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My mantra for life is always look forward.  The past serves only as a history lesson, we should learn from it, but dwelling on past mistakes is a waste to valuable time  None of us have as much time as we would like to live the best life we can today, and to build a better future.

I see this philosophy reflected in Phillippians 3, verses 12 – 14:

Philippians 3:12-14 (New International Version)

Pressing towards the goal

 12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Any coach/manager/mentor has the same message “Keep you eyes on the prize”.  You can’t do that looking behind you.  That is the  message found in Paul’s letter to the church of Philippi.

How do you keep your eyes focused on the promise of your faith?

Are you getting better at not dwelling on past mistakes?

From a commentary on Phillipians 3: 12-14 by John W. Ritenbaugh:

The word picture in Philipians 3:12-14 is of men straining to win a foot race. The Christian life is especially like the longer races where the runner must sustain a winning frame of mind over a longer period of time. We cannot run our race like the hare of the “Tortoise and the Hare” fable, in which the hare took a nap during the race.

Paul illustrates that after having received God’s grace, our responsibility is to return full effort to God in striving to perfection in moral, ethical, and spiritual areas. He did not see the struggle against sin, fear, and doubt as being accomplished by God alone. The apostle is here urging his erring brothers to follow his example in persistently concentrating on our common goal.

Life for us now consists of discarding wrong attitudes and habits accumulated in the past. In modern, psychological terms, we must lose our baggage. For us, the past is dead, buried in the waters of baptism. With that behind us, we must diligently make unwavering progress in putting out the leaven of sin, growing in God’s love, producing the fruit of God’s Spirit, moving toward the Kingdom of God, and putting on Christ’s perfection, His image in us.

Hillsong United – I Will Run To You

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1) Creepy video of the week – If you find spiders creepy.  A mass of Daddy Log Legs on a tree.

If that was your finger could you poke those spiders?

2) Picture of the Day

 

Dongguan, China: Counter-terrorism special forces practice at a training field.  Playing in the mud is fun.  These guys don’t seem to be having that much fun.

3) Squirrel Meat 

At London’s supermarket Budgens squirrel meat is flying off the self, well sort of.  Would you eat squirrel meat?

From article in The Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/29/squirrel-meat-supermarket

Andrew Thornton, started selling the meat about five months ago after requests from customers at his Budgens store in Crouch End, north London.

“There are too many squirrels around, we might as well eat them rather than cull them and dispose of them,” he said.

Thornton sells up to 15 squirrels a week when they are in stock.

“I think it’s lovely. It’s bit like rabbit. I think there will be a lot of fuss about this now, but in a few years it will become accepted practice that we eat squirrels. People don’t bat an eyelid now about eating rabbit,” he said.

I think Thorton is right.  There are too many squirrels, and their population seem to be exploding.  I would also like us to start putting some of those geese, that are everywhere, on the dinner table. 

Recipe for Squirrel Pie

Clean, skin and cut two squirrels into small pieces. Soak in salted water, or water with a little vinegar added, changing water several times. Drain, dry and roll in seasoned flour. Sauté in pork or bacon fat until slightly browned, then place in greased pie dish or bowl, add two cups liquid (made up of wine, cider, beer, crushed fruit , or a little vinegar, and water or stock), salt and pepper, one thinly sliced onion, herbs of your choice. Cover and cook on top stove for 1 ½, or in moderate oven for two hours. Remove and thicken the stock with a little flour. Take out part of the gravy and add tomatoes, sauce or catsup, to serve with the pie. Meanwhile, cover meat dish with pastry or biscuit dough, slit for steam to escape, and bake for 20 minutes in hot oven.

4) The picture I hated seeing:

 

Traffic moves along the border fence separating Nogales, Ariz., and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, on Tuesday evenings.

Warning – Rant

We need to be breaking down the fences that separate us, not build new ones.

Politicians around the world are getting votes by blaming illegal immigrants, who are easy targets, and can’t vote, for their countries problems.  They wave their flag (French, Swiss, or American) and complain about all those immigrants ruining their country.

Putting aside politics, and racism, it really is a simple question of supply and demand.  As long as people want cheap labor someone will find a way to get that help to them.

The most effective way to deal with the issue is to increase the cost to the point where it is no longer economical.

Fine, and if necessary, jail the people who are hiring illegal immigrants.  If I need money to feed my family no fences is going to stop me.

The US has been a terrible neighbor to Mexico.  We even fought a war and stole half their country, now Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

We focus on economic aid to Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and ignore a country we share a border with.

For all my Christian friends in the Tea Party, I wonder what Jesus would say about that fence?

 So endith the rant.

I’ll start with a question:

Which aspect of American culture, or that of your country of origin, do you want to see changed?

1) Technology

A unique device based on sniffing – inhaling and exhaling through the nose – might enable numerous disabled people to navigate wheelchairs or communicate with their loved ones. Sniffing technology might even be used in the future to create a sort of ‘third hand,’ to assist healthy surgeons or pilots.
 
Developed by Prof. Noam Sobel, electronics engineers Dr. Anton Plotkin and Aharon Weissbrod and research student Lee Sela in the Weizmann Institute’s Neurobiology Department, the new system identifies changes in air pressure inside the nostrils and translates these into electrical signals. The device was tested on healthy volunteers as well as quadriplegics, and the results showed that the method is easily mastered. Users were able to navigate a wheelchair around a complex path or play a computer game with nearly the speed and accuracy of a mouse or joystick.

From the Weizmann Institutes’s press release:

http://wis-wander.weizmann.ac.il/site/en/weizman.asp?pi=371&doc_id=6174

“The most stirring tests were those we did with locked-in syndrome patients. These are people with unimpaired cognitive function who are completely paralyzed – ‘locked into’ their bodies. With the new system, they were able to communicate with family members, and even initiate communication with the outside. Some wrote poignant messages to their loved ones, sharing with them, for the first time in a very long time, their thoughts and feelings.’ Four of those who participated in the experiments are already using the new writing system, and Yeda Research and Development Company, Ltd., – the technology transfer arm of the Weizmann Institute – is investigating the possibilities for developing and distributing the technology.

Sniffing is a precise motor skill that is controlled, in part, by the soft palate – the flexible divider that moves to direct air in or out through the mouth or nose. The soft palate is controlled by several nerves that connect to it directly through the braincase. This close link led Sobel and his scientific team to theorize that the ability to sniff – that is, to control soft palate movement – might be preserved even in the most acute cases of paralysis. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) lent support to the idea, showing that a number of brain areas contribute to soft palate control. This imaging revealed a significant overlap between soft palate control and the language areas of the brain, hinting to the scientists that the use of sniffing to communicate might be learned intuitively.”

“One patient who had been locked in for seven months following a stroke learned to use the device over a period of several days, writing her first message to her family. Another, who had been locked in since a traffic accident 18 years earlier wrote that the new device was much easier to use than one based on blinking. Another ten patients, all quadriplegics, succeeded in operating a computer and writing messages through sniffing.”

2) Religion 

With many religious groups experience declining membership, the number of number of Amish has increased nearly 10 percent in the past two years alone, to a total population of 249,000, compared with about 227,000 in 2008. That figure was just 124,000 in 1992.

From an article in the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/07/28/us/AP-US-Thriving-Amish.html?ref=global-home

”They are sort of challenging some of the mainstream assumptions about progress and how you achieve the good life and happiness,” said Elizabethtown professor Don Kraybill, the study’s director. ”They’re not merely surviving; they’re thriving, and growing at this very rapid rate.”

The highest rates of growth over the past year were recorded in New York (19 percent), Minnesota (9 percent), Missouri (8 percent), Wisconsin (7 percent) and Illinois (7 percent). High-growth areas for Amish in the past five years also include Kentucky, Kansas and Iowa.

The newest state to get an Amish settlement is South Dakota, after a group of at least six families bought several farms near Tripp in the southeastern part of the state. They have planted forage for their cows, built barns and established a weekly bake sale.”

3) International

Lawmakers in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia voted to ban bullfighting on Wednesday, dealing the most significant blow so far to a tradition considered by many Spaniards to be an essential part of their cultural patrimony.

In many ways the ban reflected less on the animal rights than on a political debate over Catalan identity and a push by local parties for greater independence from the rest of Spain. With the strong support of separatist parties, the ban passed by a larger margin than expected: 68 to 55, with 9 abstentions. It is to go into effect in 2012.

I doubt the bulls care why the ban was voted.

From an article in the British online newspaper, the Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/28/bullfighting-ban-spain-catalonia

 “But now bullfightning is to be banned from Barcelona and the rest of the north-eastern region of Catalonia after the local parliament today dealt a blow to Spain’s most emblematic pastime and unleashed a political battle over what some see as a threatened cultural treasure.

Deputies voted by 68 to 55 in favour of a people’s petition calling on the bullfight to be banished from a region that once played host to some of the world’s greatest fights. The last matador in Catalan history will sink his sword into the last half-tonne fighting bull at the end of next year, with the ban starting in 2012.

“It is the worst attack on culture since our transition to democracy,” said the Catalan poet Pere Gimferrer.”

While some mourned the loss of a cultural jewel, the vote was hailed by animals rights campaigners worldwide. Ricky Gervais and Pamela Anderson were among the 140,000 who signed an international petition to the Catalan parliament.

“It sickens me to know that people are still paying money to see an animal suffering in such a horrific way,” Gervais said before the vote. About 13,500 fighting bulls die in Spain every year – many in bullfights funded by local authorities who are estimated to pay out up to €550m (£457m) in subsidies.

In Spain, critics pointed to dark, if barely-disguised, political motives. Bullfight fans claimed many Catalan nationalist deputies had voted out of spite, because the fighting bull is an emblem of Spain – where it is known as the “national fiesta” – rather than of Catalonia.

The local El Periódico newspaper reported that several nationalist deputies had decided to back the ban only after Spain’s constitutional court struck down parts of the region’s 2006 autonomy charter earlier this month. At least 430,000 people, or 6% of all Catalans, protested on 10 July in Barcelona against the court’s decision ,which declared Catalonia was not legally a nation.

Mondays pictures from the Net:

1. Some of us in the US think of the cities like New York and Los Angeles as being overcrowded.  These cities aren’t close to matching the population density we will find in places like India or Hong Kong, where you won’t find the word privacy in their vocabulary.

 

Mathura, India: Hindu devotees try to board a crowded passenger train to take part in the Guru Purnima festival, observed to pay respects to one’s guru or teacher who symbolises the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh

 

Apartments in Hong Kong

Would you prefer to live in a big city or out in the country?

How important is personal privacy to you?

2. Ode to childhood dreams:

Chandigarh, India: A child sleeps in a hammock.

Is your sleep as restful as this child’s seems?

3) From NASA – Dreamy, Young Stars:

 

The Orion Nebula is a ‘happening’ place where stars are born and this colony of hot, young stars is stirring up the cosmic scene in this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. The young stars dip and peak in brightness; shifting cold and hot spots on the stars’ surfaces cause brightness levels to change. In addition, surrounding disks of lumpy planet-forming material can obstruct starlight. Spitzer is keeping tabs on the young stars, providing data on their changing ways. The hottest stars in the region are the Trapezium cluster.

 

4) How would you like to have this guy’s job?

 

Mexico City, Mexico: Sewer diver Julio Camara stands in a cage as he is lowered for a dive at the city’s drainage system plant

I thought I would take an issue from recent headlines to use for my Bible Study.  The controversy that erupted over the inclusion of the ordination of women as a grave crime against the church, by the Vatican.

The issues being is there guidance in the Bible that excludes women from being ordained as a minister/priest?

I also have a question.  Is the breaking of church doctrine, such as ordaining a women is for the Catholic church, a sin against God?  I understand that if you break church doctrine you should expect to be expelled/excommunicated.  However my basic understand of what constitutes a sin comes from the Ten Commandments.  I am not clear on whether breaking church doctrine is in itself a sin. 

a. From a July 16th article in the Christian Science Monitor.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2010/0716/Vatican-stirs-storm-on-women-priests-in-clarifying-law-on-clergy-abuse

“Vatican officials today said the attempt to ordain women in the Roman Catholic Church is not an equal crime to priestly pedophilia – even as critics point out that in practice, the ordination of women is dealt with more harshly inside the church than are charges of priests abusing children.

The Vatican clarification came on the heels of uproar in and out of the church after issuing new rules that made it easier to discipline priests. The rules lengthened the church’s statue of limitations on investigating victims from 10 to 20 years – and included women’s ordination among a list of grave crimes.”

 “Leading Jesuits, such as the late Karl Rahner, once thought to be a candidate for pope, argued in the 1970s that women should be ordained, and pointed to the prominent position of females in the early church. He pointed out in his writings that the first person Jesus met after the resurrection was a woman.

Catholic theologian Karl Joseph Kuschel, a reformer at the University of Tubingen, argues that in the orthodox position that the pope represents, “the bottom line is that the priest acts as the person of Christ. Dating back to the church fathers, and before them the apostles and the person of Jesus, it was all ‘himselves’…. the position is not a sexist one, but a literalist one – Jesus was a man.”

b. From the General Decree of Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith regarding the delict attempted sacred ordination of a women:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20071219_attentata-ord-donna_en.html 

“In order to protect the nature and validity of the sacrament of order, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in virtue of the special faculty given by the supreme authority of the Church (cf. can.30.Code of Canon Law) in the Ordinary Session of 19 December 2007, has decreed:

Without prejudice to the prescript of can.1378 of the Code of Canan Law, both the one who attempts to confer a sacred order on a woman, and the woman who attempts to receive a sacred order, incur an excommunication latae sententiae reserved to the Apostolic See.

If, in fact, the one who attempts to confer a sacred order on a woman, or the woman who attempts to receive a sacred order, is one of Christ’s faithful subject to the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, that person, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1443 of the same Code, is to be punished with a major excommunication, the remission of which is also reserved to the Apostolic See (cf. can. 1423, Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches).

c. From my research on the Net I see that 1 Corinations 14:33-35, and 1 Timothy 2:11-15 are the most often used to support the argument that women can’t be ordained:

1 Corinthians 14:33 -35 (New International Version)

33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, 34women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

1 Timothy  2:11-15 (New International Version)

11A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

However we do now have women (Nuns) teaching church doctrine, and clearly women are no longer expected to give full submission to men.

I can understand that churches that rely on the literal interpretation of the words in the Bible would likely not ordain women.  I can also see where more liberal churches see this exclusion as being base more on cultural bias, the culture that existed 2,000 years ago, not a purely Biblical one.

What is you opinion?

1) Pictures found on the Net today:

 

A polar bear has a bucket on his head, while a cub swims nearby in the cooling waters of Moscow Zoo on Wednesday as a heat wave continued in central Russia.

I guess even polar bears need protection from the sun in this record breaking hot weather.  I must admit that bucket is probably better looking than some hats I have worn.

If you wear hats do you what do you think other people think about them?  “What a cool looking dude/dudette!” or “What was he/she thinking?”

 

British Prime Minister David Cameron (c.) eats a hot dog with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday during his first visit to the US since taking office. 

Two world leaders eating at a hot dog stand?  Maybe the economy is a lot worst off than we think. 

I often ate at outdoor vendors when I was traveling, except in Newark, New Jersey.  There was a “shish kabob” stand outside my banks building.  The kabob looked at more like rat than any meat I have ever seen.

Do you eat at outdoor food vendors?  

2) Summer reading list

I have been using CD’s of books from my library for much of my summer book list.  I can down load the CD to my iPod which makes it very convenient compared to carrying books around.

Two audio books that I really enjoyed were:

A. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Brian Robeson is a young boy stranded and alone in the Canadian wilderness, after the pilot of the plane in which he is traveling suffers a fatal heart attack.  Brian is forced to try to land the plane, but ends up crash-landing the plane into a lake.  He just manages to escape as the plane sinks into the remote lake.

Brian figures out how to make fire. He forces himself to eat whatever food he can find, such as turtle eggs, fish, berries, fruit, some rabbits, and even a couple of birds. He deals with a porcupine, bear, skunk, moose and a tornado and a tornado. He eventually becomes quite a craftsman, crafting a bow, arrows, and a spear. He also fashions a shelter out of the underside of a rock overhang. During the story, he struggles with memories of home, and the bittersweet memory of his mother, who Brian has discovered was cheating on his father.

Hatchet is a simple, but compelling coming of age , wilderness survival, story.  Anyone who loves the outdoors will enjoy this book.

B. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

A review from Publishers Weekly:

“In his hugely influential treatise The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan traced a direct line between the industrialization of our food supply and the degradation of the environment. His new book takes up where the previous work left off. Examining the question of what to eat from the perspective of health, this powerfully argued, thoroughly researched and elegant manifesto cuts straight to the chase with a maxim that is deceptively simple: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. But as Pollan explains, food in a country that is driven by a thirty-two billion-dollar marketing machine is both a loaded term and, in its purest sense, a holy grail.

The first section of his three-part essay refutes the authority of the diet bullies, pointing up the confluence of interests among manufacturers of processed foods, marketers and nutritional scientists—a cabal whose nutritional advice has given rise to a notably unhealthy preoccupation with nutrition and diet and the idea of eating healthily.

The second portion vivisects the Western diet, questioning, among other sacred cows, the idea that dietary fat leads to chronic illness. A writer of great subtlety, Pollan doesn’t preach to the choir; in fact, rarely does he preach at all, preferring to lets the facts speak for themselves.”

Are there any books you have read recently that you recommend?

1) Pictures found on the Net today:

Tel Aviv, Israel: A child plays in a fountain at a park on a hot day.

 

Playing and hot day are two words that don’t go together for me now.  That child is still inside me.  I need to find a way to bring him out more, except on a hot day like today.  🙂

When was the last time you let your inner child come out and play?

Picky Eater

That was me as a child.  I refused to eat my veggies, and would sit at the table for over an hour rather then give in.  Take away the hair, add a few pounds, and wrinkles, and this is still me 60 years later.

Where you a picky eater as a child?

2) Science

a. A researcher at the University of Sheffield has discovered the most massive stars ever found, using the European Southern Observatory´s (ESO) Very Large Telescope. Found within two young star clusters, NGC 3603 and RMC 136a, the stars weigh up to 300 times the mass of the Sun, a figure which doubles the previously accepted limit of solar mass.

The link below is to a Guardian picture that compares this massive star, R136a1 to our solar system:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/interactive/2010/jul/21/monster-star-r136a1-sun-planets

From the University of University of Sheffield press release:

http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/mediacentre/2010/1713.html

“A team of international astronomers led by Paul Crowther, Professor of Astrophysics from the University of Sheffield´s Department of Physics and Astronomy, used the ESO Very Large Telescope and data from the NASA/ESA (European Space Agency) Hubble Space Telescope to study the two clusters of stars. The research, which is funded by the STFC (Science and Technologies Funding Council) may provide an answer to the question as to how massive stars can be.”

“NGC 3603 is located 22,000 light-years away from the Sun, and is a cosmic factory within which stars form quickly from the nebula´s ring of gas and dust. RMC 136a (more commonly known as R136a), another cluster of young, hot stars, is found within the Tarantula nebula, itself within the Large Magellanic Cloud, a neighboring galaxy to the Milky Way.”

“The most massive star ever found, R136a1 within the R136a cluster, has a current mass of 265 solar masses, and it is thought its birthweight was as much as 320 times that of the Sun. It is also the most luminous star ever found, close to ten million times that of the Sun. Within R136, only four stars out of an estimated 100,000 stars in the cluster weighed more than 150 solar masses at birth, yet they account for nearly half of the solar wind and radiation in the entire cluster.”

b. A Vaccine-Delivery patch with dissolving microneedles has been developed that eliminates “sharps”,  waste. and improves protection

From Georgia Tech press release:

http://gtresearchnews.gatech.edu/dissolving-microneedles-patch/

“A new vaccine-delivery patch based on hundreds of microscopic needles that dissolve into the skin could allow persons without medical training to painlessly administer vaccines – while providing improved immunization against diseases such as influenza

Patches containing micron-scale needles that carry vaccine with them as they dissolve into the skin could simplify immunization programs by eliminating the use of hypodermic needles – and their “sharps” disposal and re-use concerns.  Applied easily to the skin, the microneedle patches could allow self-administration of vaccine during pandemics and simplify large-scale immunization programs in developing nations.”

“Just 650 microns in length and assembled into an array of 100 needles for the mouse study, the dissolving microneedles penetrate the outer layers of skin.  Beyond their other advantages, the dissolving microneedles appear to provide improved immunity to influenza when compared to vaccination with hypodermic needles.”

“Another advantage of these microneedles is that the vaccine is present as a dry formulation, which will enhance its stability during distribution and storage,” said Ioanna Skountzou, an Emory University assistant professor.

Pressed into the skin, the microneedles quickly dissolve in bodily fluids, leaving only the water-soluble backing.  The backing can be discarded because it no longer contains any sharps.

“We envision people getting the patch in the mail or at a pharmacy and then self administering it at home,” said Sean Sullivan, the study’s lead author from Georgia Tech.  “Because the microneedles on the patch dissolve away into the skin, there would be no dangerous sharp needles left over.”

Does getting a injection from a needle bother you?

I am a complete wuss, and have to look away.

Mother nature put on a show for us yesterday, thunder, lighting and rain.  I hope this will cool off the temperatures a little.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tells use the world wide temperatures for March, April, May and June were the hottest on record, and I will guess July will also break the record.

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100715_globalstats_sup.html

If it stays hot I can always cool off with some Bacon Corn Dog Ice Cream.

 

http://bacontoday.com/bacon-corn-dog-ice-cream-the-simple-taste-treats-of-summer-time/

What is your favorite ice cream flavors?

From the Christian Science Monitor’s Pictures of the Day for Monday:

http://www.csmonitor.com/CSM-Photo-Galleries/Photos-of-the-Day/2010/Photos-of-the-Day-07-19

David Barber has what I think is one of the coolest jobs.  That’s some hat.

 

David Barber, the Queen’s Swan Marker, holds a swan during the annual Swan Upping ceremony on the River Thames between Shepperton and Windsor in England on Monday. Swans and cygnets are counted and examined during the ceremony. The five-day census of the swan population dates back to the twelfth century when the Crown claimed ownership of all mute swans. Today, the Crown retains the right to ownership of all unmarked mute swans in open water, but The Queen only exercises her ownership on certain stretches of the River Thames and its surrounding tributaries.

Do you have a hat as cool as this guy’s? 

 

An Indonesian Muslim woman checks her laptop after an afternoon prayer at Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Monday. People in the world’s most populous Muslim nation have been facing Africa, not Mecca, while praying. Indonesia’s highest Islamic body acknowledged Monday it made a mistake when issuing an edict in March saying the holy city in Saudi Arabia was to the country’s west. It has since asked followers to shift direction slightly northward during their daily prayers.

 

A group of Santas and a reindeer from Japan gather in the Dyrehavsbakken amusement park, north of Copenhagen, Denmark, on Monday for the 52nd World Santa Claus Congress, or Bakken. The congress is held every summer and attracts as many as 200 Santas and Elves in addition to thousands of visitors.

A couple of new songs I found on iTunes Monday:

Darius Rucker – “Come Back Song”

Flowering Inferno – Dub y Guaguanco

My favorite videos found on the Net last week:

1) The beautiful voice of Lea Salonga singing “Someone Else’s Story” from the musical Chess, which won the 1986 Critics Circle Theatre Award for Best Musical. 

Lea Salonga-Chien (born February 22, 1971) is a Filipino singer and actress best know for her Tony Award winning role in Miss Saigon.

Her Wikipedia page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lea_Salonga

2) This is the one of the most moving TV commercials I have ever seen, really more like a short film. Made in Thailand it’s about deaf and mute girl trying to compete for a musical award.  I can understand why it’s gone viral on YouTube with over 3,000,000 views.

3) Technology for the handicapped has been improving very dramatically over the last few years.  A New Zealand company, Rex Bionics, has been developing robotic exoskeletons, designed to one day replace wheelchairs.  Below is a video of their latest model.  It needs more development, and is expensive at $150,000.

The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) has been supporting research into the military use of powered exoskeletons, and several Japanese companies are working on their own models to help with jobs that require heavy lifting.

With the heat (90+ degrees), humidity (90%), and poor air quality (state has issued air quality alert) I am not too motivated to write anything.  I will just post some interesting pictures I found on my wonderings on the Net today.

How has the summer weather been where you live?

1) From the Boston Globes Big Picture – http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/

 

“A child cries next to Caravinagre (Vinegar Face), one of six big head characters known as Kilikis that walk the streets of Pamplona hitting children with sponges and inflated bladders during the San Fermin festival. Navarre, Spain.”

If this guy came up to my child I’d hit him with more than sponges. 

2) From the site that gets linked to more often than any other on my blog roll, Cake Wrecks –  http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/

Worst looking wedding cake ever!

3) A site that is always in the top ten for picture sites, Cute Overload –  http://cuteoverload.com/

Saddest looking cat ever! Caption anyone?

 

4) From the daily picture post of the Christian Science Monitor –  http://www.csmonitor.com/CSM-Photo-Galleries/Photos-of-the-Day/2010/Photos-of-the-Day-07-15/(photo)/10

 

“South Korean elementary school students shout as they perform an exercise in the mud during a summer military camp for kids at the Cheongryong Self-denial Training Camp on Daebu Island in Ansan, South Korea, on Thursday. One-hundred-fifty kids took part in the three-day camp to strengthen themselves physically and mentally.”

I think these kids are having a lot less fun than kids in the US who have been sent off to summer camp, mostly so their parents can have their own summer vacation.

What is the best summer camp you know of.

If I was a kid again I would want to go to Wavy Gravy’s Camp Winnarainbow, a Circus and Performing Arts camp:

http://www.campwinnarainbow.org/ 

Wavy Gravy, who I would love to have as my Camp Counselor:

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