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Meet my new neighbor(s)

conjoined twins Faith and Hope Echevarria

Born Tuesday morning at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence: conjoined twins Faith and Hope Echevarria. Video here. These little girls are zipped together from the bellybutton to the breastbone. They share a single heart and liver, so there will be no separate existence for these two.

A pretty example of synchroniwhotsit: my airport book coming out of Heathrow this time this time was Mutants: On Genetic Variety and the Human Body. I’ve always had a warm spot for teratology.

I (mostly) recommend it. The good bits are very good. He spends a fair bit of time on genetics and the chemical engines that drive differentiation in the developing fetus. These parts are interesting, but heavy going when you have the attention span of a stoat on an airplane.

It’s an extremely handy book for discouraging your seatmate from striking up a conversation, anyhow. It’s illustrated.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 2, 2007, 5:14 pm

As is Flesh and Blood: The History of the Cannibal Complex, my mother discovered when I loaned her my copy for the trip back to Tennessee one year. Her seatmate crushed himself against the skin of the airplane and didn’t make eye contact the whole way.

Comment from iamfelix
Time: November 2, 2007, 5:58 pm

Stoaty, quit making me buy stuff. I’ve already read 2 more books on the plague, thanks to your “plague pits” post, plus another one on the Boston Molasses flood (from one of your links) … I’m supposed to be on a budget, thanks to my various reversals of fortune this year – no more books! (And no, I hate to go to the library … lots of lovely booksss, but we hass to gives them BACK, precioussss). 🙂

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 2, 2007, 6:16 pm

Oh! Felix! If you entrust me with a snail mail address, I’ll send you a care package. I’m not taking all my books.

I didn’t know there was a whole book on the molasses flood…

Comment from Lokki
Time: November 2, 2007, 10:25 pm

Late one Friday night, after every one was asleep – even the girls who had wanted to dance one more dance before they went home to their parents for the night, or snuggled into the arms of their lovers to go to their boyfriends’ tiny apartments with single beds; even after the moon had set for the night; and even after the last bat had eaten his fill of mosquitoes, the earth wobbled to the left in its orbit, just a tiny bit. It was such a slow and gentle wobble in the one orbit, that it set off no alarms at the great centers of science where graduate students were supposed to be staring intently at the seismographs,no, no one in all of America noticed; no one in London where everyone was focused on their breakfast kippers; no one in Tokyo where it was approaching evening and the scientists were thinking their dinners and not their dooms. Those traditional forecasters of doom, the animals were mostly silent. One fish skipped across the surface of the water to escape, but was captured by an eagle; a squirrel quivered in terror, but was so deep in a forest that no one saw. A dog howled, but had a boot and a curse thrown at him for his trouble. That was the way it was that night. No one noticed that things were different but a dog who was cursed for it.

But that wobble changed everything. The subtle alignments of power between the Earth and the Moon, and between all the planets and the stars – each string of power and influence was either tugged and stretched a bit, or bowed and slackened – all for just an instant, but it changed things. Perhaps one or two of the strings actually snapped, and certainly some stretched, so that although things returned to ‘normal’ it was a different ‘normal’ than the earth had ever seen.

Omens started to appear. A conjoined twin was born in Rhode Island. A weasel and a badger decided to marry and move to England. Who knew what would happen next? Would the old Gods who had been buried and forgotten for centuries be exposed to the light and seize power from that new God called Science?

Who knew…. who knew?

But no one noticed. Fascinated as moths by the little events of their lives, no one saw those omens for what they were.

Comment from iamfelix
Time: November 2, 2007, 10:54 pm

It was actually very interesting (molasses flood book):


It has two of my favorite subjects — disaster & USA Civil-War-through-1920s time period.

Comment from Jessica
Time: November 3, 2007, 10:40 am

This is strange, as I have just been reading up on all sorts of “deformities” because of something I saw about the movie “FREAKS.” I was particularly fascinated by the “pin heads,” who suffer from the non-fatal cousin of the deformity my sister died from.

At any rate, that’s sad about those babies – not a good prospect to be sharing a heart.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 3, 2007, 10:52 am

Anencephaly versus microcephaly?

I’ve got a copy of Freaks around here somewhere. But don’t get me started. The people who clamored to end the freak shows certainly didn’t do it with the performers’ best interest at heart. Or, if they did, it was unintended consequences all around.

Freaks were the royalty of the sideshow. You could learn to swallow swords or bite the heads off of rats, but you had to be born a freak. Many took no small pride in that — not to mention the princely sums they often made.

But, ummm…another conversation for another day, perhaps.

Comment from iamfelix
Time: November 5, 2007, 6:51 pm

Stoaty — Did you see this little tyke?


I hope they can do some successful revamping of the poor girl … that would be a tough way to live.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 5, 2007, 7:05 pm

Holy cow, Felix! I saw the headline but didn’t follow to the article. That’s really unusual as, according to my mutant book, fetal development has a preference for heads. IOW, two heads and one body is more common than two bodies and one head, by a lot.

She would be a Hindu, poor waif 🙂

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