Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The last mummies of Papua
"After my death, I want to be mummified," Gematsu told his children. "I have to protect you."

Gematsu is the chief of Koke, a village at 1,500 meters in the mountains of the Morobe region in Papua New Guinea. It is inhabited by members of the Angas, one of the country's 800 tribes. Mummification of the dead was a traditional custom of the Angas and was abandoned about 50 years ago upon the arrival of the first missionaries. The Angas believed that the mummies watched over them, especially those of the tribe's great warriors, which were placed on an outcrop above the village. Photographer Ulla Lohmann has visited Koke regularly since 2002, and she was with chief Gematsu for the moment which may revive the old custom. In 2005, one of the chief's granddaughters died suddenly. To Gematsu, the death of this child was a message from the ancestors. He must convince his people to resume the ritual and to restore the old mummies that were abandoned to decay. He has begun to teach his children how to go about mummification using a pig. The pig is placed on a kind of wooden scaffold, with a fire underneath constantly fed for two or three months to draw out the water and fats. Ms. Lohmann convinced Ronald G. Beckett, a professor of biomedical science from Quinnipiac University in Hamden Connecticut, to come assist the Angas in restoring dignity to their ancestors.

....The chief has resumed a conversation with [the mummy of] his father, too long interrupted. He hopes that his children will care for him with the same devotion.

Translation mine. Follow the link: the photo essay here is amazing! I've always rather fancied the idea of being mummified and put in a cliff. The western Grand Canyon would be nice, and would spare my descendants the troubles of a humid climate.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Have you been just dying to hear more of that Jew's Harp concerto I blogged a few weeks back? Well, you're in luck: a finale movement is here. Remember, Albrechstberger wrote seven of these!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

For those who missed it, smartdogs' answer to my earlier query about splinting a dog's leg is well worth reading:
...dogs' legs are articulated differently than ours are; and because we can't rationalize with a dog about why we need to have him stay still and calm while we splint his leg - all pet first aid programs now recommend against splinting.

For an injury of this type [compound tibia fracture on rear leg] a sling is your best bet. You can make a very nice impromptu sling for a large dog out of a tote bag or "green" shopping bag. Just cut vertically along the two narrow (non-handle) sides of the bag to create a long, wide band of fabric with handles on both sides.

Slip the sling under the dog's chest or belly (depending on the leg affected) and one or two people can use the handles to support the dog's weight on the affected end.

Allowing the dog to use his other two legs to move helps alleviate his stress.

I'm not a large or strong person and I've successfully moved an injured 130 pound dog with a sling like this.
Take note as well of the posts on assembling a dog first aid kit (also here).

Friday, January 08, 2010

Verily did his consort give her toe
In hopes of seeking gold a thousandfold.

It is not fair; ‘tis foul but never fair!

And wherefore ‘fair’, when ye be nihilists?
Wherefore the nihilist weeps and cries for ‘fair’?
Thy dispute is of infants...

-Two Gentlemen of Lebowski, Act v, Sc. 2

A very curious excercise in translation. Made me laugh to beat the band. (Parts, anyway.) And yes, it's the entire thing.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

If we'd known then what we know now.... Slinging.org. Odious and I made several of these, and we achieved respectable distance and power, though never anything approaching accuracy.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Every thing that is the work of man impairs itself, and passes away like him.

--Francis Le Couteur, A Treatise on the Cultivation of Apple Trees, and the Preparation of Cider, Being a Theoretical and Practical Work for the Use of the Inhabitants of the Isle of Jersey, 1806