Feast after fasting this Janmashtami at Taj Wellington Mews Mumbai         

by Shrutee K/DNS 
Mumbai: This Janmashtami welcome the birth of Lord Krishna with a burst of flavour and fervour! Get together with family and friends and feel the festive cheer with a range of delicious treats perfect for breaking your fast. The light and crispy Sabudana Vada, the soft Rajgiri Puri, traditional Vari Rice, refreshing Thandai, Vrat Waale Aloo will satisfy after a day’s fast, before a sweet and creamy Badam Kheer and fresh fruit. Come and taste the ‘food of the Gods’/ ‘divine offerings’ at Weli Deli, Taj Wellington Mews!

Offer valid:
Date: 14thAugust 2017
Day: Monday
Timing: 12 PM to 10: 45 PM
Venue: Weli Deli, Taj Wellington Mews, Mumbai 
Contact Number: 022 66574331
About Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris
Established in 1903, Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris is one of Asia's largest and finest group of hotels, comprising 98 hotels in 61 locations across the globe, including presence in India, North America, United Kingdom, Africa, Middle East, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan and Nepal. From world-renowned landmarks to modern business hotels, idyllic beach resorts to authentic Grand Palaces, each Taj hotel offers an unrivalled fusion of warm Indian hospitality, world-class service and modern luxury.  For over a century, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, the iconic flagship has set a benchmark for fine living with exquisite refinement, inventiveness and warmth. Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris is part of the Tata Group, India’s premier business house. For more information, please visit www.tajhotels.com.



          SSB Retail India launches two more Specialty Malls        

by Shrutee K/DNS
Hyderabad, 4th August 2017: SSB Group is a leading structural galvanizing company which is in a retail sector mall in Hyderabad.

The SSB World Shopping Mall has come up with a two brand ‘Alpine’- the supermarket and ‘Casabene’- the furniture mall. Casabene has its branches in Kolkata, Hyderabad and is now launching 2 more new branches in Hyderabad.

The company has diversified into retailing. The 3rd retailing space at Chakripuram  is 7000 sq. ft which has a combination of Alpine Super Market & Casabene Furnitures. The 4th retailing space at North Kamalanager ECIL is 2000 sq. ft which also has a combination of Alpine Super Market & Casabene Furnitures.
The retail industry is very competitive; in order to give extra mileage SSB is having its own manufacturing facilities. They believe in delivering excellent quality products with customer satisfaction. The Chief Guest for the event will be honourable Smt. Pajjuri Pavani Manipal Reddy (Corporator) for A S Rao Nagar Division, SSB Directors - Y Sharath Babu & Ajay Kumar Singh and Chairman - Ramakanth Singh. Mr Ajay Kumar Singh & Mr Sarath Babu - Directors, of SSB believes in giving good lifestyle supplies at competitive prices.
 
The retailing product will be: Supermarket/Furniture/Home Décor/Home Accessories/Home related products

USP: Exclusively designed/Concept selling/Manufacturing Quality Products/Craftsman and Finishing/Free interior advice/Large collection under one roof

The business plan is to diversify and open 10 Branches of Alpine Super Market & Casabene Furniture in the twin cities.

About SSB: SSB is a Turkey service provider, established in August 2013, SSB Structural and Galvanizing Pvt Ltd is an enterprise by two pragmatic visionaries. As an emerging sector, it is present in telecom, power, heavy and general fabrication and infrastructure. It was able to export structural material in the second year of inception. The company has a turnover of 50 crores and it will have 100 crores of turn over year.

          Accelerate Live! talk: Health-generating buildings, Marcene Kinney, Angela Mazzi, GBBN Architects        
Architects Marcene Kinney and Angela Mazzi share design hacks pinpointing specific aspects of the built environment that affect behavior, well-being, and performance.

 

During the past 20 years, we’ve witnessed an evolution in building design, from high-performance and energy-efficient buildings, to sustainable and green buildings, and now to spaces that enhance performance and promote wellness and health. 

In this 15-minute talk at BD+C’s Accelerate Live! conference (May 11, 2017, Chicago), Marcene Kinney and Angela Mazzi from Cincinnati-based GBBN Architects talk about their work in behavior change and health-generating design.

Their predictive outcome modeling helps clients make strategic design investments that enhance user and building performance, while minimizing behaviors that can lead to more negative outcomes, such as injuries, poor health, or mistakes.

They also share design hacks pinpointing specific aspects of the built environment that affect behavior, well-being, and performance to help clients get more success out of their spaces.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

As Principal and Market Director at GBBN Architects, Marcene Kinney, AIA, LEED AP, leads her team's exploration and focus to do more than merely solve functional architectural problems for clients. Her applied research details fives types of space and their physical attributes that contribute to socialization and gathering patterns within spaces. She has dedicated 17 years exploring how space facilitates social interaction and builds community within the educational environment. Kinney has presented her research-based design work to American Institute of Architecture and Society of College and University Planning audiences and is the recent recipient of an AIA design award for work completed at Northern Kentucky University. Perhaps most important are the satisfaction survey reports by her clients who are reporting increased engagement and retention from their customers.

Angela Mazzi, AIA, ACHA, EDAC, is a Senior Associate and Medical Planner at GBBN Architects, where she focuses on enhancing quality of life through built environments—connecting great design with user needs. Her background in design, business management, and research on socio-cultural contexts provides a unique perspective on how culture is reflected in architecture and user experience. Mazzi serves on the Board of Regents for the American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA), the Board of AIA Cincinnati, the Advisory Committee for the Institute for Patient-Centered Design, and was an Advisory Board member for Arizona State University's Healthcare Design Program in its initial years. Her research linking wellness to design has been published in many healthcare journals and been presented at both national and international conferences.

FOLLOW GBBN ARCHITECTS

@GBBNArchitects
www.facebook.com/GBBNArchitects


          (To Heal) - Genesis - Driving the last spike (no replies)        
We came from the North,
and we came from the South
with picks and with spades
and a new kind of order
showing no fear of what lies up ahead
They'll never see the likes of us again

Can you hear me?
Can you see?
Don't you hear me?
Don't you see?


Genesis - Driving the last spike

Leaving my family behind me
not knowing what lay ahead
waving goodbye, as I left them in tears
remembering all we'd said

I looked to the sky, I offered my prayers
I asked Him for guidance and strength
but the simple beliefs of a simple man
lay in His hands, and on my head (my head)

I gave everything that they wanted
but still they wanted more
we sweat and we toiled
good men lost their lives
I don't think they knew what for

I sold them my heart
I sold them my soul
I gave everything I had
Ah, but they couldn't break my spirit
my dignity fought back
fightback

Can you hear me?
Can you see?
Don't you hear me?
Don't you see?

We worked in gangs for all we were worth
the young boys pulling the wagons
We were digging the tunnel, shifting the earth
It was then that it happened.

No one knew how the cracks appeared,
but as it fell they all disappeared
stone fell like rain

Can you hear me?
Can you see?
Don't you hear me?
(Can) Can you breathe?

The smoke cleared, the dust it settled
No one knew how many had died
All around there were broken men
They'd said it was safe, they'd lied
you could hear the cries, you could smell our fear
but good fortune that day was mine
and it occurred to me that the heart of a good man
it seems is hard to find.

Ah, can you hear me?
Can you see?
Don't you hear me?
Don't you see?

We worked, how we worked like
the devil for our pay
through the wind, through the snow,
and through the rain

Blasting, and cutting through God's country like a knife
sweat stinging my eyes, there has to be a better life

Ah but I can hear my childrens' cry
I can see the tears in their eyes
memories of those I've left behind
still ringing in my ears
Will I ever go back again?
Will I ever see her face again?
O, I'll never forget that night
As they waved goodbye to their fathers

We came from the North,
and we came from the South
with picks and with spades
and a new kind of order
showing no fear of what lies up ahead
They'll never see the likes of us again

Driving the last spike,
lifting and laying the track
with blistering hands,
the sun burning your back

Oh, but I can hear my childrens' cry
I can see the tears in their eyes
memories of those I've left behind
still ringing in my ears
Well I'll always remember that night,
As they waved goodbye to their fathers

We followed the rail, we slept under the stars
digging in darkness, and living with danger
showing no fear of what lies up ahead
they'll never see the likes of us again.

Can you hear me?
Can you see?
(Don't) Don't you hear me?
(Don't) Don't you see?


Context

(To Heal)(Management innovation) - '..Teal Organizations to start healing the world..'

(In The Electric Universe) - '..Reading “The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences” caused me to reconsider my views on death..'

(Bazaarmodel - To Heal - Teal) Dream - Semco Style


Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Diana Ross

You just feel what you want it to be

          (Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..' (no replies)        
'Now that he is president, Trump likes to tout the fact he’s listening to America’s generals. Perhaps he needs to talk to General Mike Millen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Perhaps then he would see that the greatest threat America faces isn’t from China, Russia, or North Korea – it is from the national debt. Until Trump reverses course on military spending, and gets tough on entitlements, his "America First" budget will only make the US worse off.'

- Tho Bishop (Source, March 20, 2017)


'..a crippling national debt..'

'Under a Republican budget resolution, the national debt will explode by a third from an already staggering $19 billion to $29 trillion over the next ten years. Although counterintuitive, Democratic presidents, at least those after World War II, have reduced deficits as a portion of the value of the national economy (GDP) while Republican presidents have increased them — thus accumulating less public debt as a percentage of GDP. Yet neither political party has paid enough attention to this burgeoning national security problem.

National security problem? Yes. General Mike Mullen, while he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s top military man, was enlightened enough about long-term health of American power to realize that it takes continuing infusions of money to acquire the weapons and equipment, personnel, training, maintenance and benefits to create a credible military to adequately defend the country. In addition, all other indices of national power — political, diplomatic and cultural — require money too.

To generate those resources, a strong economy is needed. The number one problem dragging down economic growth rates through the George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidencies was a crippling national debt..'

- Ivan Eland, National debt is our biggest security threat: Column, January 11, 2017


Context

'..World Debt Hits $152 Trillion.'

'Our nation and the world are paying a very heavy price for a failed experiment in Inflationism..' - Doug Noland

'..Global policies since the 2008 crisis have spurred the expansion of speculative finance to multiples of pre-crisis levels..'


'Germany Plans to Cut 2017 Debt Sales .. Balanced-Budget..'

'..monetary knowledge .. of currency reform under difficult conditions you have to go to Carl Menger.'

(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..The Theory of Money and Credit .. an invaluable guide for ending the business cycles of our own time.'


(Banking Reform - English/Dutch) '..a truly stable financial and monetary system for the twenty-first century..'

          'We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war.' - Sidney Drell (no replies)        
'..My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

'The harsh rhetoric on both sides increases the danger of miscalculations and mistakes, as do other factors. Close encounters between the military aircraft of the United States and Russia have become routine, creating the potential for an unintended conflict. Many of the nuclear-weapon systems on both sides are aging and obsolete. The personnel who operate those systems often suffer from poor morale and poor training. None of their senior officers has firsthand experience making decisions during an actual nuclear crisis. And today’s command-and-control systems must contend with threats that barely existed during the Cold War: malware, spyware, worms, bugs, viruses, corrupted firmware, logic bombs, Trojan horses, and all the other modern tools of cyber warfare. The greatest danger is posed not by any technological innovation but by a dilemma that has haunted nuclear strategy since the first detonation of an atomic bomb: How do you prevent a nuclear attack while preserving the ability to launch one?

..

..the Cuban Missile Crisis, when a series of misperceptions, miscalculations, and command-and-control problems almost started an accidental nuclear war—despite the determination of both John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev to avoid one. In perhaps the most dangerous incident, the captain of a Soviet submarine mistakenly believed that his vessel was under attack by U.S. warships and ordered the firing of a torpedo armed with a nuclear warhead. His order was blocked by a fellow officer. Had the torpedo been fired, the United States would have retaliated with nuclear weapons. At the height of the crisis, while leaving the White House on a beautiful fall evening, McNamara had a strong feeling of dread—and for good reason: “I feared I might never live to see another Saturday night.”

..

The personnel who command, operate, and maintain the Minuteman III have also become grounds for concern. In 2013, the two-star general in charge of the entire Minuteman force was removed from duty after going on a drunken bender during a visit to Russia, behaving inappropriately with young Russian women, asking repeatedly if he could sing with a Beatles cover band at a Mexican restaurant in Moscow, and insulting his military hosts. The following year, almost a hundred Minuteman launch officers were disciplined for cheating on their proficiency exams. In 2015, three launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base, in Montana, were dismissed for using illegal drugs, including ecstasy, cocaine, and amphetamines. That same year, a launch officer at Minot Air Force Base, in North Dakota, was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for heading a violent street gang, distributing drugs, sexually assaulting a girl under the age of sixteen, and using psilocybin, a powerful hallucinogen. As the job title implies, launch officers are entrusted with the keys for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles.

..

..A recent memoir, “Uncommon Cause,” written by General George Lee Butler, reveals that the Pentagon was not telling the truth. Butler was the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, responsible for all of America’s nuclear weapons, during the Administration of President George H. W. Bush.

According to Butler and Franklin Miller, a former director of strategic-forces policy at the Pentagon, launch-on-warning was an essential part of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (siop), the nation’s nuclear-war plan. Land-based missiles like the Minuteman III were aimed at some of the most important targets in the Soviet Union, including its anti-aircraft sites. If the Minuteman missiles were destroyed before liftoff, the siop would go awry, and American bombers might be shot down before reaching their targets. In order to prevail in a nuclear war, the siop had become dependent on getting Minuteman missiles off the ground immediately. Butler’s immersion in the details of the nuclear command-and-control system left him dismayed. “With the possible exception of the Soviet nuclear war plan, [the siop] was the single most absurd and irresponsible document I had ever reviewed in my life,” Butler concluded. “We escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.” The siop called for the destruction of twelve thousand targets within the Soviet Union. Moscow would be struck by four hundred nuclear weapons; Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, by about forty.

After the end of the Cold War, a Russian surprise attack became extremely unlikely. Nevertheless, hundreds of Minuteman III missiles remained on alert. The Cold War strategy endured because, in theory, it deterred a Russian attack on the missiles. McNamara called the policy “insane,” arguing that “there’s no military requirement for it.” George W. Bush, while running for President in 2000, criticized launch-on-warning, citing the “unacceptable risks of accidental or unauthorized launch.” Barack Obama, while running for President in 2008, promised to take Minuteman missiles off alert, warning that policies like launch-on-warning “increase the risk of catastrophic accidents or miscalculation.” Twenty scientists who have won the Nobel Prize, as well as the Union of Concerned Scientists, have expressed strong opposition to retaining a launch-on-warning capability. It has also been opposed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State George Shultz, and former Senator Sam Nunn. And yet the Minuteman III missiles still sit in their silos today, armed with warheads, ready to go.

William J. Perry, who served as Secretary of Defense during the Clinton Administration, not only opposes keeping Minuteman III missiles on alert but advocates getting rid of them entirely. “These missiles are some of the most dangerous weapons in the world,” Perry wrote in the Times, this September. For many reasons, he thinks the risk of a nuclear catastrophe is greater today than it was during the Cold War. While serving as an Under-Secretary of Defense in 1980, Perry also received a late-night call about an impending Soviet attack, a false alarm that still haunts him. “A catastrophic nuclear war could have started by accident.”

Bruce Blair, a former Minuteman launch officer, heads the anti-nuclear group Global Zero, teaches at Princeton University, and campaigns against a launch-on-warning policy. Blair has described the stresses that the warning of a Russian attack would put on America’s command-and-control system. American early-warning satellites would detect Russian missiles within three minutes of their launch. Officers at norad would confer for an additional three minutes, checking sensors to decide if an attack was actually occurring. The Integrated Tactical Warning/Attack System collects data from at least two independent information sources, relying on different physical principles, such as ground-based radar and satellite-based infrared sensors. If the norad officials thought that the warning was legitimate, the President of the United States would be contacted. He or she would remove the Black Book from a briefcase carried by a military aide. The Black Book describes nuclear retaliatory options, presented in cartoon-like illustrations that can be quickly understood.

..

Although the Air Force publicly dismissed the threat of a cyberattack on the nuclear command-and-control system, the incident raised alarm within the Pentagon about the system’s vulnerability. A malfunction that occurred by accident might also be caused deliberately. Those concerns were reinforced by a Defense Science Board report in January, 2013. It found that the Pentagon’s computer networks had been “built on inherently insecure architectures that are composed of, and increasingly using, foreign parts.” Red teams employed by the board were able to disrupt Pentagon systems with “relative ease,” using tools available on the Internet. “The complexity of modern software and hardware makes it difficult, if not impossible, to develop components without flaws or to detect malicious insertions,” the report concluded.

In a recent paper for the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, Andrew Futter, an associate professor at the University of Leicester, suggested that a nuclear command-and-control system might be hacked to gather intelligence about the system, to shut down the system, to spoof it, mislead it, or cause it to take some sort of action—like launching a missile. And, he wrote, there are a variety of ways it might be done.

..

Strict precautions have been taken to thwart a cyberattack on the U.S. nuclear command-and-control system. Every line of nuclear code has been scrutinized for errors and bugs. The system is “air-gapped,” meaning that its networks are closed: someone can’t just go onto the Internet and tap into a computer at a Minuteman III control center. At least, that’s the theory. Russia, China, and North Korea have sophisticated cyber-warfare programs and techniques. General James Cartwright—the former head of the U.S. Strategic Command who recently pleaded guilty to leaking information about Stuxnet—thinks that it’s reasonable to believe the system has already been penetrated. “You’ve either been hacked, and you’re not admitting it, or you’re being hacked and don’t know it,” Cartwright said last year.

If communications between Minuteman control centers and their missiles are interrupted, the missiles can still be launched by ultra-high-frequency radio signals transmitted by special military aircraft. The ability to launch missiles by radio serves as a backup to the control centers—and also creates an entry point into the network that could be exploited in a cyberattack. The messages sent within the nuclear command-and-control system are highly encrypted. Launch codes are split in two, and no single person is allowed to know both parts. But the complete code is stored in computers—where it could be obtained or corrupted by an insider.

Some of America’s most secret secrets were recently hacked and stolen by a couple of private contractors working inside the N.S.A., Edward Snowden and Harold T. Martin III, both employees of Booz Allen Hamilton. The N.S.A. is responsible for generating and encrypting the nuclear launch codes. And the security of the nuclear command-and-control system is being assured not only by government officials but also by the employees of private firms, including software engineers who work for Boeing, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Lord Des Browne, a former U.K. Minister of Defense, is concerned that even ballistic-missile submarines may be compromised by malware. Browne is now the vice-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit seeking to reduce the danger posed by weapons of mass destruction, where he heads a task force examining the risk of cyberattacks on nuclear command-and-control systems. Browne thinks that the cyber threat is being cavalierly dismissed by many in power. The Royal Navy’s decision to save money by using Windows for Submarines, a version of Windows XP, as the operating system for its ballistic-missile subs seems especially shortsighted. Windows XP was discontinued six years ago, and Microsoft warned that any computer running it after April, 2014, “should not be considered protected as there will be no security updates.” Each of the U.K. subs has eight missiles carrying a total of forty nuclear weapons. “It is shocking to think that my home computer is probably running a newer version of Windows than the U.K.’s military submarines,” Brown said.In 2013, General C. Robert Kehler, the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the risk of cyberattacks on the nuclear command-and-control system. He expressed confidence that the U.S. system was secure. When Senator Bill Nelson asked if somebody could hack into the Russian or Chinese systems and launch a ballistic missile carrying a nuclear warhead, Kehler replied, “Senator, I don’t know . . . I do not know.”

After the debacle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union became much more reluctant to provoke a nuclear confrontation with the United States. Its politburo was a committee of conservative old men. Russia’s leadership is quite different today. The current mix of nationalism, xenophobia, and vehement anti-Americanism in Moscow is a far cry from the more staid and secular ideology guiding the Soviet Union in the nineteen-eighties. During the past few years, threats about the use of nuclear weapons have become commonplace in Moscow. Dmitry Kiselyov, a popular newscaster and the Kremlin’s leading propagandist, reminded viewers in 2014 that Russia is “the only country in the world capable of turning the U.S.A. into radioactive dust.” The Kremlin has acknowledged the development of a nuclear torpedo that can travel more than six thousand miles underwater before devastating a coastal city. It has also boasted about a fearsome new missile design. Nicknamed “Satan 2” and deployed with up to sixteen nuclear warheads, the missile will be “capable of wiping out parts of the earth the size of Texas or France,” an official news agency claimed.

..

Russia’s greatest strategic vulnerability is the lack of a sophisticated and effective early-warning system. The Soviet Union had almost a dozen satellites in orbit that could detect a large-scale American attack. The system began to deteriorate in 1996, when an early-warning satellite had to be retired. Others soon fell out of orbit, and Russia’s last functional early-warning satellite went out of service two years ago. Until a new network of satellites can be placed in orbit, the country must depend on ground-based radar units. Unlike the United States, Russia no longer has two separate means of validating an attack warning. At best, the radar units can spot warheads only minutes before they land. Pavel Podvig, a senior fellow at the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research, believes that Russia does not have a launch-on-warning policy—because its early-warning system is so limited.

For the past nine years, I’ve been immersed in the minutiae of nuclear command and control, trying to understand the actual level of risk. Of all the people whom I’ve met in the nuclear realm, Sidney Drell was one of the most brilliant and impressive. Drell died this week, at the age of ninety. A theoretical physicist with expertise in quantum field theory and quantum chromodynamics, he was for many years the deputy director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator and received the National Medal of Science from Obama, in 2013. Drell was one of the founding members of jason—a group of civilian scientists that advises the government on important technological matters—and for fifty-six years possessed a Q clearance, granting him access to the highest level of classified information. Drell participated in top-secret discussions about nuclear strategy for decades, headed a panel that investigated nuclear-weapon safety for the U.S. Congress in 1990, and worked on technical issues for jason until the end of his life. A few months ago, when I asked for his opinion about launch-on-warning, Drell said, “It’s insane, the worst thing I can think of. You can’t have a worse idea.”

Drell was an undergraduate at Princeton University when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed. Given all the close calls and mistakes in the seventy-one years since then, he considered it a miracle that no other cities have been destroyed by a nuclear weapon—“it is so far beyond my normal optimism.” The prospect of a new cold war—and the return of military strategies that advocate using nuclear weapons on the battlefield—deeply unnerved him. Once the first nuclear weapon detonates, nothing might prevent the conflict from spiralling out of control. “We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war,” he said.

..

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin confront a stark choice: begin another nuclear-arms race or reduce the threat of nuclear war. Trump now has a unique opportunity to pursue the latter, despite the bluster and posturing on both sides. His admiration for Putin, regardless of its merits, could provide the basis for meaningful discussions about how to minimize nuclear risks. Last year, General James Mattis, the former Marine chosen by Trump to serve as Secretary of Defense, called for a fundamental reappraisal of American nuclear strategy and questioned the need for land-based missiles. During Senate testimony, Mattis suggested that getting rid of such missiles would “reduce the false-alarm danger.” Contrary to expectations, Republican Presidents have proved much more successful than their Democratic counterparts at nuclear disarmament. President George H. W. Bush cut the size of the American arsenal in half, as did his son, President George W. Bush. And President Ronald Reagan came close to negotiating a treaty with the Soviet Union that would have completely abolished nuclear weapons.

Every technology embodies the values of the age in which it was created. When the atomic bomb was being developed in the mid-nineteen-forties, the destruction of cities and the deliberate targeting of civilians was just another military tactic. It was championed as a means to victory. The Geneva Conventions later classified those practices as war crimes—and yet nuclear weapons have no other real use. They threaten and endanger noncombatants for the sake of deterrence. Conventional weapons can now be employed to destroy every kind of military target, and twenty-first-century warfare puts an emphasis on precision strikes, cyberweapons, and minimizing civilian casualties. As a technology, nuclear weapons have become obsolete. What worries me most isn’t the possibility of a cyberattack, a technical glitch, or a misunderstanding starting a nuclear war sometime next week. My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

- Eric Schlosser, World War Three, By Mistake, December 23, 2016


Context

The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

          '..Russia .. cyberpower proved the perfect weapon .. political sabotage..' (no replies)        
' “We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

..

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends..

..

..The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

..

..the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon..

..

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.” '



'..the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.

..

..President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia moved beyond mere espionage to deliberately try to subvert American democracy and pick the winner of the presidential election.

..

..A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.

..

The United States had two decades of warning that Russia’s intelligence agencies were trying to break into America’s most sensitive computer networks. But the Russians have always managed to stay a step ahead.

Their first major attack was detected on Oct. 7, 1996, when a computer operator at the Colorado School of Mines discovered some nighttime computer activity he could not explain. The school had a major contract with the Navy, and the operator warned his contacts there. But as happened two decades later at the D.N.C., at first “everyone was unable to connect the dots,” said Thomas Rid, a scholar at King’s College in London who has studied the attack.

Investigators gave it a name — Moonlight Maze — and spent two years, often working day and night, tracing how it hopped from the Navy to the Department of Energy to the Air Force and NASA. In the end, they concluded that the total number of files stolen, if printed and stacked, would be taller than the Washington Monument.

Whole weapons designs were flowing out the door, and it was a first taste of what was to come: an escalating campaign of cyberattacks around the world.

..

The Russians were also quicker to turn their attacks to political purposes. A 2007 cyberattack on Estonia, a former Soviet republic that had joined NATO, sent a message that Russia could paralyze the country without invading it. The next year cyberattacks were used during Russia’s war with Georgia.

..

Mr. Obama was briefed regularly on all this, but he made a decision that many in the White House now regret: He did not name Russians publicly, or issue sanctions. There was always a reason: fear of escalating a cyberwar, and concern that the United States needed Russia’s cooperation in negotiations over Syria.

“We’d have all these circular meetings,” one senior State Department official said, “in which everyone agreed you had to push back at the Russians and push back hard. But it didn’t happen.”

..

Last year, the attacks became more aggressive. Russia hacked a major French television station, frying critical hardware. Around Christmas, it attacked part of the power grid in Ukraine, dropping a portion of the country into darkness, killing backup generators and taking control of generators. In retrospect, it was a warning shot.

..

..CrowdStrike’s nicknames for the two Russian hacking groups that the firm found at work inside the D.N.C. network. Cozy Bear — the group also known as the Dukes or A.P.T. 29, for “advanced persistent threat” — may or may not be associated with the F.S.B., the main successor to the Soviet-era K.G.B., but it is widely believed to be a Russian government operation. It made its first appearance in 2014, said Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike’s co-founder and chief technology officer.

..

Only in March 2016 did Fancy Bear show up — first penetrating the computers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and then jumping to the D.N.C., investigators believe. Fancy Bear, sometimes called A.P.T. 28 and believed to be directed by the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence agency, is an older outfit, tracked by Western investigators for nearly a decade. It was Fancy Bear that got hold of Mr. Podesta’s email.

..

It was bad enough that Russian hackers had been spying inside the committee’s network for months. Now the public release of documents had turned a conventional espionage operation into something far more menacing: political sabotage, an unpredictable, uncontrollable menace for Democratic campaigns.

..

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and editor, has resisted the conclusion that his site became a pass-through for Russian hackers working for Mr. Putin’s government or that he was deliberately trying to undermine Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. But the evidence on both counts appears compelling.

..

Mr. Putin, a student of martial arts, had turned two institutions at the core of American democracy — political campaigns and independent media — to his own ends. The media’s appetite for the hacked material, and its focus on the gossipy content instead of the Russian source, disturbed some of those whose personal emails were being reposted across the web.

..

In late 2014, hackers working for Kim Jong-un, the North’s young and unpredictable leader, had carried out a well-planned attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment intended to stop the Christmastime release of a comedy about a C.I.A. plot to kill Mr. Kim.

In that case, embarrassing emails had also been released. But the real damage was done to Sony’s own systems: More than 70 percent of its computers melted down when a particularly virulent form of malware was released. Within weeks, intelligence agencies traced the attack back to the North and its leadership. Mr. Obama called North Korea out in public, and issued some not-very-effective sanctions. The Chinese even cooperated, briefly cutting off the North’s internet connections.

As the first Situation Room meetings on the Russian hacking began in July, “it was clear that Russia was going to be a much more complicated case,” said one participant. The Russians clearly had a more sophisticated understanding of American politics, and they were masters of “kompromat,” their term for compromising information.

..

..code was put out in the open by the Russians as a warning: Retaliate for the D.N.C., and there are a lot more secrets, from the hackings of the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon, that might be spilled as well. One senior official compared it to the scene in “The Godfather” where the head of a favorite horse is left in a bed, as a warning.

..

As the year draws to a close, it now seems possible that there will be multiple investigations of the Russian hacking — the intelligence review Mr. Obama has ordered completed by Jan. 20, the day he leaves office, and one or more congressional inquiries. They will wrestle with, among other things, Mr. Putin’s motive.

..

Did he seek to mar the brand of American democracy, to forestall anti-Russian activism for both Russians and their neighbors? Or to weaken the next American president, since presumably Mr. Putin had no reason to doubt American forecasts that Mrs. Clinton would win easily? Or was it, as the C.I.A. concluded last month, a deliberate attempt to elect Mr. Trump?

In fact, the Russian hack-and-dox scheme accomplished all three goals.

What seems clear is that Russian hacking, given its success, is not going to stop. Two weeks ago, the German intelligence chief, Bruno Kahl, warned that Russia might target elections in Germany next year. “The perpetrators have an interest to delegitimize the democratic process as such,” Mr. Kahl said. Now, he added, “Europe is in the focus of these attempts of disturbance, and Germany to a particularly great extent.” '

- Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane, The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S., December 13, 2016


Context '[Russia] may become a threat to the world. That is the worst thing that could happen to Russia.' - Yegor Gaidar

'..Russian strategy of hybrid influence and destabilization .. German Council on Foreign Relations.'

'German intelligence says Russia is trying to destabilize German society..' - '..war that Moscow is waging against the West..'

'[Putin is doing] anything that can and will expand Russian influence to U.S.S.R.-era levels of power.'


'..Zero tolerance for Russian intrusions .. Estonia .. policy of publicly naming or prosecuting spies..'

'..the Soviet Union was cut off from Western financial markets and was effectively under permanent sanctions..'

          Nissan of Clinton Named #1 Dealer in Sales Satisfaction, Wins Award of Excellence        

CLINTON, North Carolina—Local Clinton dealership, Nissan of Clinton, just earned two prestigious honors as it closed out its 2013 sales year. The dealership, which is located at 412 Southeast Blvd. in Clinton, North Carolina, was ranked the #1 Dealer in Sales Satisfaction surveys for Nissan’s entire Raleigh/Eastern North Carolina region. To honor this achievement, Donnie […]

The post Nissan of Clinton Named #1 Dealer in Sales Satisfaction, Wins Award of Excellence appeared first on Car News in the USA.


          Circles        
While not sleeping this morning, for some reason or another I was reflecting and counted all of my closest male friends and ended up with a number north of fifteen. One of them I only met a year ago. Another I’ve still never met in person.
          Tastes of Sustainability        

Come to the CEEE September 27th at 7:00. Amazing chef, Dan Ankrum of Avant Garde Catering, will be preparing courses using local products and discussing how sustainability relates directly to dining around the area.

Along with great food and entertainment, the student organizations UNI Green Life, Green Project UNI, Student Nature Society (SNS), and Northern Iowa Student Energy Corp will be attending to pass along information about their clubs and why and how you should get involved.

Below is the menu and farms from which the products came from.

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream demo
Farm: Hansens, HillCrest Farms

Squash soup
Local Iowa butternut squash soup, Vegan
Farm: A Family Market Place

Local Iowa roasted pork shoulder served taco style.
Farm Green's Organics

Brew Grain Cookies
Farms: Hillcrest Farms, Kitchen Table CSA, Hansen's

Location: 
Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE)
Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 2:00 pm
Enter Your Email: 
Name: 
Trish Dorman
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          Cedar Falls Practical Backyard Tour        
Sponsored by UNI's Center for Energy & Environmental Education and Green Iowa AmeriCorps, the Practical Backyard Tour highlights several backyards around Cedar Falls where practical and effective methods have been utilized.  From composting to solar and rain barrels to gardening, the tour features backyards that work!
Beginning at 2 p.m., participants are welcome to arrive at any of the  backyards listed below where tickets will be available (one ticket gains  participant access to all five backyards). After 5 p.m., participants are encouraged to visit Beck's on The Hill afterwards for dinner, a prize drawing, and open discussion on practical uses for backyards.
Tickets ($5, does not include dinner) will be available the day of the event at each of the backyards. Proceeds from the event will support Green Iowa AmeriCorps work in the Cedar Valley. Please direct any questions to Green Iowa AmeriCorps. We hope to see you there!
The five backyards featured during the tour include:
1. Cedar Falls Community Garden, 600 Block Lincoln Street, Cedar Falls “Taking Back, Giving
Back” this garden is flood-reclaimed land and features a sitting area, water collection
system, and composting [from Cup of Joe]. With 50 of the 80 available plots rented and four
organizations actively growing food to be donated to the Cedar Valley Food Bank and other
charities, this location is full of vast and diversified garden delights  growing for a great cause.
2. Dave Gibson, 524 West Lone Tree Road, Cedar Falls “Twin Cedars, a Gated  Community” this
wonderful stop in North Cedar will feature fruit trees, vegetable garden, hens, passive solar
kitchen, solar electric system, and 140 recently planted trees.
3. Kamyar Enshayan, 1703 Washington Street, Cedar Falls “Lawn & Order” featuring backyard
hens, easy-going compost, native prairie pollinator heaven, local wood  shed, solar hot water,
linear evaporative drying system (clothes lines), 20 years of pesticide-free lawn, vegetable
garden.
4. Jack & Carole Yates, 519 Chateau Ct, Cedar Falls “Perfectly Practical” both the front and back
yard features beds with native Iowa prairie plants, two vegetable gardens and an orchard with
apple, pear, Asian pear, cherry, peach and plum trees. Visitors can also see their two active solar
systems, a wood burning stove, clothes line and additions like a fire ring, patio and other places
that make it a great backyard to spend time in.
5. Ann Duncan, W 13th Street at the alley between Franklin and Tremont, “Smoke Stack Twin
Gardens” Featuring gardening for large and small spaces, a wide variety of vegetables,
raspberries, tiered garden, strawberry pyramid, rain barrels, compost bin, clothes line.
Location: 
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Sunday, June 10, 2012 -
9:00 am to 12:00 pm
Enter Your Email: 
Name: 
Ashley Wolter
Phone: 
3192737233
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          Molecular Sales Consultant***Pittsburgh North Territory*** - Assurex Health        
Mason, OH - All times are in Mountain Daylight Time.
Job ID 2017-6569
Location US-OH-Mason
US
Location Details Pittsburgh, PA
Posted Date 8/9/2017
More information about this job:

Overview:

At Assurex The Molecular Sales Consultant plays a significant role in the success of Assurex
          Retailer Big Data Analytics Intern - Retail Solutions, Inc.        
Northbrook, IL - Customer Success - Northbrook, IL - Internship
POSITION SUMMARY:

This Analytics Intern will be supporting one of the nation?s largest drug chains customized big data solutions and help drive RSi? analytical reporting and business intelligence application adoption and deliver
          Natura Siberica Northern Cloudberry hiusnaamio erittäin vaurioituneille ja värjätyille hiuksille 120ml        
Palauttaa ja ravitseeErityisesti vaurioituneille ja värjätyille hiuksille suunnitellun luonnollisen hiusnaamion vaikuttavana pääainesosana toimii lakkauute. Paikalliset Siperian asukkaat kutsuvat lakkaa ”kuningasmarjaksi” – se sisältää Omega-3 ja -6 rasvahappoja ja runsaasti vitamiineja (PP,A ja C), jotka korjaavat hiuksia sisältä ja ulkoa sekä edistävät solujen uusiutumista ja edesauttavat hiustenkasvua. Siperian lakka on voimakas antioksidanttien lähde (E-vitamiini) – se suojaa hiuksia ympäristön haittavaikutuksilta ja palauttaa hiusten luonnollisen kiillon.Luomu myskisalvia- ja koiranruusu-uutteet säilyttävät kosteuden hiusrakenteessa, vahvistavat, ehkäisevät hiusten katkeilua, edistävät hiuskasvua sekä tekevät hiuksista helposti harjattavat. Hiuksista tulee vahvemmat, pehmeät, kiiltävät ja helposti käsiteltävät. 
          Natura Siberica Northern Cloudberry hoitoaine erittäin vaurioituneille ja värjätyille hiuksille 400ml        
Palauttaa ja ravitsee Erityisesti vaurioituneille ja värjätyille hiuksille suunnitellun luonnollisen hoitoaineen vaikuttavana pääainesosana toimii lakkauute. Paikalliset Siperian asukkaat kutsuvat lakkaa ”kuningasmarjaksi” – se sisältää Omega-3 ja -6 rasvahappoja ja runsaasti vitamiineja (PP,A ja C), jotka korjaavat hiuksia sisältä ja ulkoa sekä edistävät solujen uusiutumista ja näin edesauttavat hiustenkasvua. Siperian lakka on voimakas antioksidanttien lähde (E-vitamiini) – se suojaa hiuksia ympäristön haittavaikutuksilta ja palauttaa hiusten luonnollisen kiillon. Luomu myskisalvia- ja koiranruusu-uutteet säilyttävät kosteuden hiusrakenteessa, vahvistavat, ehkäisevät hiusten katkeilua, edistävät hiuskasvua sekä tekevät hiuksista helposti harjattavat. Hiuksista tulee vahvemmat, pehmeät, kiiltävät ja helposti käsiteltävät.
          Natura Siberica Northern Cloudberry shampoo erittäin vaurioituneille ja värjätyille hiuksille 400ml        
Palauttaa ja ravitsee Erityisesti vaurioituneille ja värjätyille hiuksille suunnitellun luonnollisen shampoon vaikuttavana pääainesosana toimii lakkauute. Paikalliset Siperian asukkaat kutsuvat lakkaa ”kuningasmarjaksi” – se sisältää Omega-3 ja -6 rasvahappoja ja runsaasti vitamiineja (PP,A ja C), jotka korjaavat hiuksia sisältä ja ulkoa sekä edistävät solujen uusiutumista ja edesauttavat hiustenkasvua. Siperian lakka on voimakas antioksidanttien lähde (E-vitamiini) – se suojaa hiuksia ympäristön haittavaikutuksilta ja palauttaa hiusten luonnollisen kiillon. Luomu myskisalvia- ja koiranruusu-uutteet säilyttävät kosteuden hiusrakenteessa, vahvistavat, ehkäisevät hiusten katkeilua, edistävät hiuskasvua sekä tekevät hiuksista helposti harjattavat. Hiuksista tulee vahvemmat, pehmeät, kiiltävät ja helposti käsiteltävät. 
          Dallas Mavericks Rookie Dennis Smith Jr. Signs With Under Armour        
The number nine pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Dennis Smith Jr., has signed an endorsement deal with Under Armour. The 6’3” guard out of North Carolina State provided some highlight reel plays (including this “best missed dunk”) during the Las Vegas Summer League, in which he averaged 17.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and...
          NetApp Administrator (Cleared) 2017-019        
TX-San Antonio, Program Overview: US Army North is the Army Service Component Command (ASCC) to US Northern Command (NORTHCOM), and must be capable to stand up and deploy multiple task forces in the event of natural or man-made disasters. The Army North Information Technology Directorate, known as the “G-6,” provides Help Desk/Service Desk, Network Operations Center (NOC), technical management services, and Infor
          Side-talk: The Ramen Stall at 787 North Bridge Road        
Recently I heard raves about this newly halal food establisment that sells Japanese. I see pictures of their food on various social networking platform like facebook and instagram (especially instagram). Although Singapore has sizable a muslim population, it is not easy to get halal japanese food here; especially good ones. This is because japanese usually uses mirin and pork broth in their cookings. The newly halal restaurant that I am referring to is call The Ramen Stall, located at 787 North Bridge Road. When I heard that still stall sells halal ramen, I was really excited because I am avid viewer of Japanese Hour on Channelnewsasia and often see people eating ramens. I have never tasted japanese ramen simply because it is difficult to get halal ones. I even considered going to Tokyo to get taste of halal ramen there.


So yesterday I decided to give it a try after work. The place is located all the same street as Zam Zam. I was expecting a crowd since it is newly halal certified and I was right about 7.30pm and there was already a long queue. My friend and I then comtemplated whether we should go to Afterwit which was located nearby and serves Mexican food. Alas, we decided to queue up. Fortunately, we got a seat after 10 minutes becauses there was only two of us. Those who came in big groups in front of us has to wait longer.



I knew what to order straight away. I ordered their Volcano Ramen ($11). My friend to longer to decide because she is not familiar with Japanese food (unlike someone who watches Japanses Hour). She settled for Oyakodon ($9.90). We also ordered a sides, Torched Beef Sushi ($7.90).


The first dish to arrive was our Torched Beef Sushim It was soo good that I even considered on seconds. The beef was so soft and well marinated and smokey. It kinda melt in my mouth. It really went well with the wasabi and the preserved radish. Usually I dont even like to put wasabi on my sushi.


The came my volcano ramen. I selected level 1 because I not really a fan of spicy food. I like those which are savourly spicy. The broth before mixing with the chilli was quite mild. It tasted better after mixing with the chilli. The restaurant was quite generous with the toppings but I find the noodles quite little. Maybe because I like carbohydrate. I especially like the kale/seaweed, minced meat and the eggs in the soup. But I find this Volcano Ramen kinda overhyped.


My friend Oyakodon. It is like chicken mixed in batter of ingredients and then fried and placed on top of rice. It is then topped with raw egg and drizzled with soy based sauce. My friend found it nice and mind you she is a picky eater. The serving was also quite big.

There was also a 17% service charge when you dine in. I will definitely come back to try their sushis and unagi rice! 

          The FWA Podcast: Friday 28 April        
The Daily Mirror's Chief Football Correspondent, John Cross, is this week's guest on the Football Writers' Association podcast. John speaks to William Hill's Dave Kelner about the North London derby, Jose Mourinho's treatment of his players, and reminisces about some great days at White Hart Lane. #betting #FWAPodcast #football #PL
          The FWA Podcast: Friday 14 April        
The Telegraph's Northern Football Correspondent, James Ducker, joins Dave Kelner on this edition of the podcast. James covers both Manchester United and Manchester City and the pair talk about United's Europa League campaign, Mourinho's treatment of Luke Shaw and reflect on Pep Guardiola's first season in charge of City. #FWA #FWAPodcast #betting #mufc #mcfc
          The FWA Podcast: Friday 20 January        
Dave Kelner is joined by The Daily Telegraph's Northern Correspondent James Ducker to preview this week's Premier League matches. They discuss Manchester City and in particular Pep Guardiola ahead of their home match against Tottenham. #betting #FWAPodcast #podcast #PL
          Listen. Northern Ireland v Croatia preview        
Mark Walton and Thom Kirwin preview Tuesday evening's international friendly between Northern Ireland and Croatia.
          The Punt: Monday 14 November        
Mark Walton stands in for Dave Kelner, and is joined by Thom Kirwin to offer their best bets for England v Spain and Northern Ireland v Croatia on Tuesday evening. Enjoy. http://serve.williamhill.com/promoRedirect?member=audiobooUK&campaign=DEFAULT&channel=will_football&zone=1478396557&lp=1478422550
          The FWA Podcast: Thursday 27 October        
The Sunday Times' Football Correspondent, Jonathan Northcroft, discusses the weekend's Premier League fixtures with William Hill's Dave Kelner. There's reflection on the Manchester derby and a lots of analysis about different managers and their respective styles. #FWAPodcast #football #betting #PL
          The FWA Podcast: Friday 21 October        
The Telegraph's Northern Football Correspondent, James Ducker, joins Dave Kelner on this edition of the podcast. With both Manchester clubs televised this weekend, James is the perfect man to analyse the action. The pair talk about Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and much more. #betting #football #PL #podcast #FWAPodcast
          The Punt: Monday 10 October        
Dave Kelner is joined by Sam Norris to preview the World Cup Qualifiers involving the Home Nations on Tuesday night. England travel to Slovenia, Scotland to Slovakia and Northern Ireland to Germany. Sam gives you his best bets. #football #betting #thepunt
          The Punt: Euros 16th June        
Jack Critchley is joined by Derek McGovern and Stefan Bienkowski to look ahead to England v Wales, Ukraine v Northern Ireland & Germany v Poland. Plus there's trivia, country files and all of the best betting tips
          Euros Punt Podcast: Sunday 12th June        
We have a jam-packed podcast with Emre Sarigul, Stefan Bienkowski, Neil Lennon, Derek McGovern and Lee Phelps all joining Michael Wood to preview the day's games. Turkey take on Croatia, Poland face Northern Ireland and Germany are against Ukraine. Listen now for information on all six nations playing on day three. #ThePunt #betting #football #Euro2016
          The Euros - Group C Preview        
The world champions Germany enter the Euros in Group C alongside Poland, Ukraine and surprise qualifiers Northern Ireland. This time Pete Farries, Jack Critchley and James Buttler talk you through their best bets. Enjoy.
          The FWA Podcast: Friday 13 May        
It's been a busy week in the north, with Sunderland consigning Newcastle to the Championship, while maintaining their Premier League status, and football journalist, Martin Hardy, talks to Dave Kelner on the podcast. Martin authored the book 'Touching Distance', so he knows all about heartbreak on Tyneside and he discusses Newcastle's future and previews the final day of the season in the Premier League. #FWAPodcast #betting #football #BPL #nufc #safc
          AT&T Expands Voice Over LTE To 18 Additional Markets        
AT&T Expands Voice Over LTE To 18 Additional Markets

AT&T first launched its Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service about seven months ago, but now the carrier is expanding its reach by adding 18 new markets for its VoLTE and HD Voice offerings.

The list of new markets include District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. 

The good news is that this is just the beginning. AT&T's target is to transition every consumer to VoLTE. That would be easier said than done for sure, considering the tons of networks that need to be set up and the hardware that needs to be deployed. But AT&T is positive about the outcome, and early signs of success are certainly visible.

As stated by John Donovan, AT&T's Senior Vice President of Technology and Operations, the carrier's VoLTE network is performing very well after some internal tests, scoring an average of more than 99 percent in terms of accessibility and retainability (how well the users stay connected).

For those not in the know, VoLTE technology lets users simultaneously make calls and browse the Internet using their smartphones with very fast 4G LTE data speeds. 

As for HD Voice, it is a type of wideband technology that allows for better call quality with minimal background noise, made possible through widening the frequency range of the audio signals.

Voice calls were previously transmitted on a rather limited frequency range (between 300 Hertz to 3.4 Hertz). But with HD Voice, that frequency range is extended from 50 Hertz to 7 KiloHertz, and sometimes even beyond, in order to achieve high definition quality in voice calls.

However, before users can enjoy HD Voice, they need to meet the requirements. Firstly, the service must be available in their geographical area (AT&T is working on it). Secondly, the person calling and the recipient of the call must both use handsets that are HD Voice capable. For AT&T customers, just about the only devices available from their carrier that meet this requirement are the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.

AT&T is far from being the only major wireless carrier that offers HD Voice though. Sprint may have been the first off the blocks, offering its customers a 30-day trial run of its HD Voice service in June earlier this year. Even Verizon Wireless is working on its own HD Voice brand, and the talk is that the Big Red will utilizing the AMR-wideband standard (the industry norm) for its service.

Interestingly, AT&T and Verizon Wireless are working together in providing clear call quality in both their customers. If they can pull this off, AT&T customers will be able to call their friends and family who are on Verizon as clearly as possible, and vice versa.

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          And the healthiest cities for men are ...        
U.S. men looking for the best place to find happiness, health and a good quality of life might consider heading to Boise, Idaho, or San Jose and San Francisco in northern California.
          What is your Dream Home’s view?        
Homeownership is part of the American dream.  Ask any generation and they will overwhelmingly agree.  The pros outweigh the cons and the American public has spoken.  However, like snowflakes, no two dreams are exactly alike. Some find peace with the waves crashing against the beach.  Others find solace in being nestled in the mountains.  But, not every market has such amenities.  Here is the Dallas/Fort Worth people strive for different views.  All of which are to escape this cities fast paced lifestyle.Lake View 1013 Private Road 5937, Emory, TX 75440 - Impressive water front property on Lake Fork with 500 feet of waterfront with retaining wall. Paved pathway meanders through the treed lot to boat house.Golf Course View 6619 Clubhouse Cir, Dallas, TX 75240 - Sophisticated and Elegant Custom backs to Northwood Club and boasts a magnificent View of the 10th Fairway and Wooded Creek!Breathtaking Sunsets 2177 Fm 740 S, Heath, TX 75032 - Built in 2008, this gorgeous Hill Country estate sits on 9 rolling acres and features an open floor plan that exudes country sophistication. Pamper yourself with your own private hilltop.   Personal Oasis 1215 Winding Brook Dr., Garland, TX 75044 - Stunning Upgrades, inside & out. This is a 5 Bedroom Custom Home on a stunning cul-de-sac. Take advantage of the professionally landscaped creek lot with oversized custom spa, plus retaining wall-walking path.Whatever your preference is we are able to make your dream come true.     
          Daniel Boone        

Daniel Boone

BOONE, Daniel, pioneer, born in Berks County, Pennsylvania, 22 October, 1734 (For more on Daniel Boone's birthplace please visit his Homestead); died in Missouri, 26 Sept., 1820. Among the immigrants that landed, 10 Oct., 1717, at Philadelphia was George Boone, of Exeter, England, who came with his wife and eleven children, bought land near Bristol, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and joined the society of Friends. His son, Squire Boone, married Sarah Morgan, and Daniel was their son. Squire Boone, who was a farmer, moved, about 1748, to Holman's Ford, on the Yadkin, in North Carolina.

Daniel's education was very limited; he could read and write, but beyond that all he knew related to the fields, the woods, the net, the rifle, and hunting. He was a hunter born, and loved the solitude of the forest. Strong, brave, lithe, inured to hardship and privation, he traced his steps through the pathless forest, sought out the hiding places of panther, bear, and wolf, and was the match of any Indian in the sagacity with which he detected the footsteps of the red man. About 1755 he married Rebecca Bryan and set up his own log cabin, but, displeased with the encroachments of civilization on his solitude, and incited by the glowing accounts brought by John Finley, who had penetrated into the unknown regions of Kentucky, formed a company of six kindred spirits, and, bidding adieu to his family and the comforts of home, on 1 May, 1769, set out on his perilous journey of exploration.

America's Four Republics: The More or Less United States
By: Stanley Yavneh Klos
Edited: Naomi Yavneh Klos, Ph.D.

  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief;
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 8th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People  was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.

After numerous adventures with the Indians, having become intimately acquainted with the character of the country, established an enviable reputation for sagacity and integrity on important frontier service assigned to him by Lord Dunmore in the campaign against the Indians, usually called "Lord Dunmore's War," and constructed a strong fort on the left bank of Kentucky river, which he named "Boonesborough," he determined to bring his wife and family to the new home. Some of his neighbors joined him, and he conducted the party, numbering upward of thirty, safely to "Boonesborough" without having encountered any other difficulties than such as are common to this passage. 



 Daniel Boone founded Boonesborough while he worked for Richard Henderson of the Transylvania Company.


On one occasion Boone, with an armed party of thirty men, had gone for a supply of salt to a place called "Salt Licks," nearly 100 miles north of Boonesborough, and was captured, with twenty-seven of his men, by a band of more than 100 Indian warriors led by two Frenchmen. 



They carried them first to Old Chillicothe, on the Miami, and then to Detroit, where they surrendered for a ransom all their prisoners except Boone; him they took back to Old Chillicothe, where the great Blackfish, a renowned Shawanese chief, adopted him into his family under an imposing but painful ceremonial; all his hair, except a tuft three or four inches in diameter on the crown of the head, was plucked out; that tuft was allowed to grow to the length of the "warlock," dressed with feathers and ribbons; an ablution in the river was supposed to cleanse him from the taint of white blood; a coat of paint on his face, and a solemn charge from Blackfish, completed the rite. 

After a prolonged and anxious residence among them, during which he was kindly treated, he discovered their intention of marching upon Boonesborough, and resolved, at the peril of certain death in the event of recapture, to attempt his escape and save his family and friends. Chased by 450 Indians, he performed that daring feat in the forty-third year of his age, and thus simply records it: "On the 16th [of June], before sunrise, I departed in the most secret manner, and arrived at Boonesborough on the 20th, after a journey of 160 miles, during which I had but one meal." 




At the fort he learned that his wife and children, despairing of ever seeing him again, had returned, and safely reached her father's home in North Carolina. The Indians assailed the fort, but were repelled with loss, and retreated. Boone then, in the autumn of 1778, rejoined his family on the Yadkin, and returned with them to Kentucky in 1780. 

The country, though well settled, was still unsafe, and, soon after his return, Boone and his brother, Squire, were surprised by Indians; Squire was killed and scalped, and Daniel had a narrow escape. A sanguinary engagement, called the "Battle of the Blue Licks," took place in 1782, in which Boone's two sons fought at his side. One of them was killed, and the other severely wounded. Boone was full of expedients, and on one occasion extricated himself from four armed Indians by blinding them with tobacco dust. Kentucky was admitted into the union, 4 Feb., 1791, and in the survey of the state the title to Boone's land was disputed. The case was decided against him, and, stung to the quick by the wrong, he had again to seek a new home, which he established at Point Pleasant, between the Ohio and the Great Kanawha; but in 1795 he removed to Missouri, then a Spanish possession, and received not only the appointment of commandant of the Femme Osage district, but a grant of 8,000 acres. The Spanish possessions passed into the hands of Napoleon, who sold them to the United States, and, in the survey that followed, the Spanish grant of Boone's lands was pronounced invalid. An appeal to the legislature of Kentucky, and another to congress, resulted in a grant by the latter of 850 acres. Boone was then seventy-five years of age, hale and strong. The charm of the hunter's life clung to him to the last, and in his eighty-second year he went on a hunting excursion to the mouth of Kansas river. He had made his own coffin and kept it under his bed, and after his death they laid him in it to rest by the side of his wife, who had passed away seven years before. 

On 13 Sept., 1845, their remains were removed to the cemetery near Frankfort, Kentucky, a few miles from the fort of Boonesborough, by the concurrent action of the citizens of Frankfort and the legislature of Kentucky. 


Cemetery in Frankfort, Kentucky where Daniel and Rebecca Bryan Boone were re-interred


His son, Enoch, born in Boonesborough, Kentucky, in 1777 ; d. 8 March, 1862, was the first white male child born in Kentucky. Daniel Boone's wife, with her daughters, went to live with her husband in his palisaded fort in June, 1776, and while there gave birth to this son; but after Boone's capture, on 7 Feb., 1778, his family returned to North Carolina. -- Edited Appleton's American Biography Copyright© 2001 by Stan Klos TM




An American biographical and historical dictionary Containing an account of the lives, characters, and writings of the most eminent persons in North America from its first settlement, and a summary of the history of the several colonies and of the United States. By: W. Hyde, 1832.


BOONE, Daniel, colonel, one of the first settlers of Kentucky, was born about 1730. While he was young, his parents, who came from Bridgeworth,England removed from Pennsylvania or Virginia to the Yadkin river in North Carolina. 






He was early addicted to hunting in the woods; in the militia he attained to the rank of colonel. In 1769, in consequence of the representation of John Finley, who had penetrated into the wilderness of Kentucky, he was induced to accompany him in a journey to that country. He had four other companions, John Stuart, Joseph Holden, James Money, and William Cool, with whom he set out May 1. On the 7th of June they arrived at the Red river, a branch of the Kentucky; and here from the top of a hill they had a view of the fertile plain's, of which they were in pursuit. They encamped and remained in this place till Dec. 22, when Boone and Stuart were captured by the Indians near Kentucky river. In about a week they made their escape; but on returning to their camp, they found it plundered and deserted by their companions, who had gone back to Carolina.




Stuart was soon killed by the Indians; but Boone being joined by his brother, they remained and prosecuted the business of hunting during the winter, without further molestation. His brother going home for supplies in May 1770, he remained alone in the deep solitude of the western wilderness until his return with ammunition & horses July 27th. During this period this wild man of the woods, though greeted every night with the howlings of wolves, was delighted in his excursions with the survey of the beauties of the country and found greater pleasure in the solitude of wild nature, than he could have found amid the hum of the most elegant city. With his brother he traversed the country to Cumberland river. It was not until March 1771, that he returned to his family, resolved to conduct them to the paradise, which he had explored.


Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200. - Click Here for more information



Having sold his farm, he set out with his own and 5 other families, Sept. 25,1773, and was joined in Powell's valley by 40 men. After passing over two mountains, called Powell's and Walden's, through which, as they ranged from the north east to the south west, passes were found, and approaching the Cumberland, the rear of the company was attacked by the Indians on the 10th of October, when six men were killed, among whom was the eldest son of colonel Boone. One man was also wounded, and the cattle were scattered. This disaster induced them to retreat about 40 miles to the settlement on Clinch River, where he remained with his family, until June 6,1774, when, at the request of gov. Dunmore, he conducted a number of surveyors to the falls of Ohio. On this tour of 800 miles he was absent two months. After this he was entrusted by the governor, during the campaign against the Shawanese, with the command of three forts. 



Early in 1775, at the request of a company in North Carolina, he attended a treaty with the Cherokee Indians at Wataga in order to make of them the purchase of lands on the south side of the Tennessee river. After performing this service, he was employed to mark out a road from the settlements on the Holston to the Kentucky river. While thus employed, at the distance of about 15 miles from what is now Boonesborough, the party was attacked March 20, and 23, 1775 by the Indians, who killed four and wounded five. Another man was killed in April. On the first day of this month at a salt lick, on the southern bank of the Kentucky,in what is now Boonesborough a few miles from Lexington, he began to erect a fort, consisting of a block house & several cabins, enclosed with palisades. On the 14th of June he returned to his family in order to remove them to the tort.. His wife and daughters were the first white women, who stood on the banks of the Kentucky river. Dec. 24th one man was killed and another wounded. July 14, 1776, when all the settlements were attacked, two of Colonel Calway's daughters and one of his own were taken prisoners; Boone pursued with 18 men and in two days overtook the Indians, killed two of them, and recovered the captives.






The Indians made repeated attacks upon Boonesborough; Nov. 15,1777 with 100 men, and July 4 with 200 men. On both sides several were killed and wounded; but the enemy were repulsed; as they were also July 19 from Logan's fort of 15 men, which was besieged by 200. The arrival of 25 men from Carolina and in August of 100 from Virginia gave a new aspect to affairs, and taught the savages the superiority of "the long knives," as they called the Virginians. Jan. 1, 1778 he went with 30 men to the blue licks on the Licking river to make salt for the garrison. Feb. 7, being alone, he was captured by a party of 102 Indians and 2 Frenchmen; he capitulated for his men, and they were all carried to Chillicothe on the Little Miami, whence he and 10 men were conducted to Detroit, where he arrived March 30. The governor, Hamilton, treated him with much humanity, and offered 1001, for his redemption. But the savages refused the offer from affection to their captive. Being carried back to Chillicothe in April, he was adopted as a son in an Indian family. He assumed the appearance of cheerfulness ; but his thoughts were on his wife and children. Aware of the envy of the Indians, he was careful not to exhibit his skill in shooting. In June he went to the salt springs on the Sciota. On his return to Chillicothe he ascertained, that 450 warriors were preparing to proceed against Boonesborough. He escaped June 16, and arrived at the fort June 20th, having travelled 160 miles in 4 days, with but one meal. His wife had returned to her father's. Great efforts were made to repair the fort in order to meet the expected attack. On August 1st, he went out with 19 men to surprise Point Creek town on the Sciota; meeting 30 Indians, he put them to flight and captured their baggage. At last, Aug. 8, the Indian army of 444 men, led by captain Dugnesne and 11 other Frenchmen, and their own chiefs, with British colors flying, summoned the fort to surrender. 



The next day Boone, having a garrison of only 50 men, announced his resolution to defend the fort, while a man was alive. They then proposed that 9 men should be sent out 60 yards from the fort to enter into a treaty; and when the articles were agreed upon and signed, they said it was customary on such occasions, as a token of sincere friendship, for two Indians to shake every white man by the hand. Accordingly two Indians approached each of the nine white men, and grappled with the intent of making him a prisoner; but the object being perceived, the men broke away and re-entered the fort.



An attempt was now made to undermine it; but a counter trench defeated that purpose. Atlast on the 20th the enemy raised the siege, having lost 37 men. Of Boone's men two were killed and four wounded. "We picked, up," said he, "125 pounds of bullets, besides what stuck in the logs of our fort, which certainly is a great proof of their industry." In 1779, when Boone was absent, revisiting his family in Carolina, Colonel Bowman with 160 men fought the Shawanese Indians at old Chillicothe. 



In his retreat the Indians pursued him for 30 miles, when in another engagement col. Harrod suggested the successful project of mounting a number of horses and breaking the Indian line. Of the Kentuckians 9 were killed. June 22nd,1780, about 600 Indians and Canadians under col. Bird attacked Riddle's and Martin's stations and the forks of Licking river with 6 pieces of artillery, and carried away all as captives. Gen. Clarke, commanding at the falls of Ohio, marched with his regiment and troops against Reccaway, the principal Shawanese town on a branch of the Miami, and burned the town, with the loss of 17 on each side. 


About this time Boone returned to Kentucky with his family. In Oct. 1780, soon after he was settled again at Boonesborough, he went with his brother to the Blue Licks, and as they were returning the latter was slain by a party of Indians, and he was pursued by them by the aid of a dog. By shooting him Boone escaped. The severity of the ensuing winter was attended with great distress, the enemy having destroyed most of the corn. The people subsisted chiefly on buffalo's flesh. In May 1732 the Indians having killed a man at Ashton's station, captain A. pursued with 25 men, but in an attack upon' the enemy he was killed with 12 of his men. Aug. 10 two boys were carried off from major Hay's station. Capt. Holden pursued with 17 men; but he also was defeated, with the loss of four men. In a field near Lexington an Indian shot a man and running to scalp him, was him- self shot from the fort and fell dead upon his victim. On the 15th Aug. 500 Indians attacked Briant's station, five miles from Lexington,and destroyed all the cattle; but they were repulsed on the third day, having about 30 killed, while of the garrison 4 were killed and 3 wounded. Boone, with cols. Todd and Trigg and major Harland, collected 176 men and pursued on the 18th.



They overtook the enemy the next day a mile beyond the Blue Licks, about 40 miles from Lexington, at a remarkable bend of a branch of Licking river. A battle ensued, the enemy having a line formed across from one bend to the other, but the Kentuckians were defeated with the great loss of 60 killed, among whom were cols. Todd and Trigg, and Major Harland, and Boone's second son. Many were the widows made in Lexington on that fatal day. The Indians having 4 more killed, 4 of the prisoners were given up to the young warriors to be put to death in the most barbarous manner. 

General Clarke, accompanied by Boone, immediately marched into the Indian country and desolated it, burning old Chillicothe, Peccaway, New Chillicothe, Willis town, and Chillicothe. With the loss of four men he took seven prisoners and five scalps, or killed five Indians. In October the Indians attacked Crab orchard. One of the Indians having entered a house, in which were a woman and a negro, and being thrown to the ground by the negro, the woman cut off his head. From this period to the peace with Great Britain the Indians did no harm. "Two darling sons and a brother," said Boone, "have I lost by savage hands, which have also taken from me 40 valuable horses and abundance of cattle. Many dark and sleepless nights have I spent, separated from the cheerful society of men, scorched by the summer's sun and pinched by the winter's cold, an instrument ordained to settle the wilderness."

From this period he resided in Kentucky and Virginia till 1798, when in consequence of an imperfect legal title to the lands, which he had settled, he found himself dispossessed of his property. In his indignation he fled from the delightful region, which he had explored, when a wilderness, and which now had a population of half a million. With his rifle he crossed the Ohio and plunged into the immense country of the Missouri In 1799 he settled on the Femme Osage river with numerous followers. In 1800 he discovered the Boone's Lick country, now a fine settlement: in the same year he visited the head waters of the Grand Osage river and spent the winter upon the head waters of the Arkansas. At the age of 80, in company with a white man and a black man, laid under strict injunctions to carry him back to his family, dead or alive, he made a hunting trip to the head waters of the Great Osage, and was successful in trapping beaver and other game.




In January 1812 he addressed a memorial to the legislature of Ky. stating that he owned not an acre of land in the region, which he first settled; that in 1794 he passed over into the Spanish province of Louisiana, under an assurance from the governor, who resided at St. Louis, that land should be given him; that accordingly 10 thousand acres were given him on the Missouri and he became Syndic or chief of the district of St. Charles; but that on the acquisition of Louisiana by the United States his claims were rejected by the commissioners of land, because he did not actually reside; and that thus at the age of 80 he was a wanderer, having no spot of his own, whereon to lay his bones.

The legislature instructed their delegates to congress to solicit a confirmation of this grant. He retained, it is believed, 2,000 In his old age he pursued his active course of life, trapping bears and hunting with his rifle. Though a magistrate and sometimes a member of the legislature of Virginia, and much engaged in agriculture; yet he preferred the solitude of the wilderness to the honors of civil office and the society of men.


He died at the house of his son, Major A. Boone, at Charette, Montgomery Company, September 26th, 1820, aged nearly 90 years. His wife died in the same place. He left sons and daughters in Missouri. In consequence of his death the legislature of Missouri voted to wear a badge of mourning for 20 days. A brother died in Mississippi Oct. 1808, aged 81. 

Col. Boone was of common stature, of amiable disposition, and honorable integrity. In his last years he might have been seen by the traveler at the door of his house, with his rifle on his knee and his faithful dog at his side, lamenting the departed vigor of his limbs, and meditating on the scenes of his past life.

Whether he also meditated on the approaching scenes of eternity and his dim eyes ever kindled up with the glorious hopes of the christian is not mentioned in the accounts of him, which have been examined. But of all objects an irreligious old man, dead as to worldly joy and dead as to celestial hope, is the most pitiable. An account of his adventures, drawn up by himself, was published in Filson's supplement to Imlay's Description of the Western Territory, 1793.— Niles Register, March 13, 1813.

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Integrated Security Services
According to the Washington Post, “it’s been a bad 2017 for Jews.” During the month of January, 48 bomb threats were called in to Jewish community centers across the country. Also last month, a neo-Nazi made national news by promising to hold a march in Whitefish, Montana to intimidate the town’s small Jewish population.

This, of course, was followed by another unprecedented press conference by our President during which two reporters were moved to ask Mr. Trump about the rise in anti-Semitism. Many of us were aghast at the President’s rude and dismissive response, and his unwillingness to address the question seriously. The fact is, the country is experiencing an alarming increase of anti-Semitic incidents, and this has been trending upward since 2015. A security report issued by the Department of Homeland Security on protecting houses of worship stated that the United States has approximately 345,000 religious congregations representing 230 denominational groups and roughly 150 million members. Despite being sanctuaries from the troubles of the world, houses of worship have also been targets as violence has spiked across the country in recent years. The killing of nine people at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina was the largest mass shooting in a house of worship since 1991, when nine people were shot at the Wat Promkunaram Buddhist temple in Waddell, Arizona, northwest of Phoenix.

[Under relentless pressure, the President subsequently denounced anti-Semitism.]

  • Empathy and action: Muslims unite to help fix vandalized Jewish cemeteries


  • The intent of this column is to generate awareness and provide a short guide which contains security practices for religious institutions, parishioners and our non religious communities to help deter threats, mitigate hazards and risks, and minimize the damage caused by an incident in or around a house of worship, including mass casualty events.

    I preface with the word “short” because there is a wide range of methods from programmatic and procedural considerations to technological enhancements that religious facilities and their leadership may consider implementing based upon the most likely threats to their facilities and their available resources. Basic security principals would suggest taking a blended approach to security and safety with the goal of hardening the facility to deter, detect and/or delay a criminal occurrence before it happens. The next steps are equally important and this is where lives are saved and mass casualties are reduced. Selecting the appropriate response to a threat or armed intrusion will help facilitate a safe transition into an effective recovery and restoration of services mode.

    Identifying Your Threats & Vulnerabilities

    Identifying and evaluating a known or potential threat to a given facility is the first step of a security assessment. The results of which will guide the process of developing a security plan. A proper readiness plan will aim to deter a threat or mitigate a threat by reducing the religious facility’s vulnerability to those threats.

    Natural Hazards vs. Targeted Violence

    As stated before, all life safety solutions should be designed using a blended approach to managing risk. Protecting a religious facility means your emergency management plan(s) must address an all-hazard approach to both natural hazards, e.g., infectious diseases and illnesses, fire, and seismic and weather-related events (hurricanes, tornadoes, flash floods) as well as targeted attacks. Spontaneous and pre-planned attacks are likely to occur by individual(s) who use firearms; improvised explosive devices (IEDs); vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs); chemical, biological, or radiological attacks; or arson in order to inflict a number of casualties and damage to religious facilities.

    Protective Measures

    As previously mentioned earlier, a house of worship environment is managed by creating layers of protective measures in collaboration with state and local partners that allow religious institutions to deter, detect and delay threats. These layers also allow an institution to consider a threat as soon as possible and to more effectively respond to, further deter, eliminate or mitigate that threat.

    • Technological sensors such as CCTV surveillance cameras or alarms (fire, smoke, wind, and intrusion detection) will trigger informed decision-making.

    • Barriers, such as locked doors or fixed barriers or uniform security personnel should be in place to deter or delay a threat and afford more time for effective decision making.

    • Having the correct inbound and outbound communication network in place will influence a number key decisions. Time, or the lack of time, is a principle disrupter of effective decision-making. Sound communication strategies such as emergency email blasts, voice activated alert systems, and silent alert systems help to improve response to and during a crisis. An effective communication protocol should expand the window of time available to leaders to make sound decisions.

    Additional Measures to Consider:

    • Reporting Procedures

    • Establishing Collaborative Planning Teams

    • Starting an Emergency Operations Plan

    • Define Roles and Responsibilities

    • Notification Procedures

    • Evacuation Lockdown and Shelter‐In‐Place Policies and Procedures

    • Plans for Diverse Needs of Children and Staff

    • Necessary Equipment and Supplies

    • Common Vocabulary

    • Emergency Drills

    Call us at (212) 808-4153, or write us to tell what you think or how we can be of more assistance and remember, always dial 911 first in an emergency!







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  • Cool Justice Editor’s Note: By way of disclosure, Cool Justice is an occasional denizen of Integrated’s Hartford office and once in a while even does a little work …

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  •           Dhaka cafe attack suspect arrested in Bangladesh        

    Dhaka: A key suspect involved in planning Bangladesh's worst terror attack on a popular cafe was today arrested, becoming the sixth militant to be taken into custody, police said.

    Aslam Hossain Rashed alias Rash, was reportedly a coordinator and one of the key planners of Holey Artisan Bakery attack in the upmarket Gulshan area in which 22 people, including an Indian woman, were killed.
    He belongs to the Islamic State-inclined Neo-Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (Neo-JMB), the Dhaka Tribune reported.

    Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) and a team from police headquarters conducted search operations in Natore and Bogra in northern Bangladesh to arrest Rashed.

    "We are bringing Rashed from Natore to Dhaka. He will be taken to court and shown arrested in the cafe attack case," Monirul Islam, the head of police's counterterrorism unit, said.

    "Rash was a close associate to Tamim Chowdhury, the Bangladeshi-Canadian who headed the Neo-JMB, before being shot dead in a police raid following the cafe attack," he said.
    Rashed became the six militant to be taken into custody.

    The militants who were previously arrested were ? Sohel Mahfuz, Basharuzzaman, Mizanur Rahman, Hadisur Rahman Sagor, Rashedul Islam.

    Bangladesh witnessed its worst terror attack when five gunmen stormed the upscale Holey Artisan Bakery and O'Kitchen inside Dhaka's diplomatic district on July 1 last year.

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  • CBS880 report: Bonnie Foreshaw goes free


  • more COOL JUSTICE is a second collection of hard-hitting essays credited with helping to free a woman unjustly convicted of first degree murder.

    Novelist Chandra Prasad calls author Andy Thibault “Connecticut’s premiere journalistic warrior.”

    Wally Lamb says: “Thibault is a junkyard dog for justice who bares his teeth at pomposity and institutional unfairness and only bites the truly deserving.”

    more COOL JUSTICE includes controversial essays on topics including the Woody Allen sex assault case, the national assault on freedom of information and a 42-year-old cold case in New Orleans. A chapter entitled ‘Persons known & unknown blew up justice in Badaracco case’ examines the politics permeating the investigation and points to the judiciary’s complicity in the failure to solve the Mary Badaracco homicide in northwest Connecticut.

  • Yale’s bogus Woody Allen report, via Huffington Post


  • Thibault was honored by the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information in 2014 with the Stephen Collins Award for his “many contributions to the cause of open and accountable government and a free and vigorous press.” Thibault was one of the few reporters to cover the Boston Marathon bombing trial gavel to gavel. His reports for the NBC News Investigative Unit can be found at

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  • Boston Marathon trial stories


  • His first collection, Law and Justice in Everyday Life, was published in 2002, featuring an introduction by Howard Zinn and foreword by F. Lee Bailey.

    Thibault has taught at Western Connecticut State University, the University of Hartford and Northwestern Connecticut Community College. He is an investigator for Integrated Security Services of Hartford and Manhattan.

    He is expected to appear in one of a series of true crime documentaries in 2017, filmed in late 2016 by a Canadian production company. Also in 2017, he expects to implement an “Alternative Speakers Series” at a university in Connecticut.





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  •           Resistance at Standing Rock: Dispatches from the Front Lines        

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  • Water Protector Legal Collective Files Suit for Excessive Force against Peaceful Protesters


  • Veterans to Serve as ‘Human Shields’ for Dakota Pipeline Protesters



  • Oceti Sakowin encampment on Oct. 6, 2016. The proper name for the people commonly known as the Sioux is Oceti Sakowin, (Och-et-eeshak-oh-win) meaning Seven Council Fires.








    Story and Photos by John Briggs

    Cool Justice Editor's Note: OK to repost, courtesy of John Briggs and The Cool Justice Report.







    Corporate – Government Alliance Versus the American People

    Native Americans from tribes across the country have gathered on the windswept plains of North Dakota to pray with Mother Earth to keep the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) from pumping 500,000 gallons of oil a day beneath the Missouri River. The natives know the pipeline will most certainly leak or break, as have most U.S. pipelines, fouling the water for the Great Sioux Nation and 18 million non-Natives downstream.

    The standoff -- which began in April -- continues as a new U.S. administration ascends to power with a president-elect who campaigned denying human-caused climate change and threatening the Paris Climate accords. This remains the overriding reality despite a mini walk back by Donald Trump pledging an open mind to The New York Times this week.

    Standing Rock illuminates the brazen alliance that has developed between corporate and government interests. Viewed from the front lines, the law has been turned into a fig leaf for repression and suppression. Only the discipline and spiritual clarity of the water protectors and the native elders has kept people from being killed or seriously injured since April when the movement began.

    The fused police-DAPL force is doing everything it can to incite a violent reaction from the resisters so as to crack down, clear the camps, imprison, or even gun down the natives. More than one commentator has found the atmosphere at Standing Rock similar to what led to the Wounded Knee massacre in 1890 when 300 Sioux were murdered by government troops who mistook their prayerful Ghost Dance for a war dance.

    A great deal is at issue at Standing Rock. The Sioux and their numerous native and non-native allies face a militarized force whose composition tells us something dark about the complex façade that U.S. democracy has become and suggests the proto-fascist zombi lurking beneath. More deeply, Standing Rock also emblemizes a struggle that is taking place at this moment in human history between two distinct modes of human consciousness.

    One mode is the familiar anthropocentric (human-centered) consciousness that the dominant culture most of us were born into favors—a consciousness that assumes reality is a collection of objects to be extracted, owned, and branded. Humans are the focus of this consciousness, meaning that our concerns about climate change focus primarily on the fate of our own species.

    Distinct from this anthropocentric mind-set is a second, ancient and spiritual mode of awareness that understands that the earth and its landscapes are not objects; they are relationships, including the tangle of relationships that gave us birth. This ancient mode of consciousness is potential in everyone, but for most it has been buried beneath the piles of conceptual objects that we have come to believe constitute our reality.

    The Indigenous Peoples gathered at Standing Rock are guided by this ancient, holistic, earth-mind consciousness, and so they understand that humans are not the most valuable living objects on the planet: we are not in control of the planet; it is not our job to manage nature; rather, our sacred task is to work with Mother Earth and other beings as members of Earth’s family. If we don’t, Mother Earth will make us face this spiritual truth one way or another.

    Guided by their ancient, earth-mind awareness, Native Americans have taken up a role as “water protectors.” “Mni Wiconi, Water is Life” is the slogan of the Standing Rock movement.

    Every day scores of Sioux from North Dakota, South Dakota and nearby states, along with Paiute, Shoshoni, Diné, and a sampling of other Natives from the 300 or so tribes whose flags fly at the Standing Rock encampments set out to pipeline construction sites in a convoy to engage in “actions” on the “front lines.”

    There the protectors sing and pray in the face of physical harassment and arrests by heavily armed police fused with a corporate security force.

    DAPL and their overlord company, Energy Transfer Partners, have lavished campaign contributions on politicians in North Dakota and the U.S. Congress so that they could use the state’s eminent domain powers to force purchase of land for the pipeline all across North Dakota, beginning in the Bakken fields in the northwest corner of the state where the fracked crude oil is extracted. Similar eminent domain arrangements were achieved in other states through which the 1,200-mile line traverses before reaching a river port in Illinois. The company promised Congress and the public that the pipeline would carry oil for 100 percent domestic use only, but it is clear from reporting done by the website The Intercept that the oil will be sold on international markets.

  • Though Promised for Domestic Use, Dakota Access Pipeline May Fuel Oil Exports


  • The DAPL line, now virtually complete except for permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to fill in the link that crosses under the Missouri River, passes just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The DAPL construction runs through sacred burial and archeological grounds that the Lakota people were given free access to by treaties with the U.S. Government in the 19th Century. In mounting their resistance to the pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux have been turned into “trespassers on their own land.”

    In late August, the tribe’s lawyers filed a stop work petition in federal court detailing areas where sacred sites would be disturbed if construction continued on its planned trajectory. The federal judge routinely forwarded a copy of the filing to DAPL. Over Labor Day weekend, when the company would not have been expected to work, pipeline crews leapfrogged to the disputed sacred and preemptively bulldozed them under. Too late, the judge granted the Sioux an emergency restraining order, but, then in a curious move, allowed construction in some areas where sacred sites have been discovered. DAPL has ignored a request from the Obama administration not to work in buffer areas on either side of the river. No fines have been imposed for intentionally bulldozing the disputed sacred sites.

  • The Legal Case for Blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline


  • Burial ground at center of police confrontations is known historical site


  • In recent live-stream videos from the front lines, DAPL-police snipers can be seen perched on top of a sacred mound called Turtle Island, their high-powered rifle crosshairs trained on the water protectors who are standing in prayer in the frigid lake below.

    North Dakota wants the federal government to pick up the tab for the massive expenditures required to keep the Native Americans under their guns. Alternatively, the CEO of Energy Transfers, Kelcy Warren, has offered to pick up the millions-of-dollars tab.

  • ETP CEO Kelcy Warren Says They Have Offered to Pay Protest Related Expenses


  • Native media have documented that DAPL has already been supplying military-style equipment, drones, armored vehicles, riot gear, water canons, concussion grenades and other armaments. The tax-payer-funded and corporate-sponsored front lines phalanx is led by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, which has local jurisdiction, reinforced by North Dakota State Troopers, North Dakota National Guard units, sheriffs and police from six nearby states—all interpenetrated by DAPL security (while the FBI lurks in the background). A contingent of Hennepin County, Minnesota, Sheriffs’ Deputies were recalled following protests back home. Residents in the state of Ohio are writing letters and calling legislators to express their distress that their law enforcement has been enlisted into this repressive force.

  • Hennepin Co. sheriff's deputies leave Standing Rock protest


  • Native media’s live stream videos show DAPL security teams in mirror-visor helmets and black ops body armor with no identification, mingling with the police, sometimes directing them when and who to mace or pepper spray. They point out media making video for arrest. The big fossil fuel company evidently has plenty of experience dealing with protestors around the world. In their blank, reflecting visors we can see the soulless Darth Vader face of the government-corporate proto-fascist state the U.S. is becoming.

    Of course, this struggle with the Wasi’chu (Lakota word for the white man, meaning literally “takes too much”) is an old story for Native-Americans. In the 18th and 19th centuries it took the form of the Sioux nations trying to hold back the tsunami of colonizers flooding into their ancestral lands, occupying and despoiling them. The big difference now is that the fire-power of the state (think Custer’s 7th Cavalry or present day militarized police) has been fused with vast profit centers dependent for their existence on plundering the earth in the name of energy-squandering lifestyle survival.

    The provocations the water protectors endure take many forms. There is the psychological pressure of constant surveillance: the heavy police presence on the roads around tribal and reservation lands, the DPLA helicopter and a small plane that circle constantly above the encampments; there is the Bureau of Indian Affairs station set up on a knoll to suck out data from the cell phones of anyone in the area. There is the pepper spraying and tasing of water protectors who are praying. There is the more recent blasting of the protectors with freezing water canons in sub zero weather. There is the constant threat of weapons pointed at them. One twitching trigger finger could set off a slaughter.

    The water protectors are unarmed. The resistance movement does not allow guns in the encampments. One day, at one of the front line actions, an armed man showed up with a pistol and began firing. Possibly he was paid by DAPL to create an incident. The Natives are aware of paid provocateurs or agitators passing through the camps, pulling dirty tricks, looking to start something. Antimedia reported about the man with the gun: “According to an official statement from the tribe, the man fired several shots from his gun before being peacefully apprehended by tribal police. Witnesses at the scene say he pointed his gun at several protesters. The man was clearly trying to provoke violence that could later be used to demonize protesters who have so far remained peaceful.”

    The news site added, “The Morton County Sheriff’s Department circulated a false report claiming the man was shot, presumably by protesters… [As images show], the man was not harmed. The Sheriff’s Department has since retracted that report. Anti-Media’s attempts to obtain clarifying comments from Morton County Sheriffs were ignored.”

  • Dakota Access Caught Infiltrating Protests to Incite Violence, Funding Trolls Online


  • On a hill overlooking Oceti Sakowin, the largest of the Standing Rock encampments, an old army tent houses the field office of the rotating teams of lawyers who come to Standing Rock to help out. They use donations made to the resistance to bail out protectors who have been arrested; they try to negotiate with the police so the protectors can be allowed to pray. The constant arrests on trumped-up charges are an ongoing harassment—people maced or beaten, violently thrown to the ground and zip-tied. Often activists are charged with trespass and “riot” on the Morton County Sheriff’s novel legal theory that if several people are arrested for trespass that must signify that they were engaged in a riot.

    All this naturally requires court time and money to defend, incarceration in usually unpleasant conditions, including dog kennels. (Though the white allies who are arrested seem to get better treatment.)

    Arrests are to be expected as a consequence of civil disobedience. But some arrests are directed at chilling speech. One lawyer who came to Standing Rock from the Oregon-based Civil Liberties Defense Center, an activist defense nonprofit primarily involved in climate protests, https://cldc.org/ told Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks Network that often after the day’s action was over, police would stop the last cars in the caravan. They would then make “snatch and grab” arrests, impounding the cars of people who had come to support the water protectors but had no expectation that they’d be arrested when the action was over and the police told them to leave. They have to pay heavy fines ($900) to get their cars back. She said the arrests and impoundment fines for their cars are unlawful. “The intention with those types of actions is to scare out-of-towners from being comfortable coming to these actions. So they’re trying to chill the rights of others to come and participate in these protests.”

  • Environmental Lawyer Explains Standing Rock Legal Issues




  • The authorities regularly characterize the natives as terrorists, and local radio spreads false rumors of farm animals being slaughtered and stolen, reported vandalism—the kind of thing you would expect from psychologically projected homesteader fears about savage Indians of earlier centuries.

    Yes, Magazine on Oct. 31 reported: “The county sheriff is claiming the water protectors were violent and that police were stopping a riot. But hours of live video feed from people caught in the confrontation showed instead a military-style assault on unarmed people: police beating people with batons, police with assault rifles, chemical mace, guns firing rubber bullets and beanbag rounds, tasers.”

  • Why Police From 7 Different States Invaded a Standing Rock Camp—and Other Questions


  • The UN has sent human rights observers. According to Salon, Nov. 16, 2016: “The U.N. special rapporteur said that American law enforcement officials, private security firms and the North Dakota National Guard have used unjustified force against protesters.

    “ ‘This is a troubling response to people who are taking action to protect natural resources and ancestral territory in the face of profit-seeking activity,’ [Maina] Kiai [U.N. special rapporteur] said in his statement, which was issued by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and was endorsed by several other U.N. experts.

  • Native Americans facing excessive force in North Dakota pipeline protests – UN expert


  • “At least 400 activists have been detained and often have been held in ‘inhuman and degrading conditions in detention,’ Kiai added. Some indigenous protesters have said they were treated like animals and even held in dog kennels.

  • Dakota pipeline protesters say they were detained in dog kennels; 268 arrested in week of police crackdown


  • “ ‘Marking people with numbers and detaining them in overcrowded cages, on the bare concrete floor, without being provided with medical care, amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment,’ the U.N. expert said.

    “ ‘The excessive use of State security apparatus to suppress protest against corporate activities that are alleged to violate human rights is wrong,’ he continued, noting that it violates U.N. guidelines on business and human rights.

    “Amnesty International USA, which has repeatedly criticized authorities for not respecting the rights of protesters, issued another statement on Tuesday noting that U.S. authorities had put up roadblocks to prevent journalists and human rights observers from documenting the protests and the official response.”

  • U.N. experts call for halt in Dakota Access pipeline, blast “excessive force” against protesters


  • Living on Earth reporter Sandy Tolan reflected: “You know, at times I felt I was back reporting in the West Bank, and not the Northern Plains…”

  • Standing With the Standing Rock Sioux


  • The Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians

    Compare the government response at Standing Rock with the response occasioned by Ammon Bundy and his gang of armed militants when they occupied Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for over a month in January 2016. Imagine if the Bundy gang had been pepper sprayed, beaten, hit with water cannon, tased. But the Bundy crew were taking over the refuge to proclaim their belief that public lands should be given free to the profit-making private ranching business. In other words, the Bundy crew was the cowboys, not the Indians.

    The mainstream corporate media has largely ignored the stand-off at Standing Rock. Rallies have taken place around the world at places like Tokyo, Stockholm, and Auckland, but the sad truth is many foreigners have heard more about Standing Rock than Americans have. Not surprising. The news editors, working for corporate media conglomerates, choose what they believe we should know and what fits the larger corporate agenda, and so they devote massively more play to Brad Pitt, to the gossipy politics of who’s-on-first, and to whatever the latest glittering consumer thing is than they do to climate change and issues highlighted by the poor and the powerless, like Standing Rock. What coverage that does exist is usually cursory and misleading.

    Fortunately, alternative media have been on the scene and active at Standing Rock. As someone who taught journalism for more nearly 20 years, it has been refreshing for me to see what the alternative press is accomplishing.

    Amy Goodman of the webcast Democracy Now brought the prayer-resistance movement to national attention over the summer. She was arrested and charged with riot in absentia for her live reports of water protectors being set upon by dogs. The charge was later dismissed in court.

    Jordan Chariton of The Young Turks Network has done searching interviews and incisive commentary from the scene.

    But my absolute favorite news source at Standing Rock is Myron Dewey’s Digital Smoke Signals. Dewey does updates every day, which he posts on Facebook. I highly recommend anyone who has a Facebook account to “follow” him. I went to Standing Rock on Oct. 4-11 with two friends and I have since been able to keep up with developments on the ground through Dewey’s Facebook broadcasts. He posts live stream unedited clips that constitute what he calls an ongoing “documentation” of what is happening day-to-day at the movement.

    Here is Dewey at night standing on a hillside next to the Oceti Sakowin encampment. His face appears in the glow of his screen. Then he’s panning and zooming in on a large grassfire as he’s telling us about it. His finger appears in the screen and points out where the fire started. He says the helicopter which constantly circulates over the camp suddenly disappeared 20 minutes before they saw the first flames. He zooms to the area where he and the person he is with first spotted the fire. He says, “It looked like someone using a drip torch.” He says they called 911, but it’s been over an hour and the Morton County Fire Department hasn’t shown up. He tells the people in the camp, his audience, not to worry, though. It looks like the fire was started by DAPL employees to scare them or hurt them. But the Oceti Sakowin is full of Indians who supplement their income by wild-land firefighting, work that also benefits Mother Earth; he mentions that he is himself a “hotshot” firefighter [one of the elite crews]. He and his fellow firefighters can tell by the wind direction that the fire won’t harm the camp.

    Now here’s Dewey on a bright morning walking along the road by Oceti Sakowin. A young man appears on screen, and Dewey asks him who he is and why he’s here. He’s from the Paiute nation. “I’m here to protect the water,” he says. Dewey asks him to sing a Paiute song. The young man closes his eyes and sings.

    In another nighttime broadcast find we ourselves looking through a car windshield, headlights illuminating the highway, centerlines whizzing by. We hear voices talking in the backseat. The car drives on and on. We’re just watching the road. Then ahead is a police roadblock. The police van looms. Dewey gets out with his camera and calls over to the officers, asks them where they’re from, inquires about where the road blocks are, what are the open routes. At one level it’s a mundane exchange between a citizen and police, but you experience the edginess of the situation. More deeply, you feel the riskiness and pathos that is involved any human interaction. Dewey firmly exercises his right to have these protect-and-serve police respond to him civilly; he is cordial and respectful in a way that reinforces to them and to his viewers that he is after all not their enemy but a fellow human being. Dewey asks more questions and the lead officer says he doesn’t want to be filmed; Dewey offers to turn his camera away from them and onto himself. The distant officers disappear from the screen and Dewey’s face fills it. The contact officer walks nearer; we can hear his voice. Dewey can’t resist a joke, though. He asks the officer if he’s sure he doesn’t want to become famous by putting his face on Dewey’s screen? You realize these are just guys doing their job. Dewey understands that, but he also wants to educate them about the water protectors’ mission. He never misses an opportunity to educate his adversary, as well as his own people about the larger dimensions of the Standing Rock resistance. When he gets back in the car, someone in the back seat says “Let’s get out of here; this is enemy territory.” Dewey laughs, turning the car around, “It’s not enemy territory.”

    I believe you learn more about Standing Rock by watching Dewey’s unedited video than you ever could from watching any number of dramatically produced, commercially constricted reports on CNN, complete with the drumb-drumb latest crisis theme music.

    Dewey explains to his viewers that what they’re seeing is a “documentation” that’s not edited. “It’s not scripted. It’s not acted out.”

    After a month of watching Dewey’s daily reports I realize more fully than I ever have before how ghastly and vacuous mainstream news reporting is: a production where facts have been emptied of the humanity of real encounters, replaced by the shallow performances of reporters and news sources, slick, clichéd phrasing, behavior slotted into ready made categories, events analyzed and even predigested. The news about reality comes to us compartmentalized in trays like tasteless microwave dinners. Rarely is the reader or viewer allowed to simply experience the event unfolding through the reporter’s eyes or camera. The stories are crafted and slickly packaged. Their very polish and stimulating presentation sabotages their meaning and replaces it with a meaningless, artificial understanding.

    Note that I am not saying that the news these days is politically biased. Some obviously is, but the left or right bias charge is a serious red herring, a mis-direction. In fact, in mainstream media’s very effort to appear neutral and unbiased means events are chopped up and pieced together to fit the templates of a few hackneyed forms of storytelling: the winner-loser story, the conflict story, the individual overcoming obstacles story, the facing bad choices stories, he-said, she-said stories, scandal stories, hypocrisy stories. You’ve seen them all, repeatedly.

    Most of these templates come plated with a cynicism, skepticism, superiority, or sentimentality that grabs our attention by adding a dash of disgust. The current journalistic manner of telling stories reduces and dismisses the story in a way that sometimes makes the commercials and pop-up ads come as a relief. None of the common journalistic templates or attitude has much to do with real life as it’s lived in the moment. It’s not what people really experience in their lives. Instead, it’s how they’ve been conditioned to wrap up experience afterward in a dramatized way that leaches out the nuance, that leaves out the moment-to-moment uncertainty, or as the Lakota call it, the Wakan, the deep mystery of relationships that permeates every event. And that’s what Dewey’s broadcasts have in abundance. You get to see him interacting with the people who show up on his screen. You get to feel his humanity and the mystery of everyday relationships taking place at Standing Rock that he brings to light. It’s certainly not dramatic or melodramatic. It’s not interesting or stimulating in the usual way. It does seem really important.

    So when Dewey sits in his parked car and does an update video on “10 things to know about DAPL” (Nov. 18, 2016), there’s no editing and no script, meaning that you get to see him thinking through what those top 10 things might be. Some points he makes are incisive and comic, others not so much. But the not-so-much ones can lead you to thinking about gray areas, the imprecise observations we all make. He asks a guy who just got in the car to help out with his list and the guy, William Hawk Birdshead, goes immediately serious on him until Dewey says, “I was trying to keep it light.” So the Birdshead says, “Laughter is good medicine.” Suddenly they’re off. Dewey mimics the shifty-eyed look of the FBI guys lurking around the area and denying they are FBI, the DAPL security characters trying to look all steely and tough. We learn that in the encampments they say that “DAPL dresses up like Ninja Turtles.” You can tell that it’s DAPL undercover because those guys never drive rez cars, which are rusted and dented. Nobody is spared. Dewey describes the water protectors just arriving from California as dudes who’ve “got their animal spirits on… They’re all furred up. They’re coming in all mystical and crystals.” He and his buddy laugh, which Dewey says is laughter “in a good way,” because the whole thing going on at Standing Rock is deadly serious but you need laughter, because that’s good medicine for healing. And healing and praying are about “getting reconnected with the Earth.”

    This points to a major difference between anthropocentric prayer as most of us know it and earth-mind prayer. In the prayer that most people are familiar with, an individual seeks intercession for human needs with a transcendent being. The Native prayer is about healing not getting. The prayer is a community ceremony or song or ritual to maintain or restore the balance between and among beings, both animate and inanimate. Prayer is to all my relatives, all my relations, the birds, the water, the wind, the buffalo, my family, even those who oppose me as enemies. Mitakuye Oyasin is an important Lakota phrase that means “all my relations.” When you’re watching a Dewey update from Standing Rock you’re experiencing Mitakuye Oyasin in action. It’s newscasting as a kind of prayer, in the earth-mind sense. Whether he’s engaging in laughter or educating about the spiritual importance of water, you can see that what he’s getting at is healing relationships. Watching and listening, you get to be part of that healing.

    What Dewey does goes way beyond advocacy journalism.

    Our traveling companion for our visit to Standing Rock, Lakota elder Tiokasin Ghosthorse, also provides a good way to keep up with developments through the interviews he conducts for his weekly syndicated broadcast from WPKN in Bridgeport Conn. and WBAI in New York City. On Oct. 31, 2016, Tiokasin interviewed a young man who was seized on Oct. 27 when a frontline camp was destroyed by police. Trenton Joseph Castillas Bakeberg, in the bloodline of Crazy Horse, was praying in a sweat lodge when the militarized police swept through the camp. They yanked him out of the sweat lodge and arrested him. The young water protector told Tiokasin:

    “I pray that we’ll be able to keep a state of prayer and peace, as we have been… Although there’s some people on our side are more likely to tend toward violence. But there’s also people on our side to stop them. Don’t start a fight. That’s what it’s all about, keeping it peaceful because the elders told us in the beginning that all it takes is one single act of violence, one person attacking a police officer and they’ll unleash the fear on all of us. This wrath that we have with our military overseas, we’re beginning to see it now in the heart of our own country. All for the greed and the corporate interests of this government. They say we’re a democracy but it’s not showing anymore. The people didn’t want this pipeline, but this foreign entity that they call a corporation, Energy Transfers, is saying, we don’t care. We want this money. We need this for economic stability of the country and that somehow trumps the interests of our communities and our nation as a whole….We’re standing up to this corporate machine with prayer and love.”

  • Forcibly removed from prayer at Standing Rock


  • Against a heavily armed, corporatized democracy designed to ensure that only powerful business and political elites rule the land and possess the wealth of its objects, the Native-American people at Standing Rock stand in defense of Mother Earth armed with songs, prayers, and an understanding that Earth’s objects are us, and we are them. They are our relatives. It seems better armament than most of us Wasi’shu possess. Webster defines fascism as “a political system headed by a dictator in which the government controls business and labor and opposition is not permitted.” It’s an incendiary word, and readers might think ill of me for introducing it here. Certainly we are not a fascist state yet. But for the prayer-resistance at Standing Rock, the clear alliance between corporate and government interests to quell their opposition under color of the law has a fascist flavor.

    It should not surprise anyone that the new US president reportedly holds stocks that directly fund the Dakota Access Pipeline and that the DAPL CEO Kelcy Warren gave the Trump campaign a substantial donation.

  • Trump's Personal Investments Ride on Completion of Dakota Access Pipeline


  • This is how the proto-fascism works. Ironically (or perhaps absurdly), Trump may have been elected by people hoping he would somehow counter the tightening grip of multinational corporations on their lives. One might wish for that to happen.

    At a deep level, Standing Rock may suggest that such absurdities as a Trump presidency occur because our mode of consciousness is impaired or inadequate to the situation it has created on our planet at this historical time. Too many of us have gone dead to the natural world we come from. Our obsessive anthropocentric mode of consciousness has reduced nature and reality at large to a bunch of things we have names for—things that feed our greed. Fortunately, many Indigenous people have retained an acute and ancient consciousness that we are those rocks and trees and clouds, and birds and water that we see outside our windows, and that restoring our relationships with them is incumbent on us.

    John Briggs is emeritus distinguished Professor of Writing and Aesthetics from Western Connecticut State University. He was the English Department’s journalism coordinator for 18 years and was one of the founders of Western’s Department of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process. He is the author of several well-known books on chaos theory, fractals and creativity. He lives in the hilltown of Granville, Mass., where served as a Selectman for five years and as reserve police officer for 10 years.


    When people at Standing Rock talk about the black snake they mean the pipeline, referring to an old Sioux legend about a black snake that will threaten the end of the world. The Lakota prophet Black Elk said that in the seventh generation, the Sioux tribes would unite to save the world.

    Media covering the Standing Rock resistance movement:

  • Digital Smoke Signals


  • Myron Dewey, Facebook


  • The Antimedia


  • Democracy Now


  • The Intercept


  • The Guardian


  • Censored News


  • Unicorn Riot


  • Living on Earth


  • The Indigenous Environmental Network


  • Status of Standing Rock court claim



  •           Support your local library        



    Special thanks to Sprague (CT) Public Library Director Chris Kolar, staffers and volunteers, who hosted a lively discussion on judicial and political corruption Sept. 22 ...

    Here is a 2014 interview with Kolar regarding her service and the library's renovation, via The Norwich Bulletin:






  • Kolar Q & A







  • Kolar said more than 80 library patrons and guests participated in the Sept. 22 event, which focused on patterns of suspects having their hooks into cops, judges and prosecutors.



    Cases cited via the books more COOL JUSTICE and
    Law and Justice in Everyday life included the hit-run death of Kevin Showalter in New London and the disappearance / homicide of Mary Badaracco in the northwest Connecticut town of Sherman. The group also discussed police and prosecutorial misconduct, the Bonnie Foreshaw case and the use of teams of private detectives to dig up dirt on cops, doctors, a prosecutor and children in the Woody Allen sex assault case.


    Best Intro Ever by a Librarian

    Kolar opened the evening with a few short videos:








  • Foreshaw case in 50 seconds
























  • What is more COOL JUSTICE?

















  • Also, the beginning of this video via Huffington Post:








  • Yale's Bogus Woody Allen report









  • Then, Kolar said, "Our guest speaker wandered in off the street tonight and needed someone to talk to ... "


  • Showalter case background



  • Badaracco case background


  • As I visit various libraries around the state, my appreciation grows for the service and capabilities of our hard-working librarians.

    -- AT






  • more COOL JUSTICE








  •           UPDATE, 9-30-16: Damages awarded for unjust killing, 4th Amendment violation        

    BULLETIN:
    Hartford federal jury awards $170K compensatory damages & 32K punitive damages in 4th Amendment / fatal dog shooting case. Costs and attorney fees to be awarded after eight years of litigation expected to total $500,000 - $700,000, possibly more.


    “This verdict is a strong statement from the jury that privacy rights of city residents are just as important as those of suburban homeowners,” said attorney Jon Schoenhorn for the plaintiffs.

    9-17-16 column below




    Judge orders attachment
    of personal assets
    of cops who trespassed




    By Andy Thibault

    This is the haunting voice of trauma inflicted on a 12-year-old girl:

    “That day never goes away. It’s like I can’t really escape it, no matter how hard I try. I should have done something – anything – to stop that bullet from hitting him in the head.”

    And here is some police scanner chatter about the shooting:

    “Have you got anybody hit?

    “Negative, negative, just a dog.

    “We’re all set, shut down the lights. I don’t want a scene here at the, uh, neighborhood.”

    The shooting occurred after school on Dec. 20, 2006 on Enfield Street in Hartford’s North End. The girl, known as K. Harris, suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and became suicidal.

    The U.S. Second Circuit of Appeals ruled two years ago that the cops were trespassing and ordered a trial just to determine damages. The Second Circuit ruling overturned a 2012 verdict by an all-suburban jury in Hartford U.S. District Court supporting the home invasion by police.

    The appeals court also opened the door to both compensatory and punitive damages. Now – as a trial on the amount to award the plaintiff is scheduled to begin Monday – the city is trying to weasel out of its obligation and in the process throwing the cops it promised to indemnify under the bus.

    The Associated Press reported over the weekend that the city of Hartford had reversed its position to indemnify the officers found at fault by the appeals court. Hartford Police Union President Richard Holton told the AP that officers Johnmichael O’Hare and Anthony Pia had been “hung out to dry.”

    Friday afternoon, U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna Martinez ordered the officers’ personal assets attached in the amount of 1.4 million – O’Hare at $750,000 and Pia at $650,000.



    In a documentary which premiered this summer at the Toronto Film Festival, K. Harris recalls letting her dog – a St. Bernard named Seven – outside after school and then hearing a commotion in her front yard.


    “There was a police officer standing over Seven with a gun pointed at Seven. I yelled at him, please, no, don’t shoot my dog!

    “He looked at me dead in my eyes for like a second and then he took a step and then he shot Seven in the head. The police officer was like, ‘I’m sorry, Ma’am, your dog isn’t going to make it.’

    “My life ended right there.”

    Because the officers lacked a warrant or probable cause to invade the Harris property, they violated the family’s Fourth Amendment rights ...

  • Complete column via CtNewsJunkie









  • Documentary Filmmaker Andrea B. Scott’s ‘Just a Dog’










  • more COOL JUSTICE







  • Recent columns:

  • NEW: RFK Jr. says ‘recent forensic evidence’ points to two shooters in his father’s assassination


  • Judges who played role in murder probe squelched access to key testimony


  • UPCOMING:


  • Book news @NorwichBulletin @HartfordCourant #moreCOOLJUSTICE #SpraguePublicLibrary Thursday, Sept. 22, 6:30 pm



  •           Burning through the Desert         
    Dan Rielger & Ayala Moriel

    A few months ago (the last day of April, to be exact, which was also the first day of my Orientals week-long course), I had the pleasure and honour to host a special guest throughout the day: Dan Riegler of Apothecary's Garden - a purveyor of fair trade resins from around the world - especially frankincense and myrrh that are wild crafted in the traditional methods in countries such as Somalia, Yemen and Kenya. He also sources Cretan labdanum, and other rare raw materials, and sells resin-centrered products that he concocts himself, which you can find on his online shop. One of them being a highly fragrant moustache wax which basically surrounded him with a cloud of frankincense - so obviously he made an instant good impression on me!

    We started the day at the Baha'i Gardens in Akko (which deserve a full post dedicated to them) and then went to my studio to make incense - and burn a bunch too. Little did I know what I was signing up for. On top of the usual things I burn for this class (palo santo chips, sandalwood incense sticks, one type of myrrh and frankincense resins and my own rendition of Egyptian Kyphi) - Dan had a trunk-load of resins that he just imported from Africa, and was immensely kind and generous to share with us the most incredible incense resins with me and my class. We spent the afternoon burning rare myrrh, olibanum, and also some gums I never knew existed, namely Sandarac and Ammoniacum, the latter of which totally blew my mind.

    I learned so much from Dan, about the resins (and the other raw materials he curates and sells), how they are harvested and collected, the chemical makeup of the resins and how it affects the stages of burning (it turns out that incense resins also have top, heart and base notes) - and this post is just a little taste of all the beautiful resins we burnt when he was here. I'm looking forward to meeting him again on his next visits in Israel on the way to the African continent.

    Boswellia carterii
    Frankincense usually comes in "tears" shape as this Boswellia carterii - but not always. Below is a specimen of the less known B. neglecta that look more like a chunk of resinous granules. B. carterii has the characteristic, most unmistakable scent of frankincense - beginning with sweet citrus notes of lemon drops and orange candy and continuing into more resinous, woody and even balsamic, caramel-like nuances as the incense burns on the charcoal.

    While looking pretty much the same, other frankincense species provide further nuances and a whole frankincense burning comparative study (or incense games a-la Japenese Koh-Doh) can easily occupy half a day. Compare this to Maydi (Boswellia frereana) which albeit its slightly herbaceous (sage-like) opening, is more subtle, woody and perfumey. In fact, it smells almost powdery like violet and iris. Ethiopian frakincince (Boswellia papyrifea) is even finer with its suave, light perfume notes, slightly sweet and with notes of burnt sugar at the end of the charcoal burning process.

    Boswellia negoecta - black and white

    Boswellia neglecta is endemic to north Kenya and comes in white and black forms (as you can see in the photo) and is not widely known. The white and the black smell significantly different. The white begins resinous-green, piney and mysterious, surprisingly juice like crushed leaves with hints of parsley, galbanum and ammonia (smells a lot like amoniacum).  It has a hint of sweaty note, a little like coriander seed. The final burning moments bring to mind the smoke coming out of autumnal piles of fall leaves.

    The black neglecta smells completely different - you wouldn't think it came from the same plant: it smells dark and looming, like moss, mushrooms, decaying fall leaves, peat, forest floor and hints of campfire. It's surprising and magical that a resin can possess so many different facets.

    Sandarac
    Sandarac (tetraclllyris) comes from Malta and just like its pure milky appearance, burns clean with a woody-balsamic-resinous scent that is fine and very pleasant. It's a little bit like elemi, a little like mastic but not quite. There is a tiny hint of seashore to it that I only detected after many times of burning. It is quite lovely, even if underwhelming at first impression.

    Ammoniacum
    Ammoniacum is intense and pungent, like a mixture of galbanum, asafoetida, sulphur, greens. It it a very interesting odour but I suspect it would have better effect in magic and exorcism ceremonies rather than contemplative incense rituals.

    Commiphora confusa

    Commiphora confusa, as the name suggests, is a type of myrrh that is hard to identify, and for several reasons: the flowers look different on each plant, the resin looks different as well - and the most surprising of all: it smells more like frankincense than myrrh.

    Commiphora myrrha

    Commiphora myrrha (from Ethiopea) has the characteristic bitter, rubbery scent when burnt, and is what I'd imagine the Queen of Sheba to wear on her neck when seducing King Solomon.

    Commiphora karat

    Commiphora kataf (from Kenya) has pieces of wood in it (which would change the smell of the smoke depending on which chunk you burn). It has a strange, sulphuric-sweaty odour. I guess you could call it spicy, as it has a hint of cumin in it too. Overall it reminds me more of the smell of food than incense - barbecuing kebabs comes to mind.

    Commiphira holziana
    Commiphora holtziana does not smell like myrrh at all to me. It's more woody than C. myrrha, and a tad fresh to start with. Dan describes it as briny and sea-like but I'm not getting it.

    Arabian/Yemeni Myrrh
    Arabian/Yemeni Myrrh is by far the most incredibly beautiful myrrh resin I've ever burnt. Although it came in a strange looking chunk, containing pieces of the plastic bags used by the collectors, and even a piece of wool yarn, it has the most fantastic scent, like a perfume on its own accord. It reminds me of the unique "version" of frankincense that B. papyrifea offers. I would love to have this as an essential oil and create a perfume with it.


              Za'atar         
    Summer Za'atar on the border with Lebanon
    There is a little confusion around the name "Za'atar" and what exactly does it refer to: A condiment? A spice mix? An herb? And if so - which herb exactly - Hyssop? Thyme? Oregano? Marjoram?

    The truth is that za'atar is an Arabic word used interchangeably for a number of wild herbs that grow wild in the Mediterranean region, and all contain thymol and carvacrol. Hence their similar sharp and warm aroma, bitter taste and spicy, almost hot "bite". They also share similar medicinal properties, most of them used in folk medicine for most digestive ailments and respiratory complaints. The mixture known to us as "Za'atar" is in fact a misnomer. Za'atar is originally the name of the plant now classified as Origanum syriacum, but in Arabic it is loosely applied to several other related wild and not so wild herbs.

    Zaatar

    The name for the condiment is in fact "doukka" (pronounced often as "Do-ak" with a very throaty "K" that almost sounds like an "A" so in reality the word sounds more like "Do-ah"). In Arabic this means "to grind". Each region in the Arab world has its own "Doukka", which is either sprinkled on food, or more commonly covered in olive oil to which the traditional regional bread is dipped. For example - Egypt has a complex nut-based doukka with toasted hazelnuts or walnuts, to which toasted or untoasted spices such as cumin, coriander seeds, green peppercorns and sweet fennel have been added.

    In the Levant "doukka" happens to be made primarily of a mixture of thymol-containing herbs, with "The" Za'atar (Origanum syriacum) being the star of the show. Lesser amounts of other herbs, will be added - the most important of which are "Za'atar Farsi" (winter savory), Israeli Thyme (Corydothymus capitatus), Zuta זוטה לבנה ( Micromeria fruiticosa barbata), a delicate wild white mint known in English as White-Leaved Savory (which does not even belong to the savory genus, but to micromeria because of its tiny leaves). Common oregano (Origanum vulgare) makes a good addition, albeit cannot substitute for the real Za'atar or Syrian oregano if you actually know the real deal. Likewise, marjoram and thyme can also make a good addition but not be at the centre. Even though their profiles are similar - there are some nuances that will be lost if using only the garden variety oreganos and thymes and none of the wild stuff.

    Many other things can be added to the mix, the most important being sumac berries (Rhus coriaria) for their wonderful salty-sour flavour, and toasted sesame seeds for their pop-in-the-mouth nuttiness. But you'll also find spices sometimes, including more obscure ones such as butum (بطم) - toasted terebinth fruits (Pistachia palestina), which are really like tiny pistachios with the outer red peel intact. I've got a few of those drying right now, because I've never seen them in any market before and I'm very curious how they taste as a spice.

    The following are several authentic Za'atar recipes I've collected - and of course you are welcome to browse google's universe of shared recipes, but be cautious of a few things if you want to make an authentic za'atar:
    1) Use actual Origanum syriacum even if a generic "oregano" is called for
    2) Do not by any stretch of the imagination use "fresh" leaves. They must be dried first. And only then will you grind them up with the rest of the ingredients. This is a dried herb and spice mix. Not a fresh herb concoction.
    3) Usage of salt, although found in many recipes, seems very superfluous to me, unless you are not using sumac berries. These have a unique taste - equally salty and tangy. The whole point of using them is so you do not need to use salt. Likewise, using citric acid is a way to fake the sumac effect. Which I'm not quit sure why would anyone do that aside from laziness. Sumac berries are difficult to grind manually (or even in a coffee grinder) - but you can find ground sumac easily in many spice shops and markets.

    When shopping for pre-made spice mixes, or any ground spices for that matter, the main culprit is adulteration and using old raw material that are "dressed up" as authentic. It's hard to teach someone who've never tasted or smelled za'atar what to look for, but some things are a telling sign. For example: if you don't see the dark maroon red and still taste salt or tanginess, it is probably from salt and citrus acid, and not from the (missing) red sumac berries. Secondly, another visual sign - za'atar leaves are rather grey in colour when dried, so any other colour you see (olive green) is either food colouring or a combination of other types of "za'atar" herbs (i.e.: thyme, za'atar farsi, etc.). Best sign is by taste - if it taste like dust (and looks like dust) it's either too old or just a fake.

    I suggest you start with the most basic three ingredients, and then play with the proportions and adding other herbs and/or spices. You can even start with equal amount of za'atar leaves, sumac and sesame and adjust to taste.

    Safta Ada's Za'atar Recipe 
    This is my mom's handmade recipe that she would make from wild harvested za'atar (before it was illegal to pick any) and would even send it to Vancouver so I can enjoy a taste of home.
    1 cup dried za'atar leaves, coarsely crushed between your palms, or pounded with mortar and pestle to a finer powder
    4 Tbs ground sumac berries (I suggest you purchase them pre-ground, otherwise their seeds can break your teeth!)
    2 Tbs toasted brown sesame seeds, whole

    May Bsisu wrote an excellent book, The Arab Table, which I highly recommend, and it includes a unique Palestinian style of za'atar that includes caraway:
    10oz oregano (I assume she means za'atar)
    5oz thyme
    3 Tbs sumac, ground
    1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
    2-1/2 Tbs coarse salt
    1/2 tsp allspice, ground
    1/4 tsp caraway seeds, ground 

    Easy Lebanese Recipes provides a "Traditional Rich Recipe" for za'atar that I'm compelled to try, with dried za'atar, roasted sesame, sumac, marjoram, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, fennel, aniseed and salt.

    Mamma's Lebanese Kitchen recipe contains thyme, marjoram, sumac, sesame, cumin, coriander, fennel, cinnamon and salt.

    How to consume za'atar?
    Use your za'atar mixed with olive oil as a dip for bread, on top of labneh (strained yoghurt cheese) or as a substitute for butter under any other soft or hard cheese, avocado, etc.
    It's also a nice addition to salads, and for baking fish or poultry. I also like to add it to chickpeas that I fry whole in olive oil, after they've been cooked and drained.

    Fresh za'atar leaves come in late winter and can be enjoyed all through spring, and can be fried in olive oil much like tender sage leaves and become this wonderful crispy topping for fresh bread, pasta, roasted vegetables, etc. Also, they can be used as they are in salads (May Bsisu has a recipe for fresh oregano salad in that book as well), with lots of onion and tomatoe. The Druze use it to season the dough or the fillings for various savoury pastries, such as sambusak (a flatbread that is folded in half to conceal a thin layer of highly seasoned stuffing, and baked in the tabun) and fatayer (little dough pockets filled with cheese), and the dried whole leaves can be used much like oregano in meat and pasta sauces, in soups, stews, breads, etc.

    Now, let's explore the Za'atar "group" of plants:

    Hyssop (Wild Oregano)

    Ezov (the Hebrew word for the Biblical Hyssop - not the European Hyssopus officials which is also a medicinal plant, and produces a rather toxic essential oil), which is now classified as an oregano, Origanum syriacum (formerly Majorana syriaca). Like many of the other aromatic plants from the Lamiaceae family, za'atar has a winter and spring foliage and a summer foliage, which is smaller in order to preserve water and survive the long arid season. I suspect the essential oils also aid with the survival of these plants in such harsh conditions - because whenever they are grown in regions where the water is more abundant (British Columbia, for example) - their flavour is largely lacking. What you see above is the luscious winter "look", which features soft and larger leaves, and their colour is much greener, and therefore more similar to the common oregano (Origanum vulgare).

    Satureja

    Za'atar Farsi (meaning Persian Za'atar), or as it is called in Hebrew צתרה ורודה - Tzatra Vruda (Pink Tzatra) which really is winter or mountain savory (Satureja montana). Its long needle-like leaves have a sharp, spicy taste. When we were growing up my mom would spice the egg for French Toast with them and make them literally savoury.

    Thymbra spicata צתרנית משובלת
    Mediterranean Thyme (Thymbra spicata), in Hebrew צתרנית משובלת Tzatranit Meshubelet is also called in Arabic "Za'atar farsi", and has a very similar leaf shape (only a bit longer, narrower and softer) and almost identical odour and aroma profile. It has flowers that look a bit more like chaffs of wheat (not unlike those of Lavandula dentata, and is even more rare to find than Satureja montana.

    Coridothymus capitatus
    Israeli Thyme (Corydothymus capitatis / Thymus capitatus / Thymbra capitata) or in Hebrew Koranit Mekurkefet קורנית מקורקפת is also known by many other names - Israeli oreganum (oil), Cretan thyme, Corido thyme, Headed savory, Thyme of the Ancient, Conehead thyme and most commonly - Spanish Oregano (even though it is not classified as "origanum"). This oil is what is often sold as "oregano oil", by the way. This is now a rare plant that in our area grows only along the rocky seashores of the North Coast leading to Lebanon. The leaves are tiny and sharp, like a miniature version of the Pink Tzatra, but they grow more dense and close together to form clusters around the tip of the branches. The branches are woody-looking almost like bonsai trees that crawl all over the rocks - and the flowers tiny and purplish-pink. The aroma is clean and maybe a little more simple than that of za'atar, but also the taste is much more sharp and phenolic.




               Top of the Land        
    Wild Rose (Rosa canina) on the peak of Mt. Hermon
    After picking a bunch of cherries to complete our breakfast we drove to the peak of Mount Hermon (Jabal A-Sheikh) - elevation 2,224m, which is accessible with chair lifts. It was a relatively hot day but still much more pleasant than the rest of the country - somewhere around 26c or so, with a very harsh sun yet a nice dry cool breeze ever so often.

    Cherry Picking
    The vegetation is somewhat sparse but very special and with many varieties growing on this mountain. Some plants can be found in other northern places (for example: the now protected Wild artichoke (Gundelia tournefortii) - עכובית הגלגל, which grew in most parts of the country before), but others are endemic to this mountain alone, because of its exceptional conditions and placement. It is covered in snow all winter, and once it melts resembles a cool desert land, covered with white rocks and with no trees in sight. Dog roses (Rosa canina) are native to Israel, but are quite a rare sight otherwise. To find a bush in full bloom at the peak of Mt. Hermon was elating. Of course, it has a heavenly fragrance.

    Peak of Mt. Hermon

    Up on the peak, there is a sense that many of the plants here has some mysterious medicinal value, for some very specific and possibly rare conditions. I am imagining a time when climbing the mountain on foot would be a great ordeal (well, it still is - but most people use the road and then the gondola!). People would only go up the mountain for an important mission set forth by a divine guidance, a royal order, or a great and pressing need to save someone's life from a rare illness...
    פריגה חלקת פרי
    This poppy (Glaucium oxylobum פרגה קרחת/פריגה חלקת פרי), for example, is unique to Mt. Hermon and can't be found anywhere else in the country (but it can be found in high elevations - upwards of 1,100m - in the mountains of Turkey and Iran). I love its bright dual colours and contrasting "eyes". It blooms for a very long season - six months to be exact, from April when the snow melts, till the total dryness of September. There is a great variety between flowers, but they all share this startling, sudden contrasting colour change, and unusual display of three colours.
    Salvia microstegia מרווה בוצינית + Alyssum baumgartnerianum אליסון חרמוני
    Salvia microstegia (the hairy big leaves with white flowers), the thistle-looking plant is Cousinia hermonis (קוסיניה חרמונית), the yellow flowers are of Alyssum baumgartnerianum Bornm. (אליסון חרמוני), AKA madwort. It is not the only yellow flower found on Mt Hermon  - so don't confuse it with Lebanese St. John's Wort (Hypericum libanoticum) in Hebrew - פרע לבנוני, or with the two types of Achilea that grow there - Achillea biebersteinii (אכילאה קטנת-פרחים) and the endemic Achillea falcata (אכילאה גפורה).

    There might also be a type of catnip (נפית קילקית?) Nepata - of some kind that I'm yet to completely ID), or a horehound in the pic. Which also reminds me of the unusual Lebanese horehound (Marrubium libanoticum Boiss) - in Hebrew מרוביון הלבנון/מרמר הלבנון, which is also a highly medicinal plant.
    Israel|Syria border - view from peak of Mt. Hermon
    Israel & Syria - view from above. Where the green ends Syria begins... It's sad but true, due to over-forestation and roaming in Syria, and on the other hand much planting of trees all across Israel.

    Lastly, here is me and Miss T standing against this dramatic backdrop.

    Israel|Syria Border - Peak of Mt. Hermon





              Druze Tea        

    Herbal arrangement for tea brewing
    For those unfamiliar with the Druze culture, it is unique to the Levant (Lebanon, Syria and Israel). This minority group originated about a thousand years ago in the Ismaillia sect of early Islam, and was largely prosecuted after splitting off from it. Therefore, mate

    they usually dwell on mountains and have long tradition of bravery since they've always needed to fend for themselves in a rather hostile environment. In Israel, the Druze communities are all located in the north - from Mount Carmel in the largest Druze town Daliat el Carmel and all the way up north to the Western Galilee, the Golan Heights especially around Mount Hermon.

    Near my village alone there are four Druze villages - Jath, Yanuh, Yirka and Julis. We've held strong friendly relationships with our Druze neighbours. Growing up, two elders from the village Yanuh will travel on foot or by donkey and come help us build our village - they taught our parents how to built terraces from the many rocks around here so that we can grow crops along the hillsides, how to cultivate wild olives and do the grafting so the trees grow strong and bear good fruit, and we went every summer to the miller and grind our wheat (when we still grew our own), and every autumn to line up with all the other olive growers and press our olives into fine olive oil and buy handmade olive soap that was made on the spot from the pommace left from the pressing process. As the nearby village Yirka developed into a small town bustling with businesses - we go there also to do most of our shopping and other business (that's where I usually go to the ship my online orders, by the way), and continue to build business and work relations with our neighbours. My house (both the old and the new part) was built almost entirely by a Birka-Born team of construction experts who became my closest new friends since moving here, and their wives come to practice Pilates with me.

    Growing up here, I remember my mom being especially enthusiastic about learning from the Druze women about the bounty of edible and medicinal wild plants around here. From them she also learned to drink olive oil in the morning on empty stomach, and how to make a special scorpion antidote (from the scorpion that stung you, fried in olive oil). I never tried either, and probably never will. But I do love to learn from them about the nearly magical properties of the plants that grow everywhere around here. It's as if there is an entire pharmacy out in the open, here in the wild. 

    Besides, there is much to be learned from the Druze traditional way of living, which is very family centred and values hospitality and taking the time to sit and enjoy a cup of anything - tea, coffee, and more and more coffee. The latter is served everywhere you go - from the hardware store to the mobile phone shop. And of course you can't enter a home without being invited for at least a cup of coffee, and if it's dinnertime - to break bread with the whole family.

    Ka'kat Isfar
    As is widespread in all of Israel - among both the Arab and Jewish population - the Druze adore za'atar, sage and the many wild harvested and then dried herbs from around here. They are  popular as digestifs or medicinal brews for various ailments or as preventative measures: wild sage, white mint, savory, wild oregano, and more are either infused on their own or added, dried or fresh, to black tea.  The love for za'atar is so profound that it is even added to some sweet pastries, such as this traditional ka'akat isfar ("yellow cake") - a mildly sweet yeasted flatbread that is coloured with turmeric and additionally spiced with sesame and nigella seeds, hints of za'atar (this umbrella name could be wild oregano, savoury or thyme - more on that in another post), and hints of mysterious spices that I'm yet to identify (I detected nutmeg and perhaps even some cardamom or allspice but I can't be sure of the latter two). It has become a favourite of mine, but is never found in a pastry shop. Some families would sell their traditional homemade ka'kat isfar when they make it, and the recipes vary. The first one I tried was only spiced with turmeric. This particular version that I'm very fond of was made by a random person I met on one of my traveling tea parties, and I doubt I will be able to taste ever again. The only recipe I found that seems close is written in Arabic and I'm far from being proficient enough to follow a recipe in that language.

    Many of my Vancouver perfume studio guests have been indirectly introduced to Druze culture through the special tea I would brew each winter (we fondly called it "witch brew") of dried hulnejan (a particular type of dried galangal root) and ginger roots, which is simmered forever in a large pot, simultaneously cleansing the air, warming the chest and keeping colds at bay. It is often served with pecan nuts sprinkled on top, and a lot of sugar, which is how most Druze like their teas. I personally prefer it unsweetened, and like to add cinnamon bark which has its own natural sweetness. Sometimes I would add honey but not often.

    But Hulnejan is not the only interesting thing about the Druze tea culture. As it turns out, in the 19th Century, many Druze - especially from Syria - left for Argentina, and they brought back with them mate, and a special fondness for this unique South American concoction. They drink it socially, sharing the same bombilla (the silver straw), traditionally sucked from the tea which is brewed in a dried decorative gourd.

    Mate, Druze-style

    In this photo, I am holding a dainty cup of mate that was offered to me on the streets of Majdal Shams, a remote Druze village come ski tourist town on Mount Hermon (Jabal Sheikh), formerly part of Syria. 

    On Saturday morning, we were having a hard time finding a place to eat breakfast. The breakfast place recommended to us the night before was still closed at 8:30am - it turns out it was them who had the wedding the night before with the parade that blocked the streets) - and so we were directed by a local lady to a corner shop that sells coffee, cigarettes, local cherries and freshly whipped before your eyes malyukh (Druze flat bread that is baked on top of a saj - an iron dome much like an upside down wok) on top of open fire. The bread is baked only on one side, than folded and smeared with generous amounts of labneh (soft cheese made from strained yoghurt), za'atar mixture, and homemade hot sauce that I swear was spiked with cinnamon.  We were also offered black tea "on the house" which turned to be fragrant with "Ootra" - Arabic for the popular Pelargonium graveness. The lady was impressed with my Arabic (very basic, but still better than nothing) and even more so that I recognized what she put in the tea and know the Arabic name for it.

    I chatted her up as I was munching on the malyukh and sipping the tea, and learned that while Majdal Shams is not as big as Yirka - it is a lot more "modern" to her words. There is a high percentage of post-secondary education, most of which was acquired in Syria, where up until the civil war was offered for free to all Syrian citizens. As a background - you should know that up until 1967, the Golan Heights and Mt. Hermon, including the four Druze villages  there - Majdal Shams, Mas'ade, Ein Kiniya and Buq'ata - were under Syrian rule, and their culture is quite different than what you'll find in the Galilee. One thinks of the border between Israel and Syria (sworn enemies since the establishment of the state of Israeli in 1948) as hermetically sealed, but in fact there was a dynamic flow of the Druze population between the countries - especially for weddings and for family reunions, but also for studying abroad. This lady's brother lived in Syria for many years - he went there to study medicine, got married and lived there until the war started, and then requested to return, and came back to Israel via Jordan with his wife and their children.

    We finished our delicious breakfast, thanked the lady and crossed the street to where our car was parked, right in front of a bakery (the only other place that was already open by 9am). In front of it, two ladies sat on a bench and a couple of upside-down plastic grocery boxes, boiling water on a portable gas stove and sipping non other than mate from a dainty little jug. I was so astonished I could not hold my gasp of delight. In return, they offered me to sit down and join them, rinsing the bombilla with boiled water from the kettle and pouring fresh water over and over the mate to bring out the flavour time and again. I was so thrilled that even though we're only two hours drive from home, and are already experiencing new culture that is so different yet invites us to share a cup of tea together.
    I had a couple of jugs of mate with them and thanked the big spirit that's in this world that encouraged me to finally set up on my tea journey. 

              My New Love        
    Wild Israeli Thyme (Coridothymus capitatus) on the rocky north coast 
    They met by the sandstone cliff overlooking the Mediterranean sea and the Lebanese border. He was there waiting for her for a while, and already found entire colonies of Coridothymus capitatus (Israeli Thyme). He held the little sprigs gently to her nose, allowing her to inhale its clean, warm, spicy, wild scent of mountains; exotic yet at the same time with the strong homecoming reassurance of za'atar in all its mundane glory.

    Under the sandstone cliff there was a half-cave, protected from the wind and from prying eyes. And there he lay a straw mat and simmered water in a portable kettle with an improvised wooden handle on his little gas burner. From his knapsack he extracted what seems like a whole apothecary - little containers of dried herbs from his garden, raw brown sugar, yerbamate.

    In they went, after he carefully examined each herb, as if communing shortly to see if it's the right leaf or twig, recalling the exact branch from which he picked them and which sunny spot in the garden they soaked up their healing powers: marjoram...wild white mint...thymbra...lemongrass... sensing which is right for this evening of almost-full-moon, and finishing off with the delicate spearmint, so it does not scorch.
    Coridothymus capitatus

    This entire brew was then poured into a fine little gourd finjan which was packed with dry mate. They sipped it from a delicate silver straw - savouring the mingled herbs and the astringent, tobacco-like mate.

    The almost-full-moon lit the top of the salty waves with white streaks of light, competing with the red dots that lit along the sea-border. Maybe that is the time when love potions are supposed to be taken. When the moon is only almost full, so there can be a rerun the next night and the next?

    Slowly their hearts opened and got closer. Or maybe it was just the poison of thymol seeping in through their veins and making them more brave than common sense would suggest. Or perhaps it was a metaphoric counter balance to the two dark silhouettes of the IDF navy boat patrolling the north frontier, approaching each other, ignoring each other, merging with one another. Blacking out.

    Whether the thymol is their poison or medicine, they're yet to find out. For now let them enjoy the salty air mingled with juicy watermelon and coridothymus' floral, warm and cleansing purifying aura that erases from the heart all such worries.


              My Little Herb Garden         
    Treasures from the mountain

    The last two weeks I've delved right into exploring the medicinal wild plants that grow around here. For a short time I had a herbalist to show and share with me some of this wealth of plant wisdom. Now that this guide is gone, I'm lead only by the pleasantly infectious inspiration. There is an overwhelming abundance that is going to provide me with a lifetime of learning (according to Floral Palestina, this land is blessed with close to 2,700 species of wild plants!). I've been hiking in the surrounding areas and conservatively collecting branches for slips and re-planting in my little herbal garden. This of course will is part of the Perfumer's Botanical Garden I'm establishing around the studio.

    I'm showing you the early beginning, although they look quite unimpressive on camera. In person they have the charm of new beginnings as well as virgin strip of land and stony terrain and distant view of the Mediterranean; I am also delighted by the gentle healing energy that emanates from the plants for those who connect to these types of being. And for those who find it more difficult to connect to plants that way - the scents that each provide speak for themselves. Even a little stroke on each plant will give off the scent and you can mix and match to create your own "finger perfume".

    Morning in the medicinal herb garden

    From the wild, I've adopted some amazing plants - both old and new to me, that grow on the mountain behind my house. So all in all, my botanical collection is rapidly growing - even beyond the original wishlist I've created. And I'm rather happy with it.

    From my slip foraging, I managed to keep alive a couple of types of germanders - Cretan germander (Teucrium creticum), which looks a lot like rosemary but smells completely different - more like olive leaf, actually, and likewise has an intensely bitter taste; and cat-thyme germander (Teucrium capitatum), which has a sweet, almost resinous fragrant silvery foliage. The latter is highly medicinal and rivals only the local wild sage (Salvia fruticosa), more of the Savory of Crete (Satureja thymbra) and a similar plant, with an almost identical flavour and fragrance that has flowers with a structure similar to Lavandula dentata, which is called Spiked Savoury (Thymbra spicata). It would be difficult to find information online in English on many of these plants because they are unique to Israel.  I've also adopted some cistus plants, although they are not the Cistus ladaniferus I am seeking but two other local species that are not as resinous, yet somewhat fragrant depending on the season. And I am crossing my fingers that two seedlings of bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) that my herbalist guide carefully uprooted from the wadi (dry creek) floor, will also survive and make it to the miniature forest I want to create behind the perfume studio. And most immortally - I am hoping that the two little twigs of Israeli Thyme (Coridothymus capitatus) that we found on the rocky North beach will grow up some roots and flourish. They are quite rare site here inland, and in fact a protected species. They have a striking look when they get mature and an intense yet slightly floral aroma that I love. It truly deserves a post of its own, with photos and all. Along with Origanum syriacum (also grown in my garden), the other varieties of thyme and savoury I mentioned before, some sumac and sesame seeds it forms the spice mixture called "Za'atar" that some of you may be familiar with from Lebanese grocery stores and Middle Eastern restaurants.

    Thymbra spicata צתרנית משובלת

    Naturally growing wild in my garden is also white horehound (Marrubium vulgare), a highly medicinal plant that grows in astounding abundance, several mastic bushes and probably more plants that I did not know were medicinal but will find out later. There are also still two plants that I found on the mountain to make slips that I haven't identified yet, so the search is not over. Lastly, I scattered seeds of blood helicrysum, a local wild plant (Helichrysum sanguinum) which I also hope will come out next winter. By that time I hope I will forget about it altogether so it will just be a pleasant surprise...

    Dam HaMakabim (Helicrysum sanguinum) coming into seed

    Lastly, to be fair and square, I promised to tell you which plants I put in from the nursery (the ones my brother brought me), so that you know if you guessed it right. They were several types of lavender (mountain Savory of Crete (Satureja thymbra), several types of lavender (Lavandula pinnate, L. dentate, L. angustifolia), one artemisia and - to my utmost excitement - two immortelles (Helicrysum italicum), often called "curry plant".

    Morning in the medicinal herb garden

    Also you should know, that among those who participated in this context, we got two worthy winners who will receive a sample kit of all my herbaceous fragrances,  are Ruby Clover and Melissa Menard. The kit includes ArbitRary for the basil, Ayalitta for the sage, Immortelle l'Amour for the immortelle of course, l'Herbe Rouge for the lemongrass, hay and lavender and Lovender - which is quite obvious. I've also included a sniff-peak of Inbar, my new, wild-oregano infused amber concoction which is not even for sale quite yet :-)

    Putting together the kits made me also realize how little attention I've been giving the herbaceous notes.




              Cincinnati to help lead national water discussion        

    The Executive Director of Greater Cincinnati Water Works and the Metropolitan Sewer District, Tony Parrot, will participate in a national discussion on U.S. water infrastructure Wednesday in Washington D.C.

    Parrot joins the U.S. EPA's Nancy Stoner, Veolia Water North America and Mark Strauss with American Waterin the Value of Water Coalition's national panel discussion to help other communities deal with crumbling water and wastewater infrastructure.


              Yurt Life         
    We are moving into my mom's charming little yurt today!

    While waiting for our permanent home to be renovated (which, as it turns out, takes even longer than building a new home) - we've been living semi-nomadic life for close to four months now, about three of them in a yurt.

    Life in the yurt is different. There is no way around it (pun intended). For one thing, it provides a round space, that encompasses most of life's functions in one area: cooking, eating, reading, puzzling, snuggling, cat-feeding (an extra duty we've picked up on the way to freedom - not unlike an unwanted pregnancy that you just can't get herself to terminate), office work (whenever my MacBook Air has enough power to work for me - not to mention its battered battery now needs replacement, which turns out to be a HUGE ordeal in the land of milk and honey), Pilates practice, and even occasional entertaining (when it rains even my dear family avoids it like the plague). It's not truly all in one space, because it actually has an annex to the north, with the washroom (including a shower and a compost toilet - a killer combination for dirt and cleanliness), as well as a sleeping den which has beautiful greenery all around it, as it is built from old wooden windows.

    That beauty comes with the price of this space being as cold as the outdoors in the winter. In the summer this room is actually a lifesaver, because the yurt collects way too much heat, although it is much better insulated than the sleeping den - even when its skylight is open. We don't have an oven, but were able to pull together delicious and nourishing meals from the two-flamed gas stove, and have even prepared some raw treats for our daily tea parties. To be perfectly frank - mostly, we've been lazy and buying baklava and cookies whenever we are in the vicinity of a bakery - so I am now in the know of where to get good baked goods. I'm sure this knowledge will come in handy in the not so far future, even after we're back to our productive baking life. When it comes to baking, it's always good to have a good back-up plan.

    Of course, that did not stop us from being experimental in the kitchen, trying new ingredients such as nigella seed spread and authentic freekeh, which is an amazing way of preparing green wheatberries by burning them off the wheat chaff. The result is a smoky, nutty grain that is delicious and easy to cook (and digest) and really gives unmistakable character to dishes (the one I bought in Canada was actually stale wheat dyed green). More on that in another post!

    To sum it up - living in a yurt is "an experience". Just like camping is an experience. In camping terms this is a five star facility. I'm sure with its running water and gas-operated refrigerator it is also considered a luxury in comparison to straw huts in Africa or yurts in the Mongolian steppes. You get the picture. It's an experience. And we're three months into it and can't wait to experience something else.

    To lift the edge off the nervous anticipation for proper housing, I've decided to compile a little list of fragrances (both mundane and wearable) that will let you into this experience, even if just a little... This compilation is a random array of fragrance fit for yurt life, even though I imagine most people who choose to live in this humble abode would rather dab some animal fat and cooked cabbage juice behind their ear than any designer's fragrance. Nevertheless, I find the task amusing, and I hope it will make for a fun read.

    We are moving into my mom's charming little yurt today! Here is a view of the inside.

    I also hope that my mom does not get hurt because apparently in our parts of the world, patience ("Savlanut") is considered a virtue (which very few uphold), and also belongs grammatical to the same root as the word suffering ("Sevel"). And in this part of the world, stating the facts is considered complaining... I'm sure those who choose to live in a yurt or even just stay in it for a short amount of time will thoroughly enjoy it - it is cute, rustic, pretty, calm and completely in tune with nature. You get to experience all the elements - fire (sun), air (wind), water (we have running water, and thankfully also very little of water leakage despite its very temporary feel); and last but not least - you can't get any closer to earth than this. It is a very, very earthy dwelling and you really feel Mother earth's belly as you tickle it with your slippers walking to and fro. Last but not least: nothing compares to coming out of the yurt at night and seeing the clear black skies dotted with bright stars.

    Muscs Kublai Khan - for the obvious body odour effect - musk-enhanced unwashed hair and sweaty armpits with hints of rose and aldehydes.

    Kiehl's Fig Leaf & Sage - milky herbacous weirdness. It's unusual yet very easy to wear and has a freshness without being boring. It also goes well with the cucumber and parsley scented products we currently have in the house - hand wash, shampoo and conditioner. Something green and clear-smelling yet non pretentious.

    Aromatics Elixir - an earthy, big sage scent that is sophisticated yet at the same time rustic enough to wear in the wilderness. Especially grateful for it on cold wintry days.

    Arabie - the spice market, sweat and dusty cobblestones - and all the spices I have in storage (and don't have in my kitchen) kvetched into one bottle. Awesome.

    Coco Noir - the opposite of yurt life: polished, elegant, artificial and urban. Jasmine, berries and plums, rose, patchouli, musk and vetiver with a a dusting of cocoa.

    Poivre Samarkand - because I heard that there are also yurts in Samarkand (Uzbekistan). Can't find any perfume inspired by Mongolia (which is where the yurts supposedly originate). Besides, it's a perfect sprinkle of heat on those chilly nights when the shower runs only boiling water or ice cold ones, and when you step out of the shower it's the same temperatures as outside (not as extreme as in Canada, but 5-11c is cold enough to feel like real winter).

    Musc Nomade (Annick Goutal) - I'm picking this one because of the name alone. I remember smelling it very vaguely and that is was vegetal and delicate... Admittedly I'm also too lazy to go digging in my shipping container now and find the little box where I "filed" all my music samples but I'm pretty sure I've only tried it once when I was in Paris.

    Tam Dao - if you've ever encountered compost toilet, you know that it's the human equivalent of hamster cage. pine or cedar shavings are used to cover up the mess, and the result is a more subdued version of human waste, that eventually turns into a nice scent of the forest floor. Anyway, this explanation made me think of Tam Dao, which is a fine sandalwood and cedar fragrance and also has some clean smelling musks underneath, to make you forget all the other business.

    Tea for Two - We've been enjoying my limited selection of teas that I make a point of finishing off. True to form, we've been brewing lots of chai, which I've been already giving you plenty of recipes for... And of course Hulnejan - the wonderful root brew of galangal, dried ginger and cassia bark.
    Zangvil also reminds me of this "witch brew" with its notes of fresh and dried ginger, honey, amber, jasmine and ginger lily.

    Finjan - we've been drinking lots of espresso on the stove top mocha machine, and lots of Arabic/Druze/Turkish coffee (each nationality claims it as their own - but essentially this is very dark roasted coffee with cardamom that is brewed on the stove). The latter is well represented in the perfuem I created titled Finjan (the name of the little porcelain "shot" cups that you sip the coffee from; mistakenly, most Israelis refer to the little pot used to brew it as "finjan" - but its real name is "Ralai").

    Mastic - Whenever it rains or gets really chilly, the mastica bushes and wild ivy behind the yurt release their fresh, green-balsamic scent. Grin's smell encompasses this verdant freshness with its notes of galbanum, violet, oakmoss and a classic floral bouquet.

    Geranium and Wild Oranges - My citrus orchard was overcome by wild orange shoots, and I've really let it go. We finally pruned the orchard this fall, which mean an overwhelming amount of wild oranges that had to be put into use somehow. The result? An orange cello with a touch of herbs from the yurt's garden, among them rose geranium. One sip of this liquor is enough to uplift the spirits.





              Medicines for the Soul        
    Christmas in Nazareth

    On Christmas Eve my brother invited us to go with him on an urban evening stroll in Nazareth, to experience the holiday at the historic birthplace of Christianity. My brother is a tour-guide, so it's always an experience to go for walks with him. He always knows about more than what meets the eye, and has connections with people where we visit that makes every trip with him, even to familiar places, a different experience.

    Our experience started on a rather stressful note, being stuck in traffic in a very narrow, one-way downhill street that would make San Francisco's terrain look rather friendly. There was no traffic control despite very heavy flow of visitors to watch the festivities. We were stuck in what should have been a two minute drive for 45 minutes. When we finally found a 3/4 parking spot between a dumpster and another truck and got out, it was drizzling and cold, as it should be in midwinter in the Galilee.

    The large square in front of the Church of the Annunciation was festive with an enormous tree-like construction with many lights and a big glowing red star on top and next to it the customary nativity scene. Many people around were wearing Santa Claus hats, blowing little annoying-sounding horns; but thankfully above it all was a recording of Fairuz singing Christmas songs. Christmas in the Middle East is certainly very different than anywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere.

    I don't recall ever visiting in Nazareth, even though our family has special ties with the city. My mom's midwife, a Christian-Arab from the neighbouring village of Kfar Yasif is originally from Nazareth. Both our families have five children each (aside from me, my mom has four boys, and her midwife has five daughters). We are all in more or less the same ages. If it weren't for the strange political climate of this country, they'd all be married to each other by now...

    Safdi's in Nazareth
    Aside from the religious spots (Nazareth's spring, bath house and historic city centre, Mary's Well and its Church, AKA Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, and the Roman Catholic Basiclia of the Anunnciation (كنيسة البشار  in Arabic בזיליקת הבשורה / כנסיית הבשורה) - we also went into the old souk (market) of Nazareth, which is sadly mostly dormant due to modernization. Very few people have the desire or time to find parking in narrow alleyways that were built thousand years ago and wander between merchants to compare prices and negotiate bargains. It's much easier to go to the mall and pay with plastic cards all in one place, and cart your goods to the car underground. It was very sad to see so many stores closed, behind them are beautiful old shops with arched ceilings. Some of the old apartment buildings - although mostly neglected - were used to be effendi's homes, and their ceilings are made of Cedar of Lebanon, and hand-painted by a Lebanese artist from the time of the Ottoman empire. It's a lost world, and only recently some brave entrepreneurs have taken the initiative to renovate such places and open boutique hotels, hostels and cultural centres in the ancient cities of the country. There was also a little shop in the entrance to the empty souk, full of beautiful local craftsmanship. I hope to see more such things develop.

    Meicines for the Soul
    Once we reached the part of the souk that was still alive, I bought a cupful of coal-roasted chestnuts, reminiscing the cold foggy nights in Vancouver when we'd buy them from Yve's Chestnuts and warm our frozen mittens with their starchy, caramel-scented comfort. At the bottom of the hill there were some of the country's best Halawiyat (Arabic patisseries), where one should stop by for kunafeh - even if they don't have time or room in their stomach. But we were in a group with a different agenda than enjoying life on the stop - and instead continued on to Ziad Safdi's grocery store, which is really more of a magical old-fashioned herb and spice shop, that contains many folk remedies for all kinds of physical ailments, a collection of essential oils from local plants that is distilled in Nablus; speculates such as mastic gum, and mastic-flavoured chewing gum; and last but not least - assortment of medicines for the soul in the form of incense (pictured above) to be burned in special clay pots. You could find there anything from frankincense and myrrh to colourful and sparkling blends typically burned in churches.

    Fine Nazarethi Baclava
    As we continued on, we stumbled upon other interesting merchants, such as this man who brews coffee in a special pot decorated with olive branches and misbaha (prayer beads) that has hot charcoal in a pipe in the middle, and sends impressive steam to the air. We continued to El Babour Mill - Nazareth original steam-powered miller (the name is a mispronunciation of the English word "vapour") -  now more of a live museum for old mills, sieves and pieces of history from the family that keeps this tradition - and a spice and candy shop. I bought there a jar of black-coloured nigella spread, and green frikeh (charred green wheat berries). The tour ended there and once everyone spread to all four direction of the winds, my brother, daughter and I stopped at a more humble bakey and bought some spinach-filled sambusac, date-filled sesame balls, and karakish - savoury cookies that look like hard flatbreads studded with fragrant seeds of sesame and fennel.
    Charcoal Coffee


              German Father Bought Drugs With Counterfeit Euro Notes        

    A father of a child from Troisdorf, Germany was sentenced to prison for ordering counterfeit euro notes from the dark web and putting the falsified bills into circulation. Court records reported that the man even purchased narcotics with the fake notes. According to the court documents, the suspect, a 23-year-old father of Troisdorf, North-Rhine Westphalia, ...

    The post German Father Bought Drugs With Counterfeit Euro Notes appeared first on Deep Dot Web.


              Comment on The Best Ways To Conserve Meat Without Refrigeration by Neil Larson        
    These are great ideas, but I imagine there are less than half of the US that can even get a space to 36F. In the south, even if you have a stream coming off the mountains and build a spring house, you won't be able to get the room to 36 except in the winter months. Here is Mississippi, there is not a chance of this even during the coldest winter months. How about info for storing meats for this of us not living in the mountains in the north?
              A-REGISTERED NURSE(RN-19) - Prairie North Regional Health Authority - Lloydminster, SK        
    Bachelor Degree/Diploma in Nursing. Human Resources Department, Prairie North Health Region. Registered or eligible for registration with the Saskatchewan... $35.99 - $46.72 an hour
    From Saskjobs - Wed, 09 Aug 2017 17:16:49 GMT - View all Lloydminster, SK jobs
              Dr Iain Todd        

    Scottish Rugby is saddened to learn of the death earlier today of past president Dr Iain Todd.  He was 92.

    Dr Todd was President in season 1995-96, a momentous year for rugby union as the game became professional at the start of that term.

    Scotland won three of their four games in the then Five Nations Championship that season, including a magnificent 19-14 home victory over France, to sit alongside successes in Dublin and Cardiff.


              Richard Logg        

    Scottish Rugby is saddened to learn of the death of club player Richard Logg on 26 December, as the result of a car accident on Christmas Eve, while on the way to visit family in Kilmarnock.

    Richard, who was 37, played for Ayr RFC from minis to 1st XV level and went on to be a key member of Edinburgh Northern, whom he joined in 2009.


              Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Eastern North America        
    Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Eastern North America

    The first comprehensive guide to the sounds of eastern North American birds, featuring an innovative visual index that allows readers to quickly look up unfamiliar sounds in the field.


              Butterflies of Central & Northern Arizona        
    Butterflies of Central & Northern  Arizona

    Butterflies of Central & Northern Arizona: Central and northern Arizona includes Phoenix and the surrounding desert areas, the Mogollon Rim, White Mountains, the San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon and is hom..

    Price: $7.95


              Wildflowers of the Southern Coastal Plain        
    Wildflowers of the Southern Coastal Plain

    Packed with vivid color photographs, novice and expert wildflower enthusiasts can use this handy field guide to identify 90 common and rare wildflower species found across northern Florida through southern Georgia, Alabama, Miss..

    Price: $7.95


              Interesting forum on self-publishing at 2017 Outwrite LGBT Book Festival in Washington DC        

    Today I visited the 2017 Outwrite LGBT Book Festival in the DC Center office space and surrounding atrium at 14th and U Streets in Washington DC.

    This year I did not have my own table;  I’ll get into this elsewhere.

    The most interesting part of the visit was a presentation in DC Center’s largest room (on 14th Street ground level) from LGBT book publishers and literary agents.

    There was a discussion of what an author goes through if he/she wants to control the process.  It’s usually necessary to hire a copyeditor and a typesetter (who is often the same).  It’s necessary to find a book manufacturer, and prices can vary a lot (many companies exist in the Shenandoah Valley and down in the North Carolina Piedmont).  It seems that Milo Yianopoulos has controlled the production of his book “Dangerous” after Simon and Schuster dropped him after a controversy.

    There was discussion of “guerrilla marketing”, and of the tendency recently for trade publishers not to offer advances, which typically have to be recovered from book sales. 

    There was mention of the use of pseudonyms and pen names, and that in a real world some authors really need to keep their identities secret, usually for reasons other than just being  LGBT, like workplace conflicts or possible security concerns for themselves or others around them.  This is rather alarming.


    There was discussion of “sea turtle authors”, often introverts, who do not like to be pressed to sell aggressively, and are perfectly content to let their “eggs” lie dormant.
      

    I asked about print-on-demand publishers, like Author Solutions.  The group did not think well of this business model, and referred to it as a “shadow industry”  They felt money should go to authors directly,, but that only works if the author owns the publishing entity.  I did refer to the fact that POD companies have been pressing authors harder to buy copies of books and build their own stores and credit card operations, rather than depend on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

    I did mention the SESPA bill from the Senate and the implicit threat to web speech, including eventually author websites. 

              Activist in Washington DC wants to open bookstore in underserved neighborhood to honor a slain journalist         

    An activist in Washington DC wants to set up a bookstore in an underprivileged area of the SE section, to be called the Charnice Milton Community Bookstore, in honor of a journalist slain by a stray bullet from gun violence in the City, Perry Stein has a story from Friday, July 14, 2017 in the Washington Post Metro Section, here.

    The store would be in the basement of We Act Radio. The owner would need to raise $180,000 for the project.

    In the voting district of the store, 19% of adults lack the literacy to read a newspaper.

    Back in 1972 when I had moved to northern New Jersey, I remember that the candidate from the “People’s Party of New Jersey” opened a “Make Up Your Mind Bookstore” in Madison N.J. 
      
    As I drive around rural towns, I see a more small bookstores (along with antiques) than you would expect. 

    Update: Aug. 4

    The Facebook page for the new store is here.  I can't find a direct site. 

              Dean Koontz's "Moonlight": how a commercially prolific suspense novelist remains relevant as technology and politics change         

    During my first year of employment at USLICO in Arlington in 1990 (what would become my last main job, for 12 years and four owners), I read the Dean Koontz 1989 novel “Midnight”, and shared it (paper, Putnam was original publisher) with a few people in production control in what would become a coffee break book club.

    The novel is remarkable in its huge number of chapters, and organization into three parts each with its own chapter 1.



    The novel starts with a jogger running in a California beach town (Moonlight Cove  -- “In the Moonlight, Do Me” indeed) being attacked by a mysterious alien-like creature, and soon the mystery, somewhat in a “Twin Peaks” -like fashion, is examined from the viewpoint of various characters, whose narratives gradually connect.  (Irving Wallace had used this technique for building plots for Cold War spy novels back in the 1960s).  It seems as though people are getting converted into hybrid creatures and that a sociopathic computer scientist Shaddock is involved.



    I would have thought that this novel would make a good miniseries on a cable channel,, even today, as the premise has less dependence on political circumstances and even technology than most sci-fi suspense novels.  Koontz sometimes gets into Shaddack’s head, anticipating the psyche of a modern terrorist, deflecting the social issues (like gay rights in one passage) in surprising ways.
    I mention the novel because Koontz is often heralded in some circles as the ideal author who writes strictly to sell, and he indeed has a huge career of a long list of novels, divided into various subcategories of suspense.   Literary agents love his approach, because it is so commercial.  So do trade publishers.

    One problem with developing suspense novels is that sometimes they become very vulnerable to changes in world politics, which can come suddenly and be largely unexpected by suspense authors, like the fall of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991.  Today it’s not clear who is the biggest threat: North Korea, Iran, ISIS, Russia, China.

    I’ve had that problem, and my own approach to fiction has to start with my own narrative first.  I make no apologies, despite the disruptive advice and sales calls from others.


              NatGeo presents article "Genius" to accompany is new cable series         

    The National Geographic issue for May 2007 has a feature cover story on p. 30, “Genius: Why some people are so much smarter than the rest of us.”, link (paywall) here .
     â€˜
    An important measure of genius is whether the person’s output lives throughout the ages.  Beehoven’s output takes on a life of its own. 

    The article gives some attention to the life story of Leonardo DaVinci.

    The years of highest probability of major output are the late twenties into the mid thirties.

    An important and controversial variable would be how versatile the person is with "real life" skills.  The best of today's young adults simply are or were much more mature than I was at ages like, say 16-21. But it helps to be born later. 


    However, there are real prodigies, in coding (Mark Zuckerberg) and in music.  In music, prodigy becomes harder to show after Mozart.  But Eugen d’Albert’s gigantic first piano concerto (as published, in B Minor) was composed before age 20 and shows real intellectual brilliance as to harmony, counterpoint, and form. Brahms, on the other hand, waited until his forties to compose symphonies.  Genius enters new territory in the latest years, as we know from the last nearly-complete symphony of Bruckner.

    There is a new series on National Geographic Channel which I have not seen yet.
      

    The issue also has an article on the Central African Republic, the Burning Heart of Africa, and “United in Protest” against the North Dakota oil pipeline. 

              Time: "Innocent: The Fight Against Wrongful Conviction"         

    Time has a Special Edition “Innocent: The Fight Against Wrongful Convictions”, :25 Years of the Innocence Project”, 96 pages, heavily illustrated, many writers.

    There are seven chapters, each with several essays.  The first one starts with the wrongful conviction f a man for a brutal robbery and murder of a money order salesman in Cleveland in 1975.
    One of the biggest topics is DNA evidence.  But it has been surprisingly difficult to get cases retried with new DNS evidence,  Politically motivated prosecutors or the police entice confessions out of vulnerable defendants, especially from child witnesses in sex cases.

    There is some attention to forgiveness and to reparations.



    Chapter Six contains an excerpt from “Ghost of the Innocent Man” by Benjamin Rachlin, this excerpt focused on the Center for Actual Innocence in North Carolina.

    The book should be interesting to filmmakers Andrew Jenks and Ryan Ferguson (who was himself unjustly convicted of second degree murder in Missouri and got out after 10 years (Andrew Jenks’s film “Dream/Killer”, Movies, Jan. 22, 2016), and the MTV series "Unlocking the Truth".


              Joseph Nye delivers major paper on cybersecurity, "Deterrence and Dissuasion in Cyberspace"         

    Joseph S. Nye, the University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard, has a major paper in the MIT Press Journal,  Winter 2016-2017,  â€œDeterrence and Dissuasion in Cyberspace”, with access link to the 71-page PDF here (free).

    Nye discusses for major strategies: (1) Punishment or retaliation (2) denial or defense (3) entanglement (4) taboos or norms.   Some of his scenarios refer to LOAC, or the Laws of Armed Conflict.



    Nye mentions the possibility of threats to power girds, and doubts that they can be fully prevented by “air gaps” between grid or infrastructure pieces and the public Internet

    He mentions the importance of rogue states or non-state actors.  One of his concepts, of norms, would preclude attacks on targets that have civilian use only (this might include political parties). Yet that seems to be the point of attacks by entities like North Korea, or some hackers motivated by ransomware (often in Russia or former Soviet components), or radical Islamists who resent modernism.   North Korea attacked a corporate entity outside its borders, Sony Pictures, in the US, for mocking its leader.  It seems as though a sufficiently radical and nihilistic actor could be motivated by asymmetric targeting of individual speakers in the US or other western countries just to prove it could wreak havoc with all parties associated with a particularly provocative person or private business.


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              Thanks to donors like you        
    Thanks to donors like you, students are expanding their horizons, following their passions and landing their dream jobs in their chosen career fields. Andrew Huddleston from north Idaho tells you his story in this video.
              Debate: animal experiments, in 'North & South' magazine        
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              Foss Evening Cricket League round-up        
    PROMOTED Heworth overcame newly-merged Middleton & North Dalton in the opening round of Foss Evening Cricket League division one games.
              200 days in: Obama still on Trump's mind - CNN        

    CNN

    200 days in: Obama still on Trump's mind
    CNN
    Bridgewater, New Jersey (CNN) In 1962, as the United States and the Soviet Union wobbled toward nuclear confrontation, then-President John F. Kennedy got his predecessor on the phone. "What's your judgment as to the chances they'll fire these things off?
    FactCheck: Trump misfires on nuclear weapons boastPhilly.com
    AP FACT CHECK: Trump's unjustified boast about US nuke powerMiami Herald
    Fact Check: Trump's Unjustified Boast About US Nuke PowerNBC New York
    Twitter -Whitehouse.gov -The White House -Department of State
    all 113 news articles »

              Foss League leaders Bubwith romp home against youngsters        
    LEADERS Bubwith romped to a ten-wicket mauling of a young North Dalton in Foss Evening Cricket League division one.
              Swarm of bees attack fielders in Dunnington's Foss Evening League win        
    DUNNINGTON comfortably saw off North Dalton in Foss Evening League division one - despite the game being held up after a swarm of bees attacked Dalton's fielders.
              Foss Cricket League: North Dalton claim division two title        
    FOSS Evening Cricket League newcomers North Dalton claimed the division two title with a comfortable victory over the only side who could have spoiled their party, Pocklington.
                      

    PENNY BUCK


    After two near misses during the archery and northern zone rifle, Dan Penny of Ballston Spa had to seek the help of longtime friend and hunting partner Michael Galcik. Michael graciously allowed Dan access to one of his most sacred locations. After 2 does and an hour and 15 minute wait, Dan spied a heavy horned 9 pointer approaching his stand location exactly from where he was told to be watching.  Dan sealed the deal with a 100 yard shot from his Browning .308. The buck, which was following the trail of the does, scored 142 inches and weighed in at 158 pounds. Previous trail camera pictures of this buck had him well over the 220 pound mark before the start of the rut. This is the best deer to date for the 58 year old recently retired New York State Police colonel. Quite a nice retirement gift for a close friend!



                      
    LADY GETS HER DEER



     Late October, I had been bowhunting an active scrape line in the Southern zone. I had been in a tree twice with my climber in an attempt to see that buck and scout the area for deer activity. It had been a few years since I last hunted here, but I knew the property well. The first morning I saw three deer out of range travelling through just after dawn heading towards bedding ground. The second morning nothing and no evening activity either. I gave it a rest.

    I had a week’s vacation planned to go up north in the Adirondacks and hunt during the rifle season with family. Upon my return, my rifle tag unfilled, I went back to my bow and set up on that same southern zone scrape line which was still active. I made a plan for a morning hunt. It was a Sunday. My last day off before returning back to work. 

    This time I climbed a tree closer to where I had seen the three deer cross in the weeks prior. Twenty yards off the scrape line and a hundred yards from pine bedding areas. That morning with my arrow nocked and ready, dawn was about to break. I peered down from my stand, checked for open shooting lanes, and slowly ranged my surroundings, a twenty yard circle. I only had a few hours to spare that day to hunt. I settled in and waited.

    It was a quiet and frosty morning. The sky clear and sunrise came rising low on the horizon. I was facing east and I forgot to wear a billed cap under my fleece hat. I cursed myself for not thinking of it. A stand of tall hemlocks in the woods helped screen the early sun. As the temps rose above the freezing mark, I saw White breasted Nuthatches, Brown Creepers, Downy Woodpeckers and a mouse. No deer.

    I had forgotten my phone, so I didn’t know the time. There was no deer activity. No coyotes or turkey. I thought it might be nearing 0930. I wanted to be done by 1000.  I was getting hungry and began thinking about that first morning cup of coffee. I was sure the deer would have been through by now to bed, so I looked around, coast was clear, no deer. I lowered my bow to the ground and started climbing down quietly. I said to myself, I’ll hunt as I walk out.

    About halfway down the tree, something, whether noise or movement had me look to my left and I saw a buck 40- 50 yards out slowly trotting by coming from the pines. A nice buck! I quickly anchored my seat into the tree, hoisted up my bow, nocked an arrow, turned putting my back to the tree, and faced the buck that hadn’t broke stride and continued to trot away. I cupped my hand to my mouth and gave the best low grunts I knew how to make in order to entice this fella back! Nothing... no reaction! I had my commercial grunt call on doe estrus and I bleated twice. Nothing..! He kept moving uninterested and had even passed through downwind of me. I was only eight feet off the ground when I stopped climbing. He continued and crossed the stream. He travelled up a slope covered in honeysuckle thickets and stopped looking out ahead of him in his original direction of travel. I could only make out his silhouette...100+ yards. I grunted again! Nothing….I quickly hung my bow on my left arm, grabbed my homemade rattle bag from my cargo pocket, and gave four aggressive rattles with the bag.  I kept rattling and rattling. Finally, on the fifth or so rattle he turned his head back, listened, and did a roll away 180 degrees and started trotting back towards me on the path in
    which he came. He closed that distance by half and I shoved the rattle bag back into my cargo pocket. I grasped my bow again with my left hand.  He came in about fifty yards from me slowing and looking for the fight. I tapped the rattlebag in my cargo pocket a couple of times to give him a signal to come my way. He didn’t take the scrape line trail on my left instead he travelled almost the same line in which he came, but the lasts taps worked and he angled my way. I slowly repositioned to the right as he moved closer and when his head passed by two big offset trees, I used it as a blind and drew back. I followed him bow fully drawn and gave a “baahhh” by mouth when I felt comfortable with the range. He stopped. I saw my lane,” broadside chest, release, good shot, chest!’ went through my head.  He ran about seventy 75 yards and went down. He broke off the arrow while running, double lunged with an exit wound. I had bagged a beautiful 8 point pre-rut buck. 158#

    The hunt was memorable. I threw everything I knew at him in less than a minute and got him to turn back. I just kept thinking and doing. I would have been just as charged up if it was a spike. I got lucky on the mature buck it turned out to be. I thank the landowner for their generosity and the opportunity for this hunt.




                      

    JIM BUBB'S ADIRONDACK TROPHY BUCK

    .
    It begins with Jim Bubb, Mechanicville, joining several of his hunting buddies for their traditional northern zone opening deer hunt in the Forked Lake area of Hamilton County. Jim’s day began very early paddling a canoe across the lake to reach the base of the mountain that he planned on hunting. It was an area he had hunted before and knew that he had a chance at getting a big buck there. He headed up and over one of the mountains in the wet windy snow and at about 11 a.m. he reached an area with fresh tracks and scrapes; and began his sneak and peek adventure. He hadn’t gone too far when he got a quick glimpse of the deer when it jumped up; but he saw enough of it to know it was the one he was after. 

    After several hours of tracking Jim thought he knew where the buck was headed and decided to cross over the creek and circle around and try to get in front of him; which he did. What he didn’t see was the buck laying down about 40 yards from him until it jumped up. He missed with the first shot but the second round from his 30.06 was on target. I am sure there when that buck went down there was a very big smile on this face and his “YES” echoed all over the mountain when he stood over this huge 8 pointer.  But now the hard part; he was at least 3 miles from the canoe.

    He radioed his friends and told them he had taken a buck and would be on his way back. It was after 2 p.m. before he finished dressing out the deer and then started the long drag back. He knew the shortest way out was to follow the creek; however he also knew that the heavy brush that he had to encounter. When he looked at his GPS about 5 p.m. he realized he was still several miles from the canoe. It was then that he decided lessen the weight and he deboned the deer and very carefully cape it; because this buck was going to be mounted. Now, with over 100 pounds in his backpack, his rifle and flashlight in one hand and the head and cape in the other, he headed Jim started out again.

    It was dark now and the radio contact with his friends became very spotty, and it was then that his friends notified the rangers. It wasn’t too long after that the rangers finally made some radio contact with Jim; but that too was spotty. The rangers continued to try to get radio contact and were about to start their search when Jim reached trail he was able to tell them he was fine; and on his way out.  I don’t know how many stops to rest Jim made, but I am sure that when he reached the canoe and rangers sometime after midnight they looked very good to him.

    Back at the camp the measuring tape came out and his big 8 pointer raw scored at 134.25 inches; which included 4 inches around the bases of the antlers and a 21.25 inch inside spread. As for weight it was well over 200 pounds. Congratulations Jim.

                      

    LAKE PLACID HIGH PEAKS TURKEY HUNT  MAY 1, 2013





    HIGH PEAKS GOBBLER


    Three years ago, the New York State Outdoor Writers Association held its annual fall conference in Lake Placid. I limited my outdoor activities that weekend to the various types of lake and stream fi shing the area offers.

    October is a great time to be standing by or in any of the many trout streams or boats fi shing their crystal clear lakes. Threre isn’t a more picturesque place to be during the peak of the colorful foliage season. During the day’s conference, I found out they had a growing population of wild turkeys. Lake Placid Tourism hosted dinner that evening, and I said I’d like to try hunting these high-peak gobblers in the spring.

    In late January, I got an email from Sue Cameron, events and communications manager of the Lake Placid CVB/Regional Offi ce of Sustainable Tourism, asking if I was still interested in hunting turkey in the high peaks, and if I was, what would I need. It didn’t take me long to answer that question. I told her if they could find any properties that had turkeys, all I’d need is permission to hunt. I also added if someone, or a guide, wanted to help me, that would be great.

    Several weeks later, Sue contacted me and said she had talked to many of the hunters in the area, and the name that kept popping up when it comes to turkeys was Bill Moore, the Lake Placid chief of police. I also found out that Bill had taken two NYSOWA members turkey hunting during the fall conference. I thought this was great, because I’d have someone familiar with the territory and the bird’s habits and locations. In all my years of hunting, I’ve never shot a turkey north of Glens Falls, and I was going to be hunting the high peaks.

    Shortly after lunch April 30, I headed for Lake Placid. I’ve always enjoyed the ride on state Route 73 from the Adirondack Northway at Exit 30 to Lake Placid village. It winds through Essex County’s Keene Valley and alongside the famous trout waters of the Ausable River.

    What really surprised me was the large chunks of ice still on some of the high rock walls. I believe when the foliage along this road starts to green, it’s almost as beautiful as in the fall. I wasn’t the only one that day to stop at one of the pull-offs to take a few photos.

    It was right around 3 p.m. when I passed the Olympic ski jumps that were built when Lake Placid hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics. My first stop in town was to check in with Sue Cameron, who gave me directions to The Pines Inn, where I would be spending the night. The Pines Inn is a turn-of-the-century historic inn, but with all the modern conveniences, and the proprietors, Jill and Frank Segger, were very congenial hosts.

    Once settled in, I had an early dinner, and later that afternoon, I met up with Bill at his son, Sean’s, baseball game. Sean was going to join us for opening day of the turkey season, but he was one up on us. On the first day of the Youth Hunt season, Sean shot a 20-pound tom with a nine-inch beard oneinch spurs.

    THE HUNT

    I set the alarm for 4:15 a.m., but I was up shortly after 3, as usual, anxious to get into the woods. It was still dark when Bill and Sean picked me up, and he said we’d start on his friend’s property. His friend had called the night before and said he heard toms gobbling out behind his house.

    We parked several hundred yards from where the birds were believed to have roosted, then walked slowly down a dirt road winding through the pines, stopping occasionally to call, but got no responses. Before leaving, we set up on the edge of a fi eld, made a few more calls, got one response, but nothing after that.

    “Back to the original plan,” Bill said.

    We packed up and headed for the area he’d roosted birds several times during the week. As we were driving down the road leading to the property, we saw a tom and two hens well out into a field, and on our way to turn around, we spotted at least six birds on the other side of the road, about 200 yards in along a woodline. Two were definitely toms.

    We quickly parked the truck and began sneaking and peeking, using bushes and trees to cover our advance. Sean and I got within about 50 yards of where we thought the birds were feeding, and each took a spot where we could watch each side of the cover. Sean was watching the left, I the right.

    Bill stayed back about 25 yards in the high brush and set out his decoy. The plan was that the tom would see the decoy and head for it, and Sean or I would intercept him.

    Bill began with several soft yelps on his slate and immediately got several booming responses. This is when that chill runs up and down your spine and your fi nger slowly moves towards the safety as you anchor your cheek on the shotgun’s stock. I don’t care who you are or how long you’ve been hunting turkeys, when you know that tom is interested and coming, you can feel your adrenaline level beginning to rise. I know that mine rose significantly when I heard him spitting and drumming, a sure sign that he was close and coming.

    Out he came on a fast trot and in full display with his big bright red head pushed back against his raised fan feathers that were glistening in the morning sunlight, and all he saw was that lovely hen decoy that was about to cost him his life. It was during this stare that I slid the safety off and placed the orange front sight on the base of his neck and squeezed the trigger.

    At just 30 yards, it didn’t take long for the three-inch No. 4 copper-plated pellets of my Federal Premium Mag Shok leaving my Benelli Vince at 1,300 feet per second to reach Mr. Tom. It was quick, clean, and he never took another step. This was my seventh turkey with this gun in just as many shots. Finally, after decades of successful turkey hunting, I’d taken my fi rst high-peaks gobbler.

    But before I could move, two more gobblers announced their presence, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a lone hen walking and clucking her way past Sean. Both of us froze so as not to alert her or the toms. When the hen was out of sight, one soft yelp by Bill was all that was needed to light up those two gobblers and in they came, side by side, and walked behind my downed tom. I think the dead tom might have made them a bit nervous because they quickened their pace as Sean raised his gun. Unfortunately, he was unable to get off a good shot. All this excitement, and it was only 6:45 a.m.

    We estimated my tom weighed about 18 pounds, and his full, thick beard measured 9 1 /4 inches. What was interesting, and a first for me, was that he did not have any spurs.

    Prior to our setting up for these birds, I hadn’t looked at our surroundings and never noticed just how picturesque a background I had for the hunt and our photo shoot. I was just about 100 yards from where we took the photos, and I could actually see the tops of the Olympic ski jumps. But most impressive were the mountains. Looking at them left to right, I could see Marcy, Skylight, Colden, Wright, Algonquin and Iroquois. If you go to my blog at: http://fi shguydblog.blogspot.com/, you’ll see what I mean. Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge them and check out the snow on the tops of some of them. It’s truly beautiful country.

    With several hours of legal hunting time left, there was plenty in which to get Sean a tom. Bill decided to circle the area where I’d shot my tom and see if we could come in below where the other two toms had run off into the woods.

    We walked down parallel to the woodline several hundred yards away from the birds and then entered a trail that led us deep into the woods. Once inside them, Bill began a walking 50 to 75 yards, stopping to call and listening. But the toms were not talking, and after an hour, we loaded up to move to another area.

    “They’ll be back,” Bill said, “and we’ll give them a try tomorrow.”

    We made several other stops, but none produced sightings or responses, and we ended the day’s hunt about 11 a.m.

    Back at The Pines Inn, I thanked Bill and Sean for their hospitality and for what was definitely one of my most memorable wild turkey hunts.

    Thank you, Sue, Bill, Sean and the Segger’s for your hospitality.








              BLACK BEAR MEETS REMINGTON R-25        

    It was a warm sunny late September afternoon when I pulled into the Canadian Border Customs in Lewiston several weeks ago in route to Port Loring, Ontario where I hoped to shoot my seventh black bear. Little did I know then that this would be the last ray of sunshine I would see for the next 5 days. Having my gun registration paper work completed prior to my arrival helped to expedite the process; however when I opened my gun case and the Canadian officer saw my new fully camouflaged Remington R-25 .308 caliber modular repeating rifle, he was quite impressed as were several of his fellow officers who also came over to look. Once across the border I knew that I would not reach Port Loring until the wee hours of the night and decided to drive until about 9 p.m. and find a motel to spend the night; which I did in Trey, Ontario. And by mid-morning the next day I was knocking on Hermann and Lise Stroeher’s door. It was really good to see them again since my last visit 4 or 5 years ago and they were as warm and friendly as ever. But Hermann was all business and told me we can talk later and to follow him to where I would be staying. He wanted me to get unpacked and back to his house by 1:30 p.m. so I would be in my treestand by 2:30 p.m. I could feel the adrenaline already starting to boil just thinking about the hunt. My accommodations this year were at Wright Point Resort, a beautiful spot on the banks of the Pigeon Lake which is actually is part of the Pickerel River system; and it is loaded with small and largemouth bass, northern pike and walleye(they call them pickerel). The owners, Dianne and Dan Feasby, had set me up in one of their 4 motel rooms which, like their 7 lake-side cottages were fully furnished with all modern appliances, dishes, pans, etc. and they had boats and motor rentals right there. What a place to spend a week’s vacation, fishing and/or hunting. And if you are a snowmobiler, they showed me an Ontario trail map with thousands of miles of snowmobile trails. Unfortunately I only got to fish the lake for about two hours; in which time I caught and released 31 nice bass. The majority were smallies, the largest measuring 20 inches and two of the largemouth were over 3 pounds. All were taken on a Stick-O-Worm rigged wacky style. I did leave the rest of these worms with Dan and one of his campers. The hospitality here was outstanding and if you would like to see more go to their web site at, wrightpointresort.com. DAY 1 At 1:30 p.m. I was following Hermann in my truck headed to my treestand site and I was anxious. It was a long ride, approximately 25 miles on a paved road and another 6 miles into the bush on a dirt road where I parked my truck and Hermann walked me in on a small trail to the site got me settled, then headed back to camp. There were dark clouds beginning to roll in but I was hoping the rain would hold off until dark. It didn’t. Perhaps and hour or so after I climbed into the stand I heard thunder in the distance behind me; but it sounded like it was going away from me. It wasn’t. The rains came first but I was ready for that and quickly slipped into my rain suit and used another light rain jacket to cover my gun. The winds followed shortly and I found out later that they were upward of 40; which at times felt like I was on the high seas. Within 45 minutes of the start of the rain the thunder began, and with it the lightning. Now my choices were climb out of the stand and go sit in the truck until it passed and then sneak back in, which would probably ruin the hunt. So I chose the second option of staying in the tree. An hour or so later the thunder and lighting did stop, but the heavy rain and high winds didn’t. And at 7:50 p.m., the end of legal shooting time, I climbed down from the stand and sloshed my way back to the truck. Did not see a bear. Back at camp no one else had seen a bear either and Hermann said that the combination of the heavy rain, high winds and thunder and lightning makes them very nervous. All we could do is go back out again the next morning. DAY 2 I was in my stand an hour before sunup and when I looked through my scope I could see that the bait had not been touched; so there was still a chance that the bear would come in this morning. Forgot to mention it was still raining and the wind was about 20-25 mph. At 10:30 a.m. I climbed down and headed back to camp. After breakfast and a short nap I was sitting in the stand in full rain gear hoping that tonight was the night. The rain continued along with the heavy winds all evening and once again there were no bear visits. But I did have 4 grouse cooing around under my stand for about an hour. The grouse season was open but the .308 was a little overkill for grouse hunting. DAY 3 After another morning of rain, wind and no bear I met up with Hermann who suggested that after breakfast I join him on his morning baiting trips and we could check the activity at several of the sites, and I could pick the one I liked for the afternoon hunt. We visited 5 sites, all of which were hit since the last time he checked them. The site that I choose had plenty of activity signs but the real draw for me was the timber wolf tracks I saw in the mud on the way in that got me excited. Only once, years ago while sitting in a treestand at Hermann’s, I had a timber wolf appear about 150 yards from me. I did get to look at him through my binoculars but he quickly disappeared. That evening the rain continued and it was then that I realized the value of good equipment. Other than my hands and face the only thing that got a little wet and cold during these long sits in the nasty weather was my nose. The camouflaged Red Head Squaltex Bone Dry rain gear totally protected my body from the rain and the wind and the Burris Full Field II, in all this nasty rain, never once fogged up on me. Actually I did get a bit wet the next day when climbing down from my stand in the morning I caught my jacket on a nail and ripped a big chuck out of it. As for the bear this particular evening; nothing came it. DAY 4 The final day, my last chance. The morning hunt went too quickly and the rain did stop for an hour or so and, the sun did shine for perhaps an hour. But there were no bears. It was going down to the wire again. That afternoon I was in the stand earlier than usual but knew this was it; because tomorrow I was heading home. The weather was actually fairly pleasant; for awhile. Then about 3 p.m. the winds began followed by the rain, and with each hour both increased and by 6 p.m. things were back to normal; heavy rains and gusting winds that were causing my treestand to move a good six inches from side to side. I must have looked at my watch at least a dozen times; and time was running out. I remember checking my watch at it 7:35 p.m. and saying to myself, just 10 more minutes of legal shooting time left; it looks like it is over. But when I looked up there he was coming in, 70 yards away in the opening. Quickly I shouldered the gun and put the crosshair on the bear’s shoulder and clicked off the safety. My only problem now was that the 40 plus mph wind was again rocking the stand side to side. It seemed like forever that I held the horizontal crosshair of the scope on target just waiting for the wind to stop. And when it did I set the crosshairs on its shoulder and tapped the R-25 trigger and the Remington 150 grain Ultra Bonded PSP put him down. To say I was relieved and excited would be an understatement as I scrambled down the steps and trotted to the bear. A tap on his nose with the rifle barrel told me what I already knew; it was over. Quickly I unloaded my rifle, put it in its case, which is required when leaving the woods after legal shooting time in Canada, and quickly headed to my truck to go get Hermann. He was as happy as I was about the news and he had already put the ATV on the back of his pickup; and we headed back to get my bear. Once again I watched Hermann’s skill with the Outdoor Edge cutlery(Kodi-Pak) I had given him years ago. But the fun really began when we had to drag the bear about 20 yards over a number of brush piles and stumps to the ATV. Two old men pulling on a bear would have made a great photo, but we got it there and loaded on the back of the ATV. And yes, it was still raining and windy; but I really did not care. This was another great hunt with some very special old and new friends; and I have to rate it as my most memorable bear hunt. If you would like to see more photos of the bear you can go to, fishguydblog.blogspot.com/
              JUDGE RULES NY TURKEY HUNT        
    When I first saw the Taurus International Judge revolver at the 2007 Shot Show it was being promoted as a self-protection gun and actually got its name because judges in high crime areas of Miami, Florida were purchasing them for personal defense in their courtrooms.

    The Judge is chambered for .410 bore shot shells and the .45 colt cartridge, which makes it very versatile. But my thoughts had nothing to do with self defense, but rather with small game hunting in New York State and, turkey in several other states where it is legal and where I hunt each year.


    My Judge, has been involved in some very interesting, enjoyable and exciting hunts, and it has issued the death sentence to a number of NYS rabbits and squirrel, a Pennsylvania eastern turkey, a Texas Rio Grande turkey, and several nasty rattlesnakes. And last week, due to changes in the New York State hunting regulations, a Saratoga wild turkey.

    These new 2010 turkey hunting regulation state “You may hunt with a shotgun or handgun only when using shot no larger that No. 2 and no smaller than No. 8.” You still are not allowed to take a turkey with a rifle, or with a handgun firing a bullet. My turkey hunting ammunition choice for this hunt was Federal Premium 2 1/2 inch No. 4 shot.

    On my first day in the turkey woods with the Judge I had a jake at no more than 10 feet from me. I had the hammer drawn and was about to end the hunt when I heard a loud gobble from across the field and saw a big tom which I assumed was headed for me. I gently lowered the hammer to wait for the bigger bird and ended up with neither. The jake was scared off by the gobbler and I have no idea what scared the gobbler. But on my second time out I did a bit more planning and scouting; and so as not to be tempted to use my regular turkey gun, I left it home in the cabinet.

    I was hunting in northern Saratoga County where I had put a big tom with his ladies to bed. I actually watched them two nights and felt confident that I knew their routine. The next afternoon around 1 p.m. I came in the backside of where I thought the turkeys would be and found some very thick brush near the field they had been flying down to; or so I thought. I cut three shooting lanes in the brush no larger than a dinner plate; one on the left, right and in front. My goal was to get a shot at no more than 10 yards. And before I left I placed my two decoy stakes just 5 paces from where I would be hiding. I wanted this gobbler in close.

    Early the next morning almost an hour before legal shooting time I slipped into the field, put my decoy bodies out and climbed into my natural blind to wait to see what happen. Perhaps 10 minutes before legal shooting time there was a gobble right where I hoped it would be and for a few minutes I talked with him to be sure he knew exactly where I was. But when he finally flew off his roost it was not into the field but rather away from me. I immediately called and he answered; but he did not come; he was answering, but moving away.

    For about an hour he did not answer any of my calls and I thought it was over. And then he gobbled on his own and when I yelped he answered, I thought for sure this time he was coming. But again he stayed in the woods and only answered me every once in awhile. My thoughts were that he had to be with hens and he refused to leave them. I continued to call but did not get any response. Then, about 45 minutes later he gobbled from behind me sending chills up and down my spine; he was very close to me and I dare not move. I did however get my thumb on the hammer of the Judge.

    It seemed like forever before he moved but when he did I could hear his spitting and drumming as he moved and came in on my left. He actually scraped against the bush I was hidden in. Slowly I raised raised the Judge and drew back the hammer. And when that red head entered my shooting hole in the brush the Judge spoke and I had my first NYS wild turkey with a handgun. He weighed in at 15 pounds and carried a 5 1/2 inch beard. As for the shot it was no more that 3-4 yards. This was absolutely one of my most exciting turkey hunts ever. That single Federal shotshell casing is now in my gun cabinet along with his beard. If you want to see the photos of my Judge turkey go to, noonanpics.blogspot.com


              NEWFOUNDLAND MOOSE - SCI SILVER AWARD        


    PART I - THE BEGINNING
    Have you ever flipped through the pages of Field & Stream or watched an exciting big game hunt on the Outdoor Channel and said to yourself, “Someday I would like to do that?” I guess all hunters have a specific species they dream about pursuing and mine has always been a moose. In terms of my “bucket list” for animals I want to hunt, the moose has always been number one. For years, I have sent my check to Vermont and Maine in hopes of getting drawn in their moose hunting lottery; but it never was. But last Fall I received an email from Amsterdam hunters Dick Andrews and Marshall Knapik and Rich Kraus(Ballston Spa) about their Newfoundland moose hunt that finally lit the fire under me. And the results is that in 3 weeks my dream hunt will finally become a reality.

    The moose, which is derived from the Algonkian name meaning “eater of twigs,” was not native to Newfoundland. They were introduced, two bulls and two cows from New Brunswick, in 1904 and today it is estimated that there is a population of 120,000. Moose are the largest member of the deer family with a weak eyesight but their most acute sense is their hearing. Their habitat is includes swampy areas as well as forested higher ground around lakes.

    The destination, which I choose mainly because of Dick’s recommendation and the fact that he has hunted there successfully five times already and will be returning in 2010, is Sam’s Hunting and Fishing Camps located in Portland Creek, Newfoundland, Canada. Owned and operated by Sam and Hebbert Caines, they have over 30 years of experience guiding and outfitting hunters. Sam’s has three hunting camps located in Area No. 3 on the Northern Peninsula: St. Paul’s Big Pond, where I will be hunting, which is one-half mile from Gros Morne National Park which is 35 miles from Deer Lake; Long Range Mountains at Trophy Lake and High Pond which are each 60 miles from Deer Lake which is the pick up point for all Sam’s hunters. Now although we will be hunting from fly-in remote sites, which I am looking forward to, it is comforting to know that there is two-way radio and cell telephone contact with these camps.

    There are two ways to get to Deer Lake; driving and flying. If you drive there is a 5 - 8 hour ferry crossing depending upon the weather or, my choice, drive to Montreal and fly into Deer Lake. Here I will spend the night, be picked up early the next morning and flown in to camp by helicopter. And this, the helicopter ride, is something I am looking forward to also. All the camps are built to Newfoundland Tourism specifications and include indoor toilets, showers, two bedroom with two single beds in each, a large dining room and a kitchen. And each camp has a full time cook. Each hunter has his/her own guide. The actual hunting is done by spot and stalk, which is walking and glassing a variety of terrains, and/or sometimes glassing from elevated blinds.

    Now when choosing a guide/outfitter success rate should always be a major consideration. In the case of Sam’s Hunting and Fishing Camps he has a 90 percent success rate for moose and 100 percent for caribou. Unfortunately, I applied for a Woodland caribou hunting tag but did not receive one; but I did get a black bear permit which I hopefully will be able to fill during this hunt. As for the caribou, I will try again next year.

    BORDER CROSSING
    When hunting in Canada there are a number of forms and documents that are needed when crossing the border. The easiest way to travel to and from Canada is with a passport. As for your firearm, this too is fairly simple and most of the paperwork can be competed before you go. You cannot bring a fully automatic weapon, handgun or pepper spray into Canada. Your regular hunting rifle/shotgun is not a problem as long as complete a Nonresident Firearms Declaration(CAFC909EF) form. Sam sent this form to me when I confirmed my hunt with him in February. The form is very simple to complete and on it you can register up to 3 firearms and the cost is $25(Canadian) which you pay at the time of crossing. The registration is good for 60 days. Do not sign and date the form until you are at customs. In all the times I have traveled to Canada with a firearm(s) to hunt it has been a very simple process which usually will take no more than 30 minutes. To download this form Goggle “Canadian firearms declaration form.”

    With regards to transporting firearms to Canada , which they may or may not inspect at the border, is in a protective and lockable case, and obviously, unloaded. It is wise if your gun is a bolt action to remove the bolt, and if it a clip remove the clip.

    CLOTHING
    Weather-wise, during September it is usually very pleasant in the mid - 40s which is good hunting weather. But Dick and other hunters who have been to Newfoundland in September all agree that things can change very quickly. “You will hunt in the rain,” they tell me and things will get damp and therefore layering you clothing is the best method. The absolute must for this trip is quality rain gear which should include quality rubber boots that are 16 or 17 inches high and with aggressive tread.


    THE GUN/AMMO
    Now those of you who know me are probably saying: “First moose hunt; he will surely have to buy a new gun.” That’s what my wife thought also. Well, believe it or not, the gun that I will be using is one that is already in my gun cabinet. In fact I have had it for at least 7 years now and never really shot anything with it. It is a ported Remington Model 700 BDL in the .300 Win Mag caliber. I told you I knew that one day I would be making this hunt and actually bought the gun solely for the purpose of hunting moose with it. The only action it has seen up until now has been a twice a year complete cleaning and oiling. But now that my dream hunt is going to be a reality I have added a quality optic and spent some range time getting acquainted with this gun; and I am very impressed with its performance and power; just what is needed to bring down a large bull moose that stands higher than a large saddle horse and can weigh as much as 1500 pounds.

    When I asked Sam and Hebbert what to expect in terms of the range of shooting distance he said that it could be anywhere from 50 yards to 400 yards; which was another reason I chose the .300 win mag cartridge.

    With the number of quality scopes offered today my selection of the right one for this rifle and especially this hunt was difficult. At the Shot Show in January I spent one day visiting optic manufacturers booths and reviewing what they were offering in scopes. One in particular impressed me; Hawke Optics. And when Brad Bonar, their Sales Manager, let me look through their Endurance 30 series 3-12x50 L3 Dot IR reticle scope all I could think about was placing that red dot on the shoulder of my Newfoundland bull moose. Other important features include a 30mm matt black mono tube, it is fog and waterproof, shockproof and has an 11 setting rheostat to adjust the Dot’s intensity to any light condition.

    After mounting and bore sighting the scope I headed for the range where I tested 3 brands of ammunition shooting from a Caldwell Lead Sled shooting rest which is the only way to sight in a firearm for two reasons: one is that you get the best accuracy and two, it absorbs almost all of the felt recoil. My 3-shot grouping with the Endurance was quite impressive(one-half inch) and the best results were with the Winchester Supreme Elite XP3, 180 grain 2-stage expansion bullet with delayed controlled expansion, deep penetration and high weight retention. Ballistically it has a muzzle velocity of 3000 feet per second and energy of 3597 foot pounds. Just the right medicine for taking a moose down. Zeroed at 200 yards it will be 1.4 inches high at 100 yards and 6.4 inches low at 300 yards. And should I get that 400 yard shot, my holdover will be 18.5 inches.

    One other service I found helpful when dealing with Hawke Optics was their Ballistic Reticle Calculator(BRC) which is a free software package that will help you to choose the right ammunition for your gun and print a copy of the results. This program covers calibers from a 177 air rifle, up to a 300 Weatherby magnum and even will calculate the best crossbow bolt for your crossbow. To get the BRC go to their web at hawkeoptics, click on “Hawke BRC” and they will email it to you. And while you are there click on “NEW Reticle Information” and see how my L3 DOT IR looks when sighting in a bull elk in the field.

    PART II - THE HUNT

    Forty five years ago when I realized how much I enjoyed big game hunting I promised myself that someday I was going to go on a moose hunt. And two weeks ago my wish came true in Newfoundland at Sam’s Hunting and Fishing Camps; and I can honestly say it was the most exciting hunting adventures I have ever experienced.

    It was 2a.m. when I stepped off the plane in Deer Lake along with several other camo clad passengers and headed for the baggage claim conveyor. Now if you have ever traveled with a firearm on a hunting trip you know how good you feel when you see that gun case come out on the conveyor; and mine did. But my suitcase, with all my hunting clothes, boots and other accessories, didn’t. Now I had a real problem because in just 4 hours my outfitter Sam Caines was going to pick me up and take me to the helicopter that would fly me into St. Paul’s Big Pond; which was the only access to the camp.

    At the airline desk I completed the missing baggage claim form and explained the situation and asked how, when they found my bag, they would get it to me. They would have to send it to the outfitter who would then have it flown out to me at the camp. So when I climbed into that helicopter later that morning I was wearing my hunting clothes: jeans, Nike shoes, long sleeve cotton shirt, baseball cap and a photographer’s vest. Not exactly what I needed for the spot and stalk hunting in wet bogs in the wind and rain and temperatures in the low 40s.

    The helicopter ride was great and I got a chance to see just how beautiful the Newfoundland wilderness really is; and it was then that I felt the excitement of the upcoming hunt despite the knot in my stomach because of my lost luggage. I could not hunt like this and all I thought about was having to stay in camp for 7 days and not being able to hunt; something I waited a lifetime to do.

    After settling in, which did not take long for me, I got to meet the other three hunters: Oscar Primelles, my roommate from Florida; and Victor Chandler and Wayne Cleveland who were both from Nova Scotia. The staff included guides Hebbert, Sherman and Harrison Caines, Ralph House and Derrick Kelly our camp cook. Each hunter at Sam’s has his/her own guide. Ironically all had heard of my problem with the airlines and they all said “they would dress me.” Each one of them contributed to my hunting outfit and when I dressed for hunting on Monday morning the only piece of clothing I was wearing that was mine was my underwear; which by the way, I washed each evening and hung over the wood stove to dry.

    That evening before the hunt I felt lot better knowing I would be able to hunt comfortably and thoroughly enjoyed Derrick’s ham dinner with all the trimmings which we all found out was equally outstanding all week. And that included the home made bread, pies and cakes.

    MONDAY
    It rained all night and it was raining at 7 a.m. with 5-10 ph winds and temperatures in the mid - 30s when Sherman, my guide, and I along with Oscar and his guide Hebbert, all climbed into an 18 foot aluminum boat and headed for the other end of the pond. This “pond” by the way was the size of Saratoga Lake.

    Once on shore we all started up 12 STOP mountain which is the name I gave it because it required 12 rest stops where I would catch my breath before I reached the top. Sherman and I stayed on one side of the top while Oscar and Hebbert went over the top to the other side to set up. Each of the guides would call, using only their mouths, but nothing came in.

    By 9 a.m. the wind had picked up considerably and that combined with the heavy rains made sitting difficult; and at by 11:00 we were back in the boat and headed for camp. And when we got there Derrick’s homemade turkey vegetable soup was just what we all needed. No one that morning had seen a moose.

    The afternoon watch took us up another steep incline( 10 Stop mountain) and the bad weather conditions were the same. I remember reading that moose do not move much when it is rainy and windy and they didn’t this evening either. Victor and Ralph reported seeing two cow moose that evening but they were about 500 yards across the bog.

    TUESDAY
    Anticipation was high that morning despite the fact that conditions had actually gotten tougher and we had to wait about an hour for the fog to lift before we left camp. This time Sherman and I headed out behind the camp for an area they called the Waiting Rock stand. It was an 8 stops climb for me and we climbed into the 20 foot high tower. These towers are quite unique. They(guides) find four 10 - 12 inch trees that are in a square about 5 or 6 feet apart, trim the branches from the ground up, cut the tops off the trees, and build a platform blind enclosing the sides with canvas and with seats. It is quite comfortable but I found out that temperatures were a bit colder at this height. And at times the high winds would create horizontal rains which added to our discomfort. But that’s hunting. And again, by 10 a.m. we were headed back to camp without sighting a single moose.

    It was on this trip back to camp that I found out about what Newfoundlanders call a bog hole, and why they told me to always watch and duplicate where your guide steps; which I did on the first day. However on this day I got caught up in looking at the beautiful scenery and my right foot with the 18 inch high boot found its way into a 24 in hole full f water. I knew than that I was done hunting for the day. But as it turned out, because of the bad weather no one went out that afternoon.

    WEDNESDAY
    Finally Mother Nature turned off the water, reduced the wind and replaced them with chilly 34 degree temperatures. At daybreak Sherman and I headed back up for the Waiting Rock tower; but we never made it. The evening before Hebbert had told me that in the history of this camp Waiting Rock had produced at least 100 moose harvests and on this day I was about to make it 101.

    Several hundred yards from camp we stopped and Sherman made a few cow calls but got no response. Continuing up the hill we were just about 100 yards from the bog that the tower was located in when Sherman stopped, tapped his ear and pointed at the thick spruce off to our left. I heard the scraping and then saw those large palmated antlers thrashing the trees and brush about 80 yards from us. I think I froze momentarily in awe. It is one thing to watch something like this on the Outdoor Channel, but it is nothing like actually being there. Quickly and quietly I chambered a round and turned the Hawke scopes power down to 4. I don’t remember being nervous but I am sure I was.

    By watching the movement of the bushes and trees we could see the bull was heading parallel to us and hopefully he would cross a 15 foot opening about 50 yards from me. Sherman motioned me up a few yards where I set up on a small rise in the trail, got down on one knee, clicked off my safety and laid my cheek on the stock.

    All the time I could feel the chill running up and down my spine and my heart was pounding. To keep the bull headed in our direction Sherman cleverly turned his back on the bull and called again making it sound like this love sick cow was leaving. It worked.

    Not only did the bull step into the opening but he started to turn down the trail towards me. I don’t know remember my feelings or even pulling the trigger when that big bull was just 40 yards from me slowly tossing his head from side to side. I knew I had hit him, but I am not sure he knew. Shot number two got the reaction I was looking for and shot number three put him on the ground. It was then that I remember what the veteran hunters and guides in camp said; “ shoot until he is down.”

    My knees were a bit shaky when I stood up and so were my hands as Sherman and I waited a few minutes before moving cautiously toward the fallen bull. And when we were sure he was dead the high 5s, hoots, hugs and handshakes began. I don’t know exactly how many times I thanked Sherman, my 27 year old guide, for my first bull; and he thanked me also; because I was actually the first client he had guided.

    I believe I stood over my bull for at least 15 minutes just admiring his rack, head, swollen neck and shoulders. Everything about him was “BIG.”

    Now the real work was about to begin for Sherman. That big half ton at least animal had to be rolled over and not only field dressed but boned, quartered and carried out on a pack frame.

    Back in camp that afternoon after another long photo shoot Hebbert gave me my bulls statistics. He estimated that the bull weighed 1500 pounds, was 7-8 years old, had 22 measurable points, 13 inch palms, a 48 3/4 inch spread and the bases of his antlers measured 9 3/4 inches around.

    As for the other hunters in camp they too tagged out by the end of the week. My cabin roommate Oscar, shot a 10 point bull, called in by Hebbert, just about 550 yards from where I took my bull on the Waiting Rock watch. On the next morning, Thursday, Harrison called in a 3 point bull and a cow moose to Victor, who chose to shoot the cow. And at 9:10 a.m. on Saturday, the final day of hunting, I was in camp when Ralph called in to report he had called in a 4 point bull at the Waiting Rock tower, which Wayne dropped with just one shot at 158 yards. It was this 73 year old gentleman’s 10 th bull and his 10 th year of hunting with Sam. The first week of the 2009 moose hunt at St. Paul’s Big Pond was 100 percent successful. And I later found out that only one hunter in all three of Sam’s outpost camps had not taken a moose this week.

    If you have ever considered a moose hunt I highly recommend that you contact Sam’s Hunting and Fishing Camps(709-898-2535).



              BEHIND THE FENCE - IT IS FAIR GAME        

    BEHIND THE FENCE - ITS FAIR GAME

    Behind the fence hunts have been a controversial topic for many years and one of the primary targets of the anti-hunting organizations. And unfortunately they are also looked upon by some hunters and hunting organizations with disdain as well. I understand the objection by the anti’s but quite frankly I do not understand that of the hunters. But after talking with many of these hunters I have found that the majority of them do not totally understand exactly what takes place at these preserves and ranches. True, years ago there were fenced operations which literally offered and utilized unethical “boxed” hunts. But these places are, and have been gone for many years, and today’s hunting preserves offer a truly realistic and ethical hunt. And in this article that I will attempt to explain to the hunter, not the unreasonable anti-hunter, just what goes on “behind the fence” and how these hunting preserves serve a very important purpose, not only to the hunter; but the future of our hunting tradition as well.

    I think Ted Nugent summed it up perfectly in a recent Field & Stream interview when asked if high fence hunting degrades the heritage of American hunting and the rules of fair chase. Here is a recap of his answers. This is the Motor City Madman at his very best.

    There will always be whiners and small-minded squawkers who overreact base on assumption and other unidentifiable presumptuous notions. To their way of thinking in-line muzzleloaders, scopes, treestands, compound and crossbows, deer drives, etc. degrade our American hunting heritage and our reputation. They are so divisive and unsophisticated and I pray that they become educated.

    And when asked if he prefers to hunt in enclosures or in the wild he said, “I prefer to hunt, period, and shall more and more each year everyplace I possibly can. I am a hunter.”

    Now let’s look at some the truths about hunting these enclosures; first from my own experiences.

    Part of my job as an outdoor writer is to test, evaluate and report to the sportsmen/women on the latest new firearms, bows and even crossbows. These tests include extensive on the range accuracy and performance reviews and comparisons which I like to followed up by an actual hunting situation.

    Hunting with these new firearms and bows are usually not a problem in NYS but it is with the crossbow due to strict disable-only hunter regulations. However these regulations do not apply to hunting preserves in NYS and therefore I am able to hunt with the Horton Crossbow at a preserve just a short distance from my home.

    Actually my first harvest with a crossbow took place on a preserve. My choice of game - a 1700 pound bison that took me that I think covered almost every inch of the preserve and two full days of hunting before I was able to get clean kill shot. It was one of my greatest hunts that included some very anxious moments and a VERY dramatic and dangerous face to face encounter with a one ton herd bull who was not happy with my continued pursuit of him and his herd that I will never forget.

    It was at this same preserve that I met two hunters who were both hunting their first Russian wild boar. And it was from these average hunters that I really learned what these preserves really offered the everyday hunter.

    During dinner that evening at the lodge I asked them “why they chose a preserve to hunt.” Their answer was short and simple: time and money. “We just do not have the time nor the money to go out of state to hunt boar. We priced the wild boar hunts in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and the average costs would have been close to $2000; and that did not include transportation and taking a week off from work. Here it is just $500, we don’t need a license, we can pick our own season and it was just a 31/2 hour ride from our house.” Economics, convenience and the thrill of a good hunt - this is what any reputable preserve will offer you.

    Now I would like to ask one questions for those of you hunters who look down upon those who hunt behind the fence: “Who gets hurt ?” If a man or woman has the desire to shoot a trophy or exotic animal not native to the area, but cannot ever hope to afford it, should he/she be denied the opportunity or right to do it, as long as it is done legally, ethically and within the confines of a preserve? I agree that it may not be for everyone, but you should not judge the intentions of those that do.

    Fair chase is another term that often arises in conversations involving enclosure or behind the fence hunting. Boone and Crockett defines fair chase as the ethical, sportsmanlike and lawful pursuit and taking an any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals. Doesn’t hunting legally over bait, using a ground blind or treestand, using a rifle scope, etc. also give the hunter an advantage?

    In the past twenty years I have hunted in a number of preserves and do not consider myself any less of a hunter. I know that I would have probably never been able to afford or experience the thrills and excitement of hunting 9 wild boar, 2 fallow and sika deer, stags, bison, rams and 2 wild crossbow turkeys. And I can honestly say that my most memorable hunt took place last year behind a fence where I shot a magnificent bull elk. Let me share this elk hunt with you.


    THE HUNT
    It was well before sunup when I met Dan Jennings, the manager of the Easton View Outfitters, a private preserve located in the Washington County town of Easton, New York. Dan was going to be my guide for my elk hunt and I must admit I was pumped. Joining me was Tim Blodgett, host of the local All Outdoors radio show, who would be taping the play-by-play of the hunt. He would also be doubling as my camera man.

    The game plan was to circle the preserve and come in through the heavily wooded topside of the mountain and work our way down. Dan expected the elk would be bedded down in the valley, fields and swamp below us.

    I remember standing on a ledge whispering how excited I was about the hunt and describing how pretty the sun was as it started to peek through the pines into Tim’s tape recorder when we heard our first unsolicited bugle. A bull elk bugling in New York State - it gave me the chills followed shortly thereafter by a real adrenaline rush. I don’t think I have felt this way since the first time I sighted in on a whitetail buck.

    Quickly Dan had us moving down the steep slopes to a blow down about 200 yards below us. Once in place Dan hadn’t even finished his first call when the bull responded. And each call he made the bull answered; but he didn’t seem to be getting any closer. Then out of nowhere, there about 100 yards below was a young spike bull headed right for us. At one point he was less than 10 yards from where I was sitting.

    For the next hour I had no less that four other bull elk in my scope at distances from 10 to 100yards; one of which was a beautiful 5 by 5 that had Dan given me the word, I would have ended my hunt right then. But he said, “Not that one; we can do better.” Easy for him to say, but I trusted his judgement and relaxed.

    Another hour and a half of calling got distance responses but they just didn’t seem to get any closer to us. Perhaps the bull already had his harem of cows and did not want to leave them. And when he stopped responding to the calls and we sat in silence for another 45 minutes I was beginning to get that, “I should have taken the 5 by 5 feeling.” But that ill-feeling quickly departed when Dan nudge me and smilingly whispered: “There’s your bull; get ready.”

    There just 200 yards below was a beautiful 6 by 6 bull elk raking his huge rack on several small scrub pines. Now he was talking again and each call Dan made was answered with a spine chilling response and he was coming closer. It was awesome to watch the bull as he lowered his head and responded to Dan’s love-sick cow calls.

    It took several deep breaths to settle my nerves and at about 75 yards I slowly raised the old Marlin 336SC towards him and placed the crosshairs of my scope on his massive body, following him as he moved through the heavy cover.

    Each step brought him closer but there was really only one opening between two pines where I could get a clear shot; hopefully he would walk through it. He was about 50 yards slightly quartering away when I place the crosshairs just behind his front shoulder and unleashed the 200 grain Hornady LEVERevolution 200 grain FTX bullet.

    Immediately I saw the fur fly through my scope and watched him stumble and fall; and all I could think of was “what a bull.” I guess I must have repeated it out loud because both Dan and Tim echoed their agreement. I just sat there staring at him when I heard Dan say we may have a little problem. About 100 yards below my fallen trophy was a huge 7 by 7 and he was headed towards the downed bull at a very quick pace.

    He ignored our shouts and charged right in, head down and rammed my bull actually moving him along the ground several yards. Obviously these two must have had previous confrontations. It wasn’t really until Dan continued to shout and threw a few rocks and branches at him that he finally backed off. There was one moment however when he turned and faced us shaking his head from side to side, that I thought he was going to charge, but he didn’t, and finally we watched him disappear into the edge of the swamp.

    High - 5s and photos were all a part of the after the hunt celebration as was the interview Tim taped of my feelings.
    Absolutely the best hunt that I have ever had and it all occurred within 30 miles of my home.

    But it wasn’t really until I stood over my bull that I fully appreciated what I had just accomplished - he was huge. The tale of the tape and scale revealed just how magnificent he really was. He tipped the scale at 807 pounds and his antlers measured: 40 inch wide spread, 41 inch main beams, with 9 inch bases. In terms of record book score I never did get an official score but I do know that he scored “number one” in my book; and always will.

    For information on Easton View Outfitters go to: eastonviewoutfitters.com or check out their ad in this issue of Outdoors Magazine. And by the way, that 7 by 7 is still there and a year older.
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    Stately trees, interesting architecture and friendly neighbors characterize North Side’s historic neighborhoods.
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              MY RAD WORLD: Sarah        

    Becoming a theatre major was never—and I mean never—a part of my grand, college plan. Searching for some type of program at Northeastern to feed my interest in all things…

    The post MY RAD WORLD: Sarah appeared first on CollegeFashionista.


              Ä°ngiltere kadrosu: Nathan Hughes ve dışarı Danny Cipriani ve Chris Ashton        
    Yaban arısı Fiji doğumlu geri hat bets10 ileri Nathan Hughes bu ay bir sezon öncesi kamp için geçici 45 kişilik Ä°ngiltere elit oyuncu kadrosuna seçildi. Hughes bu yaz ikamet üzerinde nitelikli ve baş antrenörü Eddie Jones altında ilk kez sunuyor. Jones tarafından yılın başlarında gözden oldu Leicester fahişe Tom Gençler, set-up ünvanı verildi. Ama Northampton […]
              How I Created a Genealogy Timeline To Show My Grandfather's Life        
    My grandfather Joe moved around a lot during his lifetime: Texas, North Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, back to Texas, elsewhere in Texas, Ohio, more places in Texas, various Ohio cities, South Dakota, Ohio again. 

    Timelines organize an ancestor's or a family's family tree data—dates, places of residence, jobs, historical events, children's births—in an orderly fashion. I love them.

    So when I was making a photo book about my grandfather as a Christmas present for my dad, I thought a timeline was just the thing to help summarize all those migrations. Matching up the timeline with a map of all the places would be even better.

    My Grandfather's Migration Timeline
    Here's the timeline and map I came up with:



    The right-hand page lists each place Joe lived, with dates and details about what he did in that place. The information comes from my research in censuses, city directories, newspapers and other genealogy records. I'm lucky to have copies of a job application my grandpa filled out with his work history.



    Looking at it now, I can see some things I'd change. But overall, I'm pleased with it.

    For the map, I first tried customizing a Google map using free numbered place markers downloaded from here (Google's marker options don't include numbers). To create your own Google maps timeline, add a generic place marker to the map, click the paint can to edit the marker style, choose More Icons, then Custom Icon, and select the marker image file from your computer. You'll need a Google account to save the map.

    I didn't love the result for my photo book, though, so I imported a map image into desktop publishing software I have access to through work, and added numbered place markers I created myself. Then I exported the file as a JPG to use in the photo book. 



    I know a few tricks, but I'm not a graphic designer, so there's probably an easier and more artful way to go about making the map.

    Using Timelines in Your Genealogy Research
    Timelines are among your best genealogy tools. In addition to helping you easily share genealogical information, they let you: 
    • get an overview of a person or family in historical context

    • sort out a confusing jumble of information you've found in records

    • spot problems (why was Great-grandpa here and Great-grandma over there?)

    • note periods of missing information

    • brainstorm answers to research questions, such as why a relative immigrated or where your great-grandparents met
    Our new independent study online course Using Timelines in Your Genealogy helps you take advantage of all these genealogy benefits of timelines.

    It'll show you how to use timelines to understand your ancestors' lives and solve research problems, and how to create a timeline by hand or using websites such as Twile and Treelines. Best of all, you can take this independent study course at your own pace and download the videos and research guides to keep.

    See all the details for our Using Timelines in Your Genealogy course and register at FamilyTreeUniversity.com.

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              Merlin confirmed nesting in Illinois for the first time!        
    BirdsMerlin by John Picken

    Merlin. Photo Â© John Picken / www.picken.com

    Last week, the Field Museum Bird Collection received a batch of specimens from Willowbrook Wildlife Center, a wildlife rehabilitation facility in the Chicago suburbs that has been a long-time partner of ours. Not every animal that enters the rehab facility survives, and when they don't, they end up as research specimens at the Field Museum. Among the specimens was a hatchling raptor that was picked up alive, but underweight and in poor health, by Willowbrook volunteer Hans Lim on July 22 in Mt. Prospect, in northwest Cook County. Despite Willowbrook's efforts, the bird didn't survive. The bird was so young that it still had some of its natal down and its primaries were not fully grown, indicating that it couldn't fly, or at least couldn't fly far. The bird, understandably, was originally thought to be a Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus), a local and uncommon breeding species in northeast Illinois, but not unheard of. It's a species that we infrequently add to the collection, averaging fewer than one per year from Illinois over the last decade (almost all of which came to us from Willowbrook). Even rarer is getting such a young bird, even though all birds, raptors included, have high rates of mortality in their first year of life.

    merlin_chick_img_1762_hanslim.jpg

    Merlin chick in Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    This Merlin chick seemed to have fallen out of nest. It was in poor health and was taken to Willowbrook Wildlife Center, but it didn't survive. It represents the first nesting record for the state of Illinois. Photo by Hans Lim.

    Because of the specimen's rarity, we prioritized it for preparation. As I walked through the prep lab on Wednesday, I saw it sitting out, waiting for Tom Gnoske to prepare it as a study skin. But it immediately struck me as off for a Broad-winged Hawk. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a Merlin!

    Merlin (Falco columbarius) is a small falcon that typically breeds in the boreal forests well to our north and has never before been confirmed nesting in Illinois. However, they have been seen a few times in summer in the state in recent years and they've been expanding their breeding range south in recent decades. Over that same period of time, much like Cooper's Hawk and Peregrine Falcon, they have been adapting to urban landscapes. Many birders predicted that it wouldn't be long before Merlins were confirmed breeding in Illinois, and it has finally happened. In the 2013 volume of the Illinois state ornithological journal, Meadowlark, Steven D. Bailey discussed this very scenario:

    One species that appears to have Illinois in its crosshairs for expanding its breeding range southward is the boreal-nesting Merlin...This year [2012], two Merlins were well-documented with photos, both in July, and one as far south as central Illinois. As I write this, a female and two juvenile Merlins have been discovered at Pokogan State Park in Indiana near its border with Michigan, likely representing that state’s first nesting record. Merlins showed the largest increase in population in a recent study group of boreal-nesting bird species (Niven et al. 2004), and the species has made a fairly rapid movement into urban and suburban city breeding locales over a large part of their range relatively recently (Warkentin et al. 2005), including agricultural and urban areas of nearby Wisconsin (Cutright et al. 2006). In Ontario, Canada, only one urban nesting Merlin was found during their first breeding bird atlas project in 1986, but by the time their next atlas project was completed in 2006, the Merlin had become the most common breeding raptor in some Ontario cities, including Ottawa (Cadman et al. 2007). Illinois birders should be on the lookout for nesting Merlins in the years to come. They don’t build their own nests but often choose old American Crow (and so also likely old Cooper’s Hawk nests), often near water, especially wetlands.

    Merlins have become more common in winter in Illinois, as well, and no doubt they will be found nesting again in our state. In Massachusetts, for example, Merlin was first found nesting in 2008, and has since become a regular breeding species there. In the case of the Mt. Prospect nest, just one young bird was found on the ground. Given that the average number of chicks per nest is 3.5-4 (Sodhi et al. 2005), we can hope its siblings survived and will come back to breed in the area next year. 

    merlin_crop_img_3678_engel.jpg

    Merlin chick in the prep lab
    The Merlin chick in the Field Museum's prep lab, before being prepared as a research specimen. In the photo you can see the remaining fluffy white natal feathers as well as the partially-grown primaries. Photo by Josh Engel.

    Thanks to Hans Lim for providing photos of the bird and details about the circumstances around picking it up, Ron Skleney for providing additional details, and John Picken for providing the banner image. 

    Literature cited

    Bailey, S.D. 2013. Field Notes: The 2012 Breeding Season. Meadowlark: A Journal of Illinois Birds. 22: 9-44. 

    Cadman, M.D., D.A.Sutherland, G.G. Beck, D. LePage, and A.R. Couturier (eds.). 2007. Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario, 2001-2005. Toronto: Birds Studies Canada et al. 706 pp. 

    Cutright, N.J., B.R. Harriman, and R.W. Howe (eds.). 2006. Atlas of the breeding birds of Wisconsin. Madison: Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. 602 pp.

    Niven, D.K., J.R. Sauer, G.S. Butcher, and W.A. Link. 2004. Christmas Bird Count provides insights into population chance in land birds that breed in the boreal forest. American Birds. 58: 10-20. 

    Warkentin, I.G., N.S. Sodhi, R.H.M. Espie, A.F. Poole, L.W. Oliphant, and P.C. James. 2005. Merlin (Falco columbarius). The Birds of North America (P.R. Rodewald, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from The Birds of North America: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/merlin/ DOI: 10.2173/bna.44

     

     

     


              Of Ivory Gulls and Parasites        
    BirdsIvory Gull by Nathan Goldberg

    Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) photo by Nathan Goldberg.

    On the morning of January 7, I received a phone call from our former intern Nathan Goldberg, currently a student at Cornell University, who was birding in northeast Minnesota. "I just found a roadkill Spruce Grouse, do you guys want it?" That was an easy question: "Of course we do," I replied. Spruce Grouse is a bird of the North Woods, far from Chicago, so this was an excellent opportunity to get a fresh specimen of a species that rarely comes into the collection. Plus we have all of the necessary permits to receive specimens from Minnesota.

    That was just the beginning of the story. One of the main reasons Nathan was in that area, along with dozens of other birders, was to see the rare Ivory Gull that showed up a week earlier on the Duluth lakefront and was being seen daily.

    Not long after his phone call, I saw a distressing message on Facebook--an Ivory Gull had been found dead, mostly eaten by a mammal, just across the border in Wisconsin. Only the head and wings remained. Laura Erickson, a birder who lives in Duluth, went out and salvaged what was left of the specimen after learning of the bird's demise. As is the norm these days, all of this was known in real-time thanks to social media.  Nathan then contacted Laura to ask if, while he was at it, he could take the Ivory Gull remains to the Field Museum along with the Spruce Grouse that was already in his trunk. She agreed. In the meantime, a living, breathing Ivory Gull was seen again in Duluth! (I highly recommend reading Laura’s account of the remarkable situation). Late the following night, Nathan, knowing that his mother wouldn't approve of a big bag of dead birds in her freezer, stopped by my apartment on his way home from Minnesota to drop off the specimens.

    nathan_ruffling_img_4212.jpg

    Nathan Goldberg ruffling
    Nathan Goldberg and I examine the Ivory Gull specimen for ectoparasites. Photo by Lynne Remington.

    As an intern at the Museum, Nathan had worked with Jason Weckstein, a former staff scientist whose research focuses on birds and their associated parasites. Not wanting to miss an opportunity for further study, Nathan asked that we wait a week to prepare the specimens so he could come in to the museum and examine them himself for lice. That wasn't a problem, and we both knew Jason would be thrilled to receive anything that he found. 

    The following week Nathan came to the museum to do just this. We had pulled the birds out of one of the Bird Collection’s many freezers that morning, so they were thawed and ready to be "ruffled," the term for rummaging through a bird’s plumage to collect its ectoparasites: lice, mites, fleas, and ticks in particular. We find ectos, as we call them, on roughly 50% of the birds we check; today, however, the success rate was 100%. Nathan found lice on both the Ivory Gull and the Spruce Grouse as well as a mite on the gull. It's entirely possible that some of the parasites represent new species. We checked the “Bird Louse Bible,” and it turns out that several louse species have been found on Ivory Gulls—the first was described way back in 1780! Just one species is known from Spruce Grouse.

    ivgu_louse.jpg

    The Ivory Gull's louse, in the genus Quadraceps. Photo by Nathan Goldberg.

    Tom Gnoske, our Assistant Collections Manager, then prepared both birds as specimens. The Ivory Gull specimen consists of one wing, the head feathering, the skull, plus additional feathers. The Spruce Grouse was prepared as a study skin, with a partial skeleton saved as well. As we do for every specimen that comes through the prep lab, tissue samples were saved from both birds to preserve their DNA. A quick search of VertNet, the online database of museum bird collections, shows that the Ivory Gull tissue sample may be only the second one in a museum collection. 

    Ivory Gull is a rare bird, making this a unique opportunity to study its parasite fauna and collect a tissue sample that can be used for genetic studies in the future. It is classified as Near-threatened by BirdLife International because it “has declined rapidly in part of its range,” indeed by as much as 80% in Canada over the last thirty years. Part of the problem may be mercury poisoning, which increased in their systems by 45 times in 130 years. Whether or not this is related to birds showing up so far out of range is yet to be studied. But thanks to the quick work of birders and the wonders of social media, when it is studied there is no doubt that this specimen will be used.

    ivory_gull_specimen_img_2514.jpg

    Ivory Gull and Spruce Grouse specimens
    The prepared specimens: the Ivory Gull's wing and head feathers, along with the Spruce Grouse and a Least Bittern.

     


              With an emphasis on culture, a new kind of nature trail emerges along Chicago’s south lakefront        
    Environment & Conservation

    North of the Margaret Burroughs Beach, a Caracol-inspired gathering space with a Mesoamerican hop scotch game is be part of a new trail in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor. This is one of five sites installed in by teams of artists and community-based organizations whose designs are inspired both by local ecology, as well as the heritage of communities adjacent to the south lakefront.

    Moving along the trail, just past the 31st Harbor, an intertwined monarch butterfly sculpture crowns a hill, this design will be circled with common milkweed. West of Lake Shore Drive on 31st Street, south on the trail, a Scholar's rock sits in a grove of mature oak trees; have a seat and imagine the sounds of traffic as waves from an ocean, urban nature at its best. Crossing 39th street/Oakwood, on the west side of Lake Shore Drive, designed for growth every year, sculpted willow branches take organic shapes. The woodchip trail continues, a fallen tree hugs a bird sculpture born from the Sankofa symbol, a soulful reflection on nature.

    The Gathering Spaces, part of the Roots & Routes Initiative, were curated by a volunteer committee comprised of arts professionals and community leaders. 

    Caracol Opening

    Caracol, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Roots & Routes, Habitat Restoration, Pilsen, Contratiempo, Chicago, Lakefront
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum


    1. Caracol

    Lead artists:  Georgina Valverde, Diana Solis, Jose Terrazas

    Non-profit partner:  contratiempo (Pilsen) – preserves and highlights the cultural identity and contributions of the Spanish-speaking

    Latino population in the United States.

    Description:  Drawing on rich connections from the natural world and cultural symbolism, Caracol (“snail” and “shell” in Spanish) represents the immigrant's desire to belong while maintaining the core of memory and identity. Snails perform a critical role in the food chain, breaking down plant matter and aiding in the nutrification of the soil. Likewise, immigrants economic and cultural contributions enrich and revitalize the host society. Caracol´spiral-shaped structure suggests ongoing movement from the core to a widening exterior—from the familiar to the unknown.  The installation includes a table that can function as a work or picnic table, and as a painting surface for a series of murals featuring the interplay of language and images, a stage, and a hopscotch game that uses Mesoamerican numbers.

     

    La Ronda Parakata

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, La Ronda Parakata
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    2. La Ronda Parakata

    Lead artists:  Hector DuarteAlfonso “Piloto” Nieves

    Non-profit partner:  Casa Michoacán (Pilsen) – promotes cultural, social, and sporting activities between the Mexican and immigrant Michoacán community, with a transnational vision.

    Description:  This project is a circular sculpture inspired by the magic symbolism of the butterfly, harmony with nature, and migration.  It is demarcated by a delicate sculptural ring or “ronda” of interlocking butterfly forms. The center of the space features native plants and cement blocks that are being repurposed as rustic seating.

     

    Set in Stone

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Set in Stone
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    3. Set in Stone

    Lead artists:  Andy Bellomo, Anna Murphy

    Non-profit partner:  Chinese-American Museum of Chicago (Chinatown) -- promotes the culture and history of Chinese-Americans in the Midwest through exhibitions, education and research.

    Description:  This project is an interpretation of a traditional Chinese “scholar’s rock” by sculpting, molding and fabricating a sculpture that emulates the magnificence felt through viewing these rocks. The scholar’s rock sculpture is placed at the center of a tranquil rock garden with hand-carved log benches for viewing/contemplation.

     

    Sounding Bronzeville

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Sounding Bronzeville
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    4. Sounding Bronzeville

    Lead artists:  Fo Wilson, Norman Teague

    Non-profit partner:  Bronzeville Community Development Partnership (Bronzeville) -- focuses on information technology, heritage tourism, hospitality workforce development and training, preservation and sustainability in Bronzeville.

    Description:  This site includes several organic, amorphous sculptural forms that rise from the ground in different heights and shapes, covered with native plant material. Some of these forms serve as seating, and some have “sound ports” or “nesting ports.” These openings allow for visibility through the forms as well as opportunities for specific audial experiences between people. This piece commemorates and remembers the strength and resilience of thousands of African-Americans who made the journey from the South seeking better opportunities North with 100 years of the Great Migration.

    Architects: Monica Chadha and Mike Newman; Landscape Architects Nilay Mistry and Nathan Wright; Willow Furniture Maker and Consultant Dave Chapman

     

    Sankofa for the Earth

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Sankofa for the Earth
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    5. Sankofa for the Earth

    Lead artists:  Arlene Turner Crawford, Dorian Sylvain, Raymond A. Thomas

    Non-profit partner:  South Side Community Art Center (Bronzeville) -- preserves, conserves and promotes the legacy and future of African American art and artists, while educating the community on the value of art and culture.

    Description:  This project features a “Sankofa” bird made from mixed-media and recycled materials. In Africa, a bird looking backwards over its tail represents the Sankofa symbol, which means “go back and fetch it.” It is an understanding that our past(s) holds important information to move us forward in life. There is a mosaic on the exterior of the bird and mural on the interior representing Bronzeville history. QR codes are integrated into the mural design to allow visitors with smartphones, to access sites with information about the images included in the mural, as well as, information on Bronzeville, the Chicago Park District and the Field Museum.

     

    How to get to the Gathering Spaces: 

    Gathering Spaces Map


              Post-storm Northerly Island update        
    BirdsStorm damage Northerly Island

    Storm debris, broken fence, closed path, and erosion under the east trail at Northerly Island. 

    Northerly Island, the Museum Campus park that occupies the peninsula where small planes once took off from Meigs Field, was re-opened last fall after a two-year, $9.7 million renovation project. I wrote a review of it at the time. One of my concerns that I wrote about was a last-minute modification to the plans: due to storm damage that occurred during the construction, a large wall of rip-rap was added to the lakeshore in an attempt to protect the park from future storm damage. While perhaps important from a structural perspective, the wall had the unfortunate effect of blocking off visitors' views of the lake as they enjoyed the wide path around the newly constructed lagoon. 

    A major storm system passed through Chicago on December 28, bringing with it howling east winds, which in turn created huge waves that pounded the lakeshore. Lake Shore Drive flooded and much of the lakefront bike path was closed. Two days later, it was announced that the east (lakeside) trail at Northerly Island would be closed for the remainder of the winter, because "high wave events have been eroding the trail and is [sic] tossing rocks along the trail." Curious, I headed over there to take some photos and see the damage for myself. I was especially interested to see if the rip-rap wall succeeded in limiting damage to the areas it was built to protect and to see how much disturbance there was to the fragile vegetation. While the damage to the trail and vegetation was less in areas where the rip-rap wall was, even that couldn't fully contain the enormous waves, which knocked down a long stretch of adjacent fence. 

    img_2678.jpg

    Storm damage Northerly Island
    With the Chicago skyline in the background, you can see the rocks and gravel strewn about the recently planted grasslands. The trail is also covered with debris. This area was not protected by the wall of rip-rap along the shore. 

    img_2673.jpg

    Storm damage Northerly Island
    This area has been planted with native grasses during the renovations, but all that was covered by gravel and stone in the storms. 

    img_2671.jpg

    Storm damage Northerly Island
    A view of the east trail looking south, where it is covered in stones, gravel, and storm debris. The fence is damaged in places as well.

    img_2675.jpg

    Storm damage Northerly Island
    Storm debris, broken fence, closed path, and erosion under the east trail at Northerly Island. 

    img_2674.jpg

    Storm damage Northerly Island
    Water washing over the rip-rap wall knocked down the path-enclosing fence in some places.

    img_2676.jpg

    Storm damage Northerly Island
    This photo shows the knocked-down fence and extensive erosion under the trail on the east side of the lagoon. The soil underneath the path was already eroding quite severely before the storms; the park district had put down the rocks seen here to try to prevent further erosion. It didn't work in the face of the big storms that passed through on December 28. 

    img_2677.jpg

    Storm damage Northerly Island
    The fence was knocked down and sand and rocks covered the recently planted vegetation along parts of the east side of the lagoon.

    map2.jpg

    Storm damage Northerly Island map


              Northerly Island reopens!        
    Birds

    It's been a long time coming: after more than two years of construction, this morning Northerly Island officially reopened. Although not "officially" open until 10am, many people were out early this morning enjoying the new paved walkway that loops through the southern 40 acres of the park. I was one of those people, hoping for some interesting migrants and checking out the site's birding potential. 

    Every bit of open space on the lakefront is important for the birds themselves as a place to rest and refuel, and Northerly Island's location--jutting out into the lake--makes it an especially important site. According to eBird, no fewer than 241 species have been reported there. It has been particularly good for grassland migrants, birds like Nelson's and Le Conte's Sparrows, Bobolink, Sedge Wren, and Short-eared Owl. It's also attracted some great rarities over the years, most recently Brewer's Sparrow and Sage Thrasher. But what does the future hold for birding here?

    This morning was very quiet, with virtually no migrants. That's not an indictment of the habitat, however; it just wasn't a good day for migrants. In fact, the new Northerly Island has the potential to be just as good, if not better, as a birding destination than it was previously. The southern forty acres, where the construction took place and where most birders will focus their efforts, is primarily made up of two habitats--grasslands and pond. The grasslands (which lie on small hills) will undoubtedly attract good numbers of sparrows and other grassland migrants, just as the old Northerly did, but it may take some time until the vegetation has matured enough for the birds to arrive. The vegetation is still sparse in some places, however, and even this morning there were contractors out spraying invasive species. There are also plans to add 400 trees and 12,000 shrubs by 2017, which should enhance the habitat and make it attractive to a greater diversity of migrating birds. 

    The pond--which this morning had a couple of cormorants, small groups of Mallards and Canada Geese, and a Great Blue Heron--is particularly intriguing. The edges are lined with wetland vegetation, and although the water levels are currently too high for shorebirds, I can imagine large shorebirds, interesting waterfowl, or even an ibis dropping in at some point. They'd have to be tolerant of people to stick around for long, however, given how close the paved trail is to much of the pond. The edges of the pond could attract rails, Marsh Wrens, and other migrants that like wetter grasslands, so long as that vegetation doesn't get trampled by fishermen and others wanting to get close to the water. 

    img_1638.jpg

    A panoramic view of the Northerly Island pond, looking west. 

    The biggest downside of the new development is the fact that from most of the path, you can see neither Lake Michigan nor Burnham Harbor. One of the great things about the old Northerly was the expansive view of the lake, so that while tromping through the grasslands for sparrows you could also be watching for migrating ducks, shorebirds, and terns flying over the lake (not to mention the lake is simply nice to look at!). Now you will have to climb up on the rip-rap for a view of the lake. The once-expansive views of the sky are also more limited now due to the addition of hills, so watching for migrants coming from the north will be a little more difficult. 

    As of now, there is fence lining the entire trail, understandably preventing access to the grasslands and pond edge while the vegetation takes hold. It also prevents access to the lakeshore rip-rap and the west side of the park, preventing views of the harbor. You can get good views of the pond, which will be worth keeping an eye on this fall, even if the fence will make birding difficult otherwise.  The northern half of the island remains open and is still worth checking, too, especially the east side with its weedy vegetation, shrubs, and cottonwoods. It will be some time--years even--until the full birding potential of the new Northerly Island is realized, but in the meantime the birding will be good and I plan on checking it regularly. 

    sedge_wren_northerly_engel.jpg

    Northerly Island is best known among birders for its grassland migrants, like this Sedge Wren. I took this photo at Northerly Island in September 2012.


              History and birds come together: "Spring Migration Notes" from 1920 and its famous authors        
    Birds

    This little booklet has so much history, it's hard to know even where to begin. Let's start with the fact that the first author, James D. Watson, is the father of one of the most famous scientists of the 20th century, also named James D. Watson, who along with Francis Crick is credited with the discovery of the structure of DNA. But that's the least of it. The third author is even more intriguing. A budding young ornithologist, just 15 years old at the time the booklet was published, Nathan Leopold would spend the bulk of his adult life in prison for the murder of Bobby Franks, one of the most famous crimes of the 20th century.

    The Field Museum's copy of Spring Migration Notes of The Chicago Area, published in 1920, is now stored in the Mary W. Runnells Rare Book Room. Because of its historical value, it was recently added to the Biodiversity Heritage Library, including the type-written, hand-signed letter on page 4 from young Nathan Leopold to Ruthven Deane, a leading ornithologist of his time and a resident of Chicago, who eventually donated part of his collection of specimens to the Field Museum (as Leopold did when he went to jail). The cover of this copy even says "Compliments of the authors," presumably written by Leopold.

    springmigrationn00wats_0005.jpg

    The typed, hand-signed letter, from Nathan Leopold to Ruthven Deane, that can be found in the booklet.

    Then there's the actual information that the booklet contains, a priceless indication of what the birdlife of Chicago was like in the early part of the 20th century. At the time, many wetland birds that are now rare or altogether gone as breeding birds were still common, an indication of the destruction of wetlands in the Chicago area over the last century.  This includes birds like Black Tern (about which the authors say "Breeds commonly"), King Rail ("Common summer resident"), and Wilson's Phalarope ("Nests in the Calumet region"). On the other hand, grassland birds were already declining, with many formerly common birds becoming rare. For example, Greater Prairie-Chicken was "A formerly abundant permanent resident; now rather rare," Northern Bobwhite was "A formerly very common permanent resident, but now rather rare," and Loggerhead Shrike, which then was known as Migrant Shrike, was a "Fairly common summer resident." These days you have to go hundreds of miles from Chicago to find Loggerhead Shrike or a prairie-chicken.

    There's a lot of interesting information in the booklet, including spring arrival dates for every species each year from 1913-1920. I also love the English name the authors use for the bird we now call Snow Bunting (see page 11, bird number 534).

    Special thanks to Field Museum Librarian Christine Giannoni for getting this wonderful document scanned.

     

     


              Vinyl Black and White Wooden Ruler Growth Chart by KimsSister        

    Sold

    For the contemporary home, a digital reproduction of an old black and white wooden ruler (found at the Brimfield Fair in Massachusetts), made into a full-size growth chart, printed on vinyl and backed with cotton muslin. A simple and permanent way to keep track of your family's growth that can be hung in any room (not just the kids' rooms) and moves with you!

    I recommend using a brown ultrafine Sharpie-type felt pen to mark heights on the chart as it gives the illusion of having been carved into the wood (but black works just as well). If you are buying this for older children, your doctor should have records of the children's heights from year one!

    Please note the colour in the photos does not show true on the screen -- the colour is more of an off-white with hints of greys and a green-beige as seen in the last photo.

    Printed on vinyl and backed with cotton muslin.

    Comes ready to hang. 78" high by 7 1/2" wide.

    Rolled into a cylinder for easy shipping. Please allow at least 2-3 weeks from date of mailing (about 10-15 working days). For rush orders, or for orders outside North America, please convo me for prices.

    Printed and made in Canada in a smoke-free home.


              Allied Universal turns 1        
    08/02/2017

    Allied Universal, a leading facility services company and one of the largest security forces in North America, marked its one-year anniversary this week after forming a year ago via the merger of AlliedBarton Security Services and Universal Services of America.

    In the announcement, Steve Jones, Allied Universal CEO, thanked all of the company’s 150,000 employees and its clients “for their continued support and commitment that contributed to a phenomenal first year as our new company! I look forward to our continued success in the security and services industries."

    Over the past year the company has made several acquisitions, as it continues to transform to a full-service security company, moving beyond the manguarding services the it has been known for.

    Jones told Security Systems News, after the company’s most recent acquisition of ALERT Protective Services in May, that the company continues to look at acquisitions as a way to diversify its offerings.

    “We’ve got a pretty robust pipeline of deals that we are looking at—some in the technology space and some in the traditional manguarding space—and we hope to announce a few more before the year is over that will help us to diversify our company and bring more value to our clients.”

    In the press release announcing the one-year milestone, the company outlined some additional organizational achievements since the merger:

    •    Became the unequivocal leader in guarding services throughout North America. Our security professionals and our company play a major role in keeping the U.S. and Canada safe and secure.

    •    Provided service to over half of the Fortune 500 companies and nearly every major retail mall in the U.S. From healthcare facilities, commercial office buildings, manufacturing and industrial plants, residential communities, transportation facilities and government services, Allied Universal has a significant security presence.

    •    Managed the integration of a workforce of over 150,000 security professionals to perform our jobs on a daily basis and serve our growing customer base.

    •    Implemented a world-class training program, the AU Institute, which offers over 1,000 training assets and professional development programs to enhance our security professionals' delivery of service and protection.

    •    Introduced several technological innovations to expand our physical and operational security solutions and service offerings to enhance the protection of client properties and assets.

     


              ross lake. north cascades. washington. Dorsey Father Son fishing trip. by Tanner Wendell Stewart        


    ross lake. north cascades. washington. Dorsey Father Son fishing trip. by Tanner Wendell Stewart


    Processed with VSCO with m5 preset


    Tanner Wendell Stewart: Photos


              [Article] Air-Sealing Tips for Efficiency That Lasts // Part 1: Start on the Drawing Board        
    We founded 475 High Performance Building Supply with one primary goal: being a resource for professionals in North America who want to build airtight. Over the years we’ve worked with everyone from tiny-house enthusiasts in Southern California to the firms building the world’s largest Passive House in New York, and we’ve learned endless lessons on how to integrate strategies for long-lasting airtightness. The bulk of what we’ve learned is applicable to all buildings, regardless of size, shape, use, or type. Thanks to a deepening understanding of its value, and to advances in the ...
              Karl S 614 Farmhouse Ale 22oz        
    Karl Strauss 614 Taylor Guitars Series

    Karl Strauss 614 Taylor Guitars Series

    TAYLOR GUITARS and Karl Strauss have teamed up to create a beer that celebrates the best of both of our industries. INSPIRED BY A TRIP TO THE SKAGIT VALLEY in the Pacific Northwest—an environmentally forward-thinking community known for its..

    Price: $12.99


              Life in Motion        

    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/BlackRabbitCoder/archive/2015/09/17/life-in-motion.aspx

    Just as an update.  We've recently moved back to the Pacific Northwest and have been mostly busy after work with unpacking and getting the house in order.  More Little Wonders and Little Puzzlers are on the way, though!

              Goldman: Financial markets counting on 'diplomatic outcome' to North Korea threat        
    When it comes to rising tensions around North Korea, Goldman Sachs said markets eventually expect talks rather than militaristic conflict.
              Trump: Maybe 'fire and fury' statement on North Korea wasn't tough enough        
    President Donald Trump suggested his warning of bringing "fire and fury" to North Korea may not have been tough enough.
              US-North Korea standoff could spark economic war with China        
    The rising tension between the U.S. and North Korea has raised prospects of an economic confrontation between the U.S. and China.
              Ray Dalio, manager of the world's largest hedge fund, says buy gold on rising North Korea risk        
    Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio says in a LinkedIn blog post market "risks are now rising" and recommends gold.
              How Ronald Reagan would have dealt with North Korea        
    Ronald Reagan left us the perfect road map for defeating North Korea, says Jake Novak.
              North Korea's missile threat to Guam crafted for 'maximum drama,' says former CIA analyst        
    There doesn't appear to be any military mobilization in North Korea, hinting at preparations for war, experts say.
              No, North Korea (probably) won’t nuke the US territory of Guam        
    Despite the bluster, Kim-Jong-un’s North Korea is unlikely to want war. It’s time to treat the country like a nuclear power and resume diplomatic talks
              England’s dire north-south health gap is a scandal that must end        
    The north-south divide in England needs fixing or the country risks more despair, premature death and political earthquakes, says James Bloodworth
              North Korea isn’t bluffing, the nuclear threat to the US is real        
    Kim Jong-un’s unusual celebrations following a missile test this year herald the nation’s confidence in its ability to threaten US cities, says Jeffrey Lewis
              Satellite shows clear-up operation after severe floods in China        
    The photo shows teachers cleaning the mud from a school sports ground and running track in Jilin province, north-east China – an area devastated by floods
              People in north England are 20 per cent more likely to die young        
    An analysis of five decades of death data has revealed that people in northern England are less likely to live to the age of 75 than people in the south
              BWRPLUS Formed to Leverage Synergy between Westinghouse and Toshiba Bentley to Lead Efforts of Providing Customers with a Single Communication Channel        

    Westinghouse Electric Company and Toshiba Corporation today announced the formation of BWRPLUS, a new joint marketing organization for operating nuclear power plants in North America that will leverage the synergies between Westinghouse and Toshiba.

    (PRWeb August 08, 2013)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/8/prweb11010492.htm


              Summer Produce: A Fresh, Delicious, Vibrant Feast!        

    North American summer produce is truly one of the best parts of the season! The longer days and warmer weather bring a peak variety of local fruits and vegetable to market. It’s your best time to savour the sweetness of stone fruits, load up on fragrant herbs, and appease fickle summer appetites with thirst-quenching salads more...

    The post Summer Produce: A Fresh, Delicious, Vibrant Feast! appeared first on Natural Factors.


              Philosophical questions about programming        

    Combining philosophy and computer science might appear a bit odd. The disciplines have very little overlap. Both philosophers and computer scientists get taught formal logic at some point in their undergraduate courses, but that's probably as close as they get.

    But the fact that the disciplines do not overlap much might very well be the reason why putting them together is interesting. In an article about Design and Science, Joichi Ito (from MIT Media Lab), describes the term antidisciplinary and nicely summarizes why looking at such unusual combinations is worthwhile:

    Interdisciplinary work is when people from different disciplines work together. But antidisciplinary is something very different; it's about working in spaces that simply do not fit into any existing academic discipline.

    [When focusing on disciplines, it] takes more and more effort and resources to make a unique contribution. While the space between and beyond the disciplines can be academically risky, it (...) requires fewer resources to try promising, unorthodox approaches; and provides the potential to have tremendous impact (...).

    As you can see from some of my earlier blog posts, I think the space between philosophy and computer science is an interesting area. In this article, I'll explain why. Unlike some of the previous posts (about miscomputation, types and philosophy of science), this post is quite broad and does not go into much detail.

    At the danger of sounding like a collection of random rants, I look at a number of questions that arise when you look at computer science from the philosophical perspective, but I won't attempt to answer them. You can see this article as a research proposal too - and I hope to write more about some of the questions in the future. I wish antidisciplinary work was more common and I believe looking into such questions could have the tremendous impact that Joichi Ito mentioned.


              Green gloves and a blogger meet up!        
    I'll get to the green gloves in a bit...


    On Wednesday I led a Ramblers walk of 7 miles. It was a chilly, overcast day and we were cold at the start but soon warmed up. Everyone enjoyed the walk including me! It was the same walk that I did the first time I ever led a walk back in May 2016, but I reversed it and added on a short bit to the end. I've now led 3 walks for the Ramblers and want to find a new walk to lead for the Autumn programme.


    Trousers are from the Tesco outlet shop, boots present from daughter this Christmas. Every thing else is charity shopped.


    I went for a rummage on Thursday afternoon after the food shopping. I went to the Kempston charity shops as I hadn't been for a while. I got quite a few summer items for the grandsons and for myself some green earrings 75p; a white top 1.00; and finally an animal print blouse in brown; 2.49 in the Keech Hospice shop. A yellow  scoop neck top for 2.99 in the Cat's Protection League and last but not least, a turquoise bracelet and ring; 1.00 each from the Day Hospice shop. I didn't bother going to the Barnardo's shop as I was chazza'ed out by then.


    I wonder if any of you know what this tree is? I saw it whilst collecting the youngest grandson from school - it's just around the corner and I thought it was so striking. Please let me know what it is as I haven't a clue!


    I bought this necklace in a charity shop in Derry for 2.50. Top and shirt also charity shopped.

    On Friday, I went walking by myself and it was a brilliant walk. The weather was pleasant; bright but windy. I saw my first swallows of the year and you know what that means don't you? It means summer's here! At last. Thank the Lord and pass the gravy. I'm sick of overcast skies and wind and cold...


    Jeans from the 1.00 rail at Barnardo's Great Denham bought on a rummage with Linda; man's shirt £1.00 box Keech; cardigan 1.99 Red Cross shop. Boots; DDB.


    All jewellery charity shopped.

    Top by Wallis; charity shopped, Country Casuals jacket; charity shopped. Trousers; La Redoute sale and black brogues; Tesco outlet.

    It was no longer summer on Saturday, in fact it was overcast and cold again.  But despite the weather I went to Rushden for a blogger meet up. It's the first one for me and it was with the very lovely Kelly of the Mother of Reinvention blog HERE.  Kelly's blog states she is a:

    Plus-Sized Sewing Scientist with a Love of Corsets, Kittens & Cake! Vintage Seamstress, Novice Knitter and All-Round Crafty Type.

     It was a pleasure to meet Kelly.  She had moved to Rushden five weeks previously for a new job and luckily really likes her new town and neighbourhood. It was so nice to meet another blogger and I felt I had known Kelly for ages already through reading her blog


    We started with a cup of tea and a chat and then went rummaging! We had a fab time and started by visiting the most excellent Salvation Army charity shop where Kelly's friend, Bill, joined us. Kelly found some lovely material - she loves to sew. She also found some great square plates with matching bowls, some cookie cutters and a cute pottery butter dish. I found some earrings for 50p, a lace skirt for 3.50, some wool for 50p and a boring, but useful, tupperware dish; also 50p. We went on to visit 4 other charity shops where I bought a large cake tin and that was it. Then in true blogger fashion we all decamped to Wetherspoons for a drink and some lunch!

    Kelly and I plan to meet up again and next time we'll go to Kettering or Northampton - both good places for charity shopping.


    I bought these beads at the Red Cross shop last Monday. Earrings from Sainsbury's; bangles and ring charity shopped.

    On Sunday OH and I went to a car boot sale at Lidlington. We got there at about 11 am; we don't like early starts... I bought a lovely handmade vintage coat for £2.00 which I am so delighted with. I still have to steam it and then I'll post a photo.

    We're off to a reunion of OH's ex battalion at the weekend - Barnsley here we come! I don't know Yorkshire very well at all so I'm curious to see what Barnsley and its environs look like. We might squeeze in a quick rummage. Anyway, I may wear the coat with a knee length dress; I'm still thinking about it.


    Monday was volunteering at the Red Cross. By the time this photo was taken at about 8.30 in the evening my linen trousers were baggy at the knee and very creased - I'd just been on my hands and knees washing the kitchen floor!


    Everything charity shopped except the shoes which are from a local shoe outlet called PJ shoes in Kempston.

    Of course I couldn't leave the Red Cross without buying something...
    I bought some books; some elbow length emerald green gloves; some brand new grey Mary Jane's with a little heel and a top. I don't know where on earth I might wear the green gloves but an occasion might present itself - who knows? It's always as well to be prepared!

    Aren't they fabulous?

    I went completely mad on Friday and swapped my winter wardrobe to my summer wardrobe; I'm now thinking I was a bit premature. It was cold on Saturday when I met up with Kelly - I was cold the whole day. Then Sunday was very pleasant but Monday was cold, grey and windy. Luckily, I only pack away the thickest of cardigans so I still have a few warm  ones in the wardrobe. Just as well as one was needed on Monday.

    Tuesday was a warmer day but still cloudy and grey. I had a busy day running errands here, there and everywhere. My blanket is about half way done:


    I want to have it finished by the time I next go to Ireland so I can start a new one whilst I'm there.


    I went to town today without a jacket or coat and was warm in this outfit. Everything is charity shopped. Skirt is by Phase Eight; top by M&S, sea green cardigan; Per Una at M&S. Mary Jane's charity shopped in Ely almost a year ago.


    All jewellery charity shopped. The ring was bought on my rummage in Kempston last Thursday and the necklace is from the Red Cross shop last Monday. Earrings are from Sainsbury's and have to be at least 7 or 8 years old...

    I still haven't got round to steaming the coat but here it is:



    This is the button detail on the sleeve. I love it. I think I might wear it on Saturday evening to the reunion - what do you think?

               Normal service is resumed        
    Hello everyone! 

    It seems like a long time ago since I last posted but it's only been 24 days. In that time I've been to Donegal for two weeks and my cousin from Ireland came to visit me here in Bedford. I have had a wonderful three weeks and it was also good to have a break from blogging! I did miss everyone else's blogs and have tried to catch up since I returned.

    I'm going to dedicate this part of the post to Fiona of 'Made in a Muddle' here. Fiona has a mobile home in France and asked me to do a post about about my mobile home in Ireland - so here goes.

    The site we stay at  is at the top of a hill and has about 180 mobile homes in total. It is split into two separate areas by a road. There is a children's playground; a green play space with trees and tyre swings; a football/tennis/basketball pitch; picnic sites and a hut for wet weather activities, on site. There are also woods to the rear of the site, two nearby lakes and lots of local beaches.  Our mobile home is on the upper slope of the hill and at the end of a row. It is a truly beautiful spot and we are surrounded by mountains.

    We are 17 miles from the town of Donegal; 3.5 miles from Killybegs and about 7 miles from Ardara. There is a garage cum post office cum grocery shop cum deli at the bottom of the hill, about 4 miles away and it's our nearest shop.

    Image may contain: sky, cloud, house, plant, tree, outdoor and nature

    This is 'Ruby Super' hereafter referred to as the 'caravan'. She is a static caravan or mobile home made by Atlas and was originally made in the mid to late 1990s. I bought her in April 2014 after I retired in March. I had the wooden decking/patio and base around the caravan made especially. Ruby Super has three bedrooms but can sleep eight people as the seating area in the living area pulls down into a double bed.


    There is no central heating but I do have a gas fire in the living room and two other electric heaters. However, electric voltage is is limited in a caravan and you learn pretty quickly how many electrical items can be in use at the same time. When the electricity is 'tripped' it's only a short walk to the decking to 'throw' the switch. As it can get very cold, in the evenings especially, I always have a good supply of throws and blankets which are stored in the large basket.




    I like the layout in the caravan  - apart from the sleeping areas and bathroom, everything else is open plan. From the kitchen window and two of the bedroom windows I can see St. John's Point which is one of the longest peninsulas in Ireland.  The peninsula is separated on either side by McSwyne's Bay and Inver Bay; which feed into Donegal Bay and the North Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day, I can also see Ben Bulben mountain  across Donegal Bay in Co. Sligo. If you look very carefully at the picture below, in the distance on the left hand side you can just make out Ben Bulben. There were very few clear days on this trip but when it is clear it's as if I can lean out of the window and touch the sea!



    The kitchen is compact but has lots of storage space. I have no washing machine but there is a laundry on site with two washing machines and two tumble dryers. They are not free; unfortunately...


    This is the bathroom. There is a shower to the left of the photo.


    There is a separate loo



    One double bedroom complete with another wardrobe of clothes, shoes, jewellery and perfume!


    Two twin bedrooms.

    When we've been away from the caravan between September to Easter, the caravan suffers from mildew. We leave plates of salt and humidifiers (non electrical) bought at hard ware shops to help with the mildew. This year we've left the blinds up and curtains open to maximise any sunshine and warmth; until I return in July. The caravan heats up really quickly when it's sunny. 

    We also have to pack any clothing or textiles, including bedding, away in plastic bags to avoid them becoming mildewed. If we were able to visit more frequently this would be less of an issue. So far though, it has been the only problem we've experienced and we love Ruby Super. When I return in July, I shall be applying weather protection stain to the decking and washing the outside of the caravan with a mop and bucket. Thanks to Fiona for alerting me to this - it was in the terms and conditions,  but I had completely missed it!

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Are you ready for some outfit posts? Not many I'm afraid; I was too busy having a good time!


    I only managed one selfie with the selfie stick. Everything charity shopped. Cardigan; 50p at a jumble sale, top; £1.00 rail somewhere, can't remember where I bought the trousers.


    All jewellery and headscarf charity shopped.

    When OH arrived we spent a day in Derry.


    Taken outside the Guildhall in Co.Derry. Everything charity shopped except the bag; online retail and the boots; Christmas present. The mac is by Max Mara and I bought it for 4 euros at my favourite charity shop in Killybegs, Co. Donegal. I also bought a pair of brown trousers and a green and black pair of trousers there for 2 euros each and a tunic by Apricot for 3 euros. It was a chilly day in Derry hence the gloves and scarf!




    I'm standing against the wall that once surrounded the city of Derry. This plaque is in memory of all those who were killed  by weapon systems within the city and district of Derry.


    Another part of the wall. 
    OH and I had a really good rummage in the charity shops of Derry on Easter Saturday. There were nine in total that we found and only one was closed. I was quite restrained for a change (!) and bought a necklace in a hospice shop and a Desigual tunic top in the Red Cross shop; where I got discount bringing the price down from £6.00 to £4.80! On the way to Derry we stopped at Ballyboffey to have a rummage and I bought a pair of trainers and a pair of walking shoes for 99 cents each. In the Donkey Sanctuary charity shop I bought a ring for 5 euros and a couple of books.


    This picture was taken in Letterkenny, where we stopped for a meal on the way back from Derry. I have no idea what the sculpture is and there was no information about it that I could see.

     We also spent a day in Sligo where we went rummaging as well as visiting family. I bought some white jeans for 2.50 euros and a couple of bangles. I also visited another cousin and his wife in Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo before OH came out. This the view of the Atlantic from their garden:

    On that occasion my cousin's wife, Martina and another cousin Caroline, and I, went walking around the base of Ben Bulben. It was a beautiful walk and we had two dogs with us who were very well behaved throughout. 

    And other than reading, eating, sleeping, a bit of walking, listening to the radio and starting (finally) a new crochet blanket, I did very little else! 

    Only another 100+ rows to go....
    I'll post about my cousin's visit in my next post. It's good to be back!

              Senior moments...        

    A bit of catching up to do on the blog as last week I posted about the story of my brother in two parts.

    Spring is on its way! These buds were spotted on my next to last
    Sunday walk of 8.5 miles. I also saw banks of snowdrops, crocuses, primroses and some tiny daffodils - all seen in wild places and not in people's gardens.

    Here's a few of  the week before last week's outfits.

    Everything charity shopped except the boots - Christmas 2016 present from daughter.


    I wanted to show this necklace which I picked up at the Red Cross on Monday for £1.50. I also bought some bangles and a couple of books. All jewellery charity shopped.


    Pink corduroy shirt bought from £1 rail in the Red Cross a few weeks back.


    Everything is charity shopped except the brown boots - Christmas present 2015.


    All jewellery charity shopped.

    I walked Wednesday the week before last (6.2 miles) and on the Friday of the same week I walked 5.5 miles. A good week's walking for me; just on 20 miles which is what I want to do on a weekly basis. What else have I been up to?

    I finished my blanket...


    Thanks to Attic 24 here for the Granny Stripe pattern.

    Last Thursday I paid a visit to Barnardo's in Great Denham - I know - but I couldn't resist a quick peek to see if they still had their sale rail. They did. I bought 5 tops at 1.00 each. A yellow tunic; a brown waistcoat, two striped tops and a floral top.

    I paid a visit to the library last Saturday and got a pile of books - just what I don't need, more books to read, but I've been after a few of the titles for a while...

    This was last Saturday's outfit. Everything charity shopped except the top which was from Store 21 sale.


    I bought the waistcoat for £1.00 in the Red Cross two weeks ago. I think it's hand made as there are no labels. It has lovely embroidery on the pockets:



    Boots were also from the Red Cross but I can't remember where I bought the jeans.


    All jewellery charity shopped. I bought this unusual chain which I think looks very Art Deco in the Heart Foundation shop in Northampton.

    Last Sunday I went out early for another walk and did 5 miles.
    I've been asked to lead another walk for the Rambler's summer walks programme in May. I won't do a new route but reverse the route I used in 2016 when I led my first walk; it will be around 7 miles and hopefully we'll have decent weather...

    Monday's outfit.


    All jewellery charity shopped. I forgot to put my bangles on  - I was running slightly late.


    This is the yellow tunic I bought last week in Barnardo's for 1.00. It's from H&M; the top is from Cotton Traders and was also charity shopped.


    The tunic has pockets! Floral leggings, Store 21 sale and brown boots from Sainsbury's.

    I know memory worsens as you get older. I've certainly noticed a change in mine. I sometimes can't remember the word for something - for example a while ago it took me to two days to think of the word for 'brioche'! I never forget faces but often forget names. I start out to do things but I get easily sidetracked by other things and don't always finish what I started.  But this weekend I realised I had had a major memory lapse. For the past five months I've been driving around without an MOT.

    I'd got my car serviced in September and thought it had been MOT'd as well. It hadn't. I had to get to the nearest MOT place pretty sharpish on Monday; I can tell you. I'm just so lucky I didn't get gripped by the police; or even more serious have an accident. No MOT means invalid car insurance. Apparently, I should have had a text message reminder last September from the MOT centre but I didn't receive one. They've set one up now so I can't make this mistake again. Don't worry, I'm sure I haven't got dementia but am exhibiting typical memory changes as part of the ageing process...


    I remembered to go to the food bank on Tuesday morning! I missed my last session because I had the lurgy and didn't want to share it. It was good to be back. It's quite a physical role in the warehouse; bending and stretching and lifting and weighing boxes of stuff. I always come home with a pleasant ache in my back that tells me I've been challenging my body.


    I bought this dress on Monday at the Red Cross - a M&S navy blue sweater dress for 1.99. Everything is charity shopped including the striped tights which attracted a lot of comment. They're going to go in the charity shop bag because although they fit fine in the leg the pants part only comes just up to my hips and they roll down gradually...


    All jewellery, including watch, is charity shopped.

    I bought some lovely blue beads as well on Monday at the Red Cross and something for the OH.

    On Wednesday I set out to walk with the group. I never made it. I was putting my faith in my sat nav to find the meeting point and it sent me through a village and around the houses. I knew it was wrong when it told me to turn into Clophill village. but I was thinking "maybe it's a shortcut" it soon became the apparent the sat nav didn't know what it was doing!  Oh well, at least it was the sat nav's fault and not me having a senior moment! By the time I found a safe space to park up and reset the destination point I would  have got there too late.   One thing I've learnt about my Rambler's group,  in the three years I've been a member, is that they leave punctually at 10 am. I came back home and went for a six mile walk by myself...


    Here I am; hot and sweaty on the final leg...I was walking with poles so didn't have a free hand to carry my jacket in and so it stayed on.


    This is what I'd stopped for. Two swans resting in a huge field. I don't know about you but up until about a  year ago I had only ever seen swans on water or near water; canal side, riverside, lakeside. Then one day en route to Kettering; I spotted a wedge (flock) of swans resting in a water logged field. I began to see more and more swans in fields away from water. I don't know if this has always happened but I've only noticed it recently.


    I also spotted yellowhammers on my walk - brilliant flashes of bright yellow in and out of the hedgerows.


    This was Thursday's outfit.


    Everything charity shopped except the boots and blue tights - just seen. I bought the floral top which is by Wallis, from Barnardo's in Great Denham last week. I had my scarf on as I'd been out food shopping and forgot to take it off! All jewellery is charity shopped.


    Later, I tried some different earrings and a necklace...

    On Friday, I'm going for a walk with the group. I know how to get to the destination so won't be relying on the sat nav. It will be an 8 mile walk along the Greensand Ridge and I'm looking forward to it. I'll just need to add in a couple of miles walk on Saturday to reach my target of twenty miles this week.

    I hope you all have a lovely weekend; the weather's been remarkably pleasant the last few days; is it going to last, I wonder?

              How my brother found us...Part 2        
    The Ballad of Kathy Flynn - (2012) - Julian Littman

    Long ago, young Kathy Flynn took a train to London Town
    She fell in love with an Indian hero - he turned her heart around
    With a Vir Chakra into his jacket - how could she resist?
    He took  her to his hotel room and there they more than kissed
    He said;"Kathy, will you marry me?"
    Of course, she answered yes.
    She dreamed of life in far Madras - an Indian Princess.

    He telephoned long distance to his father in Madras
    And told him of his intention to wed the Irish lass
    The old man flew into a rage and said your future's been arranged
    Marry her and you'll die without a rupee to your name
    Without a word he slipped away leaving not a trace behind
    And left poor Kathy waiting -  out of sight and out of mind.

    Chorus: I'll sing a lullaby to the Irish girl and the dreams she could not keep
    I'll sing a lullaby to the Irish girl and sing that girl to sleep.

    She met a man of magic - the Great Marlo was his name
    They took a mind reading act out on the road and found some kind of fame
    Pretty soon she realised a child was on the way
    Her Indian hero had left her with more than a broken heart that day
    She cast her fate to the Mother Church who duly took her in
    She gave away the boy at birth and never saw him again.

    Chorus: I'll sing a lullaby to the Irish girl and the boy she could not keep
    I'll sing a lullaby to the Irish girl and sing that girl to sleep.

    The boy grew up in a happy home but when his folks had gone
    The boy was curious to know more about his mum
    He traced her to a little town and called her on the phone
    But she hung up when she heard his name - shaken to the bone.
    She wrote him a letter saying never a day goes by
     When I don't think about you, boy, but I must go on living a lie
    You see, I've a family of my own  - our secret's never been told
    The truth would tear this house apart and I'm too frail and too old.

    2nd chorus again
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Julian knew he was adopted from about the age of 8 or 9. He came home from school one day and asked his mum a question that he was constantly being asked at school. "Mum, why is it that I'm a different colour to J (Julian's adoptive parent's natural son) and you and Dad? His mum told him in a very matter of fact way that he was adopted and his biological parents were an Anglo Indian pilot in the Indian Air Force and his mum was an Irish actress.

    Julian's dad, Anthony Ignatius Kenneth Suares, was an Indian hero; he had been awarded the Vir Chakra in 1949 and you can read about it here. He died some time ago and Julian never managed to trace him. He still wants to explore that side of his family.

     My mum came to England from Ireland in 1948, aged 16, as a Nanny for a family in Edgeware. When she was 18 she was 'discovered' in Lyons Corner House in Marble Arch by the man I knew throughout my childhood as 'Uncle Marlo'. Marlo, or the 'Great Marlo' to give him his stage name; was a magician and mum was his assistant;  'Georgette'. They did a mind reading act together and travelled all over the UK. Mum had a tiny speaking part in a film about boxing in the 1950s, but we've never been able to discover the title. She would never have described herself as an actress but she always said she had been 'on the stage'. She and 'The Great Marlo' often did publicity stunts for their act; below is a still from British Pathe news item  - narrated by Eamonn Andrews - and available here on youtube; where mum was buried alive for one such stunt. It was a very cold day; everyone is wearing overcoats but mum appears dressed in a bra and skirt - some things never change when it comes to women...



    As children we loved Uncle Marlo - he used to make sixpences and shillings appear out of his ears or from up our sleeves! He lived just off Church Street market in London; and he and his wife were very good to my mum because she when she applied to St. Pelagia's to have Julian; she gave her address as their address; she must have been living with them throughout her pregnancy.

    What I have found out is Julian's birth was something that probably only one other family member; my Aunty Betty, knew about. Betty's name appears on the St.Pelagia documentation as mum's next of kin. In the latter stages of pregnancy mum could have told her four sisters; all of whom were living in London at the time, she was away touring with the Great Marlo. My dad never knew about Julian; in Julian's adoption paper's this is made clear as they state the adoption forms to be signed by mum must be sent in a plain brown envelope addressed solely to my mum.



    This is my mum's oldest sister, Aunty Peggy's, wedding in 1950 or 1951 in Paddington, London; mum would have been 18 or 19 at the time. Mum is on the far left in the plaid dress; next to Aunty Betty, (her confidante); behind Mum is Aunty Mary and next to her, Aunty Ita.

    Much of what Julian puts in the song above 'The Ballad of Kathy Flynn' is true but not all. We don't know how, when and where mum and Julian's dad met. We don't know if it was a one night stand or a relationship. We think the asking to marry bit is right because it's stated in the documentation Julian gathered together in his search for mum. I think it highly possible that getting married would have entailed mum moving to India and that she probably didn't want to leave England - but we'll never know.

    Julian went to drama school aged 16 and has spent the rest of his life performing, singing, playing and composing. You can see his bio here. It's very strange to think that when I was a student nurse in the early 1970s I used to watch 'Rainbow' - a children's programme on at midday - in the nurses lounge whilst eating my lunch. I must have seen Julian on TV dozens of times but never knew he was my brother!

    By 2005, Julian's adoptive parents had died. Julian knew a lot about his birth mother and her subsequent family, but he couldn't out find where she lived. One evening, after a gig two fans came back stage to see him; he found out they ran a business tracing adopted children's birth parents and or families. Within two weeks they had found mum living in Kettering; and as the song says a phone call was made and mum wrote Julian a letter, but didn't want to meet.

    I've read the letter she sent Julian and it is a beautiful letter. But, I still find it really difficult to understand (although I do, in many ways) why she didn't want to meet him. By 2005, mum knew she had COPD and that it would it kill her soon. As her children, we would have been delighted to meet Julian and would have welcomed him with open arms and would never have judged mum's actions. Mum must have known that about us as well as we were all very, very close. I'm just so sorry that they didn't get to meet because mum would have had almost four years left with Julian in her life.

    You must be curious to know how Julian did eventually find us and I'm now coming to that part...

    Julian discovered mum had died using 'Google' (God bless the internet - it's a marvellous invention but what a horrible way to find out about your mum's death). We had published a small notice of thanks in the local Kettering paper after the funeral in 2009. Julian waited for several years (I can only marvel at his restraint) and one day in 2013 he was on his way to the Derngate theatre in Northampton, with a group he was managing at the time. They knew his story and pointed out that Northampton was only 14 miles away from Kettering and as he knew my brother Mark still lived in the same house he and mum had moved to in 1999; he should, at least, drop a card through the door. So, he did!

    When I rang him that morning in February 2013 we spoke for two hours! We arranged for Julian to come to Bedford the following weekend and we would all go out for a meal and get to know each other. So, we did!

    4th March, 2013


     At my house looking at Julian's paperwork. Seated L to R:  Brother Julian, me, brother Mark and standing, brother Tony. Someone's cracked open the beers!
    Image may contain: 5 people, indoor
    After the meal we went to a local wine bar and had a few more beers and bottles of wine...that's my OH, Wesley on the far left.
    Image may contain: 4 people, indoor 
    Time to go home, lads!
      
    It has been a wonderful experience meeting our 'new' brother. I have to admire his magnanimity and his generosity of spirit; he holds no hard feelings about his circumstances. He is not bitter that my mum wouldn't meet him. (I think I would have been, had it been me given up for adoption). We share a mother and although Julian was raised in the Home Counties in a nice middle class home and we were raised in the inner city, children of poor, working class immigrants, we have nothing but love and affection for each other.

    We meet as often we can - Julian is always busy (thankfully, in his line of work). The one nice thing we were able to do for Julian was ask him to help us scatter mum's ashes (her ashes had been living in the sitting room for four years) later that same year; 2013. We videoed the ceremony - it was just laughter and jokes all the way.

    RIP Mum - I'm sorry you had to live in such unenlightened times but your four children are united in their love for you.


              How I found my brother - Part 1        

    I said I would tell you about how we found our brother and here it is - true to my word. How my brother found us (Part 2) will follow soon.
    =======================================================

    One Friday evening in February 2013, my OH and I were on our way to Kettering to meet up with my brothers. We were stopping at the eldest brother's to pick him up and then go on to the the youngest brother's for a drink and a catch up. My mum and eldest brother had moved to Kettering from London in 1999, and my youngest brother moved to Kettering in 2006. My mum died in 2009 and my dad died, aged only 47, in 1980.

    When we got to the eldest brother's house he told me that someone had come to the door earlier in the day; spoken to him and had left him a card. He said the person - a man - said that he used to work with my mum. This immediately rang alarm bells because I knew my mum had for most of her working life, worked predominantly with women.

    When I read the card (I still have it), I literally went weak at the knees and had to sit down, but I knew at once that what it said was inescapably true. On 13th February, 1953; thirteen months before I was born in March 1954, and before my mum married my dad; my mum gave birth to a baby boy whom she called 'Julian Jerome Flynn' - (her maiden name was Flynn). She gave birth to Julian in St. Pelagia's Home for Penitent Girls (I kid you not) which was  in Highgate, North London. It's since been demolished and is now a gated development.

    All three of us were very close to our mum. We all loved her deeply. She was our rock, we knew she loved us unconditionally and she was always there for us. She was great fun to be with; we loved her company and spending time with her. Yet, none of us knew about this other brother. On that night I could only feel shock at the not knowing as we set off to the younger brother's house.
    Image result for St Pelagias Home for Penitent Girls image
     St. Pelagia's Home
    LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON

    St Pelagia's Home
    St Joseph's Maternity Home
    34 Highgate West Hill, N6 6NJ
    Medical dates:

    Medical character:
    1889 - 1972

    Maternity
    St Pelagia's Home for Destitute Girls at No. 25 Bickerton Road in Upper Holloway was founded in 1889 by the Roman Catholic order of the Sisters Servants of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.It provided  accommodation for unmarried mothers and their first-born babies, who were allowed to enter the Home when the child was a fortnight old.
    The girls were admitted free of charge on condition that they contributed to the earning power of the Home by working in its laundry.
    The Home later occupied the neighouring house at No. 27 Bickerton Road.

    In 1934 it moved to West Hill Place, a large house on Highgate West Hill, where it re-opened in 1936 after the Convent of Sacred Hearts had been built adjoining the original mansion.

    In March 1948 Mayfield, an adjoining 2-storey Victorian house, was bought and equipped as an antenatal and maternity home.  It had 18 beds and was named St Joseph's Maternity Home.

    The Labour Ward was on the first floor, while the ground floor contained 6 antenatal beds, and 12 postnatal beds in 3- or 5-bedded wards, with 12 cots for the babies.  An isolation room was added later.

    The patients, who stayed for an average of 12 weeks,  were cared for by three nurses.

    The LCC paid a guinea (21 shillings - £1.05) a weeks to the Home for expectant mothers and 25 shillings (£1.25) for mothers and babies (this was later increased to £2 10s (£2.50) a week).

    In 1954 the Homes had 70 beds for mothers and their babies.  Both properties had extensive gardens of 2 acres, but the buildings were in much need of repair, with damaged ceilings in St Joseph's and a leaking flat roof.

    The Homes closed in 1972.


    Present status (February 2009)
    The Homes and the convent were demolished in 1970.  Their site now contains Hill Court and the West Hill Park estate.



    Source: Google (for both photos)

    This is an article about St. Pelagia's from the Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/10932969/Convent-that-forced-young-mothers-to-give-up-their-babies.html

    It is certainly worth reading although I don't believe my mum was forced to give Julian up by the nuns, but it would have been extremely difficult to have kept him. One, it would have got back to her parents in Ireland and the shame of having an unmarried daughter with a child could have led to ostracism by their community. Secondly,  in England there wasn't much in the way of good affordable childcare in the 1950s and mum would have to have worked to support herself and her child. There was a lot of stigma and shame attached to being an unmarried mother at that time.

    When we got to the youngest brother's house I told him get himself a glass of wine and sit down as we had some news for him! We spent the rest of the night on the computer trying to find out more information. The one thing we did know was that our dad wasn't Julian's dad. 

    I rang Ireland and spoke to two of our surviving aunts - my mother's sister's - they were totally unaware of Julian. One of the aunt's told me they had only been made aware of my existence (and my mum's marriage) when my mum turned up in Ireland with me aged 11 months! I was left  with my grandparent's and my aunt's, who were only young teenagers at the time, for about 3 months whilst she returned to England and work - of which more later.

    Our searches on the computer kept taking us to an agent who represented Brian May (of Queen) and eventually brought us to a picture of someone called 'Julian Littman. This person looked exactly like one of our first cousins; the eldest son of my mum's older and closest sister, Aunty Betty.  Unfortunately, this aunt had died in the late 1980s.

    The card that had been left had telephone contact numbers on it and we agreed that in the morning I would call the numbers. I didn't sleep a wink that night and got up really early to search on my own computer for any information. This is what I found:


    I managed to get out for a walk on Sunday, but I just did road and street walking - 6 miles. It was bitterly cold and very damp.


    I was in a monochrome mood on Sunday - I'm sure it's the weather. Everything is charity shopped except the brogues which were bought from a Tesco outlet store about 2 years ago, and the black jeans from Lidl. I had to put a cardigan over the tunic for extra warmth. This short sleeved M&S cardigan has proved very useful. It reminds me that I saw a navy blue short, short sleeved cardigan on Saturday, in Cancer Research for £1.00 and I didn't buy it! What on earth was I thinking?


    All jewellery charity shopped, too.

    It was half term this week. I do enjoy the break from the school run. I still went into the Red Cross on Monday. I picked up a blue homemade waistcoat from the Ragbag and will probably wear that on Friday when I go to see my son. It was a really cold day but it was bright and sunny; my spirits were immediately lifted by the sunshine. Unfortunately, I still had the lurgy.


     This is the tunic I bought on Saturday - it's by Influence and it's made of knitted material, so it's warm. Jeans; Next, also charity  shopped  on Saturday. Boots: DDB.


    I added the trusty short sleeved cardi for added warmth.


    Earrings, Bedford market; turquoise ring, Sainsbury's; all other jewellery, charity shopped.

    I didn't go to the food bank on Tuesday; I didn't think it was fair to spread my germs to everyone. It was okay yesterday in the Red Cross as I was the only person at the back of the shop.

    I went for a 6.6 mile walk on Tuesday instead. I retraced the walk I led last Wednesday but in reverse. It turned out to be a lovely day and the wild life and birds were abundant. I disturbed a Muntjac deer drinking at a stream. I also disturbed a buzzard and 4 pheasants; all of whom flew off in a panic making very annoyed noises. I saw a sparrowhawk;  dunnocks, meadow pipits, blackbirds, chaffinches, blue tits, wood pigeons, a wren and several gulls, rooks and crows in a field - splashing about in the huge puddles left by all the rain we've had.


    Look what my Valentine bought me! I'm so lucky to have such a good man...


    On Wednesday I felt really rough and decided to chill out. I only went out to pick up the grandchildren both of whom were staying on Wednesday night.


    Everything is charity shopped. The skirt is from M and Co; boots from Tesco; jacket from Next. It's a bit like my Country Casuals mustard jacket - it goes with lots of things. I used to wear it a lot when I was teaching; I've had it about 7 or 8 years.


    This necklace was bought on Saturday in Age UK Northampton,  for £1.99. Earrings from Sainsbury's and bangles, watch and ring charity shopped.


    I went to see my son on Friday. Everything charity shopped except boots and earrings - both from Sainsbury's.


    The black maxi dress is by Item, which is a part of Tesco's; I think. I can't remember where I bought this dress. The long jacket is by Primarni and I bought it in the Barnardo's in Great Denham for £1.99. I love the colours. I have lightweight green trousers and a similar coloured green top that will look fab with this jacket when the weather gets warmer!.


    My necklace, rings and bangles are all charity shopped.

    I've been playing a lot of Monopoly with the grandsons this half term. They have both beaten me. The youngest grandson gets really excited with all the money  - even if if he has to give me rent and I give him change! We are playing the adult version so the idea of millions is quite intoxicating...

    It was my eldest brother's birthday on Monday; he's 13 months older than me but we only met him in 2013! I will write a post about how he found us - we didn't know of his existence until February 2013. So, my three brothers, my OH and I went out to celebrate Julian's birthday on Saturday.


    Only my jacket and jewellery is charity shopped. The jacket, which is a favourite of mine, was bought on the £1.00 rail in Wellingborough Age UK.


    The white top was bought in the La Redoute sale in 2015 and the trousers were bought this year in the sale. I nearly always buy something in the La Redoute sale. I also bought a coat  in the same sale this year - see below. The boots were DDB.




    We had a lovely Thai meal, caught up with each other's news and had lots of laughs - all in all a really good night. My birthday is next and I've proposed we go to London for the day. Julian lives in London and always travels to us for birthday celebrations so it would make a change for him and us.

    I'll keep you posted!

              February is flying by        

    Hello to everyone and I hope you are all keeping warm! February seems to be flying by; we're almost half way through. January dragged.

    I went out on Sunday morning to recce Wednesday's walk. It was cold, damp and very foggy. After about three miles I realised that I couldn't see any landmarks and that the fog was getting thicker; I had to turn back. I walked 6.8 miles and was glad to get home. It stayed cloudy, cold and foggy all day.


    This is what I changed into when I got back. Everything is charity shopped. The animal print top is a 50 p rail bargain. I'm still looking for the perfect animal print shirt with long sleeves...

    I woke up on Monday with the lurgy.  Middle grandson had it last week and he'd given it to me. I have had a drippy nose, cough, aches and pains all week; I felt yucky but I went in to the Red Cross on Monday. I'm still sorting and pricing clothes; as I'm waiting for a PIN number to arrive in the post that I need to work the till. I've been allocated a special area in the shop for attention and it's the jewellery. Hooray!  I enjoy untangling necklaces and sorting out the wheat from the chaff...

    On my way home from the Red Cross, I passed the Salvation Army charity shop and on the 50 p rail outside spotted the grey checked shirt below. It was washed and ironed and I wore it on Tuesday.

    I went to the Guildhouse on Tuesday morning. More sorting and pricing of clothes and I did an hour's ironing! I don't think I've ironed for so long since my children were small and I used to do the Sunday evening marathon iron of everybody's clothes for the week...I bought an emerald green cardigan in the sale there for £1.25, but it's a little bit too big. I really wanted an emerald green cardigan so I might try and wash it on a hotter than usual wash and even tumble dry it and see if it shrinks a bit


    Everything charity shopped except the boots which were donated by my daughter (DDB).
    Red jeans and grey knitted top both by Oasis. All jewellery charity shopped. I didn't realise how bobbly the top had got....


     I went to recce the walk again on Tuesday afternoon. It was the most glorious day. The sun shone and it was so warm I had to take my jacket off; although it was very muddy, boggy and even waterlogged in places. The air was full of bird song, cheeps, calls and trills and the hum of insects. You could feel Spring in the air.

    On Wednesday, I did my walk leader's bit and for the first time decided to use my walking poles which were a birthday present from my daughter last year. I found the poles quite easy to use and they do work your upper arms and shoulders. I'm still aching days later - or is that the lurgy? 

     There were 22 of us walkers in total and all was going well. Then one of my poles decided to extend itself and I fell flat on my face! My pride was hurt but I was fine. I had mud on my scarf, mud on my jacket and mud on my trousers. My hands were covered in thick mud where I had put them out to break my fall. It's a good job I hadn't put my wrists through the loops on the poles otherwise I may have fallen more awkwardly and hurt myself. Luckily, one of the walker's had wet wipes (a woman of course - I just couldn't see any of our male walkers carrying wet wipes with them) and I was able to get most of the mud off my hands. As for the other stuff it was all put in the machine when I got home and washed.

    Everyone said they enjoyed the walk; one person said they wanted to re-walk it another day which I take as a compliment. We were lucky with the weather as the sun came out. Since last Sunday, I've walked more than 20 miles and I hope to do another 7 mile walk next Sunday if the weather holds.


    This is what I wore on Wednesday.
    The necklace was recently bought in a Devon Age UK charity shop for £2.00. The earrings were bought from Debenhams about eight years ago when they had a 'two for a fiver' offer on their costume jewellery.


    The shirt is by Punt Roma; the jeans are Laura Ashley - both charity shopped and the cardigan was a Christmas 2015 present from OH. Bangles charity shopped.


    Boots are DDB.


    On Thursday I went to spend the day with my friend Natalie in Cambridge. We had planned to look around the charity shops and go somewhere for a meal. Natalie is extremely talented at up cycling furniture and she has been up cycling my bureau which I left with her the last time I visited. When I got to her house this time it was finished!


    Isn't it lovely? She had also up cycled a very small table in the same colour and pattern which I'll put my printer on - and she recovered an upright chair in similar patterned material. My study is now a haven for me to read, crochet, listen to the radio and write my blog. I just need a very small armchair to complete it... 


    Everything is charity shopped except the boots which were a Christmas 2016 present from my daughter. The jacket is by Boden and was charity shopped in the Red Cross a few months back for £1.99. I like the pleated collar. The tunic is by Fat Face and was from the Red Cross for £1.99. For warmth,  I layered a camisole from  Lidl underneath. The jeans are from Next but can't remember which charity shop.


    All jewellery charity shopped.

    It was bitterly cold in Cambridge.
    I bought three green Virago books in the RSPCA bookshop; a picture for the spare bedroom; some glasses - we keep breaking glasses at the moment -  a pair of earrings, a necklace and a pair of ear phones for grandson all in the Salvation Army.  Note, I didn't buy any clothes! 
    Natalie picked up a three cornered children's chair and a side table on wheels; both to be up cycled.

    On Saturday, OH and I went rummaging in Northampton.  OH hadn't been rummaging for a while and was missing it; so ever obliging as I am, I went with him... We hadn't been to Northampton for more than a year. The only things I really wanted were: 1) A brown animal print shirt. 2) Another yellow cardigan - my present one is not very warm.


    Saturday was a horrible day. Grey, cold and very misty/foggy. Northampton was relatively quiet as a result of the weather. We visited 10 charity shops in total and I found nothing on my list.


    Everything charity shopped except the boots which were a Christmas present from my daughter in 2016. Knitted tunic from Esmara (Lidl), M&S jeans, top; Dorothy Perkins.


    All jewellery charity shopped.

    I bought some clothes (oh dear!); a pair of Next jeans from the £1.00 rail in the Sue Ryder shop -  and a lovely tunic which I paid £6.00 in Age UK for; as I really liked it. I also bought a necklace (£1.99) in the Heart Foundation shop and two pairs of earrings at £1.00 each in Age UK. It will be back to no rummaging next week as I'm trying to go only once a month now. It won't be too long before I go to Ireland again... I've had a blip this month because of going to Cambridge as well as Northampton, but in March, probably around my birthday I'll have another rummage in a different town. You never know I might even get taken away for the weekend somewhere!

    I believe the weather will be getting milder in the week to come so let's hope it does and that we see even more signs of Spring. I'm also hoping that the lurgy will have gone and I'll be back to my normal self - whatever that is!

              Photos Published in Northern Wilds Magazine        

    I had the honor of having some of my photos included in the April 2016 publication of Northern Wilds. the photos are of my visit to the Duluth Junk Hunt's fall 2015 show.



    You can view the full issue here...



    Keep in mind that the spring show is just around the corner...

    JH May 2016, Ad - jpeg
    More info at http://duluthjunkhunt.com...

                      



    Vipassana Meditation

    Vipassana Meditation As Taught By S। N। Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin.
    This is the motivated page created for those who wish to learn and practice Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka and his assistant teachers in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin

    Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art of Living. For those who are not familiar with Vipassana Meditation, an Introduction to Vipassana by Mr. Goenka and Questions & Answers about Vipassana are available.

    The technique of Vipassana Meditation is taught at ten-day residential courses during which participants learn the basics of the method, and practice sufficiently to experience its beneficial results।

    There are no charges for the courses - not even to cover the cost of food and accommodation. All expenses are met by donations from people who, having completed a course and experienced the benefits of Vipassana, wish to give others the opportunity to also benefit.
    Courses are given in numerous Meditation Centers and at non-center course locations at rented sites. Each location has its own schedule of courses. In most cases, an application for admission to each of these courses can be made by clicking on a selected one of the listed course dates that appear in the schedule. There are numerous Centers in India and elsewhere in Asia; ten Centers in North America; three Centers in Latin America; seven Centers in Europe; seven Centers in Australia/New Zealand; one Center in the Middle East and one Center in Africa. Non-center courses frequently hold ten courses at many locations outside of Centers as they are arranged by local students of Vipassana in those areas. An alphabetical list of worldwide course locations is available as well as a graphical interface of course locations worldwide and in India and Nepal.
    Vipassana Meditation courses are also being taught in prisons.
    A special 10-day Vipassana course especially for business executives and goverment officials is being held periodically at several centers around the world

    For additional information visit the Website :http://www.dhamma.org/


              Outdoors with Jim Collins: The Muck/Marsh Creek        
    By Jim Collins

    There are some really neat outdoor places in our area; we will highlight one of those places this week. The Muck is a large one half by two mile wetland area about 3 1/2 miles north of Wellsboro along Route 187. I have known about this area for several years. I just never took the time to visit the place.

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              10 Horror Comics        

    There's more to horror than just movies. Another ever-growing segment of genre offerings is the world of comics. Mix some top notch story telling with spectacular artwork and you have yourself a good old fashioned scary tale.

    Horror comics have been around for decades, so they are nothing new. Some are extremely well known and have already been optioned for some type of adaptation, such as "30 Days of Night" or the announced AMC series "The Walking Dead". Here today, I'll share with you 10 other horror comics that are out now and well worth your time!


    Victorian Undead

    I've blogged about "Victorian Undead" here recently and I just can't say this enough; Sherlock Holmes vs. Zombies is just freaking sweet! The writing and artwork are both well done too, so be sure to check this one out.


    Hack/Slash the Series

    Cassie Hack is smart, sassy and a bit jaded, but that's what makes her fun. Following along as her and her hockey masked wearing friend Vlad chase down and eradicate supernatural serial killers is even more fun.


    North 40

    Writer Aaron Williams got his start on a little Dungeons and Dragons based web comic called "Nodwick". Simple RPG geek humor at its best. When Wildstorm announced that Williams would be penning a new creator owned comic, I myself figured it would be more of the same and moved on. Imagine my surprise as I turned the pages to find an epic struggle Lovecraftian good vs. evil?


    Locke & Key

    Joe Hill's "Locke & Key" is quite possibly one of the most captivating comics going right now. I tender hearted little ghost story with a bit, the books feel fantastical, creepy and a bit touching all at the same time. I just wish they would come out quicker!


    Welcome to Hoxford

    Ben Templesmith already wowed us with the likes of "30 Days of Night". Now he's back with his own story in "Welcome to Hoxfor", and he's come back with a bang. Featuring the artists customary jarring dark graphics, his writing gets showcased here as well and lives up to the art.


    Creepy

    Every horror fan has at least seen a cover of "Creepy" comics. Long dormant, the classic horror book is back with a new slate of writers and artists and a whole host of old characters ready to haunt again. This is an anthology series, so the stories are quick and to the point and rather fun.


    Sweet Tooth

    Jeff Lemieres "Sweet Tooth" is a quirky bit of post-apocalyptic fiction that is actually fairly unique. Refreshing in this oft-visited sub-genre. All the while, the story itself is rather catching and the characters easy to side with. Sweet Tooth is as innocent as he looks on the cover; how can you not feel for the little guy?


    B.P.R.D.

    We all know "Hellboy"; here are the further adventures of his top secret government agency, B.P.R.D. There are quite a few mini-series and one offs that come out under this title, but all of them are generally quirky, dark and fun. If you found your self craving more of the "Hellboy" world of occultist Nazi's and weird co-workers, then here is your fix.


    Daytripper

    "Daytripper" is a brand new book from the award winning duo Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon. While this book is not really a straight up horror book, after two issues it proves to be a bit morbid and downright haunting.


    Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash

    Everybody wants to see a big screen rendition of the three bad asses of horror history. The chances of this matchup actually happening get slimmer ever year. This way, you at least get the fun stories and some general chaos as well as a good dose of Bruce Campbell quality one-liners as well.



              The North Water        
    Title: The North Water Author: Ian McGuire Publisher: Henry Holt and Company, 2016. Summary/Review:  First of all this is about as far from a chick book as you can get. It is a sometimes-thrilling account of the horrible, bloody, violent life of Arctic whalers aboard a sailing ship in the late 1850s. The protagonist is an […]
              It's Spud Time        

    The United Nations wants more people to appreciate the potato's potential to fight world hunger

    Food for Thought

    As 2007 winds down, thoughts naturally turn towards what might lie ahead. Meals rich in high-carb tubers, perhaps? That's what the United Nations would like everyone to contemplate throughout 2008, which it is designating the International Year of the Potato.

    Farmers now harvest more than 300 million tons of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) worldwide. That makes it the fourth biggest food crop, trailing only corn, wheat, and rice.

    For 8,000 years, the humble potato has been a staple in the South American Andes, its homeland. Spanish adventurers encountered the New World crop roughly 500 years ago and brought various types back to Europe. Today, potatoes are cultivated not only throughout the Americas, but also from China's uplands to India's subtropical lowlands—even on Ukraine's arid steppes.

    A testament to the potato's Western roots, production of this crop in the States and southward leads the world. Fully 40 percent of the 2006 potato harvest came from North America, with Latin American farmers contributing another 16 percent.

    However, appreciation for this nutritious starch within developing countries outside of the Americas—especially in Asia—has been growing steadily, with production of the crop in those regions climbing some 5 percent annually. Indeed, 2005 marked the first time in recent history that production of potatoes in the developing world exceeded that in developed nations.

    Although most people think of potatoes as a commodity, in fact, more potatoes are processed to make fast foods, snacks, and convenience items than are sold fresh in the market place. Today, China is the leading producer of spuds, followed by the Russian states and India. International trade in potatoes—worth $6 billion annually—has also been growing within developing nations.

    You might then ask why, with all of this pre-existing global interest in potatoes, the UN feels compelled to devote a year of workshops, research contests, and other focused attention on this one particular food. And the reason, the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization argues, is that much of the spud's potential to feed the poor remains untapped.

    For instance, although Asians eat nearly half of the world's potatoes, per capita consumption even in Asia remains modest—just 25 kilograms per year, or roughly 45 percent of U.S. consumption and just 27 percent of what's typical in Europe.

    Even were potatoes to win greater respect for their nutritional attributes and ability to serve as industrial feedstocks, they couldn't necessarily make a big contribution in new regions of the world without significantly more research. The tubers are vulnerable to a host of major diseases—like the one that set off Ireland's 1845 potato famine. Some varieties of potato are especially resistant to particular diseases, but may not grow well in new regions of the world or taste that yummy.

    That's where potato scientists come in. They can identify the climate, soil types, day length, and native diseases with which any new potato crop would have to contend. Then they'll cross lines of wild or cultivated spuds to develop ones with traits that will allow them to thrive outside the Americas. The good news, the UN program notes: "The potato has the richest genetic diversity of any cultivated plant." So there's plenty of potential to tailor a new cultivar to meet the needs of farmers in most places on the globe.

    But the potato's biggest advantage, according to the International Potato Center, based in Lima, Peru, is that it yields more food, more quickly, on less land, and in harsher climates than any other major crop. Up to 85 percent of the plant is edible, compared to only about 50 percent for cereal grains. Moreover, the Center notes, potatoes "are ideally suited to places where land is limited and labor is abundant—conditions in much of the developing world."

    To help get this word out to agricultural agencies in parts of the world not already turned on to spuds, and from them to farmers, the International Potato Center will be sponsoring a March 2008 meeting: Potato Science for the Poor–Challenges for the New Millennium (http://www.cipotato.org/Cuzco_conference/). Those who attend will have the opportunity to explore the possibility of cooperating to fine tune existing potatoes into higher-yielding varieties.

    The International Potato Center's gene bank safeguards the largest biodiversity of potatoes—7,500 different varieties, of which 1,950 are not cultivated. Research on spuds, especially studies aimed at fostering food security and the alleviation of poverty, have become a focus for the center.

    With all of this talk of potatoes, are you hungry yet? The UN program has so far identified 172,000 web pages containing recipes for using potatoes. Stay tuned, it says: "We will gather the best of them" and share them on the Year of the Potato website.


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.

    Citations

    International Year of Potato (IYP) Secretariat

    Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

    Room C-776

    Viale delle Terme di Caracalla

    00153 Rome

    Italy

    International Potato Center

    Apartado Postal 1558

    Lima 12,

    Peru
    Further Reading

    Gorman, J. 2000. Novel sensing system catches the dud spud. Science News 158(Nov. 25):341. Available at [Go to].

    C. Graves, Ed. 2001. The Potato, Treasure of the Andes: From Agriculture to Culture. Lima, Peru: International Potato Center (208 pp). Available at [Go to].

    Raloff, J. 2005. Food colorings: Pigments make fruits and veggies extra healthful. Science News 167(Jan. 8):27. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. How carbs can make burgers safer. Science News Online (Dec. 4). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. Coming soon—Spud lite. Science News Online (June 19). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2003. How olives might enhance potatoes—and strawberries. Science News Online (May 24). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2002. Acrylamide—From spuds to gingerbread. Science News Online (Dec. 14). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1998. Taters for tots provide an edible vaccine. Science News 153(March 7):149. Available at [Go to]

              No Peanuts for Your Peanut        

    Youngsters are developing peanut allergies earlier because of exposures in babyhood

    Food for Thought

    Peanuts are a protein-rich snack food packing plenty of vitamins and trace nutrients. However, these legumes can elicit potentially life-threatening immune reactions within the one in 100 American adults who are allergic to them. Rates of peanut allergy are even higher among children. And the really disturbing news: A new study finds that the age at which this common food allergy first shows up is falling.

    Today, peanut allergy typically emerges in early toddlerhood, a team of Duke University researchers reports in the December Pediatrics. "That's almost a year earlier than what we knew, scientifically, a decade ago, "explains A. Wesley Burks, a pediatric allergist who coauthored the new study.

    Although children outgrow many allergies, peanut allergy is not typically one of them. Among people who develop immune reactions to this food, 80 percent retain their allergy for life.

    The new study began, Burks says, after Duke immunologists noticed that they were encountering younger patients with peanut allergy. To investigate, the researchers pulled entry records and medical charts for all 140 young patients who had come in with the allergy since 1988. Poring over the records confirmed a fall in age at first diagnosis throughout this period—one that proved more dramatic than expected, Burks told Science News Online.

    Nationally, the rate of food allergy appears to be increasing, according to a 2006 report of a National Institutes of Health expert panel. The most striking increase, it noted, has been for peanut allergy, which is also the most common food sensitivity. Because some allergies can be avoided by delaying a child's initial introduction to certain foods, in 2000 the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that parents "consider" keeping peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish out of the diet of kids under age 3.

    Burks acknowledges that most parents aren't aware of this recommendation. On the other hand, most peanut allergy shows up in children that had already exhibited allergic reactions to other foods—typically eggs or milk. Many affected children also had skin sensitivities as infants, such as eczema or atopic dermatitis, and a parent or sibling with allergies, although not necessarily to food.

    Against that background, you would think parents of the most vulnerable kids would be especially careful about introducing peanuts into the diet. And they might well have been. Indeed, Burks suspects that most initial introductions to peanuts in his young patients were inadvertent. Either a child encountered items that contained unlabeled traces of peanuts—perhaps a jelly bean, certain flavorings used in medicines, or any of several baby lotions (see Unexpected Sources of Peanut Allergy). Or perhaps the kids encountered peanut allergen in the air when others were eating, handling, or cooking foods that contained the legume.

    But for now, Burks' team has no firm leads on why peanut allergies are showing up earlier. The Duke group and others will be probing that in the next few years.

    Homing in on the problem

    Children with peanut allergy in the new study showed the expected history of vulnerability. For instance, four in five had parents or a sib with some form of allergy. Four in five children also had personally experienced atopic dermatitis, two in every three suffered from asthma, and more than half had allergies that triggered runny noses. Moreover, blood tests from two-thirds of the youngsters turned up antibodies highlighting sensitivity to other foods, typically eggs or tree-nuts.

    Half of the young patients were born between 1988 and 1999, the rest between 2000 and 2005. The average age of their peanut allergy's onset was significantly different between the two groups—roughly 29 months old for the pre-2000 birth group, versus 15 months for children born since 2000. Within the first group, half of the children developed peanut allergy by 21 months of age; for children born since 2000, half developed their allergy by the time they were 14 months old.

    In hopes of teasing out factors that contributed to the trend of earlier allergies, Burks' group is participating in a Food Allergy Research Consortium that has been given $17 million to study food allergies—especially to peanuts. One facet of the 5-year program, which is sponsored by NIAID, is investigating the use of shots to desensitize people with peanut allergy. In addition, some 400 infants with milk and egg allergies will be studied for signs of immunological differences that distinguish those who outgrow their allergies from those who retain them lifelong.

    Currently, some 30,000 people a year are hospitalized for food allergy in the United States, and 200 die during an allergic episode. One concern, Burks notes, is that children who develop peanut allergy earlier than in the past might face a lower-than-usual chance of outgrowing their life-threatening affliction—one that requires constant vigilance.

    Such an allergy can even crimp one's social life. Consider the poor teenage girl whose lips swelled up after being kissed by her boyfriend (see A Rash of Kisses). Hours earlier, the boy had eaten peanuts, to which the girl was allergic.


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.

    Citations

    American Academy of Pediatrics

    141 Northwest Point Boulevard

    Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

    Web site: [Go to]

    A. Wesley Burks

    Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology

    Duke University Medical Center

    DUMC 2644

    Durham, NC 27710

    National Institutes of Health

    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

    Office of Communications and Government Relations

    6610 Rockledge Drive, MSC 6612

    Bethesda, MD 20892-6612

    Web site: [Go to]
    Further Reading

    Helmuth, L. 1999. Allergy vaccine may take fear out of nuts. Science News 155(April 3):213. Available at [Go to].

    Long, A. 2002. The nuts and bolts of peanut allergy. New England Journal of Medicine 346(April 25):1320-1322. Extract available at [Go to].

    Raloff, J. 2003. Unexpected sources of peanut allergy. Science News Online (March 15). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2002. A rash of kisses. Science News 162(July 20):40. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1998. The mango that thought it was poison ivy. Science News Online (Aug. 8). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1997. A whiff, a sniff—then asthma. Science News Online (Feb. 1). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 1996. Peanut allergy found common and increasing. Science News 150(Sept. 7):150. Available at [Go to].

    _____. 1996. Family allergies? Keep nuts away from kids. Science News 149(May 4):279. Available at [Go to].

    Seppa, N. 2003. Tough nut is cracked: Antibody treatment stifles peanut reactions. Science News 163(March 15):163. Available at [Go to].

              Canadians Advocate Boosting Vitamin D in Pregnancy        

    A Canadian medical society recommends pregnant women and nursing moms boost their intake of vitamin D dramatically

    Food for Thought

    Canadian pediatricians certainly aren't shirking controversy when it comes to a vitamin guideline they've developed for pregnant women and nursing moms. They're asking these women to boost their intake of vitamin D dramatically—to 10 times the daily doses advocated by most health organizations in the States. This new prescription is aimed at combating rickets—leg deformations caused by soft bones—in youngsters who get too little of the sunshine vitamin.

    Vitamin D helps build strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium. Getting pregnant and nursing women to take more of the vitamin ensures that plenty will reach developing children.

    In the past, most people had little trouble getting enough vitamin D—they just went outdoors where ultraviolet rays from the sun trigger chemical reactions in skin to make this vital nutrient. However, some people always had trouble making enough. Canadian kids at highest risk of vitamin deficits generally live in First Nations and Inuit communities. With sun-filtering pigments in their skin, and living at high latitudes, they must glean most of their vitamin D from the diet—generally a poor source—not the sun.

    Most North American women—including those in the United States—eat diets delivering only about 100 international units, or IU, of vitamin D daily, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), in Washington, D.C. That is half of what IOM recommends and a mere 5 percent of what Canadian pediatricians are now advocating for new and soon-to-be moms.

    Although IOM's dietary recommendations are for the United States, the Canadian health establishment has tended to rubber stamp them. In this case, though, Canada's health agency took the unusual tack of signing off on a Canadian Paediatric Society proposal to boost the recommended intake by women who are pregnant or breast feeding to 2,000 IU per day. This new guideline appears in a consensus statement published in September by the society in its journal, Paediatrics & Child Health.

    Soon the society will begin sending its new guideline to every provincial, territorial, and aboriginal health department across Canada, notes Marie Adèle Davis, the group's executive director. The goal, she told Science News Online, is to make sure all public health officials learn about it—not just pediatricians.

    The higher recommendation equals the amount that IOM has designated as the safe upper limit for vitamin D's daily consumption. Most nutritionists don't really consider that value is a true ceiling for safe intake—especially since sunbathing on a bright summer day can generate 10,000 to 20,000 IU in the body without harm. Still, for political and legal reasons, most organizations shy away from advocating intakes near what IOM has flagged as a potential maximum for safe consumption.

    Now a number of researchers suspect that intakes by pregnant and lactating women much below 2,000 IU per day could actually prove unsafe for child health.

    Reinhold Vieth of the University of Toronto explained why, recently, to officials with Health Canada, a counterpart to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. To prevent rickets, he argued, a baby needs 400 IU of vitamin D per day. And in many parts of Canada, he said, nursing women may require several thousand IU of vitamin D per day to get 400 IU into their breast milk. Vieth had been recruited by the Canadian Paediatric Society to help defend its proposed guideline to government officials.

    U.S. physicians won't quibble over the 400 IU figure for babies and young children, notes pediatrician Frank R. Greer, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) committee on nutrition. Although the 1997 IOM report says 200 IU of vitamin D per day should be sufficient for anyone under 50—including children—few researchers buy that. "Everybody feels that we should be taking more than 200 IU," says Greer, of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

    Unlike the Canadian Paediatric Society, though, "We [at AAP] don't really have any influence on what pregnant and lactating women take," Greer says. "However, I can say that AAP's committee on nutrition has recommended to the board that we go back to [recommending] 400 IU for all children." That's the amount in a teaspoon of cod liver oil—the vitamin D supplement of choice throughout the early 20th century. Greer expects his committee's recommendation to be approved by AAP's board, perhaps within the next month.

    Optimal needs vary

    For most of the past century, nutrient guidelines have been set to prevent gross deficiencies—shortfalls that could cause disease. Those recommendations tended to represent minimally adequate intakes. Over the past decade, however, considerable debate has surrounded what vitamin D consumption levels would be optimal versus merely adequate.

    The controversy has been fueled by a steady stream of studies that have emerged since the IOM set its vitamin D guidelines. Nearly all demonstrate substantial health benefits from relatively high intakes of vitamin D—amounts well in excess of what most individuals now get. Moreover, those benefits extend well beyond protecting bone. More vitamin D seems to diminish the risk of cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, muscle loss, viral infections—even gum disease.

    Researchers gauge vitamin D sufficiency on the basis of 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25-HD). This is not the form of the vitamin that is consumed—nor the hormonal form that the body actually uses—but an intermediary. To achieve optimal concentrations of 25-HD, growing numbers of nutrition and health scientists suggest, most of us would need intakes of 800 to 4,000 IU per day (see Vitamin D: What's Enough?).

    How much vitamin D someone needs can vary widely, largely depending on the amount of skin that gets exposed to the sun each day—and for how long. Further complicating the picture, some skin is heavily pigmented, filtering sunlight out. Many people cover up with clothes or sunblock when they go outdoors. Still others live at high latitudes—as Canadians do—where little ultraviolet radiation makes it through the atmosphere during much of the year.

    Even for women in the southern United States, however, "we've found that lactating women need about 6,000 IU a day to transfer enough vitamin D into their milk to supply adequate amounts to a nursing infant," says Bruce W. Hollis of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

    Nor are nursing moms the only individuals who may need relatively large doses of the vitamin. Hollis' research has shown that black women may sometimes need 4,000 IU a day for months at a time to compensate for little time outdoors, heavy skin pigmentation, and/or obesity—a factor that appears to diminish the body's ability to use vitamin D efficiently (see Understanding Vitamin D Deficiency).

    Another reason for moms' supplementation?

    In March, researchers at Harvard Medical School reported evidence that ample vitamin D diminishes the chance a child will develop asthma, a scourge who's incidence has been rising, especially in black and low-income communities (see Childhood Vitamin D—A New Benefit?). Recently, an additional putative benefit has emerged for pregnant women and their developing babies.

    A study linked elevated risk of preeclampsia—high blood pressure that develops in some women during the last half of pregnancy—with low intakes of vitamin D. This condition, which can lead to miscarriage and even the death of the mother—ordinarily develops in some three to seven percent of first pregnancies.

    Pittsburgh researchers enrolled 1,198 women who were pregnant for the first time and measured their blood concentrations of vitamin D within the first 22 weeks of gestation. Subsequently, 59 women developed preeclampsia. Blood values from all but four were compared to a similar group of recruits who maintained normal blood pressure throughout their pregnancies.

    The higher a woman's blood concentrations of 25-HD, the lower her chance of developing preeclampsia—and that risk fell steadily and "strikingly" with increasing vitamin D values, Lisa M. Bodnar of the University of Pittsburgh and her colleagues found.

    Moreover, babies whose moms had developed preeclampsia were far more likely to have low vitamin-D values than were children whose moms had maintained normal blood pressure. "These differences were found in our population despite widespread prenatal/multivitamin use in the 3 months before delivery," Bodnar's group reports in the September Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

    Black women face far higher risks of developing this hypertensive syndrome. Overall, black women are also far likelier than other ethnic or racial groups to have low blood levels of vitamin D. Against this backdrop, Bodnar's group says, "our data linking vitamin D deficiency and preeclampsia risk raises the intriguing possibility that vitamin D may contribute to racial disparities in this [syndrome]."

    "The story of deficiency begins with vitamin D itself and its primary mode of synthesis, which is from sunlight," argue Adekunle Dawodu of the University of Cincinnati and Carol L. Wagner of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. In a commentary in the September Archives of Disease in Childhood, they report a resurgence of rickets around the world, not only in children at high latitudes, but also in the Arab world and Asia where culture or excessive temperatures may keep women and children indoors or covered up.

    A shift from vitamin-D sufficiency to widespread deficiency has occurred rapidly—mostly throughout a half-century. The reason for it is clear, Dawodu and Wagner say: "insufficient sun exposure and inadequate corrective vitamin-D supplementation." They conclude, much as the Canadian Paediatric Society just has, that dosing moms during pregnancy and lactation "would achieve the double effect of preventing vitamin-D deficiency in both mothers and children." But unlike the Canadian society, they note that doses considerably higher than 2,000 IU may be necessary for some individuals and communities.

    As a goal, achieving population-wide vitamin D sufficiency "may be one of the more important preventative public health initiatives," conclude Dawodu and Wagner.


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.

    Citations

    American Academy of Pediatrics

    141 Northwest Point Boulevard

    Elk Grove Village, IL 60007-1098


    Lisa M. Bodnar

    Department of Epidemiology

    University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

    A742 Crabtree Hall

    130 DeSoto Street

    Pittsburgh, PA 15261


    John J. Cannell

    Psychiatry Department

    Atascadero State Hospital

    10333 El Camino Real

    Atascadero, CA 93423

    Marie Adèle Davis

    Canadian Paediatric Society

    2305 St. Laurent Boulevard

    Ottawa, Ont. K1G 4J8

    Canada

    Frank R. Greer

    Department of Pediatrics

    University of Wisconsin, Madison

    Madison, WI 53792

    Bruce W. Hollis

    Department of Pediatrics

    Medical University of South Carolina

    P.O. Box 250917

    171 Ashley Avenue, Room BM326

    Charleston, SC 29425


    Reinhold Vieth

    Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

    Mount Sinai Hospital

    600 University Avenue

    Toronto, ON M5G 1X5

    Canada
    Further Reading

    Cannell, J.J. In press. Autism and vitamin D. Medical Hypotheses. Abstract available at [Go to].

    Dijkstra, S.H., et al. 2007. High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in newborn infants of high-risk mothers. Archives of Disease in Childhood 92(September):750-753. Available at [Go to].

    Moore, C.E., M.M. Murphy, and M.F. Holick. 2005. Vitamin D intakes by children and adults in the United States differ among ethnic groups. Journal of Nutrition 135(October):2478-2485. Available at [Go to].

    Raloff, J. 2007. Childhood vitamin D—A new benefit? Science News Online (May 19). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2007. Childhood vitamin D—A dark side? Science News Online (May 12). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2006. The antibiotic vitamin. Science News 170(Nov. 11):312-317. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2005. Breathing easier with vitamin D. Science News Online (Dec. 17). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2005. Vitamin D boosts calcium potency. Science News Online (Nov. 12). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2005. Understanding vitamin D deficiency. Science News Online (April 30). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. Vitamin D: What's enough? Science News 166(Oct. 16):248-249. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. Vitamin boost. Science News 166(Oct. 9):232-233. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2004. Should foods be fortified even more? Science News Online (Sept. 11). Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2000. Calcium may become a dieter's best friend. Science News 157(April 29):277. Available at [Go to].

    Williams, A.F. 2007. Vitamin D in pregnancy: An old problem still to be solved? Archives of Disease in Childhood 92(September):740-741. Available at [Go to].

              Monika Dutta        

    My name is Monika Dutta , am initially watches out for north Indian customary Sikh’s family and living in this wonderful and prosperous city of men of their word Mumbai. As my name is pronouncing Dutta which mean princess I am having “Dark long hair like a holy messenger, pink delicious lips and insidious grin […]

    The post Monika Dutta appeared first on Sky Escorts.


              Tennessee Lakeside        
    2,648 sq. ft., 1st Floor – 1,352, 2nd Floor – 1,296, 3 bedroom, 3 bath. We use Cedar– Northern White Cedar is truly a remarkable wood. It is the finest that nature has to offer.  It has the highest resistance to insects and decay of all woods. Our LIFETIME WARRANTY assures that termites will NEVER [...]
              Santee River        
    3 Bedroom, 3 Bath Open Plan, Cathedral Ceiling We use Cedar– Northern White Cedar is truly a remarkable wood. It is the finest that nature has to offer.  It has the highest resistance to insects and decay of all woods. Our LIFETIME WARRANTY assures that termites will NEVER be an issue.  Cedar log homes use [...]
              Post and Beam,        
    Dove-Tail, Butt & Pass and Swedish Cope are the strongest means of construction, they give flexibility in design and simplicity of construction. We offer any size or shape logs. We use Cedar –  Northern White Cedar is truly a remarkable wood. It is the finest that nature has to offer.  It has the highest resistance [...]
              Global Financial Regulation: The Essential Guide [Audio]        
    Speaker(s): Howard Davies, David Green, John McFall, Sir Steve Robson, Gillian Tett | As international financial markets have become more complex, so has the regulatory system which oversees them. The Basel Committee is just one of a plethora of international bodies and groupings which now set standards for financial activity around the world, in the interests of investor protection and financial stability. These groupings, and their decisions, have a major impact on markets in developed and developing countries, and on competition between financial firms. Yet their workings are shrouded in mystery, and their legitimacy is uncertain. Howard Davies was the first chairman of the UK's Financial Services Authority, the single regulator for the whole of Britain's financial sector. He was a member of the main international regulatory committees for several years, and is now director of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). David Green was head of International Policy at the FSA, after 30 years in the Bank of England, and has been particularly closely associated with the development of the European regulatory system. He now advises the Financial Reporting Council. John McFall MP is Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee of the House of Commons since 2001. He was re-elected to this post in October, 2005. In 1997 John served as a Government Whip and in July 1998 he was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Northern Ireland Office. His portfolio included responsibility for the Department of Education, Community Relations, the Training and Employment Agency and the Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Economic Affairs. Sir Steve Robson is a former senior UK civil servant, who had responsibility for a wide variety of Treasury matters. His early career included the post of private secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and secondment to ICFC (now 3i). He was also a second permanent secretary of HM Treasury, where he was managing director of the Finance and Regulation Directorate. He is a non-executive director of JP Morgan Cazenove Holdings, RBS, Xstrata Plc, The Financial Reporting Council Limited and Partnerships UK plc, and a member of the Chairman's Advisory Committee of KPMG.
              Melissa Byrnes        

    Melissa K Byrnes, assistant professor of history, published an opinion piece in the Austin American-Statesman about the roots of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in Paris in January. Dr. Byrnes is finishing a book on North African migration to France in the middle of the twentieth century.


              Jeffrey McKenzie ’15        

    Jeffrey McKenzie '15, will attend the Seattle Film Institute to study film score composition with the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program.


              Hayley Warriner ’15        

    Hayley Warriner '15, will attend the Seattle Film Institute to study film score composition with the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program.


              Berroth        

    Erika Berroth, associate professor of German, presented a research paper titled "Slow Violence and Vibrant Matter in Marica Bodrožić' Novel Kirschholz und alte Gefühle" at the 38th annual conference of the German Studies Association for a panel with the title Berlin Haunts: Specters of the Past and Future in Recent Berlin Fictions. Berroth also contributed to discussions in a session sponsored by the GSA Environmental Studies Network titled "The Metabolism of Cultures: Consumption, Waste, and Desire in Ecological Humanities," and in a session sponsored by the North American DAAD Centers for German and European Studies titled Mensch/Natur/Umwelt: New Research and Pedagogy of the Green Germany."


              Andja Budincich        

    Andja Budincich '14, Theatre and Art History major, is attending the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she is pursuing a MFA in costume design.


              Gabriel Springs        

    Austin's Premier Event Venue. The newest of the Springs Events facilities located just north of Austin in the rolling hill country above the Gabriel River off Hwy 29 in Georgetown, TX. Gabriel Springs provides an exclusive setting for rustic, hill country-style and classic weddings & receptions. The 9000 sq ft assembly hall's beautiful architecture features open beam trusses, red oak floors and tall windows as well as a covered driveway and a walk-around covered porch – the first of its kind for The Springs Events venues. Gabriel Springs' beautiful outdoor hills and elegant facilities will create memories of your special day that last forever.


              The Art of Lovin' Trees --- Featuring Joel Tauber        




    The Art of Lovin’ Trees-- 
    Featuring Artist Joel Tauber
    Story dedicated to Joel and Alison
    in celebration of their joyous engagement on November 9th,
    2008

    Written and Researched by Enilde Van Hook
    Story Consult and Editing by Luke Van Hook
    Painting, www.lukevanhook.com
    Photography, www.gingervanhook.com
    Writing, www.enildeingelsvanhook.com


     America is having a love affair with trees and California is second to none in leading its appreciation of trees. Digging deep into the roots of this story, I have followed and researched the tree culture specifically in Los Angeles where our love of trees has spawned a unique pop tree culture relating to art. Our popular tree culture today includes but is not limited to tree sculptures, tree paintings, tree photographs, tree videos, tree poetry, tree songs, tree jewelry, tree movies and even tree love affairs. 


    Tree Earing created by Joel Tauber for his Sick-Amour Tree in Pasadena, California.
    Additional Tree Jewelry created by Joel Tauber to adorn the Sick-Amour Tree includes leaf jewelry, as well as the male earing and the female earing that hang from the tree below.  
    Photos of tree jewelry courtesy of  Susanne Vielmetter Gallery 5795 West Washington Blvd., Culver City, California 90232 www.vielmetter.com   infor@vielmetter.com (323-933-2117)


    Sick-Amour Tree in the parkinglot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl, protected by barriers installed by Joel Tauber in his quest to save his beloved tree. Tree wearing the earings looks hot!  Photo courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Gallery.
    Leaf sculpture by Joel Tauber
    Female tree earing by Joel Tauber.
    Male tree earing created by Joel Tauber, photo courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Gallery, 2008

    For the record, our love of trees goes way back to the dawn of time when we were swinging in the trees, however, our love has grown and matured since then. The Greek and Roman heritage of literature and art bestows us with intoxicating stories of their Gods having entanglements with humans. Some of their deities were known as protectors of trees and nature such as Dionysus the Greek god of agriculture, fertility, wine and merriment. He was later renamed Bacchus by the Romans and reported to be the Tree God. Back in the day when artists carved trees into stone and marble relief sculptures to worship in the temples of their mythological gods, people celebrated the sacredness of trees, grapevines and sometimes the unions of gods and mortals. There was Pomona, the goddess of fruit trees who married Vertumnus, the god of fruits and gardens. Digging deep enough, one is sure to find stories of deities mating with trees and spawning children of the harvest for instance.

    In modern literary circles there are a number of great imaginative family favorites written about trees, like “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. Then there’s the infamous story of how Robinson Crusoe lived in a tree-house, and of utmost importance to our American history of trees, we propagate the very memorable legend of ‘Johnny Appleseed’.

    In our contemporary times we have a legend in the making too. I have been fortunate to witness the emergence of a new ‘Johnny Appleseed’ and interestingly enough, the story involves a recent romantic love affair between one special tree and a mortal that is well worth pursuing the story. Sometime in the fall of in 2007, I met Joel Tauber. This is the artist who I believe was struck by a mythological bolt of lighting, so to speak, pertaining to one of the Greek or Roman deities’. Joel Tauber is said to have fallen head over heels in love with one particular Sycamore Tree in the parking lot of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. My chance meeting with this now famous mortal under the influence of an enchanted mystical spell, has led me to research the mysteries intrinsic in the charms of trees. I too have been struck with the frailty of trees, their vulnerabilities, and their enormous strengths and inspiration. This together with my own personal experiences with trees has prompted me to come out of my shell and discuss the subject in all seriousness.

    My own personal background is not in trees. I am simply a tree-lover from childhood. For a little over ten years, my professional background was in radio as a disc jockey and on-air personality. I listened to music, reviewed songs and kept tabs on the pop music culture. I worked in the Los Angeles market as well as Santa Barbara, California; Eventually I moved to expand my work experience in neighboring radio markets like Reno, Carson City, Lake Tahoe and Gardnerville/Minden, Nevada. It was through traveling that I saw some of the most beautiful trees along the routes through Northern California and Northern Nevada!
    While I drove from one radio market to another over the years, I watched the trees go by at the various speed limits along the highways of my life’s journeys. Thus you will understand when I tell you that often I see art and life, for that matter, through a series of moving images in my head which include a music bed. 
    I was eleven years old when in 1970, Joni Mitchell wrote and released a song called ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ whose lyrics surpassed the test of time and is currently in airplay by a glut of new groups. The lyrics began with “…They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum and they charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see ‘em.” One of the barometers I use to gage the influence of any particular song, music or artwork that I come into contact with is if it will surpass the test of time, among other important criteria. This song became one of my favorite songs of all time. The lyrics made so much sense to me.
    When I met Joel Tauber, I was introduced to the enormous scope of his Sick-Amour Tree-Baby Project. It was then that I suddenly started hearing Joni Mitchell’s song in my mind again, only this time, as I got in my car, Counting Crows was performing the song. When I started doing more research on the song that I could not get out of my head, I was struck by how many artists had re-recorded the song and barely changed anything about the words. There is Amy Grant, who upgraded the dollar amount from $1.50 to $25 when singing about how much the museums charged people to enter. Additionally there is Green Day, Sarah McLachlan, Charlie Barker, Bob Dylan, Moya Brennan, Ireen Sheer, Donnie Eidt and a host of so many others that have recorded ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ it was simply overwhelming!
    I think the importance of the lyrics to this one particular song is that it reveals the fact that people love trees and hate parking lots. The message is that if it weren’t for our trees, we could be living in a frying pan! The impact of this single song is that it reveals what is really going on in people’s minds. There is a reason why so many artists are flocking to re-record the lyrics in their own way.











    Not only are trees involved in the music arena, trees as subjects, are very involved in politics as well. Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin at the time, took a leading role in developing the celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd 1970 as a way to commemorate our environmental concerns. Arbor Day is presently celebrated as well with the first ceremonial tree planting in Washington D.C. on April 27th in 2001, all evidence that goes to prove the people of our planet do care about what happens to our trees.


    Trees stand as a testiment and memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King

    Dr. Martin Luther King is memorialized with trees along Expositon Blvd. across from the Los Angeles Coliseum and down the street from the University of Southern California.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook


    Online sources on the subject of trees are rich in number. For instance, eighteen years ago, here in Los Angeles, a multi racial group of volunteers planted 400 Canary Island Pine trees along seven miles of road on Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s life. Today, this living homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. continues to thrive and keep the dream alive for his followers. The founder and President of www.treepeople.org is Mr. Andy Lipkis and he keeps tabs on the trees to make sure all 400 trees stay healthy.



    Mayor Antonio Villarigosa is the person to thank for the ‘Million Trees Initiative’ he signed into effect in May of 2006 and Los Angeles residents can learn how they too can receive up to 7 free trees to plant on their property. Visit the website at www.milliontreesla.org to learn the details.   Also in Portland, Oregon there is www.friendsoftrees.org and in Bellingham Washington you will find www.geocities.com. There is also the International Society of Arboriculture called ISA and can be accessed by visiting www.isa-arbor.com. You will also find a great deal of valuable advise on the growth and care of trees at www.treesaregood.com and check out Tree Care Industry Association TCIA as well.



    Mark Dion created an art piece titled "Library for the Birds of Antwerp" which is also a good example of how art is vitally connected with our tree culture and how it connects Mark Dion to his PBS special where he removed a dead tree from the forest and recreated its living components in a city scape in Washington.  From the "20th Century Artbook Phaidon Press 1996", the caption reads: "Using props from the natural and man-made world, Dion has constructed an installation that explores contemporary attitudes to science and the environment. He has created a fictional and hybridized situation in which the trappings associated with knowledge, learning and classification--such as books and photographs--are juxtaposed with natural elements including birds and wood.   The representation of nature is a fundamental subject in Dion's art, and here he takes on the role of sociologist/anthropologist and blurring the boundaries between authentic and fake, representation and parody. By adopting the persona of a scientist and by satirizing man's obsession with categorization, Dion questions the values of the Western world.  His subject matter is heavily influence by popular culture.  In Dion's world we might witness Mickey Mouse as an explorer, or Clark Kent interviewing Dr. Frankenstein." (Photo and contents are used in this story for purposes of artistic review.)

    In the art world, an artist named Mark Dion was featured in a documentary film report that aired in 2007. To view the video one may visit on the Internet by going to www.pbs.org and find Mark Dion as he took the subject of trees and made an art piece that explored what would happen if one were to take a tree after its death, take it out of its familial context of natural forest, and re-create the ecosystem in an environment that would otherwise be a hostile urban setting, needless to say, a cityscape. Just outside of Seattle Washington, he states, a Hemlock fell on February 8th, 1996…and so begins an elaborate experiment that pits optimism against reality." The PBS special is very detailed and you will enjoy the depth of research and work that Mark Dion went to to take a tree out of the forest and recreate the setting in the city.  The difference between the artwork presented by Mark Dion and  the artwork presented by Joel Tauber is in the nature of the life of the tree. Mark Dion works with a dead tree and its living components, and Joel Tauber creates life out of a tree seed and duplicates it all over his community.


    Thus I’ve discovered for myself that when I researched the subject of trees, I discovered Joel Tauber wasn’t alone! However, instead of creating an experiment in ecology, Joel Tauber goes further than Mark Dion does with this concept of eco-systems and their frailties. Joel Tauber begins a journey that could eventually repair the eco-systems that man has destroyed. This is where Joel Tauber takes the lead in the art world and becomes not only the realist but the optimistic hope for trees in desecrated forests all over the country.
    Joel Tauber’s work as a living project of art in 2008 has resonance and his story is well worth telling again and again. He is certainly not the first, nor the last to get involved in the love of trees, but he is the first in contemporary times to have been associated with a mythological and mystical occurrence of reproducing tree babies out of just hugging one lonely tree.


    The last time I saw a man hugging a tree, he was hugging the tree for all the wrong reasons. At the MOCA, Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, some years back I was viewing an exhibition that was in town by the Utah born artist now working in Los Angeles, Paul McCarthy. While this work of art depicted a very raw and unsettling sculpture of ‘tree-lovin’ it had nothing whatsoever to do with the love of any tree. The work displayed a timely political statement about our government rather than the love for trees, but bear in mind that the thought involved images from man’s intimate involvement with trees both in the biblical sense and in the sense of man’s raping of the planet. Joel Tauber’s work counteracts the devastation of many years of neglect for our trees with a very basic recipe for the renewal of our commitment to our green-leafed friends. Now, when I see the image of Joel Tauber hugging his Sycamore Tree in Pasadena, I get a whole new perspective for the love for our planet, our trees and our environment as a whole.

    "The Garden" by Paul McCarthy from The 20th Century Art Book, 
    Phaidon Press Limited, page 280. Photo is used for purposes of artistic review.
    The caption in the book reads as follows: " 'The Garden'  is a full-scale tableau of an outdoor, woodland scene, complete with leafy trees, shrubs and rocks.  This tranquil picture of nature is rudely interrupted by the presence of a middle-aged, balding man with his trousers round his ankles, engaged in a wholly unnatural act. From one side of the installation, his actions are not immediately apparent, being partially hidden by the tree trunks and foliage, but the sound of mechanical activity draws the viewer in to discover the shocking sight of a man copulating with a tree.  This robotic figure, with its endlessly repetitive movements, is both comical and crude, and is intended by McCarthy to question notions of acceptable public behavior and sexual morality.  McCarthy is a lecturer at UCLA as well as an artist. His sculptural installations evolved out of his earlier performance work which focused on his own body engaged in extreme and disturbing acts."




    To further explain this romantic entanglement between a tree and a mortal, I cite some important historical facts. Back in 2005, Joel Tauber was in the parking lot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl, when he spotted a particularly lonely and neglected Sycamore Tree. There are hundreds of thousands of trees in Pasadena, and a great number of them thrive very well on the grounds of the Rose Bowl, should you ever drive through this luscious community of tree and rose-lovers, you will see. But Joel Tauber focused his attention on one specific lonely tree. He started to note more and more how cars would hit the bark of the tree and scrape it, injuring the tree repeatedly. Joel Tauber became a witness to this tree’s life. Taking compassion and friendship upon this particular tree, Tauber began to film the area of the parking lot where the tree was growing. He got the idea to put up solid barriers to protect it from cars and also carried water in large plastic bags to irrigate the tree. Soon, Tauber found himself as a one-man band, orchestrating a symphony of activities leading to editing mass quantities of tree footage, fighting City Hall, and embarking on a quest to save this tree from infertility using tried and true guerilla tactics that would make tree-huggers stand and salute. To personally view the Sick-Amour project, along with the giant scale tree sculpture installation exhibited at Susanne Vielmetter Gallery in 2007, you may visit www.vielmetter.com.













                   Recently, I had the privilege and opportunity to discuss Joel Tauber’s work with Susanne Vielmetter and she was delighted to tell me what a wonderful sense of humor that Tauber exhibits in all of his works of art. Susanne Vielmetter reviewed the Underwater project with me as well as the Flying Project which Tauber presented.
    She explained how deep down, she feels Tauber is on a quest for meaning in his work and that he has a keen sense of humor that unifies and makes his ideas successful. She states that he uses the comical and the tragic in the Tree-Baby project to address the issues of urban living in our time and very subtly pokes fun at the problems innate in urban planning. The real irony of a small Sycamore tree dying of thirst in a parking lot of a beautiful park in a paradise-like valley, alongside the 110 Pasadena Freeway where 80% of the territory is plastered with concrete and the water below runs along asphalt channels of the Los Angeles River is not lost on Tauber, she explained. To contrast, Susanne Vielmetter cited that parks in Europe allow for weeds to grow naturally on landscapes that are not covered with concrete. Joel Tauber’s projects were initially presented at the Susanne Vielmetter Gallery located at 5795 Washington Blvd., in Culver City, California. The response Susanne Vielmetter’s Gallery received was incredibly exciting, even though at first, some folks thought Joel Tauber was a nut; he went on to prove just how serious he really is about changing the landscape of our environment, one tree at a time.



    Joel Tauber has a large body of video artwork, photographs and developing tree babies, (the children of a mortal and a Charmed Sycamore Tree) and one may also visit www.joeltauber.com.
    As I learned more and more about Joel Tauber’s project, I realized how blessed we all are that tree-lovin’ is not a singular act of love or even a fleeting love of art. I realized how connected we all are to our environment and how the idea of having a special friend ‘the tree’, any tree in any state, in any country for that matter is a beautiful connection to have. The connection that Joel Tauber has to his Sycamore Tree is in synch with the love that the country is experiencing during our new millennium. We have all become acutely aware of the fragility of life; we realize now more than ever that we must respect our dependence on our environment and value our trees.

    The first thing that struck me about Joel Tauber was that we had the love of trees in common. He seemed a bit shy, unassuming and humble yet I was later to learn the enormous power he wielded for this one frail and neglected tree in the parking lot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California. I was truly inspired by the level of involvement and commitment he had demonstrated for his own beloved Sycamore Tree which he had turned into a full-blown art-project including video, photography and sculptured jewelry. (He did it all!) He named this work the Sick-Amour Project mainly because he said he felt this tree was ill from the lack of love and the inability to have tree babies to fulfill its legacy. I had never personally met someone with such an extreme love and dedication to one particular tree. In our local newscasts, I had heard stories of people who became very emotional when a land developer was about to cut down a tree they considered a relic of their community; in which case people got very nasty about the issue and would chain themselves to the trees or surround the location with demonstrators that would shut down the jobsite. That’s when the news crews would come in with their cameras and boom mikes and the news helicopters would hover in circles above the trees trying to capture the ‘event’ that was creating all the uproar. A very recent example of this type of community behavior is written about on the front pages of the Los Angeles Times where Eric Bailey, a Times Staff Writer, wrote an extensive story about the tree-issues pertaining to Scotia, California where activists are protesting the logging of the Great California REDWOODS! Read the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times, August 24th, 2008 or visit www.latimes.com online to learn how the tree-sitters are doing today.

    But Joel Tauber is a different type of activist. He doesn’t consider himself an activist at all. He merely states, humbly, just for the record, that he loves this one particular Sycamore Tree and it is an outrage to him to see how his new best friend is being suffocated under a six-inch blanket of black tar and asphalt. Better yet, Joel Tauber does something about it. Not with a crew of forty thousand demonstrators, not even with a crew of forty residents. He does this on his own, quietly challenging the laws of the city of Pasadena and humbly takes responsibility for the care and nurturing of his new best friend. I was touched. At once I began to marvel at his potent idea.



    The art of loving our trees has grown roots in the higher levels of the art world as well. For instance, if one were to visit the J. Paul Getty Museum both at the Getty Villa which recently re-opened in Malibu and at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, you will find the love of trees has grown branches on all the hillsides surrounding both properties. There are lucky Sycamores and fortunate Pines; there are Pomegranate trees, Apple trees, Pear trees, Jacaranda trees and trees that just look good in a vista overlooking the ocean. Millions of dollars went into the development of artistic gardens which envelope the California landscape against a backdrop of the Pacific Ocean on one edge and the rolling hills of Malibu on the other.






    Over in the area of the Miracle Mile, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is celebrating an enormous renovation of its facilities and you guessed it, there are aisles and isles of gigantic palm trees lining the walkways to the entrance of the museum in concert with a unique and flamboyant architecture that has drawn the attention of the art-world with the generosity of Eli and Edythe Broad of the Broad Foundation. The Broad Contemporary Art Museum is the new wing at the LACMA and is considered the largest space in the country devoted exclusively to contemporary art. With a ‘living art display’ dedicated to the iconic palm trees, not native to California, Robert Irwin has developed a plein-air walkway through ‘Palm Gardens’ as one makes their way to the entrances of the museum.





    Lush green trees thrive all over Pasadena, California, home of the Rose Bowl where Joel Tauber fell in love with a Sycamore Tree.  Photo by Ginger Van Hook, 2008




     The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California  is also home to some of the most exquisite antiquities in its museum history which includes sculptures amid a forest like atmosphere. Currently at the Norton Simon Museum, among its many exhibitions, one may enjoy the artwork of Ruth Weisberg, Dean of the Gayle Garner Roski School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California. Opening on October 17, 2008 the Weisberg exhibition at the Norton Simon runs through March 2, 2009. Additionally a lecture by the artist is planned where Weisberg discusses: Guido Cagnacci and the Resonant Image on Sunday November 16, 2008.  The Norton Simon Museum of Art is located at 411 West Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, California. Ruth Weisberg was instrumental in selecting the work of Joel Tauber to be permanently planted on the Main University Campus of USC on January 24, 2008 where a tree planting ceremony was held and attended by numerous members of USC faculty, staff, students and guests. The location of the new tree-baby, child of the Sick-Amour Project, currently exists on the Exposition side of the campus between Gate one and the Fischer Gallery, across the street from the Museum of Natural History. 


    In Pasadena, where lovers of trees line every street of the city as the landscapes are lush with all types of trees and where these wonderful healthy trees keep cool the throngs of tourists who visit the Rose Bowl every year, is also home to the Norton Simon Museum and the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Both locations are areas where tree-lovin’ may be experienced alongside some of California’s best-known artworks. Visit the NORTON SIMON MUSEUM at www.nortonsimon.org located at 411 West Colorado, Pasadena, California 91105 or visit the PASADENA MUSEUM OF CALIFORNIA ART at www.pmcaonline.com at 490 East Union Street, Pasadena, California.



    In San Marino, California, the art of trees, gardens and succulents has found a worthy haven at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens spanning an area of 120 acres dedicated to the fine arts founded by Henry E. Huntington in 1928 as the very first public art gallery in Southern California. Along with English portraits and French eighteenth-century furniture, one will delight in tours of the unique garden paradise established for the pure love of the botanical arts.


    On the hillside along the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles, one may also enjoy walking along the elegant landscapes of the Skirball Cultural Center and Museum grounds and witness the serenity of the trees as Weeping Willows slope their leaves to the ground, and gentle breezes sway the branches of Sycamores, Oaks and Birch trees. Visit the Skirball Museum online at www.skirball.org, or enjoy a personal walk along the grounds and explore the tributes to culture at 2701 North Sepulveda, Los Angeles 90049.

    Trees at the Skirball Museum and Cultural Center thrive and enjoy the mild California climate.


    In San Diego, one enjoys walking through a vast museum complex housing 15 unique museums in Balboa Park, not to mention to the collection of rare cactus and enormous Eucalyptus trees (just to name one tree type out of numerous ones) which shade the paths leading from one museum to another.

    Each of the locations I have mentioned or described here is where I personally walked through, witnessed, and or photographed sophisticated artistic tree landscapes of the California terrain.

    The Roots of my personal anxieties: Why I care.

    The impact of my meeting Joel Tauber coincided with an important event that took place for me way before I knew about his Sick-Amour Tree project and was what eventually led me to throw myself into this frenzied study of trees over this summer. Thus I do not necessarily consider myself struck by any of the Greek or Roman gods. I believe my influence came with a special awareness of the frailty of trees with this personal story:

    A little over one year ago, on June 30th, 2007 I was walking our dog Sasha, around the block for one of our frequent walks. I rounded the corner to the next block when I was taken aback as I witnessed a set of ‘city’ crewmembers slaughtering what appeared to be a California Oak tree. I had grown quite fond of that particular Oak on my many walks while I was writing my first novel. As a matter of fact, I had used that model of tree to describe a forest of these trees in a chapter in my first fiction novel. I especially love the sculptured texture of the Mighty gnarly Oaks. This tree had been the one to rekindle my relationship with the trees of my imagination. My stomach got queasy when I saw how it was being destroyed. I would have thrown-up, but I got a hold of my emotions and took Sasha home. Not only did I return to the scene of the slaughter, but I brought my camera to document the death and dismemberment of this great oak; I was so distraught that I returned again to the site, without my camera this time, and begged the men to stop for a moment while I sought out the seeds for this tree. To my surprise, the men stopped and helped me search for the seeds.








    When I got home, I had no idea what to do with the seeds. I called a couple of nurseries until a gentleman at a nursery in Marina del Rey explained to me that I had to wait until the pods dried up and slit to get at the seeds and plant them. So, I waited until the pods were black and wrinkled. I split them according to the directions I had gotten from this kind anonymous arborist. (He suggested a process much like that which squirrels have for cracking the pods.) I photographed the seeds and compared them with the larger seed of an apricot fruit tree and the seed of a maple tree.






    Once properly documented, I planted them in a small brown pot. Two weeks later, the first seed came up. A few days later another seed appeared to take root. On the one-year anniversary of the re-birth day of this Great Knurly Oak tree, July 20th, 2008, I documented how large the great twin oaks had become. The highest little bitty branch was about fourteen inches tall. I estimated this tree had grown a little over an inch every month. A compassionate act of kindness yielded a new life on the impulse of grief. The impulse of grief affected not only me; there is an entire world of tree-lovers mourning the losses of their favorite tree friends in surrounding communities.












    What about the subconscious feelings innate in developing a relationship with a tree? For instance, what draws people to want to save a particular tree? 

    I can really only speak to my own experience in that my relationship with trees started when I was a child.

              INGLEWOOD ARTWALK NOVEMBER 8TH 2008        
    Artists Kenneth H. Ober and Renee A. Fox both graduates of Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles participated in and were instrumental in organizing the very first Inglewood Artist Artwalk and Open Studios in October of 2007.  One may visit their website by clicking www.rafkhostudios.com                
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook, 2007

    Renee Fox poses in front of one of her paintings exhibited in the Gallery 825 in Los Angeles, located at 825 La Cienega, hosted by the Los Angeles Art Association (LAAA) in conjunction with the 90th Anniversary Celebration for Otis College of Art and Design. 
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook, 2008


    Kenneth H. Ober, graduate of Otis College of Art and Design, Artist and Painter participating in the Inglewood Artwalk Open Studios Tour November 8th, 2008.

    Kate Harding participated in the very first Inglewood Artwalk Open Studios Tour on October 13th, 2007. Kate Harding was born in Martinsville, Indiana. Before she was old enough to start school, she would draw while her mother painted realistic wildlife and landscape paintings. While in kindergarten, in 1986, Harding became the youngest person to ever hold a U.S. Patent, when she won The Weekly Reader National Invention Contest. Her invention, the "Mud-Puddle Spotter", took her to New York City for the first time, where she was on Late Nights with David Letterman.  After High School,  Harding moved to New York City to study fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, but after a year and a half of fashion classes, found herself painting in her dorm room into the early hours of the morning. Taking the hint, she changed her major to fine art and received her Associate degree from FIT in 2001, then moved to Los Angeles to attend Otis College of Art and Design, receiving her bachelor of Fine Art Degree in Fine Arts in 2003.  Currently she is an artist practicing in Inglewood. 
    The First Annual Inglewood Artist Artwalk and Open Studios Tour October 13, 2007  drew a number of participating artists and residents to view the studios and the artists studio spaces. Pictured from left to right are visiting artist Luke Van Hook, Mrs. Anderson, Sean Anderson and Isis and Sebastian, friends of Sean's. In the Anderson studios the artwork reflected paintings by both of the Anderson brothers, Benjamin and Sean.  Work from these two artists may be viewed by visiting www.benjaminanderson.com and www.seananderson.com.  Art by Luke Van Hook may be visited by clicking on www.lukevanhook.com.
    Artist Benjamin Anderson is pictured with his wife and child to be (October 2007). Benjamin stated that the latest addition of art they were blessed with was a baby boy they named Luke Anderson. Benjamin Anderson is currently participating in the Inglewood Artist Open Studios Tour on November 8th, 2008.  Photo by Ginger Van Hook, 2007

    Sean Anderson, posing by his artwork, Inglewood Artist Artwalk Open Studios, 2007. 
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook


    Benjamin and Sean Anderson, Inglewood Open Studios Tour, October 13, 2007.


    Benjamin Anderson poses in front of one of his original paintings, October 13, 2007, Inglewood Artist Open Studios, First Annual.  
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook, 2007



    INGLEWOOD ARTISTS OPEN STUDIO second annual show!

    It’s time for another open studios in Inglewood on Saturday the 8th of November.

    THERE ARE quite a few more artists involved this year, 
    so IT should be a good opportunity to have a behind the scenes look into some great artists…
    (and possibly get some very affordable deals for the holidays)

    To see the blog go to: http://inglewoodopenstudio.blogspot.com/

    http://www.benjaminanderson.com




    Inglewood Open Studios : 15 locations around Inglewood

    Saturday November 8th, 2-7pm

    Locations throughout Inglewood – see on-line map:

    http://www.communitywalk.com/inglewood_cs/inglewood_open_studios/map/297303

    Contact: Renée A. Fox

    Email: reneeafox@sbcglobal.net



    Participating artists:

    Ben Anderson, Kavin Buck, Ericka Chapman, Rob Faucette, Renée A. Fox, Todd Gray, Cindi Gunadi, Ulysses Jenkins, Elisa Johns, Michael Massenburg, Gale McCall, Christopher Lawrence Mercier, Willie Middlebrook, Kenneth H. Ober, Claudia Parducci, Joan Robey, Dustin Shuler, Kyungmi Shin, Stanley Smith, May Sun, MonaLisa Whitaker, Edward Ewell.

    Inglewood Open Studios is an all day event in which artists, with studios in Inglewood, will open their working spaces to the public. Recent work of these artists will be on view. Although Inglewood is not known for art, it has a sizable and vibrant artist community. There are also public art treasures throughout the city, such as Helen Lundeberg's 1940 mural "The History of Transportation", a detail of which is being used as the image for the 2008 Open Studios. Maps to Inglewood public art locations will be available at all participating studios.

    Conceptually and materially diverse, these artists have the most common thread of proximity, however, they are also joined by the sense of a supportive community. Inglewood artists are professionals, teachers, business owners and students. A few are alumni of Otis College of Art & Design, whose modern campus is, like Inglewood, in the "Airport Area", but located in neighboring Westchester. Inglewood boasts a variety of commercial spaces amidst residential areas, perfect for artists, some of which can be seen on November 8th.

    On Saturday, November 8th from 2pm-7pm, more than twenty artists will open their studios throughout the neighborhood. Maps, like the one attached, will be available at all sites, showing numbers of the locations of all studios open for the event. Each studio will display a large number on the outside of their building, to make them easy to find. Street parking is readily available throughout the city although visitors are urged to pay attention to street parking signs.

    Drawing composed by Los Angeles Artist Steven Bankhead for his show at Circus Gallery 
    April 5th - May 10th 2008 titled  "Battery" visit:    www.circus-gallery.com 323-96208506


    Writer and Photographer Ginger Van Hook photographed beside her husband, Artist and Painter, Luke Van Hook, August 2008 for Luke Van Hook's show "Circle in the Square" exhibition at the Brand Library Art Gallery August 2nd, 2008.  Ginger and Luke Van Hook plan to attend the Inglewood Artists Second Annual Artwalk and Open Studios Tour November 8th, 2008.  Both Luke and Ginger Van Hook work in their Inglewood Studio in 
    Los Angeles County, California. Visit them online at www.lukevanhook.com and www.gingervanhook.com as well as www.enildeingelsvanhook.com 
    Photo courtesy of  Peter Bolten, 2008



    Artists practicing and working in Inglewood have opportunities to buy supplies close by at 
    CKS ARTIST PRODUCTS 

    (A business run by artists for artists)
     address:
     1111 and 1115 North La Brea Avenue, Inglewood, California 90302-1212 
    business phone: 310-677-3775  www.cksart.com)

              Luke Van Hook Paintings Now at Brand Library Galleries "Circle in the Square" Yesung Kim, Barbara Kolo, Susan Sironi, Cheryl Walker thru Sept 5th 2008        
    The Entrance to the Brand Library Art Galleries in Glendale, California hosts a prominent postcard of the show "Circle in the Square" now exhibiting through September 5th, 2008


    PHOTO-JOURNAL BY GINGER VAN HOOK


    Photo above: 
    Cathy Billings, Art Librarian and Gallery Manager of the 
    Brand Library Art Galleries and Co-Curator of 
    "Circle in the Square" selected Luke Van Hook 
    as one of the artists to show his circle paintings 
    which explore Giotto's fabled "perfect circle.
    Photo below: 
    Alyssa Resnick, Senior Library Supervisor, Gallery Director 
    and Co-curator pictured with Luke Van Hook.
    Both ladies made studio visits all over Los Angeles and surrounding communities in search of the "perfect circle" of artists to represent the illusive qualities of the circle.
    It takes over a year to prepare for a large show at the Brand Library Art Galleries and no one will have a better story to tell you about the waiting process than Galleries Manager and Curator, Cathy Billings or Alyssa Resnick, Senior Library Supervisor and Gallery Director. These ladies traveled to Inglewood, California for a studio visit to see Luke Van Hook's circle paintings some time in the early summer of 2007. They told Luke that they were preparing to curate a show of artists working on the motif of the 'circle'.  They had already reviewed a number of artists and found making the final decision difficult, first because there were a number of artists who worked with this subject and secondly, the talent was very competitive. The subject of the circle and how each artist approaches this topic is worth dedicated study in and of itself.  These lovely ladies, Cathy and Alyssa, with a keen eye for artistic talent, selected a total of five talented artists to show together this summer.   
    Here you will find photos of how each artist expressed their obsession with the circular form.  I'll begin my blog entry with a brief history of what I believe may have led Luke Van Hook to painting the circle and continue with the photos and biographical information of the additional four artists each selected for working with the motif of circles, independently of each other, with their own unique and individual interpretations of the circle: Yesung Kim, Barbara Kolo, Susan Sironi, and Cheryl Walker.
    Luke Van Hook began his present study of the circle in 2005. He first discovered the legend of Giotto's "Perfect Circle" in a class about ancient history; but the idea didn't sink in at first. He needed time to reason with his quest. While Luke approached the specific task of painting the circle with thin paintbrushes and applying layer upon layer of color to a raw naked canvas, I set about trying to understand what the hell prompted my husband to go circle crazy in the first place.  I started researching what the circle meant and I found a lot of literature in the realm of magic, rituals, mathematics, secret societies and romance. But my first impression was that the circle was a way to get back to the beginning of things.  Then I delved deeper.  Was Luke trying to say that he was going in circles?  Were we at this artistic point in our lives as a result of a past life?  Was our circular existence referencing our cycle of birth, death and rebirth?  Or was the answer more basic than that, like "the earth is round and it's an orbital thing.' There were other issues on the table I was urged to deal with also.  Were these circle paintings partly influenced by the school we had attended?  Once we leave school we are expected to make works of art that have fresh meaning and to blow out the cobwebs of old thinking.  While at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, Luke Van Hook studied all the required areas to excel in his chosen profession as a fine arts painter including the figure, landscapes and abstracts. But the abstract visual image is what finally drew Luke back in.  Could it be the understated obvious fact that the big 'O' (which formed a circle on every memo, syllabus and brochure in the name of Otis College) was influencing him subconsciously?  
    Luke's earlier work involved intricately small hatch marks that evolved into large abstract images full of vibrant colors.  This work was very reminiscent of Jasper Johns.  So where did this circle idea really emanate from?  Did his hatch marks get married or what?  Observers of Luke Van Hook's work have stated that it raises the question, 'Is it a painting or a drawing?  Is it text or writing?'  Luke will often begin a row of circles that reads from left to right just as western literature is expressed.  But sometimes he changes his mind, and the direction of his technique, and he starts to paint his rows from right to left. At other times, he completes a horizontal column of circles which refers more to ancient Asian forms of writing going from the top, down.
    During his graduating year at Otis College in 2004, Luke went on a mission to explore machine technology as it pertained to replacing humans.  He painted large canvases with a number of faces and shapes that represented cyborgs expressing the fear, uncertainty and ambivalence that humans have toward our technological future.  But once out of school, a full year later, in 2005 Luke seem to have turned a corner.  He seemed to have replaced his fear of technology with a competitive defiance that defied all reason.  Luke started working with his father-in-law, in his machine shop, where he started to observe how everything around him involved the circle in one way or another.  He watched the machines (Fadal CNC's- numerical control production machines) in action. The tool would spin in circles, plunging in and out of aluminum, stainless steel and plastic materials. The space left behind was almost always a perfect circle.  Perhaps, this was Luke's starting point. It was the first time he'd really seen a machine make simple circles and Luke probably said something to himself like 'I can do this! Just watch me!' then promptly, decided to take on his destiny. To compete with a machine, may have been the early impulse that drew Luke to paint the circle, but the legend of Giotto's 'perfect circle' was what has kept Luke going full steam ahead into production of abstract works of art.  The initial pieces he created were prototypes. These were the experiments he and his father-in-law Luis Ingels, worked on before moving into the hand made pieces. As his first experiment, Luke inserted a paint brush into the collet of the machine and programmed the coordinates to match the canvas. He overshot his calculations and the brush came crashing down upon the canvas; the collet smashed the brush right through the canvas and even broke the frame. Perhaps, Luke might have thought as he and my father, Luis, looked at each other, 'it was time to go back to the drawing board'. Undaunted by initial failure, Luke did complete an entire series of machine made circles before he went on to the main event, the competition of drawing the circles, one by one, by hand.  
    Each piece of artwork created since his first attempts, is meticulously reinvented into creative visual landscapes layering circles upon circles of color schemes in gradations of complementary hues.  The colors reveal very subtle changes.  The circles pull the eye in.  The images seem to have a life of their own, a vibrant quality of pushing the viewer to look for patterns while pulling the eyes into fishers, crevices, or 'wormholes' as one collector observed. I have witnessed the intimate evolution of Luke's circles only because I have the honor and privilege of being Luke's wife.  The fact that I am discussing my husband's art work is of significance only in the sense that it is somewhat rare, although not unheard of, for the artist's loved one to interject a provocative discussion of the artwork publicly in a blog; however, this is a sign of the times we live in today and I feel blessed as a writer to have this open forum to share with you the joys and struggles inherent in Luke's artistic process.
    The way I see it, Luke has taken on  the impossible task of creating the perfect circle, where no perfect circle has ever existed before, despite Giotto's legend.  All mathematical equations to date reveal that there is no perfect circle. It is a myth. So why Luke has persisted in this impossible feat only reminds me of the story of Don Quixote. Here is where I see Luke chasing his windmills. This is where in my imagination, I view the circles on the canvas as Luke's quest for the impossible dream and his circles are his windmills.  His paintbrush is his sword.  Thus Luke 
    Van Hook's paintings, for me, exhibit all the romantic qualities innate in a love story.  Seeking to please his beloved Lucia, these references emerging from raw canvas could be read practically like text.  Some art collectors saw the circles as Braille text or some secret code or language.  The secret, I think, lies in Luke's love of sports!  Sometimes I interpret this circle code to reflect images of the sports activities I see Luke enjoy daily;  I make visual connections to the circles on the wheels of his bicycles which hang in his studio or his skate boards that decorate the rafters of the painting bays or even the wheels that drive his car which sits resting on almost perfect circles on the driveway.
    For a while, I was convinced that Luke's enthusiasm for cycling was directly influencing the subjects of his paintings because one day, I was staring at one of his earlier images, (which is hung lovingly on the wall of the dining room right over the microwave oven); I saw it hanging next to a photograph of Luke participating in the 'Death Race 1999', a bicycle ride that cycle enthusiasts pursue along the most dangerous mountainous roads known as the California Alps in Northern California at the edge of the Northern Nevada border where Markleeville meets the Carson Valley.   The image Luke had painted in 1998, while recovering, ironically, from a broken ankle suffered in a bicycle race in Minden; was the image of three bicycles in a dead heat on the gray pavement with the yellow dividing line providing a ground for what appears as three large helmets (representative of the riders) in red, green and yellow.  The eventual emergence of Luke's hatch marks from work created in 2000, can be seen on the helmets and if you are really looking for this, (with your microscope) you may even find, the very beginnings of the influences which have eventually led to this mad case of circle paintings!  The circle imagery you might be searching for could have started at the base of the bicycle's anatomy with the wheels spinning along the highway to Kingsbury Grade, somewhere near Genoa, along the bottom of the hill leading to Lake Tahoe.  I comfort myself as painter's wife, that even Picasso had his periods, as did Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh, Monet and Gauguin and so long as Luke Van Hook doesn't try to cut off his ear we are doing just fine with these circles.


    But don't take my word for it. Luke Van Hook's circle paintings are something you should see for yourself.  The subtlety of the work is difficult to capture on film, although I tried my best to create a video after struggling with photographing the stills for three years.  But even the video work fails to reveal the whole story.  You've got to stand in front of one of these pieces to involve yourself in the novella of Luke's life.  Although I can decode a small portion of what I see through his work, the rest of the circles on the canvas are still a vague mystery to me as well.  Every relationship has its secrets.  Thus Luke and I, as artists, are no different.  Even when we know each other, there are elements of surprise and adventure that we have yet to tell each other.  The mystery in his canvases is what really thrills me to see Luke's work on display under gallery lighting! (Sales don't hurt my enthusiasm either!)





    When I think of Luke Van Hook's circle paintings, today, in 2008, I often think of Luke riding a skateboard doing 'ollies' and then trying for a loop-de-loop in mid-air.  This is because in January of 2008, Luke begged for a skateboard for his birthday and little did I know what would happen when I wrapped it up for him!  He has returned to the love of his youth.  Luke Van Hook has come full circle to his beginnings to land on his home base. The skateboard has also flown in mid-air, in harmony with gravity, and both land as one in a perfect execution of a move I would never dare try to do myself.  I see each circle on the canvas as Luke's attempt to catapult his work into the mainstream of the art-world with each rotation of the paintbrush on the surface of the canvas.  This is where I see Luke Van Hook in mid catapult, surfing on the air, light in transition, from youth to inspired maturity; from student to master, with paintbrush in hand landing and continuing to roll on four wheels with a great big shit-eating grin on his face. ('four' being the lucky number of his numerology charts). I see the ordered struggle, the innate joy in the success of one loop-de-loop after another. And once in a while, I also see the crash landing and the bloody injuries.  What is more important is that Luke gets up and does it again each and every time.  Luke has to begin again with each new circle, every circle becoming a part of a larger layer of community, thus his canvases vibrate with activity, mystery, romance and adventure.  I find my own meanings in each image  as it develops day by day and I am privileged to stand beside him, admire and witness the struggle of our Don Quixote in the new millennium, first hand.
    There is still time to see these painting up close and personal. The Brand Library Art Galleries is part of the Glendale Public Library, located at 1601 West Mountain Street in the City of Glendale, 91201  Telephone:  818-548-2051/ fax 818-548-2713 ;  visit the Brand Library Art Galleries online at   www.brandlibrary.org    to  check for Library hours.
    Cookie Gallegos, Ana Porras and Martha Ingels attend the opening of "Circle in the Square" to support Luke Van Hook. Brand Art Library Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008 Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    (From left to right) Margo Payne, Lynn Nantana-Green and Angela Williams attend the exhibition "Circle in the Square" in support of Luke Van Hook.
    Lynn Lantana-Green came to support Artist, Luke Van Hook at the opening reception of "Circle in the Square" an art exhibition held at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008.  Photos by Ginger Van Hook
    Kevin Powell came to support Luke Van Hook and enjoy the paintings at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California, August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Artist Luke Van Hook brought home-made pies to his reception of the exhibition "Circle in the Square". In addition to painting, Luke Van Hook has a reputation for making awesome pies from scratch. Photographed milling around the Double Fudge Pican Pie and the Sweet Berry Pie were the grandchildren of Hector Sticker. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    (From left to right) Claudio Sticker, Hector Sticker, Peter Bolten, Martha Ingels, Luke Van Hook and Luis Ingels attend the reception of  "Circle in the Square". Luke Van Hook and Luis Ingels worked together to create circles on canvas with the use of robotic CNC machines. After creating a little over a dozen machine-made paintings, Luke went on to compete with the machine and do the circles on his own by hand, one by one. Each circle is represented as being one breath and Luke Van Hook states that these are the marks he is leaving behind which define his existence during this lifetime as he continues to pursue the legend of "Giotto's Perfect Circle". Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    From left to right, Ohannes Berberian, his daughter Melanie, Luke Van Hook and Rouzanna Berberian attend the opening reception of "Circle in the Square" at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008.  Ohannes Berberian owns DigiTECH Camera Repair in Monrovia, California (www.digitechcamerarepair.com). Luke Van Hook and Rouzanna Berberian are both fine art painters and members of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts (M.A.F.A.). Rouzanna Berberian is a teacher in the after-school arts programs supported by M.A.F.A.  which promotes the goal of enhancing the lives of those within the community through interaction with the arts and to increase the opportunities of children through art education. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    From left to right, Kathleen Zgonc, photographer Frank Zgonc and artist Luke Van Hook attend the opening reception of 'Circle in the Square' at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008. Frank Zgonc is a an executive member of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts in Monrovia, California. Frank Zgonc is the vice-president and official curator of Monrovia's yearly October Art Festival. This year the October Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday October 11th and 12th, 2008 at the Monrovia Community Center located at 119 W. Palm Avenue in Monrovia. Free and open to the public, this art event will feature work by photographer Frank Zgonc; (Scheduled from 10 am to 6pm both days).  There will also be an Opening Night Celebration Saturday, October 11th from 7-9:30 pm where the special Renaissance Award will be presented to a worthy individual who has made significant contributions to the arts. 
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Mr. and Mrs. Luke and Ginger Van Hook attend the opening reception of 'Circle in the Square' at the Brand Libraries Art Galleries, August 2, 2008 in Glendale, California.  Luke Van Hook an artist working from Inglewood, California earned a BFA  at Otis College of ARt and Design.  For several years, Van Hook has been exploring in his work, Giotto's fabled "perfect circle".  Over time the single-minded focus on the perfection of the circle has been subsumed by the artist's interest in the aesthetic and expressive qualities of the circle. New works depict ritualistically repeated circular brushstrokes on canvas, hemp, and other materials. Van Hook states that he began " as a challenge to myself to see if a perfect circle was possible; these circles have now morphed into a challenge to myself to see if a perfect circle is  possible. These circles have now morphed into a study in patience. The sense of time and the marking of time is inherent in the meticulous application of paint. The viewer can appreciate these temporal qualities but is also compelled to bring their own  interpretation to the work. Are these circles pure abstraction? Combined do they conceal deliberate shapes and forms? or are they perhaps a secret code or language? Van Hook has exhibited at TAG Gallery, Focus One Gallery, and the Bolsky Gallery in  Westchester. Luke Van Hook's painting may also be viewed on his website: www.lukevanhook.com
    Photo courtesy of Peter Bolten


    Kevin Powell comes to support Luke Van Hook for his opening reception. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008.  Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Jason Porras attends the opening reception to support Luke Van Hook in his endeavors to pursue Giotto's legend of the 'Perfect Circle'. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008. Photo By Ginger Van Hook.


    Zoe Hengst, Ginger Van Hook and Martha Ingels attend the opening of "Circle in the Square" to support Luke Van Hook. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008. Photo courtesy of Peter Bolten.
    Zoe and Jopie Hengst walk through the center of the exhibition "Circle in the Square" to support Luke Van Hook at the opening night, August 2, 2008. Paintings by Susan Sironi in the background. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.

    Cookie Gallegos, Ginger Van Hook and Luke Van Hook pose for photographs in front of Luke Van Hook's painting at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008 Glendale, California. Photo courtesy of Peter Bolten.

    Cookie Gallegos and Ana Porras watch the dance performance choreographed by Cheryl Walker, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008, Glendale, California.
    Paintings by Yesung Kim, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008, Glendale, California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.
    Paintings by Yesung Kim, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008, Glendale, California.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Yesung Kim poses for a photograph in front of her paintings at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 02, 2008, Glendale, California. Yesung Kim from Upland, California, was born in Seoul, South Korea and holds MFA degrees from Chung-Ang University and Claremont Graduate University. Kim's mixed media pieces are seductively simple. Ordinary brown packing string is deftly applied to a painted canvas creating organic shapes that shimmer and reflect light. At times these shapes appear to be on the brink of an amoeba-like division as they spread and expand, dropping off the edge of one canvas and continuing on to another. Kim  cites the natural world and light and color as the underlying themes that both inspire and permeate her work.  Following solo shows at the Seoul Museum of Art and the Seoul Arts Center, Kim's work was most recently exhibited at the San Bernardino County Museum's Multi Media Mini Show. More information about Kim's work can be found on her website: www.yesungkim.com
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Painting by Susan Sironi, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008 Glendale, California.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Glass curtain by Susan Sironi, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008,Glendale, California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.
    Cheryl Walker designed a curtain of vinyl layers of color called 'Waterfall IV' that became the backdrop for a beautiful dance performance using the 'circle in the square' theme exhibited at the Brand Library Art Galleries in Glendale California, August 2, 2008. Cheryl Walker holds in her hand some of the vinyl circles that were placed upon the windows at the exhibition hall. Her vinyl circles upon the windows created an illusion of  the stained glass effects. The dance piece entertained a large audience on opening night as artists, collectors, art appreciators and family and friends celebrated the mythologies, geometries, magical and mystical qualities of the circle.   Dance Performers Liz  Curtis, and Martha Carrascosa performed a dance which included participation from members of the audience.  
    Members of the audience interacted with the dancers Martha Carrascosa and Liz Curtis at the Brand Library Art Galleries participated in creating a colorful cascade of window art on August 2, 2008 in Glendale, California.
    Audience watches dancers Liz Curtis and Martha Carrascosa from Glendale Community College as they perform a choreographed piece by Cheryl Walker, artist. "Circle in the Square", Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California, August 2, 2008.  Photo By Ginger Van Hook
    Dancers Liz Curtis and Martha Carrascosa performing dance choreographed by artist Cheryl Walker, (within the green curtain), Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. 
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook.
    Cheryl Walker engaged in performance art intersecting with window art using the artistic theme of 'Circle in the Square'. Brand Library Art Gallery, Glendale, CAlifornia August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.

    Cheryl Walker smiles happily on opening night, Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California. August 2, 2008. Cheryl Walker, a Los Angeles artist, earned her BA in art in her home state of Minnesota, and her MFA from California State University, Long Beach. In this exhibition Walker created two large site-specific installations of vinyl, oil pastel and natural and artificial light.  Walker explains that the driving force behind her work is "human interaction and improvisation in response to a natural phenomenon or situation." Trained as painter, Walker's installations have some of the qualities of painting; when viewed head-on the suspended layers of vinyl can appear to be two-dimensional because of their transparency and the cut shapes and forms applied to the vinyl are reminiscent of brushstrokes--but removed from the wall these works are thrust into what she calls an "interactive field of play." The fluidity of the material she works with and her interest in collaboration between the artist and the viewer have inspired Walker to create works that can be transformed into performance pieces by dance, music and in-situ art-making. In this exhibition, a dance performance captivates the audience on opening night at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. August 2, 2008.  Photos By Ginger Van Hook




    Barbara Kolo, Artist from "Circle in the Square" poses for a photograph in front of her painting with her husband Mr. Kolo. Barbara Kolo, a Santa Monica Artist, earned her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Kolo Participated in a successful two-person show at the Brand Library Art Galleries in 1999. The Brand Library Art Galleries are pleased to present (nearly ten years later) a new body of work by Barbara Kolo that connects to that which was here before. In those works and these, her focus is on representing organic materials. The current large scale acrylic on canvas works are saturated with color; the stippled application of paint creates organic shapes and patterns representative of the natural world.  The subject matter is open to each viewers interpretation, where one may see a birch forest at dusk, others may see the  bold aesthetic of pure color and abstraction. Kolo has had recent solo shows at Topanga Canyon Gallery and the Off Rose Gallery in Venice, California. More information about Kolo's work can be found on her website: www.barbarakolo.com Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook






    Barbara Kolo poses for a photograph during opening night celebrations for the exhibition, "Circle in the Square" at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Augusts 2, 2008. Glendale, California.


    Susan Sironi,  an artist living in Altadena, California posed for her photograph in front of her paintings at  the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. August 2, 2008.  Susan Sironi earned her BFA at California Sate University, Long Beach. This exhibition will showcase Sironi's recent paintings as well as her Glass Curtain installation which is comprised of conjoined antique optometric lenses. Her paintings are about texture, color and process. Small dabs of oil paint are painstakingly applied to aluminum, building up an intricate, thorny surface. Highly textured and multihued when viewed up close, this surface belies the color play minimalist color-field appearance of the work at a distance . In the artist's own words "texture and color play equal roles in these works. They ... set up contradictions within each piece. Painitings  that seem to invite touch and intimacy are also reserved and automomous. Time and process are weighed against a static and minimal structure. Sironi's work was most recently seen in the Brea Art Gallery's Made in California exhibition, at the Chouinard School of Art Gallery, and the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art.  More information about Sironi's work can be found on her website: web.mac.com/susansironi/susan/sironi/Welcome.html.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook.  

    Yesung Kim, Brand Library Art Gallery, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008.



    The Entrance to the Brand Library Art Galleries in Glendale, California hosts a prominent postcard of the show "Circle in the Square" now exhibiting through September 5th, 2008

                       Luke Van Hook paintings are now showing at the Brand Library Art Galleries in
              By: John McKenzie        
    I'm starting my time trial training for the next Olympics today. North Edinburgh cycle paths are brilliant for this!
              Queen Mary 2 remastered and raring to go        
    From upgraded staterooms, bar menus to on-board kennels, Cunard’s flagship liner vastly improves on-board sailing experience   Today’s article comes to you direct from the North Atlantic, from the gently swaying decks of Cunard Line’s superlative flagship, Queen Mary 2. […]
              European river cruises get a makeover        
    I probably shouldn’t admit this since I’m a purveyor of all things cruise, but I really like river cruising. Europe, Asia, North America – the destination isn’t so important. River cruising is just an incredible, immersive vacation that offers all […]
              one in a million        

    Let's get realistic about love.

    For this exercise, we will make certain broad assumptions, discounting exceptions and outliers. We will try to figure what's happening statistically when two people fall in love. We will also place our exercise in an Indian social and cultural context.

    Let's start with the potential "universe" of people one can possibly fall in love with. We will start with the total population, and reduce for mutually exclusive groups. India has 1.2 billion people. ~50% for the opposite sex -> 600 million. India's median age is 27 years (50% population less than 27 years of age) . For this exercise, assuming that one intends to get married in the age range of 24-32, an 8-year span (our math won't vary much if we increase this window on either side by a few extra years, there is a bulge below this range), we are down to ~80 million.

    It gets a little tricky from here. Remove for some semblance of economic backgrounds and we are down to ~8 million (80 lakh). Now from this, remove for religion & caste preferences (I am looking at you Brahmins), dietary preferences (no onion no garlic anyone?), height & weight preferences (taar bijli se lambe humaare piya), complexion preferences (it's only fair, right? Lovely), educational preferences, language barriers and north Indian and south Indian and Gujju and Mallu and Kashmiri and Jat preferences. And so far we haven't removed for people already married or in love with someone else who is not you. And after you have removed for all of the above, you need to be with a person with whom when you spend time, your emotional response to them lies between "surreal" and "I can stand this person" on a scale of butterflies, and the other person's emotional response also lies somewhere in the same ballpark. And whoever you are left with, you haven't even begun to find him/her yet. Given your life experiences of school, college, workplace, pubs, bars, travels, tinder and what not, and the count of people you potentially meet through these life experiences, what are the fuckin' odds.

    I had always believed that the concept of "the one" does not hold. But given the odds, and given that there exists atleast "a" one, you are probably better off with a the. Two people falling in love with each other is a statistical miracle.


    [from Watchmen] Miracles. Events with astronomical odds of occurring, like oxygen turning into gold. I've longed to witness such an event...; ...and out of that contradiction, against unfathomable odds, it's you - only you - that emerged. To distill so specific a form, from all that chaos. It's like turning air into gold. A miracle.


    I hear "everything is great, but I am not so sure" ever so often that it's fuckin' unbelievable. I don't understand why anyone in their right mind would break up. You met someone and liked, and they liked you back, and you loved each other's company, and then you eventually started driving each other crazy and "it didn't work out"?! Huh?

    For people who are single still, I feel sorry for you. The odds are stacked against you and there is little hope for you (lol). Live, is all, and maybe, just maybe lightning will strike (in this case, twice). And for people who are married or with someone and in love, go hug your Significant Other really hard right now right this moment, take a good look at them, smile, hold their hands, and know that they are your one in a million. You have witnessed a miracle.




              Licensed Electrician - Commercial - North Sydney        
    NSW-Chatswood, We have an immediate requirement for licensed electricians with commercial installation experience for ongoing projects in North Sydney. Sparky Hire aim to turn on the light to delivering a fresh, proactive, informative, professional service to clients and candidates. We have an immediate requirement for licensed electricians with commercial installation experience for ongoing projects in North Sy
              Electrical Apprentice & Licensed Tradesman at Auzzie Industries Monto, QLD 4630        
    QLD-Monto, Electrical Apprentice & Licensed Tradesman at Auzzie Industries Monto, QLD 4630 Auzzie Industries Electrical Service are a small Electrical Company looking to expand our team with both an Electrical Apprentice and a Licensed Electrical Tradesman. Our company has been servicing the needs of the North Burnett for over 7 years and provide electrical solutions for residential, commercial and governmen
              Licensed Electricians - Northwest Rapid Transit - Long Term        
    NSW-Sydney, We are currently looking for a number of NSW Licensed Electricians to commence work on Sydney's Northwest Rapid Transit project, which consists of 8 new stations being built. You will be required to work on the project for a minimum of 6 months with a tier one electrical business, with overtime also a possibility. You do NOT need an RIW card to access this project at this stage. In order to be sui
              NCR Launches Consumer Self-Ordering Solution for North American Restaurant Customers        
    PRZOOM - Newswire (press release) - 2017/04/03, Duluth, GA United States - Solution Enables Restaurant Guests to Order from Kiosk - NCR.com
              NCR Introduces NCR ENCOR for Small and Medium Sized Retailers in North America        
    PRZOOM - Newswire (press release) - 2017/02/08, Duluth, GA United States - Purpose-built solution for the fast-moving consumer goods market to meet omni-channel demands available exclusively through the NCR Interact Partner Program - NCR.com
              Where's The Action?        
    THURSDAY TV-Radio BASEBALL Minor League Tri-City at Spinners (980 AM) 6:30 Little League Midwest Regional (ESPN) 11 am New England Regional (ESPN) 1 Northwest Regional (ESPN) 3 Great Lakes Regional (ESPN2) 5
              Re: Lillie May Green         
    You need to look on http://www.findagrave.com/index.html

    William M. Green and Martha Campbell Green are buried in the Veal Station Cemetery in
    Springtown, Parker County, Texas. There is info on the parents and grandparents of Martha Campbell, with pics and where they were from and where they are buried.

    William M. Green died Jul. 29, 1910 and Martha died May 12, 1929. you can find their death certs here.https://familysearch.org/search
    You can sign up for free.

    Name:
    Wm M Green
    Death 29 Jul 1910
    Weatherford, Parker, Texas, United States
    Gender: Male
    Marital Status: Married
    Birth Date: 17 Oct 1830
    Birthplace: , North Carolina
    Father's Name: Anderson Green
    Mother's Name: Mary Morris








              Re: WILLIAM HARDIN MOORE        
    Kinda confusing but you're asking questions on two generations? The earlier generation: William H. Moore wed Mary Ann Hargis, 29 May 1843 in Floyd, GA. Census records are rarely consistent. However, seems William H. was born in Virginia while Mary Ann was born in South Carolina or North Carolina. (lol)Martha Alice Blanton probably favored "Alice" but she evidently had a two-part middle name? M. A. C. Blanton married W. H. Moore, 22 Nov 1885 in Johnson County. The earlier generation found: 1850 GA-Gordon-Division 12-Image 92, 1860 AL-Fayette-Middle Division-Image 54, and 1870 AL-Fayette-Township 15 Range 13-Image 6. I did not find a public family tree documenting their heritage. The ball is in your court and you can expect help researching. I'm not related!
              ECU ALUMNUS CHRIS BUCHANAN NOW DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES FOR U.S. PUBLIC HEATH SERVICE        
    Chris Buchanan

    Chris Buchanan, East Central University alumnus and a member of the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), was recently promoted to the flag-officer rank of Rear Admiral and appointed Deputy Director of Indian Health Services.

    Buchanan also recently served six months as acting director.

    As a senior ranking officer, flag officers exemplify the core values for which commissioned officers of the U.S. Public Health Service are held in high esteem, according to Dr. Patrick Bohan, ECU Environmental Health Sciences professor and Retired Captain of the USPHS.

    “Flag officers provide executive-level leadership within the department and the agencies which they serve,” Bohan said. “Our flag officers also carry the title of Assistant Surgeon General and, as such, we rely on them to support special initiatives and exhibit the highest caliber of public health leadership.”

    Buchanan, a native of Konawa, joins fellow ECU alumnus Rear Admiral Kevin D. Meeks as a high-ranking official within the USPHS. Meeks is acting deputy director of field operations for the Indian Health Service, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services and the principal federal health care advocate and provider of health services for American Indians and Alaska natives.

    ECU has provided more environmental health officers to the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service than any other institution in the country, according to Bohan. The Environmental Health Science program at ECU is one of 31 accredited undergraduate programs throughout the United States.

    “The Environmental Health Science program provided an interdisciplinary foundation that prepared me for my career in Indian Health Service,” Buchanan said. “Environmental health graduates of the program are problem solvers. We use this type of approach to develop skill sets

    that help to constructively review environmental and public health issues and come up with solutions. I have and continue to use these skills in my role as the deputy director of IHS.”

    Buchanan credits the late Dr. Mickey Rowe, former chair and professor of the ECU Environmental Health Science Department, with setting the stage for his career.

    “Dr. Rowe was a force of nature. He left a lasting impact on me personally and professionally,” said Buchanan. “His expectations were high for all his students and former students. He made it clear upon graduation that you would be representing the ECU Environmental Health Program and your environmental health decisions will have an impact on public health. His expectation was nothing short of being the best both academically and in your profession.”

     As deputy director Buchanan, an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, leads and oversees IHS operations to ensure delivery of quality comprehensive health services. He ensures that IHS provides for the full participation of tribes in programs and services and helps to establish and track the goals and metrics through which the IHS U.S.-federal-government-operated, or direct service, health care program improves outcomes.

    Buchanan ensures IHS services are integrated across all levels of the agency and engaged with other Operating Divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services and external partners, including states and national organizations.

    He previously served in 2016 as the acting area director for the IHS Great Plains Area, with administrative responsibility for 19 service units serving 130,000 people and 17 tribes through seven hospitals, 10 health centers and two urban Indian health programs, overseeing a complex health care program during a period of change. Previously, Buchanan has served as director of the IHS Office of Direct Services and Contracting Tribes.

    As an environmental health officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps with more than 20 years of active duty, Buchanan began his IHS career in 1993, serving in various environmental health positions in the Phoenix, Albuquerque and Oklahoma City areas, including serving as the administrative officer for Lawton Indian Hospital and the chief executive officer for Haskell Health Center. In 2010, he was administrative officer of clinical services for the Chickasaw Nation’s Division of Health in Ada.

    Along with serving on several national IHS workgroups and being deployed to several natural disaster events, Buchanan has received numerous professional awards, including one for National Council of Chief Executive Officer’s Rookie of the Year. He earned a bachelor of environmental health science degree from ECU and a public health degree in health policy and administration from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

    Buchanan has seen Indian Health Service improve over the years, evolving in a similar manner as the traditional healthcare delivery model to a more value-based healthcare delivery system.

    “The IHS sees these changes through the administration of a nationwide health care delivery program that is responsible for providing preventative, curative and community health care for approximately 2.2 American Indians and Alaska natives in hospitals, clinics and other settings throughout the United States,” Buchanan said. “An example of this evolution includes emerging technologies such as telemedicine. By utilizing these healthcare technologies, IHS will continue to improve the populations we serve.”

    Telemedicine is the diagnosis and treatment of patients in remote areas using medical information such as x-rays or television pictures, transmitted over long distances, particularly satellite.

    -ECU-

    For Immediate Release: 

    Contact: Brian Johnson or Amy Ford

                                    East Central University Communications and Marketing

                                  580-559-5650 or 405-812-1428 (cell)


              ECU TO PROVIDE BUSINESS CERTIFICATE IN PERSONAL FINANCIAL PLANNING        

    East Central University has registered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) to provide the means of awarding a new business certificate diploma for personal financial planning.

    This certificate compliments the current business administration in finance concentration degree.

    An independent certifying organization, CFP Board owns the CFP® and Certified Financial PlannerTM certification marks, which it awards to individuals who meet its education, examination, experience, ethics and other requirements.  Students completing the financial planning program at ECU will have met the education requirement for CFP® Certification Examination administered by CFP Board.

    “Financial planning is an excellent career choice. The need for qualified planners is great…and it keeps growing,” said Wendell Godwin, dean of the Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business. “Devoting time and energy toward achieving CFP® certification, the highest standard in professional financial planning, can make a financial planning career even more rewarding.”

    CFP® certification is generally recognized as the highest standard in personal financial planning, qualifying financial planning professionals to provide their clients with comprehensive financial advice, according to Godwin.

    “Students completing this certificate will be positioned to take the national CFP® Certification Examination through the CFP Board,” Godwin said. “We are the fourth program approved by the CFP Board in Oklahoma. We are one of only two state universities that offer a program at the bachelor level with the other being Northeastern State University.”

    The CFP Board’s approval certainly pleased Blaine Aikin, CFP®, chair of CFP Board’s Board of Directors.

    “As student interest in financial planning as a career continues to grow, we anticipate that

    ECU’s program will contribute significantly to the number of qualified candidates seeking to attain the CFP® certification, the standard of excellence for competent and ethical financial planning,” said Aikin.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of personal financial advisors is projected to grow 30 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the population ages and life expectancies rise, demand for financial planning services should increase.

    Today, CFP Board partners with over 340 programs at more than 240 institutions. CFP

    Board-Registered Programs are financial planning education programs at the college or university level that meet specific criteria for educating individuals who wish to fulfill the education component for obtaining CFP® certification.

    The mission of CFP Board is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for personal financial planning.  CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial PlannerTM, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements.  CFP Board currently authorizes more than 76,000 individuals to use these marks in the United States.  For more about CFP Board, visit www.CFP.net.

    -ECU-

    For Immediate Release: 

    Contact: Brian Johnson or Amy Ford

                                    East Central University Communications and Marketing

                                  580-559-5650 or 405-812-1428 (cell)


              Evaluating the Effectiveness of First-Time Methadone Maintenance Therapy Across Northern, Rural, and Urban Regions of Ontario, Canada        
    imageObjectives: Our objective was to determine the impact that a patient's geographic status has on the efficacy of first-time methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) retention. Methods: We conducted an observational cohort study using administrative health care databases for patients who commenced methadone therapy between 2003 and 2012. Patients were stratified on the basis of their location of residence into 1 of 4 groups—Southern Urban, Southern Rural, Northern Urban, or Northern Rural. The primary outcome was continuous retention in treatment, defined as 1 year of uninterrupted therapy on the basis of prescription refill data. Mortality was measured as a secondary outcome. Results: We identified 17,211 patients initiating first-time MMT during this 10-year period. Nearly half of patients initiating therapy in northern regions completed 1 year of treatment (48.9%; N = 258 and 47.0%; N = 761 in Northern Rural and Urban regions, respectively), whereas lower rates of 40.6% (N = 410) and 39.3% (N = 5,518) occurred in Southern Rural and Urban regions, respectively. Patients residing in Northern Rural and Northern Urban regions were 31% (adjusted odds ratio = 1.31; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.09%–1.58%] and 14% (adjusted odds ratio = 1.14; 95% CI, 1.02%–1.27%] more likely to be retained in treatment compared with those residing in Southern Urban regions. There was no significant difference in treatment retention between those residing in Southern Rural and Southern Urban regions. A mortality rate of 3% was observed within 1 year of patients initiating treatment, with patients in the Southern Rural region having the highest rate (4.85%). Conclusions: Our study identified regional differences in retention rates and mortality of first-time MMT. These findings may relate to geographic isolation and limited methadone program availability experienced in northern regions. We interpret the data to suggest that patients who have reduced access to treatment experience higher retention rates when they are able to access therapy.
                      

    The Universidad de La Laguna contains the document "La Emigración del noroeste de Tenerife a América durante 1750-1830" (The Emigration from Northwest Tenerife to America during 1750-1830). Doctoral Thesis by Felix Rodriguez Mendoza of the Universidad de la Laguna in Tenerife, ISBN: 84-7756-596-1.


    This is a large document (998 pages) which includes at the end a 67-page table of individuals who emigrated to America during this period. The table includes the town of origin, port, ship captain, name of ship and name of the person who loaned the money for the passage. The text of the thesis describes the reasons for the voyage


    For the university, see http://www.ull.es/

    For the document, see ftp://tesis.bbtk.ull.es/ccssyhum/cs163.pdf



              La emigración del noroeste de Tenerife        
    This work covers the emigration from northwest Tenerife to America during 1750-1830 by Manuel Hernandez González. The objective is to study the migratory paterns of this region from Tenerife to America during the period. Page 62 of 1036 discusses the migration to Louisiana.

    ftp://tesis.bbtk.ull.es/ccssyhum/cs163.pdf (PDF) (Spanish)
              #151 Powering Your Electronics in Ireland – Audio        

    Whether it’s your phone, tablet, laptop, curling iron, or sleep apnea machine, here’s a look at how you can power up all your devices while visiting the Emerald Isle. SHOW NOTES 00:24 Ireland’s wall outlets/sockets are the same as the United Kingdom and therefore do not fit plugs from North America, Australia, or many other […]

    The post #151 Powering Your Electronics in Ireland – Audio appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.


              Postcard from Ireland: Claregalway Friary        

    Claregalway is a small town, 10 miles north of Galway city and is home to the ruins of Claregalway friary. The Claregalway Friary is a medieval Franciscan abbey and can be seen from the main road through Claregalway. Today, the abbey buildings and grounds are open to the public free of charge. The burial grounds surrounding the […]

    The post Postcard from Ireland: Claregalway Friary appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.


              Comment on Guestbook by Petros Tenezakis        
    My journey to Shatila Refugee Camp began many years ago. At the time I was working in Balatah Refugee Camp of Nablus in the Israeli-Occupied northern West Bank. A refugee camp that suffered greatly due to the massive reooccupation of the West Bank. As the Jenin massacre occured during Operation Defensive Shield, Israeli forces cracked down on Nablus city and its adjacent refugee camps, Askar, Balatah and al-Ain. Parts of the attrocities, that can only be described as a massacre went unseen due to massive focus on Jenin and other areas of the West Bank. And as the tanks, helicopters, APC:s and F-16 attacked the city, only a few of us were preset to document the onslaught. As I arrived in the emd of the onslaught, Balatah Refugee Camp was target for daily attacks. There amid the smell of blood, the dust and the debris I was constantly thinking about what happened in Shatila and Sabra. I promissed myself to visit the camps in Lebanon as well. In 2005 I was arrested by Israeli authorities and denied access to Palestine for the upcoming 1o years, due to my involvement in peacefull activities against the occupation and solidarity with the Palesinian people. By then I had witnessed more violations, killings and injuries than most people in our priviliged western world has witnessed during a lifetime, including myself injured in the chest during an invasion of the old city of Nablus. As I was held in a tiny cell, humiliated and threatened daily I still felt privileged. I could at leave. Since my denial of entry came into effect I planned to visit as many palestinians as possible with a hope to visit Shatila and its residents. That dream finally came true last year. As a photographer I travelled directly to SHatila Refugee Camp. I was welcomed by Mr Abu Moujahed, and his wonderful staff at the CYC, Palestinian Centre for Children and Youth that runs a centre for the youth in Shatila and Nahr-el-Bared Camps. My home for bacame their guest house. A great oppurtunity for internationals to experience the camp and interat with its citizens. I quickly forgot the camera, most times I just interacted with the camp residents. I set up meetings with the Baker, Pharmacist, nurses, political representatives, survivors of the massacre, and enjoyed the time spent with the youth. Sadly I had to leave, 3 weeks passed quickly. I am sure that I will return. Palestine and all Palestinians, world citizens and friend will allways prompt me to work and fight for freedoom. A freedoom that has been denied for decades. I warmly recommend evryone to visit Shatila and stay the night at the CYC guesthouse. And undoubtebly upon departure I am sure your tears will fall, just as mine did. Dear Mahmoud Abbas Abu Moujahed, Manar, Sabah, Marwa and all the staff at CYC, all the children and youth, internationals and camp citizens. I am with you at all times, and our reunification is not a matter of If, its a matter of When. With love and hugs from Sweden.Your friend, Petros Tenezakis
              Q&A: What is Tax-Free Shopping in Ireland?        

    Could you explain VAT refunds on purchased items for tourists in Ireland? – Angela via email One of the advantages of shopping in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland for Americans and other non-European Union residents is that certain purchases can be bought tax-free. It’s a great opportunity to save on your purchases. However, […]

    The post Q&A: What is Tax-Free Shopping in Ireland? appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.


              Postcard from Ireland: Mussendun Temple and Downhill Demesne        

    Mussendun Temple and Downhill Demesne, County Derry, Northern Ireland. Perched on a 120 foot cliff over the ocean, this dramatic spot is a fantastic place to explore and visit. The beach below was used in the Game of Thrones series to film the burning of the Seven Gods. The mansion was built in the 18th […]

    The post Postcard from Ireland: Mussendun Temple and Downhill Demesne appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.


              Postcard from Ireland: Monasterboice        

      North of Drogheda is the early Christian settlement of Monastboice. The round tower is 35m (114.9ft) high. This place is most famous for it’s 3 high crosses, with Muiredach’s High Cross the most intact and possibly the finest high cross in Ireland. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muiredach%27s_High_Cross We stopped by one afternoon while in the area for a […]

    The post Postcard from Ireland: Monasterboice appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.


              Postcard from Ireland: The Causeway Coast        

    I loved the Northern coast line! It was beautiful from the small towns like Portrush, with it’s sandy beach and surfers. To the ruins of Dunluce Castle perched on a cliff. And the unique coastline of Giant’s Causeway. It’s hard to pick just one. I only spent one day in the area, but I’m sure […]

    The post Postcard from Ireland: The Causeway Coast appeared first on Irish Fireside Travel and Culture.


              2357 is a prime number        

    I shared this on Facebook 2 years ago: 2/8/15

    The first 4 prime numbers are 2, 3, 5, 7.

    2357 corresponds to 23 and 57 which when combined become "I Am 57" as follows:

    I (9) Am (14) = 23 conjoined with 57 = 2357

    "I Am 57" (2357) touches close to home for me as I turned 57 earlier this week on 2/5/15.

    Here are a few more numerical correspondences:

    23 cycles of 2357 days prior to 2/5/15 brings us back to 9/03 in the year 1866 - exactly 130 years prior to the day my father passed in 1996.

    9/03 is always 23 "I (9) Am (14)" days from 8/11 the Divine Birthday.

    23 "I Am" cycles of 2357 days from 9/03/96 - the day my father passed - brings us to 2/5 in the year 2145 which will be the 187th anniversary of my birth. 2/5 is always 187 days from 8/11 in non-leap years.

    Another way my father fits in here is that 23 X 57 = 1311 which was the address - 1311 Chicago Avenue - here in Evanston where my father and mother first lived after they were married in 1951.

    18 cycles of 1311 days prior to my 57th birthday 2/5/15 brings us back to 6/28/50 which was EXACTLY one year prior to the day my father an mother were married in 1951.

    Years later I lived at 1400 Chicago Ave which was EXACTLY 89 from 1311 Chicago Ave.

    The 89th block north of State & Madison in downtown Chicago is the block that begins at Dempster St and ends at Greenwood Street in Evanston. 1400 Chicago Avenue sits on the NW corner of Greenwood and Chicago Ave. Right next door to the north of 1400 Chicago Ave is 1406 Chicago Ave which - years ago - was Pembridge Hall where my mother first came to on the day she arrived at Northwestern as a junior college transfer student on 9/10/48. That was the same day she met my father on a blind date. He wouldn't leave her alone for if he didn't I wouldn't be typing this post.

    Across the street from 1400 Chicago Ave - on the SE corner of Greenwood & Chicago - was a house that my father lived in with his fraternity buddies after he graduated from NU in 1949.

    What does this all mean? These are simple examples of the powerful numerical correspondences that fill our daily lives.

    89 was mentioned above. 89 is the prime of Leo (356) = 89 prime X 4 which is the astrological sign for the Divine Birthmonth of August whose ruling planet is the Sun and which corresponds to the Human Heart.

    Does 89 have anything to do with Northwestern?

    On August 11, 1853 the founders of Northwestern University - my and my parents alma mater - purchased 379 beautiful acres along the shores of from Dr. John Foster.

    379 is a prime number that's the sum of 23 "I (9) Am (14)" and 89 which is the prime of Leo (356) = 89 prime X 4.

    Back to 1311 Chicago which is located on the 89th block north of State & Madison Streets...

    23 "I Am" X 57 (2357) = 1311

    In the digits of pii you will find that the first appearance of 8989 - that's 89 prime X 101 prime - occurs at EXACTLY the 1311th digit of pii - do NOT include 3. in the count just the decimals.

    As mentioned above, 1311 Chicago - where my parents first lived - is 89 from 1400 Chicago where I once lived.

    From 1400 Chicago Ave - located on the north side of Greenwood which is the 89th block north of State & Madison in downtown Chicago - I moved to 1106 Greenwood - located 3 blocks east. And from there we moved to our current address 3242 Harrison.

    3242 - 1106 = 2136 = 89 prime X 24

    The gentleman whose most responsible for changing the streets of Chicago to a logical grid pattern that begins at State & Madison Streets in downtown Chicago was Edward Brennan. He lived at 6446 N Wayne Ave in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.

    6446 - 3242 = 3204 = 89 prime X 36

    6446 - 1106 = 5340 = 89 prime X 60

    Enough!


              "Have a good one."        
    This phrase seems to have become one of THE most commonly shared phrases in the English language. it's commonly shared when we leave others after sharing some time.

    I've never examined this phrase numerically but I thought I would do so this morning as follows....

    Have (8145) A (1) Good (7664) One (655) = 16465

    16465 = 89 prime X 185

    This is an AMAZING result!

    89 is the conjunctive prime of the word Leo (356) - ie. it's the highest prime factor of Leo (356) = 89 prime X 4.

    Leo is the astrological sign for the Divine birthmonth of August whose ruling planet is the Sun and which corresponds to the Human Heart.

    The key date is August 11th.

    8/11 (811) is the 142nd prime number and 8/11 is always 142 days from the end of each year.

    Sun (135) days from August 11th is always 12/24 Christmas Eve which is when the Sun - after standing still for 2-3 days since Winter Solstice - begins the first 1 degree of its ascent which culminates on Christmas Day, the day we celebrate the provincial Divine Birth of our Lord God Jesus Christ.

    Every year in the northern hemisphere the Sun STOPS FALLING on the Leo (356th) day of the year which is the Winter Solstice.

    And if you are ever in the Chicago area on August 11th you can witness the Sun rising on August 11th at EXACTLY 5:55 am in the morning. 5:55 am is the advent of the Leo (356th) minute of the NEW (555) day. Some years it will be 5:54 am, but either way by the end of the Leo (356th) minute the full disc of the Sun will be visible above the eastern horizon of Lake Michigan.

    I'll keep digging into this, but this finding is really cool!

    "Have a good one!"

    Note: The late Dean Fagerstrom taught me this Divine Science of Numerical Correspondences years ago. An amazing man! You can find the mathematical proof of our Lord's Divine Birth - that's embedded in the prime number system - when you read and study his 1400+ page "The Book of Anglion."  

    http://www.emanuelswedenborg.com/

              I-57; "I Am 57"; 2357 prime        
    Please bear with me.....

    2, 3, 5 and 7 are the first 4 prime numbers - for those who don''t start with ONE (1) in the count.

    23 corresponds to I (9) Am (14) - our Lord's original name and title given to Moses on Mt. Sinai - "I Am....the Lord thy God..." Exodus 20:2. So 2357 is like saying "I Am 57."

    2357 is also a prime number - actually it's the 452nd prime number and 452 factors into 113 prime X 4.

    113 corresponds to I (9) Am (14) One (655) = 678 = 113 prime X 6.

    When you multiply 23 X 57 the result is 1311 which is the address here in Evanston on Chicago Avenue where my parents first lived after they were married in Billings MT in 1951.

    1311 Chicago Avenue is 89 from 1400 Chicago Avenue which is the building where I lived for 2 1/2 years when I first met my wife Maribeth.

    1400 Chicago Avenue faces Greenwood Street which is the 89th block north of State and Madison in downtown Chicago.

    The 1311th digit of pii is 8989 which equals 89 prime x 101 prime. Check out this link to confirm this for yourself.

    To access I-57 here in Chicago you will come to a fork in the road where I-94 splits off to the southeast and 1-57 splits off to the southwest. 
     
     

    In the middle of this "fork" is the neighborhood/area called "Roseland" and inside that "fork" you will find Mile Marker 356 along I-57.

    356 corresponds to Leo (356) which factors into 89 prime X 4.

    The area is "ROSEland" so let's examine the word "Rose" as follows:

    Rose (9615) = 641 prime X 15.

    Whenever you add or subtract 641 "Prime of Rose (9615)" days from any day on the calendar you will move backward/forward 89 days.

    89 is the prime of Leo (356) = 89 prime X 4.

    Mile Marker 356 along I-57 can be found at 111th Street south. The beginning of the 112th block is basically the end of the Leo (356th) mile along I-57.

    112 is the sum of 23 "I (9) Am (14)" and 89 which is the prime of Leo (356) = 89 prime X 4.

    Completing this circle we come back to my wife who was born 641 "Prime of Rose (9615)" days from the day I was born. Her birthday is also always 89 days from my birthday. 
     

              The RAM Revelation        

    This is how my mind works.....

    My wife, Maribeth, and I had lunch at this restaurant yesterday right after I picked her up at the airport.

    The address was 9052 W Higgins Road in Rosemont IL

    Yesterday was the 9052nd day from/including my wife's 31st birthday in 1990 the year we were married.

    RAM corresponds to 914 when breaks down into I (9) Am (14) = 23 prime.

    There was a RAM truck right in front of me as I was approaching the lower level of Terminal 3 to pick up my wife.

    The time was 1:21 pm when I pulled up in front of the RAM Restaurant. Yesterday was 121 days from 8/01/16 which was the end of the 808th cycle of 914 days since August 11th in 6 BC.

    8/01/16 was Leo (356) days from August 11th in 2015.

    The original-first RAM Restaurant opened on February 26th in the year 1971 in Lakewood Washington which is where I lived for 4 years during high school. My mother still lives in Lakewood.

    The Universal Numerical Date (UND) for 19710226 721919 which factors into 65629 prime X 11.

    Day ONE (1) of the 23rd "I (9) Am (14)" cycle of 65629 days since August 11th in 6 BC brings us to the (9/14) - 914 = RAM = I (9) Am (14) - mo/day in the year 3947 which is 1976 years from the year 1971.

    1976 is the year I left Lakewood, WA for Evanston/Chicago IL to attend Northwestern University and I have been here ever since.

    When I started this post I didn't think I would RAM so many numbers into it! Sorry!


              Harry Caray Celebrates the Cubs Win!        
    Harry Caray's numerical age (NA) on 11/02/16 was 37502 days.

    37502 = 1103 prime X 34

    1103 prime is ONE (1) from 11/02 (1102) the day the Cubs won the 2016 World Series.

    Perhaps Harry is proclaiming "It's A New Day!"

    Closer to home, Harry was born on 3/1/14 - 14 years prior to the day my mother was born in 1928.

    Back to 1103 prime....

    1103 days prior to 11/02/16 brings us back to 10/26/13 which was the 8th anniversary of the Chicago White Sox's 2005 World Series win. Harry used to be the play by play radio announcer for the White Sox before he jumped to the north side with the Cubs. 

    Note: The Cubs technically won the World Series at 12:47 pm on 11/03/16.  I have used 11/02/16 since it's based on Chicago's Central Time Zone time. 


              2013 Acura TSX to start at $30,510        
    A new year, a new price.

    Going mostly unchanged from its 2012 predecessor, the 2013 Acura TSX can no longer claim to be 'sub-30k'. With a modest $700 price increase, the luxury auto now starts at $30,510, which includes a 2.4L 4-cylinder with a 5-speed automatic.

    If you wish to get an impressive ELS digital audio system, rearview camera and voice-activated navigation, you must acquire the Technology Package, which goes for $3,100. If you want the Technology Package included in the car, then you'll have to move on up to the V6 model, which costs $39,150.

    The Special Edition TSX has an available 6-speed manual, and can be had for $31,510 - exactly $1,000 more than the 5-speed automatic base model. None of the model pricing listed include the $895 destination charge.

    To check out Acura's latest lineup of luxury cars and SUVs, visit your Northwest Indiana Acura dealer at Muller Acura of Merrillville. For quality and professional Northwest Indiana Acura Service, please call to set up an appointment.
              The VERY last birds...and an African wolf        


    I couldn't let that cricket warbler get away, so I took one final trip back up to the dry and dusty Sahel region in the north of the country, armed with its call downloaded onto my iPod from the excellent website xeno-canto, to track it down.  The bush yielded some nice birds - fulvous babblers and speckle-fronted weavers - but the cricket warblers were still proving elusive.  So I got out my new toy - the downloaded call - and pressed Play.  Within only two seconds, there was a cricket warbler!!  It popped up onto the top of a bush, having been hiding in the shady interior I assume.  A fleeting view but enough for a positive identification.

    Some other nice sightings of the weekend included some beautiful African pygmy geese, the rare Arabian bustard and a big party of vultures feeding on a freshly dead roadside donkey - see photo above.

    There are not all that many mammals in Senegal, but I saw a number of jackals, and heard the interesting bit of information that recent DNA testing has shown these to be more closely related to the European wolf than to the jackals from southern Africa.  This photo I took there really does show a wolf-like animal.

              The last few birds        
    I couldn't really leave Senegal without having seen a cricket warbler, an African swallow-tailed kite, or an African pygmy goose, so some serious bird-watching had to be squeezed in to my last few weeks in the country.

    Some birds are easier to find than others, of course, and generally the ones I had still to see were the elusive ones.  So I was happy to persuade a British bird-watching company to let me join them for a few days of their Senegal trip, so that I could get to the hard-to-reach Trois Marigots area of northern Senegal.  In fact they were such a nice bunch of people that I was sad not to be able to stay with them for their entire ten days, but the three days were pretty satisfactory with great sightings of Savile's bustards, African pygmy geese, African scrub warbler and the rare Little grey woodpecker.

    This last weekend it was time to hunt down the African swallow-tailed kite.  Until recently there was thought to be a total population of only 1,000 - 10,000 of this beautiful, nomadic bird (stretching right across the Sahel belt of Africa), but then in 2007 a roost of around 20,000 of them was discovered on a small island in the salt flats of central Senegal.  Peak numbers are there from December - February, before the birds begin to migrate further south to breed, but on 2 March there still seemed to be many thousands, some flying right over my head, so close to me that I couldn't use the binoculars.  The roost was shared with an even greater number of Lesser kestrels, and there were Peregrine falcons, Ospreys and Montagu's harriers around too so it was a real feast of raptors.

    I don't have the right camera (or ability!) to photograph birds flying at speed, so cannot show you the kite, but here is a rather poor quality photo of another raptor - the Red-necked falcon - I am lucky enough to be able to watch this pair in their palm tree roost from my balcony every morning.


    I had no luck with the cricket warbler but then they say it is always good to have a reason to return somewhere!
              Mud marvels in Mali        

    It was a great feeling - one of exhilaration - as the 5am bus pulled away from the dark little side-street in central Bamako to start the 580km trip north-east to Djenne.

    I first visited Djenne 13 years ago, and I wasn't going to let coups, rebellions or ill-informed foreign office advice stop me from going back.  I'd checked and double-checked and Djenne is safe.  But with much of Mali currently so unsafe there are no tourists coming, and with the embassies advising against all travel to Mali even the business travellers are leaving as quickly as they can - so I knew that I would have Djenne all to myself.

    & so it proved.  Djenne is a UNESCO World Heritage site, an ancient city on the trans-Saharan trade route almost entirely built of mud, and with the largest mud structure in the world (its mosque), so tourism has been an important source of income.  But with the kidnappings in Timbuktu last year it pretty much dried up, and then with the coup this March it stopped completely.  So all those who make their money from tourism - those who run and work in hotels and restaurants, who make or sell masks, statues, jewellery and bogolan cloth, those working as guides (and their extended families) - all have suffered.  This meant, rather embarrassingly, that I was treated as some kind of messiah, with little old ladies coming and taking my hands and praising god that there was a white person in Djenne, finally.

    I hope I didn't raise any false hopes (please, readers, go to Djenne, and spend money there!) but it was nice to feel so welcome and wonderful to wander the streets and visit a couple of nearby villages without seeing another tourist.  The need for tourist $ also meant I was allowed inside the famous mosque, nornally off-limits to tourists (although to be honest the interior turned out to be far less impressive than the exterior).

    Djenne is a truly beautiful place, one of my favourite towns/cities in the world.  Buildings are built with banco (mud mixed with millet straw) in traditional styles maintained by a strict guild of masons, and are regularly replastered to counter rain damage.  Located in the Niger inland delta, the surrounding land is a floodplain, underwater for several months of the year.  During my visit the water had only partly receded, so the town was effectively an island reachable only by crossing a bridge or taking a ride in a pirogue.

    Sunday is one of the quiet days when I was able to wander the little backstreets enjoying the architecture.  Monday, on the other hand, is the day of the weekly market, with thousands of people arriving from the surrounding villages to bring fish, vegetables and bundles of firewood for sale.  It is a typical colourful African market - of which, of course, I have seen dozens - but looking out from the town at all the traders crossing the floodwater in little wooden pirogues was certainly worthwhile.


    In the afternoon I escaped the market crowds by taking a guide to visit two nearby villages, one inhabited by the Bozo (fishermen) and accessible only by boat, the other with a mixture of different tribes in different sections, each with their own small mud mosque.

    Then, unfortunately, the long and tiring bus ride back to Bamako.  It should take about 10 hours, but in a particularly old bus, and with a driver who seemed cdetermined to stop to pick up as many passengers (and their chickens) as possible, it took us 18 hours.  But for Djenne, it was worth it.

              Enjoying Manitoba's Bounty - but no Raw Milk        
    Sometimes there are perks to being a food blogger, even though I don't have a large audience (yet?). I received a personal invitation to the Manitoba Food Producers' Association's Christmas reception. The MFPA represents many of Manitoba's local food producers, and as an avowed locavore and champion of local groceries, of course I was pleased to attend.

    Aside from the delicious, locally-made food I was bound to find there (and which did not disappoint), I was particularly interested in speaking with a few people. I was glad to find the Buy Manitoba representatives at their station: Megan and Gemma are lovely ladies who were happy to explain things to me. There have been some rumblings among the Manitoba Food Bloggers and others about the generous definition of local that Buy Manitoba uses - apparently it extends to soft drinks bottled in the province by multinational companies, and to Safeway eggs which might come from any of four provinces in a given carton. I am hopeful that somebody from Buy Manitoba will respond and tell us how Coke is a local producer.

    I have to say, though, that pretty much everything I saw at the Caboto Centre that night was definitely locally made. Cakes from Gunn's and Jeanne's, delightful northern pike cooked on the spot, Bothwell cheeses, locally made samosas and sausages. I even found Manitoba birch syrup, which I can't wait to get and try.

    I somehow missed Constance Popp's chocolates, which makes me very sad. All I can think of is that she must have got there after I left, which was pretty early as I had to go see my sons sing and dance (ah, the things we do for love. They were wonderful, though).

    I had some very interesting conversations with the representatives of Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Intiatives - in particular, their Food Safety people. I asked them what they thought about the illegality of raw milk in this province, and I got a remarkable range of responses (all off the record, I should add). One person told me she was completely against legalising raw milk, and that in her opinion people shouldn't be able to buy raw meat, either. Another representative referred me to the movie "Forks Over Knives", which espouses a vegan diet. A third was more supportive of the availability of raw milk to adults, but was understandably concerned about the dangers of trying to introduce it into a mass market. We agreed that maybe farm gates sales would be safest, as well as some serious labelling and education. Both of the latter two mentioned (and promptly emailed to me the next day as promised) some reports that have recently surfaced in Indiana - a FAQ sheet from Purdue University, and a report prepared by the Indiana Board of Animal Health for Indiana legislators. While both of them express trepidation about possible health issues, it is clear that the debate is far from over.

    What do you think, should Coke that is bottled in this province be considered locally made? And should we be able to buy raw milk at the farm gate, if it is accompanied by a fact sheet on how to use it safely? Or should we ban raw meat, too?

    Let me know what you think!
              Living in the light        
    It rained on Wednesday. Now I realise that this won’t sound particularly momentous to those of you living in rainy London, but this is Dakar. We don’t have winter and summer, we have a rainy season and a dry season and right now we are in the dry season. In the dry season it doesn’t rain. It is usually hot and sunny with blue skies, though sometimes the harmattan blows in from the Sahara desert and a white haze of dust hangs over the city, but it doesn’t rain.

    So when I woke on Wednesday morning I thought I must be dreaming when I heard rain sounds – thought it was some strange trick, perhaps the leaves of the mango tree tapping against the roof in the wind – but then I heard thunder and knew it was for real. & it was the day I was moving house.

    With my northern European background I groaned inwardly at the rain, thinking about all my books, clothes and CDs getting wet as the removal men carried the boxes out to the lorry. But in a semi-desert country like Senegal such unseasonal rain is considered good luck, especially for new ventures, and this portentous rainstorm was even mentioned on the evening news. Locals associated it with the presidency of the newly elected Macky Sall, but I knew better – it was for me, for my move to the new apartment.

    & so far it seems to have worked. My only loss on the move was one small glass. But more importantly I now live in a beautiful apartment. It has two bedrooms and one open plan lounge/diner/kitchen, with both the latter room and the master bedroom having large French windows opening on to the enormous south-west facing balcony with its sea view (OK, the sea is behind the rooftops and a big road, but I can still see it and its cooling breezes still reach my balcony). The contrast with the old house I moved out of could not be greater as this place is flooded with light – and I realise now how I suffered from the dark, gloomy interior of the house, built in the typical African way to face north and so avoid as much as possible of the sun.

    I didn’t set foot outside the apartment block for the whole weekend as I couldn’t bear to leave it. Just a trip downstairs to the shared swimming pool,