Saturday, May 31, 2008

Number Of Movie Goofs

1. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (142)
2. War of the Worlds (111)
3. Constantine (66)
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (66)
5. King Kong (44)
6. The Crow: Wicked Prayer (41)
7. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (38)
8. The Amityville Horror (33)
9. Miss Congeniality (27)
10. Mr. and Mrs. Smith (25)

Old Saying

"Once too much blood has been spilled on the same ground, that ground develops a thirst for it." Ancient Apache Saying

The Periodic Tables

Click for Larger Image

But here is my favorite one.

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Alzheimer's Facts and Figures

• As many as 5.2 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s.

• 10 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer's in their lifetime.

• Every 71 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s.

• Alzheimer's is the seventh-leading cause of death.

• The direct and indirect costs of Alzheimer's and other dementias to Medicare, Medicaid and businesses amount to more than $148 billion each year.

Random Facts

Well-dressed ladies in Europe went wild over wearing lightning rods on their hats and trailing a long ground wire–a fad that began after Benjamin Franklin published instructions on how to make them in his almanac Poor Richard Improved in 1753.

The Muppet Show was banned from TV in Saudi Arabia because one of its stars was a pig.

Koalas and humans are the only animals with unique finger-prints. Koala prints cannot be distinguished from human fingerprints. Luckily, few koalas pursue a life of crime.

In the Declaration of Independence as first written by Thomas Jefferson, there was a clause abolishing slavery. However, because of pressure, he was forced to delete the clause.

Women in Ancient Egypt used to make cones of scented oils that they would wear on their heads when they went out to parties and they would slowly melt all night.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Random Quote

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself..." Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The Hungry Ghost Festival

Just as Halloween is for Americans, the ‘Hungry Ghost festival’ is for the Chinese. For those who have never heard of this festival, here are the essential ‘spooky’ facts on this festival.

Hungry Ghost festival is a popular occasion that is taken very seriously by the Chinese. This festival that falls on the 7th month of the lunar New Year is celebrated mainly in China and other countries like Singapore & Malaysia. It is believed by the Chinese that during this month, the gates of hell are opened to free the hungry ghosts who then wander to seek food on Earth. Some even think that the ghosts would seek revenge on those who had wronged them in their lives. The reason why the Chinese celebrate this festival is to remember their dead family members and pay tribute to them. They also feel that offering food to the deceased appeases them and wards off bad luck.


Another belief among the Chinese is that the dead return to visit their living relatives during the 7th month and thus they prepare a sumptuous meal for the ‘hungry ghosts’. The Chinese feel that they have to satisfy the ghosts in order to get good fortune and luck in their lives.

During the 7th month, the Chinese offer prayers to the deceased relatives and burn joss sticks. In Singapore, it is a common sight to see entertaining ‘wayang’ shows and concerts performed on outdoor stages in some neighborhoods. These events are always held at night. There is a belief that this entertainment would please those wandering ghosts.


An interesting superstition that the Chinese have about the festival is that it is bad to go swimming during the 7th month. They think that an evil ghost might cause you to drown in the swimming pool. In addition to this, children are also advised to return home early and not to wander around alone at night. This belief is due to the reason that the wandering ghosts might possess children.

Offerings to the Dead

The Chinese also do a lot of offerings to the deceased. These offerings are made by burning fake money notes, which are also known as ‘hell money’ and even paper television or radio sets. Some families also burn paper houses & cars to give to their dead relatives. The Chinese feel that these offerings reach the ghosts and help them live comfortably in their world.

The Chinese regard the 15th of the month as an important date to give a feast to the ghosts. On this date, the family will cook a lot of dishes and offer them to the deceased. This is done to please the ghosts and also to gain good luck for the family. 15 days after the feast, the festival will be over, as the Chinese believe that the ghosts return back to where they come from.

My Politics

Yes my readers it is true I am a Liberal Democrat. I would ask that you not post any hate comments on this post sheerly because of the fact my opinion doesn't agree with yours. So any ways here are some awesome Democratic websites:

Al Gore

Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama

American Civil Liberties Union

Democratic Party

Wow!! This is odd...

If Barrack Obama becomes the next US Prez, then actor Brad Pitt would have a distant cousin in the White House and if Hillary Clinton gets the vote, then Angelina Jolie will have a distant cousin in office, say genealogists.

According to researchers at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Barack Obama is a distant cousin of Brad Pitt while Hillary Clinton is related to Angelina Jolie, Madonna, Alanis Morissette, and Celine Dion. The researchers found that Pitt and Obama are ninth cousins, linked by Edwin Hickman, who died in Virginia in 1769.

Clinton and Jolie, meanwhile, are ninth cousins, twice removed because they are both related to Jean Cusson who died in St. Sulpice, Quebec, in 1718.

"When you get back into your ancestry, you eventually find that you're related to lots of people," the New York Daily News quoted genealogist Christopher Child, who guided the presidential research for the New England Historic Genealogical Society, as saying. "Presidential candidates are no exception," he added.

The study was based entirely on vital records kept by cities, counties and towns. Clinton, who is of French-Canadian descent on her mother's side, is also a distant cousin of singers Madonna, Celine Dion and Alanis Morissette, the research found. Obama, the son of a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya, can call six U.S. Presidents, including George W. Bush, his cousins.

Meanwhile, Republican Presidential hopeful Senator John McCain is a sixth cousin of First Lady Laura Bush. "It shows that lots of different people can be related; people you wouldn't necessarily expect," Child said. Obama has the most prolific presidential lineage, featuring Democrats and Republicans. His distant cousins include President George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush, as well as Gerald Ford, Harry S Truman and James Madison.

So if I understand this article correctly Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are something like eighteenth cousins.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

One Week By the Bare Naked Ladies

It's been one week since you looked at me
Cocked your head to the side and said "I'm angry"
Five days since you laughed at me saying
"Get that together come back and see me"
Three days since the living room
I realized it's all my fault, but couldn't tell you
Yesterday you'd forgiven me
but it'll still be two days till I say I'm sorry

Hold it now and watch the hoodwink
As I make you stop, think
You'll think you're looking at Aquaman
I summon fish to the dish, although I like the Chalet Swiss
I like the sushi
'cause it's never touched a frying pan
Hot like wasabe when I bust rhymes
Big like LeAnn Rimes
Because I'm all about value
Bert Kaempfert's got the mad hits
You try to match wits, you try to hold me but I bust through
Gonna make a break and take a fake
I'd like a stinkin achin shake
I like vanilla, it's the finest of the flavours
Gotta see the show, cause then you'll know
The vertigo is gonna grow
Cause it's so dangerous,
you'll have to sign a waiver

How can I help it if I think you're funny when you're mad
Trying hard not to smile though I feel bad
I'm the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral
Can't understand what I mean?
Well, you soon will
I have a tendency to wear my mind on my sleeve
I have a history of taking off my shirt

It's been one week since you looked at me
Threw your arms in the air
and said "You're crazy"
Five days since you tackled me
I've still got the rug burns on both my knees
It's been three days since the afternoon
You realized it's not my fault
not a moment too soon
Yesterday you'd forgiven me
And now I sit back and wait til you say you're sorry

Chickity China the Chinese chicken
You have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin'
Watchin' X-Files with no lights on
We're dans la maison
I hope the Smoking Man's in this one
Like Harrison Ford I'm getting frantic
Like Sting I'm tantric
Like Snickers, guaranteed to satisfy

Like Kurasawa I make mad films
Okay, I don't make films
But if I did they'd have a Samurai
Gonna get a set a' better clubs
Gonna find the kind with tiny nubs
Just so my irons aren't always flying off the back-swing
Gotta get in tune with Sailor Moon
'Cause the cartoon has got the boom anime babes
That make me think the wrong thing

How can I help it if I think you're funny when you're mad
Tryin' hard not to smile though I feel bad
I'm the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral
Can't understand what I mean?
Well, you soon will
I have a tendency to wear my mind on my sleeve
I have a history of losing my shirt

It's been one week since you looked at me
Dropped your arms to your sides
and said "I'm sorry"
Five days since I laughed at you and said
"You just did just what I thought you were gonna do"
Three days since the living room
We realized we're both to blame,
but what could we do?
Yesterday you just smiled at me
Cause it'll still be two days till we say we're sorry

It'll still be two days till we say we're sorry
It'll still be two days till we say we're sorry
Birchmount Stadium, home of the Robbie

More Excellent Quotes

"Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things" - Denis Diderot
"The secret of happiness to is make others believe they are the cause of it." - Al Batt
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." - Alan Kay
"I think that when you are famous every weakness is exaggerated. (...) Goethe said, "Talent is developed in privacy," you know? And it's really true. (...) Creativity has got to start with humanity and when you're a human being, you feel, you suffer. You're gay, you're sick, you're nervous or whatever." Marilyn Monroe
"In my time, when a man used improper language in front of a lady, another man took him outside and knocked him down." Lillian Gish
"The love scenes I did years ago were sensitive and romantic, but in today's (filmed) lovemaking, couples are trying to swallow each other's tonsils." Lillian Gish
"You only get one body to live in so you better take care of it." Lillian Gish
"I've always been a happy person. I love the human race. I love my work. I love the world." Lillian Gish
"I'm a believing person. I believe in God even though I can't see him. You can't see the air in this room, right? But take it away and you're dead." Lillian Gish
"Movies nowadays are all alike, as if they were made on an assembly line. Hollywood has turned into an emotional Detroit." Lillian Gish

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Haiti’s poor resort to eating mud as prices rise

Cookies made of dried yellow dirt become sustenance, livelihood, concern

It was lunchtime in one of Haiti's worst slums and Charlene Dumas was eating mud.

With food prices rising, Haiti's poorest can't afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies.

Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country's central plateau.

The mud has long been prized by pregnant women and children here as an antacid and source of calcium. But in places like Cite Soleil, the oceanside slum where Charlene shares a two-room house with her baby, five siblings and two unemployed parents, cookies made of dirt, salt and vegetable shortening have become a regular meal.

"When my mother does not cook anything, I have to eat them three times a day," Dumas said. Her baby, named Woodson, lay still across her lap, looking even thinner than the 6 pounds, 3 ounces he weighed at birth.

Though she likes their buttery, salty taste, Charlene said the cookies also give her stomach pains. "When I nurse, the baby sometimes seems colicky too," she said.

States of emergency
Food prices around the world have spiked because of higher oil prices, needed for fertilizer, irrigation and transportation. Prices for basic ingredients such as corn and wheat are also up sharply, and the increasing global demand for biofuels is pressuring food markets as well.

The problem is particularly dire in the Caribbean, where island nations depend on imports and food prices are up 40 percent in places.

The global price hikes, together with floods and crop damage from the 2007 hurricane season, prompted the U.N. Food and Agriculture Agency to declare states of emergency in Haiti and several other Caribbean countries.

Caribbean leaders held an emergency summit in December to discuss cutting food taxes and creating large regional farms to reduce dependence on imports.

Dirt cookies become bargains
At the market in the La Saline slum, two cups of rice now sell for 60 cents, up 10 cents from December and 50 percent from a year ago. Beans, condensed milk and fruit have gone up at a similar rate, and even the price of the edible clay has risen over the past year by almost $1.50. Dirt to make 100 cookies now costs $5, the cookie makers say.

Still, at about 5 cents apiece, the cookies are a bargain compared to food staples. About 80 percent of people in Haiti live on less than $2 a day and a tiny elite controls the economy.

Merchants truck the dirt from the central town of Hinche to the La Saline market, a maze of tables of vegetables and meat swarming with flies. Women buy the dirt, then process it into mud cookies in places such as Fort Dimanche, a nearby shanty town.

Carrying buckets of dirt and water up ladders to the roof of the former prison for which the slum is named, they strain out rocks and clumps on a sheet, and stir in shortening and salt. Then they pat the mixture into mud cookies and leave them to dry under the scorching sun.

The finished cookies are carried in buckets to markets or sold on the streets.

An unpleasant taste
A reporter sampling a cookie found that it had a smooth consistency and sucked all the moisture out of the mouth as soon as it touched the tongue. For hours, an unpleasant taste of dirt lingered.

Assessments of the health effects are mixed. Dirt can contain deadly parasites or toxins, but it can also strengthen the immunity of fetuses in the womb to certain diseases, said Gerald N. Callahan, an immunology professor at Colorado State University who has studied geophagy, the scientific name for dirt-eating.

Haitian doctors say depending on the cookies for sustenance risks malnutrition.

"Trust me, if I see someone eating those cookies, I will discourage it," said Dr. Gabriel Thimothee, executive director of Haiti's health ministry.

Marie Noel, 40, sells the cookies in a market to provide for her seven children. Her family also eats them.

"I'm hoping one day I'll have enough food to eat, so I can stop eating these," she said. "I know it's not good for me."

Special Thanks to MSNBC

A Cat's Daily Diary

Day 183 of My Captivity: My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another house plant. Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded; must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair, must try this on their bed. Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in an attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was. Hmmm, not working according to plan. There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary confinement throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the food. More importantly, I overheard that my confinement was due to my power of "allergies." Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage. I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The bird, on the other hand, has got to be an informant, he speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the high metal room, his safety is assured. But I can wait, it is only a matter of time ....

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Egotronic: Mood Ring Reincarnated

Remember when you could wear your emotions on your finger? Dark blue meant happy, amber equaled nervous, and black, stressed. The mood ring's soul lives on in these 21st-century gadgets. Do they work? Let your silly side decide.

Shoji Mood Lamp
The Device: The Symbiotic Hosting Online Jog Instrument (SHOJI) assesses the mood of an entire room by analyzing environmental data such as humidity, temperature, and the body heat and movement of people using five sensors and a microphone. The lamp, which looks like a giant beaker, expresses the incoming data as waves of color across 10 rows of lights. Created by GS Yuasa and the University of Tokyo.

In My Dreams: A monitor that suggests how to improve a room's mood (*flash* Sinatra *flash*).

Mobile Mood Phone
The Device: A flip phone with a twist that displays a speaker's mood via an LED light embedded in the back of the phone, which changes color and brightness based on the phone's analysis of voice patterns and tones. Created by Panasonic Japan and NTT DoCoMo.

In My Dreams: A phone that tells me the caller's mood before I answer.

Mood Artwork
The Device: A video screen that displays artwork and has its own camera and software to measure changes in a viewer's facial expression. The empathic paintings alter brushstroke and color based on feedback. Created by researchers at Boston University and the University of Bath.

In My Dreams: A one-of-a-kind work of art, based on my mood, pops into existence when I stare at a blank e-canvas.

Special Thanks to Psychology Today

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sex and Schools Aids and The

It took only a single paragraph (four sentences, 91 words) to change the course of an ancient debate. "There is now no doubt," said Surgeon General C. Everett Koop in his grim report on AIDS last month, "that we need sex education in schools and that it must include information on heterosexual and homosexual relationships." With characteristic bluntness, Koop made it clear that he was talking about graphic instruction starting "at the lowest grade possible," which he later identified as Grade 3. Because of the "deadly health hazard," he said later, "we have to be as explicit as necessary to get the message across. You can't talk of the dangers of snake poisoning and not mention snakes."

Some people would clearly prefer not to talk about poison at all. Sex educators face a powerful array of detractors and doubters: Fundamentalist and Roman Catholic leaders, antiabortionists, opponents of the gay lobby, psychologists worrying about the impact of AIDS messages on the young, blacks who consider sex education racist, and even a few capitalists who think that school clinics offering birth-control information should be turned over to private enterprise.

But Koop's speech has thrown the naysayers on the defensive and increased the odds that comprehensive sex education will at last overcome its critics. For years, surveys have shown that about 80% of Americans favor sex education in the public schools. In the wake of Koop's dramatic report, a poll for TIME by Yankelovich, Clancy, Shulman found that instruction is now favored by 86%, perhaps the highest number ever; 89% want such courses for children age 12 to deal with birth-control information, and about three-quarters say homosexuality and abortion should be included in the curriculum (see box). "AIDS will definitely change the nature of sex education as we know it," said Harvey Fineberg, dean of the Harvard School of Public Health. "It will lead to more open, explicit discussions about condoms and other strategies for safe sex." Though some people will be shocked, he said, "we are at a point where sex education is no longer a matter of morals -- it's a matter of life and death."

For opponents of sex ed, that is precisely the problem: the recommendation to students that they use condoms as an anti-AIDS measure helps erode moral opposition to premarital sex and contraception, just as the impartial listing of "options" such as homosexuality and abortion undermines other traditional teachings. Critics of abortion fear that its mention in classes will make it seem like an easy solution to an offhand mistake. "The way sex education is taught in the schools encourages experimentation," says Right-Wing Crusader Phyllis Schlafly. "It's the cause of promiscuity and destroys the natural modesty of girls."

Since President Reagan and Koop have strongly opposed sex education in the past, the Surgeon General's report was particularly galling to conservatives. So was the spectacle of Koop's virtually writing off the family as a reliable source of sexual guidance. Though he insisted that parents stay involved, he said, "Most parents are so embarrassed and reluctant, you can't count on getting the message across at home." Most Americans seem to agree: the TIME poll showed that 69% believe parents are not doing as much as they should to educate their youngsters about sex.

Politically, Koop's statements last month came one step ahead of an AIDS study that might have proved embarrassing to the Administration: a National Academy of Sciences report warned that the AIDS epidemic "could become a catastrophe" without strong White House leadership and a campaign of education and research that would probably cost $2 billion by 1990. Whether Koop's motive was political or not, his report plunged the nation into a thicket of legal and moral questions. Is it unwise to tell third-graders about anal sex and the connection between sex, AIDS and death? Is it the proper function of a public school to push either abstinence or birth control? Is value-free sex education possible, and if not, whose values will be taught?

Sex education has been a program searching for a consensus since it arrived in the schools at the turn of the century, the brainchild of stern progressive-era reformers, mostly doctors and other upper-crust male professionals. The idea, the only idea, was to enforce sexual restraint. Reformers believed that enlightened mass education could help banish venereal disease, prostitution, masturbation and sex outside marriage. The notion of "scientific" sex education arose as a way of deflecting the curious from actual sexual behavior. Instruction, said a 1912 committee, "should aim to keep sex consciousness and sex emotions at the minimum." Then, as now, there were heavy implications that parents, particularly impoverished ones, could not be counted on to teach restraint to the young.

About 80% of public-school children in major U.S. cities now take some kind of sex-education course. As for national figures, no one knows for sure: sex education is strictly a local matter, varying widely from one community to the next, and few accurate statistics are kept. Only Maryland, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., require the subject in all schools.

In a number of schools, sex education turns out to be nothing more than a brief bout with a safely biological "swimming sperm and Fallopian tube" course that has put students to sleep for generations. Or, hardly more energizing, it may be a three-hour course taught by a gym teacher, followed by a display of condoms or foam brought along by a speaker from Planned Parenthood. In Kansas, the curriculums for phys ed, drivers' ed and sex ed are all overseen by the same state board of education official. "No matter what is written in the curriculum, there is not much going on out there," says Mary Lee Tatum, a sex-education consultant. "Under 15% of U.S. children get really good sex education. We are only beginning to institute adequate programs."

Many communities, of course, have outstanding programs, including Arlington, Va., Baltimore, and Irvington, N.J. Teaching can be impressively broad, running from kindergarten through twelfth grade and based on developmental psychology, emphasizing assertiveness training, the mechanics of decision making and assigned essays on topics like sex in the media.

At P.S. 42 on New York City's Lower East Side, Principal Anthony Barry takes the formal sex-ed curriculum "with a grain of salt": teaching the children of fairly conservative parents, most of them Chinese American and Hispanic, means playing things by ear. Says he: "We want parents to know that we're not undermining what they are trying to do."

One technique at the school is to raise animals in the classroom. When they mate, the children understand that they produce babies of the same species -- a smooth introduction to sex education known to every farm child. Nurse Mary Tang teaches anatomy to fifth- and sixth-graders and answers explicit questions, but she does not bring up subjects like abortion and birth control. That is the only formal part of the instruction; most of the rest of the sex- ed time is spent in rap sessions, fielding questions about sex and trying to build personal responsibility.

Good or bad, adequate or not, is some better than none? Does sex education work? So far, studies on the subject have been fragmentary, unconvincing or massively inconclusive. A six-volume 1984 analysis by Mathtech Inc. of nine programs around the country came to the deflating conclusion after a seven- year investigation that sex-ed courses had almost no effect on contraceptive use, views about premarital sex, or such social skills as assertiveness and , self-understanding. The only significant changes in behavior and attitude came in the two programs with strong backing from parents and the local community. And the only increased use of birth control came when the sex-ed program was combined with ready access to a health clinic. The study offered a nugget of hope to conservative parents: graduates of sex-ed programs were less permissive about premarital sex than control groups.

After studying 3,600 students at six high schools in Indiana, Texas and Mississippi, the Center for Population Options found little discernible impact. "Formal sex education appears to have no consistent effect on the subsequent probability that a teenager will begin to have intercourse, neither postponing it nor hastening it," said Douglas Kirby, the head researcher. "Typically, students who take sex-education courses report more tolerant attitudes toward the sexual behavior of others but little change in the values that govern their own personal behavior."

The Surgeon General's intervention brought new doubts about sex education. Some critics who spoke out reacted angrily at the prospect of explicit teaching about homosexuality and anal sex. "Where do we draw the line?" roared Joseph Casper, an outspoken member of the elected Boston school committee. "The gay community would love to come in and say theirs is an alternative life-style that's really O.K. But then what's next? Do we bring in people who want to talk about safe bondage too? Chimps making it with chickens? It's insane." A few people talked as if AIDS were ushering in a new puritan era in which sex-ed courses would be used as a bully pulpit for abstinence. "As awful as it sounds, AIDS is almost a blessing in disguise," said Mary Ann Briggs, a health teacher at Fairview High School in Boulder. "Many kids are very scared by AIDS, and it makes it easier to say, 'Do you really want to get involved with sex?' "

Some proponents of sex education had reservations about Koop's report. Stanford Education Professor Michael Kirst said schools are overburdened enough without becoming the official problem-solving arena for the nation's sex problems. Said Kirst: "Every time schools take on value-laden topics, they end up losing overall public support. It's a no-win ball game." The national president of Planned Parenthood, Faye Wattleton of New York City, offered Koop only cold praise. Reason: she wants upbeat instruction, not just education "within the context of preventing a deadly disease."

$ By far Koop's most explosive proposal is the idea of teaching eight-year- olds about AIDS. Only 23% of those surveyed in the TIME poll agreed with the suggestion. Most professional educators seem opposed. "If you brought up anal sex to third-graders, they would be in a state of shock," said Marilyn Huriwitz, a health teacher at South Boston High School. "How are you going to talk to kids that age about anal sex?" asks Al Wardell, a Chicago high school teacher and a gay activist. "I guess that's my teacher's prudishness." Young children's brains cannot assimilate such information, warns William Chambers, director of pediatric psychiatry at Manhattan's Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. "For them, anal sex is going to the bathroom."

A few experts believe the Surgeon General's suggestion makes sense. Observes Harold Harris, a child psychiatrist at Duke Medical Center: "At four or five, they're playing doctor games. Sexuality is what that's all about. We should bring it out of the closet and talk about it in school and home." It would not be necessary to give third-graders the full hair-raising message, only a few basics. Child Psychologist Lee Salk would not favor including the subject as part of sex education, but he thinks that AIDS could be explained as a disease if care is taken to avoid raising undue fear. He would describe anal sex as well as drug use. "One of the ways grown-ups protect themselves is to avoid doing these things," he would continue. But, he points out, "notice I am avoiding alarming language and not saying, 'If you do this, you'll be dead in no time.' "

Pragmatically, Koop might be well advised to abandon campaigning for vivid AIDS instruction in the third grade. The delay of a couple of years would not greatly undermine his overall goal. But the largest problem entwined in sex-ed courses cannot be so easily evaded or resolved. The subject is impossible to teach without plunging into the question of values. Many educators assert that curriculums can be made value free, a dubious idea at best.

The difficulties of remaining value free show up clearly in an 18-minute anti-AIDS videotape prepared for the New York City school system and purchased by groups in 35 states. The narrator is the young movie actress Rae Dawn Chong. She discusses the two riskiest behaviors involved in AIDS, unambiguously advising viewers to avoid intravenous drug use but shying away from a similar warning on anal sex. Instead, she suggests use of condoms for vaginal and anal intercourse and adds offhandedly, "If you decide not to have sex, that's O.K. too."

The videotape is earnestly intent on deflecting criticism of homosexuals for spreading AIDS. In the tape's one emotional scene, the brother of an AIDS victim says, "If I ever hear anyone talking about how gays are to blame for AIDS . . . I swear to God, I'm gonna punch 'em in the head!" New York City is still debating whether to accept the tape. Board of Education President Robert Wagner Jr. has criticized it for not clearly opposing adolescent sex and drug use, but he has not directly objected to its gingerliness about homosexuality and anal sex.

Wagner and Schools Chancellor Nathan Quinones must deal with a minefield of conflicting views. The city's sex-education curriculum is described as "value neutral" but, like many other school systems' courses, is actually based on a generalized secular ethic of caring and respect for others. Parents dissatisfied with the version of the city curriculum served up in their district can pull their children out of particular classes by informing the principal. The program is sometimes popular, as it is at P.S. 42, but the effort to accommodate everyone is unacceptable to many. Last month the board of education mandated sex education for the remaining eleven school districts without it. Last week 250 protesters showed up at city hall to object.

Mary Cummins, head of School Board 24 in Queens, threatens to fight the imposed course plans in court. She complains that chastity is not taught as a value and homosexuality is depicted as an "acceptable alternative life- style." Her board, she said, supports the concept of sex education but not a curriculum that "violates social values and moral principles without consideration of our views and values." Deriding the idea of value-free instruction, Cummins says, "I defy anyone to teach it, including myself, without getting his own moral values across. I know, if I were teaching it, I'd stress morality."

Education Secretary William Bennett supports that kind of concern. His fear, he told a New York City audience last month, is that instead of a clear ethic of right and wrong, sex-ed students are frequently exposed to a hodgepodge of "feel-good philosophy." Bennett accepts sex education "provided that people do not try to make it value free." He would require instruction to include a message on abstinence. "Such courses should take place only if the community wants them and the parents are involved and know what is going to be taught."

One group has confronted value-free teaching by devising and marketing a model curriculum that states traditional conservative values throughout. Teen- Aid Inc., with headquarters in Spokane and 25 affiliates in the U.S. and Canada, urges youngsters to "resist the tide" of a sex-saturated culture. The program tries to sharpen the "refusal skills" of students and sends summaries of lessons home to parents. Students are told to be careful about what clothes they wear on dates, and not to drink or take drugs while on a date.

The feistiest combatants are fighting against not school curriculums but school clinics. These health facilities are attached to or near public schools around the country, and they are spreading rapidly. Most are funded with a mix of public and private money. All offer across-the-board medical care. Some 28% dispense contraceptives, 52% prescribe them, and the rest make referrals to family-planning agencies. So far there are 72, mostly in poor neighborhoods of big cities. A hundred more are in the works.

The Roman Catholic Church, which on the whole has reacted mildly to the growing clamor for more sex education, has been anything but docile about the clinics' birth-control services. Two weeks ago Archbishop Roger Mahony of Los Angeles issued a heated pastoral letter calling for "all those who value the family and have hope for the future of our children" to join him in vigorous protest against a proposal to establish three school-based clinics. In Boston, Bernard Cardinal Law denounced four proposed health clinics that would provide contraceptives in junior and senior high schools. In an 86-page attack, the archdiocese challenged the constitutionality of school clinics and argued that contraceptives increase the amount of teen sex by eroding "cautions and reluctance." Replied Nancy Drooker of Massachusetts' Planned Parenthood: "Most teenagers are sexually active for over a year before they get contraception, so you can hardly say birth control was the cause."

A few black leaders in Boston and New York City have denounced the clinics as racist. In Chicago, 13 black clergymen are suing to block distribution of contraceptives at the DuSable High School clinic. Says the Rev. Hiram Crawford: "If these clinics are so good for black kids, why don't they put them in white areas? It's a form of genocide. Why do they so readily recommend abortion?"

The conservative belief is that such clinics lead students to be more promiscuous, but clearly established facts are difficult to come by. In St. Paul, records show that birth rates fell 40% in schools with clinics, though Health Supervisor Wanda Miller was hesitant to claim full credit for the clinics. Of the adolescent mothers who used the services, 80% stayed in school, and repeat pregnancies were almost nonexistent. Follow-ups are important, says Miller, because teens are "rotten contraceptors."

Other clinics report lower birth rates among those counseled or treated. And a survey of two inner-city schools, released this year by a team headed by Laurie Schwab Zabin of Johns Hopkins' School of Public Health, reported that sexually inactive high school students who used the clinic postponed their first sexual encounter about seven months, to age 16.2 instead of the 15.7 that otherwise was typical. Zabin's study is one of the most frequently cited by activists who support sex education and school clinics. In the first two- plus years of the study, the pregnancy rate fell 30% among teenagers who had access to birth-control supplies at a clinic near their school, while the pregnancy rate rose 57% among a control group.

But conservatives have their own favorite research, described by one of the authors in the Wall Street Journal but not yet generally available: two studies by Utah researchers named Stan Weed and Joseph Olsen. Their major finding is that during a period when the number of teens using family-planning clinics rose from 300,000 to 1.5 million, the teen pregnancy rate actually increased 19%. Births were down, they said, but only because of abortion. "Apparently the programs are more effective at convincing teens to avoid birth than to avoid pregnancy," Weed wrote in the Journal. The point: teens tend to get pregnant not because of lack of information or birth-control devices but because of social and psychological factors, including low self- esteem, impulsiveness and a bleak economic future. In response, the Alan Guttmacher Institute charged that the Journal piece contained "numerous inaccuracies." The number of adolescent pregnancies has decreased for the past three years on record, 1980-83, said the institute, and the pregnancy rate has declined as well.

Another study tends to back the Weed-Olsen view. Deborah Anne Dawson, as a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins, found that two-thirds of girls between 15 ; and 19 have had some instruction about birth control and pregnancy, with only 16% lacking any such education at all. Her conclusion: teaching about birth control and pregnancy has no significant effect on the pregnancy rate among teens, presumably because teenagers are more emotional than rational about sex and its risks. Says Boston's Huriwitz: "Adolescent sex is spontaneous, based on passion and the moment, not thought and reason. They don't worry about AIDS because they think it will never happen to them, no matter what we tell them. And I don't know how we change that."

A few programs incorporating discussions of AIDS were already under way before Koop's report. Last spring, after a student and staff member in two public schools were diagnosed as having AIDS, Boston prepared a 28-minute AIDS videotape filled with medical facts but also polite circumlocutions, including the message that AIDS spreads through blood and semen and "intimate sexual contact." For Boston, that was a shift. "Look, ten years ago, you couldn't even mention intimate sexual contact in this town," says Michael Grady, medical director for the Boston public schools. Grady's defense of the vagueness: "We'd rather do a little education than none at all." This fall Greater Miami began offering comprehensive AIDS information as part of its sex-education program. AIDS is mentioned briefly to seventh-graders as one of many sexually transmitted diseases. Tenth-graders get a more thoroughgoing five hours focused on it. Parents are mostly pleased.

In Omaha, where a beleaguered committee is now cautiously preparing the city's first sex-ed program, there is still controversy about whether to teach the subject at all. In such an atmosphere, school officials tend to talk a lot about the family and the bracing wonders of abstinence. School Superintendent Norbert Schuerman has called for "educational experiences that do not violate the social and moral standards of the total community." He said schools need the help of parents and suggested that any sex-ed program underline the message "It's O.K. to Say No." In a spasm of candor, School Board Member Bill Pfeffer admitted that a lot of sidestepping and shuffling is going on. "Everyone is afraid that the Catholic Church and the other groups are going to get very angry." One board member, John Haller, 77, said he will keep opposing any program because "the kids are getting too inquisitive; we're arousing their curiosity." The difficulty with sex, contended the Rev. Bob Thone of the Omaha Gospel Tabernacle, is that "the more you talk about it, the more it excites the desire to experiment."

New Jersey appears to have managed the task of eroding the conservative beachhead. There are still some angry dissenters who have lawsuits and other protests pending. But the state board of education defused much opposition and won the support of the state's five Roman Catholic dioceses by conducting a three-year public debate before starting sex-education programs in the schools in 1983. Grateful to be asked for their input, the bishops endorsed the state's sex-education plans, but "with reservations," mostly about instruction on abortion and contraception.

One of the state's model programs, designed for the Irvington school system, which is 92% black and Hispanic, runs from kindergarten through twelfth grade, starting with simple instruction on bodily functions and child abuse, then moving on during high school years to instruction in family planning. Fourth-Grade Teacher Linda Lichtenberger conducts her sex-ed classes like rap sessions, and designs homework assignments that encourage students to discuss what they are learning with their parents.

The course does not slip by controversial areas. Lichtenberger shows her nine- and ten-year-olds a chart on contraceptive methods and their efficiency rates. "We really have to arm children with something," she says. "They don't have to be abused or taken advantage of. We want them to protect themselves so they don't become one of the wounded adults that take it out on the next generation." Latasha Gadsden remembers taking the course last year and learning about "VD, how babies are born and how babies form in the uterus." Sometimes "the boys all laughed," she adds. But Latasha thinks "sex education makes people more mature because it's not really funny, it's your own body."

In Rockford, Ill., Teacher Thomas Lundgren's seventh-grade "Family Life and Health" course separates the sexes for two or three days each year because girls do not want to discuss sanitary protection in front of boys, and boys are just as embarrassed to talk about wet dreams in a mixed class. When students talk about the emergence of heterosexuality and homosexuality, Lundgren says, "we tell them we're just giving them an educated guess, and use an analogy with right- and left-handedness, that sexual orientation is something that is established very early in life."

Lundgren talks about condoms ("No glove, no love" is a popular class mnemonic), and abortion is presented as a fact of life. "We explain how suction curettage happens and what happens with a saline injection," says the teacher. "We tell them to keep reading, keep thinking and keep talking about it." Lundgren starts discussions of oral and anal sex by saying, "We're not telling you this to gross you out." Only six or seven youngsters out of 850 are excused from the class each year because of parents' objections. Says the popular Lundgren, one of eight finalists for state teacher of the year in 1985: "Everybody we talk to in the community is positive about what we're doing."

By national standards, St. Paul's sex-ed program is one of the frankest and most thriving. It touches on homosexuality without either endorsing or criticizing it. "We say the gay community defines homosexuality as a trait that is born into them, and we are not putting our own construction on that because we don't have research to substantiate it," says Wanda Miller. Teachers also explain exactly how one gets or avoids AIDS. "We are clear and explicit about semen and blood being the roots of transmission and that condoms offer protection." Despite such directness, St. Paul's program operates without much criticism from parents.

The popular acceptance of these programs seems to rest on their adjustment to their individual communities, something not easily outlined in a lesson plan. Says Harvard Psychology Professor Jerome Kagan: "Human sexuality is a moral issue in every society. But while some societies have a consensus on sex, ours doesn't." The conflicting moral values touch the most seemingly innocuous issues. Everyone, for example, agrees that self-esteem and psychological factors are crucial, particularly to demoralized ghetto youngsters. But even building self-esteem divides proponents and critics of sex education. One side tends to talk of right and wrong, the other of self- enhancement and the importance of feelings. UCLA Health Educator Adrienne Davis says she teaches "that nothing is good that decreases your self-esteem, that you don't feel good about and that hurts another person," the essence of what Secretary Bennett cites when he harrumphs about "feel-good philosophy."

The struggle over sex education echoes the right-left battles over public school textbooks around the nation, notably in Tennessee, where Fundamentalist / parents successfully sued to shield their children from basic school readers they considered offensive. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has begun to use language similar to Southern Fundamentalists', charging that school clinics would establish an "official state philosophy of situation ethics and moral relativism" that contradicts the teachings of most major religions. Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, author of Sex by Prescription, thinks pressures on the public schools are bound to mount. "A covert struggle is going on to see who will control the free schools and mold the minds of other people's children," he says. "You can see a pattern with the Tennessee case -- when one group imposes its values on the schools, everyone else feels mugged." Szasz believes the current debate may foreshadow the breakup of the public school system, something that, as a libertarian, he would not mind in the least.

A sex-ed solution, however, need not await or depend on the crumbling of the public school system. Some towns are evolving their own compromises. In Lindenhurst, N.Y., after a fierce conservative protest against an eleventh- grade sex-ed program, the school decided to offer three different courses. About 60% of the students attend the liberal "Family Life" course; 25% take the conservative option, "Sexuality, Commitment and Family"; and 15%, including those who make no choice at all, end up in a health course without sex ed.

Another promising answer to fundamental differences may lie in an emerging agreement on one basic. A number of cities are turning up evidence that most youngsters are looking for an excuse to abstain. In 1980 the teen services program at Atlanta's Grady Memorial Hospital found that of the thousand or so girls under age 16 it saw each year, the overwhelming majority (87%) wanted to learn how to say no without hurting anyone's feelings. Grady responded with a program for eighth-graders called "Postponing Sexual Involvement." It is now taught in 23 Atlanta-area schools, focusing on decision making, assertiveness and how to articulate values and feelings.

Older teenagers, paid $8 an hour, are the teachers. "The girls who took the program see themselves differently," says Marion Howard, clinical director of the Grady teen services. "They didn't think having sex meant they were grown up. They didn't think it would earn them respect." And only 5% of them started having sex in the eighth grade, in contrast to 16.5% of girls outside the program.

Many educators think the prochastity movement is a pipe dream. "We can't fool ourselves into thinking that abstinence is the solution," says Mary Luke of San Francisco/Alameda Planned Parenthood. "These kids have made their decisions, and we're going to have to deal with the reality of it." But there is no doubt that the threat of AIDS and the need to defuse conservative critics have made the abstinence message politically popular to left and right alike. "Our preferred way to deal with sexual activity is to say no," says Patricia Davis-Scott, clinic director at two Chicago high schools. In the California school system, notes Bill Honig, state superintendent of public instruction, when a boy says, "If you love me, you will," a girl is taught to answer, "If you love me, you won't ask me." Illinois Governor James Thompson told a Republican meeting last month, " 'Just Say No' is a good slogan for drugs, and it is a good slogan for teen sex."

This popular fervor for abstinence, undreamed of just a few years ago, surely is no harbinger of a new puritanism. But it may open up some room for sex education to overtake its critics. In exchange for the abstinence message being treated with respect, many conservative opponents seem likely to follow Surgeon General Koop and accept sex instruction in the schools. As Koop himself seems to argue, there is really no other choice.

Special Thanks to TIME Magazine

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tiny Tot Humour

What's is the first joke you remember telling as a child? I ask this question because I'm wearing these Spongebob Squarepants pyjamas I got for Christmas a couple years back. I remember that the show made me laughed my ass off. Keep it to PG-13 at most.

Here's mine:

George is sitting down to breakfast and asks Gracie to see if the morning paper is on the porch. She returns a moment later and cheerfully announces, "Yes, it's there

And here's another:

Two muffins are baking in the oven. One muffin turns and says to the other, "Boy, it's HOT in here!"

The other muffin looks back and says, "Ack! A talking muffin!"

The Rose: Nature's Little Beauty Queen

Red Rose: Scientific Name: Rosaceae

A beautiful Red Rose flowering in a garden in the village of Oliva Nova in Valencia, Spain.

Roses originate from Central Asia. In China the Rose was considered the flower of the Kings. The Romans use the fragrant rose petals to produce perfume and as a symbol of luxury.

A red rose is typically considered a symbol of love and romance.

SNL Ambiguously Gay Duo: Roof Top

Uploaded by aretnas

Summer Storm, A German Coming Of Age Film: English Subtitles!

Hitler's Reaction To The Super Bowl

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ahhhh! Better Than Red Wine Or Green Tea, Cocoa Froths With Cancer-preventing Compounds, Cornell Food Scientists Say

There is a new reason to enjoy hot cocoa on a cold winter's night in front of a cozy fire. Consider it a health drink

Beyond the froth, cocoa teems with antioxidants that prevent cancer, Cornell University food scientists say. Comparing the chemical anti-cancer activity in beverages known to contain antioxidants, they have found that cocoa has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times those found in green tea.

Their finding will be published Dec. 3 in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry , a peer-reviewed publication.

Scientists have long known that cocoa contains antioxidants, but no one knew just how plentiful they were compared with those in red wine and green tea.

The Cornell researchers, led by Chang Y. (Cy) Lee, chairman of the Department of Food Science and Technology at the university's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y., say the reason that cocoa leads the other drinks is its high content of compounds called phenolic phytochemicals, or flavonoids, indicating the presence of known antioxidants that can stave off cancer, heart disease and other ailments. They discovered 611 milligrams of the phenolic compound gallic acid equivalents (GAE) and 564 milligrams of the flavonoid epicatechin equivalents (ECE) in a single serving of cocoa. Examining a glass of red wine, the researchers found 340 milligrams of GAE and 163 milligrams of ECE. In a cup of green tea, they found 165 milligrams of GAE and 47 milligrams of ECE.

"If I had made a prediction before conducting the tests, I would have picked green tea as having the most antioxidant activity," said Lee. "When we compared one serving of each beverage, the cocoa turned out to be the highest in antioxidant activity, and that was surprising to me."Phenolic compounds protect plants against insects and pathogens, and they remain active even after food processing. A decade ago "food scientists did not know that phenolics had an important role in human health," says Lee.

Lee and his colleagues used two chemical tests that measured how well the cocoa compounds scavenge for free radicals -- agents that cause cancer, heart disease and other diseases.

In the paper, the researchers discuss eating chocolate bars instead of drinking cocoa. "Although a bar of chocolate exhibits strong antioxidant activity, the health benefits are still controversial because of the saturated fats present," the researchers write. They explain that cocoa has about one-third of a gram of fat per one-cup serving, compared with eight grams of fat in a standard-size 40-gram chocolate bar.

Faced with the confusing prospect of drinking red wine or green tea or cocoa, Lee suggests enjoying all three in different parts of the day. "Personally, I would drink hot cocoa in the morning, green tea in the afternoon and a glass of red wine in the evening. That's a good combination," he says.

The research paper is titled "Cocoa Has More Phenolic Phytochemicals and a Higher Antioxidant Capacity than Teas and Red Wine." Lee's collaborators are his former graduate student, Ki Won Lee; Hyong Joo Lee, a professor at Seoul National University, South Korea; and Young Jun Kim, a post-doctoral researcher at Cornell. The research was funded in part by the BioGreen 21 Program, Rural Development Administration, Republic of South Korea.

Special Thanks to Science Daily

Sweeney Among The Nightingales By T.S. Elliot

Apeneck Sweeney spreads his knees
Letting his arms hang down to laugh,
The zebra stripes along his jaw
Swelling to maculate giraffe.

The circles of the stormy moon
Slide westward toward the River Plate,
Death and the Raven drift above
And Sweeney guards the horned gate.

Gloomy Orion and the Dog
Are veiled; and hushed the shrunken seas;
The person in the Spanish cape
Tries to sit on Sweeney's knees

Slips and pulls the table cloth
Overturns a coffee-cup,
Reorganized upon the floor
She yawns and draws a stocking up;

The silent man in mocha brown
Sprawls at the window-sill and gapes;
The waiter brings in oranges
Bananas figs and hothouse grapes;

The silent vertebrate in brown
Contracts and concentrates, withdraws;
Rachel née Rabinovitch
Tears at the grapes with murderous paws;

She and the lady in the cape
Are suspect, thought to be in league;
Therefore the man with heavy eyes
Declines the gambit, shows fatigue,

Leaves the room and reappears
Outside the window, leaning in,
Branches of wistaria
Circumscribe a golden grin;

The host with someone indistinct
Converses at the door apart,
The nightingales are singing near
The Convent of the Sacred Heart,

And sang within the bloody wood
When Agamemnon cried aloud,
And let their liquid droppings fall
To stain the stiff dishonoured shroud.

Hysteria By T.S. Elliot

As she laughed I was aware of becoming involved
in her laughter and being part of it, until her
teeth were only accidental stars with a talent
for squad-drill. I was drawn in by short gasps,
inhaled at each momentary recovery, lost finally
in the dark caverns of her throat, bruised by
the ripple of unseen muscles. An elderly waiter
with trembling hands was hurriedly spreading
a pink and white checked cloth over the rusty
green iron table, saying: "If the lady and
gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden,
if the lady and gentleman wish to take their
tea in the garden ..." I decided that if the
shaking of her breasts could be stopped, some of
the fragments of the afternoon might be collected,
and I concentrated my attention with careful
subtlety to this end.

The Hippotamus by T.S.Elliot

The broad-backed hippopotamus
Rests on his belly in the mud;
Although he seems so firm to us
He is merely flesh and blood.

Flesh-and-blood is weak and frail,
Susceptible to nervous shock;
While the True Church can never fail
For it is based upon a rock.

The hippo's feeble steps may err
In compassing material ends,
While the True Church need never stir
To gather in its dividends.

The 'potamus can never reach
The mango on the mango-tree;
But fruits of pomegranate and peach
Refresh the Church from over sea.

At mating time the hippo's voice
Betrays inflexions hoarse and odd,
But every week we hear rejoice
The Church, at being one with God.

The hippopotamus's day
Is passed in sleep; at night he hunts;
God works in a mysterious way--
The Church can sleep and feed at once.

I saw the 'potamus take wing
Ascending from the damp savannas,
And quiring angels round him sing
The praise of God, in loud hosannas.

Blood of the Lamb shall wash him clean
And him shall heavenly arms enfold,
Among the saints he shall be seen
Performing on a harp of gold.

He shall be washed as white as snow,
By all the martyr'd virgins kist,
While the True Church remains below
Wrapt in the old miasmal mist.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Traditional Spanish Gazpacho

This basic version of gazpacho is the one travelers would be most likely to encounter when touring through Spain. The fact that this soup is commonly found, however, in no way renders it "ordinary".

One taste of this chilled gazpacho and you will be instantly transported to a land of whitewashed walls, red-tiled roofs, and a golden sun...

Diners: 4
Preparation time: 30 min.
Difficulty: easy

10 oz of bread
21 oz. of tomato
2 cloves of garlic
2 onions
2 red and green peppers
1 cucumber (optional)
7 tablespoons of oil
2 tablespoons of vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon of water
Cumin (optional)

In a big mortar mash the cumin, the garlic and the soaked bread, in a plastic bowl mix the chopped onion, the chopped tomato, the oil, the vinegar, the salt and the contents of the mortar, mash it with the mixer and add very cold water to mix everything. Add salt and strain it. Keep it in the fridge until served.

Serve with the tomato, the cucumber, the pepper and the toasted bread cut to dices.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

How the Iraq war's $2 trillion cost to U.S. could have been spent

In war, things are rarely what they seem.

Back in 2003, in the days leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon adamantly insisted that the war would be a relatively cheap one. Roughly $50 billion is all it would take to rid the world of Saddam Hussein, it said.

We now know this turned out to be the first of many miscalculations. Approaching its fifth year, the war in Iraq has cost American taxpayers nearly $500 billion, according to the non-partisan U.S.-based research group National Priorities Project. That number is growing every day.

But it's still not even close to the true cost of the war. As the invasion's price tag balloons, economists and analysts are examining the entire financial burden of the Iraq campaign, including indirect expenses that Americans will be paying long after the troops come home. What they've come up with is staggering. Calculations by Harvard's Linda Bilmes and Nobel-prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz remain most prominent. They determined that, once you factor in things like medical costs for injured troops, higher oil prices and replenishing the military, the war will cost America upwards of $2 trillion. That doesn't include any of the costs incurred by Iraq, or America's coalition partners.

"Would the American people have had a different attitude toward going to war had they known the total cost?" Bilmes and Stiglitz ask in their report. "We might have conducted the war in a manner different from the way we did."

It's hard to comprehend just how much money $2 trillion is. Even Bill Gates, one of the richest people in the world, would marvel at this amount. But, once you begin to look at what that money could buy, the worldwide impact of fighting this largely unpopular war becomes clear.

Consider that, according to sources like Columbia's Jeffrey Sachs, the Worldwatch Institute, and the United Nations, with that same money the world could:

Eliminate extreme poverty around the world (cost $135 billion in the first year, rising to $195 billion by 2015.)

Achieve universal literacy (cost $5 billion a year.)

Immunize every child in the world against deadly diseases (cost $1.3 billion a year.)

Ensure developing countries have enough money to fight the AIDS epidemic (cost $15 billion per year.)

In other words, for a cost of $156.3 billion this year alone – less than a tenth of the total Iraq war budget – we could lift entire countries out of poverty, teach every person in the world to read and write, significantly reduce child mortality, while making huge leaps in the battle against AIDS, saving millions of lives.

Then the remaining money could be put toward the $40 billion to $60 billion annually that the World Bank says is needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, established by world leaders in 2000, to tackle everything from gender inequality to environmental sustainability.

The implications of this cannot be underestimated. It means that a better and more just world is far from within reach, if we are willing to shift our priorities.

If America and other nations were to spend as much on peace as they do on war, that would help root out the poverty, hopelessness and anti-Western sentiment that can fuel terrorism – exactly what the Iraq war was supposed to do.

So as candidates spend much of this year vying to be the next U.S. president, what better way to repair its image abroad, tarnished by years of war, than by becoming a leader in global development? It may be too late to turn back the clock to the past and rethink going to war, but it's not too late for the U.S. and other developed countries to invest in the future.

Special Thanks to The Toronto Star

Separate Bathrooms For Gay Students at School?

Homosexual and heterosexual students should have separate bathrooms and showers in Idaho schools, a Wilder Republican running for the Idaho House said Friday.

Walt Bayes, who gained notoriety two years ago by going on an anti-abortion hunger strike that lasted 59 days, said he wasn’t sure how the issue could be handled other than providing different facilities for gay and straight students in schools.
Also on agenda

Some of Walt Bayes’ other platforms:

• Make the supplying of pornography to juveniles by any person, official, librarian or institution a criminal offense.

• Require written permission from parents or guardian before supplying any sex education, contraceptive or abortion.

• The state shall pay equal money for equal education to all schools: public, private or home. “Give home and private schools money and they will run the unions out of town,” Bayes said.

• Wolves should be killed wherever they endanger livestock, game, pets or people. Bayes said he shot a wolf that was chasing his deer. “To me it was legal because the (Idaho) Constitutional says I have a right to protect my property,” Bayes said. He said officials decided not to prosecute him.

The topic came up after Bayes mentioned it in his campaign literature, where he wrote, “It is absolutely wrong to force any student to share the same bathrooms and showers with homosexual teachers or students.”

Bayes is a 70-year-old retired blue-collar worker and farmer. None of the three Republicans running in the Tuesday, May 27 primary against him agrees with his position.

“I don’t think it’s worth commenting on,” District 11 House Seat B incumbent Rep. Carlos Bilbao of Emmett said. “I don’t know where he’s coming off on all this.”

Bayes said that when he was 18 it would have been “an absolute catastrophe” for him to have showered with girls. But he said he wasn’t completely sure how the issue of homosexuals and heterosexuals using the same facilities in schools should be addressed.

“I don’t really have an answer for it, but we’re going to have to do something if there’s going to be a considerable number of our people who are going to go that way (homosexual),” Bayes said. “We’re going to (need) some kind of separation.”

Bayes said his main goal as a candidate is to stop abortion by having the fetus defined as a person from the moment of conception.

One of Bayes’ opponents, Steve Coyle of Star, said he did not see the need for separate facilities for gays and straights in schools. Another candidate in the race, Jeff Justus of Meridian, said the proposal was not needed.

“We have a lot more important issues than that,” Justus said.

We Didn't Start The Fire: For Us Kids Of The Eighties

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Buttermilk Cornbread Muffin Recipe Courtesy of The American Diabetes Association


1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and soda. Combine eggs, buttermilk, honey, and oil; add slowly to the dry ingredients. Mix until blended. Pour into non-stick muffin cups, making them about two-thirds full.
Bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool completely.

The Black And Tan Coon Hound

Black and Tan Coonhound Dog Breed Introduction
The Black and Tan Coonhound dog breed was developed in the United States to hunt raccoons, just as its name would imply. The Black and Tan Coonhound breed's a versatile hunting skills make it both a trail and tree hunting breed. Black and Tan Coonhounds can even work in any season of the year and over rough terrain. Black and Tans have even hunted "big game" such as mountain lions and bears.

Here are the characteristics of the Black and Tan Coonhound breed as determined by the American Kennel Club's published breed standard.

Black and Tan Coonhound's Behavior
Recommended for: hunting, outdoors

Cooonhound breeds are known as outgoing and friendly. Coonhounds can work closely with other hounds and people. Though a powerful hunting breed, a coonhound dog does not usually show aggression. They have a loud, baying bark, according to Wikipedia.

Remember that breed only provides a general clue as to any individual dog's actual behavior. Make sure to get to know dogs well before bringing them into your home.

The Black and Tan Coonhound's Physical Characteristics
Size: Males 25-27 inches; females 23- 25 inches
Coat: short, dense
Color: dark black with tan markings
Eyes: hazel to dark brown, rounded
Ears: "extend naturally well beyond the tip of the nose," in the words of the American Kennel Club's breed standard
Nose: well open, black
Tail: strong, with base slightly below level of backline

The Black and Tan Coonhound's Origins and History
Here are some historical facts on the Black and Tan Coonhound breed according to Wikipedia.

Country/Region of Origin: United States

Original purpose: hunting raccoon

Historical notes: The Black and Tan Coonhound breed is the only one of the six varieties of Coonhound to be recognized in the Hound Group by the American Kennel Club. The Redbone Coonhound and the Plott Hound have now also been recognized, though in the Miscellaneous Class. The other coonhound varieties are Bluetick, English, and Treeing Walker.

Challenge Of The Super-Duper Friends

Challenge Of The Super-Duper Friends

The Celtic Tale Of Cerridwen, Gwion and Taliesin

Cerridwen was originally worshipped by the people of Wales. It is told that she lived on an island, in the middle of Lake Tegid, named after her husband, with her two children, a beautiful daughter, Creidwy, and a very ugly son, Afagdu. To compensate her son for his unfortunate appearance, Cerridwen brewed a magical formula, known as "greal", (is this where the word Grail came from, I wonder?) which would make Afagdu the most brilliant and inspired of men. For a year and a day, she kept six herbs simmering in her magical cauldron, known as "Amen", under the constant care of a boy named Gwion.

One day, while Gwion was stirring the cauldron, a few drops of the bubbling liquid spattered on his hand. Unthinkingly, and in pain, Gwion, sucked his burned hand, and, suddenly, he could hear everything in the world, and understood all the secrets of the past and future. With his newly enchanted foresight, Gwion knew how angry Cerridwen would be when she found he had acquired the inspiration meant for her son.

He ran away, but Cerridwen pursued him. Gwion changed into a hare, and Cerridwen chased him as a greyhound; he changed into a fish, and Cerridwen pursued him as an otter; he became a bird, and she flew after him as a hawk; finally, he changed into a grain of corn, and Cerridwen, triumphant, changed into a hen, and ate him.

When Cerridwen resumed her human form, she conceived Gwion in her womb, and, nine months later, gave birth to an infant son, whom she, in disgust, threw into the water of a rushing stream. He was rescued by a Prince, and grew into the great Celtic bard, Taliesin.

Random Factoid and Random Quote

Celery has been cultivated in the Mediterranean for at least 3000 years.

"March brings breezes loud and shrill, stirs the dancing daffodil."
Sara Colenridge

LSD inventor dies

Albert Hofmann, the father of the mind-altering drug LSD whose medical discovery grew into a notorious "problem child," died April 28,2008. He was 102.
Hofmann died of a heart attack at his home in Basel, according to Rick Doblin, president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, in a statement posted on the association's website.

His death was confirmed to The Associated Press by Doris Stuker, a clerk in the village of Burg im Leimental, where Hofmann moved following his retirement in 1971.

Hofmann's hallucinogen inspired — and arguably corrupted — millions in the 1960's hippy generation. For decades after LSD was banned in the late 1960s, Hofmann defended his invention.

"I produced the substance as a medicine. ... It's not my fault if people abused it," he once said.

FIND MORE STORIES IN: Indians | Harvard | Basel | Cary Grant | Novartis | Anita | Timothy Leary | Sandoz | Burg | Hofmann | Delysid | Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies | Rick Doblin
The Swiss chemist discovered lysergic acid diethylamide-25 in 1938 while studying the medicinal uses of a fungus found on wheat and other grains at the Sandoz pharmaceuticals firm in Basel.

He became the first human guinea pig of the drug when a tiny amount of the substance seeped on to his finger during a repeat of the laboratory experiment on April 16, 1943.

"I had to leave work for home because I was suddenly hit by a sudden feeling of unease and mild dizziness," he subsequently wrote in a memo to company bosses.

"Everything I saw was distorted as in a warped mirror," he said, describing his bicycle ride home. "I had the impression I was rooted to the spot. But my assistant told me we were actually going very fast."

Upon reaching home, Hofmann began experiencing what he called a "vision."

"What I was thinking appeared in colors and in pictures," he told Swiss television network SF DRS for a program marking his 100th birthday two years ago. "It lasted for a couple of hours and then it disappeared."

Three days later, Hofmann experimented with a larger dose. The result was a horror trip.

"The substance which I wanted to experiment with took over me. I was filled with an overwhelming fear that I would go crazy. I was transported to a different world, a different time," Hofmann wrote.

There was no answer at Hofmann's home on Tuesday and a person who answered the phone at Novartis, a former employer, said the company had no knowledge of his death.

Hofmann and his scientific colleagues hoped that LSD would make an important contribution to psychiatric research. The drug exaggerated inner problems and conflicts and thus it was hoped that it might be used to recognize and treat mental illnesses like schizophrenia.

For a time, Sandoz sold LSD 25 under the name Delysid, encouraging doctors to try it themselves. It was one of the strongest drugs in medicine — with just one gram enough to drug an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people for 12 hours.

Hofmann discovered the drug had a similar chemical structure to psychedelic mushrooms and herbs used in religious ceremonies by Mexican Indians.

LSD was elevated to international fame in the late 1950s and 1960s thanks to Harvard professor Timothy Leary who embraced the drug under the slogan "turn on, tune in, drop out." The film star Cary Grant and numerous rock musicians extolled its virtues in achieving true self discovery and enlightenment.

But away from the psychedelic trips and flower children, horror stories emerged about people going on murder sprees or jumping out of windows while hallucinating. Heavy users suffered permanent psychological damage.

The U.S. government banned LSD in 1966 and other countries followed suit.

Hofmann maintained this was unfair, arguing that the drug was not addictive. He repeatedly maintained the ban should be lifted to allow LSD to be used in medical research.

He himself took the drug — purportedly on an occasional basis and out of scientific interest — for several decades.

"LSD can help open your eyes," he once said. "But there are other ways — meditation, dance, music, fasting."

Even so, the self described "father" of LSD readily agreed that the drug was dangerous if in the wrong hands. This was reflected by the title of his 1979 book: "LSD — my problem child."

Hofmann retired from Sandoz in 1971. He devoted his time to travel, writing and lectures — which often reflected his growing interest with philosophy and religious questions.

He lived in a small picturesque village outside of Basel in the Swiss Jura mountains, a stone's throw from the French border, and remained active until his early 90s.

Hofmann is survived by two of his four children. He was predeceased by his wife Anita.

Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.

Special Thanks toUSA Today

TeeHee SNL

Julie Death Scene in Wes Craven's New Nightmare

Food Fight: Abridged American Warfare

An abridged history of American-centric warfare, from WWII to present day, told through the foods of the countries in conflict.

For A List Of Battles Portrayed See:Food Fight Battles

For The Official Country Cheat Sheet see:Food Fight Countries

Monday, May 12, 2008

Russell's Teapot: Is There A God?

"If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time."

Cherries Jubilee Recipe Courtesy of Rachel Ray

Ingredients:2 (15-ounce) cans whole Bing cherries in juice, drained and juice reserved
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup kirsch or cognac, warmed
2 pints vanilla ice cream

In a small dish, combine a little cherry juice with sugar and cornstarch. In a skillet, heat juice from cherries over moderate heat. Add cornstarch mixture. When juice thickens, add cherries to warm through. Pour in warmed liqueur, then flame the pan to burn off alcohol. Remove cherries from heat. Scoop vanilla ice cream into large cocktail glasses or dessert dishes and spoon cherries down over ice cream.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Yay Hillary Clinton, Whoot Whoot!!

Yay Hillary Clinton

Cat Cora's Snickerdoodle Cookies

Yields 2 dozen cookies

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream butter. Add sugar and egg and add mix thoroughly. Sift flour, baking powder and salt; stir in mixture. Form dough into balls about the size of walnuts and roll in mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Place two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 - 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

My Good Friend Heidi's Asparagus Pesto with Pasta Recipe

1 bunch asparagus spears (about 1 lb), trimmed of tough ends and halved crosswise
3 handfuls baby spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for topping
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

8 ounces of dried pasta or 12 ounces fresh -linguini, fettuccini, spaghetti
Mix spinach pasta with regular wheat pasta for a medley of colors.

1 Bring 2 pots of water to a rolling boil, one large for the pasta and one medium sized for the asparagus.

2 While the water is heating, put the pine nuts in a single layer in a large skillet. Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove pine nuts from pan and set aside. You will use 3/4 cup of the pine nuts for the pesto paste and 1/4 cup to mix in whole.

3 Salt the asparagus water and drop the spears into the pan. Cook for only 2 or 3 minutes, until the spears are bright green and barely tender. Drain under cool water to stop the cooking. Cut the tips off, and set aside, several of the asparagus (diagonal cut about an inch from the end) to use for garnish.

4 Add the asparagus, spinach, garlic, Parmesan, and 3/4 cup of the pine nuts to a food processor. Purée and, with the motor running, drizzle in the 1/4 cup of olive oil until a paste forms. If too thick, thin it with a bit of the pasta water. Add the lemon juice and salt, taste and adjust seasoning.

Here's a trick that Heidi taught me. When emptying the food processor bowl of its contents, hold the bottom of the bowl with one hand with a finger in the center hole, holding the blade in place and keeping it from falling out.

This fresh pasta cooked up in no time at all.

5 Salt the pasta water well and cook the pasta until just tender. Check the directions on the pasta package. You'll need more time for dried pasta and less for fresh. Drain and toss immediately with 1 cup of the asparagus pesto.

Serve sprinkled with the remaining 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, a dusting of Parmesan, and a light drizzle of olive oil.

Serves 4 to 6.

P.S. In case you haven't figured it out my good friend is Heidi Swanson