Tuesday, February 27, 2007

save the bees!

i just read a very disturbing story in the business section of the ny times about the disappearance of millions of bees and the effect this will have on many crops especially those of california almonds. being not too far away from passover, the preparation for which is highly dependent on almonds (in our house at least); and being that a diagram of a bee is the only thing i can remember how to draw from middle-school biology classes, not to mention being rather fond of bees (especially john beelushi) i am upset by this news ... seriously though, isn't it another wake-up call about what we are doing to our environment?

"A Cornell University study has estimated that honeybees annually pollinate more than $14 billion worth of seeds and crops in the United States, mostly fruits, vegetables and nuts. “Every third bite we consume in our diet is dependent on a honeybee to pollinate that food,” said Zac Browning, vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation."

read the rest of the article here.

according to the times, the bees are extremely stressed, under attack from mites, and suffering from a strong immune suppression making them more susceptible to other deadly diseases. one bee specialist calls it 'the AIDS of the bee industry'.

how do we save the bees?

Monday, February 26, 2007

missy's shout-out to oscar

melissa etheridge backstage last night to reporters:

"This is the only naked man that will ever be in my bedroom."

oscars - the next day

so many people writing about the oscars today, you've probably read all there is to read, e.g., lesbians rule - ellen hosts, melissa wins; helen mirren gives a shoutout to her majesty queen elizabeth the second and americans in the audience uneasy; little miss sunshine beats borat and some others for best screenplay; jaden smith named best-dressed elementary-schooler on the red carpet ...

... all i have to add is this: what is going on with jack nicholson? d. said he looks like marlon brando. i disagreed. as far as i can see, daddy warbucks and lex luthor are battling for his soul.

nu - there goes oscar night for another year. to tell you the truth, we watched until 10, and then switched over to the L word (which was kind of hot this week). when it was over, the snowstorm had been going for a while, & the best choice really was to drive home safely and log on immediately, rather than sitting through another hour of advertisements and a couple more awards.

a shot of lee cook's shot ...

... that scored the equaliser this weekend against argyle in front of the loft.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

tonight, tonight ...

less than eleven hours to go until the oscars. i am not including the red carpet bit, which i find rather boring. about 25 years ago, my parents were driving me to uni for the first time. in the car, we were listening to an audiotape i had found in the 1ukp bin. it was joan rivers, and my mother remembered going to hear her in the village when i was a baby. there was one joke that made us laugh so much we nearly went off the road. ms rivers talks about how you have to make your children feel guilty so when they grow up they will never leave you. she says that her method was to go into her daughter's room in the middle of the night, wake her and say: 'melissa, you ripped me to shreds. now go back to sleep.' i guess it worked, and that is my main reason for lack of interest in the red carpet.

meanwhile, no predictions, just anticipation. i can hardly wait!!

suze orman is out

although already leaked and discussed on several g/l blogs, it is now official - the money guru is out:

"Are you married? I’m in a relationship with life. My life is just out there. I’m on the road every day. I love my life.

Meaning what? Do you live with anyone? K.T. is my life partner. K.T. stands for Kathy Travis. We’re going on seven years. I have never been with a man in my whole life. I’m still a 55-year-old virgin.

Would you like to get married to K.T.? Yes. Absolutely. Both of us have millions of dollars in our name. It’s killing me that upon my death, K.T. is going to lose 50 percent of everything I have to estate taxes. Or vice versa."

these questions arose in a sunday ny times article by deborah solomon.

what is particularly cool is that it's not such a big deal ... but then i do live in new york. the main criticism seems to be that unless suze and k.t. are celibate, she's misusing the v word.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

the periodic table

so there i was browsing the widgets on the apple pages, and i saw a new one - the periodic table (oddly named the 'period' table, which made me think for a moment, although not in an appropriate direction). i how have it on my widgets. it is not as nice as this one from an aesthetic perspective, but very handy.

very handy? what am i saying? i was the girl who was thrown out of the chemistry class because sophie bit me and i screamed. i had squirt fights with the distilled water containers, and hysterics when the teacher got his white coat caught in the centrifuge and it was horribly ripped.

yet i was strangely fascinated by the chart. first of all, i was amazed that i could recite, in order, the inert gases. next, there seemed to be a lot more of which i'd never heard. and some of them had the weirdest names (if you're not a scientist) : darmstadtium (i've been there, i think); ununbium, ununtrium, ununhexium et al; and then a bunch more named after people and places. they all have little radioactive signs at the top of the boxes so i guess they are another result of nuclear proliferation.

o, let's be honest here, i probably just want to learn all the words of the tom lehrer song :-)

jehovah's witnesses sextuplets in vancouver

catherine philp wrote in yesterday's times:

"The birth of Canada’s first sextuplets should have been cause for celebration. But their struggle for life has provoked a ferocious battle pitching Church against State and a child’s right to life against parents’ rights to practise their faith.

When the four boys and two girls were born nearly three months prematurely in early January, they were hailed as a miracle. The mother, on being told that she was carrying multiple foetuses, had been offered “selective reduction”, a procedure to remove several foetuses to help to ensure the survival of the others. She refused.

At birth, the babies weighed less than two pounds (1kg) each, and measured less than an outstretched adult hand. They were put into incubators but within a week two had died. Doctors told the parents that the surviving infants desperately needed blood transfusions if they were to survive, but once again the parents refused."

the full article is here

according to the way the JW's understand their old testament, and the book of acts in the nt, xians are forbidden to ingest blood in any form or way. one result of this is their refusal to accept blood transfusions.

when i was a chaplain in a new jersey hospital about 15 years ago, there was a similar situation, with the parents refusing a transfusion for their small child. they believed it was god's will and that the child would go straight to god in heaven. the chaplains were called in to counsel the nurses, who were utterly confused, angry and distressed about this. the child died.

the thing is, while i abhor anyone using a scriptural text out of context to justify behaviour that causes emotional or physical pain and death, i will still take a moment to look at it from a textual context.

ok - these guys have as a key text leviticus 17:10:

"And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, that eateth any manner of blood, I will set My face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people."

fine, that is there. there is more text in the same book, though. who decides which is more important? let's look a few paragraphs later in chapter 19, verse 16:

"... neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbour"

in judaism, this is the source of the concept 'pikuach nefesh', i.e., that a person must do everything possible to save the life of another, even donating bodily organs. not only that, but also the commandments of shabbat may be broken in order to save life. unless it will endanger one's own life, we are required to do all we can to save human life.

it is therefore incomprehensible to me how anyone could use text to allow a child to die, for religious reasons. what would that nice JEWISH boy jesus do, eh? 'pikuach nefesh' - save the children! aaaaargh!

qpr 1 - 1 plymouth argyle

hey, we didn't lose again! still sinking down the table like the proverbial anything that is heavy and sinks at medium pace. but we didn't lose. and we scored a goal. this is not a picture of that moment. it is the pic from the report on the offish (the qpr official website, linked in the column to the right).

once again, i wore no qpr items. in fact, the fewer items of clothing i wear of any kind, the better the team seems to do. hmmmm ... don't want to go there. the main thing is that we did not lose. and lee cook (who else?) scored. hurrah.
uuuuu rrrrr's

actual newspaper headlines

tomorrow inverness caledonian thistle are at home to celtic in the scottish cup. one of the newspapers recalled a newspaper headline some years ago when cally thistle beat the glasgow giants. it was


i was trying to find an image of that page to post, but could not. i did, however, find a list of similar headlines at keepersoflists.org, and present 10 of my favourites:

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Miners Refuse to Work after Death
Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge
Include children when baking cookies
Reagan Wins on Budget, But More Lies Ahead
Survivor of Siamese Twins Joins Parents
Organ Festival Ends in Smashing Climax
Stolen Painting Found by Tree
Chef Throws His Heart into Helping Feed Needy

... and the answer is:

according to albert kaplan this young man

grew up to become this gentleman:

young abe was kicked in the head by a horse when he was 10. according the article, the definitive proof appears to be cranial damage that appears similar in both faces.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

talking about naughty bits

a couple of days late on this one, but was saving it for when i had a free moment. the newbery medal is one of the most prestigious awards in children's literature. previous winners include:

holes, by louis sachar
sarah plain and tall, by patricia maclachlan
bridge to terabithia, by katherine paterson
mrs frisby and the rats of nimh, by robert c o'brien
from the mixed-up files of mrs basil e frankweiler, by e l konigsberg
a wrinkle in time, by madeleine l'engle
(the last 3 are favourites that i still own)

so this year's winner is in very good company. anyway, it is suddenly in the news for the use of the word 'scrotum'. as the ny times reports:

"The book’s heroine, a scrappy 10-year-old orphan named Lucky Trimble, hears the word through a hole in a wall when another character says he saw a rattlesnake bite his dog, Roy, on the scrotum.

“Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much,” the book continues. “It sounded medical and secret, but also important.”"

read the rest of the article here.

o for crying out loud! at least lucky is in good company with holden caulfield and harry potter.

where do you stand with regard to names for genitalia and what is age-appropriate? my mother always felt that when we were old enough to ask we were old enough to know. as with other things, like alcohol, she felt that making things taboo made them mysterious and attractive in a subversive kind of way, and thus more likely to be problematic later in life. i think it worked well for me. meanwhile, my american friends always laugh when i say 'bottom' instead of 'ass' (or 'ar$e') :-)

guess who?

this is somebody incredibly famous, in the western world at least. i did not recognise him, but the experts say that this is definitely a photograph from the early part of his life. so who do you think he is?

the last thursday thirteen :-(

Thirteen Favourite Albums from Ravaj

i just read on the TT website that they are closing down. no idea why. it was a great idea. maybe it grew too big? or too expensive to run? in any case, i've enjoyed the thoughts and limited contact with other TT-ers.

meanwhile, here are 13 albums that i love. some are all-time favourites. some are recent discoveries. most of them show how stuck in the past i am today. i almost added lily allen's debut - alright still - but am still working on that. i bought it because of the cover she made of a track from the specials' album, and i think she has been listening quite a lot to her daddy's record collection :-) i like the ska background in a lot of the tracks. i like her anger re failed relationships :-) as i said, i'm working on it.

1. The End of the Holiday by Chava Alberstein
(i saw chava alberstein in concert in green bay wisconsin a few years ago and this album was the one that provided most of the music.)

2. Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles
(this album was the first i ever owned)

3. Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie
(if i had to pick just one of these all-time this would be the one. where were the spiders?)

4. No Need to Argue by The Cranberries
(the voice of dolores o'riordan just does something to me)

5. New Boots and Panties by Ian Dury and the Blockheads
(ian dury (in brighton) was one of the first concerts i ever went to (although the very first was the tom robinson band supported by stiff little fingers))

6. The Luxury Gap by Heaven 17
(temptation is one of my favourite of all-time. love singing along with let me go as well :-) . hell, the whole first side is brilliant. yes i am old i know cds don't have sides go back to your i-pod)

7. Ague pa'la Gente by Hip Hop Hoodios
(jewish-latino rap. really good for listening to when trying to walk fast)

8. Ingenue by K D Lang
(she won my heart at radio city music hall, and this is my favourite album of hers)

9. What's the Story Morning Glory? by Oasis
(i refused to listen to brit-pop boy bands. my friend edh gave me the cd as a gift. now a perennial favourite)

10. Barnum Original Broadway Cast Recording (Jim Dale)
(the experience of seeing barnum on broadway was one of the most exciting musical theatre experiences in my life so far (tied only with guys and dolls at the national theatre in london))

11. Laughter Through Tears by Oy Va Voi
(i have no memory how i found this album but i love it. officially listed as klezmer, but so much more than that. even my mother enjoyed them ... we went to a lunchtime concert at the albert hall and it turned out to be these guys)

12. The Specials by The Specials
(this is what i was listening to as a teenager. and madness ... 2tone music. this is why i knew nothing of the cars, or the talking heads, or whatever my american peers liked)

13. Cafe Bleu by The Style Council
(paul weller in any era, but as a complete album, this is my favourite)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

leeds 0-0 qpr

after the shame of 11 days ago, here i am happy we did not lose. from the commentary it sounded like if we had a half-way decent forward, we could have taken all the points. nevertheless, one dared not hope for even one point before kickoff.

why are the best pix on the offish always of lee cook? apart from the fact that he has consistently been our best player all season of course :-)

anyway, this week the pendulum swings back towards hope. also, wore no fan regalia whatsoever. could that be the secret? and isn't it amazing how quickly the pain of last week fades when treated with the healing balm of gaining a point away?

another nail in the coffin of socialism

the maxim that has meant the most to me has always been: from each according to his/her ability, to each according to her/his need.

i see in today's grauniad that kibbutz degania, the oldest in the history of israel, has voted for privatisation.

allan shapiro, a long-time resident, was quoted as saying: "I feel sad and in a way I am nostalgic for the traditional kibbutz, but I have to realise that I am nostalgic for my dream of a community that I had before I came. We depended on loyalty to the community and ideology to take the place of the market," he said. "The socialist part was really sort of minor here. The important thing was that there were Jews working the land with their own hands and if there was a search for anything it was a search for community."

i too feel sad and nostalgic, although i think i felt like that 25 years ago when i was living on a kibbutz. already then the grandchildren of the founders had neither memory nor experience of the early days of hardship and toil. they wished not for the advent of running water, but for american sneakers. i remember my very first day at work, dressed in shabby blue work clothes that had been worn by many before me. as we bounced around in the truck on our way to the grapefruit trees, i wondered why we weren't singing pioneer songs (hey, i was 18!). at 8 am, after 2 hours in the sun being yelled at by our overseer and shlepping grapefruits from tree to truck, i was a little less naive :-)

one giant step back

woke up to the news that the leaders of the anglican communion have given the american episcopalian branch about 7 months to ban blessings of same sex unions. this is where i read it.

the leader of the communion, the archbishop of canterbury, said: (this is) “an interim solution that certainly falls very short of resolving all the disputes.”

the article notes that: "The primates said their instructions were intended to reassure other Anglicans “who have lost faith in the Episcopal Church,” to minister to conservative Episcopalians who have rebelled against their leadership’s more liberal stance and ultimately to curtail efforts by bishops from other countries to take over parishes within the United States."

hmmmm ... in the usa they are fighting right now about who gets to keep the property if conservative parishes try to secede from the episcopal church.

i'm sorry, i need to rant for a moment:


i think that libby purves and i are actually on the same page.

ok. rant curtailed. for now.

meanwhile, in the times ruth gledhill reports that there are plans to reunite the anglican church with the roman catholics under the leadership of the pope. she writes:

"Were this week’s discussions to lead to a split between liberals and conservatives, many of the former objections in Rome to a reunion with Anglican conservatives would disappear. Many of those Anglicans who object most strongly to gay ordination also oppose the ordination of women priests.

Rome has already shown itself willing to be flexible on the subject of celibacy when it received dozens of married priests from the Church of England into the Catholic priesthood after they left over the issue of women’s ordination."

ruth discusses the issue more in her blog

Monday, February 19, 2007

marlee matlin on the L word

hmmmm ... scribe grrl on after ellen called last night's ep a 'dry heave'. have to say that i'm not sure how she meant it but it did not sound like a compliment. d & i, however, watched the beginning of the show again the 2nd time showtime ran it just to see bette & jodi together again. i have always had a vague yearning to learn sign language. i know a few words, of course mostly rude ones. i used to lust after the signer in the velvet dress at the indigo girls' concerts at wolf trap :-)

the question is: which version of sign language should i learn?

let me back up a bit ... every 2 years at the wrn biennial, i meet a colleague from california who is profoundly deaf. she lip reads so well that when we first met, she told me that i had an accent, and the second time we met, she was able to mock me by imitating my accent. extremely cool.

anyway, a few years ago the biennial was in london, and while we were there, r was invited to speak with a deaf group there. it turns out that american sign language and english sign language are two completely different languages ... and they needed a translator.

meanwhile, i am afraid i am getting a bit of a crush on marlee matlin's character. time to go to bed :-) here is the official showtime portrait from the screensaver for you. ok, for me!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

year of the pig

according to my date of birth, i am the year of the rabbit/hare. kind of apt, eh? rabbiT//RAVaj :-) i do not really understand chinese astrology, but then i have not (yet?) studied it. thus, i can only offer yahoo as a starting point for your own exploration.

meanwhile, may i wish you a happy chinese new year - full of health and good fortune.

in honour of this festival, here is my favourite pig, perhaps seeking out his secret self?

common words

i have no idea how long this has been going around, but my friend seth just sent it to me and i laughed out loud and immediately wanted to perpetuate its travels :-)

"Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in
which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

The winners are:

Coffee (n.), The person upon whom one coughs.

Flabbergasted (adj.), Appalled over how much weight you have gained.

Abdicate (v.), To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

Esplanade (v.), To attempt an explanation while drunk.

Willy-nilly (adj.), Impotent.

Negligent (adj.) Describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

Lymph (v.), To walk with a lisp.

Gargoyle (n.), Olive-flavored mouthwash.

Flatulence (n.), Emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

Balderdash (n.), A rapidly receding hairline.

Testicle (n.), A humorous question on an exam.

Rectitude (n.), The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

Pokemon (n), A Rastafarian proctologist.

Oyster (n.), A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

Circumvent (n.), An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

The Washington Post's Style Invitational also asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are this year's winners:

Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people
that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

Inoculatte (v): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

Hipatitis (n): Terminal coolness.

Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

Karmageddon (n): It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

Glibido (v): All talk and no action.

Dopeler effect (n): The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating."

Saturday, February 17, 2007

wtf have they done to xena?

ok, it is a publicity shot for lucy lawless, but still ... i guess i'm just a sucker for the good old days:

give me a couple of weeks, and i am sure i will calm down about blogging pix. meanwhile, i do really prefer xena to lucy in the sky with backlighting

ken levine was tagged ...

... and I cannot sleep, so I am going to do his quiz:

• A-Available/Single? Valentine's Day is gone so I can say yes
• B-Best Friend? oldest and bestest is Liz
• C-Cake or Pie? my mother's cranberry cheesecake
• D-Drink Of Choice? I would choose Stoli & cranberry juice, but apparently it's not so good for diabetics boo hiss
• E-Essential Item You Use Everyday? My black sneakers
• F-Favorite Color? Blue & White Hoops, and purple
• G-Gummy Bears Or Worms? Worm heads are more satisfactory to bite off
• H-Hometown? Where my family is
• I-Indulgence? Downloading music videos from I-Tunes
• J-January Or February? January - QPR are still in the FA Cup then
• K-Kids & Their Names? If I ever get to name a kid I will try not to name it after a laundry detergent or a cartoon mermaid
• L-Life Is Incomplete Without? My father
• M-Marriage Date? I think the legal rights are more important
• N-Number Of Siblings? 2
• O-Oranges Or Apples? Apple, for computers and good old scrumpy cider
• P-Phobias/Fears? jellyfish, sharks and thunderstorms, oh my
• Q-Favorite Quote? You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your being
• R-Reason to Smile? Panda bears
• S-Season? a pinch of salt and no pepper, but lots of garlic
• T-Tag Three or Four People? I don't know how to tag
• U-Unknown Fact About Me? I own some pairs of shoes with heels
• V-Vegetable you don't like? tinned green beans
• W-Worst Habit? Staying up late doing quizzes and other blog stuff
• X-X-rays You've Had? squish squish
• Y-Your Favorite Food? Potato in almost any form
• Z-Zodiac Sign? Jungfrau

posting photos on the blog

at first, i only knew how to blog pictures from flickr. but i am cheap/poor, and didn't pay them so i had a limit to how many pix i could store there.

today blogger suggested i upgrade to their new version. hmmmmm, i thought, maybe now i can do better with uploading pix! i am descended from luddites and yet i was somehow able to find my way to the faq. i couldn't, however, make any sense out of what i read there. there was supposed to be a button to press, but i could not find it (story of my life ;-) ).


a kind poster in the help group suggested that i abandon my beloved safari and switch to firefox, and that should solve my problems.

i did.
and it did.
feeling like i'm something pretty special at the moment!

hip hip HURRAH.

Friday, February 16, 2007

sheridan morley r.i.p.

sheridan morley, author, broadcaster and critic, has died. he was quite young - only 65. my favourite quotes from the telegraph obit follow, but please read the whole of it here.

he was named sheridan after a character in one of my favourite plays of all-time (although i have only seen the movie) - the man who came to dinner. i used to enjoy reading his reviews in the paper. here are some anecdotes from the telegraph piece:

"Morley recounted how, one Sunday in 1939, with Europe on the brink of war, Gielgud returned to a friend's home carrying the newspapers and wearing a devastated look. When asked if war had been declared, he responded: "Oh, I don't know anything about that, but Gladys Cooper has just got the most terrible reviews!"

"Morley recalled an occasion in the 1980s when, walking along Piccadilly with Gielgud, they spotted Margaret Thatcher, then at the height of her powers, coming towards them. As they both knew her slightly, they stopped. Gielgud asked where she was now living. "No 10, Downing Street," replied the Prime Minister with some surprise. "Oh, you women!" exclaimed Gielgud, full of admiration. "Always so clever at buying the right kind of property!""

"He once interviewed Mrs Thatcher when she was a junior minister for pensions. "It has been said, Mrs Thatcher," he began, "that England is a great place to live if you are neither very poor nor black." "Well, I'm not, am I?" she replied with finality."

shabbat shalom

ok, i know it is a video from chabad, and i am not endorsing them, but i am appreciating their use of the i-pod ads and enjoying a bit of yiddishkeit on shabbat. i hope you do too. gut shabbes!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

jerusalem registers its first gay couple

2006 avi&alistair are married!
Originally uploaded by ravaj.
go avi, go binyamin!

i know i have posted this picture before, but with the news this week that my liebling and his boy are legal spouses in israel, well, here they are again under the chuppah!

here are some news reports with details:

the jerusalem post
gay.com uk

on the other hand, there are plenty of angry voices against this. i post this as an example mainly because right after the report on the roses is one equating 'sodomites' and 'islamists'.

all i can say is that while we have free speech in this country, people with the beliefs demonstrated on the linked site fill me full of RAGE. not very loving, i know, but then r. hillel taught "what is hateful to you do not do to other people", not 'love your neighbour as yourself'.

anne frank could be alive today?

a story on various sites today - papers have come to light regarding otto frank's attempts to emigrate before he took his family into hiding. here it is in the london times. the sentence that grabbed me was:

"“Anne Frank could be a 77-year-old woman living in Boston today — a writer. That is what YIVO’s documents suggest,” Richard Breitman, a professor at the American University in Washington who has studied the document cache, said yesterday."

he goes on to say:

“The Frank family probably could have gotten out of the Netherlands even during much of the year 1941. But the decision to try hard came relatively late. The Nazis made it harder and harder over time and, by that time, the American Government was making it harder and harder for foreigners to get in.”

what blows my mind is the random nature of who survived and who did not. my family got out of germany relatively late, but they did make it into cuba and, eventually, they did make it into the usa. so i live. and anne does not. so bloody random.

thursday thirteen meme x

Thirteen of My Favourite Yankees

Here's the thing. First of all, as a QPR supporter, I know the pits, depths and abysses of fandom. I am loyal, and optimistic, and masochistic. I also suffer from many of the typical ailments of a fan, e.g., I have a piece of clover from the pitch in the early 1980's pressed in my teenage scrapbook, I keep detailed statistics of each game played in charts on my computer, and I have myriad items of team-related clothing whose status of being lucky/unlucky to wear depend on how we did the last time I was wearing them.

I tell you this because I do not wish you to think that I am a glory hunter.

Secondly, British tradition is that your primary team to support must be the one nearest to where you were born. Bearing this in mind, since I was born when we lived in Manhattan on W. 116th & Broadway, and the Giants had already gone west, I am a staunch supporter of the New York Yankees. Flame away ... then read my list:

2. Derek Jeter
4. Lou Gehrig
5. Jo DiMaggio
9. Roger Maris
18. Johnny Damon
20. Jorge Posada
21. Paul O'Neill
23. Don Mattingly
31. Dave Winfield
36. David Cone
42. Mariano Rivera
46. Andy Pettite
51. Bernie Williams

of these, Dave Winfield was the first Yankee I ever loved, and Bernie Williams has been my most favoured for the last 12 years or so :-)

PS I do know that MLB retired the number 42 in honour of Jackie Robinson, but Mo wore it before that.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

ah yes, torvill and dean ...

i don't know if i get nostalgic because it's a way of not dealing with the present, or if i hope that things i enjoy from the past will add energy to my present. probably a bit of both :-)

anyway, via the guardian weekly youtube blog i somehow ended up watching old torvill and dean triumphs. i liked them because they were from england and still amazing. actually i liked them because they were from nottingham (where i spent some years at uni). more than anything i liked them because they were brilliant. they totally changed their sport, from a kind of ballroom dancing on ice, to something that was still dance, but had athleticism and imagination. i was trying to choose between posting their version of bolero, and this particular piece. this piece won because barnum is one of my favourite musicals. oh, and feel free to move on after the scores ... the chat afterwards is a minute of your life you won't get back

Thursday, February 08, 2007

friendly fire death of british soldier in iraq

saw the video on pandagon, and here is the youtube link:


it is impossible to see what they are looking at, but the subtitles of the conversations are very clear. one pilot thinks there may be friendlies below, but the main command says there aren't any in the area. the pilots are told that the orange signs they see are actually rocket launchers, and that they are to destroy them. they obey, and just as they have fired their missiles, they get the news that there are actually friendlies in the area. in the second video, we hear their reaction. at the end, one of the pilots is weeping.

i am speechless.

ref auditions for city ballet

something today that made me smile. it is listed on youtube as camp gay referee - i prefer to describe his style for showing a yellow card as fabulous.

thursday thirteen meme ix

Thirteen Sports Books I Own & Love

1. Once More Around the Park by Roger Angell
2. Stan the Man: The Autobiography by Stanley Bowles
3. The Glory Game by Hunter Davies
4. Only a Game by Eamon Dunphy
5. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
6. The Life You Imagine by Derek Jeter
7. The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn
8. Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella
9. Ajax, the Dutch, the War by Simon Kuper
10. Sandy Koufax by Jane Leavy
11. The Miracle of Castel di Sangro by Joe McGinnis
12. The Natural by Bernard Malamud
13. Brilliant Orange by David Winner

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

fan loyalty across the world

re my intermittent references to the trials of being a loyal qpr fan, saw this story on the bbc today:

"A pregnant woman refused to enter a hospital maternity ward when she found out it had no TV as she wanted to watch the UAE v Oman Gulf Cup final. "I shall be back once my national team has won the coveted championship," she said. True to her word, she returned at the final whistle and named her child Matar after Ismail Matar who had scored the winning goal for UAE. (Khalej Times)"

as i recall, the one highlight of my summer visit to the hospital was that i had a tv by my bed (don't have tv at home) and was able to watch the opening match of the world cup :-)

Monday, February 05, 2007

ajax of amsterdam fc & its jewish connections

the times' football page has a new series of articles called 'the rivals' about explosive football matches. this week they discuss ajax vs feyenoord of rotterdam. early in the article, the author cites the well-known (in the football world) chants of the rival supporters:

"“Hamas, Hamas — Jews to the gas,” the Rotterdam contingent chant at their counterparts. “We are Super Jews,” comes the reply. Stars of David bedeck the Amsterdam ArenA."

nu - is ajax a jewish club? as in all matters of dutch football, i turn immediately to my old friend david winner, and his 2000 opus 'brilliant orange'. in chapter 15, he discusses the connections between the club and jews. he explains that while for hundreds of years amsterdam was as jewish a city as new york, and there was a strong jewish influence on amsterdam football, this was all destroyed during the nazi occupation. For a book-long examination of dutch football and the nazi occupation, do read 'ajax, the dutch, the war' by simon kuper. as far as i can see, while there is no longer any tangible connection between the amsterdam jewish community and the fans of ajax, these supporters have adopted jewish symbols as a way to celebrate their team.

my favourite quote from chapter 15 of david's book:

"... when Israeli transsexual Dana International won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song 'Viva La Diva', the occasion was celebrated by Ajax fans with a song of their own: 'We are the champions! Jews win everything!'"

goals goals goals :-)

QPR vs Burnley
Video sent by FootballHeaven
can one have too much of a good thing? not when it comes to lee cook et al scoring three against burnley ... moving pic is even better than the still one.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

audrey hepburn lives!

yes, i know, it is an ad for the gap store, but it's audrey hepburn dancing and she's gorgeous!

Elizabeth Tashjian R.I.P.

the life of another amazing and eccentric woman commemorated in today's ny times:

"By Douglas Martin

Elizabeth Tashjian, who debated whether she was a nut culturist or a nut artist, but was indisputably, well, nuts enough about nuts to win fame (but not fortune) as matriarch of the Nut Museum in Old Lyme, Conn., died last Sunday in Old Saybrook, Conn. She was 94. Ms. Tashjian hated being called “the Nut Lady” and died without fulfilling her dream of opening a nut theme park certain to surpass Disneyland. (Her reasoning: Squirrels are cuter than a certain mouse.) Her death was confirmed by Christopher B. Steiner, a professor of art history and museum studies at Connecticut College, who in 2002 rescued Ms. Tashjian’s nuts, nut art, nut jewelry and a Nativity scene made completely of nuts from being thrown away. That collection, the Nut Museum, had filled a room of Ms. Tashjian’s 17-room Gothic Revival mansion. The objects have since been in museum and library exhibitions. “She became a visionary avant-garde artist,” said Dr. Steiner, who is dedicated to preserving, interpreting and communicating Ms. Tashjian’s legacy. Dr. Steiner said that Ms. Tashjian began as an academic painter who liked nuts as a subject and started her museum in 1972 as a “cabinet of curiosity.” These “cabinets,” which emerged during the Renaissance, were rooms stuffed with intriguing objects about which people told stories. Or sang songs, in the case of Ms. Tashjian. She performed her composition “Nuts Are Beautiful,” the nut anthem, for visitors, to whom she also gave free cider and coffeecake. She told stories about a bearded dwarf dwelling within every peanut embryo. (Admission at first was one nut, later rising to $3 and one nut.)"

the obit includes a picture of her with her 35 lb coco de mer nut that looks like a bottom :-)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

qpr 3 - 1 burnley

2007 cook scores vs burnley
Originally uploaded by ravaj.
*lets out very long breath* a win and some goals as well. it is so hard to follow live, especially when the qpr site is fitted with anti-mac programmes :-(

nevertheless, on a day like today, WHO CARES?!

we love you rangers, we do ... even if i have to listen in my pyjamas for the rest of the season (see earlier post re [un]lucky clothes).

Friday, February 02, 2007

things about 1st september


1715 - King Louis XIV of France dies after a reign of 72 years—the longest of any major European monarch.
1752 - The Liberty Bell arrives in Philadelphia.
1897 - The Boston subway opens, becoming the first underground metro in North America.
1914 - St. Petersburg, Russia changes its name to Petrograd.
1972 - In Reykjavík, Iceland, American Bobby Fischer beats Russian Boris Spassky and becomes the world chess champion.


1711 - William IV, Prince of Orange (d. 1759)
1854 - Engelbert Humperdinck, German composer (d. 1921)
1875 - Edgar Rice Burroughs, American writer (d. 1950)
1922 - Yvonne De Carlo, Canadian-born actress (d. 2007)
1923 - Rocky Marciano, American boxer (d. 1969)
1933 - Ann W. Richards, American politician (d. 2006)
1935 - Seiji Ozawa, Japanese conductor
1939 - Lily Tomlin, American actress and comedian
1950 - Dr. Phil, American talk show host
1955 - Bruce Foxton, English bassist (The Jam)
1957 - Gloria Estefan, Cuban singer
1962 - Ruud Gullit, Dutch footballer
1962 - Tony Cascarino, English footballer


1067 - Baldwin V of Flanders
1256 - Kujo Yoritsune, Japanese shogun (b. 1218)
1581 - Guru Ram Das, fourth Sikh Guru (b. 1534)
1715 - King Louis XIV of France (b. 1638)
1967 - Siegfried Sassoon, English poet (b. 1886)
1977 - Ethel Waters, American singer (b. 1896)
2001 - Brian Moore British sports commentator (b. 1932)

Holidays and observances

New Zealand - National R.A.K. (Random Act of Kindness) Day
Russia - Knowledge Day.
Start of the season when oysters are fit to eat (when month names contain an "R").
Start of cold season.

a cure for cancer?

via battlepanda to the student printz (uni of s. mississippi news):

"Scientists cure cancer, but no one takes notice
David McRaney


Since the original publication of this article we have been inundated with responses from the public at all walks of life. It is important to note that research is ongoing with DCA, and not everyone is convinced it will turn out to be a miracle drug. There have been many therapies that were promising in vitro and in animal models that did not work for one reason or another in humans. To provide false hope is not our intention. There is a lot of information on DCA available on the web, and this column is but one opinion on the topic. We hope you will do your own research into the situation. So, we have added links to resources at the end of this column. If you are arriving here form a linking website like Fark, then those links will not appear because they tend to grab only the text. For those visitors, here is a link to the original research: www.depmed.ualberta.ca/dca


Scientists may have cured cancer last week.


So, why haven't the media picked up on it?

Here's the deal. Researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada found a cheap and easy to produce drug that kills almost all cancers. The drug is dichloroacetate, and since it is already used to treat metabolic disorders, we know it should be no problem to use it for other purposes.

Doesn't this sound like the kind of news you see on the front page of every paper?

The drug also has no patent, which means it could be produced for bargain basement prices in comparison to what drug companies research and develop.

Scientists tested DCA on human cells cultured outside the body where it killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells, but left healthy cells alone. Rats plump with tumors shrank when they were fed water supplemented with DCA.

Again, this seems like it should be at the top of the nightly news, right?

Cancer cells don't use the little power stations found in most human cells - the mitochondria. Instead, they use glycolysis, which is less effective and more wasteful.

Doctors have long believed the reason for this is because the mitochondria were damaged somehow. But, it turns out the mitochondria were just dormant, and DCA starts them back up again.

The side effect of this is it also reactivates a process called apoptosis. You see, mitochondria contain an all-too-important self-destruct button that can't be pressed in cancer cells. Without it, tumors grow larger as cells refuse to be extinguished. Fully functioning mitochondria, thanks to DCA, can once again die.

With glycolysis turned off, the body produces less lactic acid, so the bad tissue around cancer cells doesn't break down and seed new tumors.

Here's the big catch. Pharmaceutical companies probably won't invest in research into DCA because they won't profit from it. It's easy to make, unpatented and could be added to drinking water. Imagine, Gatorade with cancer control.

So, the groundwork will have to be done at universities and independently funded laboratories. But, how are they supposed to drum up support if the media aren't even talking about it?

All I can do is write this and hope Google News picks it up. In the meantime, tell everyone you know and do your own research.

This is a column of opinion written by Printz Executive Editor David McRaney. Comments can be sent to printz@usm.edu"

another urban myth, or a companion to electric cars and non-oil-based forms of fuel? if there is one thing i hate it is false hope - it's hard enough these days to find hope. yet this story is so appealing.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

thursday thirteen meme viii

Thirteen Poems I Like

1. A Poison Tree by William Blake
2. Todesfuge by Paul Celan
3. Poem by Judy Chicago
4. i carry your heart with me by e. e. cummings
5. I Felt a Funeral in my Brain by Emily Dickinson
6. In Flanders Fields by John McCrae
7. Teddy Bear by A. A. Milne
8. The Parable of the Old Man and the Young by Wilfrid Owen
9. Coda by Dorothy Parker
10. Daddy by Sylvia Plath
11. Not Waving but Drowning by Stevie Smith
12. Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(my father (z"l)'s favourite)
13. The World is Too Much With Us by William Wordsworth

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1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

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The Jewish school where half the pupils are Muslim

Just found this article in today's Independent newspaper. King David is a parochial school, and all the students learn Hebrew and say the Shema every day. The food is kosher and the educational standards are high, and Muslim parents are moving into the catchment area to give their children a chance of attending. The article ends with a quote from a local rabbi:

""King David School is amazing," says Rabbi Tann. "The reason I think it works well is that racism is engendered entirely by adults. Children don't have it within themselves. Their natural mode is to play happily with everyone. It's only when adults say, 'Don't play with him, he's black, or don't have anything to do with him, he's Muslim, that troubles begin.'

"We never have any racial or inter-faith problems at all. Not ever. In 20 years here, it's simply never happened in any significant way. We teach that if you don't like someone, you avoid them. Don't play with them. Go to the other side of the playground. I believe that if more people followed the lead of King David School, we'd have a much more peaceful world.""

Is it so simplistic to think that this kind of thing may be part of the answer?