Friday, December 26, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My awesome, awesome kids

Dylan




Rachel





Kirsten










I couldn't be luckier.

They are 13 years old, and the joy of my life.

I miss Dylan every single day of my life, and my biggest regret is that I don't have 2 clones who could have helped to make him and his sisters safe at home.


Rachel is most likely the most intelligent person I will ever meet in my life- all of her test scores, workers and teachers and friends agree on that. Life with her is never, ever boring.

Kirsten is now 3 year post-cancer, and doing awesomely. 4 years ago on Boxing Day we had to shave her head because her hair was starting to fall out...damn, she's come a long way since then. Her automatic openness and empathy to people who are "different" from her always put me to shame. I do it from conviction and theory desire, she does it without even thinking of it.

Yes, they're all autistic, and yes, it's difficult for all of us a lot of the time. But we manage to muddle through, and still love each other, and contribute to the world around us, and bring joy to some of the people that we meet (I think that the joy part is inspired by them, not me!) With the help of an absolutely amazing husband, my kids make my life blessed.









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Monday, December 22, 2008

This American Life

This American Life

This week's episode:

370: Ruining It for the Rest of Us


"When they decided not to vaccinate their son against measles, two San Diego parents thought they were making the best decision for their child. But when the 7-year-old came home from an overseas trip suffering from the disease (pictured at left: measles virus), his family’s personal decision became a whole community’s problem. The resulting outbreak infected 11 children and endangered many others. This and other stories about what happens when people's actions and choices infringe on those around them. Including the disquieting truth about Amtrak’s Quiet Car.
"


If you listen to podcasts at all, you probably already know that This American Life is one of the best around. I'm looking forward to listening to this one.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

What Child is This and Hava Nagila

YouTube - Jingle Cats What Child is This




I'll never cease to be amazed at what you can find online.

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The year 2008 in photographs (part 1 of 3) - The Big Picture - Boston.com


The year 2008 in photographs (part 1 of 3) - The Big Picture - Boston.com:

"Swiss pilot Yves Rossy, the world's first man to fly with a jet-powered fixed-wing apparatus strapped to his back, flies during his first official demonstration, on May 14, 2008 above Bex, Switzerland. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images) #"

I'm terrified of heights and flying, but I still think that he must be feeling pretty amazing.



Awesome pictures- well worth looking through.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

pics


At our favourite restaurant


The night I met my husband (at a Fark party, actually)



My mother in law (left) and me

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

We have the most awesome special ed bus driver ever

We'd moved shortly before school started last year, and because my daughter R. always buses to school, we're always a bit on the edge waiting to see what her transportation is going to be like. She's taken everything from regular school buses, to "short buses", to cabs and vans, and it's always a bit nerve-wracking.

A couple of days before school started we had a knock on our door, and I opened it to find a gentleman in his 60s standing on our front porch. He introduced himself and said that he was R's new bus driver- that he'd been driving buses for years, but had never driven special ed kids before. He'd heard that children in special education were often more comfortable when they could anticipate a routine, so he was driving his route (that Saturday), not only to find out exactly how long it would take him, but to introduce himself to any of "his" kids that might be home that day. While I'm sure that the school board might have freaked out if they knew that he was driving around introducing himself to people, it was hugely helpful to us- he and R chatted for a few minutes, and it cut her anxiety down for the first day of school by a huge order or magnitude.

We ended up having transportation problems for the first few weeks- unknown to pretty much all of us, the school board had given him an extra route, so he was generally picking R up about 3/4 of an hour late. Needless to say that meant that she was pretty much in full melt-down by the time he got here- we all know that there's nothing more that a lot of autistic kids like than to have their routine thrown into that kind of disarray. We eventually got communication worked out between the four agencies that his routes involved, and he's been prompt, as well as incredibly patient and good with all of the kids.

This morning R went running out to her bus (she got a new sweater last night, so she was itching to get to school), and a few minutes later there was a knock on the door. He and his wife had put together a little Christmas package for each of "his" kids, but he thought that he should give it to me so that she wouldn't be gobbling down chocolate on the way to school.

We see so MANY stories about horrendous transportation experiences, and people who apparently have no ability or desire to get to know our kids. This man told me the first time I met him that he'd never been in a room with an autistic person before and was obviously nervous about it, and yet he has done a wonderful job because he treats "his" kids like people. We're lucky to run across people like him.

For the first time this year, I'm in a Christmas mood.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

update for Autism Twitter Day

Things are flying fast and furiously (figure of speech) on Autism Twitter Day.

For those people asking for more information- I have triplets, born in 1995- two girls, one boy. They are AWESOME kids. They were all diagnosed at 20 months of age after I noticed speech delays, and we were lucky enough to start with integrated daycare, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and integrated day care right away.

My son moved into a group home almost 5 years ago due to extreme self-injury and aggression. I was a single mom, and I couldn't keep him safe, or his sisters safe from him. He is in a fantastic home, we see him regularly, and he is still very much a part of our lives. Right now I have one child (D) in a group home who goes to a self-contained K-8 school, one child (R) who is in a self-contained classroom, and one child (K), who is in a "normal" classroom with no assistance.

The latest article on the kids talks about an awesome sensory playground that we go to every week.

I'm so glad that so many people are interested in us, as I have wonderful kids. They are a constant inspiration to me (and yes, we are going through puberty, so let's just say that every minute of every day is NOT inspirational).

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Board games for family fun

Board games for family fun

Some good reviews if you're looking for Christmas presents!

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Gingerbread Fantastic





YesButNoButYes: Gingerbread Fantastic

If there's a cooler gingerbread house than CBGB I'm not sure what it is :-) There are some awesome creations here.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

YouTube - The Pug Head Tilt

YouTube - The Pug Head Tilt




I'm not really a small dog fan, but that's pretty funny.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Alex Trebek Interview - Jeopardy Host - Quotes on Jeopardy and Life - Esquire

Alex Trebek Interview - Jeopardy Host - Quotes on Jeopardy and Life - Esquire:

"A good education and a kind heart will get you through life in pretty good shape."

"Don't tell me what you believe in. I'll observe how you behave and I will make my own determination."

"If you can't be in awe of Mother Nature, there's something wrong with you."

Alex is still one of my heroes.

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Yarn Harlot: What is happening in Canada

Yarn Harlot: What is happening in Canada

A great explanation of what's going on right now with Canadian politics. It's a fun time to be Canadian :-)

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American Airlines Now Charging Fees To Non-Passengers

American Airlines Now Charging Fees To Non-Passengers | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

It's always good to see the Onion getting back to its old form :-)

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Majority of local authorities failing adults with autism

eGov monitor - A Policy Dialogue Platform | Promoting Better Governance

From a UK study:

1. 148 out of 149 local authorities do not know how many adults with autism are in their area. However, 27% are planning to address this issue.

2. 64% do not have a named team or individual with responsibility for autism in line with Department of Health recommendations. Just over a third of local authorities are following Government guidance in this area, although a further 11% have acknowledged the need for further action.


That's appalling, and I would love to know if Canada is any better.

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Brain waves are window into autism language woes

The Associated Press: Brain waves are window into autism language woes

This study makes some sense to me- it will be interesting to see where they go with this.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Dutch man 'Europe's most committed sperm donor' - Telegraph

Dutch man 'Europe's most committed sperm donor' - Telegraph

Interesting article. Obviously, having triplets myself, I know a lot of people who have had to use fertility treatments to become pregnant (most triplets are conceived with fertility assistance of some type). I have a lot of respect for people who are sperm or egg donors, or surrogates, as I've seen the end results and know how happy a lot of families are because of the assistance of strangers (or people who they eventually get to know well).

I didn't realize until I read this article that sperm donor anonymity is almost a thing of the past in Europe- that strikes me as being bad news for infertile couples, although possibly good news for the children born of donors. I haven't had any contact with my biological father since I was about 10 (with the exception of one odd phone call in the middle of the night when I was 18), but in the last few years a member of his extended family found me and was able to give me a lot of health information about the paternal side of my family which is appreciated. To me my stepfather is my real dad, but I can't deny that it is nice to know what medical issues I have a higher possibility of facing in my 50s and later life.

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Little Shrimp Kicks Ass on Treadmill

Little Shrimp Kicks Ass on Treadmill�|�Environmental Graffiti

This is likely the coolest experiment that I've ever seen.



My guess is that they came up with the idea in a bar.

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Is Stephen Harper Prime Minister of Canada?

Is Stephen Harper Prime Minister of Canada?


:-)

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Animal Communicator Georgina Cyr: Animal Communication Consultations and Courses

Animal Communicator Georgina Cyr: Animal Communication Consultations and Courses: "CANADIAN RESIDENTS: Add 7% GST S&H."


I am very definitely in the wrong business. I would absolutely only charge $175 a session to tell people that dogs need to be walked.

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Eagles Fly on IYI, or what to do when your local news station has technical difficulties

YouTube - Eagles Fly on IYI





Awesome! From the information section: "The IYI crew visited Alton Illinois to interview Brett Stawar, executive director of the Alton Regional Convention and Tourism Bureau. Alejandro Cruz, the videographer, had technical difficulties with his wireless mic set, and couldn't capture any of Aileesha Breedlove's interview questions. This is what we did to salvage the segment. Ryan Wiggins wrote approximately 90% of the lyrics based on rough edits, and performed the resulting vocal arrangement. The vocals were captured with an Electro-Voice RE20 microphone, and recorded to DVCpro tape. The audio and video were edited and mixed entirely with Vegas 6.0. All of the 3D titles were produced and rendered with Blender 3D, an open source 3D graphics package.
The entire project took about 4 hours from conception to completion. "

The best lyrics (in my opinion)"

Eagle moustache, eagle snow

Eagles know when it's cold

They're so smart

Birds know a lot

Birds are like people living in trees

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

More Than Just Cookies: Rethinking the Girl Scouts - TIME

More Than Just Cookies: Rethinking the Girl Scouts - TIME

Interesting article. While Brownies and Guides (the Canadian version of the Scout movement) were a huge part of my childhood, I only know one child out of all of my friends' children who is involved in it in any way. Most kids I know are so overwhelmed with activities already (usually at least 3-4 times a week), that I'd be surprised if Scouting ends up making it. It's too bad, as I certainly got a lot of valuable things from it, and learned a lot as well. One of the things that I very much enjoyed about Brownies/Guides was that you were always learning something new- it wasn't like dance lessons where you did the same thing over and over again- you were exposed to so many different activities and then could concentrate on the ones that interested you.

It seems that a lot of the old organizations are having difficulties- my girls were involved in Big Sisters for a long time, and while it was hugely successful for us I know that the Big Brother/Big Sister organizations themselves are usually having a lot of difficulty staying viable. I think that in the long run it's going to mean that our children miss out on a lot of things.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

YouTube - Harry Chapin sings TANGLED UP PUPPET Live

YouTube - Harry Chapin sings TANGLED UP PUPPET Live

I can't embed it, but it's worth watching, especially if you have kids going through puberty :-)

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As a Canadian, I'm horrendously embarassed by this-Carleton University drops Shinerama, the big Cystic Fibrosis Fundraiser, because it's "too white"

Disease dropped

I'm just appalled. (cue get off my lawn speech) When I was in University we protested Reagan and the arms build up, the horrors that were going on in El Salvador and Chile, and demonstrated for Amnesty International whenever we got the chance.

Carleton University is theoretically one of Canada's premier journalism schools, which makes this story even more frightening. Political correctness goes so far and then it only reinforces the supposed evil that it's fighting against. A "white man's disease"? I spent some very frightening hours in a hospital room waiting to see if my then 3 year old daughter had cystic fibrosis.

I am so sick and tired of people thinking that a diagnosis or condition or illness is restricted to race, or age, or "level of functioning". As far as I can tell, the only thing that affects every single one of us is that (if we're lucky), we get old, and then we die. I'm tired of being told that it's so weird that I have 2 autistic girls because autism's a guy thing. I'm tired of being told that my son has "skinny white boy" prematurity issues still hanging on, tired of trying to support people whose kids have different conditions where it seems to turn into a "whose kid is worse" contest.

Canadians aren't all assholes, and this one student council's action is certainly not representative.

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The ghost of the ‘refrigerator mother’

The ghost of the ‘refrigerator mother’ | spiked

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Kyle Dutter



Kyle was a 12 year old autistic boy who loved Halloween.

About Us:



"House is decorated, and I am choosing between a Ghost (of course) a
skeleton, or a pirate captain this year...



I got a new bike (see pics) THANKS DARSEY!

I go to the Halloween store every other evening."



Kyle was murdered by his father this week.

My heart goes out to his surviving family.

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My kids at Playsense


Facebook | Your Photos - Playsense


My son comes home from his group home for dinner every week, and we always go to play at this awesome play centre for kids with special needs. The pictures really don't do it justice, but the entire place is designed to serve sensory as well as gross motor needs. I really can't say enough good things about it- they run amazing programs as well as class tours, and we're lucky to be able to go there. Hopefully you can get some idea of it from the pictures :-)

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Malcolm Gladwell on spaghetti sauce -worth watching

Malcolm Gladwell on spaghetti sauce | Video on TED.com

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A photo of 2 little girls and a reunion in Congo


IndyStar.com | AP National | The Indianapolis Star


Damn. I am hugging my children extra hard tonight.

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Random Recipe Generator

jamesoff.net � Random Recipe Generator:


"Cod Liver Oil Stew
Serves 3
You will need:

* 140g chicken
* 70ml cod liver oil
* 40g sugar
* 90g cheese
* 80ml soy sauce

Instructions:

1. pre-heat the oven to 190 C
2. grill the cheese
3. grill the soy sauce
4. sift the chicken
5. blend with the chicken
6. spoon the soy sauce onto a warmed plate
7. heat the chicken in the saucepan
8. heat the cheese in the saucepan
9. heat the cheese in the saucepan
10. fry the sugar
11. flambe the soy sauce
12. fry the cod liver oil until browned
13. bake for 70 minutes and serve hot

Yum."



Fun stuff :-)

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Necessary Angels

Necessary Angels — National Geographic Magazine

"Rural problems are simple," Arole says. "Safe drinking water, education, and poverty alleviation do more to promote health than diagnostic tests and drugs."

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The Monty Python Channel on YouTube

YouTube - The Monty Python Channel on YouTube



That's smart as well as awesome. Monty Python is putting ALL of their archives on YouTube.

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Wired- Top 10 Amazing Animal Videos

Top 10 Amazing Animal Videos | Wired Science from Wired.com

I actually hadn't seen a few of these yet- the polar bears playing with dogs, and the sharks repelled by magnets are pretty neat.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Crazy Cat Attacking Spuds Dog

YouTube - Crazy Cat Attacking Spuds Dog



Bull Terriers are the best dogs ever- they're either frighteningly intelligent, or not intelligent at ALL. But they've all got personality to burn- this isn't a bad
example :-)

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Play brings autism into focus

MiltonCanadianChampion.com: A & E: Story: Play brings autism into focus

Interesting- I would like to see this. Hopefully the University will videotape it and I can get it through inter-library loan at some point!

Doesn't it always figure? I just found their tour schedule and they were in the city right next to mine last night.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Forum sheds light on new methods in autism care

Forum sheds light on new methods in autism care

This is great news- I get very excited when I see new conferences and initiatives in parts of the world where autism care and research is not as prevalent.

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In a Novel Theory of Mental Disorders, Parents’ Genes Are in Competition

In a Novel Theory of Mental Disorders, Parents’ Genes Are in Competition - NYTimes.com

Fascinating- I couldn't even make a guess whether they're on the right track, but it sounds like it's going to spur discussion.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been - Bill Ayers on the election

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been -- In These Times

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FDR, stamp collecting, Obama, and Curly the Barber

Greg Laden's Blog : My Friend Curly and the President Elect

(I'm still half-asleep, but I'm assuming that this has to be a parable).

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Write In My Journal

Write In My Journal

This is fascinating- a man just asks different people to write in her journal. I'm going to spend some reading time here today.


(Edited because the author is a guy!)

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

WTF? The new Terminator character is diagnosed as autistic?

"Personality-wise, Cameron still has a ways to go, recently having been professionally diagnosed with mild autism. But like all Terminators to come before her, she's a sponge for information."

So now Hollywood has resorted to classifying robots as autistic? I find that extremely offensive, and I hope that it's a misprint.

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I'm not beaten yet: Terry Prachett on the frustration and fury of Alzheimer's | Mail Online

I'm not beaten yet: Terry Prachett on the frustration and fury of Alzheimer's | Mail Online

I can't say enough about my admiration for him for going public with his Alzheimer's struggle, and educating a lot of people. I continue to wish him and his family all the best- after everything that our family has been through, and watching a lot of people close to me die over the years, Alzheimer's is still my biggest personal fear.

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Bullies may enjoy seeing others in pain: Brain scans show disruption in natural empathetic response | The University of Chicago

Bullies may enjoy seeing others in pain: Brain scans show disruption in natural empathetic response | The University of Chicago

Interesting, as is the earlier study Children are naturally prone to be empathic and moral.

I think that I would probably want to distinguish between "bullies" and kids with conduct disorder though- that's a pretty specific diagnosis that goes way beyond just normal bullying.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Saturday, November 01, 2008

What Rocky Horror Picture Show Character Are You?







I'm not sure whether to be happy about that or not.

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Enchanted Doll by Marina Bychkova


The Enchanted Doll by Marina Bychkova

Wow- spectacular dolls! The stories make for very interesting reading- I also love the Bride of Frankenstein.

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Stephen Hawking writes about having ALS

Stephen Hawking

"I have had motor neurone disease for practically all my adult life. Yet it has not prevented me from having a very attractive family, and being successful in my work. This is thanks to the help I have received from Jane, my children, and a large number of other people and organisations. I have been lucky, that my condition has progressed more slowly than is often the case. But it shows that one need not lose hope."

What a fantastic story he has.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bunny show jumping

Bunny show jumping - Snotr

I don't even know what to say except that now I think that the years I spent going headfirst off of horses were a bit wasted.

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Clear sticky tape can produce x-rays, may be able to trigger nuclear fusion

Streaming video: X-rays

That's pretty damned cool.

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Autism Ain’ts…

NTs Are Weird � Blog Archive � Autism Ain’ts…

# - Different from Asperger’s
# - Just another word for “geek”
# - Something that makes us superior
# - A horrible condition
# - A prison sentence
# - A guarantee of loneliness


There's a great list up at NTs are weird, and people are contributing more all of the time.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Memories Selectively, Safely Erased In Mice

Memories Selectively, Safely Erased In Mice: "Memories Selectively, Safely Erased In Mice"

Targeted memory erasure is no longer limited to the realm of science fiction. A new study describes a method through which a selected set of memories can be rapidly and specifically erased from the mouse brain in a controlled and inducible manner. New and old memories have been selectively and safely removed from mice by scientists.

That's pretty freaky.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Awesome- A girl with Downs' Syndrome is chosen Homecoming Queen

A crown made of friendship -- chicagotribune.com

What a fantastic story.

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Sarah Palin: Pointing a loaded gun at the environment? - Telegraph

Sarah Palin: Pointing a loaded gun at the environment? - Telegraph

"Palin's administration, for example, opposed legislation, put forward earlier this year, that would have banned the flame retardant Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs), which affects brain development in young children, including memory and learning functions.

The toxic compound also causes thyroid problems, slow sexual maturation and significantly reduced sperm counts in adults.

Democratic state representative, Andrea Doll, from Juneau (Alaska's capital), tried to get Palin interested in her bill early on. "I told her about the bill," she says. "But she was totally not interested in any way, shape or form. It was that look on her face - that 'don't even go there' look."


So much for her heralded interest in special needs kids.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Spanish Baby Engineered To Cure Brother

Spanish Baby Engineered To Cure Brother | Guanabee

Wow- there's some ethical questions there. I wouldn't presume to say whether they're right or wrong, but it definitely raises some interesting questions to think about.

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Sex ID

BBC - Science & Nature - Sex ID

A fascinating test to find out whether you have a male or female brain. It took me about 10 minutes (after I found a ruler), but it was even more interesting to see why they asked certain questions than the actual results.

For the record, my brain is apparently 50/50 :-)

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hawaii ending universal child health care

Hawaii ending universal child health care: "Hawaii is dropping the only state universal child health care program in the country just seven months after it launched."

I pay considerably less in taxes for a family of four (Canada), than my husband does for 4 months of U.S. health insurance, and I have rarely had to pay out of pocket for anything (we did have to pay for an ambulance ride a couple of years ago, and there was one injection-GCSF- that my daughter got to boost her immune system while she was doing chemotherapy that OHIP didn't pay for).

So for 13 years of premature triplets (including about 3-4 weeks of hospital stays for me before their birth, plus assorted ultrasounds, genetic counseling, doctor's visits etc), 9 weeks of NICU for the kids, probably 20 weeks of additional hospitalizations due to pneumonia from the girls' lung damage, then cancer and treatment for one child (about 8 months worth all together including surgery), developmental pediatricians, speech, and occupational therapists as well as a version of ABA because of the autism...I've paid taxes. When I was single, and working, earning over 100,000, I was taxed at about 17% (I understand that's gone up a bit). I paid my "dues". So did my parents...my mom had 13 years of treatment for her malignant melanoma before she passed away. My dad did have to wait about 6 months for his knee replacement, but I think that he was consoled for that by the fact that he could take my mom to the hospital whenever he wanted to.

My husband is paying almost $800/month for his health insurance right now (just for him) through the American company that he works for. We know that it's high, but because he has a "pre-existing condition" he has to. We couldn't move our family to the United States if we wanted to, because even completely aside from the autism, one of my daughters had cancer and we could never get her health care covered, and we could never be sure that any job that WOULD cover her would stay forever.

The United States pays more per capita than any other nation in the world, and yet they can't afford to insure their children have health care in even ONE State? No matter how many times people explain it to me, I will never understand that. Kids growing up in a developed nation deserve more.

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Freakiest fish of 2008


Freaky Fish Contest | Oceana: "This creature is like an octopus-squid hybrid — it has eight arms like an octopus, but it also has long retractable filaments that squids use for hunting. When it feels threatened, it spits bioluminescent clouds from the end of its arms, and it can also go into 'pumpkin' or 'pineapple posture,' inverting its arms over the body so it’s covered in spines"

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Putin tries satellite navigation device on his dog - Yahoo! News

Putin tries satellite navigation device on his dog - Yahoo! News

Just because it's such an awesome headline :-)

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Snog Away, Teenagers - Scanner

Snog Away, Teenagers - Scanner

Very funny Dick and Jane Styled sex-ed book...definitely not for kids.

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The Superficial - Jenny McCarthy claims magical healing powers

The Superficial - Jenny McCarthy claims magical healing powers

Finally, even the stupid gossip mags are realizing that McCarthy has no clue about what she's talking about.

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McCarthy: 'Leary Is Uninformed About Autism'

SFGate: Daily Dish : McCarthy: 'Leary Is Uninformed About Autism'

Pot, meet kettle.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lester Bangs audio interview

Lester Bangs audio interview - Boing Boing

I grew up reading Lester Bangs, so this was a thrill to find. Posted through Boing Boing because they also have some interesting articles on him linked.

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Happy Thanksgiving!



I hope that all of my fellow Canadians are having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend- YAYYY for turkey! I've got a lot to be thankful for (even aside from turkey).

(the gorgeous image is from FeministLawProfs)

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Doctor and Patient - The Choices Patients Make

Doctor and Patient - The Choices Patients Make - NYTimes.com

Excellent article.

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The Stories Behind Three Classic Halloween Movies

Neatorama � Blog Archive � The Stories Behind Three Classic Halloween Movies

Things I didn't know- Night of the Living Dead never mentions the word "zombies".
In Halloween , Jamie Lee Curtis’ wardrobe cost about $100 and came from J.C. Penney.
Alfred Hitchcock turned down the chance to direct The Exorcist.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Blumenthal: Pollsters facing perfect storm

Blumenthal: Pollsters facing perfect storm - National Journal- msnbc.com

Interesting, especially since some of them (especially the cell phone question), will likely be influencing non-political polls for a long time to come.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Bruno's Art & Sculpture Garden


Bruno's Art & Sculpture Garden

Wow.

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How the Obama Campaign Makes “Two Minute Volunteers”- new IPhone application

mental_floss Blog � How the Obama Campaign Makes “Two Minute Volunteers”

This is interesting. No matter who you're voting for, it seems like an application that could change some parts of the campaign process.

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Practical Latin

My World and Welcome... Funny Pages: Handy Latin Phrases

Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.
I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head.

Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

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History's top 5 reasons to cross-dress

History's top 5 reasons to cross-dress - CNN.com

They've got some good points!

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Halle Berry Is the Sexiest Woman Alive, 2008 - Esquire

Halle Berry Pics - Halle Berry Sexy - Halle Berry Is the Sexiest Woman Alive, 2008 - Esquire

"Sexy is not about wearing sexy clothes or shaking your booty until you damn near get hip dysplasia; it's about knowing that sexiness is a state of mind -- a comfortable state of being."

I love this quote, and I also love that a 42 year old woman who's obviously getting more comfortable with her sexuality as she ages "won". While it's still a silly article, it was fun to read something from an actor who's loving getting older.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

One Dad's Opinion: PO'd at PETA


One Dad's Opinion: PO'd at PETA

And PETA hits another new low.
Steve has a good commentary up at his page which actually contains science!

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sarah Palin swimsuit video

Five Things - Salon.com



Awesome!

(And I'm extremely glad that there isn't any video of me floating around in my stupid years.) I remember when I was planning to become a professor in Tudor history- raising triplets is sure a long way from that!

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Hear our Voices

Hear our Voices



A very powerful video about poverty, disability and exclusion, from Inclusion International. Thanks to Estee at the Joy of Autism for posting this.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Sea Turtle


Email Bookmarking Blog: It's Not PhotoShop !!

Awesome! I never had hair this punk!

(caveat...no one seems to know why this turtle has hair...if it's something harmful, I retract the awesome comment).

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Muslim sentenced for religious ceremony cruelty

Muslim sentenced for religious ceremony cruelty
| Oddly Enough
| Reuters


As I've talked about before (Jen in the comments), I'm not sure why these people get charged, and people who submit their children to unnecessary medical interventions for years don't.

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New study shows that kids want to be included in own health care

CTV.ca | Kids want to be included in own health care: study

Even though this is a very small study, I find it very consistent with things that I have heard from my own children as well as others. When one of my daughters had cancer the hospital that we were in made very sure (through child play specialists as well as others), that children were able to express their own feelings about their care. I was also "lucky" that it was my "verbal" daughter who had cancer (if you can ever use the word "lucky" to refer to childhood cancer- she's said herself that it was better that she would get cancer rather than one of her siblings, which makes me proud as well as breaks my heart). She was able to tell us what she was feeling and what she wanted throughout most of the diagnostic/recovery period. I've always believed that the more that the "patient" has input into their care (whether it's cancer or autism or CPD or whatever), the better the results are likely to be.

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The Girl Who Spoke with Pictures: Autism Through Art - book information - Jessica Kingsley Publishers


The Girl Who Spoke with Pictures: Autism Through Art - book information - Jessica Kingsley Publishers

This looks like a fascinating book!

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vote For the Environment - Canada

Guelph | Vote For Environment / Voter Pour l'Environnement

Useful site- I have this linked to my home riding as they're having problems with the coding on the postal code search to get to it, and it's one of the "Red Hot Ridings" on the front page. If you're Canadian, it's at the very least a good way to find out what the latest polls for your riding say.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Man Succumbs To 7-Year Battle With Health Insurance : Health

Man Succumbs To 7-Year Battle With Health Insurance : Health

:-)

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This is how an obituary should read

Casper Star-Tribune Online - Obituaries

"True to his personal style, he spent his final hours joking with medical personnel, cussing and begging for narcotics and bargaining with God to look over his loving dog, Biscuit, and his family."

There is certainly personality to spare here. Obituaries SHOULD celebrate the person.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

39 Masterpieces Of Creative Advertisements - Opensource, Free and Useful Online Resources for Designers and Developers


39 Masterpieces Of Creative Advertisements - Opensource, Free and Useful Online Resources for Designers and Developers

Some great advertising pictures. (Although I hate linking to a blog that doesn't credit the original creators).

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Terrifying- Disney film about menstruation, in 1946

YouTube - Disney '46 - Story Of Menstruation



Apparently it's also the first time that "vagina" was used in a screenplay. I'm not sure whether this is better or worse than the godawful little pamphlets that we used to get at the doctor's office. On the upside, I was able to completely humiliate my older sister with the pamphlets when I was about 7...I picked up a pile of them, and thoughtfully dumped them on her lap when she was making out with her boyfriend :-) Amazingly enough, she still talks to me.

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Autistic women: a life more ordinary - Telegraph

Autistic women: a life more ordinary - Telegraph

Great article.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

YouTube - Oprah vs. over 9000 PENISES

YouTube - Oprah vs. over 9000 PENISES

She gets less and less credible every day. The fact that her staff would even let her believe for a second that she should take anything that an anonymous troll said seriously on a message board really does speak to the intelligence level at Harpo.



The scary thing is that now the "level of terror" over childhood pedophilia will reach even NEW heights, thus guaranteeing even more children anything vaguely resembling a normal childhood. I'm guessing that her fans will clamp down even harder on their children ever going out unsupervised, playing in parks, etc. It's sad.

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On This Day: Witold Pilecki Allows Himself to be Captured by the Nazis


On This Day: Witold Pilecki Allows Himself to be Captured by the Nazis
On September 19, 1940, Witold Pilecki, deliberately got himself arrested by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz, where he spent two years supplying Allied forces with information about the concentration camp.

Witold's Report

Witold Pilecki

And his death

"


Witold Pilecki escaped from Auschwitz on the Easter Monday 1943, he also survived the Warsaw Uprising an the German POW camp in Germany.

He returned to Poland after the war and started organizing resistance
against the communists.

When he learnt that the Allies would not help to liberate Poland from the Soviets he started demobilizing the military underground organization.

It was then, that the communists arrested him.



He was interrogated and tortured for many months. His finger nails were pulled out and his collarbones broken and he could hardly walk.



He never talked.

After his process, which was a simple farce, he was sentenced to death by a firing squad.

There was no firing squad though.

The executioners dragged him the basement of the Security Headquarters building, into the boiler room.

He was gagged and could not walk.

They shot him with a single slug into the back of his head. He was buried somewhere on the rubbish tip next to the Powazki Cemetery.

His body was never found."

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Friday, September 19, 2008

In honour of Talk like a pirate day! -free pirate fiction download




I've heard very good things about Shimmer- it's definitely worth a free download to check it out!

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The mental_floss College Ain't Cheap Tuition Giveaway

The mental_floss College Ain't Cheap Tuition Giveaway

Awesome. This is probably my favourite blog, and I'm very impressed that they are giving away $10,000 scholarships (for 2 or 4 year courses in the U.S. and Canada).

What a great idea.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Truth on Earth Band - Bios & History

Truth on Earth Band - Bios & History: "Truth On Earth is a Band featuring three sisters that sound like a rainbow of old and new, heavily influenced by ‘60’s & ‘70’s rock such as Creedence Clearwater, Lynard Skynard, Jethro Tull, Eric Clapton and Santana.

The band name, lyrical messages and powerful world-changing mission are based upon the work of Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi, one of the greatest spiritual leaders of all time and the basis of Martin Luther King, Jrs Civil Rights movement. Gandhi said that Peace could best be achieved through truth and non-violent protest and he proved it for a time by causing the end of a century of British rule over India. One small man had a giant influence. So the band is named in Gandhi’s honor to carry on his work and ideals through the universal language of music to a planet that is struggling greatly just as it always has to understand and apply this very simple and highly effective principle
."


Pretty impressive "teen girl band". Their music doesn't strike me as half-bad, and their message and commitment to actually contribute financially to what they believe in is a great role model for my girls. I like them.

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Too cool- Sticky Notes work like slinkies!

EepyBird's Sticky Note Experiment • VideoSift: Online Video *Quality Control


via videosift.com

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Awesome sneaky cat

YouTube - Ninja cat comes closer while not moving!: ""




Although the cat's probably wondering what the hell his idiot owner is doing.

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A Villa for one euro? Yes, there is a catch

Intelligent Travel: A Villa for One Euro?

What a great idea for the town. I can imagine that people who could normally afford to buy a villa could afford the restoration on it, the local townspeople get work, and a bit of history is saved. It's impressive to see a town official thinking outside the box like that.

(Not to mention that I wouldn't complain about having a Sicilian villa. Oh well!)

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Modern Love - My Son’s Battle With Autism

Modern Love - My Son’s Battle With Autism - NYTimes.com

What a heart-rending and difficult story to read. I may not agree that I would have made the same choice as she did, but there's no doubting her pain or her love for her son.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Obama's pretty funny too

CBS | Late Show with David Letterman : Video

Nice answer. "She would be the pig."

I like him more than I thought that I would...he does seem like someone you could have a beer with.

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MoreCowbell.dj

MoreCowbell.dj

I recommend Pinball Wizard with 80% cowbell and 10% Walken.


Fun site.

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On 9/11, Obama-McCain (Briefly) Unite - TIME

On 9/11, Obama-McCain (Briefly) Unite - TIME

There are certain things that I'll never understand in life. My husband lived in Manhattan during 9/11, and had a large number of friends and acquaintances who were killed in the bombings. I remember being glued to my TV crying most of that day (not only because of the horror of it all...not only the numbers, but also the fact that if someone was going to be bombed in the U.S., my sleepy little town in Ontario where many bombs were manufactured was a target,and because I was scared to death for my then-boyfriend who was teaching in Tennessee near one of the possible next bombing sites). Aside from personal reasons, terrorist bombings are awful no matter which way you tabulate them.

But I've got to say that in some ways I'd considerably rather see Obama and McCain meeting at a homeless shelter to commemorate the 12-40% of Americans that live in poverty over a 10 year span, meeting at a high school to discuss appropriate education for sexually active teens, a laboratory to discuss the future of science in the United States (which is a pressing issue if you look at scientific literacy rates among U.S. teenagers), rates of funding for "special needs" people in North America- any number of things. It's not an anti-American thing- Canada has consistent and huge problems with funding for low-income families, families with special needs, and child poverty. And unfortunately Canada is certainly going down the "terrorists are the worst things on earth" mindset if you look at Stephen Harper's policies, even though we have huge internal problems (hello...why aren't we rushing through legislation for immigrant doctors to help with the internal problems we have with a huge lack of GPs?.)

I hear the pain in my husband's voice every time he talks about 9/11- his wife at the time was severely disabled, and they were caught in mid-town Manhattan in the middle of the tragedy. It took him a very long time to get her home safely, and then make his way to Ground Zero to offer whatever help he could. I'm still horrified every time I think about it, and i wasn't directly involved.

I don't think that anyone could argue that terrorism isn't bad, worthy of attention, or worthy of combating in an intelligent way. But I grew up learning from boat people who had escaped from Vietnam and other Eastern countries (my parents' church sponsored 6 families in the 70s, so they became part of our family), Cubans (fortunately Canadians can go to Cuba, and our dollars help to make a lot of Cuban families' lives better if you do it intelligently), people from Eastern Europe, as well as Jewish and Egyptian and Irish and Iranian friends who faced terrorism on a daily basis, that 3000 people dead is horrendous no matter which way you cut it, but with all of the challenges facing the world right now, my guess is that there are other issues which should possibly take precedence if you're trying to become President of the United States.

As a Canadian I have a vested interested in seeing a "good" U.S. President. Like it or not, the rest of the western world unfortunately has a vested interest in the U.S. election. That's scary with the way that things are going right now.

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Stephane Dion | Not a leader.

St�phane Dion | Not a leader. | Not worth the risk. | notaleader.ca

It's always good to see that the Conservatives are living up to the class that we've grown to expect of them. I'd thought that it was a satire site, but apparently it's not. It's still pretty funny if you can get over the fact that it's meant to be real.

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Autism and EMF | Dirty Electricity

Autism and EMF | Dirty Electricity

The crazy never stops.

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Vaccine Skeptics vs. Your Kids

Vaccine Skeptics vs. Your Kids

Well-done article. And I was actually surprised- much as I like MotherJones, I truly would have expected them to come down on the anti-vaccination side. Kudos to them.

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Experts say autism may have helped boy survive ordeal

Front page news - newsjournalonline.com

Such an incredible story- it was great to see a happy ending for a change. I can certainly understand what they're saying about the water as well- 2 of my kids are more comfortable in the water than anywhere else.

While I can't even imagine the horror that his parents have gone through and I wish that it had never happened (obviously), it's wonderful to see such a happy ending, and also to see something positive about autism in the media. Our kids so often have incredible strengths which are ignored because they are "disabled".

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Monday, September 08, 2008

The Age Project

ageproject :: Home

Interesting. I seem to think that people are younger than they are. I don't know whether that says anything about me or not.

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The 10 oddest travel guides ever published.

The 10 oddest travel guides ever published. - By Paul Collins - Slate Magazine: "[B]eating the hand against the mouth and making a wow-wow sound is deeply racist"

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Awesome CBC poster from the 7os


The CANADIAN DESIGN RESOURCE � “Expose Yourself” CBC Radio poster


I love Canada.

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Online articles lead to rapid scientific consensus, forgotten ideas

Online articles lead to rapid scientific consensus, forgotten ideas: "as more and more articles are readily available online, researchers, on average, cite fewer articles"

Fascinating article, and a bit scary. I was led to it after watching this video of a book scanner, which is pretty impressive (even with the porn music playing).

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Friday, September 05, 2008

The Omnivore's 100 ....mmmm- a food post for Friday!

Instructions: (from The Very Good Taste Blog)

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.



The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush (with the codicil that I'm pretty sure that it wasn't "real" Baba Ganoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (My Dad was a winemaker, and consistently won prizes for his strawberry wine. My usual taste in wine is extremely dry, and white, but damn, the strawberry wine was GOOD!)
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese (I'm Pennsylvania Dutch background- this wasn't an option).
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi (nope, but it sounds like I'd like it).
34. Sauerkraut (Yes, and if there is a Satan, he lives on Sauerkraut). See Pennsylvania Dutch reference above, as this made regular appearances on my dining table as a child. Amazingly enough, much as I dislike eating it, there's very little in my experience that approaches the zen of making it. Pounding cabbage (and adding spices, salt, and love in the proper doses), is not only a good physical workout, but there's a lot of spiritual things that go on as well. Or maybe that's just because I've only made it with my family).
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (Absolutely. I don't like the taste of cigars or cognac separately, but I'm distinctly "unfeminine" enough that I love them together.)
37. Clotted cream tea Oh God yes.
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat (I have family who raise goats, and it's awesome).
42. Whole insects (Grasshoppers? I've had chocolate ones. My daughter used to pick caterpillars off of neighbouring bushes when the kids were still in their stroller, which grosses her out to no end now).
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk Great for making soap too!
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut (An old SO brought them up from Tennessee for us. Apparently they're better before the 12 hour drive).
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal Once. I don't like meat with things on it, unless they're not pickles and mayonnaise.
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini When Satan's not eating sauerkraut, he's right in there with the olives.
58. Beer above 8% ABV I live in Canada, and I'm from a family of beer-makers.
59. Poutine Ha- I'm Canadian! REAL Poutine has no relation to what you find in most shops.
60. Carob chips Health food phase...wouldn't do it again.
61. S’mores Every chance I get! Only over a campfire though.
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin I always thought that Kaolin was rocks, so no.
64. Currywurst I don't even want to know.
65. Durian Not yet...maybe in February.
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake If God were real, these would be staples.
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette One of the reasons why pigs were invented.
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe Not all it's cracked up to be- it's been legal up here for a while.
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill - If you run over something up here, you can keep it. Venison is good.
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum - it sounds great!
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky I've had something similar, but I guess it doesn't count.
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse I was lucky enough to have a stepmother who had lived in Holland. Even though I was a horse-mad teenager at the time, she didn't tell me what it was until the meal was over. It was incredibly good.
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam I'm married to an American. Not only have I eaten it, I have a sad amount of it in my cupboards.
92. Soft shell crab One of the reasons that we're alive.
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox I loved it before I knew that it was called bagels and lox. I always just called it smoked salmon on a bagel until I married a New York Jewish guy. I've got to say that it's almost reason enough in itself to be married.
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta I live in an Italian town, and it's cheap. Student staple.
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee Same thing. A University town, and we drank it to be cool. I can't say that my taste buds are really up to distinguishing coffee tastes in the morning, but I like it.
100. Snake


If you want to do it yourself...here's the original list with none of my comments on it.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake


People who I would love to see their answers...
Juli
Mark
Teeni, with one of the best blog names ever.
Casdok
Ann
Phil
Chris
TBATM

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