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02-09-2007, 12:01 AM
(l) (l) (l) (l) (l)


The Hebrides

"Near the sea we forget to count the days..."

Standing majestically at the northwest edge of Europe, this 150 mile-long island chain of beaches, culture, wildlife and adventure is a haven for outdoor activities, and a great place to unwind.

Nowhere else will you find such diversity of landscapes and species, arts, crafts and music: the islands have an abundance of beautiful habitats... peaceful, unspoilt and natural. Fresh water and sea lochs unsurpassable in their beauty and abundance provide a great resource for fishermen and bird life. Traditional music and crafts live on in a lively and modern culture, which is civilised in the true sense of the word. Pioneering sporting and cultural events attract people from all over the world to experience this Gaelic heartland. Get even closer to nature: a boat trip to spot whales, dolphins, seals or puffins or a guided walk to mix with otters, buzzards or deer. And for those who like an adrenalin rush, expert or not, try out our surfing, climbing, diving or power boating. Come home with a new hobby!

he Hebridean Gaels always provide a friendly welcome, making the visitor share the sense of belonging and freedom - one of the great traits of the local heritage. The sense of being surrounded by the fresh Hebridean air carries the visitor into a world of serenity.

The Hebrides is an oasis of calm in a chaotic world.

(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:02 AM
(l) (l) (l) (l) (l)


(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:03 AM
(l) (l) (l)


(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:04 AM
(l) (l) (l) (l) (l)


(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:06 AM
(f) (f) (f)

"She Defined How America Ate: Meet Clementine Paddleford"

November 1998
By Bobbie Athon

A monthly series from the Kansas State Historical Society

"Tell me where your grandmother came from and I can tell you how many kinds of pie you serve for Thanksgiving," wrote Clementine Paddleford in How America Eats. Paddleford was known as "America's Number One Food Editor" for her ability to make good cooking read as fine literature. Paddleford's love for food began on a farm in Riley County where she was born in 1900.

"In the Midwest two is the usual, mince and pumpkin," Paddleford wrote. "In the South no pie but wine jelly, tender and trembling, topped with whipped cream. Down East it's a threesome, cranberry, mince and pumpkin, a sliver of each, and sometimes, harking back to the old days around Boston, four kinds of pie were traditional for this feast occasion-mince, cranberry, pumpkin and a kind called Marlborough, a glorification of everyday apple."

Paddleford was known for food descriptions that stimulated the senses. To her, the perfect souffle responded "with a rapturous, half-hushed sigh as it settled softly to melt and vanish in a moment like smoke or a dream." She covered the food stories behind the great events of the era, such as Queen Elizabeth II's coronation and Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech. And yet she maintained a taste for the simple. "It'll be good to be home where the ice water flows like champagne," she commented after an assignment with French royalty.

Paddleford's first book, A Flower for My Mother, reflected on her early years in Kansas where she developed an interest in food. "Stirred-in joy" was the secret of her mother's cooking. "Every last dish seasoned well with love," Paddleford wrote. "She knew that eating was more than just filling hollow legs, just as environment is more than a place. This is one of the things she tried to teach her daughter. Cooking should never be made a chore."

How America Eats, published in 1960 from a compilation of Paddleford's earlier writings, highlighted culinary traditions in each of the fifty states. In her research, Paddleford traveled thousands of miles visiting with the nation's best cooks. "I have eaten with crews on fishing boats and enjoyed slum gullion at a Hobo Convention," she wrote. "How does America eat? She eats on the fat of the land. She eats in every language. For the most part, however, even with the increasingly popular trend toward foreign foods, the dishes come to the table with an American accent."

Clementine Haskin Paddleford was born in Stockdale, Kansas. She graduated from Kansas State University in 1921 with a degree in journalism and studied at New York University's school of journalism. Paddleford joined the New York Herald Tribune in 1936, and stayed until its demise in 1966. She concurrently wrote for This Week from 1940 until her death, served as the woman's editor for Farm and Fireside magazine, and wrote for Gourmet magazine from 1941 until 1953. She died in New York City in 1967.

Paddleford is among the hundreds of people with Kansas roots who found fame for a time. The Kansas Museum of History will highlight some of these interesting stories in its new exhibit Leading the Way: Famous Kansans, opening January 22 in the Special Exhibits Gallery. Underwritten by Western Resources, Inc., the exhibit will feature numerous famous Kansans and explore Kansas's role in their achievements. An interactive exhibit will offer visitors a chance to view a list of famous Kansans through a computer database. The museum is open 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday - Saturday, 12:30 - 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Information about other famous Kansans is available through the holdings of the Center for Historical Research, open 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday - Saturday. Both the museum and the research center are located in the Kansas History Center, 6425 SW Sixth Avenue, Topeka, KS 66615-1099; 785-272-8681; TTY 785-272-8683; www.kshs.org

The Kansas State Historical Society does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission to, access to, or operation of its programs. The Society requests prior notification to accommodate individuals with special needs or disabilities.


(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:06 AM
(f) (f)


"Ms. Paddleford flew solo in a single-engine Piper Cub airplane to check out what the people were eating in the sticks." ("IN Ward's Cove, Alaska, I went to a new kind of party - called a crab feast."

(y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:07 AM
:o :o


GREAT article!

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:09 AM


Our paranoid friends over at Bring It On have put together a story that hasn’t exactly made Washington Whispers. It’s real short and real simple:

* The Cuban news service reports that George W. Bush has purchased 98,840 acres in Paraguay, near the Bolivian/Brazilian border.

* Jenna Bush paid a secret diplomatic visit to Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte and U.S. Ambassador James Cason. There were no press conferences, no public sightings and no official confirmation of her 10-day trip which apparently ended this week.

* The Paraguayan Senate voted last summer to “grant U.S. troops immunity from national and International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction.”

* Immediately afterwards, 500 heavily armed U.S. troops arrived with various planes, choppers and land vehicles at Mariscal Estigarribia air base, which happens to be at the northern tip of Paraguay near the Bolivian/Brazilian border. More have reportedly arrived since then.

What the hell, after the jump. Plus a BREAKING UPDATE involving, of course, The Moonies!

Now, Prensa Latina is a Cuban-government operation that is not exactly friendly toward Washington, what with Washington trying to kill Castro for 50 years and all.


But Prensa Latina didn’t invent the story. It’s all over the South American press — and not just Venezuela and Bolivia.

Here’s a version from Brazil.

Here’s one from Argentina.

And here’s one from Paraguay itself.

As far as we can understand, all the paperwork and deeds and such are secret. But somehow the news leaked that a new “land trust” created for Bush had purchased nearly 100,000 acres near the town of Chaco.

And Jenna’s down there having secret meetings with the president and America’s ambassador to Paraguay, James Cason. Bush posted Cason in Havana in 2002, but last year moved him to Paraguay.

Cason apparently gets around. A former “political adviser” to the U.S. Atlantic Command and ATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, Cason has been stationed in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama … basically everywhere the U.S. has run secret and not-so-secret wars over the past 30 years.

Here’s a fun question for Tony Snow: Why might the president and his family need a 98.840-acre ranch in Paraguay protected by a semi-secret U.S. military base manned by American troops who have been exempted from war-crimes prosecution by the Paraguyan government?

Here’s a little background on the base itself, which Rumsfeld secretly visited in late 2005:

U.S. Special Forces began arriving this past summer at Paraguay’s Mariscal Estigarribia air base, a sprawling complex built in 1982 during the reign of dictator Alfredo Stroessner. Argentinean journalists who got a peek at the place say the airfield can handle B-52 bombers and Galaxy C-5 cargo planes. It also has a huge radar system, vast hangers, and can house up to 16,000 troops. The air base is larger than the international airport at the capital city, Asuncion.

Some 500 special forces arrived July 1 for a three-month counterterrorism training exercise, code named Operation Commando Force 6.

Paraguayan denials that Mariscal Estigarribia is now a U.S. base have met with considerable skepticism by Brazil and Argentina. There is a disturbing resemblance between U.S. denials about Mariscal Estigarribia, and similar disclaimers made by the Pentagon about Eloy Alfaro airbase in Manta , Ecuador. The United States claimed the Manta base was a “dirt strip” used for weather surveillance. When local journalists revealed its size, however, the United States admitted the base harbored thousands of mercenaries and hundreds of U.S. troops, and Washington had signed a 10-year basing agreement with Ecuador.


We’ve been directed to yet another parapolitical theory here at Rigorous Intuition, where it is reported that Rev. Moon bought 600,000 hectares — that’s 1,482,600 acres — in the same place: Chaco, Paraguay.

Another twist: The first story, from Paraguay, apparently refers to the senior George Bush as the owner of the 98.840 acres in Moon’s neighborhood.

Bush 41 was the first bigshot politician to go prancing around with Rev. Moon in public. Especially in South America:

“In the early stages of the Reagan Revolution that embraced the Washington Times and Moon’s anti-Communist movement, it was embarrassing to be caught at a Moon event,” wrote The Gadflyer last year. “Until George H.W. Bush appeared with Moon in 1996, thanking him for a newspaper that ‘brings sanity to Washington.’” That was while on an extended trip to South America in Moon’s company. A Reuters’ story of Nov 25 of that year describes the former president as “full of praise” for Moon at a banquet in Buenos Aires, toasting him as “the man with the vision.” (And Moon helped Bush out with his own vision thing, paying him $100,000 for the pleasure of his company.) Bush and Moon then traveled together to Uruguay, “to help him inaugurate a seminary in the capital, Montevideo, to train 4,200 young Japanese women to spread the word of his Church of Unification across Latin America.”

Isn’t that special?

Oh, and both the Moonie and Bush land is located at what Paraguay’s drug czar called an “enormously strategic point in both the narcotics and arms trades.” And it sits atop the one of the world’s largest fresh-water aquifers.

^o) ^o) ^o)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:11 AM

:| Let's see, Butch & Sundance went to Bolivia; the Nazis went to Argentina and Venezuela; Bush goes to Paraguay?:|



Hideout or Water Raid? http://www.counterpunch.org/cp10202006.html



Bush Paraguay land grab incites unease: http://dallaspeacecenter.org/?q=node/1570



Jenna Bush to Serve UNICEF in Paraguay, Not US Forces in Iraq:


Why might the president and his family need a 98840-acre ranch in Paraguay protected by a semi-secret US military base manned by American troops who have:




Somehow, though, the notion that "Paraguay Is Bush Country"


LMAO PHOTO!! http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/2601/1108/400/falling2.jpg

+o( +o( +o(

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:12 AM
;) ;)





British Viewpoint: http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-dei1.htm


I liked this version: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=deipnosophist

Carpe Diem,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:13 AM
(l) :| (l) :| (l) :|


Published: December 17, 2006


Live Without Me. I'll Understand.


WE are flying to a resort south of Cancún for the wedding of my husband's cousin. As we rise into the cloudless Los Angeles sky, I try, as always, to suppress my unease. I have always been afraid of flying, but today I am tired enough to doze off as we make our way south. I wake briefly to refuse the beverage service and then settle back to sleep.

Just over an hour into the flight there is a slight bump followed by a distinct click as overhead panels fall open and the oxygen masks unfurl. Then the plane begins to plunge.

''This is an emergency,'' the captain announces. His English is accented, but perfectly clear. ''Please put on your oxygen mask and fasten seat belts. This is an emergency.''

I look pleadingly at my husband of six months.

''It's O.K.,'' he says, just as he has on so many other flights when I panicked at an unfamiliar noise or dip. ''We're going to be O.K.''

But this time is different. The plane is racing downward, my seat belt pulling taut against my lap. My mind fumbles to assemble a picture of what is happening, but each piece of information seems disconnected, absurd. The cabin is eerily quiet, as if there is not enough air for noise. Shouldn't someone be screaming?

I think I hear a muffled sob, but I cannot look at the other passengers. The flight attendants, doubled against gravity, pull themselves up the aisles by the armrests, bent over like mountain climbers, one holding an oxygen mask to her face, the man behind her cradling the portable tank in his arm.

No one speaks. There is the smell of something smoldering. A fire? Engine failure? I look into my husband's eyes, begging for reassurance or an explanation. Again he says, ''We're O.K.''

The smoldering smell is strong now. And so we say what people say when they think it is the last thing the other will ever hear.

Speaking through our masks, we sound like we're underwater: ''I love you.'' ''I love you, too.''

So this is it. The scene in the diving plane seems choreographed, rehearsed, as if I have been waiting for it to happen my entire life, yet my reactions are alien.

Yes, my heart is pounding through my fingers and my pupils feel as if they are about to burst, but the sense of panic, the urge to scream or cry, is absent. There is no instant replay of my life. No existential secrets are revealed to me. Could the moments before death really be this banal?

I feel a deep and penetrating sadness for our parents and my sister. A wave of empathy for our friends when they hear the news. But I know life will go on for them. They have no choice. And so, in a falling plane, over the sand-coated Mexican canyons, I look out the window into the endless orange afternoon, and I wait.

And then the plane stops falling. It levels, dips, levels again. Our seat belts slacken. The captain's shaky voice informs us that we will be making an emergency landing. We can remove our masks. There is no need to assume crash position; it will be a normal landing. Some time later, we touch down at a small domestic airport three hours south of the American border.

If my imagination had tried to prepare me for dying in a plane, it had not prepared me for living through a near crash. As the plane taxies, the cabin is silent. A flight attendant wipes away tears.

Without speaking, we shuffle along the aisle and climb down the metal stairway. There are no exclamations, no hugging, no kissing the ground. Just the plodding of weary travelers debarking from a long flight. The pilot stands ashen-faced in the cockpit, nodding as we file past, but no one speaks to him and he offers no words of explanation.

In the tiny airport lounge, we scatter into clusters, not making eye contact, seemingly embarrassed to have shared this near tragedy. I try to reach out to a young girl who is traveling alone to meet friends for spring break. I can tell she has been crying.

''That was my worst nightmare,'' she says.

''Mine, too,'' I reply. But when I say it out loud, it doesn't seem to have any real meaning.

I don't cry until I hear my father's voice on the pay phone, and then I am afraid I won't stop, so I hand the phone to my husband, but not before saying to my father, ''I can't get back on a plane.''

''Yes,'' he says. ''You can.''

Still, my husband tries to rent a car, but the woman at the rental desk discourages us (particularly because we do not speak Spanish) from driving all the way back to Los Angeles from central Mexico.

So we wait for word. An airline official appears and says perhaps they will try to fix the plane and fly us out later in the evening, but the passengers rumble collectively in protest -- no one wants to board that plane again.

Instead, the airline detours a flight half-full of mildly surprised passengers to pick us up and take us to Mexico City. From there they put us on another plane to Cancún, where we are greeted at the airport by no one. I watch the other passengers from our original flight drift out the doors of the baggage terminal.

The hotel is colonial and enormous. We are tagged with white plastic wristbands for the all-you-can-eat-and-drink buffets and then we head to our room to sleep.

The next morning, predictably, is washed in sunshine. People are lined up at the activity desks and clotted in the revolving doors. At the breakfast buffet, the other guests crowd around the aluminum trays of glossy food, piling their plates with eggs, sausage, pancakes, waffles.

I stand and watch, transfixed. My husband and I have barely spoken since the events of the day before, and when we do, it is in low tones, as if we are watching a performance we don't want to disturb.

At the beach, children shriek and tumble in the gentle surf, their hair braided tightly into cornrows affixed with plastic beads. Everyone rejoices in the delights of this paradise, but I feel as if I am visiting purgatory.

There are meals to eat. Tours to take. There is a wedding, beautiful in its simplicity. Vows are exchanged and a marriage begins. There is dancing and music. We drink a little too much. My husband has a cigarette for the first time in months.

THAT night in bed I cling to him, much as I did on the plane, and he tells me the same thing as when we were falling through the sky: ''We'll be O.K.''

We try to talk about what happened on the plane, try to reconstruct it, and then we stop. He wants to move past it, I can tell. ''We're lucky,'' he repeats.

I nod. But the truth is, I don't feel lucky. Or even alive. I feel indifferent. All I can do is watch everyone around me experience what I should be feeling. No, it's worse: I watch them and condemn them for the utter uselessness of their joy.

I tell myself that this feeling will pass. I am still absorbing the shock. Give it a few days.

But the next day is much the same, as is the rest of our stay. I am still waiting for the wash of relief, the thrill of feeling reborn, of escaping death.

When it is time to go, we take the shuttle to the airport, where we stand amid bulging suitcases and overstuffed tourists. I wait for the familiar tingle of anticipation about returning home and the surge of anxiety upon boarding the airplane. But I feel neither.

For the first time in my life, I am not afraid to fly. In fact, I am not afraid of anything.

But the feeling is not one of liberation. I am still searching for something -- even my old fear -- to tether me to my previous life, but there is only this feeling of utter remove.

And suddenly, as our plane pushes skyward, its engines roaring, I am taken back to that moment when the universe tightened its grip, threatening to peel me from my family, my friends, my memories, a future I would never know.

For a second, I resisted. I asked: How can my loved ones and I exist apart? How can I be lost to the world? We spend our lives binding ourselves to one another, attaching ourselves to this life like mollusks clinging to the reef.

But as that plane dropped from the sky, I knew that the world would go on without me. My friends would grieve and move on. My loved ones would endure. All I had to do was accept this and let go.

SO I did. I looked down at the staggering carbon canyons, which were cut like ribbons across the landscape -- beautiful and steep and no place for a soft landing -- and I let go. But we didn't crash.

And here I remain -- among friends and loved ones, at the beginning of my marriage and all the fierce entanglements of life. Yet in letting go, it seems I created a break between my former and current selves that isn't so easily bridged.

At home, I go to the grocery store, rub the dog's belly, fold the laundry, return my mother's calls -- all the routines and rituals that are supposed to give life structure and meaning. But week after week I am still in that other place, a half step removed, wondering when and how I am ever going to come back from this.

A month after my return, the answer comes in the form of a phone call summoning me to the emergency room: my father has had a heart attack.

And it is not until I am beside him in the intensive care unit, gripping his hand as he battles his weakened heart for each breath, that I feel my own heart pounding again for the first time since that day. It's all so familiar: the panic, the terror, the threat of imminent loss.

But this time I don't let go. My father, laced with wires and unconscious, is pulling me back.

Katherine Friedman, a freelance writer, lives in Los Angeles.


(y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:15 AM
;) ;)


A French Tourism agency is using the stereotype of French rudeness to lure British visitors. At the web site listed above, the Web site of the Ile-de-France tourism board, Brits can learn how to pass as French by emulating typically snooty Gallic expressions.

These include the exaggerated French pout, which is mostly used by women, and its male counterpart, the "Gallic shrug". achieved by raising the shoulders and eyebrows simultaneously. That move, when sufficiently vigorous, expresses total denial of responsibility for any problem. "The English often label us as arrogant" said tourist board director Jean-Pierre Blat. "Our goal is to show them that we can have a British sense of humor and laugh at ourselves."

Cop the Parisian Attitude Game: http://www.cestsoparis.com/attitude-game.php

SWAG: What You Need to Be a True Parisian:


Paris Humor, View the Ad Campaign:


:| :| So where is the "American" version? Probably never since so few of us would ever want to "walk like a Parisian"!......;) And why in hell would the Brits want to? ;)

:) :)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:16 AM
:| :|

(n) (n) I am absolutely appalled!! Honorary Chair my ass:


Patricia Heaton Stirs More Controversy on A&E "Biography":




(n) Shame on her.


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:18 AM
:o :o

January 6, 2007

With Mild Winter, the City Revisits Fall Fashion and the Record Books


The last recorded time the snowfall in Central Park came so late in the season, the date was Jan. 4, 1878.

Rutherford B. Hayes was president, the tallest building in the city was Trinity Church (281 feet), and there was no Statue of Liberty. (It was erected in 1886.)

In a sense, there was no New York, either. The boroughs consolidated in 1898. Before then, the Bronx was called the Annexed District, Queens was farms, Staten Island was nearly empty, and Brooklyn was the nation’s third-largest city.

Yesterday, with parts of the nation shivering and the Rockies and the Midwest pummeled by another snowstorm, the record for the latest appearance of snow in New York City was broken with little fanfare.

For now, not even a flurry is in the immediate forecast. Indeed, today the temperature might reach 71 degrees, which would be another record. According to the National Weather Service, it will not even come close to freezing until Tuesday night, when the temperature could go down to 30 degrees.

For many people interviewed yesterday — a warm day of mist and gray skies — the city without snow was both a bewilderment and a delight.

There was scarcely a fedora, a knit cap or a hoodie to be seen. Therese Kahn, an interior decorator on the Upper East Side, was wearing what she described as “comfortable” Stuart Weitzman patent-leather boots, rather than Gore-Tex snow boots.

“It’s amazing that it’s so nice,” said Ms. Kahn, 50, who also had on a thin white parka, unzipped. “I have two teenage daughters and I’m always worried that they’re not dressed warmly enough, so this lifts the pressure.”

Jan Khan, 53, has been a doorman at 88 Central Park West for 21 years. “This is the first year I see no snow coming down,” he said. “I don’t like it. It’s not normal.”

Mr. Khan, originally from Mansehra, in northern Pakistan, said winter was invading usually warmer countries of Asia. On Thursday, more than 30 people were reported dead in Madhya Pradesh, in central India, and at least 20 in Bihar, in northeastern India, because of a severe cold snap.

“In Pakistan that is the problem now,” Mr. Khan said. “Two feet, three feet of snow. The Arctic is happening in my country, and India and Bangladesh and Nepal and China, all under snow.”

In East Harlem, at the Three Kings Day Parade, which commemorates the arrival of the Magi in Bethlehem, Carlos Canales, 36, from Glendale, Queens, worried about the weather.

“People aren’t really ready for the winter anymore,” he said. “We’re going to get caught off guard when winter finally hits us and a lot of people are going to get sick.”

Nearby, in Central Park, Patrick Denehan, 36, a furniture mover from Washington Heights, sipped coffee and watched geese waddle near an ice-free Harlem Meer.

“It feels,” Mr. Denehan said, “like the Twilight Zone.”

There is one positive aspect to the warm weather: the pothole situation. The city’s Department of Transportation said that work crews paved 17,357 potholes last month, about a quarter fewer than the 22,685 during the much snowier December of 2005.

In December 1877, when The New York Times took note of the snowless Christmas, the day was described as crisp and sunny.


The Times account read, “It is estimated, and the estimate is thought to be moderate, that fully 50,000 persons were in the Park during the afternoon, nearly all of whom visited the new Museum, opened by the President on Saturday.”

The Times noted, however, that the weather did hurt certain businesses. “Dry-goods houses, clothiers and coal dealers have been the heaviest sufferers,” the newspaper said. “They have seen their Winter’s supplies lie on their hands almost undiminished.”

When snow finally fell for the first time that winter in Central Park on Jan. 4, 1878, The Times did not report it. The newspaper did say that Poughkeepsie had four inches of snow.

The National Weather Service was cautious yesterday about how snowless is snowless. Jeffrey Tongue, science and operations officer at the service’s Upton office on Long Island, said the Jan. 4, 1878, date is based on the best available records.

“When we’re talking about a snow flurry that might last 10 minutes,” Mr. Tongue said, “there’s a question whether those were fully documented. We believe the 1878 date is accurate, but of course there’s nobody alive to actually ask about it.”

Stephen Fybish, an amateur weather historian, contends that the record for late snow in Central Park occurred far later than 1878, indeed nearly a century later, on Jan. 29, 1973.

“This is also true,” said Mr. Tongue of the weather service. “The 1878 date is for a trace of snow, which doesn’t stick to the ground, and the 1973 date is for measurable snow, which was 1.8 inches.”

So, whether the start date for the snowless record should be Jan. 5 or Jan. 30 is a matter of keen scholarly interest.

But, please, the weather service urges, no wagering.

:| :| Two big snow storms coming next week.....at least that's what the weather folks are saying. :o Payback time for all of that Spring-like weather. ;)

:) :) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:19 AM
:) :)


(f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:19 AM
(y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

Every woman needs her personal fragrance wardrobe.. To fit her mood. To blend in with the nuances in her personality.

Getting ready for some romance?

You could go for a heady fragrance or one that is feminine, rose based. Incidentally, rose and jasmine are the classic floral scents for romance.

In a carefree mood?

Go for something fresh. Citrusy. A fragrance that is fruity, especially one with notes of grapefruit or orange or neroli would be wonderful for that optimistic outlook.

Perfume is all about your individual taste. My cousin loves patchouli but that smell makes me want to throw up.

The trick is to get something you simply adore which smells great to other people too. The easiest way out is to buy a brand name perfume off the shelves. But would that mean someone else would probably be wearing the same scent as you?

If that is your concern, you need not worry too much. That same fragrance smells different on different people as the day progresses. The fragrance mixes with the oils your skin produce and the end result is something that is subtly, uniquely yours.

If you do want to mix your own fragrance, go ahead.

When I was in my teens, my pals would mix their own fragrance by mixing 2 or more of their favourite perfumes. That could turn out to be a hit, or a total waste of good perfume if the result stinks.

The other way is to mix your own fragrance from essential oils. Each essential oil provides a note in the complete fragrance.

A beautiful fragrance consists of at least 3 notes. A top note, a middle note and a base note.

The top note evaporates the most quickly. Meaning, your first whiff of the fragrance would be the top note. Mints and Citrus scents like grapefruit and lemon are top notes. It is also the first note to disappear, meaning as the day progresses, the top note would have evaporated off, which lets the fragrance develop, showing off the other notes.

The middle note forms the body of the fragrance. That means, for most of the day, this is the note that dominates the fragrance. Lavender, tea tree, geranium and nutmeg are some examples of middle notes.

The base notes are the most lasting parts of the fragrance. Long after the fragrance has faded, the base notes remain. These would be the woody and the musky scents like musk, sandalwood and vetiver.

Some scents are complete perfumes by themselves. Rose for example is made of hundreds of components. It can be used as the top note, body and even the base note in a fragrance. I used to keep a tiny bottle of Rose Otto. Very expensive stuff but a single drop goes a long way. 1 drop of that in 5 ml of jojoba oil lasted me for a very long time as a personal perfume that was also therapeutic. It was also a complete perfume on its own.

Experiment with different scents, diluting them in a massage oil, to create your personal fragrance

For starters, you could put 1 teaspoon of sweet almond oil or a carrier oil into a small bottle, add 1 drop of essential oil for the top note, 1 drop for the middle note and 1 drop for the base note and see how it goes.

Have fun!


(k)(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:20 AM


:| :| Oh no!! If Opra found this place - it is time to discover other, more isolated places........

:) :)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:22 AM
(h) (h) (h) (h)

Dancing With The Stars

Well, it's that time of year again for some serious dancing. And no, I'm not referring to the televised celebrity dance competitions! I mean the light shows in the northern winter sky where the sky appears to dance with color. That's right, the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights.

An Aurora is a beautiful natural phenomenon that often occurs in the polar regions of Earth. It appears as colorful clouds and rays of green and red (and sometimes blue) light that dance across the sky. The Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis (Latin for "northern" and "southern" dawn, respectively) occur in symmetric ovals centered on the northern and southern magnetic poles of Earth. Weatherplus.com has a great blog entry on how Auroras are formed, along with a slideshow of Northern Lights photos.

Those of us who live too far south to catch the Northern Lights from the comfort of home have to travel north to see them. Sure, you could head south in summer to catch the Aurora Australis -- but by south, I mean all the way to Antarctica. Most Americans find it easier and less expensive to catch the Northern Lights.

Though the further north you travel, the better your chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis, nothing is guaranteed when it comes to nature. So here are some tips to improve your odds if you're planning a Northern Lights trip.

1. Sunspots Are Good. Auroral activity correlates with the activity of the sun, which changes according to an 11-year solar cycle. In general, the more active the sun, the greater the number of auroras. (Keep in mind that bright and active auroras can be observed at any time during the solar cycle.) For a chart showing the solar cycle and sunspot activity, click here.


2. Clean And Clear. Even if you're far from city lights, air pollution can affect the sky's clarity. The further away you are from big cities, the better your chances of seeing the Northern Lights.

3. Dark Of The Moon. The light of the silvery moon can be beautiful, but it can also ruin the intensity of an aurora. Plan your trip for when the moon is new or waning. Click here for a calendar of the moon's phases in 2007.


4. The 27-Day Rule. If your vacation schedule is flexible, find out when the last auroral display was for your intended Northern Lights get-away. It takes the sun 27 days to rotate one time around its axis, so 27 days after an aurora display, the active region on the sun that caused the aurora will face Earth again. Although solar activity in that region on the sun might have decreased in the mean time, there is still a greater chance of aurora 27 days after the last period of increased auroral activity.

Not much for planning trips to freezing far-away locales? Keep an eye on the solar cycle -- when it's active, you can sometimes see the Northern Lights in parts of the United States!


(h) (h) (h) (h)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:23 AM
(y) (y) (y)


Travel at the speed of Dog - dogsledding/dog sledding tours through the Teton , Shoshoni , and Targhee National Forests that surround Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the Greater Yellowstone Area. Hosted by Iditarod veteran Billy Snodgrass.

Our Dogs: http://www.dogsledadventures.com/our_dogs.htm

Tours and Schedules: http://www.dogsledadventures.com/tours.htm


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:24 AM
:) :)


GREAT Video - Link is on the right.

View to Heaven:


Lots of Photos (Scroll down a little):


(y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:38 AM
(f) (f) (f)

The choice of fragrances and scents seems to grow wider every day, as manufacturers fight for our attention and try ever harder to distinguish their offerings from the competition. With such a selection to choose from, how does one even begin to know where to start when it comes to buying perfume?

Broadly speaking, all perfumes fall into one of six different categories based on their dominant top notes. Different categories will suit different people or occasions.

Earthy or woody type perfumes evoke smells of the forest, and are usually very refreshing. They often tend to appeal to the older generation, and may make ideal gifts.

Oriental fragrances use strong spicy scents, and are ideal for special social occasions, but be cautious giving them to anyone you don’t know well /no spamming of other sites/ these intense perfumes can be a very personal choice.

The so-called “greens” are much lighter than the orientals, and are well suited to more casual wear. Because they make a less dramatic assault on the nose, they are also safer to give as gifts!

Modern “oceanic” fragrances are becoming more and more popular, particularly among younger people who appreciate the intense but often quite unusual scents, which instantly bring to mind seaside scenes. Naturally these are an excellent choice in the warmer months when thoughts turn to holidays.

Spicy fruity perfumes are also a good warm-weather choice, and can be a good all-round choice for the woman who wants to wear something with some traditional base-notes but is a little different to the classic floral scents.

Finally, those classic floral fragrances are suitable for almost everyone and any occasion. But be wary of cheaper brands; this most feminine of all the main groups works best when the ingredients used are of high quality, and that means less expensive brands can smell exactly that.

Ultimately, choosing a fragrance is a very personal choice, and many women prefer to stick with what they know and buy the same thing year after year. But by trying different fragrances from the same group as your favourite smell, you may just discover a new gem.

About The Author

Sara Blackmoore is a relationship councellor, and a freelance writer. She lives in London, England with her husband and two children. Sara buys her perfume from:



(y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

(f) Have a lovely Friday!


Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-09-2007, 12:42 AM
(h) (h) (h)


(y) (y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-10-2007, 02:15 AM
:) :) :)

(y) (y) (y)

December 31, 2006
For Lesbians, the Party Never Stopped in Bangkok

ON the night of Sept. 19, military leaders in Thailand suspended the constitution, seized control of Bangkok and imposed martial law. Someone forgot to tell the lesbians.

Several nights after the nonviolent coup, a crush of cheering women crowded around the stage at Shela, a lesbian nightclub near the city's major downtown park, Lumpini, where a popular singer, Palmy, was performing. Fans crammed the balcony, imported whiskey was flowing at every table and a lone tom, local slang for a butch lesbian, was dancing by herself behind the pool table.

Coup or not, it was just another night out for Bangkok's puying rak puying, or women who love women.

Five years ago, this scene would have been unthinkable. Lesbians either met each other at non-gay establishments or through word-of-mouth parties and restaurants. But thanks to the rapidly expanding Thai Internet, and a growing number of younger, more self-possessed lesbians, two nightclubs and several weekly parties catering exclusively to lesbians have opened in Bangkok in the past two years.

The grandmother of lesbian parties is Lesla, held every Saturday at the Chit Chat Club, a hangar-sized beer hall in Bangkok's sprawling northern outskirts (Soi 85, Lad Phrao Road; 66-089-218-9119 or 66-2-618-7191 or 7192; www.lesla.com). If you show up after 11 p.m., you might find Munthana Adisayathepkul, the party's exuberant organizer, at the top of the balcony, throwing stuffed toys to the masses below. The hours are 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., with a 200-baht cover charge (less than $6 at 36 baht to the U.S. dollar) that gets you a bottle of Heineken.

While Lesla is still going strong, smaller bars have opened in the more convenient downtown area. Shela (106 Lang Suan; 66-2-254-6463, www.shelacorner.com) is among the most popular, and its candlelit, modern décor attracts a sophisticated 30s-and-over crowd. It's hours are 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., with no cover.

Younger lesbians, meanwhile, are heading to Zeta (29 Royal City Avenue; 66-2-203-1043 or 1044; www.zetabangkok.com). It's at the slightly uncool end of Royal City Avenue, but don't tell that to the trendy 20-somethings who cram the smoke-filled room to split a bottle of whiskey and flirt. To keep things going, the house band, Mister Sister, plays Western and Thai pop music. Hours are 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., with no cover.

The new lesbian scene isn't limited to bars and clubs. Zub Zip (674 Soi 101, Lad Phrao Road; 66-081-734-2759), an airy restaurant in northern Bangkok, opened in October and caters to older toms and dees, femme lesbians. The owner, Priyanan Bupa, greets visitors with a motherly smile, Chinese-Thai fusion food and, at least on a recent visit, fresh oranges. Two hundred baht will get you a heaping plate of Hong Kong noodles and a large bottle of Singha beer.

And the party keeps growing. Numerous Web sites have popped up to help local lesbians and travelers stay current. Among the best is in English, the Lesbian Guide to Bangkok (www.bangkoklesbian.com). The Web site's creator, Caitlyn Webster, 27, arrived from New York City a year ago with her girlfriend, Jett Charnchoochai.

“In New York, everyone has to be cool,” Ms. Webster said. “Here, they're just being cute.”


(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

I (l) Bangkok

This is a great article and there are alot of truths in it .... my favourite dyke bar in Bangkok is Zeta, although it gets very busy at the weekends so I prefer it Tuesdays to Thursdays. It hasn't been open long and is very popular with Thai dees (femmes) and toms (butches / bois).

When I am not looking for a nightclub, I would often go to a dee-owned restuarant called Vega which ispopular with the LGBT community in Bangkok .... its really good and the karaoke can be fun late at night :)

02-11-2007, 07:35 AM
I (l) Bangkok

This is a great article and there are alot of truths in it .... my favourite dyke bar in Bangkok is Zeta, although it gets very busy at the weekends so I prefer it Tuesdays to Thursdays. It hasn't been open long and is very popular with Thai dees (femmes) and toms (butches / bois).

When I am not looking for a nightclub, I would often go to a dee-owned restuarant called Vega which ispopular with the LGBT community in Bangkok .... its really good and the karaoke can be fun late at night :)

Hello Ulysses,

(f) Thanks for taking the time to post about your experiences in Bangkok. It was fun learning about some new places to try. Vega sounds especially lovely! :)

(f) Have a delightful Valentine's Day! (f)

Virtual ({)(}) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 07:38 AM
:o :o :o :o

8 FEET of snow?

:| :| I am definitely re-thinking the moving north anyplace near the Great Lakes, at least northern NY state....;)

This guy is on his ROOF: http://wcau.weatherplus.com/2007/0210/10979794.jpg

This might decrease this SUVs mileage:


Waiting for the bus in a freezer: http://wcau.weatherplus.com/2007/0210/10979783.jpg

Where's the rest of this house? http://wcau.weatherplus.com/2007/0210/10980488.jpg

The USPS's motto in action: http://wcau.weatherplus.com/2007/0210/10980491.jpg

Clearing the roof from INSIDE the building:


The last time I saw icecicles like these were when I was much young (er):


:s :s Big snow storm coming our way this week. :o

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 07:40 AM
:) :)

Survey Names America's Fittest Cities

Albuquerque Tops List

POSTED: 3:24 pm EST February 10, 2007

Where are the fittest people in America?

Albuquerque, N.M., has been cited as the fittest U.S. city. The bragging rights are based on an unscientific survey by Men's Fitness magazine.

The magazine surveyed 50 cities in its March issue. It lists Seattle as No. 2.

The survey also listed the 10 fattest cities. Las Vegas leads the beefy category. Four Texas cities are in the top 10: San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and El Paso. The heavyweights also include Mesa, Ariz.; Los Angeles; Detroit and San Jose, Calif.

The survey examines lifestyle factors in each city, including fast-food restaurants per capita and availability of gyms or bike paths.

Top 25 Fittest

1. Albuquerque, N.M.
2. Seattle, Wash.
3. Colorado Springs, Colo.
4. Minneapolis
5. Tucson, Ariz.
6. Denver
7. San Francisco
8. Baltimore
9. Portland, Ore.
10. Honolulu
11. Washington, D.C.
12. Omaha, Neb.
13. Tulsa, Okla.
14. Boston
15. Virginia Beach, Va.
16. Milwaukee
17. Sacramento
18. Louisville-Jefferson, Ky.
19. Columbus, Ohio
20. Philadelphia
21. Austin, Tx.
22. Nashville-Davidson
23. Charlotte
24. Atlanta
25. Oakland, Calf.

Top 25 Fattest

1. Las Vegas
2. San Antonio
3. Miami
4. Mesa, Ariz.
5. Los Angeles
6. Houston
7. Dallas
8. El Paso
9. Detroit
10. San Jose
11. Long Beach, Calf.
12. Memphis
13. Chicago
14. Arlington, Texas
15. Oklahoma City
16. Indianapolis
17. Forth Worth
18. New York
19. Fresno, Calif.
20. Wichita, Kan.
21. San Diego
22. Phoenix
23. Jacksonville, Fla.
24. Kansas City
25. Cleveland

:) :)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 07:43 AM
:) :)


(f) (f)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 07:44 AM
(l) (l)


(l) (l)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 07:45 AM
:) :)


(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 07:46 AM
:) :)


The Hebrides

"Near the sea we forget to count the days..."

Standing majestically at the northwest edge of Europe, this 150 mile-long island chain of beaches, culture, wildlife and adventure is a haven for outdoor activities, and a great place to unwind.

Nowhere else will you find such diversity of landscapes and species, arts, crafts and music: the islands have an abundance of beautiful habitats... peaceful, unspoilt and natural. Fresh water and sea lochs unsurpassable in their beauty and abundance provide a great resource for fishermen and bird life. Traditional music and crafts live on in a lively and modern culture, which is civilised in the true sense of the word. Pioneering sporting and cultural events attract people from all over the world to experience this Gaelic heartland. Get even closer to nature: a boat trip to spot whales, dolphins, seals or puffins or a guided walk to mix with otters, buzzards or deer. And for those who like an adrenalin rush, expert or not, try out our surfing, climbing, diving or power boating. Come home with a new hobby!

he Hebridean Gaels always provide a friendly welcome, making the visitor share the sense of belonging and freedom - one of the great traits of the local heritage. The sense of being surrounded by the fresh Hebridean air carries the visitor into a world of serenity.

The Hebrides is an oasis of calm in a chaotic world.

(y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 07:57 AM
(*) (*) (*) (*) (*)

1. Rules: (That is the NAME if the restaurant...;)

Come, escape from the 21st century. Opened in 1798, London's oldest restaurant -- and gorgeous institution -- has welcomed everyone from Charles Dickens to the current Prince of Wales. It's one of the single most beautiful dining salons in London: plush red banquettes and lacquered Regency yellow walls crammed with oil paintings, engravings, and Victorian cartoons. The menu includes fine historic dishes -- try roast beef and Yorkshire pudding or the steak-and-kidney pudding for a taste of the 18th century. Daily specials will, in season, include game from Rules' Teesdale estate. AE, DC, MC, V. Tube: Covent Garden.

Address: 35 Maiden La., London, England
Phone: 020/7836-5314




2. Veeraswamy: Britain's Oldest Indian Restaurant

In 1926, Veeraswamy was founded by Edward Palmer, the great-grandson of an English general and an Indian princess. The restaurant was named "The Veerasawmy" in honor of Palmer's grandmother; after a menu printer's typographical error in 1934, the restaurant acquired a new name by default.

Over the decades, Veeraswamy's celebrity guests included the kings of several countries, Indian prime ministers Nehru and Indira Gandhi, and actors such as Charlie Chaplin and Marlon Brando. Its legendary status faded after the 1960s, until the owners of Chutney Mary acquired Veeraswamy in 1996 and gave the 70-year-old restaurant a top-to-bottom overhaul.

Today, the owners describe describe Veeraswamy as a "reincarnation" of the historic restaurant. The old colonial decor is gone, having been replaced by a stunning modern interior that makes use of colored laquer on the walls, frosted glass, golf leaf, and beautifully polished wood floors. The new restaurant is billed as "smart and casual," and it's the kind of place where you can feel comfortable whether you're dressed in your Sunday best or in club gear on a Saturday night.


Britain's Oldest Indian Restaurant

The "purple area" of Veeraswamy in London, which has operated in Victory House on Regent Street for nearly 70 years.

In 1926, Veeraswamy was founded by Edward Palmer, the great-grandson of an English general and an Indian princess. The restaurant was named "The Veerasawmy" in honor of Palmer's grandmother; after a menu printer's typographical error in 1934, the restaurant acquired a new name by default.

Over the decades, Veeraswamy's celebrity guests included the kings of several countries, Indian prime ministers Nehru and Indira Gandhi, and actors such as Charlie Chaplin and Marlon Brando. Its legendary status faded after the 1960s, until the owners of Chutney Mary acquired Veeraswamy in 1996 and gave the 70-year-old restaurant a top-to-bottom overhaul.

Today, the owners describe describe Veeraswamy as a "reincarnation" of the historic restaurant. The old colonial decor is gone, having been replaced by a stunning modern interior that makes use of colored laquer on the walls, frosted glass, golf leaf, and beautifully polished wood floors. The new restaurant is billed as "smart and casual," and it's the kind of place where you can feel comfortable whether you're dressed in your Sunday best or in club gear on a Saturday night.

Style with sustenance

Enough about atmosphere: The true measure of any restaurant is what arrives at your table, and Veeraswamy's kitchen has been good enough to win a "Best Indian Restaurant" citation from Time Out and favorable reviews from such British periodicals as The Times, the Sunday Telegraph, the Spectator, and Harper's & Queen.

The head chef, Gopal Kochak, works with a team of cooks from regions throughout India, so that dishes are prepared by experts who know how to prepare their native cuisines--and, in some cases, creative variations of traditional dishes--from the northwestern frontier to the tropical shores of the Indian Ocean.

Owners Ranjit Mathran, Namita Panjabi, and Camellia Panjabi are quick to pont out that spices (which are a critical part of Indian cooking) are ground fresh daily and mixed to order for each dish. They claim that Veeraswamy is one of the few Indian restaurants in Britain to do this, and I'll take them at their word--especially after an impeccably cooked dinner at Veeraswamy with the PR team from Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, and the Tower of London.



3. Gordon's Wine Bar:

London's oldest wine bar and family-run underground tavern.

Home to Samuel Pepys in the 1680s, the building housing Gordon’s is now home to a regular, thriving crowd of drinkers of all ages and all walks of life, united in their love of this unique venue and of good wine. Buried deep and dark beneath the streets with only a small doorway and a subtle sign indicating its presence, Gordon’s Wine Bar is one of central London’s best hidden gems. The subterranean setting is accessed by a steep, wood-panelled staircase which leads into a rickety old room plastered with centuries old newspapers cuttings and dusty wine bottles. Once you’ve made the somewhat perilous descent, be prepared for a crowded crawl to the bar through throngs of office workers supping on glasses of vino. Having chosen your tipple from the award-winning wine list (this isn’t the place for lagers and spirits) head right to the back and find the low-ceilinged arches, under which tables and chairs huddle together, bathed in gentle candlelight. You’ll probably have to wait a while for a table, but there’s no great hardship in propping yourself up in a corner and waiting for one to become available or, alternatively, asking to share the corner of someone else’s. Gordon’s wine list includes a wide-ranging collection from the New and Old World, to suit any palate. The friendly Gallic bar staff know their stuff, so don't be afraid to ask. Sturdy tumblers of port or sherry served straight from casks behind the bar are an unusual but welcome detail as is the delicious, home-cooked food available (try a plate of pongy cheese, some pate or a hearty ploughman’s). The oldest wine bar in London, this friendly, family-run establishment has resolutely resisted change and its merit is demonstrated by its immense popularity. There’s certainly not enough room to swing a cat here, and probably not even enough to open a newspaper, but this is all part and parcel of drinking at Gordon’s. Enjoy, but remember you’ll have to climb back up those steep stairs on your way out.

Best for:

Schooners of sherry, beakers of port, tumblers of wine, dusty bottles and barrels in candlelit caverns.

Name: Gordon's Wine Bar
Address: 47 Villiers Street
Phone: 020 7930 1408
Times: Mon to Sat 11:00-23:00, Sun 12:00-22:00


4. Ye Old Mitre:

Address: 1 Ely Place
Phone: 020 7405 4751


Secret London: Ye Olde Mitre Tavern

‘This is London’s most hidden pub,’ says barman John Wright, with just a hint of insane pride. ‘We had a gentleman in the other week who said he’d worked around the corner on Hatton Garden for six years and never found the place.’

That’s something you can have some sympathy with, especially if you ever come seeking out a discreet sherbet in this quaint old corner of Cambridgeshire that’s tucked away in the heart of the City of London.

When you pass the security barrier and guardpost into Ely Place from Charterhouse Street, there’s no longer a top-hat and frock-coated beadle on guard to point out that you’re technically no longer in London. There’s also no longer a sign to hint at the whereabouts of the Mitre Tavern. Personally, I wandered on until I came across the medieval St Etheldreda’s church further down Ely Place, stopped to squint at the model palace in the undercroft, and passed on, publess, to the end of the cul-de-sac. In search of an alley of some description, I let myself through a gate and found myself unexpectedly in the backyard of the Bleeding Heart Tavern in Bleeding Heart Yard. Four or five left turns later, I came across the other end of the elusive alley on Hatton Garden. If I mention it’s between numbers 8 and 9, it might save you some valuable drinking time.

Some way down Mitre Place, the black brick alley widens out a yard or two, opens up to the sky, and reveals a tiny pub with a frontage of oak and opaque leaded windows. The date on the sign says 1547, but this version of the Mitre was actually built around 1772, soon after the demolition of the nearbyPalace of the Bishops of Ely /no spamming of other sites/ the origin of all the geographical and historical anomalies in these parts.

Built in 1291, St Etheldreda’s Church /no spamming of other sites/ aka Ely Chapel /no spamming of other sites/ is the oldest Catholic church in England and the only surviving part of Ely Palace. With 58 acres of orchards, vineyards and strawberry fields, plus fountains, ponds and terraced lawns stretching down towards the Thames, the Palace was the London residence of a long line of Ely Bishops, and a seat of great power. The Bishop of Ely and his strawberries feature in Shakespeare’s ‘Richard III’, while Ely Palace itself provides the setting for John of Gaunt’s ‘This scepter’d isle’ speech in ‘Richard II’. In 1531, a five-day feast was attended by Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, the Lord Mayor of London, sundry foreign ambassadors, barons and aldermen: between them, they tucked away ‘24 great beefs, the carcase of an ox, 100 fat muttons, 91 pigs, 34 porks, 37 dozen pigeons, 340 larks’ and the King’s contribution of 13 dozen swans.

The original Mitre Tavern was built for servants at the Palace 11 years into the reign of Elizabeth I. In 1576 she commandeered a gatehouse and a goodly portion of the Palace grounds for her court favourite Sir Christopher Hatton, and regularly came visiting. After stints as a prison and a Civil War hospital, the Palace reverted to the Crown in Georgian times and was demolished /no spamming of other sites/ although the rebuilt pub had built into its front wall a stone mitre from a palace gatepost and a cherry tree, which once marked the boundary separating the ground gifted to Hatton and the Bishop’s remaining diocese.

The tree is still here, preserved in the corner of the cosy panelled front bar /no spamming of other sites/ in fact, according to John, it was throwing out leafy branches and blossom up until the end of last century, when structural subsidence led to the decapitation of the tree once used as a maypole by Good Queen Bess. John Wright first found his way to the Mitre Tavern back in 1953, but it wasn’t until the ’70s that he got a job here pulling pints. In those days the pub closed at 10pm along with the gates of Ely Place, and the drinks licence was still issued in Cambridgeshire rather than London, and that’s about all that’s changed since: certainly not the stained-glass mitre or the toy-size furniture in the crooked little front bar, nor the settles, skylight and ‘Ye Closet’ micro-snug in the back. The Mitre still only opens one weekend per year, but now it corresponds with the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia (August 5, 6) rather than St Etheldreda’s annual charity Strawberry Fayre on June 25.

Ely Place remains quite literally a law unto itself, and long may it continue to do so. ‘Many times we’ve had robbers run in here from Hatton Garden,’ Wright recalls fondly. ‘They know the City police don’t have the right to follow them. It’s still the same today: the police just have to seal all the exits and ring the Cambridgeshire force, then wait around ‘till they jump in their cars and get down here’.


(y) (y) (y) I love all of these places! (l)

(c) (c) Need to make a second cup.....Wyatt the Boxer and I got up late this morning since we went to bed in the wee hours after I was getting work done that I couldn't when the cable modem service was down for many, many hours this past week. :|

8-| 8-| I'm trying to get work (client and an article due for publication) and that last PhD course work done as well as posting here today before this snow storm comes in (at least that's what the weather folks are saying) late tomorrow night. I have a hair appointment Wednesday - I thought it would feel nice to get my hair done on Valentine's Day - but the worst of the snow is supposed to fall Tuesday into Wednesday.

:) I might have to re-schedule that salon appointment for next week. Those drums that I hear are pretty faint at this point - "roots", get it? ;)

Warm virtual hugs,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:00 AM
(f) (f) (f)








Gorgeous Entrace Walk with Lavender Hidcote:


Breathtaking! http://www.vanmeuwen.com/pix/s/4/45170.jpg


A Childhood (and still) Favorite: http://www.vanmeuwen.com/pix/s/7/73918.jpg

Deep maroon almost black Rose: http://www.vanmeuwen.com/pix/s/6/65727.jpg

I Want These: Rose - Blue Moon: http://www.vanmeuwen.com/pix/s/6/67530.jpg

Rose - Claude Monet: http://www.vanmeuwen.com/pix/s/6/68677.jpg

Spicy sweet fragrance exudes from the remarkable blooms, creamy white centres are surrounded by strawberry red outer petals. A truly outstanding Hybrid Tea that also makes superb cut flowers owing to their sturdy upright stems.


The Osiria rose has one of the most striking colour combinations you will ever find. The inside of the petals are deep velvety red whilst the outside is a beautiful silver-white. With a moderate growing habit, Osiria is welcome in even a small garden where it does best in a sunny position.


My Heart Stood Still! Rose - Weeping Standard - Blue Veil:


An outstanding beautiful standard rose that cascades with a profusion of blue flowers. This fairytale rose can carry so many flowers that you may need to stake it for support.

(f) (f) (f) I hope others enjoy seeing these as I did. (f)

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:01 AM
(f) (f) (f)



Different: Daffodil Apricot Whirl: http://www.vanmeuwen.com/pix/s/2/23515.jpg

Daffodil Las Vegas: Very fragrant, very durable flowers with crisp white petals with a sumptuous yellow trumpet, appear in mid-spring to add warmth and scent to your garden. Cut and enjoy their wonderful fragrance indoors as well.


PINK! Daffodil Passionale: Sweetly fragrant, slightly frilled rose pink cups appear in mid-spring to add warmth and scent to your garden. Cut and enjoy their wonderful fragrance indoors as well.


Daffodil Unique: With superb double, white petals liberally interspersed with bold yellow, this variety is something a bit special for your spring show to add a delightful contrast to your borders.



Hyacinth Duo - Kronos & Woodstock: Kronos - For weeks of fragrance and colour in early spring you can get no better than the hardy Hyacinth. Kronos will delight with bold royal purple compact heads of bloom in March to April.

Woodstock - Wonderfully scented magenta blooms appear above handsome blue green foliage. This superb specimen is equally suited for growing indoors or any sunny position in your garden borders or containers.


I LOVE THESE! Japanese Rose - Lilac/Blue: Multitudes of beautiful rose-like lilac/blue flowers on the most elegant of stems adorn this rich flowering plant. The large rosette-like flowers are perfect for cutting for the home where they will last for over a week in a vase. Grow them in your beds and borders for that opulent look.


Narcissus Pink Parasol: Magnificent, large pink frilled cups contrast with the pure white petals. Very pleasing, flowers in mid spring. A superlative cut flower.


For anyone interested where I found all of these and countless more:


(f) (f) Remarkable! (y) (y)

(k) 's,

SWeetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:02 AM
:| :|







British Viewpoint: http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-dei1.htm


I liked this version: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=deipnosophist

;) ;) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:04 AM
:| :| :|


Our paranoid friends over at Bring It On have put together a story that hasn’t exactly made Washington Whispers. It’s real short and real simple:

* The Cuban news service reports that George W. Bush has purchased 98,840 acres in Paraguay, near the Bolivian/Brazilian border.

* Jenna Bush paid a secret diplomatic visit to Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte and U.S. Ambassador James Cason. There were no press conferences, no public sightings and no official confirmation of her 10-day trip which apparently ended this week.

* The Paraguayan Senate voted last summer to “grant U.S. troops immunity from national and International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction.”

* Immediately afterwards, 500 heavily armed U.S. troops arrived with various planes, choppers and land vehicles at Mariscal Estigarribia air base, which happens to be at the northern tip of Paraguay near the Bolivian/Brazilian border. More have reportedly arrived since then.

What the hell, after the jump. Plus a BREAKING UPDATE involving, of course, The Moonies!

Now, Prensa Latina is a Cuban-government operation that is not exactly friendly toward Washington, what with Washington trying to kill Castro for 50 years and all.


But Prensa Latina didn’t invent the story. It’s all over the South American press — and not just Venezuela and Bolivia.

Here’s a version from Brazil.

Here’s one from Argentina.

And here’s one from Paraguay itself.

As far as we can understand, all the paperwork and deeds and such are secret. But somehow the news leaked that a new “land trust” created for Bush had purchased nearly 100,000 acres near the town of Chaco.

And Jenna’s down there having secret meetings with the president and America’s ambassador to Paraguay, James Cason. Bush posted Cason in Havana in 2002, but last year moved him to Paraguay.

Cason apparently gets around. A former “political adviser” to the U.S. Atlantic Command and ATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, Cason has been stationed in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama … basically everywhere the U.S. has run secret and not-so-secret wars over the past 30 years.

Here’s a fun question for Tony Snow: Why might the president and his family need a 98.840-acre ranch in Paraguay protected by a semi-secret U.S. military base manned by American troops who have been exempted from war-crimes prosecution by the Paraguyan government?

Here’s a little background on the base itself, which Rumsfeld secretly visited in late 2005:

U.S. Special Forces began arriving this past summer at Paraguay’s Mariscal Estigarribia air base, a sprawling complex built in 1982 during the reign of dictator Alfredo Stroessner. Argentinean journalists who got a peek at the place say the airfield can handle B-52 bombers and Galaxy C-5 cargo planes. It also has a huge radar system, vast hangers, and can house up to 16,000 troops. The air base is larger than the international airport at the capital city, Asuncion.

Some 500 special forces arrived July 1 for a three-month counterterrorism training exercise, code named Operation Commando Force 6.

Paraguayan denials that Mariscal Estigarribia is now a U.S. base have met with considerable skepticism by Brazil and Argentina. There is a disturbing resemblance between U.S. denials about Mariscal Estigarribia, and similar disclaimers made by the Pentagon about Eloy Alfaro airbase in Manta , Ecuador. The United States claimed the Manta base was a “dirt strip” used for weather surveillance. When local journalists revealed its size, however, the United States admitted the base harbored thousands of mercenaries and hundreds of U.S. troops, and Washington had signed a 10-year basing agreement with Ecuador.


We’ve been directed to yet another parapolitical theory here at Rigorous Intuition, where it is reported that Rev. Moon bought 600,000 hectares — that’s 1,482,600 acres — in the same place: Chaco, Paraguay.

Another twist: The first story, from Paraguay, apparently refers to the senior George Bush as the owner of the 98.840 acres in Moon’s neighborhood.

Bush 41 was the first bigshot politician to go prancing around with Rev. Moon in public. Especially in South America:

“In the early stages of the Reagan Revolution that embraced the Washington Times and Moon’s anti-Communist movement, it was embarrassing to be caught at a Moon event,” wrote The Gadflyer last year. “Until George H.W. Bush appeared with Moon in 1996, thanking him for a newspaper that ‘brings sanity to Washington.’” That was while on an extended trip to South America in Moon’s company. A Reuters’ story of Nov 25 of that year describes the former president as “full of praise” for Moon at a banquet in Buenos Aires, toasting him as “the man with the vision.” (And Moon helped Bush out with his own vision thing, paying him $100,000 for the pleasure of his company.) Bush and Moon then traveled together to Uruguay, “to help him inaugurate a seminary in the capital, Montevideo, to train 4,200 young Japanese women to spread the word of his Church of Unification across Latin America.”

Isn’t that special?

Oh, and both the Moonie and Bush land is located at what Paraguay’s drug czar called an “enormously strategic point in both the narcotics and arms trades.” And it sits atop the one of the world’s largest fresh-water aquifers.

:o :o

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:08 AM
:s :s

Let's see, Butch & Sundance went to Bolivia; the Nazis went to Argentina and Venezuela; Bush goes to Paraguay?



Hideout or Water Raid? http://www.counterpunch.org/cp10202006.html



Bush Paraguay land grab incites unease: http://dallaspeacecenter.org/?q=node/1570



Jenna Bush to Serve UNICEF in Paraguay, Not US Forces in Iraq:


Why might the president and his family need a 98840-acre ranch in Paraguay protected by a semi-secret US military base manned by American troops who have:




Somehow, though, the notion that "Paraguay Is Bush Country"


(y) (y) LMAO PHOTO!! http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/2601/1108/400/falling2.jpg

(*) At the end of the day, who cares? I am a strong believer in karmic balance. Mother of God/Dess, will dubya, family and cronies ever get theirs! (y)

(okay, I'm off the soap box....) ;)

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:10 AM
(y) (y) (y)

The Scotsman Fri 9 Feb 2007

Milestone as new turbines put Britain seventh in world league of wind power


THE United Kingdom will today become only the seventh country in the world able to produce more than two gigawatts of electricity from the wind - enough to power nearly half the homes in Scotland - with the commissioning of new turbines near Stirling.

Giving the seal of government approval, Alistair Darling, the Trade and Industry Secretary, was due to cut a ribbon to mark the occasion at the Braes of Doune wind farm today.

While the UK is in seventh place in the world wind-farm league table, Scotland by itself is in 14th position with close to one gigawatt of capacity, ahead of countries such as Australia and Norway.

And according to a study by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), the amount of wind power generated in Scotland could treble by 2010, rising from 988 megawatts now to more than 3,000 megawatts (three gigawatts).

The BWEA chief executive, Maria McCaffery, who was due to attend the commissioning ceremony, described the event as "a tremendous step forward for harnessing our abundant natural resources for clean and sustainable energy production".

This was "essential", she said, as part of the fight against climate change and also to secure the UK's energy supply.

"This is a day for celebrating the achievement of a significant milestone for our industry and underlining the position of wind energy as the true leader in the renewables revolution," Ms McCaffery said.

Two gigawatts of electricity is enough to power 1.1 million homes - about a third of London homes and almost half of those in Scotland. BWEA said this amount of wind energy saved 4.6 million tonnes in emissions, equivalent to taking 1.5 million cars off the road.

The BWEA study, which assumes that half the current planning applications for wind farms will be approved after a 36-month delay, shows wind-farm capacity increasing rapidly over the next three years, with an extra 2.3 gigawatts in Scotland out of 4.4 gigawatts created in the whole of the UK.

Scotland is expected to meet its 2010 target of 18 per cent renewable energy some time this year - mainly due to wind farms and hydro-electric - and could also hit the 40 per cent target for 2020 - estimated at 6.4 gigawatts - about five years early.

It is hoped wave and tidal energy will also play an increasing role in renewable energy production in Scotland.

Jason Ormiston, of Scottish Renewables, said: "It's very important to state that this target of 40 per cent should not be seen as a cap. If we want to capture the benefits of wave and tidal, we need to go beyond that 40 per cent target."

Mr Darling said the UK wind industry was "to be applauded" for its part in boosting renewable energy.

"This is central to our efforts to tackle climate change, highlighted again last week by the United Nations' International Panel on Climate Change," he said.

"Wave, tidal and offshore wind power can make a significant contribution in future, but onshore wind energy is delivering capacity here and now."

The Braes of Doune wind farm, which was built by Airtricity, has 36 turbines capable of generating 72 megawatts of electricity, enough for around 45,000 homes. Airtricity's chief executive, Eddie O'Connor, claimed that wind power was helping to cut people's bills, as well as making the world "a safer place".

"Wind is free," he said. "Wind energy has a fixed price and so mitigates the risk of fossil-fuel price fluctuations. In a study carried out on the Scottish market, it has been shown that the customer gets a reduction in price of 6 per cent because of the risk reduction that wind entails.

"If the wind blows strongly for a long winter period, then the price of next summer's fossil fuels is reduced," he added.

However, some remain implacably opposed to wind farms.

David Bruce, the chairman of Views of Scotland, insisted wind energy did not help to reduce emissions. He said: "Wind power is free of carbon dioxide at the point of generation, that's true.

"But when working in conjunction with a grid system, it's not."

He added that an official report into a major power cut across central Europe found that Germany's high level of wind power was partly to blame.

And on the effect of wind farms on the landscape, Mr Bruce said: "If people find the Braes of Doune site attractive, there's not much I can do. If that's your idea of beauty, there's not a lot I can do about that."

£500m isles wind-farm project clears local hurdle

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a huge island wind farm took a major step forward yesterday with unanimous backing from a committee of councillors.

The £500 million plan to build 181 turbines on Lewis was approved by Western Isles Council's environmental services committee in Stornoway, despite ongoing opposition from some islanders and environmental groups.

The application will now go to the full council next week and a final decision will be taken by the Scottish Executive.

The council previously signalled its intention to support the scheme as part of efforts to make its area a centre of excellence for renewables. But Councillor Annie Macsween, of Ness, described the proposed wind farm as "pillaging our natural heritage".

The estimated value of the land leases is £3.4 million a year, and the developer also proposes to make payments into trust funds of about £1.85 million a year. Councillor Angus McCormack said the money could help other projects throughout the Western Isles which are waiting for funding.

Catriona Campbell, of the protest group Moorland Without Turbines, said of yesterday's decision: "We are very disappointed but not surprised.

"We just hope that councillors will start to listen to what people are saying in the areas affected."


(y) (y) (y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:12 AM
;) ;)

Caught Napping: http://images.scotsman.com/2007/02/04/04sleb.jpg

Scotland on Sunday Sun 4 Feb 2007


IT'S Friday afternoon and your boss has insisted on holding a brain-storming session about your company's new contract. But it's warm inside and you feel as if you haven't slept since Tuesday. Gradually your thoughts become blurred, your eyes begin to close and your head lolls forward. You quickly jerk it back into place. Has anyone noticed? Are you drooling? Can you kiss your career goodbye?

It's a common scenario played out in conference rooms across the UK as working hours get longer. But imagine if, instead of seeing your exhaustion as a sign of weakness, your boss urged you to get 15 minutes' shut-eye to enhance your creativity. Or if, rather than grabbing a sandwich at your desk, you were encouraged to chill out in a sleep pod, where soothing smells and sounds transported you off to the land of nod.

An impossible dream? Not in France where, last week, the government threw its weight behind plans by some companies to introduce a quarter-hour nap after lunch. "Sleep must not be trivialised," says health minister Xavier Bertrand, announcing the pilot scheme. "Why not a lunchtime siesta? The question should not be taboo."

There is, in fact, a difference between the siesta - often a two-hour rest in the wilting afternoon heat of Mediterranean countries - and the power nap. The latter is short and oh-so-sweet, a refreshing break which experts say gives an energy boost for the rest of the day. It has long been a feature of Japanese industry and is now catching on in America, where workers pay up to $25 for the pleasure of cat-napping in tiny capsules designed to lull even the most stressed-out executive into unconsciousness. There's MetroNaps - the first of which was located at the top of the Empire State building - and there's YeloNaps, a complete "sleep therapy system", which uses chromatherapy, aromatherapy and purified air, along with chairs that raise the legs above the torso to slow the heart rate.

In the UK, however, the fashion has stubbornly refused to take hold - despite the fact that 18% of British people admit they never get a good night's sleep, and despite the efforts of sleep specialists who have tried to overcome our cultural blindspot when it comes to the power nap.

When Dr Chris Idzikowski, director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, tried to encourage UK companies to introduce napping rooms, his pleas fell on deaf ears. "Even where we could convince the boardroom of the merits of allowing employees a 15-minute sleep, there were problems with the unions: did the time sleeping count as work time and all that," he says. Idzikowski became something of a power nap evangelist after discovering research from Harvard University which showed workers allowed 15 minutes' sleep in the middle of the day were still performing more efficiently two to three hours later than those who worked through. But the closest he has come to securing an afternoon sleep for workers involved a health and wellbeing consultancy: an experiment that proved something of a disaster.

"The employees were tired," he says. "Some of them fell asleep during the presentation."

When nap rooms were finally introduced they were underused. Idzikowski says: "There seemed to be a perception that going for a sleep in the middle of the day was a strange thing to do. People have the attitude: 'We'll just soldier on.' I think it's as much a question of worrying about internal competitors as external ones. You know, who is going to do what to you, while you are sleeping?"

So will we Brits ever take to incorporating a snooze into our afternoon schedule? It's not as if it's a newfangled idea. Dozens of famous figures have sworn by the restorative powers of sleep. Salvador Dali used to doze off with a spoon in his mouth and a bowl underneath so if he began to sleep too deeply, the spoon would fall out with a clatter and wake him back up. Winston Churchill had his ravelled sleeve of care knitted up every afternoon as war raged in the wider world. And Orinoco the Womble was never too busy picking up litter to snatch 40 winks.

Nor is it that we are all so well rested we have no need for daytime slumber. Every week fresh surveys suggest sleep deprivation is endemic. One GMTV poll suggested 65% of us have trouble sleeping, with one in three getting less than five hours a night. If it isn't mothers complaining about their wakeful babies, it's high-fliers whingeing about their stressful jobs.

Our relationship with sleep seems to have become dysfunctional. Bookshops creak under the weight of self-help guides for insomniacs, chemists' shelves are stacked with sleeping aids and GP surgeries are choc-full of people suffering from TATT (as in "Doctor, I'm tired all the time"). Most of us have dozed off in embarrassing places: on a short bus journey, in a library or even standing in a queue, our heads flopping in an undignified manner on to our neighbours' shoulders. We are obsessed by sleep or the lack of it and yet we refuse to make it a priority.

According to Jessica Alexander, of the Sleep Council, our once sacrosanct night's slumber has fallen victim to the 24/7 culture. "We now have shops open all night, we have the internet and e-mails, so it is much more difficult to switch off from work," she says. "And we have a global economy which means many people will be working across time zones. Sometimes a daytime nap is necessary to allow us to catch up on what we have lost the night before."

This should be a worry for British businesses, as lack of sleep clearly affects both performance and profit margins. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia looked at the effects of sleep deprivation on 48 healthy men and women, aged 21 to 38. Those restricted to six hours' sleep a night for two weeks had cognitive performance deficits - a decrease in the ability to carry out higher mental processes such as thought and perception - equal to two nights' sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation is also linked to obesity, not only because being awake longer gives you more time to eat, but because interrupting sleep patterns is thought to interfere with hormones that suppress the appetite.

A recent study estimated that fatigue costs US employers more than $136bn a year in lost productivity. Idzikowski believes we are proving slow to recognise that a relentless work ethic can be self-defeating."Take barristers and lawyers," he says. "Their guiding principle seems to be that you work as hard as you can through the night on cases. But then you think about all the mistakes that are made in court, and you wonder if they wouldn't perhaps do better if they took just a little time out to sleep."

The problem is that if you have been sleep-deprived for long enough you forget how it feels to live any other way. "You think you can survive on less," Idzikowski says. "It's only when you go on holiday you realise you can sleep longer, and feel better."

Across the Atlantic, the preoccupation with napping has reached fever pitch. There is even a book - The Art Of Napping At Work by Bill and Camille Anthony - which gives readers seven rules to follow to derive maximum benefit from their 15-minute kip.

The relationship between sleep and productivity is even being taken seriously by American businesses, many of whom accommodate their employees' desire to catch some zeds during the day. Just as in the UK some companies have their own gyms, so in the States, it is not uncommon for businesses to have purpose-built napping rooms. One firm has set up a series of small tents, while another has installed a Queen-size bed in an upstairs loft.

In Britain, however, it's a very different story. The government has kept a low profile on the importance or otherwise of daytime snoozing, except when it comes to driving, where it has issued advice on taking regular naps and coffee breaks.

A handful of entrepreneurs have recognised a market in our hang-ups about sleep. Former city slicker Richard Walker, owner of the private club Shed, has installed two Zzed sheds where over-worked members can check in for 20 minutes' respite. But by and large, businesses remain sceptical about the commercial benefits. Certainly CBI Scotland finds it hard to muster much enthusiasm for the French government's pioneering move.

"Power napping is obviously one practice which is open to employers and their employees, but whether it will catch on remains to be seen, particularly if it requires dedicated facilities within a workplace," says assistant director David Lonsdale.

"At the end of the day, the job still needs to get done, but we would be concerned if government felt this was an area ripe for onerous new rules and regulations affecting firms."

There are others who view our obsession with sleep as little more than a modern self-indulgence if we compare our lives now with those of our forebears nearly a century ago. "I don't think we suffer from sleep deprivation any more now than we ever did," says Professor Jim Horne, author of the book Sleepfaring: A Journey Through The Science Of Sleep.

"Perhaps if you were one of the idle rich or had a nice, professional job. But if you were a miner or a factory worker your life was arduous. Fifty-hour weeks were not uncommon.

"And our sleep environment is so much better today. In the thirties, you might have been sleeping several to a bedroom in damp conditions, with little sound insulation. Today, we have our big beds and our duvets."

What has increased is our access to leisure pursuits: restaurants, nightclubs, the cinema, online gambling, all activities that may keep us from our beds. And therein lies the dilemma for businesses whose employees lobby to be allowed to put their heads down in company time.

"If workers have bona fide family reasons for being exhausted, or if it's their company's working practises that are causing their sleep to be interrupted, then it is reasonable for them to expect support," says Horne. "But the idea that businesses should provide napping rooms for workers who have been out all night having a jolly old time is nothing short of preposterous."
Turning a blind eye to a spot of shut eye

Sleeping in the afternoon? It's just not British, is it? Scott McCulloch took to the streets of Edinburgh to find out...

Sleeping in public places during the day is a luxury normally reserved for the wine, cider and butane gas connoisseurs among us. So it came as something of a surprise to find that public napping in the middle of the afternoon is met by languid indifference.

At Edinburgh Waverley, my afternoon snooze managed to take up an entire bench, but that didn't seem to bother anyone. Those waiting for trains seemed happy enough to stand by and let me sleep off whatever it was that was making me so tired.

I next had a power nap in a bus stop on Princes Street. Not the most comfy bed I've ever slept on, but not the worst either. Again, no one seemed to take any notice, despite the fact I was sleeping on a bench the width of a brick - in a bus shelter, in the middle of the afternoon, on Princes Street.

On The Mound it was no different. The school kids who congregate there seem quite used to seeing people having a nap, so I was left to get on with it.

In Princes Street Gardens, only the squirrels seemed remotely interested in my impromptu hibernation habits. It has to be said, though, that sleeping on a bench in the gardens is hardly a new concept - even at this time of year - so I was once again left in peace.

At the top of the gardens leading onto Princes Street, I even managed to rest my weary head on a nice lady's shoulder for a brief moment, though this was definitely a test of public tolerance towards innocent power napping, which can so easily be mistaken for the less socially acceptable drunken pass-out.

This article: http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/opinion.cfm?id=184092007

|-) |-) |-) |-) |-)

:) :)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:13 AM
:o :o :o

Edinburgh Evening News Thu 8 Feb 2007

THE FOOD OF LOVE: Chef Danny Owen advises you to cook your Valentine's meal yourself. Picture: KATE CHANDLER:


(l) It's romance in the stove

Top tips on how to cook up a little culinary magic


CREATING the atmosphere is the easy part - a few candles, a little music, some fresh-cut flowers.

But when it comes to whipping up a home-cooked meal for the first time for a special someone, if the food isn't spot-on, it doesn't matter if you've hired Robbie Williams himself to croon softly in the background.

A well-done romantic meal says so much about the person behind the apron - that you're practical (you can chop veg without losing fingers) and organised (it's all ready and hot at the same time) yet creative (not a baked bean in sight).

It goes without saying that something which involves the words "pierce film lid" and a microwave won't do.

As Danny Owen, head chef at Palmerston's restaurant in Morningside, says: "The first thing would be to make it yourself. If you serve up some kind of ready meal or pre-cooked dinner it doesn't say much about you and it certainly isn't going to seem like you've made an effort.

"Using fresh ingredients and making the meal from scratch, however, shows how much you care, and also will mean you get a far tastier dinner."

And while whipping up the perfect romantic meal may sound a daunting prospect to those more used to re-heating than cooking, there is no need to panic.

"It doesn't need to be that hard," says Palmerston's owner Simon Lloyd. "Ideally, what you want is something that you can do quite quickly. You'll want to spend as much time as possible with your partner, so you don't want to be in the kitchen the entire night slaving away over a hot stove."

With this advice in mind, dishes that can be prepared in advance, such as a simple salad with sliced orange and pomegranate, drizzled in a light vinaigrette, or some carpaccio of raw tuna, thinly sliced and served with lemon juice, are definitely a good idea.

With the main course, the best advice is again to keep it light, as you don't want to be feeling bloated and fat at the end of the meal.

Seafood is generally a perfect Valentine's dish, and something slightly exotic such as king scallops can, if properly prepared, be a real taste experience. "If you are going for scallops, I would recommend getting hand-dived scallops, as it is a bit more ethical than those that have been dredged from the bottom," says Simon.

"They are slightly more expensive, but generally come with the shell, which can make a good decoration for the plate."

For those who aren't fond of seafood, Danny suggests a chicken breast, stuffed with red peppers, basil and mozzarella and roasted, which could be served up with some fresh vegetables and a light salad.

"Really, anything that is light and has lots of flavour to it is perfect," he says. "Using slightly exotic ingredients or flavourings can make it seem that little bit special, so you could use something like truffle oil to flavour a risotto or some pasta, and just give it a special lift."

Of course, presentation is all important as well, and laying the dish out carefully on the plate can make prospective diners start to salivate even before they've tasted a bite.

For dessert, a creme brûlé is the ideal choice according to the experts - "It's something women always order when they come in," says Simon. "It's really popular, and it's a nice simple desert that most people enjoy."

And Simon's final advice for couples looking to ensure they have a St Valentine's night to remember is to make sure that a few glasses of nice wine with the meal does not turn into a few bottles.

"I think people would have a nicer time if they went easy on the wine, as most wines are very strong these days," he says.

"Instead of opening a bottle straight away, start of with a nice light pink champagne, then maybe have a few glasses of pinot noir or a sweet muscat, nothing too strong."

• Palmerston's, Morningside Road, 0131-466 7665


Pan-fried scallops with a celeriac and apple remoulade with a smoked salmon salad

YUM! http://images.scotsman.com/2007/02/08/0802rec1.jpg


• 6 king scallops and a knob of butter
• For the remoulade:
• Celeriac
• 1 apple
• 1 anchovie
• 8 baby capers
• 1 whole lemon, juiced
• 1 tbsp crème fraiche
• 1 tbsp mayonnaise
• 1 tsp fresh chopped chives
• salt and pepper

For the salad

• Handful of red chard and rocket
• 1 tsp of fresh washed, chopped parsley
• 1 tbsp of sunflower seeds toasted
• tsp of olive oil
• Handful of chopped cucumber, deseeded
• 1 thin slice of smoked salmon, cut into thin slices


• 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 leaf of chopped dill


Grab a peeler and peel the skin off the celeriac. Grate the celeriac with a fine grater. Peel the skin off the apple and grate into the celeriac. Squeeze the whole lemon into the mix, watching out for the pips. This will stop the mix turning brown. Chop the anchovies, capers and chives and add this to the mix along with the crème fraiche, and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper and put this in the fridge until later.

Meanwhile, toast the sunflower seeds in a frying pan with a touch of olive oil until they are lightly brown. Take off the heat and set aside. Once cool add to the chopped parsley and smoked salmon. Give the lettuce leaves a good wash and add to the salmon and put this in the fridge.

Now let's put the dish together. Put the oil in a frying pan and wait until hot. Season the scallops and add to the pan and cook for two-three minutes, turn over and add a knob of butter and cook for another two minutes then they will be ready. Dress the salad and add a touch of salt and pepper. Place the salad in the centre of the plate, add three tbsps of the remoulade round the salad and add the scallops on top of the remoulade.
Strawberry, raspberry and chocolate brûlé


• 250ml double cream
• 1 vanilla pod, slit in half vertically and scrape out the seeds
• 2 strawberries
• 4 raspberries
• 10 chocolate drops
• 20g caster sugar, and extra for the brûlé topping
• 3 egg yolks
• 2 shallow brûlé dishes


Preheat the oven to 175C. Chop the strawberries in half and put in the brûlé dishes along with the raspberries and chocolate drops. Put the cream in a small saucepan along with the vanilla seeds and pod. Separate the eggs, retaining the egg yokes in a bowl and add the sugar. Whisk this until thick and creamy. Bring the cream to the boil and add this to the egg mixture. Leave the mixture to rest and scrape off the froth. Add the froth-free mixture to the brûlé dishes and put them in a deep roasting tray. Add 400ml of hot water to the roasting tray, and make sure no water goes near the brûlés. This stops the eggs from scrambling. Put in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes until they are set. You can test by tapping the side of the tray and there should be a little wobble in the mixture. Remove from the oven and leave the brûlés to cool. Once cool, sprinkle a little caster sugar over the brûlés and either using a cooks' blowtorch or a medium-heated grill until the tops are golden brown.

(y) (l) (y) (l) (y) (l) (y) (l)

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:15 AM
:) :)

Scotland on Sunday Sun 4 Feb 2007

Supper heroes


IF THE prospect of planning midweek suppers leaves you in a state of either panic or apathy, opt for tasty meals that are simple to make. Here are three recipes for delicious dishes that are easy to rustle up - and even easier to eat.

Halloumi is the national cheese of Cyprus. Usually made from a mixture of goat's and ewe's milk, it is far lower in both fat and calories than our own national staple, cheddar. The name derives from an ancient Greek word meaning salty, and it is indeed a fairly salty mouthful, but not excessively so, provided that you don't add extra seasoning to recipes.

In Cypriot tavernas, locals eat halloumi in omelettes, ravioli or as a stuffing for birds such as partridge - it's great as a stuffing or filling as it doesn't melt into a runny goo, the way mozzarella does, even though you can grill it until it is golden. My bacon-wrapped halloumi dish can be made in two minutes and cooked in quarter of an hour, while you pour yourself a glass of Cypriot wine and warm up some pitta bread to accompany it.

Another very easy dish to assemble is a fritatta, a sort of thick omelette, which looks even better when made with duck eggs as their yolks are a wonderfully lurid yellow. Duck eggs are excellent in cooking, making rich, golden scrambled eggs and omelettes and superb, moist cakes - perhaps because of the higher proportion of yolk to white, or perhaps because they have a higher fat content. This recipe is topped with smoked salmon, but if you prefer to keep it veggie then simply strew it with colourful grilled or roasted peppers.

The chicken dish is one you can also keep up your sleeve for entertaining, as it is sophisticated yet very easy to make. I have come up with a sauce that is quicker to make and so much tastier than a gloopy parsley sauce. You can serve it with chicken, gammon or any white fish.

YUMMY: http://images.scotsman.com/2007/02/04/0402rec2.jpg


Serves two to three

• 250g halloumi, cut into 6 cubes
• 6 slices of smoked back bacon
• olive oil
• salsa verde, to serve

Lay each rasher of bacon on a board and then, starting with the narrow end, wrap it round a piece of cheese. Secure the end with a cocktail stick.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and brown the bacon parcels on all sides for a couple of minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and place it in a preheated oven (220¼C/425¼F/gas 7) for about ten minutes - this heats the cheese right through. Serve with pan juices, salsa verde and good bread.

:) :) :)


Looks Exquisite: http://images.scotsman.com/2007/02/04/0402rec1.jpg

Mashed potatoes and garlicky sautéed spinach make a great accompaniment.

Serves four

• 1 chicken, jointed into 8 pieces (or 4 large chicken breasts)
• olive oil
• 300ml double cream
• 25g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
• 1 level tbsp Dijon mustard

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large ovenproof pan. Once hot, add the chicken, then season and brown all over. Transfer the pan to a preheated oven (200¼C/ 400¼F/gas 6) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked.

To make the sauce, heat the cream until bubbles appear and then cook it over a medium heat until reduced by about a third and slightly thickened. Watch the pan carefully in case it boils over.

Add the parsley and tip everything into a food processor with the mustard. Whizz until smooth, then add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the chicken. (You can make the sauce in advance and reheat it gently).

Linda Dick duck eggs are available from delicatessens and butchers throughout central Scotland.

Serves two to three

• 4 duck eggs
• 200ml crème fraîche
• 4-5 spring onions, finely chopped
• 50g rocket
• 25g butter
• 4-6 slices smoked salmon
• juice of 1 lime

Lightly whisk the eggs and crème fraîche with a little seasoning. Heat some butter in a frying pan and lightly sauté the onions and half of the rocket (torn) for a minute or so, until just softened.

Then, over a medium heat, tip in the eggs. Leave the pan for a couple of minutes and then push the mixture in from the sides with a spatula. Cook for seven to eight minutes, or until almost set, and then lay the smoked salmon slices over the top.

Place the pan under a hot grill for two to three minutes, until just set, then squeeze the lime juice over the fritatta. Pile the remaining rocket on top, then cut into wedges to serve.


(y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:21 AM
:) :)

Scotland on Sunday Sun 4 Feb 2007

Sandro Giovanazzi


Sandro Giovanazzi is the head chef and proprietor of La Parmigiana, 447 Great Western Road, Glasgow (0141 334 0686)

I've chosen braised pheasant with Italian sausage stuffing as my signature dish. It's a particular favourite of mine as it combines Italian and Scottish ingredients. Pheasants are in season at the moment, and the other ingredients are always easy to find.

The Italian sausage mixed with the subtle sweetness of the chestnuts complements the pheasant perfectly, but you must be careful not to burn it when browning. Pheasant is a very tasty alternative to chicken. It's inexpensive and low in fat. This dish is a great winter warmer - and good for you!
Braised pheasant with Italian sausage stuffing

This is good served with potatoes roasted with garlic and rosemary.

Serves two

• 1 small pheasant, including the liver
• 2 freshly made Italian sausages (these are all made the same weight and size, and best found in an Italian deli)
• 4 roasted chestnuts, peeled and chopped
• 125g butter
• 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• small bunch flat-leaf parsley
• 5 tbsp breadcrumbs
• 1 3/4 glasses white wine
• 6 slices pancetta or streaky bacon
• 1/4 glass cognac

Prepare the stuffing by mixing the meat from the Italian sausage with the chopped pheasant liver. Add the roasted chestnuts, 75g of butter, a large pinch of chopped parsley, the breadcrumbs and a generous splash of white wine.

Wash and dry the pheasant, removing any remaining feathers, then fill the cavity with the stuffing. Wrap the bird with the pancetta or bacon, and truss with string. Brown the pheasant in a casserole with the remaining butter and the olive oil. Add a glass of white wine and the cognac. Cover and cook in a hot oven (220¼C/ 425¼F/gas 7) for 45 minutes. Remove the string and the pancetta and serve with the remaining juices.


8-| 8-| Only with the powerful Internet could so many topics, recipes, restaurant reviews and countless other things be found and shared. All of it ones and zeros but my, what remarkable digital combinations...... (y) (l) (y)

(c) (c) Definitely time for that second fresh cup and breakfast/lunch. Wyatt needs to have one of his Fodo Fleece jackets put on him.....it's cold in this office over the garage! :o

Have a lovely Sunday! (f)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:23 AM
(l) (l) (l)

Edinburgh Evening News Fri 9 Feb 2007

Getting into the swing


S.W.A.L.K! Valentine's Day is synonymous with love. But how will you celebrate? Send a card or a fluffy toy, or venture out to one of the many special events being held throughout the Capital.

On Wednesday, Savoy Swing say let there be love when they take over Club Ego on Picardy Place to present The Valentine's Day Swing Ball, featuring The Diminished Fifth swing jazz band and DJ Lenny Love.

Although it has managed to remain under the radar of the mainstream clubbing, over the past few years there has been a genuine revival of the swing music scene across the UK.

For lovers of music and dancing, this has come as no surprise, given that swing dancing - or as it was originally known, Lindy Hop - is easy-to-learn and a great way of keeping fit and healthy.

Consequently, novices and old hands alike are welcome at Club Ego, where they will discover that, today, swing comes in many forms. "Apart from the much-loved original big band/swing era of the late 30s and 40s, which you may already be familiar with, there are numerous contemporary neo-swing artists who have brought the music bang up to date with, among others, hip-hop and house crossover recordings and re-mixes, which has also helped to popularise swing with the current generation of young clubbers," says Sandy Simpson of Savoy Swing.

"The tribute album from Robbie Williams, G-Swing from France with their house re-mixes of classic swing, neo-swing outfits Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Royal Crown Revue, and The Cherry Poppin' Daddies, to mention just three, and, following-on from Dynamo Rhythm Aces and Australia's Frank Bennett, the fabulous Rock Swings album from Paul Anka last year brought the biggest rise in audience awareness for swing with his superb versions and swing arrangements of contemporary popular songs," he says.

On Wednesday, two sets of live music will be provided by The Diminished Fifth. The band who have played their swinging blend of jazz, boogie-woogie and blues all over Scotland have also performed in a huge variety of venues.

DJ Lenny Love of Vegas fame, will keep the joint jumping with a selection of Lindy-Hop, swing and jive classics. With cabaret style seating, a nice big dancefloor and bottles of Cham-pagne for the best outfit, get there early, dress to impress and make sure that you are in the mood.

• Valentine's Day Swing Ball, Club Ego, Picardy Place, Wednesday, 7pm, £10, 0131-220 3234


SWING: Todd Gordon - Songs for Swingin' Lovers!

WIDELY regarded as one of the UK's top jazz/swing vocalists, Todd Gordon was the first Scottish singer to be booked for the London Jazz Festival since Carol Kidd. To celebrate Valentine's Day the new King of Swing presents a special concert featuring some of the most romantic songs ever written. Ten per cent of all ticket sales will be donated to Maggie's Cancer Care Centres.

• Queen's Hall, Clerk Street, Wednesday, 7.30pm, £15, 0131-668 2019

STORYTELLING: Stories From The Heart

The Storytelling Centre re-discovers the meaning of true love and explores the bitter-sweet nature of human friendships. In The King Of Hearts, a family storytelling session unfolds into fairytale adventure - find out just who is the King of Hearts, in a gentle, uplifting tale. Later, in the Storytelling Cafe, Love Stories continues the theme with a broader take on romance. Mending broken hearts, friendship, and the humorous side of love are likely to feature in this monthly storytelling night.

• Storytelling Centre, High Street, The King of Hearts, Wedneday, 3pm-4pm, £4, Age 4+. Also, Love Stories, Wednesday, 7pm, £3, 0131-556 9579

COMEDY: Anti-Valentine's Day Special

DIDN'T get a single card? Then this could be for you. "Whether you're single or attached, this is one day with high nightmare potential. So why not forget the whole thing and come visit us? We'll hide you."

That's the invitation, and the promise, from The Stand Comedy Club on the most romantic day of the year. Featuring Stewart Francis, Poetry Pete and Bruce Devlin.

• The Stand, York Place, Wednesday, 8.30pm, £5, 0131-558 7272

CLASSICAL: RSNO - Je t'aime Valentine's

CELEBRATE Valentine's Day early as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra present a romantic musical evening full of French passion and charm, lovingly crafted by conductor Stephane Deneve. The programme Includes French film music by Michel Legrand and Georges Delerue, as well as Bizet's Carmen Suite, Massenet's Mediation from Thaos and, of course, Ravel 's Bolero. With violinist Edwin Paling.

• Usher Hall, Lothian Road, tonight, 7.30pm, £10-£28, 0131-228 1155

DINE OUT: Indigo Yard Love Package
LOVE will definitely be in the air for one lucky couple at Indigo Yard on Valentine's night, when the Charlotte Lane establishment offers diners the chance to cap off the night with a luxury stay at Scotland's sexiest boutique hotel, Tiger Lily.

Every couple who chooses to spend the year's most romantic evening being wined and dined at Indigo Yard will be entered into a free prize draw to win a night's accommodation in Tiger Lily's fabulous Black Suite.

To be in with a chance of winning you must take advantage of the Indigo Yard love package which consists of a glass of Moet & Chandon rose Champagne, a three- course meal and coffee and chocolates to finish, for just £25 a head. A draw for the Tiger Lily stay will be made at 9.30pm. To book a love package phone 0131-220 5603 and quote the love package.

• Indigo Yard, Charlotte Lane, Wednesday, £25, 0131-220 5603


:) :) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:25 AM
(k) (k) (k)

Edinburgh Evening News Thu 8 Feb 2007

Pretty Lady: http://images.scotsman.com/2007/02/08/0802valb.jpg

Give your gifts the kiss of life


You're sure to fall in love with these Valentine's ideas

THE red roses, the lacy lingerie, the heart-shaped tokens . . . Somewhere in the background, Renee and Renato are crooning about saving their love as a beautiful woman chomps her way through her box of chocolates without putting on an ounce of weight or developing a single shiny red spot.

Ah, Valentine's Day. When it's not the thought, but the buying of a present, that counts. Red roses, tick. Fancy pants, tick. Box of chocs, tick. For a bloke buying for a woman, that's job done, right? Wrong.

Now there's nothing wrong with gifts of underwear, confectionery and flowers. Good roses give off a heavenly scent. Underwear - as our fashion spread today shows - can be tasteful and pretty. And a box of chocolates from an exclusive little store is a wonderful indulgence. If the woman in question will appreciate them.

As one thirty-something Edinburgh woman complains: "I really can't stand the smell of roses - I find them quite sickly. But I still get bought them even though I spend the weeks leading up to February 14 dropping broad hints about other flowers I prefer."

So with Valentine's Day next Wednesday, you've got nearly a week to listen out for hints. Don't buy chocolate if your loved one is trying to lose weight and, if you're buying for a woman with the aim of sparking a relationship, skip the underwear as a gift - it says pervy stalker, not romantic wooer.

Women don't always get it right when they are buying for men either, usually because they pick something they'd like him to like, rather than what will actually please him. If his passions in life - apart from you - are football and pubs, tango lessons for two aren't going to light his fire.

For Her:

Do you love anyone enough to give them your last Rolo? Make the gesture a permanent one with a gift-boxed silver Rolo (£39 from www.memorisethis.com) that will melt hearts and deliver the sentiment in a fun way.

For a touch of elegance and style, Jenners pashminas (£20) are a good option. Colours include Valentine red.

Thorntons has created a selection of handcrafted treats to spoil that special person, from an anonymous chocolate heart (£3.99) to a Chocolate Plaque (£4.49), made even sweeter by icing on that special message.

And if you want to make her smile, grab a heart box full of Love Hearts sweets for £5 at Debenhams.

If she's more into pampering check out the Marks & Spencer's Pamper Set (£19.50) which contains chocolates, cava, pomegranate bath essence, moisturiser and a candle.

For Him/Hym:

Net the winner with a black leather-look notebook inscribed with football quotes on the front in gold gilt. The notebook is £6 from Marks & Spencer.

Or give him a M&S Handsome Devil bottle opener (£3.50) with a six-pack of beer. The matching beer cooler is also £3.50.

John Lewis has a range of silk ties at £15, Debenhams a range of understated sterling silver cufflinks at £20, TK-Maxx a range of black Calvin Klein, Pringle and Boss boxers from £7.99-£15.99.

However, if he's happy with a good cooked meal then head to Crombie's and buy him a fillet steak for under £10.

For Her:

Le Monde, George Street, is offering a four-course meal plus a bouquet of flowers, chocolates and champagne cocktails for £49.95 per couple.

Treat her to a bright red enamel and sterling silver heart charm from Links in Multrees Walk (£40), or a faceted Bordeaux crystal heart pendant on cotton cord (£79) from the Swarovski shop on Princes Street. Or if she prefers sparkle, try the rhodium-plated pendant with heart in clear crystal pavé, also £79.

Diamonds are the ultimate symbol of love. And thankfully these precious gems are now available in mini prices. Ernst Jones has a 9ct white gold diamond love heart necklace for as little as £68.

Set the mood with a sensual fragranced Space NK Behind Closed Doors candle (£28), or show her you pay attention by opting for the cult Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb perfume (£65, Harvey Nichols), Vivienne Westwood Boudoir perfume (£47, Harvey Nichols), Chanel Chance parfum (£54, Perfume Shop) or Coco Mademoiselle parfum (£64, Perfume Shop).

Or pamper her at One Spa at the Sheraton. The award-winning spa is offering couples a "Serail Mud Chamber" experience followed by use of the thermal Suite, Rooftop Hydropool, Cleopatra baths and gym. The Escape At One package costs £75 per couple.
For Him:

Inject some true romance with Ralph Lauren's fresh woody fragrance for men (£29.99, Perfume Shop).

Or make him stand out from the crowd with the Le Vainqueur eau de parfum by Rance (£60, Harvey Nichols).

Indulge his love of sport with the Champions league football table (£89.95, John Lewis) or make sure he captures all your memories with an Olympus FE170 digital camera (£99).

For Her:

Designer handbags are a good option. Statement bags are at Mulberry from around £350, but if it has to be bling then head to Harvey Nichols and splurge on a Chloe Betty at £959.

Choose a sparkling diamond encrusted white gold eternity ring which signifies everlasting love (£325, Ernst Jones). Also try Fraser Hart on Princes Street, H Samuel and Lime Blue on George Street. But if you want something cheaper, the Love Struck Pave Pendant (£130, Links) will have the same impact.

For Him/Hym:

A sleek Gucci stainless steel G Round Chronograph watch with black dial costs £850 from Mappin & Webb, or keep it within budget with a Emporio Armani Slimline stainless steel watch (£175, Ernst Jones)

If he is a music lover then get him up-to-date with the new Apple video iPod (£189). Or indulge his inner child with a Nintendo Wii (£179.99, Argos) which comes with a motion-sensitive remote.

Become a football widow and get him a hospitality package for the next Hibs or Hearts game. At Easter Road, for £175 he'll get a four-course meal, a free bar, executive seating, half-time snacks, a programme and player appearances thrown in. The same deal is also on offer at Tynecastle.


(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:27 AM
;) ;)

Edinburgh Evening News Thu 8 Feb 2007

Pretty Lady (another one) with Chocolate:


How a cheeky nibble can stimulate desire


IT was way back in the second century AD that the Romans identified oysters as an aphrodisiac, with one satirist describing how wanton women used to down large quantities of them.

Ever since oysters have been seen as the food of love, a romantic culinary treat which will send pulses racing and hearts a- fluttering.

But according to Dario Pacifici, of catering experts The Devil's Kitchen, the Romans may well have been on to something - oysters really do have the vital ingredients to give men a boost where they need it most.

"Oysters are full of life-enhancing minerals such as copper, iron and zinc - critical to male fertility," he says.

So how did the Romans know all those centuries ago that oysters contains vital elements for good romantic health?

Well, perhaps it was just a lucky guess, as they also counted turnips, skink flesh (a type of lizard) and the roots of gladioli as foods of love, none of which have stood the scientific test of time like oysters have.

Oysters' reputation as an aphrodisiac was only enhanced when 18th-century Venetian lover Casanova indulged in at least 40 oysters a day. He was also a fan of chocolate - and according to chocolatier Rebecca Knights-Kerswell, who runs Coco of Brunstfield, Casanova may well have inadvertently picked a food stuff with a science behind it.

"Chocolate sets off the endorphins in the brain in the same ways that being in love makes you feel good," she explains.

Of course, if the oysters and chocolates fail, you could always gaze into your would-be lover's eyes and suggest a nibble of horny goat weed. It's another aphrodisiac with a supposedly long history - it grows in China and was said to have been discovered 2000 years ago by goatherds watching what plants their most promiscuous goats munched.

While following the diet of your average goat isn't likely to promote anything like normal health among most humans, there is apparently, some evidence that the weed does work.

According to health food shop Holland & Barratt, clinical trials have revealed it may boost testosterone production, stimulate the sensory nerves, and even boost your sex drive - in a recent study, 13 out of 20 men reported an overall improvement in sexual satisfaction and an increase in sexual desire.

It's not just said to be good for lifting the libido. Horny goat weed (£19.99 for a month's supply) can treat a number of complaints including kidney and liver disorder, joint, back and knee problems. If that fails to hit the spot, there's always Muira Puama, a supplement thought to restore and revitalise desire, and Damiana leaves, which are believed to improve the libido. And don't forget Avena Sativa - it's said to stimulate desire - or Ginkgo Biloba, which, is thought to help blood flow to the sexual organs.

Some people swear by asparagus, but over at Juiced Up in Bruntsfield you can sample the Brazilian acai berry - which has been dubbed "natural Viagra" - along with the maca root.

The juice bar's owner Jonathan Oag uses horny goat weed and maca to make a love potion he's called the Libido Booster.

Maca has been nicknamed Peruvian Viagra, although Jonathan admits there is no specific reason why the acai berry has also gained this moniker. But the humble fruit does, he says, have some very good claims to it.

"Acai is the world's richest botanical source of iron," he says. "It improves the blood flow through the whole body."

Given this, and combined with its energy-boosting and cholesterol-lowering abilities, it's little wonder the fruit has become known as a "super-berry".

Maca, a root which grows in the mountains of Peru, is described as a natural hormone balancer, packed with potassium and calcium. It has a high nutritional value too, so it's good for energy and stamina.

Meanwhile, Dee Atkinson, medical herbalist and director of Napiers in Bristo Place, suggests a course of ginseng to get the juices flowing.

"It's a tonic to the adrenal system, and while it has a big reputation as a male aphrodisiac, it is also useful for women," she says.

"It tones the system, helps the body deal with stress and basically gets you in the mood. Just don't take it for more than a couple of months at a time - it can affect the hormones."

For a mood-enhancing effect, she suggests Napier's Aphrodite Oil (£7.95 for 100ml) - an aromatic blend of cedarwood, frankincense, rose absolute and ylang ylang - which sends messages to the brain that you're in the mood for love.

"Cedarwood and frankincense help you to relax and deal with stress. Ylang ylang has been considered to be an aphrodisiac for centuries while the rose absolute is warming and comforting.

"Use it either as a massage oil or pop a few drops in the bath and drench yourself in the aroma."

Women can have their own specific libido issues - the old joke about the wife with a permanent headache is now known as PBC, post-baby coolness - while previous relationship issues can also led to a loss of sexual appetite.

For this, Dee suggests a course of vitamin B complex to deal with stress and relax tired minds and body.

St Valentine's Day wouldn't be the same without flowers, but don't stick them in a vase - drink them. At Neal's Yard Remedies in Hanover Street, Sexuality Bush Flower Essence (£8.50 for 30mls) is said to heighten the passion in relationships.

So with all that in mind, St Valentine's Day should go with a bang. As long as you don't follow the aphrodisiac advice of Henri IV of France who would prepare for a spot of lovemaking with a clove of garlic, a piece of onion and a swig of Armagnac.

Someone pass the aspirins - I feel a headache coming on . . .


;) ;) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:28 AM
:o :o


Edinburgh Evening News Thu 8 Feb 2007

A special day is on the cards

Make the right choice and send hearts racing

CONSIDERING it's going to cost less than a tenner - unless you shop in some very exclusive places - and consists of a folded bit of paper with a picture or slogan on the front, there's an awful lot riding on your choice of Valentine's card.

It's easy to be too vulgar, for a start - just a quick glance across the pink and red array cluttering up a fair section of the card chain shops is enough to tell you that you need to know the object of your affections very well to risk buying many of their offerings.

And as Valentine's cards are traditionally given by secret admirers, it's vitally important to strike the right note, as that card is all your would-be beloved has to go on.

It's no less of a fraught choice if you are happily settled in a long-term relationship - the wrong card can provoke all kinds of questions. Too cheap? Taken for granted? Too flashy?

But all the inherent dangers haven't put us off popping to the nearest newsagent - Valentine's day now ranks second only to Christmas in number of greeting cards sent.

For something up-to-date and value for money try the chain stores where there will be some bargains lurking. And your best bet, if you are willing to shell out, is to check out local gift shops and galleries, where some more original offerings can be found.


(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:30 AM
:o :o

Taste of love: Oysters are high in zinc, essential for boosting the sexual impulse.

(l) (l) I LOVE these:


IF YOU don't use it, you lose it, as they say, or at least that's how it can feel. So, if you are returning to the dating game, you might need some help to get you into a romantic frame of mind. We are not talking little blue pills, though. Food can be the best fuel of love, according to the latest scientific studies into how diet can affect our libido. So, make a date with a supermarket trolley to get yourself in the mood for love.


VITAL for the production of sex hormones, zinc is great for boosting a low sexual impulse and is necessary for healthy sperm production.

"Oysters are a particularly good source of zinc," says nutritionist Natalie Savona, author of Wonderfoods (Quadrille, £12,99). "They have a celebrated aphrodisiac reputation. The texture of them has a seductive feel." Other good sources include spinach, broccoli, lean red meat and sunflower and pumpkin seeds.


A CHEMICAL found in seafood and cheese, iodine is a component of the thyroid hormones that help to regulate growth, development and metabolic rate.

"An underactive thyroid is linked to fatigue and low sex drive, but iodine is an important player in the body's hormonal system," says Savona. "Seaweed is a fantastic source, and given its other cancer-protective properties, we would all do well to include seaweed in our diet." Sushi anyone?


IF YOU have a low sex drive, it may be that you have a sluggish nervous system, and EFAs, which help to relay the messages from brain to body, can make a big difference.

"The incorporation of EFAs into cell membranes means they are better able to receive hormonal messages," says Savona.

By stimulating the body's pathways, they help to heighten our sensitivity. Pumpkin seeds and nuts are excellent sources of EFAs.


STRESS is a common cause of low libido, so if you can crack the stress, you eradicate the problem.

"The B Vitamins are particularly helpful in combating the impact of chronic stress," says Savona.

"B6 (pyridoxine) supports the adrenal gland as well as fatty-acid metabolism, and therefore high levels will help to boost your energy and nervous system."

Natural sources include bananas, broccoli, and chicken breast.


THIS amino acid - found in almonds, cashew nuts and grains - is often used to combat male impotence and infertility.

"L-Arginine is commonly prescribed in quite high doses to help to facilitate erection and it boosts sperm count and motility," says Atkinson.

The amino acid is necessary for the production of nitric oxide - which, in turn is necessary for erectile function.

Clients are advised to take up to a whopping 5g daily on an empty stomach.


(*) (*) (*) As Emeril always says, "Oh yea, babe!"

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:32 AM
(l) (l)

The Scotsman Sat 11 Feb 2006

(p) http://images.scotsman.com/2006/02/11/11yumb.jpg

Love in a cup



FEBRUARY is a bleak month. So it is a real blessing that Valentine's Day falls right in the middle, giving us all the excuse for a party. You can have a full-blown "do" with a collection of your friends - Champagne, pink and red food, balloon hearts, the lot! - or you can have a peaceful celebratory dinner for two. I know that shops go all-out to ensnare us for a further commercial binge, but for me there is no better way to celebrate than with home-cooked food.

This year 14 February falls midweek, so I suggest a simple feast. Most of us will be working, so the food we eat must be made quickly, and preferably in advance. Light candles on the table, have Champagne or a pink sparkling wine - supermarket wine departments and specialist shops are full of the most delicious sparkling wines at reasonable prices - but my colleague Rose Murray Brown gives the best advice on this subject.

Roast Beetroot Mousse with Dill Crème Fraîche

Set and serve these in teacups, or use moulds lined with clingfilm and turn on to a plate to serve.

Serves 6

• 1 red onion, skinned and chopped
• 4 fresh beetroot, peeled and chopped
• 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, skinned and chopped
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 pint/285ml stock, either chicken or vegetable stock (or Marigold stock powder made up with boiling water)
• 4 sheets of gelatine, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 3 teaspoons best horseradish sauce (I use Isabella's Relish or Moniack's)
• a good grinding of black pepper
• 2 large egg whites
• a pinch of salt
• 1/4 pint/140ml crème fraîche to garnish
• 6 fronds of dill

Cover a baking tray with a sheet of baking parchment and put the chopped onion, beetroot and garlic on it. Pour on the olive oil and, with your hands, mix together thoroughly. Scatter the salt over the lot and roast in a hot oven, 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6 for 20 minutes. Shuffle the vegetables around on the tray, then continue roasting them for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until when you stick a fork into a chunk of beetroot it feels quite tender. Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool.

Heat the stock in a pan, then drain the soaked gelatine sheets and drop them into the hot liquid - swirl it around and the gelatine should dissolve almost instantly.

Place the roasted vegetables in a food processor and whiz them to a smooth puree. Then whiz in the gelatine stock, the lemon juice and the horseradish. Taste, and add more salt if you think it is needed, and a good grinding of black pepper.

In a bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt (to give an increased volume) until the whites hold peaks. With a flat metal whisk or a large metal spoon, fold the whisked whites into the beetroot purée. Divide the mixture between the teacups or moulds, cover each with clingfilm and place in the fridge. Make them up to two days in advance, but bring to room temperature for at least half an hour before serving. If you are using teacups, spoon a dollop of crème fraîche on top of each one, or if you are turning out moulds on a plate, put a spoonful on the side. Decorate with a dill frond.

(l) (l)

Hot-smoked Salmon and Leeks au Gratin with Rice

This all-in-one dish can be made a day in advance.

Serves 6

• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 1oz/28g butter
• 8 medium to large leeks, each trimmed at the ends of their outer leaves, and the leeks sliced thinly
• 1 tablespoon flour
• 11/2 pints/850ml milk
• finely grated rind of 1 lemon - first, scrub the lemon under running hot water, to remove the preservative, and dry well
• a grating of nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• a good grating of black pepper
• 2lb/900g hot-smoked salmon (we use Salar) - flake the fish into a bowl and discard the skin
• 6oz/170g grated Parmesan

Prepare a large ovenproof dish by rubbing with a little olive oil. Heat the oil and melt the butter in a large and preferably non-stick saucepan. Add the leeks and fry, stirring occasionally, over a moderately high heat - not too high, or you will scorch the leeks - until they are quite soft. Prod them with a fork to be sure they're properly tender, then stir in the flour, mixing in thoroughly, and cook for a minute. Gradually add the milk, stirring all the time, until the leeks in their sauce bubble. Allow them to bubble gently for a minute, then draw the pan off the heat and stir in the grated lemon rind, the nutmeg, salt and pepper.

The sauce will be fairly thin - it's meant to be. Fold in the flaked hot-smoked salmon. Cover the surface with grated Parmesan, cover the dish with clingfilm and put it in the fridge.

To reheat, take the dish from the fridge half an hour before baking it in a moderate oven, 350F/180C/Gas Mark 4, for 30 to 35 minutes. The sauce should be bubbling gently around the edges. Heat the grill then place the dish under it to melt the surface Parmesan to a thick, golden crust. I like to serve boiled Basmati rice and a mixed leaf salad with this.

(l) (l)


These look lovely in individual glasses. If you can't get blood oranges, buy ordinary oranges.

Serves 6

For the jellies:

• 1/2 pint/285ml cold water
• 6oz/170g granulated sugar
• pared rind of 1 lemon (well washed first, and use a potato peeler to pare the skin without the pith)
• juice of 1 lemon
• 6 sheets of gelatine, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
• 1 pint/570ml orange juice squeezed from six blood oranges. If the amount isn't quite enough make it up with a tablespoon or two of cold water - but no more.

For the syllabub:

• 1 pint/570ml double cream
• 1/4 pint/140ml Marsala (if you can't get Marsala, use medium dry sherry)
• 3oz/85g caster sugar
• the pulp from 4 passion fruit

Make the jellies by starting with the syrup. Put the water and granulated sugar into a saucepan with the pared lemon rind and, over a moderate heat, stir until the sugar has dissolved completely. Then raise the heat and let the syrup boil fast, for five minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and add the lemon juice, lifting out the strips of lemon peel and throwing them away. Stir in the drained soaked sheets of gelatine, which will dissolve almost immediately on contact with the hot syrup. Mix the lemon gelatine syrup into the orange juice, mixing well, then divide this between six serving glasses. Cover each glass with clingfilm and leave to set, preferably overnight in the fridge.

When you are ready to serve, whip together all the syllabub ingredients until the mixture has the texture of soft whipped cream. Spoon the mixture carefully on top of each jelly, dividing equally between the glasses.


(f) (f) (f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:33 AM
:o :o :o

Edinburgh Evening News Thu 9 Feb 2006

Brief encounters sure to please


ED nylon knickers and edible thongs; pink padded satin bras and matching pants embroidered with the words "BE MINE"; lace garters, feather boas, fluffy handcuffs - you get the idea. It's hard not to when the shops are full of Valentine's Day tat as the annual day of romance nears.

Yes, it's the time of year when men mistake women for sex shop mannequins, and in a kind of self-induced hysteria believe anything red with lacy bits is a one-size-fits-all lingerie option.

February 14 has become the traditional time for buying a loved one some nice new undies, but it shouldn't mean picking the most garish option available.

"All too often men get confused as to what is sexy," says Clare Thommen, of Frederick Street lingerie boutique Boudiche. "It's as if they see red and lace and forget about style, cut, the look and who they're buying for. Yes, you can get lovely red lace lingerie, but you can also get some tacky horrors.

"Lingerie for a woman should be something she feels and looks fantastic in. To define it as sexy means it is about it being luxurious, decadent and something special. Yes, it costs a bit more, but that is down to the quality of the materials and design."

She continues: "Mind you, you can hardly blame them when some high street shops dictate that 'sexy' is red, scratchy and uncomfortable. My advice is go to the sort of place your girlfriend or wife would go to and ask for advice."

Edinburgh stylist Laura Wilton agrees. "A woman knows what she likes and what she looks good in, so it's important not to stray too far from her comfort zone. A gift should be what she wants, not what the man wants."

So where should men be looking? George, at Asda, has an indulgent range that looks chic rather than cheap. Padded bras, balcony bras, French knickers and ruffled shorts come in luxurious lace, flirty, frilled mesh and delicate fabrics in a monochrome palette. Choose from crisp white, polka dots, black, or black with a flash of white for flirty lingerie fashion.

The more pricey Valisere range has taken glamour to the extreme with dramatic red in soft tulle, with matching suspenders, while Caprice at Debenhams shows that hot pink can work on occasions.

At La Senza, the Valentine's Day collection is full of satins, silks, laces and sophisticated embroideries. Lightly padded balcony bras with French knickers are in abundance in whites, blacks, light pinks and deep purples.

There are also kitsch black bras with patterned love hearts and bows, flirty beribboned lingerie sets and even shimmering pants complete with long, beaded fringes. And for those who want even more glam there's a range of bustiers too.

M&S has gone for girly prettiness with its range of pastel sets with intricately embroidered lace hearts, available in white, cream, pink and blue.

Oasis is stocking a Valentine's collection from Odille, with a wide selection of delicately sculpted bras, camisoles, thongs and French knickers. Once again polka dots feature, as well as sexy simple silhouettes with vintage detailing, and accessories including sequin garters and suspender belts as well as robes.

And if you want to bring a touch of naughtiness to Valentine's Day, do what those Channel 4 Desperate Housewives do and invest in some Spolyt lingerie. Head to Boudiche where the famous satin tool belt is currently in stock. Gabrielle Solis would be proud.


:o :o :o


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:35 AM

Cooking is a good way to a woman's heart.

(p) (p) http://images.scotsman.com/2004/02/12/1202coob.jpg

The Scotsman Thu 12 Feb 2004

The way to a woman's heart ...


Whether it is the quickest, the easiest, or the sneakiest way to someone’s heart, the route via their stomach has got to be worth a try on Valentine’s Day.

Boxes of chocolates, or retro packets of "Love Hearts," might be traditional edible tokens of affection, but if you plan to go the gastric route, a bit more effort is required. Which means breakfast or dinner. Not lunch. Lunch can turn out to be a hot date but generally only during holidays. Asking someone over for lunch, no matter how you word the invitation, just isn’t sexy. Going out is an option, of course, but as restaurants tend to get attacks of puns on the menu and red balloons around 14 February, it is safer, and less mortifying, to stay in.

Food for Valentine’s Day must impress either by its rarity, its expense or the effort expended in preparing it. Better still if it contains some aphrodisiac. Including aphrodisiacs on the menu for the big night, either surreptitiously or blatantly, can only add to the sense of occasion and help to deliver the swift result following the meal that most who indulge in foodie festivities on the sauciest saint’s day will be hoping for.

Oysters are the best known aphrodisiac but as they are an acquired taste it is best to check if your Valentine likes them before going to the expense of buying. Those of us on whom the charm of raw molluscs is lost would find a bacon sandwich a lot sexier than an overpriced mouthful of chilled snot. Asparagus, also said to be an aphrodisiac, would be far more tempting. In 19th-century France, bridegrooms were fed three courses of asparagus at their prenuptial dinner. Serving a ripe fleshy avocado (without dreary prawns and Mary Rose sauce) would be another good way to start the meal. The Aztecs called the avocado ahucatl, meaning testicle, and its powers were thought to be so great that centuries ago some Catholic priests forbade their parishioners eating it. The high zinc content in caviar is said to be what gives the tiny fish eggs their aphrodisiac powers as zinc aids the production of testosterone.

That is about as scientific as explanations of the supposed powers of aphrodisiacs get. Most are simply foods that were attributed aphrodisiac powers by our frolicsome forefathers, usually because they resembled male or female naughty bits. Like asparagus, bananas and even carrots have been said in various cultures to improve male desirability and performance. Powdered rhino horn is said to do amazing things for men. (As this is tricky to get hold of in Scotland, powdered antler might do!) Detailed research would probably prove that anything long, firm and edible or red, fleshy and edible had been used as an aphrodisiac in some culture or tradition at some time. Figs were said to be Cleopatra’s favourite fruit and the ancient Greeks celebrated their fig harvest with a ritual of vigorous copulation. Tomatoes were considered an aphrodisiac in many parts of 18th-century Europe, where the French called them the apple of love.

However, traditional aphrodisiacs also exist that are not in the least bit aesthetically suggestive. Truffles, which are said to contain a chemical similar to a male sex hormone were used by the Romans but disappeared after the fall of the Empire before their powers were rediscovered in the 18th century. The ancient Egyptians believed that the humble radish increased their ardour. Eating chocolate is also said to improve the appetite for more than just more chocolate. Believing it made him virile, the Aztec King Montezuma drank 50 cups of a chocolate drink each day before visiting his harem of 600 women. Chocolate was banned in some monasteries in previous centuries.

Perhaps the most surprising vegetable to be regarded by some as an aphrodisiac is the everyday onion, which has been widely used as a sexual enhancer since prehistoric times. Mentioned in Hindu texts on the art of lovemaking, it was also highly thought of by the ancient Greeks, the Romans and in many Arab countries. Egyptian priests at the time of the Pharaohs were forbidden onions in their diet because of the potential effects and French newlyweds were offered onion soup on the morning after their wedding to restore their libidos.

Although effort is the most important ingredient of a successful Valentine’s dinner, there are a few dishes so romantically ruinous that they must be avoided. Being the favourite staple of male occasional cooks everywhere, spaghetti carbonara is a huge turn-off for women. Anything similar to shepherd’s pie, which could just as easily show up for tea in front of the telly, must be struck off the menu too. Even if you don’t usually cook and hope the thought will count, it will count for more if you do something unexpected or unusual. Sharing a pizza is a treat but unless you are under 16 it isn’t a very exciting one - even if it is home made, a pizza with an over-exotic topping is the sign of an over-fussy mind.

However, if cooking is likely to be the last thing on your mind on Valentine’s Day, go out to a restaurant with a special Valentine’s menu. And try not to blush as you order the Simply the Breast or the Oh, What a Lovely Pear in front of someone you are trying to impress.

(l) (l) The perfect Valentine's menu

TO EMBRACE the essentially twee nature of Valentine’s Day really wantonly, an entirely red meal or a completely pink meal would be perfect.

A pink feast might start off with figs with prosciutto, continue with langoustines or lobster and follow up with raspberry ice-cream or little pink fairycakes - all washed down with Sea Breezes or pink Champagne.

A red dinner with red wine could start with marinated cherry tomatoes, progressing to rare beef - Jamie Oliver’s seared carpaccio of beef with roasted baby beets looks and tastes amazing and would be perfect - and finish with strawberries.

Naff but nice, go for heart-shaped food from Lakeland Ltd (015394 88100), which sells large and small heart-shaped cake moulds and heart-shaped ice cube trays.

Another option for Valentine’s Day is breakfast or dinner in bed. If you’re going for this option remember, the menu must be practical. A bed picnic is what is required: nothing drippy, slurpy or crumby and preferably requiring only minimal cutlery. Cocktail sticks should be avoided because of the potential damage discarded ones could do. Wraps, miniature homemade pasties and non-disintegrating tapas or sushi would all be good. And for pudding, sweeties.

For a nostalgic treat, aquarterof.com sells just about every kind of delicious sweet ever made. Let’s face it, it’s much more romantic to sit in bed sharing a bag of cider apples than to produce chocolate body paint or edible underwear. No doubt there will be some who will call me a prude but eating and sex are separate pleasures that should be kept apart. Eating together is the oldest form of foreplay but licking food from someone else’s belly button, however fond you are of them, is no sexier than licking the remains of a kebab from your own hand.


(y) (y) (y) (y) (y)


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:36 AM
(k) (k) (k) (k) (k)

Scotland on Sunday Sun 16 Feb 2003

Why the humble kiss deserves a little more than just lip-service.


THE least passionate kiss to be captured on film was that time Prince Charles had to accept a trophy off Princess Diana after a triumph on the polo field. What should have been a touching moment turned into a silent but deadly display of dirty laundry. Taking the cup, Charles affected a manoeuvre that was more of a spasm than a gesture of affection. He moved his face violently to Diana’s right-hand side, wincing his facial muscles and affecting a gruesome, lopsided pucker until his face resembled that of a severe stroke victim. It confirmed what we suspected: the royal fairytale was over.

Now, a study conducted by a German psychologist has revealed that Charles and Diana’s style of kiss is pretty much the norm. Herr Gunturkun (whose name sounds like an austere Teutonic breakfast dish) studied amorous couples and discovered that most turn to the right when they kissed. But you can’t apply the theory of Vorsprung Durch Technik to something as visceral and spontaneous as kissing. What I would like to ask Gunturkun is this: could Charles and Di have made their marriage work if they had kissed more? I think he would say "yes".

Kissing is the world’s most underrated sexual practice. Even when she has bad breath, kissing is unadulterated halitosex. Nothing is more passionate than stopping your loved one in the street for a tongue kung-fu session. How people can find such behaviour repulsive is beyond me.

Yes, observing a close-up of a pair of duelling tongues lubricated by copious amounts of Smirnoff Ice can be like watching the Alien wrestling a saveloy. Then again, considering what a permissive society we live in, it’s amazing just how rarely you do spot a kissing couple these days.

Apparently, this is because snogging virtually stops a year or so into a romantic affiliation. This was confirmed by a quick poll of my married friends. "Snogging seems silly when you’ve been married for seven years," one woman told me. Which is sad. It’s the small things in life that make the difference.

Despite Charles’s dubious technique, the royals, I have it on good authority, love to kiss. "When you are in an informal situation with a member of the royal family - male or female - you do this thing they call ‘kiss, bob, snog’," says the socialite and interior designer Nicky Haslam. "Which means you peck, bow then hug," he explains. "But you have to know them well, of course."

You can also use the act of not kissing as a way of making yourself more attractive. The legendary fashion photographer Terence Donovan once told me that, during his sexual heyday in the 1960s, he would take out dozens of models but never kiss them on the first date. Or the second. Or the third. "By the fourth date they would be desperate to kiss me - and do anything else I wanted them to do."

Perhaps we should take note from David and Victoria Beckham, who kiss in public like a couple of lovelorn teenagers. Sorry if this sounds smug and over-intimate, but my wife is a really great kisser, too.

She has this fat, squishy section on her bottom lip, like an upside-down Cupid’s bow that just begs to be kissed. Even now we kiss in the park and in cinemas. The relief I felt all those years ago after my first kiss with her was akin to getting the all-clear after a prostate examination.

I just couldn’t have married her if she hadn’t been such a good kisser. And we’ve been together for 10 years.


(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:37 AM
:) :)

The male penguin presents a female with a pebble, signalling the start of a life-long partnership at Edinburgh Zoo.


The Scotsman Fri 14 Feb 2003

Valentine pebbles for soft-hearted penguins


ACCORDING to Marilyn Monroe, diamonds are a girl’s best friend - but for the female penguins at Edinburgh Zoo, a simple pebble will suffice.

As humans exchange cards and send presents to their loved ones on Valentine’s Day, the gentoo penguins at the capital’s zoo are engaging in their own romantic ritual. In a courtship display repeated every year, male birds present their prospective partners with a smooth, round pebble. If the female penguin accepts it, the couple will mate for life.

Alison MacLean, the head penguin keeper, supplies her charges with a mound of smooth, round pebbles, from which the male penguins will pick out their love offering. She said: "If the female accepts the pebble then she is effectively accepting the penguin as her mate.

"Pebbles are extremely important in the lives of this species of penguin.

"The females collect the stones from the males so that they can build secure nests for their chicks. It is crucial for them to build a high, round nest to ensure that the chicks are kept well away from the cold ground."

Edinburgh Zoo is world-famous for its breeding and care of gentoo penguins, which are known for their monogamy and dedication to their mates.

But while female penguins may be easily impressed, they are no pushover when it comes to pebbles.

Amanda Alabaster, of Edinburgh Zoo, said: "One year, I witnessed a female reject several rocks before the young male succeeded."

After the pebble ritual, the male and female will begin to build the nest - in exactly the same spot as the year before.


:) :)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:38 AM
(y) (y)


Find ALL of the dark M&Ms in the dark painting:


Where to find them near you: http://storefinder.mmmars.com/m-ms/mm.htm

(l) (y) (l) (y) (l)

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:40 AM
:D :D

Nymphomaniacs Convention

A man boarded an airplane and took his seat. As he settled in, he
glanced up and saw the most beautiful woman boarding the plane.
He soon realized she was heading straight towards his seat. As
fate would have it, she took the seat right beside his. Eager to
strike up a conversation he blurted out, "business or pleasure?"

She turned, smiled, and said, "Business, I'm going to the Annual
Nymphomaniacs of America Convention in Brockton, Mass."

He swallowed hard. Here was the most gorgeous woman he had ever
seen sitting next to him, and she was going to a meeting of
nymphomaniacs. Struggling to maintain his composure, he calmly
asked, "What's your business role at this convention?"

"Lecturer," she responded. "I use the information that I have
learned from my personal experiences to debunk some of the
popular my ths about sexuality."

"Really?" he said, "and what kind of myths are there?"

"Well," she explained, "one popular myth is that African-American
men are the most well endowed of all men, when in fact it is the
Native American Indian who is most likely to possess that trait."

"Another popular myth is that Frenchmen are the best lovers, when
actually it is men of Jewish descent who are the best."

"I have also discovered that the lover with the best stamina is
the Southern Redneck."

Suddenly the woman became a little uncomfortable and blushed. "I'm
sorry," she said, "I shouldn't really be discussing all of this
with you. I don't even know your name."

"Tonto," the man said, "Tonto Goldstein, but my friends call me

Ba-da, Boom!

;) ;) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:42 AM
(f) (f) (f) (f) (f)


Weekend Edition Saturday

Simon Says
by Scott Simon

10 Feb 2007

Vickie Lynn Marshall, 1967 - 2007

You know what I like even less than the excess coverage of Anna
Nicole Smith's untimely death, and circus speculations about the
paternity of her child? All the smug jokes that assume she was
dumb, because she was a full-figured blond, or a callous,
calculating fortune hunter, because she married a wealthy man 63
years her senior.

People who think they're too smart for stereotypes, placed all
kinds on her. Should Anna Nicole Smith have tried to become a
rocket scientist just to shatter their self-righteous assumptions?

She was a tall, lusty small-town Texas siren of a girl who got
married and had a son by the time she was 16. She worked in a
roadside strip club, not a spot where she could calculate to meet a
man like J. Howard Marshall, who by the way, was no typical Texas
oil tycoon. He was a Philadelphia lawyer who taught at Yale Law
and drafted America's energy policies as a member of Franklin
Roosevelt's wartime cabinet.

Perhaps we should be humble about judging someone's life from
appearances, but it seemed like Anna Nicole Smith loved her son, who
died recently, loved her new baby, and tried to play the hand that
nature gave her. Sometimes the only right thing to say is Rest in

(f) (f) Amen.

(f) (f)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-11-2007, 08:48 AM
(y) (y) (y)


(p) http://i.techrepublic.com.com/gallery/33278-500-375.jpg

(y) (y) This link provides access to many, many astoundingly beautiful photos...(p) (p) ; definitely worth taking the time to visit this web site IMHO:


(h) 8-| (h) 8-| Fractals are definitely near the top on my favorites' list! (l) Fractals (l) (Sigh)


(f) (f) Warmest thoughts,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-14-2007, 12:54 PM
:o :o

(8) (8) (8) (8) (8)

"This is no longer the age of 'having a face for radio.' This is a visual medium now." Those words from Dianna Jason, marketing director at Power 106, a Los Angeles hip-hop radio station, should be accompanied by a sound effect of the shattering dreams of those who are mellifluous but modestly blessed in the looks department (although Howard Stern seems to have managed). Stern, along with Don Imus, have long incorporated video into their shtick, but the New York Times reports that a growing number of radio stations are, however belated, starting to branch out into moving pictures. Traditional radio, troubled by declining listenership and flat revenues, now sees possible salvation in serving up band clips, user videos and strong local personalities with their wacky stunts on the Web for the YouTube crowd. "People are either going to have to get with the program or get lost," Fatman Scoop, a disc jockey on Hot 97, an FM station in New York, told the Times. "People don't sit in front of a radio for three hours like they used to. If they don't hear a song they like, they go to the Internet."




(y) (y) (y)

:) (l) Happy Valentine's Day!

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-14-2007, 12:56 PM
(y) (k) (y) (k) (y) (k) (y)


:) :) Definitely cool storage....;)

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-14-2007, 12:58 PM
8-| 8-| 8-|

Send a Valentine that's Out of This World!


(y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-14-2007, 01:02 PM
(y) (l) (y) (l)




(h) 8-|

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-14-2007, 01:09 PM
^o) I don't think so!



:D :D :D Definitely made me smile/laugh with the old-fashioned circuitry - but I still believe stupid guys/bois parallel date.

(*) (*) Bravo for brave, loyal, dependable serial daters! (y) (l) (y) (l) (y) (l) (y)

Muchos/Muchas (l) (l) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-14-2007, 01:11 PM
:s :s


Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away,
think of this:

It's a security alarm system you probably already have and requires no

Put your car keys beside your bed at night. If you hear a noise outside
your home or someone trying to get in your house, just press the panic
button for your car. The alarm will be set off and the horn will continue
to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies.

Start keeping your car keys next to your bed on the night stand when you
go to bed at night.

Test it !! It will go off from most everywhere inside your house and will
keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the
button on the key fob chain. It works if you park in your driveway or
garage. If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break in your
house, odds are the burglar or rapist won't stick around. After a few
seconds all the neighbours will be looking out their windows to see who is
out there and sure enough the criminal won't want that.

Try yours to make sure it works before you rely on it. Just know that you
must press the alarm button again to turn it off.

And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking
lot. The alarm can work the same way in this situation.

:| :|

(y) (y)

:) :)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-14-2007, 01:12 PM
:) :) :)

Show Jumping

Fun, free online game

Forget about your laser blasts, mutants, and exploding planets—this interactive game is truly down to earth. Indulge in equitation, the sport of royalty, the dream of young girls everywhere. Just you, a beautiful horse, a sunny day, and a challenging course.

Whoa, Nelly!


(y) (y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-14-2007, 01:18 PM
:) :)

Presidential Libraries

National treasures

Through the portal of the National Archives online, visit the prestigious libraries and museums of past presidents: Reagan, Kennedy, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and more. Research, search for historic documents, enjoy.

Hail to the librarian: http://www.archives.gov/presidential-libraries/

(*) (*) Too bad there isn't another Kennedy-like person (like during the 1960's) to run in 2008. :o

(c) (c) Brrrr......snow and ice yesterday, another ice storm, winter mix and 50 m.p.h. wind gusts today. :| :| I already have the heat turned up since early this a.m. just in case the power (and the furnace) goes out yet tonight. :o

(l) (l) Stay warm and safe wherever you are!

(f) (f) (f) Happy Valentines!

SWeetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-14-2007, 01:19 PM
:o :o

Normal Room

Uh, nice wallpaper

What does an ordinary dining room in Oslo look like? Or, how about a bedroom in Ames, Iowa? Finally, you can put to rest your curiosity about the décor of other people's homes by viewing these galleries of, well, normal rooms.

Don't wait for an invitation!


:) :)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-14-2007, 01:22 PM
:) :)

World Coins

Money makes the world go 'round

Ever seen a Kroner from Denmark? I'll bet you a Romanian Bani you don't know how many Indonesian Rupees make up 10 Turkish Lira. Doesn't matter—these coins of the world are just for looking, not exchange. Now, is it Euros or Gyros…?

Heads or tails?


(*) (*) Definitely intersting, IMHO.

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-14-2007, 01:23 PM
:) :) :) :)


Think you're up to it?

If you need some direction in your career, perspective on your relationships, or just learning a bit more about your level of self-confidence, this site is loaded with simple tests you can take to gain a little insight. What you do with it is up to you.

Find out about yourself...


:| :| .............:o :o ........:s ....:) :)

;) ;) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-14-2007, 01:25 PM
:| Wha? :|

Game: Outwit—Windows

Get smart!

Tired of the simple-minded trivia games with questions everyone already knows? They might be filled with cool graphics and images, but…no challenge, right? With Outwit, you get bare-bones graphics, multi-player functionality, and questions that require both sides of your brain. Less flash, more panache!

Learn more and download: (or not since it's Windows.......:| :| ......)


:) :) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-14-2007, 01:27 PM
:) :)

Sidenote—MAC OSX

Note to self...

In the spirit of "Stickies," Sidenote provides a multi-document drawer that hides in the corner of your screen. Use it for all your daily notes, modify text, font, color. And, true to the world of Mac, you can use it to hold images and PDF files—and Sidenote automatically expands so you can easily drag them in. You can even print or export to .rtf.

Learn more and download today!


(l) (l) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-14-2007, 01:29 PM
Cat's Back Alley

"Because I could not stop for mouse..."

Before you start hacking hairballs at the thought of "cat poetry," remember that even hard-drinking, fist-fighting poet Charles Bukowski published verse praising his beloved feline, as did hipster icon Jack Kerouac. So, give your gag reflex a rest; we won't tell.

What rhymes with meow?


(l) (&) (l) (&) (l) (&) (l) (&) (l) (&) (l)

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-14-2007, 01:31 PM
(l) (l) (l) (l)


Spreading Valentine's love on the Web

by Armeen Youssefian

Birds do it. Bees do it. Apparently, even educated fleas do it. I've never quite understood what smart fleas have to do with falling in love. But I do understand that love is indeed what makes the world—and the World Wide Web—go 'round.


(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-14-2007, 01:42 PM
(l) (l) (l) (l)

....or those who waited until the last minute.....;)


(l) (l) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:10 AM
(l) (l) (l)

BIG sigh: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/02/11/travel/11hours600.1.jpg

February 11, 2007

36 Hours

Sedona, Ariz.


ASK five people to sum up Sedona, and you'll probably get five wildly different responses. Art lovers exclaim over the galleries specializing in Southwestern tableaus. Shopaholics rave about boutiques selling Western duds and American Indian jewelry. Pessimists rue the rash of T-shirt shops, while enlightenment-seekers wax spiritual about its “vortexes.” And outdoor enthusiasts rhapsodize about hiking among red rock spires and ancient Indian ruins. All of this is great news for visitors, who can sample it all — even a U.F.O.-viewing site — in a quirky city that some call the most beautiful place in the United States.


5 p.m.

Sedona's cinematic red rocks have been zipping across your windshield like scenes from a Hollywood western. Now it's your turn to ride off into the sunset. Turn up Airport Road to Airport Saddleback — you want the tiny parking lot on the left, not the chockablock Airport Vista farther up the road. Slip on hiking boots and hit the Airport Loop trail for close encounters with the towering crimson sandstones: Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, Coffee Pot Rock and the Cockscombe. It's a 90-minute ramble, but if your energy flags, just turn back and scramble up Overlook Point to watch the paprika-red sunset.

7 p.m.

Good Southwestern food can be hard to find in Sedona, which is why the upscale El Portal inn is a godsend (95 Portal Lane, 800-313-0017; www.elportalsedona.com). On Friday and Saturday evenings, the inn opens its doors to nonguests, who can dine on creative Arizona-accented cuisine under a courtyard bower or by a flickering fireplace made of large river rocks, depending on the season. With an emphasis on local produce, the chef, Eden Messner, turns out dishes like butternut squash and poblano chili soup with cinnamon lime cream ($9) and cumin-encrusted marlin topped with a tower of tomatillo avocado salsa ($28). Reservations are highly recommended.

9:30 p.m.

Sedona isn't known for its night life. Most bars, in fact, shut down at 10 p.m. For a little art to go with your nightcap, swing by the Gallery on Oak Creek inside the Amara Resort and Spa (310 North Highway 89A, 928-340-8900; www.amararesort.com). Sample a boutique shiraz from a 200-strong wine list or a green tea and vodka cocktail called an Enlightened Nirvana, as you peruse a collection of paintings and sculptures culled from local galleries. The outdoor fire pit is just as picturesque.


8 a.m.

Kick-start your day in classic Sedona fashion with breakfast at the Coffee Pot Restaurant (2050 West Highway 89A, 928-282-6626), which serves 101 “famous” omelets. Locals and tourists pack the kitschy, eclectic joint, so you may have to peruse the gift shop for jewelry and coffee mugs while waiting for a table. But once you're seated, the friendly waitresses are swift and might even leave the coffeepot on your table for convenient refills. Overwhelmed by the choices? Try the hearty huevos rancheros, smothered in green chili ($6.50). If you have kids, dare them to order the peanut butter, jelly and banana omelet ($5.95).

9:30 a.m.

If you're in the market for chimes and gypsy-chic dresses, head for the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village (336 Highway 179, 928-282-4838; www.tlaq.com), a Spanish- colonial-style shopping arcade with fountains and muscular sycamores. Environmental Realists (928-282-4945) sells everyday objects with clever twists, like a compass-embedded walking stick ($24 to $100). El Prado by the Creek (928-282-7390; www.elpradogalleries.com) carries a forest of copper-and-stainless-steel wind sculptures and rustic furniture made from river rocks. And across the street is Crystal Castle (313 Highway 179, 928-282-5910), the place for rhodochrosite, chrysoprase and other crystals that are said to promote metaphysical healing, whether it's mental clarity or finding the love within. Apparently, the right crystal for you is the one you can't put down.

11 a.m.

Galleries dot the city. The biggest of them is Exposures International (561 Highway 179, 928-282-1125; www.exposuresfineart.com), a sprawling space overflowing with paintings, sculpture, jewelry and more. Check out Bill Worrell's prehistoric-art-inspired sculptures (from $975) and photographs by the owner, Marty Herman, like “Monsoon Sunset” (from $229, depending on size). Other interesting galleries can be found at Hozho Center, including Lanning Gallery (431 Highway 179, 928-282-6865; www.lanninggallery.com), which specializes in contemporary art. To learn more about the local art scene, visit the Sedona Arts Center (15 Art Barn Road, 928-282-3865; www.sedonaartscenter.com), a nonprofit gallery that holds exhibits and poetry readings

1 p.m.

Sedona is cradled in a fragrant riparian valley through which Oak Creek gently runs. Weather permitting, dine creekside at L'Auberge de Sedona (301 L'Auberge Lane, 928-282-1667; www.lauberge.com), a contemporary American restaurant “with French roots,” with a stone patio perched at the water's edge. Indulge in a Kobe beef burger ($22), or the “Red Rock plateau” with various kinds of seafood and a half ounce of caviar ($65) or go light with a shrimp gazpacho with avocado cream ($12). Cottonwoods rustle, the creek burbles and ducks waddle between the linen-draped tables.

2:30 p.m.

You can't get far in Sedona without hearing about the vortexes, places where the earth supposedly radiates psychic energy. Believers claim that they induce everything from heightened energy to tear-inducing spiritual enlightenment. Whether you're a skeptic or believer, a guided tour of the vortexes by Earth Wisdom Jeep Tours (293 North Highway 89A, 928-282-4714; www.earthwisdomjeeptours.com) is definitely scenic (two and a half hours for $68 a person). If vortexes aren't your thing, the tour also explores the area's history, geology and American Indian culture, and there are several other tours. They'll explain how the rocks became rust-colored: add a dash of iron, let it oxidize for several million years and voilà!

6 p.m.

A prickly pear margarita — made from a local cactus — is the must-drink cocktail in Sedona, and one of the best spots to try it is the terrace at Tii Gavo at Enchantment Resort (525 Boynton Canyon Road, 928-204-6366; www.enchantmentresort.com). Tii Gavo means gathering place in the Havasupai Indian language, and it is a restaurant where well-heeled spa-lovers rub elbows with hikers fresh off the trail. Afterward, move inside to the Yavapai Dining Room (928-204-6000; reservations required for nonguests). The restaurant, with its American Indian pottery and views of Boynton Canyon, is no stranger to celebrities like Sharon Stone and Robert DeNiro. Favorites include a smoked and grilled buffalo tenderloin ($40) or sea bass with watercress risotto ($40). The wine list is extensive and far-ranging, but consider one of the local Echo Canyon reds.

9:30 p.m.

Thanks to strict ordinances on light pollution, the dark skies over Sedona are ideal for stargazing (or U.F.O. spotting). Take a cosmic journey with Evening Sky Tours (866-701-0398; www.eveningskytours.com; $60, $20 ages 6 to 15), which offers professional astronomers who can point out those elusive constellations, as well as an eyeful of spiral galaxies and the rings of Saturn. They'll meet you at a dark spot or even take a telescope to your hotel.


6 a.m.

Soar over Sedona valley in a hot air balloon at sunrise for jaw-dropping views of rose-tinted buttes. Northern Light Balloon Expeditions (800-230-6222; www.northernlightballoon.com) offers three- to four-hour trips for $190 a person that include a Champagne breakfast picnic in a remote spot. If you prefer to stay earthbound, pack your own picnic and set out on the 3.6-mile Broken Arrow Trail ($5 for Red Rock Day Pass, which allows entry to a number of natural areas, available at most hotels and convenience stores). Hike along red rocks stained with desert varnish, weave through cypress forests and climb up a doughlike outcropping for commanding views of Casner Canyon.

10 a.m.

Take a peek inside the Chapel of the Holy Cross (780 Chapel Road, 928-282-4069; www.chapeloftheholycross.com), a modernist icon that looks like a concrete spaceship jutting out of the craggy boulders. Designed in 1932 by Marguerite Brunswig Staude (but not built until 1956), the chapel is sandwiched between soaring concrete walls that bookend a gigantic glass window with a 90-foot-tall cross. Prayer services are held on Monday evenings, so don't worry about interrupting. The chapel affords spectacular photo ops and another chance to have a psychic moment. The chapel sits on — you guessed it — a vortex.

The Basics

American flies into Phoenix from Kennedy Airport, and Continental and America West fly from Newark. A Web search found early-March fares from $218. Sedona is a two-hour drive to the north.

The Enchantment Resort and Mii Amo Spa (525 Boynton Canyon Road, 800-826-4180; www.enchantmentresort.com) has dozens of adobe casitas strewn along Boynton Canyon. The 220-room resort offers nature walks, an American Indian cultural program and star gazing. Casita bedrooms start at $295.

Tucked into Oak Creek Canyon, L'Auberge de Sedona (301 L'Auberge Lane, 800-272-6777; www.lauberge.com) blends log cabin-styling with a touch of France. Lodge room rates start at $175. Cottages with fireplaces start at $275.

Ed and Kris Varjean will make you feel at home at Lantern Light Inn (3085 West Highway 89A, 877-275-4973; www.lanternlightinn.com), a French-style bed-and-breakfast that sleeps 10, with two intimate fireplaces, five fountains and four patios. Rooms start at $105.

(y) (y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:17 AM
:) :) :) :) :)

Beautiful! http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/02/11/travel/11oxford600.1.jpg

February 11, 2007

Day Out

Time-Traveling in Oxford, England


OXFORD'S first museum was a kind of cabinet of curiosities (elephant molar, sawfish bill and so on) known as Tradescant's Rarities, displayed in the 1630's, and later housed in the city's second museum, the Ashmolean. In the late 19th century the Pitt Rivers Museum was built, a neo-Gothic brick hall crammed — crammed in a way no other museum on earth is — with tribal treasures from around the world. There are cases of shrunken heads, canoes of every design hang from the ceiling, crowding the vaulted space, and unnumbered axes, plows, arrows, swords, pipes, staffs, tunics, paddles, shoes and all manner of witching paraphernalia occupy glass cases, drawers, cabinets and display windows. The building heaves with the collective juju of the known world, gathered by Victorians as they traveled their vast empire and beyond.

But even this museum is as nothing to the cabinet of curiosities, the embarras de richesses, that is Oxford itself. The three earliest colleges were founded in the mid 1200's (Balliol, Merton and University, attended by Bill Clinton) and by the mid 16th century many of the eventual 39 colleges had been built. The result was and remains a square-mile warren of stone architecture, bristling with spires, pinnacles and finials (the spikes beloved of Gothic architects), abounding with quadrangles, passageways, chapels, halls and alleys.

Within the mostly lost medieval city walls, within this labyrinth of Gothic architecture, there are paintings by Botticelli, Uccello and Frans Hals; there is a genuine dodo's beak; early astrolabes from the Arab world; the room where England's first cup of coffee was drunk (in 1637 in Balliol); Convocation House where Charles I's Parliament met during the Civil War; buildings by Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor; and more fine silver and glassware for lavish college feasts than you could find in any royal or imperial palace.

One beautiful building after another — and all of them built of Cotswold sandstone, which changes color with the light, from pale cream to an apricot glow. You can lose yourself here and forget there ever was a century other than the 16th — except when you have to emerge briefly to get across the High Street, which with its “sublime curve” has been called the most beautiful street on earth. In late dusk, when the sky is luminous and the streets are already dark, the stone walls acquire the sumptuousness of a bowl of oranges in candlelight.

I grew up in Oxford. Both my parents were academics, which I liked to think gave me a free pass throughout the college domains (strictly, I'm not sure it did). I still like to think I know Oxford as well as anyone. (It's possible: the boundaries of some colleges are so tangled that not even the infamous bulldogs, the bowler-hatted university police, know them precisely.) I'm biased, but to my mind one of Europe's great pleasures is to weave your way aimlessly through Oxford's cloisters and passages. You leave contemporary life behind. The clock and the calendar recede. The colleges were after all religious institutions until 1870, part monasteries, part schools. (Though the spirit of rebellious philosophy was always there too, and still is: among recent prayer requests on a board in Magdalen Chapel I saw this, addressed to God: “Good luck to you!”)

A guided wander, then.

Coming from the train station, a first stop is Worcester College's delightful quad, with its sunken lawn, and string of what look like Gothic stone cottages on one side facing a neoclassical block on the other. Then while making your way up the grand, short Beaumont Street toward the center, take a quick look at St. John's Street: two simple rows of 18th-century houses clad in sandstone that has aged into rich tea-colored stains.

J. R. R. Tolkien (“Rings”) lived here, and used to meet his friend C. S. Lewis (“Narnia”) in the Eagle and Child pub round the corner. From the 1930's to the 60's they met with friends weekly, often in the pub, and called their gatherings the Inklings. Lewis recalled the “golden sessions” they enjoyed by the fire. It's still an oak-paneled hive rich with the aroma of yeast and hops, with my favorite beer, the local Old Hooky, on tap. (Ale doesn't get hazelnuttier.)

In the Ashmolean Museum, where Beaumont meets St. Giles, go upstairs to the Italian Renaissance room for a squint at works by Mantegna, Bellini and especially Uccello and his mystical “Hunt in the Forest,” where hounds leap into the darkness of a seemingly endless wood; then down again, and up Magdalen Street to Broad Street. Lined with three colleges and rows of 18th-century shops (among them the labyrinthine Blackwell's bookstore), it ends with Wren's Sheldonian Theater, with its distinctive white cupola and 12 startled busts of Roman emperors.

You're now in the heart of Oxford. There are treasures wherever you turn: the roseate stone tank of the quadrangle at the Bodleian Library; the stone Bridge of Sighs over Queen's Lane; the Radcliffe Camera (or “chamber”), a 90-foot-high rotunda that wouldn't be out of place in Renaissance Florence; All Souls College, home of the sinecure par excellence, where the only duties are to dine at college every so often and to converse brilliantly over the port.

If you happen to be in town on a Wednesday during term time, Queen's College has free organ recitals at lunchtime in its Rococo chapel (designed by Hawksmoor), a short walk down the High. The large stained-glass windows cast glitters of colored light on the plain stone walls while the gathering in the pews will be as somber as a group of scholars bent over a manuscript, as they unravel the intricacies of a Bach fugue.

Then head up cobbled Brasenose Lane to the Covered Market, Oxford's answer to the bazaar, fragrant with delicatessens, florists, coffee and tea merchants and butchers that hang carcasses of venison, hare, pheasant and woodcock outside their stalls. The crowds will tell you which are the best sandwich counters.

Oxford is thick with pubs. What is this link between alcohol and academia, books and beer? One 20th-century student reputedly demanded a flagon of claret during his exams, having discovered an ancient rule in the University Statute Book entitling him to. The invigilator was able to annul the request because the student was improperly dressed: according to another statute, he should have been wearing a saber.

New College's Cloisters with their ancient ilex tree; Magdalen's herd of deer; Corpus Christi's slightly wild organic garden by the old city wall, where you can see nothing that wouldn't have been there 500 years ago; Merton's library like an inverted ship on Mob Quad, the oldest academic library in the world (1373); Christ Church's Tom Quad and Great Hall, famous now as Hogwart's Hall in Harry Potter; and the Venetian moments of stone and water created by unexpected channels. The profusion of trees that make Oxford look like a forest from the air and caused the French poet Mallarmé to complain of Oxford's “green sickness,” the oaks in Christ Church Meadow, the willows along the rivers and the unlikely Mediterranean pine tucked in a square at the back of University College, in front of a white stucco villa like an ice cream about to melt. In the end, what can you do with this city but sing its praises?

(l) I've spent many, many, lost hours in the stacks at Blackwell's Bookstore,
all 3 floors of it. And there's the best hamburger joint in all of
England (run by a couple of Canadians), right in front of the train

(*) I remember a wonderful Belgian waffle place not far from there, as well.
And, if you like Chinese food, I recommend The Opium Den, now called the
Opium Cafe, near the Ashmolean.

(l) For an informal dinner, there's Brown's, on the Woodstock Road, and don't
forget pizza at Sweeney Todd's, in Little Clarendon Street, just a few
doors down from the Oxford University Press office.

(c) Brrr! Sunny and bitterly cold.......but Wyatt enjoyed the snow during his morning walk; actually hardened snow and ice that neither of us fell through! ;) He was like a small puppy again, putting his nose and chops into the snow, remembering playing in the snows of Michigan with lots and lots of boxers - the breeder had two "mamas" with two litters of puppies within a two-week period. Talk about delightful chaos! (l) (&) (l)

Stay warm and safe travels driving (or whatever mode of transportation you're using) today.

(k) (k) 's

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:24 AM
:) :) :) :) :)


February 9, 2007

American Journeys

In Arizona, a Railway Town Rediscovers a Touch of Past Glory


THE words “standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” have swirled in American imaginations since 1972, when the Eagles recorded “Take It Easy.” What you’ll see from those corners today is an old railroad town of one-way streets and two-story buildings resting on a high grassland plateau beneath spacious skies. In the distance, snow-capped mountains, volcanic buttes and flat-topped mesas appear sharply silhouetted in the clear air.

Jackson Browne’s song was a breezy tune about feckless love back when hitchhiking was a way of life, gas was in the 30-cents-a-gallon range and Winslow’s slice of Route 66 was still a vital segment of the way west. When Interstate 40 arrived, a long period of decline followed.

If that story sounds vaguely familiar, you may have seen the animated Disney-Pixar feature “Cars,” in which the once thriving town of Radiator Springs is bypassed by the Interstate and falls on hard times. Pixar’s founder, John Lasseter, and his chief animator spent a research week in Winslow, and several “Cars” scenes — a motel with cabins shaped like tepees, a great historic hotel designed like a Spanish hacienda — were inspired by their visit.

“Cars” has a happy ending — Radiator Springs bounces back to life. And although Arizona is not Hollywood, Winslow, too, has reawakened, recapturing some of a glorious past that dates from well before Route 66.

“Winslow was built in the 1880s by the Santa Fe Railway Company,” Mayor Allan Affeldt said. “Until the 1960s, it was the largest town in northern Arizona.” Only one passenger train a day stops in Winslow now, but travelers can still stay at La Posada, a magnificent 1930 hacienda-style inn and one of the last remaining great railway hotels. Once marked for demolition, it has been saved and restored.

And just as travelers discovered some 70 years ago when they detrained at Winslow and bundled into one of La Posada’s chauffeured Packard touring cars, the surrounding countryside is a revelation.

East of town, near Holbrook, you might want to ramble through the Petrified Forest National Park. First designated as a national monument in 1906, the 94,000-acre park is scattered with fossilized vegetation dating from 225 million years ago. West of town, you can visit Meteor Crater, where an asteroid left a giant hole 50,000 years ago and NASA astronauts rehearsed their moon walks in the 1960s. Just three miles outside Winslow, the Homolovi Ruins State Park holds the preserved remains of a 14th-century pueblo along the Little Colorado River and well-signed trails tracing the paths of a 13th-century Hopi migration.

Downtown, 21st-century travelers stop at Standin’ on the Corner Park at Kinsley Avenue and Second Street. There’s not much to see there — a bronze statue of a ’70s rambling man and a trompe l’oeil mural of the song’s dream girl cruising in a flatbed Ford. But it’s a photo opportunity the Eagles faithful can’t resist. If you think you hear “Take It Easy” playing in the quiet streets, it’s not a flashback. Route 66 Roadworks, a Winslow-centric souvenir shop, broadcasts Eagles tunes.

Empty storefronts still dot downtown, but there are also art spaces, a lively contemporary coffee shop, restaurants and bars and antiques stores where you can find a mint condition LP of “The Magic Organ Visits Hawaii” or a birdhouse made from reclaimed barn wood and rusted ceiling tin. The old Rialto, a 1927 Art Deco vaudeville house, has been renovated and reopened as the Winslow Theater.

On Historic Route 66, Winslow’s Main Street, a nifty little eight-seat, red-and-white diner is under restoration across from La Posada. Manufactured in 1946 by Valentine Lunch System in Kansas, the diner was shipped on flatbed railroad cars in prefabricated parts fitted with everything from stools to grills. “I’ve discovered that a lot of people are interested in Route 66 and the old Valentine Diners,” said Jessica O’Neal, who owns this one with her mother, Linda Thacker. They hope to open for business in the summer.

Winslow’s wave of restoration started with La Posada. In 1993, Mr. Affeldt was working on a doctorate in cognitive science and leading an architectural research center in Southern California when he learned about plans to demolish the hotel, which was designed by Mary Jane Colter, the architect of Bright Angel Lodge and the Desert View Watchtower at Grand Canyon.

La Posada was the final masterpiece in the empire of genteel railroad hotels owned by the Fred Harvey Company, whose staff of carefully selected young women, properly dressed in immaculate black and white uniforms, were called Harvey Girls. Judy Garland was playing one when she belted out “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe” in the 1946 Hollywood musical “The Harvey Girls.”

Housed in a former bank building downtown, the Old Trails Museum, which chronicles Winslow history, has a Harvey Girl exhibition as well as ancient Indian pottery, relics of frontier life and medical paraphernalia that belonged to the town’s first doctors (who reported a busy practice treating gunshot wounds).

In 1997, Mr. Affeldt; his wife, the artist Tina Mion; and their friend Dan Lutzick, also an artist, began restoring the 70,000-square-foot Posada, which the railroad had converted into unlovely office space. Now, Colter’s beautifully designed interior has re-emerged: arched doorways, hand-painted glass windows, glittering tin chandeliers, Southwestern hand-built furniture and whimsical jackrabbit ashtrays.

Mr. Affeldt reopened the hotel in November of that year with 10 rooms; today it has 37 rooms and suites.

On a night in December, La Posada’s restaurant, the Turquoise Room, had sprays of orchids on its leather-topped tables and was serving Southwestern hummus and a cassoulet with tender churro lamb raised on Navajo lands. John Sharpe, the chef and owner of the restaurant, also offers box lunches — chicken and tomatillo salad, for example, with house-made chipotle-spiced potato chips — to fuel a drive into the country.

North of town, an undifferentiated plain suddenly breaks into a striated pattern, slipping deliriously from chartreuse to rose — the Little Painted Desert. Eighty miles farther is the Hubbell Trading Post, established in the late 19th century. In the cool darkness of the old store, with its wood-planked floor and iron stove, you can buy a cold drink or an ice cream, an exquisite rug or a handmade saddle. Under tall cottonwoods, you can picnic by a stream bed and pleasantly drift in time.

At the edge of Winslow is its small general aviation airport, designed in 1928 by Charles Lindbergh. Patrons at its cafe, E and O Kitchen, eat enchiladas montados (fried eggs served on a stack of tortillas dipped in chili sauce) as they watch small sleek planes come in for landings.

Linda Chambers, a hostess at the Turquoise Room, suggested a destination just beyond the airport. “Come back in summer,” she said. “There’s a beautiful park outside of town where you can swim in Clear Creek and kayak up into canyons so narrow you can touch the stone walls.”

PERHAPS Winslow’s most spectacular hidden treasure is Rock Art Ranch, a working cattle ranch that also serves as a sort of homemade museum of the first order, with a resident herd of buffalo and riches of the Old West like arrowheads, pottery, covered wagons and a vintage bunkhouse. The owner, Brantley Baird, and his friend Clem T. Rogers, a swift-footed octogenarian cowboy, lead tours by appointment.

Call ahead and arrange to follow them over the ranch and into Chevelon Canyon, a place of amazingly verdant beauty, with a clear stream twisting through tall grasses and desert willows. Look up at the steep sandstone canyon walls, and another astonishing landscape is revealed: geometric shapes and spirals, antlered animals, lumbering woodland creatures, a woman in childbirth. These are ancient petroglyphs, made by people who lived in this area 5,000 years ago. Archaeologists have documented more than 3,000 of the images in the canyon.

A wondrous yet overwhelming sight, as Mr. Baird and Mr. Rogers well know. “Come back,” Mr. Rogers said after a tour earlier this winter, “when you can spend some time here.”

Back on Track | And Such a Fine Sight to See

WINSLOW is off Interstate 40. The nearest major airport is in Flagstaff, 60 miles west. Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, from Los Angeles to Chicago, stops daily at the Winslow depot, which was designed by Mary Jane Colter.

La Posada (303 East Second Street, 928-289-4366; www.laposada.org) has 37 rooms starting at $89.

The Wigwam Motel (811 West Hopi Drive, Holbrook; 928-524-3048; www.galerie-kokopelli.com/wigwam) has 15 tepee-shaped units starting at $48.

The Turquoise Room and Martini Lounge (at La Posada, 928-289-3873) serves three meals daily. Dinner for two with wine is about $80.

E and O Kitchen (703 Airport Road; 928-289-5352) serves northern Mexican food. Lunch for two is $15 to $20.

Petrified Forest National Park (928-524-6228; www.nps.gov/pefo) is accessible from Interstate 40, Exit 285, and Route 180. Admission is $10 a car.

Homolovi Ruins State Park (928-289-4106; www.pr.state.az.us) is three miles northeast of Winslow, off Highway 87. The visitor center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 a car.

Meteor Crater (Exit 233, Interstate 40;800-289-5898; www.meteorcrater.com) is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in summer and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the year.

Hubbell Trading Post (928-755-3475; www.nps.gov/hutr) is on Highway 264 in Ganado.

The Old Trails Museum (212 Kinsley Avenue; 928-289-5861) is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free.

Rock Art Ranch (Joseph City, 928-288-3260) offers customized tours at varying fees.

^o) I stayed in Winslow once while driving cross country and needed to stop on I40. Although this was back in late 1999 - I was SO not impressed with either the hotel (horrible) or the town (only ONE restaurant was open at 7:30 p.m., thank goodness I love Chinese food...). I remember being sorely disappointed in the town.

Things must have changed since! Or the article author was paid to write good things...;)

(*) (*) (*) (*) Now Holbrook? Damn near perfect. Outstanding breakfast first and then visted a few rock shops. I love rocks. There's a couple I bought in Holbrook here on my desk. (l)


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:25 AM
(f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f)

Helen Mirren, without the tweed and sensible shoes but still regal:


(f) (f)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:26 AM
(f) (f) (f) (f) (f)


(f) (f)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:28 AM
:o :o


(f) (f) (f)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:29 AM
(f) (f) (f)


(f) (f)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:30 AM
(y) (y) (y)


(*) I hope that he wins the Best Actor Academy Award. (y) (y)

(f) (f) (f)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:31 AM
(f) (f) (f) (f) (f)


(f) (f)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:32 AM
(f) (f) (f)


(f) (f)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:32 AM
(*) (*) (*) (*) (*)


Terrific little interviews of many actors including some of my favorites.

Seven actors talk about the movies that made early impressions on them. A short film by Jake Paltrow. (Gwen's brother) made the film.

(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:38 AM
:| :| :| :| :| :| :|

February 11, 2007

Idea Lab

Asylum for the World’s Battered Women


This past fall, a United Nations report denounced the extraordinary number of women who are victims of domestic violence — and for whom protection from the authorities is often nonexistent. In some nations, like Bangladesh and Ethiopia, the U.N. found that as many as 6 of every 10 women interviewed had been beaten or sexually assaulted by their husbands or partners. The report called for better protection for abused women, but it didn’t address how first-world nations like the United States should treat those women who manage to escape their abusers and flee their countries. Should victims of domestic violence be eligible for asylum, a protection that has traditionally been preserved for those persecuted as a result of political turmoil?

At times we’ve said yes; at other times we’ve said no. And in some cases, as with Aruna Vallabhaneni, we’ve just said, hold on until we make up our mind. Vallabhaneni is a tall, distinguished-looking woman who came to the U.S. from Hyderabad, India, in March 1997 on a tourist visa. She in fact had no intention of returning home. She was wed at age 17, through an arranged marriage, to a man who it turned out had a gambling problem and who would regularly demand that Vallabhaneni, who came from a prosperous Hindu family, request money from her parents. When she refused, he beat her. She was once hit so hard that she lost her sense of smell. Another time, she said her husband kicked her with such force that she experienced vaginal bleeding. She did file a complaint with the Indian police, who held her husband overnight, but when he was released, she testified, he beat her so severely that she was hospitalized for two days. She was afraid to report him to the authorities after that. So she ran. She was so desperate to find safety that she left her two children — a son, 12, and a daughter, 10 — with her parents, assuming that they would be able to join her once she arrived in the U.S. and applied for asylum. Her claim, though, was denied.

It is now a decade later, and Vallabhaneni, who lives in Chicago, remains in a kind of suspended animation. On appeal, her case was sent back to the immigration judge for reconsideration, but at the request of her attorney, the judge put off deciding her case until there’s a clearer understanding as to how to treat victims of domestic violence.

It’s not, however, as if the courts and the authorities haven’t already wrestled with this question. The U.N.’s Refugee Convention of 1951, which a majority of countries, including the United States, eventually adopted, established guidelines for deciding who should be offered refuge. Essentially the convention and its subsequent protocols said that individuals with a well-founded fear of persecution for one of five reasons — political opinion, race, religion, nationality or membership in a particular social group — should not be sent back to their home countries. The category “particular social group” was added at the last minute, and so no one is certain of the authors’ original intentions. Sex was not specifically mentioned.

But in the 1990s, U.S. immigration authorities began to recognize sex-based persecution as grounds for asylum. First, the Board of Immigration Appeals took up the asylum claim of a Salvadoran man who feared the guerrillas because he belonged to a taxi-driver cooperative. In rejecting his claim, the board laid out a definition for “social group” that seemed rather straightforward: individuals with immutable characteristics that they can’t change or shouldn’t be asked to change. A short time later, Fauziya Kasinga, who fled Togo because she feared undergoing genital cutting, a cultural practice of her tribe, applied for asylum. The board granted it, ruling that as a young woman and as a member of this particular tribe, she clearly had characteristics she couldn’t change. And, the board ruled, having intact genitalia is “so fundamental to the individual identity of a young woman that she should not be required to change it.”

Then came the jumbled thinking. In 1996, Rodi Alvarado, a young Guatemalan, sought asylum because, she claimed, her husband had brutally beat her and had repeatedly raped and sodomized her. Moreover, the Guatemalan authorities had refused to protect her, saying it was a domestic matter. Like Vallabhaneni, she so feared for her life that she left her children behind and fled to the U.S. There has been profound disagreement among U.S. authorities over how to deal with Alvarado, whose credibility was never in question. An immigration judge granted her asylum, but the government attorneys appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals, which ruled that Alvarado’s husband didn’t brutalize her because she was a woman but rather because she was his wife. The board ordered her removed to Guatemala. Then Attorney General Janet Reno stepped in, as she was permitted to do, and vacated Alvarado’s deportation order. In her last days in office, Reno also proposed a set of regulations that recognized that a credible claim for asylum could be made based on domestic violence if it was severe and if the country in question was unwilling to do anything about such abuse.

That was more than six years ago. These administrative regulations — despite their support from an unlikely coalition of politicians, from Sam Brownback on the right to Hillary Clinton on the left — have still not been approved. Immigration judges have interpreted this logjam in conflicting ways. There have been grants as well as denials of asylum for domestic-violence victims, and there have been many cases that, like Alvarado’s and Vallabhaneni’s, have been placed in limbo until there’s some clarity about our policy. At a recent gathering with Attorney General Gonzales, immigration judges reiterated their longstanding request for clear regulations so that they’d have some guidance. But there appears to be an impasse. Three years ago, the Department of Homeland Security came out in support of Alvarado’s bid for asylum, but it’s apparent that there has since emerged internal disagreement over how to handle domestic-violence claims. Last month, a D.H.S. spokesman assured me that the agency in conjunction with the Department of Justice “is diligently working on publishing a final rule.” The agency has told reporters this before.

The D.H.S. spokesman told me that before a rule can be issued, there are still “a lot of complex analytical questions to be answered” revolving around how to think about social groups. This, it seems, has been central to the debate: Does beating your wife rise to the level of group persecution? Some argue that a husband brutalizing a wife may do so because he’s a drunk or a bully and not because he wants to beat all women. The upshot, says James Hathaway, the director of the program in refugee and asylum law at the University of Michigan, is that “if you can’t prove intent of the guy with the stick, then you don’t get asylum.” And that, he adds, is pretty hard to do. In immigration circles, this is what’s called the nexus question, which essentially asks asylum seekers: Are you being persecuted on account of your membership in a particular social group? Hathaway points out that some countries, like Britain and Canada, grant asylum if you can show that you’ve been seriously abused and that your government is unwilling to protect you because of your membership in a particular social group, that is, because you’re a woman. In essence, says Hathaway, these nations’ refugee laws consider domestic violence more than just a private matter.

Behind these legal arguments, though, is a practical one, especially in these times when immigration is such a hot political issue. Some believe that if we freely used sex to define a social group, it would open the floodgates to victims of domestic violence, who in many countries, as the U.N. study suggests, can be found in large numbers. Deborah Anker, a clinical professor of law at Harvard, says that such a fear has “always underlined every concern about asylum.” During the cold war, when the U.S. quite readily granted asylum to political dissidents from the Soviet bloc, there were some who worried that tens of thousands of people who were unhappy under Communism would seek refuge in the U.S. It never happened. And Canada, which began granting asylum to victims of domestic violence in 1993, never experienced the surge that critics worried about.

There are a number of reasons that today’s floodgate concerns are a red herring. Asylum seekers need to provide corroboration of their stories, and in the case of domestic violence, that could mean obtaining evidence like hospital records or affidavits from family members (which is what Vallabhaneni provided). They also must be able to show that they can’t get governmental protection from their abusive husbands. What’s more, it is especially difficult for women, who often have little or no resources, to leave their home countries. It has also become more difficult to enter this country post-9/11.

For Harvard’s Anker, the Ping-Pong approach to domestic-violence victims seeking asylum — sometimes yes, sometimes no — is reflective of an immigration system that is marked by inconsistencies. A comprehensive study last year found huge disparities among immigration judges and their rates of approval for asylum seekers. “What I think is at stake,” Anker says, “is whether asylum is going to be governed by a rule of law or whether we go back to an ad hoc, politicized regime,” which it was before the U.S. formally adopted the international standards of refugee law in 1980. Stephen Knight, an attorney with the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California’s Hastings College of Law, suggests that it boils down to a rather simple divide: “There are people who just don’t believe that these women are refugees.”

Not long ago, I met Vallabhaneni for coffee. She has been able to secure a work permit, and this was her day off from her job as a customer-service agent for Southwest Airlines at Midway Airport. At one point, she caught me glancing at a bar of milk chocolate that she’d been nibbling on. She laughed. “It makes me sturdy,” she told me, “and I didn’t want to cry in front of you.” She then began showing me photographs of her children, whom she speaks to three times a week and who she told me are now grown and living with her parents. At that point, Vallabhaneni began to tear up. “I feel like I betrayed my children,” she said. “I dream about them almost every day.” But she told me that if she returned home, her family would force her to return to her husband, and she feared that would be the equivalent of a death sentence. I asked her what she would do if in the end she was denied asylum. She had clearly given this a lot of thought and so was ready with her answer. “I can’t go back,” she said.

Alex Kotlowitz, a regular contributor to the magazine, is a writer in residence at Northwestern University.


:o :o I agree with the author, however - what about the millions of American women/womyn who are battered and need help? ^o) ^o) Grrrrrr. Damn academics in their Ivory Towers........:-#.....who can't speak their minds without endangering their tenure.

:) Okay, I stepping off the soap box now.


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:39 AM
:) :) :)

February 11, 2007

True-Life Tales

Whos the Jerk Now, Jerk?


I was walking my dog late one night. It was pouring rain. As I was passing a few parked cars, some jerk in an S.U.V. was backing up to get out. It was one of those gigantic S.U.V.’s that are even larger and more obnoxious than regular-size S.U.V.’s. For example, the Cadillac Escalade. Or as I like to call it, the If You Drive This Car You Are One of the Worst People on Earth.

Not only did this guy bump the car behind him, he smashed into it. Hard. I stopped in my tracks and literally laughed out loud at how pathetic his driving was. I walked on because I figured he would get out and inspect the damage. But when I looked back, I saw that his car was angled into the street, just waiting for traffic to clear. I couldn’t believe it. It might as well have been a commercial for his S.U.V.: “It’s not just a car. It’s a car for the worst people on earth.”

As he drove away, I made sure I got his license plate. Why? Because I had decided to write a note and leave it on the car that got hit. I started repeating the letters and numbers over and over so I wouldn’t forget. I was close to home, but still managed to start jumbling the last couple numbers as I neared the front door. Was it 8455 or 8445? No matter. Surely the police could look up both license plates, see which one was the S.U.V. and, boom, one S.U.V.-driving jerk nailed. Street justice.

I got home and quickly toweled off my dog. I then grabbed a pen and note pad. The note pad was from an old writing job at a television network. It had my name, and the name of the network, in the upper right-hand corner, which I proceeded to tear off. I wanted to help but didn’t want to get involved. I wrote a short note stating what happened, explained that I had seen the entire thing while walking my dog and wished him luck in trying to nail this jerk. The note was pitch perfect, but here is where my plan got completely amazing: Bingo, I put the note inside a small Ziploc baggie. Bango, I zipped it shut and put the baggie inside a self-sealing envelope, on which I had written “READ THIS” in giant letters. Blongo, I put the envelope inside a second Ziploc baggie and zipped it shut — 100 percent guaranteed water protection.

Feeling very impressed with myself for the rain-protection idea and the fact that I was actually doing something about this, I headed back out into the rain. I walked up to the damaged car and stuck the envelope under a windshield wiper. I stood there and took a well-earned moment to enjoy watching the rain not penetrate the baggie. But as I turned to walk away, I had a moment of panic and stopped. What if I had forgotten to tear my name and the name of the network from the letter? Even though I had just torn it off minutes ago and knew very well that I hadn’t forgotten, still . . . what if I had? I took the envelope off the car. Across the street, the doorman for a very nice building was watching me. Feeling suspicious, I walked away.

I found a doorway to a storefront where the rain wasn’t coming down. I opened the outer Ziploc baggie and took out the envelope. I broke the seal and looked at the note inside the second Ziploc baggie. Of course, I had ripped off my name and the name of the network.

I began to wonder if all was really as it seemed here. Maybe it wasn’t a case of some jerk in an S.U.V. backing hard into some random car. Maybe they knew each other and the driver of the S.U.V. was getting some justified revenge. Maybe the owner of the S.U.V. was that guy Jared who had lost all the weight eating Subway subs and the owner of the car was a guy in high school who had called him “Fatso.” Or “Fat Jared.” Or “Tubs.” Or “H. R. Stuffin’ Cheeks.” Or “Captain Food.” Or “One if by Sandwich, Two if by Brisket.” Or all of those.

Whatever the case, and whatever they called him, I decided not to leave the note. First of all, I hadn’t noticed what make and model and color the S.U.V. was. And upon closer inspection, the damage wasn’t even that bad. And would the owner of the car even do anything? He’d probably just casually throw the note away. Without a single ounce of appreciation for the Ziploc baggies.

All of which brought me to wondering what I was doing out in the rain in the first place. I wanted to believe it was because I had decided to take a stand against the injustice of the situation. Deep down, though, I knew I was simply judging someone because of the car he drove. Deeper down from that, however, I knew I enjoyed judging people, and with another S.U.V.-driving jerk judged, I headed home.

The next morning, I told my wife what happened. I showed her the envelope. I showed her the note with the torn corner. I showed her the baggies. I told her about the nicknames for Jared. Rightfully, I was mocked.

Jon Glaser is a former writer for “Late Night With Conan O’Brien.” His last True-Life Tale was about George Clinton and Garfield.

(y) (y) (y)


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:40 AM
;) ;)

February 11, 2007

The Way We Live Now

Here, There and Everywhere


I am an American consumer, and the battle to catch the corner of my eye is growing more desperate by the hour. Desperate and counterproductive, it now seems clear. We all know what happened in Boston the other week, when the guerrilla marketing of a cartoon series triggered a grand mal metro seizure, but only I know what happened in Los Angeles several days earlier. I was standing in an airport security line when I spotted an advertisement for Rolodexes printed across the bottom of the tub into which I was about to set my shoes. The ad bewildered me for a couple of reasons. First, I didn’t expect to see it there (even though, by now, I should have, since researchers estimate that the average city dweller is exposed to 5,000 ads per day, up from 2,000 per day three decades ago). The second and greater mystery, however, was why a major company would want me to associate its product with the experience of being searched. Rolodex — the official corporate sponsor of airport paranoia. It didn’t make sense.

Then again, I’ve never quite understood who advertisers think I am, how they think my mind works or why they believe that it’s finally worth their while to chase me so doggedly through life’s labyrinths. I don’t have a lot of money, I’m not a trendsetter and, to be candid, I’m rarely in a buying mood. More often, in fact, I’m in the opposite mood. I’m stuck in an airport, my bag has just been sullied by some numbskull wearing rubber gloves and I don’t want strangers to talk to me — even disembodied, symbolic strangers. If they try to address me, I probably won’t like them. I can guarantee that I won’t like them. Sure, it’s flattering to be pursued, and yes, I realize that the price of liberty is to be fair game for commerce except in church or while undergoing rehab, but do my free-market pursuers appreciate the sort of impressions that they’re creating?

Or are all impressions equal to advertisers? They act as if they are. A few weeks back, for example, I read that the auto-insurance company Geico was trying to close a deal (scuttled at the last minute by the Port Authority) to post its logo on the George Washington Bridge. If Geico had succeeded in this endeavor, the firm might have forever linked its image to the sound of honking horns and the stress of being stuck in traffic. Then there was the friend who told me recently of being haunted by an advertisement (I don’t remember for which product) that hangs in a dental office above the chair where he and his fellow patients have their teeth cleaned. What is the reasoning behind this placement? Has research found that consumers high on laughing gas are powerless to resist a sales pitch?

The ad in the dental office got me thinking. It got me thinking like a modern marketer. If the new goal is to pierce, by any means necessary, the layered defenses of potential customers, why not start dispensing promotional leaflets with every cash withdrawal from strip-club A.T.M. machines? This tactic wouldn’t work for everyone, just a certain adult male demographic, and it wouldn’t work for every product. It might work for condoms, though, and even Rolodexes. Men in strip clubs often feel deeply guilty that they’re not at the office or not at work, and sometimes they entertain clients in those joints.

Still, I think marketers are playing with fire by ambushing people at every turn. The more varied the places in which their ads appear, the more diverse the human situations in which they’ll be received. A result may turn out to be anger, not a sale. Any male computer owner these days who doesn’t associate reading his morning e-mail with nagging concerns about erectile dysfunction has a better spam filter than I do. I resent being woken up this way each day. Oddly, however, the target of my resentment isn’t the folks who push Viagra and its numerous herbal substitutes, but the big online portals like AOL that let these hucksters’ e-mail through their systems. I hear that AOL is sagging now, and frankly I’m fine with it. I think it’s fitting. AOL has been letting me know for years that I may be sagging a bit myself. It’s their turn.

Besieged by promotions for products that I don’t need at moments when I’d rather be alone — at the airport, at the dentist, on a bridge — I find myself thinking back to simpler times, when advertisers had fewer designs on me and executed those designs more pleasantly. There was the jolly Goodyear blimp, of course, whose festive presence above college bowl games was almost always more exciting than the games themselves. Why was it floating there? Just to cheer folks up, it seemed. Then there was “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” which was one of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid. I found its footage of animals fascinating, though I didn’t yet find life insurance fascinating. This caused me to wonder — as I still do today — why Mutual of Omaha backed the show. I concluded that either the company was very nice and simply enjoyed amusing me or that its executives were very patient and didn’t mind waiting several decades until I was in the market for their products. Either way, I sensed that they weren’t getting their money’s worth, and now, in my 40s, I know they weren’t. I still don’t own life insurance — though there’s a chance, I guess.

But there’s no chance that I’ll ever buy a Rolodex.

Walter Kirn, a frequent contributor, is the author of “Up in the Air,” among other novels.

(y) (y) (y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:42 AM
(y) (y) (y)

On a below zero temperature night like tonight: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/02/08/magazine/11food.190.jpg

February 11, 2007

Food: Recipe Redux

1907: Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinée


For reasons of tradition, and perhaps inertia, the custom of separating sweet and savory foods — begun when meals took on a more sequential structure and sugar was considered a digestive — largely continues, especially now that sugar is viewed as anything but health-giving. There has been some cautious overlap (chocolate soufflé and cheese soufflé), the occasional misfortune (bacon ice cream) and even a few revelations (pineapple tartare seasoned with chili and salt), but for the most part, cooks stick to the rules. They fear that if sweets start arriving too early in a meal, they will inspire doubt rather than surprise and pleasure.

It takes not only talent but also nerve to mix the two without disrupting people’s entrenched expectations. When I gave Amaryll Schwertner, an owner of Boulettes Larder in the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace, a 100-year-old recipe for gratinéed onion soup and asked her to use it as a springboard for a new dish, she came back with the following peculiarity: a barely sweetened rice pudding scented with bay leaf, currants, pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes, topped with bread crumbs and a pistachio praline. It wasn’t dessert, exactly, and it wasn’t dinner either, but it should definitely join pineapple tartare with chili in the book of sweet/savory revelations.

Although her rice pudding may seem utterly unrelated to its progenitor — the onion soup — it is not. The two dishes are prepared by layering ingredients and result in an array of brittle and delicate textures.

The onion soup originates from the French cookbook “Gastronomie Pratique,” which was written in 1907 by Henri Babinski. The Times published the recipe in 1974, when the book was first translated into English.

It is one of the strangest and most delicious soup recipes I’ve encountered. Baguette toasts are spread with butter and layered with grated cheese, sautéed onions and tomato purée. Then, in what seems to be a nod to stone soup, salted water is gently poured in. The dish is then simmered and baked, and by the time it is done, the “soup” is like a savory bread pudding and the top has a thick, golden crust that your guests will fight to the death over.

“It’s a variation on a litany of dishes based on those ingredients,” Schwertner says of the bread-based soup. Panade and ribollita are probably the most well known. Surprisingly, the leap from onion soup to Schwertner’s rice pudding is not a long one: in place of cheese, her pudding is topped with pistachio praline; instead of onions, it has currants; and instead of tomato purée, it has sun-dried tomatoes.

The rice pudding was just one of many hunger-provoking ideas Schwertner had. There was a cabbage-and-bread stew, and crepes layered with ragout. Ultimately, I couldn’t resist asking her to make a second variation: a fortifying “baked soup” made with grits and capped with a crust of bread crumbs and grated cheese. This time, Schwertner kept to the rules: it is decidedly savory.

1907: Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinée

From “Gastronomie Pratique,” by Ali-Bab. This recipe appeared in The Times in a 1974 article by Craig Claiborne.

1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 25 to 30)

9 tablespoons butter, softened

9 ounces Emmental cheese, finely grated

8 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 12 cups)

1 tablespoon kosher salt, more to taste

1 cup tomato purée.

1. Toast the baguette slices and let them cool. Spread a generous layer of butter on each slice (you will need about 5 tablespoons), then lay the slices close together on a baking sheet and top with all but 1/2 cup of cheese.

2. In a large saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until very soft and golden, about 15 minutes.

3. In a 5-quart casserole, arrange a layer of bread slices (about 1/3 of them). Spread 1/3 of the onions on top, followed by 1/3 of the tomato purée. Repeat for two more layers. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. To avoid boiling over, the casserole must not be more than 2/3 full.

4. In a saucepan, bring 1 1/2 quarts water to a boil. Add the salt. Very slowly pour the salted water into the casserole, near the edge, so that the liquid rises just to the top layer of cheese without covering it. (Depending on the size of your casserole, you may need more or less water.)

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the casserole on the stove and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, then transfer to the oven and bake uncovered for 1 hour. The soup is ready when the surface looks like a crusty, golden cake and the inside is unctuous and so well blended that it is impossible to discern either cheese or onion. Each person is served some of the baked crust and some of the inside, which should be thick but not completely without liquid. Serves 6.

2007: Baked Sweet-Savory Carnaroli-Rice Pudding

By Amaryll Schwertner, executive chef and an owner of Boulettes Larder in San Francisco

Mastic comes from the mastic tree and is often used as a spice. Here, it adds an herbal note. Mastic crystals and powder (sold as gum mastic) are available at kalustyans.com.

For the pistachio praline:

Vegetable oil for greasing pan

½ cup sugar

½ cup pistachios

For the pudding:

½ large loaf of challah bread, cut into 1-inch dice (about 5 cups)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

½ stick cinnamon

Several threads of saffron

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon mastic crystals (optional)

1 teaspoon grains of paradise

¼ teaspoon sea salt

6 cups half-and-half, plus more for serving

¼ cup candied citron peel

1 bay leaf

Kosher salt

1 cup carnaroli rice

3 tablespoons sugar

½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped

2 tablespoons dried currants, soaked in warm water

8 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in warm water

1 cup fresh ricotta.

1. For the pistachio praline: Oil a baking sheet. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the sugar; swirl the pan as it begins to brown. When dark caramel, remove from the heat and stir in the pistachios. Spread on the baking sheet. Cool completely, then chop finely.

2. For the pudding: Grind the challah in a food processor. Add 3 tablespoons butter and pulse until mixed. In a mini processor, grind the pine nuts, then blend with 3 tablespoons butter. Using a spice grinder, grind the cinnamon, saffron, nutmeg, mastic, grains of paradise and sea salt. In a small pan, heat 1 cup half-and-half with finely chopped citron peel and bay leaf until steaming.

3. In a large pot, bring 2 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil and add the rice. Blanch for 1 minute, then drain. Pour 5 cups half-and-half in a saucepan over medium heat until just steaming. Stir in 3 tablespoons sugar, the vanilla bean and seeds and the ground spices. Add the rice and simmer uncovered on low heat until the rice is al dente, 45 to 60 minutes. Drain well and discard the vanilla bean.

4. Butter a 3-inch-deep, 4-quart casserole. Drain the currants. Drain and coarsely chop the tomatoes. Spread half the rice in the casserole, then spread the ricotta and sprinkle with the currants, tomatoes and pine nuts. Spread with the remaining rice. Discard the bay leaf from the citron-peel infusion and pour over the rice. Cover with bread crumbs, then the praline. Bake until the topping is crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. If desired, gently fold in half-and-half when serving. Serves 8.

2007: Savory Rice Grits Baked Soup
By Amaryll Schwertner, executive chef and an owner of Boulettes Larder in San Francisco

Coarse sea salt

4 cups Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice Grits, or other grits

4 to 6 cups chicken broth

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

3 onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into 1/2-inch dice

Extra-virgin olive oil

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, cut into 1/2-inch slices

1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

1 whole bird's-eye or Tuscan chili, ground coarsely

8 ounces fontina cheese, thinly sliced

16 dried tomato halves, rehydrated in warm water and coarsely chopped

2 2/3 cups cubed crustless country bread

1/3 cup finely chopped parsley

1 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

White truffle, for garnish, optional.

1. In a medium stockpot or other large pot, combine 4 1/2 quarts of water and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil and add the grits while stirring and sprinkling them into the water. Cook at a gentle boil for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the chicken broth and keep warm.

2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a sauté pan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter and add the onions and leeks. Sauté until translucent and transfer to a bowl. Wipe the pan clean and add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and sauté until tender and caramelized; set aside. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon sea salt, black pepper and chili; set aside.

3. In a deep, heatproof, 7- to 8-quart casserole, spread a third of the grits. Top with half each of the onion mixture, sliced cheese, tomato, mushrooms and salt mixture. Spread a layer of half of the remaining grits and all of the remaining onions, sliced cheese, tomato, mushrooms and salt mixture. Top with the remaining grits. Pour in enough of the hot stock to just cover the grits. Place a sheet of parchment paper directly on top of the grits, and cover the casserole with foil. Bake for 40 minutes.

4. Using a food processor, purée the bread with the remaining 4 tablespoons butter until finely ground. Add the parsley and pulse to combine; set aside.

5. Preheat a broiler or raise oven to 500 degrees. Remove the foil and parchment from the casserole. If the dish is dry, add enough broth so that the grits are very moist but not flooded. (The texture should be spoonable with a seeping stock and melted cheese.) Top with the bread crumbs and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Broil or bake until browned, about 5 minutes. To serve, spoon into bowls and drizzle with olive oil. If desired, garnish with sliced truffles. Serves 10.

(y) (l) (y) (l) (y) (l)

Carpe Diem,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:43 AM
(y) (*) (y) (*) (y) (*) (y) (*) (y)

Harvard Plans to Name First Female President


CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 9 — Harvard, the nation’s oldest university, plans to name Drew Gilpin Faust, a historian of the Civil War South, to be the first female president in its 371-year history, university officials said Friday.

Her selection by a search committee, if ratified as expected by the Board of Overseers on Sunday, would make Harvard the fourth Ivy League university to name a woman. It comes two years after Lawrence H. Summers, then president of the university, set off a storm by suggesting that a lack of intrinsic aptitude could help explain why fewer women than men reach the top ranks of science and math in universities.

Some Harvard professors, particularly women, greeted the decision with euphoria. “Harvard’s waited a long time — since 1636,” said Patricia Albjerg Graham, an emeritus professor of the history of education at Harvard, recalling that when she was a postdoctoral fellow in 1972, she was not allowed to enter the main door of the faculty club or eat in the main dining room.

Mary Waters, the acting chairwoman of the Harvard sociology department, said: “It’s been a lonely place for women, very lonely. There aren’t many of us.”

Dr. Faust, 59, the author of five books and a former professor of history and women’s studies at the University of Pennsylvania, is the dean of the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, the smallest of Harvard’s schools. It is the remaining remnant of Radcliffe College, once the women’s college at Harvard. Much of the research sponsored by the institute emphasizes the study of women, gender and society.

Dr. Faust emerged in recent weeks as a finalist among the candidates being considered by the university’s search committee, particularly after Thomas R. Cech, a biochemist who is the president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a Nobel Prize winner, took the unusual step of announcing publicly that he had withdrawn from the competition.

His withdrawal prompted some professors to raise last-minute concerns about Dr. Faust. While declining to speak on the record, they said they thought she lacked the toughness and vision to be a strong leader of an unruly and factionalized university and noted that the Radcliffe Institute, with about 80 staff members, is a tiny part of Harvard. Others wondered why it had taken nearly a year to choose someone who was already a Harvard dean.

“The real import of this choice is that it is a cautious pick, which seems targeted at healing the wounds of the Summers years and restoring Harvard’s momentum as quickly as possible,” said Richard Bradley, who wrote “Harvard Rules: The Struggle for the Soul of the World’s Most Powerful University” (HarperCollins, 2005).

Mr. Bradley said there were legitimate questions about Dr. Faust’s qualifications, like her lack of experience running a large university. “The fact that Harvard could not find someone who filled all their bases suggests to me the difficulty that Harvard had to fill the position,” he said.

One of the nation’s premier universities, Harvard has 12 schools and colleges with an annual budget of $3 billion and an endowment of nearly $30 billion.

John Longbrake, a university spokesman, said he would not comment on the presidential search. Dr. Faust also declined to comment until Sunday’s official announcement. Her selection was first reported by The Harvard Crimson late Thursday night on its Web site.

Faculty members and officials familiar with the search said Dr. Faust’s leadership style — her collaborative approach and considerable people skills — would be vital for soothing a campus ripped apart by the battles over Dr. Summers, whom many accused of having an abrasive, confrontational style.

“She combines outstanding scholarship with an uncanny ability to administer both well and with a heart,” said Judith Rodin, the president of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Dr. Summers turned to Dr. Faust two years ago to help calm the furor over his remarks about women in math, engineering and science. He asked her to oversee two committees he created to come up with ways to recruit, retain and promote women in those fields at Harvard.

Dr. Summers, a former Treasury secretary, stepped down a year ago after a five-year tenure in the face of widespread faculty discontent.

Dr. Faust will take the helm at a time when the university faces a challenging agenda, which includes transforming the undergraduate curriculum, re-emphasizing teaching and building a new campus in the Allston section of Boston that, among other things, will support stem-cell research.

She is seen as likely to be able to restore trust with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the university’s largest and among its most prestigious divisions, which had led the charge against Dr. Summers.

Dr. Faust has run the Radcliffe Institute since 2001. Before that, she taught American history for more than two decades at Penn, where she had gone to graduate school. An expert in Southern history and a native of Virginia, she has written books on Southern women during the Civil War and on intellectuals and ideology in the Confederate South, as well as a biography of a plantation owner.

In the end, some Harvard professors said, Dr. Faust’s management style might have been more important to the nine members of the presidential search committee than any desire to name a woman.

“My own sense is that it’s a new template for leadership, and that probably is not unrelated to gender, but it ought not get eclipsed by it,” said Richard P. Chait, a professor of higher education at Harvard.

Dr. Chait, who studies university management, noted that in several recent changes of leadership of major American corporations, tough, even bullying leaders were replaced by more mild-mannered consensus builders.

The presidential search began not long after Dr. Summers resigned last February. Derek C. Bok, a former president of Harvard, stepped in to serve as interim president.

News of Dr. Faust’s selection was greeted warmly by Harvard students. “It’s about time,” said Elisa Olivieri, a junior. “Talent is no longer ‘single, male, childless.’ It’s an excellent acknowledgement that the face of talent has changed.”

George Thampy, a freshman, said of the selection: “I think it’s a great step forward — a bona fide scholar who’s a woman. In some ways you could say it’s a reaction to the last president and that fiasco.”


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Carpe Diem,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:45 AM
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(h) (h)


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:47 AM
:o :o :o

February 11, 2007


Where’d You Go to Film School? In My Bedroom


WHEN David Basulto decided to become a movie producer, the first thing he did was enroll in a class at a film school in Los Angeles. The second thing he did was drop out.

“I absolutely didn’t learn a damn thing from the course I took, so I went out and bought a couple of books,” Mr. Basulto said. Home-schooling worked where the classroom failed. After 45 days Mr. Basulto, who is 41, had raised enough money to produce his first feature, “18 Shades of Dust,” directed by Danny Aiello III, and had written off the traditional filmmaking education process for good.

Film schools “teach you a lot of theory, teach you to shoot on old, archaic systems,” he said. “They’re not cutting edge.”

The systems used at, say, the University of Southern California’s Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts are anything but archaic. But Mr. Basulto’s point is worth noting in the era of miniDV digital video cameras, Final Cut Pro editing systems and YouTube auteurs with development deals. Thousands of new filmmakers are just diving in, many with the help of instructional products claiming to provide low-cost, high-impact alternatives to film school.

Sold on DVDs and CDs, with names like “Film School in a Box” and “Make Your Own Damn Movie,” these programs, often conceived by people with no formal film training of their own, offer surprisingly detailed tutorials on a variety of film-related topics: blocking, editing, even fund-raising and distribution. Priced roughly from $50 to $500, they can instill confidence without the bother of hundreds of thousands of dollars of a formal education.

Whether they can really teach how to make a good movie remains open to debate.

“You’re talking about an education process that takes the teacher out of the process,” said Michael Taylor, chairman of the film and television department at the U.S.C. School of Cinematic Arts.

“I think you do learn by doing, and we teach by doing in our film school,” Mr. Taylor added, “except it’s guided by a faculty who sort of know what they’re doing.”

Still, some established film schools have welcomed these programs as supplements to their existing coursework. “I think that the DVDs are great support materials,” said Paula Froehle, associate chairwoman of “below the line” curriculum — technical skills like lighting and editing — at the film department at Columbia College in Chicago. “Certainly there are times that I reference them, because I think they can function as a more dynamic textbook than a lot of the written material that’s out there.”

Virtually all the available filmmaking software rejects traditional, theory-based education, offering instead what purport to be practical crash courses in how to make a cheap but professional-quality movie. “Film School in a Box,” a video editing program, for instance, offers its users 15 hours’ worth of unedited footage from “The Confession,” a suspense drama that was shot in one take from 11 different cameras. Using the completed film as a point of comparison, users can construct their own version.

“Let them learn to edit movies, not old TV,” said David Kebo, the program’s co-creator and co-director of “The Confession.” He means that literally: Mr. Kebo tells of working on another feature, “Mojave,” with an editor whose film-school training in the 1990s began with recutting old episodes of “Gunsmoke.”

Other programs derive from a sense that existing instructional materials are incomplete. When the director Per Holmes, for instance, decided to shift from nonlinear music videos to traditional narrative films a few years back, he ran through the existing literature in two weeks. Unfulfilled, he decided to create his own master class. The result was a comprehensive instructional DVD set called “Hollywood Camera Work,” which teaches advanced blocking and staging techniques. The course resulted from a “tremendous amount of watching, pondering and systematizing,” Mr. Holmes said.

Offhand dismissiveness of traditional education is an article of faith among the makers of such software. “You have the people who come out of the other end, and they don’t know anything, and they’re not ready to make movies,” said Mr. Holmes, who said he would rather not bash film schools, many of which use his product.

To Jason J. Tomaric, 30, a film director and creator of a DVD course called “The Ultimate Filmmaking Kit,” “the big problem I’ve seen in film schools is that you’re taught by academics who have never made a movie before, let alone had one distributed.”

Mr. Tomaric’s DVD, like most of its competition, claims to offer hard-won lessons from the trenches of independent film — in this case from his production of a feature film called “Time and Again,” which cost $2,000 to make and was released in 2003. “We actually did it,” he said. “We made a movie that got distributed and made a profit.” Not surprisingly, the distrust runs both ways. Many educators say that a few hundred dollars’ worth of software cannot replace years of study, never mind the network of industry connections that often pave the way from school to a first job in the industry. “Asking what role does the film school play is like saying what role does the liberal arts college play if one has access to an encyclopedia?” Mr. Taylor said. “The idea that you can do it yourself is, I think, rather ridiculous.”

Tom Denove, vice chairman for production in the film, television and digital media department of the film school at the University of California, Los Angeles, contended that educational software often misses the real point of making a film: the inherent power of a narrative. “What’s lacking in so many films from people without a film-school education isn’t the technical expertise,” he argued. “It’s the ability to turn that expertise into a compelling story.”

Even so, democratization appears to be an irreversible trend in cinema. The thousands of movies each year now submitted to festivals around the world are testimony to a guerilla mentality that says no one needs official permission to make a film; and the advocates of teaching software often see themselves not so much training, but liberating new filmmakers.

“We try to inspire people to understand that they do not just have to work for Paramount or Sony — that does not necessarily validate their lives,” said Lloyd Kaufman, the longtime president of Troma Entertainment, whose book-and-DVD combination program, “Make Your Own Damn Movie,” offers lessons on everything from script conferences to presentations to potential investors to creating inexpensive yet realistic special effects.

As Mr. Kaufman sees it, those who want to make a movie should, and avoid the studio system entirely: “They don’t have to pitch movies to 23-year-old idiots who have never heard of John Ford or Charlie Chaplin.”

:) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Carpe Diem,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:48 AM
:| :| :|

:o :o

Lost Trail Lodge is reached only on foot or with cross-country skis or snowshoes.


February 11, 2007

Journeys | Remote Lodges

Some Getaways Are More Away Than Others


THE Lost Trail Lodge, nestled in the Sierra Nevada in California near Donner Memorial State Park, is meant for people who like to work for their rewards.

The lodge has four private cabins connected to a cozy common room, and a shared kitchen outfitted with a full set of antique cast-iron cookware and a six-burner gas stove. It has private Jacuzzis, and wooden lofts where the kids can sleep. It has large windows looking out on snow-covered trees, and a stone hearth that continuously glows with a fire.

But it is missing other amenities, like landline phones, an Internet connection or direct road access for most of the year. To earn your bubble bath, you have to hike, use cross-country skis or snowshoes (half a mile in the summer and four miles in the winter), and once at the lodge, you're cut off from the outside world. The isolation is particularly striking since, technically, the Lost Trail Lodge is only four and a half miles away from Interstate 80 and Truckee, Calif.

The Lost Trail Lodge and its brethren — similarly isolated hotels scattered across the United States and Canada — manage to make deprivation appealing. These are places that really force you to get away from it all. They allow no calls to the office or dashes to the computer “just to check in.” The only blackberries are the ones on the bushes.

David Robertson, 50, is the man behind the Lost Trail Lodge. He designed the lodge himself — on the back of a napkin — in 1997, and spent the next five summers building it. Since no real road leads to the Lost Trail, Mr. Robertson had to carry in all the materials and furniture piece by piece, including four hot tubs, 21 beds, a six-burner cast-iron gas stove and three refrigerators.

He also had to use his background as a civil engineer and a former public water agency owner to design the electricity and water systems for the lodge, which is completely off-grid. It gets its power from solar panels and a small refurbished hydroelectric plant powered by a nearby creek. (The lodge also has a small backup diesel generator, just in case.)

Mr. Robertson's guests used to be mostly hard-core backcountry snowshoers, but today he plays host to a combination of wilderness groups, vacationing couples and families and the occasional hiker who has stumbled off the Pacific Crest Trail, which passes about five miles south of the lodge.

Mr. Robertson usually putters unobtrusively in the background, but on Friday and Saturday nights he pulls out a songbook and encourages guests to gather in the living room to sing or play music on one of the lodge's numerous instruments, which include several guitars, an upright piano, percussion instruments, a stand-up bass and a banjo.

The Lost Trail Lodge is by no means the only off-grid place to vacation. In Banff National Park in Alberta, Brewster's Shadow Lake Lodge is nine miles by foot, cross-country ski or snowshoe from the trailhead. Once there, guests stay in one of 12 private cabins and share a central washroom that has hot showers and pit toilets.

Unlike the Lost Trail Lodge, where guests are responsible for bringing and cooking their own food, Shadow Lake's rates include three meals a day (including packable lunches for day hikes to nearby lakes and passes) and afternoon tea with homemade treats.

Originally built in 1930 as a rest house by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Shadow Lake Lodge won the Heritage Tourism Award for Best Environmental Practice in 2003. Supplies for the lodge arrive twice a week by horseback in the summer and by snow vehicles in the winter, and to minimize environmental impact, the lodge treats and reuses the water used for dishes and showers for irrigation. The lodge is propane-heated and solar-lighted.

“It's really refreshing,” said Faye Domonkos, sales manager for the lodge and its sister hotel, the less rustic Brewster's Mountain Lodge in downtown Banff.

Her stay at the lodge was shorter than most — she hiked in one day and left the next. “I was dead tired when I got back, but I felt awesome,” Ms. Domonkos said. For people looking for an off-the-grid experience without too much physical exertion, there are also fly-in options —Brooks Lodge in Katmai National Park in Alaska is accessible only by float plane. It is one of three Anglers' Paradise Lodges constructed in Katmai by Ray Petersen, 94, an airline entrepreneur and sports fisher who was the first person to build sports lodges in the park (today the lodges are run by his son, Sonny Petersen).

Brooks's sister lodges —Kulik Lodge and the intimate, six-guest Grosvenor Lodge — are mainly oriented to fishing — but there's more at Brooks than abundant supplies of rainbow trout and arctic grayling. Once at Brooks, you can take a day trip to the nearby Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, created when a powerful 1912 eruption of the Novarupta Volcano left a 40-square-mile area covered in volcanic ash, where countless wisps of steam still seep out through holes and fissures from the heated ground below. Or you can replace the healthy flush of exercise with the adrenaline rush that comes from close-up viewing of one of the world's largest populations of grizzly bears, which like to fish for salmon in the nearby Brooks River. (Elevated walkways and platforms prevent the bears from fishing for tourists.)

But if you're really looking for a bare-bones, off-grid experience, you should forget about these lodges, with their teatimes and solar panels, and sign up for one of the Southwest Nordic Center's yurts, round, tentlike structures designed, in this case, specifically for winter use. The Southwest Nordic Center offers several options: four yurts in southern Colorado and one larger “luxury” yurt above Taos Ski Valley in northern New Mexico that can accommodate 6 to 10 guests.

The main activities at the yurts — which are open only in the winter — are snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing (the larger yurt in New Mexico also has a Twister game). The yurts in Colorado have a good mix of downhill and flat terrain that can accommodate groups with uneven skill levels; the New Mexican yurt, on steeper terrain, caters mostly to snowshoers and experienced skiers.

The yurts aren't as isolated as the other lodges (Southwest Nordic Center's are two to four and a half miles from the road) but once you're there, no homemade breakfast awaits. You have to carry in all your food yourself. Each yurt sits on a raised wooden platform and has a wood-burning stove, lanterns, mattresses without linens and a propane stove for cooking. There's no electricity or running water, but cookware and board games are provided. As a touch of comfort, the outhouse's toilet seat hangs on a hook by the stove to keep it warm.

Most Americans don't think of outhouses as a vacation perk, but there's a certain appeal in having to work for your vacation. A little bit of struggle, it seems, can make the escape more fun.

“Ironically, I get more repeat business from people who had the drama trip, the one with the snowstorm,” said Doug MacLennan, 48, the yurts' owner and builder. “You'd think it'd be the groups that came in under bluebird skies, but nope, it's the ones who had to bear down and work together to figure out how to get there. Those groups call me right away the next year.”


Lost Trail Lodge: Tahoe West Company, 8600 Coldstream Trail, Truckee, Calif, (530) 320-9268; www.losttraillodge.com. Rates are $69 a person a night. Two-night minimum. The Web site has listings for places to rent equipment.

Brooks Lodge: Katmailand Inc., 4125 Aircraft Drive, Anchorage, (800) 544-0551; www.katmailand.com. Rates are $630 a night, double occupancy. Reduced rates are available in package deals with air transportation.

Shadow Lake Lodge: Box 2606, Banff, Alberta, (403) 762-0115; www.shadowlakelodge.com. For reservations or to check availability, visit the Web site. Prices vary by season and include private log-cabin accommodation and three meals a day.

Southwest Nordic Center: Southwest Nordic Center, P.O. Box 3212, Taos, N.M., (505) 758-4761; www.southwestnordiccenter.com. Yurt rates are $65 to $125 a night for a group, depending on which night and which yurt you choose. The trails to the yurts are marked well, but those unfamiliar with finding routes might want to choose a guided trip, which includes the yurt rental, a professional guide and meals. Prices vary; call for details. Yurts are open only for the winter.

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(f) (f)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:49 AM
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February 11, 2007

Explorer | Kashgar

Viewing Two Chinas From a Stop on the Silk Road


GLOBALIZATION has always been a dodgy term. As a clever neologism, it flatters our need to believe that the times we inhabit offer something truly new. Pause to think about it more clearly, though, and even a basic knowledge of geography or history turns up examples in almost every corner of the globe of the kinds of intercourse that turns global into globalization.

Better yet, there are places like Kashgar, an ancient Silk Road oasis town in the far west of China, where for centuries great swaths of disparate peoples have come together in a jumble just about as colorful as one could want or imagine.

My first experience of this came just yards from my hotel door on the groggy first morning of my stay in November. Groggy because I had flown there from Shanghai the night before, which meant seven hours in the air and a change of planes in Urumqi, the booming capital of China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

Why bother coming to Kashgar at all, you might ask, given that it is neither the most obvious nor accessible choice for an additional stop beyond, say, Beijing or Shanghai on your average China trip itinerary?

For one thing, this city has few rivals in China for longevity when it comes to defining what it means to be a crossroads.

For at least two millenniums, Kashgar was one of the most prosperous market cities on what eventually became known as the Silk Road. Caravans of camels sometimes stretching for miles made their way through its walls, carrying silk or spices, silver and gold between East and West.

Separated from Pakistan by the Karakoram mountain range, whose 15,500-foot Khunjerab Pass is the world's highest paved border crossing, this area was also one of Islam's main points of entry into China. Ever traditionalist, conservative Kashgar remains perhaps the most important Islamic center for Chinese Muslims today.

The best answer to the question of why travel to China's westernmost city, though, is the visceral response you get from plunging into Kashgar's streets, as I did that first morning with my guide, Abdul. We made our way into the heart of the old city, once protected by an imposing earthen wall, whose sloping remains can still be seen.

As you leave the wide boulevards of modern Kashgar behind and ascend a small hillside lane, the jolt you receive constitutes one of the most powerful feelings that travel can provide — of leaving one world and entering another. In Kashgar's case it is a matter of a few yards from the familiar China of onrushing modernization to places that, but for a few details — like the occasional car nosing its way through streets thick with merchants and foot traffic — seem scarcely touched by time.

The high, old brick walls of closely spaced houses pressed in on us. Bearded men huddled in conversation, some working their prayer beads as they listened. A man in a battered barber's chair sat inclined, had his face lathered and massaged vigorously, and then was shaved with a straight razor.

A little way ahead, a clutch of women in veils approached, the first evidence of what I came to understand as a general rule here: once a woman is beyond her 20s, the veil is pretty much standard attire. That befits a place where in most old neighborhoods there is a mosque every hundred yards or so.

I knocked on the door at one and was welcomed by the friendly man with a beard combed to a fine white point. He was both groundskeeper and muezzin, or caller to prayer, and he sat with us for an hour, offering tea and then turning on the naked lanterns in the pillared and hitherto dark main prayer hall. The light revealed beautiful blue ceramic tiles at the altar etched with calligraphic prayers and a proud smile on the face of our host.

China's Uighur minority, which is the largest ethnic group in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, is almost entirely Sunni, and is subjected to very tight controls by a government wary of both terrorism and of longstanding separatist sentiments.

At the end of our visit with him, the muezzin climbed the rough cement staircase to a platform linking his twin minarets, explaining that it was from there that he called the faithful to prayer. What he didn't explain, careful to be discreet, is that the government doesn't allow the use of loudspeakers or megaphones, as is common in many Islamic countries.

At a small junction in the road, we came across a crowd of men standing engaged in a lively discussion. I wondered if there had been an incident but was told that they were making preparations for a wedding.

Around the corner, next to a bakery where freshly made flatbread lay cooling on an iron grill, a group of women — the female half of the wedding party — stood discussing their own arrangements.

When I turned the next corner in this maze of narrow streets, there was yet another discovery: Stalin lives. Or at least Stalin knickknacks do. All over China one can also find Mao memorabilia from the Cultural Revolution, from Little Red Books to pins and banners emblazoned with the Great Helmsman's image. Here, though, was a shopkeeper in a little hole in the wall. He had hung a vintage poster of Uncle Joe beaming confidently in front of his shop. It served as an appropriate reminder of the region's geography.

Indeed, as much as a Silk Road outpost, Kashgar was one of the main stalking grounds of the Great Game, as the shadowy competition between Russia and Britain for power and influence in Central Asia came to be called. The rival powers chose Kashgar as their listening posts for Afghanistan, India, China and the Islamic underbelly of the Russian empire, and from here each employed diplomat-spies to plot their moves from rival consulates.

In Kashgar today, as in much of China, one gets the impression that a very intense war has been waged on the country's cultural and tourism assets.

Signs of genuine local culture are so often poorly preserved, when they have not been destroyed altogether. China deserves credit for its formidable achievement of development, which has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in a generation, but in most places the price for this has been the imposition of generic forms that are often tasteless and sometimes hideous.

Because of its remoteness, Kashgar is behind the curve, and for once that's good. But even Kashgar is coming under the pressure of Chinese-style homogenization, though, and that's another reason to visit soon.

The old Kashgar open-air market, which once drew as many 100,000 traders from all over the region each Sunday to haggle over everything from carpets to cattle, was a direct descendant of the trade brought here on the great camel trains. But it has fallen victim to what some will fancy is progress. In this case, progress has come in the form of a glorified hangar with cement floors, where bored-looking merchants tend regimented stalls all day. There may still be a big crowd on Sundays, but for the soul of the old weekly bazaar one must look elsewhere.

One place is a livestock market at the edge of town that used to be held in the main market but was moved when the cement was poured. Also held on Sunday, this is a place where thousands of rugged central Asian cowboys and peasants come to buy and sell cattle, camels, sheep and horses.

By midmorning, dust hangs thick in the air from all of the stamping hoofs, but coping with that is a small price to pay for the heaping doses of color as craggy-faced men come together in clusters and bargain loudly over the beast of their choice.

For my money, Friday prayer at the central mosque has become the week's new main event. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the mosque during the services, but the mosque sits in the middle of a huge square, which is surrounded by markets where foreigners are welcome.

About 20,000 people show up most Fridays for the midafternoon prayer, filling the mosque and spilling out on an apronlike staircase that wraps around the entranceway. Men to one side, women to the other, the faithful perform their rites, prostrating themselves repeatedly on little prayer rugs and standing, gazing into their palms, which they hold before them as the recite their prayers.

Beggars appear here by the dozens, too, many of them badly deformed. Their troubles are rewarded when the huge crowds of faithful emerge and drop coins and crumpled bills into their cups as alms.

Thirty minutes or so after the service is over, the mosque has fully emptied, but the square has not. There, people lay out goods for trade on sheets, and buy and sell shoes and clothing, prayer books and even eyeglasses.

For others, as for me, it was time for a late lunch of skewered lamb and noodles, and to savor the aroma of tea and freshly baked bread in the afternoon air.



Kashgar can only be reached by air from Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Urumqi, in turn, can be reached via a variety of Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Xian. Beyond the regular China visa, there are no special visa requirements for travel to Xinjiang.

Dollars are accepted but not preferred. A.T.M.'s around the city can connect travelers to their overseas bank accounts, and money can be changed in banks and hotels.


The former Russian consulate in Kashgar has been converted to the Seman Hotel (337 Seman Road; 86-998-258-2129). It is a dark, slightly down-at-the-heels affair that nonetheless still exudes the atmosphere of the era, with its look of a minor Russian palace with pastoral murals and Cyrillic inscriptions. Even if you don't stay there, a stop at the hotel's outdoor restaurant for a lunch of laghman, a tasty, mildly spicy Central Asian noodle dish, is a good excuse to visit. Standard rooms start at about 120 yuan a night, or about $15 at the rate of 7.9 yuan to the dollar.

The Chini Bagh Hotel (144 Seman Road; 86-998-298-3234) is a large, modern establishment set in a complex that also includes the British consulate. Deluxe rooms start at about 220 yuan a night.

Both the Seman and the Chini Bagh can arrange a guide for you, at a day rate of 150 yuan and 100 yuan, respectively.


Popular restaurants include the Orda (167 East Renmin Road; 86-998-265-2777), which specializes in local cuisine, like samsas (dumplings with mutton filling) and flatbreads. Four people could have a very large meal for about $20.

The same is true for the Intizar Restaurant (33 West Renmin Road, 86-998-258-5666), where in addition to meat dishes, patrons might also be offered a dish of mung bean noodles mixed with julienned radishes, carrots and cabbage, all tossed with a vinegar dressing.

In the old part of Kashgar, visitors will find a wide selection of bread stalls, noodle stands and small restaurants, as well as fruit and vegetable vendors.

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Carpe Diem,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 07:55 AM
:) :)

The Scotsman Sat 8 Feb 2003

Fishing for compliments


If you’re still struggling to think of somewhere special to take your other half for St Valentine’s Day (tut-tut - you should have sorted that by now), then we may have the place that will save you from relationship meltdown. As everyone knows, seafood is an aphrodisiac, especially the kind that involves lots of lip slurping and finger licking.

So just imagine your loved one’s delight, when (1) you take them out for a meal at one of Edinburgh’s top restaurants; (2) you order a platter of fresh, briny, sexy rock oysters; and (3) they crack open one of said oysters and find a shiny pearl inside.

Sounds too good to be true? Not if you book a table at Creelers this Friday. As well as a range of fresh and smoked seafood (the owners, Tim and Fran James, also own a very successful smokehouse on Arran) to choose from, you really will have a chance of finding a pearl in your oyster. The restaurant has teamed up with Edinburgh jewellers Hamilton & Inches to give away rare Scottish river pearls in its oyster platters.

Apparently, pearls are traditional wedding gifts and, as they’re worth £75 each, if that doesn’t get you a goodnight kiss, nothing will.

# Creelers, 3 Hunter Square, Edinburgh (0131 220 4447)


(*) (*) With the roads in 20 (U.S.) states still icy - I think there are many folks who will be going out for dinner late for Valentine's Day.....:) And restaurants that deliver can't get to their customers. I guess those who have big freezers and pantries (pantries, not panties) ;) are the ones who can whip up about anything for a romantic (or otherwise) dinner. :)

Carpe Diem,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-15-2007, 08:00 AM
(y) (y) (y)

Edinburgh Evening News Fri 7 Feb 2003

Put some passion into your cooking

Juliet Lawrence Wilson

IT is the third and final week of our baking series and we are going out with a bang. As this week’s recipes are for Valentine’s Day, that might have been an unfortunate choice of words.

Now I know we are a little bit premature with the Valentine’s celebrations, but I couldn’t resist making the gorgeous heart-shaped cake in the picture. Next week we are doing the big day properly with a Valentine’s feast for singletons.

I am sick of the whole thing already, to be honest, as we are fending off about half a dozen calls a day at the restaurant from desperate romantics eager to book a table ˆ deux (naturally). It is, of course, flattering that so many couples wish to experience the most important date of the romantic calendar ensconced in our restaurant, but the temptation to shout "you’ve left it too late!" down the phone is proving overwhelming.

Regular readers of this column might be aware that last Valentine’s Day I did not have a boyfriend (aagh!), but this year I do (hurrah!). The bloke did well at Christmas with a mixture of practical but thoughtful pressies, but with Valentine’s Day the pressure is on and he knows something frilly, sweet-smelling and highly romantic is required. Not only that, but it has to be expensive and well wrapped, preferably by the sales assistant in Harvey Nicks or Jenners where the purchase was made.

Suffice to say, the bloke has been well warned that if he doesn’t come up with the goods, my wrath will make Attila The Hun look like the Sugarplum Fairy. However, I would be pretty impressed should the bloke get the baking tins out and make me a cake, despite my high maintenance, materialistic leanings. A word of warning to the girls, though: if you do want to make the man of your dreams a Valentine’s cake, make sure that he is super-duper keen on you, as this display of affection and wifeliness is screaming out: "Marry me now!" So producing one on your second date would seem a tad desperate.

The lovely heart-shaped number is a passion fruit cake. I don’t know if passion fruit is an aphrodisiac or not, but it tastes nice and has an exotic aroma. You could fashion rose petals out of coloured icing or marzipan, but I decided to use real ones, which have a sexy intense colour.

Next up are cute little heart-shaped Florentines which I cover on one side with chocolate, because chocolate is the food of love, after all. Remember that you don’t have to bake these edibles for members of the opposite sex alone. Why not cheer up one of your single friends by making them something sweet for Valentine’s Day? The most evil day of the year should not only be reserved for expressing love in the Biblical sense but love between friends, family and those around us. OK, pass the sick bag.

Next week, you lovers will be on your own and I’ll be back to my cynical best with food for single women (who are only single because there are no decent men around, don’t you know!).

More seriously, I hope that in the last few weeks I have dispelled some myths about baking, especially that one about it supposedly being difficult.

And finally, a tip for the guys. If you are going to cook something for your loved one - for goodness sake, do the washing-up as well.

# Juliet Lawrence Wilson is head chef and proprietor of The Stockbridge Restaurant, 53 St Stephen’s Street, Edinburgh. Tel: 031-226 6766.


Passion Cake

Heart-shaped tins are not hard to find, but as I wanted this cake to be for two people I have given instructions to make a round sponge then cut a heart shape out of it. Save the leftover sponge for making trifles. It will freeze well.

- 4oz (115g) butter
- 4oz (115g) castor sugar
- 4oz (115g) self-raising flour
- 3 small eggs
- 2 passion fruit

To finish:
- 3/4 pint (430ml) double cream
- 2oz (60g) icing sugar
- 2 passion fruit

Cut all the passion fruit in half and scoop out the seeds and juice. Set aside.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease an eight-inch round cake tin and put a circle of greased greaseproof paper at the bottom. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs one at a time and stir in half the passion fruit.

Sift in the flour and fold in. Pour the mix into the prepared tin and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is risen and firm and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool and turn out. Cut into a heart shape using a template and then cut the cake in half horizontally, giving two layers.

Whisk the double cream until it has reached the soft peak stage, then fold in the icing sugar and remaining passion fruit. Sandwich the cake together and cover with the cream. Decorate with rose petals.

Chocolate Florentines (makes 25)

- 11/2oz (45g) butter
- 4tbs double cream
- 21/2oz (75g) castor sugar
- 1oz (30g) hazelnuts
- 1oz (30g) flaked almonds
- 1oz (30g) mixed peel
- 1oz (30g) chopped glace cherries
- 1oz (30g) plain flour
- 4oz (115g) dark chocolate

Melt the butter, sugar and cream in a saucepan, then bring to the boil. Take off the heat and add all the other ingredients, apart from the chocolate.

Grease a couple of baking trays and drop small spoonfuls of the mixture on to them. Flatten the mix with a fork and fashion into a heart shape. Leave space between the biscuits, as they will spread whilst cooking. Bake at 180C/350F/gas mark 4 for ten minutes, then allow to cool on the baking trays.

Melt the chocolate and spread a little on each biscuit, then make waves in the chocolate with a fork.


(y) (y) YES! YES! YES!

;) Geez, one would think I was "yes'ing" about something else. ;) (Like Meg Ryan's character does in the diner scene with Billy Crystal in "When Harry Met Sally".)

(y) I loved it when Rob Reiner (the director) had his mother play the character across the diner from Meg who says (after the "Big O" scene), telling the waitress, "I'll have whatever she had."

(y) Priceless!

(o) (o) Time to get going soon. Calls to make including one to the local auto dealership service department.(t)

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 07:28 AM
8-| (y) 8-| (y) 8-| (y) 8-| (y) 8-| (y)

Ongoing Learning Increases Longevity, Researchers Say

by Gabby Hyman


Education may be the long-sought-after fountain of youth. After decades of studies, researchers continue to find that those who keep their minds engaged in active education live longer and stave off the ravages of aging, such as memory loss and lethargy. The New York Times recently reported that having money or good health insurance "paled in comparison" to education as a crucial factor in graceful aging. "If you were to ask me what affects health and longevity," said City University of New York researcher Michael Grossman, "I would put education at the top of my list."

Comprehensive studies on the effects of ongoing learning on aging have been conducted for decades, and more recent studies by researchers called "health economists" only seem to support the contentions of 3rd Century BC philosopher, Aristotle, who said, "Education is the best provision for old age."

In 1999, Columbia University grad student Adriana Lleras-Muney focused her dissertation on 1969 research by three health economists who found that investing in education over the long haul yielded greater anti-aging effects than good medical care. In her ground-breaking study, Lleras-Muney found that when people reached age 35, their life expectancy was increased by 18 months if they completed an extra year of education.

Lleras-Muney's findings were supported by research conducted by Princeton's Anne Case. Case reported that "each additional year of schooling for men in the U.S. is associated with an 8 percent reduction in mortality, a result consistent with those found in many European countries. In surveys run in both the developed and developing world, people with greater levels of schooling report themselves to be significantly healthier."
Education and Brain Aerobics

Only two decades ago, most physicians and researchers felt that aging and its deleterious effects on the brain were inevitable. However, these recent findings offer hope to maintaining lifelong mental health. The Alzheimer's Association now sponsors "Maintain Your Brain" workshops throughout the country, encouraging people to stay physically and intellectually active. The workshop advises people to "enroll in courses at your local adult education center, community college[,] or other community group."

What is it about learning that arrests aging? Campus-based learning increases socialization and lessens loneliness and depression common among seniors. But that's only one factor. Even the very practice of taking online classes seems to activate parts of the brain that slow aging and increase memory, emotional engagement, and intellectual curiosity.

Dr. Gary Small, Director of the UCLA Center on Aging, has found a research niche in what he calls "Mental Aerobics." Using physical fitness training language, Small encourages everyone to "cross train" their minds to keep them in peak condition. Dr. Small's popular anti-aging book, The Longevity Bible, proposes an eight-step game plan to keep your body supple and your mind in peak condition. Number one on the list: "Sharpen Your Mind. Mental aerobics cross train your brain to significantly improve memory skills and brain efficiency. If you fix your brain for longevity, your body will follow in kind."

The New England Journal of Medicine published a study in 2003 revealing that seniors over 75 years old who continued to read actively along with engaging in other physical and artistic activities had demonstrably lower rates of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Lifelong learning combined with exercises to stimulate the mind builds what Small calls a cognitive reserve. Small says, "It's the use-it-or-lose-it theory. If you keep your brain cells active it improves their efficiency."
Education and Memory

A landmark 2005 study conducted by Toronto's Mellanie V. Springer and Cheryl Grady, Ph.D. revealed that the brains of older adults rely on the frontal cortex for memory and cognitive activity. Grady reported, "The higher the education, the more likely the older adult is to recruit frontal regions, resulting in a better memory performance."

Researchers have showed that the idle mind, like muscles in the body, atrophies from nonuse. With the exponential explosion of online colleges and classes, even homebound adults can keep their minds at play in the fields of learning. A 2006 Harris Poll found that of the 172 million American adults online, some 14 million were over the age of 65. Now more than ever, people of all ages can access a wide variety of educational choices to help keep their minds active and engaged.
Back in School

Seniors can get discounts for online and traditional study--even seniors who pursue a high school diploma or GED. Readily available online, education programs give those who always meant to finish high school the chance to do so--even if they've meant to finish for decades now. Even with a few years (or decades) on those wide-eyed high school grads, a non-traditional student can find a lot of satisfaction in an investment in him or herself rather than just trying to advance a career.

Adult learners can expect to find plenty of company in a classroom--online or on campus. A U.S. Department of Education report found that 84% of students in higher education are non-traditional, meaning that they haven't gone straight to college after high school. Subsequently, returning to school a little bit later in life for a diploma or beyond--an associate's, bachelor's, or other degree--has become the norm rather than the exception.

Graduate or Ph.D. programs can also be avenues to fulfill lifelong dreams or interests for older Americans, and this upper-level academic delivers the metal challenges that keep the brain young. But here's the bottom line: Ongoing learning helps keep the mind in shape and can increase longevity. As such, education is proving to be the crucial ingredient in healthy living and long life.


"Almost 14 Million Senior Citizens Now Online." Senior Journal, May 28, 2006. Retrieved February 16, 2007 from:


"Brain Health." Alzheimer's Association National Office, 2007. Retrieved February 16, 2007 from:


Case, Ann. "The Primacy of Education." Retrieved February 16, 2007 from:


Grady, Cheryl L., PhD, Mellanie V. Springer, MSc, Anthony R. McIntosh, PhD, and Gordon Winocur, PhD. "The Relation Between Brain Activity During Memory Tasks and Years of Education in Young and Older adults." Neuropsychology 19.2 (2005).

Hartman, Diana. "Life, Learning, and Longevity." BlogCritics Magazine, January 8, 2007. Retrieved February 16, 2007 from:


Kolata, Gina. "A Surprising Secret to a Long Life: Stay in School." The New York Times, January 3, 2007.

Small, Gary, Ph.D. "Eight Essentials." 2006. Retrieved February 16, 2007 from:


Stenson. Jacqueline. "A Workout For Your Brain." MSNBC, November 30, 2004. Retrieved February 16, 2007 from:


Stokes, Peter. "Hidden in Plain Sight: Adult Learners Forge a New Tradition in Higher Education." U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved February 16, 2007 from:


(y) (y) I'm always a bit leery of what researchers say, including the breadth and depth of the study, research methodologies and other components of an unbiased study. This article came from the log-in page this morning on Yahoo, so the article was already suspect. However, I checked all of the sources listed and found the associated URLs, and there are some good references, IMHO.

:| Obviously, the above reference from MSNBC is about as respectable as one from Wikipedia - at least as far as scholars (these so-called academics tell me) are concerned. PhD learners (including me) are forbidden to use references like these. :o

;) Good thing those thirty articles in magazines that were published (and I wrote) are considered (by my professors as well as the university) to be valid! :)

(*) Have a spectacular day! I hope your Friday is filled will sunshine, if not overhead, then in your thoughts and heart.

Warmest thoughts,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 07:37 AM
(l) (y) (l) (y)

Baz Luhrmann's Chanel No. 5 commercial (or 'film', as Luhrmann prefers it being referred to), reunited Luhrmann and his Moulin Rouge star, Nicole Kidman, in one of the most expensive and elaborate advertisements of all time. The film was screened in several countries around the world during 2004, 2005 and 2006.


Chanel No 5 commercial (starring Nicole Kidman):


(*) (*) (*) (*) (*) Definitely a 5 Star ad. One of my favorites. I also have worn this perfume several times in my life, so far. Nice synchronicity that I was looking on amazon.com just the other day to check prices for this and a couple of other perfumes.

The back story on this ad is that the post production was extensive - and this cost a bundle. :o

(c) (c) Time for my second cup. Hey - I went to bed around 4:00 a.m. :| Often my best thinking for a project or for graduate work - is late at night and into the wee hours of the morning when everything is so quiet. Well - except for last night when the wind was howling! ;) Brrr.....my office is over the garage so it's pretty chilly.

<:o) Horay for the two "Fs" or "F-Squared: Why, that's Flannel and Fleece, of course. ;)

Carpe Diem,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 07:39 AM
(l) (&) (l) (&) (l) (&) (l)

Gold Mine of Fabulous Photos: http://photos.signonsandiego.com/gallery1.5/070213westminster

American Kennel Club News Article

The American Kennel Club Congratulates English Springer Spaniel James

Date of Article: February 14, 2007

- Same Dog Sweeps both Westminster and AKC/Eukanuba National Championship -

Last night the stunning English Springer Spaniel, Ch Felicity's Diamond Jim, known as "James" of Fairfax Station, VA handled by Kellie L. Fitzgerald won the 131st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. James is owned by Mr. & Mrs. Allen Patton, R. Dehmel and D. Hadsall. Best in Show Judge Dr. Robert A. Indeglia of Narragansett, RI awarded the honors to James.

Established in 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club was the first AKC member club. Its show, held every year at Madison Square Garden, is the second longest continuously held sporting event, behind the Kentucky Derby.

The pair was also honored months earlier by winning the prestigious AKC/Eukanuba National Championship where they beat out 2,500 dogs in every AKC-recognized breed and variety, including 116 competitors from foreign registries representing 16 countries, and earned a whopping $50,000 cash prize. James is the third dog to win top honors at both shows. Bichon Frise Ch. Special Times Just Right did it in 2001 and Kerry Blue Terrier Ch. Torums Scarf Michael won the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in 2002 and Westminster in 2003.

"James has had a long show career and can retire at the top of his game after these crowning achievements," said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "This is the third dog who has won both events. It just goes to show that it takes a top contender, a truly special dog, to earn Best in Show at the country's premier venues."

Some facts about the English Springer Spaniel:

* The Breed ranked 26th in popularity in 2006 according the AKC's annual registration statistics.
* More than 8,200 English Springer Spaniels were registered by the AKC in 2006.
* The English Springer Spaniel was recognized by the AKC in 1910.
* The typical Springer is friendly, eager to please, quick to learn and willing to obey.
* The breed comes in the following colors: black or liver with white, blue or liver roan and tricolor.
* In 1902, the Kennel Club (England) granted English Springers and English Cockers separate breed status.

AKC registered purebreds are eligible to compete in a multitude of events. In addition to dog shows, obedience, rally and agility trials, English Springer Spaniels may also compete in limited breed activities such as field trials and hunting tests. To learn more about the English Springer Spaniel or about the breed's national rescue, visit the AKC parent club, the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association, Inc. at www.essfta.org.


(y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 07:46 AM
(l) (l) (l) (l)


Santa Fe's 10th Annual ArtFeast

Fine Art, Fine Dining, Fine Wine and Fine Homes: February 22 - 25, 2007


Santa Fe, New Mexico, one of the nation's premier art markets and year-round art destinations, is celebrating the 10th anniversary of ARTfeast February 22nd /no spamming of other sites/ 25th. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and blessed with more than 300 days of sunshine, Santa Fe is the perfect travel destination for collectors and connoisseurs interested in a weekend of fine art, fine wine and fine food.

"Each year, Santa Fe’s finest galleries, restaurants and hotels join together for this special city-wide celebration of cutting edge art exhibits, gourmet dining, wine tasting and the art of home tour," said Mary Harbour, president of ARTsmart and one of the main ARTfeast organizers. "The growing number of well-known and new artists featured at the more than 200 galleries in Santa Fe continues to attract major buyers and collectors of contemporary and modern art from around the world."

As part of the special 10th anniversary ARTfeast festivities, sculptor, Tom Joyce will be honored at the gourmet dinner, on Saturday February 24.

2007 ARTfeast festivities include:


Contemporary Encounter

Santa Fe Director/Curator Laura Heon discusses the provacative works of Barry X. Ball.


Vintner's Luncheon & Style Show

Enjoy a style show by designer Paulette Martsolf of Allie-Coosh and savor selections from Sonoma's Charles Creek Vineyards & Winery and delectables by Chef Mark Kiffin at The Compound restaurant.

Edible Art Tour (EAT)

Enormously popular the Edible Art Tour is one of Santa Fe's most festive events. More than thirty of Santa Fe's top galleries partner with well known local restaurants to offer a night of art and gourmet food. Participants can view and purchase fine works of art from the galleries' special exhibits and enjoy samplings of the great foods from Santa Fe's finest restaurants.


Art of Home Tour I

Santa Fe Properties, exclusive affiliate of Christie's Great Estates, has selected some of Santa Fe's most artistic and elegant homes to tour. Art on display in these homes is available for purchase.

Art of Wine & Cheese

Visitors can sample an array of wines from the world's classic wine growing regions and artisanal cheeses.

Gourmet Dinner & Children's Plate Auction

Created by Santa Fe's master chefs, participants can savor a multi-course gourmet dinner paired with a selection of outstanding wines. Ticket holders can bid on plates delightfully designed and painted by Santa Fe's public school students.


Artists' Brunch & Silent Auction

Ticket holders meet and mingle with Santa Fe's top artists and gallery owners, while enjoying a lavish champagne buffet.

Art of Home Tour II


Tickets can be purchased for these events at www.artfeast.com or by calling (505) 988-1234. Detailed information on individual events, the weekend ARTfeast package and hotel specials can also be found at the website.

ARTfeast is an annual event of ARTsmart, a 501c3 nonprofit organization established by members of the Santa Fe Gallery Association to benefit art programs in Santa Fe public schools. Since its inception, close to $400,000 has been raised from ARTfeast activities for public school art programs. These funds go to purchase pastels, mixed media, painting, pottery, print-making, assemblages, straw appliqu&#233; and many other needed supplies for Santa Fe’s young artists.


(l) (h) (l) (h) (l) (h) (l)

(*) I love this place very much, although more recently when Indian Market and other crowded events are not going on. (Although I do miss meeting the Native American artists who have blankets with all kinds of artwork outside of the Palace of the Governors...):) I might go sometime that first weekend in August, despite the crowds. My favorite time of year to visit is Thanksgiving and the holidays when there are luminarias lining all of the adobe buildings all over town. Dry cold at 7,500 feet. The smell of pinon pine burning in kiva fireplaces.... Magical!

(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 07:53 AM
(y) (y) (y) (y)

INHERIT THE WIND is a fictionalized retelling of the famous 1925 “Monkey Trial,” in which science teacher John Scopes was tried and convicted for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution, violating a Tennessee law that forbade teaching any theory that conflicted with the Biblical conception of Divine Creation. Two-time Tony Award Winner Brian Dennehy will play the role of attorney Matthew Harrison Brady (based on William Jennings Bryan), and two-time Tony Award Winner Christopher Plummer will play attorney Henry Drummond (based on Clarence Darrow).


(y) (y) Coming soon to Broadway and IMHO, definitely worth the PITA Factor (Pain In The Ass) of the Amtrak train ride, cab ride and crowds in NYC to get to the theater.

(l) I love a good play. Theater, especially in a small, community one, or while sitting closer to a larger stage provides such an interactive immediacy between actos and audience that films just cannot. (~)

Carpe Diem,
SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 07:58 AM
(f) (f)

Gay and lesbian life in the Middle East

by Brian Whitaker


Homosexuality is still taboo in the Arab countries. While clerics denounce it as a heinous sin, newspapers, reluctant to address it directly, talk cryptically of ‘shameful acts’ and ‘deviant behaviour’. Despite growing acceptance of sexual diversity in many parts of the world, attitudes in the Middle East have been hardening against it.

In this absorbing account, Guardian journalist Brian Whitaker paints a disturbing picture of people who live secretive, often fearful lives; of daughters and sons beaten and ostracised by their families or sent to be ‘cured’ by psychiatrists; of men imprisoned and flogged for ‘behaving like women’; of others who have been jailed simply for trying to find love on the Internet.

Amid all the talk of reform in the Middle East, homosexuality is one issue that almost everyone in the region would prefer to ignore, and yet there are pockets of change and tolerance. Deeply informed and engagingly written, Unspeakable Love draws long overdue attention to this crucial subject.

"It is high time this issue was brought out of the closet once and for all, and afforded a frank and honest discussion. Brian Whitaker's humane, sophisticated, and deeply rewarding book, Unspeakable Love, does exactly that."

- Ali al-Ahmed, Saudi reform advocate and director of the Gulf Institute, Washington

“This book is a compelling read. It captures with detail and with disturbing accuracy the difficulties and dangers facing lesbians and gay men across the Middle East. It helps us to understand the social pressure, the sense of isolation, the anxiety and fear and trauma. And through it all we glimpse also the possibility of hope, of remarkable courage, and perhaps even in the longer term the chance of a more open and accepting society.”

- Chris Smith, former Arts Minister in the British government

"This is an important, timely book, and lucid to boot - a must-read for anyone who believes in human rights."

-Rabih Alameddine, author of 'Koolaids'

"Brian Whitaker has given us a moving analysis of the hidden lives of Arab homosexuals. This genuinely groundbreaking investigation reveals a side of Arab and Muslim culture shrouded by the strictest taboos. Arab societies can no longer contain their cultural, religious, ethnic or sexual diversity within their traditional patriarchal definitions of the public sphere. Anyone interested in reform in the Arab world must read this book."

-Mai Yamani, Research Fellow at Chatham House and author of 'Cradle of Islam'

"A fascinating insight."

-Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall

"The book boldly delves into one of the biggest taboos in modern Muslim societies with subtlety and sensitivity, addressing both Arab reformers and interested Western readers. [It] provides fascinating insights into the lives of ordinary gays and lesbians, and how society views and treats them."

-Khaled Diab, Toronto Globe and Mail

"I learnt much from Brian Whitaker's book, which is excellent. It was inspirational to me on the challenges to international law, and the uses of nationalism to suppress dissent within countries."

-Fred Halliday, Professor of International Relations, London School of Economics

"While directing readers toward the pinpoint of light at the end of the tunnel, Whitaker clearly demarcates tradition and family honour as two powerhouses eternally keeping Middle Eastern alternative lifestyles in the dark. ... Strong, condensed, world-weary portrait infused with hope."

-Kirkus Reviews

(f) (f) (f) (f) (f)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 08:00 AM
:) :)

A Short History of 'Cut and Run,' Using the George W. Bush Definition

Calvin Trillin

When you pull out before the job is done, that's "cut and run" as far as I'm concerned.
--George W. Bush, on whether he's fairly characterized the Democratic position

1. Vietnam

We'd been well mired in a quag.
Our allies there were not too strong,
But Nixon left them to themselves,
And they were swamped by Vietcong.

That's cut and run. Yes, cut and run:
We left before the job was done,
And let Saigon get overrun--
A simple case of cut and run.

2. Lebanon

Marines were there to keep the peace.
Before their mission was complete,
There came an awful barracks blast,
And Reagan pulled them out tout de suite.

That's cut and run. Yes, cut and run:
We left before the job was done--
No matter how the news was spun,
A simple case of cut and run.

3. Gulf War

We could have gone to Baghdad, but
The role Bush One said we'd then fill
Was hated occupying force.
He was, of course, correct, but still...

That's cut and run. Yes, cut and run:
We left before the job was done.
Saddam had fun because Bush One
Did not remain but cut and run.

4. Texas

If sent to Nam, you might get killed.
Young Bush, to dodge his draft board's "Greetings!"
Used Daddy's clout to join the Guard,
And then finessed a year of meetings.

Talk about your cutting and running!


(y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 08:01 AM
:) :)


(y) (y) Sometimes it's good to vent. ;)


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 08:02 AM
(y) (y) (y) (y)


(y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 08:03 AM
|-) |-) |-) |-)


(y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 08:04 AM
Definitely a coffee warning;


(y) (y) Knew a few folks like this? I do. ;)

:) :)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 08:12 AM
:| :| :|

February 11, 2007

Ideas & Trends

My Not-Even- Remotely-Funny Valentine


IN Margaret Atwood’s story “Hairball,” the protagonist has just had a benign ovarian tumor removed when her married lover-boss informs her that she has been fired. When she arrives home to an engraved cocktail party invitation from him and his wife, she knows exactly how to respond. She goes to a fancy food shop and buys a box of chocolate truffles, the kind he gave her after their first tryst. She takes the tumor she has kept as a souvenir, dusts it with cocoa powder, nestles it in the elaborately wrapped box, and sends it to her lover with a note expressing her regrets.

Gruesome, bizarre, the kind of thing only fiction could imagine.

So why, then, is fact so often just as weird?

What novelist, after all, could have dreamed up the diaper that Lisa Nowak, the Navy captain, astronaut and married mother of three, put on so she would not have to stop to go to the bathroom as she drove 950 miles, the police said, to confront the woman she believed stood between her and the object of her affection?

Sure, Hollywood produced a runaway bride, but it took real life — a 32-year-old Georgia woman who fled west by bus in 2005 — to give us one who faked her own abduction. Then there’s the skydiver detained last month in Belgium after the police said she sabotaged another diver’s parachute, then watched her fall 13,000 feet to her death, all because she suspected the woman was having an affair with her boyfriend.

It’s a question for the ages, but hey, it’s almost Valentine’s Day: What is it about love that drives apparently rational people to such blindly irrational behavior?

No question, love reigns supreme in human behavior. “There’s very little in life we desire as much as to be connected with someone we love,” said Arthur Aron, a professor of social psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. “It trumps the desire for wealth, for power, even to live. People feel that if only this person would reciprocate, their lives would be just perfect.”

As science has become better able to analyze brain activity, some researchers argue it boils down to chemistry.

Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers who has written extensively on love and mating, described a recent experiment in which she and colleagues put 15 people who had been madly in love and freshly rejected through M.R.I. scans. Their scans showed decreased blood to the area of the brain associated with decision-making. But the brains showed increased activity in the dopamine reward system, or what Dr. Fisher called “the wanting-seeking system,” associated with craving and taking big risks, as well as in areas associated with physical pain and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The overall picture was of what Dr. Fisher calls “abandonment rage.”

“You’ve got a person who has enormous energy and intense motivation and craving, with focused attention, willing to take huge risks, in physical pain, trying to control their anger, and obsessively thinking about someone,” she said. “It’s a bad combination.”

Love, in this interpretation, really is the drug.

“If you really want cocaine and you don’t have it,” Dr. Aron said, “you’ll do the same sorts of things.”

Others caution against blaming nature for “crazy love.”

When someone goes over the edge, it tends to be that they are missing some ability to make moral judgments, or suffering some mental disorder.

Of course, “being in love is not a mental disorder, thank God,” said Pamela Regan, a professor of psychology at California State University, Los Angeles.

People suffering an obsession may have developed a faulty attachment style. They grew up with an emotionally distant parent and become preoccupied with securing a close bond with someone else, even if, and perhaps especially if, that person is unavailable.

The documentary film “Crazy Love” tells the story of Burt Pugach, who in 1959 became so obsessed with the woman he was dating that he hired thugs to throw lye in her eyes, permanently blinding her. Crazier yet, when he got out of prison, she married him.

BOTH Mr. Pugach and his wife had suffered distant or emotionally harsh mothers. And to Dan Klores, who made the film, it made sense that they wanted to be together; both were intensely afraid of being alone. He saw parallels in Captain Nowak’s behavior.

“There was the same type of heightened fear, that skin-chilling fear of, ‘I’m going to lose him,’ ” he said.

There but for the grace of God go the rest of us. In 2003, when Clara Harris was on trial in Texas for running over her cheating husband with her Mercedes, lawyers had to strike several jurors from the pool because they told of similar experiences.

One woman recalled how she had nicked her husband with a truck after discovering him with another woman. A man recalled how he had been accused of assault after his wife cheated on him.

But most of us don’t buy a steel mallet, drive 950 miles and pepper spray someone in an airport parking garage in the middle of the night, as the police say Captain Nowak did.

There is what Dr. Regan called “a gray area between normalcy and obsession.”

“We don’t realize we’re being annoying when we e-mail or text-message someone, and oftentimes the objects are not clear in their refusal,” she said.

But when the rejection is clear, Dr. Regan continued, “the key thing is, people who have normal mental development realize that heartache happens, it’s painful, it’s going to hurt, but I’m going to be O.K.”

For Dr. Fisher, it comes down to better impulse control.

“It is my guess that just about everybody on this planet has wanted to stalk somebody at some point, but we contain ourselves,” she said.

That doesn’t mean you can necessarily screen for some flaw that will expose stalking behavior.

“For many people they simply won’t be in a situation that stresses them in such a fashion that their normal filtering process is overruled,” said James Hollis, the director of the Houston Jung Center and the author of “Why Good People Do Bad Things.” “They’re lucky, and they may be conscious of what they’re doing.”

Dr. Hollis speculated that Captain Nowak “got caught in a moment of unconscious vulnerability.”

It is not unlike road rage, he said: “It’s not about someone driving badly, someone cut me off. It hits an old wound: ‘They always disrespected me.’ What we do is not crazy. It’s logical based on the emotional premise from which it’s coming. The emotional premise may not be rational. But it’s truthful to the person in the moment.”

People in highly competitive environments may not be used to asking for the help that might steer them away from drastic behavior, Dr. Hollis said. And the drive to excel may extend to every area of their lives. “This is someone who would go to outer space to reach a goal,” Dr. Aron said of Captain Nowak, who has been charged with attempted murder.

But no one knows for sure yet why Lisa Nowak behaved as she did. And highly accomplished people — men or women — are no more or less prone to such behavior. As Dr. Fisher said, “Any police blotter could tell you this isn’t just astronauts.”

:o :o Whoa! Highly competitive environments indeed. Just because this lady astronaut dropped ALL of her marbles in space - doesn't mean that she can pick up more marbles than she dropped when she got back. ;)

:| :| This story gave me the heebie-jeebies. I have been stalked in the past and never want to experience that ever again. :| Thank goodness for current bleeding-edge technologies to track and catch the creep (or creep-ess) in the act.

8-| Bravo for those techies who develop these protective technologies. :) It keeps us all safe. Hopefully.

Oh, one more thing - Fleetwood Mac's "Just Crazy Love" was one of my favorite cuts on on album that I bought (and eventually wore out) during my sophmore year in college. Lots of great song on that album. (Geez - "album"? That definitely sounds like an old (er) person, doesn't it?) Celebrate inner youth!

:D :D

(f) (f) Have a lovely rest of your Friday, or early Saturday!

Sun Thoughts,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 08:19 AM
(l) (l) (l)


(y) (y) Who's ready?


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 08:25 AM
:s :s


(y) Santa Barbara is a wonderful place, although way, way too expensive. They're probably right - taking the Amtrak and getting around town without wheels might be (unusual) fun. Absolutely fabulous B&Bs and mom & pop types of (*) 5 Star restaurants. However, there was one time when I visited back in 1982 on business (yes, there is a university there who bought a video editing system) and I took the department chair and his wife out to dinner. Cost for three people back then? About $350. :| I wonder what dinner for two would cost today, or has competition driven prices down so folks can afford to visit and have an affordable (and not at a Denny's) meal? :)

;) Inquiring minds want to know. Or probably not.

(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 08:29 AM
;) ;) ;)

February 11, 2007

Modern Love

Dear Editor, the Secret of Love Is ...


EACH year, as the day nears when we are expected to celebrate (or at least positively spin) the current state of our romantic lives, people start asking me what I, as the editor of this column, have learned about love. Surely, they assume, I’ve learned something from spending my days immersed in strangers’ relationship stories. But whenever this seeming softball of a question comes hurtling at me, my mind goes blank.

In need of an answer, I sift through hundreds of essays submitted for the column, searching for trends, clues, even a measly tip or two. This year, I relived the oddity of the middle-aged woman who couldn’t decide when best to inform her dates that she’s never had sex, and of the man who faced a similar quandary when it came to disclosing that he has only one testicle. I read cheery stories of those who found love only after giving up, and darker tales of philandering husbands, rebellious children, stalking lovers, flirtatious doctors and baffling breakups.

In these accounts I found exactly one common thread: Wisdom about love is sorely lacking. Over the millennia we Homo sapiens, with our ever-evolving intelligence and sensibilities, have made great strides on many fronts (human rights! space travel!), but when it comes to love, we don’t seem to evolve so much as revolve.

Given this history of futility, maybe we should stop asking each other what we have learned about love. The better question is: In what new and creative ways have we failed to learn? That I can answer. So here, with gratitude to the thousands of writers who every year send me their confessions of doubt and disorder, I offer my thoughts on those areas where we have made no discernible progress in learning about love since last Valentine’s Day.


This year I heard from several wives who claim to be jealous of the relationship their husbands have with the woman’s voice on the car’s navigation device. Not only is it strangely seductive and somehow more sophisticated than the wife’s voice, it also provides flawless directions, an ability it unfairly flaunts to gain the husband’s admiration and trust. How, these wives wonder, are they supposed to compete with a dashboard dominatrix who has her own built-in Global Positioning System? And how are they to feel when their husbands shush them so they can better hear the advice of their leather-bound mistress of the console?


Online communities like SecondLife allow members to create animated versions of themselves called avatars that can go on dates, fly, carouse, even engage in prostitution. Theodora Stites wrote vividly in this space about how she conducts much of her romantic life this way and confessed to enlarging her avatar’s chest and perfecting its features to attract suitable male avatars.

You might assume that on SecondLife you are protected from the emotional upheaval of real relationships because the animated couplings tend to be, well, fake. But here’s the catch: They’re not fake. It’s still you behind the screen and you who is being accepted or rejected, with all the attendant joy and pain. As Theodora explained, “I’ve found that I act much as I do in real life, and my SecondLife relationships tend to fail the same way my real-life relationships do.”


There surely is plenty of blame to go around in most breakups, but that’s not the way we tend to see it. We tend to believe only one person is at fault. The other person. Especially when that person is a man. Please don’t shoot the messenger on this one; I’m simply telling you what I have observed.

Among the truckloads of divorce and breakup stories I’ve received, the prevailing sentiment is that the man is either at fault or too incommunicative for fault to be properly established. What’s more, even the men blame the men.

“He was a jerk,” the women say. “He didn’t know what he wanted.”

“I was a jerk,” the men say. “I didn’t know what I wanted.”

Can the world actually be this tilted, or is that just how we choose to write about it? Are women apt to publicly seethe while men prefer to seethe in private? Or is it more acceptable for women to complain about men than the reverse? If you know the answer, send it to modernlove@nytimes.com, and together we’ll bust this case wide open.


This seemed to be the year of hearing from sex columnists who aren’t having sex. In case you didn’t know, it’s really embarrassing to be a sex columnist who isn’t having sex. The anxiety is three-fold: First, what am I supposed to write about if I’m not having sex? Second, how am I supposed to have any credibility? And third, why is this happening to me, anyway?


Same as above, substituting dating coach for sex columnist and dates for sex.


Hardly a week passes when I don’t hear from someone stewing about the anticipated gains and losses of marriage: how to handle the last name, the loss of personal space and identity, the permanent end to sex with others, the problematic vocabulary (“wife,” “husband,” “until death”), the merging of finances and religions, the issue of marrying when gays can’t, the questionable necessity of marriage in the first place.

Amid all this agonizing, I also hear of creative solutions, such as having an open marriage and sleeping with whomever you want, putting a Star of David atop your Christmas tree, and maintaining separate bedrooms or houses. As for the last-name problem, you could always try the technique of one enterprising couple: let your dog make the decision by building a contraption rigged with treats and levers that old Spot nudges with his nose during your actual wedding ceremony to select the name you, your spouse and your future children will have for the rest of your lives.


From what I’ve observed, the real before-and-after divide in life is not getting married but having children (or not). The accounts of hand-wringing pour in: flamed-out friendships when one has a child and the other doesn’t, defensiveness from those who decide against but continue to feel pressure, and crushing ambivalence among couples who, year after year, simply can’t decide.

What are their pros and cons? Wanting a child for the anticipated bond and expansion of love that everyone promises versus the feared curtailing of career opportunities, travel, sleep and leisure, sometimes combined with worries of parental incompetence or of bringing a child into a world that is already overpopulated. But the greatest struggle often involves those couples where one wants a child and the other does not, even when, in some cases, they were in agreement before marrying.


Since I’ve heard from only one person in 30 months who even vaguely seemed to make love like a porn star (in the sense that she films herself), it might be safe to assume this kind of activity is not a nationwide trend. But there’s a book out called “How to Make Love Like a Porn Star,” and it has been a huge best seller. So it’s entirely possible that thousands are making love like porn stars but are simply (understandably) not writing essays about it.


One would hope men had figured this one out by now. Yet in an account I received not long ago, a guy mused aloud to his girlfriend (who wrote the piece) about how he must have “grown emotionally” lately because she was the most “full-figured” woman he’d ever dated, and while in the past he wouldn’t have been attracted to such a body type, he had, with her, somehow managed to get over that hurdle.

But who am I to judge? They are now — you guessed it — married.


In one area, however, we are learning, at least according to various versions of this story that have come my way: You fell in love that summer in college. Or while studying in Rome. Or while milking goats in Bhutan. Whatever the case, your time together was magical, it ended prematurely, and you never forgot. And 20 years later, when the routine of your life (children, work, chores, little sex, no romance, not even a Valentine’s Day card for the spouse on your radar screen) starts to get you down, you find yourself wondering, What kind of glamorous life is he/she leading now? What if that had been my life?

At long last we are finding out, and we are doing so en masse, courtesy of Google text and image searches, even Google Earth (aerial shot of his house, anyone?). In time, we stumble upon an e-mail address, compose the perfect note, swallow hard and hit send. And soon we’re reading about the amiable husband/wife, the overscheduled children and the unsurprising career, all in a tone that’s breezy, passionless. “But it’s such fun to reconnect,” he/she blathers on. “And wouldn’t it be a scream if the next time we’re in the same city on business we could meet up for a cappuccino?”

And just like that, for many of us at least, the fantasy evaporates. The grass is not greener. It’s the exact same grass, or maybe even browner. So you log off, stand up, splash water on your face, and stride back into your life with fresh eyes. After all, you love the children you have, not the children you might have had. And the same goes for your spouse, who would never call anything “a scream” and who, for that reason alone, deserves a special card this year, perhaps even chocolates.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Daniel Jones is the editor of Modern Love. His latest book, “Modern Love: 50 True and Extraordinary Tales of Desire, Deceit and Devotion,” a collection of essays from this column, is just out from Three Rivers Press.

;) ;) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 08:34 AM
:s :s



Published: February 11, 2007

HERE come the planes.

Nearly everywhere you look in the Northeast, there are signs of increasing air traffic. Even in remote rural areas, 100 miles from a major New York airport, the thunder of jets routinely fills the air.

In Woodstock, N.Y., more than two hours’ drive from one of the three major airports in the New York City area, a jet passes overhead every two to five minutes, residents say, since 1997, when the area became part of a landing approach to Newark Liberty International Airport. To the residents, many of whom moved to the Catskills to escape pollution and the urban hullabaloo, the constant noise is especially irksome.

“It’s like having a highway over my head,” said Euphrosyne Bloom, a poet and filmmaker who lives in West Saugerties, N.Y., near Woodstock. “They are loud enough to wake you up in the middle of the night.”

At 10,000 to 20,000 feet, airliners seem small, but even the newer, more efficient jets can be loud. Like sparrows towing a freight train, they rumble across the sky, leaving feathery white contrails, ribbons of exhaust that slowly disperse and form their own pseudo-cirrus clouds. In the minute or so it takes for a jet to pass overhead, the sound gets louder, until finally it fades away, a thunder without rain.

Now, for many residents across the region, from Bergen County in New Jersey to Litchfield County in Connecticut, noise levels from aircraft could change significantly under a major reorganization of the highways in the sky that the Federal Aviation Administration is undertaking for the first time since the 1960s. It is called the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia Metropolitan Area Airspace Redesign Project.

After nine years of study, planning and public hearings, the F.A.A. is expected to make a decision this spring on how planes will be routed from the 5 major airports and 16 satellite airports within a 31,000-square-mile area that stretches from Delaware to Connecticut. The F.A.A. says it is part of an effort to address airplane delays in the nation’s busiest airspace and to minimize conflicts among planes in flight so controllers will not have to issue so many instructions. The proposed changes — combined with the steady increase in air traffic at satellite airports like Stewart International in New Windsor, N.Y., near Newburgh, Trenton-Mercer County in West Trenton, N.J., and Westchester County Airport in White Plains — have led to the creation of community organizations concerned about noise.

But many of these groups and elected officials say the F.A.A. is not adequately addressing concerns about noise levels on the ground. Representative Steve Rothman, a New Jersey Democrat, says the F.A.A.’s redesign plan does not include any meaningful provisions to reduce the impact of noise on people living below flight paths. “I am aware that our traffic patterns should be redesigned to reduce flight delays and allow more flights in and out of some of the busier airports,” he said. “I don’t believe F.A.A. officials have tried hard enough to do that.”

There are now four alternatives, and depending on the choice by the F.A.A., some people will hear more noise. Others will hear slightly less. Over all, those already noisy areas will stay the same. For example, New Jersey residents in the western edge of Warren County and in part of Somerset County could find a moderate reduction in noise levels, according to an F.A.A. projection of decibel levels. But residents in Bergen, Rockland and Orange Counties could experience a significant increase in air traffic noise.

Noise levels could also rise in and around Stamford and Danbury in Connecticut as well as nearly a dozen towns in Westchester, including Briarcliff Manor and Peekskill, because of changes at La Guardia Airport. Already, air traffic from the Westchester airport has prompted town officials in Greenwich to demand a mandatory ban on departures and landings from midnight to 6:30 a.m. after a voluntary restriction on overnight flights failed.

The four plans under consideration include modifying existing air space, routing air traffic over the ocean, making additional airspace available for air traffic controllers, or taking no action at all. Given the increased volume of air traffic nationwide — 739 million passengers last year, with the number expected to climb to 1 billion passengers in 2015 — the overall situation in the air is only going to get worse; not just in suburbs close to New York City but for miles, far beyond the city’s borders.

In Connecticut, in northern Litchfield County, jets taking off from Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, north of Hartford, cut across the countryside with increasing regularity. “It can get pretty loud,” said Roberta Memoli, a bank employee who has lived on Fuller Mountain, just outside Kent, for 17 years. “There are times when it’s like a traffic jam.”

Some 75 to 100 jets going to and from Bradley Airport fly over the area daily, according to F.A.A. officials, although local residents claim there are more. This number does not take into account additional overflights originating in Boston or Europe, which turn onto the same route, Victor 405, a kind of highway in the sky that connects the Bradley Airport area with the next ground-based navigational aid in Pawling, N.Y.

HIGHWAYS in the sky are somewhat analogous to highways on the ground, with large main routes that branch off into minor roadways. This is what the F.A.A. is rewriting. In the Northeast, a sectional aeronautical chart, or road map of the sky, looks almost as webbed and complex as road maps of the ground.

Each spur of the highway below 18,000 feet is known as a “victor airway.” Above 18,000 feet, they are called “jet routes.” The Catskill Mountains approach pattern that prompted citizen consternation is known as Victor 213. The takeoff pattern, Victor 405, which cuts through the Litchfield Hills, was changed in 1997 as part of a reshuffling of the Boston airspace, to accommodate many more planes.

“Aircraft flights are forecast to grow,” said Steven Kelley, the project manager of the F.A.A.’s airspace redesign project. “So there will be additional noise impacts.”

Unlike roadways on the ground, the virtual highways in the sky are three dimensional. This vastly complicates the job of the controllers and air traffic planners. For wherever you have heavy traffic, in and out, both horizontal and vertical separation of the traffic flows must be provided for. To airspace designers, controllers and the F.A.A., the paramount issue is separation — that is, keeping airplanes separate from one another in the air. This is their operational imperative, their higher calling.

After separation, the goal of air traffic professionals is efficiency, or the need to minimize delays, which any frequent flier can attest are endemic to the system.

It is therefore not surprising that the F.A.A. does not consider ground noise the first priority in its planning. Mr. Kelley said that the government’s current efforts are focused on two goals: safety and efficiency. If some noise mitigation were to result from the redesign of the airspace, that would be all to the good — but it would be, at best, a side issue.

Mark Allan Guiod, the air traffic manager at Bradley Airport, said that annoyance levels on the ground are generally not part of his team’s mission. “When we are dealing with traffic flows, we are not looking at what’s underneath them,” he said in his office at the Bradley control tower. “If you don’t like the noise now, think of the noise when two planes hit each other.”

Some opponents of aircraft noise have suggested rotating the traffic on victor airways, so that long-suffering areas can enjoy respites. They also propose rerouting planes along “transportation corridors,” places where the pattern of development has led to pre-existing noise levels that would mask aircraft sounds and not detract from the quality of life. They offer as an example the New York Thruway, with its booming truck traffic.

But such suggestions present their own problems, air traffic professionals contend, and do not come to terms with the three-dimensional structure of the system — and the cascading effects of delays at any one point along the line.

In New Jersey, community opposition to Newark Liberty International Airport operations has long been organized. The New Jersey Coalition Against Aircraft Noise has proposed that departing Newark westbound airplanes first wheel out over Raritan Bay, then turn around after gaining altitude to proceed across land. Early in the process, however, the F.A.A. has discounted this “ocean routing” option in its planning, saying it would not eliminate delays. Newark airport consistently leads the nation in delays.

From the standpoint of the airline industry and the F.A.A., it is much easier to make changes in the cockpit than in air routes. One answer to growing airplane noise may be technological: getting planes higher faster. Also, newer aircraft are less noisy.

In the Woodstock area, residents formed a group called Ulsterites Fight Overflight Noise and campaigned for more than a decade to get the F.A.A. to alter Victor 213. At first, Joyce Timpanelli, 70,a retired English professor who lives in Woodstock, said she felt she was getting the runaround from the F.A.A. But eventually the group achieved a 30 percent to 40 percent reduction in airline overflights.

“We held meetings,” she said. “My husband and I kept a log, with a stopwatch, tracking flights overhead. I gave something like 10 years of my life to this. It is still terrible.”

For the airspace redesign project, the F.A.A. will hold additional public hearings in the spring that focus on noise concerns, according to Jim Peters, a spokesman for the agency. In August, he said, the agency will issue its decision.

:| :| It's bad enough watching where you step while in the woods.......but now folks looking for peace and quiet away from cities need to ask about the FLIGHT PATH CHANGES of airplanes for take-offs and landings. I really felt for those people living in upstate NY but under that long final approach to a NYC area airport. :| :|

I grew up close enough to a major airport to hear take-offs and landings (depending on which way the wind was blowing. (seriously...) That kind of air traffic plus a major helicopter manufacturer building aircraft for the Vietnam War? The skies were pretty noisy in the 1960's and most of the 1970's. And with more recently-developed aircraft? The skies there are getting busier again. That plus airline captains taking shortcuts on take-offs and crossing over residential areas late at night and in the VERY early morning hours. Don't they realize there are people below them? Nah.

GLAD I don't live there anymore.

(i) (i) I definitely learned something new as I explore potential rural places to live. (y)

Warmest wishes,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the restless Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 08:47 AM
(y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

The Moral Minimum


[from the November 6, 2006 issue] The NATION

David Coss sits at ease behind his large desk, his long, wiry body draped in a gray-brown linen suit. A Georgia O'Keeffe poster of a horned animal's skull hangs on the wall behind him. A second poster, in pastels, shows off a glorious Southwestern desert and mountain landscape, evoking swirling dreams and endless possibilities. With his neatly coiffed hair and graying goatee, Coss looks like a high-end attorney or, perhaps, a CEO. In fact, he has a background as an environmental scientist and a union organizer, and he is currently the mayor of Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has risen to power at least in part because of his assertive championing of the most comprehensive living-wage statute in America.

Three years ago, after a decade-long campaign by social-justice activists, seven of the eight councilors in this chic--and expensive--desert town voted to raise the city's minimum wage to $8.50 an hour, with successive increases built in that would hike it up to $10.50 by 2008. In the years since, the courts have rejected legal challenges to the law, and public support for the change has remained high--notwithstanding doom and gloom prognostications from the town's tourism-dominated service industries. As of mid-2006, the lowest hourly wage permissible in Santa Fe was $9.50. It is, Coss avers, "basic economic fairness in making the economy work for everyone and not just the people at the top." When in 2004 the Chamber of Commerce ran candidates against the four councilors most outspoken in their support of the living wage, all four of the chamber's candidates were soundly beaten on election day.

Santa Fe's move followed those of dozens of other municipalities over the past decade. In 1994 Baltimore kick-started the process by passing a modest living-wage ordinance affecting about 1,500 workers. By the turn of the century, more than sixty other cities had followed suit. In the years since, dozens more have enacted such laws. In some cases the living wage affects only city workers, or businesses that contract with city and state governments; elsewhere they apply across the board. In some cases grassroots activists have convinced developers of large construction projects to abide by living-wage guidelines [see Bobbi Murray, "Minimum Security," July 12, 2004]. What makes Santa Fe's law particularly important is its breadth and ambition.

In a town with a high percentage of practicing Catholics, the living wage in Santa Fe has been pushed not just as a sensible economic move--as a way to stimulate spending-and-savings cycles at the bottom edge of the labor market--but as a moral imperative, backed up by the authority of papal encyclicals dating back to Leo XIII at the tail end of the nineteenth century. "No one who works full-time should have to live in poverty," Monsignor Jerome Martinez states. The monsignor is a middle-aged man with a shock of curly gray hair, a warm smile and a deeply suntanned, slightly pocked face. He shares his cluttered office next to the spectacular Cathedral of St. Francis with two large green cactuses and several oil paintings of Jesus. "The dignity of the worker is more than just being a cog in the industrial machine," he says. "The just wage provides sustenance, housing, minimum healthcare, retirement benefits and that the worker should have an opportunity to be generous. The ability to be generous is an important aspect of the church. It makes you feel more like a human being." Smiling broadly, Martinez proudly recalls that, at a time when living-wage advocates dreamed of the $8.50 earnings floor, the church in Santa Fe paid none of its sixty-five employees less than $11.50 an hour.

In September 1997 Congress raised the federal minimum wage to $5.15 an hour, where it has remained ever since. Their income eroded by inflation, America's lowest-paid workers now receive less per hour, in real terms, than at any time in the past fifty years. Working a forty-hour week, a minimum-wage worker earns about $11,000 a year, a pitiably small amount for a single person and one that is utterly degrading to a worker supporting an entire family.

"I just barely paid my bills," recalls 49-year-old Mike Taylor, a burly man with uneven teeth and receding ginger hair, sitting in the offices of the local branch of ACORN, in a poor neighborhood of Albuquerque. Taylor is a community activist and one-time KFC worker who, before he became unemployed, pulled in a $300 weekly paycheck. "I wasn't able to go out and enjoy movies, didn't go out to dinner. I couldn't even afford KFC. And that's just a single person. I had guys over there worked two jobs and their wives worked two jobs, because they had children. There's only been a couple of times in my life I was able to save anything. There was a time I was working $10 an hour and I could pay my bills and still save up $1,000. I was 45 then. I'm 49 now."

Until recently, whenever Democratic politicians called for raising the minimum wage, Republicans in Congress blocked it. This summer the GOP changed tactics. Faced with an increasingly vociferous movement to raise it, and with attention focused on Chicago's passage of a living-wage ordinance mandating that big-box companies such as Wal-Mart increase pay and benefits, party strategists came up with a novel approach: Support a hike in the baseline pay scale, but tie it to a huge cut in the estate tax for wealthy Americans. Not surprisingly, this was unacceptable to Democrats and to moderate Republicans, and the push for a higher national minimum wage fizzled out. The maneuver served its purpose, allowing the GOP to claim they now were the party that favored raising the minimum wage, while leaving companies free to get on with the business of underpaying their employees.

While politicians have dithered and played strategy games around the issue, an increasing number of cities and states have begun stepping in, crafting their own minimum-wage and living-wage laws. "Raising the minimum wage appropriately belongs at the federal level," New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid argues. "But because they have failed to act in ten years, states and cities have taken on that role." "I'm quite happy city by city," Santa Fe's Mayor Coss argues. "The business community is soon going to want the federal government to do something, because the minimum wage is proving so successful locally." In other words, Coss believes, create a national standard or risk having electorates in many parts of the country pass initiatives raising local wages far more than Congress would ever contemplate doing.

This year legislators in Arkansas and Michigan have raised the minimum wage in their states; and California and Massachusetts now have minimum wages approaching Santa Fe's level. Somewhat surprisingly, however, the most dramatic minimum-wage campaigns are occurring in the interior Western states, in classic Barry Goldwater country, with trade unions, churches and community groups forming potent coalitions for change. "The hope is that with these minimum-wage campaigns, it's the first step to building economic-justice campaigns in these Western states," says Paul Sonn of New York University's Brennan Center for Justice. "There's this economic populist yearning that hasn't been recognized." Sonn and other organizers around this issue believe that it will take ten or fifteen years of work to get the federal government to restore the value of the minimum wage to the level it was at in the 1960s. In the meantime, local actions and political movements, they argue, will be key to keeping the pressure on politicians in Washington.

"That's the key to the West," argues Deanna Archuleta, a feisty county commissioner in New Mexico's Bernalillo County, which includes Albuquerque. "If you're not willing to do it for us, we'll do it ourselves, particularly in New Mexico. Across the board, we're just less afraid to take the risk."

In 2004 Nevada's voters passed a minimum-wage initiative, the first step in a two-stage election process to get the law onto the books. This November it's on the ballot again, and supporters believe its passage is a near certainty. A similar initiative in Arizona, backed by Governor Janet Napolitano, breezed to qualification for the ballot, with 209,000 signatures. An initiative is on the ballot in Colorado that would raise the minimum wage to $6.85 and index it to inflation, complementing an already existing living-wage statute in the city of Denver. And, although a minimum-wage increase died in New Mexico's state legislature last year, in several cities and counties, including the population hubs of Albuquerque and Santa Fe and the wilderness town of Gallup, such measures either have been passed or are on the verge of passage. Recently, Governor Bill Richardson has thrown his support behind a statewide minimum wage, and the betting money is on a statewide bill passing when the legislature next convenes, in early 2007. Since Washington, Oregon and California already have relatively high minimum wages, once this crop of initiatives passes, most of the American West will be far ahead of the standards set by the federal government.

In the West in particular, the framing of the minimum-wage debate is increasingly being turned on its head. Whereas in the past the minimum wage was portrayed by chambers of commerce and their political allies as Big Government intruding on the rights of businessmen to operate in a laissez-faire environment, today it is the absence of a viable minimum wage that is being discussed as a Big Government subsidy to corporate America. When companies like Wal-Mart pay too little for workers to meet their basic financial needs, and don't offer adequate health and pension benefits, government programs fill some of the gap, paying Medicaid bills, supporting elderly ex-workers, providing food stamps and other forms of welfare. Minimum-wage legislation is, in a sense, a way to insure that taxpayers don't have to clean up the messes left by private companies. In an era in which, for better or worse, many Americans are deeply suspicious of government, this way of framing the issue has allowed minimum-wage campaigns to garner huge levels of support even among conservative and upper-income voters in states like Arizona."[Employers] are asking state and federal governments to subsidize private business by providing welfare and food stamps," Monsignor Martinez expostulates. "It's a position the church feels is not fair."

The minimum wage, Western proponents emphasize, is a way of using government to temper the worst excesses of the market. It is, writes author David Callahan in his newly published book The Moral Center, a matter of "honoring work," something quintessentially a part of the American promise that if you put in the labor you'll have at least a chance at upward mobility.

In an era in which large numbers of working-class Americans have turned to the Republican Party because of its supposed fealty to "moral values," the minimum wage is proving fertile terrain for a more progressive brand of politics and a broader discussion of "values."

"We need to be appealing to blue-collar workers again," argues Martin Heinrich, president of the Albuquerque City Council and a leading supporter of minimum-wage legislation. "I grew up in a household where my dad worked for a utility company and my mom worked for the auto industry." Progressive politicians, Heinrich says, need to embrace "populist economics," and that means taking companies to task when they fail to pay their workers fairly. "Very few businesses will be willing to be the businesses singled out by the papers for failing to pay the minimum."

When restaurant owners bemoaned Santa Fe's living-wage ordinance, Coss was positively caustic in his response. "We didn't get the new Chili's restaurant because of the living wage. It's hilarious to me--I'm sitting in the culinary capital of the Southwest and I'm supposed to be concerned because we didn't get a new Chili's!" Unemployment in his city, he is quick to add, is at 4 percent, just under the New Mexico state average and lower than that of the country as a whole. And, he argues, drawing on a study by University of Massachusetts economists, across the country raising the minimum wage has not hurt employment and has raised the income of non-minimum-wage workers too. "It's that old saying," explains Robin Gould, president of the Northern New Mexico Central Labor Council, while sipping tea in one of Santa Fe's numerous upscale cafes. "A rising tide lifts all boats." All told, about 9,000 workers in Coss's city, many of whom either live in Albuquerque or in the poor, unincorporated areas southwest of Santa Fe itself, now receive larger paychecks because of the minimum-wage law.

"Every time a business closes now, they blame it on the living wage," Coss says in exasperation. "But if you look at annual openings and closings, there's no discernible impact of the living wage. It gives us an opening for saying that economic development is about all of us."


(y) (y) (y) Kudos to those who are actually doing something and not the politicos spouting B.S. (oops, did I really type that?)

(o) (o) for a break away from the digital screen and outside :| to blow those mental cobwebs away. It is a gloriously sunny day with really cold temps and chilling winds. Definitely a "bundle-my-ass-up" kind of day. But then, it's been that way now for almost two weeks. Next week, it's supposed to warm up and that's when all of this rock-hard ice and snow will start to melt.

(k) (k) 's,

02-16-2007, 08:50 AM
:) :)


"A radio station that bites back." ?

^o) ^o)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-16-2007, 08:52 AM
(8) (8) (8) (8) (8) (8) (8) (8) (8)


(y) (y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 07:53 AM
(f) (y) (f) (y) (f)

The Scotsman Mon 12 Feb 2007

BAFTA crowns their royal highnesses


* Dame Helen Mirren wins best actress for her portrayal of the Queen
* British movie The Last King of Scotland wins three BAFTA's
* Scottish thriller Red Road wins the Carl Foreman Award

Key quote:"There's no chance of me winning this evening - I'm just here for the show. I'm a betting woman, so I'll put money on Helen." Dame Judi Dench

IT WAS a Royal Flush at the BAFTA film awards last night, as The Queen carried off two prizes and The Last King of Scotland took three.

Dame Helen Mirren picked up the best actress accolade for her title role in The Queen, which was also named best film.

Forest Whitaker, playing the former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland, won best actor, while the movie collected the Alexander Korda Award for best British film for the Scottish director Kevin MacDonald and his team. It also won the prize for best adapted screenplay.

Dame Helen was so clearly the favourite ahead of the ceremony at London's Royal Opera House that bookies had stopped taking bets. She was up against Meryl Streep for The Devil Wears Prada, Dame Judi Dench for Notes on a Scandal, Penelope Cruz for Volver, and Kate Winslet for Little Children.

"They're all great women. It's a battle of the dames and the broads," Dame Helen joked.

The 61-year-old has trounced the competition in every awards ceremony so far, but she said the BAFTAS were special. "It's pretty spectacular ... I haven't been to the BAFTA film awards much because I'm not usually invited. I've had TV BAFTAs but I think it's the first time I've been nominated for a film BAFTA so it's fantastic to be here."

Dame Helen is now considered a shoo-in for the Oscars, where Whitaker is also among the nominees - and the favourites.

As Dame Judi, 72, arrived for last night's ceremony, she said: "There's no chance of me winning this evening - I'm just here for the show. I'm a betting woman, so I'll put money on Helen."

She had been nominated for her role as a twisted history teacher in the adaptation of Zoe Heller's novel Notes on a Scandal.

Stephen Frears, who directed The Queen and was also up for an award, said: "It's wonderful to have all these nominations. To be chosen by your peers is the best thing in the world. And Helen is really great. She deserves to win."

The American star Whitaker, 45, beat Daniel Craig, the new James Bond, to claim the best actor title. The Departed's Leonardo DiCaprio, Peter O'Toole in Venus and Richard Griffiths in The History Boys had also been up for the award.

The gritty Scottish thriller Red Road, which swept the Scottish BAFTA awards last year, won the Carl Foreman Award for special achievement in a first feature film for the director Andrea Arnold.

But the young Scottish film-makers Karley Duffy and Paul Wright saw their hopes of winning the short film award with their student film Hikikomori dashed.

The big loser on the night, however, was Casino Royale. Craig had made BAFTA history with his best actor nomination - the first Bond ever to achieve that accolade - but of nine nominations, the film picked up only one, for best sound.

There was a big consolation prize for the Bond girl Eva Green. In a stunning full-length cerise gown, with a dramatic swept-up hairstyle she collected the Orange Rising Star Award - which is voted for by the public - for her role as the enigmatic Vesper Lynd.

The British director Paul Greengrass, 51, took the best director prize for United 93, the docu-style retelling of the hijacking and passenger revolt on 11 September, 2001, on United Airlines Flight 93, which failed to reach the terrorists' intended target.

The Queen, which was up for ten gongs, Little Miss Sunshine, United 93 and Children of Men received two BAFTAs each.

Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth won the award for best film in a foreign language - beating the Penelope Cruz movie Volver - as well as those for costume design, and make-up and hair.

Jennifer Hudson, 25, the American Idol finalist, was named best supporting actress for her role in Dreamgirls, the musical film starring Beyonce which is loosely based on the story of the Supremes. In an amazing victory for a film debut, she beat British actress Emily Blunt, 23, for her role as weight-obsessed and put-upon assistant in The Devil Wears Prada.

On the red carpet outside the Royal Opera House, all eyes were on the British actress Sienna Miller, who dazzled in a backless sheath dress covered in gold embroidery.

The Factory Girl star was not nominated for an award but was presenting the prize for best supporting actor. "The BAFTAs have grown such a lot and it's always nice to support British film," she said. "It's great to be here, although a bit overwhelming."
Best Film

The Queen
Best British Film

The Last King of Scotland
Special achievement in first feature film

Andrea Arnold - Red Road
Best director

Paul Greengrass - United 93
Best original screenplay

Little Miss Sunshine
Best adapted screenplay

The Last King of Scotland
Best animated feature film

Happy Feet
Best actor

Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland
Best actress

Helen Mirren - The Queen
Best supporting actor

Alan Arkin - Little Miss Sunshine
Best supporting actress

Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls
Best foreign film

Pan's Labyrinth
Best score

Best cinematography

Children of Men
Best editing

United 93
Best production design

Children of Men
Best costume design

Pan's Labyrinth
Best special effects

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Best make-up and hair

Pan's Labyrinth
Best sound

Casino Royale
Best short animation film

Guy 101 - Ian Gouldstone
Best short film

Do Not Erase - Asitha Ameresekere

Orange rising star award
Eva Green

(y) (y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 07:56 AM
:) :)

The Scotsman Fri 16 Feb 2007

Snow Patrol in 24-hour global warming gig

STAR-STUDDED concerts will be staged in London and six other cities worldwide on 7 July to highlight the threat of climate change.

Al Gore, a former vice- president of the United States, yesterday launched the 24-hour Live Earth event, which organisers hope will be viewed by two billion people. Among the bands taking part will be Scotland's Snow Patrol. Others include the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snoop Dogg, Bon Jovi and Duran Duran.

Other cities will be Shanghai, Johannesburg, Sydney and locations to be announced in Japan, Brazil and the US. There will also be a concert in Antarctica.

"We have to get the message of urgency and hope out," Mr Gore told a Los Angeles press conference, flanked by the actress Cameron Diaz and the rapper Pharrell Williams.

Other acts among more than 100 performers scheduled to appear include the Foo Fighters, Lenny Kravitz, Sheryl Crow and the Black Eyed Peas.

The proceeds will create a foundation to combat climate change led by the Alliance for Climate Protection, which is chaired by Mr Gore.

"In order to solve the climate crisis, we have to reach billions of people," he said.

"The climate crisis will only be stopped by an unprecedented and sustained global movement."


(h) (h) Putting on a global rock concert will definitely draw attention. (y)

(c) Good Sunday Morning!

(f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 08:04 AM

The Scotsman Thu 15 Feb 2007

Church faces wider split over gay unions


THE Archbishop of Canterbury spent yesterday at the Whitesands Hotel beside one of Tanzania's palm-fringed beaches, welcoming 11 archbishops to their new positions as primates - leaders of the world's 77 million Anglicans.

Today, he will find out whether all 38 of his primates will sit down together in the same room, or whether tensions over same-sex unions and homosexual bishops will split the Anglican communion asunder.

Canon Jim Rosenthal, spokesman for the communion, the third-largest Christian denomination, said: "I anticipate this will be a very difficult meeting - very, very tense."

Dr Rowan Williams has travelled to East Africa with a handful of compromise proposals designed to stop Anglicans splitting along liberal and conservative lines.

Tensions have been growing for a decade. The struggle reached crisis point in 2003 when the Episcopal Church of the US consecrated its first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

The row pits the shrinking congregations of Europe and the US against the growing, vibrant Christian populations of Africa, Asia and South America.

Conservative bishops of the Global South grouping have spent two days at a neighbouring hotel working out a stance to present to Dr Williams.

Their leader, Bishop Peter Akinola, the primate of Nigeria, yesterday handed Dr Williams a letter spelling out the position of conservatives. It is understood it outlines conditions that would need to be met to keep the Global South within the Anglican communion.

In particular, they want the Episcopal Church of the US brought into line after sanctioning the election of gay bishops.

Primates from Africa, South America and Asia, who tend to take a more literal view of the Bible, also feel they have been sidelined by the western, developed world, which has traditionally provided the leaders of the Anglican communion.

Martyn Minns, a conservative vicar of a parish in Virginia who was recently made a bishop of the Nigerian church by Bishop Akinola, said

that if liberals were unable to recognise the primacy of scripture, then the only option would be an "amicable split".

Hardliners in the orthodox camp want the US Episcopal Church expelled. Others are seeking a "two-province" compromise, with American conservatives and liberals split into separate churches.

The difference has prompted a stream of conservative congregations in the US to opt out of their local diocese to join flocks led by bishops in Uganda, Nigeria and Rwanda. That stream accelerated in 2006 with the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori, who supports ordaining gays and is the first female leader of the Church in the US.

Observers believe that conservatives at today's meeting may refuse to accept the presence of Bishop Schori and walk out - the first step to schism. They are furious that Dr Williams did not consult before inviting her.

But Canon Rosenthal said: "Her presence here is absolute. She is here as the primate of the Episcopal Church. She is here by invitation."


:-# I wonder if Scotland has the alternative types of churches that exist here in the U.S. You know, the ones that supposedly embrace everyone, regardless of differences? It's strange that countries that others view as "Catholic countries" do not all follow the conservative path. For example Spain allows abortions.

:s It really is a shame there a kids who need adoptive parents and the largest corporation in the world (Catholic Church) is pushing so strenuously against members of the GLTG community to become adoptive parents.

(okay, off the soap box).....;)

Stay warm and have a relaxing Sunday,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 08:05 AM
:) :)


(y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

(f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 08:06 AM
:) :)


(y) (y) (y)

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

HYSterical HERnia
02-18-2007, 08:12 AM

<:o) <:o) <:o) <:o) <:o) <:o) <:o) <:o)

02-18-2007, 08:20 AM
:| :| :|

:o :o

The Scotsman Wed 31 Jan 2007

Counting the cost of rural dream


THE Scotsman's nationhood debate roadshow arrived in Aberfeldy yesterday while last night the first big debate was held in Glasgow.

Tomorrow the bus arrives at Portree, Skye, and on Friday the tour continues to Stornoway, Lewis.

Tickets are still available for other debates including the Albert Halls, Stirling, next Tuesday and the Ramada Hotel, Inverness, on 8 February.

For tickets, e-mail us on debate300@scotsman.com or write to Nationhood Debate Tickets, The Scotsman, 108 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AS.

CRISP Highland air and picture-postcard surroundings have made Aberfeldy more than just a popular tourist destination.

It has become a lifestyle choice, an escape from the rat race.

And the town at the "heart of Scotland" is at now the centre of a major housing crisis. Huge demand for holiday homes - and buyers flushed with cash after selling up south of the Border - have fuelled pretty Perthshire's red-hot property market.

It is not unusual for homes built since 2000 in Aberfeldy to fetch double their original price. Former council houses routinely sell for &#163;120,000 and "modest, standard-sized" dwellings often earn twice that figure.

"House prices are ridiculous - you can get more for your money in Glasgow than here," says Maggie MacKay, 49, the head housekeeper at a local resort. "An awful lot of people from down south and all over the world buy holiday homes that lie empty for much of the year."

Locals admit the situation has sparked resentment towards incomers as young families increasingly find it impossible to get on the property ladder.

Across Perth and Kinross there are only 7,000 council houses and a 5,000-strong waiting list. The situation is said to be most acute in Aberfeldy.

An advert for a nearby new development even promises "stunning new family homes with investment potential".

On her way home from a morning yoga class, Fiona Mill-Irving says there are now "lots of English here". Originally from Bridge of Weir, she returned from Dorset last summer after more than 20 years in exile.

"If you sell up down south, you can practically buy an estate up here, but the locals are having difficulty finding a one-bedroom anything," said the retired secretary, 62.

Linda Thomson, 43, also worries about what spiralling property prices will mean for her two children.

"When kids get to 18 or 19, a big percentage will leave to go to university, college or to travel but it's very difficult for them to come back to find a career or be able to afford to buy a home here," she said.

Ms Thomson, who is advertising and circulation manager for a magazine, admitted life in Aberfeldy was not idyllic.

Residents encounter the same problems with antisocial behaviour as in most places in Scotland.

She added: "It's a fantastic place to live but young people have nowhere to go and nothing to do. There's a lot of noise, vandalism and drinking. You can have four officers sometimes covering all of Highland Perthshire. They do their best.

"But if the kids are causing havoc in the Square in Aberfeldy and the nearest officers are in Dunkeld, it will be a couple of hours before police can attend."

But charity worker Susan Young, 46, stresses traditional values have been preserved almost untouched in Aberfeldy.

"We are an extremely tight-knit community," she says.

A group of volunteers called Move to Improve regularly pick litter, clean burns and raise money to plant flowers in the town centre.

Aberfeldy was also Scotland's first Fairtrade town - with such goods on sale at most shops and restaurants, and Breadalbane Football Club even using Fairtrade footballs.

Almost 25 years after what was meant to be a holiday from the Netherlands, Reverend Maryse Anand remains in the area, which boasts more art galleries and speciality shops than most towns twice its size.

"I feel more Scottish than most Scots," she says. "No matter how often I see the countryside driving from Aberfeldy to Perth it's breathtaking. Sometimes I cry. I feel Scotland has to be its own country," says the 72-year-old, who is establishing an eco-village near the town.

"I am still Dutch, but the moment Scotland can issue its own passports I will be first in line.

"I really do see the possibility of it happening."

She's not alone.

Represented at Holyrood by former SNP leader John Swinney, the town is a Nationalist stronghold - although support for the Tories remains strong.

There is a feeling that May's election will bring real change.

"We need to stand on our own feet," says Duncan Robertson, 66. "Independence is inevitable."

His wife, Sylvia, 59, a retired teacher, adds: "The difficulty is that people will expect the sun to shine every day and things to be rosy. It will be hard going but it will be worth it."

Only a few yards away, tourists Haydn Brown and his son Steven, from the Midlands, examine house prices at an estate agent.

"We find Scotland pretty cheap compared with England," Mr Brown says. "House prices are much lower and people seem very friendly."
High hopes and high prices in a crucial year

"There is much hopelessness in the poorer areas of the country and it's difficult to tell what the future holds in store.

"This is a very important year for Scots all over the country. Our future depends on the results of this year's elections."

Bill Struthers, 70, retired

"I think the NHS is not all that it could be. A lot of extra money has been invested into it but it seems to be going to GPs and consultants making &#163;100,000 per year while waiting lists are far too long. A lot of people are having to go private."

Ken Lyall, 41, ambulance technician and SNP local councillor

"I'm so proud to be Scottish. But if I were abroad and someone asked what nationality I was I'd say. 'I'm British.'

"Independence? Will it make a difference? I think people don't know much about it at the moment."

Ellen McBride, 33, who runs an internet caf&#233;

"Children need the belt nowadays. There is a lot of antisocial behaviour even here in Aberfeldy because children are not kept busy.

"There's not much to do here."

Sadie Fraser, pensioner

"There is a youthful enthusiasm here in Scotland about the future. I'm very proud to be Scottish.

"This country is beautiful, it's cosmopolitan and ahead in many areas - research, Fairtrade, medicine."

Donna Murray-Trail, 41, self-employed

"Free bus travel for pensioners is a fantastic thing. The Scottish Parliament is certainly making a difference but I think we're still far behind England."

Edward Sweeney, 64, retired army major who owns a timeshare in Aberfeldy

"House prices have gone up hugely. A two-bedroom flat can cost up to &#163;175,000 - which is a lot of money. I love Scotland but it's an expensive country to live and to spend your holidays."

Maria Johnson, 37


:s I have seen situations here in the U.S. while traveling and wish I bought (and then sold at a great profit) acreage in various places. One such place is south (between Williams - just off I40 and the entrance to the park) of the "South Rim of the Grand Canyon". Back in the 1980s, the per-acre price was really inexpensive.

:o And the skies there are filled with the roar of helicopters and small airplanes.

:| But then, this article is not just about tourists deciding to buy up homes in a rural area - and thus driving up the price of homes.

(o) (y) I am delighted to say that I have submitted this week's course "deliverable" already to the online course room and won't have to worry about getting it submitted before midnight tonight. EeeeHaaa..... (l) Showtime, 10:00 p.m. The L Word. New episode. (l)

:) Meanwhile? Getting out in the sun! It's cold but what a brilliantly sunny day!

Warm, safe travels - both digital and physical,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 08:27 AM
:o It's been awhile!

(~) Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (2005)

Joan Plowright takes the title role in this heartwarming drama, based on the best-selling novel by the same name. After traveling to London to be closer to her 26-year-old grandson (Lorcan O'Toole), the recently widowed Mrs. Palfrey moves into a local hotel while she waits -- and waits -- for him to return her calls. But when fate introduces her to a kindly young writer (Rupert Friend), she finds the family she's always wanted.

Joan Plowright Rupert Friend
Anna Massey Zoe Tapper
Georgina Hale Millicent Martin
Marcia Warren Robert Lang
Michael Culkin Clare Higgins
Lorcan O'Tool

(~) Reviews:

I was fortunate enough to see this movie at a local indie film theatre. It was so beautifully made. It tells the poignant tale of two lonely people.. One an old widow with no family to care for her; And the other a young man struggling to make a living as a writer. The unlikely pair end up forming a strong bond that neither of them knew they needed so badly. This movie is just so beautifully simple and pure. The main point being cherish your friendships while there is still time. Rupert Friend really brought his character to life. The tale is touching, sad, funny and beautiful all at the same time. Definitely worth seeing if you get the chance.

(~) There are movies, and then there are experiences like MRS. PALFREY AT THE CLAREMONT. This was a total immersive experience, so much so that for weeks after I saw the film I dreamed about living in the Claremont every single night. I only met MRS. PALFREY in passing, but she was as charming, witty, and gorgeous as she is in the film. Ms. Plowright, you know how to brighten a young man's life. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

(*) (*) (*) (*) (*) I gave it 5 stars. (y)

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 08:32 AM

(~) French Twist (1995) Gazon Maudit

Laurent (Alain Chabat) thought he knew his wife, Loli (Victoria Abril), quite well. Chronically unfaithful, Laurent believes Loli is happy and will be hurt by news of his infidelities. But when a truck breaks down in front of their home and its owner, a female plumber (Josiane Balasko, who also directed this French film), asks to use the phone, Laurent discovers he and his wife have something in common: a sexual attraction to women.

Director: Josiane Balasko

Victoria Abril Josiane Balasko
Alain Chabat Ticky Holgado
Catherine Hiegel Catherine Samie
Catherine Lachens

(~) Reviews:

I thoroughly enjoyed this film. The story moves along swiftly. And the developing relationship between Loli and Marijo is both sweet and comical. This movie is packed with quick wit and touched with a smidgen of steaminess. Completely entertaining to watch.

(~) A spanish wife, a french unfaithful man and a lesbian who comes into their lives to wake both of them up form their lethargic predictable life.I enjoy all european films because of their perspective of life, infidelity means heartache not law suit. Their way of dealing with even the most unusual personal and social situations translate into "human relationships" not legal or political issues.

(~) What a fun movie! Intelligent and engaging, a refreshingly honest look at sexuality, lesbians, passion, love! Funny and honest and liberated - as maybe only the french can be! Because the characters are developed and the dialog intelligent and interesting, and the story well crafted and thought provoking... this is a really good movie.

(*) (y) (*) (y) (*) (y) (*) (y) (*) (y)

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 08:37 AM

Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School (2005)

Writer-director Randall Miller's heart-achingly sweet drama finds at its soft center Frank Keane (Robert Carlyle), a baker deeply despondent over the death of his wife. Frank finds redemption and hope in tragedy after he helps a stranger (John Goodman) who's sidelined by a fatal accident. It appears the man was on his way to a fateful reunion, so Frank, sparked only by good intentions, decides to show up for the rendezvous in his place.

Director: Randall Miller

Robert Carlyle Marisa Tomei
Mary Steenburgen Sean Astin
Donnie Wahlberg David Paymer
Camryn Manheim Adam Arkin
Sonia Braga Elden Henson
Ernie Hudson Miguel Sandoval
Danny DeVito John Goodman

(~) Reviews:

This film is a followup to the 1990 short film of the same name by the same writer/director. This full length feature weaves a story around what happens to two of the central characters of the short film (clips of which appear throughout) some forty years later, and how the promise of making connections can inspire us. The cast is consistently good, with Robert Carlyle providing the connection between fine performance by John Goodman, Mary Steenburger, Marissa Tomei and a host of other familiar actors. While some of the plot setup and character reactions require a wee bit of disbelief suspension to connect the episodes, the relationship of the characters to each other is touching, inspiring and ultimately uplifting.

(~) This story is essentially about a man (Robert Caryle) who through a chance meeting with a stranger (John Goodman) ends up taking a dance class. Frank Keane (Caryle) is still in mourning over the death of his wife and slowly he begins to come alive again. Also we learn the story of Goodman's character (done in the flashbacks)which is touching as well. This film shows how lives can change and be enriched just by making conections with other people. Don't expect to see a ton of dancing, although there is some, this film is more story driven, and worth watching.

(~) The story behind "Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School" is just as unique as its title. Frank Keane (Robert Carlyle), a baker by trade, comes across a car accident. The injured man is Steve Mills (John Goodman) who was on his way to an appointment that was made forty years ago, one that he can no longer keep due to his critical condition. He commissions Frank to go in his place and to meet Lisa at the title dance class. He does not find her, but meets Meredith (Marisa Tomei) instead. Grieving for his dead wife, the class brings some quality to Frank's life, so he continues to attend each Thursday. The story is quite engaging. It's possible that once the credits start rolling, you might have doubts as to whether you liked it or not. But only because it really is different. I liked it. John Goodman, who can do no wrong, delivers a wonderful performance. Carlyle is solid as well; Tomei as cute as ever. There is warmth, comedy and some melancholy. Rounding out the cast are Mary Steenburgen as the quirky dance instructor and Donnie Wahlberg as a comically, over the top student.

(y) (*) Four stars. (y)

(f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 04:32 PM
(y) (y)


Book Review: Jeff Kisseloff’s “Generation on Fire”

by SusanG

Sun Feb 04, 2007 at 07:24:24 AM PST

Generation on Fire; An Oral History: Voices of Protest from the 1960s

By Jeff Kisseloff

University Press of Kentucky

Lexington, 2006

[Update: The author has emailed me with the news that there is a website for this book that has additional interviews that didn't make it into the book, photos and contemporary magazine accounts of events, for those who want to explore further.]

I swear I didn’t mean to write this book review now. I meant to dip in from day to day and read each of the featured activists’ memories of the turbulent 1960’s one at a time; alas, once started, this collaborative oral history proved impossible to put down. The parallels to today’s often fractious progressive movements are striking, but more than that, there is a vibrancy to the interviews with integrationists, anti-war activists, environmentalists, and women’s and gay rights advocates that brings to life a decade that most of us reading here are far too young too have experienced directly. For the course of this book, one gets subsumed in the hopes and dreams of a previous generation in a way few other histories of the decade convey.

It’s tempting to assume that the collage of memories from different factions active in the 1960’s serves as a pointer to the almost duplicative arguments we see on Daily Kos each day, as if there were a direct bloodline of specific resentments and arguments that were passed down to today’s progressive movements. But after a couple of years of participating at this blog, I’ve come to the conclusion that many here /no spamming of other sites/ myself included /no spamming of other sites/ are unaware of many of the undercurrents and cross-currents from the previous protest generation. Thus, it seems to me that we are less carrying on old grudge matches inherited from our progressive forebears than we are re-creating the same old tired ones anew, with each progressive generation.

Now this is my own conclusion. I’m sure other readers will take different lessons from this amazing book; in a sense, because the author offers very little analysis himself beyond quick factual introductions to the interviewees, we each our allowed to form our own interpretation from the kaleidoscope of accounts presented. Think of it as a Rorschach test for what individuals can draw from the wide variety of contemporary oral histories presented here. Hard-core, life-risking integrationists and playful street artists offer alternate views and philosophies about what their experiences and hopes for the decade meant to them, and we are free to draw our own conclusions.

Most of the interviews presented are given by those deeply embedded in the formation of their respective movements but whose names are not familiar to those who are not historians of the period (with the possible exceptions of Daniel Berrigan and Barry Melton, "Fish" of Country Joe and the Fish). Freedom Rider Bernard Lafayette, SNCC organizer Bob Zellner, alternative press founder and humorist Paul Krassner, Vietnam vet activist David Kline, former St. Louis Cardinal linebacker David Meggyesy and feminist Marilyn Webb are featured. While I’d heard of a couple of them /no spamming of other sites/ Lafayette, Zellner and Krassner /no spamming of other sites/ I hadn’t know the details of their involvement until I read their accounts.

What becomes clear after reading even just a few of these oral histories is how simplistic it is to make any overall statement about the era or its more involved movement participants. Lumping all the different factions together and judging them as one mass movement of ineffectiveness or offensiveness or counterproductiveness is foolish. Some achieved their goals /no spamming of other sites/ either by defining them narrowly and realistically, or by sheer mundane, never-ending drudge work /no spamming of other sites/ and some did not. Some were oriented toward changing law or public policy; some aimed to change attitude and culture (and thus were much more difficult to assess). A great deal of isolation between pockets of activism was apparent from the beginning, and entirely different motivations led people to involvement.

So for my own Rorschach test of lessons drawn from the book (your mileage may vary), I drew the following:

There was an indirect influence of a linear timeline to activism, and the more successful and serious movements began earliest. The integrationist/voting rights in the South movement groundwork was laid by the most dedicated and serious activists earliest. Many avenues were explored before the tsunami of the 1960’s hit, and a lot of the more mundane education of activists took place under the radar in the 1950’s, with attendance at small, loosely affiliated venues such as American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville where Lafayette and John Lewis learned under Jim Lawson the tactics of Gandhi’s non-violent resistance. The risks were highest for these earliest activists /no spamming of other sites/ as evidenced by the murders later in Mississippi /no spamming of other sites/ and as Lafayette says:

I’m being honest with you when I say this: none of us expected to live to be twenty-five years old, particularly with the kind of behavior we were involved in. That was part of the understanding. You can’t practice nonviolence being afraid to die, and the training frees you from that fear.

Eventually, there was a spillover from the civil rights movement to the anti-war movement. Some civil rights activists stayed with voting and integration issues, some developed a hybrid (think King’s anti-Vietnam speech). As the anti-war activists became a second wave, they were joined by seasoned Vietnam vets such as those who founded Vietnam Veterans Against the War.(represented in this book by Dave Cline). The vets’ on-the-ground reports of the ineffectiveness of American military policy lent impetus to the draft resistors and were a bitter voice of authenticity that middle America found more and more difficult to ignore.

As protest movements spread out from the seminal civil rights movement and the anti-war vets, theorists and intellectuals most immediately affected by the draft /no spamming of other sites/ the college students at mostly elite universities /no spamming of other sites/ began to get pulled into the discussion of activism and strategy. While the previous movements had had some splintering over tactics /no spamming of other sites/ violence versus non-violence /no spamming of other sites/ for the most part, they had settled these differences by branching off and ignoring each other. This new "intellectualization" from the campuses, however, led to a lot of what we see here on the blogs today /no spamming of other sites/ purity tests and more investment in proving progressive rivals wrong than in effecting real change. Wasted energy went into stealing each other’s alternative press printing presses and declaring coups of organizations, and many who flocked to the exhilaration of the recognized historical moment stayed stuck forever in these purity wars.

Meanwhile, the third timeline wave /no spamming of other sites/ feminism /no spamming of other sites/ evolved out of some of this "stuckness" as the women involved with SDS and other radical campus organizations began to question why their roles were relegated to keeping the communal cooking pot going and providing "liberating" sex while the men argued Marxist theory until all hours and refused to clean the toilets. The viciousness of the men in these organizations to the women’s objections (and their subsequent departure from these movements) led to some really horrifying vilification, as recounted by Marilyn Webb, who was one of the first feminists to speak at a huge supposedly coalition-building joint anti-war rally in Washington in 1968:

I decided I would talk about equality, abortion, child care, and treating women with respect. It was a pretty mild speech. I wasn’t attacking men.... But when it got to be our turn to speak, Dave Dellinger got up and said, "The girls from women’s liberation are going to speak ...." Then, when I started to speak, I hadn’t gotten three sentences out when fistfights broke out. People were yelling, "Take her off the stage and fuck her." "Fuck her down a dark alley."

The final activist wave, according to gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny’s account, was that of his own movement; technically, Kameny claims, its prominence really broke during the early 1970’s and was a natural result of /no spamming of other sites/ not a part of /no spamming of other sites/ the previous movements.

A second lesson I drew from this book:

The more serious and successful the activists, the less credit they give to themselves and the more realistic (or cynical) they are about assessing the long-term impact of their part of the movement. Weirdly, the civil rights and hard-core anti-war vets and activists interviewed express more frustration /no spamming of other sites/ and take very less personal credit /no spamming of other sites/ for their accomplishments than some of the "avant garde" lifestyle activists interviewed.

Contsider this assessment from indicted Chicago Eight defendant Lee Weiner (a very serious activist indeed), who now works on staff in the New York office of the Anti-Defamation League:

... I began to lose faith in the outcome of what we were doing. I believed that the scope of the problems were such that they were not going to be addressed from the bottom up like that. I no longer thought that working within the system would succeed. I didn’t know what the answer was. Mostly, I was burned out. Then King and Kennedy were killed. Nineteen sixty-eight was the only year I ever thought that a revolution in the United States might actually happen. As Abbie used to say about 1968, "They don’t make years like that anymore."

...We continue [today] to have problems with racism, bigotry, sexism, ageism. Those things need to be fought on a day-to-day basis, and that’s what I do. The fact that these issues were raised in the 60’s and brought to the table are very positive legacies of the decade. That and good music.

Now contrast that with the interview from Pete Berg, a member of a San Francisco "guerilla theater" group known as "The Diggers." A typical Digger event was the "Intersection Game" in which flyers were passed out urging pedestrians to keep crossing street intersections in different configurations until traffic was stalled for twenty blocks. To be fair, Berg moved into the environmental movement, founding Planet Drum, which appears to be an effective, localized organization today. But his assessment of the Digger activity (from my view, of course), seems quite overblown:

What has flowed forward from it? I would say American society has been changed tremendously.... So many more things are acceptable today: the language that you hear, even on television, or read: sexuality.

There are a couple of interviews in here that reek of the well-known stereotype of dilettante hangers-on to more serious movements; a pretentious "artist" or "poet" or two who think the height of the "revolution" was dancing naked under strobe lights while passages from the Book of Revelations were read (and not knowing until the birth of their child who the father was). Of course, these hangers-on were part of the scenery too and deserve some voice; it’s simply unfortunate that their ego-serving has come to represent the main of the movements in modern minds today.

Taken as a whole, Generation on Fire is a study of both the goofiness of the times and the confusion that was present even as it was being lived by those in the forefront of the counterculture. For the most part, these were serious people wrestling with serious issues, and in many cases truly changing the world forever. These gathered oral histories point the way to reassessing the era in a kinder light than is usually offered today. More than anything else, study of the splintering, factions and failed coalition building /no spamming of other sites/ and those that succeeded, by the way /no spamming of other sites/ can serve as suggestions as today’s progressive movement struggles to overcome the same tendencies.

(y) (y) Bravo! (....on the history repeating itself and the progressive movement (or whatever folks may call the cultural shift to the left....and hopefully some of the mistakes made four decades ago can be avoided currently.)

:| With current GOP leaders in D.C. suffering from an acute case of cranial rectitis however MHO, it has been and continues to be at the grass roots level (the you's and me's) who will continue the seachange process. (z) (x)

(um) May your smile be your umbrella (um) ,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 04:47 PM
(y) (y)


Book Review: Jeff Kisseloff’s “Generation on Fire”

by SusanG

Sun Feb 04, 2007 at 07:24:24 AM PST

Generation on Fire; An Oral History: Voices of Protest from the 1960s

By Jeff Kisseloff

University Press of Kentucky

Lexington, 2006

[Update: The author has emailed me with the news that there is a website for this book that has additional interviews that didn't make it into the book, photos and contemporary magazine accounts of events, for those who want to explore further.]

I swear I didn’t mean to write this book review now. I meant to dip in from day to day and read each of the featured activists’ memories of the turbulent 1960’s one at a time; alas, once started, this collaborative oral history proved impossible to put down. The parallels to today’s often fractious progressive movements are striking, but more than that, there is a vibrancy to the interviews with integrationists, anti-war activists, environmentalists, and women’s and gay rights advocates that brings to life a decade that most of us reading here are far too young too have experienced directly. For the course of this book, one gets subsumed in the hopes and dreams of a previous generation in a way few other histories of the decade convey.

It’s tempting to assume that the collage of memories from different factions active in the 1960’s serves as a pointer to the almost duplicative arguments we see on Daily Kos each day, as if there were a direct bloodline of specific resentments and arguments that were passed down to today’s progressive movements. But after a couple of years of participating at this blog, I’ve come to the conclusion that many here /no spamming of other sites/ myself included /no spamming of other sites/ are unaware of many of the undercurrents and cross-currents from the previous protest generation. Thus, it seems to me that we are less carrying on old grudge matches inherited from our progressive forebears than we are re-creating the same old tired ones anew, with each progressive generation.

Now this is my own conclusion. I’m sure other readers will take different lessons from this amazing book; in a sense, because the author offers very little analysis himself beyond quick factual introductions to the interviewees, we each our allowed to form our own interpretation from the kaleidoscope of accounts presented. Think of it as a Rorschach test for what individuals can draw from the wide variety of contemporary oral histories presented here. Hard-core, life-risking integrationists and playful street artists offer alternate views and philosophies about what their experiences and hopes for the decade meant to them, and we are free to draw our own conclusions.

Most of the interviews presented are given by those deeply embedded in the formation of their respective movements but whose names are not familiar to those who are not historians of the period (with the possible exceptions of Daniel Berrigan and Barry Melton, "Fish" of Country Joe and the Fish). Freedom Rider Bernard Lafayette, SNCC organizer Bob Zellner, alternative press founder and humorist Paul Krassner, Vietnam vet activist David Kline, former St. Louis Cardinal linebacker David Meggyesy and feminist Marilyn Webb are featured. While I’d heard of a couple of them /no spamming of other sites/ Lafayette, Zellner and Krassner /no spamming of other sites/ I hadn’t know the details of their involvement until I read their accounts.

What becomes clear after reading even just a few of these oral histories is how simplistic it is to make any overall statement about the era or its more involved movement participants. Lumping all the different factions together and judging them as one mass movement of ineffectiveness or offensiveness or counterproductiveness is foolish. Some achieved their goals /no spamming of other sites/ either by defining them narrowly and realistically, or by sheer mundane, never-ending drudge work /no spamming of other sites/ and some did not. Some were oriented toward changing law or public policy; some aimed to change attitude and culture (and thus were much more difficult to assess). A great deal of isolation between pockets of activism was apparent from the beginning, and entirely different motivations led people to involvement.

So for my own Rorschach test of lessons drawn from the book (your mileage may vary), I drew the following:

There was an indirect influence of a linear timeline to activism, and the more successful and serious movements began earliest. The integrationist/voting rights in the South movement groundwork was laid by the most dedicated and serious activists earliest. Many avenues were explored before the tsunami of the 1960’s hit, and a lot of the more mundane education of activists took place under the radar in the 1950’s, with attendance at small, loosely affiliated venues such as American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville where Lafayette and John Lewis learned under Jim Lawson the tactics of Gandhi’s non-violent resistance. The risks were highest for these earliest activists /no spamming of other sites/ as evidenced by the murders later in Mississippi /no spamming of other sites/ and as Lafayette says:

I’m being honest with you when I say this: none of us expected to live to be twenty-five years old, particularly with the kind of behavior we were involved in. That was part of the understanding. You can’t practice nonviolence being afraid to die, and the training frees you from that fear.

Eventually, there was a spillover from the civil rights movement to the anti-war movement. Some civil rights activists stayed with voting and integration issues, some developed a hybrid (think King’s anti-Vietnam speech). As the anti-war activists became a second wave, they were joined by seasoned Vietnam vets such as those who founded Vietnam Veterans Against the War.(represented in this book by Dave Cline). The vets’ on-the-ground reports of the ineffectiveness of American military policy lent impetus to the draft resistors and were a bitter voice of authenticity that middle America found more and more difficult to ignore.

As protest movements spread out from the seminal civil rights movement and the anti-war vets, theorists and intellectuals most immediately affected by the draft /no spamming of other sites/ the college students at mostly elite universities /no spamming of other sites/ began to get pulled into the discussion of activism and strategy. While the previous movements had had some splintering over tactics /no spamming of other sites/ violence versus non-violence /no spamming of other sites/ for the most part, they had settled these differences by branching off and ignoring each other. This new "intellectualization" from the campuses, however, led to a lot of what we see here on the blogs today /no spamming of other sites/ purity tests and more investment in proving progressive rivals wrong than in effecting real change. Wasted energy went into stealing each other’s alternative press printing presses and declaring coups of organizations, and many who flocked to the exhilaration of the recognized historical moment stayed stuck forever in these purity wars.

Meanwhile, the third timeline wave /no spamming of other sites/ feminism /no spamming of other sites/ evolved out of some of this "stuckness" as the women involved with SDS and other radical campus organizations began to question why their roles were relegated to keeping the communal cooking pot going and providing "liberating" sex while the men argued Marxist theory until all hours and refused to clean the toilets. The viciousness of the men in these organizations to the women’s objections (and their subsequent departure from these movements) led to some really horrifying vilification, as recounted by Marilyn Webb, who was one of the first feminists to speak at a huge supposedly coalition-building joint anti-war rally in Washington in 1968:

I decided I would talk about equality, abortion, child care, and treating women with respect. It was a pretty mild speech. I wasn’t attacking men.... But when it got to be our turn to speak, Dave Dellinger got up and said, "The girls from women’s liberation are going to speak ...." Then, when I started to speak, I hadn’t gotten three sentences out when fistfights broke out. People were yelling, "Take her off the stage and fuck her." "Fuck her down a dark alley."

The final activist wave, according to gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny’s account, was that of his own movement; technically, Kameny claims, its prominence really broke during the early 1970’s and was a natural result of /no spamming of other sites/ not a part of /no spamming of other sites/ the previous movements.

A second lesson I drew from this book:

The more serious and successful the activists, the less credit they give to themselves and the more realistic (or cynical) they are about assessing the long-term impact of their part of the movement. Weirdly, the civil rights and hard-core anti-war vets and activists interviewed express more frustration /no spamming of other sites/ and take very less personal credit /no spamming of other sites/ for their accomplishments than some of the "avant garde" lifestyle activists interviewed.

Contsider this assessment from indicted Chicago Eight defendant Lee Weiner (a very serious activist indeed), who now works on staff in the New York office of the Anti-Defamation League:

... I began to lose faith in the outcome of what we were doing. I believed that the scope of the problems were such that they were not going to be addressed from the bottom up like that. I no longer thought that working within the system would succeed. I didn’t know what the answer was. Mostly, I was burned out. Then King and Kennedy were killed. Nineteen sixty-eight was the only year I ever thought that a revolution in the United States might actually happen. As Abbie used to say about 1968, "They don’t make years like that anymore."

...We continue [today] to have problems with racism, bigotry, sexism, ageism. Those things need to be fought on a day-to-day basis, and that’s what I do. The fact that these issues were raised in the 60’s and brought to the table are very positive legacies of the decade. That and good music.

Now contrast that with the interview from Pete Berg, a member of a San Francisco "guerilla theater" group known as "The Diggers." A typical Digger event was the "Intersection Game" in which flyers were passed out urging pedestrians to keep crossing street intersections in different configurations until traffic was stalled for twenty blocks. To be fair, Berg moved into the environmental movement, founding Planet Drum, which appears to be an effective, localized organization today. But his assessment of the Digger activity (from my view, of course), seems quite overblown:

What has flowed forward from it? I would say American society has been changed tremendously.... So many more things are acceptable today: the language that you hear, even on television, or read: sexuality.

There are a couple of interviews in here that reek of the well-known stereotype of dilettante hangers-on to more serious movements; a pretentious "artist" or "poet" or two who think the height of the "revolution" was dancing naked under strobe lights while passages from the Book of Revelations were read (and not knowing until the birth of their child who the father was). Of course, these hangers-on were part of the scenery too and deserve some voice; it’s simply unfortunate that their ego-serving has come to represent the main of the movements in modern minds today.

Taken as a whole, Generation on Fire is a study of both the goofiness of the times and the confusion that was present even as it was being lived by those in the forefront of the counterculture. For the most part, these were serious people wrestling with serious issues, and in many cases truly changing the world forever. These gathered oral histories point the way to reassessing the era in a kinder light than is usually offered today. More than anything else, study of the splintering, factions and failed coalition building /no spamming of other sites/ and those that succeeded, by the way /no spamming of other sites/ can serve as suggestions as today’s progressive movement struggles to overcome the same tendencies.

(y) Bravo! ....on history repeating itself and the relatively "recent" progressive movement (or whatever folks may call the cultural shift to the left)....identify some of the mistakes made four decades ago which can be avoided currently. :o

:| With current GOP leaders in D.C. suffering from an severly acute case of cranial rectitis however, (IMHO) it has been and continues to be at the grass roots level (the you's and me's) who will continue the seachange process. (z) (x)


:| What is going on with the molasses-slow latency here on B-F the past several months? At what must be "busy-times" several times each week, it seems that if I can't log in, the response time is so slow, that it seems that I am being timed out. There are even times where "connection is refused", according to my browser. I have trying to post this post for what seems like a long time this evening. Perhaps the cosmic wink here is to "give it a rest" and do something else. ;)

:) I guess that's it for my posting here until either later on tonight or the wee hours Monday when the bandwidth is available (fewer users simultaneously online at B-F perhaps or some other reason) or later tomorrow.

(l) Have a lovely Sunday evening & start of your week! (f)

(um) May your smile be your umbrella (um) ,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 04:49 PM
:) :)


(y) :) (y)

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 04:51 PM
(*) (*) (*) (*) (*)

Driving Planned Parenthood


[from the November 13, 2006 issue] The NATION

Planned Parenthood is the nation's largest provider of sexual and reproductive healthcare, providing birth control, pap smears, sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and pregnancy tests to 5 million people each year. It has an annual budget of $800 million, 860 clinics, at least one representative in each state and enough members and staff that its reach into the grassroots is unmatched by any other entity fighting for reproductive freedom and women's equality.

And yet, there is a gap between Planned Parenthood's reach and its grip: its ability to make politicians bend to its will or even inspire the communities it serves. This was obvious when Senator John Kerry recently announced that he believes that both sides--prolife and prochoice--obfuscate and exaggerate for political gain. It is obvious when state legislators all over the map work openly with prolife groups, defying the opinions of medical experts (the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists doesn't support any of the myriad restrictions on abortion). And it is obvious in South Dakota. The state has two Planned Parenthood clinics--but they have to fly their doctors (and, until recently, their nurses) in from Minneapolis, nearly 200 miles away, because the local community doesn't necessarily embrace the organization. In February South Dakota's legislature passed a law banning all abortions unless the life of the pregnant woman is in danger. There is no health exception and no exception for pregnancy due to rape or incest. On March 6 Governor Mike Rounds signed the ban, sparking a campaign to overturn it with an initiative on the ballot this November, as well as a flurry of fundraising, organizing and e-mails from groups like the ACLU, NARAL Pro-Choice America and, of course, Planned Parenthood.

Just a month earlier, Cecile Richards, a 48-year-old married mother of three teenagers, started her new post as the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). The selection of Richards was somewhat unusual in that she isn't a healthcare provider, nor did she work for a Planned Parenthood affiliate (as PPFA heads have almost always done). Instead, her pedigree is purely political. What this signals is that many of the decision-makers at the gigantic organization, from members of the board to the heads of influential affiliates, believe that the disconnection between reach and grip means that Planned Parenthood needs to lead a political movement--both at the grassroots (i.e., the people they serve) and in the smaller, crucial world of Beltway politics.

The daughter of the late Democratic icon Ann Richards, Cecile was raised amid high-level campaigns. She organized janitors as one of her first jobs out of Brown, was deputy chief of staff for Nancy Pelosi (and was vital to Pelosi's ascension as the first woman Democratic leader of the House of Representatives) and worked for the Turner Foundation when Jane Fonda (Ted Turner's spouse at the time) decided to tackle Georgia's teen pregnancy epidemic. Ellen Malcolm, founder of EMILY's List, the nation's largest political action committee, is a good friend. Richards founded America Votes, an attempt to bring thirty progressive organizations, like the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, together to complement one another's political efforts. "I bring a lot of relationships to this job," Richards told me in August. "Anthony Romero from the ACLU, Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, Carl Pope of the Sierra Club...these are people I've worked alongside for years."

But she is no mere player, DC or otherwise. People really love Cecile Richards, from former boss Jane Fonda to regular gals who have seen Richards speak, like "Vanessa," a young woman posting on the influential blog Feministing (the header: "Cecile Richards rocks my world!"). For today's increasingly antichoice, burned-out climate, Richards is just what Planned Parenthood's legendary founder, Margaret Sanger, might have ordered: quietly confident, friendly and genuine. She doesn't speak in the prochoice clichés ("complex decision," "we are pro-family") that turn many people off or the organization-speak ("build our infrastructure") that means something to fellow bureaucrats but to no one else.

Even the diverse and notoriously ornery heads of the 118 local Planned Parenthood affiliates, which value their independence from the national organization, come together in praise of their new leader. "When she came in, the world went from gray and dismal to sunny and bright," says Sarah Stoesz, a veteran organizer and the CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota/North Dakota/South Dakota. "Cecile has 'it' the way some people just have it," Jatrice Martel Gaiter, the highly respected head of Planned Parenthood Metropolitan Washington, told me. "'It' being charm, class, beauty, brains and being tough as nails. Faye had it, too," Gaiter continued, referring to another charismatic glamazon, Faye Wattleton, who helmed PPFA from 1978 to 1992, and came out of an Ohio affiliate. "In [metropolitan Washington], we have some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and HIV," says Gaiter, whom Richards visited while on a listening tour to dozens of affiliates to learn more about the communities she would be working with and for. "When she came to our teen event in Anacostia--which is like Harlem or Watts--she legitimately connected with the kids. It was not a drive-by, middle-class, do-good wave. I was so proud to have a colleague who wasn't afraid to come into the African-American community and who is comfortable with poor people."

A Texan, Richards is even from a red state, which gives her credibility (no latte-sucking Connecticut WASP, she) and demonstrates that she knows how to build a movement in a less than friendly environment--which, sadly, describes the United States in 2006. The forces eroding reproductive rights, from abortion to contraception, are many: an increasingly organized and growing prolife movement, millions of federal dollars dedicated to abstinence-only education and younger women and men raised with Roe v. Wade who increasingly don't identify with prochoice--as a term or a movement.

Cecile Richards wants to beat back all of those forces. During a June address to the progressive group Take Back America, Richards said: "We have the potential to swing the vote in 2006, 2008 and 2010, and that's a lot of power. The question is, What are we going to do with it? And the answer is, We're going to use it. We're going to marry our current reality as the largest reproductive healthcare provider in this country with our opportunity to be the largest kickass advocacy organization in the country.... We're taking on the opponents of choice in the states and the districts where they live. Planned Parenthood is going to become more political so that healthcare can become less politicized." (Cue thunderous applause.)

This election season Richards is targeting gubernatorial races in Wisconsin and Ohio, where having an ally in that office will mean not having to worry about abortion bans or restrictions being signed into law. To reach young activists, about whom she is glowingly impressed and excited, she is focusing on growing the organization's student groups, called VOX chapters. "In 1999 we had two campus chapters and now we have 180, including on historically black campuses," she says, noting that on her tour "the most incredible thing has been the students I've met in places like Kalamazoo, South-Central [Los Angeles], Sarasota." About the high school students trained by Planned Parenthood as peer educators, she says, "Any question you would ever want to ask, they can answer it without blushing, without apologies or stammering; they have taken on their school boards, their principals and sometimes their own parents. To me, they are the next movement and an unbelievable resource." To reflect the importance of that constituency, Richards is overseeing a revamping of the PPFA website so that people--especially teenagers--can find "confidential, reliable, safe information." She described the platform as being like Fandango, the movie website in which you type your ZIP code and the film you want to see. In this case you would type your ZIP code and the site would help you find the closest place for STI testing, birth control and GYN care.

PPFA's board chair, Esperanza Garcia Walters, told me that with Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood would grow exponentially as a presence on the political stage. "It's what is necessary for us to protect women's rights, to make the lives of women and families better," Garcia Walters, a nurse and consultant in Hollister, California, told me. "It was a gradual shift--a bit like an inch forward at a time. But we're not taking baby steps anymore. We understand this as our work."

Margaret Sanger might say, "What took you so long?" Sanger, who opened the first birth-control clinic in 1916 and saw it closed down ten days later, used any means necessary to give women a chance to control their bodies and their lives. She cultivated relationships with wealthy donors, married money, lobbied politically, published and broke the law in her quest. Despite Planned Parenthood's radical origins, the organization focused on providing services, keeping politics out of the clinic and out of the leadership, until about a decade ago. "Our excellent health provision gave us the credibility to be an advocate," says Gloria Feldt, an author and activist who led the organization from 1996 to 2005 (and is a veteran of the Arizona affiliate). Feldt says that presidents before her had attempted to establish an action fund (a 501(c)(4) organization that can endorse candidates) but until her tenure "had never been able to move the organization to use these strategies to play hardball." In 1998 the Planned Parenthood Action Fund formed its PAC. "When I became national president, the action fund was in the deficit position," she says. "From there we went to $10 million or $12 million in 2000, which we used for ads and on-the-ground, door-knocking work." During the 2004 presidential election it had only $8 million, but PPFA took a critical turn: It endorsed a candidate for the first time in its eighty-nine-year history. "Given the difference between the two candidates, and a Supreme Court that was one vote away from being able to overturn Roe," recalls Feldt, "I thought, If we don't make an endorsement, who are we?" Feldt addressed the 2004 Democratic convention on its first night and toured the country with big names like Gloria Steinem, Moby and Ann Richards campaigning for Senator Kerry and prochoice Democrats in key races.

Come January 2005, George W. Bush was still in office, although Gloria Feldt was not. Is Cecile Richards going to do more political advocacy while Planned Parenthood is under her rule? Gloria Steinem thinks yes: "To me, the very choice meant the board intended to do just that. Planned Parenthood is more trusted and has more credibility than either political party or any political candidate. It also has grassroots. The problem last time was that the big umbrella groups got almost all the money, then turned to local Planned Parenthood Action Funds to do much of the work on the ground. I hope donors realize this time that the Planned Parenthood Action Fund should be, at the very least, the NRA of the centrist-to-progressive 70 percent of the country." Becoming like the National Rifle Association is not a bad goal. Fortune, which has ranked the twenty-five most powerful lobbies, called it the most effective lobby in Washington. In the 2000 elections the NRA spent twice what Planned Parenthood did.

Charlton Heston, former president of the NRA, once commanded his squabbling chapters to "get together" to fight gun control "or get out of the way." Planned Parenthood's affiliates proudly do not speak as one voice, despite the fact that the public sees Planned Parenthood as a single unit. For instance, when former president Gloria Feldt caught heat by sanctioning the selling of an "I had an abortion" T-shirt (which I produced and many Nation readers helped to fund), the heads of several affiliates supported her while others openly pilloried her. "Our diversity is why we needed a leader who understood all aspects of movement building," says Sarah Stoesz of the Minnesota/North Dakota/South Dakota affiliate. "We are a federation of separate and distinct entities trying to knit ourselves into a movement. Before Cecile, we didn't have a chance. Now we do."

Stoesz has a background in healthcare, but she's clear that she's at her job to build a movement, a priority that is reflected in Planned Parenthood's 2005 move into its fiftieth state--North Dakota. The ND chapter isn't a clinic but an office manned by one organizer, 31-year-old Amy Jacobson. She attends any public event with a connection to the issues PPFA supports, speaks on campuses and organizes rallies. This is deliberate. When the affiliate opened the two South Dakota clinics in the 1990s and began to provide abortions in 1994, Stoesz says it was a case of "leading with our clinics rather than leading politically," meaning that Planned Parenthood was setting up shop in hostile territory--South Dakota is the only state to implement a more extreme version of the antiabortion Hyde Amendment, for instance--before assessing if and where there was support. "We have been playing catch-up in South Dakota ever since," she says.

Planned Parenthood has the reach, and Richards has the political grip, but there is a third element at play, which might be called "touch." How well Planned Parenthood clinics deliver their care has an effect on the community and its politics--and may be the one place that Richards is at a disadvantage. When advocates speak of a prochoice majority, they often include the millions of people who use Planned Parenthood's services, but these clients aren't necessarily activists or even prochoice. This is chalked up to either the women being ignorant and hypocritical or the right wing having gotten its hooks into them. Rarely does Planned Parenthood turn the question back on itself and ask what it could do to make a patient into an activist or at least a supporter.

The eight women I interviewed in South Dakota described abortion experiences that were far from something that would engage them politically on its behalf. Among the stories was a student who was shocked when her state-mandated counseling twenty-four hours before the procedure was a recording played over the phone (not lots of opportunities to ask questions there). The counseling is part of a twenty-four-hour waiting period--a restriction--but if the clinic has to do it, they should do it well. Another woman was very sad about her abortion, although she felt it was the right thing for her and her fiancé to do, and was at loose ends trying to find a counselor she could talk to afterward. Given their sometimes alienating language (such as "tissue" to refer to the fetus), and the fact that partners aren't allowed in the procedure room, many clinics don't meet women's needs, and it is into this breach that antiabortion activists have eagerly stepped. In fact, if you did need to talk after your abortion in South Dakota, the Alpha Center (right down the street) provides that resource. Unfortunately, the Alpha Center is run by Leslee Unruh, one of the architects of the abortion ban. Clinics have limited money and have to make hard choices, but making sure that clients know about Exhale--a nationwide after-abortion talk line--is inexpensive and increasingly necessary. The ban in South Dakota is based on a task force report that, while loaded with prolife activism, is nonetheless basing its case on abortion being bad for women first, and on fetal rights second. The report states, "Abortion hurts women physically, emotionally, and psychologically." In response, prochoicers must clearly demonstrate, with words and deeds, that they are the real advocates for women. "It's been really hard for the prochoice movement as a whole to deal with feelings about abortion, because back in the early days women didn't have forces making them feel guilty," Byllye Avery, the founder of the Black Women's Health Imperative, told me. "But it's been thirty years of people beating on us, and women now do feel guilty. If women need more [emotional resources], then the movement has to provide them."

The ballot initiative (and the coalition known as the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families) grew out of a legitimate citizen response to the abortion ban from activists and nonactivists alike. Taking the issue to the voters is a risky strategy, and not one that Planned Parenthood necessarily preferred. The established prochoice groups have always made a strong case that Roe is inalienable, that it isn't a right that can be figured out state by state, and thus Roe is correct in striking down all state laws banning abortion. Suing to uphold Roe--while expensive and not good for movement-building--has proved successful in overturning these laws in the past. Taking it to the people in South Dakota could fail, and it might be perceived as strengthening the notion that states themselves should have the right to decide whether to allow abortion.

In her constant travels since taking the job, though, Richards hasn't visited South Dakota. "The people who are going to go to vote in November are people who live and work every day in South Dakota," she told me when I asked why. "I really believe that and respect that and support that campaign, but this is not a national campaign." When I visited the Sioux Falls clinic, however, I got the impression that the staff there would have liked some direct contact and support from their new president, to go along with the fundraising pleas using South Dakota as a hook and the news reports that Richards's life was "South Dakota, all the time." When I suggested that a visit might provide insight to Richards about the state's particular issues and provide a shot in the arm to the prochoicers on the ground there, Sarah Stoesz, the Minneapolis-based affiliate leader, snapped, "Cecile's job is not to shore up the six people who work at the clinic."

At last look, the prochoice grassroots of South Dakota, while newly energized, may not be as large or willing to vote as the prolife grassroots. Kate Michelman, the former head of NARAL now fundraising in DC on behalf of the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, thinks the ballot initiative is "the most unwatched political contest in 2006." "Everyone thinks the big organizations are taking it on," she told me. "They are helping, but they can't do the whole thing. We need ads, organizing and money." A September 20 Zogby poll of 531 likely South Dakota voters found that it's a toss-up: 47 percent of state residents oppose the abortion ban while 44 percent support it, an increase of five percentage points for the antiabortion position since July. Women are more likely than men to agree with the ban, and younger people--the ones Richards has been so impressed by in her travels--are the most likely to support it.


(y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

Carpe Diem,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 04:59 PM

(p) http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/02/18/fashion/affection.190.jpg

February 18, 2007

A Kiss Too Far?


THE spot was only 30 seconds, almost a blur amid the action at the Super Bowl. Yet the hubbub after a recent commercial showing two auto mechanics accidentally falling into lip-lock while eating the same Snickers bar went a long way toward showing how powerfully charged a public kiss between two men remains.

Football is probably as good a place as any to look for the limits of social tolerance. And the Snickers commercial — amusing to some, appalling to others and ultimately withdrawn by the company that makes the candy — had the inadvertent effect of revealing how a simple display of affection grows in complexity as soon as one considers who gets to demonstrate it in public, and who, very often, does not.

The demarcation seemed particularly stark during the week of Valentine’s Day, when the aura of love cast its rosy Hallmark glow over card-store cash registers and anyone with a pulse. Where, one wondered, were all the same-sex lovers making out on street corners, or in comedy clubs, performance spaces, flower shops or restaurants?

“There’s really a kind of Potemkin village quality to the tolerance and acceptance” of gay people in America, said Clarence Patton, a spokesman for the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project. “The idea of it is O.K., but the reality falls short.”

Provided gay people agree to “play a very tightly scripted and choreographed role in society, putting your wedding together or what have you, we’re not threatening,” Mr. Patton said. “But people are still verbally harassed and physically attacked daily for engaging in simple displays of affection in public. Everything changes the minute we kiss.”

The lugs in the Snickers commercial recoiled in shock at their smooch, resorting to “manly” behavior like tearing out their chest hair in clumps. Alternate endings to the commercial on a Snickers Web site showed the two clobbering each other, and related video clips featured players from the Super Bowl teams reacting, not unexpectedly, with squeamish distaste. The outrage voiced by gay rights groups similarly held little surprise.

“This type of jeering from professional sports figures at the sight of two men kissing fuels the kind of anti-gay bullying that haunts countless gay and lesbian schoolchildren on playgrounds across the country,” Joe Solmonese, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. A spokesman for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation condemned the advertisement as “inexcusable.” Masterfoods USA, a division of Mars and the maker of Snickers, withdrew the offending ads.

But for some the commercial left the lingering question of who owns the kiss? How is it that a simple affectionate gesture can be so loaded? Why is it that behavioral latitudes permit couples of one sort to indulge freely in public displays lusty enough to suggest short-term motel stays, while entire populations, albeit minority ones, live real-time versions of the early motion picture Hays Code: a peck on the cheek in public, one foot squarely planted on the floor?

The freedom to kiss in public is hardly the most compelling issue for most gay rights advocates, or perhaps even in the minds of many gay Americans. Yet the symbolic weight of simple gestures remains potent, a point easy to observe wherever on the sexual spectrum one falls. “Whose issue is it? Why is it only a gay issue?” said Robert Morea, a fitness consultant in New York.

Although Mr. Morea is heterosexual, his client list has long included a number of high-profile professionals, the majority of them gay women and men. “The issue is there because for so many years, people got beaten up, followed or yelled at,” he said. “Even for me as a straight man, it’s obvious how social conditioning makes it hard for people to take back the public space.”

After considering herself exclusively lesbian for decades, Sarah Van Arsdale, a novelist, not long ago found, to her surprise, that she had fallen in love with a man. At first, as she wrote last week in an e-mail message from a writer’s colony in Oaxaca, Mexico, “ Whenever we would hold hands in public, I felt a frisson of fear, waiting for the customary dirty looks or at least for the customary looking-away.”

In place of revulsion, Ms. Van Arsdale was startled to discover that, having adjusted her sexual identity, she was now greeted by strangers with approving smiles. “I felt suddenly acceptable and accepted and cute, as opposed to queer,” she said.

While few are likely to have shared Ms. Van Arsdale’s singular perspective, her experience is far from exceptional. “I’m a very openly gay man,” said Dane Clark, who manages rental properties and flies a rainbow flag from his house in Kansas City, Kan. “My partner and I don’t go kissing in public. I live in probably the most liberal part of the State of Kansas, but it’s not exactly liberal. If I was to go to a nice restaurant nearby and kiss my partner, I don’t think that would go over very well.”

As many gay men have before him, Mr. Clark chose to live in a city rather than the sort of small town where he was raised in the hope that Kansas City would provide a greater margin of tolerance and also of safety. Even in nearby Independence, Mo., he said, “if you kiss your partner in a restaurant, you could find somebody waiting for you outside when you went to the car.”

But haven’t things changed radically from the days when lesbians and gay men were considered pariahs, before gay marriage initiatives became ballot issues, before Ellen DeGeneres was picked to host the Oscars, and cable TV staples like “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” made a competitive sport of group hugs?

In some senses and in certain places, apparently, they have. The landscape of acceptance, as the Snickers commercial inadvertently illustrated, is constantly shifting — broadening in one place and contracting somewhere else. The country in which anti-gay advocates like the Rev. Fred Phelps once drew headlines for picketing Matthew Shepard’s funeral and preaching what was called “a Day-Glo vision of hatred” can seem very far away at times from the laissez-faire place in which an estimated 70 percent of Americans say they know someone who is gay.

“We don’t administrate public displays of affection,” said Andrew Shields, World Church Secretary of the Community of Christ, a Christian evangelical church with headquarters in Independence. “Homosexuality is still in discussion in our church. But our denominational point of view is that we uphold the worth of all persons, and there is no controversy on whether people have a right to express themselves.”

The tectonics of attitude are shifting in subtle ways that are geographic, psychic and also generational, suggested Katherine M. Franke, a lesbian who teaches law and is a director of the Center for the Study of Law and Culture at Columbia University. “I’ve been attacked on the street and called all sorts of names” for kissing a female partner in public, Professor Franke said. “The reception our affection used to generate was violence and hatred,” she added. “What I’ve found in the last five years is that my girlfriend and I get smiles from straight couples, especially younger people. Now there’s almost this aggressive sense of ‘Let me tell you how terrific we think that is.’ ”

Yet gay-bashing still occurs routinely, Mr. Patton of the Anti-Violence Project said, even in neighborhoods like Chelsea in Manhattan, where the sight of two men kissing on the street can hardly be considered a frighten-the-horses proposition. “In January some men were leaving a bar in Chelsea,” saying goodbye with a kiss, Mr. Patton said. “One friend got into a taxi and then a car behind the taxi stopped and some guys jumped out and beat up the other two.” One victim of the attack, which is under investigation by the police department’s Hate Crimes Task Force, was bruised and shaken. The second had a broken jaw.

“The last time I was called a faggot was on Eighth Avenue,” said Joe Windish, a longtime New Yorker who now lives in Milledgeville, Ga., with his partner of many years. “I don’t have that here, and I’m an out gay man,” said Mr. Windish, whose neighbors in what he termed “the reddest of the red states” may be fundamentalist Christians who oppose gay marriages and even civil unions, but “who all like me personally.”

Tolerance has its limits, though, as Mr. Windish found when he and his partner took a vacation on a sleepy island off the coast of Georgia. “I became aware that if I held my partner’s hand, or kissed him in public, the friendliness would stop,” he said.

What Mr. Windish calls a level of peril is possibly always in play, and this no doubt has something to do with the easily observed reality that a public kiss between two people of the same sex remains an unusual occurrence, and probably not because most are holding out for the chance to lock lips over a hunk of milk chocolate, roasted peanuts and caramel.

“We forget here, because New York has been relatively safe for a while, that hate is a problem,” said Roger Padilha, an owner of MAO public relations in New York. The reminders surface in everyday settings, he said, and in ordinary ways.

“My boyfriend and I always hold hands and, when we feel like it, we kiss,” Mr. Padilha said. Yet some weeks back, at a late movie in a Times Square theater, as Mr. Padilha went to rest his hand on his partner’s leg — a gesture it would seem that movie theaters were invented to facilitate — he recoiled as sharply as had one of the Snickers ad guys.

“He was like: ‘Don’t do that. It’s too dangerous,’ ” Mr. Padilha said. “And afterward I thought, you know, my dad isn’t super into P.D.A.’s, but nobody’s ever going to beat him up because he’s kissing my mom at a movie. I kept thinking: What if my boyfriend got hit by a car tomorrow? When I had the chance to kiss him, why didn’t I?”


"There's really a kind of Potemkin village quality to the tolerance and acceptance of gay people in America", said Clarence Patton, a spokesman for the New York Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project. "The idea of it is okay, but the reality falls far short."

^o) ^o) Things have certainly changed, but not as much as I thought in geographic locations where I assumed that it was always or almost always safe ... :| Well, when in doubt, be safe, right?

Warmest ({)(})'s,

SWeetlady & Wyatt the napping Boxer (S) (l) (&) (l) (S)

02-18-2007, 05:04 PM

This was an epiphany for me:

February 18, 2007

Op-Ed Contributor

China’s True Dash of Flavor


TODAY the Chinese Year of the Pig begins, and Americans across the country will venture to their local Chinatowns for a festive meal. Yet despite the enduring popularity of Chinese food, many still see it as strictly a down-market cuisine, more the stuff of cheap takeout than one of the world’s great culinary cultures. In the old days of chop suey and egg foo yung, this reputation may have been justified, but now that fine and authentic Chinese dining is available in the United States (if you know where to look for it), why do so many people still think of it as junky?

Looming large as an explanation is the use of monosodium glutamate, or MSG, in Chinese kitchens. For restaurant chefs and Chinese home cooks, MSG is a ubiquitous seasoning, considered as “normal” as salt, soy sauce and vinegar. Yet for many Americans, the fine white powder is a sinister food additive, tainted by association with industrialized food production and the garish, over-the-top flavors of packaged snacks.

And, ever since 1968, when The New England Journal of Medicine used the headline “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” over a letter from a doctor complaining that Chinese restaurant food gave him numbness in his neck and palpitations, it has also been fingered with medical suspicion.

While around a third of Americans say they believe that MSG makes them ill, reputable medical studies have shown that only a tiny proportion of people truly react to it, and then only when it is administered in large oral doses on an empty stomach. All this was explained, and the restaurant syndrome fully debunked, in great detail by the food writer Jeffrey Steingarten in a 1999 essay for Vogue magazine titled “Why Doesn’t Everybody in China Have a Headache?”

In the absence of medical evidence of any harmful physiological effects of MSG, the fact that the Chinese use it while Americans not of Chinese descent generally don’t creates a serious cultural barrier to the mainstream appreciation of Chinese food. Isn’t it time, perhaps, to cast off our prejudices and take a cool, steady look at MSG?

MSG is not, of course, a traditional Chinese seasoning. It was discovered in 1908 by a Japanese scientist, Kikunae Ikeda, who was trying to pinpoint the source of the intense deliciousness of broth made from kombu seaweed. In his laboratory, he isolated the natural glutamates in the seaweed, and to their marvelous taste he gave the name “umami,” derived from the Japanese word for “delicious.” His work led directly to the industrial manufacture in Japan and then worldwide of MSG.

Still, MSG was long considered simply to be a flavor enhancer, with little or no taste of its own. In recent years, however, there has been growing acceptance of the existence of a so-called fifth taste — an addition to the traditional quartet of sweet, sour, salty and bitter — known through an emerging consensus by Ikeda’s term, umami. Our tongues, biologists have shown, have distinct receptors that pick up on the taste of MSG and a wider family of umami compounds, and some of our brain cells respond specifically to umami.

The umami taste comes from the building blocks of proteins, amino acids and nucleotides, which include not only glutamates but also inosinates and guanylates. These delicious molecules appear when animal and vegetable proteins break down, for example in the ripening of Parmigiano cheese or prosciutto di Parma. Industrially made MSG is a chemically “neat” form of one of the umami compounds that delight our taste buds when they occur naturally in cheese, ham andseaweed, just as salt is a “neat” form of the saltiness of seawater and white sugar of the sweetness of sugar cane. Is it any worse for us than refined salt and sugar?

Western chefs, food writers and consumers are only now cottoning onto the existence of umami and its power as a culinary concept. In China, however, it has long been part of the daily vocabulary of the kitchen. Chinese chefs talk often of “xian wei” — their term for umami. They use many ingredients that are naturally rich in it — Yunnan ham, dried scallops and shiitake mushrooms — to enhance the flavors of their stocks and sauces (just as an Italian cook might use grated Parmigiano or truffles to enhance the umami taste of a dish of pasta). They talk of “ti xian wei” (“bringing out the umami”) in their cooking through the judicious application of salt, sugar, chicken fat and, nowadays, MSG.

Bad Chinese chefs, of course, just use MSG as a substitute for good ingredients and properly made stocks, just as bad American food companies cook up snack foods made from fat and carbohydrates laced with salt and sugar. But top Chinese chefs also use it, to refine and elevate flavors. There may be no need to add MSG to a delicate soup made from chicken, ham and dried scallops. But in some culinary contexts, it works wonders: a little MSG mixed with salt and sesame oil can lift the flavor of a simple bamboo shoot salad, or add a dash of ecstasy to a stir-fry of pea shoots and garlic. If you didn’t know it was MSG, you would simply find it delicious.

In the past, I was as closed-minded on the subject of MSG as the purists and hypochondriacs. When I started cooking and writing about Chinese food more than a decade ago, I decided not to use MSG. I wanted to stick up for proper ingredients and traditional cooking methods, and help to rehabilitate the reputation of Chinese cuisine by showing that it didn’t require this reviled additive.

But these days I’m not so sure. The scientific evidence for umami is persuasive, and as a concept it makes sense of a great deal of traditional culinary theory. I see brilliant chefs in China making subtle and skillful use of MSG. And if some outstanding Western chefs — like Heston Blumenthal, whose Fat Duck restaurant in England has three Michelin stars — are willing to risk ridicule and experiment with its culinary potential, perhaps it’s time I should as well. Intellectual curiosity is, tradition has it, a hallmark of the Year of the Pig.

Fuchsia Dunlop is the author of “Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook.”

:o Who knew? Dunlop makes strong arguments for its use, but I'd still prefer not having it in my Asian food. While traveling in China though, I can't imagine asking for anything without MSG - since it seems to enhance certain dishes.

By the way? <:o) <:o) <:o) HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!!! <:o) <:o) <:o)

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 05:08 PM

<:o) <:o) <:o) <:o) <:o) <:o) <:o) <:o)

It was fun looking up my birth year and seeing what I was...;)

:) :o Those born in the Year of the Sheep are said to be charming, elegant and artistic, who like material comforts. A bit of a worrier they also have a tendency to complain about things. Jobs as actors, gardeners or beachcombers would suit.

Famous people born in the Year Of The Sheep:

Gene Hackman, Mikhail Gorbachev, Leonard Nimoy, Prunella Scales,John Major, George Harrison

(h) URL!

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 05:17 PM
:| :| :|

:o :o

February 17, 2007

Op-Ed Contributor

The Jingoism 500


San Francisco

TOMORROW, ordinary citizens will be bracing themselves against the howling sound of Japanese engines throttling up and bearing down on their beloved American heroes. No, it’s not a squadron of dive-bombing Zeroes re-enacting Pearl Harbor. It’s the Daytona 500, the kickoff to the Nascar season, and for the first time in Nascar’s history Dodge, Chevy and Ford will be joined by ... Toyota.

Japan’s biggest car company, which is poised to overtake General Motors as the largest car manufacturer in the world, has entered the hallowed tracks and pit rows of that most American of race circuits, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. But to hear some Nascar fans talk, when those engines fire up it will be Dec. 7, 1941, all over again.

The war metaphors have been brought to the fore by Jack Roush, a prominent racing team owner. Mr. Roush has said that “we’re going to war” and that he’s preparing himself “for siege.” He has accused Toyota of having bought its way in, of raising the costs of owning a team and generally spoiling the pot. Other Nascar columnists, pundits and fans, even a Web site dedicated to being “against racing Toyotas,” have chimed in against the auto maker’s entry into Nascar.

Nationalism and pride in one’s country can be admirable traits. Nationalism, however, is the razor’s edge in the American psyche, where just a push turns it into xenophobia. Nascar, like so many professional sports before it, may soon be faced with a situation where deliberate ignorance of simmering prejudice is not an option.

I am an American of blended Asian ancestry, including Japanese, and a certain insult — a word as odious as its counterpart for African-Americans — sets me off. That word has been flying fast and furious in many Nascar-related forums and chat rooms. It offends me so much I cannot even abbreviate it here. One person wrote that “we don’t need any foreign nameplate in Nascar.” Others have taken up the “if you love them so much go live in Japan” theme and, curiously, wondered that if the Iraqis built a car would drivers of Japanese cars “become fans of the terrorists?”

The drivers hired by Toyota have been subject to the same opprobrium. Dale Jarrett, whom Nascar has named one of the 50 greatest drivers in its history, has been called a sell-out. Michael Waltrip, a Daytona winner, has been invited to “leave America” with his Japanese truck. (His recent woes at Daytona, including accusations that his team was cheating during qualifying, have only increased the vitriol.) Nor have the up-and-comers Brian Vickers and Jeremy Mayfield been spared. In blogs and on fan sites all have been characterized as traitors for driving “rice burners.”

Although team owners like Joe Gibbs and Rick Hendrick have welcomed the competition from Toyota, Nascar itself has said little during the rants and grumblings, apparently hoping it will all die down. That is unacceptable. There are, of course, Asian-American Nascar fans, and several of Nascar’s races are held in California, the state with the highest population of Asian-Americans.

Nascar’s goal has always been to ensure competition from inside the cockpit, not on the outside. It is all about devising a race where one variable — human skill at 200 miles an hour — is prized above all. When I watch the races (I am a fan; my mother-in-law is an uber-fan), I am fascinated by the men and the occasional woman maneuvering around banked tracks at speeds I cannot fathom with the touch of scrimshaw masters. I am not thinking of a Chevy Monte Carlo or a Dodge Charger or a Ford Fusion — or a Toyota Camry. I am watching Jeff, Junior, Tony, Mark and all those others with the courage, talent and sheer guts it takes to withstand, much less win, a 500-mile race when my legs cramp up after a leisurely two-hour drive.

Nascar’s roots in the South’s “good ol’ boy” mentality are a part of its lore and charm that cannot be denied. Movies like “The Dukes of Hazzard” and “Talladega Nights” both spoof and glorify its origins. Its partnership with the American auto industry is also a part of this history, born in the myth that you can drive the same “stock” car that Richard Petty drove to victory. But Nascar has become a global superbrand, still undeniably American yet ubiquitous enough for the world’s best — not just auto manufacturers, but racers like Juan Montoya, the Colombian who has dominated Formula 1 — to want to test its drivers and its superspeedways.

More than 20 years ago, this country feared that Japan would take over American industry. It didn’t happen. But today the Big Three are still on the ropes and, combined with Chrysler’s recent layoffs, a Toyota victory in one of Nascar’s events could reawaken latent fears of Japanese domination. We cannot forget that in 1982 a young Chinese-American, Vincent Chin, was killed in Detroit because two autoworkers assumed he was Japanese. Apparently there remain embers just hot enough to re-ignite the flame of racism.

You can be pro-American, and you can declare that Americans should buy American cars. But doing so involves a degree of hypocrisy. Today an “American” car could have been assembled in Mexico, or had most of its parts manufactured offshore. And Dodge, part of the Chrysler brand, is owned by Daimler of Germany. Yet I don’t hear anyone disparaging the patriotism of the racers driving Dodges. It’s another indication that the opposition to Toyota is rooted not in patriotic pride, but racism.

Along with millions of others, I will watch the Daytona 500 tomorrow. There would be nice symmetry if the Great American Race also meant that in the arena of race relations, Nascar, like all major professional sports, were to take measures to reject the appearance and insinuation of intolerance and prejudice in its ranks.

Michael Yaki is a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

^o) ^o) Somehow this will blow over.....eventually. The author certainly provides thought-provoking material and his experiences. It *is* interesting that he did not mention the extreme consensus and comformity culture in Japan - and the well, quite frankly, racist approach to immigration in that country as well. That information might have balanced his article IMHO, making it less an attack on American values.

At the end of the day, it just isn't brain surgery. It's NASCAR. ;)

Stay warm on a cold Sunday evening aka Two-Dog Night,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 05:20 PM
(f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f)

The Year of Magical Thinking on Broadway

Strictly Limited Engagement
Beginning March 6th

Booth Theatre
222 West 45th Street
New York, NY


(l) (l) (l) (l) (l) I might go and "experience" this once in a lifetime theater event. (h)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 05:22 PM
(y) (y) (y)

February 18, 2007

Lives in the Arts


How many artists subscribe to the notion that creative success depends on input from the fickle muse or her modern avatar, mental illness? Probably very few. Like all romantic conceits, it fails to acknowledge the grubby reality of mortal life, in this case the dedicated, often torturous labor a writer or dancer or sculptor invests in what he or she makes. Among the lucid and often delightful observations Joan Acocella makes in her new collection of critical essays, “Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints,” none is more important than this: “What allows genius to flower is not neurosis but its opposite ... ordinary Sunday-school virtues such as tenacity and above all the ability to survive disappointment.” In fact, Acocella suggests, the remarkable and sustained career of a prodigy like George Balanchine, to name one of her subjects, proves this artist “not an example, but a freak, of ego strength.”

Which doesn’t make the creative process any less mysterious. What emerges from a reading of “Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints” is Acocella’s — and through hers our own — respect and in certain cases even reverence for the dogged faith on which an artistic career is built. We know the seductive alchemy of art. To transform private anguish into a narrative of truth if not beauty; to make sense where there was none; to bring order out of chaos: these are the promises art makes. Fulfilling them requires something else entirely, an attribute closer to blindness than to inspiration — the refusal to give up when the odds predict defeat, again.

In these highly readable essays, most of which appeared in The New Yorker (where, as a staff writer, their author covers dance and books), Acocella addresses not single works so much as whole lives in the arts, her point of entry either the most recent novel by, or a new biography of, the writer (or dancer, or choreographer) under consideration. Many of the essays draw on interviews with her subject as well as on the work itself. Knowledgeable without being a show-off, meticulous in her research and energetically conversational, Acocella leaps immediately into the piece at hand, offering a few toothsome biographical morsels as she unpacks text or dance steps. Then, having captured her reader’s interest, she goes back to the early life and earlier work, examining those experiences she sees as having had an impact on the art. Her typical essay thus functions as a tantalizing biographical sketch, as well as a critical study, inviting us to pursue a deeper exploration.

Ultimately, there are as many different forms of criticism as there are critics, but if one were to make the broadest distinction, on one side of which lie those hypercritical critics who tend to eviscerate and disable creative efforts, often while advertising their own erudition and good taste, Acocella would fall firmly on the other side of this divide. She is a celebrant of art, not blind to the flaws of what she admires nor so inclusive in her praise that she fails to discriminate between the lesser and greater novels of, for example, Saul Bellow, but a critic whose enthusiasm is infectious. Clearly, she reviews only what she finds worth her time to review — work she loves.

Particularly, Acocella is interested in artistic careers that include break and recovery, and how the work changes in the wake of trauma, including the chronic, compounding trauma of rejection. She is a keen and sympathetic observer of the ways in which corrosive disappointment can strip away the veneer of culture and refinement that an immature artist typically acquires, revealing the more genuine sensitivity, the art, beneath.

The most engaging of the essays collected here is “The Soloist,” which follows the career of Mikhail Baryshnikov. As Russian as he is, Baryshnikov has achieved the stature of an American icon by that most reliable means — his own bootstraps. We love stories of overcoming hardship; really, the only way to improve on them is to multiply the hero’s woes, and Baryshnikov endured decades of crises and abandonments that only his obdurate investment in ballet allowed him to transcend.

Twelve years old, Baryshnikov had been dancing for three years when his mother hanged herself and he became “a child workaholic.” Drudgery paid off: at 19 he was accepted into the Kirov Ballet as a soloist, and then, Acocella writes, “his troubles really began.” In the wake of Nureyev’s 1961 defection, the Kirov became, in effect, “a mini police state” that rewarded its dancers “less on the basis of merit than according to one’s history of cooperation” with Communist witch hunts. The pinnacle of success for Russian dancers, it left them vulnerable to a “mixture of impotence and cynicism” that destroyed one brilliant career after another.

In 1970, Alexander Pushkin, celebrated teacher and surrogate father to the young dancer (whose own father never understood or supported his ambitions), died suddenly and left Baryshnikov feeling bereft of protectors. That same year, Natalia Makarova defected and the Kirov descended into panic, with the result that the K.G.B. came calling whenever Baryshnikov had so much as a meal with a visiting Western dancer. It was clear that to remain in his homeland would amount to creative suicide and so in 1974, Baryshnikov, too, defected.

Summarizing his subsequent career with the American Ballet Theater, with Balanchine, with Twyla Tharp, Acocella says of Baryshnikov: “Homelessness turned him inward, gave him to himself. Then dance, the substitute home, turned him outward, gave him to us.” It’s an astute observation — the kind of simple and clearsighted remark that distinguishes Acocella’s criticism — and it applies to almost every artist, conscious or not of an alienation assuaged only by the consuming effort art demands. The sculpture of Louise Bourgeois; the wickedly funny, anguished novels of Hilary Mantel; the memoirs of Primo Levi, of M. F. K. Fisher; the choreography of Jerome Robbins: in each instance, Acocella shows us how artists live within their creations.

Three essays in particular demonstrate Acocella’s acuity as a cultural critic. There are her two meditations on female saints, Mary Magdalene and Joan of Arc, both so distant and ultimately unknowable that our shifting visions of these women and their roles in the church and society reveal more about the times in which particular views emerge than about the women themselves. And there is her wonderfully insightful history of writer’s block, which “like most of today’s recognized psychological disorders,” Acocella observes dryly, “is a concept that other cultures, other times, have done fine without.”

Of Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation,” Acocella observes that Sontag’s nonfiction performed the “essential function of criticism, that of introducing readers to new work, strange work, things they wouldn’t ordinarily encounter — a duty no major critic had undertaken consistently since Edmund Wilson quit regular reviewing in the late ’40s.” What’s more, “it did so in a notably unstrange manner.” This praise applies to Acocella’s criticism, as well.

“The relation between morality and imagination may be a complicated one, but it does exist,” she writes, analyzing the narrowness of Dorothy Parker’s vision, a function, she believes, of her selfishness. “Hope, forgiveness — these are not just moral actions. They are enlargements of the mind. Without them, you remain in the tunnel of the self.” Like Sontag, like every great critic, Acocella is subjective, uncompromising. She has a distinct point of view, a refreshingly not-fashionable one — she salutes Sunday-school virtues! — and writes from her conviction that beneath its hectic, irresponsible, even intoxicated surface, art makes singularly unglamorous demands: integrity, sacrifice, discipline. Hers is a vision that allows art its mystery but not its pretensions, to which she is acutely sensitive. What better instincts could a critic have?

Kathryn Harrison’s most recent book is a novel, “Envy.”

(y) (y) (y) I LOVED that first two sentences, "How many artists subscribe to the notion that creative success depends on input from the fickle muse or her modern avatar, mental illness? Probably very few."

8-| Indeed! 8-|

(k) 's on the cheek,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 05:29 PM
:| :| :|

Nice virtual stroll though.....;)

February 18, 2007

Weekend in New York | International Clothing Stores

A Wide World of Fashion


IT is hardly news that you can eat around the world by just strolling around a New York neighborhood. Couscous here, shrimp vindaloo across the street, quesadillas down the block. But shop for clothes from around the world? Caftans here, saris across the street and huipil dresses down the block?

Almost, but not quite. Manhattan has plenty of intriguing shops that sell traditional clothing (and modern versions of it) from around the world. But you'll have to use the subway.

In many of these shops, the clothing is chosen with care, made expressly for the store or found by the owners on their travels. That's the case with Pan American Phoenix, on the Upper East Side, which has been selling imports from Mexico since 1959.

The shop glitters with tin mirrors and silver jewelry, but its clothes racks provide much of the color. They display a range of items from the dresses known as huipiles (which the owner, Mary Bartos, recommends as a beach coverup), from $65, to the intricately embroidered San Antonino-style dresses from Oaxaca ($155).

There are some men's clothes, too, including a wedding shirt from Puebla made of unbleached muslin, and a small selection of guayaberas, the summery cotton collared shirts popular across much of Latin America.

At Djema Imports on East 125th Street in Harlem, tidy piles of all-cotton African-made fabrics in a variety of patterns and colors line the wall; on racks in the center, there are coats, shirts, dresses and scarves and even faux flowers made with those same fabrics. The Yara family, who own the place, might speak among themselves in Bambara, the language they learned growing up in Mali, but they are happy to switch to English.

Customers can pick out a fabric ($5 a yard for African prints; mud cloth pieces from $15 to $150 depending on size) and say what they want it turned into a coat, a shirt, a dress, a pillowcase, and the tailors in the back of the store get to work. (Visitors on a short stay can often pick up their items the next day.)

Though clothing is not the main attraction at the Moroccan-owned Sheherazade on the Lower East Side, you can find beautiful Palestinian and Moroccan caftans for $85 to $285, as well as Moroccan-made slippers, $35 to $65. The small selection of clothing alone may not be worth a trip, but if your shopping list also includes a carpet and a tagine (the cooking vessel used to make the stew of the same name), then this is the place for you.

In SoHo, Pearl River, which at first glance you might mistake for a run-of-the-mill clothing store, is huge, compared with the other shops, with the front section almost entirely dedicated to clothing. There is everything from Chinese blouses and robes to Korean dresses for children to silk pajamas emblazoned with Buddhist proverbs to some aw-inspiring baby booties ($5.50). A lot of the clothes use a cool-looking knot that, together with a loop on the other side, becomes a button-free button.

For traditional South Asian women's garments, you can head down to Hello Sari, on the Lower East Side. The tiny shop sells saris for $95, scarves for $45 and some pretty handmade khussas, which are slipperlike shoes, for $25. The shop's owner, Kris Jensen, says the designers Anna Sui and Christian Louboutin have shopped there.

ECHO, a store in SoHo, specializes in imports from Colombia. It's not cheap: a chinchorro (an enormous hammocklike apparatus used by the Wuayuu people) can go for $2,000. Silk shawls from Boyacá are $540 and a patterned vueltiao hat — it looks somewhat like a psychedelic sombrero — made from cañaflecha fiber from Córdoba and Sucre can set you back about $200.

Finally, though some might question their status as “traditional” clothing, bikinis from the beach-crazed country of Brazil just barely qualify. American-style bikinis are widely mocked on Brazilian beaches and clearly identify tourists; the Brazilian model leaves much more of the rear revealed.

Pesca Boutique on East 60th Street, which is run by Shahlla Azizian, an Iranian, has a broad selection from designers like Salinas, Vix and Blue Brazil. Around the corner is Pesca Trend, which the owner's daughter Teresa opened in January. The bikinis at both shops run from about $80 to $200 and beyond, not inexpensive — especially when measured by square inch of material.

Which leads to a final caveat: Don't expect store owners to apologize for selling for $100 what would cost a fraction of that in the country it comes from. If you bring it up, the nice ones will probably tell you to go there yourself; the snappy ones might suggest another destination.


Djema Imports, 6 East 125th Street (212) 289-3842.

Echo (by Artesanías de Colombia), 355 West Broadway (between Grand and Broome Streets), (212) 925-5499; www.colombianstoreny.com.

Hello Sari, 261 Broome Street (between Orchard and Allen Streets), (212) 274-0791.

Pan American Phoenix, 857 Lexington Avenue (between 64th and 65th Streets), (212) 570-0300; www.panamphoenix.com.

Pearl River, 477 Broadway (between Grand and Broome Streets), (212) 431-4770; www.pearlriver.com.

Pesca Boutique, 244 East 60th Street, (212) 980-1901; www.pescaboutique.com. Also: Pesca Trend, 1151A Second Avenue (between 60th and 61st Streets), (212) 813-0546.

Sheherazade, 121 Orchard Street (between Rivington and Delancey Streets), (212) 539-1771; www.sheherazadenyc.com.

(*) There are thousands of web sites where the pricing is significantly lower on gorgeous garments AND it is also safe to use a credit card. Many of the overseas news and entertainment web sites have ads which if nothing else, provide for a fun, free virtual shopping spree. ;)

Carpe Diem,

SL & WTB (S) (l) (&) (l) (S)

02-18-2007, 05:33 PM
:o :o :o :o :o

February 18, 2007

This Land

He Confirmed It, Yes He Did: The Wicked Witch Was Dead



Like any coroner, he has seen some things. But one case stays with him nearly 70 years after the fact, like some old song he can’t get out of his head.

He couldn’t shake this case even if he wanted to, what with all the videotapes, the DVDs, the television broadcasts replaying the gruesome aftermath over and over, in vivid Technicolor. Those striped socks, curling back like a pair of deflating noisemakers. ...

The coroner’s name is Meinhardt Raabe, and he lives in a retirement community tucked between here and there. He can’t see or hear too well, and his short legs need the assistance of a three-wheeled walker with hand brakes. But none of this means that at 91 he has forgotten much, because he hasn’t — especially about that case.

Sitting on his small bed, his coroner’s outfit stored in a closet, Mr. Raabe recalls a rich and varied life but makes clear that he accepts, even embraces, how his obituary will read: Munchkin City coroner, handled case of woman killed by house that fell from the sky.

It’s hard to imagine now, but the freak accident was just one of many wacky events in a wacky, politically charged time, a time when monkeys could fly and trees could talk and life could change on a witch’s whim.

With enchantment — or was it poppies? — infusing the air, a coroner’s role was not so much to determine a cause of death as it was to determine whether death had indeed occurred. The victim’s identity only complicated matters: as luck would have it, she was a witch, a bad one, from the east.

That is why curious residents in curious garb, led by a mayor whose shoes sprouted flowers, surrounded Mr. Raabe as he unfurled his scroll. With cameras rolling, he announced his findings:

“As coroner, I must aver, I thoroughly examined her. And she’s not only merely dead, she’s really, most sincerely dead.”

If his words seem mannered, one should remember they were delivered in the singsong language indigenous to the region. And if his ruling caused some problems for the Kansas-based driver of the house and some grief for the victim’s green-skinned sister, it was good news for Munchkinland, Oz — and Mr. Raabe, whose name rhymes with “hobby.”

“I’m still getting mail,” he says, pointing to stacked milk crates packed with letters yet to be answered. He just cannot get to them all.

As Mr. Raabe recalls in his autobiography, “Memories of a Munchkin” (Back Stage Books, 2005), he did not follow a coroner’s typical career path. The son of Wisconsin dairy farmers, he endured years of schoolyard teasing about what he calls his “abnormal lack of height” before wandering one day into the Midget Village attraction at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair.

Walking its streets, meeting its inhabitants eye to eye, he realized that smallness was no impediment to happiness. “It was a new world,” he says.

For the next three years, Mr. Raabe worked summers with other little people at expositions around the country, often as a pitchman. He eventually graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, only to learn that no firm would hire him.

“You don’t belong here,” he remembers being told. “You belong in a carnival.”

Mr. Raabe eventually got a job as Little Oscar for the Oscar Mayer meat company. Then, in 1938, came word through the grapevine of a demand for little people in Hollywood. Sensing opportunity, he boarded a train due west.

In a place where people came and went so quickly, the casting director first chose the Mayor, the three Lullaby League dancers and the three members of the Lollipop Guild. Then he lined up Mr. Raabe and several other little men and asked them to say the fateful line: “As coroner, I must aver. ...”

“I read that line and I let go,” he recalls. “And he said, ‘O.K., you’re the coroner.’ ”

Mr. Raabe’s pronouncement lasted only 13 seconds, and his lines were dubbed over. But he had made his mark.

After filming ended, he returned to Oscar Mayer and to real life. He learned to fly airplanes. He joined the Civil Air Patrol during World War II. He earned a master’s degree in business administration. He married a cigarette girl who was about his height; her name was Marie, and her beauty stole his breath. Fifty years they had, until her death in a car accident a decade ago.

Now Mr. Raabe lives alone at the Penney Retirement Community, behind a door with a sign that says “No Place Like Home.” Above his bed hangs a portrait of that girl from Kansas and her unusual pals; they’ve all passed on. So has the Wizard, who liked his drink, and the Good Witch, who was a bit of a prima donna, and the Wicked Witch of the West, who was the kindest of them all.

Every once in a while, though, his presence is requested at some Oz-related function; he is, after all, the oldest living resident of that faraway world. He dons his outfit, poses for photographs and catches up with some of the half-dozen or so Munchkin City residents still around: the last of the Lollipop Guild trio, one of the Sleepyheads, a soldier.

Despite that unfortunate house-on-woman matter, Mr. Raabe says his days in Oz were among the happiest of his life. And for anyone who asks, he will say that as coroner, he must aver, which means to assert with confidence.

Flash Multimedia: http://select.nytimes.com/packages/khtml/2007/02/16/us/20070218_OZ_FEATURE.html

(y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

(k) ,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 05:45 PM
(h) 8-| (h) 8-|

February 4, 2007

THIS LAND; Taking Books Far and Wide, on the Road Less Traveled By


It takes its time in rousing, in shaking the winter morning chill from its streamlined hull. Soon, though, mechanical hums and harrumphs are disturbing the off-season silence in this Old West town, as the rural bookmobile announces its readiness to roll.

Loaded down with a kind of lightness, a cargo of imagery and simile, the bus of books grunts forward and turns west onto Highway 68. It passes the turnoff for the St. James Hotel, where the gunfighter Clay Allison was known for never killing a man unless he needed killing, and eases into the serene remoteness of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Tucked amid the pinyon trees, close to the Rio Grande, live people in out-of-the-way places who want to read what new intrigue John le Carré has conjured. They want to read why Ann Coulter seems to reside in a state of perpetual pique, or how best to care for their African gray parrots, or what life's lesson Oliver Pig is learning this time.

These are the goods that Betty Palmer, librarian and grandmother, trucks through the mountains, with a dedication as firm as her grip on the oversize wheel. Gone are the nightmares she used to have about driving a 13-ton bus through challenging terrain. She guns the motor with a foot ensconced in a Skechers sneaker and says, ''Books just energize me.''

In ascent, the bus pants a trail of diesel exhaust. In descent, its pencil drawer slams against the back of the driver's seat. Up or down, the fly swatter dangling from a hook swings like a metronome. But the 3,500 books, arranged on slanted shelves, never shift.

Ms. Palmer operates the bookmobile with two colleagues. Three Tuesdays a month, one minds the Cimarron library while the other two set out for parts of northeastern New Mexico far enough to require overnight bags. On this trip, as is their custom, Ms. Palmer and another librarian, Leroy Chavez, have rooms booked for two nights at a Super 8 motel in Taos.

She is 58, with blondish hair, eyeglasses and a compulsion to wipe the book jackets with Windex. He is 54, with a wiry frame, a teaching career ended by heart attack, and a fondness for eating M&M's on the road. No, they both say, they never tire of the job, the travel or the scenery.

Today's first of five stops is in a blink of a place called Rinconada. Ms. Palmer steers the bookmobile into the parking lot of a health clinic. A white-haired woman sits in a Honda Accord, waiting. ''That's Charlotte,'' the librarian says.

Ms. Palmer flicks three switches to start the generator, activate the overhead lights and unfold steps to the ground. Then she opens the door.

Instantly, rumbling bus becomes quiet library. People cock their heads in that unnatural way seen only around book stacks, and Mr. Chavez seals the contract between state and reader with stamps on the checkout cards of books: MAR 06 2007.

Charlotte Champerlin, the patron who had been waiting patiently, returns four novels that she has carried in a canvas bag. She is a retired midwife who delivered a lot of babies and has had, she says, ''a good life.'' She chats with Ms. Palmer about an ailing mutual friend, checks out several books and pauses a moment to explain the importance of the bookmobile.

''I read a lot and I'm alone,'' Ms. Champerlin says, her bag filled with fresh books. ''When you're alone, you read a lot.''

The bookmobile lumbers back onto Highway 68, its engine's roar so loud that Ms. Palmer must breach librarian etiquette and raise her voice to be heard. A 1998 Blue Bird, one of four the New Mexico State Library has on the road, this bus has traveled nearly 165,000 miles but is now on its final voyage in the name of literature.

The next week Ms. Palmer will receive a new, much quieter bus, one with a bathroom and space for a microwave oven. She cannot wait, of course, but with maternal affection she looks down at the wheel of this old workhorse to share the assurance that ''it's been a very good vehicle.''

The bookmobile makes its rounds -- a Head Start school in Velarde, a post office in Alcalde, another one in Dixon -- all the while rolling past a landscape almost beyond any book's words. Mesas that resemble massive, futuristic tables. Bare apple trees with branches extended in hallelujah praise. The Rio Grande, now calm, now churning.

Late on this day, a day on which 30 patrons will have entered and 173 books will have left, the bus comes to its last stop: the desolate parking lot of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Peñasco, where an American flag flaps not far from a compact cemetery. Soon cars pull up to the large vehicle, looking like curious fish beside a whale.

In comes Sean Kelly, a United States Forest Service employee, who needs a book about puppy care because his dog is about to have a litter. In comes Helen Graves, who always brings a snack for the librarians; this time it's two bananas and two cans of Dr Pepper. In comes Theresa Velarde, who rejoices in the mobile library because its contents ''keep us busy on those long winter nights.''

Suddenly, things are crowded in the bookmobile, now aglow in the descending dusk. The patrons tilt heads and the librarians stamp cards, all inside this bus humming like a living, breathing thing.

Flash Multimedia Presentation:


(y) In a world where people can download books to read on a tiny "digital catcher's mitt", whether it is a PDA to the latest IPhone (or whatever Apple wrangles with Cisco to call it).....this story warmed my heart. I have many more books than book shelves. Books are a passion. To read about a lady who travels and driving a portable library? Heaven! (a)

(l) There's nothing like reading a good book, okay, except for watching a great film - but that's a much different experience in my view.. Holding a book in my hands and allowing my imagination to be somewhat guided by an author is close to pure joy... (l)

(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 05:50 PM

February 18, 2007

Media Frenzy

The Old Guard Flexes Its Muscles (While It Still Can)


JEFF ZUCKER, the newly minted chief executive of NBC Universal, ventured to the Times Square headquarters of Viacom two Wednesdays ago with Peter A. Chernin, president of the News Corporation. It was not a social call as much as a social-networking call, to see Philippe P. Dauman, Viacom’s chief executive. After all, Viacom had rather publicly ordered YouTube, the Internet’s most popular video-sharing site, to remove thousands of clips of MTV material.

A few weeks earlier, Viacom had also bowed out of a partnership with NBC and the News Corporation to set up their own alternative to YouTube, which was recently acquired by the search juggernaut Google. Not to be dissuaded, their idea is that a Web start-up featuring the broadcasters’ most Web-friendly fare (comedy clips and even whole episodes of their popular shows) could gather a crowd on its own and also be a powerful consortium for licensing content to other destinations around the Web — including, of course, “GoogTube.”

According to people briefed on the visit, Mr. Zucker and Mr. Chernin ran through a presentation on why they thought Viacom ought to rejoin their group. So far, Viacom has not rejoined the venture, and the project’s fate remains unclear. (No love is lost between Viacom and the News Corporation, since the latter snatched MySpace.com from under Viacom’s nose.)

Yahoo, meanwhile, eager to regain some ground on Google, has been courting the media giants to let it distribute their video wares.

YouTube is not standing still. It is trying to curry public sentiment in the same way that cable and satellite operators have done in battles with channels that won’t agree to terms with them: by public shaming.

When I tried to search for a Viacom clip on YouTube, it had not only vanished but had also been replaced by a red banner saying the video had been “removed at the request of Viacom International.”

It has become evident that the question of who will rule video on the Web is incredibly tangled. For now, most of the sticky strands lead to Google, and big media companies are trying to figure out whether to fight it or join it. That already hard question has been complicated by some fresh headaches for Google.

First, The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Google had sold advertising that encouraged pirating of Hollywood movies to a couple of rogue Web sites. While the incident was minor in the context of Google’s huge advertising business, it didn’t help soothe its tense relationship with content providers.

Then, a few days later, a Belgian court ruled that Google’s news-aggregating service, Google News, has been violating copyright laws by providing links to French-language newspapers.

Google took pains to characterize both incidents as the sort that often confront big, fast-growing companies. As a company spokeswoman in London said of the Belgian ruling, “This is an isolated case, and it would be inaccurate to portray Google News as standing in conflict with the publishing industry.”

Yet it’s also not hard to detect a worrying pattern here for Google — and for those who wish to be Google. The company controls as much as two-thirds of the market in search advertising, by some accounts. That has already caused plenty of worry among print publishers who wonder if the benefit of being on Google’s global platform is mitigated by what happens to their intellectual property once Google’s search engines get their robotic hands on it.

The worry widened to include the titans of television and cable programming after Google’s buyout of YouTube late last year. The buyout raised the possibility that Google would extend that advertising dominance into video — a business that is exploding online and for which advertisers already spend some $60 billion on conventional television.

The genius of Google, of course, is that it excels at organizing the world’s information and automatically attaching advertising to search results in an efficient, relevant way. If Google can more efficiently serve ads to people who are, say, watching the Grammys on 50-inch screens in their living rooms, that may add to its dominance.

It is hard not to conclude that the media establishment’s threats to start its own rival to YouTube — as well as Viacom’s yanking of its popular clips from the site — amount to posturing. What it might really be about is securing a lucrative deal from Google that would end hostilities in exchange for guaranteed cash and a healthy split of revenue from any advertising the company derives from their video content.

Google has consistently taken the position that it is the ally of those who create and own content — these latest hiccups notwithstanding — and that its technology can help them make more money online then they could on their own.

But Google’s sheer size and heft — including its rich margins and $140 billion market value — are viewed enviously and warily by media companies. They all wonder: Just how much of that value is coming out of my pocket?

Thus, the issue of making deals with content companies has quickly led to a kind of Catch-22 for Google. As one Hollywood executive, who didn’t want to be identified because of the continuing negotiations, said of Google: “The more content they license, it begs the question: what about all that other unlicensed stuff you’ve got up there?”

To make matters even more complicated, a big focus for media companies right now is to share the wealth with everyone who creates valuable content, not just the pros. YouTube has said that it will follow the trend of other video sites and Web businesses by figuring out a way to give some share of revenue to people whose homemade videos attract the most viewers.

Google’s media partner-rivals are also now asking why Google won’t just voluntarily use its technical prowess to ferret out copyrighted material. (After all, they say, the company seems to keep pornography off YouTube rather effectively.) To drive home the point, MySpace trumpeted just such a copyright filtering feature for videos on its popular social networking site last week.

INTELLECTUAL property law is clear that the legal impetus, for now, rests with the copyright holder to tell a Web site to take down unauthorized material. Indeed, it would be cumbersome to ask every kid with a community site to spend his days policing what the members have posted.

The media giants have a point, however, when they ask why they even have to cajole Google, a self-professed friend, to make nice.

Yet Google and its brethren also have a point when they wonder if the media giants are only hurting themselves by pressing the copyright issue. They point out that their sites have served as great promotional venues — and that they do not charge the media companies a dollar for that help. Moreover, there are no barriers to entry to stop NBC, Viacom or anyone else from starting its own Web video efforts.

What we have here is the most fascinating game of digital chicken the media world has seen. Who will cluck first?

(y) Want to bet on the Internet giants? The network dinos - as in NBC? MSNBC, an alliance between NBC and Microsoft - will be shutting down.

Hmmm......then again if I follow the money, and I mean, BIG $, there may be some very unholy alliances yet to be forged in the near future. :| :|

Stay tuned.....

:) :) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-18-2007, 06:01 PM
:) :)


(y) (y) http://despair.com/viewall.html

"The Journey of a Thousand Miles Ends Very, Very Badly."


New one: Consistency: "It's only a virtue if you're not a screwup."


Achievement: "You can do anything you set your mind to when you have vision, determination, and an endless supply of expendable labor."


;) ;) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-19-2007, 06:52 AM

Welcome to the National Portrait Gallery:


Oh my! :) http://www.npg.org.uk/fashion/

(f) Have a lovely Monday. (f)

Carpe Diem,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the chewing-on-his leash Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-19-2007, 06:58 AM
(y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

Sixties Fashion:


:o Wow! Mary Quant: A New Approach: Chelsea 1955–1967:


;) Check out the John Galliano corsets.......;)

(f) Enjoy!

(o) Off to run errands and it is truly another brilliantly sunny day.

Carpe Diem,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-19-2007, 07:14 AM
(f) (l)

(*) There are several palaces you can choose to visit.......


(p) http://www.historicroyalpalaces.org/images/image_dianapow.jpg

(l) http://www.historicroyalpalaces.org/Images/989CEE_MarioTestino_002.jpg

Diana, Princess of Wales, by Mario Testino at Kensington Palace

From 24 November 2005 until 1 July 2007

(l) A stunning new exhibition of photographs of Diana, Princess of Wales, alongside a display of her elegant evening dresses. (*) Including the blue silk velvet dress that Diana wore in 1985 on the night she danced with John Travolta at the White House. (l)


(y) (l) I'm going to the Diana Retrospective at Kensington Palace. It's only a five hour flight over the pond to get to London. Fares are low. Why not go? :) Make it a long weekend and enjoy other places I really grew to love in London from many previous visits.

(o) I am now off to the airlines' web sites to check on reservations. :) Why not go? Wyatt will be okay for a couple of nights with a pet sitter.

(l) Princess Diana is one of my heroines, after lady aviatrixes like Amelia Earhardt. (l) (l)

(f) Have a delightful Monday and rest of your week.


Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-20-2007, 08:06 PM

Living Online — With Dream House, Job, Friends — May Be Preferable For Some

SAN FRANCISCO, July 31, 2006

Quote: "Our goal with Second Life is to make it better than real life in a lot of ways."

(CBS) When reality gets hard to take, there's an escape to a parallel universe — a virtual world without end where real people create online personas called avatars. Anything is possible.

Catherine Smith showed CBS News correspondent Jerry Bowen that her avatar has "red hair" and "big nice cool glasses."

"This is my deck overlooking the beach, and I've got neighbors that have a giant pirate ship," Smith explained.

Smith can't afford a beach house in real life. But in Second Life, the online game created by her employer, Linden Lab, she — and nearly 100,000 other subscribers who pay $10 a month — can have that and more.

"You can go skydiving and not be afraid of dying; you could become a wild animal, something that you could never do in real life," she said.

As hard as this may be to believe, there is real money changing hands among the players in these games, Bowen reports. An estimated $1 billion worldwide is spent by users buying and selling virtual goods, such as furniture for virtual houses and clothing for their avatars. But it's paid for with real-world credit cards — at Second Life alone, $6 million a month.

"I put in 40 hours a week easy," said Shannon Grei, who supports herself in Medford, Ore., by making virtual clothes for avatars in that other world.

"I couldn't believe that it was really, that it was real, that you could even do that, and it just blew my mind, it still blows my mind," Grei laughs.

She's not alone.

"What we have here is a virtual loft of sorts that we created for the artist Regina Spektor," says Ethan Kaplan of Warner Bros. Records, which has set up shop to publicize the pop singer's music.

"Our goal with second life is to make it better than real life in a lot of ways," says Phillip Rosedale, Linden Lab's CEO and founder.

But there are real-life problems. Hackers have tried to shut it down. Who do they call when hackers strike?

"We generally call the FBI," Rosedale said.

But it doesn't stop there. Second Life itself is being sued in the real world over virtual land deals that went bad. And in China, a man was sentenced to life in prison for murdering a friend who sold the prized sword he'd loaned him — a virtual weapon that existed only in cyberspace.

Meantime, the possibilities are seemingly endless. That's what creators of Second Life and other sites expect will draw the generations that grew up on video games: The chance to create their own alternative identity in a virtual world.

In fact, Bowen says he can't resist.

There's one job he's always wanted — and before Katie Couric gets on board, he went for it. The beauty is, Bob Schieffer will never know.

"This is the CBS Evening News with Jerry Bowen," a virtual Bowen said from a virtual anchor desk.

And that's the way it is ... in the virtual world.


Real people are spending real money to enjoy a virtual world:


:o :o

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-20-2007, 08:07 PM
:) :)

Living in a Virtual World Gets a Little Easier

By Dan Muse

February 5, 2007

It's a question that's beginning to permeate small and mid-sized business: Can virtual technologies solve real problems?

Based on comments from analysts and products from VMware, the bellwether company of the virtualization market, the answer appears to be a yes.

And that "yes" is a little more definitive based on an announcement by VMware. Today, the company introduced VirtualCenter for VMware Server, a new bundle designed to provide SMBs using the free VMware Server with what's designed to be an easy-to-use and cost-effective way to manage a virtual server infrastructure.

"There's a real problem of server sprawl [in small and mid-sized business] — two, three or four servers become 15, 20 or 30 servers," Ben Matheson, director of product management at VMware, said. He added that those servers are not well-utilized. Typically, he said, only 10-15 percent of a server's resources are used.

"More servers mean paying more for hardware, using more space, spending more on electricity, needing more air conditioning. Hardware costs associated with server sprawl is a problem for SMBs," Matheson said.

Apparently, small businesses are aware of the problem. Matheson said that of the 1.2 million downloads of VMware Server (which has been available since July), 70 percent are by SMBs. "SMBs are adopting it in droves," he said "We expect that to accelerate in coming years."

VMware Server's popularity with small businesses doesn't surprise Jean Bozman, senior vice president Worldwide Server Group at IDC, a Framingham, Mass.-based research firm. Most people tend to think that virtualization means larger enterprise, she said, "but when you go to conferences like VMworld, and when you look more closely, there are a lot small businesses."

SMBs are adopting virtualization because it lowers the total cost of their IT infrastructure while providing flexibility not possible with a purely physical environment, according to Matheson. For example, VMware Server works with both Linux and Windows servers and lets you partition a physical server into multiple virtual machines. VirtualCenter is designed to provide a way to manage the virtual servers running under VMware Server.

Another tool that helps SMBs quickly move to a virtual world is VMware Converter, which was released last month, also for no charge. The tool is designed to help migrate physical systems to a virtualized infrastructure. That is, as its name implies, it automates the process of converting physical services into virtual ones.

"Virtualization is a different way of thinking about what you have. Business have lot of servers and anything to automate the process helps," Bozman said. "Businesses are bringing in newer servers with more power. They are going from one core to dual core. They are getting more of everything in the same physical space."

Products such as VMware Server and VMware Converter help you move your physical servers to a virtual infrastructure, but, Bozman said, "then you need some type of dashboard to manage it. I like to think of it as virtualization and visualization." She added that as SMBs start to use VMware Server to create virtual environments, "they are asking themselves, 'Do I have the skills to manage that?' and VMware is saying, 'We know that you don't.' And that's where VirtualCenter comes in.

Charles King, principal analyst with PundIT, agrees that the new management suite is well-suited to SMBs who don't have the resources to manage or hire an IT person to handle virtual infrastructure. "It's a good solution for businesses that don't have that kind of expertise on hand. It doesn't make sense to save $50,000 to $100,000 [by moving to a virtual environment] and then spend $50,000 - $80,000 too hire someone to manage it."

What Does VirtualCenter Really Do

To help you manage that virtual world is what VMware VirtualCenter suite (which includes VMware Server) is designed to do. It provides "an easy on-ramp to virtualization, allowing you to centralize physical and virtual server management by providing a single pane of glass," Matheson said. By using that single interface to monitor virtual servers, you can better optimize server capacity and make better decisions about which servers to virtualize, Matheson said. You can also set up e-mail alerts to notify when your virtual servers hit thresholds such as CPU utilization.

VirtualCenter for VMware Server also speeds up the process of provisioning servers, Matheson said. "Provisioning a new [physical] server is traditionally very slow. It can take days or weeks to acquire hardware, load the OS, add backup agents and administer network settings." The capability for rapid server provisioning is designed to reduce the time needed to provision a server from days to minutes, he said.

To further help you create virtual servers, VirtualCenter let you create a library of templates making it faster to deploy new e-mail, Web server and database servers, Matheson said.

The new virtualization management bundle with one VirtualCenter for VMware Server, three agents and enterprise-class support, including unlimited 30-day support from VMware, has a list price of $1,500. Or you can purchase VirtualCenter for VMware Server separately for $1,000 plus $400 per agent per physical server managed. Enterprise-class support for VMware Server sells for $350 for a one-year subscription per two processors.

Where Do You Go From Here?

"2007 will be a pretty interesting year for VMware," King said. "There are lots of x86 products with robust commercial offerings: Microsoft Virtual Server, XEN Server and Virtual Iron," he said, to name a few. "But what VMware has that those companies don't is experience. It has the products and the presence in the market. The number of [VMware Server] downloads going to small businesses is good news for VMware."

"Virtualization is not just some weird technology. It's a viable solution that makes life easier."


(y) (y) (y)

:) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-20-2007, 08:09 PM
(h) 8-| (h) 8-| (h) 8-|

Living and learning in a virtual world

Daniel Terdiman CNET Hardware

Published: 12 Feb 2007 13:32 GMT

Among those who study and write about online communities, few people are as well-regarded as Howard Rheingold.

The author of 2002's Smart Mobs, which opened up a global conversation about how technology can augment or foster collective action or intelligence, Rheingold has become a frequent speaker at tech conferences such as ETech and NetSquared and consults with organisations such as The Institute for the Future.

Rheingold was the founding executive editor of HotWired, an editor of the Whole Earth Review and now writes, lectures and teaches at universities in the US and England.

He speaks frequently on the subject of online communities and the ways that people can benefit, both financially and culturally, by building such communities.

Recently, Rheingold visited CNET's Second Life bureau for a conversation in the crowded theatre there. He talked about his current work, his teaching, his thoughts on the future of online communities and much more.

Q: To start, how do spend your time these days?

A: I hang out online, a lot. One thing that most people don't notice is that nine months of the year, when I am hanging out online, I am also barefoot in my garden. About 20 years ago, I wrote "A slice of life in my virtual community", and I have been working on updating that. So I am climbing the learning curve and putting together a video. I email, IM, the usual. I also have about 100 feeds in my RSS reader. I maintain three blogs, a couple of wikis, and I stash URLs in Delicious. I still hang out in virtual communities, and after teaching myself video, the next on my list is learning my way around Second Life. And now I teach one day a week. Autumn at UC Berkeley, winter at Stanford. I do a week as a visiting lecturer in the UK in the autumn. And I pay my rent mostly through speaking gigs.

What are you teaching?

Participatory Media/Collective Action at the UC School of Information — Smart Mobs 101. And Digital Journalism at Stanford. It's an expensive hobby — professors don't get paid too well — but it's really a thrill, and scary. It's easy to give one of three talks to different audiences around the world. It's another thing to walk into a room full of students weekly who have paid good money and expect me to teach them something. And with Wi-Fi in the classroom, I have to be more interesting than Facebook, Second Life, World of Warcraft and IM at all times. But we use wikis and blogs a lot in class, and I try to make it as participatory as possible.

You mentioned that you're spending a lot of time online. What is interesting you the most?

I guess I'm an information junkie, so of course I have to feed on RSS for an hour every morning. And I wander wherever the links lead, stashing useful stuff in wikis and Delicious along the way. It's all pretty unstructured. Right now, the most exciting and frustrating part is video. My instincts tell me that it's the new vernacular and I better figure out how to get in on it. Like most people, I probably get three video links in the mail every morning, and that just leads to more browsing. So I figured that if I want to update my article, I should show and not just tell, so I want to combine video of me in my office and garden with screenshots that show exactly what I do every day.

Have you followed the controversy over the size of the Second Life population? Does it matter? How large does an online community need to be to matter?

I did follow that, and I've commented on [writer and New York University professor] Clay [Shirky's] blog. I like the Darwinian nature of the blogosphere. There's always someone who can keep you honest. And 10 years ago, I had an online community dot-com, so I know the numbers game is kind of bogus. I read something yesterday that noted that journalists are barking up the wrong tree with the numbers game. Second Life is a playground for early adopters. As far as I am concerned, tens of thousands of people who are actively creating new stuff are more interesting than millions of more passive participants.

You noted on your blog recently the emergence of "sock mob". There's also, obviously "flash mobs", and I'm sure other forms of "mobs". What's your take on this extrapolation of your terminology?

Yeah, "mob" is a loaded term — and that was deliberate. I'm very interested in collective action, but I've been accused of being too utopian. Some collective action is nasty, and I don't want to leave that possibility out — like sock mobs, individuals who create crowds of [virtual] sock puppets to bully people online. My success at naming virtual communities and smart mobs is somewhat constraining to me.

How so?

I can't invent these things. I can only perceive them. So I have to wait for something big on the horizon to write another book.

How do you feel the nature of online communities has changed in the last couple of years?

Some things about online social behaviour seem to be eternal and universal — trolls and griefers and the eternal meta-debate about what to do about them, for example. There's a widespread amnesia, as if these kinds of cybersocialising were new. Not many people online have much sense of history. That's probably true of just about everything. What I really like is…

…that it's so easy to roll your own these days. It used to be a big deal to set up your own chat or BBS or listserv. Now it's part of the toolset for millions of people, and it's mostly free. My main concern has always been about the quality of online discourse — are we improving or degrading the public sphere?

What did you think of Time magazine's naming "You" as person of the year? Time usually names a phenomenon when it mainstreams.

Although it's typical that they used "You" — as opposed to "Us", the editors — instead of "Us". But it mainstreams commons-based peer production, which is way too stuffy a term for most people. The idea that people only act for profit is pernicious and outmoded. Sometimes, self-interest adds up to more for everyone. And sometimes, if it's easy enough, most people will do things for altruistic purposes. The research on open-source production seems to indicate that a mixture of motives is necessary for creating public goods such as open-source software, Wikipedia, etc. Reputation, profit, learning, fun, altruism. Profit is in there, for sure. It's just not the only motivation.

You are a Burning Man veteran. What kind of parallels do you see between Burning Man and virtual worlds and online communities?

Without email, Burning Man never would have gotten off the ground, and of course there are countless mail lists and wikis used by the various camps to organise their act. And Burning Man is a great example of commons-based peer production and that mixture of motives — except there isn't much profit in spending all year and thousands of dollars planning, hauling, constructing and burning Big Art. I see a real continuity in the Dionysian dimension — rock and roll, acid tests, raves and Burning Man are an evolutionary continuum. I'd say that Dionysians are getting better at it.

Nite Zelmanov [from the audience] asks: Are we improving or degrading the public sphere? Is the signal-to-noise ratio of modern mob communications too low to really enrich us, or is this unprecedented collaboration actually leading to a better informed, better educated and more empowered public?

I really think an educational effort is called for — in the broadest sense. In the olden days, Usenet veterans would teach netiquette to newcomers. Every September, jillions of new college students would come online and people would take time to educate them — not always gently. But then AOL dumped three million people on the net without instruction and it became the September that never ended. I personally think that the importance of online discourse ought to be taught in high school, but public education changes slowly. My latest effort is Participatory Media Literacy. I'm trying to find some funding to set up after-school and summer programmes to teach participatory media as an avenue to civic engagement about issues that young people care about.

Polysilox Apogee [from the audience] asks: Are you familiar with the [Sun co-founder] Bill Joy and [high-tech inventor] Ray Kurzweil debate? And what are your thoughts about where digital becomes a part of the real day-to-day world, like foglets and nano and all that stuff?

I'm concerned about autonomous technology, so I'm sympathetic to Bill Joy's concerns. One always has to take Kurzweil seriously because he has solved some hard problems, but I am reminded of [inventors] Bucky Fuller and Doug Engelbart. Engineers often have a somewhat limited vision about consequences. Let's put it this way. There is a lot of money available to flog the benefits of untested technologies, but the only people besides Bill Joy who worry about the consequences seem to be either obscure academics, or sceptics like [computer specialist] Cliff Stoll who have their own set of blinders. Langdon Winner is a brilliant technology critic, but who here has heard of him? Deep and broad and thoughtful technology criticism isn't that popular.


(y) (y) (y) Very very cool. (y)

Carpe Diem,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-20-2007, 08:17 PM
(y) (y) (y)

Fortune's David Kirkpatrick reports on why IBM's Sam Palmisano and other tech leaders think Second Life could be a gold mine.

By David Kirkpatrick, Fortune senior editor

January 23 2007: 2:24 PM EST

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Last November in Beijing, IBM gathered 2,000 employees, with 5,000 more watching on the web, to unveil a series of global initiatives on digital storage, branchless banking, and the like. During the presentation, CEO Sam Palmisano walked up to an onstage PC, logged onto the online three-dimensional virtual world called Second Life, and took command of the cartoon-like "avatar" that represents him there.

He then visited a version of Beijing's Forbidden City built on virtual real estate, dropping by an IBM (Charts) meeting where avatars controlled by employees in Australia, Florida, India, Ireland, and elsewhere were discussing supercomputing. Among the initiatives announced by Palmisano that day: a $10 million project to help build out the "3-D Internet" exemplified by Second Life.

By early January more than 3,000 IBM employees had acquired their own avatars, and about 300 were routinely conducting company business inside Second Life. "The 3-D Internet may at first appear to be eye candy," Palmisano writes in an e-mail interview, "but don't get hung up on how frivolous some of its initial uses may seem." He calls 3-D realms such as Second Life the "next phase of the Internet's evolution" and says they may have "the same level of impact" as the first Web explosion.

There's no question that Second Life's initial uses have gotten a lot of media attention in recent months. And indeed, Second Life's admixture of fantasy and reality is intoxicating. The software you download from www.secondlife.com lets you imagine you're stepping inside your PC's screen to inhabit and move about in a brightly colored, three-dimensional world that resembles Grand Theft Auto crossed with Lord of the Rings.
How real money works in Second Life

Within that digital realm you can go anywhere (though some areas are private). There are stores, beaches, golf courses, bars, ski areas, high-rise office buildings, fantastical anime cities, medieval role-playing regions, and sex clubs - lots and lots of sex clubs. Many people indulge their lascivious fantasies, trading sweet nothings via text while triggering little X-rated animations. Like many new technologies, including videotapes and the Internet itself, much of Second Life's growth appears to be driven by lust for the pleasures of the electronic flesh.

None of that is created by Linden Lab, the 110-employee San Francisco company behind Second Life. It's all hatched by the users. Indeed, members invent not only the world but themselves: Each person dreams up his own avatar. A control panel allows you to adjust your avatar's body, including eye color, cheek thickness, pant length, and girth. You can make it resemble your real self, or someone - or something - else. Want to look like Britney Spears? No problem. Perhaps you'd like to be a crocodile with a chef's hat? You can do that too.

Once you've designed yourself, you can walk around the virtual world, using the arrow keys on your keyboard. If you'd prefer, you can fly. You see the world on your screen from the vantage point of your avatar. One thing you'll always see: a lot of other avatars. It's a highly social medium.

That's a big part of Second Life's allure. If the Web offered people the liberation of communicating with almost anyone, Second Life gives you the chance to meet people in wildly varying contexts, and do it in a body you created. (This may explain why so many avatars appear buff, invitingly dressed, and about 20 years old.) It offers endless social possibilities with people around the globe - text chat is ubiquitous, and voice conversation is coming - and the sort of exploration that keeps its fans glued to their screens for hours.

This virtual world - don't call it a game - has become a phenomenon: Second Life, which is free for casual use, has about 334,000 regular visitors. More than 2.6 million have checked it out, a figure that in mid-January was growing by about 20,000 per day.

But what's beginning to catch the attention of IBM and other huge corporations is something potentially far more profound than a new online pastime. It's the ability to use Second Life as a platform for a whole new Net - this one in 3-D and even more social than the original - with huge opportunities to sell products and services.

Bill Gurley, a venture capitalist with Benchmark Capital, says he invested in Second Life because it's like Microsoft (Charts) or eBay (Charts) - a venue in which thousands of ancillary businesses can sprout. (Gurley, a former Fortune columnist, is now on Linden's board.)

The company's backers include some of the world's smartest, richest, and most successful tech entrepreneurs. The chairman and first big outside investor is Mitch Kapor, creator of Lotus 1-2-3, the spreadsheet application that helped begin the PC software revolution. Other investors include eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, Amazon (Charts) CEO Jeff Bezos, and Microsoft chief technology architect (and inventor of Lotus Notes) Ray Ozzie - each credited with a seminal networked product of our age.

They think Second Life may be next, and some respected tech pundits agree. Says Mark Anderson, author of the Strategic News Service newsletter: "In two years I think Second Life will be huge, probably as large as the entire gaming community is today."

In the case of IBM, it's not just a matter of touting the wonders of Second Life; it's really using it - both as a business opportunity and as an internal tool. Ian Hughes, one of the company's "metaverse evangelists" - an actual title - says Second Life stimulates collaboration among a dispersed workforce. ("Metaverse," a word coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel, Snow Crash, is gaining currency as the generic name for virtual worlds.)
Cars of Second Life

"We're all used to teleconferences," says Hughes. "But in Second Life we gather and mingle before the meeting, and when it finishes, some people stop and talk again. We start to form social networks and the kinds of bonds you make in real life." Hughes, whose Second Life handle is ePredator Potato, often attends IBM meetings as a pudgy avatar with spiky green hair.

But while the immersive 3-D environment that Second Life is pioneering could shape the way we interact online, it's not certain that Linden Lab will be the main beneficiary. Second Life's software is so hard to use that fewer than one in six who try it are still online 30 days later. Linden's servers frequently falter under the weight of its growing audience, and critical functions such as search sometimes break down. Though Second Life is the biggest virtual world, the company remains minuscule - 2006 revenues were less than $11 million - and competitors are nipping at its heels. They, too, smell opportunity.

When Second Life opened in June 2003, there was nothing there, nowhere to go, and nobody to see. CEO Philip Rosedale had made the surprising decision to leave Second Life empty. Colleagues argued for inventing a game to show what was possible, but Rosedale, now 38, thought the service would work best if it let users create their own world.

Says venture capitalist Jed Smith, an early investor who sits on Linden's board: "We decided then to be a platform and not a game." Not incidentally, that meant Linden - unlike the purveyors of popular online games such as World of Warcraft - wouldn't have to spend any money creating its content.

At first, Second Life seemed destined for oblivion. Only 1,000 people were regularly visiting after five months, and money was running out. Smith and Kapor, who had invested the lion's share, considered pulling the plug. But they were astonished by the creativity of Second Life's few denizens. They were dreaming up cities, jungles, games, clubs and all manner of idiosyncratic avatars.

Impressed by this passion, Kapor wrote another seven-figure check, and Second Life relaunched in January 2004, this time with more focus on user creativity and in-world entrepreneurship. Linden took the advice of Lawrence Lessig, the Stanford Law School guru on intellectual property, who recommended letting users own their own content. That, he argued, would encourage them to create more.

The company also made it possible to exchange Second Life's currency, called Linden dollars, for the real thing (taking a fee along the way). Residents could thus build, own, or sell their digital creations. Second Life had become a real economy.

And Linden changed its business model. It began generating revenues primarily from the sale of virtual land. So far Linden has sold 3,500 private islands, each equivalent to 16 acres in the real world. (The world inside Second Life currently occupies about 150 square miles. But it's growing, and as population increases, Linden simply creates more digital real estate.) Each island costs $1,675 to purchase and $295 monthly to maintain; some buyers subdivide their land and rent or sell it at a profit.

In essence, customers are renting space on the 1,750 servers that store the digital representation of the land. One of the biggest landowners is IBM, which rules over 24 islands. Since Linden revamped its business model to focus on real estate, users and revenues have grown at least 10 percent every month.

n this realm any resident can become an entrepreneur. There are nightclub owners, jewelry makers, landscapers and even pet manufacturers. In December, Linden Lab estimated that 17,000 residents had positive cash flow in Linden dollars, with about 450 generating monthly income in excess of $1,000 (that's U.S.).

One resident, whose avatar is known as Anshe Chung, has become a celebrity of sorts by claiming to have accumulated a real-world net worth of more than $1 million in Second Life real estate. She now employs 30 people in China who build things and otherwise improve the land she buys and develops for resale. Another Second Lifer developed a gambling game called Tringo, a cross between Tetris and Bingo. It became so popular that it has been licensed for Nintendo's Game Boy advance. These days, about $600,000 is spent daily throughout Second Life, for an annual GDP of about $220 million.

Some of that money is going to Nike (Charts), Sony BMG, Toyota (Charts), Sun, Starwood, and many others, which have operations in Second Life. Some sell virtual clothing and other merchandise for avatars; some even move real product. IBM has built stores for Circuit City and Sears, where, for example, you can mock up a kitchen with Sears appliances to see how it would look.

ABN Amro, the Dutch bank, recently opened an office in Second Life that will offer information about products and services as well as job openings. (Experts are already warning companies to avoid the pushy, ham-handed early Web marketing that enraged Net devotees. Second Lifers have taken flaming to new levels of imagination: One group that opposes virtual real estate development pelted Anshe Chung with a barrage of flying phalluses.)

All these enterprises need guidance and help building things. Linden Lab counts 65 companies that have sprung up inside Second Life to serve real-world business customers. CTO Cory Ondrejka says about 350 people work full-time for such companies, and there are at least $10 million worth of such projects underway.

For now Linden is enjoying its moment in the limelight and trying to cope with the infrastructure-straining influx of new visitors. That's not a minor problem: If its servers crash or its software is hard to use, Linden risks missing its chance to enchant millions of new users. In part to address that, and because of its belief that customers should be in control, Linden has taken another radical step: It announced that the software that residents use to view and navigate Second Life would become available for anyone to examine and modify. The aim is to speed up improvements. Eventually Linden intends to reveal the code for every aspect of Second Life.

CEO Rosedale hopes that other companies' virtual worlds will interoperate with Second Life. That could benefit Linden so long as it remains the biggest operator.

"Say IBM uses our code to build its own intranet version that's somewhat different from Second Life," he says. "A user may say 'Wow, this virtual thing IBM has built is pretty cool. Now I want to go to the mainland.' And we have another customer." In effect, Linden hopes to control the standards for virtual worlds so that they become the equivalent of the HTTP and HTML standards that define the web.

That could lead to what Rosedale thinks will be Linden's greatest long-term opportunity: running some of the lucrative services necessary to keep all these linked virtual worlds functioning smoothly. "We can recreate Google's business in this environment," Rosedale says, not to mention Network Solutions' web-address registration business and Paypal's online-payments system.

Easier said than done, of course. Metaverses will become a very competitive field, says Irving Wladawsky- Berger, vice president for technical strategy at IBM. These are just the earliest days of exploration, and needless to say, the outcome is anything but certain. "Today," says Wladawsky- Berger, "virtual worlds are where video and VCRs were in the early 1980s, or where the Web was in 1993."


(y) (y) (y) (y) That last quote sums it up really well, IMHO. Opportunities abound. The question in my view is "how can I be of service to others by using my gifts, talents and leveraging my work and life experiences?" It has been my mantra for almost two decades.

(y) Parallel work projects/activities - consulting, writing for publication, creating, coaching, the list of verbs goes on. At middle age? Working for yourself is absolutely the way to go, at least for me. I have not workeed for an "employer" for 15 years. :) I can't even imagine working a 9 to 5 job. Lady of the evening that I am. Hey - that's when I have my highest energy levels....;) When the stars are out. (*)

Have a lovely Wednesday. (f)

Carpe Diem,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-20-2007, 08:22 PM
(o) (o) (o) (o) (o)

Beginning in 2007, most of the United States begins Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November. In the U.S., each time zone switches at a different time.

In the European Union, Summer Time begins and ends at 1:00 a.m. Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time). It begins the last Sunday in March and ends the last Sunday in October. In the EU, all time zones change at the same moment.



Daylight-saving bug could foil computers

POSTED: 11:16 a.m. EST, February 19, 2007

For three weeks this March and April, Microsoft Corp. warns that users of its calendar programs "should view any appointments ... as suspect until they communicate with all meeting invitees."

Wow, that's sort of jarring -- is something treacherous afoot?

Actually, it's a potential problem in any software that was programmed before a 2005 law decreed that daylight-saving time would start three weeks earlier and end one week later, beginning this year. Congress decided that more early evening daylight would translate into energy savings.

Software created earlier is set to automatically advance its timekeeping by one hour on the first Sunday in April, not the second Sunday in March (that's March 11 this year).

The result is a glitch reminiscent of the Y2K bug, when cataclysmic crashes were feared if computers interpreted the year 2000 as 1900 and couldn't reconcile time appearing to move backward. This bug is much less threatening, but it could cause head-scratching episodes when some computers are an hour off.

The problem won't show up only in computers, of course. It will affect plenty of non-networked devices that store the time and automatically adjust for daylight saving, like some digital watches and clocks. But in those instances the result will be a nuisance (adjust the time manually or wait three weeks) rather than something that might throw a wrench in the works.

Cameron Haight, a Gartner Inc. analyst who has studied the potential effects of the daylight-saving bug, said it might force transactions occurring within one hour of midnight to be recorded on the wrong day. Computers might serve up erroneous information about multinational teleconference times and physical-world appointments.

"Organizations could face significant losses if they are not prepared," the Information Technology Association of America cautioned this week.

Dave Thewlis, who directs CalConnect, a consortium that develops technology standards for calendar and scheduling software, said it is hard to know how widespread the problem will be.

That's because the world is full of computer systems that have particular methods for accounting for time of day. In many, changing the rules around daylight saving is a snap, but in others, it may be more complex.

"There's no rule that says you have to represent time in a certain way if you write a program," Thewlis said. "How complicated it is to implement the change has to do with the original design, where code is located."

Further confounding matters, there are lots of old computer programs whose original vendors don't support them anymore, meaning there's no repair available. Some gadgets, such as VCR clocks, may not have any mechanism to update their software.

Also, the change originated in the United States and is being followed in Canada, but not most other nations. That could befuddle conferencing systems and other applications that run in multiple countries at once.

In our hyper-networked age with data synchronizing on the fly _ each year, it seems, there are fewer clocks that we have to manually change for daylight-saving time -- it might be hard to imagine that computers' time could fall out of whack. After all, computers seamlessly keep their clocks in line by occasionally checking with "time servers" run by the government and other parties.

But what those time servers provide is "Universal Time" or Greenwich Mean Time. You tell your computer where in the world it is, and it performs the requisite adjustment to Universal Time. PCs on Eastern Standard Time now are subtracting five hours from Universal Time, but in daylight-saving time they will subtract four.

A common fix is a "patch" that reprograms systems with the updated start and end dates for daylight-saving time. Some of these updates are targeted at specific systems, while others have wider implications -- such as one from Sun Microsystems Inc. for older versions of the Java Runtime Environment, which often fuels applications on computers and Web pages.

Microsoft planned to send its daylight-saving patch to Windows PCs with the "automatic update" feature Tuesday. Users with automatic updates turned off should download the patch from Microsoft. (New machines running Windows Vista are immune, since Vista was finalized after the 2005 law passed.)

However, computers running anything older than the most recent version of Windows XP, known as Service Pack 2, no longer get this level of tech support.

Owners of those PCs should go into the control panel and unclick the setting that tells the machine to automatically change the clock for daylight-saving time. They have to make the change themselves when the moment arrives. (This is a sizable population; according to Gartner, Windows 2000 alone was still running 14 percent of PCs worldwide last year.)

For people who store their appointments in Microsoft Outlook or other desktop-based calendar programs -- rather than dynamic, Web-based programs such as Google Calendar -- the situation gets trickier. Patches for calendar programs are available, but appointments entered before a patch was applied might still be registered in standard time rather than daylight time -- off by an hour.

Microsoft advises heavy calendar users to go online and download a small program known as "tzmove" -- Time Zone Move -- that can retrofit all previously booked appointments to the new daylight-saving rules. Other vendors offer similar tools for their systems.

Of course, it's likely not everyone would take that step, said Rich Kaplan, a Microsoft customer service vice president who oversaw the company's Y2K efforts and heads daylight-saving preparations. Hence Microsoft's advice to be cautious about meetings between March 11 and April 1.

"Because if one person applied the update, and one person didn't," he said, "you could end up there at the wrong time."


^o) Yea, yea, yea - just like December 31, 1999 was going to be the end as we knew it with all of the Y2K hoopla. Nothing happened.

(y) Seems like another MONTH of more light is a good thing. (o) Although I'm not a big fan of "springing ahead......." ;)

(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-20-2007, 08:24 PM
:D :D :D

:) A bit out of date - but the center and its use of the film caught my eye:

Posted on Thu, Feb. 01, 2007

The enlightened 'Groundhog'

Tomorrow is a big day for Buddhists who find spiritual meaning in the 1993 Bill Murray film about a man reliving the same day over and over.

By Jeff Gammage

Inquirer Staff Writer

It appears on TV every year about this time, that deep and moving parable of Buddhist belief and enlightenment: Groundhog Day. The Bill Murray flick.

You thought the movie was a light Hollywood comedy. The tale of an egotistical weatherman forced to relive the same day again and again.

It is, of course. But to Buddhists who explore its meaning at seminars and Web sites like Dharmawood, Groundhog Day is a sly allegory on the nature and complexity of their faith.

"It shouts out to you," said George Heckert, the Buddhist director of the Philadelphia Meditation Center in Havertown.

This month, as it does every February, the center will hold a free screening of Groundhog Day and a discussion of its inner themes. For those who wish to come prepared, cable's Comedy Channel will show the film six times in 26 hours, beginning tomorrow - the real Groundhog Day - at 10 a.m.

"It's a very Buddhist movie," said Ken Klein, of the Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia in Upper Darby. "It has all sorts of layers."

In the 1993 film, Murray plays cynical, self-important Phil Connors, a Pittsburgh TV weatherman sent to cover an assignment he loathes: the Groundhog Day festivities in tiny Punxsutawney, Pa.

"A thousand people freezing their butts off, waiting to worship a rat," he gripes.

Following the ceremony, a blizzard strands Connors in town, and when he wakes the next morning, it's Groundhog Day again. And again, and again, and again.

Connors tries everything to break the cycle - including driving off a cliff with a kidnapped Punxsutawney Phil at the wheel - but not even death can free him.

To Buddhist fans, Connors' endlessly recurring day illustrates samsara, the circle of birth and rebirth.

"The word reincarnation is never mentioned, yet it's such an obvious metaphor," said Paul Schindler Jr., an Oregon teacher whose writings on the film include the online column "Groundhog Day: The Movie, Buddhism and Me."

Connors' arrogance obstructs his enlightenment. Only when he surrenders his ego - "I don't even exist anymore" - does he achieve anatta, emptiness of self, and begin to practice seva, service to others without expectation of reward.

By devoting himself to his fellow man, by fixing a flat tire for a carload of old ladies and trying to save the life of a homeless man, Connors starts to escape his eternal Feb. 2.

"He has the chance to see the consequences of his actions," said Alex DeVaron, a Buddhist who heads the Shambhala Meditation Center in Center City.

"The rest of us aren't so lucky, because we don't get to do days over," DeVaron said. But "we can try not to make the same mistakes."

In the end, Connors emerges into the light of a new day - and, of course, gets the girl, played by Andie MacDowell. To Buddhists, his ability to break free and move forward symbolizes the attainment of nirvana.

"We are the groundhog," said Dean Sluyter, Buddhist chaplain at Northern State Prison in Newark, N.J., and author of Cinema Nirvana: Enlightenment Lessons From the Movies. "If we get transfixed by our own shadow... we're condemned to this redundant, selfish side of life."

Today, Groundhog Day ranks among the funniest movies of all time, according to the American Film Institute. Its title has become part of the lexicon, shorthand for any miserable event that occurs over and over.

In their first meeting, screenwriter Danny Rubin and director Harold Ramis touched on Buddhism, Rubin said in an e-mail interview. But over the years, Rubin said, he's received correspondence from Catholics, Jews and atheists, not to mention Nietzsche scholars, who see their beliefs in the film.

"Truth is, I only set out to tell an entertaining story," he said. "My approach was to create a human experiment: If a person could live long enough, more than a single lifetime, would he fundamentally change?"

A plot centered on one eternal life would have been unwieldy. Would the hero live through the French Revolution, he wondered, or into a futuristic world?

With a repeating day, what emerged were themes of rebirth and endless struggle, concepts familiar to many disciplines, but "maybe especially to Buddhists," Rubin said.

"I always thought of it as a young man's journey through life, like Siddhartha," he said, referring to author Hermann Hesse's spiritual seeker.

So is Groundhog Day a religious treatise? A comedy? Something else entirely?

"If I were giving them a grade, the Buddhists get A's on their papers," said Wesleyan University film expert Jeanine Basinger. "Art is made to reach the viewer, and whatever they find in it, intended or not, is valid."

To film historians, Basinger said, Groundhog Day represents superior editing and narrative control. It's no accident that people see different things in it, she said, because, like the best movies, it operates on many levels.

"I see something profound cinematically, and they see something profound spiritually," Basinger said. "And I think that's great."

If You Go

A free Groundhog Day screening will be held Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Meditation Center, 8 East Eagle Road, Havertown. Information: 610-853-8200 or www. philadelphiameditation.org.

For more on Punxsutawney Phil and tomorrow's Groundhog Day festivities, go to http://go.philly.com/punxsutawney



SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-20-2007, 08:26 PM
(f) (l) (f) (l) (f) (l)

"Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul: Where there is compassion, even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless."

- Eric Hoffer


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-20-2007, 08:27 PM
(f) (f) (f) (f)


Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the widow of aviator and conservationist Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr., was a noted writer and aviation pioneer.

Born June 22, 1906 in Englewood, New Jersey, Anne Morrow Lindbergh was the daughter of businessman, ambassador, and U.S. Senator Dwight Morrow and poet and women's education advocate Elizabeth Cutter Morrow. Her family spent summers at the seashore: Martha's Vineyard, Cape Cod and later on the island of North Haven off the coast of Maine. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College in 1928, and married Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr., on May 27, 1929.

Six children were born to the Lindberghs -- Charles A., III (deceased, 1932), Jon, Land, Anne (deceased, 1993), Scott and Reeve.

Much time during the early years of the Lindberghs' marriage was spent flying. Anne served as her husband's co-pilot, navigator and radio operator on history-making explorations, charting potential air routes for commercial airlines. They made air surveys across the continent and in the Caribbean to pioneer Pan American's air mail service. In 1931, they journeyed, in a single-engine airplane, over uncharted routes from Canada and Alaska to Japan and China, which she chronicled in her first book, North to the Orient. They then completed, in the same single-engine Lockheed "Sirius," a five-and-one-half-month, 30,000-mile survey of North and South Atlantic air routes in 1933 (the subject of Anne Lindbergh's book, Listen! the Wind). Charles characterized this expedition as more difficult and hazardous than his epic New York-to-Paris flight in 1927 in the "Spirit of St. Louis."

The National Geographic Society awarded its Hubbard Gold Medal to Anne Lindbergh in 1934 for her accomplishments in 40,000 miles of exploratory flying over five continents with her husband. A year earlier, she had been honored with the Cross of Honor of the U.S. Flag Association for her part in the survey of transatlantic air routes. In 1993, Women in Aerospace presented her with a special Aerospace Explorer Award in recognition of her achievements and contributions to the aerospace field.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh was also the first licensed woman glider pilot in the United States.

In addition to North to the Orient and Listen! the Wind, Anne Lindbergh is the author of 11 other published books. They include Earth Shine, in which she wrote of being at Cape Kennedy for the first moon-orbiting flight and how that Apollo 8 flight and the pictures it sent back of Earth gave humankind "a new sense of Earth's richness and beauty;" The Steep Ascent, a novel that tells the story of a perilous flight made by a husband and wife; the inspirational and widely read Gift from the Sea, perhaps her best-known work; and five volumes of diaries and letters from the years 1922-1944.

Smith College, Amherst College, the University of Rochester and Gustavus Adolphus College have all presented honorary degrees to Mrs. Lindbergh. In addition, she has also been inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame, the National Women's Hall of Fame, and the Aviation Hall of Fame of New Jersey. She is also a recipient of the Christopher Award for the fifth volume of her diaries, War Within and Without.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh died February 7, 2001 at her second home in Vermont.

(h) (h) (h) (h)

(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-20-2007, 08:29 PM
(f) (l) (f) (l) (f)

"Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after."

"I feel we are all islands - in a common sea."

"I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living."

"One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few."

"The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what it was, nor forward to what it might be, but living in the present and accepting it as it is now."

(y) (y) (y) (y) (y)

Virtual ({)(}) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-20-2007, 08:32 PM
:) :) :)

by Erin Courtenay - Rome, Italy on 07. 6.06

Culture & Celebrity

Celebrity chef Michel Nischan is to cuisine what Danny Seo is to home décor - a public figure dedicated to bringing green ideas to mainstream America. Like Mr. Seo, chef Nischan has partnered with the LIME network to host a TV series on eco-living. His cooking program "Pure and Simple," combines kitchen demonstrations with on-the-scene travels by Nischan as he discovers new techniques and ingredients and brings them home to his kitchen on a sustainably run farm in the Hudson Valley. Seo and Nischan also share a knack for bringing celebrity spangle to the green movement, as demonstrated by Nischan's recent collaboration with Paul Newman. Some time this summer the pair will open the Dressing Room, a locally-grown organic restaurant next door to the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut. As an adjunct to the dining establishment, Nischan has also helped establish a new farmer's market that will run in the shared parking lot of the restaurant and playhouse.



THE DRESSING ROOM-Newman's Own., A Homegrown Restaurant:


"Like my mom, I have a large vegetable garden, and like my mom, I cook simple, healthful meals for my family. The difference is that she knew only Southern country cooking - the cooking of her childhood. As a professional chef with white-tablecloth training, I have learned a lot about various cultures and sophisticated cooking methods. I cooked my way around the world without ever leaving my kitchen. Yet something inside me kept pulling at me to return "home." I have spent a decade silently struggling to reconcile my culinary heritage, which is down-home American country, with my desire to to cook healthfully and to take good advantage of my excellent training. With this book, I have come to terms with all three elements."

- Michel Nischan from the Introduction to Homegrown Pure and Simple.


(h) (l) (h) (l) (h) (l)

Have a relaxing rest of your evening/morning and a lovely mid-week. (f)

Sun Thoughts,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-20-2007, 08:34 PM
(l) (l) (l) (l) (l)





The Kasbah du Toubkal is an extraordinary venture, the product of an imaginative Berber and European partnership. There is a shared belief that the beauty of the Toubkal National Park should be accessible to all who respect it. To this end the Kasbah has been transformed using traditional methods, from the home of a Feudal Caid into an unprecedented haven; one that provides a variety of accommodation and event possibilities to meet differing requirements. The Kasbah is a welcoming environment for those seeking comfortable mountain refuge, and for those who wish for superb rooms in a stunning setting. The Kasbah du Toubkal is not a hotel in the traditional sense, it is more an extension of the hospitality that stems from the home of the Berbers who run it

“It is worth flying out to Morocco for just one night in this remarkable hotel, a role model for how tourism can help, not hinder…”

- Barnaby Rogerson, Cadogan Guides

Beautiful Galleries of Photos (Definitely food for the soul and imagination):


(l) Definitely added to my list of places to visit. What a quiet, centuries-old place.....(l)

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-20-2007, 08:35 PM
:) (y) :)



Enjoy. (f)

(S) (S) Peaceful dreams tonight,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-20-2007, 08:42 PM
(l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l)


Southwestern Guesthouses & Art Gallery on 90 acres overlooking Bear Creek and the Gila Wilderness, near Silver City, New Mexico


I love it: http://www.casitasdegila.com/photos/stress.jpg



Imagine a nap here? http://www.casitasdegila.com/photos/hammock.jpg

(l) Rocks! http://www.casitasdegila.com/photos/creek.jpg

Lovely: http://www.casitasdegila.com/photos/arbdoor.jpg


"Evening is a very special time at Casitas de Gila. After a full day's activities, you'll be ready to fire up the barbecue grill outside your door and cook up your evening meal. While you're tending the grill, you'll notice that the mountains and cliffs across the creek are gradually turning from yellow, to orange, to fiery red in the light of the setting sun, eventually surrounding you in the soft, warm glow of their reflected light. Then, ever so slowly, as the shadows deepen further, a canopy of brilliant stars will magically emerge from the clear, southwestern New Mexico sky, in a spectacular display rarely seen in today's all-too-lit-up world.

Using the Casitas' star charts and high-power binoculars or spotting scope, you should easily find your heavenly favorites, and probably find some new ones as well. On clear, dark nights, Michael offers tours of the heavens through our 10-inch Orion dobsonian reflector telescope.

Guests are also welcome to bring their own equipment if they have some. One of our guests told us we had the darkest skies he'd ever experienced at mag 7.3+."

(*) (l) (*) :




(S) (S) After hiking and rockhounding during the day and stargazing at night - I could definitely fall asleep here:


(*) I hope that some folks enjoy "visiting" this amazing place as much as I did. Yet another place on my list of places to visit. Geez, what a wonderful place to own and operate! This is one of my fondest dreams - owning a B&B or ranch WAY out in a place such as this. Seems like many people love to visit it too - so the the owners must be making a decent living. Good for them.

<sigh> Such a heavenly dream........yet to be realized someday, hopefully within a couple of years.

Pleasant dreams, all.

Peace & Love,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-20-2007, 08:52 PM
(y) (y) (y)




Friday, 2 February 2007, 17:02 GMT

Firm offers 'terror-free' petrol

A "terror-free" petrol station has opened in the US city of Omaha.

The Terror-Free Oil Initiative (TFO), which runs the outlet, says none of its fuel comes from countries which it believes are supporting terrorism.

It currently uses only petrol from the US and Canada, rejecting supplies from the Middle East and elsewhere.

The TFO admits this is difficult on a large scale but says using its petrol will send a message to the big oil companies that customers want change.

The outlet is decorated to drive home its message. Along with the large Terror-Free signs, the pumps display a diagram of how the owners believe unscreened fuel funds the enemies of the US.

Perhaps most emotive is the TFO's logo, which combines the twin towers, the Pentagon and the United 93 designation of the fourth 9/11 plane.

In a statement, the group's spokesman Joe Kaufman, said: "We cannot help but feel held hostage to the whims of those that, if they weren't accepting our money, would instead accept our demise.

"Because of this, and other reasons as well, our quest is to get away from Middle Eastern oil altogether."

The station is reported to have had a quiet start, not helped by a nearby rival dropping its prices.


(y) (y) (y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-20-2007, 08:55 PM
(*) (*) (*) (*) (*)

A genius explains: http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,,1409903,00.html






(f) (f) (f) (f) (f) I definitely admire this person! (y) What an inspiration.

(o) (S) Time to rest the eyes (and mind and typing fingers...). Tomorrow is another day.

Carpe Diem,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-21-2007, 07:10 AM
(f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f)

(f) I wish these purple flowers came without the pink:


Cottage Farms Sweet Chariot Mini Roses Instant Deco Kit:


(y) (y) Gorgeous!

(f) Stephanotis:

It's no wonder why the deliciously scented, white flowers this plant produces are frequently used in bridal sprays! Also known as the Hawaiian wedding flower, this Stephanotis plant blossoms with numerous waxy, white, fragrant floral clusters. Excellent in the garden, it's also wonderful for trained climbers in pots or containers.

I love this (beauty to look at as well as wonderful scent..) but it's not meant for this area of the country.....where IS area 11 anyhow? Tropical like Hawaii? These are used in leis, so maybe.




Wrong color (for me) but definitely a long, long time favorite:


THIS is my favorite hydrangea colour:


Pretty as well, but blue is the best


Purplish Blue Hydrangeas? Heavenly:


(f) (f) Have a lovely Wednesday. (f)

Carpe Diem,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer

02-21-2007, 07:14 AM
(y) (f) (y) (f) (y) (f)

Of course the dog helped; she was womyn's best friend when she and her friend needed it most:


Updated: 4:22 p.m. ET Feb 20, 2007

GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. - Thanks to a high-tech electronic gadget and a big warm dog named Velvet, three climbers rescued after a harrowing fall and a night in the wind and cold high on Mount Hood are expected to be fine.

They were found at about the 7,400-foot level on Monday and hiked down the mountain with their rescuers.

“I’m really glad they were there for us,” Matty Bryant, one of the three climbers, said of the rescue teams. “They did an incredible job. They were amazing.”

Searchers credited the group’s rescue to two things — Velvet, a black Labrador mix who provided warmth as the three climbers huddled under sleeping bags and a tarp, and the activation of an emergency radio beacon the size of a sunglasses case that guided them to the group.

“The most important part of this rescue is that they did everything right,” said Lt. Nick Watt of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

The three climbers set out on Saturday with five other friends — all in the 20s and 30s and from the Portland area — to scale the 11,239-foot mountain, Oregon’s tallest.

‘No visual reference’
However, a storm moved in and on Sunday they started their descent in blowing snow.

“You had no visual reference around you to determine if you were going up or down,” said one member of the group, Trevor Liston. “You could make out a climber at 30 feet at best.”

Then he saw the group of three — all roped together with Velvet — disappear over an icy ledge.

Liston and the four others used a rope to lower one of their climbing party over the edge in an unsuccessful attempt to locate the trio.

Then they used a cell phone to call for help as the wind howled at up to 70 mph.

Liston, who described himself as a veteran of Mount Hood climbs, said all eight had experience at either rock climbing or mountaineering.

Extra security
They’d known about the Mount Hood disaster in which three climbers died in December. But Liston said that wasn’t the reason the group decided to take Mountain Locator Units, the small beacons that can send out radio signals to rescuers.

“We’ve been up on the mountain for many years,” Liston said. “With the group we were going up with this time, we just wanted another extra level of security, just in case something happened, especially with winter conditions.”

In addition to Bryant, 34, a teacher in the Portland suburb of Milwaukie, the rescued climbers included Kate Hanlon, 34, a teacher in the suburb of Wilsonville; and Christina Ridl, 26, whose occupation was not immediately known.

Ridl was being treated for a head injury in Portland, said Jim Strovink, spokesman for the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. “She’s going to be fine,” he said.

Velvet, owned by Bryant, had minor cuts and abrasions on her back paws and legs from prolonged exposure to the snow, but she was cleared to go home.

“The dog probably saved their lives” by lying across them during the cold night, said Erik Brom, a member of the Portland Mountain Rescue team.


(y) (y) (y)

(o) Off to run errands with Wyatt. Brilliantly sunny day......almost 50 degrees. (ip) Geez, almost tropical when compared with last week's bitter cold and ice and snow and sleet and....well, I think I'll focus on today's delightful weather. ;)

Warmest wishes and Sun Thoughts,

SWeetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-21-2007, 01:24 PM
(f) (f) (f) (f)

(f) English Lavender:


(f) Dwarf Jr. Series Garden Phlox:


(f) Blue Crown Passion Flower:


(f) Garden Delphinium Collection:





(f) Mystery Gardenia Collection:





8-| What a pleasant way to shop via the Internet for my dad's birthday coming up really soon. No crowds at the local Home Depot and these are also quite inexpensive when compared with retail prices!

:( Although pop is scheduled for serious surgery coming up soon, maybe he'll want to plant some of these things when he feels better. Or I can plant some......especially the ones that I can cut this carpet-like thing with scissors and simple lay over fresh farden soil. What could be easier than that?


^o) I have some reservations about the gardenia - since my mom hasn't been able to grow them for more than a year or two. (I saw these and thought of Mother's Day...)She had terrific luck a long time ago when she had a HUGE gardenia plant at my childhood home - and it (the plant that is) loved it there. Once it was moved, it slowly passed away over two years. Gardenias - ah, so beautiful and I love how they smell. But they are fickle plants....shrubs or whatever they are called "officially". :o

Have a darling Wednesday evening. (f)

(k) (k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-21-2007, 01:30 PM
:| :| :| :| :|



:) After getting back from running errands, I felt a "Summer Moment" for about half an hour earlier this afternmoon and started thinking (again) about really cold geographic climes. I would so love to visit during the Summer months, especially ANWR, among other extremely remote parts of Alaska.

(y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-21-2007, 01:45 PM
(y) (y) (y) (y)


"I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way. This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy. ... What kind of person could you get to run a small business if you told them that when they came in they couldn't get rid of people that they thought weren't any good? Not really great ones because if you're really smart you go, 'I can't win.' "

-- Apple CEO Steve Jobs, speaking to an education reform conference in Texas just before he was tackled and dragged off by members of Apple's education sales unit


(y) (y)

Steve Jobs, Proud to Be Nonunion

By Leander Kahney

02:00 AM Feb, 20, 2007

Steve Jobs makes a lot of sense when he's talking about music and copyright protection, but when the topic is schools, he seems to be on a different planet.

The teachers' unions, Jobs believes, are ruining America's schools because they prevent bad teachers from being fired.

"I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way," the Apple CEO told a school-reform conference in Texas on Saturday. "This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy."

Jobs knows a lot about schools; he's been selling computers to them for more than 30 years. But don't you love it when a billionaire who sends his own kids to private school applies half-baked business platitudes to complex problems like schools? I'm surprised Jobs didn't suggest we outsource education to the same nonunion Chinese factories that build his iPods.

As someone who sends his kids to a struggling San Francisco public school (where 60 percent of the students are eligible for free lunches), I know for a fact that Jobs' ideas about unions are absurd, he's-on-a-different-planet bullshit.

The solution, Jobs believes, is to treat schools like businesses: Empower the principal to fire bad teachers like a CEO.

"What kind of person could you get to run a small business if you told them that when they came in they couldn't get rid of people that they thought weren't any good?" he said.

The issues are many and complex, and yes, there is a problem with firing incompetent or indifferent teachers, but it is not the No. 1 reason schools are failing. It's not even in the top 10.

In California, the most pressing problems are schools that are too big, too bureaucratic and chronically under-funded. Teachers are criminally low paid and under-trained. Education -- and school funding -- has become solely about test scores.

Hiring only insanely great employees and firing the bozos has been one of Jobs' longest-held managerial principals.

"In everything I've done it really pays to go after the best people in the world," he said in a 1995 interview. "It's painful when you have some people who are not the best people in the world and you have to get rid of them ... but nonetheless it has to be done and it is never fun."

This may work for Jobs, who runs his autocratic business fiefdom like Mussolini, but it's patently simplistic to think that schools can be run like this, with performance measures and goals and metrics and other such nonsense. There are too many variables involved.

Jobs has also been a longtime advocate of a school voucher system, another ridiculous idea based on the misplaced faith that the mythical free market will fix schools by giving parents choice.

Jobs argues that vouchers will allow parents, the "customers," to decide where to send their kids to school, and the free market will sort it out. Competition will spur innovation, improve quality and drive bad schools (and bad teachers) out of business. The best schools will thrive.

It sounds great -- for the successful schools. But what about the failing ones?

Jobs thinks even the low end of the market will be hotly contested, like the market for inexpensive cars. Not everyone can drive a Mercedes, but there's lots of competition for cheap Toyotas, Kias and Saturns.

But Jobs is using the wrong analogy. It'd be more like the market for the low-end food dollar -- rich kids would have lots of choice, but for poor kids it'd be Burger King or McDonald's. For the system as a whole, vouchers are untenable.

A few years ago I visited a public elementary school in an extremely wealthy part of Palo Alto, California, not far from where Jobs lives. Not a computer in sight. Only one classroom had a few crappy old Macs.

I also visited a school in San Francisco's impoverished Bayview district. The school is opposite some housing projects. The kids practice gunfire drills, scrambling under their desks when shots erupt across the street.

Surprisingly, the school was full of the latest computer equipment. There were several iMacs in each class, real state-of-the-art stuff. The principal explained that none of the kids had access to computers outside schools, so she applied for every grant and corporate sponsorship she could find. She even loaned computers to the kids to take home, so their families would have access to the technology too.

The kids in Palo Alto, on the other hand, all had computers at home -- most of their parents worked in technology. The last thing they needed was more computers in school. They went to school to get away from computers.

The most pressing problem with schools lies outside the schools themselves: It's the socioeconomic circumstances of the students they're trying to teach.

Last week Unicef released a report that was all but ignored in America, ranking the United States at the bottom of 21 industrialized countries in children's welfare, thanks to enormous economic inequality and the total absence of social safety nets.

This is the problem, not the unions.

(y) (y) Just like unions killed (partially) the auto industry, a similar situation is happening in K-12 education. I wouldn't work in that arena for love or money. But then I never had or wanted kids......and I don't think I have the patience to teach anyone younger than young adults - like in their 20's.....My preference (if I ever did teach outisde of corporate training that is) would be working with older adults or elderly people in assisted-living residential communities.

(i) (i) There is and has been an emerging critical need for aging GLTG folks to have safe residential communities with the best medical care located nearby (as well as other supportive services). This need concerns me very much. It is definitely an area with many opportunities for entrepreneurs to get involved and make a difference. (y) (y)

With almost 80 Million aging Baby Boomers? THAT age group will need the attention sooner, not the one Jobs refers to, IMHO. I know, both groups have needs......but it is the aging Boomers with the discretionary income.

(f) Have a lovely evening, all.

Peace and love,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the napping Boxer (S) (l) (&) (l) (S)

02-21-2007, 01:52 PM
:| :| :| :| :|

:o :o

Any issue in which Microsoft has the support of such varied parties as Amazon, Intel, Yahoo, Shell Oil, open-source software advocates and the Bush administration is worth paying attention to, especially if there may be billions of dollars and thousands of jobs at stake. Such an issue, turning on the interpretation of a couple of words in a U.S. patent law subsection, reached the Supreme Court today, as Microsoft sought the reversal of two lower court rulings favoring AT&T in a dispute over liability in transnational patent violations.

Microsoft VS. AT&T: http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/16746511.htm

Here are the bare bones. Windows has long included some sound recording and playback technology on which AT&T held a U.S. patent that was active until 2001. The companies reached a settlement on Microsoft's liability for all U.S. sales of Windows, but AT&T says Microsoft should also shell out for all the infringing copies of Windows sold overseas, and so far the courts have backed it up. Critics say Congress never intended U.S. companies to be held liable both here and abroad while foreign companies violating a U.S. patent would face damages based only on U.S. sales.

"For the software industry, it's a hugely important case because it effectively doubles or triples the liability of developers who write software in the United States, like Microsoft,'' says John Duffy, a patent-law professor at George Washington University in Washington. "At its best, it amounts to a tax or surcharge on American-made software, which potentially puts U.S. software houses at a disadvantage with respect to their foreign competitors," adds Dick Turner, a patent law partner at the firm Sughrue Mion in Washington, D.C. In a worst case scenario, critics say, an AT&T win on the issue could drive thousands of jobs overseas -- not just in software, but in any industry that does business internationally. "It's go to Canada, go to wherever you're going to go, so that your conduct -- shipping software around the world in a global economy -- is not being subjected to this United States rule," said Joseph Miller, a law professor at Lewis and Clark College who filed a brief in support of Microsoft at an earlier stage of the litigation. AT&T argues that Congress meant the law to provide extra patent protection overseas. "It understood that foreign patent protections are sometimes weaker than their U.S. counterparts, and ... it wished to spare U.S. patent holders from the considerable expense of obtaining patent protections in dozens of foreign jurisdictions," company attorneys wrote in a brief -- an argument that drew skepticism from Justice Stephen Breyer in the hearing's morning session.




The announced intent of the 1984 provision was to prevent companies from circumventing patents by sending parts offshore for assembly into something that would infringe the patent in the United States. This case will hinge on ever-so-technical details of what constitutes a "component" and a "supplier" and could even address the question of whether software itself is patentable (the open-source folks would love a declaration that it's not, but experts say that's not likely). Chief Justice John Roberts, a Microsoft stock owner, isn't participating, leaving the possibility of a 4-4 decision, which would uphold AT&T. A ruling is expected by July.

(o) Stay tuned.......


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-21-2007, 02:00 PM


February 15, 2007

We all collected things as children. Rocks, baseball cards, Barbies, perhaps even bugs -- we all tried to gather up as much stuff as possible to compile the biggest most interesting collection possible. Some of you may have even been able to amass a collection of items numbering into the hundreds (or thousands).

As the story always goes, we got older, our collections got smaller, and eventually our interests died out...until now.

There are currently organizations around the world in the business of amassing collections of things, and their collections number into and above the trillions. In many cases these collections, or databases, consist of items we use every day.

In this list, we cover the top 10 largest databases in the world:

:) 10. Library of Congress

Not even the digital age can prevent the world's largest library from ending up on this list. The Library of Congress (LC) boasts more than 130 million items ranging from cook books to colonial newspapers to U.S. government proceedings. It is estimated that the text portion of the Library of Congress would comprise 20 terabytes of data. The LC expands at a rate of 10,000 items per day and takes up close to 530 miles of shelf space -- talk about a lengthy search for a book.

If you're researching a topic and cannot find the right information on the internet, the Library of Congress should be your destination of choice. For users researching U.S. history, around 5 million pieces from the LC's collection can be found online at American Memory.

Unfortunately for us, the Library of Congress has no plans of digitizing the entirety of its contents and limits the people who can check out materials to Supreme Court Justices, members of Congress, their respective staff, and a select few other government officials; however, anyone with a valid Reader Identification Card (the LC's library card) can access the collection.

:o By the Numbers

130 million items (books, photographs, maps, etc) 29 million books 10,000 new items added each day 530 miles of shelves 5 million digital documents 20 terabytes of text data

:-# 9. Central Intelligence Agency

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is in the business of collecting and distributing information on people, places and things, so it should come as no surprise that they end up on this list. Although little is known about the overall size of the CIA's database, it is certain that the agency has amassed a great deal of information on both the public and private sectors via field work and digital intrusions.

Portions of the CIA database available to the public include the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Electronic Reading Room, The World Fact Book, and various other intelligence related publications. The FOIA library includes hundreds of thousands of official (and occasionally ultra-sensitive) U.S. government documents made available to the public electronically. The library grows at a rate of 100 articles per month and contains topics ranging from nuclear development in Pakistan to the type of beer available during the Korean War. The World Fact Book boasts general information on every country and territory in the world including maps, population numbers, military capabilities and more.

By the Numbers

100 FOIA items added each month Comprehensive statistics on more than 250 countries and entities Unknown number of classified information

:) 8. Amazon

Amazon, the world's biggest retail store, maintains extensive records on its 59 million active customers including general personal information (phone number address, etc), receipts, wishlists, and virtually any sort of data the website can extract from its users while they are logged on. Amazon also keeps more than 250,000 full text books available online and allows users to comment and interact on virtually every page of the website, making Amazon one of the world's largest online communities.

This data coupled with millions of items in inventory Amazon sells each year -- and the millions of items in inventory Amazon associates sell -- makes for one very large database. Amazon's two largest databases combine for more than 42 terabytes of data, and that's only the beginning of things. If Amazon published the total number of databases they maintain and volume of data each database contained, the amount of data we know Amazon houses would increase substantially.

But still, you say 42 terabytes, that doesn't sound like so much. In relative terms, 42 terabytes of data would convert to 37 trillion forum posts.

By the Numbers

59 million active customers More than 42 terabytes of data

(l) (y) 7. YouTube

After less than two years of operation YouTube has amassed the largest video library (and subsequently one of the largest databases) in the world. YouTube currently boasts a user base that watches more than 100 million clips per day accounting for more than 60% of all videos watched online.

In August of 2006, the Wall Street Journal projected YouTube's database to the sound of 45 terabytes of videos. While that figure doesn't sound terribly high relative to the amount of data available on the internet, YouTube has been experiencing a period of substantial growth (more than 65,000 new videos per day) since that figures publication, meaning that YouTube's database size has potentially more than doubled in the last 5 months.

Estimating the size of YouTube's database is particularly difficult due to the varying sizes and lengths of each video. However if one were truly ambitious (and a bit forgiving) we could project that the YouTube database will expect to grow as much as 20 terabytes of data in the next month.

Given: 65,000 videos per day X 30 days per month = 1,950,000 videos per month; 1 terabyte = 1,048,576 megabytes. If we assume that each video has a size of 1MB, YouTube would expect to grow 1.86 terabytes next month. Similarly, if we assume that each video has a size of 10MB, YouTube would expect to grow 18.6 terabytes next month.

By the Numbers

100 million videos watched per day 65,000 videos added each day 60% of all videos watched online At least 45 terabytes of videos

:| ^o) 6. ChoicePoint

Imagine having to search through a phone book containing a billion pages for a phone number. When the employees at ChoicePoint want to know something about you, they have to do just that. If printed out, the ChoicePoint database would extend to the moon and back 77 times.

ChoicePoint is in the business of acquiring information about the American population -- addresses and phone numbers, driving records, criminal histories, etc., ChoicePoint has it all. For the most part, the data found in ChoicePoint's database is sold to the highest bidders, including the American government.

But how much does ChoicePoint really know? In 2002 ChoicePoint was able to help authorities solve a serial rapist case in Philadelphia and Fort Collins after producing a list of 6 potential suspects by data mining their DNA and personal records databases. In 2001 ChoicePoint was able to identify the remains of World Trade Center victims by matching DNA found in bone fragments to the information provided by victim's family members in conjunction to data found in their databases.

By the Numbers

250 terabytes of personal data Information on 250 million people

|-) 5. Sprint

Sprint is one of the world's largest telecommunication companies as it offers mobile services to more than 53 million subscribers, and prior to being sold in May of 2006, offered local and long distance land line packages.

Large telecommunication companies like Sprint are notorious for having immense databases to keep track of all of the calls taking place on their network. Sprint's database processes more than 365 million call detail records and operational measurements per day. The Sprint database is spread across 2.85 trillion database rows making it the database with the largest number of rows (data insertions if you will) in the world. At its peak, the database is subjected to more than 70,000 call detail record insertions per second.

By the Numbers

2.85 trillion database rows. 365 million call detail records processed per day At peak, 70,000 call detail record insertions per second

(h) 4. Google

Although there is not much known about the true size of Google's database (Google keeps their information locked away in a vault that would put Fort Knox to shame), there is much known about the amount of and types of information Google collects.

On average, Google is subjected to 91 million searches per day, which accounts for close to 50% of all internet search activity. Google stores each and every search a user makes into its databases. After a years worth of searches, this figure amounts to more than 33 trillion database entries. Depending on the type of architecture of Google's databases, this figure could comprise hundreds of terabytes of information.

Google is also in the business of collecting information on its users. Google combines the queries users search for with information provided by the Google cookies stored on a user's computer to create virtual profiles.

To top it off, Google is currently experiencing record expansion rates by assimilating into various realms of the internet including digital media (Google Video, YouTube), advertising (Google Ads), email (GMail), and more. Essentially, the more Google expands, the more information their databases will be subjected to.

In terms of internet databases, Google is king.

By the Numbers

91 million searches per day accounts for 50% of all internet searches Virtual profiles of countless number of users

+o( 3. AT&T

Similar to Sprint, the United States' oldest telecommunications company AT&T maintains one of the world's largest databases. Architecturally speaking, the largest AT&T database is the cream of the crop as it boasts titles including the largest volume of data in one unique database (312 terabytes) and the second largest number of rows in a unique database (1.9 trillion), which comprises AT&T's extensive calling records.

The 1.9 trillion calling records include data on the number called, the time and duration of the call and various other billing categories. AT&T is so meticulous with their records that they've maintained calling data from decades ago -- long before the technology to store hundreds of terabytes of data ever became available. Chances are, if you're reading this have made a call via AT&T, the company still has all of your call's information.

By the Numbers

323 terabytes of information 1.9 trillion phone call records

8-| 2. National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center

The second largest database in the world belongs to the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) in Oakland, California. NERSC is owned and operated by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy. The database is privy to a host of information including atomic enegry research, high energy physics experiements, simulations of the early universe and more. Perhaps our best bet at traveling back in time is to fire up NERSC's supercomputers and observe the big bang.

The NERSC database encompasses 2.8 petabytes of information and is operated by more than 2,000 computational scientists. To put the size of NERSC into perspective, the total amount of spoken words in the history of humanity is estimated to be at 5 exabytes; in relative terms, the NERSC database is equivalent to 0.055% of the size of that figure.

Although that may not seem a lot at first glance, when you factor in that 6 billion humans around the globe speak more than 2,000 words a day, the sheer magnitude of that number becomes apparent.

By the Numbers

2.8 petabytes of data Operated by 2,000 computational scientists

(ip) 1. World Data Centre for Climate

If you had a 35 million euro super computer lying around what would you use it for? The stock market? Building your own internet? Try extensive climate research -- if there's a machine out there that has the answer for global warming, this one might be it. Operated by the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology and German Climate Computing Centre, The World Data Centre for Climate (WDCC) is the largest database in the world.

The WDCC boasts 220 terabytes of data readily accessible on the web including information on climate research and anticipated climatic trends, as well as 110 terabytes (or 24,500 DVD's) worth of climate simulation data. To top it off, six petabytes worth of additional information are stored on magnetic tapes for easy access. How much data is six petabyte you ask? Try 3 times the amount of ALL the U.S. academic research libraries contents combined.

By the Numbers

220 terabytes of web data 6 petabytes of additional data

8-| I found this really interesting and hope others do as well.

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&)

02-21-2007, 02:14 PM
(h) 8-|

These technologies straddle the divide between harebrained and brilliant as they promise to shake the pillars of tomorrow’s enterprise

By InfoWorld Staff

February 19, 2007

Technologies that push the envelope of the plausible capture our curiosity almost as quickly as the would-be crackpots who dare to concoct them become targets of our derision.

Tinkering along the fringe of possibility, hoping to solve the impossible or apply another’s discovery to a real-world problem, these free thinkers navigate a razor-thin edge between crackpot and visionary. They transform our suspicion into admiration when their ideas are authenticated with technical advances that reshape how we view and interact with the world.

IT is no stranger to this spirit of experimentation. An industry in constant flux, IT is pushed forward by innovative ideas that yield advantage when applied to real-world scenarios. Sure, not every revolutionary pose sets the IT world afire. But for every dozen paper-based storage clunkers, there’s an ARPAnet to rewrite IT history ?itself a time line of what-were-they-thinkings and who-would-have-thoughts.

It’s in that tenor that we take a level-headed look at 12 technologies that have a history of raising eyebrows and suspicions. We assess the potential each has for transforming the future of the enterprise.

8-| 1. Superconducting computing

How about petaflops performance to keep that enterprise really humming? Superconducting circuits ?which are frictionless and therefore generate no heat ?would certainly free you from any thermal limits on clock frequencies. But who has the funds to cool these circuits with liquid helium as required? That is, of course, assuming someone comes up with the extremely complex schemes necessary to interface this circuitry with the room-temperature components of an operable computer.

Of all the technologies proposed in the past 50 years, superconducting computing stands out as psychoceramic. IBM’s program, started in the late 1960s, was cancelled by the early 1980s, and the Japan Ministry of Trade and Industry’s attempt to develop a superconducting mainframe was dropped in the mid-1990s. Both resulted in clock frequencies of only a few gigahertz.

Yet the dream persists in the form of the HTMT (Hybrid Technology Multi-Threaded) program, which takes advantage of superconducting rapid single-flux quantum logic and should eventually scale to about 100GHz. Its proposed NUMA (non-uniform memory access) architecture uses superconducting processors and data buffers, cryo-SRAM (static RAM) semiconductor buffers, semiconductor DRAM main memory, and optical holographic storage in its quest for petaflops performance. Its chief obstacle? A clock cycle that will be shorter than the time it takes to transmit a signal through an entire chip.

So, unless you’re the National Security Agency, which has asked for $400 million to build an HTMT-based prototype, don’t hold your breath waiting for superconducting’s benefits. In fact, the expected long-term impact of superconducting on the enterprise remains in range of absolute zero.

(y) 2. Solid-state drives

Solid-state storage devices ?both RAM-based and NAND (Not And) flash-based ?have held promise as worthwhile alternatives to conventional disk drives for some time despite the healthy dose of skepticism they inspire. By no means new, their integration into IT will only happen when the technologies fulfill their potential and go mainstream.

Volatility and cost have been the Achilles?heel of external RAM-based devices for the past decade. Most come equipped with standard DIMMs, batteries, and possibly hard drives, all connected to a SCSI bus. And the more advanced models can run without power long enough to move data residing on the RAM to the internal disks, ensuring nothing is lost. Extremely expensive, the devices promise speed advantages that, until recently, were losing ground to faster SCSI and SAS drives. Recent advances, however, suggest RAM-based storage devices may pay off eventually.

As for flash-based solid-state devices, early problems ? such as slow write speeds and a finite number of writes per sector ?persist. Advances in flash technology, though, have reduced these negatives. NAND-based devices are now being introduced in sizes that make them feasible for use in high-end laptops and, presumably, servers. Samsung’s latest offerings include 32GB and 64GB SSD (solid-state disk) drives with IDE and SATA interfaces. At $1,800 for the 32GB version, they’re certainly not cheap, but as volume increases, pricing will come down. These drives aren’t nearly the speed demons their RAM-based counterparts are, but their read latency is significantly faster than that of standard hard drives.

The state of the solid-state art may not be ready for widespread enterprise adoption yet, but it’s certainly closer than skeptics think.

(*) 3. Autonomic computing

A datacenter with a mind of its own or more accurately, a brain stem of its own that would regulate the datacenter equivalents of heart rate, body temperature, and so on. That’s the wacky notion IBM proposed when it unveiled its autonomic computing initiative in 2001.

Of the initiative’s four pillars, which included self-configuration, self-optimization, and self-protection, it was self-healing ?the idea that hardware or software could detect problems and fix itself ? that created the most buzz. The idea was that IBM would sprinkle autonomic-computing fairy dust on a host of products, which would then work together to reduce maintenance costs and optimize datacenter utilization without human intervention.

Ask IBM today, and it will hotly deny that autonomic computing is dead. Instead it will point to this product enhancement (DB2, WebSphere, Tivoli) or that standard (Web Services Distributed Management, IT Service Management). But look closely, and you’ll note that products such as IBM’s Log and Trace Analyzer have been grandfathered in. How autonomic is that?

The fact is that virtualization has stolen much of the initiative’s value-prop thunder: namely, resource optimization and efficient virtual server management. True, that still involves humans. But would any enterprise really want a datacenter with reptilian rule over itself?

|-) 4. DC power

The warm, humming bricks that convert AC from the wall to the DC used by electronics are finally drawing some much deserved attention ?from datacenter engineers hoping to save money by wasting less energy. The waste must often be paid for twice: first to power equipment, then to run the air conditioner to remove the heat produced. One solution is to create a central power supply that distributes pure DC current to rack-mounted computers. But will cutting out converters catch on, or is the buzz surrounding DC to the datacenter destined to fizzle?

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have built a prototype rack filled with computers that run directly off 380-volt DC. Bill Tschudi, principal investigator at the lab, says that the system uses 15 percent less power than do servers equipped with today’s most efficient power supplies ?and that there can be even greater savings when replacing the older models still in use in most enterprises. If the server room requires cooling, as it does everywhere except in northern regions in the winter, the savings can double, because the air-conditioning bill also can be cut by 15 percent.

Others are working on bringing additional DC savings to the enterprise. Nextek Power, for instance, is building a system that integrates the traditional power grid, rooftop solar panels, and computer hardware using DC power. Choosing this standard avoids the inefficiencies of converting the DC produced by the panels to AC, then back to DC when it reaches the computers.

“It’s a big opportunity, because we’ve shown that there’s big energy savings,?Tschudi says of the prospects of DC. “And it’s also got more reliability because there are fewer points of failure.

Cost savings? Reliability? The prospects for DC to the datacenter are looking up.

(h) 5. Holographic and phase-change storage

What enterprise wouldn’t benefit from a terabyte USB dongle on every key chain and every episode of Magnum, P.I. on a single disc? Thanks to phase-change memory and holographic storage, today’s pipe dream is shaping up to be tomorrow’s reality.

Currently under development by IBM, Macronix, and Qimonda, phase-change storage is being touted as 500 times faster and a magnitude smaller than traditional “floating gate?flash technology. Whereas flash memory involves the trapping of electrons, phase-change memory achieves its speed by heating a chalcogenide alloy, altering its phase from crystalline to amorphous.

This technology could prove critical in embedded computing apps, as memory cell degradation has forced many appliance developers to add expensive NVRAM (nonvolatile RAM) to store configuration information, rather than risk premature flash failure. Once realized, it could dramatically drive down the cost of appliances and push new capabilities into enterprise handsets.

Holographic storage, on the other hand, could quickly change the way we think about CDs and DVDs. So quickly, in fact, that enterprise archiving may bypass slow-to-ship dual-layer optical drives altogether and head straight to holographic optical.

InPhase Technologies is already shipping engineering prototypes of a holographic disc storage system with 60 times the storage capacity of today’s DVDs. The advent of 3-D optical storage could herald the era of sending a copy of your entire corporate database off-site affordably. Think of what holographic storage could do for personal records portability: a durable ID card that contains your entire medical file in your wallet.

Regardless of which technology ships first, the enterprise is likely to benefit from both soon. Maybe those data crystals from Babylon 5 aren’t so far off after all.

(h) 6. Artificial intelligence

Few terms carry as much emotional and technical baggage as AI (artificial intelligence). And while science-fiction authors probe AI’s metaphysical boundaries, researchers are producing practical results. We may not have a robot for every task, but we do have cell phones that respond to our voice, data-mining tools that optimize vast industries, and thousands of other measurable ways AI-influenced computing enhances how the enterprise gets work done.

That said, AI itself remains elusive, and the measure of AI’s position on the enterprise crackpot scale depends wholly on where you set the goals. Restricted to applying templates and well-defined theorems to sets of data with precise definitions, computers are, after all, becoming very adept at using statistics to make educated guesses about the world. And though speech-recognition software, for example, may not hear the actual message, whatever that means, it does know that a certain pattern of sounds and frequencies almost always corresponds to a particular word.

Greg Hager, a professor of computer science researching machine vision at Johns Hopkins University, says, “For a long time, people thought that the way you would solve those problems was to understand how people would solve those things and then write a program that would do what people do.?

That approach has yet to produce much success, but as Hager points out, less sophisticated, more statistical algorithms that take educated guesses are becoming increasingly accurate. Some of the best algorithms for recognizing objects in images, for instance, look for salient features, waiting until enough key points are recognized. Such an algorithm could recognize a Ford sedan from multiple angles but wouldn’t be smart enough to use that experience to recognize a Chevrolet.

“It’s a paper-thin notion of intelligence,?Hager says, but one that’s still useful in many basic cases. Expect the enterprise to benefit from similar AI-inspired computing paradigms and technologies in the very near future.

:| 7. E-books

Remember the paperless office? If so, you may recall a close cousin: the e-book, which promised access to entire libraries of documents in easily readable formats ?an obvious boon to the enterprise knowledge worker on the go. As did many ideas debuting midway through the dot-com boom, it failed spectacularly.

And yet a visit to Sony’s Connect eBooks suggests that rumors of the e-book’s demise have been exaggerated. For a cool $350, you can pick up the Sony Reader and start collecting from more than 11,000 titles.

But what does a shelf’s worth of Michael Crichton in your pocket have to do with the enterprise? Not unlike the path to adoption taken by many devices permeating today’s mobile enterprise, the e-book’s “proof of concept?phase will play out on the consumer stage. And it may just be copyright protection and distribution ?rather than any paper vs. LCD debate ? that determines the technology’s long-term prospects.

“Another issue, besides the prohibitive cost and cumbersome nature of e-documents, concerns the vast portion of the contracts that were signed and agreed upon before e-books came onto the scene,?says litigation lawyer Esther Lim, a partner at Finnegan Henderson. “That raises questions not just in terms of what rights the user has, but what rights the publisher has vis-?vis the copyright holder.?/p>

If these issues aren’t resolved, the e-book market may fail to attract the kind of vendor investment necessary to overcome the technology’s lingering cost and usability concerns.

So, until e-books have their day in court, the jury remains out on their viability for the enterprise.

:) 8. Desktop web applications

When asked whether a full-featured desktop app can be delivered via the Web, most people picture standard HTML forms, possibly with Java or JavaScript thrown in for aesthetics and minimal functionality, and laugh the idea off. But the full-scale apps being built for the browser using scripting languages and Adobe’s Flash and Shockwave development tools will soon prove them wrong.

Flash apps started out as rudimentary games with lackluster input methods and a cartoonlike look and feel. More and more, however, they resemble native apps. Take Gliffy, for instance ?a very attractive, stable Flash app that drives like Microsoft Visio, providing full diagramming capabilities in the browser with nothing more than Flash 7 required on the client side.

Another worthwhile example is EyeOS, which looks like a Flash app but is built on PHP and JavaScript and runs off a standard Apache Web server. The array of options and eye candy in EyeOS is staggering for such a new project, clearly pushing the envelope of what such apps can do.

These projects, and others popping up all over the Net, represent the next step in Web app delivery, one that will break free of the HTML form and into interfaces that resemble fat apps. Vendors such as Scalent are already writing their UIs in Flash ?and are reaping the benefits of a simpler deployment, arguably greater cross-platform support than Java, and a more seamless, attractive user experience to boot.

As the options diversify and improve, it’s a safe bet that Web-based desktop apps will reshape the enterprise soon.

:| 9. Project Blackbox

A portable datacenter may seem like pie in the sky, but in fact, Sun Microsystems has already constructed it. Whether Project Blackbox, which Sun calls the first virtualized datacenter, catches on remains to be seen, but for some, the concept is compelling.

Take a 20-foot shipping container; provide it with integrated cooling, networking, and power distribution; add external hookups for hot and cold water, 208-volt three-phase AC power, and Ethernet networking; integrate sensors, alarms, and GPS; fill its eight 19-inch shock-tolerant racks with servers either 120 Sun Fire T2000 servers or 250 Sun Fire T1000 systems and you’ve got one or two thousand processor cores, 7TB of memory, and more than 2PB of storage. Connect them all as a grid, for simplicity.

According to Sun, this configuration can support 10,000 simultaneous desktops without requiring an administrator, and it can be located almost anywhere: on a rooftop, in a parking garage, in a secure warehouse. It can be delivered rapidly, even to theaters of operation or catastrophe areas. What’s more, Sun claims that a Project Blackbox datacenter is a tenth the price of a standard datacenter and that it can be turned on and configured in a day.

So if you find yourself unable to build or power or cool a datacenter fast enough to keep up with your enterprise’s growth, or you’re in need of a server farm on the go or at a hard-to-reach outpost such as an oil rig, you may find yourself in the market for this deliverable soon.

(h) 10. Quantum computing and quantum cryptography

The manipulation of subatomic particles at the quantum level has raised eyebrows in computer science research departments lately ?so much so that several approaches to incorporating quantum mechanics into computing have been launched to varying degrees of success.

The most advanced field of research is quantum cryptography, a bit of a misnomer given that it doesn’t rely on anything resembling traditional codes or ciphers. Instead of locking up data in a mathematical safe, the technique encodes messages in the clear by tweaking the quantum properties of photons a 1 may transform into a photon with “left spin; a 0, into a photon with “right spin.

The technique offers security because it is believed to be impossible to detect the spin of a photon without destroying or significantly altering it. So any eavesdropper would annihilate the message or change it enough for the recipient to notice. Two leaders in the field, IBM and Los Alamos National Laboratory, have built working devices and have demonstrated the transmission of photon streams through fiber optics and even the air.

Another technology based on the principles of quantum mechanics, quantum computing, attempts to model computation with quantum states. The field has produced tantalizing theoretical results that show how such a computer instantly could solve some of the most complicated problems such as factoring exceedingly large numbers.

Quantum computing is much further from having an impact in the lab or the enterprise than quantum cryptography. No one has built a particularly useful quantum computer yet, although some researchers have built machines that work with one or two bits. One group recently announced it is building machines that work with problems that take around 1,000 bits to describe.

(h) 11. Semantic Web

Originally designed for document distribution, the Web has yet to realize its full potential for distributing data. XML has done its part. Yet every XML document requires an XML Schema ?and relating them isn’t easy. Until a viable means for surfacing and linking data is established and adopted, humans will remain the Web’s core categorizing agents.

Enter the Semantic Web, an effort spearheaded by Tim Berners-Lee in 1999 to extend the Web to enable machines to take this mantle. At the outset, the idea ?to transform the Web into something machines can readily analyze ?seemed hopelessly academic. Yet with significant public data sets surfacing in Semantic Web form, the once crazy notion now stands to revolutionize how enterprise IT accesses and disseminates data via the Web.

RDF (Resource Description Framework) the Semantic Web’s standard format for data interchange ?extends the URI linking structure of the Web beyond naming the two ends of a link, allowing relationships among all manner of resources to be delineated. But the key to the Semantic Web and where most people’s eyes glaze over is its use of ontologies. If specialized communities can successfully create ontologies for classifying data within their domains of expertise, the Semantic Web can knit together these ontologies, which are written using RDF Schemas, SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organization System), and OWL (Web Ontology Language), thereby facilitating machine-based discovery and distribution of data.

Buy-in is essential to the success of the Semantic Web. And if it continues to show promise, that buy-in seems likely.

:| 12. Total information awareness

When the DoD’s Information Awareness Office rolled out its high-tech scheme to track down terrorists in 2002, the program had all the hallmarks of a government boondoggle, invoking imagined ?and sometimes unimaginable ?future technologies to solve an immediate problem.

First, there was the hyperbolic, Orwellian name, Total Information Awareness (TIA); then there was the project leader, convicted Iran-Contra felon Rear Admiral John Poindexter. And finally there was the bloated goal: To aggregate, store, and analyze public and private data on an unimaginably massive scale, applying a predictive model that would correlate past activities to predict future acts. Minority Report, anyone?

The project eventually got a PR makeover, emerging as “Terrorism Information Awareness." Even so, the idea was still technically far-fetched. To create a system that could scoop up and analyze citizens or foreign nationalscredit card transactions, medical records, Web site activity, travel itineraries, e-mails, or anything with an electronic fingerprint, Poindexter called for a “total reinvention of technologies for storing and accessing information.That’s the IT equivalent of a Hail Mary pass. ;)

Ultimately, the technical hurdles became moot. Privacy advocates howled, public sentiment turned, and the Feds officially pulled the plug in 2003. Yet for all its sci-fi underpinnings, many of the technologies that constituted TIA aren’t as nutty as they sound.

For instance, companies such as Teradata offer solutions that can migrate petabytes of data from disparate databases to a massive, integrated data repository, where customers can employ sophisticated data mining. Meanwhile, CallMiner and other speech analytics software enable companies to mine customer phone calls for business intelligence. And although today’s predictive analysis tools may not be able to foretell a terrorist attack, they can, for example, analyze the failure rates of mechanical parts so that companies can adjust their inventories accordingly. Not too bad a technical legacy for such a mixed bag of seemingly crackpot notions?


(y) I just LOVE articles like this!!! (l)

Carpe Diem,

SWeetlady & Wyatt the Boxer

02-21-2007, 02:19 PM



SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-21-2007, 02:20 PM
;) ;)


(f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-21-2007, 02:25 PM

Pelamis wave energy converters. There are hopes that sea could potentially provide three times the UK's power needs.


Wave farm points way ahead for Scotland


* World's biggest wave farm to be built off coast of Orkney in 2008

* Potential for Scotland to become world leader in field

* Executive target is 18% of energy from renewable sources by 2010

Key quote:

"The reason people get so excited about the potential of marine is the fact it is very, very predictable and a very constant source of energy production." - Keith Anderson, ScottishPower

THE world's biggest wave-power farm is to be built off Scotland's coast, ushering in a revolution in green energy production, The Scotsman can reveal.

The £10 million scheme off Orkney, set to start operating next year, will be the UK's first commercial wave farm and is expected to produce energy for up to 25 years.

It is one of nine wave and tidal schemes to be announced by ministers today which will harness the energy of the sea. Scotland has significant amounts of wave energy and also has expertise in engineering at sea thanks to the oil industry, a combination that could make this country the world leader in the field. It is hoped thousands of jobs could be created in a whole new industry supplying wave and tidal power systems to other countries.

Experts say that every metre of Scottish coastline has enough wave energy reaching it to power 100 homes.

The news came amid renewed concern about the cost to the environment of traditional forms of energy. A report by Edinburgh consultants Wood Mackenzie warned that all new oil finds within 15 years were likely to come from sources that are expensive to extract from, both in money and energy, as well as damaging to the environment.

The Orkney wave farm, which will be run by ScottishPower, will generate three megawatts of electricity - enough to power about 3,000 homes. The energy will come from four sausage-shaped generators, which will convert wave power into electricity which can then be transported to the mainland.

Edinburgh-based Ocean Power Delivery (OPD) is supplying the four wave-energy converters or "Pelamis", named after a type of sea snake, for the Orkney scheme. Each one is about 520ft long and creates 750 kilowatts of power.

The farm will enable scientists to discover how the devices work together, how much energy is produced in the conditions and what effect it has on the National Grid.

Richard Yemm, managing director of OPD, said: "Wave technology for a long time has languished in the lab. We are now putting the technology in the water where we can measure it on a commercial basis."

The Executive has targets to generate increasing amounts of electricity from renewables, with them providing 18 per cent of needs by 2010 and 40 per cent by 2020. Scotland is expected meet its 18 per cent renewable electricity target during 2007.

A spokesman for the Executive said an announcement would be made today detailing grants given to nine companies to support marine renewable schemes. "A total of £8 million was made available to get wave and tidal devices in Scottish waters. We are going to announce the successful bidders and there's a little bit extra put into the fund because the demand has been so high."

Environmentalists said this was a "great day for Scotland".

Keith Anderson, director of renewables at ScottishPower, said that although the initial output looked small, it was "huge" compared with other developments in marine energy.

"This is a massive step forward," he said. "It's testing the real devices that should be able to withstand the sea conditions for 20 or 25 years. The information that comes back will feed into subsequent versions. There will be a process of continual improvement."

He said the sea could potentially provide three times the power that the UK uses and, unlike the wind, could do so in a constant stream of all-important "baseload" power.

"The reason people get so excited about the potential of marine is the fact it is very, very predictable and a very constant source of energy production. That's one of the things that still needs to be proven," Mr Anderson said.

"The importance of this is to scale it up - can you scale it up, can you make it commercially viable, can we start to move this industry forward?"

Mr Anderson said Scotland and Portugal were leading the world in marine energy, with Spain, South Africa, west-coast states in the US and Canada also showing interest in the area.

"If we want to follow the Danish model - which became the world leader in wind power - we need to have this sort of step," he said.

Wave energy is not currently competitive with other established forms of electricity production and needs to be subsidised. However, it is expected the cost will gradually come down as the technology becomes more efficient and economies of scale make production costs cheaper.

The first commercial wind farm in the UK - built at Delabole in Cornwall in 1991 - was a similar size to the Orkney wave power scheme, providing enough electricity for 5,000 homes. The same amount of power from its ten turbines could now be provided by less than two modern ones.

The industry hopes the cost of wave power will follow that of wind power, which has fallen by 80 per cent since the first turbines were introduced. The wind sector now generates more than 2,000 megawatts across the UK, enough to power half the homes in Scotland.

OPD expects that future wave farms would be made from a number of machines connected to shore by a single sub-sea cable. A "typical" 30-megawatt farm would occupy a just under half a square mile and provide enough electricity for 20,000 homes. Twenty such farms could power Edinburgh.

Dr Dan Barlow, head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: "We have long argued we need to build a broad renewable base in Scotland. I think this is excellent - we are now just on the cusp of commercial wave-power generation."

Duncan McLaren, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said wave and tidal could meet a fifth of the UK's electricity needs. "It is critical that we see full-scale devices in our waters soon, otherwise the world-leading expertise Scotland has built up will rapidly depart these shores," he said.

"We can tackle climate change without having to resort to polluting nuclear power if we ensure all forms of renewable energy, including wave and tidal sources, are used," he added.


(y) (i) (y) (i) (y) (i)

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-21-2007, 02:26 PM
(y) (y) (y) (y)


(y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-21-2007, 02:30 PM
(f) (y) (f)

Bobby Hogg, pictured, and brother Gordon may be the only people in Scotland still fluent in the Cromarty fisher dialect.


Brothers put in a geed wyord to save an ancient Scottish dialect from extinction


* Two brothers in eighties may be last speakers of unique dialect

* Distinct Cromarty dialect has died out with the fishing industry

* Academic plans to record 'most threatened dialect in Scotland'

Key quote

"I think other people understand it, but they don't use it. You don't hear the expressions we used to use at all now, but I think that's true for everywhere. - BOBBY HOGG

WHEN Bobby and Gordon Hogg meet up for a chat, they enter a linguistic world that few, if any, can now understand.

The brothers, both in their eighties, may be the last known speakers of a dialect peculiar to the Black Isle town of Cromarty.

Robert Millar, a lecturer in linguistics at Aberdeen University and author of Northern and Insular Scots, has described the dialect as the most threatened in Scotland.

With Bobby, 87, and Gordon, 80, perhaps the last practitioners, efforts are being made to record their distinctive twang as part of the Highland Year of Culture.

The small communities throughout the Black Isle once had five separate dialects, with the fishing people of Cromarty, Avoch and Fortrose each having their own distinct speech.

The brothers' fishing dialect is even different from that spoken in the main part of Cromarty, which is derived from Scots.

Bobby said: "It's been dying for some time and it will just die a natural death. I was brought up in the fishing industry, which has died out, and the dialect has gone as the place changes.

"It was not used by the people very much, although my brother and I speak it all the time. Others gave it up because they maybe thought it was not the right way to speak.

"I think other people understand it, but they don't use it. You don't hear the expressions we used to use at all now, but I think that's true for everywhere.

"You can hear the odd smattering of it in some of the things people from Cromarty say, but nobody really speaks it."

The fishing language still uses formal expressions such as "thee", "thou" and "thine", and words beginning with "wh" can often lose the "h" or even "wh". The phrase "what do you want?" is heard as "at thee seekin?"

Bobby's wife, Helen, said: "My husband is fluent in the Cromarty fisher dialect. I understand it, but his brother is the only other person who can speak it."

Jamie Gaukroger, the content coordinator at Am Baile, the online Highland culture archive, said he hoped to record the brothers in the next few days to help preserve the dialect.

"I was not aware until last week that there was this distinctive Cromarty dialect. It's new to me, but it's very exciting all the same," he said.

"It's important that we get it recorded while we still can. If we manage to get it on tape before it disappears, it will be a real coup."

David Alston, a Cromarty-based historian and local councillor, said: "There were two distinct dialects in Cromarty, the town dialect and the fisher dialect.

"But the fisher dialect has now almost completely gone - Bobby and his brother and perhaps only a couple of others are the only ones left."

Mr Alston said language was dynamic, with new dialects emerging all the time. "There is a natural process of dialects dying and coming to be, but it is important we record them before they disappear," he said.

ACCORDING to the Scottish National Dictionary, the Cromarty dialect has some distinctive sounds.

When a "g", or "k" precedes a vowel, the "oo" sound can be replaced by "ee". So, for instance, good, school and cool become geed, skeel and keel.

When the vowel comes before an "r", as in ford, moor and poor, the word can be changed to fyoord, myoor and pyoor.

The "wh" sound at the start of words is often replaced by a "wu" - so which and whiskers become wutch and wuskers.

In words where "kn" is pronounced "n", this can change to "kr" - knee, knife and knit are heard as kree, krife and krit.

An "h" is often inserted or omitted from the beginning of words. So ale-house, Annie, hand and house become hile-us, Hannie, an and oos.


Scots Language, Related Articles: http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=1391

(l) (l) (l)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-21-2007, 02:35 PM

After meeting on the set of A Hard Day's Night, Patti Boyd married George Harrison in 1966.


Here is the muse


THEY say that behind every successful man is a woman. It might also be said that behind every successful artist is a muse. It was in 1965 that artist Andy Warhol met his muse, the 22-year-old heiress Edie Sedgwick, whose life is profiled in Factory Girl - starring Sienna Miller - which opens in the UK next month.

The strikingly beautiful model captivated the artist and quickly became his constant companion. As well as inspiring Warhol's work, she was the inspiration for Lou Reed's Femme Fatale and it has been suggested that she sparked much of Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde.

Sedgwick is just one of a legion of women who have inspired some of the world's greatest artists, writers and musicians. The poet Robert Graves described the artist's muse as "a woman in whom the goddess is to some degree resident". This is an appropriate description considering the classical origins of the role. In ancient Greece, the nine Muses were goddesses of the arts who provided inspiration for artists, sculptors and writers. They represented the manifestation of the perfect woman, of unobtainable love and dreamy, inspirational beauty.

"The artist's muse will often be a young, beautiful woman," says Richard Thomson, the Watson Gordon Professor of Fine Art at Edinburgh University. "This is partly down to the fact that the artist might be looking to beauty to create a beautiful work of art, and partly down to libido. The muse will often be unobtainable. Artists often feel they cannot obtain true beauty in their work, and the pursuit of an unobtainable beautiful woman parallels that work."

The company of a beautiful muse has inspired men across the arts. Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of writer F Scott Fitzgerald, is said to have been the real-life model for golden girl Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, while Marianne Faithfull was muse to rocker Mick Jagger. And Alma Mahler was muse to composer Gustav Mahler, the architect Walter Gropius and artist Gustav Klimt, with whom she shared her first kiss.

A muse is used regularly by many well-known male artists. However, there are few instances where female artists have turned men into muses. The few examples include Charlotte Brontë's unrequited yearning for the married Monsieur Constantin Heger, her tutor, who became the model for Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre and for Paul Emmanuel in Villette, and Emily Dickinson's passion for her unidentified "Master" to whom she addressed some of her most fevered poems.

In her book The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women and the Artists They Inspired, Francine Prose writes: "Artists rarely create for the muse, to win or keep the muse's love and admiration, but rather for themselves , for the world, and for the more inchoate and unquantifiable imperatives of art itself. Muses are merely the instruments that raise the emotional and erotic temperature high enough, churn up the weather in a way that may speed and facilitate the artist's labours.''

These women have sparked incredible works of art, literature and music. We've picked five such women, to examine their lives, the men who loved them and the work they inspired.


LEONARDO sketched her. Lorenzo de Medici threw lavish banquets in her honour. Pulci and Poliziano composed great poems for her and young men fell in love with her on the spot. One of those young men was painter Sandro Botticelli for whom the striking Simonetta Cattaneo personified beauty and goodness. Proud of her beauty, she once announced to Botticelli: "I will be your lady Venus. You shall paint me rising from the waves."

And so he did. Cattaneo married nobleman Marco Vespucci, at the tender age of 15, and upon arriving in Florence after her marriage, she was discovered by Botticelli, who immortalised her in Pallas and the Centuar, Mars and Venus and Primavera and The Birth of Venus among others.

While there are suggestions that Cattaneo was Botticelli's mistress (in nearly all his paintings of her she appears almost completely nude) her prominent social standing and his social difficulties with women make this unlikely. Cattaneo died aged 22, but Botticelli continued to use her likeness in his work, completing The Birth of Venus in 1485, nine years after her death. In 1510, while on his deathbed, he asked to be buried at her feet.


THE Florentine poet Dante Alighieri met his muse, Beatrice Portinari, in Florence in 1274, when he was nine years old and she was eight, and he fell in love with her immediately. However, they didn't meet again until nine years later, when one afternoon Alighieri encountered Beatrice walking down a street in Florence. When she greeted him, he was filled with such joy that he retreated to his room, fell asleep thinking of her, and had a dream that became the subject of the first sonnet in La Vita Nuova.

This second meeting was to be their last, yet Alighieri remained obsessed with her throughout his life after she died at the age of 24. After her death, Alighieri withdrew into intense study, and began composing poems dedicated to her memory. It was the collection of these poems, along with others he had previously written in his journal in awe of Beatrice, that became La Vita Nuova.

He wrote: "She has ineffable courtesy, is my beautitude, the destroyer of all vices and the queen of virtue, salvation." However, since their relationship had no contact, the Beatrice of his works was shaped entirely by his mind. He once called her "La gloriosa donna della mia mente": "the glorious lady of my mind".

As well as being the principal inspiration for La Vita Nuova, Beatrice also appears in The Divine Comedy: Paradise and in the last four cantos of Purgatory.


PICASSO met French photographer and painter Dora Maar in Paris in 1936, when she was 28 and he was 54. He was attracted to her dark eyes and jet-black hair, as well as the fact she spoke fluent Spanish. Their stormy relationship lasted nearly nine years, during which Picasso made many sketches, watercolours and paintings of her, as a bird or a sphinx as well as a human and, most famously, in the 1937 painting Weeping Woman.

Picasso called Maar his "private muse", and for him she was the weeping woman in many ways. She suffered from his moods during their affair and she was jealous of Picasso's wife, Olga, and mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter, who had given Picasso a daughter. This was compounded when Maar discovered she was infertile. Picasso once said the anguished nature of his Dora portraits was beyond his control: "For years I've painted her in tortured forms, obeying a vision that forced itself on me."

Maar kept Picasso's paintings of her until her death in 1997 and, in 2006, one of his portraits, Dora Maar au Chat, was auctioned at Sotheby's for £48.8 million, making it the world's second-most expensive painting ever sold at auction.


A SUPERMODEL and photographer, Boyd became the inspiration for some of the greatest love songs of the past 40 years. After meeting on the set of A Hard Day's Night, she married George Harrison in 1966, during the Beatles' heyday. She was the inspiration for one of Harrison's most famous Beatles songs, Something, which was called "the greatest love song ever written" by Frank Sinatra.

During their marriage, Harrison's friend Eric Clapton also fell in love with Boyd. His unrequited love for her consumed him, and his tortured passion for his friend's wife produced one of his most famous songs, Layla. His desire for her drove him to a heroin addiction, but she eventually divorced Harrison in 1977, and married Clapton in 1979.

However, despite the outward image of the perfect couple, years of affairs, violence and alcoholism on his part forced Boyd to divorce him in 1988.

John Lennon and Mick Jagger confessed to having had crushes on Boyd, with the latter admitting that he'd tried and failed to seduce her for years.

She also had an affair with Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood in 1973, as her marriage to Harrison was ending, but left him heartbroken, influencing the song Breathe on Me.


IN HIS autobiography, For the Islands I Sing, Orcadian poet George Mackay Brown writes: "Some modern poets have their muse, a woman who transfigures their work and guides them like a star, stella maris. This girl was actually called Stella."

George Mackay Brown met Stella Cartwright during his time as an undergraduate in Edinburgh when he was 35 and she was 20. Tall, buxom and beautiful, with blue eyes and a mass of hair, those who knew her have compared her classical beauty to a creation by Rubens or Botticelli, and one admirer said that "she seemed built for love". Mackay Brown felt immediately at ease with her despite his paralysing shyness, and she awoke in him "a delight I had not known before".

Mackay Brown wrote her letters and poems and continued to write to her after they had parted, recalling their days in Edinburgh together, reading poetry, walking in the Pentlands and kissing one wet Saturday afternoon beside the Water of Leith. While it was not a full-blown affair, the two were extremely close, and she had an invigorating effect on his writing. In one of a sequence of four poems dedicated to her he wrote:

Cargoes of alien pain

Tenderly she transmutes

To quiet things


(l) (l) Whose Your Muse? ;)

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 10:58 AM
(l) (f) (l) (f) (l)

I want a hat just like this one: http://dianahats1.tripod.com/053.jpg

LOVE this look: http://dianahats1.tripod.com/028.jpg


Lovely: http://dianahats1.tripod.com/072.jpg

My Favorite Colour of Blue (Royal): http://dianahats1.tripod.com/137.jpg


Breathtaking: http://dianahats1.tripod.com/172.jpg

I WOULD DEFINITELY WEAR THIS: http://dianahats1.tripod.com/067.jpg

Maybe in blue or light purple or lilac: http://dianahats1.tripod.com/037.jpg


How young Her Majesty was here: http://dianahats1.tripod.com/138.jpg

And here: http://dianahats1.tripod.com/054.jpg

And here: http://dianahats1.tripod.com/144.jpg





Wow: http://dianahats1.tripod.com/066.jpg


Close Up: http://dianahats1.tripod.com/023.jpg

Sunday Best: http://dianahats6.tripod.com/010.jpg






Love this: http://dianahats6.tripod.com/071.jpg



Like Jackie O: http://dianahats1.tripod.com/004.jpg



Yes: http://dianahats1.tripod.com/152.jpg

She looked truly happy: http://dianahats1.tripod.com/016.jpg


Victorian Look: http://dianahats6.tripod.com/022.jpg

Diana looked great in ANYTHING: http://dianahats1.tripod.com/075.jpg

Don't you miss the precisely matched outfits? http://dianahats1.tripod.com/160.jpg

:) This might just be my only posting for awhile today since it took me ten (10!) minutes to get to this point. B-F web site server latency is just way, way too long for me to post a number of cool posts that I found over the past three days since my previous posting. Maybe try later when folks are watching the Oscars and fewer folks are online here.....;)

Stay warm and safe travels,

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 11:01 AM
(f) (f) (f) (f) (f)


(y) (y) Lots of links and photos.....:)

Carpe Diem,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 11:03 AM
(f) (f) (f) (f) (f)


(y) (y) Lots of links and photos.....:)

"See" you later....the "wait" for posting is endless at the moment....:)

Carpe Diem,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 12:36 PM
(f) (f) (f) (f) (f)

"Long distance relationships take a lot of patience and understanding. It's so easy to assume something and go off the deep end so to speak. You just need to trust the person, don't assume, be patient and understanding. If you can't be all those things, then an LDR is gonna be hell for you. "

- FLB (Posted today in the Long Distance Relationships Thread)

(f) (f) I just LOVE that! I have reached a point in my life where I have absolutely no (okay, I have a little bit left...) patience anymore with people who assume and automatically jump to conclusions. There must be many, many times where I have simply stopped "explaining" as I attempt to "comfort" somebody's distrust. Trust? That's a huge issue, I agree. It takes time to build it, IMHO.

(y) People need to trust more and work on their own issues on THEIR OWN SIDE OF THE STREET about WHY they automatically assume (more often the worst) and the jumping to erroneous conclusions - especially in the early stages of getting to know someone.

:| At some point? I (virtually) walk away after tiring of providing assurances. It just ain't worth the added stress in my life. I'd rather be alone than provide constant explanations.

LIFE IS TOO SHORT. (f) (f) (f)

Thanks FLB for this "as always wonderful" quote. (f)


Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 12:38 PM
;) ;)

February 25, 2007

Exits & Entrances

She’s Got Legs


Her favorite razor is Gilette’s Venus. She prefers Skintimate foam, changing scents with her mood. She uses only natural lotions like Aveeno because scented lotions have alcohol, which dries out the skin. To remain nick-free, she always uses warm water and doesn’t understand why some women believe cold makes for a closer shave: it only makes the hair stiff; you scrape rather than glide. Little cuts get a Band-Aid and Neosporin immediately. Arnica helps bruises disappear faster. She stretches every day to elongate muscles and suggests kicking, which is great for quads on the way up and hamstrings on the way down. But climbing stairs, she insists, is the best leg workout, bar none.

Last September, far from the suddenly leggy runways of Milan, Paris and New York, a leggy showgirl named Julie Taber got into her Mercury V6 Cougar and drove to work on the glittery Las Vegas Strip. The car was not her first choice — she would have preferred a Mitsubishi Eclipse — but the seat in the Cougar slides way back, and she needs the room for her sensational legs. “They’re really long,” she says, looking all the way down. “I should probably insure them.”

As fashion editors and retailers watched parade after parade of the new, short lengths for spring, Taber was on her way to Bally’s, where she performs 12 times a week in “Jubilee!” the last of the old-school revues, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Taber, who is pretty, blond and 6-foot-1, doesn’t only have trouble finding a car she can fit in. “People always say, ‘I wish I was tall,’ but they never think about the little things,” she says. “Just doorways and light fixtures and stuff. I’m always hitting my head.” Her 37-inch inseam means that even her jazz pants are custom-made. She loves clothes, and she loves to get dressed up and go out on the town. But when you have legs that end where most people’s necks begin, shopping can be a chore. This spring, however, with showgirl legs an essential accessory, that won’t be a problem.

Not since Courrèges introduced the miniskirt in 1964 and Mary Quant popularized the look has the leg — calves, knees, thighs and all — been so fashionably exposed. At Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld cut 13- to 15-inch skirts. Gianbattista Valli’s came in at 14, and Michael Kors, in a collection saluting Gwen Verdon’s high-stepping gams, stopped at 14. Many designers even showed pinup-style shorts rather than skirts. And Miuccia Prada favored satin tunics that barely covered the models’ matching panties.

All of which is good news to Taber, 26, who started her professional education at 6 in Evansville, Ind. “From the time I walked out of that first class, I haven’t stopped dancing,” she says, sitting in front of her mirror before the first of the night’s two shows. She excelled at ballet, tap and jazz, landing her first professional gig at 16 in a stock production of “Oklahoma!” Before finishing high school, she danced six days a week, five times a day at Holiday World in, “get this,” she says, laughing, “Santa Claus, Indiana.”

For a while she was a magician’s assistant, avoiding trick swords while suspended in a burlap sack, and danced in the chorus of “Beauty and the Beast” at Disney World before joining the Nashville touring company of the Radio City Rockettes, where she became, she thinks, the tallest Rockette ever. “They had to change all the costumes and special-order my shoes because I had to wear shorter heels, and the girls next to me had to have higher shoulder pads.” Today Taber is one of 85 “Jubilee!” dancers, whose costumes range from a colorful 2 1/2-foot feather headdress to a nude G-string covered with three pounds of crystals and a long, black Erté-style skirt slashed to the waist.

“Learning how to be a showgirl is a certain thing, it has its own style,” Taber says. “It’s a very specific walk, seductive but elegant.” She stands to demonstrate: “Arms out, long strides out to the side, sit into your hip walking on the beat of the music, making little figure eights with your hips. You need to be a floating picture. People say it can’t be that difficult. Well, it is with lights in your eyes and jewels down your back. If you don’t have that presence about you, the costumes will swallow you whole.”

As the other girls arrive for the 7:30 curtain and while the clothes come off and the false eyelashes go on, they offer a few of their own tips for keeping legs in tiptop form. Sisha uses hair conditioner rather than moisturizer; it leaves a silkier finish. Courtney recommends comfy shoes. And Rose likes how sugar scrubs exfoliate and moisturize at once. “There are 1,500 steps on the set, and we do two shows a day,” Taber says. “The best thing is to elevate them,” she adds. “It helps the circulation. We’re pounding our legs so much we’re susceptible to varicose veins.” Which, as any designer will tell you, is not a good look.

(y) (y)


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 12:42 PM
:) :) :) :) :)


(f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 12:56 PM
:o :o :o


February 25, 2007

The Talk

Take Back the Nightie


There are those who sleep, perchance to dream; then there are those of us who shop, perchance to return. I’ve always been an indecisive type, starting way back in childhood, when I didn’t want to be imprisoned by the wrong choice of ice cream. So it’s not all that surprising that when it comes to shopping for anything beyond your basic carton of milk — when it comes, that is, to objects of desire rather than necessity — I’m a world-class second-guesser. Do I really like this pair of Walter Steiger shoes that much? Do they go with enough of my clothes? Are they me, or me trying to be a lady who lunches? And perhaps most important:Do I deserve what they cost? (Evidently not, for stuck far back in a bedroom drawer is an ancient credit slip from the Walter Steiger shop, attesting to a change of heart — and to hundreds of dollars gone a-wasting. The sands of time run through the hourglass and still I wonder, five years after this credit was first issued: would they honor this transaction if I walked in one day, confident and smiling, in the mood for an artfully crafted, pointy-toed pair of shoes? Or would a sales clerk politely assist me and then look on in disbelief as I tried to make good on my decaying i.o.u. like some sort of desperate Emma Bovary, trading on air?)

Somewhere along the way, what begins as no more than a habit of hedging one’s bets, of walking around each and every new acquisition as though it might be the last or the ne plus ultra of its kind, becomes, without your quite realizing it, a compulsion: a need to undo what is done; unmake the sale; wipe the slate clean; begin again, naked of adornment in a preconsumerist Garden where there is nothing to be tempted by but Adam. Indeed, it occurs to me that I might have dedicated my life to something really useful — written that breakthrough novel, adopted a bunch of orphans — if I hadn’t wasted huge swaths of it over the last two decades buying and returning purchases in matte or glossy shopping bags of greater and lesser eye appeal.

Like a reel of film that keeps replaying, I catch glimpses of myself in my slender and energetic 30s, my less slender and less energetic 40s, obsessed with finding the quintessential something — what was it? a pair of black pants? the perfect white cotton shirt? — and then gravely reconsidering my purchase the minute I arrived home. Here I am, trailing along Lexington Avenue with a brown Bloomingdale’s bag circa 1989, propelling myself through the revolving door and making my way to a counter, there to unpack my wares before an annoyed sales clerk. (I used to plan these returns carefully, mapping them out so as not to meet up with the very person who had conscientiously sold me the same item.) And there I am again, eight or nine years later, wending my way back to Bergdorf’s with a telltale lilac shopping bag on my arm, containing yet another much-deliberated-over acquisition — a yellow silk robe, say, that would be perfect for a Howard Hawks movie but is too glamorous for me and, above all, not worth the price. Of course, you’re doomed the minute you start confusing old-time standards, like value for your money, with the imperatives of the capitalist marketplace. Luxury is its own reward, don’t you know?

Just when I think that I am alone in my madness, that this little-documented addiction has gotten lost in the welter of more clamorous addictions — to gambling, or dieting, or plain old consuming — I discover that it is an identifiable phenomenon. I am, as it turns out, a shopping bulimic, although, strictly speaking, a shopping bulimic is addicted to buying and then returning designer clothes, while I am addicted to buying and returning everything. A truer specimen of this breed might be Barbara Amiel, the big-spending wife of the media tycoon Lord Conrad Black, who, as The Daily Mail of London reported, and Lord Black disputes, was spotted one day this past fall in Toronto’s Holt Renfrew racking up shoes, dresses and blouses to the tune of £15,000 (about $28,000) — only to return every last item the very next day. One wonders whether this spree and counterspree testified to a failure of nerve or an attack of guilt or, perhaps, an argument with her husband over the wisdom of spending so heedlessly when he was facing a possible 40-year jail term.

My own less immoderate propensities have never garnered press coverage, but my shopping bulimia met its comeuppance all the same about a year and a half ago. I had enjoyed a particularly busy fall buying and returning a number of cunningly conceived but swelteringly heavy clothes and an equal number of transcendently beautiful scarves I had fallen in love with at Takashimaya, a store that manages to turn consuming into a culturally uplifting experience. About two weeks after the last return had been icily received, a very brief letter arrived in the mail. It seemed that the powers that be had taken note of my recent shopping pattern and preferred that I take my business elsewhere. I read the letter several times over with a mixture of outrage and embarrassment. I tried calling the person with the unpronounceable name who had signed it but got no further than his polite-sounding secretary. For a moment I considered suing — on grounds of sexism, anti-Semitism, ageism, what have you — and then, just as quickly, I dropped the idea. It would be Groucho Marxish of me to insist on frequenting a store that didn’t want me, like entreating a lover who has lost interest in you to take you back. These days, when I walk by Takashimaya, I avert my face, the better not to contemplate opportunities missed. But oh, the buying and returning I might have done!


:o I can't understand taking things back like this author kept doing......why not choose very carefully and buy classics (or classy clothes, etc.) and enjoy the hell out of them? ;)

:| Snow and sleet and ICE and rain....huge storm moving EAST. :o The local TV stations were mentioning potential loss of power due to downed lines. Wyatt the Boxer and I are snug right now. Although I must admit that it's been months since I had a (pi) and was thinking of ordering one via delivery before the roads got too bad. Can't go out today and fill up the gas tank and get a couple of things - the downstairs neighbor's two adult kids have me blocked in at the moment. ^o) Shoot, I didn't really need to go out anyway, right? :)

8-) 8-) I AM worried about driving the hour and a half drive (via back country roads) to take Wyatt to his annual (first annual!) exam and booster shots with his vet on Tuesday afternoon. This "wintry mix" is supposed to continue until Tuesday night.

There *is* a "back-up" vet close-by for emergencies. If the roads are still bad - Wyatt can get his annual boosters there. And then I'll take him to see his regular vet out in the rural area - when the roads are clear.

:) I am staying in today and leaving Tuesday for when it eventually (hopefully!) comes.(y)

Drive safely and stay warm, all.

Peace and love,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the contented Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:01 PM
(f) (f) (f)

(y) (y) Fashion Show! (with Macromedia Flash software):


Spring 2007 Online Trunk Show:





New Arrivals (Now *this* looks more like Spring!):




Gold Dress, Black Gloves? Sexy!


(although I'd wear LONG black gloves....)

Click on LookBook (left side of screen) for ALL of the photos.......

Sea and Ski Collection: http://style.polo.com/askralph/women.asp

Style Guide, Black Collection: http://style.polo.com/askralph/styleguide.asp?section=61 (y) (5 Stars!)

Cashmere Drape Neck Cardigan:


Off-the-Shoulder Pullover:


Luxury Wrap Sweater:


VERY Classy in Black: Loran Long Angora Cardigan:


The "New" Feminine" (according to Ralph Lauren that is):


(l) I hope that others enjoy this as much as I did exploring earlier this morning......(f)

Warm ({)(}) ({)(})'s,

SWeetlady & Wyatt the napping Boxer (S) (l) (&) (l) (S)

02-25-2007, 01:06 PM
(l) (l) (l) (l)

February 25, 2007

The Talk

Dressing Down


It may be that I am too sensitive, but I cringe when I hear a luxury tycoon say, as he kisses his manicured fingertips, “Fay-shunn should make you dream.” Easy for him to say. Fashion is horribly expensive. And when did designer clothes get so far beyond ordinary reach that it became necessary to give them an air of sanctity and suffering, as though we were pilgrims not for Mecca but for Prada?

Before the fashion industry began dealing in abstractions like “aspiration dressing,” it had real names that you could girlfriend up to: Quant, Khanh, Courrèges, Estévez. The clothes, like the best of clothes, belonged to the times — they were cheap and fun. And even when a designer label was costly, you didn’t feel, or at any rate acknowledge, a barrier to entry. It’s one of the great civilizing distinctions, pointed out by Tom Wolfe and others, that in the 1960s and ’70s you didn’t need to be rich to dress well. You just needed money. As a college student in the late ’70s, I bought Yves Saint Laurent, not much, maybe, but certainly I never felt harassed by the idea that my income (actually, at the time, my allowance supplemented by odd jobs) was a serious impediment to owning good clothes. Where there was a will, there was a way. And this remained my view, however shortsighted, until not long ago.

Last fall, shortly after returning from the Paris collections, I was walking along Broadway, in SoHo, when I saw a navy-blue tunic in the window at Scoop. The tunic was a hot trend for fall, specifically the tunic that Stefano Pilati designed for Saint Laurent. In Milan, I had seen Emmanuelle Alt, the statuesque fashion director of Paris Vogue, wearing the Saint Laurent tunic with leggings and Fendi granny shoes. I thought she looked amazing. Now, outside Scoop, I did what women the world over do: I mentally Photoshopped Alt’s body onto mine.

A few days later I returned to the store, unfazed that the tunic was no longer in the window or, for that matter, anywhere in sight.

I found a saleswoman, a thickish woman (in many ways) with brunet hair, and began describing the tunic. “It was navy or maybe black, with little pockets . . .”

She cut me off with the desolating whish of an eighteen-wheeler overtaking a Ford Fiesta. “I wasn’t working that day,” she said. She went off to confer with an associate and returned a few minutes later.

“We don’t sell tunics,” she said.

Big Brunette was beginning to annoy me.

“But,” I said, sputtering, “you must have something that resembles a tunic. It was navy or maybe black, with little . . .”

She left me and went over to a table piled with sweaters. Lifting one off the top and unfolding it, she said, impatiently, “Is this what you saw?”

I yelped, “That’s it!”

Once again I was grateful to encounter someone who should definitely not be working around old people. Big Brunette glared at me. “This,” she said, “is a sweater dress.”

I grabbed the tunic — it’s a tunic, you lazy bitch! — and fled to the dressing room, where, thankfully, a nice saleswoman helped me,

and I went home, another satisfied, if bruised, customer.

The next morning, girded by my purchase, I strode into the office. I had put the tunic, by a company called Alice + Olivia, with black tights and a pair of flat-heeled Balenciaga boots.

“You look adorable,” my friend Andy said.

Just then it hit me, like nausea — the realization that there would be no more barriers to grandly ignore. This little $280 tunic was not Saint Laurent. That tunic was $2,600. And no matter how hard I scrimped and rationalized, I could not make that leap anymore. I was done. There was nothing to do but face the truth.

I looked at Andy as my mouth fell open.

“I’ve been downgraded!”

After that we screamed with laughter for about five minutes.

So it had happened. And it was happening to other women my age as well, women who, while completely up for a bargain at T. J.’s, still saw themselves as the quintessential designer customer and didn’t care to admit that maybe Alice + Olivia was as good as it was going to get. Hardly a tragedy — more on par with finding yourself seated at the remote overflow table at a friend’s dinner party. Still, it felt strange, and permanent. Andy revealed that her fallback position to Balenciaga was Peter Som. (This made us laugh even harder, Som being a minor talent.) Several friends mentioned a label called Tibi. Leslie Cohan, a gallery owner in Chelsea, told me: “I used to buy Marc Jacobs. Now I buy little Marc.” Geri Schachner, a vice president at Estée Lauder, said that because of the crazy prices, she limits herself to one or two big hits a season. “You’re priced out,” she said.

I can’t think why women should feel a sense of shame at being downgraded, when it is such a common occurrence nowadays, but clearly we do. A friend who used to write about fashion said in an e-mail message: “Last summer I had to buy a dress for an engagement party, and I actually bought a Milly — a Milly. Four years ago, I would have sawed off my left pinky toe before considering such a purchase.” Anyway, this friend said, she’d rather spend her money on furniture, and the Milly, a ringer for Pucci, had done the job.

Stefani Greenfield, a co-owner of Scoop (who was duly chagrined to hear about Big Brunette), said the high prices for designer fashion have helped to create a huge demand for labels like Alice + Olivia and Tibi, especially among young women “who like to buy something at four o’clock and wear it at eight.” I am sure this is the case. Still, one doesn’t need to be a wearer of fashion to feel that some adjustment in perspective is called for when you go from Saint Laurent to Tibi.

There is always a risk in giving importance to fashion, namely that it sounds self-indulgent. But self-indulgence, whatever else it may be, is not self-deluding. The self-deluding thing would be to believe that designer clothes cost more because a factory worker in Italy or Turkey is making a higher wage. In truth, the owners of and investors in fashion companies like seeing fat profit margins, almost as much as they enjoy riding in private jets and seeing their clothes on celebrities. And thanks to marketing and a docile media willing to perform like a new service class, it costs a company relatively little to sell the idea that something is worth the price being asked.

At the same time, designers don’t like giving attention to the fact that fashion, like other creative arenas, involves intellectual and moral values. This is understandable: fashion is now largely seen as entertainment. The last thing you expect to learn from the runway is how to dress well. Yet, if designers were young in the ’60s and ’70s, surely they felt a hatred of big business and male chauvinism — and isn’t that precisely the sense conveyed in the smugness of “Fay-shunn should make you dream”? If wearing good clothes only means you are rich, I guess I’ll have to pass. But I happen to think that it doesn’t, or shouldn’t, so here is my response to high prices, which will only get higher. I plan to mock the luxury tycoons whose pretense of excellence makes a mockery of women’s lives and genuine love of fashion.

I can’t imagine that I’ll win. On the other hand, I don’t see a downside.

(y) (y) (y) (y)

;) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:13 PM
:) (y) :) (y) :)


February 25, 2007

Samurai Shopper

My Shopper/Myself


What is a personal shopper? I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that a personal shopper is someone who shops for you personally. She may be part of the customer services offered by retailers; she may be a free agent conferring advice, expertise and opinions for you alone. Personal shopping is only a luxury if you know exactly how you look trying on things in the dressing room. I’ll take a further stab and suggest the odds of that happening are 1 in 467 million. A seasoned personal shopper can cherry-pick through the trendy bits and scramble them into a delectable dish — you. She has Champagne taste but respects the size of your pocketbook (although most bags now easily tote both Fort Knox and the United States mint).

And what is a Samurai Shopper? A Samurai Shopper is a master of self-control at the racks, possessed with exquisite discrimination and common sense when faced with too-good-to-be-true bargains. A Samurai Shopper never shops out of desperation but hunts sheerly for the sport, or to hone her sense of aesthetics. The Samurai Shopper lives by Bushido, the way of the warrior; through consummate artistry and keen intelligence she prevails on the bloodless battlefields of Bergdorf’s and Barneys. She remains unflappable at overrun discount houses and the chicken-without-a-head melees of sample sales, because she’s a powerhouse of Joriki: the ability to act instantly, even in the midst of sudden and unexpected situations. While personal shoppers keep the infinite specifics of the client in mind, the Samurai Shopper indulges her love of particulars, sure that her fearless self-appraisal will lead her to the right thing at the right price at the right time. Sometimes wrong, never in doubt. That is the Tao of Samurai Shopping.

And what happens when you pit the Samurai Shopper against a formidable personal shopper to find consummate style at affordable prices in a single day?

The Clash of the Titans?

Well, no. Women of fashion wouldn’t dream of clashing. Think of it more as the Vogue version of “Celebrity Deathmatch”: the Samurai Shopper going boatneck to turtleneck with Evie Gorenstein, a former personal shopper at Bloomingdale’s and the ruler of the personal shopping roost at Loehmann’s until recently, when she hung out her own cyberspace shingle at shopwithevie@gmail.com.

The Samurai Shopper will test Evie’s mettle to see what a personal shopper can do for the incomparable Samurai, who hasn’t fought a decent battle since the fall of Osaka Castle in 1615. And why Evie Gorenstein? Is it because she put Rudy Giuliani in shimmering mauve drag one year for the Mayor’s Inner Circle press roast? Or because, as we stroll Fifth Avenue, at least five women stop her somewhere between Ferragamo and Bendel, desperate for guidance? Or because Evie, tall, willowy and a young 57, is her own best advertisement, stunning in modern Costume National, or vintage Claude Montana?

For me, Evie’s credentials hinge on her erstwhile relationship to Iris Apfel, the New York society figure, the founder of a textile company that helped redecorate the White House and the first woman in America to have a Mongolian lamb coat. Last year, her one-woman show at the Met’s Costume Institute was a knockout, unparalleled in its stylistic genius; 82 ensembles and over 300 accessories created a sui generis mix of baroque, classic, flea-market finds and three-tiered taffeta ball gowns. By the time the Met show closed, Apfel had swanned her way to the top rank of fashion iconoclasm. And Evie Gorenstein was Iris’s personal shopper at Loehmann’s.

Surprised that a woman who wore Norell couture, Tibetan cuffs and goatskin boots shopped at Loehmann’s? I’m not. Iris, who’s 85 and going strong, “bought Moschino from me,” Evie says, “and Pucci boots, Zandra Rhodes — anyone new and avant-garde.” Evie remembers the last outfit Iris bought with her at Loehmann’s — “a beige four-ply cashmere sweater trimmed at the waist and sleeves in mink, and a long, Italian denim patchwork skirt in blue, brown and beige shades.

“It may sound weird,” she adds, “but only someone like Iris can pull it off, and she looked fabulous.” Which is why Iris Apfel could shop at Loehmann’s — only the confident and imaginative can score there — and why Evie is superb; her eye for detail and designand her photographic memory are invaluable assets.

Century 21 in Brooklyn, the heart of odd-lot purgatory, is a perfect starting point for us: a jungle of jacquard, tweeds and trench coats ranging from flamboyant to outré. Iris once warned that mixing couture with lowbrow funk is tricky: you’re either singularly chic or you wind up looking — in Iris’s words — “very Yetta Samovar” in ill-fitting hot-pink paillettes. Century 21 is the home of Yetta Samovar, and thus, fraught with peril. But Evie is focused, disciplined and single-minded as she riffles through racks of European designers in record time. “Cheap is expensive!” Evie declares as I inspect some Vivienne Westwood gold and white tops that she knows I’ll never wear. Evie’s other fashion maxims become more apparent with each pick off the racks: “Look for quality and good design,” Evie says. She decides that brown and green are not my colors, whereas gray and red suit me fine. “Don’t be mutton dressed as lamb!” she warns as we trawl through minis and skimpy shirts meant for the Lolita set.

“When in doubt, leave it out,” Evie says as we contemplate tropical Copacabana summer wear. “You like that style?” Evie is incredulous. “We’ll take you for some Carlos Miele,” she says of a brilliant Brazilian currently on view at Barneys. Soon Evie’s got me going dressing-room commando with a new twist on the Samurai’s monastic style: a Dolce & Gabbana floral shirt, a definite maybe. A silver leather jacket with décolletage? It’s swank and understated at the same time. Who would have thought?

But the ghost of Yetta Samovar oppresses: I’m shaped more like a pelmeni than a sylph. We reach a consensus of underwhelming enthusiasm. Empty-handed but not disappointed, the Samurai spies black leather knee-high boots on the way out, and an employee wielding a markdown gun. The employee takes aim, and, bam, off comes $100. Giuseppe Zanotti’s buttery boots are mine for under $300. Samurai: 1, Evie: 0.

But Evie’s ready for the next round. Actually, we discover mutual unconditional love for Alber Elbaz and Dries van Noten and lay down our weapons in order to chat.

Evie, who lives in northern Jersey, or, as she calls it, “the extreme Upper West Side,” has a talking car that gives us directions from Bay Ridge to Loehmann’s on Seventh Avenue, whereshe can exploit her home-court advantage. Whipping through the Back Room, she bags a Cynthia Steffe baby-doll dress, for $79.99, that does the Samurai proud. Tie score. Evie moves in for the kill. From a gaggle of scarves she pulls a silky Italian cashmere square in red-and-white check, draping it this way and that around my head and shoulders. “Wear this with black,” she says. I look in the mirror. “Is it talking to you?” Evie asks. Yes, it’s saying, “Ohmygod, $59.99.” And so Evie: 2, Samurai: 1. The Samurai is bloodied but unbowed.

At Saks, we head for Ralph Rucci, on the third floor. Rucci designed Iris Apfel’s red tunic and leggings for the opening of her Met show. His Chado line at Saks is breathtaking, and as Chado is the tea ceremony in Japan, we bow low and touch the hem of a $15,000 garment. Evie’s revved up and moving quickly through Junya Watanabe’s picaresque line; she pulls out a lacy blouse in olive; the Samurai hates the price tag. But Evie’s on fire, finding a Yohji Yamamoto short jacket and an Issey Miyake shaggy top. Everything is Size 0, except, alas, me. Saks is a wonderland of delectable items: shocking how much we both love Stella McCartney’s spring collection and Vera Wang’s. We snore over Roger Vivier shoes and feel let down by Marni’s latestoutput, which is a first. We trawl through Jean Paul Gaultier’s sparse rack, and Evie sees something in the distance beckoning. But a comeback is in the air; Gaultier has never failed me. It’s in there somewhere, the piece that will even the score. Fee-fi-fo-fum: a swingy short black jacket, gathered yoke in the back, no hanger appeal, but still. I try it on. Evie looks back, astonished. “How much?” she says. “It’s a number,” I say, adopting Evie’s retail slang. She studies me intently, smiles and offers the highest accolade in Evie-land: “That is sick,” she says, holding my wrist. Score tied, and all the booty’s for me. This shopping thing could be habit-forming. But there’s the tiny matter of the huge price. Evie finds the very nice saleswoman Miriam and issues directives: Miriam takes my name, address and phone number to alert me if further reductions occur in the coming weeks. At 8 a.m. the following week, Evie e-mails me: “Designer Sale at Saks, 10 AM today. Go!”

As if wild horses could stop me. I sign the credit-card slip without blanching. Evie’s due diligence snared a drop-dead Gaultier at 65 percent off, and in so doing, Evie Gorenstein attained Samurai Shopper status on a technicality. I’m all about the gamesmanship, but Evie’s all aboutstyle and pragmatism and gives great second opinions. So the Samurai Shopper not only has a dress, scarf, boots and jacket, but she also has her own Samurai Shopper.

(l) (l) I really enjoyed this! (although I would never spend anywhere NEAR what the article author would for designer goods...) But then I'd imagine the New York Times PAYS her expenses (paying for those clothes, shoes, etc.) so that she can write a credible (and entertaining) story! ;)

(o) It's snowing out there......the temps must be falling since was raining earlier.......well "duh", right?" ;)

Have yourself a lovely, relaxing Sunday evening. (k)

:) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:16 PM
(h) (h) (h)

February 25, 2007

The Remix

A Return Engagement: I Dream of Genies


For almost two decades, harem pants have lain crumpled and unloved — ’80s kitsch evoking a perpetual “Hammer Time!” Now, after seasons of skinny-pants ubiquity, here they are again: at Hermès, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs and, most notably, at Yves Saint Laurent, where Stefano Pilati paid gauzy homage to Saint Laurent’s seminal Orientalist shows. More pragmatic members of the press greeted the revival with less than Turkish delight, deeming them too costumey for ordinary women. Exactly the point. Since the 19th century, harem pants have been the uniform of extraordinary women. They first appeared on Western women circa 1850: wide pantaloons designed by the American feminist Elizabeth Smith Miller to liberate women from corsets and petticoats. Although championed by Amelia Bloomer in her feminist paper, The Lily, they failed to take off. However, when Paul Poiret reintroduced them in 1911, le tout Paris was in the thrall of the Ballets Russes, a decadent fantasy of the East, with sets and costumes by Léon Bakst. (Proof of his vision are “I Dream of Jeannie” and generations of belly-dancing suburban Salomes.) For A’Lelia Walker, the heiress to a hair-care fortune, harem pants were both a symbol of pride and a provocation. During the 1920s, Walker was America’s richest black woman, and her signature ensemble consisted of silk brocade harem pants and a plumed turban. On a 1921 trip to Paris, her style caused a sensation.

As did a similarly attired Grace Jones, when opening a YSL show some 55 years later. Whether women are ready to take a page out of Walker’s book remains to be seen. One thing is certain, though: every early adopter willing to battle ridicule and the nagging “Does my butt look big in these?” is no less deserving of our admiration.


(y) :) On a few past Halloweens, I dressed up very similar to Barbara Eden's genie, complete with bottle. (like she had as her "home".....not to drink from...) :o ;) ;)

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:17 PM
(y) (y) (y)

Slide Show:


(y) (y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:20 PM

February 23, 2007

Some Hints, Before You Dive Into the Oscar Pool


THEY call it the Oscar “pool” for a reason.

Like most pools, there is a shallow end, where anybody can look good with a few easy strokes, frolicking while the toes still touch. But head out to the deep end, where the bottom drops away, and the choices get far dicier. And at some point serious Oscar handicappers will head up to the diving board for a final high-risk maneuver. So what will it be: a graceful one and a half with a ripple-less entrance, or an ill-advised belly flop that will leave bystanders soaked and the competitor humiliated?

This year there are quite a few categories that bring all of the challenge of the wading pool. Best director, best actress, best actor — Martin Scorsese, Helen Mirren, Forest Whitaker — all seem like done deals. Don’t expect to be treated as a savant, or take home any loot, just for getting these no-brainers right.

Oddly enough, it is the big megillah, best picture, that could put even the most sophisticated Oscar guesser back out in the deep end. Almost any one of the five nominees — “The Departed,” “Babel,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “The Queen” or “Letters From Iwo Jima” — could end up in the money at the end of the night. If you want to end up the same way, you are going to have to get best picture right.

In most years the best-picture picture is far easier to discern and the evening’s tension derives from the awards leading up to it. But a number of factors this time around — including the absence of the onetime favorite “Dreamgirls” — mean that in a race where no one knows anything, people know even less about best picture. It will be an excellent year for watching the excitement build toward that last announcement before the music comes up, and that means it’s a good year to put a toe into the pool. If the so-called experts don’t know what to expect, who is to say that fresh eyes won’t do the trick?

A little briefing still might help, though. For the last four months The New York Times has been running a blog about the road to the Academy Awards called The Carpetbagger (carpetbagger.blogs.nytimes.com), a daily compendium of all things Oscar — much of it nice to know, but none of it need to know.

Until now. So what if “Letters From Iwo Jima” has not played within a hundred miles of you, and you thought “Pan’s Labyrinth” was a Peruvian musical act. And don’t feel bad if you are not up on the controversy over Eddie Murphy’s candidacy for best supporting actor. The Carpetbagger is here to help.

The handicapping that follows is based on some phone calls to informed sources, conventional wisdom combined with a daily stirring of the tea leaves, and a dash of Oscar precedent. And when all of that failed to yield insight, there was always the throwing of ceremonial lead into a snowbank for signs from the Oscar gods. (In other words, no warranties are hereto set forth, but the Carpetbagger was lucky enough to pick “Crash” to win last year. A good guess and nothing more, but still.)

In the graphics above are the Carpetbagger’s best surmises, along with a viewer’s guide to some of the evening’s juicy subplots.

(y) And to think that I had the opportunity (twice) to go to this award show. (y) It's like being in Las Vegas with all five senses bombarded... TIMES 100. :| :o :) ;)

Carpe Diem,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:22 PM





This collection of 15 provocative scents coincides with the release of the film version of the best-selling book "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer". Aromas such as "newborn baby" and "18th century Paris" capture the mood of pivotal scenes from Patrick Suskind's dark novel. Price: $700.

:| :| Holy Cow!

Out of my reach or desire......;)

(f) (f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:25 PM
(l) (l)

Cape May, New Jersey's collection of Victorian homes attracts visitors from all over the world. It's no wonder. The entire New Jersey seashore town is a National Historic Landmark.

Who would have thought that such a magnificent architectural treasure trove got its start with a catastrophic fire?

Cape May looked a lot different before the fire of 1878. The town is the oldest seashore resort in the nation. In the 1800's, Cape May had quite a collection of classically designed seaside hotels.

The fire of 1878 wiped out 30 blocks of the early seashore town, including some of the resort's major hotels, including the original Congress Hall.

To this day, when someone in Cape May talks about "the fire" they're referring to this major event more than a hundred years ago.
The town wasted no time rebuilding. And, for the most part, the new buildings that went up were built in the modern style of the day...later known as the Victorian style... lots of gingerbread trim, gables and turrets.

That explains the huge concentration of late 19th Century dwellings in Cape May today...everything from Gothic Revival to Queen Anne design...all part of the country's Victorian era.

The homes were mostly single family seashore homes. They're often called "painted ladies" because of their colorful appearance. But those beautiful Victorian homes faced a new threat a hundred years later...just as serious as the fire of 1878.

It was the push to demolish the old, to make way for brand new construction in the last half of the 20th Century that almost did more damage than the fire of 1878.

Many fine old buildings were lost in the new building blitz before the entire town was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
But once they were saved from demolition, what would become of these relics from the Victorian era? Few modern day families could maintain an eight or ten bedroom house, with high ceilings, formal parlors, and often maids' quarters.

Slowly, many of Cape May's huge Victorian seaside "cottages" have been turned into bed and breakfast inns, guest houses and even restaurants.

Part of the charm of visiting Cape May today is taking a guided tour or a casual stroll through the historic district...the site of so much devastation in 1878.

Horses and carriages now patrol the streets as they used to do and there are annual Victorian festivals that draw history loving folks from all over the country. Although there are many structures built before the Victorian era in the area, (see Cold Spring Church as an example) Cape May has become synonymous with the Victorian period.

It hasn't been easy for the city's painted ladies to survive, but they've done it. And they welcome seaside visitors today, just as they did over a hundred years ago.




19th century Philadelphia Rowhouses:


Gorgeous, evening view of a Victorian home:


(p) Like (8) Banjo music never sounds sad, this photo is definitely a happy one!


I LOVE this one! http://www.galen-frysinger.com/graphics/capemay2.jpg

I love those wrap-around porches!


(l) (l) I have stayed here a few times and this delightful place has an amazing story about when they moved it and why there are TWO buildings and set at the angle that they are.......

(a) Angel of the Sea:



The Abbey B&B:




Look at that garden in front and on the side:


Cape May Lighthouse:


Queen Victoria B&B: http://www.virtualcities.com/ons/nj/m/njmb901a.jpg

(f) (f) Enjoy! I sure did exploring and finding all of these URLs. :)

Peace & Love,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer

02-25-2007, 01:28 PM



(y) (y) LOTS of history in this area. Washington crossed the Delaware just 15 minutes up river road.....:) Not *ancient* history/herstory of course, but 300 years+ falls into the wide definition. :)

(f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:30 PM


True Brits: Slide Show Starts here:

8-) Not my cup of tea, but interesting to learn about. :)

Carpe Diem,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:33 PM
:| :| :|


By Jeanna Bryner

LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 26 January 2007

10:46 am ET

Still sleepy after your first three double espressos? Try eating your way to wired. Caffeinated doughnuts could be the next new thing in nutriceutical fast-food to hit your drive-through or walk-up breakfast stop.

Each pastry, or bagel if you were to prefer this caffeine-delivery system, would contain a jolt worth one to two cups of coffee, thanks to years of experiments and brainstorms performed by molecular biologist Robert Bohannon.

Make way for the Buzz Donut and the Buzzed Bagel.

Bitter sweet

The challenge, Bohannon said, was overcoming the bitter taste of coffee beans ground up in the a.m. pastry: No amount of creme filling could cut it.

"I eventually worked with some flavoring experts and designed a method to mask the bitterness, which led to successfully adding the caffeine equivalent of one to two cups of coffee to the food item," said Bohannon, president of the biotechnology company Onasco, Inc. in North Carolina.

"Some people get their caffeine buzz from soda, chocolate and other sources besides coffee," Bohannon said. "The Buzz Donut and the Buzzed Bagel lets them get the caffeine buzz by simply eating a delicious pastry item."

Double dose

The delicious caffeinated doughnut will still likely come chock full of fats, particularly trans fats, and sugars. Trans fats, which behave like saturated fats, are found in many prepared foods, particularly baked goods. As they offer no nutrition and can increase “bad” LDL cholesterol, trans fatty acids are the latest targets for nutritional scrutiny.

In December, New York became the first U.S. city to ban restaurants from using artificial trans fats. Small amounts of trans fats are found naturally in some animal-based products. And Starbucks recently announced it would gradually eliminate trans fats from its baked goods.

In any case, Bohannon's edible wake-me-ups could be right around the corner. He has patented the jolt-laden pastry idea, along with the method that controls the amount of injected caffeine. Now he is shopping around for takers, and has already contacted the usual suspects.

:) I think I'll stick with the "leaded" java. I have tried expresso-brownies several times and felt like this......:| :| :| Wired. I mean really wired.

(y) These donuts might be a god/dess-send for those who work nights though! ;)

(k) (k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:36 PM
(y) (y)


(Notice ALL of the people are the same womyn?)

February 25, 2007

The Remix

Tokyo Pose


At the recent Paris Photo expo, Tomoko Sawada was getting the most laughs. Sawada, a 29-year-old photographer based in Kobe, Japan, is a deft identity thief, whether dressed in one of 400 get-ups in a photo booth, starring as every schoolgirl (and teacher) in a series of class portraits or posing as a range of kimono-wrapped women for mock omiai pictures traditional pictures sent to potential suitors. While culture-jammed self-portraits are nothing new, Sawada imports an original, winking eye.

(h) 8-| (h) 8-| Definitely another grrl-propeller-head. Actually this lady is way, way more technically creative IMHO. Cool photo after what sounds like lots of work. (y)

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:38 PM
(y) (y)

Shirt Dresses, among other things: Slide Show:








(y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:39 PM
:o :o

Runway Beauty Trends Slide Show:


Patricia Field's life in pictures:


(y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:40 PM

February 25, 2007

The Talk NYTimes


glamazon / (glam’ e zän) / n. / [archaic] an outmoded expression used to describe the statuesque warrior women who stalked the runways and sidewalks in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Recently re-entered the fashion lexicon, along with the shoulder-boulder power dressing of the era, e.g., “I practically have to enter doors sideways in my new McQueen glamazon jacket,” or, “I heart Brigitte Nielsen — she’s the glamazon’s glamazon.”

black / (blak) / n. / being of the color black, having no predominant hue [see also “Belgian”]: “There was more black in the front row than at an Antwerp monastery”; a member of any of various dark-skinned peoples who are disproportionately absent from the runways, even in a season in which the number of black salutes rivaled the incidence of celebrity African adoptions. / adj. / Indicating censure or disgrace, as in, “The 12-year-old model in the latest ad campaign is a black mark on the designer’s record.”

trashic / (trash ik) / adj. / a two-snaps contraction of “tragic” and “trash,” e.g., “Call me old-fashioned, but it’s beyond trashic when women put elastic over their stilettos to keep them from falling off,” or, “You can’t take a bad picture of her, but in person she looks so trashic.” Takes one to know one.

:o :o

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:41 PM

Slide Show:


:) :)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:43 PM

February 25, 2007

Acting Up


Q & A: Although you've been working steadily in independent films, "Breaking and Entering," which opened last month, represents a kind of big-release comeback for you. Were you intentionally staying away from more mainstream films?

No, not intentionally, but I've always wanted to taste the unknown, and mainstream films do not usually channel the unknown. People say I turned a lot of parts down, and I guess I did. But film, as a medium, is, in my mind, about sharing. And if I don't have anything to share with a movie or a character, then what's the point?

Yes, but Anthony Minghella, who directs you in "Breaking and Entering," did offer you a role in "The English Patient," which eventually went to Kristin Scott Thomas. It was a great part, and she was nominated for an Oscar.

That's true, but in my life, my kids are top priority. When they sent me "The English Patient," I was either pregnant, or I'd just had the baby. I thought, Great script, but 16 weeks in Tunisia does not sound like the easiest place to have an infant. If you make the choice to stay at home, you lose position in the industry no matter how talented you are. It's all about box office, and when the audience no longer knows you, it's hard. The truth is, I got to do what I wanted to do, which was being a mom. So, when Minghella called this time, I said yes immediately. It also happens that my kids are now 15 and 13, and they're saying, "Get out of the house already — go back to work."

When you were around your daughter's age, you were "discovered" while you were roller-skating in a disco. A photographer suggested that you could be a model.

He actually did that cliché Hollywood thing where you frame someone's face and make a click like you're taking a picture. I had no idea what world I was entering, but I got jobs as a model. I went to Paris for almost a year, but I was too short, so I would only get work in catalogs. It was the most humiliating job: once, Patrick Demarchelier was casting a shoot for French Vogue, and he lined six of us up and said, "Let me see your breasts." I showed him. He shook his head: "Yours are not as good as hers." That's when you build a shield around you. The rejection is so destructive, and you insulate yourself in a kind of defensive cocoon.

But then you were cast as the pure, prototypical heroine in "The Princess Bride." She was anything but guarded.

I was 20 when I did it, and I had lost every part in every John Hughes movie ever made. When I auditioned for "The Princess Bride," I was Buttercup No. 537. The producers and the director were so tired. They saw me at the end of a long day on a Friday, and I think they just said, "We can't see another Buttercup, we'll take her."

Shortly after, you met your husband, Sean Penn. You co-starred in "State of Grace" in 1989, and he asked you out.

Actually, he told me to meet him at his hotel suite, and I sat there waiting. Eventually, he came out of the bedroom to greet me wearing a bolo tie, cowboy boots, a jock strap and a pith helmet. I started laughing hysterically. I said: "Oh, good. You're ready. Let's go."

He must have appreciated your sense of humor.

I guess. We're both very stubborn. For years, I felt that people were more interested in me as Sean Penn's wife than as a person in my own right. I love my husband, but I wanted to have my own identity.

I think your reserve, your reluctance to make mainstream films and your blondness have led the studios to see you as icy and somewhat disdainful.

I know — they never see me as funny. They think of me as a tragic heroine or, maybe, a hormonal mother. But I'm ready to not be so sad. I hate the idea that I'm glorifying sadness by portraying sad characters in films. It's what I resort to because, in a way, it's home. But I don't want to be that person anymore: it's too familiar.

Do you feel that independent films tend to stress darkness over light, whereas studio films tend toward happy endings?

I don't think about the work that way. It's the same with money: I never think about the budget of the film or what I'll be paid until I can't pay the water bill. Actually, it doesn't really matter because I no longer get offered big films. There was a time when I said no a lot, but I have no regrets: the happiest moments in my life were when I had my kids. That made a lot of decisions easy — any sort of movie role that I passed up is tiny in comparison.

Do you worry about Hollywood's tendency to shun actresses once they are past the so-called childbearing years, which they seem to think is around 35?

No. I think I have a couple of good years left. I say a couple of years because I won't get Botox or a face-lift. I hate all the surgery. We're conditioning society to think that aging is abnormal. I like my lines — I've earned them.

You're currently directing a documentary about women surfers. Are you interested in shifting professions?

Not really. I love to act. I'm about to turn 41, and I think I'm having a rebirth. I realize that acting has great meaning to me now in a way that it didn't when I was younger. So, I'm ready to work. I have other skills: I could sell real estate, I can knit, and I'm great at organizing a car pool. But I think I can act. That would be my choice.

(y) (y) I really liked that last answer - about doing different kinds of things. I'm not a knitter though. ;) Well, maybe "nightmare knitter", more like, given my skill level. ;)

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:45 PM
8-) 8-)

February 25, 2007

Body Politic


Last fall I was stopped in my tracks as I walked into a show in Milan during the collections, and a male friend, who’d just witnessed the same debacle that I had, raised his eyebrows and asked, “What happened to feminism?” It’s a question that is being asked repeatedly these days, and for good reason. The only word for the fashion collection we’d just seen was “bimbo” — clothes put out on the runway without irony, without quotation marks, without any raison d’être other than saving money on material. Over the course of the next two weeks I gave myself a little assignment. I’d watch the runways in Milan and Paris and check off those clothes that signified a throwback to the long past of objectifying women. And on the other hand I’d put a little star down when the designer seemed to be wanting to take us into the future with a view of women that reflected self-possession.

Good thing I still like swings. Of course there were exceptions, designers who were true to the present, but by and large it was backward and forward and backward and forward. Then there were the designers who left earth entirely and showed a universe of female droids and cyborgs. These were the ones who, intentionally or not, illuminated the big challenge facing women’s fashion, best described by tweaking the famous tag line from “Star Trek”: women’s fashion, the final frontier . . . to boldly go where no one has gone before.

That’s easier said than done. As Miuccia Prada said to me, “The problem with new ideas about feminism is that there has been so little public discussion of the subject.” Well, that’s changing, big time — if not in fashion at least in the art world, which has historically been the first place where a new perspective begins. In fact, after it seemed as though the subject of feminism had been put on simmer, the art world is cooking with gas again, not just for a new generation of feminist artists but in retrospect too. The year started out with a symposium at the Museum of Modern Art, once such a perfect target for feminist critics, who felt it was stuck in the Stone Age as far as the representation of women goes. Now there are bicoastal extravaganzas planned for this spring: the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles will stage “WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution” from March 4 to July 16, and the Brooklyn Museum opens “Global Feminisms” on March 23. The show celebrates a new center for feminist art, anchored by the permanent installation of Judy Chicago’s famous “The Dinner Party.” How these exhibitions will loop back to fashion and the creative/commercial balancing act that designers have to do is anybody’s guess, but bets are that there will be a trickle-down effect, as there often is.

What’s interesting is that if one goes through the iconic works of the first, second and third waves of feminist writers, there is so little that actually addresses fashion. Rereading Simone de Beauvoir, Kate Millet, Shulamith Firestone, Germaine Greer, Lucy Lippard, Linda Nochlin and so many others, I was struck by the dearth of attention to this subject, which after all has everything to do with how identity is constructed for the outside world. There’s no lack of thinking when it comes to inner life, working life, creative life and public life, but when fashion comes up, the attitude tends to be knee-jerk and programmatic. Take Greer’s climactic moment at the end of “The Female Eunuch,” where she creates a sort of bill of rights, inciting women to: “. . . refuse hobbles and deformity and take possession of your body and glory in its power, accepting its own laws of loveliness.” In fact some of the most powerful, liberated women I know choose to hobble around in the craziest skyscraper shoes. “The higher the heel,” they say, “the better I feel.”

But the other part of Greer’s declaration — that women have the right to control their own bodies — is as resonant today as it was when she wrote it nearly 40 years ago. One can see that drama being played out in the fashion arena right now, with the debate over skinny models brought to a head by the deaths last fall of two South American catwalkers from complications of anorexia. The hysteria that resulted led to a spectacle of ignorance, hypocrisy and bureaucracy. If the issue weren’t so serious, some of the solutions proposed by bureaucrats — like models being weighed in like boxers or jockeys — would be funny. But unfortunately they don’t just infringe on everything that we are supposed to hold dear in the department of human liberties, they also display so little understanding of the disease they are trying to combat that it is frightening. So is the tendency to lump together girls who are naturally skinny with those who are sick, two very different realities. Hey, as someone who likes her fries, I’m all for bringing back a Rubenesque shape as the height of fashion, but the fact is that perceptions of beauty cannot, and will not, be dictated by laws. That’s where consciousness comes in. At the center of it all, for anorexics, but also for each of us, lies the issue of control, or as Barbara Kruger wrote in one of her most unforgettable artworks: “Your body is a battleground.” Hopefully you win.

(y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) (y) Definitely.

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:47 PM



You might know your astrological sign. But do you know your astrological scent? In London, find-your-destiny evenings called Gastrology (no relation to the study of stomachs) are providing heady answers. The Harrods perfumer Roja Dove and the professional stargazer Shelley von Strunckel hold monthly sold-out dinners at Plateau that diagnose star-crossed fragrance needs. During dinner, von Strunckel sketches the flaws and strengths of each sign, while Dove matches signs with compatible smells — for example, rose, the scent for Taurus, and jasmine, the one for Leo, are a perfect match. By midnight, the room is an orgy of fragrance, yet there are no headaches because Dove uses natural oils. Guests leave with a goody bag that includes vouchers for a chart by von Strunckel and a scent session at Dove’s atelier. When I asked Dove about my sign (Aquarius with Libra rising), he suggested Clive Christian No. 1 for men: “It has orange blossom for Aquarius with airy notes that are dynamic and lively, like the Libran personality.” I bought out the store. Dove and von Strunckel may bring Gastrology to New York this year. For reservations, call 011-44-207-715-7100.

:| :| What next?

;) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:50 PM
(y) (y) (y)

February 24, 2007

Op-Ed Columnist

A Cat Without Whiskers



So some guy stands up after John McCain’s luncheon speech here yesterday to a group of business types and asks him a question.

“I’ve seen in the press where in your run for the presidency, you’ve been sucking up to the religious right,” the man said, adding: “I was just wondering how soon do you predict a Republican candidate for president will start sucking up to the old Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party?”

Mr. McCain listened with his eyes downcast, then looked the man in the eye, smiled and replied: “I’m probably going to get in trouble, but what’s wrong with sucking up to everybody?” It was a flash of the old McCain, and the audience laughed.

Certainly, the senator has tried to worm his way into the affections of W. and the religious right: the Discovery Institute, a group that tries to derail Darwinism and promote the teaching of Intelligent Design, helped present the lunch, dismaying liberal bloggers who have tracked Mr. McCain’s devolution on evolution.

A reporter asked the senator if his pandering on Roe v. Wade had made him “the darling and candidate of the ultra right wing?” ( In South Carolina earlier this week, he tried to get more evangelical street cred by advocating upending Roe v. Wade.) “I dispute that assertion,” he replied. “I believe that it was Dr. Dobson recently who said that he prayed that I would not receive the Republican nomination. I was just over at Starbucks this morning. ... I talk everywhere, and I try to reach out to everyone.”

But there’s one huge group that he’s not pandering to: Americans.

Most Americans are sick and tired of watching things go hideously backward in Iraq and Afghanistan, and want someone to show them the way out. Mr. McCain is stuck on the bridge of a sinking policy with W. and Dick Cheney, who showed again this week that there is no bottom to his lunacy. The senator supported a war that didn’t need to be fought and is a cheerleader for a surge that won’t work.

It has left Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, once the most spontaneous of campaigners, off balance. He’s like a cat without its whiskers. When the moderator broached the subject of Iraq after lunch, Mr. McCain grimaced, stuck out his tongue a little and said sarcastically, “Thanks.”

Defending his stance, he sounds like a Bill Gates robot prototype, repeating in a monotone: “I believe we’ve got a new strategy. ... It can succeed. I can’t guarantee success. But I do believe firmly that if we get out now we risk chaos and genocide in the region.”

He was asked about Britain’s decision to withdraw 1,600 troops from Iraq. “Tony Blair, the prime minister, has shown great political courage,” Mr. McCain said. “He has literally sacrificed his political career because of Iraq, my friends,” because he thought “it was the right thing to do.”

He said he worried that Iranian-backed Shiites were taking more and more control of southern Iraq. (That was probably because the Brits kept peace in southern Iraq all along by giving Iranian-backed Shiites more and more control.) And he noted that the British are sending more troops to Afghanistan, “which is very necessary because we’re going to have a very hot spring in Afghanistan.”

But then he got back to Tony Blair sacrificing his political career, and it was clear that he was also talking about himself. When a reporter later asked him if Iraq might consume his candidacy, he replied evenly: “Sure.”

I asked him if he got discouraged when he reads stories like the one in The Wall Street Journal yesterday about Ahmad Chalabi, the man who helped goad and trick the U.S. into war, who got “a position inside the Iraqi government that could help determine whether the Bush administration’s new push to secure Baghdad succeeds.”

Or the New York Times article yesterday about a couple of Iraqi policemen who joined American forces on searches in Baghdad, but then turned quisling, running ahead to warn residents to hide their weapons and other incriminating evidence.

He nodded. “I think one of the big question marks is how the Maliki government will step up to the plate,” he said.

And how, I asked him, can Dick Cheney tell ABC News that British troops getting out is “an affirmation that there are parts of Iraq where things are going pretty well,” while he says that Democrats who push to get America out would “validate the Al Qaeda strategy.” Isn’t that a nutty?

But Senator McCain was back on his robo-loop: “I can only express my gratitude for the enormous help that the British have given us.”

Sometimes I miss John McCain, even when I’m with him.

(y) (y) I love that last sentence! Maureen definitely surgically and deftly writes. (y)

(stepping off that soap box...)

Warmest hugs,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:51 PM
:D :D

"Real Estate and handbags are New Yorkers' favorite pornagraphy, why not combine the two and double the pleasure?"

- Armand Limnander

(p) http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/02/23/style/tmagazine/25tcroc.large.jpg

:) Which one turns you on? :)

Carpe Diem,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:54 PM

February 25, 2007

The Remix

Tag Lady


Graffiti is everywhere these days. Why not on your coffee table? A new book, “Bombshell: The Life and Crimes of Claw Money” (powerHouse Books), documents the career of Claw Money, who began tagging in New York in the early 1990s and is one of the pioneering women in the field. The book, whose title plays on Money’s va-va-boom-box style, closes a chapter: she’s retiring. But like Jay-Z, she has plenty to keep her busy, from her massive vintage clothing collection to a fashion director’s job at Swindle magazine and a namesake clothing line, with T-shirts, retailored bomber jackets and scarves that bear her signature logo. Show them the Money.


(y) (y) I love those who have parallel activities, including this artist. (y) (y)

(f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:55 PM
:o :o

....at least for one to two weeks, that is....:o

Imagine 90 DAYS? http://www.cunard.com/wc2008/default.asp?Ship=QE2




QE2: http://www.cunard.com/ourships/default.asp?ship=QE2

:) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 01:58 PM
:o :o


(y) (y) It's always fun to look, especially virtually where there aren't the crowds and trying to find a parking space. But then, at a place like this? There's *valet" parking. ;)

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 02:00 PM

Gerard Tully, animal magnetism: http://www.gerardtully.com/

:) Some of these web sites are creatively crafted......definitely megas were spent on the graphic design and HTML code writing......(y) :)

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-25-2007, 02:06 PM
:) :) :)

1. http://web.tickle.com/

2. Myers Briggs:



(y) (y) I LOVE the Myers-Briggs one. I'm an INTJ and sometimes an INTP. What are you? (Geez, that sounded like a rude question now, didn't it?) ;) ;)

(o) (o) Time to take a break away from the computer glass. Take Wyatt outside for a short walk and some fresh air to blow any mental cobwebs away. Maybe I should put those rubber cleat things on my boots again - so I don't slip on the ice. (i) Ya think? :o

Stay warm and toasty relaxing this evening. I hope that your favorites win Academy Awards tonight, whoever they might be. (f)


Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 10:35 AM
:| :| :|

Scorsese departs Oscars triumphant

By Nigel Andrews

Published: February 26 2007 11:16 | Last updated: February 26 2007 13:08

Astounding scenes were witnessed at the 79th annual Academy Awards ceremony. The Best Actress made a sensible speech. The best director won the Best Director prize. No one wore a weird dress. No white person commented that anyone was black (or vice versa). No one said they had been brought up in a trailer park. And Al Gore, winning the Best Documentary Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth, began to announce his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, only for a twinkle to give him away as the music police, otherwise known as the Academy orchestra, took the liberty of drowning him out.

Most astoundingly, the evening’s stage set verged on the tasteful. Imagine an indented Venetian ceiling taken down, turned to sheet metal and split into giant front-drops. It looked like bubble-wrap gone monumental. Backward of these, giant Oscars stood in two rows of open-front presentation cases, with a more giant one in the middle. They were cleared for dance numbers, when a scrim allowed silhouetted bodies, seemingly nude, to group themselves into shapes resembling giant floral bouquets or giant guns. (I think we can take the word ‘giant’ as read in relation to Oscar décor).

Ellen DeGeneres, looking perky in a kind of haute couture builder-and- plasterer’s outfit, showed aplomb and inventiveness when it was needed. It was needed quite early, when it became clear that there would be few surprises in the minor categories. These are reserved for the cinema of infantile regression, with Caribbean pirates and digitised penguins winning for special effects and animation, while Little Miss Sunshine /no spamming of other sites/ all right, so I’m the only person in the world who doesn’t like it /no spamming of other sites/ picked up Best Original Script and Best Supporting Actor (Alan Arkin).

The evening’s first and almost only trend-bucker was the Best Song Oscar. This was surely, we thought, going to Dreamgirls, which had about four nominations out of five. Instead it went to An Inconvenient Truth, to the visible startlement of audiences trying to remember what on earth that global-warming eco-doc’s song could have been. (“Warming has bro-ken, like the first war-ming”...?) Fittingly, in a moment of heady acclamation for political correctness, the winner Melissa Etheridge thanked her “wife”, seen beaming from the front stalls. With that moment and the night’s leading role played by Miss DeGeneres, the 2007 Oscars did for a bigotry-oppressed sexual constituency what the 2002 awards famously did for a disadvantaged racial community.

By 4am British time /no spamming of other sites/ the time we Oscar-watchers are propping open our eyelids with cocktail sticks /no spamming of other sites/ the ceremony was becoming a bit too well-behaved and respectful. Like good citizens, almost everyone observed the 45-second limit on speeches, to which the only exception was Ennio Morricone, who was allowed 45 hours. Or maybe it seemed that way as the composer receiving a career Oscar expatiated at length in Italian, while Clint Eastwood stood at his side, replacing himself during comfort breaks with a convincing waxwork, translated into American.

Ellen DeGeneres had warned the night’s winners not to do speeches about having being brought up in the Bronx eating lumps of frozen poison. But that nearly didn’t stop Jennifer Hudson. The Best Supporting Actress for Dreamgirls looked as if a rags-to-riches marathon was teetering on her lips. Instead she made a tearful, simple speech, while doing something obscure and fiddly with her hands, possibly sticking pins into a Simon Cowell doll.

The evening’s one humdinger speech came from Forest Whitaker, named Best Actor for his Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. After murmuring “Just a second” for the fending off of audible-visible grief, Whitaker went on to say a great deal, some of it comprehensible, about the interaction of dreams, beliefs, lights, connections, art, faith, religion and destiny. At the end he thanked the people of Uganda, his ancestors and God. A shot from the wings showed there was an unusual number of people in white coats waiting for him to finish.

The 2007 Best Actress award confirmed that “HM the Queen” now stands for Helen Mirren the Queen. Dame Helen wore a gold lamé Jessica Rabbit-style dress with full cups and a flowing hip-shape. The Americans adored her, especially when she said, raising high her Oscar, “I give you the Queen”. Since America has no idea what this toasting locution means, they thought we were offering to loan the monarch to a country grateful for any cut-glass classiness it can get.

Frozen in time, numbed by the act of keeping smiles on our faces, we were in no condition to register surprise at the evening’s concluding bouleversement. But it was wonderful that Martin Scorsese finally got the Best Picture and Best Director double, while so very Oscarish that he got it for a film representing a B-plus on his report card.

The Departed is not Raging Bull, Taxi Driver or Goodfellas. But it is good enough. And it saved us from the horror of seeing Babel win, in another vote that would have shown, like last year’s honouring of Crash, that the Motion Pictures Academy has no idea what the difference is between self-importance and importance. But maybe Hollywood’s heedlessness of fine distinctions is one of the reasons we love it.


+o( +o( Don't worry, the next post - also written by a Brit, is much more self-effacing and not caustic at all. (y)

Sun Thoughts on a gray day (f)

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 10:39 AM
;) ;)

February 26, 2007

Why did the year's best film win (nearly*) nothing?

James Christopher, Chief Film Critic Times (UK) Online

Thrilled as I am that Scorsese finally won a sheaf of Oscars for The Departed, I can’t help feeling that a better film left the Kodak theatre with virtually nothing. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s epic thriller, Babel, won a paltry token award for Best Film Score. I’m amazed at how lightly it was dismissed. The film is by no means perfect. It rattles alarmingly between characters and crises on three different continents. Yet it was most exhilarating and original contender by a stretch.

But seasoned Oscar-watchers will not be surprised. The American Academy has been aching to reward Scorsese after thirty years of hurt. The failure to heap awards on both Taxi Driver and Raging Bull has gone down as the most notorious lapse of judgement in award history. Clint Eastwood’s turgid melodramas have managed to frustrate Scorsese’s more recent efforts. But the second instalment of his ambitious World War II double bill, Letters from Iwo Jima, proved too wilfully weird even for Clint’s diehard supporters.

The Departed makes short shrift of lofty values. In fact it makes short shrift of almost the entire cast. It’s a joy to see Scorsese back at his bleak and visceral worst with the kind of testosterone drama he pioneered in Mean Streets. The cynicism runs raw and deep. A lean-looking Leonardo DiCaprio looked as if he had a decent fist around the Best Actor award before Forest Whitaker chopped his hopes off at the knees. At least Whitaker had the grace to admit that his splendid impersonation of Idi Amin in the Last King of Scotland was a once in a lifetime performance. Poor old Peter O’Toole has spent several lifetimes failing to make a once. The honourary Oscar he received several aeons ago will almost certainly be his last. Otherwise it’s been something of a vintage year for the golden oldies. The 2006 winners were uniformly young, brash, and experimental.

This year the Academy noticeably honoured several prodigiously grumpy old men. Alan Arkin’s turn as a filthy-minded grandpa in Little Miss Sunshine won him the Best Supporting Actor. It was an award Jack Nicholson ought to have won as the savoury villain in The Departed. Having turned up to the Oscars with Hollywood’s most trendy haircut /no spamming of other sites/ the Britney Spears baldy /no spamming of other sites/ he ought to have won something for sheer cheek. Scorsese was far too tense to be amused despite winning a further three gongs for Best Film, Best Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

By any standards that’s an extraordinary quantity of humble pie. Tragically, it seemed to knock the wind out of British hopes. We have rarely had so many Oscar nominations for so many different films within our grasp. The Brits looked like heavyweight champions at the Golden Globes and the Baftas. There has been an arrogant swagger about their procession to the Oscars. Yet on Sunday night they suddenly looked desperately parochial. We went down like Audley Harrison.

Helen Mirren wobbled her way to a fairly predictable but nerve-wracking Best Actress award. Directors Stephen Frears (The Queen) and Paul Greengrass (United 93) were left stranded, tired, emotional, and bemused. Peter Morgan and Patrick Marber /no spamming of other sites/ our dead-cert bets at the bookie to land statues for their fiendishly clever screenplays /no spamming of other sites/ were rudely booted into touch. And Sacha Baron Cohen -- in the running for some wildly inappropriate prize /no spamming of other sites/ probably thought he was at the Derby. At least everyone knew at last what it felt to be part of the Dreamgirls package. Jennifer Hudson emerged from a haystack of award hype with a worthy Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. But the hopes and dreams of this hugely expensive and hotly tipped show were simply left in tatters in the aisles.

There might be a lesson here for the bruised Brits. What struck me is how much our big films look like chamber pieces beside the giant spectacles of Babel and The Departed. Even Pan’s Labyrinth, which seemed to win everything except the prize it deserved, Best Foreign Language film (awarded to The Lives of Others), touches parts our films fail to reach. I’m not sure what the missing magical ingredient is. Just make sure you don’t ask Bill Condon.


(y) (y) Now this take was much more upbeat and sounds more like the terrific folks I know in the U.K. (y) (y)

(um) May your smile be your umbrella (um) on a rainy day ,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 12:13 PM
......unless of course - you've read "The DaVinci Code"....;)

Feb. 26, 2007 1:23 | Updated Feb. 26, 2007 1:39

'Jesus, Magdalene & son in Talpiot tomb'


The Discovery TV Channel has released new details of the "Lost Tomb of Jesus" documentary that is to be officially launched at a New York press conference on Monday, including the claim that Jesus was buried in a Jerusalem tomb alongside Mary Magdalene and, possibly, their son Judah.

The film also suggests that the so-called "James, Brother of Jesus" ossuary, which surfaced in 2002 in the collection of Israeli antiquities collector Oded Golan, may also have come from the tomb. The "James" ossuary made world headlines, but has been branded a forgery by the Israel Antiquities Authority though it still has many defenders.

According to the website of the Discovery Channel, for whom the "Lost Tomb of Jesus" documentary was produced, Israeli-born filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici and his colleagues have gathered scientific evidence, "including DNA analysis conducted at one of the world's foremost molecular genetics laboratories," as well as expert scholarship, to bolster their staggering claim that a 2,000-year-old cave in the Talpiot neighborhood once held the remains of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother Mary, Mary Magdalene and, possibly, their son Judah.

Prof. Amos Kloner, the Jerusalem District archeologist who oversaw work at the tomb when it was uncovered in 1980, told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday that the documentary's claims were "impossible" and "nonsense," and that there was "no likelihood" that Jesus and his relatives had a family tomb.

The tomb contained 10 ossuaries, five of which were inscribed with names believed to be associated with Jesus, Mary, a possible relative named Matthew, Jesus's brother Joseph and Mary Magdalene. A sixth inscription translates to "Judah Son of Jesus," according to the Discovery Channel article. All but one of these inscriptions are in Hebrew or Aramaic. The exception, written in Greek, reads "Mariamene e Mara," which can be translated as "Mary known as the master."

Francois Bovon, professor of the history of religion at Harvard University, says that "Mariamene, or Mariamne, probably was the actual name given to Mary Magdalene," and that this is the name given to Mary Magdalene in a non-canonical text called the "Acts of Philip," which mentions the apostles and Mariamne, sister of the apostle Philip.

The filmmakers retrieved samples from the "Jesus" and "Mariamene" ossuaries for DNA analysis. "The human remains were analyzed by Carney Matheson, a scientist at the Paleo-DNA Laboratory at Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada. Mitochondrial DNA examination determined the individual in the Jesus ossuary and the person in the ossuary linked to Mary Magdalene were not related. Since tombs normally contain either blood relations or spouses, Jacobovici and his team suggest it is possible Jesus and Mary Magdalene were a couple" and that "Judah. may have been their son."

The filmmakers claim that the 10th ossuary, said to have disappeared from the collections of the Israel Antiquities Authority, may be the so-called "James, Brother of Jesus" ossuary, rediscovered in 2002 by Israeli collector Golan, who said he had bought it from an Arab dealer in the Old City decades earlier and not initially realized its significance. Although the ossuary still has its supporters, the IAA has branded it a forgery, and Golan has been charged with running a forgery ring - charges he has denied.

Analysis of the "patina" residues from the Talpiot ossuaries matches the "patina" of the James ossuary, the filmmakers say.

Kloner told The Jerusalem Post that no inscribed ossuary from the Talpiot tomb had ever gone missing.

The filmmakers asked Andrey Feuerverger, professor of statistics and mathematics at the University of Toronto, to study the likelihood of the cluster of resonant names found in the Talpiot tomb being merely coincidental. He concluded, according to the Discovery Channel, that "the odds are at least 600 to 1 in favor of the Talpiot Tomb being the Jesus Family Tomb. In other words, the conclusion works 599 times out of 600."

The "Lost Tomb of Jesus" documentary is being screened next week on the Discovery Channel and around the world - including Israel's Channel 8.

Executive producer James Cameron and director Jacobovici are formally launching it, with colleagues, at a press conference in New York on Monday, where they are also set to display the key ossuaries, loaned out to them by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Academy Award-winner Cameron said in a press release, "It doesn't get bigger than this. We've done our homework; we've made the case; and now it's time for the debate to begin."

Asked by The Jerusalem Post whether the loan of the ossuaries implied IAA confirmation of the claims made in the film, an IAA spokeswoman denied this, and said it was a "routine" loan. Prof. Kloner said the IAA had been "very foolish" to lend out the ossuaries. "The left hand there doesn't know what the right hand is doing," he said.


:| Not to mention the Catholic Church's huge clod-hoppers tamping this news down........as it has for centuries. :o

(y) My take is "who really knows for sure?" I kind of like the idea about Mary Magdelene's "full membership" role as an apostle. What a shame the early Catholic Church hid the truth and what we have today is a male-dominated religion. I am a recovering Catholic. ;)

(f) Warmest wishes to my friends. (f)

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 12:15 PM
:) (y) :)




:) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 12:18 PM
(y) (i) (y)



;) There - you now have "Haute" makeovers for fish and chips.......:)

(um) Sun Thoughts (um) ,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 12:21 PM
:o :o

Once upon a time, women were fickle. Sometimes they were girlish. Sometimes they were boyish. Sometimes they were half and half...:o

Beyond Unusual Slide Show:



SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 12:23 PM
8-| 8-|

February 25, 2007

The Face

Ghost Flowers


In 1984, Antonia Bellanca, a florist in East Hampton, N.Y., decided to create a freesia perfume. She told her perfumer, Bernard Chant, that she wanted freesia because she’d noticed that of all her flowers, freesia “knocked your socks off, like trumpets in an orchestra; everyone else sings backup, even the lilies.” Chant delivered a perfume that fully realized freesia’s qualities — its intensely green top note and its stratospheric quality, like jasmine at 48,000 feet, swimming in pure ozone. She named the perfume Antonia’s Flowers, and it became a cult favorite, although there is one thing that is startling about it: it contains no freesia. In fact, there’s no freesia in any perfume in the world. Not only that, but any number of the perfumes you love — perfumes that smell of your favorite flowers — contain not a trace of their signature bud.

The reason for this is simple: extraction technology. Some flowers extract beautifully. Put a few tons of roses into a solvent, and you get a gorgeous absolute, $1,000 to $5,000 a pound for the pure, thick, 100-percent essence that you smell in a rose-violet fragrance like Yves Saint Laurent’s Paris. You’ll find real jasmine extract in Abercrombie & Fitch perfume; real broom in Boucheron; neroli in Guerlain’s Eau Impériale; and natural tuberose in Amouage Gold and Dior’s Poison. Lauren Ralph Lauren has real marigold, and there are distillations of osmanthus, immortelles and ylang-ylang. And that’s pretty much it. Almost no other pure flower distillations exist, because technology is simply unable to extract scent from them. Exactly why is a mystery. Put a few tons of violet flower into a solvent, and you extract ... a limp material that smells nothing like violet. “Theoretically, distilling violet is possible,” an industry figure told me, “but in reality the yield is always so vanishingly small it’s financially impossible. A pure violet flower absolute would be much more than $10,000 a kilo, if you could make it work.” The violet implacably refuses to surrender its smell.

And so perfumers recreate it: mix 2,6-nonadienal + beta-ionone + dihydro-beta-ionone + alpha-ionone and a few others, and there’s your scent of violet. Which means the rose-violet of YSL Paris is made with natural rose — and recreated violet. This conjured violet is also integral to Givenchy’s gorgeous L’Interdit and Lancôme’s estimable Magie. Mimosa in perfumes is mostly imaginary. They put flower, leaves and stem into a solvent, but the material that results isn’t the smell of the flower at all; Givenchy’s Amarige is a mimosa perfume, but what you’re smelling is actually the scent of mimosa leaf and twig (which, incidentally, smells lovely). The same goes for lavender, jonquil and narcissus. (“The flower’s contribution to the scent material is close to zero,” a perfumer told me of narcissus.) Geranium? They don’t even bother to put the flower in the distiller; only the leaf is extracted. They recreate hyacinth for Estée Lauder’s White Linen because no hyacinth exists in natural form in perfumes, nor any lilac, lily, honeysuckle, peony or wisteria. Perhaps the most famous imaginary flower is lily of the valley. No technology has ever been able to pull its fresh carnal scent from the delicate flesh of its petals. The 1956 Diorissimo is the paradigmatic “lily of the valley perfume,” its lily of the valley made of molecules like hydroxycitronellal, geraniol and phenyl ethyl alcohol.

Next fall, Bulgari will come out with Omnia Améthyste, a perfume that smells of iris. While iris root has a strong, beautiful, astonishing — and astonishingly expensive — scent, iris flowers have almost no smell at all. “Maybe a little honeyish smell, a little vanillic, depending on the hybrid,” says Alberto Morillas, the perfumer who created the scent for Bulgari. So Morillas reconstituted the flower’s pale scent with his idea of what iris smells like: he put in woody scents, iris root absolute for elegance, Bulgarian rose and orange blossom for honey and sun. He used Habanolide, a woody synthetic molecule, for the warmth and sensuality of human skin, and the synthetic Muscenone for a delicate, shimmering, powdery feel. Just as an author writes a novel based on a true story, Morillas has taken a true but slight scent and created a great piece of olfactory fiction.

And there is a degree of imagination that actually goes even beyond this. Eight years ago, the designer Karl Lagerfeld asked Jacques Polge, Chanel’s elegant, talented perfumer, to make a perfume out of Coco’s favorite flower, the camellia, which has no smell. The limpid and lovely result is Une Fleur de Chanel, a product of pure imagination. This is not distillation, obviously; it is almost a kind of abstract expressionism for the nose.

My favorite example of a ghost comes via Odile Lobadowsky, the president of Kenzo Parfums. In 1999, she got a copy of the famous photograph of a girl holding up a single flower to a bayonet taken by the French photographer Marc Riboud during a 1967 antiwar protest outside the Pentagon. Lobadowsky wanted to create what she thought of as “a flower stronger than a gun.” Since Kenzo loved poppies, she and creative director Patrick Guedj envisioned that flower as a red poppy, a flower that — you guessed it — has no scent. Guedj sent out a description of the concept to various perfumers, including Alberto Morillas, one of a handful of star perfumers highly in demand. Morillas showed Kenzo three perfume trials that he’d been working on; everyone liked the one that Morillas had, by chance, dubbed Pourpre, or purple. To create it, he used a natural violet leaf, essence of acacia flower, linalyl acetate, geraniol and citronellol (molecules found in jasmine and rose). To make it smell “red,” he mixed pure and synthetic vanillas, a warm molecule called heliotropin and the kerosene-vaporlike scent of benzyl acetate. Flower by Kenzo was introduced in 2000. It is mesmerizing as a whisper, a huge commercial success and entirely imagined from a flower with no scent.

(p) http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/02/20/fashion/ghost.190.gif

(f) (f) (f) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 12:25 PM
(l) (f) (l) (f) (l)



SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 12:31 PM
:| :| :| :| :| :|

Moscow Mayor Calls Gay Pride Parade Satanic

Created: 29.01.2007 14:57 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 17:50 MSK


Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov said Monday he would never allow a gay parade to take place in Moscow despite pressure from the West, Russia’s RIA-Novosti news agency reports.

“Last year, Moscow came under unprecedented pressure to sanction the gay parade, which can be described in no other way than as Satanic,” Luzhkov said at the 15th Christmas educational readings in the Kremlin Palace.

“We did not let the parade take place then, and we are not going to allow it in the future,” said Luzhkov who has been in office since 1992.

The conservative 70-year-old mayor of the Russian capital also banned Portuguese bullfights in Moscow in 2001 for their violence and did not let the St. Petersburg-based rock group Leningrad perform in the city because of their explicit lyrics.

Luzhkov thanked the attending head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II, for his support at a time when, he said, the West is exerting considerable pressure on Moscow authorities and trying to promote gay relationships under the cover of creativity and freedom of expression.

“Religious thinkers throughout the world have said that the West has reached a crisis of faith. Some European nations bless single-sex marriages and introduce sexual guides in schools,” Luzhkov said. “Such things are a deadly moral poison for children.”

This is the second time Moscow authorities have banned a gay parade in Moscow. On May 26, 2006, a Moscow district court upheld a Moscow government resolution prohibiting a gay march, which was scheduled for the next day, as opposition to the planned event was strong in Russia, especially from the Russian Orthodox Church and other religious leaders.

Despite the ban, about 200 people took to the streets May 27 in an unsanctioned demonstration to mark the 13th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Russia.

The attempt resulted in violent clashes between sexual minorities and their opponents — representatives of a number of political parties, religious and radical movements — and the detention of some 120 people from both sides, most of whom were later released.


(n) (n) Moscow is definitely not on my wish list of places to visit, THAT's for sure. The city's mayor is a "dummy load" as RF engineers call idiots. What can one expect from a man? Racism, sexism, mysogynistic behaviors and other deeply biased caveman thinking.


Peace & love to my friends,

SWeetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 12:35 PM
(y) (*) (y) (*)

Really nice: http://www.handspan.com/






Junk Sailing, Ha Long Bay, Vietnam:


Vietnam - Travel Photo Gallery : Featured Photos:


(*) Seems as if travel to this small country has become quite popular. I wonder if older Baby Boomers travel here or if it is a travel destination targeted more for younger generations. Inquiring minds don't want to know.....just pondering. :)

Have a lovely Monday evening.

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 12:39 PM

(p) http://www.duke.edu/~jwc13/images/beerlauncher/bl1.jpg


|-) |-) Maybe for the guys......;)


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 12:41 PM
:s :s


(*) Silly and how lazy does one have to be to need one of these? :D


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 12:43 PM

Welcome to Fake Your Space. You have found a new and exciting service which offers help to all the men and women out there who don't feel like they are popular enough on social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Friendster. If you are tired of seeing everyone else with the hottest friends and want some hotties of your own, then this is the place for you.


;) Hmmmmm.....;)


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 12:46 PM

MacScoop is reporting that well-placed Apple sources (well-placed apparently being within whispering distance) say to expect a slew of updated hardware releases from Apple in Q2 of the calendar year. The sources said most or all of the Mac lines will see new additions by the end of June, with announcements beginning in March. Based on product cycles, the site speculates, the top candidates for new gear would be the Mac Pro, the Mac Mini and XServe. The only specific offered by the sources was the distinct likelihood of high-end iMacs in a black case, one of those computing advances that ignites a level of slavering anticipation PC users will always find incomprehensible.


(y) (h) (y) (h) (y) (h)

Sweetlady & Wyat the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 12:47 PM
(y) ;) (y)



SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 12:49 PM
:| :o :| :o

There are dozens of ways to hook up DVD players for in car viewing. A few of them even have recommended configurations for playing video games from passenger seating. None of the in car entertainment solutions offer a way to connect to online gaming services like Xbox Live. Brandon Wirtz and I decided to fix that by building the ultimate in-car Xbox Live gaming experience. With Brandon driving his Jeep and me in the back with a video camera, we captured the whole experience of Brandon's roommate, Rose, playing Rainbow 6 Las Vegas and Uno (with Xbox Live Vision) while driving around Mountain View.

To "Experience":


(y) (y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 01:01 PM
:) (y) :) (y) :)


(y) Rendering of old masters: http://users.skynet.be/J.Beever/images/ross.jpg

(Here we see a rendering of a Rossetti masterpieceThe Beloved drawn in Rue Neuve, Brussels, 1995.)

The Portrait Of Diana was made in September 1997 in Londons West End and was shown on TV all over the world. It was featured in The Daily Mirror, The Daily Telegraph and made the front page of The Guardian.

(p) http://users.skynet.be/J.Beever/images/pavDi.jpg

;) For a couple of butches I know and respect:

(p) Girl on a beach mat: http://users.skynet.be/J.Beever/images/girlonmat.jpg

(p) http://users.skynet.be/J.Beever/images/swim2.jpg

;) Twisted sense of humour that I have. This one is called "Baby Food":


Batman and Robin to the rescue:


Spiderman to the rescue above and below this London street:


(y) (y) This Make Poverty History drawing was requested by Live8 to support the pressure campaign on the G8 in Edinburgh. It was done in Edinburgh City Centre:


VERY COOL: The illusion of the Portable Computer was drawn on The Strand, London:


(y) (y) LOTS more on the first URL (main web page). (h) (h)

Carpe Diem,

SWeetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-26-2007, 01:07 PM
(h) 8-| (h) 8-|

"Play the 'healing game' for every lover who's been cast off after blast off." Includes BB guns, knives, mallets, and, of course, diapers.


(*) (*) (*) OUTSTANDING!! (*) (*) (*) Very cool and HILARIOUS!

(f) Enjoy.

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 09:17 PM


The county of Lancashire, located in the northwest of England (home county of The Beatles) is a combination of rough and rugged countryside and industrial towns, and was the home of the industrial revolution in England. Lancashire is made in the area located a little north of Cheshire (home and namesake to another of Britain's finest cheeses). It's traditionally produced using the curd from two or three days' worth of milkings, which helps to give the creamy richness great depth. A white colored cow's milk cheese; it is most appreciated for its fantastic crumbly texture and buttery taste. Lancashire is one of the lesser known cheeses of England. often overshadowed by Cheddar and Cheshire, it's more famous counterparts.

In Great Britain it is the classic "toasting" cheese in the British sense of the word (crumbled or spread onto bread and heated under the broiler). Top a slice of Farm Bread with a layer of apple chutney, crumble on some of the Lancashire, and set it under the broiler 'til the cheese is bubbling hot and lightly browned. Sometimes known as "Welsh Rarebit" or "Welsh Rabbit", this is one of the basic and classic ways to serve Lancashire. Variations include heating ale or milk gently in a pan, and crumbling in the Lancashire. When it's all melted together (you'll want to go nice and slow, or the cheese will become stringy), spread the mixture over toast and then broil until golden brown. Experiment with adding your favorite flavors or seasonings, such as chives or mustard. Lancashire, like most British cheeses, is the perfect match to be served along with a good beer or ale, but is equally delicious when paired with a Chardonnay or Muscadet.



WHAT? Grilled cheese, English/no spamming of other sites/style. In the same family as croques monsieur and raclette, rarebit (literally “rare bits”) takes cheese on toast to a higher level. At one time, cheese and toast were indeed all you needed to make it. But most modern recipes call for melting cheese with ale and mustard, pouring the mixture over toast, and broiling it until bubbling, Rarebit goes by many names, including caws pobi, Scottish rarebit, and Irish rarebit, each reflecting regional variations, such as the addition of wine. Bunny-free Welsh rabbit, as it is also known, is merely a sonic bastardization of rarebit. In the Journal of Antiques, Alice Boss described one legend that explains the names Welsh rabbit and caws pobi, citing as her source “Toasted Cheese and St. Peter,” a tale first recorded in the early 14th century. The story relates that the Welsh were kicked out of heaven because they were unworthy. To trick them into going, St. Peter called out, “Caws Pobi, Caws Pobi” (“roasted cheese”). When the Welsh rushed out of Heaven for a taste, he ran in and locked the gate.



BellaOnline: The Voice of Women? http://www.bellaonline.com/subjects/3026.asp

Cool: http://static.flickr.com/97/232575990_2dfbe92cda.jpg?v=0


(y) (y) Enjoy! Goodness, it's been decades since I had this with my grandmother in a restaurant. :)

Have a lovely evening and Wednesday! (f)

Carpe Diem,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 09:18 PM
(y) (y) (y)


(y) (y) I LOVED the interactive map.

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 09:19 PM



SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 09:24 PM
8-| 8-| 8-| 8-| 8-|

Techtree News Staff

Feb 26, 2007

After all the speculation, Dell has announced it will start selling computers with pre-installed Linux distributions instead of Microsoft Windows.

Reportedly, the idea is born out of IdeaStorm, Dell's all new Web site that was launched on Feb 16, and has since experienced a flood of requests, with users asking for Dell NBs and desktops loaded with pre-installed Linux distributions plus the open source alternative to Microsoft Office - OpenOffice.org.

The PC maker had asked customers how it could jazz up its products/services, and thousands of computer buyers descended upon the site to voice their opinion on just about everything ranging from product design to marketing to technical support.

IdeaStorm got a total of nearly 1,600 user suggestions, with tens of thousands of more such - just seconding these suggestions. Apparently, the responses came from some of the savviest buyers on the market, who not only identify trends but are able to influence other buyers as well.

And, the requests translated into some half a dozen or more suggestions on Linux distribution. So much so that Dell had a problem on hand, deciding which Linux distribution to go with. The company said it does not want to pick one distribution and alienate users with a preference for another.

However, in an official statement, Dell said it is already working with Novell to certify its corporate client products for Suse Linux, including OptiPlex desktops, Latitude notebooks, and Precision workstations.

The company said in addition to working with Novell, it is also working with other distributors and evaluating the possibility of additional certifications across its product line.


(*) (*) This is an interesting development. I would watch it with interest, and see what happens in about 6 months. I would also consider a dual-boot machine with both Windows and Linux, using Linux for most things, and booting up Windows only when necessary.

(*) (*) Dual boot PCs are no big deal. The 2 operating systems reside on different partitions on the hard drive, so your machine would just "become" a Windows or a Linux box, as directed.

<:o) <:o) Yay! A work-around to using Windows Vista!!! Horay!

:) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 09:25 PM
(y) (y)



SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 09:34 PM
:| :| :|

February 23, 2007


Damaged and Adrift in the Shadows

When the Senate next debates whether to debate the Iraq war, members would do well to visit Walter Reed Army Medical Center, just five miles to the north. There they can run a stark reality check on how the country is failing the war’s wounded despite all those Capitol orations about unstinting support of our fighting troops.

As fine as the surgery wards have been through a five-year torrent of battle casualties, Walter Reed has seen the shameful growth of a parallel village of almost 700 traumatized and maimed outpatients. Far too many of these souls wait lost and wasted, abandoned by the post’s and the Army’s shambling bureaucracy.

This outpatient world has become a holding ground for desperation and dysfunction, according to a Washington Post investigative report. Some drift away unnoticed, AWOL, while others huddle in their rooms, depressed and forgotten. The scenes uncovered by The Post range from slumlord conditions in one residential building to drug abuse and suicide among desperate patients caught in a Catch-22, where psychologically damaged veterans are put in charge of fellow sufferers.

A staff sergeant who had his eye and skull shattered in Iraq stumbled about after his release from a surgical recovery room. He was handed a map and ordered to find his way across the sprawling post to the outpatient unit. After he found his room he sat for weeks like some accidental tourist, with no doctor appointments nor official concern. “Shouldn’t they contact me?” he wondered.

The Army is promising to rush repairs and extra personnel. But the shameful neglect at Walter Reed is more proof of how America’s leaders — despite all the rhetoric about unlimited support for the troops — are failing the nation’s warriors in this disastrous war.

:s "Disgrace" = the U.S. government not providing the best care for soldiers catastrophically wounded in Afghanistan and Irag. A new medical center opened fairly recently in San Antonio (or was it Austin?), Texas - with monies collected from many wealthy folks like Imus (and little guys like us) to get this "beyond state of the art" facility built. With so many soldiers surviving and yet losing limbs, eyesight and other horrific injuries which require extensive, lengthy aftercare - it was the PRIVATE sector - Americans donated their money to support these soldiers coming home by building this facility. Thank goodness for the generosity and compassion of the American people who saw that the government was doing nothing - and this was BEFORE Katrina hit New Orleans.

(okay, I'm off the soap box....)

(f) I watched the Bob Woodruff Special tonight on ABC-TV and was absolutely awestruck at the miracle of his recovery from such a traumatic head injury January, 2006, as well as stunned about how many American soldiers and Marines (and they said there are 11.8 percent of all wounded have severe head trauma) are being sent back to their small/tiny home towns where there is no follow-up physical and other essential therapies available.

This special ABC eport is continuing over the next few weeks and I hope and pray that making Americans aware of this horrific situation will cause folks to write/call/visit their elacted representatives and senators to get off their asses - and help these people returning home so severly injured as well as their families.

And get everyone out of Iraq. Oil? Ride bikes or walk. (unless you live in L.A.....;)


Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 09:38 PM

February 25, 2007


The Heir Bag


My government will introduce legislation bequeathing all my titles, dominions, realms, chattels, corgis, etc., and so on, in perpetuity, to my loyal collection of handbags . . .”

Tell me, now. Would it have surprised you had Queen Elizabeth II included this item in her annual recital of actions to be taken by Her Majesty’s government in the coming year? Would it have surprised Her Majesty? How would we know? Her annual speech at Westminster is noted for the immaculate sang-froid of its delivery. Even when announcing policies she must surely find distastefully republican, she does not hesitate, wince, sigh, roll her eyes or grumble under her breath.

I hope Her Majesty lives forever. When she goes, It goes, It being “the Firm,” as the Windsors are said to call the business of being the royal family. And I will miss It, despite the evident determination of the queen’s heirs to trash the entire concept of royalty. Indeed, I see only one possible way around this: that upon the queen’s death, the throne will pass to an object or objects as reliably imperturbable as the throne itself: her handbags.

Things were going well for the royals so long as they upheld the unwritten commitment to imitate inanimate objects. Confidence in the Firm did not begin to crumble until the late 1960s, when the queen’s advisers came to think that British subjects wanted the Windsors to impersonate human beings. Big mistake! But there seemed no pulling back. From there it was a logical progression toward the delusion that being human means being yourself.

The consequences might have been less catastrophic had the younger members of the Firm been in possession of more attractive selves. Alas, when the facades came down, what a bunch of undesirables they turned out to be. Of all the queen’s dependents, only the handbags seem able to uphold their dignity. I understand her hats are admired by many. I prefer her in a smart scarf, preferably worn in a light drizzle with sensible gumboots. The hats make her look old. And while some may regard them as a perverse form of stoicism, the queen doing her bit to prepare the nation for the moment when she follows her beloved Queen Mother, the hats make me yearn for when she was dressed by Norman Hartnell.

They called it the new Elizabethan age. 1951: Festival of Britain. 1953: Coronation. Radiant young queen. Gallant Greek consort. Clouds of In Love, Hartnell’s glorious perfume, now sadly discontinued. Elizabeth had a lovely, open smile, in contrast to her solemn look on state occasions. Her figure took equally well to official robes, military garb and girlish frocks. She could look stern, but haughtiness was beneath her.

Elizabeth’s head was perfectly proportioned to her height, and what a weight it had to carry! Not just those skull-numbing crowns, but also the burden of exchanging the Empire (once nearly a quarter of the world’s land mass, often pink on classroom maps) for a diminished “imperial commonwealth.” And she carried on as if the diminishment were merely the result of smart, modern tailoring, a custom-made global outfit for the ingénue figure she cut.

It strikes me now that the queen’s handbag is a symbol of this contraction. The bag — often made by Launer London, holder of the Royal Warrant for handbags — is invariably smallish. Its contents are said to be limited to a handkerchief, comb, lipstick and compact. The symbolism of this minimal kit-on-a-strap is not difficult to unpack. The lipstick represents the pink that once colored the maps. The mirror is the sea o’er which Britannia’s navies once ruled. The handkerchief represents the Industrial Revolution, specifically the spinning jenny, and the process by which raw materials from the colonies were transformed into the fine stuffs for which the British are still esteemed. The comb signifies the personal maintenance required when crowns come off. The loss of imperial India, on Aug. 15, 1947, was a particularly Bad Hair Day. And then Suez.

An empire in a bag: isn’t that what we all crave? Along with some handy tools for repairing the damage empires inflict upon the rulers as well as the ruled? Add it all up, and the message of the handbag is clear: This woman has traveled far, she has traveled light, and she has traveled alone. Even when she had the royal yacht at her disposal and was surrounded by sailors, she was cloaked in solitude, with no one to turn to but horses, dogs and doltish freaks of human nature.

Again, this is stoicism transformed into fashion, a lesson in the endurance of hardship turned into a fashion accessory. If your husband walked two paces behind you, wouldn’t you look for a prosthetic device to take your arm on stressful state occasions? Such resourcefulness should be rewarded with highest honors.

There is ample precedent for deriving titles from inanimate objects. Think of the Order of the Garter. The present heir has even harbored a fantasy of being reincarnated as a tampon. But wouldn’t a handbag be more suitable for public receptions? The honorific initials, H.R.H., could remain. And in the spirit of republicanism, referendums would determine which handbag ascends in majesty to rule the dwindling waves.


(y) (y) ;) ;)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 09:39 PM

Now Showing|Museum-Worthy Bags


Despite its collection of 3,500 handbags, top left, Hendrikje, the 10-year-old Museum of Bags and Purses, has suffered from an inferiority complex, perhaps because it was based in an Amsterdam suburb that also features the Piggy Bank Museum and the Museum of Wooden Shoes. But in May, it will reopen in the center of Amsterdam. ‘We’ll feel so much more confident to say that we’re actually the best and biggest bags museum in the world,’ says Sigrid Ivo, its director and curator. Ivo’s mother, Hendrikje, began buying vintage bags some 30 years ago, starting with a 19th-century leather-and-tortoiseshell number. A menagerie of accessories followed, including an armadillo shoulder bag, a leopard-head tote and the bejeweled clutch that Judith Leiber named after the Clintons’ cat, Socks. The inevitable Vuitton monogram and Fendi Baguette are on display, but overall this baggage is about excess. ‘Last week I bought this handbag in the shape of a train,’ Ivo says. ‘What a wicked idea!


(y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 09:44 PM


February 25, 2007

The Remix

Rockin’ Robin


One of the most exclusive clubs in Paris just got a little easier to get into. The celebrity colorist Christophe Robin's new atelier in the Sixth Arrondissement is more than 10 times bigger than his old space and offers a lot more than highlights. "It's my dream of a salon," says Robin, whose clients include Catherine Deneuve, Kylie Minogue and John Galliano. Set in a courtyard, the three-level former art gallery is decorated with spoils from the colorist's travels and has a bar, restaurant, library, vintage shop and separate area for men, "so famous politicians who cover their gray can have some privacy." Clients may also book facials with Joëlle Ciocco, osteopathic massages with Grégor Schultze and medical pedicures with Bastien Gonzalez — all standouts in their respective beauty fields. Pampering aside, the real draw is Robin's homemade waffles, whose secret (until now) ingredient is a dollop of Bordier butter from Brittany. 9, rue Guénégaud; 011-33-1-42-60-99-15.

:) Still sounds a wee too busy for my tastes. I like a really quiet place to get my hair done.(Why I usually go on a Tuesday...) And nails too - but it's been awhile on getting my hands taken care of. It's time (o) First things.....Hair this week. Maybe hands (and feet.....heaven!) next week sometime if I can squeeze in the appointments. (o)

(S) (S) Pleasant dreams and restful sleep,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 09:45 PM
(y) (y) (y)

February 25, 2007

The Talk

Dead Stock


Many years ago I received a phone call from a fellow traveler in the vintage-clothing world, directing me in hushed tones to a rummage sale in a church basement on the Upper West Side. “Sunny von Bülow,” he whispered. “Go.”

So I went, and as a result I now own chiffon handkerchiefs monogrammed “Martha” (her real name), custom-made walking shoes and an exquisite embroidered nightgown, the execution of which must have driven a Swiss nun blind.

Do I find these items creepy? Why, not at all. But then again, I’m the sort of girl who could stick her feet into a pair of 1920s pumps, feel something soft, shake out a dead mouse and buy them anyway. (Hey, they had diamanté buckles.) Maybe I’m not the one to ask.

Unlike me, most people are occasionally creeped out by their purchases. Kitty Savage, who wears vintage almost exclusively and makes her living selling vintage jewelry, thinks the dead are happy for us to wear their things. “I truly believe that when people go, it’s to a higher place where possessions aren’t important,” she says. “Their soul is no longer in the stuff.” Which is why she can gallivant in a 1940s balmacaan and not feel that the previous owner is peering, Topper-like, over her shoulder. But some of her vintage-wearing customers are queasy about estate engagement and wedding rings. “They want to know if it came from a good family, or if the marriage worked out, or if I can tell them anything about the piece’s ‘essence,’ ” she says. Savage bristles a little when she notes that these same shoppers never express the slightest reservation when it comes to antique furniture, which they are willing to welcome into their homes, and, she adds, “You never hear ‘yeew.’ ”

Liz Goldwyn, the author of “Pretty Things,” has no problem donning somebody’s old bullet bra or a used Cole of California swimsuit. But a hat with peacock feathers? “It’s such bad luck!” she says. O.K., how about a brooch made from the hair of a dead person? Bring it on! “I love hair jewelry,” she continues with a sigh. “There’s something really beautiful about ghosts.”

Goldwyn likes to inhale the perfume left on secondhand ball gowns, transporting herself to the last place the dress danced before the party was over. Recently, she heard about a woman in California with psychic powers (no surprise) who can supposedly lay her hands on an object and uncover the secrets of its prior ownership. “I have a minaudière that belonged to my grandmother — it still has traces of her perfume, powder and red lipstick that’s almost exactly the color I wear,” she says dreamily, confessing that she’s considering having the clairvoyant put her paranormal paws on it.

A professional intervention was unnecessary at the Way We Wore, a Los Angeles vintage store owned by Doris Raymond. “A woman came in and was thrilled with the selection of Edwardian whites,” Raymond recalls. “As she was trying one on she seemed to zone out into a trancelike state and spoke almost in a monotone. She began to describe a Monet-like setting: she was in a rowboat being serenaded by a lover.” Her past life had come back to her as soon as she put on the garment.

Tiffany Dubin, the vintage addict and author, eschews all talk of spirits and psychics. “I have no fantasies about previous owners,” she says. “If an object is well made, it reinvents itself.” Really, Tiff? So when you open a beaded bag and find an old dance card, you just toss it out? “Oh, no,” she says, suddenly melting. “I love getting glimpses of another kind of lifestyle.” As for unlucky garments, Dubin admits that when she showed up in divorce court recently, dressed in a denim Oscar de la Renta ensemble from the 1980s, she hoped it was a good sign that the judge herself was wearing a ’40s housedress.

The preeminent vintage dealer Cameron Silver, who owns Decades in Los Angeles, has no time for psychics, either, but he confesses to being taken aback when, on a buying visit to the late designer Princess Galitzine’s apartment in Rome, he noticed a chair that still bore the impression of the princess’s posterior. This reminder of how recently the owner had departed did not deter him: “We got runway pieces no one has seen before!” Silver says this whole business of vintage clothes having supernatural cooties needs to be viewed in a different light. “I sell glamorous clothing from what was the happiest time in a woman’s life, so it has a nice energy,” he says. “If something used to belong to Jill St. John or Catherine Deneuve, and those cooties rub off, well, that’s not the worst thing that could happen.” Or, as he succinctly puts it, “The bad vibes quickly dissipate if a dress makes your boobs and ass look great.”

(y) (y) (y) (y)


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 09:46 PM
....since 1879



(f) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 09:47 PM
:| :| :|


Former Congress Super Secret Hideout: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/bomb/sfeature/bunker.html




:o Hmmmm....Was Eisenhower a hawk-nutcase (like out current fearless idiots) or what?

(y) (y) I'll take the Greenbrier resort instead, "a Mayberry setting with a Santa Fe soul..."

(k) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 09:51 PM
:s :s :s

Dark cloud over good works of Gates Foundation

By Charles Piller, Edmund Sanders and Robyn Dixon, (Los Angeles) Times Staff Writers

January 7, 2007

Ebocha, Nigeria — Justice Eta, 14 months old, held out his tiny thumb.

An ink spot certified that he had been immunized against polio and measles, thanks to a vaccination drive supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

But polio is not the only threat Justice faces. Almost since birth, he has had respiratory trouble. His neighbors call it "the cough." People blame fumes and soot spewing from flames that tower 300 feet into the air over a nearby oil plant. It is owned by the Italian petroleum giant Eni, whose investors include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Justice squirmed in his mother's arms. His face was beaded with sweat caused either by illness or by heat from the flames that illuminate Ebocha day and night. Ebocha means "city of lights."

The makeshift clinic at a church where Justice Eta was vaccinated and the flares spewing over Ebocha represent a head-on conflict for the Gates Foundation. In a contradiction between its grants and its endowment holdings, a Times investigation has found, the foundation reaps vast financial gains every year from investments that contravene its good works.

In Ebocha, where Justice lives, Dr. Elekwachi Okey, a local physician, says hundreds of flares at oil plants in the Niger Delta have caused an epidemic of bronchitis in adults, and asthma and blurred vision in children. No definitive studies have documented the health effects, but many of the 250 toxic chemicals in the fumes and soot have long been linked to respiratory disease and cancer.

"We're all smokers here," Okey said, "but not with cigarettes."

The oil plants in the region surrounding Ebocha find it cheaper to burn nearly 1 billion cubic feet of gas each day and contribute to global warming than to sell it. They deny the flaring causes sickness. Under pressure from activists, however, Nigeria's high court set a deadline to end flaring by May 2007. The gases would be injected back underground, or trucked and piped out for sale. But authorities expect the flares to burn for years beyond the deadline.

The Gates Foundation has poured $218 million into polio and measles immunization and research worldwide, including in the Niger Delta. At the same time that the foundation is funding inoculations to protect health, The Times found, it has invested $423 million in Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Total of France — the companies responsible for most of the flares blanketing the delta with pollution, beyond anything permitted in the United States or Europe.

Indeed, local leaders blame oil development for fostering some of the very afflictions that the foundation combats.

Oil workers, for example, and soldiers protecting them are a magnet for prostitution, contributing to a surge in HIV and teenage pregnancy, both targets in the Gates Foundation's efforts to ease the ills of society, especially among the poor. Oil bore holes fill with stagnant water, which is ideal for mosquitoes that spread malaria, one of the diseases the foundation is fighting.

Investigators for Dr. Nonyenim Solomon Enyidah, health commissioner for Rivers State, where Ebocha is located, cite an oil spill clogging rivers as a cause of cholera, another scourge the foundation is battling. The rivers, Enyidah said, "became breeding grounds for all kinds of waterborne diseases."

The bright, sooty gas flares — which contain toxic byproducts such as benzene, mercury and chromium — lower immunity, Enyidah said, and make children such as Justice Eta more susceptible to polio and measles — the diseases that the Gates Foundation has helped to inoculate him against.

Investing for profit

AT the end of 2005, the Gates Foundation endowment stood at $35 billion, making it the largest in the world. Then in June 2006, Warren E. Buffett, the world's second-richest man after Bill Gates, pledged to add about $31 billion in installments from his personal fortune. Not counting tens of billions of dollars more that Gates himself has promised, the total is higher than the gross domestic products of 70% of the world's nations.

Like most philanthropies, the Gates Foundation gives away at least 5% of its worth every year, to avoid paying most taxes. In 2005, it granted nearly $1.4 billion. It awards grants mainly in support of global health initiatives, for efforts to improve public education in the United States, and for social welfare programs in the Pacific Northwest.

It invests the other 95% of its worth. This endowment is managed by Bill Gates Investments, which handles Gates' personal fortune. Monica Harrington, a senior policy officer at the foundation, said the investment managers had one goal: returns "that will allow for the continued funding of foundation programs and grant making." Bill and Melinda Gates require the managers to keep a highly diversified portfolio, but make no specific directives.

By comparing these investments with information from for-profit services that analyze corporate behavior for mutual funds, pension managers, government agencies and other foundations, The Times found that the Gates Foundation has holdings in many companies that have failed tests of social responsibility because of environmental lapses, employment discrimination, disregard for worker rights, or unethical practices.

One of these investment rating services, Calvert Group Ltd., for example, endorses 52 of the largest 100 U.S. companies based on market capitalization, but flags the other 48 for transgressions against social responsibility. Microsoft Corp., which Bill Gates leads as board chairman, is rated highly for its overall business practices, despite its history of antitrust problems.

In addition, The Times found the Gates Foundation endowment had major holdings in:

• Companies ranked among the worst U.S. and Canadian polluters, including ConocoPhillips, Dow Chemical Co. and Tyco International Ltd.

• Many of the world's other major polluters, including companies that own an oil refinery and one that owns a paper mill, which a study shows sicken children while the foundation tries to save their parents from AIDS.

• Pharmaceutical companies that price drugs beyond the reach of AIDS patients the foundation is trying to treat.

Using the most recent data available, a Times tally showed that hundreds of Gates Foundation investments — totaling at least $8.7 billion, or 41% of its assets, not including U.S. and foreign government securities — have been in companies that countered the foundation's charitable goals or socially concerned philosophy.

This is "the dirty secret" of many large philanthropies, said Paul Hawken, an expert on socially beneficial investing who directs the Natural Capital Institute, an investment research group. "Foundations donate to groups trying to heal the future," Hawken said in an interview, "but with their investments, they steal from the future."

Moreover, investing in destructive or unethical companies is not what is most harmful, said Hawken and other experts, including Douglas Bauer, senior vice president of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a nonprofit group that assists foundations on policy and ethical issues. Worse, they said, is investing purely for profit, without attempting to improve a company's way of operating.

Such blind-eye investing, they noted, rewards bad behavior.

At the Gates Foundation, blind-eye investing has been enforced by a firewall it has erected between its grant-making side and its investing side. The goals of the former are not allowed to interfere with the investments of the latter.

The foundation recently announced a plan to institutionalize that firewall by moving its assets into a separate organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust. Its two trustees will be Bill and Melinda Gates. The trust will invest to increase the endowment, while the foundation gives grants.

"We've been operating under these principles for many years," said Harrington, the foundation policy officer. "But having an official separation makes it even more clear."

With the exception of tobacco companies, asset managers do not avoid investments in firms whose activities conflict with the foundation's mission to do good.

"Because we want to maintain a focus on the programmatic work," Harrington said in a written response to Times questions, "we have made it a policy to not comment on individual investment holdings."

Finally, the foundation does not invest any portion of its endowment in companies specifically because they advance its philanthropic mission.

Much of the rest of philanthropy, however, is beginning to address contradictions between making grants to improve the world and making investments that harm it. According to recent surveys, many foundations, including some of the nation's largest, have adopted at least basic policies to invest in ways that support their missions.

Major foundations that make social justice, corporate governance and environmental stewardship key considerations in their investment strategies include the Ford Foundation, worth $11.6 billion, the nation's second-largest private philanthropy; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; the Rockefeller Foundation; and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Moreover, nearly one-third of foundations participate directly in shareholder initiatives, voting their proxies to influence corporate behavior. A few have become shareholder activists. In recent years, for instance, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, with an endowment of $481 million, has sponsored proxies to force corporations to address environmental sustainability and political transparency.

Harrington said the Gates Foundation's investment managers vote proxies, but declined to give any specifics. The foundation would not make its chief investment manager, Michael Larson, available for an interview. In May, Harrington told the Chronicle of Philanthropy that the Gates Foundation did not get involved in proxy issues.

At the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, on the other hand, Michael J. Smith, its chief investment officer, said voting proxies to improve corporate behavior had become a fiduciary necessity.

"Companies that have good governance are generally well-managed," he said, "and have a good record of profitability."

Even the relatively tiny Needmor Fund, with a $27-million endowment, screens its investments to bar companies with poor environmental records, antagonism to worker rights or tolerance for repressive governments.

Leadership, however, is open to the Gates Foundation. It has unique power to move the debate, said Bauer, of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. If Gates adopted mission-related investing, Bauer said in an interview, the shift in the world of philanthropy would be "seismic."

The foundation did not respond to written questions about whether it might change its investment policies.

Life in 'Cancer Valley'

AT a clinic in Isipingo, a suburb of the South African port city of Durban where the HIV infection rate is as high as 40%, Thembeka Dube, 20, was getting a checkup.

Dube had volunteered for tests of a vaginal gel that researchers hope will be shown to protect against HIV. The tests are part of a study conducted by the New York-based Population Council, and funded by a $20-million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dube's boyfriend won't use condoms. She hoped the tests would show she could use the microbicidal gel, called Carraguard, and stop worrying about AIDS.

Research into prophylactics such as Carraguard can fight AIDS by empowering women, Bill Gates told the International AIDS Conference in Toronto in August. "Whether the woman is a faithful married mother of small children, or a sex worker trying to scrape out a living in a slum … " he said, "a woman should never need her partner's permission to save her own life."

Two days before Gates spoke, Kyrone Smith was born only a few kilometers from the Isipingo clinic. At the same time the Gates Foundation was trying to help Dube, it owned a stake in companies that appeared to be hurting Kyrone.

At six weeks, his lungs began to fail. Kyrone struggled to cry, but he was so weak that no sound came out — just husky, labored breaths.

His mother, Renee Smith, 26, rushed him to a hospital, where he was given oxygen. She feared it would be the first of many hospital visits. Smith knew from experience.

"My son Teiago was in and out of hospital since the age of 3," she said. "He couldn't breathe nicely…. There are so many children in this area who have the same problems."

Two of the area's worst industrial polluters — a Mondi paper mill and a giant Sapref oil refinery — squat among the homes near Isipingo like sleepy grey dragons, exhaling chemical vapors day and night.

The Sapref plant, which has had two dozen significant spills, flares, pipeline ruptures and explosions since 1998, and the Mondi plant together pump thousands of tons of putrid-smelling chemicals into the air annually, according to their own monitoring.

In 2002, a study found that more than half of the children at a school in nearby Merebank suffered asthma — one of the highest rates in scientific literature. A second study, published last year, found serious respiratory problems throughout the region: More than half of children aged 2 to 5 had asthma, largely attributed to sulfur dioxide and other industrial pollutants. Much of it was produced by companies in which the Gates Foundation was invested.

Asthma was not the only danger. Isipingo is in what environmental activists call "Cancer Valley." Emissions of benzene, dioxins and other carcinogens were "among the highest levels found in any comparable location the world," said Stuart Batterman at the University of Michigan, a coauthor of both studies.

The Gates Foundation is a major shareholder in the companies that own both of the polluting plants. As of September, the foundation held $295 million worth of stock in BP, a co-owner of Sapref. As of 2005, it held $35 million worth of stock in Royal Dutch Shell, Sapref's other owner. The foundation also held a $39-million investment in Anglo American, which owns the Mondi paper mill.

The foundation has held large investments in all three companies since at least 2002. Since then, the worth of BP shares has shot up by about 83%, Royal Dutch Shell shares by 77% and Anglo American shares about 255%. Dividends have padded the foundation's assets by additional millions of dollars.

The foundation has gotten much more in financial gains from its investments in the polluters than it has given to the Durban microbicide study to fight AIDS.

Sapref said it had cut sulfur dioxide emissions by two-thirds since 1997 and spent more than $64 million over 11 years on environmental initiatives. It said lead in its gasoline and sulfur in its diesel fuel were reduced a year ago. Plant officials said: "Sapref does not accept any responsibility for any health issues in South Durban."

Mondi said that its Merebank paper mill had cut "chemical oxygen demand," a key pollutant, in 2005, and that it was cutting its sulfur dioxide emissions. But by the company's own estimate, the mill still releases about three times the combined amount of sulfur dioxide produced by Mondi plants in five other nations, and the other plants operate at nearly six times the capacity. Merebank uses a coal-fired power plant, while the others burn cleaner fuel.

Just as the Gates Foundation investments in Mondi, BP and Royal Dutch Shell have been very profitable, so too have its holdings in the top 100 polluters in the United States, as rated by the University of Massachusetts, and the top 50 polluters in Canada, as rated by the trade publication Corporate Knights, using methods based on those developed by the university.

According to the foundation's 2005 figures, it held a $1.4-billion stake in 69 of those firms. They included blue chips, such as Chevron Corp. and Ford Motor Co., as well as lesser-known companies such as Lyondell Chemical Co. and Ameren Corp.

At the same time, the foundation held a $2.9-billion stake in firms ranked by the investment rating services as among the worst environmental stewards, including Dominion Resources Inc. and El Paso Corp.

Without double-counting companies flagged by both the University of Massachusetts and the rating services, the combination totals an investment of about $3.3 billion.

The Gates Foundation did not respond to written questions about its investments in companies that were high polluters or those rated as poor environmental stewards.

Drugs out of reach

NEARLY every morning, a 56-year-old retired soldier named Felix makes a short trek from his house on the outskirts of Lagos, Nigeria, to a factory to purchase a 40-cent block of ice.

Felix has a pressing, private reason to get the ice: He needs it to keep his medicine from melting.

Two years ago, Felix's wife died from AIDS, and he learned he was HIV-positive.

He told his six children, now 16 to 24 years old, but no one else. He was afraid of the stigma of HIV. He agreed to be interviewed only if he was identified by his first name alone. "I thought the world had come to an end for me," Felix said. "Everyone believes that once you have it, you're a living ghost."

He took antiretroviral drugs and felt better. But his treatment was interrupted frequently because he could not afford the cost: $62 a month. His pension as a former staff sergeant was $115 a month, and the money came sporadically.

Worse, his body soon stopped responding to the drugs. His kidneys began to fail, and his count of immune cells crucial to fight off infections plummeted.

In May, Felix began taking Kaletra, a second-line AIDS drug — needed when the first round of treatments fail.

His health rebounded, but it came at a cost.

Gel capsules of Kaletra melt in Nigeria's sweltering climate, where temperatures often top 100 degrees. Felix kept his Kaletra in a small chest filled with ice.

Each day, he had to go get more ice. And each day, he had to take Kaletra precisely at 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. These things made it difficult for him to work, even at odd jobs.

A new version of Kaletra does not require refrigeration. But his physician, Dr. T.M. Balogun, who helps run the AIDS program at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, told him not to get his hopes up.

The hospital is helped by the Nigerian government, which gets money from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The fund has been awarded $651 million by the Gates Foundation. Yet the hospital does not offer the new Kaletra. It is too expensive.

In August, private pharmacists said they could sell it for $246 a month. But that was far out of Felix's reach.

Kaletra is made by Abbott Laboratories. As of this September, the Gates Foundation held $169 million in Abbott stock. In 2005, the foundation held nearly $1.5 billion worth of stock in drug companies whose practices have been widely criticized as restricting the flow of key medicines to poor people in developing nations.

On average, shares in those companies have increased in value about 54% since 2002. Investments in Abbott and other drug makers probably have gained the foundation hundreds of millions of dollars.

Drug makers say they need price protection for research and development. "Our global needs and global systems are in conflict," Miles White, Abbott's chief executive, wrote in the Financial Times last year. "This threatens to harm one goal, innovation, in the name of another, access to medicine."

In 1994, however, the drug makers, with other research-intensive businesses, lobbied hard and successfully for the international Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which made it harder to move from costly brand-name drugs to cheap generics. The agreement protected new-drug monopolies for 20 years or more.

This meant no low-priced generic for Kaletra. The pact locked in Abbott as its sole supplier, and Abbott set prices for the world.

Under pressure from activists, Abbott and other companies cut prices for key AIDS drugs in poorer nations. In Guatemala and Thailand, the new Kaletra costs $2,200 per patient per year, plus taxes and fees — a fraction of the more than $8,000 it costs in the United States. In poorer Nigeria, the official price was $500 a year.

But this was still too costly for most patients, including Felix.

The industry's approach "has the effect of making medicines available only to a narrow spectrum of a rich elite in a developing country," said Brook Baker, an intellectual property expert at Northeastern University.

He called it "pharmaceutical apartheid."

Drug companies say critics overlook billions of dollars' worth of drugs they donate to developing nations. Abbott says it has given AIDS drugs to 25,000 patients, along with millions of test kits, and has underwritten a major project to improve AIDS services in Tanzania.

In emergencies, critics welcome donated drugs. The problem, they say, is that donations scare away generic suppliers. Donations, said Ellen 't Hoen, who directs a drug-access program for Doctors Without Borders, "remove the prospect of any stable supply."

And when the free drugs are gone, patients die.

Most medicines are reliably profitable. In the most recent quarter, Abbott posted a gross profit margin of 59% of sales, and recently paid its 331st consecutive quarterly dividend. A congressional analysis shows that during the first six months of 2006, the 10 largest drug companies earned $39.8 billion in profits.

The Gates Foundation's top priority is stopping AIDS, Bill Gates told the International AIDS Conference in August. Since its inception, the foundation has donated more than $2 billion to fight the disease.

The foundation did not respond to written questions about the problems of patients who cannot obtain needed AIDS drugs due to pharmaceutical company policies.

Meanwhile, the foundation holds its grant recipients to a far higher standard than the drug companies on which it bets large portions of its endowment. Its grant form says it expects recipients "to exercise their intellectual property rights in a manner consistent with the stated goals of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to promote the … availability of inventions for public benefit in developing countries at reasonable cost."

Some critics say the foundation's failure to use its own investments "to promote … public benefit in developing countries at reasonable cost" might trace back to the source of most of its money — Microsoft — which Bill Gates serves as chairman.

Microsoft monopolies in computer operating systems and business software depend upon the same intellectual-property and trade-law approaches favored by drug companies.

"The Gates Foundation is in a position to change the dynamic, to make sure that drugs get first to the places they are most needed," said Daniel Berman, deputy director in South Africa for Doctors Without Borders. "But it conflicts with the interests of Microsoft."

In response to written questions, Harrington, the Gates Foundation policy officer, said the foundation tried to guarantee that grantee discoveries made in partnership with for-profit companies trickled down to people in developing nations.

"The foundation's goal is to help ensure that new scientific knowledge is broadly shared … and that lifesaving health advances are created and made available and affordable to those most in need," she said. "We also recognize that private industry needs adequate incentives to develop new drugs."

The foundation's pharmaceutical company investments, Harrington said, "are completely separate from what's being done on the programmatic side to help spur the development and delivery of drugs/vaccines."

Ethics-based investing

Some foundation trustees shun ethical investments out of concern about inferior returns. But several studies conducted over the last decade by financial analysts have eased that worry. Despite some exceptions, many mutual funds, for instance, that consider the social and environmental impact of their investments compete well against standard funds.

In the 12 months that ended in November, several funds that consider the impact of their investments upon social welfare — including the New Alternatives Fund, the Parnassus Fixed-Income Fund and the Catholic Equity Fund I — performed in the top ranks of standard mutual funds in the same categories, according to SRI World Group.

Broad indexes of stocks selected because of their companies' social concerns also have tended to keep pace with standard indexes. The Domini 400 Social Index is modeled on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, a widely used measure of market performance. While results from the two indexes tend to leapfrog each other over short periods, from 1990 through November the Domini index has outperformed the S&P 500 by nearly 6%.

From its inception about 18 months ago through November, KLD Research & Analytics' Global Climate 100 Index — made up of companies selected for their efforts to reduce climate change — rose 22.03%. In the same period, by comparison, the MSCI World Index, which measures general corporate performance in the U.S. and 22 other major developed nations, rose 20.73%.

"After controlling for investment style," said economists at Maastricht University in the Netherlands who studied U.S., U.K. and German mutual funds, "we find little evidence of significant differences in risk-adjusted returns between ethical and conventional funds.

(y) (y) About this series

This series is based on more than 90 interviews and hundreds of documents, including thousands of pages of Gates Foundation grant descriptions and policies, evaluation reports, tax forms, filings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission through September 2006 and lists of endowment holdings from 2002 through 2005.

Information was used from four leading services that provide guidance for investors regarding corporate performance: Calvert Group Ltd., Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, KLD Research & Analytics Inc. and Oekom Research. None of the companies was directly involved in The Times' assessment of the Gates Foundation portfolio; they have taken no position on The Times' conclusions.

The research groups consider companies in context and weigh their efforts to improve. The Times tally of Gates investments in companies that contradict its goals included only those firms that were ranked among the worst by the investment rating services.

Companies among the 100 highest-polluting in the United States were derived from rankings by the University of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute. These rankings consider total air pollution released, toxicity of pollutants and the number of people at risk of exposure. The top 50 polluters in Canada were rated by the trade publication Corporate Knights, based largely on the University of Massachusetts approach.

The Times used several studies that reviewed or evaluated actions of the pharmaceutical industry regarding intellectual property rights, patents and drug pricing in developing nations. A preliminary list of relevant companies was drawn up using studies or evaluations conducted by Innovest, KLD, Oekom, the nonprofit medical group Doctors Without Borders, and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a coalition of 275 faith-based institutional investors that includes religious groups, pension funds, endowments, hospital corporations and colleges.

The list was refined and validated in interviews with experts and through a review of more than 40 technical papers and analyses, including studies by the World Bank and the World Health Organization. Those sources were supplemented with reports and announcements from the pharmaceutical companies and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a leading trade group.

Companies in the sub-prime industry were compiled from National Mortgage News and Inside Mortgage Finance, leading trade publications.

Information about proxies was gathered from the EthVest database, sponsored by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. The data were supplemented by interviews with officials from various foundations.

The overall figures in this series may significantly understate the volume of Gates Foundation investments that tend to conflict with its charitable goals. The Gates Foundation did not provide details for about $4.3 billion of investments it characterizes as loans.


(n) (n) (n) Grrrrr on Gates.

(.....and now back to the usually irreverent programming....I mean posts....)

;) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 09:52 PM
;) ;)

1. http://www.trentonbridgelobster.com/

2. http://www.melissas.com/

3. http://www.artisanalcheese.com/

4. http://www.froghollow.com/store/site/index.cfm

(f) Enjoy!

Carpe Diem,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 09:56 PM


;) ;) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 09:57 PM
:D :D


:) :) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 10:03 PM
;) ;)


(*) (*) I am SO glad that I have been alone (okay, sharing my life with a Boxer canine angel) for over seven years. ;)

(y) I think this might be a good tool for tech-saavy parents to keep their kids safe online and private investigators. (y) That's about the target market I'd like to see this used for. Hmmmm, maybe to make sure an ex isn't using your computer, logins to web sites, etc. to create drama...... :|

SnoopStick......catchy name!

Have a terrific mid-week.


SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 10:08 PM
:| :| :|

;) ;)

Casket Furniture

Furniture that lasts a lifetime…and beyond.

Why settle for furniture that only lasts this lifetime? Lay to rest after work on your plush casket couch. Or brighten up your living room with a coffin coffee table! It's fine casket craftsmanship that gives a whole new meaning to "end table."

All sales are probably final.


(y) I loved that: "All sales are probably final."

:o Ya think?

;) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-27-2007, 10:18 PM
:| :| :| :|


:o Hilarious: "The recorded message ends: ``Remember, your future is in your hand.''

(y) Maybe they could apply similar speech technology to those paper butt-protectors (I heard them once called "butt-gaskets") for ladies who sit to pee. ;) But the voice might sound kind of muffled, so to speak. ;)

(o) (S) It's getting late and I need to start my get-ready-for-bed routine so I *get* to sleep. Wyatt has a vet appointment tomorrow morning. Poor guy's ears are really bothering him for awhile despite my efforts to help and now his eyes and nose are like he has a cold in the morning. Ears, nose, eyes? All connected, it feels to me. The booster shots might have to wait until the vet helps me clear the ear thing up first. (l)

(S) (S) Pleasant dreams,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-28-2007, 08:29 PM
(y) (y) (y)

Women Entrepreneurs

Feb. 24 - Half of the businesses in the U.S. are run by women. Many of these outfits are smaller firms headed by former corporate executives who wanted to branch out on their own. We introduce you to one such woman who had designs on a new opportunity. Nina McLemore now runs a fashion house that bears her name, targeting professional women ages 40 and up. We also give prospective entrepreneurs tips about how to prepare to become their own boss.


(y) (y) (y)

Sweetlady & wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-28-2007, 08:32 PM

There’s not much new thinking in A Space’s latest exhibition




SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-28-2007, 08:36 PM



Lots of funny links. ;)

;) 's,

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-28-2007, 08:50 PM
:D :D



Hilarious! http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=trailer+trash


(y) Trailer Trash Talkin' Turleen: http://www.prankplace.com/turleen.htm

:D http://www.trailertrashaerospace.com/

CW!! "We watch FOX so you don't have to." :


:| http://www.trailertrashdates.com/

Trailer Trash Monthly! http://www.michaelchaney.com/TrailerTrash/issue1/index.htm

(y) http://www.trailertrashvampires.com/

Greeting Cards! http://www.trailertrashstudio.com/

:D The Trash Man. Are you enlightened? Contact Trailer TrashMan-Fire In The Belly today!


Proof of WMD is Bush trailer trash - The Sydney Morning Herald:


:o Millionaire Trailer Trash: http://nymag.com/news/intelligencer/28524/

:D CW!! Are you trailer trash? Take this quiz and find out. ...


(y) (y) Trailer Trash? Not a Scent of It in Malibu, CA:


"Trailer Trash: Wake up, George":


(y) (y)

SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-28-2007, 08:52 PM
(l) (l) (l)


Click on all of the individual stores at the above "entry" web page.

Then, click on TAKE ME TO THE SHOW, which will open a small window with 3:30 minutes of a very very cool streaming video and audio clip. (Don't forget to turn up your speakers a little...)

(y) (y) (y) Very cool web site.


Carpe Diem,

SWeetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-28-2007, 08:55 PM
(l) (f) (l) (f) (l)




Diamond Bangle: http://www.ippolita.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=4

I want ALL of these! (In my dreams.....;)



A bit too much: http://www.ippolita.com/catalog/includes/local/ipp/images/pr/gb144_f.jpg


I LOVE the scatter diamond look:



Earrings: http://www.ippolita.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=8

Absolutely Exquisite Rings!


Simply Elegant Stacked Rings:



(y) (l) Very classy jewelry.


Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-28-2007, 08:56 PM



SL & WTB (l) (&) (l)

02-28-2007, 08:57 PM
(l) (f) (l) (f) (l)


Exceptionally Nice Flash Presentation!

This would be lovely in black:


Nice daytime dress: http://www.terijon.com/_itemImages/300_large.jpg

(k) 's,

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-28-2007, 08:59 PM
(f) (l) (f) (l)


(y) Cool Hair Accessories!


Shoes (Heels!):


Shoes (Flats):


Ultimate Chic (and looking way cool in much nicer than Foster Grants!) :


8-| 8-|

Sweetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-28-2007, 09:01 PM
(f) (f) (f)

Exceptionally well done Flash and web site! http://www.oscardelarenta.com/main.html

(y) What a fantastic web site to explore! So many gorgeous clothes, runway photos and videos and much, much more.

:) I definitely had a great time exploring........

(k) 's,

SWeetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)

02-28-2007, 09:03 PM
(l) (f)



(y) Nice quite as complex as other couture designer web sites, but definitely quite beautiful.

:) 's,

SWeetlady & Wyatt the Boxer (l) (&) (l)