Saturday’s Wide World of News: Mummies and Mayhem!

I hate waking up at the asscrack of daylight, when not even my alarm clock wants to be alert enough to start ringing. My youngest son wakes up before 7, like clockwork, every morning, but he’s content to stay wrapped up in his comforter or playing with his toys until either myself or the husband are prepared to deal with being awake. I’ve ranted about mornings before (not on this blog, but elsewhere) and I still think that there’s very little to admire or like about life before 9am. Especially if you discover you’re out of bread and have to trek your ass to the corner store before that hour in order to be able to serve breakfast to the spawn.

Also, FYI: Bingo Queens, I don’t care how much money you spend on scratch tickets and pull-tabs. Stop taking up so much fucking counter space while you gamble, and for the love of Christ on a cracker, return to the end of the fucking line instead of barging ahead of whoever’s been waiting patiently all this time just so you can trade in whatever few bucks you’ve won for even more tickets.

That is all.

Anyway.

On Tuesday, I posted a look at the week ahead, citing what topics I’d be talking about and when I’d be talking about them. You’d think only updating this journal 4 times a week, I could manage to keep on top of things. But Lost Wednesday didn’t happen, and it was supposed to be a double edition. That leaves me to either a) backdate the entry so I can pretend I was on top of things all this time, b) pretend that “What Kate Does” and “The Substitute” never happened at all, or c) find some way to make the next Lost Wednesday a triple edition.

You see how well the double edition went, right?

Eh, I’ll figure something out.

Honestly, I’m astonished I managed to get yesterday’s post out. Coming up with topics is not at all easy. And quite frankly, I’m dreading tomorrow’s installation of Serial Sunday. I’m in my last couple of weeks of pregnancy, and I’m feeling about as creative as an unbaked brick. We’re toilet-training the eldest, which is going to mean a LOT of cleaning and laundry over the next couple of weeks, and the new baby will be here almost before we know it. Add on top of that, my mother’s due to come home for a visit in late March, and I have a lot of shit to do over the next month.

One word: fuckin’ oi.

I said something about Iran and its threats of being a nuclear power, but honestly? I don’t want to dig up the links right now, so I’ll settle for talking about King Tut and Utah state Senator Buttars.

On with the news!

Mummies Alive! King Tut’s DNA Tested!

I love Ancient Egypt. I love its mythology, I love its culture, I love its pyramids and mysteries and mummies and curses. I’ve never been there, but it’s on my list of places to travel if I ever won the lottery. I devoured books like The Egypt Game and planned out serieses of short stories when I was 13 that centered around Egyptian themes. So when it was pointed out to me that scientists have successfully extracted usable DNA from King Tut, I was tickled pink. Because there’s nothing I love more than reading about or watching programs on exploring the mysteries of the ancient world.

Though it’s been long known that the pharaohs of ancient Egypt often married close female relatives (usually their sisters) in order to preserve and keep pure their divine bloodlines, it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Tutankhamen was the product of incest, and that his father was the Heretic King Akhenaten, who turned the polytheistic religion of the time into a single-god setup. And not only did Tut himself come from an incestuous relationship, it’s likely that the two stillborn fetuses entombed with him were fathered by him on a mummy that shows enough similarity to him to possibly be a full or half-sister.

The mystery about his medical conditions and death were more or less settled as well: forevermore ruined are the Hollywood images of a young, handsome pharaoh standing tall and proud. Most likely due to longterm familial inbreeding, King Tut had a cleft palate and clubfoot, meaning he would have walked with a cane and some moderate difficulty. Scientists also found several different forms of malaria present in viable tissue of several of the royal mummies tested, indicating that multiple infections of the worst strain (malaria tropica) had occurred over the course of their lives.

It’s also the oldest strain of malaria ever genetically proven. How cool is that?

As for what killed him, scientists believe it was a combination of factors. Though speculation and theories throughout the years since Tut’s tomb’s discovery have talked about murder, hunting accidents, and political assassination by underlings (notably his successor, Ay), it’s now believed that Tut died as a result of a broken leg, bone necrosis and a bout of malaria. Natural causes are a bitch like that.

Mormonia No Longer To Have 12th Grade?

In one of the dumbest moves I’ve ever seen, State Senator Chris Buttars is proposing to take a bite out of Utah’s $700 million deficit by completely eliminating the 12th grade from the state’s educational programs. I guess his logic is, since so many senior students piss away their last year of school with all those sex parties, drinking orgies and massive drug overdoses, it is only mete that the year they waste not be offered to them in the first place. After protests from teachers, parents and the students themselves, Sen. Buttars (pictured left) has toned down his proposal somewhat: now, he wants to make the last year of high school optional instead of mandatory. That way, he reasons, the students who feel they’re ready for high school at 17 – and have the proper credits to graduate early – can do so, while the students who feel that they need the extra year

Now, when I was a teenager in my senior year of high school (my province calls it Level III instead of Grade 12), I hated going to school with a passion. And looking back on it, it really did nothing to really prep me for my first year of university – flunked out spectacularly due to laziness and indolence, but that’s another story for another time. But that was all my own damn fault. I would have loved the option to Senior Skip the entire year… and that’s the problem. No, I don’t think most students at the age of 17 are fully qualified to judge whether or not they’re ready to leave school. I think that, especially given the state of education in the United States as it is, removing or making optional an entire year – which most take as college prep time if my understanding and remembrance of high school is correct – is only going to exacerbate the situation. I don’t care if it does save the state up to $60 million; that money is supposed to be invested in the future, and what are high school students if not your future constituents, politicians and surgeons?

Or don’t they deserve it?

Utah’s always had an option to graduate high school early, which some 200 students a year opt into, but is it really necessary to try to push students out of school ahead of time just to save a few bucks? Leave things as they are, sez I. The rare few students who can be trusted to be emotionally, mentally and educationally mature enough to graduate will take advantage of this option, while those who need the extra year won’t feel pressured to leave early just because their state representatives are having budgetary concerns.

Is it any surprise that this fucker’s a 70-year-old Republican? Did they even have 12th grade back in his one-room school? Should it even be mentioned that he supports intelligent design, that he’s made racist remarks on the Senate floor, and that he’s tried to pass legislation that would ban gay-straight alliances at schools, comparing gays and lesbians to radical Muslims?

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