Monday, June 27, 2022

How many fetuses can dance on a pin?

     There is an old joke: The French national railroad did a safety study and, after discovering that most accidents involve the last car on a train, removed all the cabooses.
     If that doesn’t register, see, there’s always a last car on a train, and taking off the caboose merely shifts which car is last.
     That works for first place, too. Thus Ken Griffin, Illinois’ richest man, relocating to Miami doesn’t deprive Illinois of a richest man, merely transfers the honorific to ... Neil Bluhm, the casino magnate.
     Friday I contacted Bluhm through Walton Street Capital, but they didn’t think he’d reply.
     “I doubt it (I know that I would not!),” wrote one of his partners. “But I have forwarded your note to him in the unlikely event that he does.”
     Figuring I could do better, I phoned a mutual friend, someone who’d flown aboard Bluhm’s jet — quite the brag in the early 2000s.
     At that moment, word broke the U.S. Supreme Court has made obstetrics the hot issue in American politics for the next decade.
     Suddenly, the new richest man in Illinois didn’t seem interesting anymore. My friend had something else on his mind.
     Those coat hangers, he said, they’re just a symbol. Nobody ever really died from trying to give themselves an abortion with a coat hanger.
     I believe they have, I replied, my fingers already on the keyboard. Countless.
     He didn’t think so. I called up a 2001 interview with Dr. Quentin Young, who in 1948 was a resident at Cook County Hospital’s so-called septic OB ward.
     “A euphemism for women who had been damaged in self-induced or criminal abortions,” he told me then. “Of course, all abortions were criminal then.”

To continue reading, click here.


  1. 1. Cabooses were only on freight trains
    2. I had no idea French freight trains used cabooses.
    3. The ride in a caboose was very rough from everything I've read about them, because it was at the end of the train & was the last car to have the brakes engage, because it takes a while for the air pressure to drop in the trainline, when there's 100 cars in front of you.
    4. Very few cabooses left in US train service, having been replace by the End Of Train device, which radios back to the engineer's cab, the air pressure in the trainline.
    5. I was in favor of abortion when I was 13. That was in 1962 & Sherri Finkbine from Arizona had to go to Sweden for an abortion, because while traveling in Europe a couple of months earlier, she had been given Thalidomide to help her sleep, but had no idea she was pregnant at the time. That was just after they learned that Thalidomide cause huge defects in embryos & fetuses & created "flipper babies", children with no arms or legs & she didn't want to have that happen. She went to court in Arizona to get a court order to have one there, the Arizona court refused, so she ended up in Sweden for the abortion!
    6. About the same time, the CBS lawyer show "The Defenders" did a show about abortion. Normally it was on at 8 PM Central Time Saturday nights, but CBS was so freaked out about it, they ran it that Saturday at 10:30 PM, after the news!

  2. Some priest once wrote that a "girl" who dies of an illegal abortion is no more worthy of being mourned than someone who accidentally blows herself up while making a bomb.

    IIRC, this guy had some sort of position of authority at Notre Dame University. Yet one more reason why, if I had a daughter, I would never let her get within 10 miles of that place.

  3. I remember Sherri Finkbine. I was fifteen. Just the right age for kids to be telling a lot of Thalidomide jokes. They were like Hitler jokes...pretty sick...and not really all that funny.

    In the late summer of 2014, my wife and I rode through SE Ohio (the Appalachian quadrant) on a train that was made up entirely of cabooses. So every car was, technially, the last car [joke].

    Truth be told...the trip was rather disappointing. The day was quite hot (low 90s) and the steel cabooses felt like coffins in Hell. No fans or ventilation, except from the windows. The view was of trailers and shacks that were pretty beaten-down and depressing. Southeast Ohio has a lot of natural beauty...but also a lot of poor rural folks who must be barely scraping by these days (although most of them had shiny new trucks and satellite dishes).

    There WAS a bit of a breeze when the caboose train was moving, but not when it was stopped...and then it was stifling. Trouble was, there were far too many stops for "photo opportunities"--mostly out in the middle of nowhere. The Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad used to run these caboose trains in October, when the foliage is magnificent, and the weather in SE Ahia is a lot nicer. This excursion would have been a lot more fun in the spring, or in the fall. But in late summer? Not so much! Whoever changed the date to August was nuts.

    We rode in a car called a "transfer caboose"...which had open decks on both ends.But they weren't that much cooler. And caboose wheels are very noisy. We had to shout in order to converse .Riding wasn't the jolting torture test I expected, but it was not exactly like riding on a passenger train, either. We weren't bounced off the walls and ceiling by the suspension, but the caboose ride wasn't what you could call smooth.

    Cabooses are much more fun when they are stationary. We stayed in one, not far away, that had been converted into a tourist cabin, and that was a fine way to celebrate my birthday.


Comments are vetted and posted at the discretion of the proprietor.