Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tony Curtis Gone at 85

Tony Curtis, one of the last great stars of Hollywood's golden age, died yesterday aged 85. The death was confirmed by a representative of his actor daughter Jamie Lee Curtis, although further details have yet to emerge. Curtis's health had been failing for a number of years and he was admitted to hospital in July after suffering an asthma attack.
Appearing on stage at the Guardian BFI Southbank interview in 2008, Curtis was asked by an audience member what he would like to have written on his gravestone. "Nobody's perfect," he quipped, quoting the final line of his best-loved comedy, Some Like it Hot.

He was born Bernard Schwartz, to Hungarian immigrant parents in the Bronx and grew up dreaming of stardom and idolising the casual, easy grace of Cary Grant. Marketed as prime 1950s beefcake by Hollywood, he brought a pulchritudinous dash to a rash of substandard studio pictures before winning praise for his role as a venal press agent in the 1957 drama The Sweet Smell of Success. The following year he gained his only Oscar nomination for his role opposite Sidney Poitier in the tense racial parable The Defiant Ones. His other notable films include The Vikings, Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus and The Boston Strangler. Curtis always insisted that the latter film, in which he played serial killer Albert DeSalvo was the finest performance of his career. In later years he turned to painting, with some success, and cited Van Gogh, Picasso and Magritte as his main inspirations.

His most enduring screen role, however, remains  the runaway jazz musician, alongside Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe, in Billy Wilder's 1959 classic, Some Like it Hot. The film even provided Curtis with the chance to channel the spirit of his old idol Cary Grant - mimicking the actor's distinctive transatlantic twang to impersonate a stuffy oil millionaire. "Nobody talks like that!" retorted the disgusted Jack Lemmon. The role was a gamble for Curtis, who spends the bulk of the film in drag, but it paid off brilliantly. "I was very nervous about getting dressed up as a girl," he would later confess. "Jack [Lemmon] had no problem with it .... We realized it was the perfect symmetry for the two of us. Let him be the flaunty one, let me be the more quiet one, which fit our characters perfectly."

["My father leaves behind a legacy of great performances in movies and in his paintings and assemblages," actress Jamie Lee Curtis said in a statement Thursday. "He leaves behind children and their families who loved him and respected him and a wife and in-laws who were devoted to him. He also leaves behind fans all over the world. He will be greatly missed."]

Curtis married six times and appeared to revel in his reputation as a carouser. "I wouldn't be caught dead marrying a woman old enough to be my wife," he once remarked. Frank Sinatra once claimed that Curtis was his favourite Hollywood actor, "because he beat the odds". In old age, the actor looked back delightedly on a career that had carried him from the impoverished neighbourhoods of New York to a high-life as a Hollywood superstar. "I've made 122 movies and I daresay there's a picture of mine showing somewhere in the world every day of the week," he stated proudly, providing an epitaph all  his own. Sleep with the angels old friend. We will miss you.

Italian Classic Tiramisu Dessert Recipe...For 'G'

Ingredients:
Egg yolks (6)
White sugar (1 1/4 cups)
Mascarpone cheese (1 1/4 cups)
Heavy whipping cream (1 3/4 cups)
Ladyfingers -12 ounce packages (2)
Coffee flavored liqueur (1/3 cup)
Unsweetened cocoa powder-for dusting (1 teaspoon)
Square semisweet chocolate -1 ounce (1)

Preparations:
Combine the egg yolks with the sugar in the top of a double boiler; which is over boiling water. Then reduce the heat to low, and cook this for about 10 minutes. Ensure that you keep stirring this constantly. Once you are through, remove from heat. Whip the yolks until it thickens.

Add the mascarpone cheese to these whipped yolks. Beat this mixture until it combines. Whip some cream in a separate bowl, till it forms stiff peaks. You will need to gently fold this into the yolk mixture. Set this aside.

Split the ladyfingers in half and use them to line the bottom and the sides of a glass bowl. Gently brush with some coffee liqueur and spoon half of the cream filling over this. Repeat the layer of the ladyfingers, coffee liqueur and the filling layers. Use some cocoa and chocolate curls (these can be made with the help of a vegetable peeler) to garnish. Refrigerate this overnight, ideally, or keep it cold for at least a couple of hours.

I hope you enjoy it G. I miss chatting with you.

Heavenly Fluffy Coconut Cake

It's the coconut milk that keeps it amazingly moist. Fill and frost with'White Chocolate & Cream Cheese' Icing.( recipe below)

Preparation time 25 minutes -
Baking Time 30 minutes -
Makes 10 to 12 wedges - 

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups (625 mL) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) packed shredded unsweetened coconut
3 tsp (15 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
3/4 cup (175 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened coconut milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Lightly butter or oil two 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans. Line bottoms with a circle of lightly buttered or oiled waxed paper. In a bowl, using a fork, stir flour with coconut, baking powder and salt.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter with sugar until light, occasionally scraping down side of bowl, 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until evenly mixed, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 2 parts, alternating with coconut milk.

Divide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops. Bake in centre of preheated oven until a cake tester inserted into centre of cakes comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove pans to racks. Cool 10 minutes, then turn cakes out onto racks. Turn top side down so cakes will be flat, for easy icing. Cool. If baking ahead, wrap in plastic wrap. Leave at room temperature overnight. Fill and frost with White Chocolate & Cream Cheese Icing.

Frost and Fill:
White chocolate & cream cheese icing

Preparation time 20 minutes
Makes 6 cups (1.5 L) to fill and frost a 4-layer cake
Rating 0/5(0)Ingredients
4 squares white chocolate, about 4 oz (112 g)
8 oz (250 g) block cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tbsp (45 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) vanilla
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) icing sugar
2 cups (500 mL) whipping cream
toasted coconut (optional)

Directions:
Coarsely chop chocolate. Place in a small bowl and microwave on medium, stirring halfway through, until almost melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and stir until smooth. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese with butter, lime juice and vanilla until smooth. Then beat in chocolate. Gradually beat in icing sugar until evenly mixed.

In a medium-size bowl, using an electric mixer, whip cream until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted. Stir one-third of whipped cream into cream cheese mixture until evenly mixed, then gently fold in remaining cream, just until no streaks remain. It's best to fill and frost cake right away. Don't refrigerate icing before using.

Frost and Fill:
Horizontally slice each cake in half. Place one layer on a large plate. Spread with 3/4 cup (175 mL) icing right to edge. Top with a cake layer. Repeat icing and layering, finishing with icing. Then spread remaining icing around side of cake, smoothing or swirling surface. Sprinkle top with coconut. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to firm icing. Cake cuts easiest if refrigerated overnight. Store in a cake keeper or gently poke several toothpicks in top of cake, then loosely cover with plastic wrap, sealing to the edge of plate. Will keep well up to 2 days.

Tropical Tiramisu

 "Ah, nothing like the sweet taste of the tropics! Using my leftover coconut bunny cake I created a tiramisu featuring the tropical flavors of pineapple, mango, ginger, and macadamia nuts. My cake was a white cake but a leftover yellow cake would work just as well. Sliced almonds can be substituted for macadamia nuts."


Ingredients:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
 1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons pineapple juice concentrate thawed
3 cups leftover bunny cake cubed
1/2 cup mango nectar
1/2 teaspoon rum flavored extract
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup sliced fresh mango, garnish


Directions:
In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, honey, and pineapple juice concentrate until light and fluffy; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the mango nectar and rum extract; set aside.
Place half of the cake cubes in a 1 1/2 quart glass bowl. Drizzle half of the mango/rum mixture over the cake, then spread half of the cream cheese mixture over the cake. Sprinkle on half of the ginger and nuts. Repeat layers.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Garnish each serving with fresh mango slices and pineapple.

Human-Powered Omithopter Would Make 'da Vinci Proud'

As kids, we dreamt of a day we'd flap and take off into the great blue yonder to travel amongst  the birds , right ? On the swings , we pumped higher until at last , for an exhilarating  second , we would let go as we reached maximum height  and soared freely through the air , experiencing complete independence from terra  firma.

When did we stop trying to fly ? When did we  become so content with remaining beholden to gravity ? Todd Reichert never gave up on his silly dream.

After years of planning and development with a team  made up of some of the best  and brightest in aeronautical engineering , Recihert , a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto's Institute of Aerospace Studies , recently achieved what we all dream of doing : Flying by simply flapping his wings.

Reichert was able to achieve  such a feat through the use of the "Snowbird" Ornithopter , the result of four years of development and construction . A super- lightweight aircraft , the Snowbird is able to fly exclusively through the power of Riechert flapping his wings. It made aviation  history by becoming the first-ever human-powered  aircraft to attain sustained flight for a full 19.3 seconds.

While that may not seem like an impressive amount of time , it is important to keep in mind that human-powered flight has been attempted  -- but not successfully accomplished  --  for centuries , ever since Leonardo da Vinci drew up the first design for such  a machine in 1485.

Just a thought :   Reading about the Omithopter  and the way Reichart never gave up on his dream brings to mind we shouldn't give up on saving our planet , but we have to work together.....wake up folks, look around you and see the changes in the "Climate"  and the worst is  yet to come.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Al-Qaeda Terrorist Plot Uncovered ....Target - Europe

 Western intelligence agencies have uncovered an Al-Qaeda plot to launch attacks in Britain, France and Germany by extremists based in Pakistan, security sources and media reports said Wednesday."The threat is very real," a European-based security official told AFP, after British and US media reported that militants were planning simultaneous strikes in London and major cities in France and Germany. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that France and Britain had been targeted in the threat, which first came to light last month.

Orders have been given at the highest level of Al-Qaeda to punish Europe, and France in particular, the source said. US intelligence services identified the threat from various sources, including the questioning of suspects from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.  This tallies with reports by US broadcasters ABC and CNN that the source of the intelligence was a German suspect detained in Afghanistan.
However, the official could not confirm a BBC report that commando-style teams of militants planned to seize Western hostages and murder them, in a manner similar to the attacks in Mumbai two years ago.
In those attacks, 10 gunmen killed 166 people and injured more than 300 in three luxury hotels, a railway station and restaurants.
The European-based source said any threat would more likely take the form of a bomb. The BBC described the threat as "one of the most serious Al-Qaeda attack plans in recent years" and said it was inspired by the terror group's fugitive leadership in Pakistan's tribal areas.


Britain's interior ministry refused to comment on the reports of a plot, but a spokeswoman said, there was "no change at all" to the national threat level, which since January has been at "severe", the second highest of five levels, meaning a terror attack is highly likely.
The United States was also a possible target in the reported plot and President Obama had been briefed about the threat. Sky News said a recent surge in US drone attacks in Pakistan's border areas was aimed at eliminating the plot's leaders, and had killed some of them. At least 21 US drone strikes have targeted Al-Qaeda and its affiliates in the tribal zone in September -- the highest number in any single month -- and the latest on Tuesday killed Al-Qaeda's operational chief in the region.
 The investigation into the plot is reportedly ongoing, but the BBC said no imminent arrests were expected in Britain. France is on a heightened state of alert amid warnings of an imminent attack and authorities in Paris evacuated the Eiffel Tower for several hours on Tuesday evening after a phone call to the landmark's operator warning of a bomb.
French officials said Wednesday they had no new information on a specific threat of a Mumbai-style attack, but last week government sources said US intelligence had warned of jihadi cells moving back to Europe from Pakistan.
It seems terrorism is never defeated. It goes underground for a while but comes out to threaten another day. Can anyone remember a time in our history when there was worldwide peace for a short period? What about right after WW II, when the world was sick of bloodshed? Perhaps there was still a little skirmish going on somewhere.  I would find it hard to comprehend  the planet at complete peace. It would be suspect; there would be plotting to 'take over the world' going on somewhere. Our view is still too narrow, too tribal. We should, by  now, be thinking in global terms, in planetary terms, as one species. We should be working together to save this planet and seeking ways to survive as a species. Please wake up, brothers and sisters.

Man Rips Head off Hitler

An angry man tore the head from a controversial waxwork figure of Adolf Hitler on the opening day of Berlin's Madame Tussauds museum. This happened a while back but I am trying to understand the prevailing feeling and the attitude of the people who reacted so emotionally to the figure.

A police spokesman said that the man, 41, who was enraged by the exhibit leaped over the barricade and attacked the wax figure. He grappled with Hitler and ripped off his head in protest at the exhibit.
The waxwork figure of a glum-looking Adolf Hitler in a mock bunker during the last days of his life had been criticized as being in bad taste. A media preview of the new branch of Madame Tussauds was overshadowed by a row over the exhibit.

Critics said it was inappropriate to display the Nazi dictator, who started World War Two and ordered the extermination of Europe's Jews, in a museum alongside celebrities, pop stars, world statesmen and sports figures.
Madame Tussauds had been forced to move the model after the row broke out over its inclusion in its German branch. The waxwork was isolated in a replica of the 'Fuhrer's' Berlin bunker, where he killed himself in 1945 at the end of the Second World War.
Dressed in a grey suit, the figure of Hitler gazed downwards with a despondent stare, his arm outstretched on a large wooden table with a map of Europe on the wall. The original plan was to have the dictator placed near his nemesis Winston Churchill, which seemed appropriate since they both dominated the same period of history.
Jewish and anti-fascist groups criticized the decision to display the model, saying that it was included 'merely to generate money'.
'Of course the figure will arouse interest but we hope people will realize he is part of an exhibition with a range of attractions',a rep for the company promoting the Madame Tussauds in Berlin said before the opening.'It will be a shame if he dominates everything.'
 He also said that market research showed there was demand for its inclusion, as long as the portrayal was sensitive.
About 25 workers spent four months on the waxwork, guided by more than 2,000 pictures and pieces of archive material and the model of the 'Fuhrer' in the London branch of Madame Tussauds.
To stop neo-Nazis from trying to pose with the figure for pictures, the bunker was roped off. Signs asked visitors to show 'respect for the millions of people who died in WW2'
The wax Hitler was the latest in a gradual breaking down of taboos about him in Germany more than six decades after the end of the war. A 'human' Hitler was brought to the screen in the 2004 film 'The Downfall' about his end and two years ago a comedy about him was produced by a Jewish director.

 After the waxwork's head was torn off, the bunker where it had been displayed remained empty, guarded by a museum employee.

I think this taboo, in Germany, about representing Hitler in any way, should be broken now. It's past time. He is a part of our history and he is not going away. We should remember him and remember the lessons we have learned from him so we  can prevent such events from ever happening again. We certainly illustrate other fascists from history and there were many who slaughtered  thousands of innocents. We have to look at him , examine him and figure out what made him tick. You can hate him if you want; he deserves it but be a bit more objective about it in this day and age. Your kids should learn about this man and all he represented; they must.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Man-Made High Points

Grand Canyon Skywalk -- Eagle Point , Arizona
The glass bottomed U-shaped Cantilever structure spans 70 feet and juts over the brim of the  Grand Canyon -- with the thundering Colorado River  just a faint 4,000 feet below. Completed in 2007 . A visit to the  imposing Grand Canyon's Skywalk  will take you to a whole new level.

Burj Khalifa , Dubai
The world's tallest building , the 2,716.5 foot Burj Khalifa  -- the outdoor viewing flatform  --  half a mile above ground on the 124th floor , offers incredible views of the Persian Gulf.

SkyPark , Marina Bay Sands , Singapore
Nearly 660 feet above Singapore , the park which is the size of three soccer stadiums , includes a 500 foot long pool -- several restaurtants and bars. Views look out over the city and to the South China Sea.

The Sky Room, New York
When  you're craving a night  out with altidute , head for the Sky Room, gaze out over Manhattan and the Hudson River as you quaff a Mile-high  gimlet  (Prosecco and Chambard) . Basking above it all on the 33rd & 34th  floor of the Fairfield Inn  & Suites by Marriott  Times Sguare.

Avala Tower , Belgrade , Serbia
The 671-foot high Avala Tower has the dubious honor of being a replacement for the tallest tower ever destroyed , other than the World Trade Center towers. The current building , which opened in 2009 , was built to replace the original 1965 TV Tower which was bombed by NATO in 1999 . This Belgrade landmark sits just outside the city on Avala Mountain.

Bloukrans Bridge , Eastern Cape , South  Africa
Africa's tallest bridge is the site of one of the world's highest commerical operating bungee jumps , run by Face Adrenalin . The bridge  is 709 feet above the churning Bloukrans River , which marks the border between the Eastern and Western Capes.
My take :  It would be nice to visit  these spots and enjoy the incredible views....I did have the opportunity to spend  time at the Sky Room  (that was before all the babies. I was on my honeymoon  and what a thrill and  my man says the best is yet to come.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Real-life Suspended Animation to Enter Human Trials

It's not the stuff of science fiction, meaning the Hypersleep capsules seen in the Alien series, but it is actual suspended animation nonetheless. Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) are set to begin human trials of a suspended animation surgical treatment, used to give doctors more time to perform operations.
Suspended animation is defined as the slowing of life processes by external means without termination. In the case of the research being conducted by both Harvard Medical School and MGH, in Boston, extreme hypothermia will be induced in trauma patients so that their bodies basically shut down during major surgery. The suspended animation technique will help reduce any damage done to organs while a patient's heart is not beating, also reducing the need for life support.

Dr Hasan Alam is leading the research at MGH. He said, "If you drop the body's core temperature and brain temperature down to 15 degrees C or 10 degrees C you are talking about 60 minutes and even 190 minutes of protection. By cooling rapidly in this fashion we can convert almost certain death into a 90 per cent survival rate."
To cool patients, doctors will replace their blood with cold saline solution. Cooling the body so much can keep organ or brain death from occurring due to a lack of oxygen. Additionally, because of the suspended animation effect, research so far has shown no ill effects on the brain from the procedure. Dr. John Elefteriades said,
"The body is essentially in 'real life' suspended animation with no pulse, no blood pressure, no electrical waves in the brain. We didn't find any evidence of functional impairment after the surgery."

We're not talking about putting astronauts into suspended animation and sending them off to Alpha Centauri, but eventually, that may come to pass.

Bearded Lady and Son Face DNA Test

Richard Lorenc and his mother Vivian Wheeler , a bearded lady who has appeared in sideshows on and off throughout her life , were recently reunited after 33 years.

DNA tests were preformed on both Wheeler and Lorenc , which may offer indisputable proof that they are indeed mother and son . The results will be shared  on  'The Maury  Show.'

"It'll be nice to give this story some resolution , there will be  no wondering with the DNA test , said Paul Faulhaber , executive producer of "The Maury Show , it truly is closure ."

Wheeler is thrilled about the trip , which she'll make from her home in Bakerfield ,California , by train. "I want everyone to know I have found my son instead of wondering if he's alive or dead," she said . "I'm very happy I have found my son . Most people that have their children kidnapped never see them again." She hopes her story also lead to a visit with Dr. Oz and a book about her remarkable life.

For Lorenc , it's been an overwhelming experience . Not only did he just learn after 33 years his mother has an 11-inch beard and was born a hermaphrodite  , but now he's the star of a minor media circus  with magazines  and radio stations  calling for interviews.

"How did they find my cell number ? That's crazy," he said. "As long as we don't have a bunch of news vans outside my door , I don't think it's going to be much of an issue ."

"The Maury Show' will be taping Vivian Wheeler and RichardLorenc's story  this wek . It will be their second reunion.  Fortunately, he's surrounded with support . His wife , who made the initial call to Wheeler , may make the trip to "The Maury Show" with him.  "She made a few phones calls  and e-mails , I didn't do it . It really made a difference . I'm thankful for that," Lorenc said.

Lorenc's adoptive parents have been equally supportive , even helping with the costs of his visit to Wheeler's home this past June .  "It  really meant a lot to me  knowing I had their blessing ," Lorenc said. "Sometimes that just doesn't happen. They could've disowned me.

It's certainly helped him deal with the incredible unexpectedness of the story and accept all the details . Now, despite  Wheeler's beard , he just hopes  "The Maury Show" doesn't turn it into a sideshow. "Vivian is used to that -- but they're going to keep a serious tone , treating it as more of a newsworthy reunion ," Lorenc said. "As long as it's like that , it'll go really smoothy ."

Faulhaber intends to do just that : We are extremely excited  to tell this story to America  and to our viewers . The beginning is incredible , the middle is as compelling as it gets , and hopefully the end is a happy ending.

****Here's hoping that Wheeler and Lorenc (mother and son ) will get to know each other and   enjoy the rest of their lives together.

Truth About Titanic Sinking From Second Officer...Secret For 100 Yrs

Nearly 100 years after the great ship Titanic went down in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic, a descendant of a crew member is claiming to know the truth about what really caused the disaster. Louise Patten, the granddaughter of Titanic's second officer, Charles Herbert Lightoller, alleges that the ship's collision with an iceberg was caused by human error rather than bad luck. She asserts that the man steering the ship when the iceberg was spotted, Robert Hitchins, panicked and turned the wheel in the wrong direction. Titanic's steering required the helmsman to turn the wheel in the direction opposite to which he wished the ship to go. So when Hitchens was told to turn the ship to the left he cranked the wheel to the left, causing the boat to move right, the direction of the iceberg. The mistake was an easy one to make, as many new steamships had steering systems which moved the boat in the same direction as the wheel.

By the time the blunder was noticed, it was too late to avoid the impact. Patten claims her grandfather and other surviving crew members covered up the error to avoid tarnishing their reputations and to prevent the financial ruin of the White Star Line and the loss of jobs that would come with it. Patten's revelations coincide with the publication of her new novel 'Good as Gold,' into which she weaves her account of events.

The helmsman's mistake is not the only error Patten is seeking to expose. She also claims that the chairman of White Star Line, J. Bruce Ismay, insisted the ship continue sailing after the impact, causing Titanic to sink hours faster than was necessary. Patten says those extra hours could have prevented the deaths of more than 1,500 passengers.

Well, Geez Louise, I never cease to be amazed. The Titanic has been in the news again lately so it was the perfect time to plug her book and expound her theory. It's kind of a history changing theory, but keep in mind, as second officer , her grandfather would have been on the bridge the whole time the captain was resting, which is when the ship struck the iceberg. So, theoretically, it's a plausible story. History is rife with stories of small details turning the tide of big events and battles........"For the want of a nail, the horseshoe was lost; for the want of a shoe the horse was lost; for the want of a horse the rider was lost; for the want of a rider the battle was lost; for the want of a battle the kingdom was lost and all for the want of a horseshoe nail." 
[For want of a left turn the Titanic was lost.] 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Pres Has a Very Bad Week

The woman who told President Obama she was "exhausted" with defending him on CNBC on Tuesday set the tone for what has turned into a pretty bad week for Obama.

"Quite frankly, I'm exhausted. Exhausted with defending you, defending your administration, defending the man for change I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now," Velma Hart told the president in a televised question and answer session. "I've been told that I voted for a man who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I'm one of those people and I'm waiting, sir, I'm waiting. I don't feel it yet."
Obama answered the question deftly, defusing the tension with a few jokes and then touting some of the legislative changes that he says will help her and other middle-class families. But as Obama supporter Jesse Jackson told The Daily Beast, Hart looks like "canary in the mine" for Obama and his team, showing that even some of those who enthusiastically voted for him in 2008 are losing confidence, which may prevent them from going out and voting this November.

You can watch a video of Hart's question after the jump.

Then on Wednesday night, Obama was heckled by angry AIDS protesters at a Democratic fundraiser in New York--not usually a place where a Democratic president would have to worry about getting a hard time.

Obama got annoyed with the protesters, who wanted more funding for AIDS prevention and treatment as well as a repeal of the military's ban on openly gay service. He said he had raised funding for AIDS prevention, and then said those angry about 'don't ask, don't tell' would be better off mounting protests at GOP events.
"But hold on a second.....But hold on a second. Think about....think about what happened in Congress two days ago where you got 56 Democrats voting to debate this issue, and zero Republicans. And as a consequence, some of those signs should be going up at the other folks' events," he said. Here's the video of Obama's exchange with the heckler:
Just last night, "Daily Show" host and frequent Obama-defender Jon Stewart told Fox News' Bill O'Reilly that he's "saddened" that Obama hasn't done more to change Washington.
"I think people feel a disappointment in that there was a sense that Jesus will walk on water and no you are looking at it like, 'Oh look at that, he's just treading water'¦I thought he'd do a better job," he said.

Meanwhile, if Stewart's disenchantment weren't enough of a blow, the artist Shepard Fairey, who had created the iconic "Hope" portrait of Obama during the 2008 campaign, told the National Journal in an interview today that, while he still regards Obama favorably, he has felt some "disappointment" with the president's performance as well. The younger voters who flocked to Obama's campaign "wanted somebody who was going to fight against the status quo," Fairey told Aamer Madhani of the National Journal's Hotline blog. "And I don't think that Obama has done that."

Well, it goes to show you, that even super heros can disappoint. After a brilliant start to  his administration whereby he pulled his country up by it's bootstraps, out of a recession, made hundreds of changes to the way America conducts business, overhauled the banks and insurance companies and installed a fair and equitable health care system, initiated an end to the war in the middle-east and, oh, another thousand or two improvements; too many to list right now; don't get me started; he  hasn't performed any more miracles for a while. Give the guy a break. He's the best thing to come along in quite a while. He cares about you. So shut up.

Endangered National Parks -- Time Is Running Out

Grand Canyon National Park , Arizona

Everglades National Park , Florida

Yosemite National Park ,California

Biscayne National Park , Florida:
Our national parks system is a thing of beauty -- but the parks are in danger and need our help and it's time for everyone to step up and be counted.

While many of America's  most beautiful and thrilling national parks ( these are just a few ) are on the endangered list -- the result of everything from global warming to traffic pollution to poaching to underfunding  -- plenty of other pieces of our heritage , even including one commuter highway are also in jeopardy.

***You ask what can I do, I'm only one person....well get  up off the couch, stop complaining and get out there and  talk to people ...some will brush you off ...but some will listen and the word will began to spread . We are all in this together  so lets work together and  as 'Larry the Cable Guy' says , lets get it done. Try it , I dare you but I promise you will meet some very interesting people.
I guarantee it will work .We have to save our  world one piece at a time.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Justice for Jaycee...Garridos Indicted at Last

A grand jury has indicted Phillip and Nancy Garrido in the kidnapping and rape of Jaycee Dugard, who was taken from her South Lake Tahoe home 19 years earlier, an attorney says.  The panel concluded its review of the case earlier this week and an arraignment will be scheduled, says attorney Stephen Tapson, who represents Nancy. Tapson says he was surprised by the indictment.
"I had assumed they weren't going to," Tapson says. "I'm surprised they waited so long."
He says his client is upset that Jaycee and the two daughters fathered by Garrido haven't visited the couple in jail.   "They're still running up my Kleenex budget," Tapson says. " She wants to see the kids and Jaycee."

Prosecutors have said that Jaycee doesn't want to see the Garridos, and they have also refused to tell the couple's lawyers where Jaycee and the girls are living.  Tapson adds that he remains hopeful that a plea deal can be worked out in which the defendants plead guilty and get some sentence other than life without parole.
This summer, the state agreed to pay $20 million to settle the family's claim that the parole of Phillip Garrido, a violent convicted sex offender, was poorly supervised.

Geez Louise, get real! Jaycee and the girls will never want to see you again. Their eyes have been opened to who you are and what you have done to them. You deserve a life sentence and your husband deserves a life sentence in a padded room. He is a total nut job as well as a child rapist.
As for the twenty million, I have heard people are complaining about it. Stop carping people. It's not enough.  How can you put a price on eighteen years of captivity and torture? You don't have enough to repay her for neglecting to monitor a convicted rapist and kidnapper.

Jaycee Dugard Marks First Year of Freedom

 It was one year ago Thursday that authorities rescued Jaycee Dugard from a sex offender and reunited her with the mom who hadn't seen her in 18 years. The anniversary is a "happy time" for family members who prayed for her for so many years, says her step-grandmother, Wilma Probyn. "Jaycee continues her life in private," she says.  Now 30, Dugard is making progress in her therapy sessions while writing in her journal, family spokeswoman Nancy Seltzer tells KTXL-TV in Sacramento.  "She has a talent for it and she wants to pursue it," says Seltzer, who adds that Jaycee is interested in starting a foundation for victimized children.

The Discovery:
On Aug. 26, 2009, Phillip Garrido, now 59, walked into a Concord, Calif., parole office with a young woman who identified herself as Alyssa, the mother of two girls also brought to the office – who called Garrido "daddy."
Parole officers, knowing Garrido wasn't on record as having children, grilled him and Alyssa until Alyssa identified herself as Jaycee Dugard, abducted at age 11 outside her family's home in South Lake Tahoe while on her way to her fifth-grade class.  Investigators also learned that Dugard and her daughters, now 12 and 16, hadn't been to school since the abduction and lived in a series of backyard shanties on the Garrido property without ever receiving medical care.

In the months that followed, Dugard, her daughters and Dugard's mom, Terry Probyn, took refuge in a nondescript ranch-style home in a Northern California suburb to rebuild their lives and undergo private tutoring and counseling, as the girls reckoned with stunning new realities.

Painful Revelations:
In the last year, the girls have come to learn that Dugard was their mother, not their sister, and that their father and his wife, Nancy Garrido, now potentially face a lifetime in prison for Dugard's abduction and repeated rape (they have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial).  The state last month agreed to pay $20 million to settle the family's claim that Garrido's parole was poorly supervised, but challenges remain. The state estimates lifetime therapy costs for the Dugard and her daughters at about $7 million.  But the family has worked toward a normal life.

They have the pets they kept at the Garridos' now-abandoned home in Antioch, Calif., and they buy cat food and other staples at Wal-Mart. Dugard got her driver's license in February, and she takes the kids on local trips in her SUV. The family enjoys Subway sandwiches, camping and horseback riding. Sometimes the girls play on a neighbor's swingset.  While they have little interaction with outsiders or the media, Dugard and her daughters have for the past year helped give many families of missing kids new hope, Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, says.
"The fact that she and her family have responded to pure evil by moving forward with purpose and conviction is proof to millions of the resiliency of the human spirit," says Allen, who calls Jaycee "a symbol of hope and inspiration."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bizarre New Dinosaur Species Found In Utah

An artist reconstruction of  Utahceratops
An artist reconstruction of Kosmoceratops , one of two new dinosaur species  discovered in Utah.

Scientists say they've found  two new dinosaur spieces in Utah that are among the most bizarre and blinged out ever discovered.

The Utah reptiles belong to the horned-dinosaur family, which is known for outlandish anatomy , and are wowing seasoned fossil hunrers . Even the three-horned tricertops , the most familiar horned dinosaur , looks like the no-frills model compared with the newcomers.

The species named Kosmoceratops had 15 horns decorating it's massive head , giving it the most elaborate dinosaur headdress known to science . At 15 feet long , it was larger than  Ford Fiesta . Its name mean "ornate horned-face" in  Latin.

The Utahceratops was adorned with unusual short horns that stuck out to the side like  a bison's. It was roughly 20 feet long and weighed 3 to 4 tons, as much as a large pickup truck. Its name is  Latin for "Utah horned -face."

The new species  "would've both been quite spectacular ," Michael Getty of the Utah Museum  of Natural History , who first spotted the first Utahceratops , he told the AOL News . And quite big : The skulls alone can be in axcess of 6 feet long [among]  the largest heads on any land animal that ever lived," he said.

The new discoveries are "first class finds , no doubt  about it," said the University of Pennsylvania's Peter Dodson , an authority on horned dinosaurs. Kosmoceratops in particular  "is absurd , a really ,really bizarre-lookong animal. Kosmoceratops is an outier even in its class," he said. The dinosaurs probably used those formidable horns to beackon lady dinosaurs , perhaps to fend off rival suiters , but certainly not to impaale prey.

The hooks at the back of the skull would've been relatively useless as weapons , but they're great for showing off," said study leader Scott Sampson of the Utah Museum of Natural History told the press. "These are effectively the Peacock feathers ...of the dinosaur world.."

Both species were plant eaters , somehow  swellling to a massive size o the vegetation  that thrived in the warm , swampy landscape that Utah had during the Late Certaceous period , more than 70 million years ago.  Today these dinosaurs would quickly strave in their once-lush homeland. The bone yards that yielded the fossils lie in what is now the Grand Staircase-Esaalante National Monument , an isolated ,rocky desert granted strict federal protection in 1996.

Fossil hunting at Grand Staircase is an endurance sport. The researches live in research camps that are among the most remote in the U.S.  , Getty says. The water source is a 90-minute  drive from camp. The scientists walk several miles from their camp to the dig site , sometimes carrying jackhammers and the heavy plaster needed to protect fossils. Getty was stung by a scorpion earlier this year , which at least was not as bad as being bitten by the local rattlesnakes.

But Getty says the hardships  are worth it. In addition to uncovering two eye-popping new speices  , the researches helped solidify the theory that a no-zone in nothern Utah divided dinosaurs into northern and southern populations . Dinosaurs from Canada are completely different from those in Utah .  Something , perphaps  a change in climate , kept the two groups from mixing.

Getty vividly recalled uncovering the first Utahceratops. "Finding such a significant  animal ...[that] looked liked a new species , different from  anything else we'd seen -- it couldn't get much more exciting," he said.
Happy fossil hunting ...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How Could We Do This


A Polar Bear Speaks


I am Nanook. That is what my Eskimo brothers call me. You probably know me better as the polar bear. I also go by the name of ice bear or sea bear.  I'm famous all over the world but especially in Canada where they even have my image on the back of their 2 dollar coin. That's probably because 60 percent of my extended polar bear family lives there. The rest of them live in Alaska, Norway, Greenland and Russia.

I earn my living in the freezing polar seas and can swim up to 60 miles at a time but recently I've had a hard time finding the ice packs I depend on to rest during those long swims. More and more of my brothers have died this way lately, hunting and foraging for food to feed their families.  

Unlike you land dwellers, we polar bears are marine animals. We need the ice packs to hunt for ring seals, mate, raise our young and take a break on our forages for food. Ring seals as you may or may not know, also live on the Arctic ice and make up the bulk of our diet. There's not as many of them as there used to be so we go hungry for longer periods of time. Without them we literally starve since other food is so scare in the Arctic.

It's getting tougher and tougher these days to find ice packs. I don't know very much about science but I hear people talking about global climate change and how it's causing my Arctic home to shrink. I don't know about that, but I can tell you that my swims are longer and I'm not as heavy as I once was because of it.
Humans are always trying to take weight off but we polar bears need it to survive the freezing temperatures and cold water we live in so we need large bodies with lots of fat. When we feed ourselves, we purposely eat the blubber of the seals in order to gain lots of weight and add insulation to our bodies. A fat bear is able to survive better in our icy, watery world.

Like you, we're mammals but we differ in many ways and live in places that most people usually avoid visiting. Maybe that's why some people don't seem to care about what's happening to us. It's hard to relate to us since you might only have seen us in a zoo and not our natural environment where we're regarded as kings.

We're having fewer babies too. My mate can only give birth once every three years and since I'm spending more and more time looking for a meal, we've been missing the mating season so we haven't had any cubs for awhile.

If you haven't guessed by now, polar bears can't really speak. But if I could I would stand up for myself in the governments and legislatures of the world and tell them what's going on in my Arctic homeland.  Bears are drowning, bears are being hunted for sport, cubs are starving. The seas are polluted and so are the animals I feed on. There is cannibalism among the polar bears and my brothers and sisters are now so thin you can see their bones through their fur. Bears are forced to scavenge around human settlements for scraps of food instead of hunting on the ice packs that were so plentiful once upon a time.

All these things I didn't cause and can't control add up to a life that's full of hunger, misery and despair. It's almost not worth living unless something can be done soon to offset the damage from humans and the effects of global climate change.  What can be done about it? I don't know. I'm only a bear and have no rights in human courts. I don't read, I don't write and can't stand up for myself. I can't march in a rally or sign a petition. If I could, believe me I would.

Since I can't do any of of these things myself, would you do it for me?
Won't you at least sign a petition to let authorities like the governments of Canada and the USA know that you care about me and want something done about my situation as soon as possible?  If you help me, you'll be helping lots of other Arctic animals too since they're feeling the same effects. If something isn't done now, humans will eventually also face the devastation that global climate change causes.

No one can stop climate change but something needs to be done to reduce the impact and lessen the misery it causes. Please go to these websites and sign the petitions.

http://supporter.naturecanada.ca/site/PageServer?pagename=CharlesandRogerPetition


 http://www.savethepolarbear.org/

New Improved Protein Packed Potato

Researchers in India have developed a genetically modified potato that is packed with up to 60 percent more protein and increased levels of amino acids.  In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Tuesday, the scientists expressed hope that the transgenic potato would find more acceptance because it uses a gene from the amaranth seed, another edible crop.
"Because potato constitutes an important part of the diet of many people in developed as well as developing countries, it is apparent that this can add value to potato-based products with enhanced benefits for better human health," they wrote.

Amaranth is a tall, broadleaf plant that produces tiny seeds. It was a major food of the Aztecs and earlier American cultures, and started to be grown as a grain crop in the United States in the late 1970s. One of its genes, Amaranth Albumin 1 (AmA1), is regarded as agriculturally important because it endows the plant and its seeds with high protein levels and higher concentrations of several essential amino acids. Led by Subhra Chakraborty at the National Institute of Plant Genome Research in New Delhi, the scientists inserted the gene into seven types of potatoes and then grew the transgenic potatoes over two years.

They found that the transgenic potatoes contain between 35 and 60 percent more protein than unmodified potatoes. They also contain increased levels of amino acids, notably lysine, tyrosine and sulphur, which are usually limited in potatoes. They have been tested on animals with no adverse effects, scientists stated.

More than a billion people worldwide consume potatoes daily so isn't it great news that it will now become very nutririous and healthy? It is a cheap vegetable, very easy to grow in assorted climates. It could provide the basis of a healthy diet tailored to suit the people of developing nations. The often maligned  vegetable, scorned because of it's starch, could  be manna to hungry people.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Polar Bears : SOS As Their Habitat Melts Away

  
The polar bear is the world's largest bear. It is considered  a mammal  --  like walruses , seals and whales --  because its main habitat is sea ice. Polar bears spend most of their time roaming the arctic  on large chunks of ice . Yet that ice  --  so crucial for the bears survival -- is now melting under their feet due to global warming.

Over the past three decades , the Arctic ice cap has shrunk by a size equivalent to six Californias . As the sea ice disappears, scientists are finding more evidence of polar bear drowning , starvation and cub deaths.

Unless we take effective action now , the polar bear will likely become extinct in Alaska by 2050.

In 2008 , as a result  of three years of legal pressure  - and our grassroots Polar Bear S.O.S. campaign  -  the Bush Administration was forced to give limited protection to the polar bear as a "threatened species."

NRDC Members and environmentalists worldwide had hoped the Obama Administration would further come to the polar bear's rescue.

But instead, Interior Secretary  Salazar cut the polar bear's lifeline by adopting a Bush era policy that prevents the government from using vital Endangered Speices  Act protections to save  the polar bear from two deadliest threats it faces; global warming and  Arctic oil development.

Letting these disastrous  loophopes stay in place is like sending a leaky lifeboat to save drowning polar bears . It won't protect them - and may even accelerate their rapid slide toward extinction.

That's why the NRDC has been fighting in court for more than five (5) years to protect polar bears  and ensure their survival.

On October 20, a federal court judge will decide in court,  once and for all, whether these dangerous loopholes should be closed , and whether the polar bear should be given full-fledged protection.

The court will also decide whether trophy hunters --  hunters who travel to Canada to shoot and kill polar bears for sport -- should be allowed to bring  polar bear parts back to  the United States . Canada kills about 300 polar bears a year  for trophy hunting and to feed the international commerical  trade in polar bear parts.

We will, of course, bring you the outcome of this momentous court case  as soon as we hear.  Meanwhile, tell the Interior Secretary to give the polar bear  and its Arctic habitat  full-pledged protection...lets take action now , tomorrow may be to late. Write letters, send Emails and Tweet him.
We have the power;
Positive
Observant
Willing
Enthusiastic
Resourceful
Lets take a stand  and be heard  because the next endangered speices we save may be us.... the way the climate is changing ...we may be too damn late, stay tuned, updates as they become available . But hey, that's just me.