Sunday, November 29, 2009

Guarding theTomb of the Unknown Soldier

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Washington, D. C.

On Jeopardy the other night, the final question was “How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier”. All three contestants missed the question.

This is really an awesome sight to watch if you've never had the chance, Very fascinating.

Here’s some information that you might find interesting.

1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns and why?

21 steps. It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is
The highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

2. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why?

21 seconds for the same reason as answer number 1

3. Why are his gloves wet?

His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

4. Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time
and if not, why not?

He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

5. How often are the guards changed?

Guards are changed every thirty minutes,
Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

6. What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?

Persons wishing to apply for guard duty at the Tomb must be between 5' 10' and 6' 2' tall and the waist size cannot exceed 30'. Other Requirements of the Guard: They must commit 2 years of life to guard the Tomb, live in a barracks under the Tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives. They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform (fighting) or the Tomb in any way.

After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on his lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb. Presently, there are only 400 worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.

Their shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat
and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the
top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt.

Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for
Guard duty. There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror.

The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor
watch TV. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid
to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are
and where they are interred. Among the notables are: Presidents William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy, World Heavy Weight Champion Joe Louis, and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy of Hollywood fame, the most decorated soldier of World War II.

In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington, D C, our
US Senate and House of Representatives took 2 days off with anticipation of the storm. On the ABC Evening news, it was reported that because of the dangers from the
Hurricane, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of
The Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment. They
respectfully declined the offer, 'No way, Sir!' Soaked to the skin,
marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding
The Tomb was not just an assignment, it was the highest honor that can be
afforded to a serviceperson. The tomb has been patrolled continuously,
24/7, since 1930.

God Bless and keep them.


Friday, November 27, 2009

More Favorite Christmas Movies

I really don't have anything original to say about the inevitable inclusions on some of the best Christmas Movies.

A very young Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn as a Macy's Santa with a real beard are engaging in Miracle on 34th Street (1947, directed by George Seaton). Do I ever need to see it again? No.

Ditto for Frank Capra's It's A Wonderful Life (1946). I enjoy Beulah Bondi (in everything in which I've seen her) and Henry Travers (usually), and grew up watching "The Donna Reed Show" (albeit for Paul Peterson more than her). I'm a Gloria Grahame and James Stewart fan and an admirer of the work of cinematographer Joseph Biroc (here and elsewhere). If the movie was less ubiquitous, I might be able to manage some enthusiasm for it...

There has to be a version of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. I think that "Scrooge (1951, directed by Brian Desmond Hurst) with Alastair Sim in the title role is probably the best one. The 1937 high-gloss MGM version (that had been designed for Lionel Barrymore, who read the book on the radio every year) is mercifully short (70 minutes) and the one I've most recently seen. Directed by Edwin L. Marin with Terry Kilburn as Scrooge, it seems to me to transform Scrooge too quickly. Also the Cratchit home is far-removed from "Dickensian" poverty, even in its genteel form.

Some other upbeat golden oldies

As in "Wonderful Life," there is an angel (Cary Grant) involved in sorting out the marriage of a(n Anglican) bishop (played by David Niven) trying to build a cathedral and his wife (Loretta Young) in The Bishop’s Wife (1947, directed by Henry Koster). It, too has been overplayed.

Once was enough for another Loretta Young Christmas movie, Come to the Stable, also directed bye Henry Koster two years earlier (1945). In it, Young and Celeste Holm play French nuns (with another building project, a children's hospital in New England). Elsa Lanchester is (as usual) a treat, and Dooley Wilson sort of adumbrates Sidney Poitier helping innocent nuns in Lilies of the Field, but Loretta Young sets my teeth on edge, as does being set in a town named "Bethlehem" (Connecticut).

I don't remember The Bells of St. Mary (1945, directed by Leo McCarey) very well, though I remember that that Ingrid Bergman was still very beautiful hidden in a habit and that Bing Crosby had his usual charm (reprising the easy-going Father O'Malley part that somehow won him an Oscar in "Going My Way") , as they try to save the slum school at which they teach by different fund-raising approaches. Lots of cute urchins along with the cute, chaste couple.

I prefer Barbara Stanwyck in another classic Connecticut Christmas movie (romantic comedy), creatively titled Christmas in Connecticut (1945, directed by Peter Godfrey). Stanwyck plays a sort of Martha Stewart of the pre-television WWII era who can write convincing advice about domestic matters, but can't cook and is not at all the rural persona of her columns. Her editor (a sly Sidney Greenstreet) thinks that it would be good publicity for her to make Christmas dinner for a war hero (Dennis Morgan) on leave. Complications are many (centering on a borrowed baby and borrowed chef) and the ending predictable, but it's a genial screwball comedy.

Source: Stephen Murray,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Wasilla Wonder

For the second time since Sarah Palin stepped into the national political spotlight, a photo of the former Republican vice-presidential candidate featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine is sparking controversy. Palin herself blasted the "out-of-context" cover as "sexist" on her Facebook page.

Palin took issue with Newsweek using a photo from an article about health and fitness to promote an analysis piece contemplating her relevance as a political figure:
"The choice of photo for the cover of this week's Newsweek is unfortunate. When it comes to Sarah Palin, this "news" magazine has relished focusing on the irrelevant rather than the relevant.
“The out-of-context Newsweek approach is sexist and oh-so-expected by now.”

The reaction to the Newsweek cover has predictably sparked outrage from conservative supporters of Palin and kudos from liberals who oppose her.

The current cover flap isn't the first time Newsweek has generated controversy with a photograph of Palin. The October 13, 2008, issue featured an extreme close-up of Palin that seemed to be devoid of the high-tech retouching often employed by magazines. Conservatives claimed this highlighted some of Palin's supposed "flaws," like wrinkles around her eyes.

Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham told Yahoo! News that the photo choice was simply the "most interesting image available":
"We chose the most interesting image available to us to illustrate the theme of the cover, which is what we always try to do. We apply the same test to photographs of any public figure, male or female: does the image convey what we are saying? That is a gender-neutral standard."

Personally, I thought the cover was a cheap shot. In my opinion, Newsweek lowered itself by using this particular photo on its cover and clouded the issue by allowing cries of sexism from the Palin camp. Why make Palin appear to be a victim of the media as she so often claims. There is enough substance for Palin detractors to latch on to without using a photo that allows her wiggle room to side step issues. But, that's just my take on the subject.

Source: Brett Michael Dykes,Yahoo! News Blog

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Message From God






Looking Up When Thing Are Down


“Accentuate the Positive
Eliminate the Negative
Latch on to the Affirmative
And Don’t Mess with Mr. In between.”

Develop a good “Script and Delivery”...
When You are asked “How do you feel”
Or “How are you Doing”...
Always answer...

And when people or events give you a hard time,
Don’t let them “Blow your Cool”, Count to Ten and

When? DO IT NOW!


Memo from GEORGE O”HARE, nationally recognized motivational speaker


There are two days in every week about which we should try not to worry. Two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is YESTERDAY with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. YESTERDAY has passed forever beyond our control.

All the money in the world cannot bring back YESTERDAY. We cannot undo a single act we performed: we cannot erase a single word we said...YESTERDAY is gone.

The other day we should not worry about is TOMORROW with its possible adversaries, its burdens, its large promise and poor performanced. TOMORROW is beyond our immediate control.

TOMORROW’s sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have a stake in TOMORROW for it is as yet unborn.

This leaves only one day...TODAY. Any person can fight the battle of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities...YESTERDAY AND TOMORROW that we break down. It is not the experience of TODAY that drives people mad-- it is remorse or bitterness for something which happened YESTERDAY and the dread of what TOMORROW will bring.


WHEN is the most important moment in our life? WHEN?...The answer is NOW, since we can touch it, drink it, love it, Too many of us go around all of our life dsaying...”Remember the good old days!...FORGET THE GOOD OLD DAYS...Every time we “LIVE YESTERDAY” we “AVOID TODAY” and when we “AVOID TODAY” we “RUN TOMORROW”.


Inspirational Alphabet

Whoever came up with this one must have had some divine guidance, I was impressed!

Although things are not perfect
Because of trial or pain
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame
Even when the times are hard
Fierce winds are bound to blow
God is forever able
Hold on to what you know
Imagine life without His love
Joy would cease to be
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee
Move out of "Camp Complaining"
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone
Quit looking at the future
Redeem the time at hand
Start every day with worship
To "thank" is a command
Until we see Him coming
Victorious in the sky
We'll run the race with gratitude
Xalting God most high
Yes, there'll be good times and yes some will be bad, but...
Zion waits in glory...where none are ever sad!

"I AM Too blessed to be stressed!" The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor. The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything. Love and peace be with you forever, Amen.


Lessons Learned

"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration."
Thomas Alva Edison

I enjoy putting my thoughts on paper and sharing them with others. Yes, I am a writer. Notice I didn’t say that I want to be a writer. Writers write. Using this criterion, I call myself a writer without hesitation.

When I scratched out my first poem, I realized this writing thing was not as easy as it seems. Yet, the words still bubbled within like a volcano and nothing satisfied me until those words spilled from my head onto the blank page. It didn’t take me long to learn how much skill it takes to fine tune words until they paint an accurate picture of the thoughts, feelings, sights or sounds I wanted to convey. John Norley said "All things are difficult before they are easy". Pulling it all together is hard work. It takes time to research, edit, and revise the "little" things that make the difference between mediocre work and a highly polished, marketable product.

Fortunately, somewhere along the way, this writing thing gets easier, but, at the same time, it gets more difficult. Expectations are greater, reviews more critical, and the demand for improvement continuously escalates. Working on my first novel made me acutely aware of the value of tenacity. I learned that writing an hour or so every day or two or only when the mood strikes doesn’t produce the same results as writing regularly. Checking those emails, surfing the "net", even cleaning the toilet may sometimes seem like more fun, but the pay off won’t be a completed novel, packaged and on its way to an editor.

I’m sure you’ve heard people say someone "got lucky" when her novel was published. It makes you wonder if dedication and sacrifice really make a difference? Elmer Letterman tells us that "luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." Will building your "writer’s tool kit" at seminars and conferences help? Could that information jump-start your imagination and get your creative juices flowing in the "write" direction? Could participating in writing contest, critique sessions, and hands on workshops be good building blocks for the future? I wonder- is it luck or preparation? I’ve learned not to count on "genius", or on things being "easy", or even on "luck". It’s preparation and perspiration that makes winners!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

White House Trick or Treat

Let's face it. The White House will never be the same. I'm glad to see the 1st Family REALLY making the White House a HOME, a place of love and showing the world no matter who you are or how much money you have, you are still human and like doing the same things as the rest of the world.

I feel Honored to have President Obama as our President. He and his family show the true meaning to the word ‘family’and ‘love’and what and how a family should look and be. They are Great Role Models!!!

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice dresses as the Disney character Goofy at a reception for children of military and White House staff families during Halloween at the White House.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs wearing Star Wars' Darth Vader costume, with his son Ethan, talks to the media as during a Halloween celebration in the East Room at the White House.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Black Survivors of the Nazi Holocaust

Did you know
•that in the 1920's, there
were 24,000 Blacks living in Germany?

•that in the 1890s Blacks were tortured in German concentration camps in Southwest Africa (now called Namibia) when Adolph Hitler was only a child?

•that Colonial German doctors conducted unspeakable medical experiments on these emaciated helpless Africans decades before such atrocities were ever visited upon the Jews?

If you are like most people, you simply have never heard the unbelievable story of Black victims of the Holocaust. Well, neither did I. Here's how it happened, and how many of them were eventually caught unawares by the events of the Holocaust.

Like most West European nations, Germany established colonies in Africa in the late 1800's in what later became Togo, Cameroon , Namibia , and Tanzania. German genetic experiments began there, most notably involving prisoners taken from the 1904 Heroro Massacre that left 60,000 Africans dead, following a 4-year revolt against German colonization. After the shellacking Germany received in World War I, it was stripped of its African colonies in 1918.

As a spoil of war, the French were allowed to occupy Germany in the Rhineland --a bitter piece of real estate that has gone back and forth between the two nations
for centuries. The French willfully deployed their own colonized African soldiers as the occupying force. Germans viewed this as the final insult of World War I, and,
soon thereafter, 92% of them voted in the Nazi party. Hundreds of the African Rhineland-based soldiers intermarried with German women and raised their
children as Black Germans. In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote about his plans for these "Rhineland Bastards". When he came to power, one of his first directives was aimed at these mixed-race children. Underscoring Hitler's obsession with racial purity, by 1937, every identified mixed-race child in the Rhineland had
been forcibly sterilized, in order to prevent further "race polluting", as Hitler termed it.

Although most Black Germans attempted to escape their fatherland, heading for France where people like Josephine Baker were steadily aiding and supporting the French Underground, many still encountered problems elsewhere. Nations shut their doors to Germans,including the Black ones.

Some Black Germans were able to eke out a living during Hitler's reign of terror by performing in Vaudeville shows, but many Blacks, steadfast in their belief that they were German first, Black second, opted to remain in Germany . Some fought with the Nazis (a few even became Lutwaffe pilots)! Unfortunately, many Black Germans were arrested, charged with treason, and shipped in cattle cars to concentration camps. Often these trains were so packed with people and (equipped with no bathroom
facilities or food), that, after the four-day journey, box car doors were opened to piles of the dead and dying.

Once inside the concentration camps, Blacks were given the worst jobs conceivable. Some Black American soldiers, who were captured and held as prisoners of war, recounted that, while they were being starved and forced into dangerous labor (violating the Geneva Convention), they were still better off than Black German
concentration camp detainees, who were forced to do the unthinkable-- man the crematoriums and work in labs where genetic experiments were being conducted. As a final sacrifice, these Blacks were killed every three months so that they would never be able to reveal the inner workings of the "Final Solution".

Little information remains about the numbers of Black Germans held in the camps or killed under the Nazi regime. Some Black survivors of the Holocaust
are still alive and telling their story in films such as "Black Survivors of the Nazi Holocaust". After the war, scores of Blacks who had somehow managed to survive the Nazi regime, were rounded up and tried as war criminals.

For further information, read: Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany, by Hans J. Massaquoi. Other titles on the subject can be found on

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Watch Night Services: A Bit of History

Many of you who live or grew up in Black communities in the United States have probably heard of "Watch Night Services," the gathering of the faithful in church on New Year's Eve. For anyone who doesn't know about "Watch Night Services", here's a bit of history someone shared through snd email.

The service usually begins anywhere from 7 p.m. To 10 p.m. And ends at midnight with the entrance of the New Year. Some folks come to church first, before going out to celebrate. For others, church is the only New Year's Eve event. Like many others, I always assumed that Watch Night was a fairly standard Christian religious service -- made a bit more Afro centric because that's what happens when elements of Christianity become linked with the Black Church. Still, it seemed that predominately White Christian churches did not include Watch Night services on their calendars, but focused instead on Christmas Eve programs.

In fact, there were instances where clergy in mainline denominations wondered aloud about the propriety of linking religious services with a secular holiday like New Year's Eve.

However, there is a reason for the importance of New Year's Eve services in African American congregations. The Watch Night Services in Black communities that we celebrate today can be traced back to gatherings on December 31, 1862, also known as "Freedom's Eve." On that night, Blacks came together in churches and private homes all across the nation, anxiously awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law.. Then, at the stroke of midnight, it was January 1, 1863, and all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free .

When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy as people fell to their knees and thanked God. Black folks have gathered in churches annually on New Year's Eve ever since, praising God for bringing us safely through another year.

It's been 145 years since that first Freedom's Eve and many of us were never taught the African American history of Watch Night, but tradition still brings us together at this time every year to celebrate
"how we got over."

Now, go tell that!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Missing in Action: Civilty and Common Sense

Here's another "Stop The Madness Moment".

Can you believe that this illustration was given to an eighth grade math class as part of an assignment? The picture has the caption “Solving Equations Using Multiplication and Division. Inder the black face photo are the words "no way".

The teacher apologized, saying he “had no idea that I might offend anyone” with the picture. He said he got the illustration off the Internet and chose to use it because the term no way “is a comment my students make when I require them to show each calculation.”

NAACP leaders and the parents of one of the students met with the principal to discuss the incident. The Bucks County, PA NAACP is calling for disciplinary action for the teacher and sensitivity training throughout the Central Bucks School District.

How could this teacher not have thought this image was offensive? Well, we know that's bull, but in today's climate, civility and common sense are missing in action. Think about the negative slurs from the McCain-Palin political campaign. What about the images from the "Tea Party" gatherings? Yes, in today's climate, some politicans are even talking withdrawing from the Union. Remember the Obama bucks and other disrespectful racist gadgets? Listen to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Seems like you can call the president of the United States anything you can think of without meaningful consequence. There are the "Birthers" and the "Death Camps" and talk of pulling the plug on Grandma. You can even interrupt the president's remarks to a joint session of Congress, shouting out "You Lie".

When there's no consequences for bad behavior, chaos rules. We need to "Stop the Madness".

Thursday, October 15, 2009


There are two days in every week about which we should try not to worry. Two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is YESTERDAY with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. YESTERDAY has passed forever beyond our control.

All the money in the world cannot bring back YESTERDAY. We cannot undo a single act we performed: we cannot erase a single word we said...YESTERDAY is gone.

The other day we should not worry about is TOMORROW with its possible adversaries, its burdens, its large promise and poor performanced. TOMORROW is beyond our immediate control.

TOMORROW’s sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have a stake in TOMORROW for it is as yet unborn.

This leaves only one day...TODAY. Any person can fight the battle of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities...YESTERDAY AND TOMORROW that we break down. It is not the experience of TODAY that drives people mad-- it is remorse or bitterness for something which happened YESTERDAY and the dread of what TOMORROW will bring.


WHEN is the most important moment in our life? WHEN?...The answer is NOW, since we can touch it, drink it, love it, Too many of us go around all of our life dsaying...”Remember the good old days!...FORGET THE GOOD OLD DAYS...Every time we “LIVE YESTERDAY” we “AVOID TODAY” and when we “AVOID TODAY” we “RUN TOMORROW”.


Live Today

Too many people put off something that brings
them joy just because they haven't thought about it,
don't have it on their schedule, didn't know it was
coming or are too rigid to depart from their

I got to thinking one day about all those women
on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that
fateful night in an effort to cut back. From then
on, I've tried to be a little more flexible.
How many women out there will eat at home
because their husband didn't suggest going out to
dinner until after something had been thawed? Does
the word "refrigeration" mean nothing to you?

How often have your kids (or someone) dropped in to talk and
sat in silence while you watched 'Jeopardy' on

I cannot count the times I called my sister and
said, "How about going to lunch in a half hour?"
She would gas up and stammer, "I can't. I have
clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I
had known yesterday, I had a late breakfast, It
looks like rain." And my personal favorite: "It's
Monday." ...She died a few years ago.. We never did
have lunch together.

Because Americans cram so much into their lives,
we tend to schedule our headaches... We live on a
sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when
all the conditions are perfect!

We'll go back and visit the grandparents when we
get Stevie toilet-trained. We'll entertain when we
replace the living-room carpet. We'll go on a
second honeymoon when we get two more kids out of

Life has a way of accelerating as we get older.
The days get shorter, and the list of promises to
ourselves gets longer. One morning, we awaken, and
all we have to show for our lives is a litany of
"I'm going to," "I plan on," and "Someday, when
things are settled down a bit."

When anyone calls my 'seize the moment' friend,
she is open to adventure and available for trips.
She keeps an open mind on new ideas. Her enthusiasm
for life is contagious. You talk with her for five
minutes, and you're ready to trade your bad feet for
a pair of Rollerblades and skip an elevator for a
bungee cord.

My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years.
I love ice cream. It's just that I might as well
apply it directly to my stomach with a spatula and
eliminate the digestive process. The other day, I
stopped the car and bought a triple-decker. If my
car had hit an iceberg on the way home, I would have
died happy.

Now...go on and have a nice day. Do something
you WANT to......not something on your SHOULD DO
list. If you were going to die soon and had only one
phone call you could make, who would you call and
what would you say? And why are you waiting?

Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry go
round or listened to the rain lapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight or gazed
at the sun into the fading night? Do you run
through each day on the fly? When you ask "How are
you?" Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done, do you lie in your bed
with the next hundred chores running through your
head? Ever told your child, "We'll do it tomorrow."
And in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost
touch? Let a good friendship die? Just call to say

When you worry and hurry through your day, it is
like an unopened gift....Thrown away... Life is not
a race. Take it slower. Hear the music before the
song is over.

"Life may not be the party we hoped for... but
while we are here we might as well dance!"

Source: E-Mail Post

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kanye West's Stage Invasion

Kanye West’s Stage Invasion

Rolling Stone reported on the behavior of Kanye West at the 2009 VMA Awards.
Leave it to Kanye West to produce one of the most infamous moments in VMAs history before the 2009 show was even an hour old. It happened after Taylor Swift’s victory in the Best Female Video category for “You Belong With Me,” which beat out Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It).” Just moments after Swift accepted the Moonman and began her acceptance speech, West stormed the stage, taking the microphone from Swift to announce Beyoncé deserved the award.

Everyone at the Radio City Music Hall looked stunned, as the cameras captured an astonished and horrified Beyoncé still in her seat.

Near the end of the show, Beyoncé invited Swift onstage to have the acceptance speech she deserved while picking up her own Moonman for Video of the Year. Later, West posted an apology on his blog.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Kanye has stormed a VMA stage because he didn’t like the results inside the envelope. At the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards in Denmark, West crashed the stage during the winning group’s acceptance speech, after his “Touch The Sky” lost. And then there was the incident at the VMAs in Las Vegas, with Kanye flipping out because his performance of “Stronger” was relegated to a suite and not the main stage. Adding fuel to the fire was the fact that Kanye lost in all five of the categories he was nominated, resulting in West totally losing it in a backstage flip-out. It seems bad behavior is a regular thing with Kanye.

Just goes to show...some people have class as Beyonce demonstrated with her generous and sensitive gesture to Taylor Swift, and some folks (Kanye West) have none. E'nuf said!

Serena Williams' Meltdown

Serena Willliams' Meltdown

Well-known for nearly a dozen Grand Slam titles, a clothing line, and a glamorous presence, Serena Williams is now known for a profane game stopping outburst too. Her threat to shove a ball down a lineswoman's throat in the U.S. Open peppered with frequent use of the “F” word is inexcusable. Her lips were readable and her words were audible over the courtside microphones: She cursed and threatened physical violence. When reporting on Serena Williams antics, Washington Post Sports Columnist Sally Jenkins wrote “The awful irony was ...that at least it was a sincere expression of who she really is: a competitor of roaring fury”..."You don't win nearly a dozen Grand Slam titles without some kind of fierce commitment". Jenkins noted “People who lose their temper let their emotions, their urgency, their needs, trump everyone else's”.

Serena Williams' profanity-laced, finger-pointing tirade at a U.S. Open linesperson drew a $10,000 fine Sunday, and more punishment could follow from a broader investigation into what the head of the tournament called her "threatening manner." The rules allow for a fine as high as all of a player's prize money from the tournament - and a suspension, Williams also was docked $500 for smashing her racket after the first set of the match. The chairman and CEO of the women's tennis tour, Stacey Allaster, issued a statement calling Williams' conduct "inappropriate and unprofessional."

Harry Potter Theme Park

"The Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter," a new theme park based on the exploits of the hugely popular boy wizard, is set to open in spring 2010 at Universal Studios, the Orlando resort, in its Islands of Adventure theme park. The theme park will recreate the fabled Hogwarts school for wizards that Potter and his friends attend, as well as the surrounding village of Hogsmeade. "Harry Potter continues to spark the imaginations of fans of all ages and we really have seen the anticipation continue to build for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter," said Brad Globe, president of Warner Bros. Consumer Products.

The park will also feature theme rides, including the "Flight of the Hippogriff," which will simulate a training flight on the magical, quick-to-offend creature. The rides are set around Hogsmeade Village, which will have medieval British architecture and ambience and will include businesses that fans will recognize from the books and movies.

At a replica of the Three Broomsticks, one of Hogsmeade's popular pubs, visitors will be treated to traditional British fare and have the chance to sip on Butterbeer -- Potter's tipple of choice. In Honeydukes, visitors will be able to buy sweets including Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans. At the Three Broomsticks and Hog's Head Pub, Butterbeer will be available. At the Owlery, guests can send postcards via owl. And at Ollivanders Wand Shop, the appropriate wand chooses the wizard, instead of the other way around.

Fans of the fast-paced wizard sport Quidditch will also have a chance to partake in a simulated Triwizard Tournament, as well as examine Quidditch equipment and even the elusive Golden Snitch at several Hogsmeade shops.

The Harry Potter series continues to be a global phenomenon -- over 400 million copies of the books, which are available in 67 languages, have been sold in more than 200 countries and the movie adaptations have broken box office records.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the first of a two-part film adaptation of the seventh book in the series, is scheduled to be released in 2010, followed by the final movie in 2011.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A New Look for Semeyer

South Africa’s Caster Semenya has a new look.

Semenya won gold in the 800 m at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics with a time of 1:55.45 in the final, again setting the fastest time of the year. Plaqued by rumor and innuendo about her gender, the star athlete was tested to detemine if she was a female. Recently she was featured on the cover of a popular magazine sporting a new hair style, a fashionable black dress, and nail polish.

If Semenya has made this change for her own personal reasons, more power to her. However, if she is responding to public pressure in abandonding her normal manner of dressing, I can only caution her to be true to herself.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Record Breaking Pharm Settlement

The Obama administration is cracking down on health-care fraud, and federal prosecutors have already have their first mounted head: Pfizer, which agreed to a record $2.3 billion settlement this week. The Washington Post reports that Pfizer's Pharmacia & Upjohn subsidiary pleaded guilty to a felony charge for marketing anti-inflammatory drug Bextra for uses the FDA has not approved. Prosecutors also say the company gave doctor lavish trips, falsified records, and improperly financed articles promoting their pills. Pharmacia & Upjohn will pay $1.3 billion in fines and forfeits, the biggest criminal penalty in U.S. history, and Pfizer will pay an extra $1 billion to resolve civil cases connected to Bextra and three other medications.

Explaining Pfizer's steep penalty, one U.S. attorney called the company a "recidivist" lawbreaker. The world's largest drugmaker, he said, has entered into four settlements with the Justice Department over the past decade. Pfizer voluntarily withdrew Bextra from the market in 2005 amid concerns about its link to such health problems as strokes, heart attacks and blood clots in the lungs.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ain't I A Woman, Too?

Lots of folks have their panties in a knot. It’s about a gender test being demanded of an athlete, South Africa’s Caster Semenya. Semenya won gold in the 800 m at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics with a time of 1:55.45 in the final, again setting the fastest time of the year. After the race, other runners raised suspicions about her gender. Semenya stated she was unconcerned about the rumours or the verification and that she considered boycotting the medal ceremony as a result.

The world track and field federation calls this test, “extremely complex, difficult,” involving a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist, an internal medicine specialist and an expert on gender. I’m curious what constitutes such an expert. The spokesman for the track and field federation is quoted as saying

"If there’s a problem and it turns out that there’s been a fraud … that someone has changed sex, then obviously it would be much easier to strip results. However, if it’s a natural thing and the athlete has always thought she’s a woman or been a woman, it’s not exactly cheating."

The IAAF's handling of the case has spurred many negative reactions. A number of athletes, including retired sprinter Michael Johnson, have criticised the organization for its "unfair" and "embarrassing" treatment of Semenya. Prominent South African civic leaders, commentators, politicians, and activists have characterized the controversy as racist, as well as an affront to Semenya's privacy and human rights. Media commentators have also characterized the controversy as sexist, saying it highlights unfair treatment of female athletes.

The IAAF said it only made the sex test public after it had already been reported in the media, denying charges of racism and expressing regret of "the allegations being made about the reasons for which these tests are being conducted." The federation also explained that the motivation for the test was not suspected cheating but a desire to determine if she has a "rare medical condition" giving her an unfair competitive advantage. The president of the IAAF stated that the case could have been handled with more sensitivity.

Does LOL mean "laughing out loud"?

Source: Wikipedia

The Death of Common Sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year- old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Panadol, sun lotion or a Band Aid to a student - but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband, churches became businesses, and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for assault. Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I'm A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

(Author unknown: This has been around for some time, but I guess some folks just don't get it.)

Nine Words Women Use

Nine words women use...

(I saw this in an email. It was funny, but true. You might recognize these words too.)

1.) Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2.) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour.
Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more
minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

3.) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something,
and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing
usually end in fine.

4.) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

5.) Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of nothing.)

6.) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a woman can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7.) Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or Faint. Just say you're welcome.
8.) Whatever: Is a women's way of saying F@!K YOU!

9.) Don't worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking 'What's wrong?' For the woman's response refer to #3.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Tale of Two Michaels

THIS is the astonishing picture which could destroy the career of the greatest competitor in Olympic history. In this photo, Michael Phelps, who won a record EIGHT gold medals for swimming at the Beijing games last summer, draws from a bong.

It was on November 6, weeks after his Beijing triumph, that 23-year-old Phelps surprised students at the University Of South Carolina in Columbia by showing up unannounced at a house party. He was visiting Jordan Matthews, a girl he was secretly seeing who was a student there. Our source revealed: "Michael came to visit Jordan but ended up just getting wasted every night.

"He didn't know many people so you'd think he'd be a little shy. But he was loud, obnoxious and slamming beers from the get-go.

"Every girl wanted a piece of him and every guy wanted to be his best buddy. He couldn't get enough of all the attention."

Drink has got Phelps into trouble before. In 2004, aged 19, he got 18 months probation for driving while under the influence. His wild behaviour is in stark contrast to the grim regime which took him to the top of his sport. He once described his life, saying: "All you do is eat, sleep, swim; eat, sleep, swim; eat, sleep, swim."

"I'M SORRY", says MICHAEL PHELPS in his statement to the public.

"I engaged in behaviour which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgement," Phelps said.

"I'm 23 years old and despite the successes I've had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again."

Phelps, who earned £4million last year in endorsements, has resumed training for the 2012 games.

Here's the sentiments of one comment from "Nigel":

No one is perfect. Michael Phelps made a mistake and he is sorry for that. He did apologise.

I also believe that he has learnt the biggest lesson in all his life, something that he will not wish to repeat again ever.

The best way that we really do learn is by making mistakes and correcting them. This is the way the creator has created us.

Can we now give the guy a break.

"I Want to be Like Mike!"

Recently, Olympian Michael Phelps was involved in an automobile accident. He was not at fault, but he was cited for driving without a valid license. The police said he told them that he had consumed a beer about an hour before the incident. So they saw no need to give him a breathalyzer because he was so forthcoming.

What!!!! It must be great to be Michael Phelps. Keep in mind Phelps has a DUI conviction on the books, but they simply took his word. During Michael Jordan’s glory days Gatorade coined the phrase "I Want to Be Like Mike". Well, in this new millennium, the Mike we should strive to be like is Phelps. This guy has the Baltimore Police spokesman say on camera that while Phelps was driving on an expired license it was alright because he has probably been too busy to renew it, and that’s just fine because we love ourselves some Michael.

If I ever get pulled over, I hope the police extend the Phelps package to me. A citation, but no real blame, and no real need to test me for alcohol because I too will assure them I’m not drunk. Sadly, this would not be my scenario because they would not be blinded by my Olympic gold.

Pouring Water on a Drowning Man

Michael Vick has signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. His detractors are posed to protest wherever he goes. Vick has served his time and now it is time to leave him alone. His crimes were horrific, but in this country once you do your time you should be able to come out of the prison system and make a living. He has been punished and he will continue to be punished. Judge Henry E. Hudson sentenced Michael Vick to 23 months in prison -- exceeding the 12-18 months that prosecutors recommended. It was surprisingly severe for a first-time criminal, charged with crimes that some observers believe are routinely ignored by law enforcement officers, and whom prosecutors recommended not be sentenced to more than 18 months. Still, it was within Judge Hudson's discretion, as he could have sentenced Vick to up to 60 months.

Vick lost everything, including a $135 million dollar contract plus a lucrative endorsement with Nike. He lost his home and two years of a promising career. He will never be asked to endorse anything. He will never make the kind of money he would have made. If he has lost his skills, he’ll be cut, but he deserves a second chance.

In a recently aired show on 60 Minutes, James Brown of CBS Sports interviewed Michael Vick. When asked about his conviction for animal cruelty, Vick claims he’s sorry about what he did to the animals. He continues to apologize for his actions and promises to work with the Humane Society as they tour schools educating children on the care of animals. There’s really is nothing Michael Vick can say to satisfy his critics. For the rest of the football season he will be asked the same questions and he better not flinch when he answers.

The public will wonder if Vick is truly remorseful or is his remorse generated by the need for money? If you say Vick has served his time now let him work, you’ll be accused of sanctioning his acts of cruelty. There’ll always be some people who enjoy pouring water on a drowning man. I won’t be one of them.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Things the Negro Must Do For Himself

Thought you might find this interesting.
Written by a black woman in the 1900's

12 Things The Negro Must Do For Himself
by Nannie Helen Burroughs

1. The Negro Must Learn To Put First Things First. The First Things Are: Education; Development of Character Traits; A Trade and Home Ownership.
The Negro puts too much of his earning in clothes, in food, in show and in having what he calls 'a good time.' The Dr. Kelly Miller said, 'The Negro buys what he WANTS and begs for what he needs.'

2. The Negro Must Stop Expecting God and White Folk To Do For Him What He Can Do For Himself.
It is the 'Divine Plan' that the strong shall help the weak, but even God does not do for man what man can do for himself. The Negro will have to do exactly what Jesus told the man (in John 5:8) to do--Carry his own load--'Take up your bed and walk.'

3. The Negro Must Keep Himself, His Children And His Home Clean And Make The Surroundings In Which He Lives Comfortable and Attractive.
He must learn to 'run his community up'--not down. We can segregate by law, we integrate only by living. Civilization is not a matter of race, it is a matter of standards. Believe it or not--some day, some race is going to outdo the Anglo-Saxon, completely. It can be the Negro race, if the Negro gets sense enough. Civilization goes up and down that way.

4. The Negro Must Learn To Dress More Appropriately For Work And For Leisure.
Knowing what to wear--how to wear it--when to wear it and where to wear it, are earmarks of common sense, culture and also an index to character.

5. The Negro Must Make His Religion An Everyday Practice And Not Just A Sunday-Go-To Meeting Emotional Affair.

6. The Negro Must Highly Resolve To Wipe Out Mass Ignorance.
The leaders of the race must teach and inspire the masses to become eager and determined to improve mentally, morally and spiritually, and to meet the basic requirements of good citizenship. We should initiate an intensive literacy campaign in America , as well as in Africa . Ignorance--is a millstone about the neck of the race. It is democracy's greatest burden. Social integration is a relationship attained as a result of the cultivation of kindred social ideals, interests and standards. It is a blending process that requires time, understanding and kindred purposes to achieve.. Likes alone and not laws can do it.

7. The Negro Must Stop Charging His Failures Up To His 'Color' And To White People's Attitude.
The truth of the matter is that good service and conduct will make senseless race prejudice fade like mist before the rising sun. God never intended that a man's color shall be anything other than a badge of distinction. It is high time that all races were earning that fact. The Negro must first QUALIFY for whatever position he wants. Purpose, initiative, ingenuity and industry are the keys that all men use to get what they want. The Negro will have to do the same. He must make himself a workman who is too skilled not to be wanted, and too DEPENDABLE not to be on the job, according to promise or plan. He will never become a vital factor in industry until he learns to put into his work the vitalizing force of initiative, skill and dependability. He has gone 'RIGHTS' mad and 'DUTY' dumb.

8. The Negro Must Overcome His Bad Job Habits.
He must make a brand new reputation for himself in the world of labor. His bad job habits are absenteeism, funerals to attend, or a little business to look after. The Negro runs an off and on business. He also has a bad reputation for co nduct on the job--such as petty quarreling with other help, incessant loud talking about nothing; loafing, carelessness, due to lack of job pride; insolence, gum chewing and--too often--liquor drinking. Just plain bad job habits!

9. He Must Improve His Conduct In Public Places.
Taken as a whole, he is entirely too loud and too ill-mannered. There is much talk about wiping out racial segregation and also much talk about achieving integration. Segregation is a physical arrangement by which people are separated in various services. It is definitely up to the Negro to wipe out the apparent justification or excuse for segregation. The only effective way to do it is to clean up and keep clean. By practice, cleanliness will become a habit and habit becomes character.

10. The Negro Must Learn How To Operate Business For People--Not For Negro People, Only.
To do business, he will have to remove all typical 'earmarks,' business principles; measure up to accepted standards and meet stimulating competition, graciously--in fact, he must learn to welcome competition.

11. The Average So-Called Educated Negro Will Have To Come Down Out Of The Air. He Is Too Inflated Over Nothing. He Needs An Experience Similar To The One That Ezekiel Had--(Ezekiel 3:14-19). And He Must Do What Ezekiel Did
Otherwise, through indifference, as to the plight of the masses, the Negro, who thinks that he has escaped, will lose his own soul. It will do all leaders good to read Hebrews 13:3, and the first Thirty-seven Chapters of Ezekiel. A race transformation itself through its own leaders and its sensible 'common people.' A race rises on its own wings, or is held down by its own weight. True leaders are never 'things apart from the people.' They are the masses. They simply got to the front ahead of them. Their only business at the front is to inspire to masses by hard work and noble example and challenge them to 'Come on!' Dante stated a fact when he said, 'Show the people the light and they will find the way!' There must arise within the Negro race a leadership that is not out hunting bargains for itself. A noble example is found in the men and women of the Negro race, who, in the early days, laid down their lives for the people. Their invaluable contributions have not been appraised by the 'latter-day leaders.' In many cases, their names would never be recorded, among the unsung heroes of the world, but for the fact that white friends have written them there.
'Lord, God of Hosts, Be with us yet.'

The Negro of today does not realize that, but, for these exhibits A's, that certainly show the innate possibilities of members of their own race, white people would not have been moved to make such princely investments in lives and money, as they have made, for the establishment of schools and for the on-going of the race.

12. The Negro Must Stop Forgetting His Friends. 'Remember.'

Read Deuteronomy 24:18. Deuteronomy rings the big bell of gratitude. Why? Because an ingrate is an abomination in the sight of God. God is constantly telling us that 'I the Lord thy God delivered you'--through human instrumentalities. The American Negro has had and still has friends--in the North and in the South. These friends not only pray, speak, write, influence others, but make unbelievable, unpublished sacrifices and contributions for the advancement of the race--for their brothers in bonds. The noblest thing that the Negro can do is to so live and labor that these benefactors will not have given in vain. The Negro must make his heart warm with gratitude, his lips sweet with thanks and his heart and mind resolute with purpose to justify the sacrifices and stand on his feet and go forward--'God is no respector of persons. In every nation, he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is' sure to win out. Get to work! That's the answer to everything that hurts us. We talk too much about nothing instead of redeeming the time by working.

In spite of race prejudice, America is brim full of opportunities. Go after them!

And, this was written in the early 1900's! In some ways, the more things change the more they stay the same.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Things to Think About

Some things to think about.

This article was written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The
Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio.

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My personal odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:"

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents
will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ''In five years, will this matter?".

26. Always choose life.

27. Forgive everyone everything.

28. What other people think of you is none of your business.

29. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.

30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

31. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

32. Believe in miracles.

33. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

34. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

35. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

36. Your children get only one childhood.

37. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

38. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

39. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd
grab ours back.

40. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

41. The best is yet to come.

42. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

43. Yield.

44. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

45. Friends are the family you choose for yourselves.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Country Music at the White House

Get ready for a celebration of country music at the White House.

Next Tuesday, President Obama and his wife, Michelle, will continue their efforts to promote American music by showcasing country music stars Brad Paisley, Alison Krauss and Union Station in an evening concert in the executive mansion.

The musicians will also participate in an educational workshop where 120 middle and high school students from across the country will learn the craft of songwriting, focusing on country music genres such as bluegrass, honky tonk and rockabilly.

The Obamas highlighted jazz in the first round of this White House music series in a program that included five members of the Marsalis family and the clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera. They expect to focus on classical music in the fall.

The Caucus (reprint)
July 15, 2009, 4:07 pm
Celebrating Country at the White House
By Rachel L. Swarns

Monday, July 20, 2009

Quiz for Folks Who Know Everything

1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.

2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?

3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?

4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

5. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?

6. Only three words in standard English begin with the letters 'dw' and they are all common words. Name two of them.

7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least
half of them?

8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.

9. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter 'S.'

Answers To Quiz:

1. The one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends. Boxing

2. North American landmark constantly moving backward: Niagara Falls
(The rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.)

3. Only two vegetables that can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons . . Asparagus and rhubarb.

4. The fruit with its seeds on the outside . Strawberry.

5. How did the pear get inside the brandy bottle? It grew inside the bottle
(The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small, and are wired in place
on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.)

6. Three English words beginning with dw:
Dwarf, dwell and dwindle.

7. Fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar.
Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation marks, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.

8. The only vegetable or fruit never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form but fresh Lettuce.

9. Six or more things you can wear on your feet beginning with 'S'. Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings, stilts.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Scandal at Burr Oak

Cemetery workers made $300K in gravedigging scheme

ALSIP, Ill. - Four former employees accused of digging up bodies and reselling plots at a historic black cemetery near Chicago made about $300,000 in a scheme believed to have stretched back at least four years, authorities said Friday.

Three gravediggers and a manager at the Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip are accused of unearthing hundreds of corpses and either dumping some in a weeded, desolate area near the cemetery or double-stacking others in graves. The cemetery is the burial place of civil rights-era lynching victim Emmett Till and blues singers Willie Dixon and Dinah Washington.

While Till's grave site was not disturbed, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said investigators found his original iconic glass-topped casket rusting in a shack at the cemetery.

The 14-year-old Chicagoan was killed in 1955 after reportedly whistling at a white woman during a visit to his uncle's house in Mississippi. Nearly 100,000 people visited the casket during a four-day public viewing in Chicago, and images of his battered body helped spark the civil rights movement.

When Till was exhumed in 2005 during an investigation of his death, he was reburied in a new casket. The original casket was supposed to be kept for a planned memorial to Till.

Thousands of families have come to the cemetery since Thursday looking for answers about their loved ones, authorities said. Hundreds of relatives, some clutching maps of the 150-acre site, were seen at the cemetery Friday.

Dart said officials have assisted the families in locating relatives' plots, and family members have reported at least 30 cases of disturbed graves and missing headstones.

The sheriff said two burials planned for Thursday also have gone wrong - with one person initially buried in the wrong plot and another whose plot was already occupied by someone else's body.

"This is a heartless act, these graveyard robbers," the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Friday. Jackson called on the cemetery's Arizona-based owner, Perpetua Inc., to answer for the conditions.

The Illinois official who regulates cemeteries said Friday that the process of revoking the cemetery's license has been started. Comptroller Daniel Hynes also said Friday his office is investigating whether the money that families paid for future cemetery needs is still safely held in a trust.

The cemetery is owned by Perpetua Holdings of Illinois. Hynes said the company is cooperating with authorities, but the horrible problems at Burr Oak justify revoking the license.

Perpetua started the investigation by calling Cook County authorities to report alleged financial wrongdoing and issued a statement Thursday that the company is cooperating with investigators.

The suspects, all of whom are black, were identified as Carolyn Towns, 49, Keith Nicks, 45, and Terrence Nicks, 39 - all of Chicago - and Maurice Dailey, 61, of Robbins. They each have been charged with one count of dismembering a human body, a felony.

Bond was set at $250,000 for Towns, the cemetery's manager, and at $200,000 for the other three.

Authorities said Towns also pocketed donations she elicited for a Till memorial museum. She has not been charged in connection with those allegations. Court documents show she was fired from the cemetery in late May amid allegations of financial wrongdoing.

A spokeswoman for the Cook County state's attorney's office said Towns is being represented by a private attorney, but she did not know the attorney's name. The Cook County public defender's office said it had not yet assigned attorneys to the other three cases.

(information reprinted from e-mail from a friend)
Original article By DON BABWIN Associated Press Writer

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ginny Weasley Comes of Age

Have you checked out Ginny Weasley lately? You'll have another chance to check her out when "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" hits the screen next week.

For those of you who don't know who Ginny Weasley is, let's review a bit of her biography. Ginevra 'Ginny' Weasley is a character in the Harry Potter series. Ginny appears in every novel and actress Bonnie Wright plays Ginny in every movie.

Ginny is the younger sister of Ron Weasley and a close friend of Hermione Granger and Harry Potter. She is the youngest of the Weasley children (Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, and Ron are the others) and the only girl. Often lauded for her powerful magical ability, Ginny is also known for her feisty and stubborn demeanor, sarcastic sense of humor, and unwavering popularity. Her Hogwarts career started off with a bang as the young girl was manipulated and hypnotized into becoming Lord Voldemort's pawn in his plan for rebirth, but Voldemort was thwarted when Harry came to her rescue deep within the Chamber of Secrets.

Later in the series, Ginny becomes the main love interest of Harry. She has always had strong romantic feelings for Harry, ever since she first saw him at age 10. Harry didn't realize how he truly felt about her until age 16, and it was then that the two of them fell in love. During Harry's quest to destroy Voldemort's horcruxes, Ginny was one of, if not the driving force that kept him going. It was very obvious that Harry was deeply in love with her.

Ginny has always been around and might have blended in with the woodwork, but all that's about to change. The character and the actress who plays her has turned into a real beauty and is ready to take her rightful place at Harry's side.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Harry Potter Quiz Two

Here are the answers to the second Harry Potter Quiz posted June 26, 2009. The questions are repeated for those who missed the original posting, with the answers following below.

1. When the Prime Minister of Muggles first met the Minister of Magic, how did
Fudge convince him that he was not a hoax?

2. Tom Riddle visited Hephzibah Smith to make a second offer on what item?
a. Helga Hufflepuff’s cup
b. Salazar Slytherin’s locket
c. A Goblin-made silver goblet
d. Goblin made armor

3. What did Kreacher give Harry for Christmas?
a. Worms
b. Grubs
c. Weevels
d. Maggots

4. What did Snape consider Dumbledore’s greatest weakness?

5. What was Harry’s first destination after leaving Privet Dr. with Dumbledore?

6. Who was the Hogwarts School Librarian?

7. Who was the Ravenclaw Quidditch Captain and Fleur Delacourt’s Yule Ball

8. What did Mr. Weasley call his wife when they were alone together?

9. Which of the following would not be found in Fred & George’s Joke Shop?
a. Smart Answer Quills
b. Boomeranging Booms
c. Patented Daydream Charms
d. Edible Dark Marks

10. Whose Bludger knocked Harry out of the match with Hufflepuff?

11. The Fountain of Magical Brethren features five golden statues. Name the images
the statues depict.

12. The entrance to the Ministry of Magic headquarters is a red telephone box.
What number must be dialed to gain entry?

13. Cho Chang belonged to Hufflepuff. True or False

14. Name the Black family house elf.

15 What was the address of the Order of the Phoenix Headquarters?

16. Which spell creates magical barrier that will deflect hexes thrown at the

17. Name the wizard was assassinated by a Devil's Snare plant.

18. What was the nickname for Bill Weasley’s fiancé?

19. Who was Severus Snape's mother?

20. Who is head of the "Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office"?


1. Turned a weasel into a tea pot

2. a. Helga Hufflepuff’s cup

3. d. Maggots

4. Trusting others

5. Horace Slughorn's temporary home in Budleigh Baddenton

6. Madam Irma Pince

7. Roger Davies

8. Mobbly marbles

9. Edible Dark Marks

10. Dobby enchanted the Bludger

11. Wizard, Witch, Centaur, Goblin, House Elf

12. 62442 (Magic)

13. False (Ravenclaw)

14. Kreacher

15. 12 Grimmauld Place

16. Shield Charm (Protego)

17. Boderick Bode

18. Phlegm

19. Ellen Prince

20. Arthur Weasley

Monday, July 6, 2009

Handbags: A Hidden Health Hazard

Have you ever noticed women who set their handbags on public toilet floors, then go directly to their dining tables and set it on the table?

It's not always the 'restaurant food' that causes stomach distress. Sometimes 'what you don't know will hurt you'!

Read on............ ...
Mom got so upset when guests came in the door and plopped their handbags down on the counter where she was cooking or setting up food. She always said that handbags are really dirty, because of where they have been..

It's something just about every woman carries with them. While we may know what's inside our handbags, do you have any idea what's on the outside? Women carry handbags everywhere; from the office to public toilets to the floor of the car. Most women won't be caught without their handbags, but did you ever stop to think about where your handbag goes during the day..

'I drive a school bus, so my handbag has been on the floor of the bus a lot,' says one woman. 'On the floor of my car, and on the floor of public toilets.'
'I put my handbag in grocery shopping carts and on the floor of the toilet,' says another woman 'and of course in my home which should be clean.'

We decided to find out if handbags harbor a lot of bacteria. We learned how to test them at Nelson Laboratories in Salt Lake , and then we set out to test the average woman's handbag.

Most women told us they didn't stop to think about what was on the bottom of their handbag. Most said at home they usually set their handbags on top of kitchen tables and counters where food is prepared.

Most of the ladies we talked to told us they wouldn't be surprised if their handbags were at least a little bit dirty.

It turns out handbags are so surprisingly dirty, even the microbiologist who tested them was shocked.

Microbiologist Amy Karen of Nelson Labs says nearly all of the handbags tested were not only high in bacteria, but high in harmful kinds of bacteria. Pseudomonas can cause eye infections, staphylococcus aurous can cause serious skin infections, and salmonella and ecoli found on the handbags could make people very sick.

In one sampling, four of five handbags tested positive for salmonella, and that's not the worst of it.. 'There is fecal contamination on the handbags' says Amy.

Leather or vinyl handbags tended to be cleaner than cloth handbags, and lifestyle seemed to play a role. People with kids tended to have dirtier handbags than those without, with one exception.

The handbag of one single woman who frequented nightclubs had one of the worst contaminations of all. 'Some type of feces, or possibly vomit' says Amy.

So the moral of this story is that your handbag won't kill you, but it does have the potential to make you very sick if you keep it on places where you eat.

Use hooks to hang your handbag at home and in toilets, and don't put it on your desk, a restaurant table, or on your kitchen countertop.

Experts say you should think of your handbag the same way you would a pair of shoes. 'If you think about putting a pair of shoes on your countertops, that's the same thing you're doing when you put your handbag on the countertops. '

Your handbag has gone where individuals before you have walked, sat, sneezed, coughed, spat, urinated, emptied bowels, etc!

Do you really want to bring that home with you?
The microbiologists at Nelson also said cleaning a handbag will help. Wash cloth handbags and use leather cleaner to clean the bottom of leather handbags.

Source: Saw this in an e-mail and thought it was worth sharing.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Remembering Chicago: Riverview Park

Remember When...Chicago, IL
Riverview Park

Riverview Amusement Park is one remembered by many. Riverview stands out in many peoples’ memories for the good times they had there. During its 64 years in existence it was said to entertain over 200,000,000 people.

The 74 acres bordered by Western and Belmont avenues, the Chicago River, and Lane Tech High School were known affectionately as "Riverview" to at least three generations of Chicagoans from as early as 1904 to as recent as 1967. Riverview Amusement Park was (sometimes disputably) billed as "The World’s Largest Amusement Park" throughout its 64-year popularity. For some people a trip to Riverview was a familiar weekend excursion, but for most people who went there, a trip to Riverview was a significant memory not soon forgotten.

The park had many milestones that added to its popularity. A 70-horse carousel was installed in 1908. In 1926, the park marked the addition of "The Bobs" roller coaster. "The Bobs" was an 11-car coaster with an 85-foot drop, long billed as the most fearsome roller coaster in the country, as well as the fastest on record. It was the most popular ride at Riverview throughout its existence.

Riverview played important roles during Prohibition, the Depression, World War II, and the baby boom of the fifties and sixties. In the age of "The Raging Bull" and "The Viper," "The Bobs" and "The Chute-the-Chutes" would seem out of place and belonging to another age. As society looks for more daring risks, technology must follow. Despite being in the shadow of the increasingly technological aspects of today’s amusement park entertainment, Riverview remains a vital part of Chicago’s history for its important social impact on the city. It allowed people of different ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds to interact with each other in an otherwise ethnically segregated city.

Here's some history I didn't know. The movement of more and more African Americans to Chicago heightened racial tension at Riverview during the 1940’s. One of the midway games that started out as a "Dunk the Bozo the Clown" game in which contestants threw balls at a target that would release a man into a tank of water turned into "Dunk the Nig**r" during the 1940’s. African American men were hired to sit in the tanks and taunt white passersby, who often would throw the balls at the African American in the tank rather than at the target. The title of the game was later changed to the more politically correct "African Dip" and was eventually closed in the late 1950’s after much pressure from the NAACP. By the time the game closed, "the men who lost their jobs were reportedly making over three hundred dollars a week in what was considered to be the highest-grossing concession in Riverview’s history."

The game left a lasting effect, as well. It allowed ethnically diverse Chicagoans to define themselves as "white" and to develop a sense of racial solidarity that "obscured the particulars of their own ethnic backgrounds." This development served to further segregate the city. Fights sprang up more frequently at Riverview after this, and by the 1960’s Riverview required its own police force.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. A LaSalle Street investment firm purchased the park on October 3, 1967 for an estimated 6.5 million dollars and promptly demolished. Only the Merry-go-Round and several smaller souvenirs were saved. After storage in Galena, Illinois, the Merry-go-Round was purchased in 1971 and is now in Atlanta at Six Flags Over Georgia. The distortion mirrors from Aladdin’s Castle fun house are reportedly at a dance club in Palatine. The area that was once Riverview is now home to a DeVry Institute of Technology, a police station, and a shopping center.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Haitian on the Titanic

There was a Haitian family on the Titanic.
Imagine one knew. Like most of history, people of color were often excluded or forgotten.

His uncle was President of Haiti!

Joseph Phillippe Lemercier Laroche, a Haitian, is thought to have been the only black passenger on the Titanic. He died in the sinking, but his wife and children were saved, possibly in lifeboat 14. Laroche was born in Cap Haitian, Haiti , on May 26, 1889.

In the blockbuster film Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio's role could have easily been played by a Black man and it would have been historically accurate. In fact, the life story of Haitian native Joseph Phillippe Lemercier Laroche is far more intriguing than the movie's lead character, but no one knew of his existence until recently.

The silence about the stranger-than-fiction life story of the Titanic's only Black passenger astonishes noted Titanic historian Judith Geller, author of Titanic: Women and Children First, who said, "It is strange that nowhere in the copious 1912 press descriptions of the ship and the interviews with the survivors was the presence of a Black family among the passengers ever mentioned."

The story of this interracial family was not known until 2000, three years after the movie's release, when the Chicago Museum of Science & Industry and the Titanic Historical Society revealed the information as part of a Titanic exhibit.

Joseph Laroche was born into a powerful family. His uncle, Dessalines M. Cincinnatus Leconte, was the president of Haiti . When Joseph Phillippe Lemercier was fifteen, he left Haiti to study engineering in Beauvais , France . Several years later, he met Juliette Lafargue, the 22- year-old daughter of a local wine seller. The two eventually married.

Despite having an engineering degree, Joseph's skin color left him unable to find employment in France. The Laroches decided to return to Haiti and booked second-class reservations on the Titanic. After the ship struck an iceberg, Joseph loaded his wife and children onto a lifeboat and he went down with the ship.

His body was never recovered.

Shortly before Christmas of that year, Juliette Laroche gave birth to their son, Joseph Laroche Jr.

Juliette never remarried.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Silverlady's Trivia Game Sample

We don't want to leave you out of the fun if you aren't a Harry Potter fan. Here's a sample of questions from our daily trivia quiz:

1. In what sea is Aruba located?

2. You'll find this place by following a white rabbit.

3. Students who win this award attend the University of Oxford for two years of study.

4. "When you care enough to send the very best."

5. Which team became a member of the Major League in 1998?

6. Which countries are fighting over control of Kashmir?

7. On May 18, 1980, which volcano erupted in Washington?

8. What is the name of the phobia for fear of large things?
a. Ligyrophobia
b. Eleutherophobia
c. Aurophobia
d. Megalophobia

9. Keanu Reeves stared in the 1994 smash hit "Speed" with what actress?

10. What is the latin word for bull?

Don't cheat, but when you've finished the test, scroll down for the answers.

Answers to Trivia Quiz Sample:

1. Caribbean Sea

2. Wonderland

3. Rhoses Scholar(ship)

4. Hallmark Cards

5. Arizona Diamondbacks

6. India and Pakistan

7. Mount St. Helens

8. d. Megalophobia

9. Sandra Bullock

10. Taurus

Hope you did well. Silverlady's Trivia offers a new game every day. Just click on the link to start playing today's game.