You'll Definitely Want To Avoid the California Roll

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Dramatic before and after pictures of Viktor Yushchenko's ravaged face, and another comparison, both illustrating an AP story on accusations that the Ukrainian opposition leader was poisoned in September during a private dinner with Ihor Smeshko, head of Ukraine's internal security services. Details from the Austrian doctors in The Star in South Africa, and a birth-of-a-leader narrative in the Globe and Mail with more information on the poison theory.

I'm not making any accusations. I have limited experience with food poisoning and in this case the political is personal—I just had a nice Thanksgiving playing the turd in a punchbowl of international leftists who were birddogging Bush for the way he's handling the Ukraine crisis. But I will say I've never seen a sushi that could do this to you.

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  1. “Viktor Yushchenko probably has one of two possible medical conditions that would account for his rapid facial changes. The diseases are scleromyxedema or cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. He needs a skin biopsy. I cannot conceive how poisoning could cause these changes.”

    –Howard Bargman, MD, associate professor of dermatology, University of Toronto

    http://www.snappingturtle.net/flit/archives/2004_11_26.html#005035

  2. I just passed a nice Thanksgiving dinner being the turd in a punchbowl

    At first I thought you were talking about a bowel movement.

  3. I still don’t know what he’s talking about.

  4. Hey, the skin problem in the “after” picture looks like what happened to President Palmer’s hand after he shook hands with Mandy on 24.

    Yuschenko might claim that he got his problem after having dinner with the head of the Ukrainian security service, but I wonder if there wasn’t some hot chick running her hands all over his face that evening. He’ll never give a straight answer on that to any news source that his wife might read, but if his buddies took him out for a drink he might tell a very different story…

  5. thoreau,

    I can’t believe Fox cancelled Greg the Bunny but kept 24 around. 🙂

  6. tex, I don’t think psychiatrists should have declared Barry Goldwater insane in 1964 based on having watched him on TV, nor do I put much stock in what a dermatologist thousands of miles away comes up with about Yushchenko based on pictures on the internet. These people don’t go to four years of medical school so they can make crackerbarrel diagnoses of people they’ve never met.

    thoreau and Franklin: Turd in the bunchbowl is a fanciful depression roughly meaning “the sole disagreeable person in a group of people who are otherwise in perfect agreement.” I see where the confusion is coming from, however, and have done away with the unintended pun.

  7. Tim-

    I knew exactly what you meant. I still thought it was funny. I imagine that most people passed Thanksgiving dinner this weekend.

  8. Earth to Tim: Do some research. Then write …

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B00E7DF1438F93AA1575AC0A9629C8B63

    Poison Assertion Rejected

    Published: September 29, 2004, Wednesday

    VIENNA, Sept. 28 — An Austrian hospital that recently treated Viktor A. Yushchenko, the Ukrainian presidential candidate and opposition leader, said Tuesday that accusations that he had been poisoned were baseless.
    The Rudolfinerhaus Hospital gave no further details about what might have caused Mr. Yushchenko’s symptoms, but the hospital said it would hold a news conference on Wednesday to discuss the case.

    Earlier this month, Mr. Yushchenko stopped campaigning for the Oct. 31 election and flew to Vienna for treatment after becoming ill with what aides said was first thought to be food poisoning but later said was chemical poisoning.

    He returned to campaigning 10 days ago and has accused the Ukrainian authorities of poisoning him to remove him from the race. He has difficulty speaking, and one side of his face appears paralyzed.

    Aides to President Leonid Kuchma have dismissed the accusations.

    Published: 09 – 29 – 2004 , Late Edition – Final , Section A , Column 1 , Page 9

  9. Tim,
    Thanks for the clarification. I had no idea what that meant. And now I intend to use that expression where and when I get the chance.

    Here is a cool Arabic expression that I learnt yesterday;
    “Leisha haami hamaameck” (literally “why are you burning the bathroom”) It means “why do you interupt when it is not your buisness”

    You can use it if you want.

  10. “Turd in the punchbowl”

    Sounds like something leftover from a Dan Rather broadcast.

  11. Turd Soup is the version with which I am familiar.

    No matter how much soup or what kind soup one has it all becomes Turd Soup with the introduction of just one, no matter how small, turd.

    Your network rack is picture perfect, then someone installs a router by perching it ontop of a monitor
    so a too short patch cable will reach the open port on some switch and then drapes the power cord across the front of everything. Poof, turd soup.

  12. It’s just a coincidence. Nobody ever does anything bad to win an election. Diebold CEO Wally O’Dell was just saying some idle, empty words when he promised to deliver Bush the Ohio electoral votes in November and he didn’t mean anything by it so forget he said anything, and Yuschenko just happened to fall ill with a bizarre mystery face-eating illness at the exact moment he became embroiled in a hotly contested national election. Nothing to see here people, just move along. Go get some sleep. Prozac is good for you.

  13. “Turd in the punchbowl”, is way better than “turd in the soup”.

    A turd in the punchbowl is right there, everyone can see it there. You look in at it and “whoa” theres a turd there, in otherwise perfect punch. The punch is so clean and pretty, and the turd messes it up. A turd in the soup may go un noticed. Whatever the hell you little IT example meant.

  14. I agree with tltk that this is no coincidence.

    The last I heard doctors in Kiev were attributing the mysterious illness to a “non-food chemical.”

    Isn’t Kuchma the guy who had an opposition journalist bumped off?

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