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Just found out a friend of mine is HIV Positive. I am being tested for Hashimoto's Disease on Tuesday, and while typing this, my father rang to say he has prostate cancer.

But for some reason, I feel quite positive right now. Face the enemy.

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Oscar the cat predicts patients' deaths

By RAY HENRY, Associated Press Writer 50 minutes ago

Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours. His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live.

"He doesn't make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die," said Dr. David Dosa in an interview. He describes the phenomenon in a poignant essay in Thursday's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"Many family members take some solace from it. They appreciate the companionship that the cat provides for their dying loved one," said Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Brown University.

The 2-year-old feline was adopted as a kitten and grew up in a third-floor dementia unit at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The facility treats people with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and other illnesses.

After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He'd sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours.

Dosa said Oscar seems to take his work seriously and is generally aloof. "This is not a cat that's friendly to people," he said.

Oscar is better at predicting death than the people who work there, said Dr. Joan Teno of Brown University, who treats patients at the nursing home and is an expert on care for the terminally ill

She was convinced of Oscar's talent when he made his 13th correct call. While observing one patient, Teno said she noticed the woman wasn't eating, was breathing with difficulty and that her legs had a bluish tinge, signs that often mean death is near.

Oscar wouldn't stay inside the room though, so Teno thought his streak was broken. Instead, it turned out the doctor's prediction was roughly 10 hours too early. Sure enough, during the patient's final two hours, nurses told Teno that Oscar joined the woman at her bedside.

Doctors say most of the people who get a visit from the sweet-faced, gray-and-white cat are so ill they probably don't know he's there, so patients aren't aware he's a harbinger of death. Most families are grateful for the advanced warning, although one wanted Oscar out of the room while a family member died. When Oscar is put outside, he paces and meows his displeasure.

No one's certain if Oscar's behavior is scientifically significant or points to a cause. Teno wonders if the cat notices telltale scents or reads something into the behavior of the nurses who raised him.

Nicholas Dodman, who directs an animal behavioral clinic at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and has read Dosa's article, said the only way to know is to carefully document how Oscar divides his time between the living and dying.

If Oscar really is a furry grim reaper, it's also possible his behavior could be driven by self-centered pleasures like a heated blanket placed on a dying person, Dodman said.

Nursing home staffers aren't concerned with explaining Oscar, so long as he gives families a better chance at saying goodbye to the dying.

Oscar recently received a wall plaque publicly commending his "compassionate hospice care."

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Science writer Alicia Chang in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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Every day on this earth is a torment.

No fairytale ending for twin fighting bulls

34 minutes ago

There was no fairy tale ending for rare twin bulls who were killed on Thursday in the Madrid ring.

Neither performed well enough to provoke a performance from bullfighters Javier Castano and Sanchez Vara that could have allowed either or both the bulls to be reprieved.

"Carlitos" and "Paquito", two half-tonne red bulls from the legendary 150-year-old Portuguese ranch of Palha, were born from the same mother in December 2002.

It is extremely rare for twins to be born on ranches producing fighting bulls and therefore very unlikely they would appear in the same bullfight.

The bulls appeared as part of the Spanish capital's month-long San Isidro bullfighting cycle.

"Carlitos", the bigger brother at 545 kilos, proved to be the better of the twins and was applauded by the crowd as he was dragged from the ring dead.

"I don't think Madrid has seen a similar case," said Palha owner Joao Folque de Mendoca. "My ranch had never seen such a thing."

During their four years on the ranch, the two did not fight each other, a common occurrence between fighting bulls, but stuck together.

Bulls that are reprieved usually recover from their wounds to become seed bulls, living a long and fruitful life on the ranch.

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Ever since we moved into our new house in February, I've been trying to give it a name.  Haven't thought of anything I've cared for yet, but I'd better soon because I need to order my calling cards.  

There is a marvelous tree out front whose branches cover and shade our pergola.  There are also little upshoots of it in the back garden.  I don't know what it is, however.  Gets these white longish blooms on it which smell like honeysuckle.  Perhaps its name could be utilized in naming the estate.

Any suggestions?

And, no- not Hornem Hall.

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http://nom-de-grr.livejournal.com/51142.html

Having just watched a telly programme last evening about Hitler and the Occult- mainly about how he was forming a new religion- this seems apt.  

Question:   why is it alright to disagree with and debate against the living, but as soon as someone is dead we are to 'respect' them, which usually means in the mouths of the offended, 'don't ever disagree with anything they said ever again?'  

Bravo, apperception!  Bravo.  Was just thinking about you the other evening during a heady discussion about philosophy and quantum physics.

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My gifted predecessor has warned you against the "social evil--adultery." In his able paper he exhausted that subject; he left absolutely nothing more to be said on it. But I will continue his good work in the cause of morality by cautioning you against that species of recreation called self-abuse to which I perceive you are much addicted. All great writers on health and morals, both ancient and modern, have struggled with this stately subject; this shows its dignity and importance. Some of these writers have taken one side, some the other.

Homer, in the second book of the Iliad says with fine enthusiasm, "Give me masturbation or give me death." Caesar, in his Commentaries, says, "To the lonely it is company; to the forsaken it is a friend; to the aged and to the impotent it is a benefactor. They that are penniless are yet rich, in that they still have this majestic diversion." In another place this experienced observer has said, "There are times when I prefer it to sodomy."

Robinson Crusoe says, "I cannot describe what I owe to this gentle art." Queen Elizabeth said, "It is the bulwark of virginity." Cetewayo, the Zulu hero, remarked, "A jerk in the hand is worth two in the bush." The immortal Franklin has said, "Masturbation is the best policy."

Michelangelo and all of the other old masters--"old masters," I will remark, is an abbreviation, a contraction--have used similar language. Michelangelo said to Pope Julius II, "Self- negation is noble, self-culture beneficent, self-possession is manly, but to the truly great and inspiring soul they are poor and tame compared with self-abuse." Mr. Brown, here, in one of his latest and most graceful poems, refers to it in an eloquent line which is destined to live to the end of time--"None knows it but to love it; none name it but to praise."

Such are the utterances of the most illustrious of the masters of this renowned science, and apologists for it. The name of those who decry it and oppose it is legion; they have made strong arguments and uttered bitter speeches against it--but there is not room to repeat them here in much detail. Brigham Young, an expert of incontestable authority, said, "As compared with the other thing, it is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." Solomon said, "There is nothing to recommend it but its cheapness." Galen said, "It is shameful to degrade to such bestial uses that grand limb, that formidable member, which we votaries of Science dub the Major Maxillary--when they dub it at all--which is seldom, It would be better to amputate the os frontis than to put it to such use."

The great statistician Smith, in his report to Parliament, says, "In my opinion, more children have been wasted in this way than any other." It cannot be denied that the high antiquity of this art entitles it to our respect; but at the same time, I think its harmfulness demands our condemnation. Mr. Darwin was grieved to feel obliged to give up his theory that the monkey was the connecting link between man and the lower animals. I think he was too hasty. The monkey is the only animal, except man, that practices this science; hence, he is our brother; there is a bond of sympathy and relationship between us. Give this ingenuous animal an audience of the proper kind and he will straightway put aside his other affairs and take a whet; and you will see by his contortions and his ecstatic expression that he takes an intelligent and human interest in his performance.

The signs of excessive indulgence in this destructive pastime are easily detectable. They are these: a disposition to eat, to drink, to smoke, to meet together convivially, to laugh, to joke and tell indelicate stories--and mainly, a yearning to paint pictures. The results of the habit are: loss of memory, loss of virility, loss of cheerfulness and loss of progeny.

Of all the various kinds of sexual intercourse, this has the least to recommend it. As an amusement, it is too fleeting; as an occupation, it is too wearing; as a public exhibition, there is no money in it. It is unsuited to the drawing room, and in the most cultured society it has long been banished from the social board. It has at last, in our day of progress and improvement, been degraded to brotherhood with flatulence. Among the best bred, these two arts are now indulged in only private--though by consent of the whole company, when only males are present, it is still permissible, in good society, to remove the embargo on the fundamental sigh.

My illustrious predecessor has taught you that all forms of the "social evil" are bad. I would teach you that some of these forms are more to be avoided than others. So, in concluding, I say, "If you must gamble your lives sexually, don't play a lone hand too much." When you feel a revolutionary uprising in your system, get your Vendome Column down some other way--don't jerk it down.

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