Currently, I'm involved in a spirited email list conversation between the conservatives on the list and the liberals. Yesterday, I was talking about the hate out there for the President, and how Dems don't seem to be "for" Kerry, just "against" Bush. Everyday I see assorted bumper stickers, like, "Impeach Bush", "When Bush Became President a Village Lost Its Idiot", I've even seen one that said, "Barbara Bush Should Have Had An Abortion". Now, here in left wing headquarters aka Monterey, you aren't too surprised that the fringe is out in full force, but it's not just the fringe, is it?
This ad that was placed in "The Nation" magazine is exactly what I'm talking about. And then you have Al Gore in his now infamous "Digital Brown Shirts" speech. He isn't on the fringe, he's a mainstream Democrat. Yet he invokes not only Nazism in his speech, but Stalinism as well, and all to describe Republicans. It's what I expect from the looney left, the kind of folks who have the bumper stickers, but this is man who was almost our President. (and I say "our", not "their", the Democrats.) This man, who may have been my President thinks I'm a Nazi. If that isn't an expression of hate for those that disagree with him, I don't know what is. I never hated Al Gore, I didn't vote for him, but not because I hated him. However, Gore equates disagreement to being a "Digital Brown Shirt", a Nazi. And John Kerry hasn't even made a token attempt to distance himself from such smears, or similar pronouncements from other supposed "mainstream" Democrats. Should I perceive that as tactic agreement? And if he wins, what then? Will he be my President, or just theirs?
I never envisioned ever having to ask such a question. It saddens me that I have to.
While Jefferson is known for authoring the Declaration of Independence, serving as our third president, and founding the University of Virginia, his contributions to wine remain some of his most enduring and overlooked legacies.
He tirelessly promoted wine cultivation and appreciation and worked as an advocate for farmers with vineyards. He also acted as a wine consultant for several presidents, including Washington, Madison, and Monroe, even after his retirement from public life in 1809. And although he did not see wine production flourish in North America during his lifetime, many attribute the eventual success of this country’s wine industry to Jefferson. He has been described as “the greatest patron of wine and winegrowing that this country has yet had,” according to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.
So remember, when spending time with friends and family this Fourth of July, take a moment to appreciate how far wine has come since 1776, thanks in part to Thomas Jefferson, the man who not only made it possible for you to celebrate this great day, but also to enjoy the wonderful aromas and flavors in your glass.
For more than 50 years, rancher Waldo Wilcox kept most outsiders off his land and the secret under wraps: a string of ancient settlements thousands of years old in near perfect condition.
Hidden deep inside eastern Utah's nearly inaccessible Book Cliffs region, 130 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, the prehistoric villages run for 12 miles along Range Creek, where Wilcox guarded hundreds of rock art panels, cliffside granaries, pit houses and rock shelters, some exposing mummified remains of long-ago inhabitants.
The sites were occupied for at least 3,000 years until they were abandoned more than 1,000 years ago, when the Fremont people mysteriously vanished. The Fremont, a collection of hunter-gatherers and farmers, preceded more modern American Indian tribes on the Colorado Plateau.
What sets this ancient site apart from other, better-known ones in Utah, Arizona or Colorado is that it's been left virtually untouched, with arrowheads and pottery shards still covering the ground in places.
"I didn't let people go in there to destroy it," said Wilcox, 74, whose parents bought the ranch in 1951 and threw up a gate to the rugged canyon. "The less people know about this, the better."
But the secret is out after federal and state governments paid Wilcox $2.5 million for the 4,200-acre ranch, which is surrounded by wilderness study lands. The state took ownership earlier this year but hasn't decided yet how to control public access, said Kevin Conway, director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
State archaeologist Kevin Jones said the site escaped looters to showcase a glimpse of ancient life only now being catalogued by the Utah Museum of Natural History.
"It's a national treasure. There may not be another place like it in the continental 48 states," Museum curator Duncan Metcalfe said Thursday by satellite phone from the site.
The title of the sixth HP novel will be: Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince.
Here's what the woman herself has to say:
Well, the door opened at last and I showed you the title of book six - the genuine title, the title that will appear on the published book, the title I have been using in my head for ages and ages. Unfortunately, however, the door opened on the very same day the 'Pillar of Storg' hoaxer struck, which left a lot of Harry Potter fans bemused as to whether I was having a joke at their expense by posting another fake title to 'teach hoaxers a lesson', something I certainly wouldn't do, as it would simply frustrate, confuse or annoy the 99.9% of you who aren't hoaxers! I tried to give a clear hint that the title behind the door was the real one by making the 'Toenail' joke as well (see 'Rumours'). But just to clear up matters once and for all.
Information you take directly from this site will be truthful and
accurate (I might occasionally joke, but as time goes on, you'll
learn to tell when I'm joking). Do not trust anybody else claiming to
have found information on this site that you cannot access, however
seemingly convincing the images they provide to support their story.
I never post information on the site that I do not want fans to read
immediately. In other words, anybody claiming to have 'discovered' a
message that wasn't due for release yet is lying. There was never
anything meaningful behind the door until the 'Do Not Disturb' sign
The 'Pillar of Storg' was never my title, and I did not change it
at the eleventh hour because I was 'found out' (I nearly fell off my
chair giggling when I read this).
I was delighted to see that a hard core of super-bright fans knew
that the real title was once, in the long distant past, a possibility
for 'Chamber of Secrets', and from that deduced that it was genuine.
Certain crucial pieces of information in book six were originally
planned for 'Chamber of Secrets', but very early on (first draft of
Chamber) I realised that this information's proper home was book six.
I have said before now that 'Chamber' holds some very important clues
to the ultimate end of the series. Not as many as six, obviously, but
there is a link.
Anyway: if you continue to exercise patience, you will find that the
Do Not Disturb Door opens again¡ and again¡ giving you further
hints about book six. But as a little bonus, and compensation for
having been messed around by Mr. or Ms. Storg, I shall tell you one
thing without making you shift any bricks at all: the HBP is neither
Harry nor Voldemort. And that's all I'm saying on THAT subject until
the book's published.
Go read this (warning, the linked post is about cruelty to animals and it will upset you), and then go read what Russ has to say. It's a very powerful post and it will move you -- perhaps even to tears.
We all just got bonuses! Considering I work in a hospitality based business and we were hit hard after 9/11, this is great. I don't ever remember getting a bonus mid-year like this before -- and since I've been here 13 years, I have a bit of history to base that on.
This post is required reading. A subject I've been pondering that Michele nails.
And this is the other bit of required reading today. I read it yesterday, but ended up not blogging at all (I was oh so sick yesterday) so I pass it on a day late.
Later: Add this to the list.
I'm heading to Jen's tonight, so it will be pretty quiet around these parts. I have asked Carolyn if she'd like to blog over the weekend, so she may pop in here at some point. She's debating starting a blog of her own, so she needs the fix :)
I signed up for internet service on my cell phone and it is hours of fun and amusement! Ring tones, graphics, games, setting up my portal! The best thing is being able to access email from my phone -- both my new cingular addie and from my existing Yahoo! account. So when I travel, lack of a laptop is no longer a problem.
We have one of those small office fridges here at work. A fridge I'm constantly throwing stuff out of since everyone thinks that the food they leave in the fridge magically apparates away or something. Anyway, some dear coworker decided it would be cool to put an opened, nearly full can of coke on the top shelf. Guess who just knocked it over, not knowing it was open?? Right in one! I just spent ten minutes on my hands and knees cleaning coke up from all over the inside of the fridge and the surrounding floor.
I'm just waiting for him to demand, "Who threw out my coke?!??!"
I am not pleased.
So, emode guy #1 and I have been carrying on an email conversation and he seems very nice. Though I think he'd be perfect for my friend Roberta actually. Okay, okay! I'm just saying!
Emode guy #2 sent me an email that said he wants to get together for coffee next week. Now that one I'm not too sure about. I need time to stew over things :) He lives locally, while #1 lives in the Bay Area.
The other piece of news I saw this morning was how the INS is finally doing sweeps for illegals in CA, AZ, and TX. Of course, the usual suspects, including the Roman Catholic church, are having fits. See, it's not sporting to arrest people once they've made it past the border. It's terrorizing illegals and treating them like they live in Iraq. [insert eye roll] By their measure, that means a bank robber who isn't arrested within a square mile of the bank should be given a free pass.
Has anyone else been watching "Rebels and Redcoats: How Britain Lost America" on PBS? I saw the first part last night and found it quite interesting. It's done by a British military historian and presents a Brit POV of the Revolution. Check it out if it airs in your area.
Michelle Malkin now has comments enabled on some of her blog posts. Now that's what I call brave! And very cool.
If you haven't checked out her blog yet, you should. She's very funny!
I was watching FNC before I left for work, and they were doing a piece on Florida and how it will play out this election. As usual, they had one guy from each side to spin it. The Dem guy was an ass! No matter what question the anchor asked him, he used a variation of the same reply every time. It went something like this: "I think it's interesting that Senator Kerry holds a lead over the President when the voters don't really know Senator Kerry and know President Bush very well." After the fourth time he worked that in to his reply, I was more than ready to reach through the screen and smack him upside the head!
Sometimes I wish the anchors could say what they must be thinking.
If you aren't reading Debbye's blog everyday, you should be, because she writes posts like this one:
When I proclaim my support of women to choose, I mean something a bit different than the current Liberal fear-mongering about abortion. I'm supporting the right of women to make decisions about their lives and futures, which includes our rights to be at-home mothers, wear a burka, have the independence we gain by driving ourselves to wherever we choose to go, and have the right to say "No" because ultimately, that's the definition of freedom: Having the right to say no.
The Official Feminist Movement jumped the shark long ago. Time to take back what is ours: the right to speak about ourselves for ourselves, and to celebrate our own diversity, that being our right to be individually individual.
So after swearing off Emode, I fell back into it this morning. I had two potential mutual matches and I went and hit the yes button. Why? I so suck at interpersonal relationships with the opposite sex, it's stressful, I'm shy, old fashioned, and not exactly a guy magnet. More like a guy repellent actually. So one has already emailed me back. I keep telling myself, "no pressure", but most of me isn't going for it.
I should just accept my spinsterhood and fade gracefully into the wallpaper, I really should.
you'd get me one of these pretties, precious:
Or would that be are what you drink?
How to make a Ith Ingredients:
1 part anger
5 parts self-sufficiency
5 parts leadership
Blend at a low speed for 30 seconds. Add sadness to taste! Do not overindulge!
Via the warm and fuzzy, LemurGirl!Posted by Ithildin at 4:36 PM
Frank & Louie
Budweiser has brought back the Frank & Louie radio ads! An, as usual, they're a hoot. This time around they're lampooning the Miller TV spots where the guy debates the horse. The second one I heard has the ferret.
(yes, I'm easily amused)Posted by Ithildin at 3:51 PM
Al Qaeda & Russian Nukes
Rush's guest host is currently going over things in the 9/11 Commission Staff Report that he thinks most of us haven't heard about. One real eye opener is that Al Qaeda had plans to take over a Russian missile site and force the crew there to launch a nuclear missile at us.
I don't know, but I'd say that would be something that the media would have wanted to inform us all about. But I guess they're too busy lying about what the report said to actually report on something significant.
But that's just me.
A few things I'm looking forward to this summer:
Day of Doon at Bonny Doon Winery
Stargate's new season
The launch of Stargate: Atlantis
Long weekend for the 4th
Trying out some more new grilling/BBQ recipes
Going somewhere warm enough, if even for just a couple days, to wear summer clothes
What's on your summer list?
June 22, 2004
For You FirthtersKevin Bacon and Colin Firth have signed to star in Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan's film noir "Somebody Loves You," its producer says.
The project is based on the Rupert Holmes novel "Where the Truth Lies," and explores the "underbelly of fame, fortune and the mores of sexual convention," according to Robert Lantos of Serendipity Point Films.
Of Hookers & Vino
Paul explains in "Today In History".
June 21, 2004
One Of Those Minions
Claire delivers a rootin tootin fisking of a letter by "he who shall not be named". (no, not Voldemort)
(upon reflection, especially after seeing PoA last night, he bears a striking resemblance to Peter Pettigrew)
(in both his forms, needless to say)
The Battle For ArthurHIS STORY has inspired everyone from the knights of medieval times to Hollywood film directors, but the true identity of King Arthur has remained stubbornly lost in the mists of time.
But, as Arthur fever rears its head with a major new film starring Clive Owen and Keira Knightley, out next month, two Scottish clans have emerged as challengers to those in Wales and Cornwall who claim the model of chivalry as their own.
While the knights of the round table, the lady in the lake, sword in the stone and the search for the Holy Grail have passed into British national identity, no-one truly knows who Arthur was.
However, historians at Clan Arthur believe they are the descendants of a chieftain who fits the bill better than anyone else and are now claiming him to be "Oor Arthur".
But the McArthurs face competition from Clan Campbell, which has traditionally claimed to be descended from Artur Mac Aeden, the son of a Scottish king and a Welsh-speaking Briton from the ancient kingdom of Strathclyde.
Clan historian Hugh McArthur said it would be a good time to publicise the Scottish Arthur story.
"The Duchy of Cornwall makes a lot of money out of the Arthurian legend with very little evidence," he said.
Bad Baby Names
Laugh out loud funny site about really bad baby names.
Via Tea Jen.
The baby that was abandoned in the chemical toilet has had her condition upgraded to serious. Still no word on what brain damage she may have suffered.
There Will Be More Later
We saw Prisoner of Azkaban last night, but I'm busy busy today. so I'll get back to you on it. In other news, I'm determined not to let people I don't even know bring me down. Go me!
If you have nothing better to do than be judgemental in somone's comments, you need a frickin' life.
Off to pour a cuppa and do payroll. Ooo! Fun!!
In the meantime go read the folks on my sidebar.
Later: I'm feeling less antagonistic now :) I knew you'd want to know.
June 20, 2004
Guns For Teachers
Fascinating post over at Grim's Hall on Thailand, terrorists, and arming teachers.Posted by Ithildin at 5:12 PM
You Gotta Love It
What? Why, a deity who can work my favourite Twilight Zone episode into a post about the Disney At War DVDs, of course.
I've been wanting to buy the DVDs, and Allah's review just helps confirm that.The best part of the set is a feature called "Victory Through Air Power," which you can and should read about here. Imagine, if you will, 65 minutes of Walt Disney animation dedicated to the proposition that we need to be bombing a lot more people a lot more often.Posted by Ithildin at 4:31 PM
Potential Violence & Ninja Fighting!
Since I've had requests for the story.
Mum and father belong to the "Large Ungulate" club and they're always trying to get me and Nin to join. So last night was one of the annual treks to the lodge to try and tempt us with pool tables, swimming pool, and bar. Mum was helping with the kids/teens dance this woman was putting on as part of their youth club, so she asked me and Nin to sit with her in the main room instead of the bar to keep her company. So we did. Mum went back to the kitchen for a bit, and we're sitting there minding our own business when "this woman" comes up to us and very belligerently (IMHO) wants to know if we paid our five dollars to be there. Nin tries to explain, but she just was obnoxious and wouldn't let us get a word in. She walks away, mum comes back and I tell her what happened and she's steamed. So Nin and I go back to the bar, again, minding our own business, and "the woman" is now at the bar getting yet another drink and I hear bits of what she's saying and she's gesturing back at where we're sitting. So now I'm getting really angry at this point, so I go find mum to tell her we'd better just leave because this is getting stupid. Now mum is really getting her Scots up and she takes off somewhere. Apparenty at that point, she's telling my father what's going on, and a few other people, and comes to find "this woman" has already gotten on the last nerve of several members. Mum convinces us to stay and we play a few games of pool while waiting for my father to finish up, then we head into the foyer to wait for him and I hear his voice, raised, telling someone that trying to convince people to join is not easy when they're treated like we were. We all leave and find out it was 'the woman" he was telling off. So we get home, and Nn is in a state. One more drink and I think she would have been in the woman's face. Everyone calms down and we start watching SG1 DVDs.
Cut to this morning, and the big apology. On our answering machine is a long rambley message from "the woman" apologizing for the way she acted, wanting to send me and Nin an apology letter, and telling my parents she thought we were teenagers! Okay, so I'm three weeks away from 40, so it's nice to hear. Amazing what dim light and the perceptions of someone who has had too many Long Island Iced Teas can do for your age!
So that was our amazing night at the lodge. Full of potential violence and Ninja fighting!
More Nutty Neo-Prohibitionism
I've found more neo-prohibitionism nuggets to add to my stack.
(via The Corner)
June 19, 2004
Shop Till You Drop
I've been meaning to steal this idea of Blake's for a bit now, and finally got to it!
I've opened a Cafe Press shop featuring my series of Parowan, UT Petroglyph photographs. Each item has a different photo from the series of seven.
If you'd like a photo on a different piece of merchandise, let me know and I'll see what I can do. If you're interested in a print, shoot me an email.Posted by Ithildin at 5:18 PM
Just Call Me
If Madonna can do it....
Henceforth (as announced in the comments of this post) I wish to be called "Persephone"!
(all in aid of my self-imposed goal of keeping this weekend light and happy and my blood pressure down)
In Case You Were Wondering
Yes, you can donate a few credits to our little blog community here at ondragonswing.com. Over on the sidebar, under "the attic" you'll find a link to the donation page.
We don't hold pledge drives or anything (though I'm thinking of making Paul do a pinup calendar to sell as a fundraiser!), but random acts of donation are always greatly appreciated.
June 18, 2004
Apropos Of Nothing
It's just odd to hear Adel Al-Jueber, the spokesman for Saudi Arabia, open his mouth to speak and hear an almost Irish/Scots accent.Posted by Ithildin at 9:09 PM
Not Ernest Borgnine
My results are here for 24 hours.
I may have to try a different photo to see if it changes the results.
Later: yep, a different pic, different results. Still no Ernest Borgnine though :) And I haven't heard of any of them except Maria Callas & Juliette Binoche.
Later Later: Here's the side by sides:
The first one is Juliette Binoche, the second Vanessa Mae.
The other pic
First one is Maria Callas, the second one is Gisele Bundchen.
We Have An Enemy
As is her habit, Debbye cuts right through the crap:We have an enemy. It's name is al Qaeda. It has condemned all of us to death. And how do we respond? By holding partisan-driven commissions to find some way of blaming our government for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. By asking why do they hate us, which rather ignores that anyone who hates "us" so much that they personally inflict horrific deaths upon Daniel Pearl, Nicholas Berg, and Paul Johnson are psychopaths.
A church in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed in 1963 and four little girls were killed. The country didn't ask "Why do they hate Negroes" but joined together to condemn the hatred that killed those children and to renew efforts in the Civil Rights Movement.
Did people ask why Clifford Olson hated children?
Did people ask why Marc Lepine hated women after he went on a rampage at an Engineering School or did they confront the hatred and condemn it?
Of course there was countless speculation as to their deranged reasons, but no one credible concluded that the Klan, Olson and Lepine had good reasons to hate their victims and urged black Americans, women and children to mend their wicked, wicked ways.
Canadians didn't conclude that those women and children deserved to die for the sins of other women and children.
Moral equivalence is not moral. It's not even rational.
Just Too Nice
This was over on The Corner this morning:.... Here, for example, is what former Iraqi Governing Council member Younadem Kana, an Assyrian Christian, told NRO’s Meghan Clyne a few weeks ago: “If Iraqis are upset with the American troops, it's mostly because they are very nice — too nice — with these criminals, dealing with them as prisoners of war. But they are not prisoners of war, they are criminals; they are killers. But Geneva Convention rules put pressure on the Americans to be nice, and to take good care of them.”
Sing it, brother!Posted by Ithildin at 4:16 PM
Japan Was Target Of al-QaedaAl-Qaeda terrorists in 1999 planned to carry out large-scale attacks in Japan, South Korea and Singapore, according to a report released Wednesday by an independent panel investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The plot to hijack commercial planes and crash them into U.S. targets in these countries represented an alternate to a plan to hijack commercial U.S. airliners on Pacific routes from Southeast Asia and blow them up in midair.
"By April or May 2000, however, (Osama) bin Laden had decided to cancel the Southeast Asia part of the planes operation because he believed it would be too difficult to synchronize the hijacking and crashing of flights on opposite sides of the globe," observes the staff report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
The report specifies no exact targets in the three countries, though they are believed to have included U.S. military bases in Japan.
The rest here.Posted by Ithildin at 11:33 AM
Fair & Balanced
Remember the donut story? Well, the same guy went out this morning without telling me and got me Starbucks just because he thought I'd like it.
Here's some local news for you. A newborn was abandoned at the bottom of a chemical toilet yesterday. Yes, that's right, in the waste, at the bottom. Why the miracle? The baby survived, but barely. The doctor on the news last night said another half hour and she wouldn't have made it. She's still in critical condition though, so send a few prayers her way.A newborn girl abandoned Thursday in a portable toilet near Soledad is in critical condition in a Palo Alto hospital.
The baby's mother, a 17-year-old field worker, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and was taken to Natividad Medical Center in Salinas. Her daughter was initially taken to Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, then transferred to the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford Medical Center for specialized treatment.
A field foreman found the newborn girl around 10:45 a.m. in the waste reservoir of a portable toilet at a Gardoni Farms labor camp on Camphora-Gloria Road, about a mile east of Highway 101 in Soledad. Workers alerted the foreman to the sound of a screaming child.
The foreman pulled the newborn out and immediately called 911. The baby was discovered with its umbilical cord still attached. It was not immediately clear whether birth occurred in the portable toilet or if the baby was dropped into the waste tank.
Monterey County sheriff's deputies and medical personnel responded to the scene. Around 11:30 a.m., emergency workers alerted Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital that the child was in an ambulance, on her way there.
Dr. David Kasting, the neo-natalogist who treated the girl, said she was probably trapped in the toilet for one or two hours. He found the child had a body temperature of 80.5 degrees, well below a newborn's normal temperature of about 97 degrees.
"In all my years, I have never seen a newborn this cold," he said.
Doctors were concerned with the girl's respiratory system, but her lung function appeared good and her heart rate was stable at Salinas Valley. Kasting also said the child did not appear to have ingested any harmful fluids. It appeared she was born seven weeks prematurely.
The newborn was stable at Salinas Valley, although doctors feared she could have suffered brain damage. She was trasferred to Stanford around 7 p.m. Late Thursday, doctors there changed her condition to critical.
You can read the entire article here.Posted by Ithildin at 8:29 AM
June 17, 2004
I love the title of this book: Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.A panda walked into a cafe. He ordered a sandwich, ate it, then pulled out a gun and shot the waiter. 'Why?' groaned the injured man. The panda shrugged, tossed him a badly punctuated wildlife manual and walked out. And sure enough, when the waiter consulted the book, he found an explanation. 'Panda,' ran the entry for his assailant. 'Large black and white mammal native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.'
I just got one of those surprise boxes from Amazon full of goodies! This has to be one of the nicer perks of blogging :)
Thank you, CrankyBeach! And the perfect day to be getting something to make me smile too.
Something In The Air Tonight
And it's not happiness.
I'm frustrated, worried, and yeah, a little scared. I want to reach through the TV screen and shake the talking heads who don't seem to have a single clue, or they're outright lying. If my typing mirrored the thoughts in my head, all this would be in CAPS!
Last night I was almost crying in frustration. This morning, I read this post of Michele's which said so well what I've been feeling. Then listening to Rush, I hear him say a lot of what I was nearly shouting at the TV last night. It's like the Twilight Zone, it really is. The twisted half-truths of the media and a great many of the public who won't look past what Dan Rather or Peter Jennings tell them. How can they be so ignorant? How can they not see the danger? You'd think nearly three thousand dead on 9/11 would get through to them, but it hasn't! We're back to business as usual and it puts every single one of us at risk.
I honest to god understand at times why some people head for the middle of nowhere to wait out the fall of civilization. But I can't turn it off, I can't stick my head in the sand, and at the same time, I feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall and am totally useless. This is when the word "heartsick" works really well.
June 16, 2004
Brodgar Neolithic VillageCenturies-old conceptions about the Ness of Brodgar - the thin strip of land between the Harray and Stenness lochs - look set to be turned on their heads following a series of exploratory excavations on the south-west of the ness.
Last year's discovery of a structure half-way between the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness gave the first hint that ideas were going to have to change.
A domestic settlement in an area thought to be solely the domain of ritualistic and funerary monuments was a clear sign that certain long-held notions about the Brodgar peninsula needed to be looked at again.
The structure's discovery, together with a series of extensive geophysics scans of the World Heritage Site area, was beginning to indicate the sheer extent of prehistoric human activity on the Ness of Brodgar - and perhaps, most intriguingly, that this activity wasn't entirely based around the ceremonial rings.
But even the geophysics results couldn't prepare the archaeologists for what they found after digging a number of small exploratory trenches around the site of the "Brodgar New Hoose" - in particular that the area around Lochview could be still house an extremely well-preserved Neolithic village.
Absolutely fascinating stuff here, so go read it all!
(have I mentioned lately how much I want to back to Orkney?)
Your Favourite Place
I have an email list discussion going on fave places in your state/province, and I thought it would be fun to bring it over here too. You can answer here or trackback with the answers on your own blog.
* What is your favourite place in the state you live in now?
* What is your favourite in a state you've lived in before?
The North Coast of CA up by Crescent City.
Operation Shoe Fly
And yet more email from this morning (I rarely get blog related email, so two in one days is kewl!) (yes, I'm easily pleased):
Operation Shoe Fly
Mark Your Calendars!
My birthday. One month from now. That is all.
I've Always Wanted To Go To Switzerland...
June 15, 2004
Iran Massing Troops On Iraq Border
At least according to this UPI report.
Watashi No Namae...
And my Chinese name is -- acording to this website -- Yu Tan Ning which means "smooth; self-possessed, repose, serenity, peace; peaceful.
This is frickin unbelievable!! I could go off on a full blown rant, but I really don't need the added stress today. Just go read it and remember your "blogging lamaze" exercises!Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Larry Craig (R-ID) have vowed to enact an amnesty program for millions of illegal aliens, even if it means holding every other piece of Senate legislation hostage to accomplish it. The two senior legislators have promised to attach their Agricultural Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits and Security Act (AgJobs) to every Senate bill for the remainder of the year. Their first target is the Defense Authorization bill now being debated in the Senate.
The AgJobs bill would allow virtually every illegal alien who has worked in agriculture in the U.S. to gain legal residence for themselves and their families. Based on the language of the legislation, and past experience, millions more people would likely gain legal residence fraudulently. Among those who fraudulently gained amnesty under a similar agricultural worker provision of a 1986 law were two Egyptian terrorists and New York City taxicab drivers—Mahmud and Mohammed Abouhalima—who later participated in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.
"Of all the concerns of the American people—winning the war against terrorism, affordable health care, improving education, soaring energy costs—Senators Kennedy and Craig have decided that amnesty for millions of immigration law breakers is the nation's top priority," said Dan Stein, executive director of FAIR.
Via The Corner
A Nifty New Blog
Did you all know Michelle Malkin has a blog now, or am I the last to know as usual? She's long been a favourite of mine, so this is nifty! And perusing her blogroll, I see she has excellent taste in reading material too.
Talk about some over the top film reviewing! You'd think the guy was on Michael Moore's staff instead of Fox News'..... It turns out to be a really brilliant piece of work, and a film that members of all political parties should see without fail.
But, really, in the end, not seeing "F9/11" would be like allowing your First Amendment rights to be abrogated, no matter whether you're a Republican or a Democrat.
More than even "The Passion of the Christ," "F9/11" is going to be a "see it for yourself" movie when it hits theaters on June 25. It simply cannot be missed, and I predict it will be a huge moneymaker.
He's got to be kidding! I know he's the ultimate celebrity fawner -- I suppose it goes with the job -- but even for him this is kooky! Sorry Roger, I guess I'll just go ahead and abrogate those First Amendment Rights of mine and pass on filling Moore's coffers any more than they are already.
June 14, 2004
I'm actually Paul Jané. Yes, it's true. I've had this near obsession with ham and Zils for many years but was afraid to admit it. So I created an alter ego to allow myself an outlet for those feelings.
I'm so ashamed [hangs head]
Not to mention confused. Really confused.
I've never even been to Montreal -- let alone frozen there.
Can you all forgive me?
Pride & Prejudice Go-Round
They're doing Pride and Prejudice again. This time with Matthew Macfadyen & Keira Knightley.
And This Makes Sense?
Remember we talked about the Harry Potter actors and the studio saying they may be recast since they'll soon be older than their characters? Well they just cast a 21 year old as Fleur in GoF!
Whatever.Posted by Ithildin at 6:09 PM
There's some odd web searches out there that bring folks to my blog...
Today's favourites are "bitter homosexuals" & "did the allies or enemies get aided from the pearl harbour".Posted by Ithildin at 5:52 PM
Cold Day In A Warm Nether Region!
That is a quote from my friend, Jayne, on reading an email I sent the list on "the man with two first names", Adrian Paul. See, he has many fans who think he'd be the perfect James Bond. I had thought such desires were confined to the Highlander lists I'm on, but they seem to have spread to other places. Today for example, I'm reading an article on a movie site, and they show the most recent message board threads on the sidebar. There I see the dreaded words, "Adrian Paul as James Bond". Then it gets worse! Unable to resist clicking the link, I read the thread and see someone saying that AP looks and sounds like Sean Connery!! My comment on that: "In what universe, pray tell?"
(For those of you have never even heard of him, he starred in the Highlander TV series. He's pretty -- if you like that sort of look -- but he's no Sean Connery. Or even Roger Moore for that matter.)
I participated in the "Bloggers Select Their Favorite Fictional Characters" poll over at RWN. Very few of my picks made it, not that is too surprising, but a couple did. As always there's a few I forgot, but here's my list in no particular order:
Methos: TV Show "Highlander" LaCroix: TV Show "Forever Knight" Capt. Jack Sparrow: Movie "Pirates of the Caribbean" Colonel Jack O'Neill: TV Show "Stargate SG1" Master Robinton: Book: Pern Series Sarak: TV Show Star Trek Lessa: Book Pern Series Anita Blake: Book Anita Blake Series Avon: TV Show "Blake's 7" Han Solo: Movie "Star Wars" Indiana Jones: Movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark" Stitch: Movie "Lilo & Stitch" Thomas Magnum: TV Show "Magnum P.I." Hannibal Smith: TV Show "A Team" Elrond: Book "Lord of the Rings" Galadriel: Book "Lord of the Rings" Captain Greg: Movie "Ghost and Mrs. Muir" Lucy Muir: Movie "Ghost and Mrs. Muir" Buffy Summers: TV Show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Dr. Who: TV Show "Dr. Who" Adam Dalgliesh: Books and TV "P.D. James Adam Dalgliesh series" Neil Burnside: TV Show "Sandbaggers"
In bold, those from my list that made the final tally.
Thanks to all my wonderful guests for keeping the place humming while I was gone. Let's give them all a big round of applause :) And thanks to Paul for keeping a keen troll eye out while I was absent.
Just thought I'd pop in and wish everyone a non-awful Monday morning...and point out that if you need something other than news to read this morning, you might try the Carnival of the Dogs and the Carnival of the Cats, both of which were posted fresh this weekend. Just what you need to cheer you up on a Monday!Posted by Deb at 7:44 AM
June 13, 2004
Good Bye Mr. Ronald Reagan
Today, in the depths of grief I recall my President, Mr Reagan. We have buried him, we have put him to rest but his humble spirit and his warmth remain alive in us, encouraging us to believe as he did...that our lives are valued by God and that we must gleefully scurry around fulfilling the dreams that are stored in our hearts.
The tears fall because he spoke so strongly in defence of the worth of our hopes for the future. When he said that America was a beacon to us who must have freedom, he was so right. To those of us who found ourselves born into lands ruled by the arrogant and the cruel, Mr. Reagan's voice was a life raft, a confirmation that life for life's own sake was worth struggling for. He told us all that our hidden dreams for our own lives and our children were valid and the right to pursue those dreams was worth any amount of sweat, blood and tears to defend.
I salute Mr. Reagan and his life of courage and tenacity.
Play this song and think of me, a once poor and lost migrant, harkening to the call of freedom and hope. I still look towards the city on the hill though now I see it through bleary eyes because of the great debt I owe to Mr. Reagan who pointed me to it.Posted by at 12:19 PM
June 12, 2004
... Lady Margaret Thatcher singing along with the Star Spangled Banner -- now how many Americans know the words to somebody else's national anthem, do you suppose?
... Gorbachev can spin all he wants to for the Washington Post about how "nobody" won the cold war -- but for cryin' out loud, at least he showed up! (Then again, how dare he refer to our beloved Gipper as 'nobody', on the day we buried him!)
... the stirring Wilhousky arrangement of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" performed at both the National Cathedral and the Reagan Library. For anyone who didn't get enough of that music on TV already, here is a site where you can listen to a recording of it, performed by the US Army Band, with an all male chorus. Here is a USAF Band recording with a mixed voice chorus, which I actually like better. Both sites allow you to download an MP3. I downloaded both, and will never hear it again without thinking of President Reagan.
... Mrs. Reagan's whimper as she broke down over the casket, clutching the flag, and the three Reagan children hurrying to her side to comfort her.
... Lady Thatcher giving her old friend a final bow as the sun set.
Leave her alone, already.
I was thinking about commenting on this, but since Bryan said it so well, I'll just refer you to him.Posted by Deb at 10:00 AM
Alternate histories offer multiple possibilities.
Jeff at Caerdroia offers a chilling possibility that history avoided with the help of Ronald Reagan: Islamist terrorism Al Qaeda style--backed by the Soviet Union.
*shivers*Posted by Deb at 7:40 AM
June 11, 2004
Even Gorbachev Admits it
From Thursday night's programming on the History Channel:
"If another had been chosen in his [Reagan's] place, I don't know if what happened would have happened." --Mikhail Gorbachev, through a translator, referring to the fall of the Soviet Union
Reagan ended the Cold War. Even Gorby says so. Get over it.
June 10, 2004
Parade of Fools
Greg Palast is another writer who has joined the parade of fools who have dedicated time and space to the besmirchment of Ronald Reagan. He recently wrote an article about President Reagan that is probably one of the foulest and lamest articles I have ever seen. Here is the link if you have not seen it already.
Here is an excerpt:
In 1987, I found myself stuck in a crappy little town in Nicaragua named Chaguitillo. The people were kind enough, though hungry, except for one surly young man. His wife had just died of tuberculosis.
People don't die of TB if they get some antibiotics. But Ronald Reagan, big hearted guy that he was, had put a lock-down embargo on medicine to Nicaragua because he didn't like the government that the people there had elected.
Ronnie grinned and cracked jokes while the young woman's lungs filled up and she stopped breathing. Reagan flashed that B-movie grin while they buried the mother of three.
Now I know that Greg Palast was probably trolling for a Drudge link but it sounded to me like he actually believed what he was writing.
Ronald Reagan was a skilled storyteller and carried a sunny disposition but he was also the leader of the free world. He was not a nun or a bulging-eyed volunteer for the Red-Cross. He was a Commander-in-Chief.....
Whether he liked it or not, Ronald Reagan was the man responsible for the security and continuation of the U.S. He was also the head of the security contract that secured Western Europe and other lands of free peoples from the Soviet Union.
Nicaraguans made a serious mistake. They allowed themselves to be used as a Soviet toehold in South America. They allowed their nation to become a testing ground for ideology. Their Sandanista movement, though touted as a revolution for the people, turned into a suppressive entity after various groups of people began to push for autonomy in the post-revolutionary Nicaragua.
Was it the fault of the Nicaraguans? Well, was the outbreak of WWII the fault of the German people for voting for Hitler's Nazis? Yes? Then it was also the fault of the Nicaraguans for voting for communists.
People say, "It was their own choice so they should have been left alone." In most cases that would be true but if my neighbor freely chooses to buy a poisonous snake as a pet and lets it roam around my yard where my kids play, he should not be surprised when I sever it's head .
Nicaraguans decided to buy a snake when they voted for the commies. Reagan had no choice. He could not leave the snake to meander around South America devouring free peoples. He had to take action. He pushed to get help for the counter-revolutionaries (mostly through the Contras) who were working for autonomy from the Nicaraguan Junta Government led by Ortega.
Palace writes about a woman dying of tuberculosis. It is really sad when a mother dies but Reagan is not to blame. If the damn commies were so wonderful, why did they not supply the woman with medicine? After all, the people of Nicaragua were fairly confident that they were bringing in a better system.
As it turns out, Ronald Reagan’s policies helped out the Nicaraguans in the end (in spite of the whole Iran-Contra scandal). Because the Ortega Government was so badly weakened (by the fight with the contras and by the loss of support from the soon-to-collapse Soviets), it was forced to negotiate with the counter-revolutionaries for an election date that was fair and open. In 1990, Ortega lost the election and a new Government emerged. Reagan’s role in that story was the prevention of a Soviet –centric regime being permanently entrenched in South America (like another Cuba).
Anyway, that’s enough of Palast. The Nicaraguans voted out his beloved commies. His feeble attempt to make an argument based on emotions surrounding a dying mother rings false because his buddies the commies (who Reagan was fighting vehemently) killed an incomprehensible number of people around the earth. Why does he bring the details of one woman and leave the details of millions of others who were secretly murdered by the communists.
Palast’s sullen work is merely an extension of the vomitous propaganda machine that the leftists and communists have used throughout their blood-drenched history. Cloying, pitiful and vulgar.Posted by at 10:45 PM
Reagan's Final Send-Off
For the lucky ones who have the opportunity to watch live, or for those who need to set their VCRs... the schedule for Friday's events can be found here.Posted by CrankyBeach at 4:10 PM
(As I'm doing this post, KTOM has started playing "America the Beautiful" by the late Ray Charles.)
When Bunnies & Icebergs Collide
I can't hear it, but it sure looks funny.Posted by Ithildin at 11:42 AM
Now That's What I Call Ironic
Listening to Tim Russert on Rush right now and he mentioned Nikita
Khrushchev, who infamously stated we'd all be living under Soviet rule in
the future (I believe this is the quote he's talking about: "Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you!".). Turns out that his son just became an American citizen.
Now that's winning the Cold War!
What Can I Say?
What can I say that hasn't already been said by so many already? From the riderless horse bearing President Reagan's own boots backwards in the stirrups, to Nancy Reagan patting the casket and smoothing the flag that lay over his coffin, it was, to me, the essence of America, and the best of what we are as Americans. The celebration of a life, the grief of parting, and the promise of the reunion still to come.Posted by Ithildin at 9:16 AM
Just a few things from watching the proceedings yesterday....
... the spontaneous outburst of love and respect from the gathered crowd when Mrs. Reagan got out of the limo to watch the transfer of the casket from the hearse to the caisson.
... the certain conniption fits of the left, especially the separation of church and state crowd, at the blatant religious content, even in the music played by the marching military bands, although I wonder how many of them even recognized "God of our Fathers."
... the incredible honor given to those young service members who were chosen to carry the casket, and to stand guard, and their precision and professionalism in carrying out those duties. How many of those youngsters had even been born when Reagan became Commander in Chief?
... Mrs. Reagan looked like she hadn't slept in a week but still held her head high, and every time the cameras focused on her limousine during the procession, she was still waving to the crowd.
Many writers far more eloquent than I have much more to say, so I will hand it off to those folks for now.
Thanks, Ith, for letting me put in my 2 cents' worth on your airwaves.
June 9, 2004
It's My Mood Tonight
Anyone else see this headline "Lawyer says Saddam subjected to torture...", and think what I thought?
It Could Be Better
I'm tired, my head hurts, I want to go home. All of a sudden, I feel kind of sad and wistful. I dunno, I think it's just been that kind of week hasn't it?
When I get home, I'll watch the tape of President Reagan's last journey to D.C., and I expect I'll get a little more sad and that crying will be involved. I think I'll get Nin to make me one of her uber-strong Rusty Nails.Posted by Ithildin at 6:04 PM
A friend just passed along this poem -- written many, many years ago.
I don't know if it's reassuring or depressing that things haven't changed much.
We report, you decide.
UPDATE: I did further research, and found that the poem was written in 1892.
Help Me! I'm a blogger
I have been mulling over this excerpt that I grabbed from the Belmont Club for a while.
Mr Gardner, BBC's security correspondent and an Al Qaeda expert, was left for dead by the fleeing attackers, local newspapers said. But he survived and pleaded for his life, shouting to bystanders to help a fellow Muslim, a police officer told AFP.
"I'm a Muslim, help me, I'm a Muslim, help me," the father of two daughters cried in Arabic, the officer said. Mr Gardner, fluent in Arabic, was carrying a small copy of the Quran, a device used by Western reporters to try to reassure extremists.
Wow. Life is certainly different on the Arabian peninsular. Let us go over the incident. A man is shot and lies bleeding on the ground. He seems to know that the only way he will get help from bystanders is if he identifies himself as a Muslim. He calls out "I'm a Muslim, help me, I'm a Muslim, help me,".
From the article, I cannot definitively say that help was only offered to the man...
after he identified himself as a Muslim. For all I know, people may have been planning to help whether he made the remarks or not. What sickens me is that the fallen man felt that he had to yell out his religious association in order to get help in that part of the world.
The article says that the man is indeed a Muslim (he was not fibbing) and that he is fluent in Arabic. This of course means that he was not just a foolish foreigner trying to elicit help by grovelling for sympathy but rather that he indeed knew the culture very well and must have had some inkling that help would not be offered to him if he was not a Muslim.
This saddens me.
This story suggests that if I were visiting Saudi Arabia, I would have to pretend that I was a Muslim in order to get help or else I would be left to die in a pool of my own blood or vomit or entrails or whatever ailed me at the time.
Is it possible that a similar scenario could occur in North America?
I certainly don't feel like I have to explain that I am an Episcopalian to my family doctor before he agrees to treat my throbbing haemorrhoids. I am particularly glad about this because it is difficult to go over the finer points of Episcopalian theology while sitting on one cheek.
If I happen to be lying in a bloody mangled mess on the side of the highway anywhere in North America (except New Jersey), I would feel comfortable flagging down any passing vehicle no matter who was in it. I don't believe that I would have to hold up a small sign with the MovableType logo in hopes of getting a passing blogger to stop and help.
I don't think I would look at the driver of a passing car and upon seeing a turban, decide not to wave for help because the driver and I were plainly from different religions. It just would not cross my mind that such a difference would matter and I think this is true of most people in North America.
I believe I would flail my shattered arms at any vehicle that passed feeling very confident that because driver's licences are issued primarily to human beings, I have enough in common with any driver to prompt them to screech to a halt and have them help roll my carcass out of the lanes of traffic.
Then again, maybe that’s just me.
CrankyBeach Is In The Building
Greetings, one and all. Ith has graciously invited me to join the guest blogger roster. I don't know how much you'll see of me, though, because I can't be brilliant on command. :)
By way of introduction, I've known Ith in real life for nearly 15 years, going back even to the pre-Nin days. In my misspent youth I registered as a Democrat (gasp!) but saw the error of my ways and repented in time to help elect Ronald Reagan in his first landslide.
And that's all I have time for right now, as I must get back to my eeeeevil Republican ways, act like I'm gainfully employed, and make some money to help spur the economy! Hope to see more of y'all in the next few days.Posted by CrankyBeach at 9:42 AM
Just The Radio
Rush broadcast the sounds from the ceremony in CA where President Reagan is being flown to D.C.. He did so with very little commentary, and even without pictures, I found myself getting weepy standing by the radio. It's going to be a sad week.
(I'm taping it all so I'll be able to see it when I get home.)
Wild has already introduced himself, and joining him will be Deb, who has been a doll and volunteered again, and my friend Carolyn aka CrankyBeach. She's never blogged before, so y'all be nice!
I've known Carolyn for something like 15 years?!?!!? Yikes! and I think she's going to take to this blogging thing like an otter to water :)Posted by Ithildin at 9:09 AM
Guest Host Intro
Ith, the whimsical host of this blog, posted an invitation to author some posts for her blog over the next few days.
Ith and I have exchanged comments over a long while and thus I was eager to serve as a temp on her site.
I quickly volunteered and by days end, I was given the keys to Absinthe & Cookies.
First, I must thank the gracious host of this blog for the invitation and then I must move onto matters of the deepest importance to me.... yes...self-promotion.
Here is a brief description of who I am.
I host the blog called Bleeding Brain and have been doing so since September 2002. Like a lot of people, I began blogging as an outlet for the emotions that still ran hot one year after the events of September 11th 2001.
I am an industrial software designer. I pretend to know what I am doing and my clients pretend to pay me (it all works out really nicely in the end).
I was born in central Africa in the 1960s to a hippie white mother and a military black father. Having lived in the jungle home provided by my father for the first part of my life, I decided to live among my mother's people for a while and thus ended up North America where I live to this very day.
I am only moderately skilled at writing (largely because English is my only first language). My foremost love is music and my second love is the sound that music makes when it is played.
I am a conservative sprinkled with libertarian seasonings and a dash of social conservatism.
I strongly supported W’s raid on Afghanistan and the subsequent raid on Iraq.
I have always loved Ronald Reagan and I mourn his passing.
I support Israel's right of self-defence and Taiwan's right to stay independent.
I will try to be on my best behaviour on Ith's blog.
Anyway, introductions are done. I look forward to starting with my first post here in a day or two. The subject will likely relate to the war on leftism.
June 8, 2004
Snippity SnipPosted by Ithildin at 5:54 PM
Letters To The President
I received an email invitation today to paticipate in this project. I thought it was an interesting concept and something well worth passing along to you, my gentle readers :)Posted by Ithildin at 5:17 PM
Be My Guest
Anyone interested in guest blogging the rest of this week through the weekend? I'll be out of town beginning Friday, but you'd be welcome to pitch in the few days prior if you'd like.
Drop me an email at edithna AT yahoo DOT com if you'd be interested.
Later: Wild from Bleeding Brain has been the first victim, but he'd love some company! So if you were thinking of volunteering there's still a few prized openings left.
Ae Fond Kiss
This poem of Robert Burns has been going through my head the last few days, and this photo has just intensified it. (the Alex Beaton perfomance of it set to music is what's in my mind's ear)
Ae Fond Kiss AE fond kiss, and then we sever; Ae fareweel, alas, for ever! Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee, Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee! Who shall say that Fortune grieves him While the star of hope she leaves him? Me, nae cheerfu' twinkle lights me, Dark despair around benights me. I'll ne'er blame my partial fancy; Naething could resist my Nancy; But to see her was to love her, Love but her, and love for ever. Had we never loved sae kindly, Had we never loved sae blindly, Never met—or never parted, We had ne'er been broken-hearted. Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest! Fare thee weel, thou best and dearest! Thine be ilka joy and treasure, Peace, enjoyment, love, and pleasure! Ae fond kiss, and then we sever! Ae fareweel, alas, for ever! Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee, Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee!
Posted by Ithildin at 10:56 AM
June 7, 2004
Where I work, I'm right across the street from the city's main flag location.
I noticed about halfway through the day that the flags weren't half-staffed. They were only down a flag's length of the pole.
If this continues, I may have to call the city and complain. The flags are supposed to be halfway down the pole, not a quarter the way down!
Magnum On DVD
Via Spoons, the news that Magnum P.I. is finally coming out on DVD! Something else to add to my wishlist.
Favourite episode (and one of the best TV episodes fo any series): "Did You See The Sunrise?"
The Prisoners' ConscienceIn 1983, I was confined to an eight-by-ten-foot prison cell on the border of Siberia. My Soviet jailers gave me the privilege of reading the latest copy of Pravda. Splashed across the front page was a condemnation of President Ronald Reagan for having the temerity to call the Soviet Union an "evil empire." Tapping on walls and talking through toilets, word of Reagan's "provocation" quickly spread throughout the prison. We dissidents were ecstatic. Finally, the leader of the free world had spoken the truth – a truth that burned inside the heart of each and every one of us.
At the time, I never imagined that three years later, I would be in the White House telling this story to the president. When he summoned some of his staff to hear what I had said, I understood that there had been much criticism of Reagan's decision to cast the struggle between the superpowers as a battle between good and evil. Well, Reagan was right and his critics were wrong.Posted by Ithildin at 6:28 PM
From Okinawa To Hokkaido?The United States has sounded Japan out on a plan to relocate some of its 16,000 marines stationed in Okinawa to a Ground Self-Defense Force training range in Hokkaido, Japanese officials said Monday.
The move forms part of a planned U.S. global military transformation, the officials said.Posted by Ithildin at 6:20 PM
Transit of Venus
If you want to view a webcast of the transit of Venus across the sun, you can do so here.On June 8, 2004, astronomers in many parts of the world will watch as Venus moves across the disk of the Sun, one of the rarest planetary alignments. Only six Venus transits have occurred since the invention of the telescope in the 1600s.
For hundreds of years, transits of Venus have been important for scientific research. From the seventeenth century onward, Venus transits provided observers with data that eventually led to a very close estimate of the astronomical unit-the distance between Earth and the Sun.
Transits of Venus occur in pairs that are eight years apart, then don't happen again for more than a century. The last two Venus transits were in 1874 and 1882, so no one alive today has seen one. After transits in 2004 and 2012, there won't be another until 2117.Posted by Ithildin at 6:16 PM
Just a nice story.One man's quest to find Aberdeen - all 34 of them
IT WAS a throwaway line by a television reporter in Hong Kong, there to witness Britain handing over the colony to China, that crystallised a thought in Aberdeen-born Fred Bull’s mind.
The reporter said: "I am in Aberdeen, Hong Kong!"
Mr Bull, now 67, said: "Home was occupying my mind and it made me wonder how many places bore the name."
The thought became a ten-year mission to locate and visit each place that had the North-east port as its namesake.
The result, a DVD documentary and a book Aberdeens Around the World, is to be published in June. It records a 96,000-mile odyssey predicated on an idea, the legacy of which will last far longer than Mr Bull. From his home near Aboyne, Mr Bull said: "It has taken on its own life."
A decade ago, Mr Bull began with eight Aberdeens and after research compiled a list of 34, only two of which he has not visited. The Aberdeens of Guyana, in South America, and Sierra Leone, in Africa, remain out of bounds because of unrest and war.
In the United States alone, Mr Bull visited 12 Aberdeens and one in Nova Scotia, Canada.
The most remote Aberdeen is on the South Andaman island, 1,000 miles off the east coast of India, and founded by the Earl of Aberdeen in Victoria’s reign. The oldest, outside Scotland, is in New Jersey, founded in 1685.
One Aberdeen Mr Bull finds poignant is a suburb of Freetown, the Sierra Leone capital.
"It was named by a North-east skipper who was returning freed slaves to their home."
In Kentucky, Mr Bull met a man who asked him where he was from. "I said Aberdeen, and he replied, ‘No, you don’t, I know everyone, there.’
"I said I was from Aberdeen, Scotland, and he said, ‘There’s another Aberdeen?’"
Another Medicare-esque Rant
I started to rant about Medicare prescription coverage here at work, and I thought I'd be getting into a semi-intelligent conversation with one of the pharmacists (Luckily, not the rabid Democrat. Every time I try to have a discussion with him, he starts ranting about how evil Bush is. Then, I figuratively blow him out of the water and he wanders off, muttering.)
Me: And, where are they going to be getting the money to pay for the nifty Medicare prescription coverage plan in 2006? We don't have enough money for Medicare now!
Pharm: Well, by then, maybe we'll be out of Iraq.
Me: That has nothing to do with it. They're both different parts of the budget. Even if we weren't in Iraq, we still wouldn't have the money for this.
Pharm: Oh, yes we would. [pause] Can I have one of your chips.
So, instead of a conversation about the government, I was forced to retreat, using my black marker as a weapon to beat off the hordes after my cheddar and sour cream chips. Grrr... My chips! Mine!!
(This was going to be serious, but I de-evolved into my normal, wacky self...)Posted by Ninjababe at 4:59 PM
I Hate Medicare!
Well, the discount cards anyway.
I'm used to getting 1-2 calls a day at work. I enjoy having a low call volume. I'm borderline phobic about talking on the phone.
Now, I'm getting 10-15 calls a day. All are asking which Medicare discount is a good one for them.
Well, here's the skinny on Medicare discount card plans:
There are 75 different plans authorized by Medicare. Then, there are the probably hundreds of non-authorized plans. Each plan has different drugs they cover.
I'm not memorizing the drug formularies for 75 plans.
Then, there's the fact that you can only have one plan a year. So, if you get a plan, then decide to change it a few months later, you're out of luck until the beginning of the next calendar year.
These plans are only good for the next two years. Supposedly, in 2006, Medicare itself will have a prescription drug coverage plan.
Of course, I want to know where the money for this plan is coming from...
The Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign site has been turned into a memorial page for President Reagan.
June 6, 2004
Later: The Untold Stories of D-Day. I think this is a great companion to the subject I chose for my D-Day post.
This post will stay at the top till Monday. Scroll down for new posts over the weekend.Posted by Ithildin at 11:59 PM
Kilroy Was Here
Check this out. I love it! Brings back memories of summers spent at my grandparent's place in Victoria where I stayed in what had been my father's basement room and went through his old stuff. He had put Kilroy all over his various belongings. He had been a blackout warden as a teenager during the war, and all his old gear was still in a box in the basement.Posted by Ithildin at 3:53 PM
Reagan In Pictures
A few of the photos I came across today.
Anyone else up getting ready to watch the D-Day ceremonies live?
I made dinner, Nin made drinks, we watched Master & Commander with my mum and brother, and now I'm settling in in front of the TV watching FNC for as long as I can stay awake. Isn't it odd that these two events have coincided? I was reading President Reagan's speechs in Normandy twenty years ago, and was struck by how the fates work.I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day. This day we fight! For all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West! ~ Aragorn, "Return of the King"
Later: I can't keep my eyes open. Chirac managed to get his UN bit in. I guess France and the UN share the value of skimming money off the top. The President's speech at times made me cry. Say what you will about his speaking ability, but what he does say is from his heart, and it makes that connection.
Till later today, good night.Posted by Ithildin at 12:11 AM
June 5, 2004
Remembering A President
Ronald Reagan has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was in second grade, I won a state wide art award, and I got a certificate signed by Govenor Reagan. My father often spoke of him when the governor would visit the Hotel Durant in Berkeley where we lived. He was resident manager, and Governor Reagan came for gatherings at the hotel where my father would meet and welcome him. The first Presidential election I was old enough to vote, I voted for Ronald Reagan. There are so many things I admired about him, but I suppose the top of that list was bringing the downfall of Soviet Communism. All the years of my childhood, participating in atom bomb drills at school, and being pretty sure I'd be dead by 20 due to nuclear war, and then the Berlin Wall fell. I thought I was dreaming. It was a day I'd never thought to see. He showed us that we didn't need to be ashamed to be Amreican, that we could be strong and secure. After Watergate, Vietnam, hostages in Iran, years of MAD, Ronald Reagan brought a new era, and one I'm very grateful for. Thank you, President Reagan, and may God bless you.
Later the Next Day: I really like Michele's eulogy. Her memories of the Cold War and fear of nuclear war are ones I so empathize with. One of these days I need to do a post on what happened in first grade when I thought the Soviets were going to attack while I was at school.
Dogs & CatsPosted by Ithildin at 2:55 PM
Watching FNC and it's like a pre-eulogy right now for President Reagan. My first election, I voted for Reagan. A man I have greatly admired for so many years.
My prayers go out to him and his family.
1:50pm: President Reagan has died.Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, died today at his home in California. He was 93 years old and had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Reagan, known as "The Great Communicator," was elected to office in a landslide victory over incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter in 1980 and is credited with revitalizing the country's stagnant economy and forcing the end of the Cold War during his two terms in office from 1981 to 1989.
His charismatic personality and staunch conservatism led the nation in a Republican resurgence that kept the GOP in the White House for 12 years.
Reagan remained largely out of public view since announcing he had Alzheimer's disease in November 1994. He came to symbolize Alzheimer's, which has no cure, during the last decade of his life. Reagan turned the disclosure of his disease as an opportunity to make a final address to the nation, expressing in an open letter to the American people the same patriotic fervor that had catapulted him into the presidency.
"When the Lord calls me home, whenever that may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future," Reagan wrote at the time. "I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead."Posted by Ithildin at 12:42 PM
June 4, 2004
Treating Our Vets Right
Good to see the French are treating our D-Day vets with kindess and respect:With armfuls of gifts, France on Friday welcomed back American veterans who helped free Europe from Nazi occupation when they landed on Normandy's beaches 60 years ago.
One hundred former World War II fighters saluted and waved as they climbed off a chartered Air France plane that brought them from Washington, D.C., to receive France's highest honor at D-Day anniversary commemorations this weekend.
Several leaned on canes as they walked down a red carpet on the tarmac at Charles De Gaulle Airport outside Paris. Many wore military caps and medals on their chests, some toted video cameras and all placed hands over their hearts when a French military band played "The Star-Spangled Banner."
French Veterans Minister Hamlaoui Mekachera promised the Americans they'd find a warm, grateful welcome here.
"For the French people of 2004, just like for the French people of 1944 ... you are true heroes," he said.
"We are fully aware of what we owe you, we have not forgotten the immense sacrifices that you have made for the liberation of our country."
France is to bestow the Legion of Honor, its most prestigious civilian and military award, on the 100 veterans who were chosen by U.S. officials. France says it wants to honor them as representatives of all the Americans who fought against Nazism.
The honorees and their relatives traveled for free on a flight paid for by Air France and other French businesses. Some of the top hotels in Paris are putting them up without charge.
Joseph Kuhar, 87, of Washington, D.C., said French kindness had been overwhelming.
"If they keep giving me souvenirs, I'm going to have to hire a truck," he laughed. Many of the veterans carried shopping bags full of gifts, including bottles of champagne.Posted by Ithildin at 5:56 PM
Another Edition Of "Lend Me Your Links Friday"!
It's Friday and its been a looong week. So let's play!
Quick recap: if there's a blog post you read this week that you'd like the rest of us to read, put a link to it in the comments. Later, I'll add the links to the body of this post. If you have a blog, I'll add your link along with your reccomended reading link, so you get something out of it too :)
And this week's twist: are you seeing a movie this weekend? If yes, what are going to see?
* First link of the day goes to the Debster who points us in the direction of this post on "The Dangers of Harry Potter" by Jen. (or as I call her, "Fugitive Jen" because between RL Jens and blogging Jens, I need a code!)
June 3, 2004
Vampires Have Feelings Too!
And yet Nin mocks this poor vampire with no pity. Tsk!!
There's quite the kerfuffle going on in Scotland after it was learned that the Chinese, more specifically the military band of the People’s Liberation Army of China has been invited to perform at this year's Edinburgh Tattoo:ITS website promises that the 55th Edinburgh Military Tattoo will be the most spectacular ever - a 1,000-strong line-up from five continents.
But, just two months from its official opening on the 6 August, the Tattoo’s organiser, Brigadier Melville Jameson, has found himself at the centre of a growing political storm, facing the threat of a long summer of anti-Tattoo demonstrations.
The Edinburgh debut of the military band of the People’s Liberation Army of China, an army whose troops were responsible for killing pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989, and whose soldiers continue to occupy Tibet, has caused outrage among politicians and human rights groups.
"It’s still one of the most oppressive regimes on the planet," said Mike Pringle, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Edinburgh South, and vice-convener of the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party working group on Tibet.
"If someone had invited representatives of Saddam Hussein’s government and band, there would be outrage. This is a government which is repressing its own people, let alone the Tibetans. I don’t think Brigadier Jameson realised what he was biting off."
So Much For Cutting
I was doing the usual "my birthday is next month, so I better update my wishlist" task and instead of removing things, I ended up adding more. [sigh] Amazon is evil!
If I ever win the lottery, my one splurge would be to buy everythng on my wish list.
Later: I ruthlessly cut cut cut! Removed a whole page.
aka Shameless Self-Promotion
There will be another edition of "Lend Me Your Links Friday" on, you guessed it, Friday! So start thinking about your contribution if you would. You can take a look at the last one here. Email lists: check out ALRR if you're a reader or writer or both. Celts In Space is my Celtic themed list. If you'd like to be a part of a group blog, and you're female, I invite you to check out Girls! Girls! Girls!. No blogging background required to join us in the madness. And remember that Mickey is hosting another Carnival of the Dogs, so if you have some puppy posting to share, head over to her blog for all the details.Posted by Ithildin at 10:26 AM
The Life That I Have
Last week, I received an email from Blackfive asking if I would participate in his D-Day Project. I was honoured at being included, but I wasn't sure if I could contribute anything worthwhile. He convinced me to give it a shot, so this is the result.
I've chosen the women of the SOE as the subject of this post because I've long admired their contributions to our freedom. In fact, when I was a little girl, and I first learned of them, they were some of my heroines. From movies like "Carve Her Name With Pride" and the series "Wish Me Luck", there stories were brought to life. I was nine or ten when I first saw, "Carve Her Name With Pride", about Violette Szabo, an agent with the Special Operations Executive in Britain. She was a wife, a mother, and a hero:.... After training Violette went into France twice. On the second occasion she was captured after a shoot-out in which she killed several German soldiers.
After torture and interrogation in which she gave nothing away, she was sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp where she was eventually shot through the back of the neck with two other women SOE agents, Lillian Rolfe and Denise Bloch. Another French section agent, Odette Hallowes, was in the camp with them and gave details to the authorities at the close of the war.
There is an anonymous memorial on the wall of a chapel in Kensington to six women of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, the cover used by SOE for female agents. All six died in concentration camps. Violette Szabo is one of the names. She was posthomously awarded the George Cross, which was presented to her four year old daughter Tania Szabo by King George VI on 28th January 1947. She was also awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French Government in the same year.
Violette was 23
Her story is a remarkable one, but not a unique one. There were many woman like Violette that risked their lives to get vital intelligence to the Allies. They were the girls next door, someone's wife, sister, mother, or daughter. And of these women, probably the most famous is Nancy Wake, the "White Mouse".....Her missions with the Resistance meant her life was in constant danger. She became a suspect and was watched. The Gestapo tapped her phone and opened her mail. She took many identities. She was so good at evading the Gestapo they nicknamed her the "White Mouse". By 1943, Wake was No 1 on the Gestapo’s most wanted list and there was a five million-franc price on her head. It was too risky for Wake to stay in France and the Resistance decided she should go back to Britain.
"Henri said ‘You have to leave’, and I remember going out the door saying I’d do some shopping, that I’d be back soon. And I left and I never saw him again."
Escape was not easy. She made six attempts to get out of France by crossing the Pyrenees into Spain. On one of these attempts she was captured by the French Milice (Vichy militia) in Toulouse and interrogated for four days. She held out, refusing to give the Milice any information, and with the help of the legendary 'Scarlet Pimpernel of WWII', Patrick O'Leary, tricked her captors into releasing her.
Finally Wake got across the Pyrenees and from there to Britain. She was on safer ground, but had no news of her husband, who worked separately.
Nancy Wake, then 31, became one of 39 women and 430 men in the French Section of the British Special Operations Executive which worked with local resistance groups to sabotage the Germans in the occupied territories.
She was trained at a British Ministry of Defense camp in Scotland in survival skills, silent killing, codes and radio operation, night parachuting, plastic explosives, Sten guns, rifles, pistols and grenades. She and the other women recruited by the SOE were officially assigned to the First Aid Nursing Yeomantry and the true nature of their work remained a closely guarded secret until after the war.
No sector gave the Reich more cause for fury than Nancy’s – the Auvergne, the Fortress of France. Methodically the SS laid its plans and prepared to obliterate the group, whose stronghold was the plateau above Chaudes-Aiguwes. Troops were massed in towns all around the plateau, with artillery, mortars, aircraft and mobile guns. In June 1944 22,000 SS troops made their move on the 7,000 Maquis. Through bitter battle and escape, Nancy and her army had cause to be satisfied: 1,400 German troops lay dead on the plateau, 100 of their own men.
Nancy continued her war: she personally led a raid on Gestapo headquarters in Montucon, and killed a sentry with her bare hands to keep him from alerting the guard during a raid on a German gun factory. She had to shoot her way out roadblocks; and execute a German female spy.
On June 6, 1944, D-Day, allied troops began to force the German army out of France. On 25 August 1944, Paris was liberated and Wake led her troops into Vichy to celebrate. However her joy at the liberation of Paris was mixed with a devastation she had secretly anticipated: in Vichy she learned that her beloved husband Henri was dead. A year after Nancy had left France in 1943, the Germans had captured Henri, tortured and executed him, because he refused to give them any information about the whereabouts of his wife.
Nancy Wake is now in her 90s and is living in England with the support of Prince Charles. You can find out more about her here.
Names -- and deeds -- that should be remembered: Lise de Baissac, Denise Bloch, Andrée Borrel, Sonya Butt, Madeleine Damerment, Odette Hallowes, Noor Inayat Khan, Vera Leigh, Eileen Nearne, Eliane Plewman, Yvonne Rudellat, Violette Szabo, Nancy Wake. During this week's D-Day ceremonies, take a moment to remember these brave women.The Life That I Have
The life that I have is all that I have,
And the life that I have is yours.
The love that I have of the life that I have,
Is yours and yours and yours.
The sleep I shall have, a rest I shall have,
Yet death will be but a pause.
For the peace of my years in the long green grass,
Will be yours and yours and yours.
There Were No Badgers At Helm's Deep
While perusing the latest in "badger entertainment", we came across this one.
Nin laughed so hard, she cried.Posted by Ithildin at 8:29 AM
June 2, 2004
It's A Poll!!
One, I wanted to play around with some of the kewl toys the hosting company offers, and two, I was pondering earlier. so killing two birds and all that...
As you may have noticed, the male, female blogger thing is going around again. some of the comments I've read today have stated that men don't read blogs written by women. Now, I'm not sure, but I think that most of the blogs that link to me are written by guys, and I know a lot of my commenters are men, so viola! a poll! Two actually. Now lets see if these puppies work:
Later: Okay, that was a bust. Not sure why it's not working, but I'll see if I can figure it out.
My cruddy memory hits blogging. I can't remember what the hell I was going to post about. It's like when I walk into a room, and can't remember what for. I honest to gosh can't remember.
[wanders around office a bit]
Nope, it's gone.
I'll get back to you.
Always assuming I remember to that is!Posted by Ithildin at 5:38 PM
I'm making a dizzying descent down the ranks of the Ecosystem! With nothing but sheer talent, I've plummeted 63 places in one day! From 176 to 239.
(I know I've been quiet, but it's been kind of nuts RL wise lately)
June 1, 2004
Be Careful What You Wish For