Monday, September 27, 2021

More songs to sing myself to sleep

 In a previous post I wrote about the songs I sing to myself inside my head (or out loud if I am walking the dog). At night they keep my thoughts organized and help me to go to sleep. Here are a few more that I enjoy and I hope you do too.

Monday, September 20, 2021

A great holiday in Turkey


Panorama of the beach. The safety guide rope is visible on the right.

Tourism is huge business in Turkey, the 6th most popular tourist destination in the world. People are drawn there for archaeological sites such as Ephesus, cultural sites such as the Blue Mosque or the Hagia Sophia and the beach resorts along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts. In 2019, 51 million tourists entered Turkey. This year they expect 25 million as the world recovers from Covid and Turkey battled forest fires all summer.

Russia is #1 country of origin for tourists and Ukraine is #7

We took our first holiday in Turkey in 2008 in July. Never did that again. 40C+ is out of our comfort zone. So after that we went in late September and sometimes into early October. Weather is still warm and the water is too. Also the price is way down. Our experiences have been mixed, to say the least but the swimming has never disappointed us. 

Antalya, the tourist capital of Turkey, sits on top of the Gulf of Antalya with resorts down both sides. Until this year we stayed in resorts in the Bildebi area, north of Kemer on the west side of the gulf. This year we tried one south of Kemer, Club Akman Beach Hotel in the Camyuva area and were so happy with it. I'd give a 5 star rating to this 4 star hotel.

Location of Club Akman

Overhead view of Club Akman Beach Hotel

Tanya in front of the hotel. Everyone at the resort is double vaccinated
 or had a negative test within 48 hours of arrival
so no masks inside but if we went out we wore masks

For great pictures of the hotel, go to or watch Far better photography than I am capable of.

North of Kemer the beaches are very bad. Narrow with coarse sharp gravel. You need rubber sandals even in the water. Not very good for kids. The beaches in Camyuva are not perfect but far superior and great for kids. The sand is coarse grey but not impossible to walk on in bare feet. The sea does not drop off quite as soon so there are decent shallows. Club Akman was swarming with kids, ranging from babies to toddlers to preschoolers and a few 6-10 year olds. Little ones were in flotation devices with parents close by. Even the babies. 

I can't swim but here, I can't sink either. It takes little effort to stay upright in the water and paddle along. Tanya swims like a fish and is usually way out from the beach area. I stay close to the safety guide rope where it is only 5 to 6 meters deep and would paddle back and forth between the two docks in the picture, about 400 to 500 ft.. The water is so clear you can see the bottom. 

Just paddling along, vertical to the horizontal

Tanya off to the left along the safety guide rope.

All of the resorts we stayed at over the years, including this one, catered to Russian speakers. Up and down both sides of Kemer, even the people in the shops spoke enough Russian to make sales. So I was a bit of a curiosity and got many questions, "Where are you from?" The Activity Director (6 ft blonde model, 1/3 my age, 6 months making money in Turkey, 6 months spending it in Moscow, flawless English) said I was the only foreigner at the hotel, maybe in all the Kemer area. 

That cracked me up. Housecleaning staff were Tajik or Uzbek, grounds maintenance were from Turkmenistan, the night receptionist was from Armenia, some guy who looked homeless but told me he was director of maintenance, was from Manchester. But I was the only foreigner.

Women outnumbered men about 2 to 1. Mothers with kids. Wives holidaying while husbands worked. Men, by and large, wore boxer swim trunks and sported washtub abs. A few 6-pack abs but mostly two-four pack abs. I felt right at home.

Women's bathing suits were much more varied. A few one piece but mostly two piece. Some were mainly strings which, like barbed wire fences, protected the property but did not obstruct the view. The rest of the tops fell into five categories. Orthodox which were divinely iconic. Catholic which supported the masses. Presbyterian which were staunch and upright. Salvation Army which lifted the fallen. and Baptist which made mountains out of molehills. 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Watch this space next week

Tanya and I are vacationing in Turkey. We are staying at the Club Akman Beach Hotel South of Kemer. We will be home late on 19th and a full report asap after. Our friends Vitalik and Natasha are staying at our place and looking after our critters. 
Best holiday ever. Best resort we have found in over 10 holidays to this area. Weather is perfect. Sea is perfect. Food is good, beds comfortable, grounds well maintained.
I burned my face out swimming so now I have appealing eyes and a peeling nose.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Marketing Forced-Birth as Pro-Life

Since Roe vs Wade, the religious right have been fighting to have it repealed and abortion made illegal again. Many states have passed laws which eventually were thrown out by the Supreme Court. However the five Injustices, three of which were appointed under Trump have changed the nature of SCOTUS. They refused to even hear the new Texas law before it went into effect Sept 1st. They are currently hearing the Mississippi law which if they find in its favour will end Roe vs Wade. 

Dr Heather Cox Richardson provides an overview of the Texas Law and what it means to women in Texas and possibly in every other Red state and a brief history of the anti-abortion movement. The Republican Jesus Red Southern States claim it is because they are "Pro-Life" however they rank at the bottom in terms of poverty, infant mortality, maternal mortality and anything else that might make it easier to carry a child to term and raise it to adulthood. Their politicians are opposed to any programs that might improve the lot of the actual living, even vaccinations or wearing a mask.

Their argument, in favour of advocating for forced-birth only, is spelled out in this article which will likely make you nauseous but read it anyhow. John Pavlovitz, whom the "Pro-Life" people hate because he calls them out for what they are, summed it up quite eloquently. His articles  are Here and Here. 

Embryos are relatively easy to advocate for. They don’t encroach upon people’s privilege or confront their politics or challenge their theology or require much from them in the way of lifestyle change. . .

. . . By opposing abortion, religious people can feel the intoxicating, easy high of self-righteousness and moral virtue—without having to actually love or help people: strange, disparate, uncomfortable-for- you-to-be-around people. That’s because embryos can be idealized into something pleasant and palatable, devoid of any of the messy characteristics they find undesirable in actual walking-around human beings. They aren’t yet gay or Muslim or liberal or Black or poor or atheist (or whatever other qualifiers trouble you), and so affinity with them is uncomplicated, solidarity with them does not cross the lines of their tribalism.

Anti-abortion believers get to feel like noble advocates for Life, while still holding onto their prejudices and hang-ups and hatred.

 Or as George Carlin put it, "If you are pre-born, you're fine; if you are pre-school, you're f**ked".

One of the advantages of pushing an extreme position is that you are not bound by facts or reason. Emotion beats rationality any day. Two examples of the misinformation used to oppose abortion:

Life begins at conception. What is life? The sperm is alive. The egg is alive. The embryo (<8 weeks) is alive. The fetus (>8 weeks) is alive. Science can define the stages of pregnancy but cannot define when life begins. That requires theology. Genesis 2:7 (KJV) says And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. So when a baby draws its first breath, it becomes a living soul and a human being. This is what the Jews believethat existing life should take precedence over potential life, and a woman’s life and her pain should take precedence over a fetus. I expect most rational people would agree that Jews are just as moral as Republican Jesus Christians.

A fetal heartbeat can be detected at six weeks. Yes and no. Ultrasound can detect a small flutter in the area that will develop into a heart. These are electrical impulses from the cells that will be the heart's 'pacemaker'. The sound is made by the ultrasound machine itself. The heart has no valves so cannot beat. A true heartbeat caused by the sound of heart valves that can be heard on a stethoscope usually occurs after about 10 weeks. The term 'fetal heartbeat' is very misleading as used in forced-birth laws.

The 'forced-birth' crowd like to talk about 'murdering babies, or murdering children'. An embryo or a fetus is not a baby or a child though it has potential to become those, and then a teen ager and an adult and an old person but they don't talk about abortion as 'murdering teenagers'. They are playing on images with their language which is good marketing, of course.

When the forced birth people talk about a pregnant woman, you are always shown images like on the left, never like on the right which is what most women look like if the seek an abortion. In 2018, 92% of abortions were preformed at under 13 weeks.

This is what embryos look like at 6 and 8 weeks. Bean size. When 65% of abortions occurred in 2016. mid-term (2nd trimester) abortions are usually because the woman had to come up with the money or if young teens, because they feared their parents to deal with it earlier. Third trimester abortions which account for about 1%, are usually tragic, either the mother's life is in danger or the fetus is terminally malformed. 

Of course it is the third trimester  abortions the 'Pro-Life' people focus on because they are the most gory. They talk about children being torn limb from limb, even as they exit the womb. 

These images are how you are to imagine aborted embryos and fetuses. Ruddy cheeked, blonde, blue-eyed, healthy and white. . . because these are the only children that matter. . . so long as they are not poor. Or gay or atheist or. . .

You are never to imagine these children. They may well be very much loved but their mother may not be able to afford another mouth to feed.  In 2014, 75% of abortion patients were poor or low income. And 59% of patients who obtained an abortion already had one or more children.

CDC Stats were available for 2018. There is no mandate for states to report abortions and not all do. Of 48 reporting areas in 2018, there were 614, 820 abortions reported: 11.3 per 1000 women aged 15 to 44 years and 189 per 1000 live births. Early medical abortions accounted for 38.6%. Women in their 20s accounted for 57.7% of abortions. 

Guttmacher Institute provided the following data. in 2019, 29 states with 58% of women of reproductive age were considered hostile to abortion, 14 states with 35% of women of reproductive age were considered supportive. using 2014 rates, 1 woman in 4 will have an abortion before age 45.  Adolescents made up 12% of abortion patients in 2014: 18-19 8%, 15-17 3% and <15 0.2%. Of abortion patients in 2014, 39% were White, 28% Black, 25% Hispanic and others 9%; 17% mainline Protestant, 13% evangelical Protestant, 24% Catholic, 38% no religion, 8% other. in 2014, 51% of abortion patients were using birth control the month they got pregnant, 24% condoms and 13% a short acting hormonal method.

Criminalizing abortion won’t stop it – it’ll just make it deadly. Women will continue to terminate pregnancies and put their lives in danger in the process. In 1967, 42% of American maternal death rate was attributed to botched abortion. This does not matter to the 'Forced-Birth" movement as they were likely poor anyhow. And be sure that if the wives, daughters and mistresses of the 'Pro-Life' lawmakers and their wealthy friends need abortions, they will get them in a safe clinic.

The government cannot (yet) require Americans to follow the Catholic Church's prohibition against divorce or (yet) forbid a woman from using birth control. And neither should it utilize one particular interpretation of Christianity to make a woman bear a child. but the Republican Jesus Christians are will on their way to establishing an authoritarian theocracy. They may have stirred up a hornets' nest or be the dog that caught the car, but the voter suppression laws may well keep the rabble at bay.

And regardless of what O'Toole is telling Canadians, the religious right vote solidly CPC and will fight to once again make abortions illegal in Canada.