get live ammo. Now there’s a tradition here:

In some cases, one or more members of the firing squad may be issued a weapon containing a blank cartridge instead of one housing a live round. No member of the firing squad is told beforehand if she/he is using live ammunition. This is believed to reinforce the sense of diffusion of responsibility among the firing squad members, making the execution process more reliable. It also allows each member of the firing squad to believe afterward that he did not personally fire a fatal shot — for this reason, it is sometimes referred to as the “conscience round”.

Utah, last time around, used wax bullets for blanks, as they’re supposed to provide more realistic recoil.

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A porpoiseful action

“Boycott Mexican shrimp,” says the URL:

The world’s smallest and most endangered porpoise lives only in Mexico’s northern Gulf of California. Only 30 vaquita remain, after suffering decades of decline due to entanglement in shrimp fishing gear.

Mexico’s fishery agency is failing to fulfill its promises to save the vaquita. Without strong action, these little animals could disappear from the planet forever by 2019.

You can help stop the extinction. The Boycott Mexican Shrimp campaign is calling on Mexico to permanently ban all dangerous gillnets in vaquita habitat, step up enforcement, and remove illegal nets from the water.

Join the Boycott Mexican Shrimp campaign and send the strongest possible message to Mexico: Act now or we lose the vaquita forever.

They’re not kidding. The vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is listed as “Critically endangered” on the IUCN Red List; the only worse categories are “Extinct in the wild” and “Extinct,” period.

Mexico’s previous efforts to save the vaquita have not been what you’d call notably effective:

[I]n 2008, Mexico launched the program PACE-VAQUITA, another effort to help preserve the species. PACE-VAQUITA compensates fishermen who choose one of three alternatives: rent-out, switch-out, and buy-out.

In the rent-out option, fishermen acquire temporary contractual obligations to carry out conservation efforts. They are paid if they agree to terminate their fishing inside the vaquita refuge area. There is a penalty if fishermen breach the contract which includes getting their vessels taken by the government. The switch-out option provides fishermen with compensation for switching to vaquita-safe harvesting technology. Finally, the buy-back program compensates fisherman for permanently turning in their fishing permits, as well as their respective gear. In 2008, because of how few fisherman were enrolling in the switch-out option, PACE VAQUITA added a yearly, short-term option for fishermen, letting them simply rent the vaquita-safe fishing equipment yearly for compensation. Then, in 2010, this option was broken down even further, giving fishermen the option of buying the vaquita-safe net, or paying the yearly rent, but for less compensation. Despite these efforts, the probability that these attempts at conservation will work is slim. Only about a third of fishermen in the area have accepted these terms so far.

I don’t buy a whole lot of shrimp from anywhere, but seafood is supposed to be marked with the country of origin, and it won’t hurt me to read the packaging material once in a while.

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When one’s gears are ground

If they’re still taking nominations for America’s Most Needing Disembowelment, I nominate these utterly worthless sons of bitches:

A father was shot and killed in front of his wife and 10-year-old daughter after being carjacked because the killer didn’t know how to use a manual transmission, police said.

It happened just before midnight near Richcrest Dr. and Greenbriar Park [in north Houston].

This, unfortunately, does not look promising for those folks who swear by the stick shift because it thwarts crime.

Pedro Aguilar, 47, was in his car on the street in front of an apartment complex when two men in their late teens to early 20’s approached him to carjack him, police said.

They weren’t able to get the car into drive because it was a manual transmission, not an automatic, and shot the man in anger, police said.

This is generally the time I remind you that if it’s not cruel and unusual, it’s not much punishment, is it?

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The elder statesman

Mike McCarville moves on to covering the Next Life:

It is my unfortunate duty to inform you that our friend Mike McCarville is no longer with us on Earth. After struggling with an illness, he has gone to his deserved rest. That familiar laugh and smile are now part of Heaven’s domain. It is the image of that twinkle in Mike’s eyes and his quick offer of a cup of coffee that haunt me as I write this piece to stay goodbye to the man who was my boss, my mentor and best of all, my friend.

McCarville is truly the dean of OKC bloggers, having started the McCarville Report literally before there were any such things as blogs: think “typewriter.” His radio appearances are legendary.

I expect Jason Doyle Oden will continue the McCarville Report for the foreseeable future. It’s an invaluable part of the local dialogue.

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Not approved by most veterinarians

This is about as bad a packaging error as exists:

Evanger’s is voluntarily recalling some of its dog food after a drug that is used to anesthetize or put down pets was found in it.

Pentobarbital was found in one lot of the dog food; five dogs got sick and one died, according to the Wheeling, Ill.-based company.

Fifteen states are affected by the Hunk of Beef Au Jus recall. The 12-ounce cans were manufactured June 6-13 and sold in stores and online in Washington, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Your dog wants table scraps — in preference to this stuff, anyway.

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I have gradually gotten used to being in a demographic that is of no value to the music industry. What I can’t get used to is being written off by the rest of the species:

One good part of Obamacare is that we docs won’t be sued if we point out to families that sometimes minimum care is better than overtreatment using extraordinary treatment.

The flip side of this, however, is denying treatment to those who could benefit but are seen by society as “useless eaters” under QALY (quality of life years) protocols. So if you are handicapped or retarded, or elderly and could actually benefit from treatment you are out of luck.

At the same time, society is being shown propaganda to kill the handicapped and elderly: very subtle or not so subtle.

Some people have bought into this very early in their own lives:

This more than racism is the backstory of the story of how four teenagers tortured a mentally disabled man.

The Daily Caller’s Matt K. Lewis described the event as “evil.” “That’s what this is, it’s evil, it’s brutality, it’s man’s inhumanity to man.” At that, [Don] Lemon disagreed. “I don’t think it’s evil,” he said, repeating the point for emphasis. “I think these are young people and they have bad home training.” Then, he explained, “I have no idea who’s raising these young people, because no one I know on earth, 17 years old or 70 years old, would ever think of treating another person like this.”

In other words, to call it evil might suggest evil exists. And the adults who did this will be called “teenagers,” their crime minimized because they are from a protected minority group, and because the press is so involved in pushing Trump hatred that they can’t see an atrocity against a disabled man as evil.

Their inability to see this as evil has more backstory than the race of the victim. It shows prejudice of the MSM for those with disabilities.

Remember, the press was non judgmental about Holland killing their dying. Then they were cheerleaders to Dr Death killing the handicapped, insisting they were terminally ill. Nor was there much publicity when the architect of Obamacare admitted he hoped the aged should just die quickly.

Out of sight, out of mind; if this requires out of breath, so be it.

Secular Americans dare not even imply that there’s such a thing as “evil”; it conflicts with their adoration of the State. Instead, they snarl at whatever stupid thing Donald Trump has done, or said, lately, because whatever Trump does is, by their definition, the Worst. Possible. Thing. Their awakening will be slow and torturous; I don’t expect to be around to see it. But it’s coming, just the same.

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Waiting for January

There were plenty of things about 2016 we didn’t like, some of which will not recur. (Saints be praised, we don’t have another presidential election.) But losing our beloved celebrities will in all probability continue:

The reality is that many iconic entertainers will be in their 80s and 90s, and folks in that age range tend to die in greater numbers than younger ones do. The reality is that many Boomer and X-er-aged icons did their bodies a lot of damage when they were younger, and while getting clean definitely lengthened their lives it can’t turn back the odometer. And the reality is that a lot of people responsible for great achievements, like first to orbit the earth or first to break the sound barrier, are also in their 80s and 90s, and are no less subject to actuarial laws than anyone else.

That said, 2033, when Keith Richards turns 90, ought to be one hell of a year.

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The Qandeel affair

Back in the summer of ’16, I posted a brief(ish) Rule 5 item on the late Qandeel Baloch, a Pakistani woman and social-media star who was murdered by her brother as a matter of “honor.” Robert Stacy McCain follows up:

“Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide,” Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch says, noting that Islamic law sanctions such murders: “Until the encouragement Islamic law gives to honor killing is acknowledged and confronted, more women will suffer.” In a 2010 article for Middle East Quarterly, Phyllis Chesler reported that 58 percent of honor-killing victims were murdered for being “too Western” — an accusation that can mean “being seen as too independent, not subservient enough, refusing to wear varieties of Islamic clothing,” dating a non-Muslim or “wanting to choose one’s own husband.” In the West, female celebrities engage in provocative behavior and men are accused of “misogyny” for criticizing them, but any woman in an Islamic nation who attempts to emulate such behavior risks consequences far more serious than sexist jokes. Qandeel Baloch had 43,000 Twitter followers and more than 700,000 on Facebook, the BBC reported, and used her social-media presence to spark outrage. In June, she posted selfies posing with an Islamic cleric, Mufti Abdul Qavi, and told Pakistan Today the conservative Muslim scholar was “hopelessly in love” with her. That publicity stunt may have led to her murder three weeks later.

Doesn’t matter, insist Western feminists:

The kind of violent terrorism by which Islamic law is enforced — and especially what that violence means for women in Islamic countries — is something Western feminists do not want to recognize as a legitimate concern in politics and policy. You are an “Islamophobe,” feminists screech, if you call attention to the honor killings, clitoridectomies and other methods by which Islam oppresses women, not accidentally, but deliberately and with at least tacit sanction of Muslim religious leaders. That this brutality can and does come to the West via immigration is attested by the Pakistani “rape gangs” in England, as well as the sexual attacks that have terrorized women in Germany.

This is, of course, because they haven’t experienced it. Yet. Once they do, they may change their minds — or they may not, because some people can’t give up their delusions even in the face of hard facts.

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Troll level: average

Credit for keeping a straight face, though:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Why doesn't Elliot Rodger upload anymore?


I used to watch his videos but the supreme gentleman hasn’t uploaded since 2014! Has he quit YouTube?

Um, not exactly. The creepy little weirdo, in his one act of true selflessness, turned the gun on himself. So the guy with the first answer to this question was correct: “No wifi in hell.”

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This video is illegal in France

And wait until you hear why:

On November 10th, the French “State Counsel” rejected an appeal made by people with Down syndrome, their families and allies to lift the ban on broadcasting the award winning “Dear Future Mom” video on French television. The ban was previously imposed by the French Broadcasting Counsel.

The State Counsel said that allowing people with Down syndrome to smile was “inappropriate” because people’s expression of happiness was “likely to disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices”.

So our kids, whom studies from the USA and the Netherlands have proven to be much happier than the cranky, sulky bunch who go trough life without Down syndrome, are banned from public television because their happy faces make post-abortion women feel uncomfortable. Women must continue to believe in the myth that society and medical professionals portray: that Down syndrome is a life of suffering, a burden to their family and society. Obviously, if the truth gets out that 99% of people with Down syndrome are happy with their lives, society may start to question the systematic screening and deliberate mass elimination*) under the pretense of health-care and women’s rights.

*) 96% of pregnancies that are diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted in France. Worldwide this number is estimated to be about 90%.

For there is no higher calling in this secular age than to snuff out a life in the womb because its future is not assured.

Excuse me while I hurl.

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The final few steps

All our days are numbered, and I suspect my own number is decidedly limited, in which case I want certain things on the record.

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I think your service to us is at its end now

Tom Neyman, the Master from Manos: The Hands of Fate, has died while the sequel was in production:

Jackey Neyman Jones, who played Debbie in the original film, launched a Kickstarter campaign in February 2016 to make a sequel to Manos, entitled Manos Returns. The Kickstarter sought to raise $24,000 for the production of the film. If successful, the film will include Neyman Jones, replaying her role as Debbie, and her father Tom Neyman, replaying the role of the Master. Jones and director Tonjia Atomic anticipate shooting the film in western Oregon as to have the film ready to show on November 15, 2016, the 50th anniversary of Manos’s original release. According to Neyman Jones, they are not planning on trying to recreate Manos though are trying to create a “tongue-in-cheek” film that takes place in the Manos storyline; Neyman Jones compared their anticipated product to be both funny and scary, along the lines of Cabin in the Woods or Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Their Kickstarter goal of $24,000 was reached on February 24, 2016. Tom Neyman, however, died on November 14, 2016, so it is uncertain if the sequel is to be made.

The Kickstarter raised over $31,000 from 420 backers (myself included). Neyman would have been 80 years old next week. I’m guessing that he’s only in a handful of scenes, and that they’ve already shot them.

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One more stop before the graveyard

All the swelling for the last year or two was drained away during five hours in the ER.

And most of it is back in the seven hours since I went home.

No point in questioning it anymore. I’m going to die, and rather quickly.

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This will be the day that I die

Well, not me, probably not today. (That said, you should probably consider me at least marginally suicidal for the duration.) But I’m wondering if there’s an accepted protocol for one’s Last Post Ever — or if it’s better just to let things grind to a halt. I’ve been on both sides of the issue at various times; now I’m just confused.

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Dinner without Drac

“Cool Ghoul” John Zacherle died Thursday at the age of 98:

Wearing ghoulish garb, Zacherle hosted horror movies on Philadelphia and New York television beginning in 1957. He likewise hosted the fondly recalled Newark-based dance show “Disc-O-Teen” in the late ’60s, and was a WNEW-FM disc jockey. From 1990 until 2015, Zacherle met fans old and new at the Chiller Theatre convention held in various New Jersey towns, chiefly Secaucus and Parsippany.

I refuse to believe that his death on 10/27 had anything to do with his having been a DJ on WNEW-FM, which historically was at 102.7.

Away from Jersey, Zacherle was probably best known for “Dinner with Drac,” ghastly limericks fit into a rock-and-roll background, a #6 pop hit in 1958:

Zacherle’s niece Bonnie, you may want to know, was the original designer of the My Little Pony line. Call it Generation 1.

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Dead man answering

It takes a lot to stand out in my email box these days. This item today definitely stood out:

Your Facebook friend Jeff Borland is on Quora

Now on Quora? Have you ever met anyone who waited until he had been dead for two years before signing up for a Web service?

Mind you, I’d love to see the guy there; Jeffro had a way with words and a willingness to shoot down total idiots, both of which are useful commodities on a Web site devoted to answering questions, and I’ve missed having him around. But somehow this rubs me the wrong way: if this is a family member using the man’s name, this is Bad Form, and if it’s just some scrub who hacked his way in from Jeffro’s FB account, this is unforgivable.

Incidentally, the Borland account is “following 26 topics.” And there is a function in Settings called “Find Facebook friends,” which makes me wonder if this might be sub-Turing-level bot work. He has 8 followers, one of whom I know.

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Still with the band

From Wikipedia’s article on Negativland: “On July 22, 2015, former lead vocalist Don Joyce died of heart failure at the age of 71.”

This past week, segments from the band’s radio show were released as Over the Edge Vol. 9: The Chopping Channel, with a special appearance, so to speak, by Don Joyce:

In keeping with the album’s theme, and while supplies last, each mail order copy of this new project comes with two very unique extra items: two grams of the actual cremains, or ashes, of deceased Negativland member Don Joyce, and one of Don’s handmade audio tape loop “carts” used in the creation of Over The Edge and Negativland live performances between 1981 and 2015.

This is not a hoax. We’ve decided to take the Chopping Channel concept to its logical conclusion by “productizing” an actual band member. It is also a celebration of the degree to which no idea in art was ever off-limits to Don, and offers a literal piece of him, and of his audio art, for the listener to repurpose and reuse. We are pretty sure he would have wanted it this way.

I am compelled to admit that Don Joyce, so far as I can tell, does not appear on my single favorite Negativland release, U2, which combines a cover of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” with a profane rant by the late Casey Kasem in apparent forgot-the-mic-was-hot mode. (Link is pretty well NSFW, as I found out one day.)

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A Colossus lost

I got the word this afternoon from Brickmuppet:

Steven Den Beste has passed away.

I just received word from Steven’s brother, graciously thanking me for making the welfare call to the police and confirming that what many of us feared had indeed come to pass. I did not inquire as to specifics, but Steven had been in very poor health of late, having had a stroke just under four years ago.

SdB was one of the pillars of the blogosphere, almost from Day One:

Steven was brilliant, a former engineer with a crackerjack mind. His old blog, U.S.S. Clueless was tremendously important in the early days of the blogosphere. It is hard to overstate the importance of U.S.S. Clueless and the brilliance of his analysis. Sadly, that site went down this past week as well, when Steven’s server failed. That site was immensely influential to many of us, and I am far from the only person he inspired to blog or helped along.

Worse, he was about my age, which reminds me — as though I needed reminding — of my own fragility.

Something to remember him by? How about this, from 11 September 2012?

I always thought that attacking an embassy was considered an act of war. But 1980 seems to have established a new precedent: if a Democrat is President, then Muslim mobs may despoil American embassies as much as they wish. Once a Republican gets elected, then they lay off.

Our hostages in Tehran were released a few hours before Reagan was sworn in. If Romney manages to defeat Obama in November, will we see something of the same happen next January?

Well, even if it does, it won’t bring that man back to life. Not even The One, for all his assumed divinity, can do that. (Stopping the rise of the oceans is easy by comparison.)

If only we could bring that man back to life.

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The opposite of new-car smell

I don’t really blame this guy for taking the Anonymous option:

Can an insurance company sell a salvaged car if someone died in it, and if so, do they have to tell you?

Now houses, that’s a whole ‘nother matter:

In California, sellers must reveal if a death in the home has occurred anytime in the past three years, including death by natural causes (although certain types of deaths, like those from AIDS, cannot be disclosed). And if a buyer comes out and asks about a death that occurred at any time, even longer than three years ago, the seller is required to provide a truthful response.

I submit that there are going to be times when “How the hell do I know?” is the most truthful response available.

In Alaska and South Dakota, only murders or suicides must be disclosed if they happened within the past year. In other states the laws are less black and white; a seller may need to disclose the information only if a buyer asks.

Still, we’re talking houses. Cars? Nobody gives a damn, except this poor, superstitious soul. I can say only that it’s entirely possible for a car to be totaled, rebuilt and resold without anyone having died in it.

Now if it smells like someone died in it within the last couple of days, maybe there’s a reason to inquire.

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Temporarily closed

At least, one hopes it’s only temporary:

(Seen at the Natural History Museum in London. Via Jeff Faria.)

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Strength far exceeding mine

This has bothered me for most of a month now:

And it will likely continue to do so.

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This world sucks

And as time wears on and the sucking continues, I contend that I am perfectly justified in wanting to leave.

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Call it the Model D

And that’s D as in Death:

In what they claim to be a world’s first, and we can’t dispute it after some research, a funeral transport company based in the Netherlands, Vander der Lans & Busscher BV, developed the first all-electric hearse using a modified Tesla Model S built by a stretched limousine maker, RemetzCar.

Tesla hearse concept

RemetzCar claims to have cut the vehicle in half after having removed the battery pack. Then, they extended the [wheel]base by 80 cm (31.5 inch) before fitting the battery pack back into the platform.

Thanks to RemetzCar, now Van der Lans & Busscher will be able to offer zero-emission funerals to its clients.

I’m operating under the assumption that the prototype is not equipped with the Ludicrous Speed option.

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Sorrow on four legs

This story dates back three years. It’s about a young buffalo and a mare at the end of her days:

During one of my husband’s cold but sweaty efforts to rouse Daphne, something incredible happened which I will never forget. As I stood against a young oak tree juggling phone calls with Shawndra and three vets’ offices (we were now in the slender space of time between office hours and emergency response times) Chunk-hi meandered over to our worried gathering. Constantly in my view, he lowered his behemoth head and started towards Daphne’s tail end. I feared some rough playfulness but was amazed by what he actually did.

Chunk stroked his massive bearded chin in long, slow motions against Daphne’s body. He traced every leg, sniffed her tail, kissed her neck with that long purple tongue, and paced delicately around her prone and weakening body for several minutes. Handsome and I both noticed this incredible behavior.

We witnessed what could have been the precursor to a goring, or at least a good head butt, turn into a truly affectionate and comforting gesture. From my position about four feet away I could see his big liquid black eyes watch everything we did. I could hear his amplified breath, investigating the scene, cataloging details. Daphne had always held a maternal veil over this little orphaned addition to our farm, and I have no doubt he felt her pain. In retrospect, we believe he was also saying goodbye.

After a ten or fifteen minute vigil, Chunk-hi suddenly inhaled sharply and started bobbing and wagging his shaggy head in big, dramatic circles. Usually a sure sign of aggression in male buffalo, this had no such feeling. He flung his head around but stood perfectly still then just gazed at her. He looked at me calmly, but not blankly, and I was devastated to have no words for him. This was a buffalo sobbing and crying.

And now he’s gone too:

After he left the farm this past February to live on a gorgeous, 300-acre ranch with his new ranching family, I continued to hear his voice. He had a deep, bellowy voice, a snorting baritone that sounded a lot like howling wind and also like Tibetan meditation bowls. Otherworldly sometimes. For weeks I heard him every morning when I fed the other animals, and a few times I also thought I saw him in a sand wallow, peeking around an oak tree. He was big, huge even by bison standards, but he had a talent for winding himself up small like a baby and tucking into the shadows, just chewing his cud.

We miss him so much. We have missed him every day of every week since he left the Lazy W, and we have been deeply conflicted about the decision to find him a new home. But our reasons were sound, and the family who took him on are wonderful ranchers, smart and loving.

Chunk was given the opportunity to roam almost free, just like a wild buff, and he also had a girlfriend named Molly. After a period of acclimation, they enjoyed a long honeymoon toward the close of summer, and for this we are so grateful.

One day recently his new caretakers discovered Chunk badly injured, his back broken, probably from a fight with another bull or from vigorous love making with Molly. We were shocked and heartbroken by the news but held onto hope that he might heal or that their vet might find a solution.

No solution was to be found. I’m no expert on back pain, despite recent lessons on the subject, but I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, two legs or four.

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Kill me later

O Lord, grant me the sweet peace of death, but not now:

Last weekend Belgian Paralympian Marieke Vervoort said in Rio that she is considering euthanasia to escape a life of unbearable physical pain — only not quite yet.

Vervoort, who won silver in the 400m wheelchair race at the Paralympic Games, played down earlier reports that she planned to be euthanized after her return from Brazil.

“I have my (euthanasia) papers in my hand, but I’m still enjoying every little moment. When the moment comes when I have more bad days than good days, then I have my euthanasia papers, but the time is not there yet,” she told a news conference in Rio [de Janeiro], Brazil, where the Paralympic Games are taking place.

And if she has more good days than bad days? Is she screwed?

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A surprisingly risky business

Peter “Bayou Renaissance Man” Green Grant, like me, put in some time in operations on an IBM System/370, but there’s something he remembers that I seem to have forgotten:

I recall banks of gas cylinders outside the computer room, designed to release fire-suppressing fumes into the data center whenever necessary. However, none of us ever considered the noise of the gas being released as a potential hazard to disk drives. The system was more likely to kill us! One of my not-so-fond memories of that computer room was when we had a fire security inspection. The inspector turned to the Operations Manager and asked whether he had replacement operators lined up and ready to go after a fire. Puzzled, the Ops Manager replied that he hadn’t — why did he ask? The inspector then pointed out that the “gas masks” provided for the operators were to prevent smoke inhalation only. They had no oxygen cylinder to provide fresh air — but the halon gas that the fire suppression system would inject would absorb all the oxygen in the air. The operators would be asphyxiated before they could get out.

Which, if nothing else, shows you how highly ops personnel are regarded, compared to everyone else in the department.

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Out here at the margin

Emily Dickinson anticipated this years ago:

The Loneliness One dare not sound—
And would as soon surmise
As in its Grave go plumbing
To ascertain the size—

The Loneliness whose worst alarm
Is lest itself should see—
And perish from before itself
For just a scrutiny—

The Horror not to be surveyed—
But skirted in the Dark—
With Consciousness suspended—
And Being under Lock—

I fear me this—is Loneliness—
The Maker of the soul
Its Caverns and its Corridors
Illuminate—or seal—

(Suggested by Instapundit.)

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Lethal hickey

This is decidedly dispiriting:

A teenage boy has died after getting a love bite from his girlfriend.

Julio Macias Gonzalez, 17, began convulsing at the dinner table with his family in Mexico City after spending time with his 24-year-old lover, The Sun reports.

It is thought the woman gave him a hickey earlier that evening which caused a blood clot that travelled to the teen’s brain, triggering a stroke.

Paramedics were called to the scene but Julio could not be saved.

I expect this will show up in the appendices to all those Thou Shalt Not books that nobody actually buys.

(Via Interested-Participant.)

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