You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2010.

1) Picture post frm the Guardian – UK in winter:

a. Rachel Douglass and Sophie Coatsworth sledge downhill at the Town Moor in Newcastle


When was the last time you rode a sled down a hill, or took part in any winter sport?

I can’t remember the last time I rode a sled, but then I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday.  Probably not since I was 12, a long time ago, in my case a very long time ago.  I also never took part in winter sports, since they take place when it is cold outside.  🙂

b. A passenger train makes its way past Greenloaning. Much of Scotland experienced freezing temperatures and heavy snow overnight causing major problems to transport links across the country.


A train ride along the picturesque snowy landscape is a great why to travel in winter.

c. Stablehand Chrissie Busby moves horses at Riverside Liveries near Denny, central Scotland after a night of heavy snowfall.


Riding a horse through fresh fallen snow looks like another great way to see the country.  I never have, because it’s another thing that takes place when it’s cold.  🙂

d. Unfortunately this is how I did most of my winter traveling:


The A1 in Newcastle, which was closed between Berwick and Edinburgh as heavy snowfall continues to cause travel chaos.


1)  Traffic – I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend.  If you did hit the highway there is a good chance you spent some time in traffic.  I doubt however you ran into anything like this traffic jam on a road in Suigam,India:


Any recent shopping adventures you wish to share?

2) Landscapes – Guardian –

Stevensville, Montana, US: A herd of bison in the Bitterroot Valley are covered in snow following a blizzard


Reflections of snow-covered trees are seen in a lake near Sutton Bank, northern England

3) On of the things we should be thankful for is that no matter how bad the US economy is it is still a much better system than the people of some nations have to live with.



A butcher shop in Havana. The shop had only pork, cut into small pieces, for sale on a recent November day.


Shoppers browse the offerings at the Bath Christmas market

If you could whisper in Santa’s ear for one gift, beside peace, love, etc., what would ask for.

I would lick Steve Jobs shoes for an iPad. 🙂

4) The Incredible Flying Nonagenarian

Olga Kotelko at 91 is still setting records. Olga now holds 23 world records, 17 in her current age category, 90 to 95.

From an article in the New York Times, by Bruce Grierson:

On the third floor of the Montreal Chest Institute, at McGill University, Olga Kotelko stood before a treadmill in the center of a stuffy room that was filling up with people who had come just for her. They were there to run physical tests, or to extract blood from her earlobe, or just to observe and take notes. Kotelko removed her glasses. She wore white New Balance sneakers and black running tights, and over her silver hair, a plastic crown that held in place a breathing tube.

Tanja Taivassalo, a 40-year-old muscle physiologist, adjusted the fit of Kotelko’s stretch-vest. It was wired with electrodes to measure changes in cardiac output — a gauge of the power of her heart. Taivassalo first met Kotelko at last year’s world outdoor masters track championships in Lahti, Finland, the pinnacle of the competitive season for older tracksters. Taivassalo went to watch her dad compete in the marathon. But she could hardly fail to notice the 91-year-old Canadian, bespandexed and elfin, who was knocking off world record after world record.

Masters competitions usually begin at 35 years, and include many in their 60s, 70s and 80s (and a few, like Kotelko, in their 90s, and one or two over 100). Of the thousands who descended on Lahti, hundreds were older than 75. And the one getting all the attention was Kotelko. She is considered one of the world’s greatest athletes, holding 23 world records, 17 in her current age category, 90 to 95.

I will be spending Thanksgiving at my cousin’s, with her son, and six cats.  Personally I would be happy if she baked the cats and let the turkey go free. 🙂

Every one have a great  Thanksgiving Day, and weekend.  I will be offline till next Monday.  See you all at the gym.  🙂

1) Over the River and Through the Woods by Lydia Maria Child (Written in 1844)

Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for ’tis Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river, and through the wood—
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
as over the ground we go.
Over the river, and through the wood.
with a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark and the children hark,
as we go jingling by.
Over the river, and through the wood,
to have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, “Ting a ling ding!”
Hurray for Thanskgiving Day!
Over the river, and through the wood—
no matter for winds that blow;
Or if we get the sleigh upset
into a bank of snow.
Over the river, and through the wood,
to see little John and Ann;
We will kiss them all, and play snowball
and stay as long as we can.
Over the river, and through the wood,
trot fast my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting-hound!
For ’tis Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river, and through the wood
and straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go extremely slow—
it is so hard to wait!
Over the river, and through the wood—
Old Jowler hears our bells;
He shakes his paw with a loud bow-wow,
and thus the news he tells.
Over the river, and through the wood—
when Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, “O, dear, the children are here,
bring pie for everyone.”
Over the river, and through the wood—
now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!
2) The following turkey themed classic proves once again they don’t make ’em like they use to.  Lady Gaga eat your heart out:

From 1942 – “Turkey in the Straw”

1)From the Boston Big Picture blog, some submissions to the National Geographic Photography contest 2010 –

A supercell thunderstorm rolls across the Montana prairie at sunset. (Photo and caption by Sean Heavey)

The Music Of Love. This picture was taken in Tenganan Village, Bali (2010). Tenganan is the most famous Bali Aga (original Balinese) village and is located close to Candi Dasa in East Bali. A man was playing bamboo music to entertain a disabled child which is not his son, but he loves this child likes he loves his own son. (Photo and caption by Ario Wibisono)

Oasis. (Photo and caption by Nam In Geun)

2) From a Guardian slide show “Working to improve women’s health in Afghanistan –

“Under the Taliban, maternal healthcare dropped to an all time low in Afghanistan. Because women were excluded from education, there were hardly any trained midwives left in the country. Over the last few years, NGOs have been working to cut maternal and child deaths in the country, which remain some of the highest in the world. The photographer Kate Holt records the work Care International has been doing to tackle the problem in Kabul”

Mahboba Sharieffy was trained to become a community-based educator (CBE) by the NGO Care International three years ago. Sharieffy demonstrates to women through a flip chart the importance of nutrition and hygiene while pregnant and lactating at a weekly health “shura” (meeting) she organises in District 8 in Kabul, Afghanistan

A young girl sits with her mother at a weekly health shura that has been organised by a community-based educator in District 8 in Kabul. According to UN figures, the under-five mortality rate in 2008 was 257 per 1,000 live births (down from 260 in 1990). In India, the figure is 69 deaths per 1,000 live births, while in the UK the figure is six


Nafisa Jan Mohammed is three months pregnant with her ninth child and has recently suffered a stroke that has crippled half her body and made her unable to walk. She sits on her bed in the one room she shares with her husband, nine children and mother in law, who is seated on the floor, in District 5 of Kabul


Care International –

“Women and girls are the most impoverished, most discriminated-against group on earth. Of the 1.3 billion people living in absolute poverty worldwide, 70% are women and girls. Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours, but earn only 10 percent of its income. They produce half the world’s food, but own only 1% of its land. And when it comes to literacy, two-thirds of the world’s 900 illiterate adults are women. CARE is committed to Millennium Development Goal #3 because empowering women and creating gender equality is the way to bring about lasting change against global poverty. Every single Millennium Development goal is directly related to women’s rights. Until the world gets this right, none of the other goals can be met.”

1) These vivid pictures of Earth below, from a slide show on the Guardian, are authentic captures from US Geological Survey (USGS) satellites, the  colors created by various sensors aboard:

The Yukon Delta, with a purple tint, comes to resemble a human heart


An image of an Iranian desert the US Geographical Survey has titled Spilled Paint


Meandering Mississippi

2) Green Shade by Henri Cole

With my head on his spotted back
and his head on the grass—a little bored
with the quiet motion of life
and a cluster of mosquitoes making
hot black dunes in the air—we slept
with the smell of his fur engulfing us.

It was as if my dominant functions were gazing
and dreaming in a field of semiwild deer.
It was as if I could dream what I wanted,
and what I wanted was to long for nothing—
no facts, no reasons—never to say again,

“I want to be like him,” and to lie instead
in the hollow deep grass—without esteem or riches—
gazing into the big, lacquer black eyes of a deer.

3) Rock musician Patti Smith won a 2010 National Book Award for “Just Kids”.  Accepting the award she recalled her days as a clerk in the Scribner’s bookstore in Manhattan:

“I dreamed of having a book of my own, of writing one that I could put on a shelf,” she said. “Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.”

It is encouraging to see that the dream of creating great literary is being keep alive by organizations like 826 Valencia, “Dedicated to supporting students, 8-18, with their writing skills, and to helping teachers get their students excited about the literary arts”. –

The Young Author’s Book Project 08-09

Do you have your own personal library?  What was the last book you added?

If you are like me and use the public library what is the last book you read?

1) Friday picture post

Autumn Leaves – by Paul Marsh


A Muslim pilgrim prays atop Mount Al-Noor during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca

In the cholera epidemic sweeping Haiti more than 1,000 have died, but Emmanuel Tima’s small son has been saved. However the future is still uncertain.

2) November is National Adoption Month

Mirette Franklin (l.) and Elsabet Franklin (c.) both biological sisters adopted in Ethiopia, hold flags as they listen to the singing of the national anthem during the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Adoption Day ceremony in New York. In recognition of November as National Adoption Month, USCIS naturalized 17 adopted children from six countries so that they may celebrate their first Thanksgiving with their families as American citizens.

The best adoption resource I found is the Encyclopedia Adoption site,

From an article in the SF Gate with adoption statistics as of October 2009:
There are 423,773 children in the U.S. foster care system; 114,556 of these children are available for adoption. Their birth parent’s legal rights have been permanently terminated and children are left without a family.

More children become available for adoption each year than are adopted. In 2009, 69,947 children had parental rights terminated by the courts, yet only 57,466 were adopted.

Children often wait three years or more to be adopted, move three or more times in foster care and often are separated from siblings. The average age of waiting children is 8 years old.

Last year, 29,471 children turned 18 and left the foster care system without an adoptive family.

Adopting from foster care is affordable. Most child welfare agencies cover the costs of home studies and court fees, and provide post-adoption subsidies. Thousands of employers offer financial reimbursement and paid leave for employees who adopt and Federal and/or state adoption tax credits are available to most families.

Every child is adoptable. Many children in foster care have special needs. All of them deserve the chance to grow up in a safe, loving, permanent home. Support and other post-adoption resources are available.

Adopting from foster care is permanent. Once a child is adopted out of foster care, the birth parents cannot attempt to claim them or fight in court for their return. A family formed through foster care adoption is forever.

According to a National Adoption Attitudes Survey commissioned by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, 63 percent of Americans hold a favorable view of adoption and 78 percent think more should be done to encourage adoption.

Nearly 40 percent of American adults, or 81.5 million people, have considered adopting a child, according to the National Adoption Attitudes Survey. If just one in 500 of these adults adopted, every waiting child in foster care would have a permanent family.

When Love Takes You In – Steven Curtis Chapman

1) Autumn Landscapes

Guardian 24 hours in pic –
Loerinci, Hungary: An aerial view of an autumn landscape 

From the Guardian Camera Club,  Autumn 6,  by Samir Malik

2) Priorities

a) At a Sotheby’s auction London jeweller Laurence Graff paid $46,158,674 for the 24.78-carat “fancy intense pink” diamond, which he immediately named The Graff Pink.

The sale price was almost double the $24.3m paid by the same buyer for the blue 35.56-carat Wittelsbach-Graff diamond in 2008.

Sotheby’s said the overall value of the jewels sold at the same auction was $105.1m, also a world record for a single sale. The auction included items once belonging to Christina Onassis, the daughter of the Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, and Cristina Ford, the second wife of Henry Ford’s grandson Henry Ford II.

“I think this tells you a bit about the health of the market,” Bennett told reporters after the sale.

b) National Public Radio posted a story, from a report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that a record number of US households face hunger.  From the story by Pam Fessler:

“The number of Americans who struggled to get enough food last year remained at a record high, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

More than 50 million Americans lived in households that had a hard time getting enough to eat at least at some point during 2009. That includes 17 million children, and at least a half-million of those children faced the direst conditions. They had inadequate diets, or even missed meals, because their families didn’t have enough money for food.

“Household food insecurity remains a serious problem across the United States,” says Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon.

He says there’s a reason the hunger numbers hit a record high in 2008 and stayed there in 2009: a struggling economy.

“It is a considerable reflection of what is going on in the economy,” he says. “So jobs, employment, the overall economic health of the country are a major portion of it.”

A pink rock sells for $46 million and a record number of Americans may face hunger.  We sure have our priorities right.

Keith Richards – Wicked As It Seems

1) Faith in Pictures
a. From a Christian Science Monitor slide show

Two Yemeni sisters dressed as angels, hold hands while walking in an alley of the old city, on the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice, in Sanaa, Yemen.


b. I found this picture on a Russian photo site.  I couldn’t read the caption, but the photo speaks for itself.  When you have nothing left there is always faith

2) Science

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have found evidence of the youngest black hole known to exist in our cosmic neighborhood.


The most amazing thing to me is that we can actually observe an object 50 million light years from Earth, and that we can also date it’s appearance, to just 30 years ago.  Every day our knowledge of the World, and Universe, we live in is growing exponentially.  Compared to the body of knowledge our great-grandchildren will know we are still in kindergarten. 

From NASA’s press release

Astronomers using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have found evidence of the youngest black hole known to exist in our cosmic neighborhood. The 30-year-old black hole provides a unique opportunity to watch this type of object develop from infancy.

The black hole could help scientists better understand how massive stars explode, which ones leave behind black holes or neutron stars, and the number of black holes in our galaxy and others.

The 30-year-old object is a remnant of SN 1979C, a supernova in the galaxy M100 approximately 50 million light years from Earth. Data from Chandra, NASA’s Swift satellite, the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton and the German ROSAT observatory revealed a bright source of X-rays that has remained steady during observation from 1995 to 2007. This suggests the object is a black hole being fed either by material falling into it from the supernova or a binary companion.

“If our interpretation is correct, this is the nearest example where the birth of a black hole has been observed,” said Daniel Patnaude of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. who led the study.

3) Music – Jack Johnson – Rodeo Clowns

1) Pictures – Weather

This is not the weather report for where I live – Mon 76 Clear – Tues 71 Clear – Weds 70 Clear , by Friday the temps drop all the way to 65 – .  I wonder what a snow shovel franchise for Los Angeles sells for?

In other parts of the world:

a. Maria Medina waits for a bus during a snowstorm in Albany, N.Y


b. A Muslim imam, a Christian priest and two Jewish rabbis join a prayer calling for rain on Thursday in the West Bank village of Walajeh, near Bethlehem. Rainfall in Israel and the Palestinian territories has been lower than average in five of the past six years, resulting in an acute crisis in the region’s water supply system.
The weather really doesn’t care what your faith is.

c. A beach walker heads west towards the sunset in Orange Beach, Ala.

2)This story just blows my mind away, and feeds into the next one 3).

Jon Jacobs sold the below home for $335,000.  That doesn’t sound unusual except the land is completely fictional.  It only exist online, on the Entropia Universe.

“Entropia Universe is an MMO (massively multiplayer online game) that has an actual working economy based on real money. The game uses its own currency, but pegs it to the dollar. Players must buy into the game using dollars, and then all their purchases and sales are made with the game currency which has a real value.

Jacobs isn’t the first to make a small fortune on virtual real estate sales, and he hasn’t made the most. In another MMO, Second Life, Ailin Graef has become a real millionaire thanks to her virtual-world business dealings. Graef, known online as Anshe Chung, buys and develops virtual real estate just as developers and investors do in the real world. She reportedly takes home $150,000 every year for this work.”

3) The Invisible People TV blog gives a voice to the homeless,  This is one man’s story:

Johnny is a Vietnam Veteran living homeless in Nashville. During the interview, Johnny, who is in a wheelchair, starts telling me how the small RV he was living in was impounded. They even came to tow it when he was still inside.

The money was raised.  There is always hope as long as there are people who care.  Social media can do more that keep us up with the latest gossip.

Picture post
1) Sunrise across Mount Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia
A boy holds his dog in Santa Isabel do Rio Negro
‘Stargazer’ – Stargazer in Blue Heron Bridge, Florida
2) Where my favorite beverage comes from: 
Green tea farmers
What is the country of origin of you favorite drink?
3) Faith
Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Sunset Holy Island, UK
Mecca, Saudi Arabia: A pilgrim prays at the top of mount Noor during the annual Hajj pilgrimage
If you were to go on a spiritual journey what is one place in the world you would want to visit?

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