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this can't end well

the members of the european union have opened talks to allow turkey to join its ranks. austria, the lone remaining opposition to the proposed talks, gave way under pretty intense pressure, particularly from the uk, to drop its objections. in reality, austria's objections (chief among them a feared increase in immigration) were pretty specious, but that doesn't mean that someone with a level head shouldn't be trying to dissuade eu members from welcoming turkey into the fold.

the government of turkey is a brutal dictatorship with an appalling human rights record, particularly with regards to its native kurdish population. although the current government has made statements to the effect that it will not tolerate the widespread torture and brutality of previous regimes, all indicators are that these practices are still common.

as recently as last week, the turkish government was threatening to shut down a group that defended gay rights, on the grounds that the existence of the group violates the principles of turkish morality.

one thing that has surely won support from the british (good american lapdogs that they are) is the government's vicious crackdown on the pkk, a kurdish separatist or terrorist group, depending on who you ask. both the americans and the british have praised turkey for its hardline stance in dealing with the pkk.

note that this is the same ethnic group who were touted as an oppressed minority in iraq under saddam hussein. cross the border into turkey and the same people become the enemy.


as long as you're here, why not read more?

mental health mondays :: where even the depressed ones are happy

this past week saw the publication of the annual world happiness report, a look at nations around the world and how people in each of them feel about their lot in life. i started following this a few years ago, and this year it occurred to me that it would be fun to look at how the happy places compared to the crazy places. i mean, what if those countries aren't really all that happy, but just have an extremely high rate of psychotic/ delusional disorders?

so, i set to work putting together a comparison. as it happens, that's a bit trickier than it sounds, because information on any kind of disability is more difficult to come by than you might think. and no type of disability is more controversial than a mental illness, which means that there are even more complications around definitions, seeking treatment, prognoses, record-keeping... it's hard to tell how reliable anything you're looking at is. [not that there aren't some good sources.]

and what sources there …


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…