Monthly Archives: April 2012

Pictures of the Day

Fellow blogger “Free Spirit” truly lives up to her name.  In her “Fabulous 50’s” blog, she emphasizes that, once you turn 40, you don’t have to be sedate and sedentary and do everything society expects of a proper citizen.  I’m just now discovering that.  Today, she embarks on her next great traveling adventure: a foray into Africa.  After centuries of exploration and colonization, Africa still seems to hold a great deal of mystery to the uneducated and unenlightened.  Africa, for example, is one of the largest land masses on Earth.  All of the United States, china and India, as well as most of Europe could fit into it.  Madagascar alone is about as large as the United Kingdom, which is slightly larger than the state of Alabama.  Africa also is home to some of the most advanced societies the ancient world has ever produced.  Egypt is the first that probably comes to most people’s minds, but there was also Nubia, Nok and Timbuktu; even Ghana and Sudan were home to highly-organized and well-structured kingdoms.  Considering Free Spirit’s eponymous journeys, here are just a few photographs of Africa, courtesy of National Geographic.

Limestone formation in Egypt’s White Desert. Photograph by Clemens Emmler.

South Africa’s Table Mountain. Photograph by Santjie Viljoen.

A Bururi long-fingered frog, last seen in Africa in 1949, and re-discovered in Burundi in December 2011. Photograph by David Blackburn.

Koranic Sankore University in Timbuktu, Mali. Timbuktu was a thriving center of scholarship instrumental to the spread of Islam in Africa. It retains three notable mosques and one of the world’s great collections of ancient manuscripts. Photograph by Naftali Hilger.

Avenue of the Baobabs, an area near Morondava, Madagascar, is all that remains of a once thick forest cleared for farmland. Growing 80 feet or more, baobabs are valued for fruit and bark. Photograph by Pascal Maitre.

A pink-hued, or strawberry-colored, male leopard wanders South Africa’s Madikwe Game Reserve. Tourists had seen the animal before, but only recently was it captured on film. Officials suspect the leopard has erythrism, a little-understood genetic condition that’s thought to cause either an overproduction of red pigments or an underproduction of dark pigments. Photograph by Deon De Villiers.

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Quote of the Day

“After Barack Hussein Obama suddenly cast-off his Muslim roots, rejected his mother’s disbelief in God, turned tail on the Islam of his early life and converted to Christianity – BLAM – he’s elected President.”

– Republican congressional candidate Joseph Wurzelbacher, better known as “Joe the Plumber,” in a letter he plans to distribute to churches during his campaign.

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Blind Man Mutilated By Staff at Hospital

Every time I hear of a hate crime committed in the U.S. I’m as angered as I am frustrated.  Even after 2 centuries of civil rights activism and legislation, occasionally an incident occurs that just smacks of blatant racism and disrespect.  The Trayvon Martin case in Florida has captured the nation’s attention recently, but not because the alleged perpetrator is a self-proclaimed White supremacist.  The lackluster reaction from the local police is what aggravated the victim’s family.  But, there are other more glaring cases of racist activity, often at the hands of people we’re supposed to trust.  One such recent event comes out of Rapid City, South Dakota.

In August 2011, Vernon Traversie, a 68-year-old member and resident of South Dakota’s Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, suffered a heart attack while at the Heart Doctors office in Rapid City.  They immediately sent him a few blocks away to Rapid City Regional Hospital for emergency surgery.  Traversie, who is blind, said, “I was supposed to have emergency surgery on my heart, but they (the hospital) had scheduling problems.  Every night they would prep me for surgery which went on for four or five days.  Every night they would shave my chest and stomach and wouldn’t feed me.”

Traversie said he didn’t even know what was done to him until a RCRH employee came into his room and advised him to have pictures taken of his torso as soon as he got home.  He says she told him that she could not testify for him, but that her conscience got the better of her and she didn’t agree with what they did to him.

Last Real Indians, a site dedicated to raising awareness of Native American issues, asked Joyce Anderson, a retired surgical nurse from Baptist Hospital in Little Rock, AR, to view a photograph of Traversie’s injuries.  “It appears the area under the incision was done with a scalpel for drainage of the incision,” Anderson says.  “The other wounds seem to be necrotic, meaning the tissue is dead. This could indicate the wounds were burned into his skin.”

Traversie has no resources for an attorney but did say council member, Ryman Lebeau, and Tribal Chairman Kevin Keckler are trying to get an attorney for him.  “Those Ks are causing me pain still,” he adds, noting that “not all White people are like this.”  Still, he emphasizes, “And, I have to live with that on my stomach the rest of my life.”

Here is a video Traversie made detailing his experiences at the hospital.

This Facebook page also has been established to help push for a legal resolution to the matter.

Since this appears to be a hate crime, a federal inquiry may be warranted, which means the U.S. Justice Department and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder could be drawn into the matter – just as with the Trayvon Martin case.  Since Traversie also is blind and 68, charges for abuse of a disabled and elderly individual also could apply.  All the legislation and affirmative action programs won’t eliminate bigotry and racial prejudice.  But, in the current environment, no one has to tolerate it anymore.  Native Americans and Hispanics, especially, have been too conciliatory over the years.  Whenever incidents like this occur, we can’t just get upset – we need to get mad!

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April 28, 2012 – 236 days Until Baktun 12

Survivalist Tip:  Another vegetable you might consider adding to your culinary stockpile are cucumber.  If you’re already getting sexually excited, you’re either a middle-aged woman who’s finally reached her prime, or a lonely gay man.  Either way, take a cold shower and settle down!  Cucumbers are among the most widely cultivated vegetables in the world.  They are rich in lignans, a chemical that acts as an antioxidant, which I’ve mentioned before is essential to overall health.  But, research has shown that lignans in particular are connected with reduced cardiovascular disease and reductions in various cancers.  Cucumbers have plenty of other health benefits. 

  • They help keep the body hydrated, since they are 96% water.  This assists in regulating body temperature and flushing out toxins.  They won’t help to flush out the lazier members of your posse, but you can use a cucumber to knock these people upside the head.
  • They are high in Vitamin A, B and C and, along with other minerals like magnesium and potassium, aid in skin care.  Skins from a cucumber can even help reduce the trauma your own skin may encounter from sunburns, high winds and getting into fights over chocolate.
  • The elevated levels of potassium and magnesium in cucumbers can regulate blood pressure.  Your blood pressure already will be at risk as you struggle to survive at the start of the new Baktun.
  • Cucumbers, especially cucumber juice, can help with digestive disorders like acidity, heartburn and even ulcers.  Again, with all the crap you’ll be dealing with, heartburn will be a certain threat.
  • With such high water content, they act as a diuretic.  This encourages the elimination of waste products from your body, like gingivitis and memories of a bad marriage.
  • Cucumber seeds especially are excellent in combating tapeworms.  In the chaos of the apocalypse, water supplies will be in danger, so this will come in handy.
  • The high silica content in cucumbers helps to strengthen nails.  This will be important should you have to dig a grave in a hurry, or cart off boxes of bottled water. 

Cucumbers maintain their viability for a long time, too, so you don’t have to worry about them spoiling right away.  Even after things settle down in the “New Universe,” you’ll need to maintain good health.  Bad memories shouldn’t linger with the shift in the Earth’s axes, but why take the chance?

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Today’s Notable Birthdays

If your birthday is today, “Happy Birthday!”

 

Author Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) is 86.

 

Actress Ann-Margret (Carnal Knowledge, Tommy, Viva Las Vegas, Grumpy Old Men) is 71.

 

Actress Marcia Strassman (Welcome Back Kotter, Honey I Shrunk the Kids) is 64.

 

TV talk show host Jay Leno, The Tonight Show, is 62.

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On April 28…

1758 – James Monroe, the 5th President of the United States, was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia.

 

1788 – Maryland entered the United States of America, as the 7th state.

1789 – A rebel crew took over the British ship H.M.S. Bounty and set sail to Pitcairn Island.

 

1897 – The Chickasaw and Choctaw nations become the first to agree to abolish tribal government and communal land ownership.

 

1932 – Max Theiler and Eugen Haagen announced they’d discovered a vaccine against yellow fever.

1945 – Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, were executed.

1947 – Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl set sail from the Peruvian coast in the 45-foot Kon Tiki to prove that early Peruvian and Polynesian seafarers traversed the Pacific Ocean.  The 4,300-mile voyage concluded 101 days later when Heyerdahl arrived on Raroia in the Tuamotu Islands.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Picture of the Day

Shuttle Enterprise being flown over Manhattan.  See more photos here.

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Quote of the Day

“If you are to give us aid for men and men or for women and women to marry, leave it; we don’t need your aid because, as long as I am the President of The Gambia, you will never see that happen in this country.  One thing we will never compromise, for whatever reason, is the integrity of our culture, our dignity and our sovereignty.  As a member of the international community, we would abide by the international conventions that we have signed, but as a country, we will pass legislation that will preserve our culture, our humanity, our dignity and our identity as Africans, West Africans and Gambians.”

– Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, adding that no amount of foreign aid would compel him to “offend God” by endorsing what is “evil and unholy;” that is, accepting homosexuals as they are.

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PEN Relaunches Its “Atlas”

PEN International is an organization founded in 1921 to promote freedom of expression through literature.  It has 140 affiliates in more than 100 countries and a gallery of more than 20,000 writers across the globe; some who are just starting out and others who are well-established and well-known.  Their more notable members include: 

Chinua Achebe; Margaret Atwood; Isabel Allende; Aung San Suu Kyi; Josef Brodsky; J. M. Coetzee; Joseph Conrad; Anatole France; Nadine Gordimer; Vaclav Havel; Hu Shih; Danilo Kiš; Halldor Laxness; Liu Xiaobo; Mario Vargas Llosa; Amin Maalouf; François Mauriac; Naguib Mahfouz; Thomas Mann; Arthur Miller; Czesław Miłosz; Alberto Moravia; Toni Morrison; Kenzaburo Oe; Harold Pinter; and Salman Rushdie. 

They promote the freedom to write and the freedom to read.  Recently, PEN International re-launched the PEN Atlas, “its portal for international news.”

“The PEN Atlas is your gateway to a world of literature.  Every Thursday, we post literary dispatches from around the world, showcasing the very best international writers.  We hope to bring new insights into the rich literary landscape that may be found beyond the English language.  The amount of foreign literature published in English is far too low.  We hope the PEN Atlas inspire literature lovers to sample new writing from other countries, and encourage publishers to bring that writing to the British market.  The goals of the PEN Atlas:

  • To promote literature as a means of intercultural understanding by providing a forum for writers (publishers, translators, booksellers, bloggers, critics) to share their appreciation of writing from a wide range of languages and cultures.
  • To add to the internationalism of the UK literary arena by bringing world writing to an English-language audience.
  • To overcome cultural boundaries within today’s diverse English society by creating a resource which supports English PEN’s programmes’ and values.

All content is commissioned and edited by Tasja Dorkofikis, who will be inviting a wide range of contributors from around the world about to give their views on contemporary and emerging literature.”

I’m so glad to have discovered this organization.  As an avid reader and free speech advocate, I know nothing liberates people from political, religious and economic oppression like the freedom to speak out and read and write what they want.  We take these basic human rights for granted in developed nations, but even just a cursory glance at such places like China and Syria will make anyone realize how significant free speech is.

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