Monday, 31 July 2006

I'm a descendant of Jesus Christ


Kathleen McGowan is having a stressful week.

Her children are on school holidays, she has a suitcase full of dirty washing still to tackle after a recent trip... oh, and ever since she announced she was a direct descendant of a physical union between Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ, her phone hasn’t stopped ringing.

As the author of a new book which is set to storm the bestseller list, to the delight of its publishers and the fury of some academics and church leaders, this mother of three might have expected some fuss.

But the extraordinary story of how a 43-year-old middle-class working mother woke one morning and, urged by a dream, left her children and mystified husband to fly on a quest to Israel is itself stranger than fiction.

The fact that she funded her trip by entering a TV quiz show and then selling her collection of designer shoes on eBay adds an enthralling twist to the plot. But, a decade on, Kathleen McGowan’s tremendous gamble has paid off handsomely.

I must say she's the dead spit of him -- even down to the jesus boots !!

Hold on .. who's supposed to be the descendant of Jesus Christ?

Missing Persons - National Center for Missing Adults. (NCMA)

U.S. Citizens - please read this ...
I have received a request to post a link to this web site and ask my American visitors to also please visit this site. It is run by a woman who has done much to raise the profile of missing persons cases - particularly missing adults - and she is now looking for help from people in the USA.
Any help would be greatly appreciated but the least it will take is a letter to your Senator.

I ask you to also write to your US Senator as a minimum. You may use my letter as a template or craft your own. Next, forward the link to this blog entry or a letter of your own to people you know who will take action.For those who might be wondering, no, those online petitions will not help, contrary to popular belief. Lawmakers need to hear directly from their constituents. Electronic and unverifiable signatures will not suffice.The NCMA has been there for all of us who live in the not knowing. They need our help and support now. Don’t let this happen. Take action, please.

Thank you.

I was just gearing up to writing again when I stumbled across a new blog by the founder of the National Center for Missing Adults. The blog entry stated that the center is in danger of shutting down. Doing something about this trumped writing about my feelings. The entry about the National Center is a few posts below this one, on 7/10/06.
Hundreds and hundreds of concerned persons took this specific cause under their wing. Many of them have a missing person in their life, but to our surprise, many of them did not. While, we still don’t know to what degree this campaign has affected the center, we do know that it has. Our readers gave the employees hope to continue in their very worthy work. We will continue to work together to find answers and even better yet, solutions to keep the center open.

Sunday, 30 July 2006

Jazz in the gardens.

Another pleasant sunny afternoon spent listening to jazz at Mount Stewart - with a nice glass of Rosé d'Anjou. On the way down we had the most amazing cloudburst - the rain was so heavy roads were flooded within a couple of minutes and I had to pull into a car park until it eased off a bit, but when we got to Mount Stewart there wasn't a drop of rain (thankfully). Well not until it was time to go home. Sadly there will only be 2 more of these events this year but we do have a couple of Classical music events coming up.

Desolation Row

Bastards! Wouldn't even let me have a drop of beer - then they buggered off and left me with the bill.

Photo Opportunity?

I don't think I would want to stand where she is standing.

Penis Pokey

Book Description
This book contains no nudity. No profanity. No sexual material of any kind. And yet it just might be the most obscene thing we've ever published!

Penis Pokey is an illustrated board book with a large die-cut hole in its center. Every spread features a dazzling full-color illustration with one thing missing—a banana, perhaps, or a fire hose, or a sea serpent. Male readers can complete the illustrations using the talents God has given them.

Are we serious? Yes! Is this funny? Absolutely!

Oh Yeah? -- let's see how funny it is when John Thomas swells up and gets stuck. I, for one, will be laughing my ass off :-)

Zaky Infant Pillow

If you’ve ever wished for a “hand” to leave behind so that your baby would feel as if you’ve never left the room, your prayers have been answered with the Zaky.

The Zaky is an ergonomic infant pillow designed by a mom to mimic the size, weight, touch, and feel of her hand and forearm to help her baby with comfort, support, protection, and development. The Zaky can help calm your baby and help your baby sleep better through the night.

The Zaky is also great when you have to leave your baby with someone else - at your baby’s daycare facility, when he stays with a babysitter, or goes to visit his grandparents. The Zaky will provide a constant and familiar support giving your baby a sense of security. The Zaky also assists the caregivers on positioning your baby and your baby will feel and smell mom.

The "Chapel Oak" is the most famous tree of France. It is located in Allouville-Bellefosse, a small village not far from Rouen in Normandy. Not only is it one of the oldest and biggest trees in France, it is also a religious monument and an object of pilgrimage. In it are two small chapels one above the other. Together with the large wooden staircase leading up to the chapels it is one of the most curious Roman Catholique sanctuaries all over Europe. As early as 1830, a description of the tree was published: "In the cemetary of Allouville, one can see this oak, one of the wonders of France. At its base it is 15.24 meters in circumference and at the height of a human, it is 7.32 meters. This tree is more than 900-years-old. Since 1696, the hollow base of the tree has been used as a little shrine to the Holy Mary.

In 1669 the priest of Allouville , Abbot Du Détroit and father Du Cerceau decided to build a chapel in the already big and hollow oak, with a small altar with an image of the Virgin Mary. The chapel was dedicated to " Our Lady of Peace ". Later on a second chapel was arranged above the first and an entrance - staircase added. A hermit seems to have lived for some time in it.

During the French revolution, some wanted to burn the tree, but the villagers opposed this. The tree is a greater monument than any building, and many generations of people may find a moment to reflect at its chapel and under its foliage" (Le Vieux Chene D'Allouville, 1830.)

Parts of the tree are dead, the crown has become smaller and smaller over the last century and dead parts of the trunk are sheltered by wooden slates. The oak is supported with poles and cables. Since 1854 the Mass is read twice a year near the oak: on the second of july ( the Patron-Saint's Day ) and on the day after the first Holy Communion.
Link 1: Link 2:

Bearded Seal enjoying French Cuisine!

LE HAVRE, France (AFP) - A bearded seal, a species usually found in the cold waters of the Arctic circle, has been spotted in the river Seine in France where he is believed to have set up home in the spring, an animal expert told AFP.

"In two centuries, this is the second time a seal of this species, recognisable by its long moustache, has been reported in France and in the first case it was dead," said Alain Beaufils, the head of the CHENE centre for wild animals in Allouville in the north of the country.

"It's a young two-year-old male which must weigh 150 kilograms (330 pounds) and which has put on weight since he arrived judging by the photos," he added.

The animal seems in good health and is believed to have been enjoying a diet of fish, shellfish and crustaceans in the river, which runs 780 kilometres (485 miles) from its source south of Paris to its mouth on the English Channel.

The seal was spotted for the first time in May near the northern town of Rouen but has since negotiated a number of locks and has been reported at a different locations.

"He must be hot, especially at the moment, but he obviously isn't trying to get back to the north," added Beaufils.


Friday, 28 July 2006

... for MLL

... and the sheep is ...

Nowhere Man

I lit a fire, isn’t it good … John Lennon, Norwegian Wood

Arthur Brown

We didn’t start the fire … Billy Joel

If you thought the Da Vinci Code was a load of balls ...

Ulster author claims direct lineage from Mary Magdalene

Sean O'Driscoll in New York

A former Belfast author who believes she is descended from Jesus and Mary Magdalene has signed a three-book deal worth nearly two million dollars.

The first book by Kathleen McGowan went on sale in the US yesterday and follows the massive success of Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code, which claims there are living descendants of Christ's relationship with his disciple, the former prostitute Mary Magdalene.
McGowan's claim to be a bloodline descendent of Jesus and Mary Magdalene is likely to prove controversial. The mother-of-three says she drew on her own family connections to write the partly autobiographical novel, which documents the search for a gospel written by Mary Magdalene.

Speaking from Dublin yesterday, Ms McGowan said that she was sick of people comparing her book to The DaVinci Code.
"Of course the books are going to be placed together, but when people are comparing one against the other, it drives me crazy," she said.
McGowan said she was delighted with her new financial success. "After years of selling my shoes on eBay or going on quiz shows, it's reassuring but it's only an advance, the books have to sell," she said.

McGowan worked for years in Belfast and has written extensively on Northern Ireland politics and the arts. She is now living in Los Angeles, where she signed a seven-figure deal with Simon & Schuster. The first book, The Expected One, comes with a marketing budget of more than a quarter of a million pounds and a US print run of 250,000 copies.
McGowan said she decided to write her story in novel form to protect her sources, but said her account is more honest than if it was simply a non-fiction book.
She said she cannot prove a direct lineage from her family to Jesus and Mary Magdalene, but her research had shown traditions within certain families that link them to the "divine union".
"It would be impossible to trace all the way back, but when you research it, you see the story is carried in certain families and it's a very real tradition," she said.
"I'm not saying that I'm the only person on earth descendant from Jesus and I think some of the Press has misrepresented that.
"I'm saying that after 2,000 years, there could be a million descendants. The guy bagging your groceries could be a descendant."

The book controversially claims Mary Magdalene was first married to John The Baptist.
McGowan claims her lineage can be traced to France where the descendants of Mary Magdalene are alleged to have been raised, at least according to the claims in The DaVinci Code. Although a medieval legend claims Mary Magdalene settled in the south of France following Jesus's crucifixion, it is widely discredited by religious scholars.
In her own book, McGowan changes her name to Maureen Pascal and travels the world in search of a hidden set of scrolls.

After working in Belfast, the author later spent five years in Walt Disney Films marketing department and worked as a "script doctor" and film consultant.
On her website, a biography said McGowan had moved to Northern Ireland at the age of 21 to work as a reporter.
"She worked as a staff writer and editor for a number of publications and was ultimately the Editor-in-Chief of The Irish News," it said.

That last claim had Belfast journalists scratching their heads today. A spokesperson for the Irish News in Belfast said: "We can confirm that Kathleen McGowan was never editor of the Irish News nor a senior editor and we have no record of her working as a staff member at the Irish News."

Actually I am now totally confused ... this piece of reporting is so badly written I have lost the plot!

Boy (8) makes beetle discovery in Down

Linda McKee

An eight-year-old boy has managed to confound the scientists after discovering a species of beetle never seen before in Ireland.
The child found the beetle during an Insect Walk at Castlewellan Country Park in Co Down.
And according to the scientists who identified the insect for him, we can expect to see more and more new species of insect making their way across from mainland Britain, thanks to increasing trade and global warming.
Scientist Dr Roy Anderson was teaching a group of children about the world of minibeasts during National Insect Week, which ran last month.
But halfway through the walk, an eight-year-old boy handed him a strange-looking beetle.
"This young lad came up to me with a beetle I couldn't identify immediately," Dr Anderson said.
"It was too large to be the species of woodland ground beetle most common to Ireland. The insect was shiny dark and the thorax had a clear reddish margin."
The beetle was identified as Leistus rufomarginatus (Duftschmid), a species previously unrecorded in Ireland. Although first recorded in England in 1942, the beetle was only found in Scotland in 1994 and then the Isle of Man in 1997.
"Given the way these beetles are spreading it isn't too surprising that they've now arrived in Ireland. Castlewellan is less than 10 miles from the coast, which in turn is just 30 miles from the Isle of Man," Dr Anderson said.
"In the last thirty years at least three other insects from Scotland or North Western England have appeared in Ireland. We suspect this number will increase as global trade and even global warming continues to make itself felt."
Jim Hardie, president of the Royal Entomological Society, which organised National Insect Week, said: "This incident just goes to show how accessible insects are, how little we often know and how rewarding links between amateur and professional entomologists can be."
Archie Murchie of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, who organised the walk, said insects are fascinating and important creatures.

The beetle has been identified but the boy hasn't!

Whale's body to be moved by crane

The body of a whale which beached in County Antrim is to be moved from the shoreline by crane.
Larne Borough Council said the remains of the fin whale will be disposed of at a rendering plant in Lisburn.
The young mammal had been stranded for three days at Larne Lough, as rescuers tried to coax it back out to sea.
It was put down after beaching on Thursday. The animal could not be buried at the site due to high levels of barbiturates in its blood.
There was concern they could get into the food chain. Tissue samples have been taken from the whale for a post mortem examination.

According to the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group it was the first record of a fin whale in Northern Ireland's waters for nearly 100 years.


.... and they'll not be too keen to come back again!!

Previous Story:

Miracle fountain.

Locals in Pope John Paul II's hometown of Wadowice, Poland, believed a miracle had happened when water began spouting from the base of the statue.

Word soon spread across the country with pilgrims travelling from all over to the tiny town to fill up bottles with the liquid.
But their belief in what they thought was a "Godly experience" was shattered by town mayor Eva Filipiak who admitted the local council had installed a pipe beneath the statue, reported daily Dziennik.

"We didn't mean anything by it, it was just supposed to make the statue look prettier," said Filipiak.

Bruce, Bruce & ..... Bruce.

Three escaped prisoners were recaptured in Australia after they flagged down an unmarked police car.
The men, aged 19, 20 and 27, allegedly broke out of Warakirri Correctional Centre at Ivanhoe, New South Wales, reports
They managed to travel more than 125 miles - but were arrested when they waved down the unmarked police car at Buronga.
The trio were taken to Dareton Police Station and have been charged with escaping from lawful custody.


Cyrano de Bergerac

Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac (March 6, 1619 – July 28, 1655)
was a French dramatist born in Paris, who is now best remembered for the many works of fiction which have been woven around his life story, most notably the play by Edmond Rostand which bears his name. In those fictional works he is featured with an overly large nose.

Life and works
Cyrano was born into an old Parisian family and spent much of his childhood in Saint-Forget (now Yvelines). He went to school in Paris and spent his adult life there when he was not on campaign. He was not, therefore, a Gascon, but many of his fellow-soldiers would have been. The myth of his Gascon origins may even have been cultivated by him during his lifetime, since the swash-buckling manners of the Gascon soldiers were much admired in his day. The real Cyrano de Bergerac had, in real life, very little in common with the hero of the Rostand play.
Though not as famous as classical writers of this time, Cyrano de Bergerac was a successful writer in his time, Molière even borrowing his most famous part, the scene of the galley, from Cyrano's work Le Pédant Joué. His most prominent work is now published under the title 'Other Worlds' and is a collection of stories describing his fictional journeys to the Moon and Sun. The methods of space travel he describes are inventive and often ingenious, detailing ideas often broadly original and sometimes rooted in science. Cyrano rests alongside such minds as Kepler and Jules Verne under the genre of 'scientific travel fiction'. In his time, de Bergerac was a popular poet; however, his abilities were much exaggerated by Rostand in his dramatic work. Cyrano was expert, however, in the art of dueling, whether from a touchy disposition or because of the many gibes to which he was subject on account of his appearance is uncertain. The real Cyrano did not have an exceptionally big nose, but that has become the prominent feature in all fictive versions of his life. It may have been Cyrano's homosexuality, evident in various episodes in 'Other Worlds', that forced him to defend himself against continual attacks.

No Roxane has been discovered in his life, but he did fight at the siege of Arras (1640), which should not be confused with the more famous final Battle of Arras (1654), and the historical Baron of Neuvillette, who was in fact married to Cyrano's cousin, did die in this fight.
Cyrano was a free thinker, although he was a pupil of Pierre Gassendi, a Canon of the Catholic Church, albeit one who tried to reconcile Epicurean atomism with Christianity. Cyrano had the insistence on reason that was not common until the following century, and he would have been very much at home in the Enlightenment. This, of course, did not fit well in a period in which the Church and the State were supreme, and when even the laws of art were the rules of Aristotle.
He died in Sannois in 1655, at the age of 36.

Thursday, 27 July 2006

Hepburn dress for sale

Hadley Freeman,
deputy fashion editor
The Guardian

Audrey Hepburn wearing the Givenchy dress in Breakfast at Tiffany's
Little iconic black dress... Audrey Hepburn wearing the Givenchy dress in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Photograph: Paramount Pictures/Getty
The dress that has inspired more fashion designers, more high street copies and more celebrities in search of fashion credibility than any other is to go on sale at Christie's in December.

The little black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's is being put up for auction by its current owner, Dominique Lapierre, on behalf of the charity City of Joy Aid, which raises money for India's poor.

The dress is expected to attract bids of up to £70,000. None of the cinema's other fashion moments has proven as influential as the opening scene of the 1961 adaptation of Truman Capote's novel. Hepburn wanders down an empty Fifth Avenue, gazing in the window of the eponymous jewellery store, and chomps down a croissant, despite her famously thin figure.

The combination of Hepburn's looks, the simplicity of the dress, by Hubert de Givenchy, the pearls draped down her back and the romanticism of Manhattan combined to make this one of the most iconic images from the film world.

This is what I want for Christmas .......

Spellchecker firm finds typo in press release

A company that sells software to stop spelling mistakes on the internet has had to reissue its latest press release after letting through a typing mistake.

Canadian company TextTrust sells software to eliminate "the negative text impressions on Web sites" had to send out its own statement again.
The release listed "the 16 million we (sic) pages it has spellchecked over the past year".
"It's very embarrassing," said the company's PR representative.

The press release listed words including "independent", "accommodation" and "definitely", which were spelled "independant", "accomodation" and "definately".
But it did not list the word "web".

"I made the mistake, not TextTrust - they do a much better job," said PR manager Pat Brink. "It's certainly egg on the face of this public relations person."

TextTrust said it used a combination of human editors and special spell-checking software to find spelling errors on the web.

'Irish Dead Sea Scrolls' in bog

Fragments of an ancient manuscript found in an Irish bog are being hailed as comparable to the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The discovery of the Psalter, or Book of Psalms, in the south Midlands is said to be one of the most significant discoveries in archaeology for decades.
National Museum of Ireland specialists believe the manuscript may have been lost in transit or dumped after a raid - possibly up to 1,200 years ago.
Museum director Dr Pat Wallace said it was "remarkably well preserved".
"Nobody has found anything like this for centuries - we are going to find it very hard to find people who know about it," he said.
The manuscript was found by a eagle-eyed digger-driver, who acted quickly to ensure its preservation.
Dr Wallace said it was not in pristine condition but some of the writing was still legible.
"When we saw it in the bog, we were able to read one of the psalms in Latin," he said.
He said it was "not so much the fragments themselves, but what they represent, that is of such staggering importance".
"In my wildest hopes, I could only have dreamed of a discovery as fragile and rare as this.
"It testifies to the incredible richness of the Early Christian civilisation of this island and to the greatness of ancient Ireland."
It is believed the extensive fragments are of an Irish Early Christian Psalter, written on vellum.
They were recovered from the bog by a bulldozer last week, and transported to the National Museum's conservation laboratory for painstaking analysis.
Trinity College Dublin head of manuscripts Dr Bernard Meehan said it was the first discovery of an Irish Early Medieval manuscript in two centuries.
"Initial impressions place the composition date of the manuscript at about 800AD - but how soon after this date it was lost we may never know," he said.
Once the manuscript has been conserved, it will be displayed in the Early Christian gallery of the museum, alongside the Ardagh chalice and the Derrynaflan paten.
Story from BBC NEWS:

Whale exclusion zone set in place

A 300m exclusion zone has been imposed around a whale which remains trapped in Larne Lough, County Antrim.
It will be an offence for any vessel to stray into the area where the 30ft mammal has been stranded for two days.
A rescue boat managed to get the whale out to open sea on Wednesday, but it returned confused and disorientated when two ferries left the harbour.
An Environment and Heritage Service spokesman said they would try to guide the whale out to sea on Thursday.

Police have asked owners of any type of vessel planning to launch at Ballylumford beach to stay on shore and not to sail.
Originally thought to be a minke whale, the mammal is now described as being from a species of large whales.
On Wednesday, hopes were raised that the animal had made its way back to sea after it had not been spotted for several hours.

However, it resurfaced at about midday further up the lough close to a cement works.
The animal is swimming in tight circles, which experts say is a sign of confusion.
Vets have been put on standby in case the whale beaches.
A team from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group has been trying to guide the whale back out to sea.

Peter Steele of the group asked boats to stay away from the Larne Lough area as they fear noise will confuse the mammal further.
On Tuesday, the whale became trapped for a time behind some of the legs of Ballylumford power station, which is situated on the opposite side of the lough facing Larne harbour.
Scientists believe the current heatwave may be contributing to unusually large numbers of whales and dolphins off the UK coastline.

It was originally thought that the mammal was a minke whale, but the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group now believes it is more likely to be a fin or a sei whale.

Charlotte Corday

Charlotte Corday (July 27, 1768 – July 17, 1793), more fully Marie Anne Charlotte de Corday d'Armont, was the assassin of Jean-Paul Marat.

Born in Saint-Saturnin- des-Ligneries, part of today's commune of Écorches in the Orne département, Normandy, France, Corday was a member of an aristocratic but poor family. She was a descendant of the French dramatist Pierre Corneille on her mother's side. She was educated at the Abbaye aux Dames, a convent in Caen, Normandy. She approved of the French revolution in its early stages, and was an enthusiastic supporter of the Girondists.

Marat was a member of the radical Jacobin faction that initiated the mass atrocities and beheadings known as the Reign of Terror, which followed the early stages of the Revolution. He was a journalist, exerting power through his newspaper, The Friend of the People, L'Ami du peuple.

In 1789, when Marat had 22 Girondists arrested, Charlotte Corday began to consider killing him. The execution of King Louis XVI, January 21, 1793, and the denunciation of Marat by Jacques Pierre Brissot, a leading Girondist, helped her finally decide to do so.

Carrying a copy of Plutarch's Parallel Lives under her arm, she travelled from Caen to Paris on July 9, and stayed at the Hotel de Providence. She bought a dinner knife at the Palais-Royal, and wrote her Speech to the French who are Friends of Law and Peace, explaining her actions. She went to Marat offering to inform him about a planned Girondist uprising in Caen. She was initially turned away, but on a second attempt on July 13, Marat admitted her into his presence. He conducted most of his affairs from a bathtub because of a debilitating skin condition.

Marat copied down the names of the Girondists as Corday dictated them to him. She pulled the knife from her scarf and plunged it into his chest, piercing his lung, aorta and left ventricle. He called out, A moi, ma chère amie! To me, my dear friend, and died.



Marie-Anne-Charlotte de Corday d’Armont, retenue par l'Histoire sous le nom de Charlotte Corday (elle-même toutefois se faisait désigner et signait sa correspondance de son premier prénom Marie), née le 27 juillet 1768 à Saint-Saturnin-des-Ligneries près de Vimoutiers dans le Pays d'Auge, guillotinée le 17 juillet 1793 à Paris.

Fille de François de Corday d’Armont, gentilhomme de province d’humble fortune, et de Jacqueline-Charlotte-Marie de Gontier des Autiers. Elle est l’arrière-arrière petite fille de Pierre Corneille.

Le décès de sa mère força M. de Corday à se séparer de ses cinq enfants. Les trois filles entrèrent dans un monastère de Caen. Charlotte avait alors treize ans. Elle en avait dix-neuf ans au moment de la suppression des monastères par le décret du 13 décembre 1790. Sa vieille tante, Madame de Bretteville, la recueillit dans sa maison de Caen. Charlotte penchait pour les idées nouvelles. C’était le temps où les Girondins luttaient contre leurs ennemis à la Convention, c’était le temps où le Jacobin Jean-Paul Marat, représentant pour elle la tyrannie, triomphait à Paris.

Les Girondins proscrits et fugitifs s’étaient réfugiés dans le Calvados. Ils y tenaient des assemblées et Charlotte Corday assista plusieurs fois à ces séances. C’est ainsi qu’elle côtoya Buzot, Salles, Pétion, Valazé, Kervélégan, Mollevaut, Barbaroux, Louvet, Giroust, Bussy, Bergoeing, Lesage, Duchastel, Henry-Larivière.

Le 9 juillet 1793, elle quitta Caen pour Paris où elle descendit à l’hôtel de la Providence, le 11 juillet à midi. Munie d’une lettre d’introduction de Barbaroux, elle se rendit chez le député Lauze-Duperret de qui elle apprit que Marat ne paraissait plus à la Convention. Il fallait donc le trouver chez lui. Elle lui écrivit :

« J’arrive de Caen ; votre amour pour la patrie me fait présumer que vous connaîtrez avec plaisir les malheureux événements de cette partie de la République. Je me présenterai chez vous vers une heure, ayez la bonté de me recevoir et de m’accorder un moment d’entretien. Je vous mettrai dans le cas de rendre un grand service à la France. »

N’ayant pu être introduite auprès de Marat, elle lui fit parvenir un second billet :

« Je vous ai écrit ce matin, Marat ; avez-vous reçu ma lettre ? Je ne puis le croire, puisqu’on me refuse votre porte. J’espère que demain vous m’accorderez une entrevue. Je vous le répète, j’arrive de Caen ; j’ai à vous révéler les secrets les plus importants pour le salut de la République. D’ailleurs je suis persécutée pour la cause de la liberté. Je suis malheureuse ; il suffit que je le sois pour avoir droit à votre patriotisme. »

Sans attendre la réponse, Charlotte Corday sortit de sa chambre à 19 h et se rendit au 18 de la rue des Cordeliers.

Alphonse de Lamartine, dans son Histoire des Girondins, T II. Livre 44, pp.100-102 Edt.Ratier, Paris e, écrit :

« Elle descendit de voiture du côté opposé de la rue, en face de la demeure de Marat. Le jour commençait à baisser, surtout dans ce quartier assombri par des maisons hautes et par des rues étroites. La portière refusa d’abord de laisser pénétrer la jeune inconnue dans la cour. Celle-ci insista néanmoins et franchit quelques degrés de l’escalier, rappelée en vain par la voix de la concierge. À ce bruit, la maîtresse de Marat entrouvrit la porte, et refusa l’entrée de l’appartement à l’étrangère. La sourde altercation entre ces femmes, dont l’une suppliait qu’on la laissât parler à l’Ami du peuple, dont l’autre s’obstinait à barrer la porte, arriva jusqu’aux oreilles de Marat. Il comprit, à ces explications entrecoupées, que la visiteuse était l’étrangère dont il avait reçu deux lettres dans la journée. D’une voix impérative et forte, il ordonna qu’on la laissât pénétrer.

Soit jalousie, soit défiance, Albertine obéit avec répugnance et en grondant. Elle introduisit la jeune fille dans la petite pièce où se tenait Marat, et laissa, en se retirant, la porte du corridor entrouverte, pour entendre le moindre mot ou le moindre mouvement du malade.

Cette pièce était faiblement éclairée. Marat était dans son bain. Dans ce repos forcé de son corps, il ne laissait pas reposer son âme. Une planche mal rabotée, posée sur la baignoire, était couverte de papiers, de lettres ouvertes et de feuilles commencées.

Charlotte évita d’arrêter son regard sur lui, de peur de trahir l’horreur de son âme à cet aspect. Debout, les yeux baissés, les mains pendantes auprès de la baignoire, elle attend que Marat l’interroge sur la situation de la Normandie. Elle répond brièvement, en donnant à ses réponses le sens et la couleur propres à flatter les dispositions présumées du démagogue. Il lui demande ensuite les noms des députés réfugiés à Caen. Elle les lui dicte. Il les note, puis, quand il a fini d’écrire ces noms: « C’est bien! dit-il de l’accent d’un homme sûr de sa vengeance, avant huit jours ils iront tous à la guillotine! »

À ces mots, comme si l’âme de Charlotte eût attendu un dernier forfait pour se résoudre à frapper le coup, elle tire de son sein le couteau et le plonge, avec une force surnaturelle, jusqu’au manche dans le cœur de Marat. Charlotte retire du même mouvement le couteau ensanglanté du corps de la victime et le laisse glisser à ses pieds. « À moi, ma chère amie! », s’écrie Marat, et il expire sous le coup. »


Wednesday, 26 July 2006

Understanding Women



The day he moved out was terrible,

That evening she went through hell.

His absence wasn't a problem,

But the corkscrew had gone as well.

Wendy Cope.

Nothing to say.

This is a cartoon that I pinched from the blog of my good friend MLL but, since she has now deleted her blog, I am sure she won't mind me re-posting it here. I may have a weird sense of humour (or sensa yuma as one Bond villain put it) but I think it is extremely funny.

Tom Petty - New Album

To hear a track from Tom Petty's new album click here ->
Kevin Costner (in the film: The Postman) 'I know you. You're... famous'.
Tom Petty: 'I was.'
He still is!
Dave Simpson
Friday July 21, 2006
The Guardian

Tom Petty's iconic status in America, where he is viewed as a bridge between Bob Dylan and the Byrds, has never been reflected in Britain and, sadly, now never will be. He has announced his retirement from tours and interviews.
However, if the former Heartbreaker's third solo album proves to be his last, he has delivered one of rock's most eloquent goodbyes.
With Petty's Rickenbacker chiming effortlessly, the 12 songs contemplate "time and what it does to you". The latter is most explicit on Down South, where Petty ponders the cost of giving rock "all I have, and a little more". However, he is anything but spent. Saving Grace and Big Weekend rock effervescently, reclaiming the styles he bequeathed the Strokes and REM.

And only a voice of true experience could deliver Flirting With Time, the most achingly honest moment of an album of beautifully delivered, uncomfortable home truths.

Tuesday, 25 July 2006

Clever Ad.

Does anybody believe she's holding an ultra slim camera?

Fun Photos

OHH Don't - you've got me all embarrassed!!

Easy Bust Guide

Monday, 24 July 2006

Hidden Sex


Age 57 Is Heaven

A poll of 1,000 people by holiday firm WA Shearings has revealed 57- year-old men and women are the most content. When asked to rate how happy they were their lives, including friends, family and work, those in their late 50s rated themselves the highest — mainly because their families had flown the nest and they had more disposable income.

Oh yeah --- I'm ecstatic !!!!

Amelia Earhart

Amelia Mary Earhart (July 24, 1897 – missing as of July 2, 1937), daughter of Edwin and Amy Earhart, was an American aviator and noted early female pilot who mysteriously disappeared over the Pacific Ocean during a circumnavigational flight in 1937.

Earhart was born in her grandfather's home in Atchison, Kansas. Amelia's grandfather was Alfred Otis, a former federal judge and a leading citizen in Atchison who reportedly was not satisfied with her father Edwin's own success as a lawyer, which is said to have contributed to the break up of her family. Some biographers have speculated that this history of disapproval and doubt followed Amelia throughout her childhood as a tomboy and into her adult flying career.

As a girl she is said to have spent long hours playing with her little sister Muriel ('Pidge') along with climbing trees, “belly-slamming” her sled downhill and hunting rats with a rifle.

At the age of ten (1907), in Des Moines, Iowa, Amelia saw an airplane at the Iowa State Fair. She later described it as “…a thing of rusty wire and wood and not at all interesting.”

Amelia was twelve when her father Edwin, by then a railroad executive, was promoted and the family's finances improved. However it soon became apparent Edwin was an alcoholic.

Five years later, in 1914, he was fired from The Rock Island Railroad. Amy Earhart took Amelia and Muriel to Chicago where they lived with friends. She sent the girls to private schools using money from a trust fund set up by her grandfather Alfred. Amelia graduated from Hyde Park High School in 1915, then went to Canada where she visited her sister at school.

She received training as a nurse's aide and, in November 1918, began work at Spadina Military Hospital in Toronto, Ontario.

By 1919 Earhart had enrolled at Columbia University to study pre-med but quit a year later to be with her parents who had got together again in California. Later in Long Beach she and her father went to a stunt-flying exhibition and the next day she went on a ten minute flight.

Earhart had her first flying lesson at Kinner Field near Long Beach. Her teacher was Anita Snook, a pioneer female aviator. Six months later Earhart purchased a yellow Kinner Airster biplane which she named "Canary." On October 22, 1922, she flew it to an altitude of 14,000 feet, setting a women's world record.

On May 15, 1923 Earhart was the 22nd woman to be issued a pilot's license by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI).


Alfons Mucha

Alfons Maria Mucha (July 24, 1860–July 14, 1939) a Czech painter and decorative artist.Alfons Maria Mucha was born in the town of Ivančice, Moravia. His singing abilities allowed him to continue his education through high school in the Moravian capital of Brno, although drawing had been his first love since childhood. He worked at decorative painting jobs in Moravia, mostly painting theatrical scenery, then in 1879 moved to Vienna to work for a leading Viennese theatrical design company, while informally furthering his artistic education. When a fire destroyed his employer's business in 1881 he returned to Moravia, doing freelance decorative and portrait painting. Count Karl Khuen of Mikulov hired Mucha to decorate Hrušovany Emmahof Castle with murals, and was impressed enough that he agreed to sponsor Mucha's formal training at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts.

Mucha moved to Paris in 1887, and continued his studies at Académie Julian and Academie Colarossi while also producing magazine and advertising illustrations. In 1894, he produced the artwork for a lithographed poster advertising Sarah Bernhardt at the Theatre de la Renaissance. Mucha's lush stylized poster art won him fame and numerous commissions.

Mucha produced a flurry of paintings, posters, advertisements, and book illustrations, as well as designs for jewellery, carpets, wallpaper, and theatre sets in what came to be known as the Art Nouveau style. Mucha's works frequently featured beautiful healthy young women in flowing vaguely Neoclassical looking robes, often surrounded by lush flowers which sometimes formed haloes behind the women's heads. His art nouveau style was often imitated. However, this was a style that Mucha attempted to distance himself from throughout his life; he insisted always that, rather than adhering to any fashionable stylistic form, his paintings came purely from within. He declared that art existed only to communicate a spiritual message, and nothing more; hence his frustration at the fame he gained through commercial art, when he wanted always to concentrate on more lofty projects that would ennoble art and his birthplace.

Mucha visited the USA from 1906 to 1910, then returned to the Czech lands and settled in Prague, where he decorated the Theater of Fine Arts and other landmarks of the city.

When Czechoslovakia won its independence after World War I, Mucha designed the new postage stamps, banknotes, and other government documents for the new nation.

He spent many years working on what he considered his masterpiece, The Slav Epic (Slovanská epopej), a series of huge paintings depicting the history of the Slavic peoples, gifted to the city of Prague in 1928. He had dreamt of completing a series such as this, a celebration of Slavic history, since he was young. At the outbreak of the Second World War he was arrested and questioned by German occupiers. He never recovered from the strain of this event, or seeing his home invaded and overcome. He died in Prague on July 14, 1939 and was interred there in the Vyšehrad cemetery.


Paris bridge named after feminist

A footbridge in honour of the French writer and leading feminist Simone de Beauvoir has been opened in Paris.

Designed in the form of two steel intersecting curves, it is part of a regeneration effort in south-eastern parts of the French capital.

This is the city's 37th bridge and the first to be named after a woman.

De Beauvoir - the lifelong companion of existentialist philosopher Jean Paul-Sartre - made a name for herself with the 1949 book The Second Sex.

The bridge stretches 304 m (1,000ft) across the Seine near the Francois Mitterrand national library.

It spans one of the widest points of the river without the support of pillars, comprising several lanes for pedestrians and cycles. LINK:


Here is a follow up article:-

An elegant new footbridge over the Seine in Paris has suffered trembles similar to those that famously dogged London's Millennium Bridge.

But the mayor of Paris, who opened the bridge on 13 July, said the tremble was only faint and it would remain open.

Bertrand Delanoe said the Simone de Beauvoir bridge - named after the leading feminist and writer - needed only "adjustment and tuning".

London's bridge closed within days for repairs after showing a serious wobble.


The 304m (1,000ft) bridge is part of the planned extension over the next two months of the successful beach project Paris Plage.

A swimming pool that is part of the project had to close for repairs three days after opening this month because of faulty air conditioning and loose tiles.

London's £18m ($33m) Millennium Bridge opened on 10 June 2000 as the first new Thames crossing in more than 100 years.

Tens of thousands crossed the bridge on its opening day but the structure suddenly developed a very worrying and obvious wobble.

Modifications cost another £5m.


Isn't it interesting how they keep mentioning the problem with the London Millenium Bridge. Scare tactics or what? ... or is it a case of the British couldn't get it right so therefore nobody else can? I seem to remember that the bridge wasn't the only millenium screw-up so maybe they shouldn't draw attention to their blunders.

Two killed as artwork 'lifts off'

Two people have been killed and 13 injured after a giant, inflatable sculpture blew free from its moorings.

Many were inside the artwork, which consists of connected rooms, when it lifted 30ft into the air at Riverside Park, Chester-le-Street, County Durham.

The Dreamspace sculpture is thought to have drifted for about 40m.

A 38-year-old woman from the town and a 68-year-old woman from Seaham died. A three-year-old girl was seriously injured and was flown to hospital.

The sculpture - called Dreamspace - is thought to have drifted for up to 40m before catching on a CCTV camera post and coming down near a children's playground.

About 500 people were in the vicinity of the sculpture, which is half the size of a football pitch, when it came loose.

Fire officers spent much of their time trying to account for people missing inside the structure. Six ambulances and two air ambulances were sent to the scene.

Durham Fire Brigade spokesman John Robson said: "There's been a large inflatable structure, which included walls and floors and obviously the top, which has somehow lifted off the ground, and moved between 30 and 40m out of its pitched area.

By evening, the remains of the structure were strewn across the grounds of Riverside Park. The red, yellow, and blue polythene was shredded and scattered over a wide area.


Sunday, 23 July 2006


The greatest happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved
- loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.
-- Victor Hugo

Friday, 21 July 2006

A Porch and Flowering Meadow, 6 Floors Up

Eileen Stukane, David Puchkoff and their daughter, Masha, created a porch and a miniature meadow
on top of their West Village apartment building.
What you can do with a little bit of ingenuity and a little bit of money.
Full article here:

I don't believe it!

This is a cartoon from today's Daily Mail and what I don't believe is that they actually published it.

I for one do not find it in anyway the least bit funny - the British may think they have a quaint sense of humour with their outmoded Alf Garnett characters but it is long past time that they entered the 21st century. And then they wonder why the rest of the world dislikes them!

The Stinkbird Enigma

In South America, in the swamps of the Amazon and Orinoco rivers, lives a very unusual bird.
The hoatzin is a pheasant-sized enigma. The official national bird of Guyana, the hoatzin has defied attempts of ornithologists to place it in its proper place among the families of birds. No matter where it is placed, the hoatzin simply does not appear to fit. The hoatzin was given its own family (Opisthocomidae), but since the original designation it has been moved around from being grouped with the game birds (the source of its other name, the Canje pheasant), to grouping it with the cuckoos, to its current, though still speculative placement with the seriema family (most closely related to rails and bustards).

The first distinctive peculiarity of the hoatzin can be seen most easily on its chicks. They have two claws on each wing, which they use for clambering about the trees. Adults retain the claws, though they do not use them. Few other modern birds have such a thing. However the fossil record shows that several prehistoric birds had such claws, including the earliest and most famous of the ancient birds – Archaeopteryx.

The second peculiarity of the hoatzin has earned it one of its nicknames – the stinkbird. The bird has an unpleasant manure-like smell, which serves to drive off predators, including humans. Despite their resemblance to game birds and their slow, awkward flight, the hoatzin remains largely unmolested because it makes extremely unappetizing eating. Only during times of famine will locals consider hunting it for food, and even then reluctantly. It has a reputation for being toxic, but there is little or no evidence either way - apparently because no one has actually eaten more than a bite or two of hoatzin for some time.

Read More:>

Traffic census causes 11 mile tailback in soaring heat

Caught in an 11-mile traffic jam during the hottest July day on record sweltering motorists could only assume there had been an accident.
It was only, several hours later, as they finally approached the trouble spot, that they discovered there was no crash.
Instead, council officers had chosen the day that temperatures touched a record-breaking 97.7f (36.5c) to hold a traffic census.
And even when asked by police to call it off, they refused.


Typical 'jobsworths' - rules is rules - forget common sense.

Wedding Announcements

Especially check out the couple married in Carmel United Methodist Church.

Agnes Jones.

Bronagh Gallagher from Londonderry, who appeared in Pulp Fiction, The Commitments and Star Wars Episode 1, has a new challenge.
She is playing the lead role in a drama documentary about Donegal-born nurse Agnes Jones.
Agnes cared for thousands of emigrants who left Irish shores to escape the Famine.
"Agnes Jones was the founder of Irish nursing, she was one of the first 12 nurses trained by Florence Nightingale after the Crimean war," she said.
"She is largely forgotten in Ireland because after she trained, she spent her ministry in Liverpool amongst Irish famine emigrants."

Agnes Jones helped transform workhouses into safe havens where famine emigrants from Ireland got quality care when they got off the Liverpool boat.
Bronagh Gallagher is delighted to play this little known heroine.
"This woman revolutionised sanitation and workhouse hospitals, yet nobody knows about her," she said.
"She ended up in Liverpool and was there to mother the famine victims who were dumped on Liverpool docks because they were too sick to travel on to the 'new world'".

Thursday, 20 July 2006

Trompe l'oeil Murals

Carcès is a village in the Var, between Cotignac and the Thoronet Abbey. It's quite a large village, laid out in a rectangle, with the different parts of the village separated somewhat from each other. One part, perched on a low hill and called the old town (vieille ville), has a lot of stone walls and stone arches. The "newer" parts of Carcès, though, have narrow streets, vaulted passages and medieval portails and ancient houses and doorways. All in all, Carcès is a very interesting village to visit.

The most striking things about Carcès are the trompe l'oeil wall murals and the colorful fish-scale wall tiles on some of the houses.

Hacked Ad On MySpace Infects Over A Million Computers

An online banner advertisement that ran on and other sites over the past week used a Windows security flaw to infect more than a million users with spyware when people merely browsed the sites with unpatched versions of Windows, according to data collected by iDefense, a Verisign company.

Michael La Pilla, an iDefense "malcode" analyst, said he first spotted the attack Sunday while browsing MySpace on a Linux-based machine. When he browsed a page headed with an ad for, his browser asked him whether he wanted to open a file called exp.wmf. Microsoft released a patch in January to fix a serious security flaw in the way Windows renders WMF (Windows Metafile) images, and online criminal groups have been using the flaw to install adware, keystroke loggers and all manner of invasive software for the past seven months.

Internet Explorer users who visited a Web page containing this ad and whose IE was not equipped with the WMF patch would not get that warning. Rather, their machines would silently download a Trojan horse, a program that installs junk software in the PurityScan/ClickSpring the family of adware. This stuff bombards the user with pop-up ads and tracks their Web usage. Only a little more than half of the anti-virus programs used at anti-virus testing service flagged the various programs that the Trojan tried to download as malicious or suspicious.

Using software that captures and analyzes Web traffic, La Pilla found that the installation program contacted a Web server in Russia that tracks how many times the program was installed, presumably because most of this adware is installed by third parties who get paid for each installation. The data there indicate that the adware was installed on 1.07 million computers, La Pilla said, adding that all seven of the Internet addresses contacted by the downloader Trojan appear to be inactive at this time.

Read More:

Mystery Stone

CONCORD, New Hampshire (AP) -- In 1872, so the story goes, workers digging a hole for a fence post near Lake Winnipesaukee in the central part of this New England state found a lump of clay that seemed out of place.

There was something inside -- a dark, odd-looking, egg-shaped stone with a variety of carvings, including a face, teepee, ear of corn and starlike circles.

And there were many questions: Who made the stone and why? How old was it? How was it carved?

To date, no one has been able to say for sure, and the item has come to be known as the "Mystery Stone." Seneca Ladd, a local businessman who hired the workers, was credited with the discovery.

"As Mr. Ladd is quite a naturalist, and has already an extensive private collection of relics and specimens, he was delighted with the new discovery, and exhibited and explained the really remarkable relic with an enthusiasm which only the genuine student can feel," an article in The American Naturalist said that November.

Ladd died in 1892, and in 1927, one of his daughters donated the stone to the New Hampshire Historical Society. The stone, surrounded by mirrors showing off its symbols, is on display at the Museum of New Hampshire History, where it was last exhibited in 1996.

All the symbols on the 4-inch-long, 2 1/2-inch-thick stone are open to interpretation. On one side, it has what looks like inverted arrows, a moon, some dots and a spiral. Another side shows the ear of corn and a depressed circle with three figures, one of which looks like a deer's leg.

The American Naturalist suggested that the stone "commemorates a treaty between two tribes." Others have guessed the stone is Celtic or Inuit. A letter to the historical society in 1931 suggested it was a "thunderstone," which, the writer said, "always present the appearance of having been machined or hand-worked: frequently they come from deep in the earth, embedded in lumps of clay, or even surrounded by solid rock or coral."

Another curious detail is that there are holes bored in both ends of the stone, with different size bits. Each bore is straight, not tapered. Scratches in the lower bore suggest it was placed on a metal shaft and removed several times, according to an analysis done by state officials in 1994.

"I've seen a number of holes bored in stone with technology that you would associate with prehistoric North America," said Richard Boisvert, state archaeologist. "There's a certain amount of unevenness ... and this hole was extremely regular throughout."

Boisvert suggested the holes were drilled by power tools, perhaps from the 19th or 20th centuries. "What we did not see was variations that would be consistent with something that was several hundred years old," he said.

The analysis, which included comments from geologist Eugene Boudette, concluded that the stone is a type of quartzite, derived from sandstone, or mylonite, a fine-grained, laminated rock formed by the shifting of rock layers along faults. The rock type was not familiar to New Hampshire, but the state could not be ruled out as the source, Boudette said.

Boisvert said to his knowledge, the stone is unique. "That makes it very hard to figure out where it fits," he said.

One problem is the story of the stone's discovery is fuzzy, he said.

"You couldn't be certain exactly what kind of context it came from. There's a lot of ambiguity there ... it's very difficult to evaluate it," he said. "The context of the discovery is sometimes more important than the item itself."

For example, Boisvert said, if the item had been something used by a fraternal order that has its own secrets and mysteries, "that means the information doesn't get out very well, does it? The information may have been available at one point, but it's really no longer available to us. Who knows?"

Wesley Balla, the society's director of collections and exhibitions, said one avenue to explore might be looking for similar symbols. And, "there's also always the hope that there might be something more in either newspaper or manuscript form that might discuss the contents," he said.

Balla said the discovery seems to reflect on the way artifacts were treated in the 19th century. The focus was more on the object itself, not on details such as how deep the soil was where it was found, if anything was found near it, or how far it was from the lake.

"All of that is lost," he said.

Ae Fond Kiss


Ae Fond Kiss
1.Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
Ae farewell, and then forever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.
Who shall say that Fortune grieves him,
While the star of hope she leaves him?
Me, nae cheerfu' twinkle lights me,
Dark despair around benights me.
I'll ne'er blame my partial fancy:
Naething could resist my Nancy!
But to see her was to love her,
Love but her, and love for ever.
Had we never lov'd sae kindly,
Had we never lov'd sae blindly,
Never met - or never parted --
We had ne'er been broken-hearted.
Fare-thee-weel, thou first and fairest!
Fare-thee-weel, thou best and dearest!
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace, Enjoyment, Love and Pleasure!
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
Ae farewell, alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.

Enigma of Tutankhamun's necklace.

In 1996 in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Italian mineralogist Vincenzo de Michele spotted an unusual yellow-green gem in the middle of one of Tutankhamun's necklaces.
The jewel was tested and found to be glass, but intriguingly it is older than the earliest Egyptian civilisation.
Working with Egyptian geologist Aly Barakat, they traced its origins to unexplained chunks of glass found scattered in the sand in a remote region of the Sahara Desert.
But the glass is itself a scientific enigma. How did it get to be there and who or what made it?


Horizon: Tutunkhamen's Fireball, made by production company TV6 is on BBC Two at 2100 BST on Thursday, 20 July

World Jump Day

In case you forgot. 20th July is World Jump Day. It happens at 11:39:13 GMT.

Join us in an attempt to drive planet Earth into a new orbit, by letting millions of people jump! Scientific research has proven that this change of planetary positioning would very likely stop global warming, extend daytime hours and create a more homogenous climate.

Might as well jump. jump !
Might as well jump.
Go ahead, jump. jump !
Go ahead, jump.

Man sues over willy picture

A New Jersey man is suing his old school and five ex-classmates after a photo of his penis appeared in a yearbook.
Tyler Bennett, 22, says he was mocked and humiliated by a picture of him jumping in a basketball game - revealing his privates.
He described his embarrassment after a pupil at Colts Neck High School teased: “How’s it hanging?”
Bennett is suing five classmates, his school and the photo’s publishers.
He has petitioned the Supreme Court after two courts dismissed claims that the 2001 pic caused “psychological harm”.

What? -- he doesn't have the sense to wear undies?

Wednesday, 19 July 2006

La Petite Anglaise

I don't know what it is -- but something about this just appeals to me, sitting in a hot hot office on a hot, hot summer day with no air conditioning, sweat rolling off me in rivers, mouth like the bottom of a cocky's cage (that's 'Strylyan'). I think you get my gist!

That Girl Emily



Cool Water Taps/Fawcet.

Don't you just want one of these ... can't you see it - revving up the water brmmm, brmmmm, brmmmm - the wind in your hair and Steppenwolf in the background. Far Out Man.


Beware of Fake Headbutts

Nefarious virus writers are using continued interest in Zinedine Zidane's infamous headbut in the World Cup final in order to distribute malware via a malicious website that poses as an official FIFA World Cup 2006 website.

Surfers straying on the site are exposed to a Trojan horse downloader, which uses Windows exploits in a bid to install malware on vulnerable PCs. If successful, additional malware payloads are downloaded on to victimised machines.

More on this topic here:

So .... let's be careful out there.

Photo Manipulation

More Here:

Christian Dior Autumn 2006 Collection

Just what I want for wearing to the office - I'm sure it has inbuilt temperature control and an oxygen feed.
Click pic for more.

Pirated Software?

An intimate Internet diary and the sacking of the secretary who calls herself La Petite Anglaise

Her internet diary recounts the everyday life of an English secretary in Paris and is avidly read by up to 3,000 people each day.

Writing under the pseudonym La Petite Anglaise, the thirty-something's thoughts on love, work and life as an unmarried mother have gained an international following.

Read extracts from her blog here

But now the anonymous English secretary has lost one vital ingredient feeding her internet musings. For the 33-year-old has allegedly been sacked for bringing her British employers into disrepute with the internet diary - even though it does not name her or them.


The Moscow Underground

This: is how railway stations should be built.

Tuesday, 18 July 2006

Another Passionate Kiss ...

Audrey Hepburn (in Breakfast at Tiffany's) one of my favourite actresses
... and how I wish the man had been me

World Cup 2006: Zidane

If you thought it was all over then have a look here: Link
More headbutts than you can shake an Italian at (?)
watch out for the lamp post
and the interactive game.
The B-25 that Crashed Into the Empire State Building

Alternative Tube Map

The Unsinkable Molly Brown

The Victorian era spawned much new wealth in industrialized America, and a popular way the nouveau rich spent their money was to take the "Grand Tour" of Europe often extending the trip to more exotic destinations such as Egypt and Japan. Without the speed of today's airplanes, these trips usually took three months or more to complete. (Such a trip was satirized in Mark Twain's book Innocents Abroad.) In the early months of 1912, Molly and her daughter Helen, who had been attending the Sorbonne in Paris, were taking such a tour with John Jacob Astor and his second wife, 19 year old Madeline (after a rather scandalous divorce.)

Molly had been writing her sister Katie back in Hannibal, that she intended to come for a few weeks' visit that spring. But then she received a telegram from her son Larry that her five-month-old first grandchild was ill. She decided to book passage at the last minute on board Titanic. Daughter Helen decided to stay in Paris for a few more parties. So Molly was traveling without family, but she was joining her friends the Astors.

The cost of the most expensive first-class accommodations was $4350 for the six-day voyage. Other celebrities, who were part of this social event of 1912, included millionaire Benjamin Guggenheim; Charles Hayes, president of the Grand Trunk Railway; Mr. & Mrs. Isadore Straus, owners of Macy's Department Store; and J. Bruce Ismay, co-owner of the White Star Line which had built Titanic. The April 10, 1912 Hannibal Courier Post front page reported the embarkment of Titanic from South Hampton, England. Molly and the Astors boarded at the Cherbourg, France stopover. It was the largest ship ever made--four city blocks long and reaching as high as an eleven -story building. Built with 16 watertight compartments that could stay afloat even if four were flooded, publications of the day referred to Titanic as "unsinkable."

The degree of luxury for passengers like Mrs. J.J. Brown was unsurpassed. Some staterooms had four poster beds and coal-burning fireplaces. The public rooms included palm verandahs, a gymnasium, Turkish bath, swimming pool and library. We do not know the exact cabin number for Molly because she booked her passage at the last minute, she was not on the printed roster of passengers. But we know she was on the forward right side of Deck B--the first class deck.
Molly was in bed reading a book, when at 11:40 p.m., April 14, 1912, the lookout, Frederick Fleet, in Titanic's crow's nest phoned the bridge, "Iceberg right ahead!" The impact threw Molly to the floor. Most passengers were unaware of the collision until they noticed the hum of engines had stopped. By 12:15 a.m., the ship was preparing the lifeboats. Molly wisely put on six pairs of wool stockings, a wool suit, fur coat, hat and muff. She put $500 cash in one pocket, and a good luck amulet she had purchased recently on her Egyptian tour in her other pocket.
After helping other women, Molly found herself thrown into Lifeboat No. 6 by two American merchants who said, "You are going, too." The boat with capacity for 65 held fewer than 30 when it was lowered to the water, including lookout Fleet and Quartermaster Hichens who had been at the pilot wheel upon impact.

Frightened Hichens warned the lifeboat would be sucked down when Titanic sank. Molly took charge and grabbed the oars and ordered the women to row toward the light on
the horizon, which they hoped was a rescue ship. Adrift on the cold Atlantic, Molly shared her extra pairs of stockings, and kept the women warm by having them take turns rowing. They watched in horror as the steamer sank at 2:20 a.m., April 15th. She was appalled that Hichens refused to turn the lifeboat back to pick up more survivors.

After almost 6 hours of terror, the ship Carpathia answered the distress call. Once on board, Molly helped organize relief efforts. Her knowledge of foreign languages enabled her to aid the frightened immigrants who had lost everything, including their husbands. Molly voiced her opinion that the "women and children first" policy was tragically immoral. "Women demand equal rights on land--why not on sea?" she asked.

Even when the Carpathia arrived in New York, Molly stayed on board to reassure the terrified foreign women. Since the White Star Line provided no relief to these widows and orphans, nor for the families of the dead crewmembers, Molly raised $10,000 of private money from the wealthy passengers, including the $500 cash she donated, to aid these poor victims. Molly returned to New York on May 29, 1912 to present Captain A.H. Rostron a token of esteem of the Titanic survivors. She also had a medal struck for each of the crew of Carpathia, which depicted a ship plowing through icebergs toward a tossing lifeboat. The story circulated that when first interviewed by reporters in New York, they asked to what she attributed her survival. "Typical Brown luck," she supposedly said, "We're unsinkable." The label stuck, and she became a national celebrity. Even back in Denver, Mrs. Crawford Hill deigned to host a luncheon in her honor.

Molly had to postpone her trip to visit her sister, Katie Becker, in Hannibal. It was reported in the December 18, 1915 Hannibal Courier Post that Molly came to spend the winter with Katie to improve her health as she had been suffering from nervous trouble since she had witnessed the horrible scene of Titanic sinking. It was also reported that Molly finally settled her claim against the White Star Line after almost four years for the sum of $10,000 for the loss of her jewelry, clothes, etc. Titanic turned Molly into a political figure. She spoke out for maritime reform, women's right to vote, and improved conditions for miners. In 1914 she ran for the U.S. Senate on the Democratic-Progressive ticket in the state of Colorado, albeit unsuccessfully.

During the Mexican War, she advocated a military regiment for women, but was dismissed as eccentric. During WWI, Molly went back to France on her own to volunteer at the American Hospital in Paris, working with wounded soldiers. She helped raise money with Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt to import ambulances to France for the war effort. She also entertained the troops, specializing in Sarah Bernhardt roles. For these services, she was named to the French Legion of Honor.

Molly continued to be active, surviving two more ship disasters, and a hotel fire at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. She spent much of her later years in New York where she stayed at the Barbizon Hotel…a place where actresses often roomed. That is where she died on October 25, 1932 at age 65. Her fortune had dwindled to $1500 and her house in Denver, which sold the next year for only $5000. In her last act of charity, she wanted the poor mining children of Leadville, Colorado to have Christmas presents of woolen mittens and boots. She did not live to see her wish carried out by her nephew who distributed the gifts.


Enormous new dam fails in Brazil

GIANT cracks have opened in one of the world's tallest dams, just months after completion. The cracks appeared after a tunnel collapsed on 20 June beneath the 200-metre-high Campos Novos dam in southern Brazil, and the reservoir rapidly emptied. At one point, 4000 cubic metres of water (more than enough to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool) were rushing downstream every second towards a second dam on the river Canoas.

"If this had happened during the rainy season, and the two reservoirs had been full, water would likely have poured over the lower dam and it might have been destroyed. That would have been a major disaster, with perhaps hundreds killed," says Patrick McCully of the International Rivers Network, a California-based group that campaigns against large dams. Between them, the two dams can hold more than 2 cubic kilometres of water.

The dam's owner, Enercan, a consortium of Brazilian power companies, has revealed little about the accident. It is reported to have been trying to patch holes in a leaking tunnel since October, before the second tunnel failed catastrophically last month.

Happy Birthday

Nelson Mandela, John Glenn, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Burt Kwouk, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Hunter S. Thompson, Martha Reeves, Sir Richard Branson, Margaret Brown,The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Titanic survivor (d. 1932) ,

Prisoner escapes for girlfriend's birthday

A prisoner broke out of jail to wish his girlfriend a happy birthday before returning later that day.
Dragan Boskovic, 26, escaped from a prison near his hometown of Kolasin in central Montenegro, where he was serving a life sentence for murder, by overpowering guards and scaling a ten foot prison wall.
He went straight to his 19-year-old girlfriend's house but two hours later turned himself in to cops who had started a manhunt for him.
He told officers: "I promised my girlfriend that, no matter what, I would say happy birthday to her but I wasn't allowed to use the prison phone.
"I had no other option but to get the message to her personally."

Who said romance is dead?

Sex Offender!

50 albums that changed music

Fifty years old this month, the album chart has tracked the history of pop. But only a select few records have actually altered the course of music. To mark the anniversary, Kitty Empire pays tribute to a sublime art form, and our panel of critics argues for 50 albums that caused a revolution. To see the 50, click here

Guardian Unlimited

Well I was reading and thinking ' some cracker albums here...' but then they had to ruin it all at no.21 -- The Spice Girls! --- you cannot be serious! 'Tell you what I want, what I really really want, Tell you what I want, what I really really want, what I really really want, what I really really want,' - what I really really want is for the Spice Girls to be obliterated forever from the annuls of pop music. I mean what sort of rubbish is that? UTTER DRIVEL is what it is, it really really is, that's what it really really is.