Monday, March 31, 2008

"Winter Light" - The Secret Garden (1993)

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

"Take me out to the ball game, take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, I don't care if I never get back, let me root, root, root for the home team, if they don't win it's a shame. For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out, at the old ball game."

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Winston Churchill "finest hour"

What a Catch!!

THIBODEAUX , La. -- A medical student who blindfolds his friends to keep his favorite offshore fishing spot secret has come up with a record-beating fish -- a warsaw grouper weighing 359.1 pounds. The giant hauled in by J.J. Tabor of Thibodauxis 12 ounces above the previous Louisiana state record, a state biologist confirmed. It's been cut down to fillets. The first fillet weighed 53 pounds, Tabor said. He caught it near an oil rig 70 miles south of Fourchon, in 400 feet of water. He won't give a more specific description. 'It's J.J.'s secret,' said
Joey Rodrigue, a friend from Baton Rouge who joined Tabor and Tabor's father, John , on the record-making trip Saturday. 'I don't even know where I was. He blindfolds us on the way out.' Tabor said he thought at first that his hook with a live hardtail on it had hit the bottom 'until I felt the big head shake.' Rodrigue steered away from the rig. 'I put myself in a harness and just had to lay back and fight,' J.J. Tabor said. 'It was about a 15 or 20 minute fight.'
Tabor cleaned the fish late Monday afternoon outside his father's auto repair shop in Thibodaux . 'We'll split it up,' he said. 'I'll make some phone calls and try to get rid of it fresh. The rest, we'll vacuum pack it and cook it later.'
Tabor says he believes the fish is about 33 years old. He plans to send an inner-ear bone called the Goliath to a university in Florida where researchers can help determine the age of the fish. He hopes to get the results in about four weeks. The world record, caught off Florida in 1985, is 436 pounds, 12 ounces.

Puppy vs. Lion Cub

Canadian skip wins women's world curling title on home soil

Lyndon Little, Canwest News ServicePublished: Monday, March 31, 2008
Canada 7, China 4
VERNON, B.C. -- At least now Jennifer Jones won't have to answer any more questions about Paisley, Scotland.
Since she failed to reach the podium in her first opportunity at representing Canada at the women's world curling championships in 2005, the Winnipeg skip has been dogged by queries about what went wrong.

Canadian skip Jennifer Jones celebrates after defeating China to win gold at the world women's curling championship Sunday
After beating China's Bingyu Wang 7-4 Sunday before a capacity crowd of 3,725 at the Greater Vernon Multiplex in the final of the 2008 Ford women's worlds, Jones and her teammates can finally call themselves world champs.
Jones becomes just the second Canadian skip to bring home the gold when the women's worlds have been held on Canadian soil. Ontario's Marilyn Bodogh is the only other one to accomplish that -- she did it twice, in 1986 and again in 1996.
"It feels pretty darn good," said Jones, a 33-year-old corporate lawyer who is backed by teammates Cathy Overton-Clapham, Jill Officer and Dawn Askin. "This makes up for all the bumps along the road like Paisley."
It was a particularly satisfying gold medal for Overton-Clapham, who had been in three previous world championships -- one in junior and two in women's play -- and had missed gold in all of them.
"I was a pretty emotional today, especially when you think of all the work we put into the game," said the Team Canada third.
The Jones' foursome did it the hard way. After losing the 1 versus 2 Page playoff game 7-5 to China on Friday the Canadian champions had to fight their way back through the semifinal with a 9-8 extra-end thriller over Moe Meguro of Japan Saturday night. In that contest Canada trailed 6-3 after six ends but tied the game in the 10th with a steal of one and won it in the 11th with another steal.
Going into the final, Wang and her surprising Chinese team seemed to have the Canadians' number, beating them 9-7 in the round robin as well as the first playoff encounter. Most of the Jones' team felt the semifinal win against Japan was the turning point.
"We knew after (Saturday) night we'd come out strong today," said Jones. "We felt we controlled the game and deserved the win."
"When I woke up this morning I had a great feeling," added Overton-Clapham. "We don't seldom lose to a team three times in one event."
Team Canada, which had been plagued by slow starts all tournament, jumped into a quick lead Sunday with three in the second end and was never seriously threatened after that. Canada sealed the contest in the seventh when Jones pulled off a double-angle raise takeout with her final stone to score two and take a 6-3 advantage.
The silver medal still felt pretty good to the Chinese. It's the first medal of any sort for the Asian nation, which didn't debut in the worlds until 2005.
"When you have two teams in a final one wins and one loses," smiled the 23-year-old Wang, whose team spends part of the year training in Richmond, B.C. "I think the difference today was it our first time in a final and we were a little nervous."
The impressive showing by Jones raises Canadian hopes for a possible gold medal sweep in curling in 2010. With Kelly Scott's win last year in Japan Canada now has now laid claim to the last two women's titles. And Edmonton's Kevin Martin will attempt to make it two men's titles in a row next week in Grand Forks, N.D.
Since curling became an official medal sport at the Winter Olympics, Canada has never taken both titles in the same Games.
(Vancouver Sun)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Page Of Poems... Jennifer Jones will soon be playing China for the gold. Go Jenny!

In the garden-Elvis Presley

Paradise Lost - Two Worlds

The sense required is all too vague
Within my faculties, building me
This awesome presence longs to see
The times I've fallen
The times I've failed

And I've never seen my hands
And I couldn't walk away
Two worlds are the same tomorrow
Still I must not complain

The sense acquired is all too grave
With less than one percent left in me
This awesome prison locked and sealed
For times I've borrowed, for times I've failed

And I've never seen my hands
And I couldn't walk away
Two worlds are the same tomorrow
Still I must not complain

And I've never seen my hands
And I couldn't walk away
Two worlds are the same tomorrow
Still I must not complain

And I've never heard a whisper
And I'd never speak of pain
Two worlds are the same tomorrow
To all I seem inane

Saturday, March 29, 2008

SUZY BOGGUSS: Someday Soon (Ian Tyson) (1991)

20 Types of Pages that Every Blogger Should Consider

"The Circle of Healing"

by Jeff Guidry

Jeff Guidry with Freedom
Every day at Sarvey Wildlife Center we witness first hand the incredible battle for life that our animal brothers and sisters go through. This is a story of one Bald Eagle's magnificent spirit and sheer will to live.
It was mid-summer when a call came in reporting a fledgling Bald Eagle had fallen out of a nest on a Seattle golf course. Our very own Crazy Bob went to the rescue and transported her to the Center. She arrived with two broken wings. When asked to take her to the vet, I jump at the chance.
When I load this hurt and terrified baby into the car, she neither whimpers nor fights; she can't even stand. This is not a good sign; she is obviously in very bad shape. As I drive to Sno-Wood Veterinary Hospital, I constantly look back to check on my very special passenger. She stares at me with big beautiful brown eyes, her mouth slightly agape. I drive a little faster—this Bald Eagle must live!
She is operated on and has both wings pinned; they are now immobile. Back at Sarvey we lay her in the bottom half of a huge carrier filled with shredded newspaper for support.
The fight for her life begins.
Twice a day a tube is pushed down her throat so that food and medicine can be pumped into her. A week goes by with no change; she still cannot stand up. At three weeks, there's a slight change, but it's for the worse. I'm getting scared for this young Bald Eagle.
Working at the Center, you begin to recognize a look, a look that indicates death is winning. This bruised and broken Bald Eagle was losing the battle but not her dignity. The struggle for her life was not over.
Every chance I get I talk softly to her, telling her to hold on, to fight, to live. Why I felt such a connection to this particular eagle, I do not know.
Four weeks go by and she is still on her belly. There is nothing so heartbreaking as seeing the life force of this majestic bird slowly slip away.
At five weeks we are approaching the end.
Sarvey Wildlife Center believes in giving every soul that comes in a chance to live; but when it is painfully clear that death is the only way out, the decision is made to let that particular spirit continue on its journey. We were at this juncture; this beautiful baby eagle was given one week to see if she could, or would, stand up. This was a crushing blow. Every day that next week I checked to see if she was up. The answer was always the same... "No."
On the following Thursday I could barely face going to the Center. As I walked in not a word was spoken but everyone wore a huge grin. I raced back to the young Bald Eagle's cage, and there she stood in all her glory!
She was standing! She had won. This girl had cheated death by a mere 24 hours. She was going to make it. She was going to get her second chance.
After another week the pins in her wings were removed. Her right wing was perfect, but her left was not. She couldn't fully extend it. We tried physical therapy and hoped a little time was all she needed, but there was no significant progress. Her wing was too badly damaged. She would never fly, never soar the skies with her people. At least her life was saved, but for what? Was she doomed to live her life in a cage? Not exactly, for this was a special soul.
Bald Eagles normally want nothing to do with humans and will go to great lengths to get away from them. This girl liked people; she wanted to see what you were doing, to follow where you were going, and to see whom you were going with. She was very curious.
About this time our director suggested that I try to glove train her. She had the right temperament; maybe she could do educational programs. Wouldn't that be something? Very few eagles are able or willing to be handled, much less remain calm in front of large crowds. The work began.
I started getting her used to the glove, a little at a time. At first she was thinking, "OK, I'll step on your hand but only with one foot." Then, "OK, I'll use both feet but only for a second." Later, "Yeah you can take me part way out of my cage, then I'll jump right back in." And finally, "OK, I'll let you walk around with me on your arm. Hey, this is fun!"
At this point, every day a volunteer would take this Bald Eagle out for a cruise around the clinic. It was time for her final test—jesses, the leather straps that attach to the ankles of birds-of-prey to give control to the handler and to protect the bird from injury or escape. I put the jesses on her—a piece of cake. It was as if she were born with them on. This was certainly a very mellow Bald Eagle.
Now it was almost time for her first program, but she needed a name. None that we could come up with seemed right, and then Paula, a volunteer, said, "Hey, what about Freedom?" That was it; that was her spirit and her spirit was why grandfather sent her to us. She was ready.
Freedom is now four years old and one of Sarvey Wildlife Center's premier ambassadors. She clearly enjoys our programs and really knows how to turn on the charm. She is a star. Freedom has been on national television, on the front page of major newspapers, and is known across the country.
She is also one of the great loves of my life. She will touch her beak to the tip of my nose and stare into my eyes. At that moment our spirits are one.
I am the luckiest person on Earth.Thank you, Freedom.
(editor's note)...Jeff said, "Why I felt such a connection to this particular eagle, I do not know."
Now we all know why:
Freedom is alive because Jeff fought for her life, and there is no doubt that Freedom sensed his love and commitment. Jeff gave Freedom the support she needed to want to live.
When Jeff was later diagnosed with a serious illness requiring chemotherapy, he found himself turning to Freedom for support. Two or three times a week, whenever he felt well enough, he would drive from Bothell to Arlington to walk with Freedom around the grounds. Now it was Freedom's turn to give Jeff a reason to fight for his life.
Only a short time ago Jeff was informed there was no trace of the disease left in his body. He immediately left for the Center.
When he took Freedom out of her flight, she did something she had never done before: She extended her wings and wrapped them around him.
The circle of healing was now complete.

WestJet employee sees wayward dog safely home

Danielle Mario, The StarPhoenix
Published: Friday, March 28, 2008
There was a wagging tail and plenty of sloppy dog kisses at the Saskatoon airport Thursday, after Leya the Bichon-Shih Tzu cross was reunited with her 78-year-old owner.

Calgary airline technician Russell Humphreys was there to hand the dog to her eager owner. He rescued Leya, who was separated from her Saskatoon owner, Kay Gall, in Calgary. Gall's car had rolled on Deerfoot Trail Monday. The two doggy passengers, Leya and Angel, fled the wrecked Volkswagen Westfalia, leaving their owner trapped in her seatbelt waiting for help. By the time Gall was freed, the dogs were nearly out of sight.

"They were way down in the field quite a ways. They were just scared I guess," said Gall. "One of the guys that stopped to help me after the accident went down there to see if we could catch them. . . . He came back and said he couldn't get them. So I wanted to go get them, but the ambulance came and once they got a hold of me they wouldn't let me go."

Gall, who suffered a bruised knee and elbow, was forced to leave the damaged vehicle and lost dogs behind, taking an overnight bus home to Saskatoon.

A day after the crash, Humphreys, a Westjet employee in Calgary, spotted one of the dogs in a fenced-off area while he was driving around the airport.

"She was just a little spot . . . light against the dark background," said Humphrey, who caught the dog in 45 minutes, after recruiting five others to help with the capture. "She's a fast little dog when she gets going . . . It was like the OK Corral."

After the dog was reported to animal control in Calgary, a quick check for a licence showed the dog belongs to Gall.

She received a call from her daughter in Calgary, with both good and bad news: Angel was dead after being hit by a car, but Leya would be returning to Saskatoon on Thursday.

The expectant owner was at the gate at the Saskatoon Airport, waiting for the flight to arrive. She stood as the plane pulled up to the airport, smiling and murmuring she'd "wish they would hurry."

Leya and Humphreys came down, making their way towards Gall, as she called her dog's name over and over. Gall picked up the dog, whose tail was wagging but who was shaking under the scrutiny of local media.

"So you're the man that found her," said Gall.

"Thank you very much."

Humphrey, who owns a Shih Tzu himself, said he requested to come back with the dog, to meet the owner.

"I thought I might as well put an end to the story," he said. "I'm a pet owner myself, so I understand what (Gall)'s going through. I don't get to be in the limelight very much, so this is really nice."

He said the dog put on a whole new front when reunited with Gall.

"She's been scared all morning," Humphrey said to Gall. "Now she's really excited. She's a whole new dog."

Although Gall and Leya were reunited, the dog's owner couldn't help but mourn the loss of her other canine.

"It's nice to know that I still have the one, but it's heart-breaking because we don't have Angel anymore," said Gall.

WestJet spokesperson Gillian Bentley said using the story for promotional material is a "considerable" option.

"I think this fit right in with our caring campaign," she said. "But we'll most likely use it internally."

As the media fray and onlookers departed, Gall was left standing with the pup. She said she plans on going for a walk with Leya when they get home, but Humphrey said the relieved dog will probably want a little break after such a long week.

"She'll sleep like a baby tonight. That's for sure," he said.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Massive volcano beneath Antarctic ice

PARIS: A powerful volcano erupted under the icesheet of Antarctica around 2,000 years ago and it might still be active today, a finding which raises questions about ice loss from the white continent.
The explosive event – rated "severe" to "cataclysmic" on an international scale of volcanic force – punched a massive breach in the icesheet and spat out a plume some 12 kilometres into the sky, said British scientists behind the find.
Occasional volcanism
Most of Antarctica is seismically stable. But its western part lies on a rift in Earth's crust that gives rise to occasional volcanism and geothermal heat, occurring on the Antarctic coastal margins.
This is the first evidence for an eruption under the ice sheet itself – a slab of frozen water, hundreds of metres thick in places, that holds most of the world's stock of fresh water.
Reporting in the journal Nature Geoscience this week, the investigators from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), In Cambridge, England, describe the finding as "unique."
It extends the range of known volcanism in Antarctica by some 500 km and raises the question whether this or other sub-glacial volcanoes may have melted so much ice that global sea levels were affected, they said.
The volcano, located in the Hudson Mountains, blew around 207 BC, give or take 240 years, according to their paper.
Anomalous radar readings
Evidence for this comes from a British-American airborne geophysical survey completed between 2004 and 2005. This used radar to delve deep under the ice sheet to map the terrain beneath. The team spotted anomalous radar reflections over 23,000 square kilometres - an area bigger than Wales.
They interpret this signal as being a thick layer of ash, rock and glass, formed from fused silica, that the volcano spewed out in its fury.
The amount of material – 0.31 cubic kilometres – indicates an eruption of between three and four on a yardstick called the Volcanic Explosive Index (VEI).
By comparison, the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, which was greater, rates a VEI of five, and that of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 is a VEI of six.
Melting ice
"We believe this was the biggest eruption in Antarctica during the last 10,000 years," said lead author Hugh Corr. "It blew a substantial hole in the icesheet and generated a plume of ash and gas that rose around 12 km into the air."
The eruption occurred close to the massive Pine Island Glacier, an area where movement of glacial ice towards the sea has been accelerating alarmingly in recent decades.
"It may be possible that heat from the volcano has caused some of that acceleration," said co-author David Vaughan, who stresses though that global warming is by far still the most likely culprit.
Volcanic heat "cannot explain the more widespread thinning of West Antarctic glaciers that together are contributing nearly 0.2mm (0.008 of an inch) per year to sea-level rise," he adds. "This wider change most probably has its origin in warming ocean waters."

World Record Size Piranha.

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B.C. fears invasion of killer frogs

Glenda Luymes, Canwest News ServicePublished: Thursday, March 27, 2008
DELTA, B.C. -- Fears that a major B.C. wetland area could be overrun by killer frogs has local politicians hopping.
"They're big and they're ugly and we can't let them get a hold in Delta's wetlands," said Delta Coun. Vicki Huntington Wednesday about the plague of American bullfrogs in Burns Bog, the largest bog of its kind on the West Coast.
Huntington became aware of the problem when an environmental assessment for a development near the edge of the bog indicated the species was in the area.
American bullfrogs mean bad news for other frogs, fish and baby ducks, all of which become food for the ill-tempered toads that are even known to eat their own species -- or anything else that will fit in their huge mouths.
"It's not just the bog," said Huntington. "These frogs can take over an entire ecosystem very quickly."
The American bullfrog is the largest frog in North America and females can lay as many as 20,000 eggs in spring. As tadpoles, the frogs can grow to the length of a hand, and as adults, to the size of a dinner plate.
The frogs, which are native to eastern Canada, were imported to B.C. in the 1930s to supply restaurants with frogs' legs.
It is believed some of the frogs were released into the wild, where they expand their range by about five kilometres each year, endangering local species like the red-legged frog.
University of B.C. zoology professor Jonathan Shurin said the ill-tempered frogs are especially prevalent in California and on Vancouver Island. "I haven't heard of it on the (Lower) Mainland," he said. "But it's not at all surprising."
Shurin said efforts to eradicate the frogs are often unsuccessful because the tadpoles are hard to eliminate. "You'd have to take pretty drastic measures," he said.
Metro Vancouver parks spokesperson Mitch Sokalski said he was not aware the frogs had been found near the bog, but added: "Wherever there are bullfrogs, there's a concern for us.
"They are very predacious. They'll eat all the other local frogs."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Laughter is the best medicine

Suicidal pets get anti-depressants

February 25, 2008 02:19pm
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PETS at risk of self-harm are increasingly being prescribed anti-depressants because they cannot discuss problems in their lives with others, a leading veterinarian says.

Zoo and wildlife medicine specialist with the UK’s Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, Romain Pizzi, told the Telegraph that more pets were being prescribed Prozac.

Tropical birds such as parrots seemed to have been the most affected by depression, Mr Pizzi told the newspaper.

But Mr Pizzi said anti-depressants were only used in the most extreme of cases.

“Firstly, we will change the environment of the animal and make sure it has more stimulation and toys,” Mr Pizzi told the newspaper.

"When we have ruled out underlying medical problems, we try to break the cycle by using Prozac… (which) is given to the parrots in liquid form.

"It doesn't cure all animals, but around two-thirds respond to the treatment. In a small number of cases things will go well until we wean them off Prozac and the problems return."

Mr Pizzi said the severity of some pet’s depression often put their lives at risk.

"Typically if people go out to work all day their parrot will get very bored and frustrated and eventually develop depression,” he said.

“Symptoms often include plucking out their feathers or self-harming, which is obviously very dangerous.

“When cockatoos in particular are depressed they can start to self-mutilate and peck their own legs to the bone."

Some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies have also recognised the need for anti-depressants for animals.

Last year, Eli Lilly released a chewable anti-depressant for dogs onto the US market.

The manufacturers even gave the “Reconcile” drug a beef flavour.

Pfizer has also created a diet drug for dogs, as well as motion-sickness medicine for all pets.,23599,23271578-1702,00.html

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