Happy Halloween, everyone!

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail, a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: 24 Oct 2006
From: Pablo Nart
Source: ABC [edited]

The Tasmanian Government has acknowledged the outbreak of the devil
facial tumor disease in a wildlife park in the state’s north is a
serious setback to the preservation of the species. The state’s chief
veterinary officer has been sent to the Trowunna Wildlife Park at
Mole Creek to try to determine the cause of the outbreak.

Tests for devil facial tumor disease came back positive late last
week for 2 devils at the park.

It is the first time the disease has been found in a wildlife park.

The animals, a 4-year-old male and a 5-year-old female, were bred at
the park and are now in isolation.

Alex Schaap of the Primary Industries and Water Department says the
intrusion of a wild devil is the most likely explanation for the outbreak.

“The discovery of infected devils in that captive population is a
blow because we have a number of devils in captivity which are now at
risk of the disease. That doesn’t mean that other devils in captivity
are at risk,” he said.

The 4 devils sent to Denmark as a gift to celebrate the birth of
Denmark’s Prince Christian came from Trowunna.

The Theory of the Leisure Suit Class

Living in Newport Beach has always been strange, and has always been getting stranger. Satire fails us, as daily life teems with situations and images that are so outrageously perfect, they seem to have been dreamed up by a particularly unsubtle socialist film maker to hammer in some point. Welcome to Michael Moore’s Real World Newport Beach. Some recent examples:

  • Driving past one of the local high-class night clubs, I see that among the stretch Hummer limos and AMG Mercedes, someone has backed out his $250,000 Lamborghini and is revving and clutch-popping hopelessly, trying to get his thoroughbred Italian supercar to go into first gear. I stop and watch as our hero wrestles with his prancing bull. Finally he achieves traction and hurtles out onto the boulevard in a cloud of tire smoke.
  • At a street corner, a cop is handcuffing a middle-aged Mexican man whose bicycle lies on the ground next to him. Behind them, another middle-aged Mexican man is holding up a sign that says INDULGE YOURSELF LUXURY APTS with an arrow on it, and waving the sign at passing cars.
  • At the local shopping mall, it is Tuesday at 3 pm, and the place is full of young marrieds without employment buying everything that glitters. One thirtyish man in a $2000 suit, sculpted hair and spray-on tan, is saying loudly into his cellphone “Yes. It has to be on a yacht, that’s where we’re making the sale. The presentation is on a yacht, and I don’t know the dress code yet, but you are going to be there.”
  • At Target. A small, nervous man dressed in a $200 Aloha shirt, cargo shorts, and a very shiny pair of Timberland hiking boots is gazing at a barbecue that is eight feet long and costs as much as a used car. His wife comes up behind him and says “Do the utensils match?” and he says “Of course! OF COURSE!”

My mom is sick. It’s just some digestive bug but when someone is 76 it makes me nervous, plus she never gets these. There’s something about the illness or weakness of parents that’s still very psychologically undermining even in adulthood; it shouldn’t happen.

I coulda been an achiever.

My Adderall XR™ anti-ADD medication trial package came with a reassuring booklet, a less reassuring set of pharmacological explanations of how it might mess me up, and a fridge magnet. It’s the “Adderall™ Achievers!” package, you see.

Usually the fridge magnets and other tchotchkes go to the physicians for advertising purposes, so I was puzzled at first. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a picture frame fridge magnet. The idea is that your bad kid, who is totally humping the pooch at school and is going to die in an alley, has just become a model of studious perfection and will now get a picture on the fridge in this special frame that says: I’m an achiever!

I think some Photoshop is in order. I’ll try to think some things up. In the meantime:


The Plague Ship arrives at RĂ©union

From the always-cheerful Pro-Med list:

Source: Independent online (IOL), Wed 22 Jun 2005 [edited]
article link

Seychelles: ship quarantined off Reunion – undiagnosed fatal illness
A French medical laboratory in Lyons has dismissed any likelihood of
Marburg hemorrhagic fever on board the bulk carrier Clipper Lancaster.
The ship is being held in quarantine off the Indian Ocean island of
Reunion. The nature of the mystery fever that claimed the life of a
Rumanian seafarer and left a 2nd sailor seriously ill remains
unidentified, however.

The 2 seafarers, members of a crew of 22, became ill soon after the 28
429 dead weight tonnage ship left Durban on 5 Jun 2005, where it had
stopped briefly to refuel. The surviving crewman has been responding to
treatment. Before calling at Durban, the ship had loaded lumber at
Pointe Noire in Congo Brazzaville and had called earlier at Angolan
ports. A serious outbreak of Marburg fever is raging in northern

Authorities in La Reunion said the vessel would be allowed to continue
its voyage to China once the body had been removed. A postmortem would
not be performed.

[byline: Terry Hutson]