Friday, July 31, 2009

Sesame Street - Monster in the Mirror

Curiosity (almost) killed the cameraman

Living in Tents, and by the Rules, Under a Bridge

"The chief emerges from his tent to face the leaden morning light. It had been a rare, rough night in his homeless Brigadoon: a boozy brawl, the wielding of a knife taped to a stick. But the community handled it, he says with pride, his day’s first cigar already aglow..."

Dog found 2000km away ... nine years later

The Daily Telegraph
July 30, 2009 11:23AM

A FLEA-bitten dog rescued from a squalid Melbourne back yard is to be reunited with her overjoyed Brisbane owner - nine years after she disappeared.
And 17-year-old Chloe Rushby, who was only eight when her best mate disappeared, can't wait to have Muffy back in her arms.
Chloe and her family screamed with joy when the RSPCA called to say Muffy was alive - much older, very scruffy and 2000km away in Melbourne.
Gallery: Amazing animal escapes
"It would be fair to say that they were extremely elated and extremely excited by the call," said RSPCA inspector Gail Coulter, who found an emaciated Muffy after an anonymous tip.
"They were initially shocked and confused, but when we mentioned the name Muffy - which is part of the microchip information - and gave them a description of her, they knew it was their pet lost so many years ago."
Amazing animal escapes
What happened in between is largely a mystery.
The fluffy white bitser is known to have been kept in a filthy back yard for the past two years.
The previous seven years of her life are a mystery.
Ms Coulter found Muffy sleeping on a tattered piece of cardboard after a tip-off about animal cruelty.
The skinny mutt with matted fur was suffering severe dermatitis caused by flea allergy.
The last thing Ms Coulter expected was to find was the bag of skin and bones had been microchipped.
She was even more astounded when her original owners were found in Brisbane and were overjoyed to have their old dog back.
"It's an amazing, extraordinary story on several counts," Ms Coulter said. "The fact that someone went to the trouble of calling in her case as one of neglect probably saved her life.
"Then the fact that she was microchipped made us realise she had probably come from a very different home and background to the one we found her in.
"And then, most remarkably, that we were able to track down her original owners, nine years later and even though their contact details recorded on the microchip information were hopelessly out of date."
Muffy will be flown home to Brisbane VIP-style next week to be reunited with the girl who never forgot her.
Mum Natalie Lampard said Chloe, who shared her bed with Muffy for three years, still talked about the missing pooch right up until the RSPCA called. Now Chloe can tell Muffy herself how much she missed her.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Our Agony and Yours

Bowe R. Bergdahl was serving with an Alaska-based infantry regiment earlier this month when he vanished, just five months after arriving in Afghanistan. He's now been held over one month by Taliban extremists. Bowe comes from Idaho and is only 23-years-old.

Gilad Shalit, aged 19, was kidnapped from Israeli soil as part of an infiltration/attack which resulted in the deaths of two soldiers and Gilad's being dragged across the border into Gaza. Since then, Hamas has refused all attempts to allow international agencies such as the Red Cross to see him.

They were kidnapped by the same enemy, held against their will. Video and transmissions are used not to reassure the families that their sons will soon be home, but to torture them, leave them unsure and bereft.

Gilad and Bowe both deserve their freedom. They were doing nothing wrong when they were captured, other than serving their countries.

In a few short weeks, Gilad will turn 23. He's in his fourth year without his family. In Israel, the government contemplates and then pulls back from the idea of denying Palestinian prisoners visitations from their families, as Gilad is so denied.

These prisoners - caught after violating laws or held for security infractions have brought attention to themselves because they did something - they attacked army patrols, threw rocks or fire bombs or crossed into areas without permits. Gilad did nothing - nothing but enlist in the army, finish his basic training, and take up a position near Israel's border with Gaza.

Palestinians came into Israel, crossed under our fence in a tunnel they dug to enable them to attack Israel...and this is what they did. They dragged a 19-year-old boy into Gaza and then held him for more than 1125 days. They torture his family, suggesting Gilad is hurt, suggest he will die if we don't immediately agree to trade 1000 prisoners...prisoners who were not innocently sitting around doing nothing when Israel came and grabbed them and dragged them off.

And then, when Israel says - ok, we are willing to release hundreds, but show us that Gilad is us he is well. Follow international law and let the Red Cross see him, talk to him. Let his mother talk to him. Be human beings, for once in your life. We allow wives to speak to their husbands, mothers to their sons. Their conditions are known - many have access to television, computers, even phones, though these are not allowed in the cells (and even then, many have them). Gilad has nothing - be human beings and allow a 22-year-old boy to speak to his mother...and then we are yet again met with a wall of silence.

With the taking of Bowe, America is thrust into the same agony as Israel; Bowe's family into the same horror and worry as Gilad's family.

May Bowe and Gilad come home soon - safe, and healthy.

How do the birds grow up?

Pictures of birds growing up:

Top 10 Disabled Musicians

"Here is a list of ten musicians that have been able to overcome their own disabilities and continue to produce and provide music. Despite some of these people having disabilities that would normally hinder someone’s ability to play or write music, they have all been able to continue to prosper and overcome, and continue to live out their dreams..."

Simon's Cat

A hungry cat resorts to increasingly desperate measures to catch a housefly.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Facts on Global Warming

"There are too many people that don’t know the facts about global warming. Some may believe in global warming myths, while others simply don’t know all the global warming statistics..."

The Latest Myths and Facts
on Global Warming

Global Warming 101:

Monday, July 27, 2009

End of the World - Lahkota Medicine Man Prophecy

Beyonce - The Birdy Song

Gallery: The World in Photos

"U.S. Marines with the Second Marine Expeditionary Brigade, RCT Second Battalion Eighth Marines Echo Co. relax with a calf that has taken up residence at the base on July 14 in Mian Poshteh, Afghanistan. The Marines are part of Operation Khanjari which was launched to take areas in the Southern Helmand Province that Taliban fighters are using as a resupply route and to help the local Afghan population prepare for the upcoming presidential elections."

One-in 8 million------ New York City

"New york is a city of characters. On the subway and in its streets, from the intensity of Midtown to the intimacy of neighborhood blocks is a 305 square mile of people with something to say. This is a collection of a few of their passions and problems, relationships and routines, vacations and obsessions..." An interesting place to visit, those New Yorkers are a unique people.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Why I Hate CNN...

"There are two stories on CNN tonight, one about a cat and one about a woman. The cat was put to sleep after a relatively short battle with cancer; the woman lives in northern Israel. I cannot say whether CNN visited the animal hospital where former-White House cat, Socks, was put to sleep, but apparently, there is nothing in dispute. As for the woman, CNN apparently needs to lend doubt to the incident and couldn't be bothered to send a reporter or call the hospital for verification and so the headlines reads, "Israel claims woman hurt in rocket attack." Notice the "claims"?It doesn't surprise me that CNN appears to have more sympathy for a dead cat that lived a long and relatively happy life, than it does for a woman who was "apparently" enjoying a leisurely day off of work when "apparently", suddenly, without warning, a rocket "apparently" crashed into her house and she was "apparently" wounded - or so Israel claims.It seems rather silly that CNN is ready to accept the supposed death of Socks, who in fact did not die of natural causes. CNN states as fact that the cat has been losing weight since November, and even knows when Socks was born (in 1989, if you are interested) and yet, amazingly enough, CNN has problems concluding that the artillery fire that was shot FROM Israel INTO Lebanon AT the location FROM WHICH two katyushas were fired were actually fired as a response. According to CNN:
The Israeli army fired artillery toward the village of Qlayleh, close to the port city of Tyre, according to the Lebanese army said. However, it is not known if the attack was in response to the rockets fired toward Israel.
So, CNN knows that Israel fired artillery (no "claims" there). It apparently doesn't know how to draw a line between points A and points B - as in - they fired at us, and we fired back. Sometimes, I prefer Elie's response to things and his was so perfect when I read him the article. He asked CNN a simple question, "how stupid are you?" 02.21.09, 21:52 Two mortar shells were fired at Israel from Gaza and apparently landed in Shaar HaNegev Regional Council. Like my son, I have no clue...but I do suspect that it is so much more involved than sheer stupidity, though clearly there is a good dose of that as well...."

Ray Lamontagne's song - Empty

She lifts her skirt up to her knees,
walks through the garden rows with her bare feet, laughing.
I never learned to count my blessings,
I choose instead to dwell in my disasters.
I walk on down the hill,
through grass, grown tall and brown
and still its hard somehow to let go of my pain.
On past the busted back of that old and rusted Cadillac
that sinks into this field, collecting rain.
Will I always feel this way?
So empty, so estranged.

And of these cut-throat busted sunsets,
these cold and damp white mornings
I have grown weary.
If through my cracked and dusted dime-store lips
I spoke these words out loud would no one hear me?
Lay your blouse across the chair,
let fall the flowers from from your hair
and kiss me with that country mouth, so plain.
Outside, the rain is tapping on the leaves,
to me it sounds like they're applauding us the the quiet love we've made.
Will I always feel this way?
So empty, so estranged.

Well I looked my demons in the eyes,
laid bare my chest, said "Do your best, destroy me.
You see, I've been to hell and back so many times,
I must admit you kind of bore me."
There's a lot of things that can kill a man,
there's a lot of ways to die,
listen, some already did that walked beside me.
There's a lot of things I don't understand,
why so many people lie.
Its the hurt I hide that fuels the fire inside me.
Will I always feel this way?
So empty, so estranged.

Associated Press Declares War on the Internet

Media Sat, Jul 25, 2009 at 9:39:31 am PDT
Here’s one of the most short-sighted and self-destructive things I’ve ever seen the Associated Press do — they’re going to try to prevent search engines and blogs from even linking to their articles, unless they pay for the privilege.
Unbelievable. Rather than embrace the openness of the web and the vastly increased reach it gives them, the AP is going to pull its head back into its shell and build walls, in an ultimately futile attempt to control access to their stories. The goal seems to be nothing less than to destroy the concept of “fair use.” It’s the garrison mentality, writ large.
And not only that — they’re apparently planning to embed spyware in their articles that will phone home to AP: A.P. Cracks Down on Unpaid Use of Articles on Web.
Each article — and, in the future, each picture and video — would go out with what The A.P. called a digital “wrapper,” data invisible to the ordinary consumer that is intended, among other things, to maximize its ranking in Internet searches. The software would also send signals back to The A.P., letting it track use of the article across the Web.
How do you like the idea that the Associated Press will be spying on your Internet usage?
And their entire premise for this misguided move is wrong. Having links to their articles on search engines and blogs helps their revenue situation — enormously. A lot of people are clicking those links who wouldn’t have found them otherwise, and when they click through, the sites that host the AP articles increase their advertising impressions and click-throughs as well.
For this reason, I believe that if the AP is successful at shutting down the linking of their articles, it’s actually going to end up hurting their bottom line very substantially, not just from the loss of traffic but from the horrible publicity they’ll get when they try to enforce these draconian restrictions, in a medium that inherently resists restrictions.
They think it’s bad now — just wait.

"Queen of Beautiful Morals"

Saudi beauty queen wins without showing her face:
Herald News ServicesJuly 25, 2009

Saudi beauty queen Aya Ali al-Mulla trounced 274 rivals to win a crown, jewelry, cash and a trip to Malaysia-- all without showing her face, Saudi media reported Friday.

With her face and body completely covered by the black head-to-toe abaya mandatory in the conservative Muslim kingdom, 18-year-old Mulla was named "Queen of Beautiful Morals" late Thursday, newspapers reported.

There was none of the swimsuit and evening gown competitions and heavy media coverage of beauty pageants elsewhere when the contest was decided in the eastern city of Safwa.

Instead, the winner and the two runner-up princesses had to undergo a three-month test of their dutifulness to their parents and family, and their service to society.

This included a battery of personal, cultural, social and psychological tests, Al-Watan reported.

It was unclear exactly what Mulla did to defeat her rivals in the huge field, but Al-Watan reported that the high school graduate had good grades and hopes to go into medicine.

She raked in a 5,000-riyal ($1,445) prize, a pearl necklace, diamond watch, diamond necklace and a free ticket to Malaysia with her win.

Contests focused on physical beauty don't exist in Saudi Arabia, where women must appear in public completely covered.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Keeping your indoor cat fit

Exercising your cat really just involves playing with her in a way that entertains both of you. Playing with your cat helps her maintain a healthy weight and work off energy and even aggression. It is important that you be involved in the games and not expect her to entertain herself. Playing together strengthens the bond between you and can help a shy cat gain confidence or ease the transition of introducing a cat to its new home. Wand toys are great for hunting games, but remember to allow your cat to set the pace. Let her win by pouncing on the "prey" but don't make it so easy that she's not getting any exercise. Limit vigorous activity to about 10 minutes and be on the lookout for overexertion, particularly panting (open mouth breathing). Cats don't breathe through their mouths so if your pet ever tries this, you need to call a veterinary clinic immediately for instructions.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Monday, July 20, 2009

Blowing in the Wind-Alanis Morissette

Are the deserts getting greener?

"It has been assumed that global warming would cause an expansion of the world's deserts, but now some scientists are predicting a contrary scenario in which water and life slowly reclaim these arid places..."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sierra Noble

I could only get "Orange Blossom Special' and 'Red Rver Jig' to work.A Toe Tapping Time at White Pines!

Possibility - Sierra Noble

Possibility - Sierra Noble (Official Music Video)

The cat came back -- the very next year

"Exactly one year minus a day from the day she disappeared, Princess Sophie returned to the Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centres (SARC) office in the airport district, mangy and skittish, with white-tipped scarred ears from weathering the brutal winter."
Photograph by: Liam Richards, The StarPhoenix