Sunday, September 14, 2003

le parcours

Oh, anti-abortion activists are gonna be all over this one. Via Drudge, the following fascinating article:

Pioneering scanning techniques have produced astonishing images from inside the womb which show babies apparently smiling and crying.

Experts believe the breakthrough could lead to advances in baby health for a whole range of conditions, including Down's Syndrome.

The pictures offer a new insight into foetal behaviour.

The ultra-sound scanning techniques capture images which show the foetuses yawn, blink, suck their fingers and seem to cry and smile.

Up to now, doctors did not think infants made such expressions until after birth and believed they learned to smile by copying their mother.

In other news, my enormous white asshole has been photographed as it makes its menacing approach to the American east coast. Note the radar image seems to indicate hemorrhoids. East Coasters didn't believe me when I told them my ass has a will of its own and would attack them someday. That day is nigh.

China's answer to Charlie's Angels. A very interesting PRC post by Adam "Brainy Smurf" Morris.

The Vulture also seems to have appropriated the ass motif re: Republicans. Yeah, Al Haig doesn't come off looking so good, does he.

Glenn's post on "butterface chicks" had me rolling. And in the comments section to this post, a guy writes in about a co-worker with a hot body but a "face like a caved-in Dixie cup."

The T. Herman Zweibel rants on The Onion were some of my all-time favorite articles to read, and in light of what we've learned about Howell Raines's despotism during his reign over the NY Times, reading Zweibel now is more fun than it was. This is an old post, in which Zweibel rants about Onion workers who have written a Zweibel in memoriam in advance of his death:

...I occasionally force my editors to send me a list of upcoming articles. (Personally, I do not give a tinker's damn what they print in my paper, as long as a good 70 percent of the content is advertisement, but I wish for my employees to live in paralyzing terror of me.) Imagine my consternation when I came across a ready-to-run obituary for T. Herman Zweibel! I reprint it here in its entirety...

The obit allows one to choose Zweibel's manner of death. Among my favorites:

autoerotic impaling
explosive urethral exsanguination
ingrown brains
robot assault
spontaneous pan-corporeal organ rejection
transdermal vomiting

I always end up reading Zweibel articles aloud while doing a Mr. Burns impression. Zweibel and Burns have a lot in common.

Bush insists there is a clear strategy being followed in Iraq. Question: if so, I'd like specifics on when "flypaper" gives way to 100% nation-building. Do we have a time frame? The French are pushing for a transfer of power to the UN within a month. Powell is right to say, "No fuckin' way."

(By the way, Mike, I rated "realist," along with Powell, on the neocon quiz, which doesn't really provide one with a lot of options for answering...)

From Salon's newswire: NK again rejects US demands to disarm. Surprise, surprise.

In India, similar behavior is often seen among living Hindu saints, but for distances much longer than seven miles. A quick quote from the article:

McGowan is a veteran of unusual protests. He once rolled himself across London for 4 1/2 miles singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to highlight the work of office cleaners. On another occasion he walked for 11 miles around south and central London with a turkey strapped to his head in a bid to persuade people to eat less and cut obesity rates.

Six more weeks of winter in Palestine?

Depending on whom you read, Typhoon Maemi's (the word means "cicada") body count varies between 20-something and 30-something or 40-something. It's all concentrated in the southern (well, southeastern, I think) part of the peninsula; today was a cloudy but rain-free day in Seoul. I imagine we'll be seeing more rain soon, though. How you doing, Marmot? You're in Kwangju, which is southwest, and I think most of the damage is east of you, but still-- hang in there, buddy.

And I just read on the IA site that The Infidel's in Pusan!? Damn, man. You've been in the thick of it. Hope you're OK.

The San Francisco Chronicle has an article about 7 US soldiers in SK who've been indicted for taking Ecstasy. Unfortunately, I can't see the article: this PC-bahng has a block on the SF Chronicle, if you can believe it. Another PC-bahng I go to has a block on Is it the SEX? Is SEX a key word that these filters catch and respond to? Could SEX really be that much of a problem on a crowded peninsula where people are obviously having TONS OF SEX? Tons of HOT, SEXY, SEXUAL, SEXALICIOUS SEX? Does the SF Chronicle have a SEX SECTION edited by people who spend their time writing while HAVING SEX? I know Salon has a SEX SEX-TION, which is rarely all that SEXUAL.

Ah-- here's a brief from the Chosun Ilbo on that story. More to come, I'm sure. Another reason for angry, flag-ripping demonstrations. In a weird sense, I'm happy: more anti-American sentiment might make Washington realize it really is time for our troops to leave. Quote:

The soldiers were arrested at the party, but custody was handed to the U.S. Forces Korea authorities at the request of the U.S. Army.

Will be curious how this goes.

D'Oh! If you're a Korean citizen who happens to be overseas at voting time... TOO BAD! You can't vote! Well, maybe that produces fewer problems in vote counting. Heh.

Chosun Ilbo pushes the typhoon death toll even higher. This seems to be a minute-by-minute update. Unreal. There's really nothing happening in Seoul right now.

South Korea grumbles about paying lip service to an alliance that's more "on paper" than real these days.

Kevin at IA will be all over this. More brawling!

Contrary to rumors, NK is not genetically engineering three-armed soldiers.

So... does this mean we are, in fact, beginning some cooperative program of interdiction?

Meanwhile, in Scotland: Arran, a wee island off the Scottish coast, is gearing up to become... tourism-friendly.

The Scots are also worried about how increasingly mild winters will affect their ski resorts.

Gatwick Airport gets a scare from an abandoned car. Interesting way to handle the car problem:

Army bomb disposal experts carried out three controlled explosions on the Ford Escort in the early hours of today, but nothing suspicious was found.

I haven't been in a Paris train station for a while, but it was common a few years back to hear regular announcements that any abandoned baggage would be confiscated and blown up. When you got on the TGV in Paris, the bathroom doors would be locked for the first 30 minutes of the trip, a policy that's been adopted by flights departing (and arriving at) Washington National Airport.

L'Express has an article that fingers bin Laden's aide de camp, Ayman al-Zawahiri as the real mastermind behind al Qaeda's operations and philosophy. The first paragraph of this article was disturbing for how it painted the al Qaeda leaders as men on the run with prices on their heads. Later, the article mentions Ayman's fascination with Sayyd Qutb. Never a good thing.

Interesting piece in the Middle East Times re: Arafat. One thing I noticed after finishing the piece was that not a single Israeli was quoted in the article. Kofi Annan gets quoted, though.

Another ME Times article says this, seemingly confirming (partially) the Express article:

According to Gunaratna, who has been studying Al Qaeda since 1996, the organization will not be defeated until both Bin Laden and his designated successor Ayman Al Zawahiri are tracked down and killed.

"As long as they are alive Al Qaeda will survive because they provide the strategic and ideological direction," he said. "It is their input that makes Al Qaeda replenish their human losses and their material waste."

Another ME Times article notes that Baghdad prostitutes have it worse now that Iraq is liberated. To wit:

Fearing the wrath of Islamic fundamentalists and loathed by their families, times are tough for Baghdad's prostitutes, who were more tolerated under the ousted regime of Saddam Hussein.


The few prostitutes who dare go out in the open avoid journalists and above all photographers. Iraqi men who come across them fix them with glares full of scorn and condemnation.

"They are the most hypocritical people in the world. They pretend to hate us but they sneak around and come and see us," says Nidal.

"The American soldiers tell us not to approach them. At this rate how can we make dollars?"

A trick these days goes for 10,000 dinars ($6), but a date with an underage prostitute can fetch as much as three times that.

There are no figures on how many prostitutes ply their trade in Baghdad. The subject is still taboo for Iraqis. Meanwhile, US officials are not paying much attention.


Meanwhile, in Jordan, "family honor" takes more women's lives.

Is Israel about to adopt its own flypaper strategy? The Arab League ain't likin' the threat to remove Arafat.

I doubt I'll be quoting from the ME Times this much all the time, but since I just blogrolled it, I thought I'd provide you a little slice of the Egyptian take on things. Biased, but seemingly willing to cover things like the horrible treatment of women.

Kevin at IA gives his Ch'u-seok roundup-- hurricanes, easy prison terms, and the oddness at Yongbyon.

They're worried about SARS in Asia again. Singapore had its first case a few days ago. Now the Peking Duck brings us this discomfiting info.

All for the moment.

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