An Italian woman opted to have her 22 week old baby aborted after scans revealed he was disabled. The procedure was carried out, the baby wrapped in a sheet, umbilical cord still attached, and abandoned.
But he was still alive.
20 hours later, the hospital chaplain discovered the little boy moving and breathing. He was then taken to intensive care, where he later lost his battle, and died.
As if this isn't disgusting enough on its' own, I just find the resulting 'logic' around the investigation absolutely preposterous. The law states that doctors 'had an obligation to try to preserve the life of a child if it survives a termination'.
What? So that's where the issue lies? That makes no sense at all. The issue is not that they tried to kill the baby, but rather that they didn't try to save it after they'd tried to kill it? Nonsense.
This is like me walking out on to the street right now, and stabbing a little child. And then me getting in trouble, not for stabbing the child, but for not bandaging him up afterwards. What a pile of crap.
As for the garbage about a fetus not yet being a baby, here's a list of developments of a 22 week old fetus:
* Your baby weighs close to a pound at this point * Your baby can now hear your conversations more clearly than before. When you talk, read, or sing, expect her to hear you. Studies have found that newborns will suck more vigorously when read to from a book they heard frequently in utero. * Eyelids and eyebrows are fully formed. * He's even developing tiny tooth buds beneath his gums. * Fingernails have grown to the end of the fingers. * His senses are also starting develop. * Be prepared for all those "Why" questions coming! Your baby's brain has entered a stage of rapid growth, especially in what's called the germinal matrix. This structure deep in the middle of the brain serves as a kind of factory for brain cells and disappears shortly before birth. But the brain's amazing expansion program continues until around the five birthday. * With some help from mum, baby's liver is starting to break down bilirubin, a substance produced by red blood cells. * If your baby is male his testes begin their descent to the scrotum. * Primitive sperm have formed and he is producing testosterone. * Length is around 10.94 inches (27.8cm); weight is nearly 1 pound (430gm).
But yeah, I guess you could just see that as a cluster of cells.
For the record, it's pronounced Mc-Lock-lin. Say after me, Mc. Lock. Lin.
At Toastmasters, there are a lot of introductions, by different people. "To give us a book review, please make welcome Ben McLaughlin". "To present the awards for tonight, here's Ben McLaughlin". Lot's of stuff like that.
The other night, I was getting a lot of interesting interpretations of my name, the most common being, "Mc-Larf-lin". There was also the odd "Mc-Lollin" and "Mc-lin".
Hey, if you can't work out how to say the middle bit, what the heck, just skip it.
I'm not bitter. I know I have a name that is not pronounced the way it's spelt. I blame the Irish, the Gaelic, the Scottish, and what ever other joker was involved with coming up with it. Thanks, forefathers.
I offended him by flippantly calling another blog my favourite, and now he's wondering how to win over my favour.
This is a hard question to answer, but here is the best advice I can give:
1. Wait until I am partially blind. I already have reading glasses, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Twenty years, max.
2. Wrap your arms and head in some kind of dead animal skin. Any animal but dog will suffice. May need a bit of a wash first.
3. Prepare two young goats, just the way I like. Jamie Oliver has a recipe for this in one of his books. A few sides wouldn't hurt either- maybe a few roast potatoes, and some greens. And a bit of crusty bread. But not sourdough, thanks.
4. Pull the gross proverbial wool (from your arms and head) over my weak, non-proverbial eyes, lie a bit, and then run away. Fast. Stay with your bogan uncle for a few years. Twenty, max.
5. Voila! You're my new favourite. It's really as easy as that.
Do this, and many new and exciting doors may* open up for you.
It took me an extra 20 minutes to walk to the station this morning. The sun started to come up, and turned the sky and the clouds an amazing mix of blues, oranges and pinks. I just kept stopping in the middle of the road, and looking up, with my jaw dropped.
I then stood under this conifer tree for a few minutes, where there seemed to be thousands of invisible birds, all waking up at the same time. The foliage was so dense that you couldn't see any movement at all, but the noise was amazing. A bunch of different bird-calls, all combining to make make this great, happy cacophony.
I was never a morning person, but now I'm so glad that I made myself become one. Dawn is a wonderful time, when God's glory in creation just radiates over and across and through, everything.
Heya. Hope you all had a good long weekend for Anzac Day. Sorry for no quiz yesterday, but it's hard to blog when you have the day off, and a warm, sunny Autumn day waits outside. And two kids are climbing over you.
We had an interesting weekend. I say interesting, rather than good, because it was one of those ones with intense hard times alongside nice fun times. Without delving in to great in depth deep and meaningfuls, and boring you, I'll just leave it at that- interesting.
Massive news in footy yesterday, as the Melbourne Storm were discovered to have been cheating for the past few years, having two sets of books in order to exceed the salary cap. Two premierships stripped, a big fine, and disqualification from this year's premiership. Big stuff.
Having now read a few different articles about it, what seems odd to me is how little the players have come in to question here. Surely these big-name players would have known what they were involved in. How could you not know that you were being paid twice?
There has been speculation of these players 'not staying' at the club, as though they would walk, because they'd get paid significantly less. But is that not beside the point? Should they not instead be fired from the club, big-name and high-profile or not?
Miranda Devine's column in The Herald this morning caught my eye, as it read in the little ad, 'men and women still want marriage'.
Getting to the end, I was very surprised that she finished the article with a quote from Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis.
You can see the full article here, but here are some bits I found interesting:
'..the enduring popularity of the Austen-esque search for Mr Right in popular culture shows feminism and the sexual revolution haven't changed a thing. Women and men still dream of monogamous marriage and family amid deteriorating social stability.'
'Celebrity breakdowns like those of Bullock and Woods show when marriages are bad, they are toxic. But they are the exception. More marriages survive than don't, especially in Australia where more than two in three remain intact, while divorce rates have been dropping and marriage rates increasing.
Regardless of Hollywood pessimism, a generation which has felt first-hand the effects of marriage breakdown and instability is embracing the institution afresh.
Instinctively they know the truth of what C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity:
"If you decide to make thrills your regular diet and try to prolong them artificially, they will all get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, and you will be a bored, disillusioned person for the rest of your life. It is because so few people understand this that you find many middle-aged men and women maundering about their lost youth, at the very age when new horizons ought to be appearing and new doors opening all round them."'
Every time I see a headline, or a news snippet on the tele, about the death of the supposed "baby-faced killer" on Monday, I just instinctively turn away or switch off.
I stubbornly refuse to take in any information about it. Why is this?
I think behind it is, that while I know all death is sad and tragic etc etc, it just irks me that the death of a murderer is apparently so much more interesting and newsworthy than the deaths of non-murdering, non-drug trafficking, non-celebrities.
'Evening, when the quiet east flushes faintly at the sun's last look' (1888) by Tom ROBERTS
I imagine that if I were overseas, this is the kind of picture that would make me homesick for Australia. Living in busy Sydney, obviously I don't see this kind of pastoral scenery every day, but there is something so familiar about this that stirs my soul.
Lonely dusk in the Australian countryside, the sound of roosting birds in the Eucalypts, the fading hum of invisible cicadas, the smell of smoke from a farmhouse chimney.
I love the serene stillness of this painting, the only movement being the slow drifting smoke, and a lone bird wheeling in from the left. The fading sun is behind and to the right of the viewer, casting a soothing reddish glow over everything, and the moon in the east is starting to become visible as night falls.
I want to trudge through the long grass and make my way between the log piles, and over to the distant farmhouse, and sit down with the family for dinner.
Oh my gosh, the second and final part of Tess of The D'urbervilles last night was enough to make you want to slit your wrists. I felt so depressed afterwards, that after going to bed I had to turn the lamp on again and read something cheery for a few minutes.
Had I known how the story ended, I may not have been willing to sit through the amount of hardship that poor ol' Tess goes through.
Hey, let's make up a main character, put her through the wringer (raped, outcast, her child dies, her husband racks off for no apparent reason, she becomes homeless and destitute, her loser drunk dad dies, she gets pushed into marrying her rapist) for the entire book, and then have the story happily end with her going to the gallows. Yeah, that'll be a barrel of laughs.
It depressed the heck out of me. There was not one redeemable male character in the whole story (don't you dare say that Angel was redeemable because he came back to her either- he'd been an absolute hypocrite, and nicked off for several years), and basically every single female character was victimised. Happy days.
'These have come so that your faith— of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire— may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.'
Tige's are now 6th on the ladder after a frustrating loss to the Bulldogs on Friday night.
They really have picked up so much in defense, but the amount of defending they did in the first half left them to exhausted to continue on properly in the second half, and the game got away from them.
1. How many days is it acceptable to wear a pair of jeans, not necessarily consecutively, before washing, provided you're not running marathons, or rolling in the mud? 2. Out of 10, how much would you disapprove of me for exceeding this limit? 3. How much fruit do you eat? 4. You are at a restaurant, and find a hair in your meal. Just a regular head-hair, nothing sinister. What do you do? Pick it out and cautiously press on? Complain and ask for a new meal? Leave in a huff? 5. A good day you wish you could have over again
The other day I bagged out How To Train Your Dragon, and whinged a lot about how nobody makes good animated movies anymore.
But to show that I'm not always such a crabby paddy, I'd like to recommend an animated movie that I think is pretty much perfect, and can't be faulted- The Gruffalo. It is a BBC production, made for tele, I think. I think it was only about half an hour long, an aired on Christmas Day.
It's on iview at the moment, but expires in 3 hours! So if you want to see some awesomeness, you'll need to be very quick about it.
Mine is "Never Alone", by Philip Percival and Simone Richardson. The first time I heard it was at a men's convention a few years back, and I loved hearing a bunch of blokes belting it out. I think it's a really strong song, that you don't get sick of. Good words, that go well with good music.
My favourite bit is the first line of each chorus, where I can't resist letting fly with a bit of manharmony. I also like the fact that it was written by two good friends. Good job, guys.
In second place at the moment is "How Deep" by Stephen Altrogge. A simple but powerful tune that's easy to sing, and that's full of emotion, and with lyrics to match. I love the chorus, especially the way it drops down to the 'deep' Em.
I'm looking forward to playing in the band at church next week, as both of my favourites are on the playlist.
Well, I wanted to write a positive review for this, but I don't really think I can.
It was okay. There were really good things about it, but the movie as a whole wasn't really good. The animation was pretty amazing, and it all looked very good. But for me, there was always a sense of too many cooks spoiling the broth.
I always harp on about Pixar, because not only do they achieve the beautiful look, there is also always such a strong, focused story, with a lot of heart. And really that is the key ingredient that always seems to be missing in pretty much every other animated movie I see.
And How To Train Your Dragon was really no exception. Anyway, first the good points. The designs, mostly were great. The dragons looked awesome, especially the main one, Toothless (The love child of that little creature from Lilo and Stitch and an axolotl). All of the backgrounds and stuff were great, and you felt pretty immersed in this world of Vikings. The premise was okay, but nothing special - young outcast goes against the grain and becomes popular and great.
But now the bad. Everything about it was too convoluted, both story-wise, and visually. The premise, though simple, would have been fine if it was kept simple, rather than throwing in a bunch of other stuff to fill it out. These aspects just became boring distractions from what you wanted to see. The other teenage characters, for example. There were too many of them, and you didn't care about them, not even Astrid the 'love interest'.
The key focus of the film should have just simply been the relationship between the boy and the dragon. That was the one thing you actually cared about. (Actually, Toothless was the only character that I liked and cared about. The boy, Hiccup, was annoying, and the voice actor sounded too old. The bumbling teenager thing was done to death. Yeah, we get that he's awkward, but does he have to trip over his words in every single line of dialog?) They should have pared the rest back to just slow down and focus on this aspect. I reckon that's what Pixar would have done with it.
Instead it felt like they were too scared to just slow down and have some quiet moments where you could just enjoy this relationship. They had to keep chopping back to some crazy action sequence to keep the viewer from getting bored. But this only had the opposite effect on me. Yawn, another dragon fight.
And it was the same visually. So much talent, kind of wasted. Some great shot comes on, nicely composed, with a bunch of detail- but then it's gone, and your eye is forced to look at something else. There's no room to breathe, and just enjoy the interesting world that's been created. These great looking Vikings, with masses of detail- little scars, and hairy knuckles- but there are ten of them on screen at the same time, jumping all over the place, so you don't really get to take it in properly. Too convoluted!
It just frustrated me, because there were really good elements that could have been used to make a great movie, but instead the good elements get smothered by a bunch of crap that doesn't need to be there. Which makes it just another forgettable movie.
You've got to worry when you get tagged for a girly 'tell us about your wardrobe' meme. Yeah, thanks Soph.
Did I not mention how much I love watching V8's drive around a track and how much I like chopping up wood with my bare hands, just for the sheer heck of it?
Well, here you go- The five things in my wardrobe that I couldn't live without.
1. The jeans I pretty much wear day in, day out until the flies arrive.
2.Cotton On T-shirts. I have several million of these. Because I am unwilling to pay more than $10 for a t-shirt, these are the only ones available to me. They are usually slightly embarrassing looking, have some strange slogan written in another language, and some silly print. BUT they fit me, they are comfortable, and they are cheap.
3. White Bonds singlets. Call me an old man, but I need to be tucked in. I can't stand the feeling of cold belt buckle on raw skin. So, the singlet allows tuckage, while the aforementioned t-shirt can be then untucked, leaving my dagginess virtually undetectable to the human eye.
4. My crap old brown Dr Marten boots. I bought these in 2003, and pretty much haven't taken them off since, mainly because I can't find anything else I like. The soles have fallen off once, been taken to a repair guy once, and are now mid-way through falling off again. The end is nigh.
5. A small stack of neatly ironed and folded hankies in the front, right hand side of my undie and sock draw. This, my friends, is the pure essence of security.
Did anybody watch the first part of Tess of The D'urbervilles the other night? I liked it.
As much as I like to mock period dramas, I'm always very happy when there's one on the ABC on a Sunday night. There's something strangely relaxing and enjoyable about their slow, drawn out, predictable, frustrating, swoony, polite, annoyingness.
I have a soft spot for this story too. A year before he died, my grandad gave me a Thomas Hardy collection, with Tess of The D'urbervilles in it. The book is precious to me, but I've actually not read anything from it yet, even though I've had it for 15 years. Maybe I will soon.
1. Happy or sad that daylight savings is finished? 2. How many months until your birthday? 3. I like people calling me.. 4. A smell that makes you nostalgic 5. Describe the picture that the smell brings to mind
A man on the bus yesterday spent the entire journey hocking up nasty things from his throat (hhhhaaaaooooooggghhk!!), and then spitting into a hanky that he kept in his coat pocket. He'd carefully fold up another specimen, return the hanky to his pocket, only to repeat this ritual twenty seconds later.
The man was old, and I tried not to let it get to me. I tried to cut him some slack. I closed my eyes. I took some deep breaths. I tried to hum a cheerful ditty. I went to my own little special place. None of this worked.
It was the end of the day, and I wasn't in the mood for these shenanigans. I started giving some death stares, after each hhhaaaaaaoooogggghhhkk. Even this had no encouraging effect. He'd just stare back, keeping his beady little eyes on me while he put the hanky to his mouth yet again. He was pretty belligerent for an old man, it must be said.
As I sat there, I wondered what would happen if he started a fight with me. He was probably in his late 80's, and was kinda hunched over, sure, but he had a gleam in his eye that said "bring it". I imagined him taking a feeble swing as he slowly alighted at his stop.
I grew thoughtful and pensive. Could I really fight an old man? After much meditation and consideration, I decided this could only be judged on a case-by-case basis.
So, as the old fella's phlegmy hand touched the button for the bus to stop, I quietly rolled up my sleeves, and patiently waited, come what may..
'..who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.'
Stephen Um, one of the speakers at kcc said this on the weekend. At first I felt uneasy about it, but after his explanation, I felt very grateful of the fact.
God's love is not unconditional. Our sin and broken relationship with God cannot be simply waved away. Sin matters and needs to be dealt with, otherwise God would not be perfectly just, and therefor not perfectly loving either.
God's love is conditional, or as Stephen Um put it, counter-conditional. It does not rely on my performance (thank God), but it does rely on the performance of another.
His performance stands in place of mine, making me no longer an enemy of God, but a cherished son.
Yes, this, seemingly small statement is actually big enough to warrant it's own paragraph break. Even another one.
For this occurrence has only taken place two or three times since, um, the end of puberty. Barely more frequently than Haley's Comet appears.
Why the sideburns? The answer is complex, but may be explained in this two-fold way:
1) I've always wanted to look like Morrissey 2) I look about 12 without them
So why this sudden sideburn removal? Last week I did something crazy and actually paid for a haircut, and the barber guy cut the sides a bit short, resulting in this:
See that silly little gap where the beard hair doesn't grow very well? That is the problem. As my wife (unkindly) pointed out, nobody would ever notice that except for me, but I don't think women understand the complexities of beard hair, or about how men are prone to scrutinize each others', or lack there of.
So I had to do away with them for the time being, for prides' sake. You can't ridicule what is not there.
But, you know, this traumatic episode brought a disturbing realisation to my mind. I tend to grow this small portion of hair a little longer to disguise the gap. And, as we all know, there is a name for this.
Well, Happy Easter. I hope you had a good few days.
We had a really nice time up the Mountains, and really enjoyed Katoomba Easter Convention.
The two main speakers were fantastic- John Lennox (UK) spoke on the life of Joseph, and Stephen Um (USA) spoke on 1 Peter. I look forward to downloading the talks so I can listen to them again. Also, Ray Galea's evening talks were good too, though I only got to hear one of them.
It was our first Easter convention, and we really loved it and will go back next year, God willing. There's something pretty special about sitting in a massive venue like that, amongst all those other Christians.
We are going up to Katoomba Easter Convention, and staying in a house with some friends in Blackheath. I'm really looking forward to it, it should be really nice. We've never been to the convention before, so it should be good. Apparently they have a pretty good creche thing going on, so hopefully me and E will be able to relax and listen to some talks together.
It's also Little i's Ist birthday tomorrow. Wow, it's hard for me to believe she's 1 already. It's pretty awesome to see her growing up- starting to dance, stand up, grow a mop of curly hair, nearly talk, sing (which kinda sounds like moaning) "Once Upon A Dream" from Sleeping Beauty. She's a funny little kid.
To mark my 100th ThursdayPeanuts post, I thought I'd take a minute to talk about why I love the strip, and why Charles Schulz is such an inspirational figure to me.
Charles Schulz (1922-2000) epitomises to me, dogged determination and self-belief. From childhood he new what he wanted to do, and worked very hard to achieve that. And then once he achieved it, he carried it through for the rest of his life, through peaks and troughs. All of the joys and pains of life, he gently filtered into this platform of self-expression that he'd set up for himself.
He drew a comic strip every day, for nearly 50 years. 17,897 strips in all.
His strips were not just gags, and his characters just the voice of those gags. They were multi-faceted characters, each with individual character strengths and flaws. The more you read Peanuts, the more they become like old friends.
"The wonder of "Peanuts" is that it worked on so many levels simultaneously. Children could enjoy the silly drawings and the delightful fantasy of Snoopy, while adults could see the bleak undercurrent of cruelty, loneliness and failure, or the perpetual theme of unrequited love, or the strip's stark visual beauty."