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03-29-2005, 11:08 AM
Slap Your Co-Worker Day!!

Tomorrow is the official Slap Your Irritating Co-workers Holiday: Do you
have a co-worker who talks nonstop about nothing, working your last
nerve with tedious and boring details that you don't give a damn about?
Do you have a co-worker who ALWAYS screws up stuff creating MORE work
for you? Do you have a co-worker who kisses so much booty, you can look
in their mouth and see what your boss had for lunch? Do you have a
co-worker who is SOOO obnoxious, when he/she enters a room, everyone
else clears it? Well, on behalf of Ike Turner, I am so very glad to
officially announce tomorrow as SLAP YOUR IRRITATING CO-WORKER DAY!

There are a few rules you must follow:

* You can only slap one person per hour - no more.

* You can slap the same person again if they irritate you again in the
same day.

* You are allowed to hold someone down as other co-workers take their
turns slapping the irritant.

* No weapons are allowed...other than going upside somebody's head with
a stapler or a hole-puncher.

* CURSING IS MANDATORY! After you have slapped the recipient, your
"assault" must be followed with something like "cause I'm sick of your
stupid-a$$ always messing up stuff!"

* If questioned by a supervisor [or police, if the supervisor is the
irritant], you are allowed to LIE, LIE, LIE!

Now, study the rules, break out your list of folks that you want to slap
the living day lights out of and get to slapping.....and have a great



(*) (*) (*) Received this this afternoon in an email and LMAO!!! Pretty funny and "yes, I am delighted that I've had my own business since 1992!"

Never again an employee,

Sweetlady ;) ;)

03-29-2005, 11:16 AM

(*) (*) Any day, I'll take one look at whatever can be seen and feel "quieted".
I hope you do too.

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

03-29-2005, 11:17 AM

(*) (*) (l) (l) (h) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

03-29-2005, 11:23 AM
In Italy even a congested motorway is fun when you're driving a Ferarri. John Simister takes a spin Published : 29 March 2005

We should be on the autostrada that spears up through Emiglia Romana, near Modena and Ferrari's Maranello home, but we're not. We're on the downward-spearing side, heading in the wrong direction and likely to incur the wrath of those behind the carefully-planned magical mystery tour.

But first drives of Ferraris are always like this. There are route instructions, yes, but they are cryptic to all except those who have planned the route (and know where they are going), and worryingly short on distance information. Is that left turn in one kilometre or 20? And the map is no help; there are more villages in Italy that don't merit a place on a map than almost anywhere else.

We don't care that much, though. We are in a Ferrari F430 Spider, the new, £127,050, open-top version of the F430 Berlinetta that has itself only just arrived in the right-hand drive UK, and our navigational volte-face merely means we'll be in it for longer. Naturally, the roof is stowed, something that takes 20 seconds of finger pressure on a button, and such is the roof's intricate folding regime that the engine, under a transparent cover immediately behind the occupants, remains visible. We have the sight of the engine (what other car in the regular price lists displays its sculpted engine castings so brazenly?) and, with roof down, we can hear the sound by which innocent bystanders are always engulfed.

Who says driving can't be fun any more? Even a congested motorway is fun when you're in Italy and in a Ferrari. These cars aren't seen by sneeringly envious, lip-curling have-nots as playthings of the idle rich, as they too often are in Britain, because where cars are concerned Italy is refreshingly free of such sad souls. Italians celebrate the car, not judge its occupants, and a Ferrari is practically a national treasure.

Let me digress a moment. Several years ago I was in Italy driving the new, previous-generation Maserati Quattroporte for Car magazine. We needed photographs of the Maserati taking a hairpin bend quite quickly, and there was a house on the chosen bend. After I had passed a couple of times, someone came out of the house. This means trouble, I thought. In the UK, this tends to be the prelude to some form of complaint. Next pass, no one was in view. On the way back up again, the Maserati's engine howling encouragingly, the whole family was standing in the garden, cheering. In Italy, people don't feel guilty about enjoying cars.

Back on our autostrada, it helps that our Ferrari is on Prova number plates, the paper plates that say this is a factory test car. Time was when these virtually exempted you from speed limits, and even now they act a bit like a force field. This is just as well, because everyone wants to race our Ferrari. It's as if they want to get so close that they can hear the crackles and screams of the V8 engine as I pull away from another Golf GTI glued to the back bumper only seconds ago.

Like the Berlinetta, this F430 is searingly fast. Its creators say it will pass 193mph, and reach 62mph (the standard benchmark, equating to 100km/h) in 4.1 seconds. But there's more to the pace than these facts. The 4,308cc engine creates up to 490bhp, making it the most efficient naturally-aspirated (neither turbocharged nor supercharged) engine in production in terms of power per litre. It also produces meaningful thrust across its considerable rev range: that max power arrives at a giddy 8,500rpm, but the Ferrari forcefully forges ahead from 3,000rpm and is as well-mannered as you could wish even at 2,000.

Huge power at high revs no longer means an engine dyspeptically burping fuel and flames at low revs, an engine in which you would feed the accelerator in gently otherwise the fire would go out. Thank today's engine management systems for that. The trouble is, such systems work so well that an engine can become characterless, and carmakers then have to identify what gave character to an older engine and add some artificial imperfections.

Before, the way an engine felt and sounded happened through tradition and serendipity but now, like brand values, there's microfine analysis and no scope for risks. It's not "Let's try a straight-through silencer, there's one on the shelf over here", more "We need to tune the Helmholtz resonator in the intake tract and add a fuelling pulse to get that third disharmonic."

Ferrari is a master at this. Like most others, Ferrari uses electronic drive-by-wire throttles which, in theory, open no more than necessary to deliver, within the engine's capability, the acceleration requested by the driver's right foot. But art rules over science in the F430 Spider. Push the pedal a little way at, say, 2,500rpm, and it gathers pace with a deepening burble. Push it hard from the same engine speed, and there's a deep, rattly, cackly throb like that of an old Ford Escort rally car on twin sidedraught Weber carburettors. The throttles have opened wide not for extra acceleration but because it sounds racy. It's a kind of aural vanity.

We're not doing 2,500rpm on the autostrada, though. Rather I'm changing up and down through the gearbox to nudge, frequently, three or more times that engine speed because it sounds so good. The process of gearshifting is a delight, too: this F430, like most, has the optional F1-shift transmission (£6,250) with an upshift paddle, a downshift paddle and no clutch pedal. I have often bemoaned the jerks, pauses and lack of finesse of earlier such systems, but Ferrari has now got it near-perfect, almost as good as VW-Audi's DSG system and probably rather stronger.

The sun is beating down, and the steering wheel tugs gently over changing surfaces and cambers as the aerodynamic downforce builds up, and the road parts like the Red Sea as we howl towards another knot of traffic. My head is starting to hurt. It's that sound. It's fabulous, but there's rather a lot of it. I can't believe I'm saying this, as one who in the distant past put loud exhausts on his old heaps and, before then, cardboard flappers in the spokes of his bicycle wheels, but even though the F430 conforms to EC drive-by noise regulations, those regulations clearly don't cover the way I'm driving. Nor should they, but the Ferrari has actually made the Spider louder than the Berlinetta.

In the car with a solid aluminium roof (the F430 is an all-aluminium structure, by the way), a by-pass valve opens at 4,500rpm, when under load, to cut out part of the silencing system. The V8 can then howl to its heart's content and a CD player is redundant. In the Spider, though, the valve opens at just 3,000rpm and the merest whiff of accelerator movement, so even when you're trying to be discreet you can't help but be the centre of attention.

The solution is to become a drip, and turn the manettino knob on the steering wheel to "wet". This not only makes the traction and stability systems keener to intervene and calms the gearchange speed, it also puts the by-pass valve operation back to how it is in the Berlinetta. I think it would be better to have a separate sound-effects switch, to allow a shrinking-violet mode while still having a good time.

Violets are on our agenda, actually, because it's lunchtime and we're in Parma. This is the fourth, olfactory, "sensory experience" of our tour, with perfume to be sniffed. The first was "sight", which was, yes, seeing the Ferrari at the freezing Palazzo Ducale in Sassuolo where our drive began. The second involved visiting Verdi's house, seeing his pianos and hearing Verdi music; the third was the tasting of culatello, the best Parma ham from perfect pig loins. The fifth, quaintly, is called "tact"; it awaits us at the Galleria Ferrari in Maranello, and involves being blindfolded and guessing the identity of three past open Ferraris by touch. I will get only one of them right (a Dino 246 GTS), to my shame. If you read my report on the original F430, you will know that as well as being ludicrously rapid, it is the most fantastic fun on a sinuous road. Here is where the real sense of touch comes in, as you feel the Ferrari latch into a bend with the massless eagerness that is a mid-engined car's speciality. Then you feel the forces shifting, and then, just as you might expect the combination of power and tail-heaviness to make the force irresistible, you feel the Ferrari's secret weapon come into play - the electronic differential, or E-diff.

It apportions power to whichever rear wheel needs it to maintain the intended course, judged by sensors watching over steering angle, acceleration, lateral G-force and anything else useful. And the great thing about the E-diff is that, unlike a conventional ESP system, which brakes individual wheels to keep you on course, it diverts power to where it is needed instead of inhibiting it, so you don't feel yourself being slowed down. The E-diff works even when all other electronic systems are switched out, although "sport" is the usual setting on the manettino.

Here is a convertible so fast, so hard-edged if you want it to be, and so capable that it transcends normal notions of sybaritism over purity. A true Porsche 911 lover, for example, would never have the convertible, but here it's OK to do so and more than half of F430 buyers probably will. And if you press that button again, the roof emerges from beneath its composite cover, bends and twists and whirrs, and 20 seconds later you have a snug coupé. It works both ways. Some words of aesthetic advice, though. Avoid the carbonfibre garnishment in the cabin; it's too boy-racer and the aluminium alternative is better. Same goes for the optional contrasting stitching on the leather, which just looks cluttered. No gilding is required of this lily.

Any faults' The steering feels a little viscous at low speeds, before freeing up at high speeds. There might be an issue with a rubber grommet through which the steering column passes, and the engineers are looking at it. And there's a loud, insistent, electronic and needless beep whenever you turn the engine off. They're looking at that, too. But neither snag, nor even the rock-concert aural bombardment, stops this being the best convertible in the world.


(*) (*) Zoom, zoom......<grinning> ;) I had a 1981 black T-top corvette back in the 1980's and seemed like everyone wanted to take a drive in it on the backroads around San Francisco, especially routes 92 over to Half Moon Bay and over route 84 from Palo Alto towards La Honda. (h) (h) (h) Aahh! Memories light the corners of my mind.....at a fast speed at that :| :| :|
<silk scarf flowing behind me, and thank goodness for sunglasses> ;)

(f) (f) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-01-2005, 09:04 PM
I Spy a Screw-Up By MAUREEN DOWD

Published: March 31, 2005

Like the new Woody Allen movie, "Melinda and Melinda," it is possible to view today's big story on the tremendous intelligence failures before the Iraq war as either comedy or tragedy, depending on how you look at it.

For instance, on the comic side, The Times reported yesterday that administration officials were relieved that the new report by a presidential commission had "found no evidence that political pressure from the White House or Pentagon contributed to the mistaken intelligence."

That's hilarious.

As necessity is the mother of invention, political pressure was the father of conveniently botched intelligence.

Dick Cheney and the neocons at the Pentagon started with the conclusion they wanted, then massaged and manipulated the intelligence to back up their wishful thinking.

As The New Republic reported, Mr. Cheney lurked at the C.I.A. in the summer of 2002, an intimidating presence for young analysts. And Douglas Feith set up the Office of Special Plans at the Pentagon as a shadow intelligence agency to manufacture propaganda bolstering the administration's case.

The Office of Special Plans turned to the con man Ahmad Chalabi to come up with the evidence they needed. The Iraqi National Congress obliged with information that has now been debunked as exaggerated or fabricated. One gem was the hard-drinking relative of a Chalabi aide, a secret source code-named Curveball, who claimed to verify the mobile weapons labs.

Mr. Cheney and his "Gestapo office," as Colin Powell called it, then shoehorned all their meshugas about Saddam's aluminum tubes, weapons labs, drones and Al Qaeda links into Mr. Powell's U.N. speech.

The former secretary of state spent four days and three nights at the C.I.A. before making the presentation, trying to vet the material, because he knew that Mr. Cheney, who had an idée fixe about Saddam, was trying to tap into his credibility and use him as a battering ram.

He told Germany's Stern magazine that he was "furious and angry" that he had been given bum information about Iraq's arsenal: "Some of the information was wrong. I did not know this at the time."

The vice president and the neocons were in a fever to bypass the C.I.A. and conjure up a case to attack Saddam, even though George Tenet was panting to be of service. When Mr. Tenet put out the new National Intelligence Estimate on Oct. 2, 2002, nine days before the Senate vote on the war resolution and after our troops and aircraft carriers were getting into position for battle, there was one key change: suddenly the agency agreed with Mr. Cheney that Iraq was pursuing the atomic bomb.

Charles Robb, the former senator and governor of Virginia, and Laurence Silberman, a hard-core conservative appeals court judge, headed the commission. Unlike Tom Kean, Judge Silberman held secret meetings; he made sure the unpleasantness wouldn't come up until Mr. Bush had won re-election.

It is laughable that the report offers its most scorching criticism of the C.I.A. when the C.I.A. was simply doing what the White House and Pentagon wanted. Isn't that why Mr. Tenet was given the Medal of Freedom? (Freedom from facts.)

The hawks don't want to learn any lessons here. If they had to do it again, they'd do it the same way. The imaginary weapons and Osama link were just a marketing tool and shiny distraction, something to keep the public from crying while they went to war for reasons unrelated to any nuclear threat.

The 9/11 attacks gave the neocons an opening for their dreams of remaking the Middle East, and they drove the Third Infantry Division through it.

The president planned to announce today that he would put into place many of the commission's recommendations, including an interagency center on proliferation designed to play down turf battles among intelligence agencies.
As Michael Isikoff and Dan Klaidman reported in Newsweek, in the three and a half years since 9/11, the intelligence agencies still haven't learned how to share what they know. At the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, the Homeland Security guy complained he was frozen out by the F.B.I. and C.I.A.

Like "Melinda and Melinda," the other side of this wacky saga is deadly serious. There are, after all, more than 1,500 dead American soldiers, Al Qaeda terrorists on the loose and real nuclear-bomb programs in Iran and North Korea that we know nothing about. No laughs there.

(*) (*) good ole Maureen! (*) (*)

(S) (S) (k) (k) Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-01-2005, 09:08 PM
When Google first launched Gmail, the company said it hoped to someday remove entirely the 1 gigabyte ceiling from the service's storage capability. Well, it hasn't done that yet, but it has taken a step in that direction. This morning it doubled Gmail's free storage from 1GB to 2GB. "One gigabyte did seem like a lot, but it turns out there are a lot of heavy users of mail," Georges Harik, Gmail product management director told News.com. "They send attachments, share photos. It all adds up. We wanted to make sure we have a plan in place for when people reach their storage limit. We don't want people to worry that they might run out." And they never will, if Google has its way. With disk capacity fairly inexpensive these days, Google plans to expand Gmail's storage allotment continuously in the coming months. Gmail's move comes just a week after Yahoo quadrupled the size of its free e-mail service to a gigabyte (see "Yahoo raises Me-too-mail storage limit to 1GB") -- one of those "coincidences" that put a certain edge on the Yahoo yodel. "At a certain point beyond 1 gigabyte, it's just a number and becomes irrelevant to most free e-mail users,'' said Karen Mahon, Yahoo spokeswoman. "As an offline analogy: Going beyond a gigabyte for free is like adding a bucket of water into an ocean.'' Well said, Karen. Now how long before Yahoo adds another bucket to its own ocean?




(*) (*) I have a Gmail account and LOVE it!! A Beta test user recommended me and that's how I got an account. Nice. Talk about HUGE STORAGE CAPACITY.... :| (h) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the very, very handsome Boxer

04-01-2005, 09:09 PM

1. When will you take Google Gulp out of beta?
Man, if you pressure us, you just drive us away. We'll commit when we're ready, okay? Besides, what's so great about taking things out of beta? It ruins all the romance, the challenge, the possibilities, the right to explore. Carpe diem, ya know? Maybe we're jaded, but we've seen all these other companies leap headlong into 1.0, thinking their product is exactly what they've been dreaming of all their lives, that everything is perfect and hunky-dory - and the next thing you know some vanilla copycat release from Redmond is kicking their butt, the Board is holding emergency meetings and the CEO is on CNBC blathering sweatily about 'a new direction' and 'getting back to basics.' No thanks, man. We like our freedom.

-- An excerpt from the Google Gulp FAQ

(*) (*) ;) ;)

({) (}) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-01-2005, 09:14 PM
Yahoo the new Google? Surely you can't be serious! I am serious ... and stop calling me Shirley. I think it's a bit premature to hand the search site crown to Yahoo, but Ben Hammersly isn't reluctant. Writing in The Guardian, Hammersly says Yahoo, no longer a dot.has.been, is well on its way to becoming the latest market darling. "This spring has been very strange,'' he wrote. "Google, it seems, has jumped the shark. It has been overtaken, left standing, and not by some new startup of ultra smart MIT alumni or by the gazillions in the Microsoft development budget, but by the deeply unhip and previously discounted Yahoo." Now it's true that Google seems to be suffering a bit of a public opinion backlash, but has it jumped the shark? I don't think so. Not with powerful applications like Google Desktop Search, Google Maps and Google Print coming online. I mean it was only a few days ago that the company rolled out Google Ride Finder, a service that uses realtime GPS information to locate taxis, limousines and shuttles in particular areas (think package tracking for cabs and airport shuttles). These are not the inventions of a company past its prime. And I imagine that will be proven in short order when Yahoo, which has been relentlessly cribbing from the Google play book for years, launches its next "innovation." (To recap, first Yahoo rolled out a Gmail-esque upgrade to its e-mail service, then it launched its version of the Google blog, now it's working on its answer toGoogle's desktop search technology.)







Very poor wannabe: http://www.ysearchblog.com/




(*) (*) (l) (l) (l) (l) Hats off to google.com!! (h) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady, the grrl-propeller-head and her handsome Boxer

04-01-2005, 09:15 PM
The Bono, the Torquemada and the 'Fukka'; I'll take one of each The folks over at the Register have managed to come up with one of the best April Fools pieces I've seen in years. Heavens, I wish I'd written this: Apple founder Jobs joins IKEA


(*) (*) :o :o :o LMAO........ ;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-01-2005, 09:18 PM
I just love the way my Cytoskeleton feels when you touch me like that ... About 75 years ago, James Thurber and E.B. White wrote a delightful book that posed the question "Is Sex Necessary?" But for years before that, scientists asked a similar question: Why is sex necessary? Evolutionarily speaking, that is. The process is messy and consumes time and energy, so what's the payoff in the grand scheme of things? For an answer, a research team in New Zealand turned to yeast, which normally reproduces asexually but under certain conditions (candlelight, soft music) can be persuaded to have a yeasty version of sexual congress. Under normal conditions, the scientists found, the sexy and unsexy yeast strains perked along, reproducing at about the same rate. But under the pressure of a harsher, more stressful environment, the sexually reproducing yeast had a substantially better growth rate. So sex is good. But why? "We are still far from a definitive answer to the question of why sexual reproduction is so common," wrote Rolf Hoekstra, a professor of genetics in the Netherlands, in commentary accompanying the research. Despite the new findings, readers are advised not to try the line "It's for the good of the species" when making a booty call.




(*) (*) Huh? (w) (f) (w) (f) (w) (f) (a) (a)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-01-2005, 09:19 PM

(*) (*) :| :| :|

(b) (b) , (d) (d) or where's the huge coffee or tea mug? ;)

(k) (k) ,Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-01-2005, 09:22 PM

(*) (*) iCopulate as a product name AND it's been TRADEMARKED????? Somebody has WAY, WAY too much time on their hands or whatever elses they're thinking with. :| :| ;) ;) ;) Even so, it's still geek to me. (l) (l) (l) ;)

(S) (S) Sweet dreams and a delightful night's rest.

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-01-2005, 09:33 PM
and even though I have not been a practicing Catholic since high school in the early 1970's, but a "recovering one" at that. The news about the Pope's grave illness made me feel sad for some odd reason today.

I started thinking about those holy cards that I collected while going to parochial grade school in the 1960's and searched for some vintage ones. It made me feel better to slowly search and find some favorite saints and order s few cards encased in plastic to use as bookmarks for all of those books that I read.


(*) (*) (*) Some REALLY old holy cards:


(*) (*) (*) I thought this one of Mary Magdelene was just beautiful:


(*) (*) okay, I don't want to wear out a welcome here..... ;) Have a wonderful weekend.......we're getting rain right now and through all weekend with flooding.......thank goodness I drove out and did so many errands today including getting Doc's special food at the oncologist's. Long ride on back roads and we both really enjoyed it as a relaxing afternoon with no deadlines at all in sight. What a lovely change that was! (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f)

Peace, love and God/dess bless
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-01-2005, 09:42 PM
Cheney's Daughter Says She'll Write a Memoir

Published: March 30, 2005

Mary Cheney, the daughter and campaign manager of Vice President Dick Cheney whose identity as a lesbian became an issue in the presidential campaign, has sold the rights to a memoir to Simon & Schuster for an advance of about $1 million, according to two people involved in the negotiations.

Ms. Cheney declined to speak about her personal life or opinions before the election, but many others brought up the issue.

Gay men and lesbians organized "Dear Mary" letter-writing campaigns imploring her to denounce President Bush's call for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. During the Republican convention, Alan Keyes, the conservative commentator and candidate, called her a "selfish hedonist." And the Democratic presidential candidate, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, brought up her sexual identity in a presidential debate, drawing fierce criticism from her mother, Lynne Cheney, and the family's political allies.
In a statement on Tuesday, Ms. Cheney said she looked forward to writing about her experience.

"The first time I campaigned with my father I was 8 years old," she said. "I've been involved with campaigns as a family member, a staffer, and though I certainly never intended it, as a political target for the other side. It's been an amazing experience - uplifting, frustrating, educational and always entertaining."

Simon & Schuster said Ms. Cheney's memoir was the first book planned in a new line of titles about conservative politics and current events, overseen by Mary Matalin, a political consultant and close adviser to the Cheney family. Ms. Matalin was not involved in making the book deal, she and others said.

Robert Barnett, a Washington lawyer with a sideline making book deals for political figures like former President Bill Clinton and Karen P. Hughes, a Bush adviser, circulated to several publishers a proposal Ms. Cheney had written.

"We had several attractive offers," said Mr. Barnett, who had also negotiated Ms. Matalin's arrangement with Simon & Schuster. "In the end, Mary Cheney found great advantage to working with her old friend Mary Matalin."

People familiar with the proposal said Ms. Cheney promised fly-on-the-wall accounts of her father's campaigns and a portrait of the vice president different from his public persona.

Carolyn Reidy, president of adult books at Simon & Schuster, said Ms. Cheney's book would be not only an account of the campaigns by a singularly highly placed insider but also "about her own role, about being thrust into the spotlight unwanted and her opinions about that."
Simon & Schuster said it expects to publish the memoir in May 2006, two years before Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney leave office.
Ms. Matalin said Ms. Cheney felt she could speak out now.

"She had to remain reticent and her parents had to remain very reticent until the 2004 campaign was over because she had a job to do. We all had jobs to do," Ms. Matalin said. "But she is highly articulate and opinionated and interesting, and she thinks for herself and wants to say it in her own words."

Although Ms. Cheney has never spoken publicly about her views of the Bush administration's embrace of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, her parents have said they disagree with the proposal.

A spokeswoman for the vice president declined to comment on the book deal on Tuesday. Ms. Matalin said Ms. Cheney had spoken to her parents in detail about her plans for the book before selling the rights. "They were very supportive," Ms. Matalin said.

Ms. Matalin herself has been associated with the Republican Unity Coalition, a group of gay and straight Republicans who hoped to make the party more welcoming to gay men and lesbians. Her friends said she privately opposed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, although Ms. Matalin has also never commented publicly on that.

On Tuesday Ms. Matalin said she hoped Ms. Cheney's memoir would further her efforts to make her new imprint, Threshold, reflect what she sees as the changing nature of the conservative movement.

"I am doing a handful of books that reflect the breadth of conservatism today," Ms. Matalin said, "and I think she represents that, and she represents it beyond the narrow casting of 'she is a gay Republican.' "

(*) (*) If she had announced THIS BEFORE the 2004 election - we might have (probably not since she's only one person), but who knows? we might have had a different outcome. I don't plan on buying or reading it. Maybe I'll take the time to read a review by a credible book reviewer. :( :( Or not. ;) ;)

(S) (S) Truly, madly, deeply.....off to bed. (not off the edge.....<grinning> I'm really tired.....I guess that chamomile tea worked its magic.

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-02-2005, 07:58 AM

(l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l)

(f) (f) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-02-2005, 07:59 AM


"The Communications Media: At the Service of Understanding Among Peoples"

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. We read in the Letter of Saint James, "From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so" (Jas 3:10). The Sacred Scriptures remind us that words have an extraordinary power to bring people together or to divide them, to forge bonds of friendship or to provoke hostility.

Not only is this true of words spoken by one person to another: it applies equally to communication taking place at any level. Modern technology places at our disposal unprecedented possibilities for good, for spreading the truth of our salvation in Jesus Christ and for fostering harmony and reconciliation. Yet its misuse can do untold harm, giving rise to misunderstanding, prejudice and even conflict. The theme chosen for the 2005 World Communications Day - "The Communications Media: At the Service of Understanding Among Peoples" - addresses an urgent need: to promote the unity of the human family through the use made of these great resources.

2. One important way of achieving this end is through education. The media can teach billions of people about other parts of the world and other cultures. With good reason they have been called "the first Areopagus of the modern age . . . for many the chief means of information and education, of guidance and inspiration in their behaviour as individuals, families, and within society at large" (Redemptoris Missio, 37). Accurate knowledge promotes understanding, dispels prejudice, and awakens the desire to learn more. Images especially have the power to convey lasting impressions and to shape attitudes. They teach people how to regard members of other groups and nations, subtly influencing whether they are considered as friends or enemies, allies or potential adversaries.

When others are portrayed in hostile terms, seeds of conflict are sown which can all too easily escalate into violence, war, or even genocide. Instead of building unity and understanding, the media can be used to demonize other social, ethnic and religious groups, fomenting fear and hatred. Those responsible for the style and content of what is communicated have a grave duty to ensure that this does not happen. Indeed, the media have enormous potential for promoting peace and building bridges between peoples, breaking the fatal cycle of violence, reprisal, and fresh violence that is so widespread today. In the words of Saint Paul, which formed the basis of this year’s Message for the World Day of Peace: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom 12:21).

3. If such a contribution to peace-making is one of the significant ways the media can bring people together, its influence in favour of the swift mobilization of aid in response to natural disasters is another. It was heartening to see how quickly the international community responded to the recent tsunami that claimed countless victims. The speed with which news travels today naturally increases the possibility for timely practical measures designed to offer maximum assistance. In this way the media can achieve an immense amount of good.

4. The Second Vatican Council reminded us: "If the media are to be correctly employed, it is essential that all who use them know the principles of the moral order and apply them faithfully" (Inter Mirifica, 4).

The fundamental ethical principle is this: "The human person and the human community are the end and measure of the use of the media of social communication; communication should be by persons to persons for the integral development of persons" (Ethics in Communications, 21). In the first place, then, the communicators themselves need to put into practice in their own lives the values and attitudes they are called to instil in others. Above all, this must include a genuine commitment to the common good - a good that is not confined by the narrow interests of a particular group or nation but embraces the needs and interests of all, the good of the entire human family (cf. Pacem in Terris, 132). Communicators have the opportunity to promote a true culture of life by distancing themselves from today’s conspiracy against life (cf. Evangelium Vitae, 17) and conveying the truth about the value and dignity of every human person.

5. The model and pattern of all communication is found in the Word of God himself. "In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son" (Heb 1:1). The Incarnate Word has established a new covenant between God and his people - a covenant which also joins us in community with one another. "For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility" (Eph 2:14).

My prayer on this year’s World Communications Day is that the men and women of the media will play their part in breaking down the dividing walls of hostility in our world, walls that separate peoples and nations from one another, feeding misunderstanding and mistrust. May they use the resources at their disposal to strengthen the bonds of friendship and love that clearly signal the onset of the Kingdom of God here on earth.

From the Vatican, 24 January 2005, the Feast of Saint Francis de Sales



(f) (f) ,

04-02-2005, 02:19 PM
Subject: Cost of Gas

Thought all of you would enjoy this as much as I did! Gives you
something to think about!!! Just a little humor to help ease the pain of
your next trip to the pump...

Compared with Gasoline

Think a gallon of gas is expensive?

This makes one think, and also puts things in perspective.

Diet Snapple 16 oz $1.29 ....... $10.32 per gallon

Lipton Ice Tea 16 oz $1.19 ...........$9.52 per gallon

Gatorade 20 oz $1.59 ...... $10.17 per gallon

Ocean Spray 16 oz $1.25 . $10.00 per gallon

Brake Fluid 12 oz $3.15 . $33.60 per gallon

Vick's Nyquil 6 oz $8.35 .... $178.13 per gallon

Pepto Bismol 4 oz $3.85 ..... $123.20 per gallon

Whiteout 7 oz $1.39 ......... . $25.42 per gallon

Scope 1.5 oz $0.99 ......$84.48 per gallon

And this is the REAL KICKER...

Evian water 9 oz $1.49..........$21.19 per gallon?! $21.19 for WATER -
and the buyers don't even know the source. (Evian spelled backwards is

So, the next time you're at the pump, be glad your car doesn't run on
water, Scope, or Whiteout, o r God forbid Pepto Bismal or Nyquil.

Just a little humor to help ease the pain of your next trip to the

(*) (*) :o :o ;) ;)

(l) (l) (l) (l) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-05-2005, 12:42 PM
Inkjet printer ink! It works out to about $400 a gallon. No joke. and
you will not hear this from H-P or Epson, but you can work it out.

(k) (k) ,

04-05-2005, 12:44 PM

(l) (l) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-05-2005, 12:45 PM
You are about to visit the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel of our Holy Father John Paul II.

The chapel is precious to the Holy Father as it is used during his annual spiritual retreats as well as for the homilies given during Advent and Lent. The chapel was completely redone with over 600 square meters of mosaics on the walls and ceilings as a gift to the Holy Father for his 50th anniversary of ordination to priesthood. It was designed to incorporate the theological essence of both the west and east, the "two lungs" of the Church.

The visit will take you into the chapel to see the mosaics and to understand the meaning of different events of Christ's life represented in them.

This project will be presented in two phases: the first phase coincides with the Holy Father's 25th Anniversary of His Pontificate, October 2003, and the second phase will begin in December 2003. .

First, choose the version best for your computer and connection based on the technical indications below. Click on the chapel after the introduction finishes.

LEGEND icon Once inside the site, click the "Legend" icon to see the different modes of exploring the site. .


(l) (l) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-05-2005, 12:47 PM

then click on Interactive: The pope in life

Wonderful presentation. I'd love to figure out how to save it. I'll keep working on that. ;)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-05-2005, 12:48 PM
Subject: Tell your friends: $82 billion more for Iraq

Dear friend,

Congress has barely debated the war in Iraq or its aftermath since it voted to authorize the use of force in October 2002. Now, the Bush administration is skipping the normal budget process to ask for an additional $82 billion to fund the American presence in Iraq. Among the big-ticket items, a $600 million embassy and some 14 "enduring" bases. Those bases, and the absence of an exit strategy, will worsen, not improve the situation in Iraq.

And, remember the last $87 billion Congress authorized for the war: a whopping $9 billion of it is missing because of corrupt contracting. We must root out the corporate corruption that has undercut the rebuilding efforts and lost billions of taxpayers' money.

Join me in signing this petition to insist that America has an exit strategy from Iraq with a timeline, that we do not construct permanent bases in Iraq and that we end war profiteering by corporations.




(k) (k) .

04-05-2005, 12:49 PM
Cannibal Flesh Donor Program:



Don't be wearin' no BSD shirts in Texas, if'n you know what's good for ya:






Liquid Optical USB "Ducky" Mouse



;) ;) (h) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-05-2005, 12:51 PM
Monday, April 4, 2005 Posted: 8:31 PM EDT (0031 GMT)

Your e-mails: North America

(CNN) -- CNN.com asked its readers to share their views on the death of Pope John Paul II, who died Saturday. Here is a sampling from thousands of responses, some of which have been edited:

I think he was a saint in the making. Twenty-three years ago my daughter was in her second bout with cancer. We were granted an audience with the pope and he blessed her. Her cancer is gone and she has been in remission for 20 years. He truly was/is a saint.
Paul Dombrosky; Honolulu, Hawaii

I think it is a great loss for the world. He was a person that cared very much for everybody. Seeing him was the most wonderful experience I had in my life. Rest in peace.
Ada Chang; El Salvador

Pope John Paul II was one of the most influential people in the church and the world that I have ever known. It is amazing to see such a great person loved by all, even those who are not of this faith. He has been an inspiration to us all and has affected us in more than one way. His constant push for peace in the world has touched me, especially being in the Air Force.
Kevin Hooper; Elkridge, Maryland

In 1989, the pope came to Iceland, while I was stationed there with my family. While he was visiting, my wife gave birth to our fifth child, and we named him John-Paul. At the same time, my oldest son, who was 9, got the privileged opportunity to receive his first holy communion from the pope. I will always hold a special place in my heart for him.
Bruce Nance; Mansfield, Pennsylvania

When many people looked to the power of arms and the overtaking of other countries or people, the pope showed a world a peace that could not be duplicated. He showed a strength that few have by simply following his faith. As a man of God, he led others by example, even forgiving a man who tried to take his life. He ruled no country, but had the world follow him. He will be missed by more people than just one particular faith.
Wayne Peterson; Gray, Tennessee

Pope John Paul II [was] the only pope I remember. I was 12 when he became pope, and he is part of the reason I came back into the Catholic Church about five years ago. His death affected me more than I ever thought it would. In many ways, I felt I had lost a close family member. My thoughts and prayers are with him, and I know that he has been received into the loving arms of God. What a truly holy man he was.
Donna; Henderson, Kentucky

As a non-Catholic, I have deep admiration for Pope John Paul II. He was a "humble giant" who reached out to all people of all faiths. He was a champion of peace, a symbolic gesture of good will, and his legacy will redefine the Catholic Church for years to come. His death has brought a level of sadness unknown to me before. I only hope and pray that his successor continues to make efforts to reach out to all of humanity.
Phil Harris; Fort Washington, Maryland

John Paul II was the embodiment of the Vicar of Christ. He answered only to Jesus. He was not swayed by public opinion or the opinion of world leaders. He stood for truth at all times. His consistent stand for life included the unborn, starving children, workers, families, students, the elderly, the infirm and even condemned prisoners. Truth does not vary over time, neither did John Paul's moral teaching. He was an inspiration to all. As a Polish-American I lost not only my Holy Father but a fellow Pole as well. John Paul II acted with the Lord to free Europe from Soviet enslavement, yet that is not his greatest achievement. His example of what one man can do with faith in Jesus is his lasting gift to humanity.
Mark Stepien; Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Although I am not a Catholic, I was deeply moved by the tributes and remembrances that were given for the pope. Rarely do you find religious leaders who are truly of their faith and not their finances. The pope was a great leader and man. All religious leaders should pattern themselves behind him.
Rose; Asbury Park, New Jersey

It is with a heavy heart that I bid farewell to the leader of my faith, and the most inspirational man of my time. Pope John Paul II was a man of peace and love. Let his message and teachings not be in vain, let us continue to work on his mission of acquiring world peace. God bless, may you rest in eternal peace.
Tammy Dixon; Scarborough, Canada

I am not Catholic, but I am truly saddened by the passing of Pope John Paul II. He was a beautiful, caring and loving man. The fact that so many millions around the world are mourning him, that alone tells of the impact that he had on so many lives. It will be hard to fill his shoes. Goodnight, Sir.
Sonya Kidd; Niagara Falls, Canada

I had the opportunity to see Pope John Paul II in his visit to El Salvador. I was about 12 years old at that time and I will never forget what I felt when I saw him. I could feel an enormous peace in my heart, a notable and uncontrollable happiness lay between the hearts that saw him. A man that has changed my way of seeing things. Because people like him make better persons. He has now left us, but his legacy will always be carried and practiced. We will always remember Pope John Paul II and how he has reunited with God, I'm sure he is so happy right now. Rest in peace holy man. El Salvador, Central America, will carry you in our hearts forever.
Alejandra; San Salvador, El Salvador

Pope John Paul II was the constant force of good in my adult life. He helped me to grow closer to my adopted church and learn more about what it means to be a servant of God. He showed that it is possible to stand for what is right, even when it's not popular, and even dangerous. He was beyond anything I could have imagined a pope would be when he took office. He not only had the charisma that everyone is talking about now, but also he had immense courage and vision. There may be other good, even great popes, but there will never be another like him.
Peggy Wickham; Raleigh, North Carolina

John Paul II the great! The pope that is king of hearts. A man that walked the steps of a saint, that rode to countries to unite people. ... We weep though he does not want it, for his godly aura and loving heart were always at hand. My beloved pope who loved my country Mexico. [It] is the greatest loss on Earth since Jesus himself died.
Mina Diaz de Rivera; Dana Point, California

I am Catholic. I have drifted away from the church because of profound disagreements with some of the its positions, but today I grieve. I grieve deeply for a brother of the human family. The world has lost a champion against injustice, who preached about the power of love and compassion and brought us hope.
Kees van Beelen; Pembroke, Bermuda

It's hard not to have great respect for anyone who stays with their beliefs for more than 80 years of life. The world needs more charismatic people who stand up for morality. With that kind of marketing there is a little less suffering in the world. Hopefully the next pope will be just as outgoing to fight against hunger, poverty, war and overall human suffering.
Christine Dumouchelle; Atlanta, Georgia

I was not even 2 years old when I met Pope John Paul II. I am from Newfoundland, and the pope had a Mass in a large field in St. John's. People had to be invited to receive Eucharist from the pope, and my parents were invited because of their work with our church. As my father walked up to receive the Eucharist, I was in his arms and as the pope gave my father Eucharist, he saw me and touched my face. Although I do not remember this, to know I was touched by this great man makes me feel special. He was an incredible man and our faith, and the world, has lost a great leader.
Daniel Furey; St. John's, Canada

I'm not a Catholic. To be candid, I'm not a religious person even remotely. And yet when I see this person, the Pope John Paul II, I've but an abiding respect and admiration for what he did for all of us and what he stood for. His parting gift to the world now, it seems, is a legacy the Catholic governance at the Vatican would find difficult to ignore now that the world has tasted the finest that a pope can deliver and stand for.
Saumen Sengupta; Utica, New York

A saint has passed among us. Yet I will echo a California man's regret that this great but conservative pope missed the opportunity to modernize the Catholic religion. J.P. II had the unique charisma and respected authority to accede women to priesthood and administrative command positions. May his successor pick up that task.
Fred J. Gauthier; Miami, Florida

His face in death did show the pain he went through, sacrificing and suffering in full acceptance, in total obedience to God's will. He might have, in his wisdom and in his beautiful heart wanted to show us that we too mortals can also choose to nobly embrace death, in humble reflection of our Christ's chalice of agony. Farewell and Godspeed our most beloved holy father Pope John Paul II. We know in our hearts that we have one more saint in heaven who will pray and intercede for us.
Celia Rivera; Dallas, Texas


(*) (*) HIs Holiness certainly is the leader of the whole pack in my view and with all respect. (f) (f) (f) (f)

({) (}) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-05-2005, 12:53 PM
Touched my heart........











(*) (*) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f)

God/dess Bless,
Sweetlady and Dco the Boxer

04-05-2005, 12:57 PM
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL Thursday, February 10, 2005

Victim Soul: What Pope John Paul II Is Teaching Us Through His Suffering.


I have been thinking about John Paul II. Everyone has, I suppose.
The pope yesterday missed Ash Wednesday services at the Vatican.
This after a recent hospitalization.

Ash Wednesday reminds Catholics that we will leave this world some
day, that from dust we came and to dust we will return. We are
asked to renew our spiritual lives, to give up some small pleasure
and give that sacrifice to God, at least until the spring, and

The pope's long physical decline is part of a long goodbye that
carries within it meaning. I want to talk at some length about how
some see that meaning, and about how I saw John Paul 18 months ago.

After seeing him I thought: I saw a saint at sunset. It was
actually early morning, 7:30 a.m. according to my notes, on July 2,
2003. A brilliant morning in the middle of the worst Roman heat
wave in a century. The city was quiet, the streets soft with the
heat. Hundreds of us had gathered in the Piazza Del Suffizo, in the
shadow of Bernini's colonnad, the marble columns that curve
outward around St. Peter's Square. The breeze was warm, the
pounding heat gathering, and we fanned ourselves with thin green
Papal Audience tickets. The crowd was happy--chirping nuns,
clicking tourists.

We were about to see the pope at his weekly audience. Among us: A
group of deaf Italian adults in white baseball caps, with silk
Vatican flags--green, gold and white--tied around their necks.
Members of a choir from the Archdiocese of St Louis. A group of
nuns from the Little Mission for the Deaf in Bologna, Italy. There
was a man from Monterrey, Mexico, with his wife and two children.
As the crowd grew we were pressed close, and began talking as if we
knew each other.

"Why are you here?" I asked.

"To see the pope," said the man from Monterrey. "He is the most
important Christian in the world. He is the follower of Christ."
When minutes later I read the quote back to him from my notebook he
edited it. "He is the most important person in the whole world."

I talked to a woman with a hat made of hay. Spiky yellow straw
actually, the brim down to shade her face. She was wearing a big
white clamshell suspended from a necklace. She was 45 or 50 and
looked like pictures of the older, weathered Greta Garbo. She told
me she was on a pilgrimage. She had walked hundreds of miles in a
tour of Marian sites. She and her husband--bearish, gray-bearded--
had departed upper Austria in May, and had arrived the preceding
day, July 1. They had walked on highways and small roads. She
showed me her diary of the pilgrimage; in neat, clear script she
had documented every church they had seen along the way. Her
husband had drawn pictures of cathedrals in blue ballpoint ink. He
had taken snapshots of little chapels and pasted them in the diary.
"Here," she said to me. She pointed to a page on which she had
drawn her feet after six weeks of walking. They are comic line
drawings of angular feet bruised by exaggerated calluses. Next to
them she drew the lotions and bandages she had put upon the wounds.
They had gone to mass every day of their journey, she said. And why
had they come here?

"Why? To see il Papa!" She gestured as if to say: This is the

We filed through metal detectors that did not seem to work--no
beeping or bopping, no one watching things closely--and were
directed through a paved area just off St Peter's square. (Later,
when I would return to it, a young priest would tell me, "We think
he may have been crucified just under here." I shook my head. "St.
Peter. It may have been just about here, down there." And he
pointed at the pavement.) We entered the Paul VI Audience Hall, an
enormous concrete structure, cavernous and modern, like a big
suburban evangelical church. Rows of fixed seats were pointed
toward the stage. People were filing in single file and in groups,
hundreds of them, then thousands. I walked among them and heard the
language of France, England, Mexico, Austria, the Czech Republic.
There were groups from West Africa, Germany, Poland, Scotland,
Portugal and Brazil. A Romanian chorus of middle-aged women began
to sing softly in their seats. When they finished, a choir from
Bialystok, Poland, 30 young women and men, began to sing lustily.

Suddenly there was a rustling up front. Dozens of African women
danced in, laughing and clapping in floor-length white cotton
dresses. On the hems were sewn the words "Archdiocese of Freetown,"
Sierra Leone. They sat next to Catholic school children from
Rwanda, who were clapping and shaking tambourines.

I thought: The whole church is here.

The room rocked. Cheering here, drums there, an American spiritual
crooned somewhere in the back. The choruses would pick up each
other's sound, so that a group from Santo Domingo would sing, and
as they finished a young male choir from Poland, in white tie and
tails, would take up the song, and then as they finished a group of
American Indians--in native dress and full headdresses they looked
like beautiful peacocks--would break into native drums. I thought
the disparate but unified members of the audience, as they echoed
and supported each other, were like a living symbol of the church
every day in the world.

Something came alive on the stage. Two Swiss guards in their
purple-and-orange uniforms, big red plumes on their black helmets,
entered the stage and stood erect in the middle, with metal staffs.
The audience began to applaud.

Then a flurry of cardinals and bishops in black, with red and
purple sashes. Then two papal chamberlains in white tie and tails.

We looked to the left of the stage. There was movement. It was him,
the pope--20 minutes early. The woman next to me, a regular
audience-goer, laughed. "When he's ready, he's ready these days,"
she yelled to me over the noise.

The pope was rolled onto the stage. He was seated in a brown wooden
chair that rested within some kind of wooden rig on little wheels.
They pushed him forward slowly. It was like a wheel-throne; it was
like the kind of big wooden roller they use to get something off
the top shelf at Home Depot. It looked both practical and absurd.

He was dressed all in white, bent forward in his chair. White
surplice, white beanie, white gold-fringed sash. As the wheel-
throne reached the center of the stage a scrum of aides and
cardinals surrounded his chair. They helped him to his feet, helped
him gain balance, helped transfer him to a white upholstered high-
backed chair. Then they turned it toward the audience.

He looked out at us. We looked back at him. His face was--oh, his

I thought of the little girl on John Paul's last trip to Canada,
two years before. She was a child, 6 or so, and she had it in her
head that the pope was the best person in the world. So her parents
brought her to a big outdoor mass, and she was chosen to give him
flowers. She walked up to him with her little bouquet and held it
toward him. He leaned his upper body toward her in his chair. Then
she turned and ran sobbing from the stage with what seemed like
panic. Because he was old and his head was big and his neck and
back were curled and the effort to lift his head so you can see his
face draws his features down, and the Parkinsonian mask that
freezes his face makes him look angry, or ill-meaning, or sad. So
the poor girl ran.

Now the crowd took to its feet and the applause was continuous. But
it was muted somehow, not full of joy as the crowd had been before
the audience had begun. His cassock was too short--six inches off
the floor. We could see his white cotton sport socks. We could see
his worn brown shoes. This is a pontiff who wears old loafers, like
a working man, like a regular man, and not the traditional silk
slippers of a pope.

"We love you, Papa!" someone called out. "We love you, Holy

He lifted his head with effort. We took our seats. Suddenly I
realized the purpose of a Vatican announcement that had been issued
the week before, when I had just arrived in Rome. The Holy Father,
the press office said, would not go hiking in the hills this summer
as he had in the past, but instead would work through his vacation
writing a memoir of his early years. Rome buzzed; how amazing that
the old man would produce a book on his time off. What they didn't
notice, what had been cleverly obscured by the announcement, is
that the pope's legs don't work anymore. Of course he isn't hiking.

When I mentioned this later to a priest in Rome, he laughed. He
told me John Paul has grown sensitive about speculation regarding
his illnesses, and had recently groused, half comically, to an
American cardinal, "Tell those American journalists the pope
doesn't run the church with his feet."

The pope read to us from remarks typed on white letter-size paper.
His voice was blurry and thick. The papers trembled in his hand. He
spoke in Italian. The thin-necked microphone was sensitive; we
could hear him breathe between the sentences. People in the
audience became distracted. Then the pope spoke in Polish and his
voice became stronger, and even though most of the people in the
audience didn't understand what he was saying they quieted, and
leaned forward.

He had a bad tremor in his left arm. During the translation he
leaned his head and rested his chin on his left hand, in an attempt
to control the tremor.

Then the pope cleared his throat and spoke in English. But the only
words I could make out were, "the spirit of the Beatitudes." Later
I read the Associated Press report of the pope's message. He had
spoken of Psalm 145, which he called "a song of praise for the
morning." It ends, he said, "in a proclamation of the sovereignty
of God over human history." It reminds us, he said, that "the Lord
shall reign forever."

Schoolchildren from Santo Domingo cheered the old chant: Juan
Pablo, Segundo, el padre de el mundo.

He raised his right hand to acknowledge the chants. The playfulness
of the past--the way he used to wave with both hands, up and down,
and say "Woo woo!" to the children who cheered him in New York and
Chicago so long ago--is not possible to him any more.

And yet as I watched him I realized I did not see him as ill and
frail. I saw him as encased--trapped in there, in an outer
immobility. And yet inside he is still John Paul.

I thought: he is a victim soul. His suffering has meaning.

He is teaching us something through his pain.

He sang to us a little at the end, like an old man sitting in the
sun. Most of us couldn't tell the words or the tune but he was
doing it for us, and there was something so beautiful and moving in
it. I turned to a friend. "We are hearing a saint singing," I said.
I breathed it in, let the sound enter my ears. I wanted to put my
hands over them and hold the sound in my head. Then John Paul made
the sign of the cross. The cardinals came and knelt before him and
kissed his hand. A group of American Indians mounted the stage to
kneel before him. Dozens of newly-wed couples in gowns and tuxedoes
mounted the stage two by two to receive his blessing. Then the sick
--children rolled out onto the stage in hospital beds, people in

I always get the feeling with John Paul that if he could narrow
down who he meets and blesses to those he likes best it would not
be cardinals, princes or congressmen but nuns from obscure convents
and Down syndrome children. Especially the latter. Because they
have suffered, and because in some serious and amazing way they
understand more than most people. Everyone else gets tied up in
ambition and ideas and bustle, but the modest and limited are able
to receive this message more deeply and openly: God loves us, his
love is all around us, he made us to love him and play with him and
serve him and be happy.

I know a woman who once worked with the retarded. The Down syndrome
children would ask her to comb her long blond hair, and then they'd
get lost in it, lost in the beauty of it. They touched it and
patted it and walked through it like curtains. It takes a kind of
spiritual genius to know a hunk of long blond hair is heaven. They
knew. The pope knows they know.

And then the audience was over. The scrum of handlers and Cardinals
descended again and surrounded the pope. They hauled him up, helped
him transfer from the white chair back to the wheel throne. And
then they began to push him off the stage. He turned to us, raised
his right hand and made a halting sign of the cross. And then the
Poles in the audience broke into the song that went back to the
beginning, the authentic sound of 25 years ago, when John Paul
first walked onto the Vatican balcony and looked out at the world.
They had sung it for him at every stop along the way of his long
papacy, through good times and bad. "Stolat! Stolat! May you live
a hundred years."

I stayed until the very end, two hours. Then I turned to see all
the people standing behind me, to see their faces so I could
describe them someday. And I was taken aback.

Because they were gone. Most of them, two-thirds, had already left.
They were gone before the pope had even left the stage. As if
they'd had their ticket punched--I saw the old guy--and were on
their way next to see the cats in the Coliseum.

His whole life is a goodbye tour now. He knows they come to see him
in part because they want to be able to say, "I saw John Paul the
Great." And so there is around him a sense of inescapable twilight.

An explosion of joy and sadness will mark his passing. Joy because
it is time now for a younger man to put his stamp upon the age.
Sadness because he isa giant, the last pope of the old age. And
something else. After him the real modern world begins, the new
one, the post-9/11 one, and all will be in play. He was the last
fruit of the old world. His presence was definite and dense as the
Vatican itself.

His suffering is his witness. It has a purpose. It is telling us
something. Yesterday, in thinking about this and remembering that
audience, I called the great writer and thinker Michael Novak. He
thought aloud for me. St. Therese of Lisieux, he reminded me,
believed her suffering could help others. She would take her
moments of pain or annoyance or sadness and offer them to God,
believing that they became united with God's love, united that is
with something infinitely powerful which works always for the
betterment of man. She would ask God to take her suffering and use
it to help the missionaries of the world. She knew, Mr. Novak said,
what Dostoevsky knew: there's a kind of web around the world, an
electric web in which we're all united in suffering and in love.
When you give to it what you have, you add to the communion of love
all around the world. Therese was a Carmelite. Mr. Novak spoke of
George Weigel's observation that the pope has a Carmelite soul, a
soul at home with the Carmelite tradition of everyday mysticism.

What should the pope's suffering tell us? Several things, said Mr.
Novak. He is telling us it is important in an age like ours to
honor the suffering of the old and the infirm. He wants us to know
they have a place in life and a purpose. He not only says this; he
lives it. He was an actor as a youth; he teaches by doing and
showing, by being. His suffering is a drama he is living out quite
deliberately. John Paul stands for life, for all of life. He wants
to honor what the world does not honor.

But why, I said, does God allow this man he must so love to be
dragged through the world in pain? He could have taken him years
ago. Maybe, said Mr. Novak, God wants to show us how much he loves
us, and he is doing it right now by letting the pope show us how
much he loves us. Christ couldn't take it anymore during his
passion, and yet he kept going.

Which reminded me of something the pope said to a friend when the
subject of retirement came up a few years ago: "Christ didn't come
down from the cross." Christ left when his work was done.

Mr. Novak noted that John Paul II has often spoken of the need to
heal the thousand-year breach in the church between East and West.
The pope believes his work did not end with the fall of the Berlin
Wall, that it includes attempting to repair the great split between
Rome and Constantinople and Moscow. Mr. Novak said he may well be
using his suffering, giving it to God to heal it. "He will be a
very unhappy man if he doesn't get to Moscow before he dies," said
Mr. Novak. "St. Peter may have a lot to answer for."

Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and
author of "A Heart, a Cross, and a Flag" (Wall Street Journal
Books/Simon & Schuster), a collection of post-Sept. 11 columns,
which you can buy from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column
appears Thursdays.

(*) (*) (*) I saved this and cried when I read it back in Feb. I thought some people might have an interest in what Noonan wrote - especially since she is the "Maureen Dowd" of the Wall Street Journal and much-appreciated columnist by me. (f) (f) (f) (f) (l) (l)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-05-2005, 12:58 PM
Papal travels


Pope John Paul II was by far the most well-traveled pontiff. Since becoming pope in 1978, he flew more than 700,000 miles, equivalent to more than 28 times round the world. His trips to more than 120 countries and territories took him away from the Vatican for more than a year-and-a-half. Click on the letters below to see the places he visited.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Albania (April 1993)
Angola (June 1992)
Argentina (June 1982, March 1987)
Armenia (2001)
Australia (November 1986, January 1995)
Austria (September 1983, June 1988, June 1998)
Azerbaijan (May 2002)
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Bahamas (January 1979)
Bangladesh (November 1986)
Belgium (May 1985, June 1995)
Belize (March 1983)
Benin (February 1982, February 1993)
Bolivia (May 1988)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (April 1997, June 2003)
Botswana (September 1988)
Brazil (June 1980, June 1982, October 1991, October 1997)
Bulgaria (May 2002)
Burkina Faso (May 1980, January 1990)
Burundi (September 1990)
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Cameroon (August 1985, September 1995)
Canada (September 1984, September 1987, July 2002)
Cape Verde (January 1990)
Central African Republic (August 1985)
Chad (January 1990)
Chile (March 1987)
Colombia (July 1986)
Congo (May 1980)
Costa Rica (March 1983)
Croatia (September 1994, October 1998, June 2003)
Cuba (January 1998)
Curacao (May 1990)
Czech Republic (April 1990, May 1995, April 1997)
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Denmark (June 1989)
Dominican Republic (January 1979, October 1984, October 1992)
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East Timor (1989)
Ecuador (January 1985)
Egypt (February 2000)
El Salvador (March 1983, February 1996)
Equatorial Guinea (February 1982)
Estonia (September 1993)
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Fiji (November 1986)
Finland (June 1989)
France (May 1980, August 1983, October 1986, October 1988, September 1996, September 1997, August 2004)
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Gabon (February 1982)
Gambia (February 1992)
Georgia (November 1999)
Germany (West Germany in November 1980 and April 1987, June 1996)
Ghana (May 1980)
Greece (2001)
Great Britain (May 1982)
Guam (February 1981)
Guatemala (March 1983, February 1996, July 2002)
Guinea (February 1992)
Guinea-Bissau (January 1990)
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Haiti (March 1983)
Honduras (March 1983)
Hungary (August 1991, September 1996)
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Iceland (June 1989)
India (January 1986, November 1999)
Indonesia (October 1989)
Ireland (September 1979)
Israel (March 2000)
Ivory Coast (May 1980, August 1985, September 1990)
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Jamaica (August 1993)
Japan (February 1981)
Jordan (March 2000)
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Kazakhstan (2001)
Kenya (May 1980, August 1985, September 1995)
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Lativa (September 1993)
Lebanon (May 1997)
Lesotho (September 1988)
Liechtenstein (September 1985)
Lithuania (September 1993)
Luxembourg (May 1985)
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Madagascar (April 1989)
Malawi (April 1989)
Mali (January 1990)
Malta (May 1990, 2001)
Mauritius (October 1989)
Mexico (January 1979, May 1990, August 1993, January 1999, July 2002)
Morocco (August 1985)
Mozambique (September 1988)
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Netherlands (May 1985)
New Zealand (November 1986)
Nicaragua (March 1983, February 1996)
Nigeria (February 1982, March 1998)
Norway (June 1989)
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Pakistan (February 1981)
Palestinian Territories (2000)
Panama (March 1983)
Papua New Guinea (May 1984, January 1995)
Paraguay (May 1988)
Peru (January 1985, May 1988)
Philippines (February 1981, January 1995)
Poland (June 1979, June 1983, June 1987, June 1991, August 1991, May 1995, May 1997, June 1999, August 2002)
Portugal (May 1982, March 1983, May 1991, May 2000)
Puerto Rico (October 1984)
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Reunion Island (1989)
Romania (May 1999)
Rwanda (September 1990)
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Saint Lucia (July 1986)
San Marino (August 1982)
Sao Tome and Principe (June 1992)
Senegal (February 1992)
Seychelles (November 1986)
Singapore (November 1986)
Slovakia (June 1995, September 2003)
Slovenia (May 1996, September 1999)
Solomon Islands (May 1984)
South Africa (September 1995)
South Korea (May 1984, October 1989)
Spain (October 1982, October 1984, August 1989, June 1993, May 2003)
Sri Lanka (January 1995)
Sudan (February 1993)
Swaziland (September 1988)
Sweden (June 1989)
Switzerland (June 1982, June 1984, September 1985, June 2004)
Syria (2001)
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Tanzania (September 1990)
Thailand (May 1984)
Togo (August 1985)
Trinidad and Tobago (January 1985)
Tunisia (April 1996)
Turkey (November 1979)
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Uganda (February 1993)
Ukraine (2001)
United States (September 1979, February 1981, May 1984, September 1987, August 1993, October 1995, January 1999)
Uruguay (March 1987, May 1988)
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Venezuela (January 1985, February 1996)
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Zaire (May 1980, August 1985)
Zambia (April 1989)
Zimbabwe (September 1988)












(*) (*) (l) (l) (l) (f) (f) (f) (f)


04-05-2005, 01:00 PM

(CNN) -- Less than eight months after his inauguration, Wojtyla returned to Poland as Pope John Paul II for nine cathartic days.

Huge, adoring crowds met him wherever he went and were an acute source of embarrassment to the communist government. Officially, the country was atheistic; it was also suffering from food shortages. The pope added to the authorities' discomfort by reminding his fellow Poles of their human rights.

"That was the beginning of the end of what we call the Soviet Empire," Robert Moynihan, editor and publisher of the magazine "Inside the Vatican," told CNN in a 2003 interview. "I think he brought that empire down, but not with missiles and not even with economic sanctions, but just by being a man, by being a man of faith."

In the fall of 1979, the pope flew to Ireland and celebrated a Mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park for 1.2 million people -- more than a quarter of Ireland's population at the time.

He continued on to the United States where his visits to Boston, Massachusetts; New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Des Moines, Iowa; Chicago, Illinois; and Washington took on the trappings of major holidays.

The cities threw open their arms in a welcome that Current Biography said was of "staggering, unprecedented magnitude."

"Private citizens, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, flocked by the millions to glimpse the pope," it reported. "It was only a few short years ago that such mass forgetfulness of sectarian difference would have been unthinkable (and, politically, suicidal) in the United States."
Vibrations in the air

There was more to it than forgetfulness, for John Paul displayed that charisma during more than 200 visits to more than 125 countries over the past 26 years. And as TIME noted in naming him Man of the Year in 1994, he generated an electricity "unmatched by anyone else on earth."

In his book "The Making of Popes 1978," Andrew M. Greeley offered a close-up of the pope working a crowd: "His moves, his presence, his smile, his friendliness, his gestures ... have pleased everyone. ... He is great with crowds -- shaking hands, smiling, talking, kissing babies."

The Los Angeles Times reported that Poles waited for hours to see the pope when he returned in 1997. At his appearance, the crowds grew silent, "some falling to their knees and weeping as John Paul (parted) the crowd on a path to the altar."

"Such an incredible moment," Krzysztof Gonet, mayor of Nowej Soli, told the Times. "You can feel the vibrations in the air."

Not only was he the most traveled pope in history -- he spoke eight languages, learning Spanish after he became pope -- he also was quick to use the media and technology to his advantage.

In the early years of his papacy, he steered the Vatican into satellite transmissions and videocassettes. While other popes stayed close to Rome, remote and seemingly unapproachable, John Paul's wide-ranging appearances -- enhanced by an actor's sense of theater -- became worldwide news events.

When the pope visited Cuba in January 1998, hard-line Cuban leader Fidel Castro set aside his drab olive fatigues and put on a business suit to welcome him. Castro also attended a number of functions for the pope and escorted the frail Holy Father with almost touching deference.

The world is his business

Not content with tending merely to church affairs, John Paul made the world's business his business -- especially in regard to human rights.

"His engagement as pontiff was not only to spread out the gospel, to spread out the faith, but also to transform the Roman papacy into the spokesman of human rights," Marco Politi, author of "His Holiness," told CNN in 2003.

His criticism of such dictators as Alfred Stroessner in Paraguay, Augusto Pinochet in Chile and Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines encouraged opposition movements that eventually brought down those governments.

His support for the Solidarity movement in Poland -- priests concealed messages from John Paul to imprisoned union leaders in their robes -- was a key to the downfall of communism in Poland.

When a Turk named Mehmet Ali Agca shot the pope twice in an assassination attempt in 1981, Agca first told the authorities that he was acting for the Bulgarian intelligence service. The Bulgarians were known to do the bidding of the KGB, but Agca later recanted that part of his confession.

It didn't matter to the pope who was responsible, and later he visited Agca in his cell and forgave him. The astonished Agca said, "How is it that I could not kill you?"

But the pope didn't play favorites, and the West received its share of criticism. During that first triumphal visit to the United States, he warned his hosts about the dangers of materialism, selfishness and secularism and suggested lowering the standard of living and sharing the wealth with the Third World.

The message didn't play well. But that didn't stop the pope from insisting that materialism -- he regards capitalism and communism as flip sides of the same coin -- was not the answer.

"This world," he said, "is not capable of making man happy."

However, he believed the pursuit of a right relationship with God was life's paramount pursuit. To that end, he led by example -- through faith and prayer. Indeed, he was so often in prayer that he was said to make his decisions "on his knees."

At times, he was found kneeling on the ground in the middle of winter before a statue, and deep in prayer with his head resting on an altar. Even when not interacting with others, he was seen moving his lips, apparently in prayer.

'A culture of death'

The Catholic Church John Paul II inherited in 1978 was in shambles. Reforms begun by the Vatican Council II shook the church to its foundation, and the tumult within the church could be compared to the turmoil in the outer world during the 1960s era of peace, love and protests over the war in Vietnam.

"The church went through a tremendous crisis," says Moynihan. "It knocked the church to its knees. It lost one-third of its priests and a tremendous number of nuns."

John Paul II embarked on nothing less than a restoration of the church, one grounded in its conservative tradition. His rejection of contraception and abortion was absolute and unbending, and his almost dictatorial manner did not always play well.

"When he came to power and he was elected, he realized that one thing he had to do was to restore clarity to Catholic teaching. And he says, 'OK, maybe they won't obey, maybe they don't accept, but at least they'll know what the church stands for,'" said Wilton Wynn, author of "Keeper Of The Keys," in a 2003 CNN interview.

"It's a mistake to apply American democratic procedures to the faith and truth," the pope said. "You cannot take a vote on the truth."

Hans Kung, a liberal Catholic theologian who crossed swords with the pope, told TIME, "This pope is a disaster for our church. There's charm there, but he's closed-minded."

In his opposition to contraception, abortion and euthanasia, for example, he accused the industrialized world of fostering "a culture of death."

The pope also confounded critics with his insistence that church doctrine prohibits the ordination of women. In affirming his position in a letter to bishops in 1994, he wrote in uncompromising fashion that "this judgment is to be definitively held by all the church's faithful."

"The pope's conservatism on issues such as contraception or abortion comes, I think, from his view of women and what he thinks their role and their status in society should be," said Mary Segers, a political science professor at Rutgers University, in a CNN interview from 2003. "I think the pope grew up with that. It's reinforced in Poland by a fierce devotion to the Virgin Mary as the patroness of Poland."

However, his opposition to the ordination of women priests had its supporters as well.

"Catholics believe what the priest is doing is, in a sense, representing the sacrifice of Christ," said Helen Hull Hitchcock of the Catholic group Women For Faith And Family. "He's standing in the person of Christ. He represents Christ in a way. And it makes sense then, that someone who is representing Christ would be male, as Christ was."
'A man of integrity and prayer'

The pope often explained himself with dense, closely reasoned and deeply philosophical encyclicals. His encyclicals, letters and other writings fill more than 150 volumes.

In 1994, the pope wrote answers to written questions posed to him by Italian journalist Vittorio Messori. Messori then edited them into "Crossing the Threshold of Hope," a book that became a best-seller in many countries.

Many observers have said John Paul's record is mixed. Although the church has expanded in Africa and Latin America -- the latter accounts for about half of the estimated 1 billion Catholics -- it has lost followers in the industrialized world, including Poland.

His inflexibility on issues with international ramifications -- birth control in Africa, for example -- drew strong criticism.

"The church's refusal of condoms even for saving lives is absolutely incomprehensible," French journalist Henri Tincq told TIME. "It disqualifies the church from having any role in the whole debate over AIDS."

But many are certain the pope's papacy will be remembered not for its shortfalls but its achievements.

"You'd be hard pressed to name any global figure who has achieved 100 percent of the things they set out to achieve," said John Allen, a Vatican analyst for CNN and Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. "I think the measure of success really has to be sort of fidelity to one's own vision and the capacity to make that vision real."

It is doubtful there has ever been a pope who so successfully translated his strength, determination and faith into such widespread respect and goodwill. In a world of shifting trends and leaders of questionable virtue, John Paul II was a towering figure at the moral center of modern life.

"This is not a pope who looks at the public opinion polls," said Father Thomas Reese, editor in chief of the Catholic weekly magazine "America" and author of "Inside the Vatican." "He says what he thinks is right and wrong from conviction. And that's why people admire him. He's a man of integrity and prayer, even if they don't agree with him."

John Paul II: A strong moral vision


(CNN) -- On the last day of a week-long celebration in October 1998 marking his 20 years as pope, John Paul II celebrated an open-air mass for 75,000 people in St. Peter's Square and wondered aloud whether he'd done a good job.

"Have you been a diligent and vigilant master of the church?" he asked himself. "Have you tried to satisfy the expectations of the faithful of the church and also the hunger for truth that we feel in the world outside the church?"

The pope offered no answers to the questions, but he did ask for prayers to help him carry on "right to the end."

In the papal tradition, "right to the end" meant the pope planned to die not as an ailing pensioner in the Apennines, but as the pope. Of the 263 men who preceded John Paul II as pope, only one -- Celestine V in 1294 -- left the papacy before his death.

Regardless of how he rated his performance, there is little doubt that John Paul II was regarded as one of the most significant figures of the last 100 years.

Indeed, there are those who believe he was nothing less than "the man of the century."

One of them is Jonathan Kwitney, whose "Man of the Century: The Life and Times of Pope John Paul II" was published in 1997. Another is George Weigel, a senior fellow at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center and author of "Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II."

"This has been the most intellectually serious pontificate in several hundred years and it is not going to be easy to find a pope who brings to this office the degree of engagement with ongoing intellectual life and cultural life around the world," Weigel told CNN in an interview before the pontiff's death.
The omnipresent papacy

Until John Paul II, most popes confined themselves to Rome and its environs. They were distant, seemingly unapproachable and, if doctrine held, infallible. But John Paul revolutionized the papacy that oversees the spiritual lives of 1 billion Catholics. A conservative and champion of long-standing church traditions, he was also the most-traveled pope in history and very much a man of the world.

In his book, "Papal Power," Australian priest Paul Collins wrote that by being so widely traveled -- he visited more than 120 countries -- and in his use of television, the pope created "an entirely new situation in church history: the seemingly omnipresent papacy."

He was also a key figure at a pivotal juncture in world history. As a cardinal in Poland, he was a shrewd and unflinching opponent of communism, advancing the church's agenda without allowing outright hostility -- and repression -- to develop.

As pope, his clandestine support of the Solidarity movement was instrumental and ultimately led to the downfall of the government.

"I think he played an extraordinary role in bringing about the end of communism, the end of the cold war, by his support of Solidarity and in encouraging the Polish people to stand up for their rights," Father Thomas Reese, editor of America magazine and author of "Inside the Vatican," told CNN in 2003.

The pope brought a strong focus on human rights to his preaching and his travels gave his teachings a global political impact unknown to previous popes. In Poland and Eastern Europe, Africa, the Philippines, Haiti and dozens of other places, the pope's preaching on human rights and individual liberty helped inspire those who fought for political change.

"His engagement as pontiff was not only to spread out the gospel, but also to transform the Roman papacy into the spokesman of human rights," said Marco Politi, author of "His Holiness," in a CNN profile of the pontiff broadcast in 2003.

John Paul II addressed the value of human rights in his 1987 encyclical, "Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (On Social Concerns)."

"When individuals and communities do not see a rigorous respect for the moral, cultural and spiritual requirements, based on the dignity of the person and on the proper identity of each community, beginning with the family and religious societies, then all the rest -- availability of goods, abundance of technical resources applied to daily life, a certain level of material well-being -- will prove unsatisfying and in the end contemptible," he wrote.

In a 1998 letter issued to mark the World Day of Peace, he wrote about issues involved in the global economy: "The challenge, in short, is to ensure a globalization in solidarity, a globalization without marginalization. This is a clear duty in justice, with serious moral implications in the organization of the economic, social, cultural and political life of nations."

He also addressed the church's role in past human rights issues. In 1998, the Vatican apologized for Catholics who had failed to help save Jews from Nazi persecution and acknowledged centuries of preaching contempt for Jews.

The pope expanded upon that in a March 2000 speech in which he asked forgiveness for many of his church's past sins, including its treatment of Jews, heretics, women and native peoples.

It was believed to be the first time in the Catholic Church's history that one of its leaders sought such a sweeping pardon.

"He also is going to go down in history as the pope who improved relations with Jews," Reese said. "This is extremely important. Now Jews and Catholics are beginning to treat one another as brothers and sisters again. This is just extraordinarily important."

He also opposed both the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq by a U.S.-led coalition.
A critic of the West

In 1998, he visited Cuba and in a dramatic speech in front of Cuban President Fidel Castro, the pope criticized Cuba's lack of religious freedom.

But the pope also criticized the U.S. sanctions against Cuba. Indeed, the pope criticized the West with just as much vigor as he once spent on godless communism.

The pope was especially harsh with the West because he believed that in its preoccupation with materialism, it was frittering away the chance to know the truth. The cost, he believed, was a slackening in society's moral fiber.

For its acquiescence to contraception, abortion and even euthanasia, John Paul accused the West of fostering "a culture of death." In 1994, he used his influence to defeat a U.S.-backed initiative on population control at the U.N.'s International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo.

The pope explained himself in his best-selling 1994 book, "Crossing the Threshold of Hope." "We cannot afford forms of permissiveness that would lead directly to the trampling of human rights, and also to the complete destruction of values which are fundamental not only for the lives of individuals and families, but for society itself," he wrote.

He also opposed cloning, raising the specter of test-tube babies being used for body parts.

In his final book, "Memory and Identity," the pope criticized homosexual marriages as part of "a new ideology of evil" that is insidiously threatening society, and called abortion a "legal extermination."

The pontiff referred to "pressures" on the European Parliament to allow gays to marry.

"It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if this is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man," he writes.
Finding fault

Not everyone agreed with the pope, of course, and at times the "omnipresent papacy" had its downside. John Paul said things he later regretted, but too late to keep them from getting halfway around the world.

Buddhist priests in Sri Lanka boycotted his visit there after he was quoted as saying Buddhism was "an atheistic system." He also was criticized for questioning the legitimacy of the Episcopalian priesthood, for appointing "yes men" to the College of Cardinals and for giving a papal knighthood to Kurt Waldheim, the former Austrian president who once worked for German intelligence during World War II.

He also was criticized in the sexual abuse scandal in which a number of priests in the United States were accused of -- and some convicted of -- molesting children. In some instances, the church was accused of knowing about problem priests but not informing parishioners.

Critics cited the Vatican's slow response to accusations of sexual misconduct, and its tendency to regard such reports as attempts to discredit the church.

In March 2002, the pope briefly alluded to the scandal in an annual letter to priests. At the end of the letter, he wrote: "At this time we are personally and profoundly afflicted of the sins of some of our brothers who have betrayed the grace of ordination in succumbing even to the most grievous forms of the mysterium inequitatis (the mystery of evil) at work in the world."

A month later, the pope summoned U.S. cardinals to discuss the sex abuse scandal and told them there is no place in priesthood for clerics who abuse children. He also acknowledged mistakes in how the church handled the issue.

His support for conservative lay Catholic movements such as Opus Dei and the Legionaries of Christ were distressing to some, who saw them as the Catholic counterpart to the Protestant fundamentalist right.

And many questioned his opposition to the ordination of women, which the pope maintained was inconsistent with church doctrine.
Strict discipline for clergy

The pope also had major influence on the Vatican's leadership of the church. He imposed strict discipline on his clergy after the more collegial leadership of his predecessors. In his papacy, John Paul II showed little tolerance for those who failed to carry out his orders.

"In terms of church, theology, religion, he's very, very conservative, and in fact, more and more so as time goes by," said Tad Szulc, author of the biography, "Pope John Paul II," in a 2003 CNN interview. "He does not brook dissent. He is impatient with those who do not follow his line of theological reasoning, who do not obey the church. He's a very severe judge."

His uncompromising views forced many Catholics, including priests and bishops, into open disagreement with the pope, especially on issues such as sexuality, celibacy and the role of women in the church.

Much to the dismay of some senior clergymen, John Paul consistently refused to accept their arguments for modernizing church teachings.

"Even as they praise this man as a great pope, they will be secretly relieved and they will want to elect a man who will be a little less heavy-handed in his exercise of authority and more respectful of their own authority," said Father Richard McBrie, author of "Lives of the Popes," in an interview with CNN before the pontiff's death.

The sheer length of John Paul II's papacy also had a major impact on the church. During his long tenure he appointed many of the bishops and most all of the cardinals, a hierarchy picked to reflect his conservative views and one that will choose the next pope.

"That is an extremely clear way in which he will impact the future of the church by having an impact on who his successor will be," Reese said in an interview before the pontiff's death.

Whether he was the man of the century or the prophet of a spiritual renaissance may be a judgment call. But clearly John Paul II was unafraid to articulate his vision of a better world and had the passion and integrity to hold himself to that vision.

(*) (*) (*) (f) (f) (f) (f) (l) (l) (l) (f) (f) (f)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-05-2005, 01:01 PM

An influential pontiff

John Paul II transformed the papacy but conservative views alienated some

(CNN) -- Voicing a strong moral vision, Pope John Paul II forged a legacy as one of the Catholic Church's most influential and controversial leaders. The 264th pontiff traveled more and beatified more people than any pope in history.

Supporters and critics alike agree on the immense significance of his 26-year papacy.

During that period he played a key role in the fall of communism, brought the Catholic message to an unprecedented number of people around the world, and endeared himself to billions with his warmth, charisma, courage and integrity.

As TIME magazine noted when naming him Man of the Year in 1994, he generated an electricity "unmatched by anyone else on earth."

At the same time, however, he was a profoundly conservative leader whose moral opinions alienated many, and whose centralizing instincts stifled the move toward a more open, democratic church.
A surprise choice as pope

John Paul II was born Karol Jozef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, at Wadowice, Poland, the third child of a devoutly Catholic retired army officer-turned-tailor.

A brilliant student and athlete -- he excelled at skiing, swimming, kayaking and soccer -- his earliest passions were religion, poetry and the theater.

Following the German invasion of Poland in 1939 he worked first as a stonecutter, then in a chemical plant, while at the same time studying at an underground seminary in Krakow.

In 1941, Wojtyla and some friends started an underground theater, called the Rhapsodic Theater, to present works in Polish in defiance of the Nazis.

He was eventually ordained in 1946, assuming priestly duties in 1949 as chaplain to university students at Krakow's St. Florian's Church.

For the next 30 years he rose steadily through the church hierarchy. He became the auxiliary bishop of Krakow in 1958 and was appointed archbishop of Krakow in January 1964. He was officially installed as archbishop in March 1964.

During this time he made a name for himself both as a formidable theologian -- he taught at the Krakow Seminary and the Catholic University of Lublin -- and as a staunch defender of Catholic interests.

"I am not afraid of them," he once commented when asked if he feared Poland's communist authorities. "They are afraid of me."

He was elevated to cardinal in a secret consistory on June 26, 1967, and was formally installed in a Vatican ceremony two days later.

Despite his prominence and the respect in which he was held by his fellow Catholics, his election as Pope John Paul II on October 16, 1978 -- the first-ever Slavic pope, and the first non-Italian to occupy the post for 455 years -- came as a surprise.

"I was afraid to receive this nomination," he told the crowd that had gathered in St. Peter's Square in Rome to acclaim his elevation. "But I did it in the spirit of obedience to our Lord and in the total confidence in his mother, the most holy Madonna."
A hard act to follow

John Paul II proved one of the most energetic and hard-working men ever to occupy the papal see, visiting more than 120 countries, delivering more than 2,000 public addresses and issuing a plethora of encyclicals and apostolic letters.

His papacy divides into two distinct halves.

"In the first 10 years his great concern was with communism," explains Catholic commentator Jonathon Luxmore, who has been based in Warsaw, Poland, since 1988.

"Since then his focus has been more on the ills of Western society and on spreading the message that the collapse of communism shouldn't necessarily mean the triumph of liberal capitalism."

John Paul's role in the fall of communism was a subtle but crucial one. His visit to Poland in 1979, eight months after his elevation to the papal throne, saw the first mass gatherings ever witnessed in the communist state, sparking a chain of events that led to the eventual crumbling of Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski's regime 10 years later.

His stand against what he saw as the moral failure of Western capitalism, on the other hand, was notably less successful.

While his outspoken views on human rights gained him many admirers, his preaching in such areas as sexual mores, science and the role of women in the church alienated many young, female and liberal Catholics.

Giovanni Ferro agrees: "He was what you might call a revolutionary conservative. In some areas, such as the preparedness to enter into dialogue with other religions, he was very forward-minded.

"In other areas, however, he was an extremely reactionary, traditionalist pope. He maintained all sorts of opposing currents in the church, with the result that his successor will probably be faced with a great crisis of direction."

In the end it is perhaps too early to provide any definitive judgment on one of the longest and most widely discussed reigns in papal history. Pope John Paul II was the third longest serving pontiff in history, behind St. Peter's 32 years and Pope Pius IX's 31 years, seven months.

His humanity, love of children and ceaseless efforts to bring the Catholic message to as wide an audience as possible marked him as one of the dominant and most respected figures of the 20th century and early 21st century.

At the same time, he has left a legacy of division and uncertainty within the church that could take his successor many years to resolve.

"One thing is for certain," says Luxmore. "He is going to be a terrifically hard act to follow."

The priesthood years: Rebel with a cause

(CNN) -- In the early years of his priesthood, Karol Wojtyla served as a chaplain to university students at St. Florian's Church in Krakow. The church was conveniently located next to Jagiellonian University, where he was working on his second doctorate degree in theology, having already earned a doctorate in philosophy.

When the university's theology department was abolished in 1954, presumably under pressure from the communist government, the entire faculty reconstituted itself at the Seminary of Krakow, and Wojtyla continued his studies there.

He was also hired that same year by the Catholic University of Lublin -- the only Catholic university in the communist world -- as a non-tenured professor. The arrangement turned Wojtyla into a commuter, shuttling between Lublin and Krakow on the overnight train to teach and counsel in one city and study in the other.

He also founded and ran a service that dealt with marital problems, from family planning and illegitimacy to alcoholism and physical abuse. TIME magazine called it "perhaps the most successful marriage institute in Christianity."

In 1956, Wojtyla was appointed to the chair of ethics at Catholic University, and his ascent through the church hierarchy got a boost in 1958 when he was named the auxiliary bishop of Krakow.

When the Vatican Council II began the deliberations in 1962 that would revolutionize the church, Wojtyla was one of its intellectual leaders and took special interest in religious freedom. The same year, he was named the acting archbishop of Krakow when the incumbent died.
A genial and charming companion

Wojtyla has been described, by all accounts, as a genial and charming companion, a good listener and not above what TIME calls "good-natured kidding."

Margaret Steinfels, the former editor of Commonweal magazine in New York, described him as "a very brilliant man, very intelligent and very holy... extremely amiable and affable, and wonderful to talk and dine with."

He also was shrewd enough not to let his distaste for communism show. His appointment as cardinal in 1967 by Pope Paul VI was welcomed by the government. Wojtyla was considered "tough but flexible" and a moderate reformer, but an improvement on old-school hard-liners who were unalterably opposed to communism and communists.

Wojtyla bided his time, engaging in a strategy that honored Catholic beliefs and traditions while accommodating the communist government.

The Catholic Church in Poland served as an important outlet for the expression of national feeling. In his book "John Paul II," George Blazynski wrote that Wojtyla encouraged this expression in a form that did not "provoke a brutal reaction by forces within and perhaps without the country."

But he also proved to be what Current Biography called "a resilient enemy of communism and champion of human rights, a powerful preacher and sophisticated intellectual able to defeat Marxists in their own line of dialogue."

According to George Weigel, who has written extensively about the pope, Wojtyla demanded permits to build churches, defended youth groups and ordained priests to work underground in Czechoslovakia.

Wojtyla was once asked if he feared retribution from government officials.

"I'm not afraid of them," he replied. "They are afraid of me."

Learned and scholarly

In spite of all his activities, Wojtyla didn't slight his scholarly duties.

He wrote a treatise in 1960 called "Love and Responsibility" that laid out the foundation for what Weigel calls "a modern Catholic sexual ethic."

His second doctoral thesis -- "Evaluation of the Possibility of Constructing a Christian Ethic based on the System of Max Scheler" -- was published that same year.

In 1969, the Polish Theological Society published Wojtyla's "The Acting Person," a dense philosophical tract on phenomenology that Wojtyla discussed during a U.S. visit in 1978.

"All sorts of people turned up," recalls Jude Dougherty, chairman of the philosophy department at Catholic University in Washington, where the talk was held. "It was extremely well-received by people who were familiar with the subject. And those who weren't were awed to hear a cardinal who was very learned and very scholarly."

Weigel wrote that in 1976, when Wojtyla was invited to lead spiritual exercises before Pope Paul VI at a Lenten retreat, his first three references were to the Bible, St. Augustine and German philosopher Martin Heidegger.

In 1977, Wojtyla gave a talk at a university in Milan called "The Problem of Creating Culture through Human Praxis."
An emotional man

Although he had established himself as a formidable intellectual presence -- as well as an able administrator and fund-raiser -- few suspected that the Sacred College of Cardinals would choose Wojtyla as the next pope after the death of John Paul I in September 1978.

But when the cardinals were unable to agree on a candidate after seven rounds of balloting, Wojtyla was chosen on the eighth round late in the afternoon of October 16.

He reportedly formally accepted his election before the cardinals with tears in his eyes. (Associates say the pope was an emotional man, and was often moved to tears by children.)

Wojtyla chose the same name as his predecessor -- whose reign lasted just 34 days before he died of a heart attack -- and added another Roman numeral in becoming the first Slavic pope. He was also the first non-Italian pope in 455 years (the last was Adrian VI in 1523) and, at 58, the youngest pope in 132 years.

"I was afraid to receive this nomination," he told the crowd from a balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square, "but I did it in the spirit of obedience to Our Lord and in the total confidence in His mother, the most holy Madonna."

Weigel said that when Wojtyla's election was announced, Yuri Andropov, leader of the Soviet Union's KGB intelligence agency, warned the Politburo that there could be trouble ahead. He was right.


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({) (}) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-05-2005, 01:03 PM












(*) (*) (l) (l) Truly inspirational and healing, at least for me.

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-05-2005, 01:04 PM
World mourns Pope John Paul II

Sunday, April 3, 2005 Posted: 3:15 PM EDT (1915 GMT)

LONDON, England (CNN) -- World leaders have been paying tribute to Pope John Paul II, who died Saturday.

President Bush said: "Americans had special reasons to love the man from Krakow." He described the pope as a source of inspiration for "millions of Americans." Bush called him "one of history's great leaders."

French President Jacques Chirac praised Pope John Paul II's "unshakable faith, exemplary authority and admirable ardor" and said he "touched spirits and hearts" with his courage and determination.

"An enlightened and inspired priest, he devoted himself to responding to the search for sense and the thirst for justice that is expressed today on all continents," Chirac said in a statement.

History "will retain the imprint and the memory of this exceptional sovereign pontiff, whose charisma, conviction and compassion carried the evangelical message with unprecedented resonance on the international stage," Chirac added.

Former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev said Pope John Paul II's "devotion to his followers is a remarkable example to all of us."

Gorbachev, who once said the collapse of the Iron Curtain would have been impossible without the pope, said the pontiff condemned communism during the two's first meeting in 1989, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. "We had a really interesting, albeit perhaps too emotional conversation," Gorbachev said. "He told me he ... was very, very critical of communism."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "The reason why there's been such an outpouring of feeling over the past few days is because of the nature of the man himself, and even if you're not a Catholic or you're not a Christian -- in fact even if you have no religious faith at all -- what people could see in Pope John Paul was a man of true and profound spiritual faith, a shining example of what that faith should mean. And for anyone who ever met him -- as I was fortunate enough to -- you could see that very clearly. But actually even people who never met him, never came near him, could see that from afar."

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said: "Pope John Paul II wrote history. Through his work, and through his impressive personality, he changed our world." He praised the pope's work for "peace, human rights, solidarity and social justice."

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said: "We are all grateful for the tireless work and suffering that he bore incessantly against every form of totalitarianism, violence, oppression and moral degradation in the name of the values of the Catholic Church that are also the supreme values of human dignity and solidarity."

Italian President Carlo Ciampi said: "Italians, I cry with you for the Holy Father, the pope who was for us such a close neighbor. We have loved him, we have admired him for the strength of his ideas, for his courage, the passion, the capacity to express values, hope to all of us, especially our youth, youth from all over the world. We have admired his extraordinary openness to the inter-religious dialogue. Italy is in mourning."

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the pope was a man of peace and had been a great supporter of the United Nations. "He ... [was] extremely concerned about the world we lived in, and like me, he also felt that in war, all are losers."

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said: "As the largest Catholic country in the world, where people of several different beliefs live in harmony, Brazil feels sorrowful for the loss of one of the men who positively marked the course of contemporary history."

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo led the nation in expressing a "deep sense of grief" over the death of the pope. "Our people receive the news of his death with a deep sense of grief and loss. He was a holy champion of the Filipino family and of profound Christian values that make everyone of us contemplate every day what is just, moral and sacred in life," Arroyo said. (More Asian reaction)

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said: "It's a great loss for the whole world. We will always remember him as a great man, an advocate of justice and man of peace. The government and people of Pakistan are deeply saddened after hearing the news of his death."

Lech Walesa, leader of Poland's Solidarity movement that won power after a decade of struggle and hastened the collapse of the Soviet bloc, said Polish-born John Paul II inspired the drive to end communism in Eastern Europe. "[Without him] there would be no end of communism, or at least much later and the end would have been bloody," Walesa said.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said: "On behalf of the government and the state of Israel, I would like to express condolences on the passing of Pope John Paul II, and to share in the mourning of millions of Christians and believers in both the state of Israel and around the Christian world. Pope John Paul II was a man of peace and a friend of the Jewish people, who was familiar with the uniqueness of the Jewish people and who worked for an historic reconciliation between the peoples and for the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the Vatican in late 1993. ...Yesterday, the world lost one of the most important leaders of our generation, whose great contribution to rapprochement and unity between peoples, understanding and tolerance will be with us for many years."

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said: "We will miss him as a distinguished religious figure, who devoted his life to defending the values of peace, freedom and equality. He defended the rights of Palestinians, their freedom and independence."

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II spoke of her deep sorrow. "The queen also remembers well the work of Pope John Paul II for Christian unity, including closer ties between the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches," said a statement from Buckingham Palace.

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher praised the pontiff's role in toppling communism. "Millions owe him their freedom and self-respect. The whole world is inspired by his example," Thatcher said. "His life was a long struggle against the lies employed to excuse evil. By combating the falsehoods of communism and proclaiming the true dignity of the individual, his was the moral force behind victory in the Cold War."

Former Czech President Vaclav Havel said: "I still very well remember the moment in 1978 when me and my friends learned that Karol Wojtyla was elected the pope. It was a moment of an immense joy for us. I even think that we were so delighted that we danced for joy."

Irish President Mary McAleese said John Paul II had been a pillar of the modern world, serving the Catholic Church and the cause of all humanity.

Cuban President Fidel Castro expressed condolences and declared three days of official mourning beginning Sunday, The Associated Press reported.

In a letter to the Vatican published Sunday on the front page of Juventud Rebelde newspaper, Castro called the pope's passing "sad news" and expressed "the most heartfelt condolences of the Cuban people and government."

"Humanity will preserve an emotional memory of the tireless work of His Holiness John Paul II in favor of peace, justice and solidarity among all people," Castro wrote.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Pope John Paul II had been "a pillar of strength as well as a provider of great compassion and in every proper sense of the term an apostle of peace." Howard lauded the pope as a friend to all Christian denominations. "He advanced the ecumenical movement -- he reached out to Jewish people, to those of the Islamic faith, and was also an inspiration to people of no faith at all," he said.

The Dalai Lama said: "Pope John Paul II was a man I held in high regard. His experience in Poland, then a communist country, and my own difficulties with communists gave us a common ground."

Russian President Vladimir Putin said: "I have very warm recollections of meetings with the pope. He was wise, responsive and open for dialogue."


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Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-05-2005, 01:06 PM
.........the oncologist gave Doc his 4th in his second series of chemo I.V.'s yesterday and then told me that Doc's treatment was "complete" and that I had to bring him in for CBC bloodtests - the next one is in two weeks. Apparently he has gone into remission which is tremendously good news! (I just wish that one of the three oncologists might have shared that with me earlier - but then maybe they don't so as to not give false hopes......

For the first time since last Friday........<EEEEEHAAAAA!.

(f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f)

Sweetlady and Doc (the now napping) Boxer

04-05-2005, 01:07 PM
> To All Staff,
> It has been brought to management's attention that some individuals throughout the company have been using foul language during the course of normal conversation with their coworkers.

Due to complaints received from some employees who may be easily offended, this type of language will no longer be tolerated.
We do however, realize the critical importance of being able to accurately express your feelings when communicating with coworkers.

Therefore, a list of 18 New and Innovative phrases have been provided so that proper exchange of ideas and information can continue
in an effective manner.


I think you could use more training. INSTEAD OF: You don't know what the f___ you're doing.

2) TRY SAYING: She's an aggressive go-getter. INSTEAD OF: She's a ball-busting b__ch.

3) TRY SAYING: Perhaps I can work late. INSTEAD OF: And when the f___ do you expect me to do this?

4) TRY SAYING: I'm certain that isn't feasible. INSTEAD OF: No f___ing way.

5) TRY SAYING: Really? INSTEAD OF: You've got to be sh__ing me!

6) TRY SAYING: Perhaps you should check with... INSTEAD OF: Tell someone who gives a sh__.

7) TRY SAYING: I wasn't involved in the project. INSTEAD OF: It's not my f____ing problem.

8) TRY SAYING: That's interesting. INSTEAD OF: What the f___?

9) TRY SAYING: I'm not sure this can be implemented. INSTEAD OF: This sh__ won't work.

10) TRY SAYING: I'll try to schedule that. INSTEAD OF: Why the f___ing h _ll didn't you tell me sooner?

11) TRY SAYING: He's not familiar with the issues. INSTEAD OF: He's got his head up his a__.

12) TRY SAYING: Excuse me, sir? INSEAD OF: Eat sh__ and die.

13) TRY SAYING: o you weren't happy with it? INSTEAD OF: Kiss my a__.

I'm a bit overloaded at the moment. INSTEAD OF: F___ it, I'm on salary.

15) TRY SAYING: I don't think you understand. INSTEAD OF: Shove it up your a__.

16) TRY SAYING: I love a challenge. INSTEAD OF: This job sucks.

17) TRY SAYING: You want me to take care of that? INSTEAD OF: Who the h___ died and made you boss?

18 ) TRY SAYING: He's somewhat insensitive. INSTEAD OF: He's a pr_ck.

Thank You,

Human Resources

(*) (*) (*) (*) (*) ;) ;) ;) (h) (h)

({) (}) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-05-2005, 01:09 PM
Here's a truly heartwarming story about the bond formed between a little
5 year old girl and some construction workers that makes you believe that
we CAN make a difference when we give a child the gift of our time... A
young family moved into a house, next door to a vacant lot. One day a
construction crew turned up to start building a house on the empty lot.

The young family's 5-year-old daughter naturally took an interest in
all the activity going on next door and spent much of each day observing
the workers.

Eventually the construction crew, all of them gems-in-the-rough, more
or less adopted her as a kind of project mascot. They chatted with her,
let her sit with them while they had coffee and lunch breaks, and gave her
little jobs to do here and there to make her feel important.

At the end of the first week they even presented her with a pay
envelope containing a couple of dollars. The little girl took this home to
her mother who said all the appropriate words of admiration and suggested
that they take the two dollar "pay" she had received to the bank the next
day to start a savings account.

When they got to the bank, the teller was equally impressed and asked the
little girl how she had come by her very own pay check at such a young

The little girl proudly replied, "I worked last week with the crew
building the house next door to us."

My goodness gracious," said the teller, "and will you be working on the
house again this week, too?"

The little girl replied, "I will if those assholes at Home Depot ever
deliver the fucking sheet rock..."

Kind of brings a tear to the eye.

(*) (*) ;) ;) ;) ;)

(k) (k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-05-2005, 01:10 PM
John Paul II's early poems


Some are amazing! Enjoy!

(l) (l) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-05-2005, 01:12 PM
Words that sound gross but aren't:





For all you Starbucks' haters:



Scrolling incredible LED Digital Name Belt Buckle:


(*) (*) Have a lovely rest of your Tuesday and week.

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-06-2005, 10:15 PM

Published: April 5, 2005 NYTimes

Just a blink after the newly emergent titans of radio - Clear Channel Communications, Infinity Broadcasting and the like - were being accused of scrubbing diversity from radio and drowning listeners in wall-to-wall commercials, the new medium of satellite radio is fast emerging as an alternative. And broadcasters are fighting back.

The announcement on Friday by XM Satellite Radio - the bigger of the two satellite radio companies - that it added more than 540,000 subscribers from January through March pushed the industry's customer total past five million after fewer than three and a half years of operation. Analysts call that remarkable growth for companies charging more than $100 annually for a product that has been free for 80 years.

Total subscribers at XM and its competitor, Sirius Satellite Radio, will probably surpass eight million by the end of year, making satellite radio one of the fastest-growing technologies ever - faster, for example, than cellphones.

To keep that growth soaring, XM and Sirius are furiously signing up carmakers to offer satellite radio as a factory-installed option and are paying tens of millions of dollars for exclusive programming. On Sunday, XM began offering every locally broadcast regular-season and playoff Major League Baseball game to a national audience, having acquired the rights in a deal that could be worth up to $650 million over 11 years. And Howard Stern is getting $500 million over five years to leave Infinity and join Sirius next January. Each company offers 120 or more channels of music, news, sports and talk.

Though satellite radio is still an unprofitable blip in the radio universe, it is pushing commercial radio to change its sound. Broadcasters are cutting commercials, adding hundreds of songs to once-rigid playlists, introducing new formats and beefing up their Internet offerings. A long-awaited move to digital radio could give existing stations as many as five signals each, with which they could introduce their own subscription services - but with a local flavor that satellite is hard pressed to match.

"At the end of the day, people want to hear what's going on in their local market," said Joel Hollander, chairman and chief executive of Infinity Broadcasting, owned by Viacom and the country's second-largest broadcaster behind Clear Channel. "People are emotionally involved with local radio."

That emotional connection - to music, personalities, information - has always translated into strong feelings about radio. Twenty-seven years ago, in "Radio, Radio," the singer Elvis Costello ranted about the medium's programming choices, singing that "the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools, tryin' to anesthetize the way that you feel."

But such criticism pales beside the complaining unleashed by Washington's deregulation of radio, beginning in 1996. The loosening of ownership restrictions set off a frenzy of acquisitions, transforming what was essentially a mom-and-pop business into an industry dominated by a handful of giant broadcasters.

To satisfy Wall Street, station owners cut costs by combining station operations in a given market and pumping up the number of advertisements per hour; meanwhile, programming formats became narrower and more uniform. All these moves nearly doubled the industry's revenue in five years, but they also gave satellite radio its opening.

"In many cases, radio almost killed the golden goose by getting it to lay too many eggs," said Sean Butson, an analyst with Legg Mason. "If you're going to have a third of an hour of commercials, you're going to turn a lot of people off, and they're going to look for an alternative." (Legg Mason owns stock in XM.)

Founded in the early 1990's, XM and Sirius endured tough financial times while waiting for the Federal Communications Commission to divide up the satellite bandwidth and while preparing to launch their satellites. XM finally began offering its subscription service in late 2001, Sirius in mid-2002.

Car owners - the companies' prime targets - have clamored for the service once they have been introduced to it.

Joseph O'Neal of Royal Palm Beach, Fla., is a self-proclaimed Elvishead who laments that his local stations do not play enough of the King. So Mr. O'Neal, a 44-year-old drywall contractor, is a zealous convert to Sirius, the home of Elvis Radio.

Mr. O'Neal installed the service in his truck in January. Between Elvis, blues and Sirius's six country music channels, he said, "I haven't listened to regular radio since - not once."

That kind of devotion was eye-opening for Mel Karmazin, a longtime radio executive hired last year as chief executive of Sirius after he stepped down as president and chief operating officer of Viacom. "The thing that surprised me the most was the passion the subscribers had for the product," Mr. Karmazin said.

Both companies offer stations devoted to the most popular songs, but it is their national reach and dual revenue streams - subscriptions and advertising sales on nonmusic channels - that allow them to offer niche programming. Genres that receive little exposure on commercial radio, like bluegrass, reggae or talk devoted to African-American affairs, get their own channels on satellite services. Individual ratings matter little; listener satisfaction counts for much more, because it determines how long subscribers will keep paying $12.95 a month.

Indeed, formats ignored by commercial radio or relegated to its wee hours have emerged as some of the most popular.

For instance, XM Comedy, a channel that features the often raunchy stylings of Chris Rock and others, is among the company's 10 most-listened-to.

"Comedy - who knew?" said Hugh Panero, XM's chief executive.

A glimpse of how these channels are programmed highlights the differences between satellite and commercial radio. Even satellite radio executives say that tales of corporate automatons determining every record played on local radio are overblown, but a level of autonomy exists at XM and Sirius that would rarely be tolerated by broadcasters.

Michael Marrone, who programs the Loft, XM's channel focusing on singer-songwriters, finds it difficult to define precisely why Elton John's "Your Song" makes the cut while Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville" does not. "I'd rather lose an arm than play it again," he said of "Margaritaville," chatting in a control room in the company's Washington headquarters. (He quickly added that he likes and plays many other tracks by Mr. Buffett.)

Ultimately, Mr. Marrone's tastes determine his selections. He also enjoys inserting connective tissue between songs. Don Henley's "Boys of Summer" segues into a Grateful Dead song because Mr. Henley sings about "a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac."

"Ninety-five percent of the audience won't get it," Mr. Marrone said. "The other 5 percent will never change the channel."

Steven Van Zandt, who plays in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and is in the cast of "The Sopranos," programs two music channels for Sirius. He supplies a slightly more detailed explanation of his programming philosophy. On "Underground Garage," which borrows the name and concept of Mr. Van Zandt's syndicated show on commercial radio, the idea is to juxtapose tracks and styles from 50 years of guitar-driven rock 'n' roll, never playing two songs of the same genre (like punk) in a row. A recent morning, Iggy Pop coexisted nicely with the Monkees, the Mooney Suzuki and the Byrds.

"In the end, I don't pretend," Mr. Van Zandt said. "It's my opinion. And it's good to be the king."

Satellite radio has ridden that unconventional thinking to its current size, and both XM and Sirius expect to begin making money in the next two years. How big the market can become remains debatable. By 2010, analysts estimate, subscriber levels will hover anywhere from 30 million to 45 million. Some think the totals could eventually rival or surpass the 90 million people who pay for cable and satellite television.

Still, satellite radio is also unlikely to inflict fatal damage on commercial radio, which has about 230 million listeners, according to Arbitron, the radio ratings provider. Profit margins for stations in big markets can surpass 50 percent.

But commercial radio has begun to change. Radio stations in the Top 10 markets played, on average, 11 minutes of commercials an hour during daytime broadcasts in February, down from 11.7 in October, when Leland Westerfield, a media analyst at Harris Nesbitt, began tracking spots.

Strict formats have also loosened a bit. Infinity, like a number of radio chains, has changed some of its stations to the "Jack" format, a Canadian import that broadens the play list across rock genres. Instead of 300 or so songs, these stations' program directors are allowed more leeway in choosing from more than 1,200 songs.

Commercial radio, which also is combating the growth of digital music players like iPods, is making investments in technologies like Internet and digital radio as well as podcasts, audio programs that can be downloaded to computers or portable devices.

But satellite radio is rushing to innovate, too. It is planning, for example, video services that would beam cartoons and music videos to children and teenagers watching television in the back seats of cars.

All this technological and corporate ferment promises that the battle between commercial and satellite radio will only intensify.

"This book won't be written for another 10 years," Mr. Hollander of Infinity said.

(*) (*) (*) VVC (very, very cool! (h) )

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-07-2005, 09:48 PM

Published: April 3, 2005

In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail for India, going west. He had the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. He never did find India, but he called the people he met ''Indians'' and came home and reported to his king and queen: ''The world is round.'' I set off for India 512 years later. I knew just which direction I was going. I went east. I had Lufthansa business class, and I came home and reported only to my wife and only in a whisper: ''The world is flat.''

And therein lies a tale of technology and geoeconomics that is fundamentally reshaping our lives -- much, much more quickly than many people realize. It all happened while we were sleeping, or rather while we were focused on 9/11, the dot-com bust and Enron -- which even prompted some to wonder whether globalization was over. Actually, just the opposite was true, which is why it's time to wake up and prepare ourselves for this flat world, because others already are, and there is no time to waste.

I wish I could say I saw it all coming. Alas, I encountered the flattening of the world quite by accident. It was in late February of last year, and I was visiting the Indian high-tech capital, Bangalore,

working on a documentary for the Discovery Times channel about outsourcing. In short order, I interviewed Indian entrepreneurs who wanted to prepare my taxes from Bangalore, read my X-rays from Bangalore, trace my lost luggage from Bangalore and write my new software from Bangalore. The longer I was there, the more upset I became -- upset at the realization that while I had been off covering the 9/11 wars, globalization had entered a whole new phase, and I had missed it. I guess the eureka moment came on a visit to the campus of Infosys Technologies, one of the crown jewels of the Indian outsourcing and software industry. Nandan Nilekani, the Infosys C.E.O., was showing me his global video-conference room, pointing with pride to a wall-size flat-screen TV, which he said was the biggest in Asia. Infosys, he explained, could hold a virtual meeting of the key players from its entire global supply chain for any project at any time on that supersize screen. So its American designers could be on the screen speaking with their Indian software writers and their Asian manufacturers all at once. That's what globalization is all about today, Nilekani said. Above the screen there were eight clocks that pretty well summed up the Infosys workday: 24/7/365. The clocks were labeled U.S. West, U.S. East, G.M.T., India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia.

''Outsourcing is just one dimension of a much more fundamental thing happening today in the world,'' Nilekani explained. ''What happened over the last years is that there was a massive investment in technology, especially in the bubble era, when hundreds of millions of dollars were invested in putting broadband connectivity around the world, undersea cables, all those things.'' At the same time, he added, computers became cheaper and dispersed all over the world, and there was an explosion of e-mail software, search engines like Google and proprietary software that can chop up any piece of work and send one part to Boston, one part to Bangalore and one part to Beijing, making it easy for anyone to do remote development. When all of these things suddenly came together around 2000, Nilekani said, they ''created a platform where intellectual work, intellectual capital, could be delivered from anywhere. It could be disaggregated, delivered, distributed, produced and put back together again -- and this gave a whole new degree of freedom to the way we do work, especially work of an intellectual nature. And what you are seeing in Bangalore today is really the culmination of all these things coming together.''

At one point, summing up the implications of all this, Nilekani uttered a phrase that rang in my ear. He said to me, ''Tom, the playing field is being leveled.'' He meant that countries like India were now able to compete equally for global knowledge work as never before -- and that America had better get ready for this. As I left the Infosys campus that evening and bounced along the potholed road back to Bangalore, I kept chewing on that phrase: ''The playing field is being leveled.''

''What Nandan is saying,'' I thought, ''is that the playing field is being flattened. Flattened? Flattened? My God, he's telling me the world is flat!''

Here I was in Bangalore -- more than 500 years after Columbus sailed over the horizon, looking for a shorter route to India using the rudimentary navigational technologies of his day, and returned safely to prove definitively that the world was round -- and one of India's smartest engineers, trained at his country's top technical institute and backed by the most modern technologies of his day, was telling me that the world was flat, as flat as that screen on which he can host a meeting of his whole global supply chain. Even more interesting, he was citing this development as a new milestone in human progress and a great opportunity for India and the world -- the fact that we had made our world flat!


This has been building for a long time. Globalization 1.0 (1492 to 1800) shrank the world from a size large to a size medium, and the dynamic force in that era was countries globalizing for resources and imperial conquest. Globalization 2.0 (1800 to 2000) shrank the world from a size medium to a size small, and it was spearheaded by companies globalizing for markets and labor. Globalization 3.0 (which started around 2000) is shrinking the world from a size small to a size tiny and flattening the playing field at the same time. And while the dynamic force in Globalization 1.0 was countries globalizing and the dynamic force in Globalization 2.0 was companies globalizing, the dynamic force in Globalization 3.0 -- the thing that gives it its unique character -- is individuals and small groups globalizing. Individuals must, and can, now ask: where do I fit into the global competition and opportunities of the day, and how can I, on my own, collaborate with others globally? But Globalization 3.0 not only differs from the previous eras in how it is shrinking and flattening the world and in how it is empowering individuals. It is also different in that Globalization 1.0 and 2.0 were driven primarily by European and American companies and countries. But going forward, this will be less and less true. Globalization 3.0 is not only going to be driven more by individuals but also by a much more diverse -- non-Western, nonwhite -- group of individuals. In Globalization 3.0, you are going to see every color of the human rainbow take part.

''Today, the most profound thing to me is the fact that a 14-year-old in Romania or Bangalore or the Soviet Union or Vietnam has all the information, all the tools, all the software easily available to apply knowledge however they want,'' said Marc Andreessen, a co-founder of Netscape and creator of the first commercial Internet browser. ''That is why I am sure the next Napster is going to come out of left field. As bioscience becomes more computational and less about wet labs and as all the genomic data becomes easily available on the Internet, at some point you will be able to design vaccines on your laptop.''

Andreessen is touching on the most exciting part of Globalization 3.0 and the flattening of the world: the fact that we are now in the process of connecting all the knowledge pools in the world together. We've tasted some of the downsides of that in the way that Osama bin Laden has connected terrorist knowledge pools together through his Qaeda network, not to mention the work of teenage hackers spinning off more and more lethal computer viruses that affect us all. But the upside is that by connecting all these knowledge pools we are on the cusp of an incredible new era of innovation, an era that will be driven from left field and right field, from West and East and from North and South. Only 30 years ago, if you had a choice of being born a B student in Boston or a genius in Bangalore or Beijing, you probably would have chosen Boston, because a genius in Beijing or Bangalore could not really take advantage of his or her talent. They could not plug and play globally. Not anymore. Not when the world is flat, and anyone with smarts, access to Google and a cheap wireless laptop can join the innovation fray.

When the world is flat, you can innovate without having to emigrate. This is going to get interesting. We are about to see creative destruction on steroids.

How did the world get flattened, and how did it happen so fast?

It was a result of 10 events and forces that all came together during the 1990's and converged right around the year 2000. Let me go through them briefly. The first event was 11/9. That's right -- not 9/11, but 11/9. Nov. 9, 1989, is the day the Berlin Wall came down, which was critically important because it allowed us to think of the world as a single space. ''The Berlin Wall was not only a symbol of keeping people inside Germany; it was a way of preventing a kind of global view of our future,'' the Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen said. And the wall went down just as the windows went up -- the breakthrough Microsoft Windows 3.0 operating system, which helped to flatten the playing field even more by creating a global computer interface, shipped six months after the wall fell.

The second key date was 8/9. Aug. 9, 1995, is the day Netscape went public, which did two important things. First, it brought the Internet alive by giving us the browser to display images and data stored on Web sites. Second, the Netscape stock offering triggered the dot-com boom, which triggered the dot-com bubble, which triggered the massive overinvestment of billions of dollars in fiber-optic telecommunications cable. That overinvestment, by companies like Global Crossing, resulted in the willy-nilly creation of a global undersea-underground fiber network, which in turn drove down the cost of transmitting voices, data and images to practically zero, which in turn accidentally made Boston, Bangalore and Beijing next-door neighbors overnight. In sum, what the Netscape revolution did was bring people-to-people connectivity to a whole new level. Suddenly more people could connect with more other people from more different places in more different ways than ever before.

No country accidentally benefited more from the Netscape moment than India. ''India had no resources and no infrastructure,'' said Dinakar Singh, one of the most respected hedge-fund managers on Wall Street, whose parents earned doctoral degrees in biochemistry from the University of Delhi before emigrating to America. ''It produced people with quality and by quantity. But many of them rotted on the docks of India like vegetables. Only a relative few could get on ships and get out. Not anymore, because we built this ocean crosser, called fiber-optic cable. For decades you had to leave India to be a professional. Now you can plug into the world from India. You don't have to go to Yale and go to work for Goldman Sachs.'' India could never have afforded to pay for the bandwidth to connect brainy India with high-tech America, so American shareholders paid for it. Yes, crazy overinvestment can be good. The overinvestment in railroads turned out to be a great boon for the American economy. ''But the railroad overinvestment was confined to your own country and so, too, were the benefits,'' Singh said. In the case of the digital railroads, ''it was the foreigners who benefited.'' India got a free ride.

The first time this became apparent was when thousands of Indian engineers were enlisted to fix the Y2K -- the year 2000 -- computer bugs for companies from all over the world. (Y2K should be a national holiday in India. Call it ''Indian Interdependence Day,'' says Michael Mandelbaum, a foreign-policy analyst at Johns Hopkins.) The fact that the Y2K work could be outsourced to Indians was made possible by the first two flatteners, along with a third, which I call ''workflow.'' Workflow is shorthand for all the software applications, standards and electronic transmission pipes, like middleware, that connected all those computers and fiber-optic cable. To put it another way, if the Netscape moment connected people to people like never before, what the workflow revolution did was connect applications to applications so that people all over the world could work together in manipulating and shaping words, data and images on computers like never before.

Indeed, this breakthrough in people-to-people and application-to-application connectivity produced, in short order, six more flatteners -- six new ways in which individuals and companies could collaborate on work and share knowledge. One was ''outsourcing.'' When my software applications could connect seamlessly with all of your applications, it meant that all kinds of work -- from accounting to software-writing -- could be digitized, disaggregated and shifted to any place in the world where it could be done better and cheaper. The second was ''offshoring.'' I send my whole factory from Canton, Ohio, to Canton, China. The third was ''open-sourcing.'' I write the next operating system, Linux, using engineers collaborating together online and working for free. The fourth was ''insourcing.'' I let a company like UPS come inside my company and take over my whole logistics operation -- everything from filling my orders online to delivering my goods to repairing them for customers when they break. (People have no idea what UPS really does today. You'd be amazed!). The fifth was ''supply-chaining.'' This is Wal-Mart's specialty. I create a global supply chain down to the last atom of efficiency so that if I sell an item in Arkansas, another is immediately made in China. (If Wal-Mart were a country, it would be China's eighth-largest trading partner.) The last new form of collaboration I call ''informing'' -- this is Google, Yahoo and MSN Search, which now allow anyone to collaborate with, and mine, unlimited data all by themselves.

So the first three flatteners created the new platform for collaboration, and the next six are the new forms of collaboration that flattened the world even more. The 10th flattener I call ''the steroids,'' and these are wireless access and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP). What the steroids do is turbocharge all these new forms of collaboration, so you can now do any one of them, from anywhere, with any device.

The world got flat when all 10 of these flatteners converged around the year 2000. This created a global, Web-enabled playing field that allows for multiple forms of collaboration on research and work in real time, without regard to geography, distance or, in the near future, even language. ''It is the creation of this platform, with these unique attributes, that is the truly important sustainable breakthrough that made what you call the flattening of the world possible,'' said Craig Mundie, the chief technical officer of Microsoft.

No, not everyone has access yet to this platform, but it is open now to more people in more places on more days in more ways than anything like it in history. Wherever you look today -- whether it is the world of journalism, with bloggers bringing down Dan Rather; the world of software, with the Linux code writers working in online forums for free to challenge Microsoft; or the world of business, where Indian and Chinese innovators are competing against and working with some of the most advanced Western multinationals -- hierarchies are being flattened and value is being created less and less within vertical silos and more and more through horizontal collaboration within companies, between companies and among individuals.

Do you recall ''the IT revolution'' that the business press has been pushing for the last 20 years? Sorry to tell you this, but that was just the prologue. The last 20 years were about forging, sharpening and distributing all the new tools to collaborate and connect. Now the real information revolution is about to begin as all the complementarities among these collaborative tools start to converge. One of those who first called this moment by its real name was Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard C.E.O., who in 2004 began to declare in her public speeches that the dot-com boom and bust were just ''the end of the beginning.'' The last 25 years in technology, Fiorina said, have just been ''the warm-up act.'' Now we are going into the main event, she said, ''and by the main event, I mean an era in which technology will truly transform every aspect of business, of government, of society, of life.''

s if this flattening wasn't enough, another convergence coincidentally occurred during the 1990's that was equally important. Some three billion people who were out of the game walked, and often ran, onto the playing field. I am talking about the people of China, India, Russia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Central Asia. Their economies and political systems all opened up during the course of the 1990's so that their people were increasingly free to join the free market. And when did these three billion people converge with the new playing field and the new business processes? Right when it was being flattened, right when millions of them could compete and collaborate more equally, more horizontally and with cheaper and more readily available tools. Indeed, thanks to the flattening of the world, many of these new entrants didn't even have to leave home to participate. Thanks to the 10 flatteners, the playing field came to them!

It is this convergence -- of new players, on a new playing field, developing new processes for horizontal collaboration -- that I believe is the most important force shaping global economics and politics in the early 21st century. Sure, not all three billion can collaborate and compete. In fact, for most people the world is not yet flat at all. But even if we're talking about only 10 percent, that's 300 million people -- about twice the size of the American work force. And be advised: the Indians and Chinese are not racing us to the bottom. They are racing us to the top. What China's leaders really want is that the next generation of underwear and airplane wings not just be ''made in China'' but also be ''designed in China.'' And that is where things are heading. So in 30 years we will have gone from ''sold in China'' to ''made in China'' to ''designed in China'' to ''dreamed up in China'' -- or from China as collaborator with the worldwide manufacturers on nothing to China as a low-cost, high-quality, hyperefficient collaborator with worldwide manufacturers on everything. Ditto India. Said Craig Barrett, the C.E.O. of Intel, ''You don't bring three billion people into the world economy overnight without huge consequences, especially from three societies'' -- like India, China and Russia -- ''with rich educational heritages.''

That is why there is nothing that guarantees that Americans or Western Europeans will continue leading the way. These new players are stepping onto the playing field legacy free, meaning that many of them were so far behind that they can leap right into the new technologies without having to worry about all the sunken costs of old systems. It means that they can move very fast to adopt new, state-of-the-art technologies, which is why there are already more cellphones in use in China today than there are people in America.

That is why there is nothing that guarantees that Americans or Western Europeans will continue leading the way. These new players are stepping onto the playing field legacy free, meaning that many of them were so far behind that they can leap right into the new technologies without having to worry about all the sunken costs of old systems. It means that they can move very fast to adopt new, state-of-the-art technologies, which is why there are already more cellphones in use in China today than there are people in America.

Rao is right. And it is time we got focused. As a person who grew up during the cold war, I'll always remember driving down the highway and listening to the radio, when suddenly the music would stop and a grim-voiced announcer would come on the air and say: ''This is a test. This station is conducting a test of the Emergency Broadcast System.'' And then there would be a 20-second high-pitched siren sound. Fortunately, we never had to live through a moment in the cold war when the announcer came on and said, ''This is a not a test.''

That, however, is exactly what I want to say here: ''This is not a test.''

The long-term opportunities and challenges that the flattening of the world puts before the United States are profound. Therefore, our ability to get by doing things the way we've been doing them -- which is to say not always enriching our secret sauce -- will not suffice any more. ''For a country as wealthy we are, it is amazing how little we are doing to enhance our natural competitiveness,'' says Dinakar Singh, the Indian-American hedge-fund manager. ''We are in a world that has a system that now allows convergence among many billions of people, and we had better step back and figure out what it means. It would be a nice coincidence if all the things that were true before were still true now, but there are quite a few things you actually need to do differently. You need to have a much more thoughtful national discussion.''

If this moment has any parallel in recent American history, it is the height of the cold war, around 1957, when the Soviet Union leapt ahead of America in the space race by putting up the Sputnik satellite. The main challenge then came from those who wanted to put up walls; the main challenge to America today comes from the fact that all the walls are being taken down and many other people can now compete and collaborate with us much more directly. The main challenge in that world was from those practicing extreme Communism, namely Russia, China and North Korea. The main challenge to America today is from those practicing extreme capitalism, namely China, India and South Korea. The main objective in that era was building a strong state, and the main objective in this era is building strong individuals.


Meeting the challenges of flatism requires as comprehensive, energetic and focused a response as did meeting the challenge of Communism. It requires a president who can summon the nation to work harder, get smarter, attract more young women and men to science and engineering and build the broadband infrastructure, portable pensions and health care that will help every American become more employable in an age in which no one can guarantee you lifetime employment.

We have been slow to rise to the challenge of flatism, in contrast to Communism, maybe because flatism doesn't involve ICBM missiles aimed at our cities. Indeed, the hot line, which used to connect the Kremlin with the White House, has been replaced by the help line, which connects everyone in America to call centers in Bangalore. While the other end of the hot line might have had Leonid Brezhnev threatening nuclear war, the other end of the help line just has a soft voice eager to help you sort out your AOL bill or collaborate with you on a new piece of software. No, that voice has none of the menace of Nikita Khrushchev pounding a shoe on the table at the United Nations, and it has none of the sinister snarl of the bad guys in ''From Russia With Love.'' No, that voice on the help line just has a friendly Indian lilt that masks any sense of threat or challenge. It simply says: ''Hello, my name is Rajiv. Can I help you?''

No, Rajiv, actually you can't. When it comes to responding to the challenges of the flat world, there is no help line we can call. We have to dig into ourselves. We in America have all the basic economic and educational tools to do that. But we have not been improving those tools as much as we should. That is why we are in what Shirley Ann Jackson, the 2004 president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, calls a ''quiet crisis'' -- one that is slowly eating away at America's scientific and engineering base.

''If left unchecked,'' said Jackson, the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in physics from M.I.T., ''this could challenge our pre-eminence and capacity to innovate.'' And it is our ability to constantly innovate new products, services and companies that has been the source of America's horn of plenty and steadily widening middle class for the last two centuries. This quiet crisis is a product of three gaps now plaguing American society. The first is an ''ambition gap.'' Compared with the young, energetic Indians and Chinese, too many Americans have gotten too lazy. As David Rothkopf, a former official in the Clinton Commerce Department, puts it, ''The real entitlement we need to get rid of is our sense of entitlement.'' Second, we have a serious numbers gap building. We are not producing enough engineers and scientists. We used to make up for that by importing them from India and China, but in a flat world, where people can now stay home and compete with us, and in a post-9/11 world, where we are insanely keeping out many of the first-round intellectual draft choices in the world for exaggerated security reasons, we can no longer cover the gap. That's a key reason companies are looking abroad. The numbers are not here. And finally we are developing an education gap. Here is the dirty little secret that no C.E.O. wants to tell you: they are not just outsourcing to save on salary. They are doing it because they can often get better-skilled and more productive people than their American workers.

These are some of the reasons that Bill Gates, the Microsoft chairman, warned the governors' conference in a Feb. 26 speech that American high-school education is ''obsolete.'' As Gates put it: ''When I compare our high schools to what I see when I'm traveling abroad, I am terrified for our work force of tomorrow. In math and science, our fourth graders are among the top students in the world. By eighth grade, they're in the middle of the pack. By 12th grade, U.S. students are scoring near the bottom of all industrialized nations. . . . The percentage of a population with a college degree is important, but so are sheer numbers. In 2001, India graduated almost a million more students from college than the United States did. China graduates twice as many students with bachelor's degrees as the U.S., and they have six times as many graduates majoring in engineering. In the international competition to have the biggest and best supply of knowledge workers, America is falling behind.''

We need to get going immediately. It takes 15 years to train a good engineer, because, ladies and gentlemen, this really is rocket science. So parents, throw away the Game Boy, turn off the television and get your kids to work. There is no sugar-coating this: in a flat world, every individual is going to have to run a little faster if he or she wants to advance his or her standard of living. When I was growing up, my parents used to say to me, ''Tom, finish your dinner -- people in China are starving.'' But after sailing to the edges of the flat world for a year, I am now telling my own daughters, ''Girls, finish your homework -- people in China and India are starving for your jobs.''

I repeat, this is not a test. This is the beginning of a crisis that won't remain quiet for long. And as the Stanford economist Paul Romer so rightly says, ''A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.''

Thomas L. Friedman is the author of ''The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century,'' to be published this week by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and from which this article is adapted. His column appears on the Op-Ed page of The Times, and his television documentary ''Does Europe Hate Us?'' will be shown on the Discovery Channel on April 7 at 8 p.m.

(*) (*) (*) very, very interesting.......... ;) ;) ;)

(k) (k) off to watch the Pope's funeral on CNN soon......talk about a 7 hour differerence~ (S) (S) (S)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-07-2005, 09:50 PM
A blonde and a lawyer are seated next to each other on a flight from LA to NY. The lawyer asks if she would like to play a fun game? The blonde, tired, just wants to take a nap, politely declines and rolls over to the window to catch a few winks. The lawyer persists and explains that the game is easy and a lot of fun. He explains, "I ask you a question, and if you don't know the answer, you pay me $5.00, and vise versa."

Again, she declines and tries to get some sleep.

The lawyer, now agitated, says, "Okay, if you don't know the answer you pay me $5.00, and if I don't know the answer, I will pay you $500.00."

This catches the blonde's attention and, figuring there will be no end to this torment unless she plays, agrees to the game.

The lawyer asks the first question. "What's the distance from the earth to the moon?"

The blonde doesn't say a word, reaches into her purse, pulls out a $5.00 bill and hands it to the lawyer. "Okay, " says the lawyer, "your turn".

She asks the lawyer, "What goes up a hill with three legs and comes down with four legs?"

The lawyer, puzzled, takes out his laptop computer and searches all his references, no answer. He taps into the air phone with his modem and searches the net and the library of congress, no answer. Frustrated, he sends e-mail to all his friends and coworkers, to no avail. After an hour, he wakes the blonde, and hands her $500.00.

The blonde says, "Thank you, " and turns back to get some more sleep.

The lawyer, who is more than a little miffed, wakes the blonde and asks, "Well, what's the answer?"

Without a word, the blonde reaches into her purse, hands the lawyer $5.00, and goes back to sleep.

(*) (*) (*) ;) ;) (h) (h)

(k) (k) (k)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-07-2005, 09:53 PM
Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time:


(*) (*) (*) ;) ;) ;)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-07-2005, 09:54 PM

(*) (*) ;) (h) (h)

(k) (k) ,
SL and DTB (Doc the Boxer)

04-07-2005, 09:57 PM
Apparently at some point, the brain trust of America Online was wondering what else they could add training wheels to when it occurred to them that it was not such a great leap from "You've got mail" to "You've got a call." The Time Warner subsidiary launched its Voice-over-Internet-Protocol service today in more than 40 markets nationwide, becoming the latest entry in an increasingly crowded market that includes the major cable and telecommunications companies. The debut of "AOL Internet Phone Service" comes as demand for the company's once-ubiquitous dial-up Internet service is gradually dissolving. Though AOL remains the No. 1 online service provider with some 28.5 million subscribers worldwide, members have ditched the service in droves in recent years. AOL hopes that by bringing its simple-is-as-simple-does approach to VoIP, it will convert more of its existing dial-up customers to its own broadband service and lose fewer of them to competitors. "We have evidence that a lot of narrowband customers that haven't moved to broadband yet look at Internet telephony as a reason to move to broadband," James Tobin, vice president and general manager of advanced voice services at AOL, told Dow Jones Newswires. Of course, there are other reasons as well. Technology research company IDC this week projected that 27 million Americans would be using Internet-based telephone services by 2009, nine times the estimated 3 million today, as more households migrate to high-speed broadband Internet access. "AOL getting into this business is a very big thing," said Joseph Laszlo, a senior analyst with Jupiter Research. "They bring a very strong brand and strong reputation for ease of use to the market."





(*) (*) where's that propeller-head smiley when I need her? ;) ;) (h) (h)

(S) (S) ,
SL and DTB

04-07-2005, 09:59 PM

(*) (*) ;) ;) (h) (h)

(k) (k) ,
SL and DTB

04-07-2005, 10:00 PM

(*) (*) :o :o :| :| ;)

(k) (k) ,

04-07-2005, 10:02 PM

(*) (*) :o :o ;) ;)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-07-2005, 10:03 PM

(*) (*) (h) (h)

SL and DTB

04-07-2005, 10:04 PM

(*) (*) :| :|

(S) (S) (l) (l) ({) (}) ,

SL and DTB

04-07-2005, 10:06 PM

(*) (*) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-08-2005, 07:34 AM
Subject: Hillary honor
Date: Sat, 2 Apr 2005 15:12:24 +0000
Senator Hillary Clinton was invited to address a major gathering of
the American Indian Nation two weeks ago in upper New York State. She
spoke for almost an hour on her future plans for increasing every Native American's present standard of living, should she one day become the first female President. She referred to her career as a New York Senator, how she had signed "YES" for every Indian issue that came to her desk for approval.

Although the Senator was vague on the details of her plan, she seemed
most enthusiastic about her future ideas for helping her "red sisters
and brothers".

At the conclusion of her speech, the Tribes presented the Senator with
a plaque inscribed with her new Indian name - Walking Eagle. The proud
Senator then departed in her motorcade, waving to the crowds .

A news reporter later inquired to the group of chiefs of how they come
to select the new name given to the Senator.

They explained that Walking Eagle is the name given to a bird so full
of shit it can no longer fly.

(*) (*) :o :o :o (a) (a)

({) (}) ,
A VERY tired Sweetlady and napping Doc the Boxer

04-08-2005, 07:42 AM
live......the CNN coverage startedat 3:00 a.m. EDT, and the high Mass at 4:00 a.m.

I've never heard applause or cheers at a Mass before especially at such as serious event.....santos! santos! It's clear that everyone there (including what seemed like half of the people of Poland) were cheering their emotional goodbyes and thoughts of His Holiness being cannonized as soon as possible.

I got goose bumps.

This link includes what the Pope wrote as his last wishes and messages:


(*) (*) very, very touching in my opinion. (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f)

(f) (f) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-10-2005, 01:16 PM
By ROBERT FRIEDMAN, Perspective Editor
Published March 27, 2005 NYTimes

Like many of you, I have been compelled by recent events to prepare a
more detailed advance directive dealing with end-of-life issues. Here's
what mine says:

* In the event I lapse into a persistent vegetative state, I want
medical authorities to resort to extraordinary means to prolong my
hellish semiexistence. Fifteen years wouldn't be long enough for me.

* I want my wife and my parents to compound their misery by engaging in
a bitter and protracted feud that depletes their emotions and their
bank accounts.

* I want my wife to ruin the rest of her life by maintaining an
interminable vigil at my bedside. I'd be really jealous if she waited
less than a decade to start dating again or otherwise rebuilding a
semblance of a normal life.

* I want my case to be turned into a circus by losers and crackpots
from around the country who hope to bring meaning to their empty lives
by investing the same transient emotion in me that they once reserved
for Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy and that little girl who got stuck in a

* I want those crackpots to spread vicious lies about my wife.

* I want to be placed in a hospice where protesters can gather to bring
further grief and disruption to the lives of dozens of dying patients
and families whose stories are sadder than my own.

* I want the people who attach themselves to my case because of their
deep devotion to the sanctity of life to make death threats against any
judges, elected officials or health care professionals who disagree
with them.

* I want the medical geniuses and philosopher kings who populate the
Florida Legislature to ignore me for more than a decade and then turn
my case into a forum for weeks of politically calculated bloviation.

* I want total strangers - oily politicians, maudlin news anchors,
ersatz friars and all other hangers-on - to start calling me "Bobby,"
as if they had known me since childhood.

* I'm not insisting on this as part of my directive, but it would be
nice if Congress passed a "Bobby's Law" that applied only to me and
ignored the medical needs of tens of millions of other Americans
without adequate health coverage.

* Even if the "Bobby's Law" idea doesn't work out, I want Congress -
especially all those self-described conservatives who claim to believe
in "less government and more freedom" - to trample on the decisions of
doctors, judges and other experts who actually know something about my
case. And I want members of Congress to launch into an extended debate
that gives them another excuse to avoid pesky issues such as national
security and the economy.

* In particular, I want House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to use my case
as an opportunity to divert the country's attention from the mounting
political and legal troubles stemming from his slimy misbehavior.

* And I want Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to make a mockery of his
Harvard medical degree by misrepresenting the details of my case in
ways that might give a boost to his 2008 presidential campaign.

* I want Frist and the rest of the world to judge my medical condition
on the basis of a snippet of dated and demeaning videotape that should
have remained private.

* Because I think I would retain my sense of humor even in a persistent
vegetative state, I'd want President Bush - the same guy who publicly
mocked Karla Faye Tucker when signing off on her death warrant as
governor of Texas - to claim he was intervening in my case because it
is always best "to err on the side of life."

* I want the state Department of Children and Families to step in at
the last moment to take responsibility for my well-being, because
nothing bad could ever happen to anyone under DCF's care.

* And because Gov. Jeb Bush is the smartest and most righteous human
being on the face of the Earth, I want any and all of the
aforementioned directives to be disregarded if the governor happens to
disagree with them. If he says he knows what's best for me, I won't be
in any position to argue.

(*) (*) This article was certainly meant as tougue-in-cheek, but several great points were made in my view. Caustic humor is sometimes needed to drive the points home for people like Tom DeLay who needs to resign. :@ :@

(*) (*) and now to regularly, irregularly and sometimes irreverent programming....... ;) ;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-10-2005, 01:19 PM
Think of this as a sort of "Magnificent Seven," except with five riders and Larry Ellison in the Yul Brynner role. An alliance of five major technology companies has joined the European Commission's long antitrust battle against Microsoft, accusing it of wide-ranging anticompetitive behavior. The companies are Oracle, Real Networks, IBM, Red Hat and Nokia and the aegis under which they're operating is the European Committee for Interoperable Systems. "We are very concerned about Microsoft's anticompetitive conduct," ECIS representative Thomas Vinje told Reuters. "Microsoft, in the wake of buying off several of the Commission's supporters, has been saying that the Commission stands naked, that is has little or no industry support for its case. I think that this resoundingly demonstrates that is not true." The EC hasn't yet granted the ECIS leave to intervene, but my guess is it will. Its member companies all certainly have a right to be concerned that Microsoft might someday parlay its desktop dominance into the areas in which they all do business.





(*) (*) <humming "old western" music to myself>........ ;) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-10-2005, 01:24 PM

(*) (*) for those with sensitivities or hate all men - you might want to skip this particular URL that I myself found particularly offensive to womyn. Just my opinion.

:o :o :o

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-10-2005, 01:29 PM
Isn't the list of air travel stressors long enough already without tossing the din of cell-phone chatter into the mix? Really, the thought of being stuck in the middle seat of a cramped airplane with my neighboring passengers gibbering on about their annoying relatives or latest business deals is enough to make me consider buying a Winnebago. Anyway ... a survey of airline passengers found that they strongly support keeping restrictions on cell phone usage during flights, mostly because they (shocker!) prefer not to be confined in an aluminum tube thousands of feet above the ground with 100 people all shouting into their phones, trying to be heard over the engine noise. Sponsored by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and the National Consumers League, the survey was conducted as the Federal Communications Commission moves ahead with a rule-making process aimed at lifting its ban on cell phones and other portable electronic devices in the air. "The airplane is one of the few places you can go to have some quiet time," Susan Grant, vice president of public policy at the National Consumers League, told the Washington Post. "If we lose that, there will be no place to hide from the aggravation of having to listen to the unwanted conversation of other people."




(*) (*) :| :| I just cannot imagine sitting next to someone talking for hours on a cellphone while on a transcon flight when I flew every week. :| :| I'm sure something will be done about it....... Meanwhile, Bose has some absolutely perfect noise-cancelling earphones that truly work - I can't even hear the aircraft engines! (h) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-10-2005, 01:32 PM

(*) (*) ;)

(k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-10-2005, 01:34 PM

(*) (*) seems like a good idea for disabled folks.....IF they vendor is serious.
Where DO people find these web sites? ;) ;)

Back to researching leadership topics........while the Doc'meister naps on the couch........ (l) (l)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-10-2005, 01:38 PM

Published: April 10, 2005 NYTimes

Here's my prophecy about the next pope: He will allow married men to become priests.

This is simply a matter of survival: all over the world, the Catholic Church is running out of priests. In the United States, there was one priest for every 800 Catholics in 1965, while now there is one for every 1,400 Catholics - and the average age is nearly 60. In all the United States, with 65 million Catholics, only 479 priests were ordained in 2002.

The upshot is that the Catholic Church is losing ground around the world to evangelical and especially Pentecostal churches. In Brazil, which has more Catholics than any other country, Pentecostals are gaining so quickly that they could overtake Catholics over the next decades.

No one understands the desperate need for clergy more than the cardinals themselves. In fact, John Paul II himself laid the groundwork for an end to the celibacy requirement.

Few people realize it, but there are now about 200 married priests under a special dispensation given by the Vatican to pastors of other denominations - Episcopalians, Lutherans and so on - who are already married and wish to convert to Roman Catholicism (typically because they feel their churches are going squishy by ordaining women or gays).

"It's really kind of a nonissue," the Rev. John Gremmels, one of those married Catholic priests, in Fort Worth, told me of his status as a father of the usual sort.

The Vatican also permits Eastern Rite Catholics in places like Ukraine and Romania to have married priests. That was part of an ancient deal: they would be Catholics and accept the pope's authority, staying out of the Orthodox Church, and in exchange they would be allowed married clergy and liturgies in local languages.

Polls show that 70 percent of American Catholics believe priests should be able to marry. David Gibson, author of "The Coming Catholic Church," quotes Cardinal Roger Mahony as telling him that it's reasonable to raise the issue and adding: "We've had a married clergy since Day 1, since St. Peter."

It's true that St. Peter, the first pope, was married, and so were many of the apostles and early popes. But then Christians began to put more emphasis on chastity, with Tertullian describing women as "the gateway to the devil."

Origen of Alexandria, the great third-century Christian philosopher, castrated himself. And Hugh of Lincoln, a 12th-century bishop who was later canonized, claimed that a heavenly being had obliged him by coming down from heaven and castrating him, leaving him feeling much more peaceful.

By the Middle Ages, the church was clamping down on corruption and the tendency of priests to leave church assets to their sons. So in the 11th and 12th centuries the rules for celibacy became formalized.

Of course, the church sometimes adapts to local cultures. Christianity is at its most dynamic in Africa, but clergy in Africa have often complained that the effort to attract priests there is hobbled by a cultural emphasis on having children. In central Africa a few years ago, an Italian priest told me of a local bishop's children. I thought he was speaking metaphorically about the parishioners, but the missionary shook his head.

"No, he has a wife," the priest said of the bishop. "Celibacy just runs against the culture here. In fact, if we find a priest who sticks to just one wife, we promote him to bishop."

Ordaining women would also be an excellent way to provide a new source of clergy. John Paul wrote forcefully about the dignity and equality of women, even championing the female orgasm. One of his successors as pope will surely apply those precepts of equality to the church itself and allow the ordination of women. But maybe not in the next papacy.

It's often noted that Pope John Paul II chose all but three of the cardinals who will choose the next pope, but that doesn't necessarily mean another conservative pope. After all, Pope Pius XII chose all but two of the cardinals who in 1958 chose his successor, the far more open-minded Pope John XXIII.

As my Times colleague Peter Steinfels writes in "A People Adrift," his book about Catholics: "Today the Roman Catholic Church in the United States is on the verge of either an irreversible decline or a thoroughgoing transformation." Faced with that choice worldwide, losing ground to Pentecostals, the next pope will be forced to choose transformation.

(*) (*) !! :| :| In-fricking-deed!

(k) (k) Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-10-2005, 01:42 PM
'Spamalot' Discovers the Straight White Way


Published: April 10, 2005 NYTimes

THE other night at the Shubert Theater, home of the freshly minted hit "Spamalot," there were lines everywhere. There were lines at the box office and lines at the cancellation window. There were lines at the souvenir stand and lines at the bar. There were lines upstairs, lines downstairs and lines on the stairs in between.

But there was one spot with no line whatsoever: the ladies' room.

That's because "Spamalot," Broadway's hottest show, drawn from the 1975 cult film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," has managed to tap into a rare, highly prized Broadway demographic: men; specifically, the kinds of teenagers and 20-somethings who find jokes about fish, flatulence and the French absolutely sidesplitting and who normally wouldn't be headed to the theater unless dragged by a girlfriend, school trip or court order.

"They are what the movie preview experts call young males under 35," said Mike Nichols, who directed "Spamalot." "And we have them."

Indeed, "Spamalot" may have created an entirely new breed of raving musical theater fan, one who has probably never heard of Rodgers and Hammerstein or Kander and Ebb or even - gasp - Stephen Sondheim, but who can quote full stretches of dialogue from 30-year-old films by British sketch-comedy troupes.

"I see guys in standing room yakking it up, hounding their girlfriends, elbowing them," Mr. Nichols said. "The guys actually lead it."

Guys like Jerry Gioia, 23, an air-conditioning duct worker (or "tin-knocker" as he prefers to be called) who lives with his parents in Bellmore, N.Y., and who, before last week, had seen exactly one Broadway show. (It was "Beauty and the Beast," and it was "very creative," he said.)

But last Saturday night, Mr. Gioia - a self-described huge Python fan - headed to Broadway with his uncle and two cousins.

"I like the dry humor," he said, standing outside the theater at intermission, a cigarette in one hand and a bag of "Spamalot" merchandise in the other. "I hear other plays have comedy on Broadway, but I don't know. This, though, is hysterical. It's even better than the movie."

Nobody's saying that "Spamalot" is only drawing men, of course; since opening on March 17, the show has regularly sold out the Shubert and built an advance of more than $20 million, a figure that indicates that it is selling in every demographic imaginable. (And women are certainly attending; on Saturday night - date night - the queue for the ladies' room was almost, but not quite, as long as for the men's.) Industry officials, though, say they are impressed by the show's ability to draw men in their 20's, 30's, and 40's, and their kids.

"It seems so far that 'Spamalot' has the potential to become a show for young guys like 'Wicked' is for young girls," said Jed Bernstein, the president of the League of American Theaters and Producers.

As such, "Spamalot" may already be grasping the holy grail of Broadway: new audience members. Faced with an aging consumer base - the average Broadway theatergoer is older than 40 - producers have become increasingly desperate to build new groups of potential ticket buyers, whether they are Beach Boys fans (targeted by the new musical "Good Vibrations") or devotees of East German transvestite antique collectors ("I Am My Own Wife").

Last year's revival of Lorraine Hansberry's "Raisin in the Sun," starring Sean Combs and Phylicia Rashad, illustrated how another niche audience, blacks, could contribute to a play's success on Broadway. Musicals like "Wicked" and "Hairspray" - both big hits - have done well in part by drawing hordes of women in their teens and 20's, many of whom identify with the young, flawed-but-strong female protagonists. (In "Hairspray," the heroine, Tracy, is overweight; in "Wicked," Elphaba, the nice witch, is just plain green.)

In fact, Broadway's audience is now nearly two-thirds female, according to statistics from the League of American Theaters and Producers. Women, who also make up the majority of ticket buyers, are more likely to be regular and repeat theatergoers. (Men, it seems, have some commitment problems.) And when it comes to young men, the numbers are even more discouraging; men under 35 - coveted by advertisers, television programmers and others trying to get their hands in the pockets of America - make up only about 12 percent of the average Broadway audience.

No one knows how many of these men are straight and how many are gay. What's certain is that, right or wrong, there is a perception that Broadway is awash in gay-themed shows, a stereotype amplified by high-profile productions like Boy George's "Taboo," "The Boy From Oz," starring Hugh Jackman, and this year's revival of "La Cage Aux Folles," all of which have gay characters at their centers.

And while avid theatergoers, including many gay men, will go to see almost any musical regardless of subject matter, young straight men not in the habit of seeing plays seem to need some assurance that they will find something familiar and likable. And what could be a safer bet than a guy movie like "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"? (It's worth noting that another of the season's big musical comedies, "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," also comes from a film that traffics in bawdy humor and boys behaving badly.)

Harvey Fierstein, who in addition to currently playing Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof" also wrote the book for "La Cage Aux Folles," says it would be a stretch to say the needs of straight men are not being met on Broadway: "When have straight white men not gotten what they wanted?" But he agrees that Broadway has been doing a bad job of catering to the desire for the type of broad, silly, overt comedy currently on display at the Shubert.

"There's always been a place for a show like 'Spamalot,' " said Mr. Fierstein, who saw it in previews. "But we as a Broadway community got narrow minded and stopped doing those type of wild, slapsticky shows. We forgot how to do it."

Indeed, "Spamalot" also seems to be tapping into a sort of nostalgia for adolescent humor that is a staple of movies of the Farrelly brothers (and the Marx Brothers, for that matter) but that is rarely seen on Broadway.

Brian Peltonen offers a case in point. A video-game programmer from Boston, Mr. Peltonen, 27, said he had seen all the Monty Python movies several times ("even 'Jabberwocky,' " he said, citing a tangential entry in the Python canon) and bought four tickets for "Spamalot" as Christmas presents, including one for his buddy, Karl Hutter, 28, who flew in from Beijing to see the show. (Mr. Peltonen also brought his girlfriend, Alicair, who had never seen a Broadway show.)

"I figure the Python people wouldn't bring it to Broadway unless they thought it was good enough," Mr. Peltonen said, adding that if it wasn't for "Spamalot," there would be about "a 10 percent chance" of his coming to Broadway. "It wasn't exactly Ionesco or O'Neill, but we were laughing pretty hard."

In "Spamalot" the heroes aren't deep or even genuine, but they are funny, which is what matters to many men. "Gags about cruelty and violence and sophomoric dopey things have a kind of male feel to them," Mr. Nichols said. "It's what guys do and like to hear about on poker night."

Tim Curry, who plays a very silly King Arthur in the musical, confirms this, claiming to regularly see packs of young men chortling along to the show.

"They come in pockets of four or five guys from the frat, or who four or five guys who were frat brothers," he said, sounding a bit like the narrator of a National Geographic wildlife special.

Mr. Curry, of course, knows a thing or two about cultish fan bases, seeing as he was the star of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," which like "Holy Grail" was released in 1975. "I think they are the same in that when young people experience a movie it becomes a badge of their smartness," he said. "And then it becomes a club."

As such, there's also probably a small cultural movement at work here, too, as evidenced by the rise of recent adaptations of many of the ur-texts of male geekdom, from the blockbuster film saga "The Lord of the Rings" (which is also being turned into a musical) to "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," a movie being released this month. (And the BBC recently announced that Dr. Who was coming back.)

Still, the "Spamalot" phenomenon surprises some who have been going to - and performing on - Broadway for years.

"If I were of frat boy age and I had $100, would I opt for a Broadway ticket or would I want to spend that on booze and drugs?" Mr. Fierstein asked. "Even I, and I am as gay as a pink leather piñata, would choose booze and drugs."

Mr. Nichols said he hoped that his audience would be permanently converted. "The excitement is having gotten some of those men back who might have approached the theater like it's modern dance and not without provocation," he said. "It's nice to have them back."

Or coming for the first or the second time, as in the case Mr. Gioia, who said he loved "Spamalot" and would probably go to see other Broadway shows: if, of course, there was anything that held some appeal. "It's like reading a book," he said, "I'm only going to read something that interests me. Otherwise, how often am I going to be here?"

(*) (*) Pooh......I really would love to see this play. Anyone else see the old film "Monty Python's Holy Grail" and still remember many of the funny lines? I think seeing David Hyde Pierce and Hank Azaria (both great actors) as well as participating as an audience member in the performance itself by calling out some of the most famous lines would be a riot! (h) (h) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-10-2005, 01:48 PM
A Gesture Life

Published: April 6, 2005 NYTimes Magazine

He turned like an actor turns. He seemed, as the television lights illuminated his face, to be intrigued and then mildly astonished by the size of the crowd. He seemed, as he stood alone, wearing immaculate white, to have come to us from another world, and to be bemused and surprised by the universe he now saw before him. It was Aug. 14, 1991, at the monastery of Jasna Gora, the church of the Black Madonna at Czestochowa, the spiritual capital of Poland. Researching a book on Catholicism in Europe, I had joined a million young people gathered that day to see the pope.

The temporary altar was perched on the old walls of the monastery; below was a natural amphitheater. John Paul slowly began to walk up the steps. I cannot remember if there was music or a choir, because that was not important then. How he moved was important; his gait was deliberate and considered, but neither frail nor faltering. Even though he had his back to us, it appeared as he ascended as if his mind were pondering some deep, old spiritual hurt, something personal and sacred to him, and he had forgotten his exalted role in the world.

And then he hesitated, and he turned, and he managed a great melancholy smile while never losing an aura of power. Not once was his effect unambiguous for these hours when I watched him as the Polish night came down and lights were turned up and his face appeared on huge screens; not one gesture or shift of tone could be described simply, using a single term. His humility as he observed the crowd came patterned with pride; his burdened self came lined with real strength; the guarded image he portrayed, almost a loneliness, came mixed with a sense of exhilaration at where he was now and what he saw. He combined innocence and knowledge.

He did not wave or make any gesture, but prepared to turn and make his way closer to the altar, allowing his steps now to wander from side to side as if he were alone and in a state of reverie and contemplation. And then he seemed to take in the congregation out of the side of his eyes as he turned briefly and waved for the first time.

The ceremony lasted for hours. He did not once lose the full rapt attention of the crowd. He did nothing dramatic, said nothing new. Before he spoke — and every word he said was translated into many languages on our radios — he remained still. There must have been music. But it was the lights that I remember and the sense that he had no script for this, that it was natural and improvised and also highly theatrical and professional. More than anything, it was unpredictable.

And in that first hour, or maybe half-hour, he did something genuinely astonishing. With a million of us watching, he lifted his hands and cupped them over his face. It was nothing like a gesture of despair; he did not put his head in his hands out of unhappiness. He held his head high and proud so that it could be seen, and he left his hands in place covering it. The crowd watched him, presuming this would last a few moments as he sought some undistracted purity for his prayer or his contemplation. We waited for him to lower his hands, but he did not. He stayed still, the world gazing up at him. What he did ceased to be a public gesture, but became instead intensely private. It was like watching somebody sleeping. I do not know how long it lasted. Maybe 20 minutes; maybe half an hour. He was offering the young who had come here in the infant years of Eastern European democracy not a lesson in doctrine or faith or morals but some mysterious example of what a spiritual life might look like. Somehow he managed to put a sort of majesty into it. Even those among us, like myself, who had no faith anymore and a serious argument with the church had to watch him with awe. He was showing us his own inner life as beautifully simple as well as strange and complex.

Then he spoke. He listed all the countries represented at the event, giving special mention to Russia's "passing from slavery." The large contingent of Spaniards kept interrupting him, singing "Juan Pablo Segundo, te quiere todo el mundo." And he managed again to seem impatient with them and amused by them also. When, in his list of countries, which he delivered in Polish, he came to the United States, he asked his audience, "Do you know where that is?" And then half under his breath, but loud enough for his translator to hear, he muttered ruefully, "Perhaps too well."

Soon there were hymns, and the pope became somber. He moved the atmosphere effortlessly from that of a rock concert to that of the solemn vigil of the 15th of August, marking the assumption of the Virgin Mary into heaven. A large, heavy cross was carried up the steps by a group of young people; prayers were read by representatives from various countries. When the girl from Sudan finished her contribution, she turned and sprang, frantically making her way toward the pope. She made it up two flights before she was caught by security. The crowd shouted and whistled as the guards seemed to be causing her pain. And then the pope stood and motioned toward her. The security men hesitated and then let her spring once more toward the pope and run to him and embrace him. She wrapped her arms around him.

His sermon displayed him at his most eloquent and mysterious. The words he repeated were: "I am. I remember. I watch." "Look at the cross," he said, "in which God's ‘I am' means Love. Look at the cross and forget not. . . . To watch is to love your neighbor — it means fundamental human solidarity." He did not mention sex or sin. He gave his blessing in Latin and then stood alone and silent, as one of the hymns known to most of his audience was sung.

I watched his face on one of the big screens. In repose he was managing still to be both the stern father and the kind uncle, allowing the considerable number of ambiguities in his being to amount to something powerful and touching and memorable. His eyes were kind and intrigued by things, but also guarded, almost weary, and then, watching him there under the fiercely sharp lights that Polish television shined on him, I studied his mouth, which seemed to me that night to belong to a different being, a more implacable and more stubborn man who would care deeply about discipline and doctrine. His eyes understood and forgave everything; his mouth and the set of his chin forbade deviation and did not want there to be any change. His power, as the night came to an end, arose from the tension between the two, the lure of the drama in his own physiognomy. It is unlikely that the church in our lifetime will be able to find a figure as interesting and intriguing. It is unlikely that the million of us there that night will ever again in our lives see a spectacle so effective and seductive. The glory, or its very opposite, has departed.

Colm Toibin is the author of "The Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe" and, most recently, "The Master," a novel.

(*) (*) (*) (*) <sigh.....sniffle....> Rest in Peace PJPII. And please pray for ALL of us....we surely need it. (l) (l) (l)

God/dess Bless,

04-10-2005, 01:57 PM

Published: April 10, 2005 (where else?) NYTimes...... ;)

Married or single? For most taxpayers, that's one of the easy boxes to check on the dreary 1040's. But for roughly 5,000 Massachusetts couples this year, deciding how to answer that question is both personally and politically troubling. On May 17, 2004, Massachusetts began applying the nation's first gender-neutral civil-marriage law, a gay rights breakthrough that launched a flotilla of giddy weddings. Since then, pundits have been warning of an imminent showdown between Massachusetts marriages and the national government's 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton, DOMA defined marriage for federal purposes as being between one man and one woman. As a result, Massachusetts couples face a peculiar double reality: they are married in Massachusetts and single in the United States.

Married couples rarely bump into federal law, except in times of disease, disaster, divorce, death -- and taxes. But tax time is now here, and on April 15, Massachusetts newlyweds will have their first en masse encounter with federal law. Because the Internal Revenue Service must abide by DOMA, these couples are supposed to file as married on their state returns -- but as single with the feds. Many of the newlyweds are appalled that they must think twice about how to declare themselves in this yearly exercise in civic responsibility. Will this be the moment of collision, the next explosion in the culture wars?

Gay advocacy groups hope not, believing that tax-filing status is the wrong issue at the wrong time. ''We are always worried that private lawsuits would arise out of tax day,'' says Gary Buseck, legal director of GLAD (Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders). Along with the nation's other major gay advocacy groups, GLAD fully expects to challenge DOMA's constitutionality -- eventually, when the right injustice comes along. That might be a widowed mom denied her dead spouse's Social Security benefits or a widower refused the federal benefits set aside for public-safety officers' families. Death and taxes may both be unavoidable, but the former garners a lot more sympathy in court and on TV.

Even so, many Massachusetts brides (more than 3,000 female couples) and grooms (more than 1,600 male couples) find their predicament difficult. ''It's awful,'' says Don Picard of Cambridge, who married Robert DeBenedictis with their children, then 5 and 1, in tow. ''To sign a document you know is false, where you're asked to state it's accurate, realizing that there's nothing you can do to make it work -- you cannot win.'' Or as Sue Hyde, New England field organizer for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (and a newlywed herself after 20 years with her bride, a dozen of those years spent raising kids), puts it, ''Once again the federal government is asking lesbians and gay men to perjure ourselves.'' Hyde compares the I.R.S.'s marriage-status filing instructions in Publications 17 and 501 to the U.S. military's ''don't ask, don't tell'' policy, under which lesbians and gay men must serve in silence. As she sees it, both policies are compulsory falsehoods.

Lisa Keen, a contributor to The Boston Globe, sees tax-filing status not as a minor bureaucratic nicety but as a morally wrenching confrontation with her own integrity. ''Regardless of what the federal government's decision is about its own reality, I recognize that my marriage is real,'' she says. ''And it is legal. And therefore I will check off 'married.' What are they going to do, put me in jail?''

Jail is unlikely. In fact, despite the widespread fear among lesbians and gay men that the current administration is eager to find and smash their marriages, it's not clear that that's true for the I.R.S. After all, there's no place on the 1040 form to declare whether you are male or female, since that's irrelevant to how much you owe. In theory, the I.R.S. could cross-check the filer's and the spouse's sex against the government's Social Security database. But why would it? ''Historically, filing status has not been a primary focus of our compliance efforts,'' explains Eric Smith, an I.R.S. spokesman. ''The largest focus we have is on tax abuse, abusive tax shelters, that sort of thing.''

With a stringently limited enforcement budget, the I.R.S. is not especially worried about married same-sex filings that would deprive the Treasury of very little, if anything. Couples who check off ''married filing separately'' (as Lisa Keen expects to do) would pay essentially the same amount in taxes as they would if they filed as unmarried. Couples filing a joint return might save a few hundred dollars on their taxes. For the I.R.S., however, finding that couple in the haystack of Massachusetts tax filings may well not be worth the time and resources required.

Mathew D. Staver, president and general counsel of the conservative advocacy group Liberty Counsel, isn't happy that same-sex couples filing as married might be getting away with fraud. For easier detection, he says, the I.R.S. should add a male/female box to check. Otherwise, he says, ''down the road, people could say, 'We've been filing as married for quite a long time, and the I.R.S. hasn't done anything about it.' It undermines the institution of marriage. Practice can ultimately become future law.''

Even if this April 15 doesn't bring a collision between state and federal laws, it will bring a grinding sense of cognitive dissonance. But it won't be the first time that Americans' legal statuses have varied with the jurisdiction. In 1869 and 1870, women in the territories of Wyoming and Utah gained the right to vote -- a right they lost if they moved just one state over, to neighboring Nebraska or Nevada. In 1940, a North Carolina woman and man fled their respective spouses, got Nevada divorces, married each other and returned to North Carolina -- where they were arrested, convicted and jailed for ''bigamous cohabitation.'' What's shared is a dual consciousness, a sense of partial citizenship, a knowledge that rights and even identity shift uneasily at the border between one jurisdiction and another.

Within the next months and years, more states may make their marriage laws gender-neutral: legislative proposals and lawsuits are hurtling forward in California, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Washington. Thousands more couples could thus face the annoyance of being half-married, joining their historical predecessors on an uncomfortable social frontier. In their frustrations, they may understand all too well what one Supreme Court justice wrote about a divorce-recognition case in 1948: ''If there is one thing that the people are entitled to expect from their lawmakers, it is rules of law that will enable individuals to tell whether they are married, and if so, to whom.''

E.J. Graff, a resident scholar at the Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center, is the author of ''What Is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution.''

(*) (*) Really funny graphic that accompanied this article...... :o :o Have fun and stay cool....... (h) (h)

Sweetlady and Doc the awake Boxer who needs a walk........ (f) (f)

04-12-2005, 09:45 PM

(*) (*) ;) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-12-2005, 09:47 PM

(*) (*) ;) ;) (h) (h)

(k) (k),
Sweetlady and Doc the handsome Boxer

04-12-2005, 09:52 PM

Published: April 10, 2005 NYTimes

NEW DELHI, April 9 - Wen Jiabao, prime minister of China, began a four-day visit to India on Saturday just as the two countries - a third of humanity - are coming into their own at the same moment, with the potential for a dynamic shift in the world's politics and economy.

The impact on the global balance of power, the competition for resources and the health of the planet is causing many analysts and political leaders to sit up and take notice.

"Both countries have waited 3,000 years for this moment," said Gurcharan Das, the former chief executive of Procter & Gamble India and now an author.

Onetime rivals who went to war in 1962, India and China today find their economies growing at a remarkable clip. Both have a giant appetite for energy. Both are hungry for new markets. And both, it seems, are now gingerly testing the possibilities of doing business together.

It is not an accident that Mr. Wen began his visit not here in the capital but in Bangalore, the southern high-tech hub whose phenomenal rise China has eyed.

Trade is booming between them, especially as seen from the Indian side: after the United States, China is now its second largest trade partner, and it is growing by a giant 30 percent each year to an estimated $14 billion this year.

For the United States and the rest of the world, the effects of the sudden awakening of the Asian giants could be profound. In the years ahead, it may mean more downward pressure on wages, the outsourcing of more jobs, greater competition for investment and higher prices for scarce resources.

Indeed, Beijing's overtures toward India, though clearly made with the economic opportunities in mind, are also being contemplated with a keen awareness of China's rivalry with the United States. Washington has also courted New Delhi, lately promising to help make it a major world power.

India and China say they will push hard to resolve a decades-old border dispute. There is talk of a free trade agreement as well as joint oil exploration and purchases of commercial airliners. China may even endorse India's bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, or at least strongly hint at its support.

But Stephen P. Cohen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, says relations could become difficult.

"As long as their relationship remains trade, economic ties, cultural, even kibitzing with the U.S., that is fine," Mr. Cohen said, "but as soon as you get some confrontation, on the border, Chinese goods flooding into India, or an incident at sea, or in Tibet or Nepal, then things quickly become much more nationalistic and complicated."

Indeed, competition is as much the byword as cooperation. The day after Mr. Wen arrives here, work is set to begin on India's first Indian-built aircraft carrier.

China is increasingly on people's minds here, both as a model to be learned from and a cautionary tale. From boardrooms to think tanks to op-ed pages, Indians speak often nowadays of matching their neighbor's success and power, or as some now dare suggest, surpassing it.

"Reinventing the silk route" was the headline of a column on Tuesday on the op-ed page of The Economic Times, a financial daily. The latest edition of Business World, a weekly, asked on its cover: "India and China: What can they do together?"

The short answer is more and more. Chinese-made toys, toasters and televisions have proliferated across the Indian marketplace. On any given day, a shopper at Chandni Chowk market in Delhi can pick up a Ganesha idol, or electric versions of the traditional oil lamps,or water pistols used to splash passers-by during the spring festival of Holi - all made in China.

India exports raw materials for China's booming construction industry, largely ore, iron and plastic, and its pharmaceutical companies have begun producing drugs for the Chinese market.

Indian software services companies, too, have set up shop in China for development and customer support. At least one Indian company, Zensar Technologies, has set up a joint venture with a Chinese firm and is bidding on a large e-government contract in one Chinese province.

NIIT, the Indian technology education firm that began training Chinese software developers in 1998, today has 100 training centers in 23 provinces across China. For Indian software, said Vijay Thadani, a founder of NIIT, China is the next big thing.

"There's an excitement with setting up a Chinese operation," Mr. Thadani said. "There is an enigma attached."

The India-China dalliance is perhaps most critical when it comes to satisfying both countries' incredible appetites for energy. Clearly, China and India already compete over finite sources of oil and gas. Mani Shankar Aiyar, India's petroleum minister, insisted that China and India would have to join hands.

In Sudan, he noted, the Chinese are building a refinery; the Indians are building a pipeline. The Indian state-owned oil company is also now producing oil in Sudan in cooperation with the Chinese state-owned oil company.

"We are both in quest of energy security. Why should that make us rivals?" Mr. Aiyar argued.

The speculation was not always so. In 1959, John F. Kennedy spoke of the importance of what he saw as a contest between these giants, casting their rivalry as one "for the leadership of the East, for the respect of all Asia, for the opportunity to demonstrate whose way of life is better."

Not least, the two nations pursued famously divergent paths: for India, democracy and belated economic reforms since the 1990's; for China, a Communist system that began reforms in 1979, unleashing rapid economic growth.

But for much of the last half century that contest was a dud. China nearly self-destructed during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960's, and India wasted decades on policies that left its economy closed and stagnant while hundreds of millions of its people were mired in poverty.

Today, their simultaneous emergence has few comparisons in modern history, economists say. According to the World Bank, their combined growth can be credited with cutting the share of the world's population living in extreme poverty to 20 percent in 2001 from 40 percent two decades earlier.

Despite India's rapid growth, however, China's development enjoys a good 15-year head start, and the gap shows no signs of narrowing. Indians worry openly whether a consensus for growth can be sustained with the kind of single-mindedness that has helped propel China.

There is constant talk these days of turning Mumbai, the southern commercial metropolis formerly known as Bombay, into a new Shanghai, China's most glitteringly modern city.

More to the point may be Bangalore, India's booming capital of telephone call centers and high-tech software. Growth there has been menaced by political delays that have stalled construction of a new airport for seven years. Shanghai, on the other hand, built one of the world's most spectacular airports in three years.

Such contrasts have left some Indians to remark, sometimes despairingly, about a "democracy price" that slows development. At the same time, Indians almost invariably say they would have it no other way.

"I'm often approached by friends returning impressed from China, saying how our airports in Bombay and Delhi can't compare," said G. P. Deshpande, a longtime China scholar at Jawaharal Nehru University in Delhi. "When I tell them that these things come in a package, that you don't just get the new airports, and I describe the package, though, they say no thank you."

The package Mr. Deshpande alludes to is strict authoritarianism, which allows the local and central governments in China to rezone entire districts without so much as a hearing, to pollute city and countryside without having to face public objections and to conduct large-scale social engineering, often disastrously, but with similarly little question.

For their part, mainstream Chinese intellectuals talk of India's advantages in democratic governance. For all of China's apparent strengths today, they say, future success may depend on democratic reform.

"If China learns its lessons from India, it can succeed in democratizing in the future," said Pang Yongzhing, a professor of international relations at Nankai University in Tianjin.

"India is a far more diverse country," he said, "a place with the second largest Muslim population in the world, and lots of ethnic minorities, and yet it organizes regular elections without conflict. China is 90 percent Han, so if India can conduct elections, so can China."

Chinese have also begun openly to question the kind of growth their authoritarianism has spawned.

"We are using too many raw materials to sustain this growth," said Pan Yue, China's environment minister, in a recent interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel. "To produce goods worth $10,000, for example, we need seven times more resources than Japan, nearly six times more than the United States and, perhaps most embarrassing, nearly three times more than India.

"Things can't, nor should they, be allowed to go on like that," he said.

Others worry about China's seeming addiction to large investment, which leads to huge waste and steep cyclical downturns, a shaky financial system imperiled by a huge burden of nonperforming loans, and rampant official corruption.

"In India there is a lot more room to move around," said Zhang Jun, director of the China Center for Economic Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai. "Their capital markets are good, their banking sector is better than in China, and there is entrepreneurialism everywhere in India, along with well-protected intellectual property rights. All of these are things that China lacks."

Pressed for a prediction, Mr. Zhang said he saw the two countries' positions converging within 15 or 20 years, by which time they may rank as the two largest economies in the world, if still far below the United States and other top economies in terms of per capita wealth.

How they get there, and the examples they set along the way, may hold important lessons for other developing nations, on global peace, human rights and democratization.

"If China continues to grow and grow, people will inevitably begin to think this is proof of the validity of their system, and that would be very bad for all of Asia," said Subramanian Swamy, president of India's Janata Party and former minister of law, commerce and justice.

"On the contrary, if India continues to emerge, taking a seat on the Security Council, it will have a tremendous impact for the good," he said. "AAs far as exporting democracy, it is only a matter of time before India gets the self-confidence to begin doing this."

(*) (*) profound insights...........and definitely a harbinger....... :o

(S) (S) this lady is tired......maybe try to sleep again......have a lovely mid-week!

(f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) ,

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-12-2005, 09:56 PM
Published: April 7, 2005


Before, Republicans just scared other people. Now, they're starting to scare themselves.

When Dick Cheney tells you you've gone too far, you know you're way over the edge.

Last week, the vice president told The New York Post's editorial board that Tom DeLay should not have jumped ugly on the judges who refused to order that Terri Schiavo's feeding tube be reinserted. He said he would "have problems" with the DeLay plan to get revenge on the judges: "I don't think that's appropriate."

Usually, the White House loves bullies. It embraces John Bolton, nominated as U.N. ambassador, even though, as The Times reports today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is reviewing allegations that Mr. Bolton misused intelligence and bullied subordinates to help buttress W.M.D. hokum when he was at State.

But there's some skittishness in the party leadership about the Passion of the Tom, the fiery battle of the born-again Texan to show that he's being persecuted on ethics by a vast left-wing conspiracy. Some Republicans are wondering whether they need to pull a Trent Lott on Tom DeLay before he turns into Newt Gingrich, who led his party to the promised land but then had to be discarded when he became the petulant "definer" and "arouser" of civilization. Do they want Mr. DeLay careering around in Queeg style as they go into 2006?

On Tuesday, Bill Frist joined Mr. Cheney in rejecting Mr. DeLay's call to punish and possibly impeach judges - who are already an endangered species these days, with so much violence leveled against them. "I believe we have a fair and independent judiciary today," Dr. Frist said. "I respect that."

Of course, Dr. Frist and the White House still want to pack the federal courts with right-wing judges, but they don't want it to look as if they're doing it because Tom DeLay told them to or because of unhappiness at the Schiavo case.

No matter how much Democrats may be caviling over the House Republicans' attempts to squelch the Ethics Committee before it goes after Mr. DeLay (the former exterminator who pushed to impeach Bill Clinton), privately they're rooting for Mr. DeLay to thrive. They're hoping to do in 2006 what the Republicans did in 1994, when Mr. Gingrich and his acolytes used Democratic arrogance and ethical lapses to seize the House.

Mr. DeLay is seeking sanctuary in Rome at the pope's funeral, and he will hang on to the bitter end. He got thunderous applause from his House colleagues yesterday morning, showing once more that Mr. DeLay, the House majority leader, has a strong hold on the loyalty of those who have benefited from the largesse of his fat-cat friends and from his shrewdness in keeping them in the majority.

"I think a lot of members think he's taking arrows for all of us," Representative Roy Blunt told the press yesterday, backing up Mr. DeLay's martyr complex.

Mr. DeLay lashed out at the latest article questioning his ethics, calling it "just another seedy attempt by the liberal media to embarrass me." Philip Shenon reported in The Times that Mr. DeLay's wife and daughter have been paid more than half a million dollars since 2001 by the DeLay political action and campaign committees.

Republican family values.

The political action committee said in a statement that the DeLay family members provided valuable services: "Mrs. DeLay provides big picture, long-term strategic guidance and helps with personnel decisions."

Political wives are renowned for injecting themselves into the middle of their husbands' office politics at no charge; a lot of members would pay them to go away.

The Washington Post also splashed Mr. DeLay on the front page with an article about a third DeLay trip under scrutiny: a six-day trip to Moscow in 1997 by Mr. DeLay was "underwritten by business interests lobbying in support of the Russian government, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the trip arrangements."

All the divisions that President Bush was able to bridge in 2004 are now bursting forth as different wings of his party joust. John Danforth, the former Republican senator and U.N. ambassador, wrote an Op-Ed piece in The Times last week saying that, on issues from stem cell research to Terri Schiavo, his party "has gone so far in adopting a sectarian agenda that it has become the political extension of a religious movement."

When the Rev. Danforth, an Episcopal minister who prayed with Clarence Thomas when he was under attack by Anita Hill, says the party has gone too far, it's way over the edge.

(*) (*) as usual, her views are right on target. ;) ;) (o) (o) back to bed if only to read......

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-13-2005, 12:25 PM

(*) (*) ;) ;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-13-2005, 12:26 PM

(*) (*) ;) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-13-2005, 12:32 PM
The Calm Before the Storm?


Published: April 13, 2005 NYTimes

So here's a question that I've been wrestling with lately: With all these reports about the bungling of U.S. intelligence, and the C.I.A.'s relying on bogus informants with names like "Curveball" or "Knucklehead" or whatever, why have there been no terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11? I've got my own pet theory about what's produced this period of calm - and, more important, why it may be coming to an end.

Let's start with the facts. Despite all the code reds and code oranges we've been subjected to by the Department of Homeland Security, and despite the mountain of newspaper articles about how underprotected our ports and borders are, the fact is that not only has there not been another 9/11, but there has not even been a serious failed attempt that we know of.

I'm not complaining - I'm just wondering why. It still seems to me ridiculously easy to blow up a car in the heart of Chicago. And anyone who has flown on a private jet since 9/11 can tell you that security at these private terminals is still so lax that if you showed up in a Saudi headdress with a West Virginia driver's license under the name of "Billy Bob bin Laden" and asked for flight directions for your chartered Learjet to Lower Manhattan, there's a good chance no one would stop you.

So, how then do we explain the calm? To begin with, I'd give a tip o' the hat to the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security. I have no doubt that their increased vigilance - and coordination with European and Arab intelligence services - has made it much harder for terrorists to organize. Moreover, thanks to Gen. John Abizaid's Centcom forces in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda no longer has a whole country from which to plan, train and coordinate terrorist attacks with impunity. The fact that Al Qaeda effectively controlled a country is what made it unique. Also, new U.S. visa policies have made it much harder for bad guys to get into America.

If your name is Muhammad and you are a 21-year-old single Arab man and you have not visited Disney World yet, well, you may want to consider Euro Disney, because your chances of getting a U.S. tourist visa are very low. Frankly, I wish this were not the case because we're keeping a lot of good, talented Arab men and women from getting educated in America, which is the best way of building friends. This is one of the sad byproducts of 9/11 - but it has undoubtedly made it more difficult for the few bad apples to get in as well.

Despite all of that, I fear that we may now be entering the most dangerous period since 9/11. Why? Because I've always believed that one of the most important reasons there has been no new terrorist attack in America has to do with the U.S. invasions of both Iraq and Afghanistan. It is not only that the Bush administration has taken the fight to the enemy, but that the enemy has welcomed that fight.

To the extent that the Baathists and Jihadists have a coordinated strategy, their first priority, I think, is to defeat American forces in the heart of their world. Because if they can defeat America in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world, it will have so much more resonance than setting off a car bomb in Las Vegas - especially now that 9/11 has set the terrorism bar so high in terms of effect.

If the Jihadists can defeat us in the heart of their world, and force us from Iraq, it will have a huge impact on the Arab street and shake every pro-American Arab regime. The Jihadists have always understood that Iraq is the ballgame. Iraq is the big one. Winning there is what really advances their agendas.

The reason things may be getting more dangerous now is that the formation of a freely elected government in Iraq may signal that the Baathist-Jihadist insurgency is being gradually defeated. The U.S. may even be able to withdraw some troops. And there is nothing worse for the Baathists and Jihadists than to be defeated in the heart of their world - and, even more so, to be defeated in the heart of their world by other Arabs and Muslims who are repudiating the Jihadists' vision and tactics.

I fear that when and if the Jihadists conclude that they have been defeated in the heart of their world, they will be sorely tempted to throw a Hail Mary pass. That is, they may want to launch a spectacular, headline-grabbing act of terrorism in America that tries to mask, and compensate for, just how defeated they have become at home.

In short, the more the Jihadists lose in Iraq, the more likely they are to use their rump forces to try something really crazy in America to make up for it. So let's stay the course in Iraq, but stay extra-vigilant at home.

(*) (*) Holy jackrabbits Batman! Sometimes Friedman really goes far out in left field. Hopefully, he's dead wrong on this one. :| :| :| :| :s :s

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-13-2005, 12:38 PM
Recline Yourself, Resign Yourself, You're Through


Published: April 13, 2005 NYTimes

Baby boomers' almost comic fear of aging reminds me of that silent movie scene in which Harold Lloyd hangs precariously from the hand of a giant clock, literally pulling time from its moorings.

Despite the boomers' zealous attempts to stop time - with fitness and anti-aging products, with cosmetic enhancements by needle, laser and knife - time has caught up.

The deaths of iconic figures and the noisy debate over assisted suicide have brought boomers face to face with their nemesis. "Suddenly," The New Republic observed, "we are all speculating about the feeding tubes in our future." Boomers want to control mortality so they're looking at living wills, and legal and medical options.

I've visited the future, and it isn't pretty.

My mom fell and fractured her neck one night a couple of winters ago. She was sent to a nursing home to recuperate. It was the third circle of gloom. Residents sat around, zombie-like, or slowly maneuvered in wheelchairs or with walkers. I suddenly understood why all of my mom's friends who had gone into nursing homes had become listless and died soon after. The facility was depressing, with bad food and impersonal attendants who seemed inured to their surroundings.

It seemed like the sort of place people checked into but not out of. My mom's hazel eyes were filled with dread, so I bought a sleeping bag at the nearest R.E.I. and slept on the floor beside her bed for four weeks.

There were blizzards outside and lethargy inside. All through the night, Alzheimer's patients would moan: "Help me! Why doesn't anyone come to help me?" They were unable to remember the last time an attendant stopped by. After a while, there didn't seem much point in getting dressed. I put on one of my mom's extra-large flannel robes and some slippers and started shuffling around the nursing home. I felt like one of those cursed women in Grimm's fairy tales who turn into crones in a blink. Soon the residents began acting as if I were one of them, just one with better mobility. They would call out for me to fix them tea in the microwave - "Just Sweet 'N Low," one woman ordered briskly.

One night an elderly woman asked if I would come into her room and dial her daughter's number for her. "I haven't heard from her in so long," she fretted. I called the number and left a message on the answering machine: "Your mother misses you."

As I hung up, the old woman looked up at me with big suspicious eyes. "What are you doing in my room?" she demanded in a hostile voice. She had forgotten me already.

Most nights, I watched two sweet-looking old ladies sneak down the hall to purloin supplies at the nurses' station - cat burglars heisting Depends.

In my old life, I read glossy catalogs from Bliss Spa and Bergdorf's. Now I sat in the drab community room reading Dr. Leonard's "America's Leading Discount Healthcare Catalogue," which promotes the notion of senior superheroes with vision-enhancing Eagle Eyes sunglasses; Sonic Earz, to amplify sounds up to 60 feet away; and Frankie Avalon's Zero Pain roll-on pain reliever.

It was upsetting to see how many body parts could go wrong. For $12.99, you could get "heel wraps," little slings to keep the cream on your heel cracks; for $4.99, a straightener for overlapping toes; for $12.99, a "control panty" to banish unflattering tummy bulge.

I told my mom about the control panty. She looked intrigued. "Who does it control?" she wanted to know.

Why was I fighting aging so hard? It would be so easy to succumb. I could stock up on everything I'd eventually need: extra-long easy-grip scissors to clip toenails; the "button helper," a wire loop to help reach buttons; Toppik, the "amazing 30-second hair transplant," which sprays the scalp with color-matched hair fibers; a "Remember Me" poem and photo mat for departed relatives, friends and pets; and the best seller "Natural Cures 'They' Don't Want You to Know About."

Dr. Leonard's assumes seniors have a healthy interest in sex. It offers a device called an Eroscillator for women, with a guide from Dr. Ruth. And for men, there's an aerobics video featuring "totally nude" young women: "Because you can see the naked, well-toned bodies of the female instructors, you can follow each exercise and see exactly how to achieve the precise muscle extension and position." Right.

Once Mom was sprung, I quickly went back to fending off mortality, ordering the latest age-delaying moisture complexes from the Bliss catalog.

But I know Dr. Leonard's is out there, waiting patiently for me. Not an Appointment in Samarra, but an Appointment with the Eroscillator.

(*) (*) What a great sense of humor and perspective on aging with dignity.....for Baby Boomers. I remember when my grandmom was in a home and it was just like as Maureen described......pretty awful AND attendants steal the residents' things as well. The latest intense growth in residence communities for older folks provides a humane, even life-enhancing environment in my view. (o) (o) (l) (l)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-13-2005, 12:45 PM

Published: April 13, 2005 NYTimes

ROME, April 12 - The cardinals electing a successor to Pope John Paul II are facing unusual popular pressure to declare him a saint, with some cardinals responding through deft messages, press leaks and internal lobbying. The canonization campaign may even be playing a role in the succession politics.

Calls for sainthood began almost immediately after the pope died on April 2 and reached a peak at his funeral on Friday, when mourners in St. Peter's Square held banners saying, "Santo Subito," or "Saint at Once," and chanted, "Santo, Santo." Reports of miraculous cures through his intervention poured in.

Several Italian newspapers reported that the Vatican had quietly been collecting messages from people attesting to healings attributed to him.

Luigi Accattoli, one of the most respected Vatican reporters, wrote in the Milan daily Corriere della Sera that a petition had already been circulated among the cardinals seeking signatures for a fast-track canonization process for John Paul. The usual process involves years of careful investigation, and it sometimes takes centuries for the final declaration.

Several cardinals confirmed that the idea of rapid canonization was discussed the day after the pope's funeral at their daily meeting.

If John Paul is canonized, he will be only the fourth pope to be so honored in 900 years.

According to some, an early hint of the effort came when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany closed his eulogy at John Paul's funeral. He said, "We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the Father's house." Two Italian cardinals made similar statements in recent homilies.

While to some ears the phrase was typical of a Catholic eulogy, Vittorio Messori, an Italian writer who collaborated on the pope's 1994 book "Crossing the Threshold of Hope," said it was evocative of sainthood. "If he is in paradise, he is a saint," Mr. Messori said.

Cardinal Francesco Marchesano evoked the idea of miraculous healing. He said that when he had been in the hospital for an operation on his carotid artery and lost his voice, John Paul caressed his throat and said: "The Lord will give back your voice. You will see. I will say a prayer for you.'" Cardinal Camillo Ruini spoke of "the certainty of his new, mysterious and luminous presence."

The death of a pope often has prompted calls for canonization, but what is striking now is their volume and rapidity, and the fact that cardinals are stepping forward so quickly. "All the cardinals want to wrap themselves in the mantle of John Paul II," said Christopher M. Bellitto, a history professor at Kean University in Union, N.J. "Putting forth his name for canonization is one part of that."

The movement for canonization may be tied to pre-conclave maneuvering. According to this interpretation, it is an effort to build a consensus of like-minded cardinals, or even to position one of John Paul's inner circle as the best successor. The theory is that only someone of great weight, like a Cardinal Ratzinger or Cardinal Ruini, someone close to the pope or his thinking, could follow a man of such spiritual magnitude.

Emphasizing canonization is an effort to show that "only continuity is allowed in the succession of John Paul," said Alberto Melloni, a historian of Vatican conclaves.

Hans Kung, a prominent Swiss theologian who has been at odds with the Vatican, said a move to push for sainthood was a means of pressing the cardinals to choose a successor in line with the pope's conservative thinking.

He was quoted on Monday by Reuters as saying, "A campaign for Pope John Paul's beatification, inspired and engineered by the Vatican, is in full swing, and it will try to smother all internal criticism." Beatification is a major step toward canonization.

According to Mr. Accattoli, the Corriere reporter, the cardinals are divided about pushing for sainthood, with some arguing that it would be better to show prudence and let the canonization process run its normal course.

During the cardinals' meeting on Saturday, Cardinal Ratzinger, dean of the cardinals, called on Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, who headed the Vatican department in charge of creating saints under John Paul.

Cardinal Saraiva Martins noted there was an ancient custom of allowing sanctification by public acclamation. But he said church rules now held that five years must pass before a candidacy can begin. He noted that the next pope could speed up the time frame, as John Paul had done for Mother Teresa.

John Paul made more saints, 483, than all of his predecessors put together.

Moving to canonize popes is a tricky business, because it gives rise to comparisons among them, casts attention on parts of papal legacies that raised debate - like Pius XII's record regarding the Jews in World War II - and can be interpreted as the seal of approval for their policies.

Since about 1100, only three popes have been canonized: the 13th-century Pope Celestine V, the 16th-century Pope Pius V, and Pope Pius X, who died in 1914, according to "Making Saints" by Kenneth L. Woodward.

John Paul beatified the 19th-century Pope Pius IX, as well as Pope John XXIII. A group of cardinals, during the Second Vatican Council, which Pope John had set in motion, campaigned to have him acclaimed a saint shortly after his death in 1963 as a way to seal his efforts to modernize the church, but they were turned down by Pope Paul VI.

(*) (*) I hope they make PJPII a saint soon without the politics. From the applause and excited cheers during the funeral to many editorials, it seems to me that millions of people, even non-Catholics want sainthood granted asap. (a) (a) (f) (f) (f) (f)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-13-2005, 12:51 PM
Morning Report 4/13/05
Bush's Papal Bull
The neocons sure loved that dead pope. Now about those murdered nuns in Honduras . . .
THE BUSH REGIME fawns over the dead pope in Rome, but what about those dead nuns in Honduras in the '80s?

Apparently, there are dead Catholics, and then there are dead Catholics.

The timing—not the content—of yesterday's hearing on future Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte's Senate confirmation hearing was striking.

It came right on the heels of George W. Bush's head-over-heels lovefest in Rome at Pope John Paul II's funeral, at which Bush family chum Cardinal Bernard Law was honored with a starring role.

Speaking of confessions, we've never heard one from Negroponte regarding the '80s Central American right-wing death squads like Battalion 316 that were accused of murdering and torturing people—including nuns and priests—while the U.S. government—including Negroponte—protected them and the corrupt dictators who ordered them to kill.

People are still demanding that Negroponte be held accountable. That won't happen. He's sure to be confirmed by the Senate, despite the shadows that follow him a quarter of a century later—like at yesterday's hearing, as reported by the Washington Post:

Tension arose over Negroponte's defense of his role as U.S. ambassador to Honduras in the 1980s, when critics say he played down human rights abuses by militias allied with the Honduran government. Negroponte said that "whatever activities I carried out, whatever courses of action I recommended in Honduras, were always entirely consistent with applicable law at the time."

A protester yelling, "We need a truth commission to show the U.S. supports torture!" was escorted from the chambers and warned not to return.
This is the 21st century, and after a brief hiatus, cold warriors like Negroponte are in control. And the neocons are hardly known for their catholic tastes. They like big-C Catholics, people who hide what's going on in big, conservative institutions—people like Cardinal Law, who was outed as one of the Church's chief coverup artists in its monumental sex-abuse scandal in Boston.

Springtime is the season for Weads and cardinals to pop up, but let's stick to Negroponte.

Dig into the history of Negroponte's '80s Central American tour by browsing the Baltimore Sun's dynamite package of stories from 1995 on, starting with "Unearthed: Fatal Secrets." The pungent sub-headline on the story by Gary Cohn and Ginger Thompson said it all:

When a wave of torture and murder staggered a small U.S. ally, truth was a casualty. Was the CIA involved? Did Washington know? Was the public deceived? Now we know: Yes, yes and yes.
Here's more:

At the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, U.S. officials were confronted with personal and written appeals for help from relatives of the disappeared.

Former Honduran Congressman Efrain Diaz Arrivillaga said he spoke several times about the military's abuses to U.S. officials in Honduras, including Negroponte.

"Their attitude was one of tolerance and silence," he said. "They needed Honduras to loan its territory more than they were concerned about innocent people being killed."
Later in '95, Negroponte finally agreed to talk to the Sun reporters and insisted that he tried to help during those dark days in Central America.

But for an up-close and personal look at Negroponte, read Sister Laetitia Bordes's account of her 1982 encounter with Negroponte while she was trying to find out what happened to nuns who had disappeared. In "Facing the Nightmare of Negroponte," she recalls Negroponte as "the man who gave the CIA-backed Honduran death squads open field when he was ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985." Here's an excerpt:

Thirty-two women had fled the death squads of El Salvador after the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero in 1980 to take refuge in Honduras. One of them had been Romero's secretary. Some months after their arrival, these women were forcibly taken from their living quarters in Tegucigalpa, pushed into a van and disappeared. Our delegation was in Honduras to find out what had happened to these women.

John Negroponte listened to us as we exposed the facts. There had been eyewitnesses to the capture, and we were well read on the documentation that previous delegations had gathered.

Negroponte denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of these women. He insisted that the U.S. Embassy did not interfere in the affairs of the Honduran government and it would be to our advantage to discuss the matter with the latter.
To try to make a long, sad story short, here's another excerpt from the nun's piece:

In 1994, the Honduran Rights Commission outlined the torture and disappearance of at least 184 political opponents. It also specifically accused John Negroponte of a number of human-rights violations. Yet, back in his office that day in 1982, John Negroponte assured us that he had no idea what had happened to the women we were looking for.
I had to wait 13 years to find out. In an interview with the Baltimore Sun in 1996, Jack Binns, Negroponte's predecessor as U.S. ambassador in Honduras, told how a group of Salvadorans, among whom were the women we had been looking for, were captured on April 22, 1981, and savagely tortured by the DNI, the Honduran Secret Police, before being placed in helicopters of the Salvadoran military. After take-off from the airport in Tegucigalpa, the victims were thrown out of the helicopters.

Binns told the Baltimore Sun that the North American authorities were well aware of what had happened and that it was a grave violation of human rights. But it was seen as part of Ronald Reagan's counterinsurgency policy.
Timing is everything. Just this week, the National Catholic Reporter, the excellent independent weekly covering the Church, devotes its cover to the martyred Salvadoran archbishop Romero, more popular than ever on the 25th anniversary of his assassination—while he was saying Mass—by a government-sanctioned death squad. Paul Jeffrey's cover story from San Salvador notes:

Why Romero—25 years after his death—is growing in popularity here must be understood against a background of deteriorating economic conditions for the country’s poor. Globalization has made some Salvadorans even wealthier than before; the traditional landowning rich have been replaced by new financial sector elites who benefited from extensive privatization and the 2001 "dollarization" of the country’s economy.

The 43 percent of the population that lives on less than $2 per day faces difficult times, and the looming approval of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) promises only to deepen the crisis for the poor. Were it not for the more than $2 billion received every year in family remittances from outside the country, and particularly from the United States, the feeling of hopelessness would be even worse.
As I said earlier, there are all kinds of Catholics. Some get blessed by Bush and the neocons; others don't. Bernard Law is one kind. And MarÃ/disabled due 2 spam/a Julia Hernández, director of the human rights office of the Archdiocese of San Salvador, is another. Jeffrey quotes her as saying:

"At a time when our reality is deteriorating rather than improving, we need Monseñor Romero’s testimony in defense of human rights and in favor of a consecrated life of service to others. He’s the model, the paradigm for us in these times."


(*) (*) BRAVO!!!! Bush is such an a**hole.....AND he was booed by the huge crowd in St. Peter's Square when he came out to shake the archbishop's hand before the Pope's funeral........<adding my own "boo!" too> ;)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-13-2005, 12:55 PM
.......pretty photos........for some folks......


(*) (*) not exactly my cup of tea, but I'm sure some of my friends might find these photos rather entertaining....... ;) ;) Enjoy!

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-13-2005, 12:56 PM

(*) (*) ....for the film buffs like me...... (h) (h)

Have a lovely rest of your Wednesday!

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-13-2005, 01:00 PM
What if professors could lecture 24-7? Blog culture invades academia.

by Geeta Dayal

April 12th, 2005 4:38 PM

Imagine if the great thinkers of the past could have blogged, bouncing ideas off each other in real time, engaging in rapid-fire debates across borders. Would it have led to some kind of intellectual utopia, or total chaos? Would we be regaled with post after post from Adorno complaining about what he had for lunch that day?
Even if Blogger and Movable Type had existed back then, Adorno still might not have blogged about anything at all. Despite the ongoing media blitz about blogging, and the eye-popping stats—according to a recent report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 7 percent of the 120 million U.S. adults who use the Internet said they have created a blog or Web-based diary, and blog readership jumped by 58 percent in 2004—the majority of professors and academic types still don't have blogs. Academic bloggers are increasing in number, but they're still a distinct minority.

"It takes a certain kind of style, patience, and openness to non-specialists," explains Jay Rosen, associate professor at NYU's journalism department and author of the influential media blog PressThink. "You actually have to communicate with the public. It's really for those who want to enter into public debate somehow, and despite all the blather you hear about 'public intellectuals' there are very few academics who want to do that."

Say you're already a public intellectual. Why start a blog? "I started blogging because I wanted to understand it," says Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig, who blogs at lessig.org. "I write about the intersection between technology and policy, and this is an important intersection to understand."

Lessig found that blogging opened up his sphere of interaction considerably. "I've published a bunch of articles in law reviews, and I think I've gotten maybe a total of 10 letters about them in the history of my career as an academic," he says. "I publish stuff on the blog, I get literally hundreds of e-mails about things all the time." Lessig even went so far as to set up his 1999 book, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace as a wiki, so that Internet users worldwide can update and add to the text. The raging "blawgosphere"—blogs by law school profs, students, and grads—is one of the most organized and lively pockets of online academic discourse. Meta-sites like blawg.org and lawprofessorblogs.com collate and monitor hundreds of law-related blogs.

Law blogs, media blogs, and politics blogs all seem like natural choices for a general audience of Net readers. And if you're an academic who's ever published a paper with the word cyberspace in it, you're pretty much required to have a blog as a matter of course. But what about, say, the theoretical physics blogosphere? It's a little less happening, but there are a few stars. Sean Carroll, an assistant professor of physics at the University of Chicago and co-author of papers with mind-warping titles like "Classical Stabilization of Homogeneous Extra Dimensions," tries, admirably, to explain his arcane world in his blog, Preposterous Universe.

"It can serve a useful purpose in providing some expert commentary when something hits the news, like Hawking's ideas about black holes last summer," says Carroll. "And I like to think that it does provide a window into the wider concerns of an academic scientist when I talk about dinosaurs or theater or music. Writing it has made me more disciplined and careful about my ideas and how I express them; you can't get away with things in front of a thousand readers that you might in casual conversation."

Eszter Hargittai, an assistant professor at Northwestern and blogger at the group academic blog crookedtimber.org and her own esztersblog.com, chimes in, saying, "First, I take much more care in discussing something when it is going to be read by hundreds or thousands of people than I do when I'm making a comment to someone in passing in the hallway. Second, on blogs that attract considerable commenting, the feedback from readers can be valuable. Even if people disagree or misunderstand, the various reactions are a good reality check."

For some in the academy, blogging offers an escape valve, a forum for free expression that's not bound to the constraints of their fields. "Academic work on music is so bloodless most of the time," says Jon Dale, who is finishing his Ph.D. dissertation on post-punk at the University of Adelaide in Australia and blogs at Worlds of Possibility). "There's a writing style common to so much academia, especially musicology and cultural studies, that saps music of all its life force." British cultural theorist Mark Fisher, author of the renegade cultural studies blog K-Punk, says, "The way I understood theory—primarily through popular culture—is generally detested in universities. Most dealings with the academy have been literally clinically depressing." For him, K-Punk "seemed like the space—the only space—in which to maintain a kind of discourse that had started in the music press and the art schools, but which had all but died out, with appalling cultural and political consequences."

Many academics are quick to establish a separation between their university work—which, after all, is what pays the bills—and their presence online. Wayne Marshall (wayneandwax.com), a lecturer at Brown, says that he blogs only in lowercase letters to drive home the distinction that his blog is separate from his academic work in ethnomusicology. And the professors who use blogs to blow off steam about the day-to-day drudgery of their jobs—grading papers, writing recommendations for ungrateful students, fighting for tenure—often choose to remain anonymous. So it's difficult to tell who wrote the tantalizing rant that began: "Summers is an idiot."

Blogs constitute a burgeoning field of study too; there are academic conferences on blogging, along with grad students writing papers and even dissertations on the subject—like Cameron Marlow, founder of blog-monitoring service blogdex.net, who is at the M.I.T. Media Lab, where he is finishing his doctorate on blogging, and danah boyd of UC Berkeley (zephoria.org), who is studying the hows and whys of online social networks.

For some, blogging fills a gap. "I have always tried to write in a public language for a general readership," says NYU's Rosen, "and I had been fascinated by the writing on the Web as far back as '95 and '96. I didn't realize it at the time, of course, but what I really wanted was a weblog."

Josh Kortbein, a philosophy Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota, started his blog) Internet light-years ago—in 1999. To paraphrase Brian Eno on the Velvet Underground, not everyone read Josh's blog, but everyone who did started one. "I write my blog because I wish that things were different, and I'm thinking about how to make them that way."


(*) (*) gotta love this! (h) (h)

(f) (f) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-14-2005, 02:41 PM
definitely expert Flash interactive experience.....I can't wait for Joannie's costumes with all of the feminine lace and ruffles....... (l) (l) (l) No bustle for me though, like Kate in "Tombstone"....so I can ride astride a horse.... ;)

When you have time, you're gonna LOVE this interactive presentation of costumes.....especially how the choices made reflected the characters........

unfortunately, HBO only has three of the characters, Al, Trixie and Silas, but from the looks of it, there's lots more to be built!


(l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l)

04-14-2005, 02:44 PM
again, not all of the buildings have been virtually built as yet as with the costumes, but definitely worth the wait!

AND HBO has just ordered another 12 shows for the 2006 season <grinning so that lipstick is on my earlobes... (k) (k)


(l) (h) (l) (h) (l) (h) (l) (h) (h)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-14-2005, 02:47 PM
A truly Canadian Apology to the USA, courtesy of Rick Mercer from This
Hour Has 22 Minutes, CBC Television:

On behalf of Canadians everywhere I'd like to offer an apology to the
United States of America. We haven't been getting along very well recently
and for that, I am truly sorry. I'm sorry we called George Bush a moron.
He is a moron, but it wasn't nice of us to point it out. If it's any
the fact that he's a moron shouldn't reflect poorly on the people of
America. After all, it's not like you actually elected him.

I'm sorry about our softwood lumber. Just because we have more trees than
you, doesn't give us the right to sell you lumber that's cheaper and
better than your own. It would be like if, well, say you had ten times the
television audience we did and you flood our market with great shows,
cheaper than we could produce. I know you'd never do that.

I'm sorry we beat you in Olympic hockey. In our defense I guess our
excuse would be that our team was much, much, much, much better than
yours. As word of apology, please accept all of our NHL teams which,
one by one, are going out of business and moving to your fine country.

I'm sorry about our waffling on Iraq. I mean, when you're going up
against a crazed dictator, you want to have your friends by your side. I
realize it took more than two years before you guys pitched in against
Hitler, but that was different. Everyone knew he had weapons.

I'm sorry we burnt down your White House during the War of 1812. I see
you've rebuilt it! It's very nice.

I'm sorry for Alan Thicke, Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Loverboy, that song
from Seriff that ends with a really high-pitched long note. Your beer. I
know we had nothing to do with your beer, but we feel your pain.

And finally on behalf of all Canadians, I'm sorry that we're constantly
apologizing for things in a passive-aggressive way which is really a
thinly veiled criticism. I sincerely hope that you're not upset over this.
Because we've seen what you do to countries you get upset with.

(*) (*) I LOVE this! (and hope anyone else interested does as well).

Happy digital trails........

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-14-2005, 02:48 PM
On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth while attending the comedy "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C.

On April 14, 1866, Anne Sullivan Macy, the American teacher who helped educate the blind, deaf and mute Helen Keller, was born. Following her death on Oct. 20, 1936, her obituary appeared in The Times.

1759 Composer George Frideric Handel died in London.

1775 The first American society for the abolition of slavery was organized by Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush.

1828 The first edition of Noah Webster's ''American Dictionary of the English Language'' was published.

1902 J.C. Penney opened his first store, in Kemmerer, Wyo.

1904 Actor John Gielgud was born in London.

1912 The British liner Titanic collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic and began to sink.

1931 King Alfonso XIII of Spain went into exile and the Spanish Republic was proclaimed.

1939 ''The Grapes of Wrath'' by John Steinbeck was published.

1956 Ampex Corp. demonstrated its first commercial videotape recorder.

1981 America's first operational space shuttle, Columbia, landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California after its first test flight.

1997 Whitewater figure James McDougal drew a three-year prison sentence for 18 felony fraud and conspiracy counts.

1999 NATO mistakenly bombed a convoy of ethnic Albanian refugees; Yugoslav officials said 75 people were killed.

2002 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez returned to office two days after being ousted and arrested by his country's military.

2002 Tiger Woods became only the third player to win back-to-back Masters titles.

2003 Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit fell to U.S.-led forces with unexpectedly light resistance.

2003 U.S. commandos in Baghdad captured Abul Abbas, leader of the Palestinian group that killed an American on the hijacked cruise liner Achille Lauro in 1985.

(*) (*) saw this in today's NYTimes and thought that there were a few interesting coincidences........

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-14-2005, 02:53 PM
Ballmer sees Google Video as key to finally monetizing "Monkey Boy" video: Is it just me, or is "the Google Grid" forming a lot more quickly than one might think? This morning Google launched its Video Upload Program, and began accepting video content from anyone who cares to offer it. Although Google is accepting videos for upload and indexing, it is not making them searchable yet. The plan is to eventually let users search, play back, and purchase videos stored in Google Video; owners will have the option of giving their videos away or charging. "The world of video is very complex and we recognize that," Jennifer Feikin, director of Google Video, told Search Engine Watch. "This project is to understand how people have authored their video" so that Google can gain experience with the myriad formats before providing a search capability.






(*) (*) (h) (l) (h) (l) (h) (l) (l)

(f) (f) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-14-2005, 02:58 PM
They took to the slots right away, and, boy, you should see those little simians hit the buffet: Tired of working for someone else? Looking for a steady income stream? Here's a business plan, no charge: Find more stuff for online casino GoldenPalace.com to slap its name on. In its shameless (and remarkably successful) publicity quest, GoldenPalace.com has purchased curiously shaped food (the Lincoln Fry, the Pete Townshend Potato, the Dorito Papal Mitre, and of course the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich), used body parts as billboards (foreheads, bellys, cleavage) and purchased an assortment of naming rights (an adult woman, unborn triplets). And the latest proud bearer of the GoldenPalace.com name? A newly discovered, defenseless species of titi monkey found in Bolivia's Madidi National Park by by Dr. Robert Wallace of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Wallace gave up the naming rights, figuring an auction could bring in some bucks for the cause, and he was right. The casino shelled out $650,000 to have the foot-tall primates known forever more as Callicebus aureipalatii. "This species will bear our name for as long as it exists," said GoldenPalace.com CEO Richard Rowe. "Hundreds, even thousands of years from now, the GoldenPalace.com Monkey will live to carry our name through the ages. Naming this species has bought us scientific, as well as virtual immortality." Kinda gives you chills, doesn't it?






http://www.goldenpalaceevents.com/auctions/pregnant03.php (YUCK!!)






(*) (*) Silly way to pass the time for sure. Amusing but no coffee warnings in my opinion...... ;)

Have fun and safe travels,

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-14-2005, 03:00 PM

(*) (*) <smiling.....> ;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-14-2005, 03:06 PM
Feature Story: Podcasting: One Small Step for Technology, One Giant Leap for Personalized Audio

It's not just for hobbyists anymore, either. Everyone from Paris Hilton to Superman is getting in on the podcasting action.

April 13, 2005
In some respects podcasting seems like a step in the wrong direction. There are so many ways to receive sophisticated content now that the idea of downloading short audio files to an audio player seems almost quaint. And streamed content often comes with transcripts since visitors have indicated they would rather read—or quickly skim—the text than watch and listen to the full file. That said, podcasting has taken off like a rocket and the astounding success of MP3 players has shown the world that consumers demand personalized audio.

Will Podcast for Food
Podcasting's golden boy is former MTV veejay and teen hearthrob Adam Curry. He developed the iPodder [link to: www.ipodder.org] script, which was later finessed and polished by Dave Winer. iPodder downloads audio files to MP3 players including iPods and any Windows Media Player-supported device. Curry is about to release , PodShow.com which seeks to make a viable business out of podcasting and targets advertisers, podcasters, and listeners with specific messages regarding what podcasting can offer them. Although the venture is still relatively hush-hush, it’s set to launch later this year and has already sparked serious discussion in the industry.

Myriad other podcast clients, aggregators, and products are available, including the Primetime Podcast Receiver, Bradbury Software's FeedDemon, and yet another double top-secret endeavor called Odeo.

Odeo is helmed by Noah Glass (of AudBlog and Evan Williams (founder of Blogger.com, and their company has received a great deal of press following a preview by Williams in March. While the industry was excited by screenshots of the service that made it online, Williams felt that the press focused too much on the business and not enough on Odeo's efforts to enable people to publish to the Web. "Our focus is on humanizing a very promising technology," Williams explains on the Odeo blog, "making it easier for those already doing it (listening or creating), and getting many more people involved by creating a great experience. If we do it right, maybe money will come—to us and others. If not, someone else will do it. I'm pretty confident it will be good for the democratization of media either way."

Beyond Podcasting
In an effort to commercialize podcasting further, Guerrilla Marketing International and Jackstreet Media have announced a five-city tour to promote the business of podcasting and delve into the issue of "nanocasting," which Guerrilla Marketing describes as commercial podcasting aimed at those outside of the iPodder world. According to Jay Conrad Levinson, founder of the Guerrilla Marketing concept, "Nanocasting refers to the programming produced for the smallest, most narrowly but clearly defined target audience. This is the audience that is most interested in the type of programming and from a marketing standpoint, the audience that is most likely to buy related products." Admission to one of the tour stops runs a hefty $3,997, indicating Guerrilla Marketing’s effort to be recognized as both influential and upscale.

Another relatively new venture is video podcasting, already dubbed vidcasting, which allows users to view content on mobile phones, handheld video players, and video-enabled iPods, should they ever hit the market. The waters get muddy when trying to differentiate between video podcasting and video blogging, which at the end of the day seem to be same thing save for some potential differences in delivery.

Podcasting Live from Paris and Australia!
Even Hollywood is partaking in podcasting. Paris Hilton will be podcasting to promote her upcoming movie, House of Wax, though until video podcasting becomes more popular she may not have the opportunity to be as scandalous as usual. Executives hope that the large number of 18-34 year olds with MP3 players will enable them to directly reach their target market. The podcast launches April 29th and enables listeners to "Join Paris and friends as she shops, parties, poses and publicizes in the days leading up to the May 6 opening of House of Wax" according to the site.

In a more family-friendly podcasting push, Warner Bros. (which is also behind House of Wax) will be podcasting from the set of Superman Returns in Australia. Fans of the Superman empire are already reviewing images of Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane, speculating on the validity of possible spoilers coming from local Australian media outlets, and discussing how the movie may or may not overlap with the WB's Smallville, so the podcast could be an outstanding hit.

Podcasting is often described as TiVo for radio, but Royal Farros, CEO of MessageCast also likens it to Napster in the sense that, "it's a customer revolution." With Napster, the problem was that consumers needed a better way to receive music; "with podcasting it's, 'I want a better way to receive information,’" he says. MessageCast's LiveMessage alerting service has become popular with podcasters who sign up for the free service that then allows them to create a message to send to listeners when a new podcast is available.

As with blogs, it is likely that the number of podcasts will rise exponentially, with quantity outweighing quality, until the initial novelty wears off and listeners become more discriminating. And it certainly remains to be seen whether there is significant money to be made in podcasting, but the interest, the technology, and the expertise behind podcasting ensures that--profitable or not--podcasting will make its mark on portable audio.

(*) (*) (h) (h) (h) (h) Way, way cool! (l) (l) (h) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-16-2005, 08:58 PM
By ROBERT FRIEDMAN, Perspective Editor
Published March 27, 2005 NYTimes

Like many of you, I have been compelled by recent events to prepare a
more detailed advance directive dealing with end-of-life issues. Here's
what mine says:

* In the event I lapse into a persistent vegetative state, I want
medical authorities to resort to extraordinary means to prolong my
hellish semiexistence. Fifteen years wouldn't be long enough for me.

* I want my wife and my parents to compound their misery by engaging in
a bitter and protracted feud that depletes their emotions and their
bank accounts.

* I want my wife to ruin the rest of her life by maintaining an
interminable vigil at my bedside. I'd be really jealous if she waited
less than a decade to start dating again or otherwise rebuilding a
semblance of a normal life.

* I want my case to be turned into a circus by losers and crackpots
from around the country who hope to bring meaning to their empty lives
by investing the same transient emotion in me that they once reserved
for Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy and that little girl who got stuck in a

* I want those crackpots to spread vicious lies about my wife.

* I want to be placed in a hospice where protesters can gather to bring
further grief and disruption to the lives of dozens of dying patients
and families whose stories are sadder than my own.

* I want the people who attach themselves to my case because of their
deep devotion to the sanctity of life to make death threats against any
judges, elected officials or health care professionals who disagree
with them.

* I want the medical geniuses and philosopher kings who populate the
Florida Legislature to ignore me for more than a decade and then turn
my case into a forum for weeks of politically calculated bloviation.

* I want total strangers - oily politicians, maudlin news anchors,
ersatz friars and all other hangers-on - to start calling me "Bobby,"
as if they had known me since childhood.

* I'm not insisting on this as part of my directive, but it would be
nice if Congress passed a "Bobby's Law" that applied only to me and
ignored the medical needs of tens of millions of other Americans
without adequate health coverage.

* Even if the "Bobby's Law" idea doesn't work out, I want Congress -
especially all those self-described conservatives who claim to believe
in "less government and more freedom" - to trample on the decisions of
doctors, judges and other experts who actually know something about my
case. And I want members of Congress to launch into an extended debate
that gives them another excuse to avoid pesky issues such as national
security and the economy.

* In particular, I want House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to use my case
as an opportunity to divert the country's attention from the mounting
political and legal troubles stemming from his slimy misbehavior.

* And I want Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to make a mockery of his
Harvard medical degree by misrepresenting the details of my case in
ways that might give a boost to his 2008 presidential campaign.

* I want Frist and the rest of the world to judge my medical condition
on the basis of a snippet of dated and demeaning videotape that should
have remained private.

* Because I think I would retain my sense of humor even in a persistent
vegetative state, I'd want President Bush - the same guy who publicly
mocked Karla Faye Tucker when signing off on her death warrant as
governor of Texas - to claim he was intervening in my case because it
is always best "to err on the side of life."

* I want the state Department of Children and Families to step in at
the last moment to take responsibility for my well-being, because
nothing bad could ever happen to anyone under DCF's care.

* And because Gov. Jeb Bush is the smartest and most righteous human
being on the face of the Earth, I want any and all of the
aforementioned directives to be disregarded if the governor happens to
disagree with them. If he says he knows what's best for me, I won't be
in any position to argue.

(*) (*) This article was certainly meant as tougue-in-cheek, but several great points were made in my view. Caustic humor is sometimes needed to drive the points home for people like Tom DeLay who needs to resign. :@ :@

(*) (*) and now to regularly, irregularly and sometimes irreverent programming....... ;) ;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

btw, good to see you again
how is Doc doing?

anyhows, here it is
I do love my family~!

From one boxer family to another...


Living Will
I,Marty Platzner , being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means. Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of peckerwood ethically challenged politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it.

If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to sit up and ask for a
Breyers ice cream; cold beer etc., it should be presumed that I won't ever get better. When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my spouse, children and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day.

Under no circumstances shall the hypocritical members of the Legislature
(State or Federal) enact a special law to keep me on life-support
machinery.It is my wish that these boneheads mind their own damn business, and pay attention instead to the health, education and future of the millions of Americans who aren't in a permanent coma.

Under no circumstances shall any politicians butt into this case.
I don't care how many fundamentalist votes they're trying to scrounge
for their run for the presidency, it is my wish that they play politics
with someone else's life and leave me alone to die in peace.

I couldn't care less if a hundred religious zealots send e-mails to
legislators in which they pretend to care about me. I don't know
these people, and I certainly haven't authorized them to preach and
crusade on my behalf.They should mind their own business, too.

If any of my family goes against my wishes and turns my case into a
political cause, I hereby promise to come back from the grave and make
his or her existence a living hell.






My mother added a clause to hers, stating that whomever is there at the time of her death, is to place chocolate upon her tongue, in her mouth. She wants that to be the last taste on earth. She is also planning on being cremated and the remains to then be placed in a giant Hershey's Chocolate Sryup can. Then that can be buried at the National Cemetary. G-d love her... Only my mother...

My father, is equally amazing. And I know both of them would haunt us forever if we disobeyed their wishes. Which have always been discussed in our house. Death is as natural as life. Not a taboo subject in our house.

btw, they are both caring for a very aged boxer as well, who can't do stairs anymore and is being treated royally. They have a younger one of their own, too. But are full time baby sitters for Brandy, a beautiful 14 year old red boxer, who is still a puppy at heart. Just can't move like one anymore. Their little baby is classic fawn, Cookie... a little sweetheart, but a handfull. Chasing rabbits is apparently a fulltime job in the Rockies.

I will send them this post of yours. They will love it.

Nothing quite like a boxer,

04-20-2005, 08:19 PM
you wrote......"btw, good to see you again
how is Doc doing?

anyhows, here it is
I do love my family~!

From one boxer family to another..."


Thanks so, so much for your thoughtful posting! There definitely seems to be some deep common ground among boxer lovers for sure...... (l) (l)

Doc had a CBC blood test and re-check of his lymph nodes earlier today, and all was well but the oncologist wants me to take him to their other office (two hour drive each way) for an ultrasound, xrays and another blood test just to make sure that what came up back in January (internally) is completely gone. If not, he'd have to go through one more four-types-of-chemo round (he has been through two) with the exception of a different fourth chemo.

That appt. is two weeks from tomorrow and so I'm saying prayers that those tests come back fine. (and try not to worry in the meantime) Then it's just a matter of taking him for blood tests to make sure that he's staying in remission.

By the way, while waiting for the oncologist today, Doc met a"new girlfriend" pal and it was unbelievable after going there for four months - that I FINALLY met someone from the same town where I live - and that she drives that hour or so each way as well. Her black pitbull little girl fell in love with Doc, and he with her - and so her owner and I exchanged telephone numbers so that we could take them for walks as well as Doc getting a NEW VET! The lady had a great vet whose new office is not far waay. (his former vet? That's another story.....but briefly, she mis-diagnosed Doc having acute pancreatitis over New Years, cost me well over $4K and then it was really lymphoma........)

At the end of the day, I'm extremely grateful for anyone who took the time to read my posts and who sent prayers and healing thoughts Doc's way. Thank you for sharing what you did and for asking about him.

Kindest Regards,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-20-2005, 08:22 PM
Very, very cool! I'm a Portuguese Water Dog!....the user interface reminded me of the old teletypes at a couple of radio stations back in the late 60's and early 70's.....I LOVED this and think you will too.......


Click on "GAME" at the left side of the screen, then answer 10 questions
to see what kind of dog you are.

(*) (*) I REALLY loved this....make sure to turn your speakers up since there's accompanying audio. What a cool test...... (h) (h)

(S) (S) ......restful sleep everyone......

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-20-2005, 08:25 PM

(*) (*) ;) ;) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-20-2005, 08:27 PM
Area 51 via GoogleMaps:

How to get there:
Type 'Rachel, NV' into Google, select Google Maps, go to 'satellite'

Zoom out three levels until you see several white splotches (salt flats, I presume)

Double click on the salt flat that's now along the left edge, an inch or two below the Zoom bar

Zoom back in a few levels


(*) (*) :| :| :| :| :| :| :|

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-20-2005, 08:31 PM

(*) (*) :o ;)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-20-2005, 08:32 PM


(*) (*) ;) ;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-20-2005, 08:35 PM

"The decision would be guided by the idea not to piss off 1.1 billion (Roman Catholics.)"

-- Rogers Cadenhead on his disposition of the domain BenedictXVI.com, which he bought a few weeks back on a hunch

(*) (*) ;) ;)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-20-2005, 08:37 PM

;) ;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-20-2005, 08:38 PM

(*) (*) Gotta luv those Brits....... ;)

(f) (f) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-20-2005, 08:39 PM

(*) (*) :o :o

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-20-2005, 08:41 PM

(*) (*) :| :|

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-20-2005, 08:42 PM

(*) (*) Huh? What next? ;) ;)

(k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-20-2005, 08:45 PM
High-tech Winnebagos:


(*) (*) Too much fun for one night....... ;) Off to take the Doc'meister outside and grab a book to read to relax away from the Internet.......ah, nice analog activity.... ;) ;) (h)

(S) (S) Peaceful dreams,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-21-2005, 01:06 PM
Wide Awake (1998)

In his first Hollywood venture, writer-director M. Night Shyamalan explores the mysteries of the afterlife through 10-year-old Joshua (Joseph Cross). After losing his grandfather to cancer, the boy sets out to find God -- but quickly realizes the search won't be easy. With the support of his family and the sports-loving Sister Terry (Rosie O'Donnell) at his Catholic boys' school, Joshua comes to find the peace of mind he's been looking for.
Starring: Rosie O'Donnell, Dana Delany, Denis Leary, Robert Loggia, Joseph Cross

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

(*) (*) ......not only did it bring tears of laughter as I remembered my own Catholic school experiences, it also reminded me of my own mom's dad with whom I had an especially close relationship. Definitely a 4 star to watch again!

04-21-2005, 01:10 PM
Coming Home (1978)

While her husband is in Vietnam, Sally Hyde (Jane Fonda) volunteers at a veteran's clinic, where she encounters embittered paraplegic Luke Martin (Jon Voight). Sally begins to feel progressively disconnected from her spouse and embarks on an emotional and physical affair with Luke. When Sally's husband returns, however, the trio must contend with a new reality -- and with a country that turned its back on America's fighting men.
Starring: Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Bruce Dern, Penelope Milford, Robert Carradine, Robert Ginty, Mary Gregory

(*) (*) What I can't believe is that not only did I miss it in the theaters when it came out the year after college graduation, but that Fonda and Voight BOTH won Academy Awards for their roles in this superb film.

5 Stars! (*) (*) (*) (*) (*)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-22-2005, 10:46 AM
April 22, 2005

Great leadership quotes and inspirational quotes that I found to spark ideas:

"People ask the difference between a leader and a boss.... The leader works in the open, and the boss in covert. The leader leads and the boss drives." (Theodore Roosevelt)

"The marksman hitteth the target partly by pulling, partly by letting go. The boatsman reacheth the landing partly by pulling, partly by letting go." (Egyptian proverb)

"No man is fit to command another that cannot command himself." (William Penn)

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." (President Harry S Truman)
"I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow." (Woodrow Wilson)

"What should it profit a man if he would gain the whole world yet lose his soul." (The Holy Bible, Mark 8:36)
"A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline." (Harvey Mackay)

"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to look after them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." (John Steinbeck)

"I keep six honest serving-men, They taught me all I knew; Their names are What and Why and When, And How and Where and Who." (Rudyad Kipling, from 'Just So Stories', 1902.)

"A dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than the giant himself." (Didacus Stella, circa AD60 - and, as a matter of interest, abridged on the edge of an English £2 coin)

"Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful." (Samuel Johnson 1709-84)

"The most important thing in life is not to capitalise on your successes - any fool can do that. The really important thing is to profit from your mistakes." (William Bolitho, from 'Twelve against the Gods')

"Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be, For my unconqureable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud: Under the bludgeonings of chance my head is bloody but unbowed . . . . . It matters not how strait the gait, how charged with punishements the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul." (WE Henley, 1849-1903, from 'Invictus')

"Everybody can get angry - that's easy. But getting angry at the right person, with the right intensity, at the right time, for the right reason and in the right way - that's hard." (Aristotle)

"Management means helping people to get the best out of themselves, not organising things." (Lauren Appley)

"It's not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred with the sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause and who, at best knows the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." (Theodore Roosevelt, 23 April 1923.)

"Behind an able man there are always other able men." (Chinese Proverb.)

"I praise loudly. I blame softly." (Catherine the Great, 1729-1796.)

"Experto Credite." ("Trust one who has proved it." Virgil, 2,000 years ago.)

"One hundred percent of the shots you don't take don't go in." (Wayne Gretzky, former National Hockey League superstar. (Ack D Christian)

"In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." (attributed to Theodore Roosevelt. Ack DC)

"People who regard themselves as highly efficacious act, think, and feel differently from those who perceive themselves as inefficacious. They produce their own future, rather than simply foretell it." (Albert Bandura, b.1925, American psychologist, writer, academic and prioneer of social cognitive theory, notably the 'self-regulatory mechanisms through which people exercise some measure of control over their thought processes, motivation, emotional life, and accomplishments' - see the quote below also. Incidentally, 'efficacious' means 'sure to produce desired effect'.)

"Humans are producers of their life circumstance not just products of them." (Albert Bandura - see above.)
"Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called 'the love of your fate'. Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, 'This is what I need.' It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment - not discouragement - you will find the strength is there. Any disaster that you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes." (Joseph Campbell 1904-87, American writer, anthropologist and philosopher - see the related Nietzsche quote below)

"There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win." (Elie Wiesel, b.1928 in Transylvania, Holocaust survivor, American citizen since 1963, author of several significant humanitarian books, 1976 Andrew Mellon Professor of Humanities at Boston University, 1978 appointed Chairman of the President's Commission on the Holocaust, 1980 Founding Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 1986 Nobel Peace Prizewinner and established the The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, which seeks to promote and aid the nurturing and inspiration of young people to build a better, more harmonious and humane world. With thanks to C Byrd and her teacher Da Shi Yin De. This wonderful quote provides an inspirational example of a deeply positive attitude to life and experience far beyond conventional measurement of reward.)

"Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Whenever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe." (Elie Wiesel)

"Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question." (Edward Estlin Cummings 1938, poet, 1894-1962. Think about it. Whatever it's original context, the quote serves well to illustrate a central idea of coaching and helping people; ie., when someone asks for advice, they don't want someone else's answer, instead, they want help finding their own. A 'more beautiful question' can provide such help. This philosophy is also characterised in Sharon Drew Morgen's Facilitation methodology.)

"Seeker of truth, follow no path. All paths lead where truth is. Here." (EE Cummings. Incidentally there is plenty of evidence that Cummings did not expressly wish his name to be shown in lower case: 'e e cummings', as is the common pratice. Cummins did use lower case in his poetry but the consistent use of lower case for his name has been perpetuated by commentators since his death, erroneously.)

"Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is." (Will Rogers, cowboy, actor, philanthropist, 1879-1935. Ack CB)

"I have heard many stories about parents who have hurt their children so much, planting many seeds of suffering in them. But I believe that the parents did not mean to plant those seeds. They did not intend to make their children suffer. Maybe they received the same kind of seeds from their parents. There is a continuation in the transmission of seeds, and their father and mother might have gotten those seeds from their grandfather and grandmother. Most of us are victims of a kind of living that is not mindful, and the practice of mindful living, of meditation, can stop these kinds of suffering and end the transmission of such sorrow to our children and grandchildren. We can break the cycle by not allowing these kinds of seeds of suffering to be transmitted to our children, our friends, or anyone else." (Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist author, from 'Peace is Every Step' - this quote is a wonderful antidote for the desperation of Larkin's 'This Be The Verse' on the same subject of parental effects on children. Both quotes are excellent illustrations for Transactional Analysis, as is the wonderful Person Who Had Feelings story.)

"I shall tell you a great secret, my friend. Do not wait for the last judgement. It takes place every day." (Albert Camus, writer and philosopher, 1913-60, from 'La Chute' (The Fall) 1956.)

"Some men see things as they are and ask 'why?'; I dare to dream of things that never were and ask 'why not?'." (commonly attributed to Bobby Kennedy because when he used it he failed to credit the actual originator, George Bernard Shaw.)

"Make your heart like a lake, with calm, still surface, and great depths of kindness." (Lao Tzu, ack JH)
"Instead of making others right or wrong, or bottling up right and wrong in ourselves, there's a middle way, a very powerful middle way...... Could we have no agenda when we walk into a room with another person, not know what to say, not make that person wrong or right? Could we see, hear, feel other people as they really are? It is powerful to practice this way....... true communication can happen only in that open space." (Pema Chodron, Buddhist nun who runs Gammpo Abbey retreat in Nova Scotia)

"What is the world full of? It is full of things that arise, persist, and cease. Grasp and cling to them, and they produce suffering. Don't grasp and cling to them, and they do not produce suffering." (Ajahn Buddhadasa)

"Courage is not the towering oak that sees storms come and go; it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow." (Alice Mackenzie Swaim)

"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." (Jack London)

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." (Anais Nin, French-born American writer, 1903-1977)

"Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire." (Fred Shero, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers hockey coach - Ack P Ho)

"Fantasic things happen - to the way we feel, to the way we make other people feel. All this simply by using positive words." (Professor Leo F Buscaglia, teacher, writer and humanitarian, 1924-1998)

"It's not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely." (Leo F Buscaglia)

"Ninety per-cent of what we worry about never happens, yet we worry and worry. What a horrible way to go through life! What a horrible thing to do to your colon!" (Leo F Buscaglia)

"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are." (Anais Nin, French-born American writer 1903-77. Ack Ray Dodd - the quote appears in his book 'The Power Of Belief')

"(You have a choice as to whether) you are either part of the steam roller or part of the road." (unknown - ack TW - aphorism/argument for adopting a new idea, adapting to change, or contributing to performance improvement, rather like Eldridge Cleaver's wonderful quote "If you're not part of the solution..."

"The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones" (unknown, ack TW)

"If your enemy turns to flee, give him a silver bridge." (Spanish proverb, in Spanish: "A enemigo que huye puente de plata.")

"We should be careful to get out an experience only the wisdom that is within it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again - and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one any more." (Mark Twain, aka Samuel L Clemens, 1835-1910
"To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom." (Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970)

"A mistake is only a mistake if you don’t learn from it." (Unknown, Ack KN)

"With every willing pair of hands comes a free brain." (Unknown, Ack KN)

"Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed." (Mark Twain)

"Always do the right thing. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest." (Mark Twain)

"If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything." (Mark Twain - Thanks IM for these three Twain quotes)

"No-one ever listened themselves out of a job." (Calvin Coolidge, US President. Ack JC)

"There is none so blind as those who will not listen." (William Slater)

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." (Albert Camus, 1913-1960, French author & philosopher)

"Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity." (Albert Camus)

"We seldom confide in those who are better than we are." (Albert Camus, from La Chute, 1956)

"You cannot acquire experience by making experiments. You cannot create experience. You must undergo it." (Albert Camus)

"Do not walk behind me, I may not lead. Do not walk in front of me, I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend." (attributed to Albert Camus)

"People ask the difference between a leader and a boss.... The leader works in the open, and the boss in covert. The leader leads and the boss drives." (Theodore Roosevelt)

"The marksman hitteth the target partly by pulling, partly by letting go. The boatsman reacheth the landing partly by pulling, partly by letting go." (Egyptian proverb)

"No man is fit to command another that cannot command himself." (William Penn)

"Take what you want and then pay." (Aztec proverb)

"Difficulty is not an obstacle, it is merely an attribute". (Wal Sakaluk)

"If it's hard to do, then you're doing it wrong." (Lynn Doolan)

"We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them." (Albert Einstein)

"I strive to be brief and I become obscure." (Horace, 65 BC the pedant's justification...)
"The true voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." (Marcel Proust. Thanks Robert VázquezPacheco)

"Despise violence. Despise national vanity and selflove. Protect the territory of conscience." (Susan Sontag. Thanks RVP)

"The future's already here it just isn't evenly distributed." (William Gibson, science fiction writer)

"We are born princes and the civilizing process makes us frogs". (Eric Berne. Thanks CB)

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." (Rudyard Kipling. Thanks CB)

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." (President Harry S Truman)
"I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow." (Woodrow Wilson)

"Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?" (Shirdi Sai Baba, Indian saint thanks Carole Byrd)

"Don't tell my mother I'm in politics: she thinks I play the piano in a whorehouse." (Mark Twain)

"If you're not part of the solution you must be part of the problem." (the commonly paraphrased version of the original quote: "What we're saying today is that you're either part of the solution, or you're part of the problem" by Eldridge Cleaver 1935-98, founder member and information minister of the Black Panthers, American political activist group, in a speech in 1968. (thanks RVP)

"What should it profit a man if he would gain the whole world yet lose his soul." (The Holy Bible, Mark 8:36)
"A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline." (Harvey Mackay, thanks Brad Hanson)

"Form follows function." (Louis Henri Sullivan, American architect, 1856-1924)

"I strive to be brief, and I become obscure." (Horace, Roman poet, 658 BC)

"I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles overcome while trying to succeed." (Booker T Washington, American musician, thanks Marlene Kincaid)

"A person who graduated yesterday and stops studying today is uneducated tomorrow." (Origin unknown thanks BLP)

"Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second. Give your dreams all you've got and you'll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you." (William James, American Philosopher, 1842-1910 thanks Jean Stevens)

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer, 1749-1832, thanks Yvonne Bent)

"Respice, adspice, prospice." ("Look to the past the present and the future." Thanks Amy Willis)

"Nemo surdior est quam is qui non audiet." ("No man is more deaf than he who will not hear." Origin unknown, thanks AW)

"It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious." (Alfred N Whitehead, 1861-1947, thanks Katherine Hull)

"Intelligence is quickness to apprehend, as distinct from ability, which is capacity to act wisely on the thing apprehended." (AN Whitehead)

"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to look after them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." (John Steinbeck)

"You can't talk your way out of a situation you behave yourself into." (Dr Stephen Covey, thanks Eric Welburn)
"Catch a man a fish feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and feed him for life." (Unknown)

"Better go home and make a net, rather than dive for fish at random." (Chinese proverb)

"I keep six honest serving men, (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When, And How and Where and Who." (Rudyad Kipling, from 'Just So Stories', 1902.)

"A dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than the giant himself." (Didacus Stella, circa AD60 and, as a matter of interest, abridged on the edge of an English £2 coin)

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." (Sir Isaac Newton, 1676.)

"Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful." (Samuel Johnson 1709- 84)

"The most important thing in life is not to capitalise on your successes any fool can do that. The really important thing is to profit from your mistakes." (William Bolitho, from 'Twelve against the Gods')
"It is with the heart that one sees rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." (Antoine de SaintExupery from The Little Prince)

"Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be, For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud: Under the bludgeonings of chance my head is bloody but unbowed . . . . . It matters not how strait the gait, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul." (WE Henley, 18491903, from 'Invictus')

"Everybody can get angry that's easy. But getting angry at the right person, with the right intensity, at the right time, for the right reason and in the right way that's hard." (Aristotle)

"Politics is the art of the possible." (Prince Otto von Bismarck, 1867)

"We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run down." (Aneurin Bevan)

"Even if you think you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." (Will Rogers, American Humorist. Ack N Borkowski)

"The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do." (Samuel Jefferson)
"Seek first to understand, and then to be understood." (Dr Stephen Covey)

"Management means helping people to get the best out of themselves, not organising things." (Lauren Appley)
"He who wishes to talk well must first think well." (Origin unknown)

"When you speak, your speech should be better than your silence would have been." (Origin unknown)

"It's not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred with the sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause and who, at best knows the triumph of high achievement and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." (Theodore Roosevelt, 23 April 1923.)

"Experto Credite." ("Trust one who has proved it." Virgil, 2,000 years ago.)

"Life is like a very short visit to a toyshop between birth and death." (Desmond Morris, 1991.)

"Whoever in debate quotes authority uses not intellect, but memory." (Leonardo Da Vinci)

"If you don't agree with me it means you haven't been listening." (Sam Markewich.)

"The world is divided into people who do things, and people who get the credit. Try, if you can, to belong to the first class. There's far less competition." (Dwight Morrow, 1935.)

"What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure." (Samuel Johnson.)

"This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read." (Sir Winston Churchill.)

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." (Confucius 551-479 BC)

"When you are thirsty, it's too late to dig a well." (Japanese Proverb.)

"You can't clear the swamp when you're up to your arse in alligators." (Traditional, unknown.)

"The future of work consists of learning a living." (Marshall McLuhan, 1911-1980.)

"If it ain't broke don't fix it." (Bert Lance, member of Jimmer Carter's US government, 1977.)

"The best time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining." (John F Kennedy)

"He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and dance; one cannot fly into flying." (Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900.)

"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." (Nietzsche.)

"What does not kill us makes us stronger." (attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche, based on his words: "Out of life's school of war: What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." from The Twilight of the Idols, 1899)
"The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas." (Linus Pauling.)

"What is worth doing is worth the trouble of asking somebody to do it." (Ambrose Bierce, 1842-1914.)
"Behind an able man there are always other able men." (Chinese Proverb.)

"Understanding human needs is half the job of meeting them." (Adlai Stevenson, 1900-1965.)

"I have always said that if I were a rich man I'd hire a professional praiser." (Sir Osbert Sitwell, 1892-1969.)

"A life spent in making mistakes is not only more honourable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." (George Bernard Shaw, 18561950.)

"Managers are people who never put off until tomorrow what they can get somebody else to do today." (Unknown.)

"I praise loudly. I blame softly." (Catherine the Great, 1729-1796.)

"Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardour and attended to with diligence." (Abigail Adams in 1780) Thanks to John Mcgregor.

"The cream always rises to the top." (Unknown.)

"Nature abhors a vacuum." (Unknown.)

"You've got to be before you can do, and you've got to do before you can have." (Zig Ziglar)

"What is fame? an empty bubble; Gold? a transient shining trouble." (James Grainger, from 'Solitude', 1755)

Chapman, A. (2004). Businessballs.com. Retrieved April 22, 2005 from: http://www.businessballs.com/leadership.htm

(*) (*) ....so where's the smiley with the "poindexter-type of eye-wear? ;) ;) Have a lovely Friday.

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-22-2005, 10:49 AM
Smoke Gets in Our News By MAUREEN DOWD

Published: April 20, 2005 NYTimes

In the free fall of TV news, ABC's attempt to create a successor for Ted Koppel's "Nightline" will go down as one of the most hilariously embarrassing moments.

One show tested recently, according to reports, was set in a nightclub. It had white tablecloths, candles, a jazz quintet, a live audience at little tables and - this is not a joke - faux fog.

We've gone from the fog of war to the fog of news.

The nightclub segments that were tested had Gen X hosts and guests, and red-blue debates on Michael Jackson, the Olsen twins' "dumpster chic" and "mad as hell" rants.

ABC decided not to go with the smoke machine. Still, Ted Koppel - who vowed last year to leave "Nightline" before he was forced to cover "wet burka" contests - must be spinning in his country home.

Les Moonves of CBS has said that with the sonorous era of Dan, Tom, Peter and Ted coming to an end, viewers are no longer interested in "voice-of-God, single-anchor" formats.

But who knew they would prefer the voice of Frank? A ring-a-ding Sinatraesque "one for my baby and one more for the road" network voice?
In Washington last week, Rupert Murdoch echoed Mr. Moonves in giving the American Society of Newspaper Editors some bad news about young people in the age of the Internet, blogging and cable news:

"They don't want to rely on the morning paper for their up-to-date information. They don't want to rely on a god-like figure from above to tell them what's important. ... They certainly don't want news presented as gospel."

So media big shots are moving away from patriarchal, authoritarian voice-of-God figures, even as the Catholic Church and politics are moving toward patriarchal, authoritarian voice-of-God figures.

The white smoke yesterday signaled that the Vatican thinks what it needs to bring it into modernity is the oldest pope since the 18th century: Joseph Ratzinger, a 78-year-old hidebound archconservative who ran the office that used to be called the Inquisition and who once belonged to Hitler Youth. For American Catholics - especially women and Democratic pro-choice Catholic pols - the cafeteria is officially closed. After all, Cardinal Ratzinger, nicknamed "God's Rottweiler" and "the Enforcer," helped deny Communion rights to John Kerry and other Catholic politicians in the 2004 election.

The only other job this pope would be qualified for is "60 Minutes" anchor.

President Bush has also long acted as if he channeled the voice of God. And now Tom DeLay and Bill Frist are also pandering to the far-right-wing and evangelical Christians by implying that God speaks - and acts - through them, too.

Mr. Bush's more subtle obeisance to the evangelical right is no longer enough. Puffed up with its electoral clout, the Christian right now wants politicians to genuflect openly.

The doctor who would be president is down on both knees. He's happy to exploit religion by giving a video speech on a telecast next Sunday that will portray Democrats who block the president's judicial nominations as being "against people of faith."

A flier for the Christian telecast, organized by the Family Research Council, shows a confused teenage boy with a Bible in one hand and a judge's gavel in the other. The text reads: "The filibuster was once abused to protect racial bias, and it is now being used against people of faith."

The born-again Tom DeLay has been fighting his ethical woes by acting like a martyr for some time. Dr. Frist, by contrast, was not known for playing the religious card before. But he is clearly willing to turn himself over, lock, stock and barrel, if it will help him marginalize such Christian-right faves as Rick Santorum and Sam Brownback, and garner support from those who always vote because they see elections in terms of eternity.

Even Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Bible-Belt Republican, seemed surprised by the brazen move by Dr. Frist, the Senate majority leader. He told Newsweek: "Questioning a senator's motives in that way is a very dangerous precedent."

And, of course, the Democrats are apoplectic. "I cannot imagine that God - with everything he has or she has to worry about - is going to take the time to debate the filibuster in heaven," Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois said.

As they toy with less lofty multiple-anchor formats, the networks may be more open to women. But at the Vatican and in the Christian right's vanguard, we can be sure that the voice of God is not female.

E-mail: liberties@nytimes.com

(*) (*) I JUST LOVE WHAT THIS LADY WRITES........<THINKING TO MYSELF....I keep accidently hitting the all caps key...... :s :s Have a fun Friday. (f) (f) (f)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-22-2005, 10:52 AM
Speaking of miracles and praying, while on-line looking for a rosary yesterday, I also ordered a rosary bracelet for myself with these crystals that I don't believe that I've heard of before (headquartered in Austria, I think) and was googling this morning and decided after seeing a few tiaras to do another search........now THIS is something affordable for all of those "princesses-at-heart types:


(*) (*) ah, for the femme who has almost everything.....if not a gorgeous tiara on top of gorgeous fair hair, then a snug-T with lots of these crystals sewn on the front in the form of a tiara! ;) ;) Nice thought anyway. (f) (f)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-22-2005, 10:54 AM

(*) (*) (*) Long article but worth the read in my view. (l) (l)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-22-2005, 10:56 AM
(and there aren't too many that impress.... ;)

http://www.earthdinner.org/using_cards.html (Provides the files to download and print them out...pretty cool!)

http://www.earthdinner.org/plan_your_dinner.html A personal favorite activity that honors local farmers.....Think Globally, Eat Locally)

Participating Earth Dinner Restaurants
The Earth Dinner™ 2005

The following Chefs Collaborative member restaurants are among those hosting Earth Dinners across the country this month.

Pattigeorge's Restaurant
4120 Gulf of Mexico Drive
Longboat Key, Florida 34228
Chef Tommy Klauber
Earth Dinner Open to the Public on Friday, 4/22/05
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Mediterra Restaurant & Bar
29 Hulfish St.
Princeton, New Jersey 08542
Chef Lawrence Robinson
A special Earth Dinner chef’s tasting menu will be offered the week of April 18-22, 2005. Available both lunch and dinner. Open to the Public.

The Green Table
Chelsea Market
75 Ninth Ave.
New York, New York 10011
Chef Mary Cleaver
Wednesday, 4/20/05, Seatings 6:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
A three-course prix fixe featuring local and organic ingredients and wine, with an emphasis on NY state produce and meats. Open to the Public by reservation.

Claire’s Corner Copia & Basta Trattoria
1000 Chapel St. and 1006 Chapel St.
New Haven, CT 06510
Corner Copia: 203-562-3888 / Basta Trattoria: 203-772-1715
Chef Claire Criscuolo
Chef Crisuolo will host Earth Dinners featuring organic ingredients at both of her restaurants on 4/22/05. Open to the Public.

Soundings Restaurant at Shedd Aquarium
1200 South Lakeshore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
Chef Bonnie Paganis
A private Earth Dinner event on Friday, 4/22/05 at Noon. A three-course plated luncheon featuring a sustainable seafood dish.

Noble's Diner
4133 Mt. View Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
Chef Robert Kinneen
Series of Earth Dinners throughout the month of April with locally grown produc,e and a special Earth Dinner on Friday, 4/22/05 with local growers. Open to the Public.

Café Juanita
9702 NE 120th Place
Kirkland, WA 98034
Chef Holly Smith
Commemorating five years of presenting northern Italian cuisine to Seattle's dining public, Caf? Juanita is featuring special weekly four-course Earth Dinner tastings at $45/person.

Cook's Double Dutch
Chef Jennie Cook
9806 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
A Month to Celebrate Mother Earth, April 6th-May 1st: three-course prix-fixe featuring soup or salad, an organic entr?e, and something sweet! $25/person

The Side Car Restaurant
Chef Tim Kilcoyne
3029 East Main St.
Ventura, CA 93009

The Kitchen
1039 Pearl St.
Boulder, CO 80302
Chefs Kimbal Musk & Hugo Matheson
Family-style prix fixe Earth Dinner on April 18, 2005 at 7:00pm. Open to the Public, $45/person ($10 goes to Health Camp).


The Earth Dinner™ Table (Don’t forget the chairs!)

Let your creativity run wild. Be inspired by the Earth theme and have a ball! Here are some ideas:

Table of natural inspiration. Flowers, greens, earth colors, candles, natural textures. Get the kids involved ahead of time. Plan for grace and beauty.

How about an elemental centerpiece? Think about bringing in the elements - Earth, air, water and fire. What objects can you find that represent each of these?

Party favors: Decorate mini pots planted with various herb starters found at your local nursery. Your children will delight in preparing these for your guests, while learning about the herbs and their uses. Rosemary, sage, basil, chives and thyme make beautiful favors that later can be transplanted in spring gardens and used in delicious recipes.

Or, wrap one or two wildflower seed packets together with ribbon and place on each guest's plate to take home.

Of course, reuse, recycle and return. Try to stick with organic and natural items to decorate your table and serve the food.

For Earth Dinner shopping and recipe ideas, visit:


(*) (*) Interesting web site and the cards really are unusual.... :o

(k) (k) Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-22-2005, 10:58 AM
Canyon Pass home site views


It was such a wonderful experience to take several moments to look at the home sites and views of the high desert......<ah......>

(*) (*) worth the 20 minutes of exploration in my view...... (a)

Carpe diem!
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-22-2005, 11:00 AM
A Radical in the White House

Published: April 18, 2005

Last week - April 12, to be exact - was the 60th anniversary of the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. "I have a terrific headache," he said, before collapsing at the Little White House in Warm Springs, Ga. He died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage on the 83rd day of his fourth term as president. His hold on the nation was such that most Americans, stunned by the announcement of his death that spring afternoon, reacted as though they had lost a close relative.

That more wasn't made of this anniversary is not just a matter of time; it's a measure of the distance the U.S. has traveled from the egalitarian ideals championed by F.D.R. His goal was "to make a country in which no one is left out." That kind of thinking has long since been consigned to the political dumpster. We're now in the age of Bush, Cheney and DeLay, small men committed to the concentration of big bucks in the hands of the fortunate few.

To get a sense of just how radical Roosevelt was (compared with the politics of today), consider the State of the Union address he delivered from the White House on Jan. 11, 1944. He was already in declining health and, suffering from a cold, he gave the speech over the radio in the form of a fireside chat.

After talking about the war, which was still being fought on two fronts, the president offered what should have been recognized immediately for what it was, nothing less than a blueprint for the future of the United States. It was the clearest statement I've ever seen of the kind of nation the U.S. could have become in the years between the end of World War II and now. Roosevelt referred to his proposals in that speech as "a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race or creed."

Among these rights, he said, are:

"The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation.

"The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.

"The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living.

"The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad.

"The right of every family to a decent home.

"The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.

"The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment.

"The right to a good education."

I mentioned this a few days ago to an acquaintance who is 30 years old. She said, "Wow, I can't believe a president would say that."

Roosevelt's vision gave conservatives in both parties apoplexy in 1944 and it would still drive them crazy today. But the truth is that during the 1950's and 60's the nation made substantial progress toward his wonderfully admirable goals, before the momentum of liberal politics slowed with the war in Vietnam and the election in 1968 of Richard Nixon.

It wouldn't be long before Ronald Reagan was, as the historian Robert Dallek put it, attacking Medicare as "the advance wave of socialism" and Dick Cheney, from a seat in Congress, was giving the thumbs down to Head Start. Mr. Cheney says he has since seen the light on Head Start. But his real idea of a head start is to throw government money at people who already have more cash than they know what to do with. He's one of the leaders of the G.O.P. gang (the members should all wear masks) that has executed a wholesale transfer of wealth via tax cuts from working people to the very rich.

Roosevelt was far from a perfect president, but he gave hope and a sense of the possible to a nation in dire need. And he famously warned against giving in to fear.

The nation is now in the hands of leaders who are experts at exploiting fear, and indifferent to the needs and hopes, even the suffering, of ordinary people.

"The test of our progress," said Roosevelt, "is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

Sixty years after his death we should be raising a toast to F.D.R. and his progressive ideas. And we should take that opportunity to ask: How in the world did we allow ourselves to get from there to here?

(*) (*) SUPERB!!! <thinking that the Village Idiot and crew are light-years from leaders like this. :o :o <Grrrrr> (a)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-22-2005, 11:04 AM

Published: April 17, 2005

Why Go Now

Late spring in Taos is the golden moment, the calm before the storm, before the pseudo-hippies arrive in late June for the jam bands at the Taos Solar Music Festival, before the high tourist season in summer, when tall men in bolo ties appear on the sidewalks and women in heavy turquoise jewelry and long flowing skirts abound. The weather has settled into the same predictable, perfect temperature: every single day is warm enough to meditate outside under a cottonwood tree, but not yet the pressure-cooker hot of mid-June and July. The wildflowers and three-foot-high yuccas are blooming in the surrounding desert. Go before summer hits and you'll find Taos is still the tiny village/artists commune/spa or spiritual retreat/shopper's dream - pick what you want it to be - without too many other artists, retreatists or shoppers blocking your view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains or interrupting your tranquility.

Where to Stay

While touches like the gold-plated anaconda and African drums in the bar at the luxury resort El Monte Sagrado (1) are over the top for some Taoseños, El Monte has kept some of the true Taos character: guest casitas surround the Sacred Circle, a grassy area bordered by 80-year-old cottonwoods. Gray water (water from laundry and showers) is recycled through a series of ponds and natural treatments intended to mimic natural processes, then used to water the grounds, and the resort is partly powered by solar electricity. (All of this is a tribute to Taos as a center for green building, with its own completely solar powered radio station and the fully sustainable Earth Ship development.) But this is no bare bones eco-lodge: the bathrooms are decadently appointed, the rooms decorated according to theme - hand-blown glass chandeliers for the Marrakesh Suite, a river stone mandala for the Bali Suite. The Kama Sutra Suite features a king-sized bed carved with tantric images and its own fresh water dipping pond. Suites run from $325 to $1,095; 317 Kit Carson Road; (800) 828-8267; on the Web at www.elmontesagrado.com.

There seem to be more bed-and-breakfasts than there are artists in Taos - the combination of small, old, renovated adobe houses, crooked, narrow streets, village atmosphere and hippies-turned-entrepreneurs seems to breed them. Casa de las Chimeneas (2) (505) 758-4777, 405 Cordoba Lane near Kit Carson Road, is a bed-and-breakfast in a recently renovated 1925 Spanish adobe hacienda with a luxurious courtyard and its own spa. Buffet dinners made with vegetables from a local organic farm are served in the early evening. Rooms from $165 to $325.

Where to Eat

What is special about Taos food is its small cafe quality. It's often organic, made-from-scratch and eclectic. One of the best examples is the Sheva Café, (3) located on the main north-south street in Taos, at 812B Paseo del Pueblo Norte, (505) 737-9290, www.shevacafe.com. Try the organic lamb stew and the soy milk smoothie, sweetened with baklava syrup. The average bill is $16 a person without wine or beer. The Bean, (4) a coffee and pastry shop located nearby at 900 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, (505) 751-9918, is probably the likeliest place to run into Julia Roberts-as-local (her ranch is just up the road), hair disheveled and groggily looking for a cup of coffee.

The most expensive restaurant in otherwise reasonably priced Taos, Joseph's Table, (5) located in the Hotel la Fonda de Taos on 102A South Taos Plaza, (505) 751-4512, www.josephstable.com, is well worth the $60-a-person average meal price, without wine. The plates rival those in any of Manhattan's best restaurants. Some dishes incorporate just a regional ingredient or two, such as the too-perfect lobster and masa bread pudding on Mexican cream corn. Or, sit at the bar and try the polenta fries with grilled radicchio and gorgonzola crème. Either way, though this is Taos at its fanciest, you'll be comfortable wearing jeans.

What to Do During the Day

Once a counterculture hotspot, Taos has become so multifaceted - grown up, shall we say? - that its crystal-wearing, goddess-worshipping roots have nearly been eclipsed. What's left is, yes, a touch of occasional cloying New Age hype, but also sophisticated alternative therapies. The spa at El Monte Sagrado offers a full range of spa treatments, plus some of its own, including altitude adjustment therapy to help with the 7,000 foot elevation. If you're looking for a deeper overhaul, head to Taos Kundalini Yoga and Health Center, (6) 413A Paseo del Pueblo Norte (505) 751-1335, one the Web at www.taoskundalini.com. The advanced therapist Harbhajan Khalsa can heal what ails you by realigning your nerves and tissues, balancing your cerebral spinal fluid and dissipating your negative patterns. Mr. Khalsa, who claims clairvoyance, can also tell you what ails your husband, who is not present, while fixing you for $150 an hour.

There is ample opportunity to buy locally crafted jewelry and pottery in the shops around Taos Plaza, but why not buy direct from the source? Taos Pueblo, (7) (505) 758-1028, www.taospueblo.com, at the end of Veterans Highway, two miles northeast of the Plaza, is where simple, classic micaceous pottery has been made for at least 1,000 years in this ancient community. The adobe complex, one of the oldest continuously inhabited dwellings in the United States, was alive and well when Europe was still in the Dark Ages. In 1680, it was at the center for the most successful Indian uprising in history, when the pueblo Indians of the region drove the Spaniards all the way back to Mexico for more than a decade.

In the early 1900's, Taos was a locale where, like Paris in the 1920's and Greenwich Village in the 60's, lightning struck, forces converged, and top-tier artists brought each other here through word of mouth, collectively fanned the Muse and fed off each other's inspiration. They called themselves the Taos Society of Artists, and a wonderful collection of the resulting work, as well as that of Nicolai Fechin and other artists, can be found at the Taos Art Museum, (8) 227 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, (505) 758-2690, www.taosartmuseum.org. For the best in Native American and Spanish art, head for the Millicent Rogers Museum, (9) 1504 Millicent Rogers Road, (505) 758-2462, www.millicentrogers.org to view well-preserved Anasazi pottery, Apache baskets, brilliant Spanish colcha embroidery and 19th-century religious carvings.

What to Do at Night

Taos is so tiny, you can just be there and you're, well, there. But if there is an "it" place in Taos, it's the Taos Inn, (10) 125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, (888) 458-8267, www.taosinn.com. There, you can find both sides of Taos out in full bloom; it's the place where local people go to be seen or just stop by, dirty and dusty from a hike, and conversations run between the particular intricacies of photovoltaic systems and the qualities of Macon Domaine de la Bongran 2000. The crowded lounge of the Adobe Bar is also the most likely place you'll find yourself standing elbow-to-elbow with Robert Redford or Lauren Hutton. Most nights you'll get a taste of regional talent from instrumental funk to country-and-western. To blend in, sip Patrón tequila at the bar or dine on the green chile and rellenos at Doc Martin's, the Inn's not-too-shabby restaurant.

Should you be hankering for the real deal, a place that Kit Carson and Buffalo Bill Cody reputedly visited a lot, where you might at midnight fancy yourself on the set of "The Long Riders," head to the Alley Cantina, (11) 121 Teresina Lane, (505) 758-2121, www.alleycantina.com. It's the place you're least likely to run into other out-of-towners. Drink cheap Mexican beer - definitely not wine - and listen to loud, local salsa or blues in this low-ceilinged, smoky, hole-in-the-wall bar.

Where to Shop

Shopping for art in Taos is like thrift-store shopping - it's all about hunting for a gem among many similar items. You may begin to feel bug-eyed, but you should persevere. Cichon Fine Art, (12) at 133 Bent Street, (505) 715-4657, displays striking black-and-white photographs of rugged landscapes.

For a good selection of the distinct Taos painting style - desert and mountain landscapes, flowers, adobes and churches, all abstracted to a rather pleasant degree, try Gallery A, (13) at 105-107 Kit Carson Road, (505) 758-2343.

To help you pick the perfect 19th-century Navajo rug, the saleswoman at Taos Fine Art, (14) 103 Kit Carson Road, (505) 737-5333, will wrap one around her shoulders so you can see how it was meant to be used (worn, not walked on) and seen, with the stripes and pattern coming together in the front. Prices range from $300 to $250,000.

Your First Time or Your 10th

If, as Agnes Martin once said, "Art is the concrete representation of our most subtle feelings," the place to get a dose of "Playing," "Innocence," "Ordinary Happiness," "Perfect Day," "Friendship," "Love," and "Lovely Life" is the Agnes Martin Room at the Harwood Museum. (15) Large paintings that bear these names by the minimalist artist, who lived in Taos the last decades of her life, hang in a serene octagonal room. The Harwood Museum is southeast of the Plaza at 238 Ledoux Street, (505) 758-9826, www.harwoodmuseum.org.

How to Get There

If you like to book your airline tickets online, you'll need to book your trip to Albuquerque, N.M., then arrange to take one of two commuter flights a day that run from Albuquerque to Taos, through Westward Airways at www.westwardairways.com, (877) 937-8927. Tickets from New York to Albuquerque run about $300 with two-week advance purchase. The short hop to Taos is $50 to $100 one way. Alternatively, you can fly to Santa Fe, a 90-minute drive away, for about $550.

How to Get Around

So much of Taos is centered around the small plaza, you'll spend most of your time in Taos on your feet. There is no public transportation, so you'll need a rental car to get anywhere off the Plaza.

(*) (*) and to think back to August of 1987 during Indian Market in Sante Fe when I was an invited guest of Gorman, the famous artist and painter who has an exquisite home with breathtaking views in Taos......those were the days when I had friends who drove Rolls Royces. Even got to drive one once or twice back then....talk about smooooooth ride..... ;) (h) (h)

With respectful humility, (okay, usually) ;) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-22-2005, 05:52 PM
Galileo Galilei --

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has
endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to
forgo their use."

Bernt Øksendal, Stochastic Differential Equations:
An Introduction with Applications --

"We have not succeeded in answering all our problems. The answers
we have found only serve to raise a whole set of new questions.
In some ways we feel we are as confused as ever, but we believe we
are confused on a higher level, and about more important things."

Bertolt Brecht, from _The Life of Galileo_ --

"The aim of science is not to open a door to infinite wisdom but to
set a limit to infinite error."

(f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-22-2005, 05:54 PM

Published: April 21, 2005 San Jose Mercury News

Required Program For Flashy Sites

Q. What is the Flash player that my browser says I need?

A. Flash is a program by Macromedia that lets Web site designers add animations and interactive elements to their pages. To see these animations, you need to have the Flash plug-in installed with your Web browser. The Flash player, which is free, can be downloaded at www.macromedia.com/software/flashplayer.

Mice Should Click, Not Hard Drives

Q. My computer is making grinding sounds. Is this bad? What should I do?

A. Unless you are operating a power tool, loud clicking or grinding from a mechanical device - including a hard drive - may be a sign that something is about to break.

The complication with a hard drive, of course, is that valuable files are stored there, and there may be no easy way to rescue the data.
Hard drives are basically motorized platters spinning rapidly as a read-write head floats above on a cushion of air and magnetically inscribes the data onto the disk. All your files, folders and Green Day songs are stored on the disk's magnetic surface.
There are other sources of computer noise, including loud internal cooling fans and even desk clutter that rattles with the natural vibrations of your computer. First, clear the area and listen closely to the machine.

Grinding noises can mean that the read-write head is scraping against the surface of the disk and damaging it. Clicking noises coming from a hard drive are also cause for concern, and may mean that the drive's read-write heads are misaligned; the drive is probably damaged.

If you hear a high-pitched whine, your hard drive's bearings may be on the way out, but you may be able to save most of the data if you get the machine to a computer-repair professional right away. In fact, if you can use your computer despite the ominous noises, you should back up all data onto another drive immediately.

If your hard drive dies before you can back up the files, a data-recovery service may be your last hope. Companies including DriveSavers (www.drivesavers.com), the Disaster Recovery Group (www.disasterrecoverygroup.com) and OnTrack (www.ontrack.com) specialize in extracting stranded files from broken hard drives, but the price may be more than $1,000.

RAW Photo Files For Do-It-Yourselfers

Q. What is the RAW format in digital photography?

A. Some digital cameras can be set to save pictures in a variety of file formats, and a lot of things happen inside the camera when you have it set to snap photos in the common JPEG format. From the press of the shutter button to the recording of the image on your memory card, the camera processes the picture file in several quick steps.

Some include applying your chosen contrast, white balance and saturation settings to the picture data your camera's sensor has just captured, as well as your settings for image size, quality and file compression. Once the camera has made all of these adjustments to the data image file, the processed JPEG file is copied onto the camera's memory card.

But some digital cameras can be set to capture a RAW file instead of a JPEG. A RAW file is the untouched picture data from the image sensor before the processing takes place.

(Different camera makers may vary the way they handle these data files, though, so some companies may have a small amount of in-camera processing, even on RAW files.)

Not all digital cameras can create RAW data files, and the files themselves can be quite large compared with a compressed JPEG file. Serious photographers often favor RAW files because they prefer to modify the images themselves on a computer instead of relying on the camera to make exposure and other adjustments.

(*) (*) :o :o ;) ;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-22-2005, 05:56 PM
Posted on Fri, Apr. 22, 2005

Developing world needs knowledge more than hardware, speakers say

By K. Oanh Ha

Mercury News

Is the digital divide dead?

Yes, concluded speakers at a Santa Clara University symposium Thursday where participants agreed that throwing computers at the developing world isn't the answer to global inequity. What's really needed is a bridge to close the knowledge divide, according to the speakers.

``The problem comes down to much more than technology,'' said Geoffrey Bowker, executive director of the university's Center for Science, Technology and Society, which hosted the conference, also sponsored by Applied Materials. ``What we need is open source science . . . a framework where knowledge and information is shared with the developing world.''

Speakers at the event, attended by about 200, talked about the importance of creating a ``digital commons'' -- a public, online space for knowledge that would help alleviate social and economic problems in poor countries, as well as inequities between the developed and developing worlds.

Some said it was time to rethink intellectual property laws that often prevent poor countries from tapping into useful innovations and technology. ``We should recognize that intellectual property rights are competing with basic human rights,'' said Raoul Weiler, head of a European think tank.

Multinational companies have a responsibility to help poor countries overcome the knowledge divide rather than just ``raiding'' them, speakers said.

One speaker cited an example where an American company did raid the knowledge of a developing country. In Ecuador, a video documentary was put on the Internet about a plant that generations of indigenous people in the Andes have cultivated to treat lung cancer. Shortly after, a California company came in to commercially extract the plant for cancer medicine, said Karin Delgadillo, executive director of the Chasquinet Foundation. Her organization created the information center that made putting the documentary on the Internet possible.

``The company just came in and took the ancestors' wisdom without compensating the local people.''

Speakers also called on Silicon Valley companies to help create a framework for sharing global knowledge. One way is for companies to target their products at poor communities, rather than those with the highest purchasing power, said Brooke Partridge, director of market and business development in Hewlett-Packard's emerging market solutions division.

(*) (*) I suppose this means there is now a relative balance of electronic power.......uh, yea, right...... ;)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-22-2005, 06:02 PM
Microsoft delays release of Gay Rights Service Pack 2: It's difficult to believe that a company that has no trouble telling regulators all over the world where to get off would ever give in to the Christian right. But that's what the company is being accused of today after withdrawing its support for a Washington state bill that would have barred discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Stranger reports that Microsoft, at the forefront of corporate gay rights for decades, officially changed its position on House Bill 1515 -- which was defeated by one vote on Thursday -- from support to neutrality, apparently after a prominent evangelical church located a few blocks from Microsoft's sprawling headquarters threatened to organize a national boycott of the company's products. Microsoft denies it caved, claiming it decided to be neutral on the bill because it was narrowing its focus to other legislative matters. "Our government affairs team made a decision before this legislative session that we would focus our energy on a limited number of issues that are directly related to our business," said Mark Murray, a company spokesman. "That decision was not influenced by external factors.'' That's a tough claim to swallow, though, given Microsoft's pioneering support of local and national gay rights legislation. More difficult still when Ken Hutcherson, the pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, told the New York Times that he twice met with Microsoft executives in February and old them to that unless they "backed off" the bill he "was going to give them something to be afraid of Christians about." Good luck sweeping this one under the rug, folks.






(*) (*) Software (operating systems and applications software that is) "Darth Vader" bows to local church preferences.......seems like such a powerful SOB could have stood up and taken a stand. That he did not also speaks volumes, in my view. :@ :@ Grrrrr.

<and now back to my irreverent, though usually respectful postings - that is unless it's the Village Idiot and his crew runing the U.S. into the ground - another group with power that abuses it.>

:| :| I need to make myself some hot tea........;)

(f) (f) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-22-2005, 06:05 PM

Sizzle, Yes, but Beef, Too By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Published: April 22, 2005 New York Times

New York Times columnists are not allowed to endorse U.S. presidential candidates. Only the editorial page does that. But in checking the columnist rule book, I couldn't find any ban on endorsing a candidate for prime minister of Britain. So I'm officially rooting for Tony Blair.

I've never met Mr. Blair. But reading the British press, it strikes me that he's not much loved by Fleet Street. He's not much loved by the left wing of his own Labor Party either, and he certainly doesn't have any supporters on the Conservative benches. Yet he seems to be heading for re-election to a third term on May 5.

Indeed, I believe that history will rank Mr. Blair as one of the most important British prime ministers ever - both for what he has accomplished at home and for what he has dared to do abroad. There is much the U.S. Democratic Party could learn from Mr. Blair.
First, you don't have to be a conservative to be a conviction politician. For years Mr. Blair was derided by the press as "Tony Blur" - a man of no fixed principles, all sizzle and no beef, who dressed up the Labor Party as "New Labor," like putting lipstick on a pig, but never really made the hard choices or changes. The reality is quite different.

In deciding to throw in Britain's lot with President Bush on the Iraq war, Mr. Blair not only defied the overwhelming antiwar sentiment of his own party, but public opinion in Britain generally. "Blair risked complete self-immolation on a principle," noted Will Marshall, president of the Progressive Policy Institute, a pro-Democratic U.S. think tank.

Remember, in the darkest hours of the Iraq drama, when things were looking disastrous (and there have been many such hours), Mr. Bush could always count on the embrace of his own party and the U.S. conservative media machine and think tanks.
Tony Blair, by contrast, dined alone. He had no real support group to fall back on. I'm not even sure his wife supported him on the Iraq war. (I know the feeling!) Nevertheless, Mr. Blair took a principled position to depose Saddam and keep Britain tightly aligned with America. He did so, among other reasons, because he believed that the advance of freedom and the defeat of fascism - whether Islamo-fascism or Nazi fascism - were quintessential and indispensable "liberal" foreign policy goals.

The other very real thing Mr. Blair has done is to get the Labor Party in Britain to firmly embrace the free market and globalization - sometimes kicking and screaming. He has reconfigured Labor politics around a set of policies designed to get the most out of globalization and privatization for British workers, while cushioning the harshest side effects, rather than trying to hold onto bankrupt Socialist ideas or wallowing in the knee-jerk antiglobalism of the reactionary left.

The strong British economy that Mr. Blair and his deft finance minister, Gordon Brown, have engineered has led to spending on health and education - as well as on transportation and law and order - that has increased "much faster than under the Conservatives," The Financial Times noted on Wednesday. "The result has been numerous new and refurbished schools, dozens of new hospitals, tens of thousands of extra staff and much new equipment."

And these improvements, which still have a way to go, have all been accomplished so far with few tax increases. The vibrant British economy and welfare-to-work programs have, in turn, resulted in the lowest unemployment in Britain in 30 years. This has led to higher tax receipts and helped the government pay down its national debt. This, in turn, has saved money on both interest and welfare benefits - money that has been plowed back into services, The Financial Times explained.

In sum, Tony Blair has redefined British liberalism. He has made liberalism about embracing, managing and cushioning globalization, about embracing and expanding freedom - through muscular diplomacy where possible and force where necessary - and about embracing fiscal discipline.

Along the way, he has deftly eviscerated the Conservatives, leaving them with only their most fringe policies - another reason American Democrats could learn a lot from him. Their own ambivalence toward globalization and the new New Deal our country needs to make more Americans educated and employable in a world without walls, and their own ambivalence toward muscular diplomacy, cost Democrats just enough votes in the American center to allow a mistake-prone Bush team to squeak by in 2004. So if Mr. Blair does win in the U.K., I sure hope that Democrats in the U.S. are taking notes.

(*) (*) (*) (*) (*) (*) Tom does it again! (h) (h)

Have a lovely evening and weekend......

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-22-2005, 06:09 PM
Dear MoveOn member:

It's worth taking a moment to remember why Republican leaders are so intent on seizing power over the courts:the minimum wage, the Clean Water Act, the constitutional right to privacy, and so many other progressive advances are still too popular to for politicians to gut outright! So they're hoping to stack the Supreme Court with justices so far to the right they'll do what Congress can't. It's an extraordinarily devious plan–they're relying on judicial activism to roll back our rights, even as they claim they're trying to curb it --and the lynchpin is next week's vote on the "nuclear option."

Here's the catch: the more Republicans realize the public is watching, the more nervous they get. So on Wednesday, MoveOn members across the nation are organizing emergency Rallies to Stop the Judicial Takeover. We'll gather in front of courthouses and federal buildings to send a clear message: Americans want fair judges, not extremists appointed to favor corporate interests and right-wing fringe groups.

Sign up now for rally in your state:


The stakes of this fight could hardly be higher. It's Earth Day today, so look out the window and imagine living in a country in which courts ruled that we had to pay polluters to stop polluting. Sound farfetched? This is the upshot of the radical legal theories embraced by many of Bush's corporate-biased nominees, and it shows in their records. For example, the Los Angeles Times editorialized that Priscilla Owen, an appeals court nominee approved yesterday by a Senate Committee, "often side[s] with business in disputes involving employee rights, consumers and the environment" and has "a record of indifference to the problems of most Americans." In one case, she "argued that property rights justified giving large landowners the power to exempt themselves from water pollution controls and land use safeguards." 1

Janice Rogers Brown, also approved yesterday, has spoken in support of elevating corporate property rights to a level on par with fundamental rights like free speech. She also "wrote in a solo dissent that private property is now 'entirely extinct in San Francisco.'" 2 And putting corporate property rights before other values doesn't just hamstring environmental protection -- workplace safety, the right to unionize, consumer protection, even programs like Social Security end up on the chopping block too.

Of course, the fight over the courts is not just about giving corporate interests free reign to pollute the air and abuse workers. As the Schiavo tragedy showed, Republican leaders are also pandering to fringe religious groups who want to use our judicial system to force their particular beliefs on the rest of us -- something our nation's founders (who spent plenty of time in church themselves) considered a very bad idea. Imagine a country where all forms of contraception are illegal; where the government decides what your doctor can and can't tell you based on one group's narrow religious dogma; where the police might interfere with your most private life and death family decisions.

Together, we're pulling out all the stops to make sure this vision of America doesn't come to pass. MoveOn members have blanketed the nation with over 40,000 letters to the editor, tens of thousands of calls, hundreds of thousands of petition signatures, and hard-hitting messages on the airwaves.

But there's no substitute for public rallies where we can stand up and be counted. That's why Wednesday's events -- organized jointly by MoveOn PAC and our friends at the Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary -- are so critical. Please come to a rally in your state, even if it means leaving a bit early from work and traveling to get there. You can search for rallies near you at, or sign up to host your own:


We're on the right track -- news reports say Republicans' private polling shows the public moving our way -- but we've still got an uphill fight ahead of us to find a few more Republican votes and keep Democrats standing strong. The best way to do that is to join together next Wednesday and show Congress, and our neighbors, how many of us are concerned about the Republican drive for absolute power over the courts.

Thank you for all that you do,

–Justin, Rosalyn, Matt, Ben and the MoveOn PAC Team
Earth Day, April 22nd, 2005

1. [Emphasis added] Letter concerning Priscilla Owen from environmental groups to U.S. Senators; http://www.moveon.org/r?r=700&t=3.

2. Letter concerning Janet Rogers Brown from environmental groups to U.S. Senators; http://www.moveon.org/r?r=700&t=4

Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

(*) (*) (*) (*) (*) (*) (*) (*) (*) We just gotta get out there and do something. These moveon got folks off their asses and out to vote last Fall. Anyone interested in this rally against the Repubs stacking the judicial deck, PM me?

({) (}) ,

04-23-2005, 09:27 AM
In Portland, Ore., a Bid to Pull Out of Terror Task Force

Published: April 23, 2005

Citing irreconcilable differences with how the Federal Bureau of Investigation has operated in a post-Sept. 11 world, city officials in Portland, Ore., said yesterday that they planned to pull their police officers out of an F.B.I.-run antiterrorism task force.

Federal officials said no other city had taken such an action.

Mayor Tom Potter, a Democrat and former Portland police chief, along with several city commissioners, said they expected the City Council to approve the move next week.

Mr. Potter said that several sticking points in negotiations with the F.B.I. over how investigations are conducted and who has "top secret" security clearance had prompted his decision to remove the two officers, now detailed to the antiterrorism task force, from under the auspices of the F.B.I.

At a news conference yesterday, Mr. Potter was joined by the F.B.I.'s highest-ranking official in Portland and an official from the United States attorney's office there, in what appeared to be a show of forced congeniality. City officials said in interviews that it was clear there was hostility between the F.B.I. special agent in charge in Portland, Robert J. Jordan, and the mayor, but that they had appeared to mend fences before the news conference.

Mr. Potter said that the city's law enforcement agencies would still cooperate with the F.B.I., although his officers, if the plan is approved, would report to the Police Department, not the F.B.I.

"I do not take this step lightly," Mr. Potter said at the news conference. "We're not severing our ties; we're only changing them."

The move by Mayor Potter is not the first time that Portland, which has often shown an independent streak, has clashed with the F.B.I. In November 2001, the Police Department announced that its officers would not cooperate with the government's efforts to interview thousands of Muslim men in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

In a telephone interview after the news conference, Mr. Potter said his main rationale for this decision was that the F.B.I., in negotiations over the last several weeks, had refused to give him and his police chief the same top secret clearance given to the two officers on the antiterrorism task force. In negotiations, the bureau agreed to give the police chief clearance, officials said, but refused to give it to the mayor, who under Portland government tradition is also the police commissioner, with oversight over the department.

This angered Mr. Potter, he said, adding that his lack of security clearance would effectively render him unable to know, in highly classified investigations or other cases, what his own police officers were doing.

"It's important that I know what they know," the mayor said. "Because that is part of the oversight process. If there are things that I don't know that they know, there's always an opportunity for something to go wrong."

In brief remarks at the news conference, Mr. Jordan said: "We collectively have discussed many different proposals. I fully respect the mayor's right and responsibility to provide appropriate oversight of city police officers."

"I make the commitment to you, Mr. Mayor," Mr. Jordan added, "and to the citizens of Portland that we will continue to work with you and the Portland Police Bureau to protect the public's safety."

F.B.I. officials in Washington declined to comment on Mr. Potter's decision and his negotiations with the bureau, saying the situation was being handled by the local field office and Mr. Jordan, who, his office said yesterday, would be unavailable to comment further.

While Mr. Potter focused heavily in his announcement yesterday on the security clearance sticking points, he indicated he was also concerned about how the F.B.I., which last year wrongly arrested and detained a Muslim resident of a Portland suburb, Brandon Mayfield, and then apologized, was handling the protection of civil rights for area citizens in their antiterrorism efforts.

City Commissioner Randy Leonard, who drafted the resolution that would remove the officers from the task force, was more blunt about his concerns about the antiterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act and how the F.B.I. was enforcing it, including its tactics in the high-profile Mayfield case.

"It would be disingenuous to say I have not been influenced by this kind of national sense - international, really - that we have taken this hard swing to the right in terms of guaranteeing personal freedoms of the citizens of this country," Mr. Leonard said.

Referring to the F.B.I., Mr. Leonard, a former Portland fire department lieutenant, added, "We as a city are not ceding over our police officers to them."

City Commissioner Dan Saltzman - there are four commissioners, and the mayor also has a vote on the Council - had not made up his mind yet, pending a review of the agreement between the city and the F.B.I., his chief of staff, Jeff Cogen, said yesterday. But it appeared likely the mayor would secure a majority.

"The commissioner was disappointed that the city and the F.B.I. were unable to reach agreement," Mr. Cogen said. "But he knows the negotiations were done in good faith."

(*) (*) I remember back in the 1970's/early 1980's when the then- mayor of Portland had some "artwork" installed including one life-sized statue of a man in a rain coat flashing...... :| However, I believe that the current mayor, being a former chief of police, certainly must have some compelling reasons for wanting to protect Portland on his own (with his staff and other organizations I'm assuming...) Good for Portland! I hope other cities follow their lead. (*) (*) (*) (*) (*)

(k) (k) ,

04-23-2005, 09:28 AM
A Civil Debate Over Civil Union

Published: April 23, 2005

One of the amazing things about Connecticut's approval of a law guaranteeing the rights of gay couples was the almost placid way the political process worked. This is a pioneering law - the first enacting civil union voluntarily, without court pressure - yet it was adopted with a minimum of political fireworks. There are healthy lessons in this for the rest of the nation as this vital human right progresses.

Connecticut's legislators were obviously influenced by shifting public opinion in favor of taking the historic step, but even more by the gatherings across the state where gay couples invited politicians and neighbors into their homes to experience their domestic lives firsthand. This grass-roots lobbying by gay and lesbian couples proved that their humanity was not to be denied, even if the word "marriage" was denied to them as the final compromise was passed by large, bipartisan margins and was enthusiastically signed by Gov. Jodi Rell, a Republican.

The law firmly extends to gay couples the same rights and protections guaranteed to married heterosexuals, including tax and insurance benefits, family leave, hospital visits and more. Its passage was undoubtedly eased by an amendment that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. But there's cause for optimism that this obstacle may be removed, considering the state's progressive path since the day, 40 years ago, when the courts finally struck down a puritanical law that criminalized birth control.

In the past 15 years, Connecticut has protected gays and lesbians under hate-crime, employment and housing laws, and allowed unmarried couples to raise adopted children. Just as civil union was the next logical step, so may the term marriage be finally extended someday.

Other states are heading in a different direction. Fourteen have banned gay marriage in the last year, with Kansas going further and outlawing civil union. But Connecticut's new law and the bolstering of gay unions in Vermont, Massachusetts and California provide a response to the tendency of civil libertarians to presume that lawmaking is transitory and less reliable than a court decision. Critical as the courts are, there's nothing more stirring than the sight of a legislature, representing the will of the people, passing laws to protect the rights of a vulnerable minority group.

(*) (*) (*) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-23-2005, 09:34 AM
(*) (*) (*) I'm printing this one out, most definitely! (l) (l) (l) (l) (l)

Uncle Dick and Papa

By MAUREEN DOWD Published: April 23, 2005

It was a move so smooth and bold, accomplished with such backstage bureaucratic finesse, that it was worthy of Dick Cheney himself.

The éminence grise who had long whispered in the ear of power and who had helped oversee the selection process ended up selecting himself. In Cheneyesque fashion, he searched far and wide for a pope by looking around the room and swiftly deciding he was the best man for the job.

Just like Mr. Cheney, once the quintessentially deferential staff man with the Secret Service code name "Back Seat," the self-effacing Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has clambered over the back seat to seize the wheel (or Commonweal). Mr. Cheney played the tough cop to W.'s boyish, genial pol, just as Cardinal Ratzinger played the tough cop to John Paul's gentle soul.
And just like the vice president, the new pope is a Jurassic archconservative who disdains the "if it feels good do it" culture and the revolutionary trends toward diversity and cultural openness since the 60's.

The two leaders are a match - absolutists who view the world in stark terms of good and evil, eager to prolong a patriarchal society that prohibits gay marriage and slices up pro-choice U.S. Democratic candidates.

The two, from rural, conservative parts of their countries, want to turn back the clock and exorcise New Age silliness. Mr. Cheney wants to dismantle the New Deal and go back to 1937. Pope Benedict XVI wants to dismantle Vatican II and go back to 1397. As a scholar, his specialty was "patristics," the study of the key thinkers in the first eight centuries of the church.

They are both old hands at operating in secrecy and using the levers of power for ideological advantage. They want to enlist Catholics in the conservative cause, turning confession boxes into ballot boxes with the threat that a vote for a liberal Democrat could lead to eternal damnation.

Unlike Ronald Reagan and John Paul II, the vice president and the new pope do not have large-scale charisma or sunny faces to soften their harsh "my way or the highway" policies. Their gloomy world outlooks and bullying roles earned them the nicknames Dr. No and Cardinal No. One is called Washington's Darth Vader, the other the Vatican's Darth Vader.

W.'s Doberman and John Paul's "God's Rottweiler," as the new pope was called, are both global enforcers with cult followings. Just as the vice president acted to solidify the view of America as a hyperpower, so the new pope views the Roman Catholic Church as the one true religion. He once branded other faiths as deficient.

Both like to blame the media. Cardinal Ratzinger once accused the U.S. press of overplaying the sex abuse scandal to hurt the church and keep the story on the front pages.

Dr. No and Cardinal No parted ways on the war - though Cardinal Ratzinger did criticize the U.N. But they agree that stem cell research and cloning must be curtailed. Cardinal Ratzinger once called cloning "more dangerous than weapons of mass destruction."
As fundamentalism marches on - even Bill Gates seems to have caved to a preacher on gay rights legislation because of fear of a boycott - U.S. conservatives are thrilled about the choice of Cardinal Ratzinger, hoping for an unholy alliance. They hope this pope - who seems to want a smaller, purer church - encourages a militant role for Catholic bishops and priests in the political process.

Cardinal Ratzinger did not shrink from advising American bishops in the last presidential election on bringing Catholic elected officials to heel. He warned that Catholics who deliberately voted for a candidate because of a pro-choice position were guilty of cooperating in evil, and unworthy to receive communion. Vote Democratic and lose your soul. "Panzerkardinal," as he was known, definitely isn't a man who could read Mario Cuomo's Notre Dame speech urging that pro-choice politicians be allowed in the tent and say, "He's got a point."

The Republicans can build their majority by bringing strict Catholics and evangelicals - once at odds - together on what they call "culture of life" issues.

But there's a risk, as with Tom DeLay, Dr. Bill Frist and other Republicans, that if the new pope is too heavy-handed and too fundamentalist, his approach may backfire.

Moral absolutism is relative, after all. As Bruce Landesman, a philosophy professor at the University of Utah, pointed out in a letter to The Times: "Those who hold 'liberal' views are not relativists. They simply disagree with the conservatives about what is right and wrong."

(*) (*) what a tremendous gift this writer has. I really enjoyed learning Cheyney's Secret Service nickname as "Back Seat" as well as the comparison to the late Pope John Paul II's "Rottweiler" who is now Pope. My favorite was the last sentence though:

"Those who hold 'liberal' views are not relativists. They simply disagree with the conservatives about what is right and wrong."

(h) Absolutely.

Carpe diem!

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-25-2005, 04:16 AM
The L Word: news, interviews, recaps and commentary on Showtime's lesbian series:



The L Word: Season 2 News (most recent news on top):

Upcoming Lesbian-Related DVD Releases by Date:


(*) (*) .....really nice web site where I found all kinds of intersting and surprising links and info... (h) (h)

<sipping coffee and shaking out those "mental cobwebs".....I am *such* a night person (as differentiated from lady of the evening...);)

(k) (k),
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-25-2005, 04:17 AM

(*) (*) (h) (h)

(k) (k) ,

04-25-2005, 04:22 AM
:o :o :o .....surprised the heck out of me.....

When Law and Order's Assistant District Attorney Serena Southerlyn was
fired on this week's episode of the long-running NBC drama Law and
Order, no one was surprised: the news of actress Elizabeth Rohm's impending
departure from the series after four years had been announced months

But almost no one was prepared for her final scene, in which Southerlyn
came out as a lesbian.

Elisabeth Rohm (Angel, One Life to Live) joined the cast of Law and
Order in 2001 as ADA Serena Southerlyn, and quickly became one of the show's more disliked characters for what was perceived by many to be her cold and robotic personality.

But she did have some fans, including many lesbian viewers who had
their suspicions about Southerlyn's sexuality. Since the writers have offered
few personal details about Southerlyn (or most of the other characters),
this was only conjecture--until last night.

In the final scene of the January 12, 2005 episode ("Ain't No Love"),
District Attorney Branch (Fred Thompson) fired Southerlyn for being too
passionate and personally involved with her work, telling her she would
be better suited for advocacy work than criminal law. Southerlyn asked
"You're not firing me because I'm a lesbian?" Branch replied "No," and
Southerlyn responded "Good...good" before the screen faded to black and the
credits began to roll.

That was the end of the episode, and Southerlyn's career on Law and
Order. Law and Order is one of the most-watched series on television,
garnering millions of viewers every week on primetime and in syndication. The
series is also credited with launching the popularity of the procedural drama
on TV, spawning a number of imitators in the last decade including two Law
& Order spinoffs, which have also gone on to do very well in the ratings.

The series has been criticized, however, for its lack of openly gay and
lesbian characters in the last fifteen years. There have been plenty of
lesbian guest characters--either as victims, witnesses, or
perpetrators--but no lesbians among its cast. Then rumors began to
circulate last year that one of the ADAs would be outed, and we hoped
we might finally get a lesbian on Law and Order--although not quite like

To out Southerlyn in her final scene on the series feels a little like
having your cake and eating it too: Law and Order gets to expand its
diversity of characters and lay claim to a token lesbian among its
cast, but avoid the ramifications of it because the character leaves the
series immediately after her sexuality is revealed.

Many viewers are likely to feel cheated out of the opportunity to see
Southerlyn on the series as a lesbian character. Watching the series
with the knowledge of Southerlyn's sexual orientation changes and enriches
the viewing experience for many lesbian and bisexual women--both of the
series in general, and of Southerlyn in particular--even if her personal life
is never explored. In a world where lesbians are still rare on network
television, just knowing a character is gay is important, and enough to
keep many viewers tuned in.

The decision to disclose Southerlyn's sexuality during the termination
of her employment--rather than in a more neutral context--is also
problematic. While the information was imparted in the matter-of-fact style in which Law and Order discloses all personal information about its regular
characters, introducing it for the first time in such a negative context--as a
possible reason for termination--subtly reinforce the association between coming out as a lesbian and negative consequences.

Even if Branch indicated that Southerlyn's sexuality wasn't the issue
(and we have no reason to think it was), the fact that the writers revealed
Southerlyn's sexuality in the context of being a potential problem,
with no scenes during the last four years with positive references to her
sexuality to offset this negative association, leaves viewers with a negative
impression of lesbianism overall--particularly given that Southerlyn is
not the most popular character.

Whatever your opinion of Serena Southerlyn and her outing, she is still
a confidant, assertive character with a successful career (her recent
firing notwithstanding) who has been watched by millions of Americans for four
years. She may not be the warmest woman on the planet, but Southerlyn
is certainly not an overwhelmingly negative portrayal of a lesbian--no
small accomplishment given the prade of lesbian stereotypes we've seen on
network TV recently.

While the way the writers handled Southerlyn's sexual orientation
certainly leaves much to be desired, the fact remains that with this disclosure,
Southerlyn has become one of the most prominent lesbian characters on
network TV in the last few years.

She also gives the endless Law & Order reruns on TV--and the fourteenth
season, which is now available on DVD--a whole new appeal for lesbian


(*) (*) (f) (f) (f) (f)

({) (}) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-25-2005, 04:25 AM

(*) (*) .......always nice to see a category on Ellen's site within which I relate..... ;) ;)

Have a lovely Monday and start of your week...... (f) (f)

(k) (k),
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-25-2005, 04:26 AM

(*) (*) ({) (}) ({) (})

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-25-2005, 04:33 AM
.....amazing......a nice recap for those whop don't have "on-demand" cable service to watch the same episode again...to catch the dialogue that might have been missed...... (h)


(*) (*) .....<sigh>.....Showtime announced that a third season was approved for production.....maybe thay'll add some older characters that are positive examples and that "stay" on the show as regulars.......Camryn Manheim and Sandra Berhardt have been on the show (Camryn for 3 episodes only) and Sandra for the whole season 2. Last night some of the show's characters went on an Olivia Cruise....and there were scenes that were just hilarious in my opinion.. ;) (6) ;)

.......so nice that I watched it twice....... (a)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-25-2005, 06:05 AM
If you can start the day without caffeine,

If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,

If you can resist complaining and boring people with your

If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,

If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to
give you any time,

If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you
when, though no fault of yours, something goes wrong,

If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,

If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor

If you can face the world without lies and deceit,

If you can conquer tension without medical help,

If you can relax without liquor,

If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

If you can honestly say that deep in your heart you have no
prejudice against creed, color, religion, gender preference, or

THEN, you have reached the same level of development as
your dog!!

(*) (*) I LOVED this one and hope that you enjoy it as much as I did this morning. Have a smooth and enjoyable week..... ({) (})

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-25-2005, 10:20 AM

If you visit the South, please keep the following in mind... If you
are going to live, or visit in the South, you need to know the rules.

In an effort to help outsiders understand the rules of the
Southerner's mind, the following list will be handed to each person as they enter a Southern State.

1. That farm boy you see at the gas station did more work before breakfast than you do all week at the gym.

2. It's called a "gravel road," No matter how slow you drive, you're going to get dust on your Navigator. Drive it or get the hell out of the way.

3. The red dirt -- it's called clay. Red clay. If you like the color don't wash your car for a couple weeks -- it'll be permanent.

4. We all started hunting and fishing when we were seven years old. Yeah, we saw Bambi. We got over it.

5. Go ahead and bring your $600 Orvis Fly Rod. Don't cry to us if a flathead breaks it off at the handle. We have a name for those little 13-inch trout you fish for -- bait.

6. Pull your pants up. You look like an idiot.

7. If that cell phone rings while a bunch of mallards are making
their final approach, we will shoot it. You might want to ensure it's not up to your ear at the time.

8. No, there's no "Vegetarian Special" on the menu. Order steak. Order it rare. Or, you can order the Chef's Salad and pick off the
two pounds of ham and turkey.

9. Tea - yeah, we have tea. It comes in a glass over ice and is
sweet. You want it hot -- sit it in the sun. You want it unsweetened -- add a lot of water.

10. You bring Coke into my house, it better be brown, wet, and served over ice.

11. So you have a sixty thousand-dollar car. We're real impressed. We have a quarter of a million-dollar combine that we only use two weeks a year.

12. Let's get this straight. We have one stop light in town. We
stop when it's red. We may even stop when it's yellow.

13. We eat dinner together with our families. We pray before we eat (yeah, even breakfast). We go to church on Wednesdays and Sundays and we go to high school football games on Friday nights. We still address our seniors with "yes, sir" and "yes, ma'am," and we sometimes still take Sunday drives around town to see friends and neighbors.

14. We don't do "hurry up" well.

15. Greens - yeah, we have greens, but you don't putt on them. You boil them with salty fatback, bacon or a ham hock.

16. Yeah, we eat catfish, bass, bream and carp. You really want
sushi and caviar? It's available at the bait shop.

17. They are pigs. That's what they smell like. Get over it. Don't
like it? Interstate 85 goes two ways - Interstate 40 goes the other
two. Pick one.

18. Grits are corn. You put butter, salt, and maybe even some pepper on them. If you want to put milk and sugar on them, then you want cream of wheat- go to Kansas. That would be I-40 west.

19. The "Opener" refers to the first day of deer season or dove
season. Both are holidays. You can get pancakes, cane syrup, and sausage before daylight at the church on either day.

20. So every person in every pickup waves? Yeah, it's called being friendly. Understand the concept?

21. Yeah, we have golf courses. Don't hit in the water hazards. It spooks the fish and bothers the gators -and if you hit it in the
rough, we have these things called diamondbacks, and they're not baseball players.

22. That Highway Patrol Officer that just pulled you over for driving like an idiot -- his name is "Sir," no matter how young he is.

23. We have lots of pine trees. They have sap. It drips from them. You park your Navigator under them, and they'll leave a logo on your hood.

24. You burn an American flag in our state, you get beat up. No
questions. The liberal contingent of our state legislature -- all
four of them -- enacted a measure to stop this. There is now a $2.50 fine for beating up the flag burner.

25. No, we don't care how you do things up North. If it is so great
up there why not visit a Northern state or stay there. And not, down here. We don't have an accent, you do!

(*) (*) with a mom from the north and a dad from the south, I have a skewed perspective of the "War of Nothern Aggression" AKA Civil War.... ;) Suffice to say that I learned at an earlier age what chicken-fried steak, grits and other soul food was....

:o :o whew! the wind is really kicked up today and it feels like a Fall day rather than a Spring one in that it's gray......I guess Doc won't be going on that walk with his new grrlfriend pooch later today. Maybe later this week.

(f) (f) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 02:44 AM

(*) (*) Fun, and I am really glad that it's virtual after living in northern CA (7 years) and southern CA for another 7 years......Yikes! :| :|

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 02:48 AM
(Euronext Paris) - Air Liquide - Liquid nitrogen for a new bridge in San Francisco
(30/01/04 09:54 CET)

Air Liquide was selected to supply an important quantity of liquid nitrogen in a very short time to cool the concrete being poured into the foundations of the new Oakland Bay bridge.

The new bridge is 3.5 km long and will be opened in 2008. It is designed to resist earthquakes better than the present bridge that was severely damaged in 1989.

Nitrogen is the main component of air and is characterized by its very low temperature of -196°C in a liquid state, which makes it very useful in a number of industrial applications. It is used, among other things, to freeze unstable or very humid soils when pouring foundations. In the case of the Oakland Bay bridge, its extraordinary cooling power was used to lower and maintain the temperature of cement to less than 10°C by injection into each cement truck just prior to pouring.

Air Liquide America’s California team responded to this exceptional requirement and provided some 227,000 liters of liquid nitrogen non-stop for 40 hours to cool 10,000 tons of concrete, through a unique injection staging area and continuous temperature controls.

“We have been established in California since 1968 and we are very proud to be involved in an operation of this significance”, said B.K. Chin, Chief Operating Officer, Air Liquide America, “When the new bridge opens, it will serve a multitude of travellers and will add a new architectural signature to the area’s skyline.”

Present in 65 countries, Air Liquide is the world leader in industrial and medical gases and related services. The Group offers innovative solutions based on constantly enhanced technologies. These solutions, which are in line with Air Liquide’s commitment to sustainable development, help to protect life and enable our customers to manufacture many indispensable everyday products. Founded in 1902, Air Liquide has more than 30,000 employees. The Group has successfully developed a long-term relationship with its shareholders built on confidence and transparency and guided by the principles of corporate governance. Since the publication of its first consolidated financial statements in 1971, Air Liquide has posted strong and steady earnings growth. Sales in 2003 totaled 8,394 million euros, of which sales outside France accounted almost 80%. Air Liquide is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange and is a component of the CAC 40 and EuroStoxx 50 indexes (ISIN code FR 000012007).



(*) (*) :o :o (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 02:50 AM

(*) (*) ....ah, really interesting in my view......learned a few new things.

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 02:52 AM
Uh, how many O's in Google? As anyone who learned their keyboard skills on a manual typewriter can appreciate, the advent of computers, spell checkers and painless editing has led even the best of typists into some sloppy fingerwork. But these days, a typo can carry a heavy penalty. The folks at F-Secure are warning that some slimeballs have set up site designed to trap unwitting travelers who mistype google.com as googkle.com. DO NOT go to this site -- just by visiting, you will be exposed to all manner of Trojan droppers, downloaders, backdoors and spyware.



(*) (*) Holy Moly! Whatever you do, do not mistype, eh? (*) (*) :| :|

(f) (f) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 02:55 AM

(*) (*) :o :o ;) ;)

Have a lovely weekend,

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 02:56 AM
Chinese watermelon art

.....make sure that your speakers are turned up a little......


(*) (*) ;) ;) (h) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 02:58 AM

(*) (*) (h) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 02:59 AM
......quite cool, I think..... ;) (h)


({) (}) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 03:00 AM
.......this is really quite funny, especially for John Cleese fans! (*) (*)


It's *still* hilarious!!!!

(f) (f) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 03:01 AM

Still, it's been great:


(l) (l) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 03:03 AM
Showtime L-Word Home Page:



The L Word: DVD Extras- "The Characters' Looks": http://www.sho.com/site/lword/behind_the_scenes.do You have to scroll down a little to find it and definitely worth it. Make sure to turn up your speakers......

Ring tones and graphics:

Cell phone ring tones: I want the The L Word Season 2 Theme Song! (long version....)



L-Word Fashion Showcase (again, turn up speakers.....)


(*) (*) (f) (f)

(k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 03:05 AM

Published: April 25, 2005 NYTimes

LOS ANGELES, April 23 - Get ready for the next level in the blogosphere.

Arianna Huffington, the columnist and onetime candidate for governor of California, is about to move blogging from the realm of the anonymous individual to the realm of the celebrity collective.

She has lined up more than 250 of what she calls "the most creative minds" in the country to write a group blog that will range over topics from politics and entertainment to sports and religion. It is essentially a nonstop virtual talk show that will be part of a Web site that will also serve up breaking news around the clock. It is to be introduced May 9.

Having prominent people join the blogosphere, Ms. Huffington said in an interview, "is an affirmation of its success and will only enrich and strengthen its impact on the national conversation." Among those signed up to contribute are Walter Cronkite, David Mamet, Nora Ephron, Warren Beatty, James Fallows, Vernon E. Jordan Jr., Maggie Gyllenhaal, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Diane Keaton, Norman Mailer and Mortimer B. Zuckerman.

"This gives me a chance to sound off with a few words or a long editorial," said Mr. Cronkite, 88, the longtime "CBS Evening News" anchorman. "It's a medium that is new and interesting, and I thought I'd have some fun."

In some ways, Ms. Huffington's venture is a direct challenge to the popular Drudge Report. Started nearly a decade ago by Matt Drudge, the Drudge Report lifts potentially hot news from obscurity and blares it across a virtual "front page," usually before anyone else. While his squibs are sometimes cast with a conservative slant, his "developing" scoops often send the mainstream media scrambling to catch up.
Ms. Huffington's effort - to be called the Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.com) - will also seek to ferret out potentially juicy items and give them legs. In fact, she has hired away Mr. Drudge's right-hand Web whiz, Andrew Breitbart, who used to be her researcher.

But unlike the Drudge Report, the Huffington Post will be interactive, offering news as well as commentary from famous people and allowing the masses to comment too, although not always directly with the celebs. Notables will oversee certain sections, with Gary Hart, the former Colorado senator, for example, taking the lead on national security issues. R. O. Blechman, the magazine illustrator, has designed the site. All material will be free and available on archives.

While many of the bloggers are on the left of the political spectrum, some conservatives have also signed on, among them Tony Blankley, editorial page editor of The Washington Times, and David Frum, the writer who coined the phrase "axis of evil" when he was a speechwriter for President Bush.

In a solicitation letter to hundreds of people in her eclectic Rolodex, Ms. Huffington said the site "won't be left wing or right wing; indeed, it will punch holes in that very stale way of looking at the world."

This is not unlike the persona that Ms. Huffington, who left the Republican Party nine years ago, tried to craft in the 2003 California governor's race, when she ran as an independent. She came in fifth, with less than 1 percent of the vote, to Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican. She describes herself now as a "progressive Democrat" who rejects party orthodoxy, but the site is likely to start as a watering hole for liberals.

"This was borne in part out of frustration with the elections, the last one and the one before that," said Kenneth B. Lerer, a former executive vice president of AOL Time Warner, who helped found the Huffington Post. "A lot of people didn't know what to do after those campaigns, and this will allow them to enter the dialogue."

Mr. Lerer and Ms. Huffington will manage the Post, with Mr. Lerer overseeing a staff of half a dozen people in a loft in lower Manhattan. Ms. Huffington and Mr. Breitbart are based in Los Angeles.

Mr. Lerer said the Post, which will generate revenue by selling advertising space, was being financed initially by him, Ms. Huffington and 10 others he identified as "friends and family." The bloggers will not be paid.

Group blogs are not altogether new; what is new is brand-name people writing them. But it is just this aspect of the Post that is raising questions among Web watchers about whether it can succeed. Jay Rosen, who writes about blogs on his Web site (www.pressthink.org), said he doubted that celebrities would be driven by the same passion that drives many regular bloggers.

"These aren't exactly people who lack voice or visibility in our culture," he said in an e-mail message. "Gwyneth Paltrow has no incentive to speak candidly and alienate future ticket buyers. Barry Diller doesn't have time to hunt down juicy links for his readers. And where does Jon Corzine fit into any conversation those two might be having?"

Mr. Drudge said he was "excited" for Ms. Huffington. "The Internet is still in its infancy," he said by e-mail. "It's wide open."

But he suggested that Hollywood types would not be able to sustain a successful Web site. "I suspect the Hollywood players will find it harder to maintain a compelling webspot" than to open big at the box office, he wrote. "There are not simply thousands of theaters you have to pack in - there are millions of Internet users and eyeballs to dazzle."
Joan Walsh, editor in chief of Salon.com, an online news magazine that features, among other things, group blogs about politics, commended Ms. Huffington for bringing "energy and creativity" to the blog phenomenon, and adding star power.
"What she's smart about is that reader interaction is really critical, so talking about it as a blog shows that she understands where it's going right now," she said. "But she has to be careful about the perception of this as a celebrity blog."
She warned that some who promise to blog never will, and others may have difficulty translating their voices. Those factors, plus reader reaction, could alter what the Post becomes. "You think you're shaping the Web, but the Web shapes you," she said.
In her solicitation letter to bloggers, Ms. Huffington promised them no heavy lifting. "You're actually already doing the hardest work of a blogger: having interesting opinions and fresh takes on the hot stories of the day," she wrote. "We'll just provide a megaphone."
Many of the bloggers are tech-savvy and young, and most entries will be true blogs - unedited and in real time. She said she was not worried about having enough material.
"We're not dependent on 1, 2 or even 10 people to keep posting throughout the day," Ms. Huffington said. "By having so many interesting people taking part, there will always be somebody posting something interesting."
Ms. Ephron, the writer, who is one of the bloggers, said it was this casual aspect of the venture that appealed to her. "The idea that one might occasionally be able to have a small thought and a place to send it, without having to write a whole essay, seems like a very good idea," she said.

She also sees the Post as a chance for the left to balance out the right.

"In the Fox era, everything we can do on our side to even things out, now that the media is either controlled by Rupert Murdoch or is so afraid of Rupert Murdoch that they behave as if they were controlled by him, is great," she said. But sometimes, she added, "I may merely have a cake recipe."

Ms. Walsh of Salon.com said that managing the politics of the site could be tricky. The initial enthusiasm is likely to be among the left, who feel like they are getting kicked by Drudge and the right, she said. But the blogosphere is independent and skeptical and rejects political cant, she said, adding, "You don't want to be doing predictable journalism and pandering to people."

Another trick will be balancing the bloggers' ability to put forth their ideas with their desire for protection from abusive comments. Jonah Peretti, who is overseeing the site's technology, said the bloggers would decide for themselves whether to engage with readers. "It's something we'll experiment with," he said. "We want to make sure there's a productive, interesting dialogue and not just people ranting."
The Post will also set another blogging milestone: Ms. Huffington has signed a contract with Tribune Media Services, which syndicates her newspaper column, to syndicate parts of her blog to newspapers and their Web sites.

"Newspaper editors across the country are increasingly intrigued by the phenomenon of blogging and are open to finding ways to capitalize on the best of it," said John C. Twohey, the syndicate's vice president for editorial and operations.

But he said some editors were also uncomfortable with the unfiltered nature of blogs and that he had told Ms. Huffington it was a mistake for her to call the Post a blog.

As a result of that concern, Ms. Huffington said, while the bloggers will be unfiltered on the Post, they will be fact-checked and copy edited for the syndicate. Mr. Twohey said the syndicate would peddle the Post to potential clients not as a blog but as "daily excerpts from a longer-form Web site to which 300 prominent Americans are contributing." Running blogs through a grammarian's keyboard raises questions, of course, about whether they can translate to print without losing their immediacy and authenticity.

But those involved in the project seem prepared to let the site take its course. "It certainly is inspired by millions of people online who are writing away to their hearts' content," said Mr. Breitbart. "But if it doesn't look like a blog, it will become its own product unto itself."

(*) (*) ...."the left balancing out the right"???? Left-leaning folks unite....not at this particular blog, but certainly elsewhere in this virtual digital tundra....;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 03:09 AM

(*) (*) (h) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 03:15 AM
Everything you need to know about Windows, but were afraid to ask


(*) (*) Superb resource to save in my opinion. (l) (l)

Getting that umbrella out....today's already wet and continued rain expected all day. Darn, and Doc had a date with his 8 year old pitbull grrlfriend (that he met at the oncologist's two weeks ago) to go for a walk later this morning. Perhaps tomorrow. (o) (l) (l) Let your smile be your umbrella!

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 03:18 AM
Finally, the answer to Silicon Valley traffic: Not wider highways. Skinnier cars.
Skinnier cars?


(o) (o) It's time to make a pot of coffee and get going on the day. As always, it's been a delight to visit B-F! (l) (l)

(f) (f) (f) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 04:30 AM
Good Morning Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer (f)

I have had time to come in and read and as always thank you for the very interesting links that you place here in your virtual tundra.

I always learn something new by coming in here and very much enjoy it.
So once again thank you for your time and links.

I also enjoyed reading that Doc the Boxer is doing quite well (f) That is great!
May you also have a very nice weekend.


04-30-2005, 08:39 AM
(f) (f) (f) (f)

Thank you for your most thoughtful, kind posting. Doc and I also appreciate your prayers for his (hopefully) continuing recovery.

You have a fine weekend also..... ({) (}) (f)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 08:41 AM
Breaking up marriages (or at least being the brunt of those pesky breakup rumors) is very hard work, so the oh-so-fit Angelina Jolie spends a lot of time working out. When she was preparing for the very physical role of Lara Croft in "Tomb Raider," Angelina was on a strict protein diet of meat and fish supplemented by tons of water and vitamins. She learned to kickbox, did bungee ballet and spent a lot of time scuba diving and training with weapons in addition to daily workouts with a personal trainer. At the time, Angelina was married to husband Billy Bob Thornton. She boasted to the media that the best way she kept in shape was a vigorous bedroom workout with Billy Bob. These days, her boudoir exercise partners are merely speculation (Brad Pitt, anyone?), so Angelina gets most of her exercise in the gym from weights and cardio activities.

Fast Facts about Angelina Jolie
• She speaks fluent French.
• She performed her own stunts in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. :o :o
• Her childhood dream was becoming a funeral director. :| :|
• She has the Latin phrase

• Alexander (2004)
• The Fever (2004)
• Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)
• Shark Tale (2004)
• Taking Lives (2004)


(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 08:47 AM


(*) (*) (w) (f) That oughta brighten anyone's dull outlook...... ;) Like sharon Stone, both womyn can carry off a little bit of butch and *still* look feminine in my view. (f) (f)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 08:54 AM
http://www.cinebxl.com/acteurs/sstone5.jpg (I needed a glass of water ;)




(*) (*) I loved this one since I have the same hat and wear my long hair for baseball games <like once a year>:


http://funnynews.free.fr/photos/951.jpg (I felt hot and not from hormones!);)

(f) (f) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 08:58 AM

(*) (*) Absolutely gorgous group shot and very tastefully done..... (l)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 09:00 AM

(*) (*) smell really nice..... (f) (f)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 09:05 AM





(*) (*) What an exqusite medium blue flower......my grandmom used to call them "snow balls"....the huge blue and pink bushes that she had in her yard when I was young. <sigh>

(f) (f) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 09:08 AM
this was the closest but I thought they were too red if going with blue flowers:


(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 09:14 AM




(*) (*) Gorgeous!!)



(f) (f) Enjoy your day and evening........

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 09:18 AM



(*) (*) (f) (f) I think I need to put some music on to go along with looking at lovely blues and shades of purple flowers...... (8) (8)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 09:25 AM

(*) (*) Perfect! http://www.dutchgardens.com/Images/Products/26060T.jpg


(*) (*) I'll have to find one for one of my hats:



(l) (l) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 09:28 AM
Must be that this color has so many names......


(*) (*) Gorgeous!



(*) (*) Very unusual...check out the tips:


(l) (8) (l) (8)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 09:30 AM

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 09:32 AM

(*) (*) These are alot like banjo music in that I've never seen a sad-looking flower in this category.....but then most types of daisies look pretty happy. ;)

(k) (k),
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

04-30-2005, 09:35 AM
and I teasingly call him "Ferdinand"... ;)

Truly one of my favorite-smelling flowers:

Dark blue hyacinth:



(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-06-2005, 05:30 AM
I think it's pretty funny that older folks like me have started watching the "Daily Show", especially the 11:00 p.m. version that recaps the day's news in a quite hilarious way *and* I learn about new books and authors.......:-) Although Jon Stewart is by no means my only source of news being the broadband researcher and surfer of information that I am...;-)

Tuning in to Jon Stewart, and Britney Schmidt
Published: May 6, 2005

Many authors hate to go on grinding book tours. But I've always found it a useful way to be a foreign correspondent in America and take the pulse of the country. Here are the two most important things I learned from a recent book tour:

First, many educated people seem to be getting their news from Comedy Central. Say what? As any author will tell you, the best TV book shows to be on have long been Don Imus, Charlie Rose, C-Span, Tim Russert on CNBC, "Today," Oprah and selected programs on CNN, Fox and MSNBC. They are all still huge. But what was new for me on this tour was the number of people who also mentioned getting their news from Jon Stewart's truly funny news satire, "The Daily Show." And I am not just talking about college kids. I am talking about grandmas. Just how many people are now getting their only TV news from Comedy Central is not clear to me - but it is a lot, lot more than you think.

Second, and this may be related to the first, there's a huge undertow of worry out in the country about how our kids are being educated and whether they'll be able to find jobs in an increasingly flat world, where more Chinese, Indians and Russians than ever can connect, collaborate and compete with us. In three different cities I had parents ask me some version of: "My daughter [or son] is studying Chinese in high school. That's the right thing to do, isn't it?"

Not being an educator, I can't give any such advice. But my own research has taught me that the most important thing you can learn in this era of heightened global competition is how to learn. Being really good at "learning how to learn," as President Bill Brody of Johns Hopkins put it, will be an enormous asset in an era of rapid change and innovation, when new jobs will be phased in and old ones phased out faster than ever.

O.K., one ninth grader in St. Paul asked me, then "what courses should I take?" How do you learn how to learn? Hmm. Maybe, I said, the best way to learn how to learn is to go ask your friends: "Who are the best teachers?" Then - no matter the subject - take their courses. When I think back on my favorite teachers, I don't remember anymore much of what they taught me, but I sure remember being excited about learning it.

What has stayed with me are not the facts they imparted, but the excitement about learning they inspired. To learn how to learn, you have to love learning - while some people are born with that gene, many others can develop it with the right teacher (or parent).

There was a great piece in the April 24 Education Life section of The New York Times that described Britney Schmidt, a student at the University of Arizona who was utterly bored with her courses, mostly because her professors seemed interested only in giving lectures and leaving. "I was getting A's in all my classes, but I wasn't being challenged, and I wasn't thinking about new things," she said.

She had to take a natural science course, though, and it turned out to have a great professor and teaching assistants, who inspired her. "I was lucky," she said. "I took a class from somebody who really cared." The result: a scientist was born. Ms. Schmidt has since been accepted to graduate school at U.C.L.A. in planetary physics and the University of Chicago in cosmo-chemistry.

I just interviewed Craig Barrett, the chief executive of Intel, which has invested millions of dollars in trying to improve the way science is taught in U.S. schools. (The Wall Street Journal noted yesterday that China is graduating four times the number of engineers as the U.S.; Japan, with less than half our population, graduates double the number.)

In today's flat world, Mr. Barrett said, Intel can be a totally successful company without ever hiring another American. That is not its desire or intention, he said, but the fact is that it can now hire the best brain talent "wherever it resides."

If you look at where Intel is making its new engineering investments today, he said, it is in China, India, Russia, Poland and, to a lesser extent, Malaysia and Israel. While cutting-edge talent is still being grown in America, he added, it's not enough for Intel's needs, and not enough is being done in U.S. public schools - not just to leave no child behind, but to make sure that the best students and teachers are nurtured and rewarded.

Look at the attention Congress has focused on steroids in Major League Baseball, Mr. Barrett mused. And then look at the attention it has focused on science education in minor-league American schools.

That's the real news out there, folks. And it's not funny.

(*) (*) :o :o

(k) (k) and TGIF,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-06-2005, 05:34 AM
Stoop Warming is a Sign of Spring

Published: May 5, 2005 NYTimes
The unseasonably cold spring has imposed an unfortunate side effect on my Brooklyn neighborhood - the delay of "stoop sitting" season.

For most Americans, the front-door step is a miserly shelf barely large enough for the morning paper. But for those of us who live in brownstone New York, the front stoop is often a grand exterior staircase decorated with ironwork that leads from the sidewalk to the main entrance. This style was imported more than three centuries ago by settlers from the low-lying Netherlands, where the threat of flooding made it wise to build parlor floors high above street level.

Space-starved New Yorkers quickly turned their stoops into alternative living areas that were heavily used in summer. As a British traveler wrote in the 1820's: "It is customary to sit out of doors on the steps that ornament the entrances of the houses. On these occasions, friends assemble in the most agreeable and unceremonious manner. All sorts of cooling beverages and excellent confectionary are handed round, and the greatest good humor and gaiety prevail."

These rollicking stoop scenes calmed down considerably when air-conditioning came along and let people spend torrid nights indoors. But dinner parties at my house often resolve themselves on the stoop, as they did in the 19th century, with talk, a nightcap and more talk as guests ready themselves for the journey home.

People tan themselves or read on the high stoops of Brooklyn. There are also the famous stoop sales, where households can sell off unwanted possessions. But the stoop sitter's most crucial function is to stir the social mix by inviting conversation from passers-by. Neighbors who have not been seen all winter inevitably stop at the stoop to pass on news of births, deaths and plans to retire to Florida. New neighbors pass by shyly at first but eventually stop to join in. Dogs participate, too, scooting up the steps to greet the sitter.

This process is way behind schedule this year, thanks to the bone-chilling spring. But those ice-cold steps will need to warm up considerably before the stoop sitters can settle into place and get the conversation started.

(*) (*) ;) ;) Porches are still pretty cool however got to have screened-in version due to mosquitos biting me all over...... ;) I *hate* THAT! ;)

Carpe Diem!

Sweetlady and her handsome Boxer, Doc

05-06-2005, 05:36 AM
Diana memorial reopens - again
Friday, May 6, 2005 Posted: 6:22 AM EDT (1022 GMT) www.cnn.com

LONDON, England -- The problem-plagued fountain built in memory of Princess Diana reopens Friday after being closed for four months of repairs.

Visitors were to be allowed through the gates of the London memorial at 10 a.m. to inspect the ring of Cornish granite, once dubbed "a moat without a castle."

In marked contrast to the grand ceremony in July last year in the presence of Queen Elizabeth, Diana's sons Princes William and Harry and Diana's brother Earl Spencer, this opening will be extremely low-key.

"There will be no ceremony. The gates will be opened by whoever has the keys. It's just business as usual," a Royal Parks spokesman told the UK's Press Association.

Workers were dependent on a bout of good weather over the last few days to ensure that the fountain was finished on time.

"The path needed four hours of dry weather to dry. If we had had howling wind and rain over the last 48 hours, it could have been a problem," the spokesman said.

In the 10 months since it was unveiled by the queen, the monument, which was not completed until seven years after Diana's death, has been beset with problems.

The beleaguered £3.6 million ($6.6 million) fountain, designed by American architect Kathryn Gustafson, was blocked by fallen leaves the day after it opened, suffered a broken pump, and had to be closed two weeks later when tourists slipped over while paddling.

Health and safety experts were called in, and the fountain in London's Hyde Park was switched off and its stone surfaces roughened to improve the grip.

In August it was reopened and new rules were introduced, including banning people from walking in the ring of flowing water.

The memorial was closed again in January this year and new repairs ordered when the area around the fountain turned into a mud-bath.

The new additions -- estimated to have cost up to £300,000 ($572,000) -- include a robust, hard-wearing rye grass turf, normally used on sports pitches, to replace existing waterlogged grass.

The grey-green resin-bonded path has also been lengthened by about 250 meters (yards), drainage at the site enhanced, and metal bars placed underneath the bridges to prevent debris getting trapped.

(*) (*) ...too bad Diana couldn't have been remembered in a more dignified, much more classy manner......my humble opinion..... (l)

Sweetlady and Doc

05-06-2005, 05:38 AM
Holy Crap: The empire strikes back: Uneasy nods to contemporary politics is all this Heaven knows
by Michael Atkinson
May 3rd, 2005 4:34 PM Village Voice

What more spectacular and reverent way to celebrate the selection of the world's richest and most sanctimonious corporation's new puppethead than release a Hollywood softball epic about the Crusades? Deus lo volt, as the knights used to cry. Untold millions of slaughtered infidels later, President Bush announces his "crusade" against Muslim terrorists, the Islamic and secular worlds go apeshit over the reference, and Ridley Scott says, Eureka! The time is right! Kingdom of Heaven is well aware of the sociopolitical slag pit into which it plops, and the movie does what any self-respecting politician would do: sidestep the issues, soft-pedal mortal costs, talk a fat game, and divert your attention away from history with exercises in spectacle and power.

As the Second Crusade's brooding Luke Skywalker, the blacksmith Balian (Orlando Bloom) is soon distracted from the funk over his dead wife and child by a Crusading Baron (Liam Neeson) passing through, who informs our expressionless hero that he had raped Balian's mother and is the lad's father, and why not come with him to Jerusalem—declared more than once as some kind of "new world!" After skewering a scummy priest, Balian accepts and even submits to an Obi-Wan swordsmanship lesson in the blue forests of Gladiator, before entering the digitized walls of the Holy City proper. From there, we're dawdling around in a calamitous three-year period beginning in 1184, when the city was ruled by Baldwin IV the Leper King (Edward Norton, behind a mask), who maintained an uneasy truce with Muslim leader Saladin (Ghassan Massoud). "Peace," we're told, "reigns between Muslim and Christian!" This utopian fantasy doesn't last long, thanks to the less-devout-than-power-mad Reynald (Brendan Gleeson) and Guy de Lusignan (Marton Csokas), the designated evil Templars. (The presence of an obnoxious French knight only reinspires memories of the Pythons amid the Scottish mist.) Bloom and Jeremy Irons, who gets the Dafoe-in-Platoon, we-were-fighting-for-something-once speech, represent the liberal garde. The simplistic narrative cosmology drags on the eyelids like a covert Star Wars sequel.

For the most part, Kingdom of Heaven is stupefyingly dull; the naturally dramatic material is reduced to vapid gazes, monosyllabic declarations, and aeons of sword-clanging combat, dolled up with every shuddery slo-mo post-production gimmick on Scott's state-of-the-art hard drive. His film, containing not so much as a single undoctored sunset, has as much human humor and energy as a car commercial, a Sir Ridley specialty. (Bloom is no help; his earnest emptiness makes old-school costume vet Victor Mature look like Jim Carrey. What wouldn't we give for Angelina Jolie and a snake?) In fact, the unfettered passion on display for monstrous marching hordes, army formations, and computer- generated masses (occasionally seeming to use programming left over from
The Return of the King) suggests a fascist or at least newly Riefenstahlian perspective.

But getting to the bone of the matter, Scott's movie grabs a hold of this lit-dynamite "crusade" business rather delicately. On one hand, Kingdom of Heaven is ostensibly secular, left-leaning, and almost anticlerical—the greatest vehemence is reserved for weaselly bishops. Saladin and his Muslims are noble, tolerant, and pragmatic, and in a telling reversal, the catapult-shelling of Jerusalem is as close to the full-on bombing of Baghdad as American audiences will ever have to tolerate.

Mountains of Muslims die anyway, of course, which is regarded as the price of event moviemaking as well as empire. Balian, playing down party affiliation like a congressman in TV ads, inspires the civilian Jerusalemites to fight with heroic rationalizations like "None of us took this city from the Muslims!" Well, in that case . . . Not that second-generation Israelis aren't prone to saying similar things. Can you make a film about the Crusades and pretend that the Christian invaders aren't mortally responsible for the world's longest-running imperialistic carnage? Or that the culpability doesn't matter? Perhaps screenwriter William Monahan appreciated the nuanced moral vacuum produced by Schindler's List, the American Holocaust movie with a sensitive Nazi for a hero and a sense of guiltless salvation that's palatable in public schools from Southampton to Seattle.

"Who has claim?" Balian hollers late in the fray—implying that no one does, and that Jerusalem is only a few weapon surrenders from being Mr. Rogers's Neighborhood. The optimism is touching, but it's hard to say that Scott has, in the end, made an anti-war film. It's just anti-reality.


(*) :| :|

(k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-06-2005, 05:41 AM
Mama Warbucks: Hillary Clinton brings home the dollars for New York's defense contractors

by Kristen Lombardi
May 3rd, 2005 11:10 AM

When someone like Newt Gingrich commends a Democrat's service on the Senate Armed Services Committee, you know you're looking at a serious hawk. That hawk is Hillary Clinton, junior senator from blue-state New York and possible presidential candidate in 2008.

Gingrich, with an eye on his White House bid, told a group of newspaper editors last month that she'd make a formidable opponent. "Senator Clinton is very competent, very professional, very intelligently moving toward the center, very shrewdly and effectively serving on the Armed Services Committee," the GOP hard-liner said. Gringrich should know: He sits with her on a star-studded Pentagon advisory group.

When not fending off terrorists or bucking up the troops in Iraq, Clinton has been equally fierce about defending defense dollars for her home state.

Just ask Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who got the back-off sign from her at an April 19 budget meeting of a Senate Armed Services subcommittee. Clinton isn't assigned to this smaller group, but she showed up anyway. And we know what she said, because her aides sent out a press release and video snippet of their Democratic boss fighting the good fight on Capitol Hill.

Lieberman, a fellow committee member, had sought a coveted $1.7 billion contract to build the presidential Marine One helicopter in his home state. The deal was awarded January 28 to Lockheed Martin—in upstate New York. Now Clinton feared he would try to block its funding.

She spoke briefly, telling the subcommittee: "Now that the contract has been awarded, we think it is important we proceed expeditiously." Cut this money, in other words, and you're crossing me.

For the defense industry in New York, the Marine One contract ranks among its hardest-fought battles in recent memory, and plenty of state politicians had a hand in advocating that the 750-job contract go to Lockheed's plant, in Owego, a struggling area outside Binghamton. Yet no one was more tenacious than Clinton. On April 7, she and fellow senator Chuck Schumer thwarted a sneaky attack by Connecticut's Christopher Dodd, who tried to insert a fatal amendment into an unrelated bill. Clinton and Schumer pulled some parliamentary moves of their own, and prevailed.

"Lockheed Martin won it fair and square," Clinton said of her actions at the time, "and the people at the Owego plant worked their hearts out for this project."

So did she, turning the Marine One bid into something of a pet project over the past year. She took a test flight of the Lockheed chopper and met with navy administrators. She even placed a call to British prime minister Tony Blair, who was cheering for the craft to be built in his country.

The first New York senator to serve on the Armed Services Committee in the modern era, Clinton has used her two years there to carve out a muscular image on national security. Last week, when the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency told lawmakers he thought North Korea could deliver a nuclear strike, it was Hillary Clinton who had asked the key question.

Mitchell Moss, who teaches political science at New York University, says Clinton "has done an enormous amount on the committee to establish herself as a hawk on national issues." Moss likens her to the late Henry "Scoop" Jackson, the U.S. senator who represented Washington State from the 1950s until 1983. Jackson epitomized the great centrist Democrat—he was a true liberal on domestic issues, and a hawk's hawk on foreign policy and national security.

But there's another way that Clinton mirrors Jackson: bringing home the bacon. The Washington senator worked so hard at it that he earned the title "the senator from Boeing." Clinton doesn't have such a reputation—yet. In press releases last year, she took credit for securing roughly $125.5 million in defense projects statewide. This year, she has touted having already inserted $156 million in military construction projects in the fiscal 2006 defense budget.

"Senator Clinton is going back to the Scoop Jackson days," Moss says, "and she's filling a big gap in New York."


Not long after Clinton landed her spot on the prestigious committee—which controls the $419 billion national defense budget—she contacted U.S. Congressman Steve Israel, of Long Island, who serves on its House version. Israel says the two discussed how to use their respective seats to New York's advantage. Once a defense stronghold, with companies concentrated in Israel's backyard, the state has seen the industry shrivel over the past two decades.

"We made a decision to work very closely together to fight for defense procurements," Israel says.

Their first test surfaced just months later, in March 2003, when Israel learned the defense giant Northrop Grumman was ready to move part of its Long Island operations out of state. The congressman called Clinton and, within hours, they had company executives in her Capitol Hill office. They discovered the Pentagon had slashed funds for a Northrop-produced radar system for the navy. Without the money, the company would shutter its Melville plant and cut 100 jobs.

Clinton and Israel mapped out a plan to save the facility, working Pentagon officials and Armed Services members to secure additional funding. "We found the money," Israel says. To date, they've brought in $28.3 million to keep the program going.

Clinton has found the money in less dramatic ways as well. Her office puts out a steady stream of press releases highlighting military expenditures for the Empire State. None compare to the big-ticket Marine One deal, her aides say, but there are meaningful wins. Like the $16.8 million the senator managed to earmark for an upstate aircraft manufacturer last year. Or the $43.5 million in defense research grants she got for five universities. When it comes to fighting for such things, Israel says, "Senator Clinton has been an absolute pit bull."

She certainly plays the part onstage. Witness her performance at an April 18 visit to Telephonics, in Farmingdale, a 1,200-person defense operation specializing in radar and electronics equipment. Clinton had come to be briefed by officials of the company on two of its latest defense programs, in hopes of garnering her support. Afterward, she went to the basement to address hundreds of employees packed into three nondescript conference rooms. They listened raptly as Clinton relayed her 2003 pact with Israel.

"We have some of the best and most talented high-tech companies in the country right here in this state, but we're not getting our fair share," Clinton told the crowd. "So we're working hard to make sure New York gets what it deserves."

She thanked the employees for their innovative ideas, which she pledged to showcase to all the right people on the Hill.

"A lot of what will make a difference for our troops will come out of the companies of Long Island," she declared, to rousing applause.

Her appearance lasted 20 minutes, and she dashed out of the room before workers could shake her hand. But it was enough to leave them with a sense of optimism. One manager, who kept marveling that "someone so powerful would come to visit us," said how fortunate the local defense industry is. "Having Hillary on that committee will bring business back to these facilities."

It's a sentiment echoed over and over by local defense experts, most of whom have nothing but praise for the senator. "I haven't heard anyone say anything negative," says U.S. Congressman Peter King, a Long Island Republican. "They are pleased with her, and they tell me that every chance they get."

Adds George Hockbrueckner, a D.C. lobbyist for New York defense companies: "She gets the job done, and people love her for it."

And why wouldn't they? Defense and military folks give Clinton high marks for listening to their concerns, promoting their products, leveraging her ties to the Pentagon —in effect, for classic constituent services. At the same time, no one thinks her position on Armed Services can offer more than a marginal benefit to New York. As one retired executive from Long Island puts it: "There won't be any barn burners to bring here." The defense industry just doesn't dominate the state's economy the way it does in, say, Florida and Virginia. New York gets only $5.2 billion worth of defense contracts—a fraction of the state's $833 billion economy overall. Virginia, by contrast, reaps as much as $23.5 billion in military expenditures.

"There isn't much that Senator Clinton can do, in terms of the bottom line, on the defense front," says William Hartung, who studies defense policy at New School University's World Policy Institute. "It's not a big industry like finance or human services."

Then again, he adds, "the senator knows what she's doing. She's not serving on this committee purely for constituent services."


As with everything that Senator Clinton does nowadays, people tend to see her Armed Services work through the prism of presidential ambitions. The committee, as Democratic analysts point out, presents the perfect way for Clinton to burnish her bona fides to prepare for a 2008 bid. The seat gives her access to military information, a platform for speaking about national security issues, a rationale for visiting the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, a means to build up her own armor for attacks on her as a Northeast liberal.

"It's all part of creating a centrist Democrat image," says Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf. By virtue of her post, she has become well versed in the latest weapons and field tactics. She has backed every defense appropriation bill, including the latest $81 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan. The committee, Sheinkopf adds, "raises her national profile in a way that is out of sync with how her enemies would present her. It's important for her career."

Clinton's advisers take issue with the idea that the senator got on Armed Services simply to boost her résumé. They say Clinton's interest in military and defense matters dates back to her days in the White House, when she pushed for an investigation into why thousands of Persian Gulf war veterans returned with various illnesses. With New York not getting its per capita share of anti-terrorism funding, they argue, the state needs someone where Clinton is.

On the face of it, Clinton has tackled her duties with a sincerity suggesting she's in it for more than opportunity's sake. "It's not transparently obvious that what she's doing is paving the way for a presidential run," says Michael O'Hanlon, of the Brookings Institute, who tracks the committee's work.

O'Hanlon thinks Clinton has stood out, especially as a rookie member. He cites her thoughtful critique of President Bush's Iraq policy—her concern about the extended use of Guard and Reserve members, about the lack of body armor, about the exit strategy. He also cites her support for New York's military families generally—pushing for better pay and improved health benefits for the Guard and Reserve. She has also visited all 13 military installations across the state at least once, some two and three times.

"She's doing a fantastic job," O'Hanlon says, "and I'm not in any way a Hillary fan."

Neither are Republican members on Armed Services. Yet Clinton has managed to impress them with her thoughtfulness and knowledge. John Ullyot, the spokesperson for the Armed Services Republicans, calls the New York senator "a very valued member of the committee."

All this may bode well for Clinton '08. But today, what matters is how her Armed Services work plays at home. Her devotion to military issues has hardly gone over well among her core base of liberal supporters. Peace activists have already picketed Clinton's midtown office on two occasions. And they don't find much good in what the senator is doing on the committee.

"We don't like it," says Leslie Cagan, of United for Peace and Justice. They don't like her calls for additional troops in Iraq, or her lukewarm critiques of the Bush policy. They're not crazy about her advocacy for defense funds, either. If anything, Cagan adds, "We'd like the senator to be fighting for drastic cuts in military spending."

New York's liberals may just have to swallow their dislike for Clinton's hawkish ways. Her Armed Services work has translated into inroads among defense executives and military families—in short, key Republican constituencies. They might help in 2008, but she certainly needs them in her Senate race next year.

"They remember the days of Scoop Jackson," says Congressman King, explaining why local defense folks react positively to Clinton. "They realize they've found a Democrat who is willing to work for them."

Indeed. Last January, on the day the Pentagon would announce that Lockheed Martin got the Marine One contract, Senator Clinton boarded a plane in White Plains for Owego. She was there when the good word came. As Clinton told the 2,000 Lockheed workers celebrating that day, "I said I would be here win or lose because we're a team."


(*) (*) .......hmmmmm, "anything to get the 2008 voters"???? What happened to womyn offering more peaceful, honoring and respectful ways and processes towards a safer, less violent world?? (f) (f)

(l) (l) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-06-2005, 05:45 AM
Liquid City
The Mint Masquerade:
The not-so-girly julep makes Derby Day one smooooth ride

by Corina Zappia
May 5th, 2005 2:10 PM

For many of us, our first introduction to the mint julep is from reading The Great Gatsby—from this we discover it’s a drink offered on silver platters at the Plaza, a drink for rich people who wear a disconcerting amount of pastel. It's a refresher for breathless damsels in petal-thin dresses, femme fatales named Daisy, wilting away bewitchingly in the summer heat. Coquettishly offer to muddle up a little mint for any sad Gatsby-like sucker, and he's yours for life.

Only upon sipping our first do we realize this is hardly the demure, lady-like summer beverage it appears to be. Its genteel-sounding name belies a wicked amount of what-the-hell-did-I-do-last-night bourbon. I suppose that's what makes this southern drink the truest of southern belles—daintily accented with mint, camouflaged with copious helpings of sugary sweetness—yet underneath it all, one shotgun-wielding, hard-ass mama who'd steal your man and torch your debutante dress if given the slightest opportunity.

Far from its Gatsby-like associations, the mint julep since 1938 has been the official drink of the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs, the Louisville horse track that's been host to the event since 1875. More than 80,000 juleps, served in commemorative, collectable Derby glasses, will be sold this weekend at Churchill Downs. The highfalutin celebs and royalty booze up on them while seated in Millionaire's Row (which in 2004, had the honor of hosting Nick and Jessica, Anna Nicole Smith, Chuck Woolery, and Taylor Dayne). The regular folks, stuck in the infield, also pound 'em all day, viewing the race on big-screen TVs.

Given the heavy, southern-fried menu on Derby Day, the choice of a potent mint julep makes sense. What else are you going to drink with cheese-grits casserole and chocolate-bourbon Derby Pie? But they don't regard this as the Louisville version of Mardi Gras for no reason. Down too many and you'll start to think wearing hats like these in public is somehow okay.

In New York, the classic julep seems to get bumped off the menu for Chocolate Martini #253, but some bartenders still include them on the menu—and are adamant about what it takes to make a truly good one. "It's really all about the quality of the mint leaves, and the care with which it's muddled with the sugar," says
Patio Bar owner Jimmy Carbone, who shakes up a mean one for $7. "You just take the mint and muddle it gently with the sugar water and the bourbon. If you're too aggressive, the mint dies. It should just be aromatic."

Choice bourbon is also key. At Patio and Campbell Apartment, they use Maker's Mark; Angel's Share relies on Old Standard for their $11 version. Blue Smoke beverage manager Justin McManus pours eight-year-old Jim Beam Black for his praised $9.50 one, and muddles his mint with ice as well as sugar and a splash of bourbon. "It's important to make them to order, not just have a batch sitting there," says McManus. Carbone is in agreement: "Some places will prepare the mint ahead of time, or they'll put it in a blender . . . a prepared mint mix just doesn't do it." Beware those recipes that call you to mix it up, then freeze it for a few days until ready to use—or god forbid, some foul factory-made version. Despite what you witness on Derby Day, salvation rarely comes from a bottle. With Louisville a gazillion miles away, there's little racetrack you can find to recreate true Derby revelry. Belmont Parkway always hosts a Derby party, as do several bars in the city, like Dewey's Flatiron. Or take matters into your own hands, and toss your own Kentucky Derby soirée. Invite your friends over, turn on the races. Rent Seabiscuit, and make fun of Tobey's hair. Maybe it's better after a helluva lot of mint juleps.


(*) (*) .....what nice, fun article for those who enjoy imbibing in moderation......MY kind of folks to hang out with most definitely......... (h) (h)

({) (}) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-06-2005, 05:59 AM
Liberty Beat
Who Owns the Constitution?
With republicans in power, equal protection under the laws will continue to diminish

by Nat Hentoff
May 5th, 2005 6:54 PM

The conscience of this nation is the Constitution. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas


On September 17, 1987, I was privileged to be in the audience at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York when Justice William Brennan, who had become the conscience of the Bill of Rights on the high court, gave the 42nd Annual Benjamin N. Cardozo Lecture.

That lecture, still available in the archives of the Association of the Bar of this city, should be read by members of Congress and every law student and law professor in the country—as well as by every judge, from local housing and family courts to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Titled "Reason, Passion, and 'The Progress of the Law,' " Brennan's emphasis on what he called "the human reality of the judicial process" is even more vital now that the Rehnquist Supreme Court has prioritized economic rights and the rights of individual states over the rights and liberties of individual Americans throughout the country.

Moreover, since George W. Bush is very likely to name the next chief justice of the Supreme Court as well as one or two other replacements before the end of his second term, it is crucial for leaders of the Democratic Party, including future presidential aspirants, to do more than obstruct Bush's nominees. The Democrats have to tell the country what their criteria are for the Supreme Court and other life-tenured federal judges—instead of mechanically objecting to nominees for being "out of the mainstream."

In New York, in 1987, Brennan emphasized that the framers of the Constitution made "a sharp break with the past and its assumptions of a natural social hierarchy. They saw government as a contract formed by the individuals of the society with each other, instead of a mutual arrangement between rulers and ruled."

Therefore, due process—fairness—the basis of our system of justice, "now applied to all officials [very much including judges], commanding them to treat citizens not as subjects, but as fellow human beings. In short, due process requires that the rulers and the ruled acknowledge their common humanity, and that official judgment always remain human judgment."

During the Warren Court (1953 to 1969), William Brennan was Chief Justice Earl Warren's closest adviser and confidant (Brennan joined the Court in 1956). This was the Court that created furors by declaring unconstitutional segregation in public schools by individual states and insisting on the federal due process constitutional rights of criminal suspects and prisoners—and in other ways, was often focused on what Brennan called "the essential dignity and worth of each individual."

In his later years on the Supreme Court, William Brennan was a frequent dissenter because he saw less and less concern—on the Rehnquist Court—for "the essential dignity and worth of each individual."

I got to know Justice Brennan during many months of researching a profile of him for The New Yorker—and afterward. He never lost his conviction that his passion for individual rights and liberties would eventually be regenerated on the Supreme Court because, he said:

"The genius of the Constitution rests not in any static meaning it might have had in a world that is dead and gone, but in the adaptability of its great principles to cope with current problems and present needs."

To give you one example, among many, of how far the Rehnquist Court has departed from "the essential dignity and worth of each individual," there was its majority ruling in the case of Patricia Garrett (University of Alabama v. Garrett, 2001).

Patricia Garrett, a supervising nurse at the University of Alabama's medical center in Birmingham, was transferred from her position—and demoted—after having been treated for breast cancer. When she sued, the Rehnquist Supreme Court (5-4) agreed with Alabama, on the basis of states' rights, that employees of that state are not protected, even under the Americans With Disabilities Act, if they are discriminated against because of a disability.

Arlene Mayerson, directing attorney of the Disability Rights and Education and Defense Fund, said, "The majority decision sets a new low in equal-protection law," despite the "Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection of the law."

Democrats have to alert the citizenry about the radical change by the Rehnquist Court in "federalism"—how power over individual lives is shared between the national and state governments. (See my column last week.) As Howard Gillman, a Supreme Court specialist at the University of Southern California, warns, the issue of federalism has become "the biggest and deepest disagreement about the nature of our constitutional system. . . . At some level, the country will eventually decide which of these two visions will triumph."

In 1986, Justice Brennan, speaking in New York to the American Bar Association's Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, said:

"We do not yet have justice, equal and practical, for the poor, for members of minority groups, for the criminally accused, for the displaced persons of the technological revolution, for alienated youth, for the urban masses, for the unrepresented consumer—for all, in short, who do not partake of the abundance of American life. . . . The goal of universal equality, freedom, and prosperity is far from won and . . . ugly inequities continue to mar the face of the nation. We are surely nearer the beginning than the end of the struggle."

Who among the leaders of the Democratic Party is saying that now—when we are still far from the fulfillment of the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of "due process of law" and the right of "any person" to "the equal protection of the laws"?

"A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people," said James Madison, the chief architect of the Bill of Rights. Where are these teachers of the people in the Democratic Party leadership?


(*) (*) I would tell those evangelical christian findamentalist off-the-wall "we're going to heaven and you're not" NUT CASES (including Da Village Idiot and his Secret Service "Back Seat" who is working the hand puppet controls on good ole Dummy, I mean Dubya (among others in political power) to pla-lease go take a hike.......Thank Goddess Tony Blair won in the U.K., as well as another liberal as Prime Minister in Australia!!! And then there's always Canada.....as a haven for more independently-minded folks who are not the conservative right's sheep herded by a blind, deaf, dumb (but we all knew THAT already) shepherd. Talk about very poor leadership.

This country seems to be racing fast towards no personal privacy, womyn required to wear head coverings (in church that is and I say this only to make a point....), and funny daily news shows like Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" and god-forbid, Jay Leno someday not being able to joke about who and what they want?

ARGH! <rasberries....) 2008 cannot get here soon enough for me. The more democracy that we Americans supposedly get, the more dysfunctional the whole system and process actually is......check out Zakaria's book on "Illiberal Democracy" - it was an eye-opener for me! There are places in the world which actually have greater freedoms in many ways than Americans. :o :o

.....and now back to my irreverent and totally unscheduled programming..... ;) ;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-06-2005, 06:08 AM
Whodunit: The British Consulate Bomb

The explosion of two novelty grenades outside the British Consulate this morning has all of New York wondering: Why would anyone bomb the British? I mean, they're so nice, Coldplay rocks, and "The Office" is really funny!
But, dear Watson, it turns out we have more suspects than the British road network has roundabouts.

First, there's the anti-war crowd. Upset that Tony Blair could prevail in today's election despite apparently having lied about the rationale for invading Iraq, they might have decided to strike a blow at the heart of the U.K. military-political establishment: the office at 845 Third Avenue.

And you can never discount the Irish Republicans. Sure, the IRA has obeyed a ceasefire for years now, but there are plenty of splinter groups (the Real IRA, the Continuity IRA, the Roth IRA, etc.). After all, hundreds of years of oppression leave bitter tastes, you know. And if we're going to put the Irish in a line-up, we might as well add the Scottish Nationalists, too.

For that matter, the Indians and Pakistanis could also have a legitimate beef. As bad as the Empire was when it existed, the way the Brits left things on the subcontinent wasn't exactly hunky-dory either. The way they partitioned Kashmir, for example, has left both sides slightly miffed and led to all sorts of wars, artillery exchanges, and related unpleasantness.

And as long as we're recalling the days when the sun never set on British property, we should not ignore the possibility that the grenades were placed by disgruntled nationals from Lesotho, Botswana, British Togoland, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Zambia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Swaziland, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Guyana, Belize, Canada, Falkland Islands, West Indies, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, South Georgia, Aden, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Iraq, Kuwait, Malaya, Maldives, Palestine, Nepal, North Borneo, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, Transjordan, United Arab Emirates, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Malta, Australia, British New Guinea, Fiji, Nauru, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, or Tonga.

But it's always a mistake to look reflexively overseas for culprits in a thing like this (e.g. the case of Tim McVeigh, Terry Nichols, and Person(s) Unknown). There's a lot for Britons themselves to be pissed off about. Anti-royalists might be upset that their country is still nominally ruled by a figurehead queen. Rabid monarchists might be upset that their country is only nominally ruled by a figurehead queen. Pro-European types might be eager for the pound to make way for the euro, while anti-continentalists are still peeved that Britain even considers itself part of that dreadful landmass next door.

And, of course, there's Pete Best.


(*) (*) With all of the press hype on smaller types of events, this is yet another powerful way that our government uses to scare the sh*t out of all of us and assure Americans that Repubs are keeping us safe. Right. :| :| I don't trust any of them. To keep me and my loved ones safe that is, or to protect my constitutional rights - which is in my view, even more scary than terrorists actually hitting a target within the U.S. It's American interests overseas that they'll hit first......at least that's what I read ina poll this past week. (*) (*) I think the Village Voice can be counted on to keep things a little bit lighter so that we can go about our day to day lives without extreme anxiety.

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-06-2005, 06:19 AM
By Mike Langberg

Mercury News

If only we could pass an enforceable law against stupid behavior while driving.

Then we wouldn't have to worry about clueless people who are buying front-seat dashboard screens and then asking installers to deliberately disable the lock-out mechanisms that prevent those screens from showing DVD movies while their cars are in motion.

And that's only the tip of what could be a very dangerous iceberg, as a cascade of new technology gives drivers more and more reasons to take their eyes -- and brains -- off the road.

Legislators, electronics manufacturers, law enforcement and insurance companies all need to do more to make sure new technology is used responsibly.

California law, as well as vehicle codes in many other states, limit dashboard screens from displaying anything beyond navigation or traffic information while the car is moving. But it's not hard to find unscrupulous installers who will disable the lock-out mechanism so drivers can risk their lives and the lives of those around them to watch ``The Incredibles'' or ``Shrek 2.''

The problem is so bad that some manufacturers are altering their designs to seal lock-out mechanisms inside the screen's case, where installers can't get at them.

Driver distraction from technology first became an issue about five years ago with the proliferation of cell phones.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, issued a research report in March that found ``at any given daylight moment'' last year, an estimated 8 percent of all motorists in the United States, or 1.2 million drivers, were talking on cell phones, up from just 4 percent in 2000.

David Strayer, a psychology professor at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City who has extensively studied the distraction impact of cell phone calls, told me earlier this week he is about to publish a paper concluding that driving while talking on a cell phone creates impairment equal to a blood-alcohol level of .08. That's the threshold in California for a Driving Under the Influence, or DUI, conviction.

Remarkably, all this gabbing isn't causing a surge in traffic fatalities and injuries -- at least not yet.

On April 21, NHTSA released its preliminary annual safety statistics for 2004. Deaths per hundred million miles traveled dropped by 1.4 percent from 2003, while injuries dropped 6 percent. Estimated total deaths edged up by about 150 to 42,800, because motorists drove more miles in 2004 than a year earlier.

``We have not been able to pin down the risk of using a cell phone while driving,'' conceded Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in Arlington, Va.

The institute is now conducting a big study to measure the extent to which cell phone use contributes to traffic accidents, scheduled for completion this summer.

Even if cell phones aren't as big a risk as Strayer's research would indicate, there's clearly more to worry about on the road ahead.

Car electronics manufacturers are aggressively pushing the idea of turning vehicles into rolling entertainment systems.

DVD screens first began popping up in back seats a few years ago to entertain the kids on long trips. More recently, screens mounted in the front dashboard have morphed from just navigation systems to also showing DVD movies.

Manufacturers should go further, however, by rethinking ads that tout dashboard screens for movie watching. The ads should prominently state that movies can't be watched, even by a front-seat passenger, when the car is moving. This would lower expectations for shoppers, reducing the likelihood that disappointed buyers will pressure installers to break the law.

Beyond in-car electronics, handheld devices are becoming more powerful and therefore more of a potential distraction to drivers.

Consider the new Samsung P207 cell phone, which Cingular began selling last month. The P207 is the first cell phone to use speech recognition for dictating text messages. Although I'm sure Samsung wouldn't approve, this opens up the possibility of drivers shouting out text messages above the roar of traffic, then looking down at the phone's tiny screen to see if their words were transcribed correctly. Not to mention making corrections.

Already, there are cell phones that show live television channels. Music downloads are coming later this year.

There's no way regulators can keep up with the pace of change, so it's pointless to ask for specific rules on what drivers should and shouldn't do.

Instead, states should beef up existing laws that penalize inattentive driving. Police officers should be able to ticket drivers who are observed doing dangerous things, even if those drivers aren't speeding or weaving all over the road.

Manufacturers, regulators and insurance companies should also work together on comprehensive driver education campaigns about the dangers of technology distraction, on the scale of the largely successful effort in the last 20 years encouraging seat-belt use.

We need a catchy slogan, along the lines of ``Seat Belts Save Lives.'' If you've got an idea, send me an e-mail. Just don't do it while you're driving.

(*) (*) now this is something to really spend time thinking about....... :| (*) (*) ....(If it's not one darn thing to time-multiplex your driving attention span, it's another..... (a)

(f) (f) (f) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-06-2005, 06:22 AM
Posted on Wed, May. 04, 2005

In technology race, China has powerful strategy

By Miguel Helft

They graduate four times as many engineers as we do.

They lavish generous tax breaks on tech firms.

They support local manufacturers.

They don't respect intellectual property.

They, of course, refers to China. And the gripes from Silicon Valley business leaders capture in stark and accurate terms the key underpinnings of the growing tech rivalry between the United States and China.

None of these things happened by accident. They happened because China has something that the United States lacks and badly needs: a national technology policy.

China's policy is comprehensive. It is frequently fine-tuned to respond to technological changes. It lays out specific roles for national and local governments, as well as the country's burgeoning private sector. And it takes the long view.

It is also the main reason that China's tech revolution went from zero to 60 in record time. And China still has its foot planted firmly on the gas pedal.

The country long ago made a strategic decision that technology was paramount to its development and put in place a systematic policy to create a world-class technology sector. It sometimes runs roughshod over trade agreements or international law, which is wrong. But on the whole, the policy is simply smart.

And it's just plain dumb for the United States to think it can compete in the tech race against China and other nations without a technology policy of its own.

In China, the importance of tech is articulated at the highest levels of government. ``Science and technology are the decisive factors in the competition of comprehensive national strength,'' Premier Wen Jiabao said just last month. When is the last time we heard something remotely similar coming out of the Bush White House -- or, for that matter, the supposedly tech-friendly Clinton White House?

The premier's statements may sound like bombastic Communist Party propaganda, but they translate into very specific policies. It's not by accident that China's universities are graduating so many engineers. It's because as early as the 1980s, the government began an aggressive push to ``establish world-class technology education centers across the Chinese university system,'' said Gary Rieschel, the executive managing director of Mobius Venture Capital. Rieschel has moved from the valley to China to manage his firm's investments there.

Here, the nation's world-class public universities are aging. Few new ones are being built. And the pool of American students adequately schooled in math and science is dwindling.

In China, the Politburo gets together to celebrate innovation breakthroughs by the nation's scientists. Here, presidents invite sports stars to the White House. Perhaps it's no coincidence that Chinese students recently won an international programming contest in which the best American students fell to 17th place.

The days when China's tech policy was all rigid central planning are long gone. China now has a sophisticated understanding of markets and is fostering a highly competitive private sector, fueled in part by venture capital. It evolved rapidly from crude manufacturing to sophisticated design and is now poised to create some of technology's marquee global brands.

China's willingness to skirt international law has helped that evolution. The country's tech firms are known to steal intellectual property, often with the government's tacit approval. Officials use trade barriers, from illegal subsidies to artificial standards, to protect domestic manufacturers. They exclude foreign firms from some state contracts and force others to partner with Chinese companies.

The U.S. response to these challenges is haphazard at best.

It's not too much of a stretch to say that on a national level, the U.S.-China tech rivalry is a race between a bumbling and complacent giant and a nimble start-up with a clear mission and sense of purpose. In this valley, we know all too well how those races turn up.

(*) I've started learning Mandarin AND Cantonese.....how about you? ;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-06-2005, 06:26 AM
Posted by Steve Gillmor @ 9:23 am

With all due respect to Marc Canter, thank god for Apple. As Microsoft’s DRMForSure juggernaut rolled out of Vegas with a full head of cartel-fired steam, even phone guru Russell Beattie was ready to bow before Bill Gates and that personal video device vibrating in his pocket. Though Bill’s message was marginally diluted by some demo misfires in his CESdex keynote, the gathering force of Media Center extenders, Scoble’s Smartphone, and the tantalizing prospect of being able to watch the West Wing in letterbox format on a one-inch screen at 50,000 feet all conspired to create a surprisingly vivid re-innovation of Steve Jobs’ patented reality distortion field.

With all due respect to Robert Scoble, thank god for Apple. When Steve strolled out to center stage with the Mini, he got more applause for the box than anything Bill showed Conan O’Brien. Actually, there was a collective gasp over the size of the box, as it drove home the nuanced multi-threaded message of the Apple play: less is more. The ThinkSecret leaks didn’t take the power out of the punchline–they amplified it.

With all due respect to Dan Gillmor, thank god for Apple. They don’t call them trade secrets for nothing. Personally, I think they sued for the same reasons Gates called us communists: to protect their business model. Thank god for the EFF, too. Personally, I think the gasp in the Moscone Center should be used as Defense Exhibit A for the fact that no secrets were exposed.

The biggest secret of all was the word not spoken in either Vegas or San Francisco: podcasting. Nowhere to be seen was the rumored Firewire audio breakout box, the reported subject of several subpoenas issued in December. But add up the rest of the announcements, most shipping by the end of the month, and you may notice that Apple has restructured itself around the iPod platform.

1. The iPod Shuffle

Though most of us boomers can’t fathom the idea that "life is random" is a feature, the Shuffle’s secret sauce is its Playlist mode, turned off by default. Attention: iPodder developers–if you develop SmartPlaylist functionality in your aggregators, you can use attention and other explicit metadata to program iTunes to download, sort, and sequence podcasts while you sleep. Remember, the iPod is the delivery system, the data cache at the end of the pipeline. Of course, if some smart 3rd-party vendor adds a microphone that clips onto the Shuffle, it’s a data recorder hanging around your neck.

2. The Mini

For podcasters, this is a $500 studio-in-a-box. GarageBand now supports multitrack recording (eight channels each with their own eq and effects) and the ability to create your own loops. Combine GarageBand with Smart Playlists and slice and dice your podcasts up into "songs" that you can sequence and, more importantly, pull "quotes" for inclusion in other podcasts. Once again, remember that the iPod is the endpoint of the production environment. The Mini is the studio, the mastering lab, where you cut the virtual grooves between the tracks of these next-generation podcasts.

3. "Tiger"

The next version of OS/X will load just fine on the Mini, too. It comes with Automator, which, if hooked up to GarageBand, would provide an automated way to refactor existing long-form podcasts into this new track model. Automator could also build consoles to automate real-time, radio-style production with multiple audio inputs, taking advantage of Tiger’s enhanced ability to handle multiple virtual audio devices.

4. iWork and iLife

Keynote, Pages, and iMovie are morphing into a podcast-to-video porting environment. Use Automator consoles to load in podcast segments and annotate them with links, iPhoto transitions, and attention-influenced intelligent caching of related pod- and Mini-casts, and you’re well on your way to a read/write version of the RSS-powered multimedia Web. While DRMForSure coddles the cartel, the iPod Platform plays to the customers in the seats.

With all due respect to Bill Gates, thank god for Apple. If Apple didn’t exist, Bill, you’d have to invent them. Perhaps you did. It’s the real Bill and Steve Show. Two peas in a Pod, that’s for sure.


(*) (*) Dan's brother is as smart and a great writer too!! (h) (h) (h)

(k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-06-2005, 06:29 AM
Wow, what a ride.

I moved to Silicon Valley a little over 10 years ago. I've been constantly amazed by what has happened here since then -- a furious rush of innovation and change.

I'm not smart or wise enough to predict in any detail what will happen in the next decade. But I'm certain that, as always, it'll be interesting, because innovation and change are still the coins of this realm.

It didn't take long to learn what made Silicon Valley so special. The combination of attributes was unequaled: the great research universities, an astonishing collection of talent, a pool of investors with enormous sums at their disposal and an ingrained culture of risk-taking. (The weather's nice, too.)

The willingness -- no, eagerness -- to take risks has always been the valley's most special quality. In most places, business failure leaves an indelible career stain. Here, failure is often seen as an education, provided one fails the right way, which is to say not stupidly or sleazily.

The rise and fall of Apple's fascinating but flawed Newton handheld computer, for example, helped spark the Palm Pilot, the true breakthrough in the genre. I won't forget the shiver of excitement I and others in a crowd of tech executives and journalists felt when we saw the first Palm on the 1996 Demo conference stage.

We don't think of the Apple iPod or today's ever-smarter mobile phones as more modern handheld computers, but they are. They're also a result of the valley's relentless progress.

The chips powering not just PCs but all kinds of everyday objects are making everything more intelligent. Even faster advances in storage mean that all these intelligent things are gaining memory. And the advent of faster data networks -- still retarded by cable and phone companies, unfortunately -- means that we're connecting it all.

Those intelligent connections are bringing vast capabilities to the people at the edges of networks. The long-range importance of early Internet file-sharing was not the potential for copyright infringement. It was the heightened ability of everyday people to inform and help each other.

Along the way, we went through the bubble years, a time when greed totally superseded all other principles and values. The prevailing Wall Street attitude, which also pervaded the valley, was sickening. When what's acceptable is what you can get away with, society has turned rancid.

The bubble's deflation was hellish for those who became collateral damage. But it was useful in reminding us that even in such a fast-changing world, a few tried-and-true principles, economic and otherwise, still applied.

In the past several years the valley has returned, in part, to useful roots. Innovation and building great companies matter as much to entrepreneurs as scoring big financially. And everywhere I look, I see innovation.

But I also see competition where it didn't exist before. The rest of the world has learned some of the valley's lessons and can provide much of what we do here at a lower cost. This is the harsh dynamism of the modern world at work. The fact that other regions are rising economically is positive overall, even if it's not the best news locally.

As noted, I'm not smart enough to tell you what's coming in any specific way. But we can look together at the trends and imagine some of what might be, if all goes well.

We will see breathtaking leaps in medicine, environmental protection, and a variety of materials sciences and manufacturing processes. We can thank advances in biotechnology and the emerging field of nanotechnology. Information technology is at the heart of both as a tool, and it will remain so.

The Internet and its progeny are still early in their development, meanwhile. The Net is nowhere near as universal as it will be when we enter an age of what some call ubiquitous computing, but the outlines of its value are obvious today. For example, all media will eventually move around the world in little digital packages, called packets, that are the basic units of tomorrow's communications. The importance of this -- in decimating old businesses while improving most people's lives -- has not been sufficiently appreciated.

The risks are growing, too. When the ability to do great things spreads away from the center, so does the ability to do massively dangerous things. The power of one fanatic or small group to create incalculable damage -- assuming we don't do it simply by mistake -- should worry everyone. But we should not allow that concern to stifle progress.

And, as always, the people and institutions currently holding the clout don't cede it willingly. Governments are clamping down on us in all kinds of ways. Incumbent business powerhouses are trying to hold back the tide as well, not just to keep their positions but also to thwart new innovation that might threaten them.

These reactionary encroachments and retrenchments are not surprising. They always occur in times of swift change and challenge. In the end, they are almost always unsuccessful, because progress ultimately finds a way around barriers, and because people challenge the reactionaries.

But we need to keep the pressure up, as citizens and people who want the freedom to use these new tools and live in liberty. The stakes are high, and liberty takes work.

This is my last column for the Mercury News. Starting tomorrow, I'll embark on a new adventure, a project to help bring online grass-roots journalism to more people and communities.

I leave a job that has been a constant challenge in the best sense, often an outright joy. I leave colleagues whom I like and admire. But this opportunity, to help create something truly new and valuable, is too exciting not to try.

During these past 10 years I've enjoyed a privileged, front-row seat -- not on a roller coaster, even if it occasionally seemed that way, but a vehicle of exploration. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have taken this fantastic ride.

Mostly, though, I'm grateful to you. This has always been about you, the people who read what I write. I've tried to be on your side.

Even when you've disagreed with me, you've been on my side in a vital way. You've challenged me to think deeply about technology and the larger issues we must all ponder and deal with in this complex era. You've always known more than I do, and I'm fortunate that you haven't been shy about telling me.

Our conversation -- which I hope we'll continue as my new project gets under way -- has been a constant source of inspiration. If it's meant something to you, that pleases me more than I can say. Thank you all.


(*) :( :( :(

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-06-2005, 06:33 AM
May 05, 2005

USA Today and Churchill Club Put Public in Dark
Tom Foremski, over at Silicon Valley Watcher, notes that the Churchill Club teamed up with USA Today on an event about the future of media -- and barred the press. I enjoyed Tom's humorous call for assistance (I LOL at the picture he posted), but unfortunately found out about this travesty too late to weigh in before the event.

As Tom put it, "How quaintly dictatorial. No press, no lunch, no questions."

USA Today calls itself the "nation's newspaper." It should be embarrassed to be a part of such a thing. I hope Kevin Maney, the moderator of the program (and someone I like and admire), isn't planning to write a story or column off of this no-press-allowed event.

The Churchill Club expansively tells us its mission is about information, individuals, ideas -- and then pulls an absurd move like this.

Absurd how? Here's how. If there was a non-journalist blogger in the room, he or she is under no obligation to keep what was said a secret.

The Wall Street Journal learned about the new world two years ago, at the first "D: All Things Digital" conference. The gathering was officially off the record (and working journalists were asked to agree to this in advance), but that didn't stop bloggers from ably covering the thing. The Journal changed its policy the next year.

Back to the Churchill Club silliness: I'm hoping that we'll see a report soon on a blog. And if anyone who was attending wishes to be a guest blogger here, I'll be happy to accommodate you.


(*) (*) Dan's usual awesome writing show his deep talents on his new web site. I'm bookmarking it! (l)

Happy digital trails!

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-06-2005, 06:36 AM
Apple Computer's disgusting attack on three online journalism sites, in a witch hunt to find out who (if anyone) inside the company leaked information about allegedly upcoming products, has taken a nasty turn. Too bad it's not surprising -- and journalists of all kinds should be paying attention.

A judge in California has decided that the sites don't qualify as "journalism" (AP) under state law and/or the First Amendment. By his bizarre and dangerous standard, I apparently stopped being a journalist the day I left my newspaper job after a quarter-century of writing for newspapers. (Note: At the request of lawyers for the sites, I've filed declarations -- here (104k PDF) and here (1MB PDF) -- saying that in my opinion these sites are performing a journalistic function. I haven't been paid to do so.)

Apple's bullying is bad enough. But the California case is just one of several harbingers of trouble for the online journalism world.

Another was the deliberate provocation from a member of the Federal Elections Commission, Bradley Smith, who's a harsh opponent of the McCain-Feingold law regulating campaign finance. He told CNet that current law requires the FEC to regulate the speech of bloggers and other online denizens who dare to discuss politics.

I regard this more as saber-rattling than a serious threat, at least for now. And it's also clear that Smith is trying to get Congress to punch a hole in the law to make it ineffective. I find myself agreeing increasingly with folks on the political right, including the Heritage Foundation's Mark Tapscott, who (among others) observes that the law is becoming an excuse for the outright regulation, and suppression, of speech.

As someone who supported the intent of McCain-Feingold but now agrees it needs reform if not repeal (and then try again with something better), I wish there was some recognition from those who want to torpedo the law outright that modern politics is being wrecked by the overwhelming influence of money, with serious effects on our republic. When politics becomes a system of one-dollar, one-vote -- and it has become precisely that in recent years -- we need to do something to restore at least a semblance of fairness.

But to use this desire for reform as a bludgeon to wipe out free speech in politics, precisely the kind of speech the nation's founders so ardently wanted to promote, is a perversion of their intent and common sense. Smith's remarks are a red flag waving at the blogging bulls, and they're responding just as he surely hoped -- with fury.

Meanwhile, several weeks ago, two well-meaning members of Congress introduced legislation designed to address the increasing attacks on professional journalists. The Free Flow of Information Act (H.R. 581) has some good points, namely its attempt to give reporters a way to shield sources from unwarranted exposure. But it sharply circumscribes the definition of who's a journalist -- and appears to explicitly exclude bloggers and other non-traditional online journalists.

Who's get the protection? The legislation would give it to:

A) an entity that disseminates information by print, broadcast, cable, satellite, mechanical, photographic, electronic, or other means and that--

(i) publishes a newspaper, book, magazine, or other periodical;

(ii) operates a radio or television broadcast station (or network of such stations), cable system, or satellite carrier, or a channel or programming service for any such station, network, system, or carrier; or

(iii) operates a news agency or wire service;

(B) a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such an entity; or

(C) an employee, contractor, or other person who gathers, edits, photographs, records, prepares, or disseminates news or information for such an entity.

In other words, bloggers need not apply unless they work for a major publication or broadcast.

See a pattern?

We're moving toward a system under which only the folks who are deemed to be professionals will be granted the status of journalists, and thereby more rights than the rest of us. This is pernicious in every way.

Mass media journalists and their bosses should be leading the fight against what's happening to bloggers. I fear they won't, because old media typically refuses to defend the rights of new entrants until the threats against the new folks directly threaten everyone. But my former colleagues in Big Media should understand that when we distinguish among kinds of journalists, discriminating against some because they're not working for organizations deemed worthy (or powerful) enough, trouble will arrive soon enough for everyone.

In a world where anyone can be a journalist, we can't let government or Big Media decide who has the right to inform the public about matters of interest or urgency. The priesthood should be dissolving, not gaining strength -- yet rulings and legislation like these move things in precisely the wrong direction.


(*) (*) Go Dan! (h) (h)

(k) ,
SL and DTB

05-06-2005, 06:39 AM
(This is a draft. Over time I hope, with your help, to revise this into a better document. Let me know what you think.)

Maybe it's time to say a fond farewell to an old canon of journalism: objectivity. But it will never be time to kiss off the values and principles that undergird the idea.

Objectivity is a construct of recent times. One reason for its rise in the journalism sphere has been the consolidation of newspapers and television into monopolies and oligopolies in the past half-century. If one voice overwhelms all the others, there is a public interest in playing stories as straight as possible -- not favoring one side over the other (or others, to be more precise, as there are rarely just two sides to any issue).

There were good business reasons to be "objective," too, not least that a newspaper didn't want to make large parts of its community angry. And, no doubt, libel law has played a role, too. If a publication could say it "got both sides," perhaps a libel plaintiff would have more trouble winning.

Again, the idea of objectivity is a worthy one. But we are human. We have biases and backgrounds and a variety of conflicts that we bring to our jobs every day.

I'd like to toss out objectivity as a goal, however, and replace it with four other notions that may add up to the same thing. They are pillars of good journalism: thoroughness, accuracy, fairness and transparency.

The lines separating them are not always clear. They are open to wide interpretation, and are therefore loaded with nuance in themselves. But I think they are a useful way to approach quality journalism. They are, moreover, easier to achieve in an online setting.


When I was a reporter and, later, a columnist, my first goal was to learn as much as I could. After all, gathering facts and opinions is the foundation of reporting. I liked it best when I felt I had left 95 percent of what I'd learned out of the final piece. The best reporters I know always want to make one more call, check with one more source. (The last question I ask at all interviews is, "Who else should I talk with about this?"

Today, thoroughness means more than asking questions of the people in our Rolodexes (circular or virtual). It means, whenever possible, asking our readers for their input, as I did when I wrote my book (and other authors are doing on theirs). Competitive pressures tend to make this a rare request, but I'm convinced that more journalists will adopt it.


Get your facts straight.

Say what you don't know, not just what you do. (If the reader/listener/viewer does know what you don't, you've just invited him/her to fill you in.)


This one is as difficult, in practice, as accuracy is simple. Fairness is often in the eye of the beholder. But even here I think a few principles may universally apply.

Fairness means, among other things, listening to different viewpoints, and incorporating them into the journalism. It does not mean parroting lies or distortions to achieve that lazy equivalence that leads some journalists to get opposing quotes when the facts overwhelmingly support one side.

Fairness is also about letting people respond when they believe you are wrong. Again, this is much easier online than in a print publication, much less a broadcast.

Ultimately, fairness emerges from a state of mind. We should be aware of what drives us, and always willing to listen to those who disagree. The first rule of having a conversation is to listen -- and I know I learn more from people who think I'm wrong than from those who agree with me.


Disclosure is gaining currency as an addition to journalism. It's easier said than done, of course.

No one can plausibly argue with the idea that journalists need to disclose certain things, such as financial conflicts of interest. But to what extent? Should journalists of all kinds be expected to make their lives open books? How open?

Personal biases, even unconscious ones, affect the journalism as well. I'm an American, brought up in with certain beliefs that many folks in other lands (and some in this one) flatly reject. I need to be aware of the things I take for granted, and to periodically challenge some of them, as I do my work.

Another way to be transparent is in the way we present a story. We should link to source material as much as possible, bolstering what we tell people with close-to-the-ground facts and data. (Maybe this is part of accuracy or thoroughness, but it seems to fit here, too.)

To the extent that we make thoroughness, accuracy, fairness and transparency the pillars of journalism, we can get a long way toward the worthy goal of helping our audiences/collaborators. I don't claim it's easy, but I do think it's worth the effort.


(*) (*) (b) (b) Here's to you, Dan and all those who agree!! (b) (b)

(o) (o),

Sweetlady and Doc

05-06-2005, 06:47 AM
Everything's Coming Up Rosie

Because of the positive response to our liveblogging of Riding The Bus With My Sister, we've decided to assemble a brief montage of our favorite Rosie O'Donnell moments. Be warned: you may need to lower the volume on your computer, lest you blow out the speakers. Enjoy...


(*) (*) ;) (h) (h)

(k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-06-2005, 06:50 AM

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-06-2005, 06:52 AM

(l) (l) Nice.......

(k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc

05-07-2005, 04:17 PM
Published: May 6, 2005

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 5 - Suppose it is the future - maybe a thousand years from now. There is no static cling, diapers change themselves, and everyone who is anyone summers on Mars.

What's more, it is possible to travel back in time, to any place, any era. Where would people go? Would they zoom to a 2005 Saturday night for chips and burgers in a college courtyard, eager to schmooze with computer science majors possessing way too many brain cells?

Why not, say some students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who have organized what they call the first convention for time travelers.

Actually, they contend that theirs is the only time traveler convention the world needs, because people from the future can travel to it anytime they want.

"I would hope they would come with the idea of showing us that time travel is possible," said Amal Dorai, 22, the graduate student who thought up the convention, which is to be this Saturday on the M.I.T. campus. "Maybe they could leave something with us. It is possible they might look slightly different, the shape of the head, the body proportions."

The event is potluck and alcohol-free - present-day humans are bringing things like brownies. But Mr. Dorai's Web site asks that future-folk bring something to prove they are really ahead of our time: "Things like a cure for AIDS or cancer, a solution for global poverty or a cold fusion reactor would be particularly convincing as well as greatly appreciated."

He would also welcome people from only a few days in the future, far enough to, say, give him a few stock market tips.

Mr. Dorai and fellow organizers are the kind of people who transplant a snowblower engine into a sleeper sofa and drive the couch around Cambridge. (If the upholstery were bright red, it could be a midlife crisis convertible for couch potatoes.)

They built a human-size hamster wheel - eight feet in diameter. And they concocted the "pizza button," a plexiglass pizza slice mounted in their hallway; when pressed, it calls up a Web site and arranges for pizza delivery 30 minutes later. (For anyone wanting to try this at home, the contraption uses a Huffman binary code. It takes fewer keystrokes to order the most popular toppings, like pepperoni, more keystrokes for less popular extras, like onions.)

At the convention, they plan to introduce a robot with an "infrared pyro-electric detector," designed to follow anything that emits heat, including humans.

"It's supposed to be our pet," said Adam Kraft, 22, a senior.

"It needs fur," added David Nelson, 23, a graduate student.

While Mr. Dorai has precisely calculated that "the odds of a time traveler showing up are between one in a million and one in a trillion," organizers have tried to make things inviting.

In case their august university does not exist forever, they have posted the latitude and longitude of the East Campus Courtyard (42:21:36.025 degrees north, 71:05:16.332 degrees west).

A roped-off area, including part of an improvised volleyball court, will create a landing pad so materializing time-travel machines will not crash into trees or dormitories.

To set the mood, organizers plan to display a DeLorean - the sleek but short-lived 1980's car that was the time-traveling vehicle in the "Back to the Future" movies.

At first, Mr. Dorai urged people to publicize the event with methods likely to last. "Write the details down on a piece of acid-free paper," he directed, "and slip them into obscure books in academic libraries!"

But Mr. Dorai said the response was so overwhelming that the police, concerned about security, had asked that anyone who had not replied by Wednesday not be allowed to attend.

No future-guests are confirmed as of yet, although one responder purports to be from 2026. But among the 100 likely attendees, there are those from another time zone - Chicago - and from New York, which at least likes to think of itself as light-years ahead.

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed," said Erik D. Demaine, an M.I.T. mathematician who will be one of the professors speaking.

There will also be two bands, the Hong Kong Regulars and Off-White Noise, performing new, time-travel-apropos tunes.

"If you subscribe to alternative-world theory, then time travel makes sense at some level," said Professor Demaine, who would like future-guests to bring answers to mathematical mysteries. "The universe is inherently uncertain, and at various times it's essentially flipping coins to make a decision. At any point, there's the heads version of the world and the tails version of the world. We think that we actually live in one of them, and you could imagine that there's actually many versions of the universe, including one where suddenly you appear from 10 years in the future."

If you can not imagine that, consider Erin Rhode's view of time travel.

"I kind of think if it's going to happen, it'll be the wormhole theory," said Ms. Rhode, 23, a recent graduate, adding, "If you create a stable wormhole," a hole in space, "people can go back to visit it."

William McGehee, 19, a freshman who helped build a "Saturday Night Fever"-like dance floor in his dorm, said, "It's pretty obvious if time travel does occur, then it doesn't cause the universe to explode."

And Sam McVeety, 18, a freshman, wondered if wearing a tinfoil hat would be comforting or insulting to future-people.

Mr. Dorai has had quirky brainstorms before: proposing the imprisonment of Bill Watterson, the retired cartoonist, to force him to continue his "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strip; and donning the costume of M.I.T.'s mascot, the beaver, while climbing the statue of John Harvard, namesake of that other Cambridge college. That incident went awry when some Harvard men swiped a paw.

But Mr. Dorai's time travel idea seems to have legs.

"If you can just give up a Saturday night, there's a very small chance at it being the biggest event in human history," he said.

And if it is a flop, futuristically speaking?

Well, Mr. Dorai reasoned, "Certainly, if no one from the future shows up, that won't prove that it's impossible."

(*) (*) You don't say! ;) ;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-07-2005, 04:21 PM
Published: May 7, 2005

I love chimeras.

I've seen just about every werewolf, Dracula and mermaid movie ever made, I have a Medusa magnet on my refrigerator, and the Sphinx of Greek mythology is a role model for her lethal brand of mystery.

So when chimeras reared up in science news, I grabbed my disintegrating copy of Edith Hamilton's "Mythology" to refresh my memory on the Chimera, the she-monster with a lion's head, a goat's body and a serpent's tail: "A fearful creature, great and swift of foot and strong/Whose breath was flame unquenchable."

Bellerophon, "a bold and beautiful young man" on flying Pegasus, shot arrows down at the flaming monster and killed her.

Chimeras with "generally sinister powers," as Nicholas Wade wrote in The Times, seemed to be a lesson in "the pre-Darwinian notion that species are fixed and penalties are severe" for crossing boundaries.

Chimeras got attention again in the mid-80's, Sharon Begley of The Wall Street Journal noted, when embryonic goat cells were merged with embryonic sheep cells to produce a "geep," when a human-mouse chimera was born and when "scientists took brain-to-be tissue from quail embryos and transplanted it into chicken embryos. Once hatched, the chicks made sounds like baby quails."

The U.S. Patent Office balked at an attempt last year to patent a "humanzee," a human-chimp chimera. But as the Stanford University bioethicist Henry Greely told Ms. Begley: "The centaur has left the barn."

Knowing that mixing up species in a Circean blender conjures up nightmarish images, the National Academy of Sciences addressed the matter last month - stepping into the stem-cell vacuum left by the government and issuing research guidelines.

While research on chimeras may be valuable, the guidelines, in a fit of "Island of Dr. Moreau" queasiness, suggested bans on inserting human embryonic stem cells into an early human embryo, apes or monkeys.

The idea is to avoid animals with human sex cells or brain cells, Mr. Wade wrote. "There is a remote possibility that an animal with eggs made of human cells could mate with an animal bearing human sperm. To avoid human conception in such circumstances, the academy says chimeric animals should not be allowed to mate," he explained. Human cells in an animal brain could also be a problem. As Janet Rowley, a University of Chicago biologist, told a White House ethics panel: "All of us are aware of the concern that we're going to have a human brain in a mouse with a person saying, 'Let me out.' "

Mary Shelley was right. Playing Creator is tricky - even if you chase down your accidents with torches.

President Bush's experiments in Afghanistan and Iraq created his own chimeras, by injecting feudal and tribal societies with the cells of democracy, and blending warring factions and sects. Some of the forces unleashed are promising; others are frightening.

In a chilling classified report to Congress last week, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, conceded that Iraq and Afghanistan operations had restricted the Pentagon's ability to handle other conflicts.

That's an ominous admission in light of North Korea's rush toward nukes, which was spurred on by the Iraq invasion and North Korea's conviction that, in bargaining with Mr. Bush, real weapons trump imaginary - or chimerical - ones.

The U.S. invasion also spawned a torture scandal, and its own chimeric (alas, not chimerical) blend of former enemies - the Baathists and foreign jihadists - with access to Iraqi weapons caches.

The Republican Party is now a chimera, too, a mutant of old guard Republicans, who want government kept out of our lives, and evangelical Christians, who want government to legislate religion into our lives.

But exploiting God for political ends has set off powerful, scary forces in America: a retreat on teaching evolution, most recently in Kansas; fights over sex education, even in the blue states and blue suburbs of Maryland; a demonizing of gays; and a fear of stem cell research, which could lead to more of a "culture of life" than keeping one vegetative woman hooked up to a feeding tube.

Even as scientists issue rules on chimeras in labs, a spine-tingling he-monster with the power to drag us back into the pre-Darwinian dark ages is slouching around Washington. It's a fire-breathing creature with the head of W., the body of Bill Frist and the serpent tail of Tom DeLay.

(*) (*) You go girl!! Maureen as always says it with her incisive, surgeon-like precision...... (f) (f)

(k) (k) ,
Doc the Boxer's Mama............ ;)

05-07-2005, 04:28 PM
We Don’t Like This America

The U.S. attitude toward the Calipari case

It is now fairly clear how events are likely to have unfolded. The death of Nicola Calipari in Baghdad was undoubtedly the result of an accident. Yet it is also reasonably obvious that the behavior of both sides played a fundamental part in an incident that was essentially a question of bad luck. On the Italian side, the crucial factor was the decision to keep the Americans in the dark about our agents’ mission in Iraq, prompted by U.S. hostility to the payment of ransoms in kidnappings. The factor on the American side was the clumsy fashion in which the blocking point on the airport road was organized and run, in conjunction with the poor training of the military personnel manning it.

The key element, however, remains: Nicola Calipari was killed by a bullet fired from an American soldier’s rifle, through no fault of his own apart from being in a car that may - the “may” should be double underlined - not have stopped in time at the blocking point in question. It is this factual element that drives a perception of gross insensitivity regarding the way the United States has so far handled the inquiry into the incident, uncoincidentally supervised entirely by the Pentagon.

Instead of admitting its objective responsibility for the unjust death of our agent in Baghdad, drawing the relevant conclusions, and offering its excuses (not necessarily by sending an unfortunate GI to a court martial), the United States has curled up in a shell of 360-degree self-exoneration, convinced that this answers all the questions. The United States is wrong, for one, enormous question remains unanswered: what is the point of a country’s maintaining a close, friendly relationship with the United States?

Those in Washington should know that being an ally of America is almost never comfortable or easy. The reasons are only too obvious. First and foremost, the disparity in strength and the vastness of the interests means that the alliance is always at risk of resembling de facto servitude. For this not to be - or look as if it is not - the case, Washington should among other things pay constant attention to the feelings of its ally’s public opinion, beginning with its sense of national dignity and the interests that this represents.

A country that aspires to lead the world should be capable of doing this. Even at the height of the Cold War, presidents whose names were Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson all managed it. Those presidents were able to harmonize the planetary role of the American superpower with the moods and values of free women and men all over Europe, and beyond. President Bush has stated repeatedly that the battle against terrorism is identical to the struggle against Communism, yet he does not seem to be willing or able to emulate his predecessors, not even for a country like Italy, which in that battle has so far been one of his most faithful and active allies.
He should know - and it is right that long-standing friends of the United States should be the ones to tell him - that all this cannot remain without repercussions. President Bush may be truly concerned about the morale of American troops in Iraq, but equally important for us Italians is the morale of our soldiers in Afghanistan and Nassiriya. We have reason to believe that those soldiers do not appreciate the way in which the Calipari inquiry was conducted by the United States. Neither do we.


(*) (*) (*) (*) (*) BRAVO!!!!! Bring ole "Give 'em Hell, Harry!" Truman back....they just don't make 'em like they used to......(leaders that is). :|

Have a lovely weekend......safe travels to all of the mothers, especially dog pet-parents...... (l) (l)

(k) (k) ,
Doc the Boxer's Mama......

05-07-2005, 04:44 PM
It's hard to decide what's the classiest thing about the Athenaeum: its prime spot on Piccadilly across from Green Park; its afternoon tea with scones and clotted cream; its signature Athenaeum teddy bear. Or maybe the whisky lounge, with 250 single malts.

But all in all... I'd vote for the Concierge, Donald. Not only can he instantly advise where to go, and how to get there, it's the delivery that delights; and you'll get the royal treatment whether you're Kevin Spacey or Mrs. Doe from Idaho.

The Athenaeum Hotel & Apartments was originally built in 1925 in the Edwardian era, and was operated like a private club before becoming a luxury apartment block. A £10M refurbishment took place in 1994; and several large suites have recently been redone to suit families.

The Athenaeum has 111 rooms and 12 suites, some traditional, others more contemporary.

Near the Athenaeum:
The location is terrific. Green Park is across the street, and a short walk away are: Hyde park; Buckingham Palace; Royal Academy of Art; Bond Street; Trafalgar Square; Shepherds Market; Piccadilly Circus; and the Theatre District.

Two tube stations (Green Park, and Hyde Park Corner) are a short walk away. If you have a suite with a kitchen, groceries can be bought near the Green Park tube station.

Special Features at the Athenaeum:
Our suite had some cool toys for kids, and a vintage game console ( - click for pic.) High-tech tv screens, with internet, were cool too.
kitchen was fully-equipped, even with washer/dryer.

Afternoon Tea: homemade scones, clotted cream and jam; daily at 3 pm in The Windsor Lounge.

see comment about Concierge above. The Athenaeum has another Concierge, Duncan, whom I didn't meet; between them, they've been at the Athenaeum for 35 years, and both are featured at the Athenaeum site.

Little touches: big bowl of apples by the check-in desk; milk and cookies at night, for kids; water bottles and face cloths for jogging guests...
spa exclusively for Athenaeum guests

The Athenaeum has been voted by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine as one of London’s top ten hotels.


(*) (*) Stayed here several times on business trips in the London area. This is by far the absolutely BEST hotel where I have had the opportunity to spend some time. Talk about being treated like royalty.....which is <I think> what got me remembering times when I felt like a princess. <whew! BEEN A LONG, LONG time..... ;) Good thing I know to schedule hair, nail, massage, etc. appointments to feel good when I'm not traveling.... (l) (l)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-07-2005, 04:58 PM





(l) (l) (l) ......ah, the wine and fondue cheese restaurants and much slower pace of "dining"; ancient history and medieval architecture, very narrow winding cobblestoned streets, the list goes on and on........ (l) Definitely an exquisite place among several I visited in Switzerland. (f) (f)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-07-2005, 05:20 PM







(l) (l) (l) Le Rôle des Femmes au Japon:



(l) (l) Gorgeous!!:




(l) (l) Geisha - My Story:


(l) (l) (l) It would be so lovely to dress up like a Geisha for an event......maybe someday...... (l) (l)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-07-2005, 05:23 PM

Have a restful rest of the evening and weekend...... (f) (f)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-14-2005, 09:15 AM
Friday, April 8, 2005

Unitarian Jihad!

Startling new underground group spreads lack of panic! Citizens
declare themselves "relatively unafraid" of threats of undeclared
rationality. People can still go to France, terrorist leader says.


The following is the first communique from a group calling itself
Unitarian Jihad. It was sent to me at The Chronicle via an
anonymous spam remailer. I have no idea whether other news
organizations have received this communique, and, if so, why they
have not chosen to print it. Perhaps they fear starting a panic. I
feel strongly that the truth, no matter how alarming, trivial or
disgusting, must always be told. I am pleased to report that the
words below are at least not disgusting:

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States. We are
Unitarian Jihad. There is only God, unless there is more than one
God. The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favor of one God,
with two abstentions. Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the
possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was
noted with love by the secretary.

Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States! Too long
has your attention been waylaid by the bright baubles of extremist
thought. Too long have fundamentalist yahoos of all religions
(except Buddhism -- 14-5 vote, no abstentions, fundamentalism
subcommittee) made your head hurt. Too long have you been buffeted
by angry people who think that God talks to them. You have a right
to your moderation! You have the power to be calm! We will use the
IED of truth to explode the SUV of dogmatic expression!

People of the United States, why is everyone yelling at you???
Whatever happened to ... you know, everything? Why is the news
dominated by nutballs saying that the Ten Commandments have to be
tattooed inside the eyelids of every American, or that Allah has
told them to kill Americans in order to rid the world of Satan, or
that Yahweh has instructed them to go live wherever they feel like,
or that Shiva thinks bombing mosques is a great idea? Sister
Immaculate Dagger of Peace notes for the record that we mean no
disrespect to Jews, Muslims, Christians or Hindus. Referred back to
the committee of the whole for further discussion.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We are everywhere. We have not been born
again, nor have we sworn a blood oath. We do not think that God
cares what we read, what we eat or whom we sleep with. Brother
Neutron Bomb of Serenity notes for the record that he does not have
a moral code but is nevertheless a good person, and Unexalted
Leader Garrote of Forgiveness stipulates that Brother Neutron Bomb
of Serenity is a good person, and this is to be reflected in the

Beware! Unless you people shut up and begin acting like grown-ups
with brains enough to understand the difference between political
belief and personal faith, the Unitarian Jihad will begin a series
of terrorist-like actions. We will take over television studios,
kidnap so-called commentators and broadcast calm, well-reasoned
discussions of the issues of the day. We will not try for "balance"
by hiring fruitcakes; we will try for balance by hiring non-
ideologues who have carefully thought through the issues.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We will appear in public places and require
people to shake hands with each other. (Sister Hand Grenade of Love
suggested that we institute a terror regime of mandatory hugging,
but her motion was not formally introduced because of lack of a
quorum.) We will require all lobbyists, spokesmen and campaign
managers to dress like trout in public. Televangelists will be
forced to take jobs as Xerox repair specialists. Demagogues of all
stripes will be required to read Proust out loud in prisons.

We are Unitarian Jihad, and our motto is: "Sincerity is not
enough." We have heard from enough sincere people to last a
lifetime already. Just because you believe it's true doesn't make
it true. Just because your motives are pure doesn't mean you are
not doing harm. Get a dog, or comfort someone in a nursing home, or
just feed the birds in the park. Play basketball. Lighten up. The
world is not out to get you, except in the sense that the world is
out to get everyone.

Brother Gatling Gun of Patience notes that he's pretty sure the
world is out to get him because everyone laughs when he says he is
a Unitarian. There were murmurs of assent around the room, and
someone suggested that we buy some Congress members and really
stick it to the Baptists. But this was deemed against Revolutionary
Principles, and Brother Gatling Gun of Patience was remanded to the
Sunday Flowers and Banners committee.

People of the United States! We are Unitarian Jihad! We can strike
without warning. Pockets of reasonableness and harmony will appear
as if from nowhere! Nice people will run the government again!
There will be coffee and cookies in the Gandhi Room after the

Michael row the boat ashore, and then get some of the local kids to
pull the boat onto the dock, and come visit with

URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/

(*) (*) Too funny, especially the titles of folks.....hilarious! ;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-14-2005, 09:16 AM

MAJOR sporting and news events face being hit by television blackouts, union leaders warned yesterday as BBC staff voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.

The Tennent’s Scottish Cup Final, Wimbledon and news coverage of the G8 summit are among the possible targets for industrial action. Popular programmes such as EastEnders and River City could also be hit.

The results of separate ballots involving the three unions at the BBC - the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Amicus and Bectu - yesterday revealed overwhelming support for strike action against management restructuring proposals that could result in the loss of nearly 4,000 staff across the UK.

Representatives from the unions will meet in London this morning to decide what action to take.

The Scotsman understands it is likely to consist of at least two one-day strikes with the disruption continuing over the following weeks. For legal reasons, the earliest possible day for strike action would be 20 May.

Both the FA Cup Final and Eurovision Song Contest, which take place on 21 May, could be hit.

Union chiefs have warned that their aim is to "shut live programming down, leading to blank screens and dead air".

Part of the dispute centres on proposals that would include viewers compiling their own news programmes from BBC internet news packages produced around the UK and worldwide. The staff cuts would finance the new project.

Yesterday’s ballot results revealed the extent of the anger across the corporation.

The NUJ reported that 84 per cent of those balloted voted in favour of strike action; Bectu, which represents technicians, reported 77.6 per cent support.

Pete Murray, the deputy NUJ leader at BBC Scotland, described the vote as an "extremely good result".

He said: "I hope the BBC will now see some sense and negotiate seriously with us. The on-going problem has been that they don’t seem to know the difference between negotiating and consulting. They regard negotiating with us as slapping something down on the table and saying, ‘Take it or leave it’.

"The unions are not desperate to call a strike but the feeling is that management are tagging us along. The mood is to fight and knock the BBC off its complacency perch.

"Management may be able to hold things together for a couple of days but not any longer. There is also a great deal of doubt over whether they have the technical expertise to do so."

Mr Murray disputed the rationale behind BBC director-general Mark Thompson’s figure of £350 million in savings that had to be met at the BBC. He said the union did not oppose technological progress but was concerned for jobs and quality of output.

Luke Crawley, of Bectu, said of the ballot result: "This is a clear signal to Mark Thompson that he is going too far, too fast, in his plans for changes.

"We’ve now got an overwhelming mandate for strike action, proving that the director-general is badly out of touch with his staff."

If industrial action goes ahead, the corporation will implement contingency plans involving non-union members and senior management. These include broadcasting a "stockpot" of programmes compiled in advance for emergency situations.

A BBC spokesman said last night: "Given the scale of the changes that the BBC need to make, and considering that the unions have not allowed us to talk to them in order to address their concerns, we are disappointed because we would prefer to continue constructive discussions with them."

Last month Ken MacQuarrie, the controller of BBC Scotland, defended the proposed job cuts when he appeared before the Scottish Parliament’s enterprise and culture committee.

Mr MacQuarrie said the reorganisation would allow £10 million to be invested by 2008 in a new tier of localised Scottish news services, which would address the focus that he said audiences had indicated they wanted.

Michael Matheson, the SNP’s culture spokesman, last night called for the BBC to reconsider its plans.

Mr Matheson, a member of the enterprise and culture committee, said: "The responsibility for any strike action which now takes place lies fully with BBC senior management who failed to engage with the trade unions in any meaningful negotiations.

"Recently in evidence to the enterprise and culture committee, Ken MacQuarrie and his team failed to put forward a coherent case to justify the job cuts they are proposing.

"These cuts in BBC Scotland would clearly undermine the quality of BBC Scotland’s programmes and BBC management should now get round the table with the trade unions and engage in meaningful negotiations.

"The strong vote in favour of strike action is no surprise given the inept way BBC senior management handled this matter."

Alex Neil, the SNP MSP who is convener of the enterprise and culture committee, said he was not surprised at the ballot result and criticised the BBC’s management style.

"The way the BBC management are handling this dispute is appalling," he said. "There are no negotiations and they are expecting people to take these cuts lying down.

"The BBC’s industrial relations remind me of the early part of the 20th century and are wholly unacceptable.

"I am also not convinced that there is a huge demand for locally based news at the price of reducing the national output at a local or national level.

"Such a move would drain creative media jobs from Scotland. There are very few indigenous producers in Scotland who could produce the quality of the BBC."

Last night the Scottish Football Association said it was not aware that the BBC’s coverage of the Tennent’s Scottish Cup Final between Celtic and Dundee United on 28 May was at risk from the strike action.

Andy Mitchell, spokesman for the SFA, said: "It’s a matter for the BBC so I cannot comment at the moment but it will also be shown on Sky Sports."


(*) (*) ...no difference than here I suppose..... :|

(f) (f) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-14-2005, 09:17 AM

SCIENTISTS have revealed what they believe to be the fastest moving plant in the world.

The flower of the bunchberry dogwood bursts open to shoot pollen in just under 0.5 milliseconds - the fastest move-ment recorded in any plant, researchers said yesterday.

Bunchberry dogwood grows in dense carpets in the vast spruce fir forests of the northern United States and Canada.

The research team described its petals opening explosively, separating and flipping back to expose the stamens.

These are the male part of the flower, consisting of pollen-bearing anthers at the end of stalk-like filaments.

The stamens act like miniature medieval catapults to launch pollen to a height of 2.5 centimetres - more than ten times the height of the flower.

During the first 0.3 milliseconds, just one third of a thousandth of a second, the stamens accelerate at up to 2,400g - about 800 times the G-force experienced by astronauts in a space shuttle take-off - and reach a speed of three metres per second, about 6mph.

The American scientists, led by Dr Joan Edwards, of Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, took high-speed video footage of the dogwood plant in action.

They wrote in the journal Nature: "Bunchberry stamens are designed like miniature medieval trebuchets - specialised catapults that maximise throwing distance by having the payload (pollen in the anther) attached to the throwing arm (filament) by a hinge or flexible strap (thin vascular strand connecting the anther to the filament tip).

"After the petals open, the bent filaments unfold, releasing elastic energy. The tip of the filament follows an arc, but the rotation of the anther about the filament tip allows it to accelerate pollen upwards to its maximum vertical speed, and the pollen is released only once it starts to accelerate horizontally."

The rapid opening of the bunchberry flower is thought to enhance cross-pollination in two ways. First, a flower that is triggered into opening by an insect showers the insect with pollen, which it can then transfer to other flowers.

Second, pollen from flowers that open by themselves may be carried long distances by wind currents, having been hurled clear of the flower head.

The force required to open flowers favours large pollinators such as bumblebees, said the scientists.

Plants are not known for their ability to move quickly. Nevertheless, rapid plant movements have been recognised as essential in various functions: seed and pollen dispersal; defence - such as the mimosa whose leaves droop at once when touched or hit by a raindrop; and nutrition. Of the spectacular examples that have fascinated scientists, the leaves of the Venus flytrap, which snap together in a fraction of a second to capture insects, have long been a subject of study. However, the mechanism by which this action works remains poorly understood.

Other plants move more slowly but can navigate comparatively vast distances. Some desert plants can roll into a ball to be blown to another place, only to take root again, while other flowers track the location of the sun and close their petals at night when it is cold.

Compared with animals the bunchberry dogwood is still an ultra-fast mover. The star-nosed mole can detect and gulp down its food at a speed too quick for the human eye - but the dogwood’s acceleration and movement outpace it by several hundred times.

From the moment the mole touches insect larva with its proboscis, it takes 230 milliseconds to check that it is edible and gobble it up. This is the fastest-known reaction time in the animal kingdom, taking less than half the 650 milliseconds a human driver needs to begin braking in response to seeing a red light.


(*) (*) (w) (f) (w) (f) :|

(k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-14-2005, 09:20 AM

skirkpatrick AT scotsman DOT com


If you want to appear like you’re at the cutting edge of net culture but can’t be bothered to spend hours online, then never fear. Scotsman.com’s pathetic team of geeks, freaks and gimps will do the hard work for you. While you sip wine, read a book or engage in normal social interaction, they will burn out their retinas staring at badly designed web pages and dodge creeps in chatrooms to prepare for you: Scotsman.com’s lazy guide to net culture.

Sod the internet. Sod it. Sod the perverts, the scum, the weirdos, the gimps and the geeks. Sod dodgy entrepeneurs and shady dealers. Sod spam, phishing and 1337 h4>

I need to get away from my screen before my piece-of-crap standard scotsman.com-issue PC sucks my soul through my eyeballs. Luckily it's so slow and underpowered that the spirit evisceration process would take several months. Also, I've just rememberd that our operating system is not compatible with modern Soul Destruction programs as we use a version of Windows first produced during the Peninsular War.

Either way I need to escape. My tunnel from the scotsman.com bunker is not yet complete. The canteen's dreadful toxic coffee melts the spoons to such an extent that they are rendered useless for digging purposes.

Instead of lounging on a deserted beach listening to the Dead Kennedys' cover of I Fought The Law ("Drinking beer in the hot sun, I fought the law and I won. I fought the law and I won"), I am fleeing to the Highlands to get some much needed vertical distance between me and my knackered, slow, useless, internet disabled, garbage, landfill, low-rent, prehistoric nay precambrian, cheap, fell-off-the-back-of-a-hearse, steam-powered, leaden reject of a PC in the vain hope it will be replaced with a machine that is not powered by a hamster.

I'm going to climb Munros (Scottish hills over 3,000 feet) and that thought is sustaining me through my technological torment.

Every time my PC slows to crawl, I am able to prevent myself punching through the screen and committing seppuku with a bent canteen spoon by calling to mind the great shepherd of Etive, Buachaille Etive Mor. Or Ben Vorlich. Or haunted Ben MacDui.

A useful guide to these hills can be found at MunroMagic.com. (Obviously, if you're going to go up a mountain don't just check a website, get a map, compass, decent pair of boots and set of waterproofs.)

If do you manage to climb all 284 Munros, you might contact "The Clerk of The List" via the Scottish Mountaineering Club. So far there are 3,336 Munroists listed on the site. Or rather 3,335 for, as the SMC points out:

The number 284 is given over to 'THE UNKNOWN MUNROIST.' There is a full explanation of this in the 1983 SMC Journal (p.389), but, as many will find this difficult to access, the brief story is that this number, the same as the total number of Munros (and therefore until recently 276!), is assigned to those who 'are deliberate non-reporters, others who refuse to compleat their final Munro and still others, equally obtuse but more metaphysical, who claim that they don't know that they have already compleated..' In others words, number 284 is allocated to all those dissidents.

For an even more eclectic and entertaining take on Scotland's high places, take a look at the hillwalking fanzine The Angry Corrie.

Where else will you find articles on "Perversions of the Scottish hills", lists of politicians who are Munroists and climbing the world's smallest mountains (The Maldives: Highest point, Wilingili Island, Addu Atoll. Unnamed. 2.5 metres above sea level.) nestling among serious pieces on how to avoid being struck by lightning?

While TAC has a certain habit of taking "agin" people and things whose activities differ from its editorial line, I will forever love it for one of the many names it gives its letters section: Meall Beag (mailbag).

Puns and hills. Does it get any better?














(*) (*) ;) ;) (h) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer (f)

05-14-2005, 09:22 AM
Stewart Kirkpatrick


skirkpatrick at scotsman dot com

If you want to appear like you’re at the cutting edge of net culture but can’t be bothered to spend hours online, then never fear. Scotsman.com’s pathetic team of geeks, freaks and gimps will do the hard work for you. While you sip wine, read a book or engage in normal social interaction, they will burn out their retinas staring at badly designed web pages and dodge creeps in chatrooms to prepare for you: Scotsman.com’s lazy guide to net culture.

Being a journalist, I'm fascinated by finding out things I'm not supposed to know about. Some journalists get into the game because they want to be famous. Some want to be powerful. Some want to be rich.

Sod all that.

I want to know about the hushed-up past sexual convictions of senior politicians.

I want to know about top secret military experiments that have gone disastrously wrong.

I want to know about the corrupt dealings of bloated capitalists.

These things might not necessarily be true and I may not be able to prove them. But it's good just knowing.

Oh, and for the record, the state of the Beckham's marriage is of about as much interest to me as the weather on the Jovian moon Europa. Actually, now I come to think of it, given that Europa could harbour life, its climate is relevant, unlike the shenanigans or nonshenanigans of Posh and Becks. Feel free to insert your own gratuitous joke about intelligent life and the Beckhams here.

However, there are some parts of society that are harder to crack than others (nobody really likes politicians and their intimate transgressions get passed along the line at pace). When it comes to the medical professions, the polis and the courts, eliciting information is a lot harder and can only be achieved by much schmoozing.

Imagine my joy then, when I discovered blogs written by people in these very jobs that communicate titbits about areas of life normally hidden from the rest of us.

First up is Random Acts of Reality - the blog of an employee of the London Ambulance Service "trying to kill as few people as possible". It's a fascinating insight into the difficulties of the NHS /disabled due 2 spam/ and more specifically the sheer horror of having to deal with the public:

A call came into Control that a young woman had a foot injury. It was prioritized and a there was no ambulance to immediately send, so it was put in the queue of low priority calls. A short time later, a call came in asking where the ambulance was as the patient was actually a victim of a hanging. An ambulance was immediately despatched and HEMS (Helicopter Medical Service) was also activated. When the crew turned up, the patient wasn't hanging, but instead her foot had been run over by a pram. There was no obvious injury. The impression that has been given is that the caller lied to Control in order to get an ambulance quicker. Actually, I know that they lied, but to say how I know this would potentially break confidentiality.

This act of bastardry could well have meant that someone who really needed an ambulance had to wait longer to get to hospital. This it turn potentially puts lives in danger. That is not counting how much it cost to activate the helicopter, or the cost if someone had been run over by the ambulance as it raced to the scene.

Another blogger who seems not to relish contact with hoi polloi is "David Copperfield" at The Policeman' Blog:

This time it’s a theft and the child needs arresting. Upon entering the slum, I immediately anticipate trouble ahead. Mother is fat and smoking, she clearly has “nerves”, upon seeing me she shouts (and I mean shouts), “KARL, F***KING COME DOWN HERE NOW!” the reply comes from upstairs: ”WHAAAAAAAT ?”

When he arrives, I notice Karl has neglected to remove his hat when he came into the house. He is wearing a nylon tracksuit and standing near the gas fire. I’m hoping to be able to put him out shortly after he is engulfed in flames. It’s too late though, he moves away so that he can see the television more clearly although there is nowhere in the room where the television, a vast cinema screen, cannot be seen. I outline the details of Karl’s petty crime, skipping lightly over the fact that he’ll have to be arrested before I can speak to him: “No Mrs Smith, I really need to speak to Karl at the police station and because of his age he needs an adult to come with him. I’ve come to arrange a time when he can come in with you.”

Further enquiries in the afternoon over the telephone are less successful as people are out and do not answer their mobile phones. A recurring theme when I attempt to make appointments with the poor is how busy they are. That’s not to say that they are busy in the way that you or I would understand the word. My customers always say, “I’ve got a lot going on my life right now.”

What do they mean by that? Decorating? Probably not. It’s certainly not gardening judging by the state of most of the gardens I have to walk through.

Someone who has a different view of the relationship between the police and the public is Richard North, whose blog is called PrisonerJW7874.

Another blog that deals with matters legal is The Law West of Ealing Broadway - "Musings and Snippets from an English Magistrate". It has an enjoyably wry, even jaded, tone:

A man took the oath on the Koran. He had pleaded guilty to drink driving, but was asking us to find Special Reasons not to disqualify him because he claimed that he was only moving his car to a safer part of the pub car park before walking home. The prosecutor challenged him in cross-examination, saying that the police evidence was that he had driven out of the car park but reversed smartly back when he spotted the police car.

"I would not lie to this court sir. I have taken the oath on the Holy Koran".

The prosecutor put down his file and paused. "Doesn't the Koran also say that you must not drink? And have you not pleaded guilty?"

Entertaining and informative those these offerings are, it is important to bear in mind that this is the net we're talking about. Three of the above blogs are anonymous so it is impossible to know if the people writing it actually do the jobs they claim.

To illustrate this, I have set up a weblog called "The Panda Assassin" - confessions of a ninja of the genus Ailurus.

Just because I have set up a weblog documenting the experiences of a hired killer from an endangered species does not make me either a panda or a ninja /disabled due 2 spam/ though I bet they know some cool secrets.







(*) (*) ;) ;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-14-2005, 09:23 AM

;) ;)

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-14-2005, 09:24 AM
Everyone knows that David Bowie got his name from a Tin Machine song, and that Queen got their name from Freddy's prediction that one day Brian May would play to *the* Queen from the roof of Buckingham palace - but what about other bands. Do you know about Spagna? About psychedielia's The Umbilical Chord? About Whipsnade, the animal Portishead? Do you?
I shall hereby challenge your pop knowledge with a quiz. I shall ask you where ten bands got their name from and then let you know how well you did...


(*) (*) ;) ;) (h) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-14-2005, 09:26 AM
WMD Hunt Game:


London Calling: http://www.spinon.co.uk/content/londoncalling



Alien Versus Predator: http://www.avp-movie.com/

Down favorite programmes: http://members.chello.nl/~p.wiersema/list.html

Oracle of Bacon At Virginia: http://www.c6.org/oracle/oracle.html (The first stop for any film trivia buff has to be the world famous Oracle of Bacon, which connects every conceivable actor or actress anywhere to the US thespian. If he's not been in a film with said actor or actress then he probably has been in one with someone who has.

The object of the game is to start with any actor or actress who has been in a movie and connect them to Kevin Bacon in the smallest number of links possible. Two people are linked if they've been in a movie together … we can count how many links were necessary and assign the actor or actress a Bacon number. Bacon numbers higher than 4 are very rare.)

Guess the Character: http://guess.priceshout.com/

Conker Simulartor:


Blast Billiards: http://www.mousebreaker.net/games/stickcricket/play.php

The number one online resource for puerile, rude and silly stories:


(*) (*) <grinning> ;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-14-2005, 09:28 AM
Italy is now bargain buy holiday hotspot


ITALY is now one of the cheapest countries in the euro zone for a range of common holiday purchases, according to a new survey.

Once regarded as a pricey playground for the rich, Italy emerged as the least expensive destination for a typical "holiday hamper" of 13 items including sunscreen, a meal at a restaurant, a bottle of Coke and a postcard.

The research also showed that travelling to long-haul destinations provides far better value than staying closer to home, with prices often half of what they are in Europe.

Using information from national tourist boards for each of the 12 countries surveyed, American Express found that prices varied by around £90 for the same items. The cheapest, with a shopping bill of just £65.45 was Thailand and the most expensive was Norway on £154.60.

The cost of the items in Italy fell by 9 per cent compared to last year - the only European country in the survey where prices dropped.

But the cost of living in long-haul destinations such as Thailand and South Africa plummeted, ensuring that sterling stretched even further in exotic locations.

A cappuccino in Italy cost just 64p and a three-course meal for two with a local bottle of wine cost only £28.42.

In Greece, a favourite UK holiday destination, a coffee cost £2.84 while the meal and wine in Norway cost a massive £75.14.

In Italy a bottle of beer at a bar cost just £1.39 and a bottle of mineral water came to 71p while in Norway beer cost £3.98 and water cost £1.54.

But for Thailand, which has overtaken South Africa as the cheapest country, the cost for the 13 items was £65.70 where a cup of coffee cost just 43p and a meal and wine costs £28.68.

The holiday cost-of-living bill was more expensive in the two other long-haul destinations surveyed - Australia and the United States.

But they still compare favourably with popular European destinations as their prices continued to fall compared to last year, helped by the continued weakness of the dollar against the pound.

Across the rest of Europe, including Switzerland and Europe, the cost of the items continued to rise since last year with the UK’s favourite destination, Spain, increasing by a massive 26 per cent more than last year at £89.55.

A tube of sunscreen was found to be most expensive in Ireland, costing £10.28, while it was cheapest in South Africa at just £1.16.

South Africa was also the cheapest country for a bottle of Coca-Cola at 46p and for a 24-exposure camera film at 74p. It was also the least expensive for a three-course meal for two: £26.03, including wine.

France had the most expensive Coca-Cola at £2.48, Spain and Ireland had the most expensive camera film at £4.25, and Norway the priciest dinner with wine at £74.84.

Travel experts said Italy has managed to escape the escalating costs of the rest of Europe since the euro was introduced.

Sean Tipton, of the Association of British Travel Agents, said the survey showed that Italy should no longer be seen as an expensive corner of Europe.

He said: "It might surprise some people as Italy has always had an undeserved reputation as being very expensive. "This survey clearly shows that this has not been the case for a number of years.

"Italy offers some of the best value for money in Western Europe. Rising standards of living across Europe have led to price increases but Italy seems to have avoided this."

Tom Hall, travel information manager at Lonely Planet, said: "Prices across Europe have generally increased with the euro coming in and that has had a knock on effect.

"I think there are a lot of things you can do in Italy that are expensive. A coffee near one of the famous monuments will cost more than going to a cafe used by locals.

"But if you shop in supermarkets and go off the beaten track you will find it is a cheap place.

"The strength of the pound means lots of places around the world have become cheaper, which is why you have seen so many people going on shopping holidays to New York.

"South Africa was the place to go a few years ago and now Thailand is amazingly cheap because they are trying to attract people back after the tsunami."

The survey also looked at the cost of hiring a car for three days. Quotes from car-hire firm Hertz for all 12 countries showed Spain proved by far the cheapest at just under £37 while Norway cost £139.62 - almost four times as much.

Brendan Walsh, American Express foreign exchange senior vice president, said that the Cost of Living Index was particularly useful as a barometer of pricing in the euro zone.

He said: "As was the case last year, the 2005 cost of living chart demonstrates clearly that one currency does not mean one price. The costs vary significantly for every item that we surveyed - by £2.03 for a bottle of Coke bought in a café and £1.41 for a large bottle of supermarket mineral water, for example. Overall, the cost in Italy was virtually half that in Ireland for the same 13 items."


(l) (l) (l) (l) (l)

({) (}) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-14-2005, 09:44 AM
Conspiracy Theory Rock (turn up speakers!):


McDonald's Bathroom Attendant: :|


Undecahedron-shaped PC's:


Star Wars Gansta Rap special Edition: :s


Time Traveler Convention:




How Much is Inside?


Tiger Puns Galore!


Bacon Bandages: ( I Loved this one!)


US socialite and journalist Arianna Huffington is to launch a super blog featuring contributions by a host of her celebrity chums, from Gwyneth Paltrow to Norman Mailer. Tim Dowling got a preview:


Blog: The Movie


Toilet Bowl: :o


The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form:

Networked Emoticon Devices: (h)


Shatner Sings: :|




(*) (*) (*) (*) (*) ....there are a few sites definitely worth a visit, whether for a quick look-see or to spend some time exploring...... (h) (h)

Have a lovely weekend!

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-14-2005, 09:48 AM
Industry experts discuss two approaches to delivering content, with an eye towards a future where IPTV and streaming coexist rather than compete.

By Geoff Daily www.streamingmedia.com
May 11, 2005

Both streaming and IPTV have been around either as technologies or concepts for more than a decade, yet much of the enthusiasm generated by streaming in the late ’90s seems to have shifted to IPTV over the last couple of years, especially among premium content owners. IPTV and streaming are not two mutually exclusive technologies, and the distinctions between the two become less relevant as bandwidth continues to increase and compression codecs get more efficient. So where are the lines drawn between IPTV and streaming, and where will those lines move in the future?

First things first: defining the technology. “IPTV is a bandwidth-saving, cost-saving switch service that allows a cable provider or telco to offer more services over the same pipe,” says Shelly Palmer, president and CEO of Palmer Advanced Media and chair of the Emmy Awards Advanced Media Committee. “IPTV theoretically wants to have a set-top box and be viewed on a television set. Streaming is an almost identical server-side technology that ends up on your computer.” This basic tenet also explains why streaming still is a hard sell to broadcasters. “The reason that no one’s talking about streaming at NAB is that streaming is not an important TV technology and doesn’t leverage the TV sets already out there,” Palmer continues. “If you’re a TV guy, you’re really not thinking about computers as a part of your world. In fact, you kind of wish they were all dead because they’re taking away your viewers.”

IPTV was designed specifically to deliver high-quality content through an Internet pipeline onto a traditional TV set. “To the consumer, IPTV is going to look and feel very similar to the experience they get from cable or satellite,” says Ed Graczyk, director of marketing and communications for Microsoft’s TV division. “IPTV is a form of streaming at the very basic level. All of the technology in our solution is built on top of the streaming technologies we developed; at the core of our broadcast server is the Windows Media server. IPTV is a way of taking that technology and adapting it to a new use and a new market. You shouldn’t look at them as two different things. Think of IPTV as broadcast-quality, industrial-strength streaming.”

That’s a bit of a misnomer, though, as IPTV and streaming differ in one very specific way. “The difference really is in control,” says Ken Pyle, cofounder of Viodi.com. “With IPTV, a network operator controls the whole path from the time they assemble the content to the delivery of that content to the consumer’s home. They can set quality of service; and they can control the security on it. With traditional streaming, the signal might have to traverse different people’s networks. So the network operators don’t have the same bandwidth control.” This need for end-to-end control has also affected how IPTV is deployed. “IPTV is being implemented by people who own the entire network,” says Pyle. “It’s not really being sent from one end of the world to the other; it’s much more regional or local than streaming service.”

Because IPTV is a closed, managed network, it’s able to deliver full-screen, high-quality video content, unlike streaming, which is most often still relegated to small-screen and (relatively) low-quality video. “A lot of providers have to come up to a little bit better capacity to be able to treat streaming media like it needs to be,” says Bill DeMuth, VP and CTO for SureWest Communications. And if streaming is to have any hope of keeping up with IPTV and converging somewhere down the line, the issue of network capacity needs to be resolved sooner rather than later. “High-definition TV is going to set another benchmark that streaming media might struggle with,” he says.

Palmer suggests another reason for the disparity between picture qualities as well. “Encoding for streaming is an art form, not a science. Just because someone’s transferred something doesn’t mean it’s a good transfer,” he says. Plus the visual standards for broadcast TV have had decades to mature while streaming is at a much more primitive stage. “To be honest, the guys in the streaming business for the most part are not video technicians in the way that video operators are,” says Palmer. “[With TV] there’s always a video technician at every broadcast. They’re making sure the white balance is correct and so on. Show me that in a streaming environment. Who’s watching the store when it comes to that stuff? That doesn’t happen on IPTV. They treat it like TV, and it looks like it.”

But unlike traditional TV, IPTV distribution is not limited to over-the-air broadcasts and cable companies. “We think IPTV is the platform for all future media distribution, whether it’s cable, telco, or a future wireless broadband network,” explains Graczyk. For telcos in particular, IPTV presents a ripe opportunity to establish a foothold in the nascent online video distribution market. “IPTV’s the biggest new type of service that they’re going to be offering,” Graczyk says. “It’s a proven business model, and it gives them an opportunity to differentiate their services from cable.”

“For us being a total integrated communications provider, it’s not just the TV as a part of the equation; we come to the consumer with a bundle of offerings,” explains DeMuth. “IPTV is really laying the foundation for us in the future. There are opportunities for feature applications with multimedia services where the voice, data, and video are integrated.” Examples of these types of services range from displaying caller ID on a TV set to being able to program a PVR remotely from a handheld device.

While the IPTV model may currently be based on a closed system that doesn’t allow users to watch any and all streams on their TV sets, “ultimately it could be more open,” says Pyle. “Surfing the Internet on the TV in my limited experience is kind of a novelty that wears off after a while. But if there’s a way for the [IPTV providers] to create a ‘channelized’ experience out of that Web surfing so that it becomes more like TV, you could add some value to services that might be streaming from all around the Internet.”

Plus, as bandwidth increases and “as we continue to compress the content that we use for IPTV,” DeMuth says, “I think it becomes close in some regards in terms of what you may want to stream,” although in the end, it’s really up to the discretion of the IPTV provider as to whether or not they want to open up the system.

It all comes down to facilitating the best viewing experience for the end user, and “they don’t really care if their content is streamed or sent over IPTV,” says Palmer. “What part of all this matters to you as a consumer? I think that’s what happens in our business sometimes: we get caught up in the form factor and forget about the reality that [the consumer] just wants the content.”

And this reality also speaks to whether or not streaming and IPTV are competing or complementary technologies. “They only compete at the level that the computer and the TV stay separate in the minds of consumers,” he says. “It’s not that streaming’s gone up or down. It’s that IPTV is probably the future of the TV industry, while streaming is very firmly rooted in the computer business.

“I don’t think that anything is going to win; one will not usurp the other,” he continues. “TV didn’t kill the movie theater business, and VHS didn’t kill TV. Very rarely does a technology completely obviate another, and you’re not going to see that happen here because the phone company’s going to have their transport mechanism, cable will have theirs, and so on. Everybody’s going to have a way to get something onto your personal device.”

(*) (*) Grrl-propeller-head cool stuff! (h) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-14-2005, 09:54 AM
With just nine days left to go in his seven-year stint as CEO of Intel, Craig Barrett is getting off some parting shots. Certainly, after a final year that was more nightmare than swan song (see "Intel CEO: The buck stops there," "Intel CEO sets caps-lock key for next irate memo," and "Barrett to employees: you guys did get the memo, right?"), Barrett can be forgiven for speaking a bit more ... frankly than usual. In an interview with Reuters, Barrett disparaged U.S. technology policy, saying its shortcomings have dulled the nation's competetive edge. "I challenge you to find anything coming out of Washington that smells like a digital initiative to increase U.S. competitiveness,'' Barrett said, noting e-government initiatives in Britain, France, Germany and the United Arab Emirates. "Turning away educated people who want to immigrate to the United States has to be the dumbest thing in the world. We allow people in the United States who are either here illegally and at the lower level of the value-add or work force chain -- the weak, the sick, the infirm,'' he added. "We allow everybody in but the value-add people who have educational capabilities and the ability to contribute to the economy. If we haven't got it bass-ackward I don't know what we're doing."





Comment on this at San Jose Mercury Silicon Valley's web site:


(*) (*) Carpe diem!

Sweetlady and Doc

05-14-2005, 09:56 AM

"It's like having your tongue hit with a hammer."

-- Extreme food developer Blair Lazar describes the taste of "16 Million Reserve," the hottest hot sauce ever to be created by science (16 million Scoville Units!)


(*) (*) ....what a maroon....... ;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-14-2005, 09:59 AM
I know his IQ was only 140, but he said he was Sergey's cousin. Turns out that even the Google Labs Aptitude Test can't filter human error out of the rank and file. That's what Google found out Saturday afternoon when a DNS misconfiguration knocked the search leader and its various Web properties offline for 15 minutes or so. Gmail, Google News, Froogle -- from 3:45 to 4 p.m. PDT, you couldn't access any of them unless you happened to know their IP addresses. Google was typically tight-lipped about the incident, saying only that it was a DNS glitch and nothing sinister that had felled the company's sites. "It was not a hacking or a security issue," said Google spokesperson David Krane. "Google's global properties were unavailable for a short period of time. We've remedied the problem and access to Google has been restored worldwide."





Comments: http://blogs.siliconvalley.com/gmsv/2005/05/tk_1.html#comments

(*) (*) ;) ;)

({) (}) ,
SL and DTB

05-14-2005, 10:01 AM

"For many people it will be like the first time you switch from watching regular TV to high definition TV. The sun comes out and the angels start singing."

-- Rob Smith, editor-in-chief of Official Xbox Magazine, describes the miraculous apparition that will inspire Xbox 360 owners to rush out and buy HDTV sets.


(*) (*) ...this quote is such a load of manure.......ah what they say to sell!

SL and DTB

05-14-2005, 10:03 AM
Google, the "Starbucks of the Internet"? Sounds like a lousy analogy to me, but venture capitalist Fred Wilson seems to think it has some merit. "I think Google has become so mainstream and so ubiquitous in our everday Internet lives that it's lost its mojo in some ways," he writes in a post to is Web log. "What I see today is a big company trying to extend its reach beyond search and into every nook and cranny of opportunity on the Internet. And without a lot of rhyme or reason. Google has recently launched some very attractive web services like Google Local and Google Maps. Their SMS service is a killer app for cell phones. It seems like they are launching a new web service every week. It's so fast and furious that it is making my head spin. But I don't understand how all of these new web services have anything to do with their core business of targeting advertising via search and contextual advertising." Why Fred isn't getting it is beyond me. It's clear that these new services, to a one, can and no doubt will be integrated into the Google contextual advertising model at some point. It's only a matter of time.


Comments: http://blogs.siliconvalley.com/gmsv/2005/05/id_like_a_grand.html#comments

(*) (*) Marketing branding.....gotta love it. (h) (h)

SL and DTB

05-14-2005, 10:05 AM

(*) (*) ......and on cell phones no less...... :o


05-14-2005, 10:07 AM

(*) (*) .....it seems as if researchers can find just about anything to "simulate evidence for"...... ;) (S) (S) Goodnight nurse! ;)

Hugs and kisses,

05-14-2005, 10:09 AM

(*) (*) Isfahan: The Movie. Beautiful animation based on beautiful architecture. Spring for the big version if you have the bandwidth. (l)

(k) (k) ,

05-14-2005, 10:12 AM
Free Online Graph Paper / Grid Paper PDFs


(l) (l) ....off to finish reading the third and last week of assigned readings for the on-line DVC (Da Vinci Code) course from allearn.org and get some discussion questions posted......also prepare for a LIVE interactive chat with the rest of the adult learners taking this course tomorrow....... (h) (h) This week is focused on the sacred feminine and especially Mary Madalene........which are of keen interest to me...... (l) (l)

Chow baby,
SL and DTB (l) (l)

05-14-2005, 10:15 AM
A map of Neverland Valley Ranch. From Club KISS, you have to go past the Zipper to get to the Petting Zoo.


(*) (*) this is one story that I hope goes away with Jocko in jail soon. Enough said of this creep. :(


05-14-2005, 10:20 AM
Arty and Tolerant Along the Delaware


Published: May 8, 2005 NYTimes

FROM his office window in a converted rectory building in Lambertville, N.J., Michael Callahan, the editor in chief of New Jersey Life magazine, can see dogwoods in bloom and hear church bells ringing.

"It's a slice of small-town life," he said. "I've been here a short time and everyone knows me. I walk into Sneddon's Luncheonette on Bridge Street and they already know what I drink and have it on my table before I sit down."

Mr. Callahan left his job at Cosmopolitan magazine and moved from Manhattan in January. He bought a small, three-bedroom, 1855 town house that required updating. The most annoying of the house's myriad challenges for Mr. Callahan were its lack of closets and inadequate wiring for air-conditioning and a chandelier in the dining room.

Lambertville is a 1.1-square-mile arts community in a 19th-century industrial shell, 70 miles southwest of Manhattan and 40 miles east of Philadelphia. Hugging the eastern bank of the Delaware River, it is the only city in Hunterdon County, a distinction earned in 1849, when it had a population of more than 2,800, compared with its currently shrinking population of 3,860.

Of its 1,900 houses, most are more than a century old, half are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and, according to John P. Hencheck, a member of the Lambertville Historic Preservation Commission, hundreds more deserve to be. The houses are mainly brick or frame row houses and duplexes built for factory workers, who, over the years, produced an amazing variety of products: hairpins, lace, Jockey underwear, rubber boots, toilet bowls, wagon wheels, canned tomatoes and oyster crackers.

Lambertville also has a sprinkling of old Victorians with sweeping peaks, slate roofs and gingerbread trim, including one at 120 North Union Street that is pictured on the state's specialty car license plates supporting historic preservation.

"You can still find a Victorian for $500,000 or a row house for under $300,000," said Eugene C. Lelie, a real estate broker at the E. J. Lelie Real Agency on Bridge Street, "but you would have to put a lot of money into renovations."

Thomas McMillan, managing broker of Weidel Realtors on Bridge Street, said the size of Lambertville's houses influenced the direction of the community. "Previous generations of factory workers would raise five children in a two-bedroom house," he said. "Now, each child needs a room."

David DelVecchio, the city's mayor for the last 14 years, describes the population as 20 percent senior citizens, with a large number of gay and lesbian couples and empty nesters, along with some young families and singles. He said that the 2000 census data found the average household size to be just 2.06. The median household income stands around $65,000, according to the mayor.

"We are creative, artsy and tolerant," he said. "There's no issue of old-timer versus newcomer, and sexual orientation is not an issue."

At the end of April, 42 houses were listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service, starting at $200,000 for a tiny two-bedroom former coal yard office on Hancock Street. The median price of a house sold so far this year is $284,500. The most expensive house on the market - a three-story, five-bedroom, renovated 19th-century Victorian with a wine cellar and a deck on Clinton Street, overlooking the towpath of the Delaware and Raritan Canal - was listed at $749,000.

The canal was built in the 1830's to connect two of New Jersey's largest rivers and to facilitate the flow of goods, and especially Pennsylvania coal, to New York City. The canal, including the towpath, now forms the 44-mile-long Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, which is used for boating, hiking and jogging, between Bordentown and New Brunswick.

The only major new housing development is Lambert's Hill, 129 town houses off McDowell Drive, where units start at just under $500,000. One recently sold for $650,000.

Lambertville also owes its housing mix to the flight of industry from the eastern United States just after World War II.

"Because we were in such bad shape, the renovations boom in other towns passed us by," said Sven Helmer, manager of the Joseph Finkle & Son hardware store, which opened in 1918. "So our houses still have real clapboard siding, and many older homes were around to be restored when the town came back."

Finkle's stocks not only the requisite nuts and bolts, but also structural steel for shoring up the floors of old houses and a broad selection of historically correct restoration hardware, like replicas of 19th-century mortise door locks.

Lambertville hit bottom by May 1965, when the first lady, Lady Bird Johnson, arrived to inaugurate her husband's War on Poverty program. At the time, most of the factories had closed and left behind a heavily polluted Delaware River.

Industrial flight, coupled with new antipollution regulations, cleaned up the Delaware, sparking a comeback. That revitalization has been celebrated annually for the last 24 years with Shadfest, an arts festival honoring the large fish that returns to the Delaware to spawn. This year's festival, to be held on May 21 and 22, will not feature the traditional shad dinner, catered by a local boat club, because recent flooding has led to a decline in the shad population, according to the festival's chairman, Steve Stegman.

It will feature live music, food stands, walking tours and the annual auction of posters created by local artists, expected to raise about $25,000 in scholarship money for local arts students.

The center of the five-block, pancake-flat downtown is Bridge Street, with a westward view of the Delaware River and New Hope, Pa. On weekends, its broad sidewalks teem with tourists who patronize the more than 40 antiques and collectibles shops and the Golden Nugget Antique Flea Market on River Road, which holds more than 300 dealers. There are also a dozen art galleries, two bookstores, a half dozen home accessory stores, five jewelry stores, a couple of art glass studios and a score of restaurants.

Several century-old commercial buildings have been adapted for reuse. On Lambert Lane, just off Bridge Street, the old Trenton Cracker factory has been converted into offices and the River Horse microbrewery, and the old Jockey underwear factory on Route 29 is now the Rago Arts and Auction Center, owned by David Rago, an appraiser who has appeared on "Antiques Roadshow" on PBS. After April 3, the Delaware River overflowed its banks and crested at 19.17 feet, five feet above flood stage.

Although the roads do not appear to have been badly affected, Mayor DelVecchio estimates flood damage to homes at $26 million. Among those forced to evacuate temporarily was Mr. Callahan, who says he had five feet of water in his basement. President Bush has declared lower Hunterdon County a disaster area, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has moved into one of the city's four firehouses to help residents file for grants for home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.

Although large enough to accommodate 300 students, the Lambertville Elementary School, for kindergarten to Grade 6, has just 170, with an average class size of just 12, compared with a statewide average of 19. The small system results in an annual per-pupil expenditure of $14,552, compared with a state average of $10,467.

"We could handle another 100 students without increasing costs appreciably," said Dr. Richard Weiner, the school superintendent. "We are trying to increase enrollment by accepting tuition students and partnering with neighboring districts on enhanced services."

From Lambertville Elementary, students go on to the six-year, 334-student South Hunterdon Regional High School, which Lambertville shares with neighboring West Amwell and Stockton. Class sizes at South Hunterdon average 15, and the per-pupil expenditure is $19,078. On last year's SAT reasoning tests, the school's students scored a combined verbal and mathematics average of 1,019, which is three points above the state average.

Residents of Lambertville are more likely to commute to Trenton, which is around 15 miles away, or other neighboring towns, than to Manhattan, which is a nearly two-hour commute by bus to Midtown by Trans-Bridge Bus Lines.

Others say that they are happy sticking close to home. Robert Maggio, a member of its growing arts community, said living in Lambertsville is "absolutely inspiring." A composer and music professor at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Maggio and his partner, Tony LaSalle, an artist and local art gallery owner, live with their 4-year-old adopted daughter, Annamaria, in an 1870's farmhouse that abuts the canal towpath.

Summing up life in Lambertville, Mr. Maggio said, "It's difficult to be an oddball here, because people are so tolerant of different personalities and lifestyles."

(*) (*) (*) (*) (*) I LOVED this!!!!!! (k) (k) (k)

SL and DTB
P.S......maybe take a drive next week when the touristas from the weekend have all gone back to New York and/or Philly.....<ah, sigh of no crowds.....> (l)

05-19-2005, 08:41 PM
"Test for Dementia"
"It's that time of year to take our annual senior citizen test."

Exercise of the brain is as important as exercise of the muscles. As
we grow older, it's important that we keep mentally alert The saying;
"If you don't use it, you will lose it" also applies to the brain,
so... Below is a very private way to gauge your loss or non-loss of

So, take the following test presented here and determine if you are
losing it or are still "with it." The spaces below are so you don't
see the answers until you have made your answer.

OK, relax, clear your mind and... begin.


1. What do you put in a toaster?

Answer: "bread." If you said "toast," then give up now and go do
something else. Try not to hurt yourself. If you said, "bread," go
to Question 2.

2. Say "silk" five times. Now spell "silk." What do cows drink?

Answer: Cows drink water. If you said "milk," please do not
attempt the next question. Your brain is obviously over stressed and
may even overheat. It may be that you need to content yourself with
reading something more appropriate such as Children's World. If you
said "water" then proceed to question 3.

3. If a red house is made from red bricks and a blue house is made from
blue bricks and a pink house is made from pink bricks and a black house
is made from black bricks, what is a green house made from?

Answer: Greenhouses are made from glass. If you said "green
bricks," what the devil are you still doing here reading these
If you said "glass," then! go on to Question 4.

4. It's twenty years ago, and a plane is flying at 20,000 feet over
Germany (If you will recall, Germany at the time was politically
divided into West Germany and East Germany.) Anyway, during the
flight, TWO of the engines fail. The pilot, realizing that the last
remaining engine is also failing, decides on a crash landing procedure.
Unfortunately the engine fails before he has time and the plane
fatally crashes smack in the middle of "no man's land" between East
Germany and West Germany. Where would you bury the survivors? East
Germany or West Germany or in "no man's land"?

Answer: You don't, of course, bury survivors.

If you said ANYTHING else, you are a real dunce and you must NEVER try
to rescue anyone from a plane crash. Your efforts would not be
appreciated. If you said, "Don't bury the survivors", then proceed to
the next question.

5. Without using a calculator - You are driving a bus from London to
Milford Haven in Wales. In London, 17 people get on the bus. In
Reading, six people get off the bus and nine people get on. In
Swindon, two people get off and four get on. In Cardiff, 11 people get
off and 16 people get on. In Swansea, three people get off and five
people get on In Carmathen, six people get off and three get on. You
then arrive at Milford Haven. What was the name of the bus driver?

Answer: Oh, for crying out loud!

Don't you remember your own name? It was YOU!!

(*) (*) :o :o :o ;) ;) <grinning>

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-19-2005, 08:44 PM

Season Two finale. As Deadwood readies for a celebration, George Hearst's arrival in camp brings upheaval. Swearengen's manipulations extract a counter-offer from Yankton. Hearst comes to separate arrangements with Farnum and Swearengen. Tolliver seeks to improve his position with Hearst at Wolcott's expense. Tensions in Chinaman's Alley boil over with violent results. Sunday at 9pm ET/PT.

(l) (l) (l) LOVE this show and the interactive features on HBO's web site (go to Deadwood show) have extraordinary 3D graphics of the costumes (Joannie's are just breathtaking) as well as other actors. Each building also has an interactive tour thoughout it with lots and views. Very cool. (h) (h)

(l) (l) ,
SL and DTB

05-19-2005, 08:46 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court this morning ruled that state governments cannot prohibit people from purchasing wine from out-of-state wineries, determining that states' claims of possible lost taxes or shipments to minors don't justify such prohibitions. The justices, voting 5-4, said the traditional state authority over alcohol sales must yield to the constitutional requirements that states not engage in protectionism. "States have broad power to regulate liquor," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. "This power, however, does not allow states to ban, or severely limit, the direct shipment of out-of-state wine while simultaneously authorizing direct shipment by in-state producers. If a state chooses to allow direct shipments of wine, it must do so on evenhanded terms." The ruling is a great victory for smaller vintners and Internet commerce and a blow to the liquor distributors who'd been enjoying enjoy fat markups.


(*) (*) very cool....... ;)

(k) (k) ,
SL and DTB

05-19-2005, 08:47 PM



(*) (*) (h) (h)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-19-2005, 08:48 PM
(coffee warning.....) ;)


(l) (l) ,
SL and DTB

05-19-2005, 08:50 PM
Revenge Of The Sith - Paperboy:


Revenge Of The Sith - Dodgeball:


Revenge Of The Sith - Pigeons:


(*) (*) (....coffee warning.....) ;) ;)

(k) (k) ,
SL and DTB

05-19-2005, 08:52 PM
(again....coffee warining.....) ;) ;)


(8) (8) (8) (w) (f)

;) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-19-2005, 08:53 PM

(*) (*) ....the usual coffee warning applies......(a) (a)

(S) (S) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-19-2005, 08:54 PM
U.N. dispatches emissary to failing DVD format talks: The chances of a single next-generation DVD format are looking increasingly slim today now that talks to unify rival formats have stalled once again. Backers of two next-generation formats -- Blu-ray from Sony and Matsushita and HD DVD from Toshiba -- apparently cannot agree on the format's disc structure. Sony and Matsushita want a Blu-ray-based structure. Toshiba would prefer one based on HD DVD, unless Sony and its allies can prove Blu-ray is more advantageous. "The Sony side failed to provide enough evidence that its format has a clear advantage over ours in terms of cost and range of applications," Yoshihide Fujii, Toshiba's top negotiator, said today, adding that further discussion will be a "waste of time" unless Sony makes an effort to examine Toshiba's proposal for a unified technology. "We won't give up the idea of forging a unified format. (But unifying the formats based on Sony technology) would be extremely difficult at this stage." The disagreement is a severe setback to a smooth transition to next-generation media and may be the precursor to a full-scale format war.



({) (}) ,

05-19-2005, 08:56 PM
Nice, stable little system you got here; shame if anything happened to it:The idea of paying Microsoft to protect me from the exploitation of vulnerabilities in its own operating system seems ludicrous to me, a bit like an auto manufacturer selling you a car and then charging you a monthly fee for seatbelts , but then that's Microsoft. On Friday, Redmond rolled out a beta version of Windows OneCare, a subscription security service that guards against the viruses and spyware that call its operating systems home. The move, prefigured in Microsoft's acquisition of several antivirus and anti-spyware companies in the last two years, brings the company into direct competition with Symantec and McAfee, which have built entire businesses based on Windows' weaknesses. "This could be devastating to McAfee and Symantec," Richard Williams, senior software analyst at Garban Intercapital, told The Red Herring. "The market currently occupied by McAfee and Symantec will shrink significantly. Much like Apple, they will still have a business but their market share will be permanently small."



(S) (S) .....getting a little sleepy......have a lovely night and Friday!

(k) (k) 's,
SL and DTB

05-19-2005, 08:58 PM
Posted on Mon, May. 16, 2005

3-D images help police

By Therese Poletti

Mercury News

A police forensics laboratory in Rome is using a powerful supercomputer developed by Silicon Graphics to create a three-dimensional replica of a crime scene, to help solve murder cases.

The Italian police, which have been working with SGI since 1996, recently upgraded their system to SGI's six-processor SGI Onyx 350 Infinite Reality computer. Along with the more powerful computer, they also bought an immersive reality, 18-foot-by-7-foot screen, to display virtual three-dimensional images of a crime scene that has been mapped out by the supercomputer.

The system is being used in Rome by a laboratory called the RiTriDEC (Ricostruzione Tridemensionale dell'Evento Criminale), operated by the Italian state police for criminal analysis.

Data gathered from the scene of a crime is fed into the SGI system. As soon as possible after a homicide, a technician will enter the crime scene, where he or she uses laser scanner beams to scan the entire location.

The pulse of the laser calculates how long it takes for the laser to be reflected back, and gets the distance from each end of the room, or the distance one object is from another in the room. These measurements also calculate the placement of the body and the trajectory of a bullet, or possible other murder weapons.

All the data that was scanned with the laser is then fed into the SGI supercomputer.

The Italian police have been using this method, without the addition of the immersive reality screen, to assist in the solving of crimes. The police were able to solve a 1982 Mafia killing of the chief of police in Palermo, Sicily, using an older SGI supercomputer to re-create the crime scene.

In 1982, Carabinieri General Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa and his wife and another officer were killed in a moving car in Palermo.

``The computer graphics helped us because we could reconstruct the crime scene, particularly a car moving down the street,'' said Francesco Marelli, the technical director for the Italian state police, forensic science office. ``We could introduce the velocity of the car and the computer could do the calculations and it could show something.''

Marelli said police were able to determine which witnesses were reliable through the various crime-scene reconstructions that showed what was actually physically possible.

The system can also capture the smallest details in a crime scene, which is essential to investigators. Carlo Bui, who supervises the project for the Italian police, said that in studying the scene of a crime, an investigator must behave like an art critic, and grasp even the smallest details within the scene.

Marelli said that with the new system and the three-dimensional environment, the police hope to bring witnesses to the laboratory, and possibly eventually bring a system like this in court. He also hopes that by having a witness in front of a true-to-life reconstruction of the scene, the police will illicit more information from witnesses, or possibly from the criminal.

``It's very realistic,'' Marelli said. ``We are approaching a psychological study, where we can try to find what the feelings are of the people placed in front of the screen, how do they move, what do they say; all these things can help us build a better crime scene. . . . It might trigger some memory in the witnesses.''

The Onyx system starts at $33,000. SGI has recently introduced a lower-priced system, the Prism, based on Intel's Itanium family, that costs $8,500. Using the new Prism, the whole system in place will cost about $50,000, including the three-dimensional virtual-reality screen, and service charges to install the whole system. SGI said the laser-scanning service would be an additional charge.

The Italian police will eventually upgrade from their Onyx system, which uses SGI's proprietary MIPS chips, to the lower-cost Prism.

``We think this has the potential to take off and become more widely used,'' said Greg Estes, vice president of marketing at SGI. He said he plans to begin marketing the Prism system to other police departments, the FBI and other investigators.


(*) (*) This grrl-propeller-head just LOVES this stuff!!! AS in high technology used for helping people.....and not just for entertainment such as Star Wars and animated 3D Pixar films. (h) (h)

(f) (f) ,
SL and DTB

05-19-2005, 09:06 PM

Published: May 18, 2005

It is hard not to notice two contrasting stories that have run side by side during the past week. One is the story about the violent protests in the Muslim world triggered by a report in Newsweek (which the magazine has now retracted) that U.S. interrogators at Guantánamo Bay desecrated a Koran by throwing it into a toilet. In Afghanistan alone, at least 16 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in anti-American rioting that has been linked to that report. I certainly hope that Newsweek story is incorrect, because it would be outrageous if U.S. interrogators behaved that way.

That said, though, in the same newspapers one can read the latest reports from Iraq, where Baathist and jihadist suicide bombers have killed 400 Iraqi Muslims in the past month - most of them Shiite and Kurdish civilians shopping in markets, walking in funerals, going to mosques or volunteering to join the police.

Yet these mass murders - this desecration and dismemberment of real Muslims by other Muslims - have not prompted a single protest march anywhere in the Muslim world. And I have not read of a single fatwa issued by any Muslim cleric outside Iraq condemning these indiscriminate mass murders of Iraqi Shiites and Kurds by these jihadist suicide bombers, many of whom, according to a Washington Post report, are coming from Saudi Arabia.

The Muslim world's silence about the real desecration of Iraqis, coupled with its outrage over the alleged desecration of a Koran, highlights what we are up against in trying to stabilize Iraq - as well as the only workable strategy going forward.

The challenge we face in Iraq is so steep precisely because the power shift the U.S. and its allies are trying to engineer there is so profound - in both religious and political terms.

Religiously, if you want to know how the Sunni Arab world views a Shiite's being elected leader of Iraq, for the first time ever, think about how whites in Alabama would have felt about a black governor's being installed there in 1920. Some Sunnis do not think Shiites are authentic Muslims, and are indifferent to their brutalization.

At the same time, politically speaking, some Arab regimes prefer to see the pot boiling in Iraq so the democratization process can never spread to their countries. That's why their official newspapers rarely describe the murders of civilians in Iraq as a massacre or acts of terror. Such crimes are usually sanitized as "resistance" to occupation.

Salama Na'mat, the Washington bureau chief for the London-based Arabic daily Al Hayat, wrote the other day: "What is the responsibility of the [Arab] regimes and the official and semiofficial media in the countries bordering Iraq in legitimizing the operations that murder Iraqis? ... Isn't their goal to thwart [the emergence of] the newborn democracy in Iraq so that it won't spread in the region?" (Translation by Memri.)

In identifying the problem, though, Mr. Na'mat also identifies the solution. If you want to stop a wave of suicide bombings, the likes of which we are seeing in Iraq, it takes a village. I am a big believer that the greatest restraint on human behavior is not laws and police, but culture and religious authority. It is what the community, what the village, deems shameful. That is what restrains people. So how do we get the Sunni Arab village to delegitimize suicide bombers?

Inside Iraq, obviously, credible Sunnis have to be brought into the political process and constitution-drafting, as long as they do not have blood on their hands from Saddam's days. And outside Iraq, the Bush team needs to be forcefully demanding that Saudi Arabia and other key Arab allies use their media, government and religious systems to denounce and delegitimize the despicable murder of Muslims by Muslims in Iraq.

If the Arab world, its media and its spiritual leaders, came out and forcefully and repeatedly condemned those who mount these suicide attacks, and if credible Sunnis were given their fair share in the Iraqi government, I am certain a lot of this suicide bombing would stop, as happened with the Palestinians. Iraqi Sunnis would pass on the intelligence needed to prevent these attacks, and they would deny the suicide bombers the safe houses they need to succeed.

That is the only way it stops, because we don't know who is who. It takes the village - and right now the Sunni Arab village needs to be pressured and induced to restrain those among them who are engaging in these suicidal murders of innocents.

The best way to honor the Koran is to live by the values of mercy and compassion that it propagates.

(*) (*) (*) One sentence said it all in my mind and I never quite thought of the Irag situation in this way: "Religiously, if you want to know how the Sunni Arab world views a Shiite's being elected leader of Iraq, for the first time ever, think about how whites in Alabama would have felt about a black governor's being installed there in 1920. Some Sunnis do not think Shiites are authentic Muslims, and are indifferent to their brutalization." :| :| :| :| :|

(*) (*) (*) (*) Tom Friedman really nailed it with this article in my view. And good for him My wish is that more Americans understood more clearly what the hell is really happening and stop being the scared sheep that they have been and still are and feeling "staus quo" with Bush's idiotic antics is acceptable. It's so embarrassing to watch (and I try not to) him make an ass out of himself when he's with world leaders. Bush is no world leader except in name. :@

<ginerly stepping off soapbox now> ;)

(f) (f) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-19-2005, 09:08 PM
Harvard Will Spend $50 Million to Make Faculty More Diverse


Published: May 17, 2005

Lawrence H. Summers, the embattled president of Harvard University, announced yesterday that the university would spend at least $50 million over the next decade to recruit, support and promote women and members of underrepresented minority groups on its faculty.

Dr. Summers said the money would be spent on a range of initiatives, including the creation of a new senior vice provost post to focus on diversity issues, improved recruitment, subsidies for salaries, mentoring of junior faculty members and extending the clock on tenure for professors who go on maternity or parental leave.

Dr. Summers has been under siege since making remarks in January suggesting that "intrinsic aptitude" might be a factor behind the low number of women in science and engineering.

With his presidency threatened, he issued repeated apologies and appointed two committees to make recommendations on how to increase the presence of women on Harvard's faculty, particularly in science and engineering. In making his proposals, Dr. Summers adopted the recommendations of reports released yesterday by those committees.

The reports made clear that Harvard, arguably the most prestigious university in the nation, lagged behind the most aggressive universities in attracting and retaining a diverse faculty. Last year, only 4 of 32 professors offered tenure in the faculty of arts and science were women.

Many of the proposals in the new reports were inspired by programs already in place at universities around the country.

"In spite of more than three decades of concern, Harvard has made only limited progress in its efforts to create a genuinely diverse faculty," the committee members said.

"Women and minorities remain significantly underrepresented in relation not just to their proportions in the broader population," the committees said, "but in comparison to their presence in the student body of Harvard's ten schools."

Dr. Summers said in a telephone news conference yesterday that Harvard's hiring record last year had been unacceptable. "We have to do better," he said.

He called the $50 million an "initial commitment" and said he expected that the university would ultimately devote more resources to attract and retain a more diverse faculty.

"Certainly our aspiration is that Harvard be the leader in this sphere and does what is necessary to be the leader," Dr. Summers said.

Faculty members interviewed yesterday were enthusiastic about the initiatives. But some remained skeptical of Dr. Summers's commitment to diversity. Several professors also said $50 million was not a particularly large sum for an institution as wealthy as Harvard. In recent years, its operating budget has been about $2.5 billion.

"The reports represent a lot of work, and what they turn out to mean depends on leadership commitment, transparency and growing resource commitment," said Theda Skocpol , a professor of government and sociology who has been critical of Dr. Summers.

Mary C. Waters, chairwoman of the sociology department and another critic, said the proposals identified a lot of the best practices around.

"It's a big menu of good things," Professor Waters said. "The real question is going to be in the actions of the president, the provost, the administration over time."

It was unclear whether Dr. Summers's actions would quell unhappiness over his leadership. The committees were created in response to the uproar on campus and elsewhere over his remarks about women in science and engineering at an academic conference. The controversy set off a broader debate about Dr. Summers's treatment of colleagues. In March, the faculty approved a resolution expressing a lack of confidence in his leadership.

The reports paint a picture of a campus where women in science feel a lack of respect, if not outright hostility. "In some departments, women graduate students and postdoctoral fellows report hearing disrespectful criticisms of their abilities from male colleagues and a lack of a supportive environment," one report said.

Among the initiatives cited with approval by professors were recommendations for helping female and minority faculty members with their professional and personal lives, including giving financial aid for research and day care and helping the spouses of professors being recruited by Harvard to find jobs.

"It's certainly a very generous and ambitious proposal, and I have absolutely no doubt that it will lead to greater and much needed diversification of the faculty by gender and ethnicity," Henry Louis Gates Jr., chairman of the department of African and African-American studies, said of the initiatives.

Student reaction appeared to be mixed. Andrew Nelson, a sophomore, questioned the wisdom of spending $50 million to expand diversity.

"I don't think it's necessary," Mr. Nelson said. "It's a big step toward something that grew out of a mistake that Summers said. To put so much effort into this, while it is a good thing for women in sciences, I don't know how important it really is."

Other students approved enthusiastically. Rosie Thede, a junior, said: "I think it's great. This is what he intended to happen when he made those remarks. His idea was that we should study this more. Even if the reaction was harsh, this is where we're supposed to be."

(*) (*) I was really delighted to read this one! (f) (f) (f)

(S) (S) ,
SL and DTB

05-19-2005, 09:13 PM
Yesterday, Microsoft showed me a very, very early version of
the next version of Windows (code-name: Longhorn). It's not
even in its first beta-test version, so a lot could change,
and the final version won't be available until the 2006
holiday season (that's right, it's a year and a half away).

Even so, the version I saw is far ahead of the version that
Microsoft demonstrated only a couple of weeks ago at the
WinHEC conference. So considering that, oh, around 200
million people use Windows, I thought I'd share my

First of all, Microsoft has had quite a swig of the Apple
Kool-Aid; product manager Greg Sullivan must have used the
word "elegant" for the new cosmetic Windows design (which is
indeed beautiful) about five times.

Apple-esque features include the new system-wide search box
at the upper-right corner of every desktop window and atop
the Control Panel window, much like the Spotlight search box
that debuted in Mac OS X Tiger a couple of weeks ago.
Similarly, the three control buttons at the top of each
window light up as the cursor passes over them, and windows
shrink away with an animation when minimized, just as in Mac

On the other hand, many of the new features represent
Microsoft's own creative thinking, especially when it comes
to everyday folder windows. Window title bars are
translucent, which Microsoft says makes it easier to notice
that one window is overlapping another. And you can make
icons in a window larger or smaller in real time, with no
loss of clarity, by turning your mouse's scroll wheel while
pressing the Ctrl key.

In one of the new icon views, folder icons appear to be
tipped 90 degrees. In real life, of course, such folders
would dump out everything inside. But in this experimental
view, you can see some of the documents inside peeking out:
thumbnails of the first pages of the actual documents inside!

The idea of "stacks" has been kicking around system-software
seminars for years, but it looks like Longhorn will bring
them to the masses. It's another icon view, in which your
documents look like they're piled up in literal piles of
paper; the taller the stack, the more stuff is in there.

Thanks to a radically different set of sorting criteria, you
can define how your stuff is sorted into stacks:
chronologically, by author, by keyword, and so on. (Note to
the technical: In other words, Windows is about to go
metadata-crazy. You can apply keywords to your documents
right in a folder window, using a collapsible list of
keywords at the left side. And you can edit other kinds of
metadata -- date, author, keyword, music genre, and so on --
in a panel at the bottom of the window.)

Yet another change in desktop windows is the "list." It's an
area that you can summon at the right side of the window; any
icons you drag there turn into shortcuts, no matter where
they originated (on the Internet, on a network server, on
your own hard drive, and so on). You can build as many lists
as you want. They're handy, they're flexible, and you can e-
mail one to other people so they can play with the same set
of documents and folders you have.

The only downside to all this desktop-window magic is that,
with so many features crammed into so little space, mastering
all of these controls may become overwhelming. At one point
during the demonstration, a window full of documents had two
stacked menu bars at the top, a panel at the left side
showing "virtual folders" (like Keywords and Recent), a panel
across the bottom for editing those file details, and a panel
down the right side showing lists. I had to squint just to
find the actual document icons, huddled in a little square in
the middle of the window!

(Of course, complexity has never been an impediment to
Windows's success in corporations, where Microsoft's bread is
buttered; if anything, complexity means job security for the
very people who buy 500 copies of Windows at a time.
Furthermore, it's important to remember that, with 19 months
to go before the next Windows is released, Microsoft has a
heck of a long time to simplify and straighten out all of
these feature ideas.)

Microsoft has also elegant-ized the Start menu, which, with
the weirdly overlapping All Programs menu in XP, desperately
needed a rethink. Now it's only two columns -- the same two
you have in Windows XP-- but you can expand and collapse
folders in the left-side list with just a click, to save
space and assist with organization.

When you click the All Programs button in Longhorn, you
replace the left-side column with a scrolling list of your
programs. There's a little Spotlight-ish search box at the
bottom, too, so you can jump to a program whose name you know
with a couple of keystrokes. These are very nice changes.

Now, I've just focused here on the on-the-screen differences;
Longhorn will also include a huge number of deeper-seated
architectural features -- self-healing features, a new driver
system, and so on -- that Microsoft says will drastically
improve Windows's security and reliability. "It just works,"
says one of the slides in Microsoft's PowerPoint

Of course, Microsoft says this kind of thing EVERY time it
releases a new version of Windows (especially "It just
works"). Here's hoping that in the next 19 months, the
company puts its coding where its mouth is.

.....David Pogue in today's Circuits in the New York Times........ (*) (*) and expecting any variant on what Microsoft does is just crazy - that is, doing the same thing over and over and expecting the company (and Bill Gates) to provide reliable software products....... :s :s (w) (w)

(S) (S) ,
SL and DTB

05-19-2005, 09:16 PM
Op-Ed Columnist

Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio?

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN Published: May 13, 2005 NYTimes

For so many years, America's economy was so dominant on the world stage, so out front in so many key areas, that we fell into the habit of thinking we were competing largely against ourselves. If we fell behind in one area or another - whether it was math and science skills, broadband capacity or wireless infrastructure - we took the view that: "Oh well, we'll fix that problem when we get to it. After all, we're just competing against ourselves."

In recent years, though, with the flattening of the global playing field, it should be apparent that we are not just competing against ourselves. The opening of China, India and Russia means that young people in these countries can increasingly plug and play - connect, collaborate and compete - more easily and cheaply than ever before. And they are. We, alas, are still coasting along as if we have all the time in the world.

I helped teach a course at Harvard last semester on globalization, and one day a student told me this story: He was part of a student-run collaboration between students in the U.S. and China. The American and Chinese students had recently started working together by using Skype, the popular, freely downloadable, software that enables you to make free phone calls over the Internet to other Skype users. But what was most interesting, the student told me, was that it was the Chinese students who introduced their U.S. counterparts to Skype. And, he noted, these Chinese students were not from major cities, like Beijing, but from smaller towns.

On April 7, CNET News.com reported the following: "The University of Illinois tied for 17th place in the world finals of the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest. ...

"That's the lowest ranking for the top-performing U.S. school in the 29-year history of the competition. Shanghai Jiao Tong University of China took top honors this year, followed by Moscow State University and the St. Petersburg Institute of Fine Mechanics and Optics. Those results continued a gradual ascendance of Asian and East European schools during the past decade or so. A U.S. school hasn't won the world championship since 1997, when students at Harvey Mudd College achieved the honor. 'The U.S. used to dominate these kinds of programming Olympics,' said David Patterson, president of the Association for Computing Machinery and a computer science professor at the University of California at Berkeley. 'Now we're sort of falling behind.' "

Earlier this week, a special report on the Indiana University High School Survey of Student Engagement, which covered 90,000 high school students in 26 states, was published. The study noted that 18 percent of college-track seniors did not take a math course in their last year in high school - and that "more than a fifth (22 percent) of first-year college students require remediation in math." Just 56 percent of the students surveyed said they put a great deal of effort into schoolwork; only 43 percent said they worked harder than they had expected.

Even though 55 percent said they studied no more than three hours a week, 65 percent of those students reported getting mostly A's and B's.

"Students are getting A's and B's, but without studying much," Martha McCarthy, the Indiana University professor who headed the study, told me. "Our fear," she added, "is that when you talk to employers out there, they say they are not getting the skills they need," in part because "the colleges are not getting students with the skills they need." Ms. McCarthy said one of the main reasons Indiana did this study is to better inform high school educators about what is going on in their own schools so they can find remedies. All of these shortcomings developed over time, Ms. McCarthy said, but "we as a nation became complacent about them."

America today reminds me of our last Olympic basketball team - that lackadaisical group that brought home the bronze medal. We think that all we need to do is show up and everyone else will fold - because, after all, we're just competing with ourselves.

And we think we don't need to get focused and play together like a team, with Democrats and Republicans actually working together. Well, on the basketball court - and in a flat world, where everyone now has access to all the same coaching techniques, training methods and scouting reports - a more focused, motivated team always beats a collection of more talented but complacent individuals.

(*) (*) Tom nails it again, as usual........ :o

(k) (k) ,
SL and DTB

05-19-2005, 09:18 PM
Rebuffing Bush, 132 Mayors Embrace Kyoto Rules

By ELI SANDERS Published: May 14, 2005

SEATTLE, May 13 - Unsettled by a series of dry winters in this normally wet city, Mayor Greg Nickels has begun a nationwide effort to do something the Bush administration will not: carry out the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

Mr. Nickels, a Democrat, says 131 other likeminded mayors have joined a bipartisan coalition to fight global warming on the local level, in an implicit rejection of the administration's policy.

The mayors, from cities as liberal as Los Angeles and as conservative as Hurst, Tex., represent nearly 29 million citizens in 35 states, according to Mayor Nickels's office. They are pledging to have their cities meet what would have been a binding requirement for the nation had the Bush administration not rejected the Kyoto Protocol: a reduction in heat-trapping gas emissions to levels 7 percent below those of 1990, by 2012.

On Thursday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg brought New York City into the coalition, the latest Republican mayor to join.

Mr. Nickels said that to achieve the 7 percent reduction, Seattle was requiring cruise ships that dock in its bustling port to turn off their diesel engines while resupplying and to rely only on electric power provided by the city, a requirement that has forced some ships to retrofit. And by the end of this year the city's power utility, Seattle City Light, will be the only utility in the country with no net emissions of greenhouse gases, the mayor's office said.

Salt Lake City has become Utah's largest buyer of wind power in order to meet its reduction target. In New York, the Bloomberg administration is trying to reduce emissions from the municipal fleet by buying hybrid electric-gasoline-powered vehicles.

Nathan Mantua, assistant director of the Center for Science in the Earth System at the University of Washington, which estimates the impact of global warming on the Northwest, said the coalition's efforts were laudable, but probably of limited global impact.

"It is clearly a politically significant step in the right direction," Dr. Mantua said. "It may be an environmentally significant step for air quality in the cities that are going to do this, but for the global warming problem it is a baby step."

Mr. Nickels said he decided to act when the Kyoto Protocol took effect in February without the support of the United States, the world's largest producer of heat-trapping gases. On that day, he announced he would try to carry out the agreement himself, at least as far as Seattle was concerned, and called on other mayors to join him.

The coalition is not the first effort by local leaders to take up the initiative on climate change. California, under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, is moving to limit carbon dioxide emissions, and Gov. George A. Pataki of New York, also a Republican, has led efforts to reduce power plant emissions in the Northeast. But the coalition is unusual in its open embrace of an international agreement that the Bush administration has spurned, Mayor Nickels's office said, and is significant because cities are huge contributors to the nation's emission of heat-trapping gases.

Michele St. Martin, communications director for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said the Kyoto Protocol would have resulted in a loss of five million jobs in the United States and could raise energy prices.

Ms. St. Martin said President Bush "favors an aggressive approach" on climate change, "one that fosters economic growth that will lead to new technology and innovation."

But many of the mayors said they were acting precisely out of concern for the economic vitality of their cities. Mr. Nickels, for example, pointed out that the dry winters and the steep decline projected in the glaciers of the Cascade range could affect Seattle's supply of drinking water and hydroelectric power.

The mayor of low-lying New Orleans, C. Ray Nagin, a Democrat, said he joined the coalition because a projected rise in sea levels "threatens the very existence of New Orleans."

In Hawaii, the mayor of Maui County, Alan Arakawa, a Republican, said he joined because he was frustrated by the administration's slowness to recognize the scientific consensus that climate change was happening because of human interference.

"I'm hoping it sends a message they really need to start looking at what's really happening in the real world," Mayor Arakawa said.

Mayor Nickels said it was no accident that most cities that had joined were in coastal states. The mayor of Alexandria, Va., is worried about increased flooding; mayors in Florida are worried about hurricanes.

But Mr. Nickels has also found supporters in the country's interior. Jerry Ryan, the Republican mayor of Bellevue, Neb., said he had signed on because of concerns about the effects of droughts on his farming community. Mr. Ryan described himself as a strong Bush supporter, but said he felt that the president's approach to global warming should be more like his approach to terrorism.

"You've got to ask, 'Is it remotely possible that there is a threat?' " he said. "If the answer is yes, you've got to act now."

(*) (*) Indeed! Grassroots efforts on the Internet and banding together such as the efforts described in this article will slowly change things....(I hope).

(S) (S) ,
SL and DTB

05-19-2005, 09:23 PM
Grand Canyon lodge celebrates centennial

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 Posted: 10:13 AM EDT (1413 GMT)

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Arizona (AP) -- The view is timeless. But as the 19th century gave way to the 20th, getting a glimpse of the Grand Canyon required a lot of travel time -- and a hardy derriere.

A train would get visitors into northern Arizona, but they had to be willing to bump along in a stagecoach through forests and over scraggy plateau lands for 20 hours to get to the canyon's edge. And the tent camp accommodations were as rustic as the ride.

That changed with the addition of a rail line to the Grand Canyon's South Rim, and in 1905, the opening of a Swiss Chalet-style lodge on the canyon's edge. El Tovar Lodge, just 30 yards from the canyon, offered formal parlors, fine dining and phones in every room.

A century later, El Tovar, a four-story chocolate-colored building, still offers some of Grand Canyon National Park's most sought-after accommodations. It reopened in April after a $4.8 million renovation designed to upgrade the rooms while keeping the historic feel of the lobby and public areas.

"This is a huge, huge renovation. It's a huge upgrade," said Bruce Brossman, director of sales and marketing for Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the concessionaire that runs El Tovar and other visitor services in the park.

But the changes, which include new windows, a new roof and redecorated rooms, were confined to the portions of the building not considered historic.

"The lobby looks identical to the way it did in 1905," Brossman said.

The animal heads, which include buffalo and moose even though there are no moose around the canyon, have lined the dark lobby longer than anyone can remember. They were refurbished by a taxidermist during the renovation.

Over the years, the rooms have been renovated repeatedly. El Tovar had 95 rooms and one bathroom per wing -- a total of seven -- when it opened. It had running water, electricity and phones in every room, then a real luxury.

But over the years, bathrooms were added to every room, bringing the total number of guest rooms down to 78, including 12 suites.

The rooms and bathrooms seem small by today's hotel standards, but when the Fred Harvey Co. built the lodge, visitors were looking for other amenities, said Jan Balsom, chief of cultural resources for the park.

Visitors spent more time in the lobby, dining room, parlors and music areas, she said.

"The rooms were not where people spent their time," Balsom said.

The Harvey Co., which built a business bringing luxury and sophistication to the rough-and-tumble West, opened El Tovar with separate women's and men's parlors, a men's grotto, a billiards room and a rooftop garden, where flowers were grown for the guest rooms.

The Hopi House, a building meant to look like an American Indian structure, was erected next door to El Tovar to sell Indian crafts. It opened just weeks before El Tovar.

Because the journey to the canyon took so long, even by rail, people often stayed for weeks at El Tovar, not just overnight, Balsom said.

Today, getting a room for weeks would be difficult. Xanterra takes reservations up to 23 months in advance. Guests who are flexible can get a room six to eight months in advance, but multinight stays and specific days are tougher, Brossman said.

Over the years, a raft of celebrities and U.S. presidents have stayed at the lodge, as far back as Theodore Roosevelt and as recent as Bill Clinton.

The most appealing thing about the lodge, however, has remained its bird's-eye view of one of the world's natural wonders. Some of the suites have balconies that overlook the canyon's pink and purple cliff walls.

And even though millions of people now visit the Grand Canyon every year, El Tovar's porches and rim-facing swings still give a sense of what early visitors must have experienced, Balsom said.

"I love the porches and swings," she said. "You really can sit on the swings and porches and transport yourself to what it would have been like as a turn-of-the-century visitor arriving."


(*) (*) (*) Been to the GC nine times since 1981. Although I never stayed at the El Tovar since reservations are always needed......I have experienced thier lovely restaurant many times and a couple of porches with views that are actually too beautiful to describe in words.... (l) (l) (l) (l) (l)

(S) (S) ,

05-19-2005, 09:26 PM

Season Two finale. As Deadwood readies for a celebration, George Hearst's arrival in camp brings upheaval. Swearengen's manipulations extract a counter-offer from Yankton. Hearst comes to separate arrangements with Farnum and Swearengen. Tolliver seeks to improve his position with Hearst at Wolcott's expense. Tensions in Chinaman's Alley boil over with violent results. Sunday at 9pm ET/PT.

(l) (l) (l) LOVE this show and the interactive features on HBO's web site (go to Deadwood show) have extraordinary 3D graphics of the costumes (Joannie's are just breathtaking) as well as other actors. Each building also has an interactive tour thoughout it with lots and views. Very cool. (h) (h)

(l) (l) ,
SL and DTB

OMG, I simply can hardly wait!!!

Thank you for the links, not sure if I thanked you proper for the first one you did in honour of Deadwood. I adore that show! I sooooooo wish I could write a scene of two for it, someday. I wonder how many years they plan on dragging this out.

The Sopranos have stuck to their original premise. 5 years worth of storyline from the inception. Do you know if Deadwood has a timeline set? Could they possibly be in need of any up and coming writers? What a team, what a great historical tale, what a concept!

I even researched over at HBO, not that long ago. The hiring practice, etc. Each concept, each team, each creation its own entity, really. So we shall see, what shaking the tree, what falls from its branches...

Anyhows, thanks again, mi amiga~

Mui appreciado for all your incredible finds on this vast wasteland they call cyberspace. I enjoy your thread muchly.

The Internet is such an incredible place. You just never know what you may find.

...much less learn!

05-19-2005, 09:27 PM

(*) (*) just a note that many of those too-beautiful-to-be real photos usually are....which is not to say that we can't enjoy or laugh our asses off at the funny ones! ;)

Night folks.....sweet dreams. (l)

({) (}) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-20-2005, 06:44 AM

James Lind, an Edinburgh surgeon who served in the navy, discovered that citrus fruits could be used to treat scurvy while conducting an experiment aboard HMS Salisbury in 1747. The success of his experiments led to British sailors being issued with limes, from whence they became known around the world, particularly in America, as 'limeys'.


(*) (*) I knew that..... ;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-20-2005, 06:55 AM
OMG, I simply can hardly wait!!!

Thank you for the links, not sure if I thanked you proper for the first one you did in honour of Deadwood. I adore that show! I sooooooo wish I could write a scene of two for it, someday. I wonder how many years they plan on dragging this out.

The Sopranos have stuck to their original premise. 5 years worth of storyline from the inception. Do you know if Deadwood has a timeline set? Could they possibly be in need of any up and coming writers? What a team, what a great historical tale, what a concept!

I even researched over at HBO, not that long ago. The hiring practice, etc. Each concept, each team, each creation its own entity, really. So we shall see, what shaking the tree, what falls from its branches...

Anyhows, thanks again, mi amiga~

Mui appreciado for all your incredible finds on this vast wasteland they call cyberspace. I enjoy your thread muchly.

The Internet is such an incredible place. You just never know what you may find.

...much less learn!

(f) (f) (f) What a lovely posting! I so much appreciated your taking the time to share your own love for the HBO show "Deadwood" as well as that you find my Internet URLs as "nuggets" in that vast digital tundra..... ;)

HBO and Comedy Central were both former clients of mine and I'd be happy to share any and all contact information with you privately. PM me if you'd like to chat about it. I *do* know that quite a few of the decisions in terms of storylines and actors actually casted are up to David Milch - Executive producer from "N.Y.P.D." fame (and infamously). In fact, there's more than one former NYPD cast member who is on Deadwood right now including the slimey detective "Roberts" who played the part of the hoople-head (miner) who was holding the boy William when the stallion ran them over....

Thanks again!! Your posting made me smile.


05-20-2005, 07:04 AM
By CARRIE FISHER Published: May 15, 2005 NYTimes

You know how a lot of states have bumper stickers proclaiming, for example, ''Virginia Is for Lovers''? Well, to my mind, Dubai's bumper sticker might read: ''Dubai Is for Shoppers.'' And not necessarily because the shopping is so exemplary; it's simply that I would be hard pressed to say what else it could be known for.

Until recently, I'm ashamed to admit, I had never really heard of Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates. Never heard of the Burj Al Arab, its famous sail-shaped hotel that dominates the skyline. Never heard of its monthlong shopping festival in January. But hearing that shopping was finally getting the attention it deserved warmed the cockles of my heart. Sure, we have music festivals, an obvious thing to celebrate. And certainly there are people who are expert at different sorts of music. But who are our virtuoso shoppers, other than Mary Todd Lincoln, Elton John and Candy Spelling? Wouldn't it be nice to honor one of these Olympians?

As it turns out, the best thing about Dubai is getting there on Emirates Airlines -- especially if you're lucky enough to be upgraded. Emirates has one of the most beautiful airline cabins I've ever seen, from the 100 movies to choose from to the fiber-optic stars on the ceiling to your own little compartment, complete with doors that, once closed, seal you into your cozy little travel world.

My friend Melissa met my assistant Kim and me at the hotel. And it was quite nice, as many hotels in Dubai are. Ours was called the One and Only Royal Mirage Residence and Spa. The suites were lovely, with a sitting room overlooking the water just a short distance away. And, perhaps best of all, we had our very own butler, Ricky, who made it his business to see that all our needs were taken care of. Ricky, I think, was disappointed that we weren't more social. During our stay -- its being the Dubai Shopping Festival and all -- there were receptions, parties and dinners to which Ricky made sure we were invited, and he was baffled when we failed to attend.

We were not able to book a room at the Burj Al Arab, which is said to be a seven-star hotel -- although no such rating actually exists. (I looked up this star-rating situation online and found that there was also a cruise liner that boasts of having six stars, but again, I don't believe the star-giving gang gave it that amount.)

Certainly the Burj Al Arab -- the Eiffel Tower of Dubai, which, along with a number of cranes and half-finished skyscrapers, forms the skyline -- is indeed luxurious. What other hotel has 202 duplex rooms and an undersea restaurant that you arrive at by submarine? While enjoying the view from high up in the Burj Al Arab, I foolishly asked if anything I was looking at had been there originally. A huge part of the scenery was an island chain organized in the shape of either a pineapple or a fern (which should serve to illustrate how truly stupid my question was). ''God made nothing here,'' I was told rather elegantly by one of the waiters. ''Everything is made by men.''

The best thing I found in Dubai was a shopping center in the Jumeirah resort complex that was done in the style of ''Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom'' and was called the Souk Madinat. We went there almost every day during our weeklong visit. Each day, we would rise with the intent of going somewhere other than the Souk Madinat, and each day we would ultimately fail. What drew us there were the fine shops, elegant environment and a happy lack of mad shoppers.

Perhaps they were at some of the other malls, where better deals were available. There were no deals at the Madinat, just very costly scarves and jackets from India, jewelry stores that I assume were local and the best Arab food we could find. I bought several scarves and some bottles containing desert sand. These were my big purchases. Since only a few of the Madinat's shops and souks were participating in the festival, it was hard to say just exactly where the epicenter of the Dubai Shopping Festival was. We were told about its two main attractions: the Global Village and the Deira City Center -- the latter being an enormous indoor mall not unlike malls in America, except for the black robes worn by the thick crowd of shoppers. Occasionally you'd see a flash of gold from underneath their solemn gowns, or even a glimpse of color, and I would imagine that one could draw them back like a curtain at the theater and reveal beautifully art-directed scenery.

Each day, after our Souk Madinat shopping visit, Kim, Melissa and I would set out to do something new. One of the bigger activities offered was a desert adventure in the sand dunes just outside the city. You could ride a camel, see a belly dance, sandboard or, as we did, all three.

Sandboarding is like snowboarding, without the snow or the chairlifts. The truth is, the only person willing to engage in this new sport was Kim. Of the three of us, she's the youngest and most athletic, which is to say athletic at all. Among other things, Kim surfs. So while Kim slid easily and vocally down the sand dune, Melissa and I sat stoically on top of the hill, the sun setting in a hazy sky, our hair whipping around our heads. We watched as a parade of four-wheel-drive vehicles snaked toward us from the direction of town, all coming to indulge, as we were, in an evening of food and entertainment -- the entertainment being, yes, you guessed it, belly dancing!

On the previous evening, Melissa and I had dined at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. We ate at the Al Khayal Restaurant, which also featured belly dancing. Sadly, our table was behind a pole, so we were unable to properly assess the belly dancer's gifts, except when we caught an occasional glimpse of her arms.

The dunes' belly dancer's veil blew behind her in the wind as she danced on a large carpet laid on the sand, while people sitting on pillows looked on, eating their buffet meal. We had worked up a minor appetite by sandboarding, or watching someone sandboard, which is almost as exhausting as sand . . . actually, no, that's not true at all. And I doubt that hanging around camels after having had a 15-minute camel ride counts as aerobic, but I can dream, can't I?

My camel's name was Sheila, and she had beautiful eyes. We were led around in a circle, much like children on ponies, slowly plodding around some great wheel. In fact, the whole desert adventure smacked ever so slightly of a children's party without the children. You had your camel ride, your sandboarding, your big dolly belly dancer Barbie and, last but not least, face painting -- only in this case, the paint was henna, and it was applied to the feet.

Heading back to town, we passed signs directing us to the Dubai Shopping Festival's other major epicenter: the Global Village. Initially, I hadn't been compelled to rush over to this extravaganza, since it sounded to me like Epcot Center at Walt Disney World, where there's a restaurant for almost every part of the world. And as pleasant as Epcot Center ultimately is, one generally has already exhausted all temptations at Disney World before venturing over to it.

But the Global Village was fantastic! It was a very laid-back, county-fair Epcot Center.

It was Epcot Center in that it represented all the mainstream countries in glamorous, well-lighted edifices (chock-full of food and souvenirs galore), and it wasn't Epcot Center in that it had all of the off-the-beaten-path countries as well (Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan). The latter appealed to us immensely.

All 46 countries were housed in splendid kiosks and pavilions. Each day, a new car was raffled off, and there was a fireworks display every night. It was rumored that there were also gold bars being raffled, but we never seemed to cross paths with this extraordinary gift opportunity, said to be the focal point of the Dubai Shopping Festival. So when you ask me for my opinion of Dubai, it's finally a question of taste. I enjoy places that have history. And though I'm a huge fan of shopping, I like to break it up with other activities. And how many camel rides can you go on or belly dancers can you see?

Yet Dubai, which was built in 40 years, is an extraordinary victory of man over nature.

And in a dangerous part of the world, it is a safe port, a resort, a place no one is fighting over and that has no buildup of bad history. Because it has no history.

(*) (*) (*) Nice article by a nice actress in my view. Dubai certainly *is* all and more she says it is. Never got the chance to try the terrific shopping during business trips though.....maybe next time.

(k) (k) ,
SL and DTB

05-20-2005, 07:13 AM

(*) (*) My little gift to the butches here (*) (*) :


Three years ago in the small town of Koniakow in the southwest of Poland (the country's leading lacemaking center) had a knotty problem: no orders. Driven by necessity, they started producing lacy things that were sold to tourists at the nearby ski resorts. A collective was formed to sell the lingerie on-line (see links above) and orders started ouring in from as far away as Japan.

But the story didn't stop there. First the National Folk Art Society started legal proceediings, claiming the women were sullying the town's storied lacemaking reputation. Then the local priest took to listing suspected thong makers in his weekly Sunday sermon. No word yet on how many repented!

(*) (*) (*) I hope they continue to make these beautiful lace thongs and prosper! Posting this is my attempt to spread the word about them, so to speak. ;) ;)


05-20-2005, 07:15 AM

(*) (*) (6) (6)


Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-20-2005, 07:28 AM
By ROB NIXON Published: March 27, 2005 NYTimes

HOW often do you get to relish desert panoramas from beneath the cool, filtered light of paths canopied with trees? Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, a cottonwood-willow oasis abutting Joshua Tree National Park, offers this startling sense of incongruity -- the chance to hike through a landscape at once lush and parched.

Wandering down Big Morongo Canyon, you have the sensation that your feet and eyes are traveling through two disconnected landscapes. Underfoot, you could easily be in, say, the Wisconsin woods, crunching the trail's piled leaves. But look up and the eyes take in a very different world: a forbiddingly arid, mountainous terrain, dotted with saw-edged yucca plants and teddy bear cholla cactuses, lumpy in silhouette.

Big Morongo is easily overlooked by visitors drawn to the area by the moonscaped vastness of Joshua Tree National Park -- 27 times Morongo's size -- immediately to the east. But Morongo's modest scale belies its status as one of the most ecologically fecund and varied destinations in Southern California's interior. It's a gorgeous place to walk, whether you're a casual ambler or a sinewy hiker in search of extremes.

An Area of Critical Environmental Concern ( a designation given to notable public lands that need special management to preserve) since 1982, Big Morongo is rich in ecotones (a lovely, painterly word that describes places where one environment shades into another). Big Morongo's trail names give some sense of the 31,000-acre preserve's concentrated variety: Marsh Trail, Canyon Trail, Mesquite Trail, Barn Trail, Yucca Ridge Trail, each with its distinctive aura, vistas and life forms.

Apart from the steepish five-and-a-half mile Canyon Trail, most trails are relatively flat, manageable for even inexperienced walkers. (And most have benches for the meditative or the short of breath.) Yet the paths all flow into one another, so you wander for hours through a constantly changing palette of moist and dry landscapes.

When it comes to birds, Big Morongo can't be beat. The canyon's year-round water and rich range of habitats have drawn more than 240 bird species-- about one quarter of the North American total, an extraordinary figure for such a tiny patch of earth. Blue grosbeaks, vermilion and brown-crested flycatchers are among the preserve's specialties. One of the best areas for birds-- the boardwalked Marsh Trail -- is wheelchair accessible. This blends into the Ridge Trail, which offers exquisite views of the snow-capped San Gorgonio and San Jacinto peaks in one direction and, in another, the San Bernadinos, their snowy peaks the source of Big Morongo's perennial stream.

The preserve's jagged backcountry is mountain lion terrain, although sightings are extremely infrequent. However, for the quiet, alert observer, one of the treats that Big Morongo offers is the prospect of encountering a bobcat, especially at dusk or dawn. Betty and Dee Zeller, the preserve's volunteer custodians, see bobcats nearly every week. Each summer, a female bobcat appears near the Zellers' trailer with two or three kittens in tow. One afternoon, run ragged by her offspring, she spent the entire afternoon snoozing atop the Zellers' woodpile.

If the bobcat is Big Morongo's signature mammal, the cottonwood stands as its signature tree. You feel the cottonwood's wide-armed presence along the upper reaches of the Canyon Trail, the most entrancing stretch of the preserve. Cottonwoods, like all desert plants, have developed adaptive features to boost their chances of survival. Even in a barely discernible breeze, cottonwood leaves keep fluttering, so as to absorb the maximum amount of light for photosynthesis. The lime-gold flickering offers a rich reprieve from the stark beiges and grays of the encircling desert. But the leaves also provide a choral sense of company: in memory, their vocal rustling becomes the very sound of color.

For the visitor to the preserve, the 29 Palms Inn at the Oasis of Mara offers the most attractive base. Like Big Morongo, this artesian-fed oasis feels like a pocket of plenty, quickening one's sense of gratitude. Fan palms are to the Oasis of Mara what cottonwoods are to Big Morongo: the trees that define the oasis ambience. The inn (founded in 1928) now has many more than the original 29 palms. The palms lean at every imaginable angle around a central pond, giving the place an atmosphere of drunken design. Dangling dates are prized by all kinds of passers-by: human travelers, foxes, ravens, tortoises -- casting courtesy of Aesop's fables.

Most evenings you can count on seeing, atop a 40-foot palm trunk, a great horned owl, immobile as Nelson on his column. The owl's post looks over the inn's luscious vegetable garden. Some 30 varieties of vegetables and 13 herbs flourish there, alongside pomegranates, figs, oranges and melons. The inn's restaurant is the area's top culinary oasis, not least because of its fresh, eclectic salads. The restaurant attracts an equally eclectic clientele: German and Scandinavian tourists drawn to the desert, gay and lesbian couples up from Palm Springs and Los Angeles, and marines from the base at Twentynine Palms.

An array of adobe cottages is scattered across 30 acres; among the most attractive is Cinch Weed, which offers both a fireplace and a private courtyard. Each morning, the desert dawn streams into the cottage, lighting up the terra cotta floor and pale apricot ceiling. By night, you can tune in to the coyotes, yipping outside your door as they hit what sounds like the hysterical end of some date-induced sugar curve.

There's a special pleasure to moving between such strikingly different oases as the 29 Palms Inn and Big Morongo. If you've overindulged in the inn's cuisine, head for Morongo's Canyon Trail for the perfect antidote. Eleven miles from top to bottom and back up again, the Canyon Trail leads you through the full array of Morongo ecosystems. The companionable flicker of the cottonwoods soon disappears, replaced by a grittier scrub landscape. As you descend, so does the Morongo stream, until it has vanished beneath the broadening dry wash. Over the course of half a mile, not just the vegetation but the bird life changes.

The Canyon Trail starts at 2,300 feet and descends to 800, as you drop from the cooler high-altitude Mojave Desert to the warmer Colorado Desert. For centuries, native tribes (including the Morongos, a powerful Serrano Indian clan) favored this route as they moved between high and low deserts. A fit person, walking briskly on a 60-degree day, can complete the round trip hike in about four and a half hours. But 60-degree days are a winter luxury. In warm weather, it's easy to underestimate the demands of the Canyon Trail's 1,500-foot return ascent: that may not seem like much, but if it was 95 degrees when you set out at the upper trail head you can find yourself in a chokehold 115 degrees by the time you turn round for the ascent. For that reason, some hikers prefer to park a car at either end rather than pull back up again. Either way, you'll need more water than you think. There's no finer time to hike this trail than early spring, when the cottonwood corridor, the Morongo stream and the desert ridges are all bustling with new life before the long season of heat comes hammering down.


GETTING THERE -- From Los Angeles, travel 95 miles east on Interstate 10 to the junction with Highway 62. Drive 10 1/2 miles north, to the town of Morongo Valley and turn right on East Drive. The entrance to Big Morongo Canyon Preserve lies on the left, about 200 yards along East Drive.

ACTIVITIES -- Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, (760) 363-7190, www.bigmorongo.org, is open daily from 7:30 a.m. until sunset. There is no admission fee. Bird walks depart from the main parking lot Wednesday, at 8 a.m. October through March and at 7 a.m. the rest of the year. There are also Saturday walks at 8 a.m. October through March and at 7 a.m. in April and May (but none on the first Saturday of each month).

Joshua Tree National Park, www.nps.gov/jotr, features world-class rock climbing, with 4,500 established routes. The park's northern entrance is about four miles from 29 Palms Inn.

WHERE TO STAY -- 29 Palms Inn, 73950 Inn Avenue, Twentynine Palms, (760) 367-3505, www.29palmsinn.com, offers cabins, guesthouse rooms and eight adobe bungalows. Most rooms have private patios. The inn has a pool and an excellent restaurant. Packed box lunches, available for $8.50, are handy for day trips to Big Morongo or Joshua Tree. Bungalows are $95 a night midweek and $135 on weekends mid-September to mid-June, and $75 and $110 the rest of the year;

Roughley Manor Bed & Breakfast, 74744 Joe Davis Road, Twentynine Palms, (760) 367-3238, online at www.roughleymanor.com, next to Joshua Tree National Park, is a romantic 1928 stone manor on a 25-acre ranch, with two suites in the main house and seven rooms on the grounds. Rooms have an opulent, Victorian feel. Rates are $135 to $160, including full breakfast and tea and dessert in the evening.

The five rooms at Homestead Inn Bed and Breakfast, 74153 Two Mile Road, Twentynine Palms, (760) 367-0030, www.joshuatreelodging.com, range from $125 to $160. There is a Jacuzzi in two of the suites ands an outdoor massage area (massages start at $60 an hour).

WHERE TO EAT -- 29 Palms Inn offers a wide range of lunches and dinners, including an excellent Sunday brunch, including dishes like pan-fried mountain trout with tomatoes and capers with country potatoes, bell peppers and onions, which is $10.95. Dinner entrees are $7.95 to $19.95.

Crossroads Cafe and Tavern, 61715 29 Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, (760) 366-5414, five miles from the northwest entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, is a hangout for climbers and backcountry hipsters. It offers a wild harvest salad for $7.25; a grilled ahi sandwich for $10.25; and a tempeh Reuben sandwich for $7.25.

(*) (*) Found this purely by accident and although I've been to the Anza Borrega area many, many times when I lived in CA., I still enjoyed reading this terrific travel article. (l) (l)

(k) (k) ,

05-20-2005, 07:31 AM
By LOUISE TUTELIAN Published: December 17, 2004 NYTimes

ONLY two and a half miles separate Val-Kill, Eleanor Roosevelt's modest cottage, and Springwood, the far more imposing Roosevelt family estate in Hyde Park, N.Y. But at times in the long and complicated Roosevelt partnership, the two homes must have seemed divided by much more than a wooded trail.

Thanks to the Scenic Hudson Land Trust's purchase last month of 336 acres of fields, rocky outcroppings and forest that had been sold off from the Roosevelt estate, these two houses are being relinked in a way that echoes the way the Roosevelts lived: independent but connected. At the heart of the project is a plan to preserve and improve the dirt trail, once a carriage road, where Franklin Roosevelt piloted his hand-controlled 1936 Ford Phaeton from Springwood to visit at Val-Kill -- the home that both he and Eleanor viewed as hers alone.

Called the Hyde Park Trail, the current, unimproved path has trail markers and can be walked in its entirety, a pleasant, largely level ramble on a winter day.

Even when the trail improvements are finished and small shuttles are replicating Roosevelt's route, Val-Kill is unlikely to draw as many visitors as the main Hyde Park tour at Springwood. But it is at Val-Kill that the visitor gets a clearer picture not only of the tireless, deeply humanitarian Eleanor, but of the flawed, yet powerful, bond of the Roosevelts' unusual marriage.

There are two houses at the property -- now the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, built on what had long been a favorite family picnic spot on Fallkill Creek. From the long driveway, Stone Cottage comes into view first, on a knoll overlooking Val-Kill Pond. Behind it is Val-Kill Cottage, an added-onto affair of tan stucco.

Roosevelt supervised the building of Stone Cottage for his wife in 1925. She used it as a weekend escape hatch from his domineering mother and perhaps from Franklin himself, who by that time was usually accompanied by attractive younger women. (The Roosevelts' marriage is thought to have been nonsexual, despite their continued devotion, after Eleanor discovered her husband's affair with her own secretary, Lucy Mercer, in 1918.) The cottage also accommodated Eleanor's growing independence as a writer, public speaker and political figure in her own right. ''The Lucy Mercer episode had been over years before,'' said Diane Lobb-Boyce, a National Park Service ranger at Val-Kill, which is officially the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site. ''The initial hurt was over, but she is moving in a different direction.''

Stone Cottage now houses the offices of the nonprofit Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, which sponsors educational and charitable activities. There is no charge for taking a look at the first floor, with sitting rooms and Roosevelt photos, but there are no formal arrangements for visitors, and hours are erratic.

A short walk away is the larger Val-Kill Cottage, which Mrs. Roosevelt renovated and made her home after 1938. Restored inside and out and open for tours, it recalls the mature, confident Eleanor who helped found the United Nations, as well as the picnics and parties that Franklin came over to enjoy. An oval dining room table is set with china in the pattern she used. A 50's-era Philco television sits in the living room, and a desk holds a nameplate endearingly misspelled ''Elanor Roosevelt,'' a gift from a local child. In Eleanor's bedroom, a simple twin bed with a chenille bedspread is surrounded by dozens of photos of family members and of the dignitaries she entertained at Val-Kill after Roosevelt's death in 1945, including Nikita Khrushchev, Charles DeGaulle and Winston Churchill.

Val-Kill Cottage was built in 1926 to house Val-Kill Industries, an idealistic project of Mrs. Roosevelt and her friends the lesbian couple Marion Dickerman and Nancy Cook, who also shared the ownership of Stone Cottage. The small factory, intended to provide local farmers with crafts skills to supplement their incomes, produced high-quality replicas and adaptations of early American furniture and pewter until it failed in 1937 and was soon converted to be Eleanor's new cottage. After Franklin's death, she moved her few belongings over from Springwood immediately, said John Fox, a Val-Kill guide. ''Her decision to live here was a direct commentary on the relationships she had in that house,'' he said.

Several pieces of Val-Kill furniture are in the cottage. ''This is finely crafted, beautifully made furniture,'' said Frank Futral, curator of decorative arts for the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt Historic Sites in Hyde Park. ''They used cherry, mahogany, walnut and a 25-step finishing process.'' A chair that sold for $25 when it was made would fetch $2,000 today, Mr. Futral said, and a carved wood letter opener made at Val-Kill recently went for $5,000 on eBay.

A third cottage on the old Roosevelt estate, the Dutch Colonial-style Top Cottage completed in 1939 to serve as President Roosevelt's own personal getaway, is closed in winter, and the National Park Service is negotiating to buy the privately held land leading to it. The difficulty in getting to Top Cottage may be fitting: absorbed in the presidency, Roosevelt himself spent little time there, though his letters to his distant cousin and close companion Daisy Suckley, discovered at her death in 1991, reveal that he had dreamed of building it for years before (and that she had dreamed of sharing it with him).

Separate though they were at times in life, the Roosevelts always intended to be together in the end. And so they are. The visitor who treks from Val-Kill to Springwood -- whether on the Hyde Park Trail or by car -- can find them buried there in their rose garden, their memorial a simple rectangular white stone carved with their names and the dates of their births and deaths.

Stepping Into the Roosevelts' World

THE Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site (845-229-9422; www.nps.gov/elro) is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Monday from November through April and daily the rest of the year. Admission is $8 for adults. Take the Taconic State Parkway to Route 115, the Salt Point Turnpike, and drive west on 115 for about three miles. Turn right on Route 41, Netherwood Road. Turn left onto Route 9G South and drive two miles to the Val-Kill entrance.

Springwood (Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, 4097 Albany Post Road; 845-229-6214), is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. all year. An hour-long guided tour and admission to the self-guided museum are $14 for adults.

(*) (*) (*) Sounds like a lovely day or weekend trip for two. <sigh> (l) (l)

({) (}) ,

05-20-2005, 07:40 AM
Courting Gay Travelers

By TERRY TRUCCO Published: May 16, 2004, Sunday NYTimes

LAST November, Philadelphia unveiled a three-year $900,000 campaign designed to attract gay and lesbian travelers. With a catchy slogan -- ''Get your history straight and your night life gay'' -- and witty ads depicting Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross holding rainbow props, the city deftly played up its gay-friendly attractions and positioned itself as a culture-rich alternative to the cruises and resorts that have long catered to gay audiences.

Months in the making, the campaign included a retooled Web site (found at www.gophila.com/gay), ''Philadelphia Freedom'' hotel packages (rooms and breakfast from $99 a night) and a 30-page guide aimed squarely at its audience (gay-owned hotels get an asterisk).

Given Philadelphia's history of diversity and its thriving gay community, marketing to gay and lesbian travelers was good common sense -- and good business sense, says Jeff Guaracino, a spokesman for the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, who helped devise the campaign.

Indeed, gay visitors to Philadelphia spend an average of $179 a day, almost twice as much as the city's general tourist population, and prefer to visit on weekends, according to a survey by Community Marketing, a San Francisco-based research organization specializing in gay travel.

Philadelphia won't know the impact of its campaign until a follow-up survey is conducted later this year, but monthly visits to the city's gay travel Web site have jumped from 400 to more than 8,000 since the campaign began. ''I think we're going to see a lot more destinations inviting gay and lesbian travelers,'' Mr. Guaracino said.

Though gay and lesbian travelers have been courted for years by travel services dealing exclusively with the gay community, the sector was all but ignored by mainstream marketers as recently as a decade ago. But travel marketing has undergone marked changes. In the last three years it became clear that gays and lesbians were one of the few groups that traveled undaunted following calamities, like the Sept. 11 attacks and last year's SARS scare.

''During the Iraq war, we found that the percentage of gay and lesbian travelers who booked trips, particularly to international destinations, was significantly higher than among the general population,'' said Jeff Marsh, director of advertising for Orbitz, an online travel service that operates a gay microsite. The sector's appealing demographics have also attracted attention. Gay and lesbian travelers represent a $54.1 billion market, about 10 percent of the United States travel industry, according to Community Marketing. In an online survey of self-identified gay and lesbian consumers last year by Community Marketing, 97 percent had taken vacations in the preceding 12 months, 82 percent spent more than five nights at a hotel, 76 percent had household incomes above the national average of $40,000, and 84 percent held a valid passport (the national average is 29 percent).

Changing social perspectives have also affected the travel industry, observers say. ''TV shows like 'Will and Grace' and 'Queer Eye' have sensitized the mainstream community, making it all right to talk about the gay community and O.K. to have gay friends,'' said Tom Roth, president of Community Marketing.

Taking a cue from trailblazing cities like Montreal and Fort Lauderdale, a small but growing number of North American destinations, like Minneapolis, San Diego, Milwaukee, Las Vegas, New Haven and Bloomington, Ind., have concentrated on this audience, working to attract gay and lesbian conventions, events and leisure travelers. International tourist offices have also rolled out the welcome mat. France, Britain, Germany, Finland, Spain, Australia, Tahiti and Austria are a few of the 50 to 60 destinations worldwide with coordinated campaigns that can include brochures of gay events, activities, points of interest, sightseeing and vetted listings of gay-friendly hotels.

At the same time, a growing number of mainstream hotel chains, airlines, car rental companies and online travel services are reaching out, sponsoring gay and lesbian events and causes and placing ads in gay and lesbian publications and Internet sites. Internet marketing is particularly effective. Gays and lesbians spent 70 percent of their travel dollars online, compared with 59 percent from other travelers, according to figures from Forrester Research.

Successful companies and destinations make a point of tailoring their products to this audience. Ten years ago, Avis became the first car rental agency to include domestic partners as additional drivers free of charge. Hertz and Thrifty followed. ''Increasingly, we're seeing competing brands getting on board,'' Mr. Roth said.

Intense customer loyalty is often the reward for companies that make a serious effort to reach the gay and lesbian audience. American Airlines is a frequently cited example. In 1993, American became the first carrier to reach out to the sector, and it is still the preferred airline among gay and lesbian travelers, Mr. Roth said.

Despite that, fewer than 10 percent of the mainstream travel industry currently markets to gays and lesbians. ''There are still a lot of hurdles to overcome within organizations and corporations,'' Mr. Roth said. ''Often it boils down to personal feelings.''

Most industry observers agree that travel for gays and lesbians today is simpler and more enjoyable than just a decade ago. ''We are completely mainstream as gay and lesbian travelers,'' said Richard Gray, proprietor of the Royal Palms, an upscale guest house in Fort Lauderdale. ''It is much easier for us to go to a W, a Hyatt or a Sheraton and be completely comfortable.''

That comfort has come about in part because community members, notably gays and lesbians employed in the travel industry, have made their specialized needs known. Chief among these is a guarantee of welcome, whether at a hotel, a resort, a cruise ship or on a plane. ''There are enough tensions built into travel these days without having to worry whether you'll be harassed,'' said Ed Salvato, editor of Out & About, a leading newsletter that covers gay and lesbian travel.

Travelers seek out hotels that make it their policy to be gay friendly. That means no one bats an eye when two men or two women request one king-size bed. The concierge should be knowledgeable about gay activities, events, neighborhoods and night life. And guests should be able to request a gay guide. ''Ten years ago, when we'd survey hotels to see if they were gay friendly, they'd say, 'We're friendly to everyone,''' Mr. Salvato recalled. ''Now they know what gay friendly means, and many ask to be included in our survey.''

Not all hotels are on board, however, which is one reason well-vetted hotel listings still matter. ''When we developed our gay microsite, we ran across properties that did not want to be listed as gay friendly,'' Mr. Marsh of Orbitz said.

Like hotels, destinations that click with gay and lesbian travelers also meet special criteria. While most want to indulge in the same museums, sporting events, beaches and cultural activities as straight visitors, they also want places buttressed with a vibrant gay community and a retinue of gay restaurants, coffeehouses, bookstores, shops and nightclubs. ''You've got to have that strong gay infrastructure,'' Mr. Gray said. ''That's why Fort Lauderdale succeeds as a destination but Orlando wouldn't.''

While New York, New Orleans and San Francisco remain popular -- along with established resorts like Provincetown, Palm Springs and Key West -- plenty of new cities meet the criteria. Included in Out & About's recent list of up-and-coming gay destinations are Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Cape Town, Berlin, Toronto, Rio de Janeiro, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Lisbon and, in the United States, San Diego and Philadelphia.

Market observers also predict an economic windfall for the first American city that legalizes gay marriage. ''Marriage was legal in San Francisco too short a time to have an effect,'' Mr. Roth of Community Marketing said. ''But our estimate, when you count the honeymoons, cakes, clothes, rings and other purchases, is $1 billion over three years.''

Despite new competition from mainstream marketers, the outlook for gay and lesbian travel services remains strong, industry watchers say. ''It's the birds-of-a-feather thing,'' said Mr. Salvato. ''There's nothing like the sense of empowerment and camaraderie you get when you're surrounded by gay people, whether on a cruise or walking down the street in P-town, and you realize you're in the majority.''

Being gay ''is a culture,'' said Gregg Kaminsky, a co-founder with Rosie and Kelli O'Donnell of R Family Vacations, a new gay and lesbian family-friendly travel service. ''There are things about our culture that do not appeal to straight culture. Gay vacations give us a place where we can be totally relaxed and comfortable.''

Most prominent gay travel services, like Atlantis and RSVP cruises for men and Olivia travel for women, usually charter an entire ship or resort for a trip. ''People don't want to worry that they don't fit in someone else's picture,'' said Amy Errett, chief executive of Olivia.

But such trips are typically single sex, as gay men and lesbian women have distinctly different preferences in experiences, settings, entertainment, even lounge acts. (Chaka Kahn and Patti LuPone have performed aboard Atlantis ships, while K.D. Lang is scheduled for a coming Olivia cruise from Boston to Montreal.)

''For men, a trip is usually a party thing with more of a singles scene associated with it,'' Ms. Errett said. ''Women are more interested in a holistic experience that focuses on the destination and excursions, like going whale watching or swimming with dolphins.'' About 50 to 80 percent of Olivia customers are couples, she added.

But as lifestyles evolve, so does the travel industry. R Family Vacations has begun to fill a new niche, namely gays and lesbians with partners and children. ''Our community has grown up,'' Mr. Kaminsky said. ''Many of us have been out for a while, have calmed down and want a more relaxed environment.'' Gay-friendly straight people, like parents and friends, are also welcome on the company's inaugural trip, a Caribbean cruise aboard the Norwegian Dawn in July.

While vacations at single-sex guest houses in resorts like Provincetown and Palm Springs are still popular, as are chartered group visits to the Great Barrier Reef or African safaris, cruises remain a staple of gay and lesbian travel. In the 2003 Community Marketing survey of gay and lesbian travelers, 20 percent had taken a cruise in the previous year, versus a 2 percent national average.

''Cruises provide a way for people at different income levels to enjoy the same vacation,'' said Mr. Kaminsky. And that also fills a niche.

(*) (*) I for one don't feel safe in the City of Brotherly Love, THAT's for damn sure! (....perhaps if I had a body guard....but only then.... :| :| Seriously. As I re-read parts of this article, if felt more like a commercial targeting gays and others with what hets see as "alternative lifestyles".....and that felt kind of slimey. Yuck. Ah, the world of brand advertising and marketing. :|

(l) Have a lovely Friday! It's raining cats and dogs here this morning and Doc the Boxer is under a fuzzy blanket - although I have the central air and the heat off. It feels great to me but then hormones help..... ;) I'm am so, so happy that Doc's ultrasound and xrays (two weeks ago) proved that he is in remission from lymphoma. He still has to go for CBC blood tests...in fact this coming Monday I have to drive that hour on back country roads to his oncologist's......we both enjoy the drive. Hopefully all will stay well with DTB.

:| It certainly has been an extremely long six months for both of us. :|

With gratitude,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer (l) (l) (l)

05-20-2005, 02:14 PM
Class Matters

When Richer Weds Poorer, Money Isn't the Only Difference

By TAMAR LEWIN Published: May 19, 2005 NYTimes

NORTHFIELD, Mass. - When Dan Croteau met Cate Woolner six years ago, he was selling cars at the Keene, N.H., Mitsubishi lot and she was pretending to be a customer, test driving a black Montero while she and her 11-year-old son, Jonah, waited for their car to be serviced.

The test drive lasted an hour and a half. Jonah got to see how the vehicle performed in off-road mud puddles. And Mr. Croteau and Ms. Woolner hit it off so well that she later sent him a note, suggesting that if he was not involved with someone, not a Republican and not an alien life form, maybe they could meet for coffee. Mr. Croteau dithered about the propriety of dating a customer, but when he finally responded, they talked on the phone from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

They had a lot in common. Each had two failed marriages and two children. Both love dancing, motorcycles, Bob Dylan, bad puns, liberal politics and National Public Radio.

But when they began dating, they found differences, too. The religious difference - he is Roman Catholic, she is Jewish - posed no problem. The real gap between them, both say, is more subtle: Mr. Croteau comes from the working class, and Ms. Woolner from money.

Mr. Croteau, who will be 50 in June, grew up in Keene, an old mill town in southern New Hampshire. His father was a factory worker whose education ended at the eighth grade; his mother had some factory jobs, too. Mr. Croteau had a difficult childhood and quit school at 16. He then left home, joined the Navy and drifted through a long series of jobs without finding any real calling. He married his pregnant 19-year-old girlfriend and had two daughters, Lael and Maggie, by the time he was 24.

"I was raised in a family where my grandma lived next door, my uncles lived on the next road over, my dad's two brothers lived next to each other, and I pretty much played with my cousins," he said. "The whole concept of life was that you should try to get a good job in the factory. My mother tried to encourage me. She'd say, 'Dan's bright; ask him a question.' But if I'd said I wanted to go to college, it would have been like saying I wanted to grow gills and breathe underwater."

He always felt that the rich people in town, "the ones with their names on the buildings," as he put it, lived in another world.

Ms. Woolner, 54, comes from that other world. The daughter of a doctor and a dancer, she grew up in a comfortable home in Hartsdale, N.Y., with the summer camps, vacations and college education that wealthy Westchester County families can take for granted. She was always uncomfortable with her money; when she came into a modest inheritance at 21, she ignored the monthly bank statements for several years, until she learned to channel her unease into philanthropy benefiting social causes. She was in her mid-30's and married to a psychotherapist when Isaac and Jonah were born.

"My mother's father had a Rolls-Royce and a butler and a second home in Florida," Ms. Woolner said, "and from as far back as I can remember, I was always aware that I had more than other people, and I was uncomfortable about it because it didn't feel fair. When I was little, what I fixated on with my girlfriends was how I had more pajamas than they did. So when I'd go to birthday sleepovers, I'd always take them a pair of pajamas as a present."

Marriages that cross class boundaries may not present as obvious a set of challenges as those that cross the lines of race or nationality. But in a quiet way, people who marry across class lines are also moving outside their comfort zones, into the uncharted territory of partners with a different level of wealth and education, and often, a different set of assumptions about things like manners, food, child-rearing, gift-giving and how to spend vacations. In cross-class marriages, one partner will usually have more money, more options and, almost inevitably, more power in the relationship.

It is not possible to say how many cross-class marriages there are. But to the extent that education serves as a proxy for class, they seem to be declining. Even as more people marry across racial and religious lines, often to partners who match them closely in other respects, fewer are choosing partners with a different level of education. While most of those marriages used to involve men marrying women with less education, studies have found, lately that pattern has flipped, so that by 2000, the majority involved women, like Ms. Woolner, marrying men with less schooling - the combination most likely to end in divorce.

"It's definitely more complicated, given the cultural scripts we've all grown up with," said Ms. Woolner, who has a master's degree in counseling and radiates a thoughtful sincerity. "We've all been taught it's supposed to be the man who has the money and the status and the power."

Bias on Both Sides

When he met Ms. Woolner, Mr. Croteau had recently stopped drinking and was looking to change his life. But when she told him, soon after they began dating, that she had money, it did not land as good news.

"I wished she had waited a little," Mr. Croteau said. "When she told me, my first thought was, uh oh, this is a complication. From that moment I had to begin questioning my motivations. You don't want to feel like a gold digger. You have to tell yourself, here's this person that I love, and here's this quality that comes with the package. Cate's very generous, and she thinks a lot about what's fair and works very hard to level things out, but she also has a lot of baggage around that quality. She has all kinds of choices I don't have. And she does the lion's share of the decision-making."

Before introducing Ms. Woolner to his family, Mr. Croteau warned them about her background. "I said, 'Mom, I want you to know Cate and her family are rich,' " he recalled. "And she said, 'Well, don't hold that against her; she's probably very nice anyway.' I thought that was amazing."

There were biases on the other side too. Just last summer, Mr. Croteau said, when they were at Ms. Woolner's mother's house on Martha's Vineyard, his mother-in-law confessed to him that she had initially been embarrassed that he was a car salesman and worried that her daughter was taking him on as a kind of do-good project.

Still, the relationship moved quickly. Mr. Croteau met Ms. Woolner in the fall of 1998 and moved into her comfortable home in Northfield the next spring, after meeting her condition that he sell his gun.

Even before Mr. Croteau moved in, Ms. Woolner gave him money to buy a new car and pay off some debts. "I wanted to give him the money," she said. "I hadn't sweated it. I told him that this was money that had just come to me for being born into one class, while he was born into another class." And when he lost his job not long after, Ms. Woolner began paying him a monthly stipend - he sometimes refers to it as an allowance - that continued, at a smaller level, until last November, when she quit her longstanding job at a local antipoverty agency. She also agreed to pay for a $10,000 computer course that helped prepare him for his current job as a software analyst at the Cheshire Medical Center in Keene. From the beginning, the balance of power in the relationship was a sufficiently touchy issue that at Ms. Woolner's urging, a few months before their wedding in August 2001, they joined a series of workshops on cross-class relationships.

"I had abject terror at the idea of the group," said Mr. Croteau, who is blunt and intellectually engaging. "It's certainly an upper-class luxury to pay to tell someone your troubles, and with all the problems in the world, it felt a little strange to sit around talking about your relationship. But it was useful. It was a relief to hear people talk about the same kinds of issues we were facing, about who had power in the relationship and how they used it. I think we would have made it anyway, but we would have had a rockier time without the group."

It is still accepted truth within the household that Ms. Woolner's status has given her the upper hand in the marriage. At dinner one night, when her son Isaac said baldly, "I always think of my mom as having the power in the relationship," Mr. Croteau did not flinch. He is fully aware that in this relationship he is the one whose life has been most changed.

Confusing Differences

The Woolner-Croteau household is just up the hill from the groomed fields of Northfield Mount Hermon prep school - a constant local reminder to Mr. Croteau of just how differently his wife's sons and his daughters have been educated. Jonah is now a senior there. Isaac, who also attended the school, is now back at Lewis & Clark College in Oregon after taking a couple of semesters away to study in India and to attend massage school while working in a deli near home.

By contrast, Mr. Croteau's adult daughters - who have never lived with the couple - made their way through the Keene public schools.

"I sometimes think Jonah and Isaac need a dose of reality, that a couple years in public school would have shown them something different," Mr. Croteau said. "On the other hand I sometimes wish I'd been able to give Maggie and Lael what they had. My kids didn't have the same kind of privilege and the same kind of schools. They didn't have teachers concerned about their tender growing egos. It was catch-as-catch-can for them, and that still shows in their personalities."

Mr. Croteau had another experience of Northfield Mount Hermon as well. He briefly had a job as its communications manager, but could not adjust to its culture.

"There were all these Ivy Leaguers," he said. "I didn't understand their nuances, and I didn't make a single friend there. In working-class life, people tell you things directly, they're not subtle. At N.M.H., I didn't get how they did things. When a vendor didn't meet the deadline, I called and said, 'Where's the job?' When he said, 'We bumped you, we'll have it next week,' I said, 'What do you mean, next week? We have a deadline, you can't do business like that.' It got back to my supervisor, who came and said, 'We don't yell at vendors.' The idea seemed to be that there weren't deadlines in that world, just guidelines."

Mr. Croteau says he is far more comfortable at the hospital. "I deal mostly with nurses and other computer nerds and they come from the same kind of world I do, so we know how to talk to each other," he said.

But in dealing with Ms. Woolner's family, especially during the annual visits to Martha's Vineyard, Mr. Croteau said, he sometimes finds himself back in class bewilderment, feeling again that he does not get the nuances. "They're incredibly gracious to me, very well bred and very nice," he said, "so much so that it's hard to tell whether it's sincere, whether they really like you."

Mr. Croteau still seems impressed by his wife's family, and their being among "the ones with their names on the buildings." It is he who shows a visitor the framed print of the old Woolner Distillery in Peoria, Ill., and, describing the pictures on the wall, mentions that this in-law went to Yale, and that one knew Gerald Ford.

Family Divisions

Mr. Croteau and Ms Woolner are not the only ones aware of the class divide within the family; so are the two sets of children.

Money is continually tight for Lael Croteau, 27, who is in graduate school in educational administration at the University of Vermont, and Maggie, 25, who is working three jobs while in her second year of law school at American University. At restaurants, they ask to have the leftovers wrapped to take home.

Neither could imagine taking a semester off to try out massage school, as Isaac did. They are careful about their manners, their plans, their clothes.

"Who's got money, who doesn't, it's always going on in my head," Maggie said. "So I put on the armor. I have the bag. I have the shirt. I know people can't tell my background by looking."

The Croteau daughters are the only ones among 12 first cousins who made it to college. Most of the others married and had babies right after high school.

"They see us as different, and sometimes that can hurt," Maggie said.

The daughters walk a fine line. They are deeply attached to their mother, who did most of their rearing, but they are also attracted to the Woolner world and its possibilities. Through holidays and Vineyard vacations, they have come to feel close not only to their stepbrothers, but also to Ms. Woolner's sisters' children, whose pictures are on display in Lael's house in Vermont. And they see, up close, just how different their upbringing was.

"Jonah and Isaac don't have to worry about how they dress, or whether they'll have the money to finish college, or anything," Lael said. "That's a real luxury. And when one of the little kids asks, 'Why do people sneeze?' their mom will say, 'I don't know; that's a great question. Let's go to the museum, and check it out.' My mom is very smart and certainly engages us on many levels, but when we asked a difficult question, she'd say, 'Because I said so.' "

The daughters' lives have been changed not only by Ms. Woolner's warm, stable presence, but also by her gifts of money for snow tires or books, the family vacations she pays for and her connections. One of Ms. Woolner's cousins, a Washington lawyer, employs Maggie both at her office and as a housesitter.

For Ms. Woolner's sons, Mr. Croteau's arrival did not make nearly as much difference. They are mostly oblivious of the extended Croteau family, and have barely met the Croteau cousins, who are close to their age and live nearby but lead quite different lives. Indeed, in early February, while Ms. Woolner's Isaac was re-adjusting to college life, Mr. Croteau's nephew, another 20-year-old Isaac who had enlisted in the Marines right after high school, was shot in the face in Falluja, Iraq, and shipped to Bethesda Medical Center in Maryland. Isaac and Jonah are easygoing young men, neither of whom has any clear idea what he wants to do in life. "For a while I've been trying to find my passion," Jonah said. "But I haven't been passionately trying to find my passion."

Isaac fantasizes about opening a brewery-cum-performance-space, traveling through South America or operating a sunset massage cruise in the Caribbean. He knows he is on such solid ground that he can afford fantasy.

"I have the most amazing safety net a person could have," he said, "incredible, loving, involved and wealthy parents."

On the rare occasions when they are all together, the daughters get on easily with the sons, though there are occasional tensions. Maggie would love to have a summer internship with a human rights group, but she needs paid work and when she graduates, with more than $100,000 of debt, she will need a law firm job, not one with a nonprofit. So when Isaac one day teased her as being a sellout, she reminded him that it was a lot easier to live your ideals when you did not need to make money to pay for them.

And there are moments when the inequalities within the family are painfully obvious.

"I do feel the awkwardness of helping Isaac buy a car, when I'm not helping them buy a car," Ms. Woolner said of the daughters. "We've talked about that. But I also have to be aware of overstepping. Their mother's house burned down, which was awful for them and for her and I really wanted to help. I took out my checkbook and I didn't know what was appropriate. In the end I wrote a $1,500 check. Emily Post doesn't deal with these situations."

She and Mr. Croteau remain conscious of the class differences between them, and the ways in which their lives have been shaped by different experiences.

On one visit to New York City, where Ms. Woolner's mother lives in the winter, Ms. Woolner lost her debit card and felt anxious about being disconnected, even briefly, from her money.

For Mr. Croteau, it was a strange moment. "She had real discomfort, even though we were around the corner from her mother, and she had enough money to do anything we were likely to do, assuming she wasn't planning to buy a car or a diamond all of a sudden," he said. "So I didn't understand the problem. I know how to walk around without a safety net. I've done it all my life."

Both he and his wife express pride that their marriage has withstood its particular problems and stresses.

"I think we're always both amazed that we're working it out," Ms. Woolner said.

But almost from the beginning they agreed on an approach to their relationship, a motto now engraved inside their wedding rings: "Press on regardless."

(*) (*) I believe that class differences exist and can *not* be an issue for folks. However, values, belief-system and other factors (such as huge differences in income-making abilities) can make or break a relationship if two people grew up in dramatically different environments. My two cents based on life experiences, anyway. If someone hasn't made their own way financially by this time of life (middle age), I stay way, way clear of them since they're looking for a "sugar-mama" femme ;) Life is way too short to support someone else ever again and I'd "rather be alone". :| :| (f) (f)

Enough said. ;)

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-20-2005, 02:19 PM

(*) (*) ;) ;) (h) (h)


05-20-2005, 02:20 PM

(*) (*) ;)

(l) (l) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-20-2005, 02:26 PM

(*) (*) ......too funny. ;)

(*) (*) Stay warm and dry wherever you might be tonight and this weekend. It feels more like November than May here but it's supposed to be warmer Saturday. (f) (f)

(k) (k) ,

05-20-2005, 09:41 PM
By TYLER BRÛLÉ Published: May 15, 2005

About once a day I get an idea for a new airline. I redesigned one once, but the provocation continues. On a wind-swept airfield in Bavaria, I spy a tired-looking Embraer from the Polish carrier LOT and think the airline should become Mitteleuropa's new supercarrier with a livery that plays up the country's royal past. Gazing heavenward at Heathrow's westerly approach path, an MEA Airbus inbound from Beirut makes me think that Lebanon needs a sexier, hotter-looking flag bearer. In the air from Hong Kong to Seoul, I wonder why long-haul travel remains a nightmare for the tens of thousands who want more choice, more control and fewer unnecessary extras.

I've spent the better part of six months daydreaming about this new long-haul carrier and what it might look like, how it would function and where it might innovate. After the success of brands like Southwest Airlines, Air Berlin and EasyJet, there has been considerable talk about all kinds of aviation players moving into the low-cost, long-haul market. We've heard about designs for discounted single-class carriers linking Baltimore and London; consortiums planning to use the new A380 Airbus as a 700-seat supersaver for passengers willing to become contortionists in the process of crossing the Atlantic; and plans to turn a pair of 747's into the aviation equivalent of the Volkswagen bus -- complete with engines painted to look like beer cans. No prizes for guessing that the target market for this venture is the Anglo-Antipodean backpacker.

Serving a mix of established and emerging centers (Los Angeles, London and New York, as well as Sapporo, Helsinki and Istanbul), my carrier would operate a fleet of Airbus A340's in a single-class configuration. The livery would be white, olive and hot yellow, and the interiors would be a soothing mix of grays, taupes and a bit more olive. To run a profitable operation, I'd have to squeeze in as many seats as possible while still making my passengers comfortable and happy. To achieve this, I would adopt the design of a German sun chair that I've sampled slopeside in Switzerland many times, and create a new industry standard. Since my new carrier would be aimed at the small entrepreneur who doesn't have the luxury of a corporate expense account, he or she won't be expecting an air bed for the amazing prices I'd offer. What would greet them instead would be a two-three-two configuration, with seats reclining to a position not unlike a good deck chair that can be adjusted for working, dining, laptop viewing and solid stretches of uninterrupted sleep.

Passengers would be entitled to crisp, cotton-covered privacy ''ears'' for power naps (and for keeping their neighbors out of their field of vision), the largest television screen in the sky and wireless Internet access. The entertainment choices would be endless, as passengers could download anything they wanted to their laptops, and for those not armed with a PowerBook there would be a library offering all those titles you never quite get time to see down at your alternative movie house. In the galley, the focus would be on keeping things as fresh and flexible as possible for meals while limiting the number of choices. For Sapporo flights, there would be heaping bowls of curry rice; for London, sausages with bubble and squeak. The bar would offer one good red wine, a crisp white and a house beer brewed specially for the airline.

At the aircraft's midsection and tail, there would be stand-up self-service bars for mingling, leg stretching and duty-free purchasing. Rather than the duty-free trolley that has been designed to trap hundreds of passengers in their seats while it rattles down the aisle, the duty-free kiosk would be stocked with items that this carrier's audience might actually want: a handbag by Marc Jacobs, swim trunks from Sundek, pens by Tombow and an iPod Shuffle in an exclusive color and finish.

Of course, this whole environment would be supported by fresh-faced, eager crew members speaking no fewer than three languages each, with a keen sense of irony and looking fetching in their thick poplin shirtdresses and sandals or fitted three-button blazers and flat-front trousers.

In all, a rather democratic and dignified experience in which the passengers would feel empowered and pampered. Not to mention the satisfying sense that they would be getting exactly what they paid for.

(*) (*) ....ah, what a lovely airline that would be....... (l) (l)

(k) (k) (k) ,

05-20-2005, 09:49 PM
By FRANCINE PROSE Published: May 15, 2005

Trust me, I'm ecologically responsible. Like you, I worry about the environment and our gluttonous thirst for fossil fuels. But when the car-rental agent at the Tucson airport asked what kind of vehicle I wanted, I lapsed into an out-of-body reverie through which I heard myself say, ''Well, actually, uh, I'd like the biggest, grossest, most outrageous S.U.V. you've got.''

I'm sure I would have answered differently had I not lived in Tucson for two years during the early 1980's and had I not remembered that there was absolutely nothing in the world I loved more than riding (with my husband, Howie, who does the driving, a skill I've never entirely mastered) through the desert in a vehicle high enough off the road to provide the most panoramic view of southern Arizona's gorgeous mountains, cactuses and sky. And as soon as we left the airport, it all came streaming back: the feel of the air, like a swath of dusty silk blowing lightly over my face, and the smoky-sweet musk that rises from the desert after a rain or on a blessedly cool night after a hot day.

One pleasure of revisiting cities where you lived while you were young and struggling is that your older, more comfortable self can check into the hotels that you once could only eyeball with envy. The Arizona Inn turned out to be just as luxe and sybaritic as I'd imagined when I'd passed its pink adobe walls 20 years ago. Within those walls is a 1930's Southwestern-style Art Deco compound: 14 acres of lush lawns and flower beds surrounding little salmon-colored cottages. Ours had its own patio with a pair of chaise longues, on one of which I stretched out to call my friends in blizzard-wracked New York for a faux-casual chat about the weather.

Fewer than 70 miles from the Mexican border at Nogales, Tucson is a little like Miami, in that being there makes you feel as if you've briefly left the United States. Unlike Miami, it's not an easy place to get to -- I could find only one convenient nonstop flight a day from New York. That may be why Tucson has yet to be discovered, at least by Northeasterners, as the charming, authentic, semi-exotic paradise that it is. It's Santa Fe without the cuteness factor, Palm Springs without the lingering ghost of Bob Hope. And it's got a funky, Wild West edginess that I find irresistible, though I realize the sight of grizzled hitchhikers with guns protruding from their pockets may be an acquired taste.

While much about the city has changed drastically since I lived there -- surging real estate prices have fueled an urban growth spurt, extending the metropolitan area far up to the north -- much has stayed the same or, more surprisingly, improved. These days, it takes a while longer to leave the city and get to the wilderness, but even now a short drive out Speedway Boulevard (once known as America's ugliest street, although most of strip-mall U.S.A. has since caught up) takes you to the western portion of the Saguaro National Park.

It's best to go in the early morning or at sunset to see its spectacular light and abundant animal life. But at any hour, it's thrilling to round one of the sharp curves that lead to Gates Pass and catch a glimpse of the craggy mountains. They are covered with giant cactuses, some of them as tall as 50 feet, standing with their multiple arms raised like prickly outer-space aliens.

Over the years, the park has steadily upgraded its facilities, but I'd suggest that the first prize for most improved goes to what is also, in my opinion, the most haunting and beautiful place in the vicinity of Tucson: San Xavier del Bac, the so-called White Dove of the Desert, a Moorish-Byzantine-Mexican-Renaissance church that rises like an iceberg stuck in the sand. The interior decorations -- geometric designs, depictions of angels, saints and Madonnas floating amid trompe l'oeil lintels and drapery -- have been refurbished and restored, and the gilded main altar of the church has been brightened to the point at which the whole interior seems to jump and pulse with color, energy and life.

But the truth is, I didn't go to Tucson for the architecture.

Many of my fondest memories of the place, like my fond memories of most places, have to do with food, like the quesadillas that are so light that they appear to levitate off their metal wedding-cake stands at El Torero in south Tucson. Alternately, I might recapture the past in the form of a couple of franks at Pat's Drive-In, a 1950's-style takeout joint (the whole point is to eat in your car) that has been around forever and that serves its specialty with terrifyingly generous sacks of wonderful, skin-on French fries.

El Torero and Pat's were exactly as I had remembered them, which seemed like positive proof that, no matter what they say, you can go home again. To find the kind of street food that you get in Mexico, we resorted to a time-tested method: we rode around till we saw the cafe with the maximum number of pickup trucks in the parking lot. That's how we found ourselves feasting on thick, magnificently spicy shrimp, tacos and horchata (a cold, slightly chalky almond milk drink) at Pico de Gallo.

Our lunch took place on the day before we were supposed to leave, so already I was experiencing that preemptive nostalgia that makes you miss a place even while you're still there. And on the actual day of our departure, I found it hard to drag myself away. I kept forgetting things, misplacing things. Was there time for one last swim? And when we finally got into our S.U.V. and headed to the airport in Phoenix, about 120 miles away, I persuaded Howie to take a very wide detour for one last ride through the Saguaro National Park. We stopped and hiked up a trail 10 minutes or so into the mountains.

The cactuses were backlit by the pale morning sun so that their spines glowed with an incandescent white aura. The air smelled of mesquite, and as we watched, some kind of desert bird -- Was it a grouse? A grackle? -- scurried across our path. I felt a pure bliss that brought me back to the time when I'd lived there, and as I reluctantly trudged back to the big gas guzzler ready to take us one step closer to home, I promised myself not to wait another 20 years before I felt that particular brand of happiness again.

(*) (*) What a delightful little article......I love this one mostly for the reminders of how wondeful the Tucson area still (!) is. With an almost three hour drive from Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix south on I10, geographic location alone in southeastern AZ makes the Tucson area and small towns such as Tombstone and Bisbee all that much far away from the usual tourista's itinerary..... ;) Good thing too - I'd love to stay at the Copper Queen hotel in Bisbee again - this time with someone to share dinner at their nice restaurant and take a walk up and down the streets built on the mountain. I have to wait for the Fall now for another visit as it gets pretty warm down there from now until then. (l) (l)

(S) (S) Pleasant rest of your evening and Saturday.

(l) (l) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-20-2005, 09:58 PM
What Suits You: We pick this year's best and worst swimsuit options
by Corina Zappia May 19th, 2005 6:27 PM Village Voice

Swimsuit season is always a dreadful time, in part because the fashion mags and clothing industry lag behind the modern consumer. Feeble attempts to cater to the real woman with a size 10 body result in classically worthless suggestions, such as "Large ass? Cover it with a skirt!" or "No definable stomach? Buy a high-waisted bikini!" Never mind that you'll be woefully out of style in these low-rise times (of course, no one ever gets around to addressing that).

The latest attempt at this choose-your-own-suit-adventure is H&M's Web site, My Model. By picking your attributes (Is your nose wide or narrow? Are you Asian? Pear-shaped?) to create the "virtual you," the virtual you can try on virtual swimsuits, provided the real you has high-speed Internet and wants to dispense with personal info. You come out looking a little like busted Lara Croft in a bad trannie wig, but we suppose it's better than nothing.

So what're we looking at this season? In truth, a tiny stretch of nylon spandex can only transform so much from year to year. Yeah, there are a couple of trends, but what looks good on Karolina Kurkova skipping through Ibiza may not seem so choice when you're slurping up Mr. Softee on the Jersey Shore. Let's take a look.

"The Shark Ate Off Half My Suit" Suit:

In a final-ditch effort to restore sales to the one-piece, we return to its only sexy incarnation: the cut-out maillot. If done well, we've got '80s Helmut Newton glamazon, clawing at the camera with scarlet talons while "serviced" by her blond German doppelganger. A suit like this, and you only eat meat raw. If bad, you're a classy Vegas showgirl who lingered too long at the Sizzler buffet. With one freak tan line. Roberto Cavalli's animal-print one-piece prices in at a steep $470, or there is Eres' popular Acapulco cut-out. You could also try the lower-priced takes from Speedo's Platinum collection ($150), available at speedousa.com.

The Beach Blanket Bingo:

It's supposed to be a cheeky return to times past when swimsuits, cutting low on the thigh and bottoms sitting higher on the waist, were in vogue. They can invoke 1950s bathing beauty Esther Williams or the coquettish Annette Funicello all they want. Any woman I know would rather showcase the roll than look like her grandmother in swim trunks. Boy-cut briefs also shorten the leg. If you are one of those trend-bucking, long-legged few, you could perhaps try Gap's low-cut boy short ($22), paired with the bow-tied halter ($18), or Abaeté's pricier one-piece, "the Brigitte" ($200).

The Blue Crush:

Grab your Billabong baby tee and cue the Dick Dale, 'cause every year means a slew of fashion spreads on Hot Surfer Girl style! We're still not quite sure whom this looks best on: More well-endowed chicks need more support, but these sporty styles don't do much for flat-chested girls either. If you lie somewhere in between, H&M has some pink-and-red floral hipster boy shorts and bikini tops for under 10 bucks each.

The Sporty Spice: Similar in style to the surfer, but with more racing stripes and fewer hula prints, the logo tank from Adidas can come off a bit too late '80s Summer Sanders. Still, it's not a shabby option if you're one of those few who actually swim in her suit, versus the bold pinky-toe dip in Cape Cod once a year. American Apparel's Tricot Nylon Triangle top and bottom are pretty Roller Girl hot.

Metal and Mod:

Your basic boring bikini is given a high-end, society-woman update with metal accents this summer. Blaine Trump taking a stroll on the Riviera can wear the $335 Versace metallic gold swimsuit, complete with metal Versace crest assaulting her chest. The rest of us can cruise up to the community pool in Banana Republic's streamlined version in the "14K gold hue," with ring details to complete the Princess Leia fantasy ($36 each). Graphic mod designs are also everywhere this season—Banana Republic pulls out some decent Pucci-esque triangle tops and bottoms ($38 each)—but they call it their "Kaleidoscope" print.

Bizarre hybrids—the tankini, the tubini—rear their head again this season, all very strange and not warranting description. Like the skirt angle, they're yet another poor attempt to cover up bodily imperfections. No wonder we all end up with the same bikini. Wear what suits you, whether it is one of this year's trends or your old black tank. Take a page from all those pasty, fleshy hairy-backed dudes who grace Jones Beach every summer, unabashedly pudgin' it up in the sun while their lady girl frantically readjusts her bikini to cover last night's Haagen-Dazs indulgence.

They don't care. Why should you?


(*) (*) :o :o ;)

(S) (S) (k) ,

05-20-2005, 10:00 PM
Mystic Rivers: Why was a gloriously perfected pictorial machine swapped for one that was unknown and unstable?

by Jerry Saltz May 13th, 2005 4:24 PM

"3 x Abstraction: New Methods of Drawing," the unbelievably intriguing exhibition at the Drawing Center, proves that abstraction has always been more than art historians said it was. To see why, consider a question posed by artist Robert Irwin: How did art go from the hyper-realism of David to the total abstraction of Malevich in less than 100 years? Why was a gloriously perfected pictorial machine swapped for one that was unknown and unstable?

The reasons for this are varied, complex, and buried in the psychic ruptures that took place in the 19th century. The question, however, contains part of the answer. As scientific knowledge increased, multiplicity replaced certainty, relativism grew, our experience of our world became more unknown and unstable, and the hierarchical way we pictured the world no longer seemed adequ ate or accurate. Single-point perspective and realism were originally devised to present a kind of double-positive: Things were rendered realistically in order to be known. This worked visual wonders for several hundred years. However, by the mid 19th century it became evident that there was a latent negative lurking in the double-positive: Things were bein g named but they weren't being known. A hole formed in the ozone of representation. Technique was only leading to more technique, perspectival space unraveled, and representation began to feel suppressive and deficient.

A visual analog for indefiniteness and instability had to be devised. A space for intuition was needed. Ab straction was one antidote. The wish was that abstraction would reverse the charge of the double-positive by presenting a double-negative: It would portray a world beyond naming. In this way a negative would be transformed into a positive. Although it led to astounding things, this premise has at least two glaring faults. First, understanding is an essentially useless measure for art. No one "understands" a Botticelli or any work of art. Second, there's ultimately no difference between abstraction and representation; both are simply depicting systems. Abstract space exists in representational art and vice versa.

From the start, many who touted abstraction made grandiose claims for it. Soon formalists took up residence in abstraction. Todaytiresome, mostly male academics who can't get over Greenberg persist in draining the juice from nonobjective art. Yet abstraction is far sexier than these dogmatists imagine. Abstraction is a way of seeing that which cannot be seen. It was one of the more massive gambles in art history. Not even Picasso went fully abstract, believing that it implied the death of painting. Those who took the full leap into the nonobjective void were heroes.

And heroines. Malevich believed in "the supremacy of pure sensation" and "the solemnity of the Universe." The three extraordinary artists—Hilma af Klint (1862–1944), Emma Kunz (1892–1963), and Agnes Martin (1912–2004)—who are the subjects of the Drawing Center show, were after something supreme but less solemn. They wanted to locate the cosmic rift where form and consciousness intersect, reality and the ethereal merge, and the inner self and the outer limits converge.

Each was what Deleuze called a "doctor of the world." All three were visionary conceptualists. Remarkably, the academically trained Swede af Klint arrived at abstraction more than five years before Malevich—which is a lifetime for such a breakthrough. Regrettably, she specified that this work not be seen until 20 years after her death. In the Drawing Center show, which has been deftly curated by Catherine de Zegher and Hendel Teicher and comes with an informative catalog, you can see af Klint's physically clunky yet visually alluring focused flights of fancy. She excels at portraying celestial schema and placing shapes just so in disembodied non-space. Her work looks simultaneously alchemical, Zen, and a touch mad, as if it was taken from an encyclopedia from a parallel universe.

Kunz deserves a survey of her own. Envisioning drawing as a healing device, art for her was a way to channel medicinal and mystical spirits. For Kunz the path to form and healing were identical. She, like af Klint, approached art not in modernistic terms—although both relate to symbolism—but in more archaic, shamanic ways. It's appalling that art history is so timid and limited that it has yet to find a place for either (neither hangs in MOMA). Kunz's straight-edge images, which look like pre-cybernetic mappings of hyperspace, function like psychic holes in the world, gaps through which one can slip and commune with "the other side." You look at them with your third eye. The two drawings installed as tables let you peer into an abstract tantric void. As Correggio punched a hole in the fabric of illusionistic space, so Kunz creates tears in telepathic space.

Martin is a dyed-in-the-wool modernist, and her work still makes perfect sense here. It's obvious why she's recognized as a master of color, light, atmosphere, and spirit. To look at her work is to know what meditation feels like. Many of her early paintings and drawings come on like thunderstorms from across transcendental valleys. The serene This Rain (1960) looks like a Buddhist test pattern from the planet Rothko.

"3 x Abstraction" shows how the double-negative turned positive in another way. All three of these artists began working when women was a "negative" category. Each artist proved this notion laughable. Af Klint and Kunz created mind-expanding art. Martin's work is all that, and breathtaking.


(*) (*) :o

(k) (k) ,

05-20-2005, 10:03 PM
Catching Enigmas in a Bottle: Girls Gone Wild in Hot Oil
Hilary Harkness by R.C. Baker May 17th, 2005 5:01 PM

"I see all the male artists, or at least all the dead ones, having so much fun painting the female form," Hilary Harkness told Interview magazine last year. Art history is certainly loaded with dead guys reveling in women's physicality: works like the saucy baroque masterpiece The Hunt of Diana, where Rubenesque beauties wrangle ferocious dogs, shoot birds with arrows, or simply loll about nude. Harkness updates such sapphic high jinks in Flipwreck (2004), where all-female tribes battle over a World War II beachhead—there are blonde American sailors, natives clad in coconut shell bras, Aryans with riding crops, and Japanese fly girls wearing goggles. All are slim and leggy, perfect for mortal combat and elaborate bondage rituals. While Harness's figures may lack the anatomical rigor of past masters', her meticulously rendered preparatory drawings—the one for Flipwreck hangs nearby—have lovely flowing lines and emotion; the desperation of one sailor's heroin-chic eyes comes across equally in pencil and oil.

At roughly one by two feet, Flipwreck retains Harkness's typically intimate scale and obsessively detailed narratives. But its open-air setting is a departure from her signature cross-section views of battleships and convoluted rabbit warren interiors. These cutaways have the segmented feel of comic panels, but they are compositionally interwoven and reveal connections between characters slowly, often with rude humor. The 10-inch-square Air Raid depicts eight rooms of a gabled house populated by a bevy of supermodels. Do the servants hand-washing frills in the basement resent the brunette-on-blonde debauchery in the garden? Who are the women in the attic squatting over mirrors as they give birth? And why the retro trappings like nylons, garters, and clothes wringers, last seen during the Good War? Lacing nostalgia with decadence, Harkness commands her enigmatic art as succinctly as a ship in a bottle.


(*) (*) The things that make go think, "hmmm" in the wee hours of the morning. (f) (f)

Carpe Diem!
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-20-2005, 10:12 PM
May the Force Be Over

The end of the beginning: Lucas's adolescent space opera concludes in a CGI Sith Storm

by Ed Halter May 11th, 2005 6:13 PM

No doubt the most expensive stoner film in history, the alleged final installment of George Lucas's elongated adolescence turns out to be not so much a movie as a relentlessly vivid parade of visually overstuffed set pieces, a digital-age Doré Bible illustrating defining moments in the soap-operatic Star Wars mythos. No pixel goes untweaked under Lucas's watch. The border-lines between sets, humans, and CGI vanish, giving the auteur free rein to conjure some particularly florid dreamscapes: roiling oceans of hell-red magma, iguana-like steeds the size of pachyderms, a female Jedi murdered beneath a canopy of gargantuan luminescent flowers. Visionary, perhaps, but also super-sized, surfacey, and not slightly cheesy. In debt to lurid sci-fi-novel cover art, Revenge of the Sith achieves the ultimate in what could be called Baroque Nerdism, a frame-filling aesthetic of graphic overdesign that began with The Phantom Menace and has now been jacked up to an absurd degree. Half the film takes place at dawn or dusk, so that the Marin County team can geek out on artificial roseate glow—a sugary luminence used so frequently one wonders if they developed a Maxfield Parrish plug-in to get the job done. On metropolitan Coruscant, background windows buzz with distant air-cars of various models; on DVD zoom mode, they will likely reveal individual license plate numbers.

But at least this journey through a galactic Thomas Kinkade gallery keeps viewers awake: Those who dozed through the C-SPAN soporifics of Attack of the Clones will be relieved to find that Sith is crammed with action. Lucas packs his latest with physics-defying deep-space dogfights and zhoozhing lightsaber battles, frequently cutting back and forth between two simultaneous melees on separate planets, deploying his signature Flash Gordon wipes. Deadly glowsticks lop off hands at an alarming rate, with at least five lost in the first hour; the picture's gruesome climactic duel goes for the legs as well, ending up with a scene out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It's a peculiarly obsessive motif that probably helped garner the film a PG-13 rating. Chalk it up to either the compulsive castration imagery befitting such a famously oedipal epic, or transferred wartime anxiety about an escalating population of limbless veterans. In service of the film's near nonstop string of showdowns, each planet is filled with dramatic architecture: Ports, homes, and congressional chambers are all built on teetering platforms atop vertiginous chasms, connected by dangerously slender walkways. Somehow a galaxy-spanning civilization with faster-than-light travel and intelligent droids never got around to inventing guardrails.

The relatively economic narrative stringing together the action serves as a welcome improvement over the unbearable sloppiness of Lucas's last two endeavors. (Rumor has it that Tom Stoppard performed an uncredited script polishing.) Indeed, this feels like the only prequel that was actually necessary. Most of the plot involves filling out the background details to Episode IV: how the Republic becomes the Empire, how Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader, and how Padmé becomes pregnant with twins Luke and Leia. Though Lucas has called Sith "Titanic in space," the pivotal romance between Anakin and Padmé burns with all the passion of rubbing together two action figures—computer-generated characters like wheezing cyborg baddie General Grievous and blippeting fireplug R2-D2 emote more convincingly than either Natalie Portman or Hayden Christensen (whose enunciation still shuttles between London and Long Island). A more erotically charged seduction occurs when Palpatine lures Anakin to the dark side; Ian McDiarmid's unctuous Emperor—who bears a strange resemblance to Pope Benedict XVI, sunken eyes and all—turns appropriately vampiric as he attempts to draw Anakin into the Sith fold with promises of eternal life.

Anakin's defection from Jediism to Sithdom should provide the film's backbone, but neither the script nor Christensen delivers the needed nuance. "If you are not with me, then you're my enemy," warns the newly minted Darth Vader to his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi (the still respectable Ewan McGregor). "Only a Sith deals in absolutes," Kenobi counters. Attendees at the New York preview screening responded with cheers, taking the exchange as a blatant Bush bash, but the line also betrays the failure of Lucas to portray the elder Skywalker's moral downslide with anything close to complexity; indeed, the underlying premise of Jedi-Sith duality rests on a fairy-tale Manichaeanism of unpolluted good versus total evil. Convinced to join the dark side in hopes of gaining new powers that will save Padmé from a prophesied death, Anakin thus transforms schizophrenically from broodingly ambitious knight to bloodthirsty killer once he has crossed the line. No wonder the film's space battles still echo nothing more modern than World War II naval combat; the Star Wars cycle remains in a comfortable fantasyland of melodramatic moral choices and unambiguous military tactics. The messy asymmetry of 21st-century warfare has no place in Lucas's retro future.

Even setting aside the clumsy inconsistency of its interior logic, Sith is an underachievement of escapist entertainment. Fans will no doubt argue that the multimillion-dollar walk-through of Episodes I through III exists as merely the most high-profile facet of Lucas's world-building masterwork, that is, his grand "expanded universe" explored through an interlocking body of original novels, video games, comic books, television cartoons, toy sets—and further elucidated, presumably, through decades of soft-drink tie-ins, lunch-box art, bedsheet sets, and children's novelty underwear. But surely the imaginations of J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling—not to mention their product management teams—have rolled out fantasy worlds with higher consistency and quality control. Lucas helped invent the Hollywood blockbuster that allowed for the big-screen emergence of the likes of Baggins and Potter, and in the first decade of his career produced some of the best early examples of that global-market art form: big shiny adventures that balanced childhood whimsy with adult sass, high-tech cool stuff with effective storytelling. But blockbusters have since become an overbred species, and Lucas's work has likewise degenerated into unbalanced overproduction. Post–Jar Jar, our expectations have sunk so low that now fans will celebrate a film just because it doesn't completely suck.

(*) (*) Oh, major rasberries to this guy! How funny would this week's moveon.org's ads about Frist and the fillibuster over extreme far right judges being approved by the Senate be without parodies of SW's?......Geez, even silly movies like "Spaceballs" would not be as hilarious without such serious (at times) films like Star Wars film episodes to poke fun at. Even Burger King and mobile telephone companies have jumped in on the melee. (not that I would purchase a Darth Vader ringtone for my cell, but it has been amusing to me especially when the media focuses on the negative. And how popular would Carrie Fisher's books be and the film scripts that she's edited without the fame from her three SW films? Baseball, apple pie and Star Wars..... (h) I'm definitely getting punchy....probably time to head for bed soon. ;)

May the force (or Schwartz) be with you! ;)

(l) (l) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-20-2005, 10:20 PM
.....suggest turning your speakers up a little bit:




(*) (*) (*) Regional Top 20:






(*) (*) (*) The Rural Rebound: Why People Are Moving to the Country:


(*) (*) eeehhhha! Pretty nice web site....although some places sounded a llittle scary......for obvious reasons. Beautiful countryside and photos though that I enjoyed virtually..... (l) (l)

(S) (S) ,
SL and DTB

05-21-2005, 07:00 AM
(*) watched this yesterday afternoon on a chilly, rainy afternoon:

Iris (2001)
Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch was l'enfant terrible of the literary world in early 1950s Britain -- a live wire who thumbed her nose at the conformity of the era via a voracious sex life that included male and female partners. In this snippet of her life, Murdoch (Judi Dench) faces the onset of Alzheimer's disease alongside her adoring husband (Jim Broadbent). Kate Winslet portrays the young, free-spirited Iris in flashbacks.
Starring: Kate Winslet, Hugh Bonneville, Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent, Eleanor Bron, Angela Morant, Penelope Wilton, Siobhan Hayes
Director: Richard Eyre

(*) (*) (*) I gave it three stars on netflix as a rating. Dame Dench especially was her always outstanding self in performance, as was Winslet.
I guess I didn't score it higher because it was especially sad to watch an extremely bright womyn writer and speaker at Oxford slowly lose her luminescence to such a mentally debilitating illness. It certainly was enlightening however how someone succumbs to it........ :( AND poignant how her husband of 30 years took care of her until (almost) the end. (f) (f)

(l) (l) Have a beautiful Saturday!

Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-21-2005, 07:15 AM
I did sweetlady's "test" and forgot I was driving the bus. :-(

05-21-2005, 07:22 AM
(f) (f) (f) What a lovely posting! I so much appreciated your taking the time to share your own love for the HBO show "Deadwood" as well as that you find my Internet URLs as "nuggets" in that vast digital tundra..... ;)

HBO and Comedy Central were both former clients of mine and I'd be happy to share any and all contact information with you privately. PM me if you'd like to chat about it. I *do* know that quite a few of the decisions in terms of storylines and actors actually casted are up to David Milch - Executive producer from "N.Y.P.D." fame (and infamously). In fact, there's more than one former NYPD cast member who is on Deadwood right now including the slimey detective "Roberts" who played the part of the hoople-head (miner) who was holding the boy William when the stallion ran them over....

Thanks again!! Your posting made me smile.


Your posts always make me smile too. I shant tell you which of the characters I soooooo want to write on, but I bet you can guess. You being in the knowe and what not. ~s~

She is one firey hot headed woman, I know I would have been just like her, had it been me in her situation. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. I really get that one.

btw, I will PM you bout this, but know this... your profile scares me, makes me nervous as a new born calf. I bit skiddish here, and yours sounds too good to be true.

Anyhows, til I screw my courage to that sticking place, I shall bid you adieu~


05-21-2005, 08:07 AM
From correspondents in London May 21, 2005

IN an attempt to appeal to more female players, the creators of computer game icon Lara Croft have revamped her image to remove one of her most prominent and remarked-upon features - her generous bust.

For years, Croft's gravity-defying chest, waspish waist and long legs have delighted teenage boys playing the various editions of Tomb Raider, the computer game in which she stars.
But, according to today's edition of The Times newspaper, British computer game firm Eidos, which created Croft, has changed her physique to one less likely to put off female players.

In the soon-to-be-released Tomb Raider: Legend, the eighth title to feature Croft, her DD-size bust has reportedly been reduced to a more modest C-cup and some of her more revealing outfits have been ditched.

The adventurer even sports a modest round-neck sweater with full arms for part of the game, the paper said.

"Lara's been on a diet and she's definitely gone down a cup size, but she's still quite well proportioned," Toby Gard, the original creator of the character, told the paper.

Created in the mid-1990s, Croft's series of adventures have made huge profits for Eidos, and were turned into a pair of films starring US actress Angelina Jolie as the eponymous heroine.

However, the most recent Tomb Raider titles have fared less well. In March, shares in Eidos tumbled more than 30 per cent in a single day following speculation about a profit warning.


(*) (*) ....and about time, wouldn't you say? ;)

(k) (k),
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-21-2005, 08:11 AM
DONALD Trump is in trouble with Thailand's religious leaders - and it's got nothing to do with his ridiculous hair.

May 21, 2005 London Daily Telegraph

The Trumpster's Miss Universe competition was yesterday in damage control over over photos of bikini-clad contestants posing near an ancient Buddhist temple.

The sexy photos, which showed beauty queens including Miss Aussie Michelle Guy on a Bangkok river cruise with the famed Wat Arun, or Temple of Dawn, in the background were quickly removed from the Miss Universe website after religious leaders complained.

But the Thais are still upset, saying the pictures embroil the country in sin just days before a key Buddhist holiday.

The booby pics, which would be more at home in Ralph magazine, were splashed on the front pages of most Thai newspapers, and had harmed the country's image, many said.

Pageant president Paula Shugart said that the temple incident was "unfortunate" and would not happen again.

"We would never, ever do anything to intentionally offend anyone here," she said.

Maybe they should reconsider the idea of bring the Trumpster to Thailand then.


(*) (*) I like that name....Trumpster.......like Dumpster.......(eeewww in any event)...... :| :| The photos might interest butches however despite the silly story. (6)

({) (}) ,

05-21-2005, 08:13 AM
.....as in showing up...... ;)

May 20, 2005

SHARON Stone, Penelope Cruz and the Olsen twins were among a bevy of screen stars who attended a charity gala for AIDS in Cannes.

Stone dressed in a pale pink gown, co-hosted the gala, to raise money for AIDS research, with Liza Minnelli.
The annual Amfar (American Foundation for Aids Research) party is the glitziest event of the Cannes Film Festival.

Cruz was joined on the red carpet by Joely Richardson, Salma Hayek, Brittany Murphy and model Mila Jovovich.

The Spanish actress wore a pale grey strapless silk gown with diamonds in her hair.

Nip/Tuck star Richardson sparkled in a silver dress and diamond necklace.

British actor Clive Owen was among the guests - his latest film Sin City has proved one of the biggest hits of the festival so far.

Stone, 47, announced last week she had adopted a second baby son whom she has called Lair.

"I'm changing a lot of diapers and I'm loving doing it," Stone said.

The Basic Instinct star has been involved with Amfar for the past 10 years.

"I can't watch one child die every minute of Aids and not do something about it," Stone said.

"Every person with a good heart should want to stand up and help."

The event aimed to raise $US2 million ($A2.64 million) for the charity.


(*) (*) :o :o ;) ;)

(l) (l) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-21-2005, 08:14 AM
From correspondents in London May 21, 2005

IN an attempt to appeal to more female players, the creators of computer game icon Lara Croft have revamped her image to remove one of her most prominent and remarked-upon features - her generous bust.

For years, Croft's gravity-defying chest, waspish waist and long legs have delighted teenage boys playing the various editions of Tomb Raider, the computer game in which she stars.
But, according to today's edition of The Times newspaper, British computer game firm Eidos, which created Croft, has changed her physique to one less likely to put off female players.

In the soon-to-be-released Tomb Raider: Legend, the eighth title to feature Croft, her DD-size bust has reportedly been reduced to a more modest C-cup and some of her more revealing outfits have been ditched.

The adventurer even sports a modest round-neck sweater with full arms for part of the game, the paper said.

"Lara's been on a diet and she's definitely gone down a cup size, but she's still quite well proportioned," Toby Gard, the original creator of the character, told the paper.

Created in the mid-1990s, Croft's series of adventures have made huge profits for Eidos, and were turned into a pair of films starring US actress Angelina Jolie as the eponymous heroine.

However, the most recent Tomb Raider titles have fared less well. In March, shares in Eidos tumbled more than 30 per cent in a single day following speculation about a profit warning.


(*) (*) ....and about time, wouldn't you say? ;)

(k) (k),
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

what is it with this world?

is everyone woman on a diet, or what?!!!

I prefer to call mine a food plan. A lifestyle.


but it is nice to see the smaller breasts.... I can not stand the artificial breast on women characters everywhere. I do not like mine, gaining weight was horrifying enough, but getting such huge breasts was just down right uhmmmm.... pissing me off. I had such nice perfect B's, a perfect handful. Now this much is just ridiculous.

What is it with Amerika and breasts anyways. They don't do anything much for me. And according the medical reports, that goes for about half the women on the planet.

deep sigh, much ado about nothing, anything to not have to work when I am this tired...

d'bad grrrrl today, playing online when I should be a productive citizen~

05-21-2005, 08:21 AM
(*) (*) Official Web site: http://www.festival-cannes.fr/


(*) Screenings:



(*) (*) (*) Great Photos! Cannes film festival town at the Mediterranean Sea:

http://car.pege.org/2004-cannes/ (l) (l) (l)

(*) (*) (*) (*) Noble laureate Toni Morrison is among the 2005 Canne Film Festival jury:


(*) (*) (*) How incredibly COOL! (Especially the last link....) (f) (f) (f) (f) (f) This film buff could spend hours exploring the latest, newest films at Canne especially since the festival opens tomorrow - but since it's such a gorgeous sunny day, the Doc'meister and I are off for a drive and a walk at a park near the Delaware River........ (l) (l) (l) Have a lovely Saturday filled with lots of laughter and smiles wherever yor travels take you physically or virtually... (f) .

Carpe Diem!

Sweetlady and Doc the Handsome (and now-healthy) Boxer

05-21-2005, 08:49 AM
Spring forward: Did you remember to set your stem-cell timeline ahead one decade last night? Anyone still hoping that the medical, legal, political and ethical issues surrounding stem cells could be debated at a leisurely pace got a reality check Thursday. The South Korean team that has been setting the pace in embryonic cloning research announced creation of the first embryonic stem cells customized to match sick or injured patients and a much more efficient production technique as well. "I didn't think they would be at this stage for decades, let alone within a year,'' said Dr. Gerald Schatten of the University of Pittsburgh, an adviser to the Korean lab in analyzing data. While the federal government is deciding whether to loosen its strictures against it, therapeutic cloning of embryonic stem cells can be funded and conducted in California. "(The research) is going to have an influence on policy because this brings treatments and potential cures decades closer to fruition," Bernard Siegel, director of the Genetics Policy Institute, told Wired News. "Up until now, it seemed largely like a theoretical exercise, but now with actual stem-cell lines created for individuals suffering with diseases and medical conditions, this takes on a greater significance, and those who would want to ban this research are going to come face to face with millions of patients seeking cures."








(*) (*) How unfortunate that The Village Idiot Dubya and company is *so* against stem cell research. It is my sincerest hope that the South Koreans and other countries allowing (and even promoting and funding stem cell research and testing) will SHARE with other nations so that those who will eventually (based on immediate family members having it) get sick with diabetes and other chronic and dibilitating illnesses will have an opportunity to get well again. (I pray that it happens in my lifetime.....) (l) (l) (l) (l) (l) BUt then, if the severe swing to the extreme right continues, we'd probably need to fly to places such as South Korea to get treatment. Which means that for some time these treatments will be within the reaches of only the very wealthy - who can afford both the travel AND the treatment. :( :(

Oh well, onwards and upwards and here's to major changes both in the midterm elections in 2006 as well as the Presidential one in 2008. (o)

(k) (k) ,

05-21-2005, 09:01 AM


(*) (*) They *really* were this big:




(*) (*) (*) Now imagine having http://i2.peapod.com/c/13/1342O.jpg in a bowl and mixing in a container of these huge fresh blackberries......

(l) (l) THAT's what I just had for breakfast/lunch or brunch along with a fresh pot of coffee that I put cinnamin in the bottom of the pot so the brewed coffee would mix with it. Now THAT's what I call a small piece of heaven. (l)

......yes, and Doc had his walk but it's really breezy and he hates the wind and wanted to come back inside, so what his mama to do? ;)

The only thing missing was someone to share it with, although Doc sat and begged the entire time I was eating....... ;) He got a couple of Eucanuba "Scoobie Snacks" (dog biscuits) instead.

Just wanted to share those few moments of tasty bliss.....and offer to make more as well as share the fresh coffee with everyone.

(k) (k) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-21-2005, 09:14 AM
<sigh....beautiful!> http://www.thaidirect2u.co.uk/prodimages/kimonos_and_pyjamas/thai_silk/medium/royal_blue_silk_kimono



(*) (*) VERY nice:


(*) (*) For the butches: http://www.pajamashoppe.com/images/clothing/women/kimono2604cobalt_cvr.jpg




www.marygreen.com/ images/thumbnails/SB59L.jpg


www.marygreen.com/.../ thumbnails/GL15P_willa.jpg



and I REALLY loved this color:






(l) (l) I loved this one alot (although royal blue is one of my favorites):


(*) (*) Whew! I don't want to start any hot flashes.... (6) However the thought of wearing a silk kimono and eating fresh blackberries and blueberry yogurt was such a sensual experience that I thought folks might not mind me sharing my tastebud experiences and thoughts. (f) (f) (f) (f) (f)

({) (}) ,
Sweetlady and Doc the Boxer

05-21-2005, 09:27 AM


(*) A bit heavy now for summer but pretty for the Fall and Winter:

(*) Love the royal blue...now if it was just in a very fine crochet lace, that would be perfect!

(*) (*) OOH, thisn one is really close to what I'm looking for in both white and black.....
www.ec-securehost.com/.../ 20040825-28_sm.jpg

(*) (*) Very nice in black: http://www.smartbargains.com/images/product/105825/1058256941_MD.jpg

(*) Nice if it's as light as it appears: http://images.auctions.overstock.com/aimages/d/0/0/97/979010_0.jpg

(*) (*) Really pretty color: http://imedia.brylane.com/images/chadwicks/th/2140_18089_th.jpg

(l) (l) I guess I'll have to try to learn how to make one or two if I'm lucky for myself since I'm having such a hard time trying to find a couple of light ones for the summer to wear over tank tops or lace camisoles that I already have quite a few. Wearing a light business jacket over these tops doesn't feel as feminine to me.... (a) (a)

(k) (k) ,