Exodus II?

The Kiribati islands
While they never have been dry lands
Have been sinking, as the ocean levels rise;
As each island’s head goes under
People leave, and it’s no wonder—
Now they’re planning for their future, which is wise

With the ocean levels rising
It is not at all surprising
That they’re looking to protect their sons and daughters
Onto Fiji they could squeeze
As a band of refugees
As the world denies the rising of the waters.

Continues… [Read more…]

Everything Is Upside Down, Down Under

When life gives you lemons, the old-timers warn,
And everything starts to look sour,
Just make lemonade! This is no time to mourn,
But a time to start “Church Happy Hour”!
From ten to eleven, on Saturday night,
Half off blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
Come knock off a chalice of red or of white,
While the sacrament’s reasonably priced!
There are pretzels and chips at the pew, in a dish,
For the church-going Happy Hour snacker,
Or the Flesh Of Our Savior, if that is your wish,
For the folks who want more than a cracker
It’s the hippest of hippest, the best place I know
Where believers can mingle or meet–
But this weekend, I’m thinking It’s safer to go
To the topless church, just down the street!

The news from Australia: More crimes committed in churches than in strip clubs.

A breakdown of the figures showed that 85 people were assaulted in places of worship, compared to 66 at an adult entertainment premises.

According to the report, places of worship include churches, synagogues, monasteries, mosques, convents, cathedrals and chapels.

Premises listed under adult entertainment included strip clubs, sex shops, brothels, massage parlours, homosexual clubs, gaming houses as well as gambling clubs.

Places of worship were also ahead on sexual offences (16), theft from motor vehicles (33), resisting arrest (seven) and liquor offences (10).

Harassment and threatening behaviour at places of worship (30) was more than double that of adult entertainment (13).

Cuttlecap tip to PZ

The Digital Pack-Rat, Vol. 11

I really don’t think my readership contains a whole lot of people who are offended by strong language, or who cannot recognize satire, but if either or both of those describe you, I am warning you that the last verse this time might be one you want to miss.

So, as it turns out, what PZ Myers did to a communion wafer is not something that can be taken care of by his local priest. No, this was so egregious that it must be handled by the Pope himself.

Oh, the Pope’ll make you pay fer
What you did to that poor wafer
And you oughta be just mortified for doing what you did!
It’s a sin to take a nail an’
Poke a cracker, cos impalin’
Is a Godly thing, that only He can do unto His Kid.
If you’d only done, say, homicide,
Or broke some sacred promise, I’d
Expect some lower lackey is authority enough
But to drive a nail through Jesus
On your blog, no less, to please us,
Why the Pope himself’s required, when it comes to cracker snuff.

How is it that one could be blessed with a lovesick squid?

I looked up to the heavens and I wished upon a star
Though I knew it couldn’t hear, from unimaginably far,
I wished two arms to hold me, two arms to keep me tight,
Two arms that I could cling to every second of the night,
Two arms to keep me safe and warm, two arms to share my fun—
I meant “two arms in total”, but that star’s a silly one.

Musing on the merits of politeness…

Would you think me less than civil
If I gussied up my drivel?
Would your disappointment shrivel up and vanish in the mist?
Would you give me greater latitude
If I cleaned up my attitude?
I do not need your gratitude, goddammit, I am pissed!
Comments here may seem…well, rude,
But they’re rarely misconstrued
If you’d rather be a prude and miss the point, then go to hell.
Want polite? You’re out of luck, you
Smarmy bastard, cos you suck. You
Don’t deserve less than a “fuck you, and the horse you rode as well”

This one came before my “cuttlefish genome”, but was a quick response to the same story—Steve Pinker’s genome being made public.

The volumes that are written in a strand of DNA
Are a poetry we thought beyond our reach
But thanks to all the thinkers reading genomes such as Pinker’s
We will see how much a molecule can teach.

More arguing over trying to force creationism into schools…

If ignorance was good for me, It’s good for children, too;
If I get by not knowing bupkus, so by god can you.
Them science types, they use big words–don’t understand a bit.
I’m happy with Creation, cos it keeps me dumb as shit.
If Darwin’s evolution says we’re all just beasts and brutes
There’s no room for religion, or for spiritual pursuits.
Creation puts us humans at the top where we belong
Besides, don’t want my kids to learn the fact that… I am wrong.

First, go read scicurious’s ode to the prairie voles in love. Otherwise, you won’t get the context for this next one. Besides, it’s wonderful. So… go. read. I’ll wait.

My worry is
Scicurious,
With verses such as this,
With rhyme that flows in
Oxytocin,
May have found her bliss!
The premise, see,
Is: chemistry,
And not the moon above,
Will vary roles
Of prairie voles–
And people, too–in love!
Will some vole croon
Beneath full moon,
And woo the lass he’s chosen?
As Cuttlefish,
My subtle wish
Is–pass the oxytocin!

Yeah, this next one is offensive. It’s satire. I think my credentials on this issue have been established on this blog. The targets of my ire here are the commenters to an editorial in the Concord (NH) Monitor (as reported at Dr. Joan Bushwell’s Chimpanzee Refuge) about Bishop Gene Robinson having been asked to speak at Obama’s inauguration. Don’t bother reading them—I have summed them up here.

Sing praises! Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus! Happy Day!
Unless, of course, you pervert, you’re a godless bastard Gay–
All you faggots, dykes, and homos, all you lesbos, all you queers,
You’ve been persecuting Christian folks for too, too many years!
With your godless Gay Agenda, and your Liberal Elite,
You expect us decent people, now, to bow and kiss your feet?
Now this Robinson, this homo, who pretends that he’s a priest,
Real Americans will tell you he’s not Christian in the least–
He’s unchristian, unamerican, inhuman, and insane
He’s pretending he’s religious just for monetary gain;
He’s a hypocrite, a liar, he’s a Communist inside
Cos America was founded with the Bible as its guide!
When he dies (and he’ll die early–he’s unhealthy, you can tell)
I can only hope he’s happy sucking Satan’s cock in Hell
While good Christians spend eternity just spitting from above,
Where we’re gathered up in Heaven… because God, you know, is Love.

There Is No “Away”

Ever wonder what happens when you throw a piece of plastic “away”?

The CNET Green Tech Blog reports on a recent oceanographic expedition that took a long hard look at a shameful situation; the floating islands of our garbage in our oceans.

Plastic contamination in the world’s oceans is worse than previously imagined and no amount of technology can clean it up, according to Charles Moore. The oceanographer returned February 23 from a five-week odyssey in the Pacific Ocean with samples showing 48 parts plastic for every part of plankton.

“We are damned to a future of pollution by plastic,” said Moore, who has spent more than a decade investigating Pacific plastic pollution. “There’s no evidence it will end in a millennium.”

A plastic “graveyard” double the size of Texas swirls in the Pacific Ocean between San Francisco and Hawaii. There, his crew had found in the water six parts of plastic for every part plankton, with a fivefold increase in the amount of plastic between 1997 and 2007.

But their latest voyage found the pollution even thicker in the “highway” of ocean leading to the great Garbage Patch, according to Moore, who founded the Algalita Marine Research Foundation in Long Beach, Calif. Moore said that area comprises 2.5 million square miles.

In the Pacific alone, heavily polluted plastic zones amount to the size of the continent of Africa, Moore estimated.

More at link above.

I want to get mad; I just want to cry;
I want to do something, not sit idly by;
The problem is huge; the problem is drastic;
The oceans are choking with thrown-away plastic:

Plastic bags and sandwich wraps,
Toys and lighters, bottle caps;
One-use razors, plastic combs,
All the junk that fills our homes;
One part plankton, six parts trash—
The ecosystem’s bound to crash.

The plastics are forming new habitats too,
With small crabs and barnacles eating this goo,
And seagulls fly over to feed on crustaceans,
Though toxins are higher in these new locations.

A plastic graveyard, twice the size
Of Texas has been formed, and lies
Off Southern California’s coast.
This, only one among a host
Of garbage masses, giant isles,
Some 2.5 million square miles.

These plastics are coming from us—me and you—
We can’t simply wait; there are things we must do.
As much as we can—though we’re set in our ways—
We must change, and change quickly; no time for delays!
Demand greener packaging; vote with your dollars—
They say money talks; we can make sure ours hollers.
This cuttlefish fears for his relatives’ fate;
We have to get moving… or soon, it’s too late.

Image from Green Tech Blog–Credit: Algalita Marine Research Foundation

My New Favorite Beauty Pageant

In the news today… Last weekend saw the 63rd Annual National Outdoor Show, complete with beauty pageant and muskrat-skinning competitions. This year, both competitions were won by the same girl, 16 year old Dakota Abbot, a lovely brunette who skinned two muskrats in one minute, forty-two seconds. The runner-up in the pageant, Samantha Phillips, did win the talent competition with her muskrat-skinning exhibition (the talent portion of the pageant is separate from the muskrat-skinning competition; Miss Abbott sang for her talent portion).

I’d quote from the Washington Post article, but every word is worth reading, so go read! In addition, there is an audiovisual montage that is wonderfully put together. The last picture features the winner, resplendent in her white evening gown, posing happily with a dead muskrat slung over her shoulder.

Beautiful.

She’s not the average beauty queen
She’s so much more than that
She’s beautiful, she’s talented,
And she can skin a ‘rat.

The beauty crowned as “Miss Outdoors”
Has got a winning smile
But more than this, this pretty Miss
Has got a skinning style.

She’s gorgeous in an evening gown
Or waders, caked with mud;
Red polish on her fingernails
(It helps to hide the blood)

Dakota Abbott won, this year,
Both Pageant Queen and skinner;
Miss Universe, I’ll bet, will never
See that in a winner.

It’s easily the coolest pageant
I have ever seen–
Congratulations to Miss Abbot,
Lovely Muskrat Queen!

The Doomsday Vault

In the news this week, the “Doomsday Seed Vault” opened in a Norwegian island north of the Arctic Circle. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, deep within the permafrost inside a frozen mountain. It is far from any substantial human activity, cold enough to keep seeds frozen even if the power goes out, high enough to survive the melting of the polar ice caps, and secured by armored airlock doors with electronic keys. It was financed by Norway, but the seeds will remain the property of whichever nations send them for storage. Other seed banks have been attempted in the past, but none so large, so well protected, so well thought out.

The seeds are, among other things, a bank of genetic diversity. Our cultivation of crops means we depend on fewer and fewer varieties; with less genetic variability, a drastic change in climate conditions (or pests, disease, etc.) could have disastrous consequences. These seeds represent the opportunity for new (old) strains, hybrids, or models for genetic engineering.

And it is a wonderful idea. Especially if the drastic change is not too quick. My first thought after hearing about the vault was “ok, so I am the Omega man, one of very few survivors of [insert catastrophe, war, or plague here]; how the hell do I get to Svalbard? Just where the hell is Svalbard, anyway? And how do I get through the locked, armored doors to get to the seeds?”

The doomsday seed vault, way up North
And deeply set in permafrost
Could be the savior of mankind
A second birth when all is lost.
(No, not the fake religious sort,
But hope in case of global crisis,
In case our species sees collapse
From space, or war, or plague, or vices)
The seeds are kept in frozen store,
Preserving the diversity
Of plant genetics, just in case
Of unforeseen adversity.

The site could hold two billion seeds
With airlocked doors, securely locked;
They’ll run it by remote control,
For safety, once it’s fully stocked.
Varieties now in decline
Can be preserved, so we don’t lose
Genetic lines which hold some trait
That later decades need to use.
A safety net, a Noah’s ark,
Insurance for the worst disaster:
If catastrophic change occurs
These help us to recover faster.

But… safely stored in armored vaults,
Surveillance cameras standing guard,
I think, although the seeds are safe,
Retrieving them might well be hard.
Suppose that, say, a comet hits,
Or World War III , or global plague,
And farms all fail—ok, now what?
Instructions are a little vague.
Suppose survivors even know
This treasure trove exists at all—
It’s deep within the permafrost
Behind a locked and armored wall!

A couple million years from now
When aliens arrive on Earth
The doomsday vault, if ever found,
Incalculable will be its worth.
They’ll see our species looked ahead,
Cooperation in our plan,
Intelligence, technology,
But will they find a living man?
Or will our epitaph be writ,
A lesson that our deaths will teach:
“They saved the seeds to save themselves,
But kept them safely out of reach.”

A Global Monopoly!

I can’t believe it has been most of a month, and I only just found out about this! Monopoly–the board game–is going global, and is looking for your help to choose properties! Not streets this time, but cities. Just go here, and choose from 68 cities around the world, or nominate your own city if it is not already on the list. Actually, you get as many as 10 votes (and you can go back each day to vote again), so let me put my bid in, and insist that (ok, plead that) if you found out about it here, you include Athens on your list. Just because.

A splendid, magnificent, striking array—
In other words, a panoply—
Of cities you could vote to win
A place in global Monoply

(hmm… not quite right.)

Athens, Greece will get my vote,
With Plaka and Acropolis;
I want to see them in real life,
So why not in Monopolis?

(rats. still not right.)

I’d make a movie of the trip,
Directed by, say, Coppola;
The final scene, we’d sit and play
A nice game of Monoppola.

(dang. wrong.)

I’d play the game, the way we did
When we were kids, so happily;
I still recall long evenings spent
In marathon Manappily

(well…)

There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme
That ends up less than sloppily;
I guess I’ll never find a word
That really rhymes Monopoly.

(oh. yeah. that.)