Category ►►► Amusing Antidotes
July 9, 2009
Easy (?) Eradication of Starvation in Africa - the Pournelle Program
John Hinderaker -- my favorite blogger on my favorite blog -- has a nice post up noting a rare occasion where Barack H. Obama actually says something coherent, rational, and that I (and likely most of youse) can really get behind.
In Credit Where It's Due, John highlights a talk and Q&A in (or perhaps just about) Africa, where Obama comes down squarely on the side of "democracy and transparency and rule of law, in the protection of property rights, in anti-corruption efforts.... And... a direct correlation between governance and prosperity."
It got me thinking about Africa and starvation, and a conversation I had when I was a teenager, mumblety-mumble years ago.
Back then, I used to hang around at the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS), a major science-fiction club in North Hollywood, a "city" within the city limits of Los Angeles. Probably the oldest continuously meeting SF club in the United States, having been founded as a chapter of Hugo Gernsback's Science Fiction League in 1934 -- the year before my father was born.
Among others who regularly attended was SF writer Jerry Pournelle. He was propounding on starvation in Africa; it hasn't gotten much better... and in places like Zimbabwe and South Africa, erstwhile breadbaskets of the dark continent, decidedly worse.
"All you really need," boomed Jerry, beer in hand (he has since quit drinking), "is food irradiation -- and a crapload of Seal-a-Meals." (Having lost much of his hearing as an artillery captain in the Korean War, fighting a rear-guard action during the retreat down the Frozen Choson, Jerry tends to yell everything at a volume that would bring a jackhammer operator to tears.)
His point was that the problem was not production so much as distribution and storage. But I had my own suggestion of one more plank in the platform -- a policy that would vastly improve both elements of feeding the multitudes. I waved my hand and got his attention:
"And kill all the Communists, too," I added; Jerry paused, then smiled and raised his beer bottle in silent salute.
Alas, today the Commies aren't the only group of people in Africa begging to be exterminated.
August 23, 2008
The Fortitude of a Lizardette
My little sister Julie is just about due to give birth to her first child (she and her husband have already picked out the name Madison, which I like a lot -- especially as the obvious nickname is Maddy). I just called to see how Julie is doing, and the following high jinks ensued:
Dafydd: Are you planning to use anaesthetic?
Julie: Oh yeah; I'm not a big fan of pain. I'm definitely getting an epidural. I'm a little nervous about a spinal injection, but I'm going for it anyway.
Dafydd: A lot of women like to experience every sensation of giving birth; you're not one of those?
Julie: Dafydd, if I could be in the other room when Maddy was born, I'd go for it!
I'll announce here when the Madster enters the world. Sachi and I are too old to have kids now (theoretically we could adopt, but they don't like adopting kids out to older parents), and my brother Boffo and his better half have no interest in kids so far; so this is as close as it will get. (Of course, determinations can change, and the latter pair are younger than Julie.)
Maddy can be our rent-a-kid, returnable the moment novelty wanes...
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