It is an icky world

i-a901369dddddfa514231cc3216e71ac4-broken_eagle.jpgI woke up to an icky world this morning. After painfully clearing my lungs and scarfing down some medication, I scanned the TV channels for news. and the blogosphere for inspiration. The TV was giving me mainly god, while the blogosphere was giving me measles, pandemics, murdered sea lions, and this poor eagle with its beak snapped off.

TV land was still in it’s pre-day stage (which runs an hour later here in the Midwest). Therefore, fully half or more of the stations were busy peddling Christianity. I learned that it was easier to accept faith and know that God has a plan than to think about life. I learned that if a woman has a special condition that causes oily sweat to exude rapidly from her palms than she would be of great interest to the fundamentalist congregations, especially the preacher who had her smear the oil on his chest. There was a white-haired lady holding up a book she wrote, her picture emblazoned on the cover, telling us that she sure wished she had this book when she was raising her children. The Godly Household or some such title. Idolatry, I thought. Let that which is Caesar’s be given to Caesar. Then there were the two or three men, minister-like, one clearly a priest, who had figured out the secrets of Armageddon. Oh, and an offer for “Mystery Holy Water.” For free. But I’ll bet there’s a catch…

Apparently, the coming plague is coming, and it’s measles. I had measles, I think literally a few months before the vaccine was introduced. I only barely remember it. I remember mumps much more clearly, or at least part of that episode. I think the mumps freaked out my family members more than measles (maybe for good reason, maybe not). I remember the elder women coming into the sick room one by one and carrying out ritual healing practices involving liquids, powders, and smelly solids often contained in fine crystal or sterling silver containers emblazoned with religious iconography. That is about all I remember of the event. Anyway, vaccine denialists are ruining it for everyone. More people seem to be dying of measles every year due to lack of rational thinking. (See here, here, and here. )

When the coming plague really does come (and who knows what it will be), some of us will be triaged away into oblivion, according to a recent report.

Doctors know some patients needing lifesaving care won’t get it in a flu pandemic or other disaster. The gut-wrenching dilemma will be deciding who to let die.

…an influential group of physicians has drafted a grimly specific list of recommendations for which patients wouldn’t be treated. They include the very elderly, seriously hurt trauma victims, severely burned patients and those with severe dementia. *

Don’t you think we should vote on this or something?

Meanwhile, over in the Sea, they are shooting Sea Lions and seals. This is up on the Columbia River where, as has been the case for probably thousands of years, people are fighting over Salmon. Six sea lions were trapped and shot to death just now, and a day or two ago, three elephant seals were shot to death down in California, in a possibly related event (though I don’t think Elephant Seals eat very much salmon… am I wrong about that?)

The dead sea lions included four California style and two Stellar style.

Washington and Oregon have been granted federal authorization to capture or kill as many as 85 sea lions a year for five years at the base of the dam, where they feed on endangered salmon headed upriver to spawn.

Fishermen and American Indian tribes have pushed to protect the salmon and remove the sea lions, by lethal force if necessary, forcing a delicate balancing act by the federal government.

The Humane Society of the United States has gone to court to challenge the authorization, with another hearing set for May 8. Until a judge rules, no animals may be legally killed.

“We’re really shocked,” said Sharon Young, a Humane Society spokeswoman, who learned about the sea lion deaths from a reporter.

“We’re a nation of laws, and we should expect people to abide by them,” Young said. *

And what about this poor eagle?

She has been named Beauty, though this eagle is anything but. Part of Beauty’s beak was shot off several years ago, leaving her with a stump that is useless for hunting food. A team of volunteers is working to attach an artificial beak to the disfigured bird, in an effort to keep her alive. *

Apparently, it is possible for a partly damaged beak to grow back, but hers did not. If she survives, this bird will continue to be a sort of ambassador eagle, used to pre-shame young children to thus be less likely to target practice on raptors when they grow up and are issued the standard firearms.


  1. #1 Stephanie Z
    May 5, 2008

    There’s a reason I catch up on my fiction reading when I’m sick. I stay away from anything that’s won an award, though. I’ve never really understood the virtue of brutal “realism,” but it seems to appeal to committees.

    Do feel better, please.

  2. #2 natural cynic
    May 5, 2008

    I’m old enough to have caught the mumps and I distinctly remember the dire warnings from other boys that you had to be careful or YOUR BALLS WOULD SWELL UP!!!