Rough Aunties

Last night I watched the tail end of documentary on TV, called “Rough Aunties“.  The “Rough Aunties” are a group of women in South Africa dedicated to protecting, rescuing and advocating on behalf of children who have been infected with HIV/AIDS, most often because of rape. Their organization, Bobbi Bear, also provides prophylactic medications to children who have been raped to prevent the inevitable appearance of the virus, educates and provides advocacy on HIV/AIDS issues, and assisting in training Child Safety officers within the communities.

  • one in every four girls faces the prospect of being raped by her sixteenth birthday
  • every day in South Africa, at least 50 children become victims of rape
  • reported cases of child sexual abuse have increased by 400% in the past 8 – 9 years
  • in KwaZulu-Natal it is estimated that 51% of adults between 16 and 45 years are HIV+. Since this is the perpetrator age group for sexual abuse, child victims are at risk of contracting HIV

I was so moved by the documentary that I donated (donations can be made the UK via The RISE Foundation, the in the UK, US and Canada via Keep A Child Alive, and in South Africa through various methods). They also accept volunteers.

Critical thinking… or lack thereof…

Today’s “big news” is “Balloon Boy was a hoax”…

And, the usual upshot of this is that the media and the public is howling for blood.

“We were duped!”

“The police didn’t do their job!”

“It’s the media’s fault!”

The fact is that everyone is to blame for this (except for Balloon Boy, himself. He’s a minor and it is hardly his fault IF his parent’s concocted this whole “show”) — If, indeed, it turns out this is a hoax.

God or Nature gave humans a brain. We have it not just to keep our ears apart. It is there to enable us to think and to make sense of the world and to survive.  That entails “Critical Thinking”. Unfortunately, most of us seem to use our brain, if we use it at all, more to keep our heads from imploding.

We don’t think, let alone think critically.

We use our brains the way water finds it’s way down hill. Whatever the most convenient path to a conclusion, that’s the one we take, even if it results in us accepting the most nonsensical and ludicrous possible outcome, that’s the one we chose and “By Gum!” that’s the one we are going to stick to.

Even better when someone else comes up with the “results” so we don’t actually have to do any thinking for ourselves.

Why should we be surprised that 1) someone tried to pull one over on us and 2) succeeded on pulling one over on us?

And, quite obviously, this was not exactly a methodically thought out “hoax”. Else, it wouldn’t have depended on the involvement of a small child who would easily spill the beans.

The police obviously didn’t think it through, either. Consulting with experts might have clued them into the fact that the balloon probably wouldn’t have been able to ascend to the heights it did with the child in tow. Using their brains might have given them the edge on the less than stellar planning of the parents. Just looking at the balloon might have given them pause to question. Did it actually LOOK as though it was carrying a weight?

The media didn’t bother checking facts or hesitate for one second to authoritatively tell the public that a child was aboard this unlikely vehicle.

The public, always willing to jump on any bandwagon, no matter how shoddily built or how absurd, went along for the (usual) ride.

Even after the fact, talk shows lined up to interview the child. His parents were more than happy to parade their child in front of the media. And, surprise, surprise, the child said something that didn’t fit the scenario. “We did it for a show”.

Of course, this, coming from a small child, could mean anything. It could have meant that he associated the cameras with TV shows and his reenactment was “for a show”. No, obviously, it MUST mean that the whole scenario was “a show”. Of course, it seems it likely was.

Adults brought up short by a child’s words and the media circus starts falling all over itself to blame everyone else for being “taken in”.

There’s a children’s story most of us remember. It, too, is about a hoax. A ludicrous, fanciful, nonsensical farce so unthinkingly silly that it couldn’t possibly work but does… until undone by the words of a child. “But he’s not wearing any clothes!”.


Humans are so ready to believe the most nonsensical and absurd scenarios rather than use their brains, ready to accept “facts” presented rather than learn the REAL facts for themselves, and then blame everyone but themselves for falling for nonsense.

People are ready to believe that hundreds of people could “manufacture” a moon landing, and then every single one of them could maintain complete silence for 40 years. Somehow THAT scenario is easier to believe than the one that had man ACTUALLY walking on the moon.

People are ready to believe that Iraq had nuclear weapons despite ample evidence to the contrary presented to them, both before and after that fact. Yet, they are also willing to believe that their own President would actually be willing to kill several thousands of his own citizens in order to bring about a war that was already inevitable by virtue of the nonexistent nuclear weapons.

Further, they are willing to believe that many of their own citizens would go along with this “conspiracy” and murder fellow citizens and remain silent, despite seeing the evidence before their own eyes.

Some of these same people actually believe that the Holocaust was “faked”.

I honestly despair of a world which consistently accepts the most idiotic conspiracy theory without once asking any one of the 5 W’s — Who, Why, What, Where, and When.

Yes, people have come up with actual conspiracy plans and have perpetrated them on us. Bush did it with his “weapons of mass destruction” nonsense which, had people actually listened to the actual experts would have avoided this terrible war in Iraq. Anyone who doubted was “A’gin us” and obviously an America-hater.

Instead, the masses fell for this one hook line and sinker and then made up an even more insane and diabolical “conspiracy” to blame the same person who pulled the wool over their eyes with a simple plan.

They never once ask themselves “Why?” or, if they do, come up with an equally nonsensical “Reason”.

Why would Bush need to murder thousands of innocent people (or as some conspiracy theorists would have us believe thousands on non-existent people) when he already had the war in the bag with his faked satellite images and arm-twisting of various countries in the UN Security Council? How would he buy the silence of the thousands of people who would have been required to keep Schtum about a conspiracy on this scale? No, easier to believe the most nonsensical and complicated and fiendish scenario rather than believe the simplest truth. America was attacked in its heart, in front of our very eyes and that in the days preceding the attacks, the media had been reporting that an attack was forthcoming (A fact… and a fact forgotten even by the media who had broadcast it).

Humans have an amazing brain and yet spend most of their lives not using it.

We have a capacity to do all sorts of good for the planet and for our fellow human beings. Yet, we spend most of our brains’ resources foolishly. Wasting them on conspiracy theories and hoaxes,  either believing in fake ones or allowing ourselves to be fooled by real ones.

If the majority of us took the time to use our brains, we wouldn’t have a media that spent all its energies trying to entertain us or falling in line with the politicians. We wouldn’t have politicians so willing (and able) to pull over on us the most blatant of scams. We MIGHT even have politicians we could trust and for whom we could be justly proud.

We wouldn’t be spending time and energy on the “Balloon Boy Hoax” or one fraction of a second even considering either the nonsensical “Moon landing” or the truly offensive “9/11” conspiracies.


On a personal note….

It was several hours between the writing of this and posting it. Those several hours was spent at the hospital with my mother who thought that, rather than call me down “all the from upstairs” it was a good idea for an 85-year old who can’t stand on a firm surface without risking taking a tumble to climb on a chair some feet away from the patio door in order to close the curtain.

She fell and took a few yards of shin off, necessitating a trip to the hospital.

I guess, given my “Elk wrangling” of last Autumn, I don’t have a lot of room to talk. But it reminds me of a friend of my ex-husband’s who had to sit down with his parents and tell them not to be doing “stupid things” after his mother, aged 89, fell off the roof while shovelling snow. “I don’t mind going to the hospital if you have a heart attack or a stroke. I am tired of rushing there after you’ve done something stupid.”

The Water of Life (via Cherie’s Place)

Via: Cherie’s Place

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Don’t cry for Michael Jackson.

I couldn’t care if Michael Jackson was the “King of Pop” or the king of Spain. Talented, he may have been. A sad, sad person so unhappy with himself that he had to carve himself up into a freak… Sure. But to admire him is offensive to all those children who he molested.

The accolades being heaped on him by the famous and the fans does a disservice to all those children yet to be molested by other pedophiles who see in him a kindred spirit.

Sure, he was acquitted but it wasn’t his innocence that got him off. It was his money and his fame that “acquitted” him. He paid off the parents of the children, something that those children will live with for the rest of their lives. Shame on him, shame on the parents, and shame on his excusers.

He and OJ will have plenty to talk about when they meet up.

“King of Pop”?… Maybe.

Pedophile?… yes.

Holy Flaming Tractors, Batman, Redux….

I received a response from Consumer Product Safety, Health Canada about my reporting of the novelty lighters (as per yesterday’s posting “Holy Flaming Tractor’s Batman!“).

Lighters are subject to requirements under the Lighters Regulations. Some of the requirements do include labelling, performance and child resistance requirements. However, the child resistance requirements do not apply to all lighters. Lighters exempted from this requirement is determined by their import value at time of importation. Importers of lighters do have certain obligations to ensure that they are able to provide our Department with documentation showing that specific designs of lighter ignition mechanisms are in fact child resistant. This documentation which we may request from an importer is based on a test group of 100 children of a specific age group having tested surrogate lighters (not with fuel) with specific designed ignition mechanisms – at least 85% of this test group of children must not be able to cause ignition of the surrogate lighters. Therefore, we cannot rely on what we as adults may think what is child-resistant, or not ,based on our abilities to cause ignition of the lighter.

I should also mention that unfortunately the current Canadian requirements do not address the fact that these lighters were designed as cars and trucks which may appeal to a young child to play with.

We would however be interested in receiving additional information with respect to the lighters that you noticed at this specific store as we would like to enter this information into our complaint/incident database for reference and further follow up with the company responsible for the XXXX stores*.

I was provided a list of questions which I will address later. Hopefully, we can get these things pulled from the shelves.

*[Note: I am keeping Mum on the store until I get a chance to get another look at the items]

Holy Flaming Tractors, Batman!

This evening, I stopped at a nearby gas station, filled the tank and went in to pay. While standing at the counter, I spotted a box on the counter, filled with what appeared to be novelty key-chains.

There was a tractor, some cars, and a couple of items I didn’t really take notice of, and a clear plastic bubble with laser lights and three dice. When you shook it, the dice tumbled. On the top were two sort of dice-shaped blocks. The right-hand one it seemed you could depress. I pressed it, expecting that the dice would tumble or something.

What I did NOT expect was a flame to shoot out from the smaller block and fry my finger!

In shock, I dropped what I now realised to be a lighter, back in the box and the clerk at the counter laughed and said “They are lighters!”


Not only are these things designed to appeal to children, whether deliberately or not, they also have no safety catch on them to prevent very small children from igniting them. If a 52-year old could burn their finger, so could a small child.

In fact, the trigger for the flame is so easily activated, a small child would have no problem lighting is AND the flame is less than a 16th of an inch from the trigger! My finger was completely surrounded by the blue flame.

I immediately reported these items to Consumer Affairs.

I can’t find a photo of the exact items (except the tractor but I can’t post it as it is on eBay). However, there are a great number of similar items to be found on Google….

Which is the lighter?

Which is the lighter?

Santa Lighter

Santa Lighter

"Coke" Lighter

Fried thumb with that Coke, anyone?

Fork Lift Lighter -- Look at the flame!

Fork Lift Lighter -- Look at the flame!

Novelty Lighters

Novelty Lighters

Novelty Lighters

Novelty Lighters

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