This 'n That

December 7, 2012 - 5:03 AM

I am desperately searching for something to write about that doesn't include the words "fiscal cliff."

Maybe we'll just cruise around the net and see what catches our attention.

Here's one. Remember that unbelievable photo of the 13-year-old Afghan girl who was on the cover of National Geographic in 1985? It was taken by Steve McCurry. If you're old enough, you do. If you're not, it's worth looking at:

The National Geographic folks recently auctioned off much of its photo library and that particular picture sold for $178,900.

Seventeen years later a search was conducted to find that girl again. After many fits and starts (and at least one documentary) she was found.

Here she was at 30:

Next time you think you're having a really bad day, thank God you're not a 30-year-old woman living in Afghanistan.

Let's go back to that $178,900 price for the photo. The average annual salary of an Afghan male is $800. That means that photograph equals 224 years worth of income.

Next time you think you're having a really bad day, thank God you're not a male - of any age - living in Afghanistan.

Next Topic

One of my regular gigs is on Jim Blasingame's "Small Business Advocate" radio program. I was on yesterday morning and we got into a discussion about Syria.

Jim asked me why 20,000 people killed by bullets, IEDs and artillery during the civil war had been largely greeted by yawns from the West but at the first hint of the Syrian government using saran gas against the rebels has raised alarm bells.

I said - incorrectly - that chemical warfare had been outlawed since World War I.

Turns out, according to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) webpage: "The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (otherwise known as the Chemical Weapons Convention or CWC) was opened for signature with a ceremony in Paris on 13 January 1993."

Ok. So I missed by 75 years. Still …

As of today 184 countries are parties to the Convention. One of them is not Syria.

The other non-parties are Angola, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan and ... Egypt.

Where else do you get this stuff?

Next Topic

Speaking of Egypt, President Mohammed Morsi is overseeing what might be the beginnings of yet another round of demonstrations after he all but declared himself Pharaoh and then told the highest court it didn't have the authority to declare his actions unconstitutional inasmuch as there is no constitution in Egypt right now.

According to CBS News the anti-Morsi demonstrations that have left "at least six dead and 700 injured" are opposed to the "draft constitution hurriedly adopted by his Islamist allies in a marathon session last week."

Morsi spoke to the nation this week saying: ""It is my duty ... to protect institutions of the nation. I will always fulfill this role, no matter how much pressure or what the situation."

CBS reported "Opposition protesters jeered and raised their shoes in contempt."

I'm going to start carrying an extra shoe in my shoulder bag in case I need to raise it in contempt of someone.

How's that Arab Spring thing working out, again?

Last Topic:

Susan Page, writing in USA Today, looks at how attitudes have changed toward gays generally, and gay marriage in particular over the past decade or so.

"In 1996, a Gallup Poll found Americans opposing same-sex marriage by an overwhelming 68%-27%," she wrote.

In this poll 53% of those surveyed approved of gay marriage and "the only age group in which a majority opposes same-sex marriage are those 65 and older."

Ms. Page points out that: "One possible reason behind changing attitudes: Nearly eight in 10 adults say they know a relative, friend or co-worker who is gay."

The times, they are a'changin'.

There. No mention of the fiscal cliff.

On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to each of the stories mentioned above plus a Mullfoto left over from my trip to Paris last summer.