Thursday, April 30, 2009

" Mud" house in Scotland wins top heritage award

Traditional materials and skills were used to restore the house


A rare mud house which was falling apart and due to be demolished has won a top international heritage award after being saved and restored.

The 19th century building in Logie, near Montrose, was used as a school and a church but fell into disrepair.

The National Trust for Scotland stepped in and turned it into a home for rent.

It has now been given a Europa Nostra Award, regarded as one of the highest accolades in building conservation in Europe.

Judges were impressed by the way the trust minimised changes to the building wherever possible and used traditional materials and skills to carry out vital repairs during the £390,000 restoration project.

Although it is called a mud house, it is actually made from straw and clay.

It is one of the most complete surviving examples of a mudwall building in Scotland.

National Trust for Scotland (NTS) Chief Executive Kate Mavor said: "Logie Schoolhouse is a first class demonstration of what the National Trust for Scotland contributes to Scotland.

The schoolhouse was ear-marked for demolition


"Our skill and expertise have conserved one of Scotland's most interesting and unusual buildings for the future.

"Thanks to our intervention, the building is now safe and secure and making an important contribution to the housing market in a rural area, providing accommodation for local tenants.

"It is wonderful that an esteemed body such as Europa Nostra has recognised the significance of this little building and our role in its preservation."

Throughout the restoration project, conservation experts organised workshops for people such as building experts and schoolchildren to spread knowledge of earth buildings and earth building techniques.

Sian Loftus, Little Houses Improvement Scheme manager at NTS, said: "The building is so rare and so interesting that it simply had to be saved for future generations.

"The trust is pleased to have played such an important part in securing its future and ensuring that the history and traditions of mud building continue into the 21st century and even beyond."

COULD IT BE FACTORY FARM FLU?



COULD IT BE FACTORY FARM FLU?

F. William Engdahl, Global Research - What are the symptoms of this purported Swine Flu? That's not at all clear according to virologists and public health experts. They say Swine Flu symptoms are relatively general and nonspecific. 'So many different things can cause these symptoms. it is a dilemma,' says one doctor interviewed by CNN. 'There is not a perfect test right now to let a doctor know that a person has the Swine Flu.' It has been noted that most individuals with Swine Flu had an early on set of fever. Also it was common to see dizziness, body aches and vomiting in addition to the common sneezing, headache and other cold symptoms. These are symptoms so general as to say nothing.

The US Government's Center for Disease Control in Atlanta states on its official website, 'Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.' Nonetheless they add, 'CDC has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it is not known how easily the virus spreads between people.

How many media that have grabbed on the headline 'suspected case of Swine Flu' in recent days bother to double check with the local health authorities to ask some basic questions? For example, the number of confirmed cases of H1N1 and their location? The number of deaths confirmed to have resulted from H1N1? Dates of both? Number of suspected cases and of suspected deaths related to the Swine Flu disease?

According to Biosurveillance, itself part of Veratect, a US Pentagon and Government-linked epidemic reporting center, on April 6, 2009 local health officials declared a health alert due to a respiratory disease outbreak in La Gloria, Perote Municipality, Veracruz State, Mexico.

They reported, 'Sources characterized the event as a 'strange' outbreak of acute respiratory infection, which led to bronchial pneumonia in some pediatric cases. According to a local resident, symptoms included fever, severe cough, and large amounts of phlegm. Health officials recorded 400 cases that sought medical treatment in the last week in La Gloria, which has a population of 3,000; officials indicated that 60% of the town's population (approximately 1,800 cases) has been affected. No precise timeframe was provided, but sources reported that a local official had been seeking health assistance for the town since February.' What they later say is 'strange' is not the form of the illness but the time of year as most flu cases occur in Mexico in the period October to February. . .

Then, most revealingly, the aspect of the story which has been largely ignored by major media, they reported, 'Residents believed the outbreak had been caused by contamination from pig breeding farms located in the area. They believed that the farms, operated by Granjas Carroll, polluted the atmosphere and local water bodies, which in turn led to the disease outbreak. According to residents, the company denied responsibility for the outbreak and attributed the cases to "flu." However, a municipal health official stated that preliminary investigations indicated that the disease vector was a type of fly that reproduces in pig waste and that the outbreak was linked to the pig farms.'

Since the dawn of American 'agribusiness,' a project initiated with funding by the Rockefeller Foundation in the 1950's to turn farming into a pure profit maximization business, US pig or hog production has been transformed into a highly efficient, mass production industrialized enterprise from birth to slaughter. Pigs are caged in what are called factory farms, industrial concentrations which are run with the efficiency of a Dachau or Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. They are all conceived by artificial insemination and once born, are regularly injected with antibiotics, not because of illnesses which abound in the hyper-crowded growing pens, but in order to make them grow and add weight faster. Turn around time to slaughter is a profit factor of highest priority. The entire operation is vertically integrated from conception to slaughter to transport distribution to supermarket.

Granjas Carroll de Mexico (happens to be such a factory farm concentration facility for hogs. In 2008 they produced almost one million factory hogs, 950,000 according to their own statistics. GCM is a joint venture operation owned 50% by the world's largest pig producing industrial company, Smithfield Foods of Virginia. The pigs are grown in a tiny rural area of Mexico, a member of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and primarily trucked across the border to supermarkets in the USA, under the Smithfields' family of labels. Most American consumers have no idea where the meat was raised.

Now the story becomes interesting.

The Times of London interviewed the mother of 4-year-old Edgar Hernandez of La Gloria in Veracruz, the location of the giant Smithfield Foods hog production facility. Their local reporter notes, 'Edgar Hernández plays among the dogs and goats that roam through the streets, seemingly unaware that the swine flu he contracted a few weeks ago - the first known case - has almost brought his country to a standstill and put the rest of the world on alert. 'I feel great,' the five-year-old boy said. 'But I had a headache and a sore throat and a fever for a while. I had to lay down in bed.''

The reporters add, 'It was confirmed on Monday (April 27 2009-w.e.) that Edgar was the first known sufferer of swine flu, a revelation that has put La Gloria and its surrounding factory pig farms and 'manure lagoons' at the centre of a global race to find how this new and deadly strain of swine flu emerged.'

That's quite interesting. They speak of 'La Gloria and its surrounding factory pig farms and 'manure lagoons.'' Presumably the manure lagoons around the LaGloria factory pig farm of Smithfield Foods are the waste dumping place for the feces and urine waste from at least 950,000 pigs a year that pass through the facility. The Smithfield's Mexico joint venture, Norson, states that alone they slaughter 2,300 pigs daily. That's a lot. It gives an idea of the volumes of pig waste involved in the concentration facility at La Gloria.

Significantly, according to the Times reporters, 'residents of La Gloria have been complaining since March that the odor from Granjas Carroll's pig waste was causing severe respiratory infections. They held a demonstration this month at which they carried signs of pigs crossed with an X and marked with the word peligro (danger).' There have been calls to exhume the bodies of the children who died of pneumonia so that they could be tested. The state legislature of Veracruz has demanded that Smithfield's Granjas Carroll release documents about its waste-handling practices. Smithfield Foods reportedly declined to comment on the request, saying that it would 'not respond to rumours.'

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Don't blame the pigs!

Resources to combat swine flu hysteria


#1. Math.

The greater Mexico City Metropolitan area has a population of 22 million people according to Wikipedia.

Many millions of them live in crushing poverty, poor health and with poor sanitary conditions.

1,000 "cases" (which is higher than the so-far reported number) equals 0.005% of the population. 60 deaths equals 0.0003% of the population.

#2 Deaths?

Of the few deaths, no one has mentioned who these casualties are. Are they elderly or infirm people who could just as easily be killed by the common cold or a slip and fall? It makes a difference.

#3 The long history of government/pharmaceutical industry scams

These guys have tried to institute national flu vaccination programs before. The last time was 1976 (under Gerald Ford). The public recognized the foolishness and danger involved in accepting the government vaccine and rejected it. The much-threatened "pandemic" never happened.

http://www.salon.com/env/feature/2009/04/28/1976_swine_flu/

If you missed yesterday's video on how the US government has been positioning itself to FORCE its population to accept a flu vaccination, I strongly recommend you watch this:



http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/609.html

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Rams Horn at The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival




The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year is May 2 & 3. It is largest and longest-running showcase of domestic sheep and wool in the United States. We will be exhibiting for the 14th year. Our booth of textile related jewelry and buttons will once more be in the large metal building at the bottom of the hill, MAIN:A27.

The festival was started in 1973, In 2003 it attracted over 70,000 people. The 2008 festival was the 35th consecutive. It is sponsored by the Maryland Sheep Breeders Association. The Festival's purpose is to "educate the public about sheep and wool". It is organized and staffed by volunteers from both the sheep breeding and fiber using communities.

It is held annually during the first weekend in May at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship, Maryland. It has vendors of wool yarn, and judging of more than 30 sheep breeds. Vendors of other fiber-producing livestock such as goats, angora rabbits, llamas, and alpaca also attend.

The festivals includes live music, a "sheep to shawl" contest, and border collie demonstrations. Food vendors sell various lamb dishes including, lamb burgers, gyros, and lamb sausage. There are also lamb cooking contests and lamb cooking demonstrations.



http://www.sheepandwool.org/

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Let sleeping dogs....

American Livestock Breeds Conservancy



A chicken coup: Group seeks to protect rare breeds

By TRACIE CONE, Associated Press Writer – Fri Apr 24, 4:17 am ET

FRESNO, Calif. – At about the time Foghorn Leghorn appeared on the Looney Toons drawing board in 1946, he began disappearing from America's dinner tables.

Now the bird on which the rooster cartoon character was modeled is among 66 types of old-fashioned chickens the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy is trying to save from extinction as factory-raised cross varieties command 90 percent of the market.

"When we can identify something in danger, we need to protect it," says Barbara Bowman of Sonoma County, an original board member of Slow Food USA who has a dozen of the last 510 Delaware breeding stock chickens in existence. "The old breeds provide really sturdy genetics that we have to guard."

Since the arrival of industrialized agriculture, more than 95 percent of vegetables that had been grown in the world have disappeared, according to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture.

America's purebred chickens began a similar decline after World War II, when poultry producers, seeking to hold onto the market gained during wartime beef shortages, participated in the national "Chicken of Tomorrow" contest. The goal: a broad-breasted variety that could be mass produced quickly on minimal feed. A Cornish-Plymouth Rock cross dominates today.

Now the North Carolina-based Conservancy hopes to do with chickens what seed banks have done for heirloom vegetables.

"All of the other breeds lost their jobs because they couldn't grow as fast," said Marjorie Bender, the Conservancy's technical program director. "The marketplace only cared about how fast it grew and how big it got."

Unlike chicken bought by the bucketful, certified heritage chickens like the Leghorn must breed naturally, be able to live and forage outdoors, meet certain breed standards and not be genetically modified to grow with abnormally large breasts. If a human baby grew as quickly as a five-week factory fryer, he would weigh 349 pounds by age 2, a University of Arkansas study found.

The group hopes that its "heritage" seal of approval will alert consumers that the chicken or eggs come from birds with unique flavors and characteristics, the way organic labels indicate an absence of pesticides.

"To save them, we have to eat them," says Bender. "We are losing genetic diversity in our country's livestock."

At least 19 heritage breeds, such as the white Delaware with the mottled neck, the white-egg laying Holland and black mottled Houdan, have been designated as critically threatened, which means there are fewer than 500 left. Dozens of others are in danger of disappearing without a market to sustain them.

Maintaining genetic diversity in the food supply is the goal. Members already have a record of protecting asses, turkeys and some threatened breeds of cattle and horses, such as South Carolina's sturdy Marsh Tacky.

"The factory chickens we have now are all closely related," Bender said. "If we had millions of chicken houses decimated (by disease), we'd have to figure out how to resist that disease. Part of the answer is genetically based."

The move to preserve old-fashioned breeds of chickens might not have the backyard appeal of the Brandywine tomato or the Kentucky Wonder bean. But to gourmets, the idea is growing.

On his 42-acre Azalea Springs Farm in Napa County, Douglas Hayes doesn't have a single grape vine but he does have 40 endangered Buckeyes that have free range to pick grubs amid his heirloom fruit trees and vegetables — and another 80 fertilized eggs on the way.

"Good quality, high-flavor food has always been a part of my life," Hayes said.

___

American Livestock Breeds Conservancy: http://www.albc-usa.org/

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jasper prayer beads


This is my idea of a five decade set of paternoster beads with a Celtic flair. We cast the pewter Irish cross and I used pewter beads with the green jasper and agate beads to give it some contrast.

Scotster, a social site!


I found the best social site for me ever, yesterday. It's called Scotster. I put a link in from the bottom of this blog. What a cool way to share photos and information related to Scots and those who love Scotland!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Scotster - New Website for Social Networking Back
17 February 2009

Scotster is a new website which promotes Scotland and everything Scottish, bringing people together in a worldwide network for Scotland that costs nothing to join and which has members from all over the world.

People join Scotster to share photos, exchange ideas, meet people, give opinions, research travel options, get advice, organise events, find things to do, expand their social circle, chat to friends,build more business, discover new places.
Tell us more about you: add your events to the calendar, upload photos of Scotland and your own local area, chat with people in private or in the forums.

Scotsters say it is fun, useful, educational, photographic, highly addictive and a great alternative to anything else dedicated to Scotland!

See you on Scotster – it is at http://www.scotster.com and costs nothing to join and is really easy to use.

This Piece came from Hi-Arts;
http://www.hi-arts.co.uk/Default.aspx.LocID-hianewoqb.RefLocID-hiacg5018001.Lang-EN.htm

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sexist reactions to Susan Boyle




What Clark Collis, the author of the piece below failed to point out is that the way people have been reacting to Susan's Boyle's looks are not just unkind reactions because she does not meet the modern standard of beauty in the West but because we still live in a very sexist society. Very unconventional looking men like Lyle Lovett and Sean Penn actually use their unconventional looks to propel them to stardom but women are still expected to look like Barbie.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Susan Boyle: America, what's your problem?

Apr 20, 2009, 12:49 PM | by Clark Collis

The phenomenal popularity of Britain's Got Talent competitor Susan Boyle, and the furor over the disparity between her angelic voice and her "homely" appearance, has got me thinking, oddly, about David Bowie. I interviewed the Thin White Duke a few years back, asking him such questions as, "Is Mick Jagger a good kisser?" (Answer: "You'd have to ask someone else.") While Bowie was in highly entertaining form, all I could think during the encounter was, "That damn fool has gotten his teeth fixed!" Bowie, you see, was famous for having a set of "gnashers" that looked like an untended graveyard after a nuclear holocaust. Yet here he was, telling tales with a set of teeth that made me wish I had worn dark glasses.

As someone from the UK myself (and as someone whose own dental work appears to have been conducted by Mike Tyson's fist) this came as a big disappointment. Britain is a country with a history of producing music stars more talented than toned, or even possessing of the right number of teeth. Look at Elton John, who even in his '70s heyday didn't exactly set female hearts a-flutter (of course, that actually worked out okay for him in the end). Or Van Morrison, who briefly toyed with early svelteness before becoming the shape and size of the moon (yes, Van the Man was raised in Northern Ireland, across the water from England, but you're basically talking about the same diet and dental plan). More recently, the UK has given birth to such female singers as Amy Winehouse, Adele, and Lily Allen, all of whom have enjoyed global acclaim but none of whom spend too much time working on their six-packs (unless said six-packs have "beer" written on them).

Okay, so Susan Boyle is not going to be confused with Miley Cyrus or Christina Aguilera anytime soon. But to me, that's not a source of hilarity (thank you, Jay Leno!) but of national pride. Well, maybe not pride, exactly. But you get my point...

So, what do you think Music Mixers? Are British music stars less conventionally attractive (but maybe a smidge more actually talented) than their American counterparts?

http://music-mix.ew.com/2009/04/susan-boyle-wha.html

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cry Me a River by Susan Boyle!

Erskine Nicol RSA ARA (1825-1904)




The Irish-Scots figure painter Erskine Nicol, was born in Leith, Scotland. After a short time as a house painters apprentice, he attended the Trustees' Academy at 12 years of age, studying painting and drawing under Thomas Duncan and William Allen. A short appointment as an art teacher at a local Leith school was followed by a 4-year stint as an art master in Dublin. Nicol supplemented his teaching stipend by painting portraits. It was in Ireland that Erskine Nicol found his true style, executing figurative scenes, landscapes and genre studies of the Irish people. In addition, he was one of the few painters of his time to portray the horrors of famine, eviction and emigration in nineteenth-century Ireland.

Returning to Scotland in 1851, he showed a series of such paintings at the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA). He became an RSA academician in 1859, then went to live in London in 1862 where, six years later, he was elected an associate member of the Royal Academy (RA). During this time, he returned regularly to Ireland to paint and exhibited his art several times at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA). In 1885, he retired from the Royal Academy in London, and went to Scotland before finally settling in Feltham, Middlesex. Erskine's two sons - John Watson Nicol and Erskine E Nicol - followed their father and became artists.

Erskine Nicol's paintings are represented in a number of public and private collections, including the British Museum, Tate Art Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, Aberdeen Art Gallery, Dundee Art Gallery, Glasgow Art Gallery, Ulster Museum, National Gallery of Ireland and others.

http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/irish-artists/erskine-nicol.htm

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Positive trend for Scotland's Dead


Scots 'bucking funeral pop trend'

Scottish mourners are bucking a trend for pop music at funerals with more and more choosing traditional hymns, a study by a funeral director suggests.

In Scotland the number of funerals with hymns rose from 54% to 56% last year, according to Co-operative Funeralcare.

But its survey of 242 funeral homes and 30,000 services showed 58% of people in England and Wales chose pop music.

Frank Sinatra's My Way was most played song at funerals last year and The Lord Is My Shepherd the top hymn.


The Co-operative Funeralcare survey found that since its last study four years ago, the number of people in England and Wales choosing hymns to be played at funerals dropped by 6%, from 41% to 35%, while the number opting for pop music rose from 55% to 58%.

In Scotland the number of funerals accompanied by hymns rose from 54% to 56% and those with pop music fell from 37% to 36%.

The funeral top 10 was headed by Frank Sinatra and included My Heart Will Go On, sung by Celine Dion, I Will Always Love You, by Whitney Houston and You'll Never Walk Alone, sung by Gerry and the Pacemakers.

Alexandra Burke's chart-topping cover version of Hallelujah appears at number 26, two months after it first aired on television.

More than a quarter of funeral homes surveyed received unusual requests during the year, including television themes from Emmerdale, Top Gear and Only Fools and Horses; Doctor and the Medics' Spirit in the Sky, AC/DC's Highway to Hell and So Long, Farewell, from The Sound of Music.

'Many options'

The study also revealed about one in every 10 requests for pieces of music were rejected because clergy conducting the funeral felt the choice was inappropriate.

TOP 10 HYMNS
1 The Lord Is My Shepherd
2 Abide With Me
3 All Things Bright And Beautiful
4 Old Rugged Cross
5 Amazing Grace
6 How Great Thou Art
7 The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended
8 Jerusalem
9 Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace
10 Morning Has Broken


The Co-operative Funeralcare's Lorinda Sheasby said the study reaffirmed that trends in funerals were changing.

"Today's tear-jerking chart topper is extremely unlikely to be tomorrow's funeral classic, but it's quite possible it will figure highly in the months or even years to come," she said.

"As more people choose non-religious funerals, so they incline towards contemporary songs with which they closely identify," she added.

"Our aim is to make more people aware of the options and choices open to them, so that ultimately the funeral service reflects the life of the individual, which is of great benefit to the bereaved."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8000652.stm

Susan Boyle

A load of old rubbish


A load of old rubbish proves Iona flourished 200 years before birth of Rome

Published Date: 16 April 2009
By MARTYN McLAUGHLIN
THE chance discovery of an ancient rubbish tip on the small island from where Christianity flourished across Scotland has confirmed it was once home to a Pagan settlement.
Studies by archeologists from the National Trust for Scotland have unearthed the first traces of Bronze Age activity on Iona – dating from nearly 1,000 years before the birth of Christ.

The research was carried out on a small pit of domestic refuse which was discovered
only because of the erosion of a sandy bank of a burn on the west side of the island.

Described by the NTS as a "prehistoric midden pit" the pile was found to contain a large cobblestone tool, shards of pottery and flint, limpet and whelk shells, and bones from sheep, goats, and a grey seal, some of which had been burnt.

Since its discovery last September, specialist radiocarbon tests have been carried out at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre in East Kilbride. The results now confirm a 95 per cent chance that the debris dates from between 930 and 810BC.

Derek Alexander, the NTS archeologist who made the find, said: "This is a very significant find for Iona. It is well known for its early Christian history, however, we now have the first evidence which shows that there was settlement even earlier.

"The midden contains lots of useful information that may help shed some light on what human life on prehistoric Iona was like."

Mr Alexander added: "However, we don't have all the answers – while it is quite clear that the remains are domestic rubbish, whether they relate to a settlement in the immediate vicinity is unknown."

Iona may already have been a sacred island in the pre-Christian traditions of the Iron Age inhabitants of the Hebrides.

Although there is no actual physical evidence for this, it would explain why St Columba settled on this particular island in 563, after he was exiled from his native Ireland.

Kirsty Owen, cultural resources adviser for Historic Scotland – which cares for Iona Abbey and nunnery – said: "While it was well known that the early Christian settlement was far from being the first on Iona, it is really good to see some new Bronze Age evidence emerging.

"We know very little about activity on Iona before Columba's time and this find provides a small but important insight into the lives of Iona's prehistoric occupants and suggests that there is more evidence still to be uncovered."

Columba founded a monastery on Iona and set about the conversion of pagan Scotland and much of northern England to Christianity. Iona's fame as a place of learning and Christian mission spread throughout Europe and it became a major site of pilgrimage where several kings of Scotland, Ireland and Norway came to be buried.

In 1938, George MacLeod founded the Iona Community, an ecumenical Christian community of men and women from different walks of life. The community is a leading force in the present Celtic Christianity revival, and attracts nearly 1,000 visitors a week in high season.

http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/A--load-of-old.5174776.jp

Susan Boyle - A Star Is Born?


A 47-year-old church volunteer from West Lothian has become an unlikely overnight singing sensation with millions watching her perform online.

Susan Boyle, from Blackburn, stunned judges on ITV's Britain's Got Talent with her performance of I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables on Saturday.

Since then Hollywood actress Demi Moore has joined the legions of fans who have voiced their support on the internet.

Ms Boyle has now become the bookies' favourite to win the talent show.

Ms Boyle, who told viewers she had "never been kissed", said she had always wanted to be a singer.

She said: "I entered the competition because I wanted to have a chance at my singing.

"I found it very nerve-wracking to begin with but once I settled down and began to sing, I thought that the audience accepted me a bit more. Then I sort of relaxed and began to enjoy it.

Ms Boyle, who is currently unemployed, is a keen church-goer and community worker who is well-known for her Karaoke performances.

She said: "It all began for me at age 12, when I used to sing in choirs and school concerts. Then after that when I got older I was singing in clubs."

Hollywood fans

Her performance on Saturday has received more than 5m hits on You Tube.

Among those who have clicked to watch are Ghost star Demi Moore and her husband Ashton Kutcher.

He sent her a message on the micro-blogging service Twitter saying: "This just made my night."

Her entry read: "You saw it made me teary!"

After Ms Boyle's audition performance at Glasgow's Clyde Auditorium she is now tipped to beat 75,000 other applicants to the Britain's Got Talent prize, a chance to perform at the Royal Variety Performance.

Tom Kerr, West Lothian's Provost, said: "We would like to add our best wishes for the next stage of the competition.

"Susan has clearly wowed the audience, the judges and the world with a truly fantastic performance.

"Now tributes from across the globe are flooding in, including from Hollywood star Demi Moore.

"And with millions of hits on You Tube, Susan has put Blackburn, West Lothian, firmly on the map."

http://www.show-and-stay.co.uk/theatre-news/susan-boyle-20396.html

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Glass beads found off Georgia shed light on Spanish empire


Of the 70,000 beads found over the decades, a few were in the walls of a church that had fallen.

(CNN) -- Roughly 70,000 beads said to provide clues to the social structure and wealth of people from the 17th century Spanish empire have been excavated by a team of scientists, an archaeologist said Tuesday.


Since 1974, scientists at the American Museum of Natural History have been digging beneath the Santa Catalina de Guale Mission, a remote outpost of the Spanish empire on St. Catherines Island off the coast of Georgia and "the largest repository ever from Spanish Florida," museum spokeswoman Kristin Phillips said.

"The mission was a major source of grain for Spanish Florida and a provincial capital until 1680, when the mission was abandoned after a British attack," Phillips added.

The study is a small part of a larger effort to uncover the history of the mission.

Thus far, the study has revealed "evidence of ancient trade routes from China via Manila's galleons to Mexico and Spain," said Lorann Pendleton, director of archaeology.

She said the indigenous people were wealthy in part because of their bead trade.

"The one that is most beautiful we think came from Spain," Pendleton said. "It is completely hollow and fragile, and the fact that it survived this long is extraordinary."

Of the 70,000 beads found over the decades, a few were in the walls of a church that had fallen, Pendleton said.

According to Phillips, most of the 130 types of beads found from the latter half of the 17th century are likely to be rosaries and medallions intentionally buried with the dead.

"Some of the highest status individuals were children," an observation determined by the number of beads one was buried with, Pendleton said. "This gives us lots of information about Guale society and means that status was ascribed with birth."

But there are some uncertainties with what the study uncovers about society.

"It's hard to say whether the presence of the beads reflects native or church hierarchies, the presence of wealthy individuals or something else entirely," said Elliot Blair, a graduate student from the University of California-Berkeley's Department of Anthropology, who is working with Pendleton and her team.

To remove some ambiguity, the crew of scientists will soon begin an X-ray fluorescent study to determine the chemical elements in the beads, Pendleton said, adding that each bead's elements will help determine its age range and pattern of burial.

On January 2, 2010, the beads -- now at the American Museum of Natural History in New York -- will be on display at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta, Georgia, Pendleton said, because "we think it is important for the beads to have a permanent home in Georgia where they were dug up."

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/04/14/spanish.beads/index.html

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lamb Easter Card

Young Lambs

by John Clare (1920)


The spring is coming by a many signs;
The trays are up, the hedges broken down,
That fenced the haystack, and the remnant shines
Like some old antique fragment weathered brown.
And where suns peep, in every sheltered place,
The little early buttercups unfold
A glittering star or two—till many trace
The edges of the blackthorn clumps in gold.
And then a little lamb bolts up behind
The hill and wags his tail to meet the yoe,
And then another, sheltered from the wind,
Lies all his length as dead—and lets me go
Close bye and never stirs but baking lies,
With legs stretched out as though he could not rise.

by John Clare

I never get tired of this Easter Card!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter Reflections


With OUR EYES we see
The beauty of Easter
as the earth awakens once more...

With OUR EARS we hear
The birds sing sweetly
to tell us Spring again is here...

With OUR HANDS we pick
the golden daffodils
and the fragrant hyacinths...

But only with OUR HEARTS
can we feel the MIRACLE of GOD'S LOVE
which redeems all men...

And only with OUR SOUL
can we make our 'pilgrimage to God'
and inherit His Easter Gift of ETERNAL LIFE.

by Helen Steiner Rice.

Easter Postcards from the Past

Easter Postcard

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

6 Inches of the White Stuff

We have six inches of new snow but its melting a little this afternoon. It seems so weird because most of March was snow free but this is pretty normal for April in Chautauqua County, NY.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

For much more on Lent and Holy Week see my Other Blog


http://thepeddlersdonky.blogspot.com/

Blogging Holy Week and Christian Art

Bring back Hemp!


This is so interesting on commercial hemp. Be sure to follow the link and watch this amazing video! Hemp for Victory

http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/591.html



Eighty years ago, using a dizzying barrage of propaganda dirty tricks, the chemical company DuPont with the help of newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst succeeded in having the cultivation and possession of hemp criminalized.

The reality is that industrial grade hemp cannot be used to get high and it's one of the most useful plants in human history.

Two US Congressmen, Barney Frank and Ron Paul, have introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act to change this sorry state of affairs. Eight other Congressmen from both parties have co-sponsored it.

Currently, about 99% of marijuana that is being eradicated by the "heroic" efforts of the DEA and other publicly funded layabouts is "ditchweed," completely unsmokable biological material descended from hemp plants that used to provide America and the world with cloth, fiber, paper, industrial lubricants, and even food (the seeds are as nutritious as milk.)

Perhaps sanity will prevail.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hemp Bill Introduced In Congress
by Ryan Grim

A bipartisan group of agitating members of Congress introduced legislation Thursday to allow farmers to grow industrial hemp.

Currently eight states -- Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia -- allow industrial hemp production or research, but federal law, which requires nearly-impossible-to-obtain-permits to grow hemp, trumps those state laws. The new bill would allow states to craft their own policy.

Hemp, a cousin of marijuana that can't get you stoned, is considered by the Drug Enforcement Administration to be a controlled substance because it kind of looks like pot. Synthetic fabric makers have long opposed hemp, which they see as competition.

The United States is the only nation that blocks its farmers from growing hemp, though hemp products are legal to import and to sell. Somebody would have to smoke several acres worth of hemp, which has negligible psychoactive properties, for that policy to make any sense.

But wild hemp continues to grow across the country. In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan took the anti-hemp policy to its logical conclusion and ordered law enforcement to uproot wild hemp wherever it was found. It was a wild success: by 1989, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) estimated it uprooted 120 million of the plants that year, which it referred to in government reports as "ditchweed." In 2001, it eradicated half a billion such plants, though not even that total could get someone high. The war on ditchweed continues today, but the DEA has stopped its embarrassing habit of disclosing the total amount of useless plants it uproots.

The industrial hemp bill is being championed by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), a powerful committee chairman and outspoken critic of the drug war, as well as Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a libertarian-leaning former presidential candidate suspicious of federal power. Nine other members, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's close ally, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), cosponsored the bill.

"Federal law is standing in the way of farmers in these states growing what may be a very profitable crop," said Paul when introducing the bill.

Frank and Paul,in a letter [PDF] to congressional colleagues, note that "during World War II, the federal government encouraged industrial hemp farming to help the war effort."

The industrial hemp bill comes as policymakers are taking a fresh look at the war on drugs in light of the very real war in Mexico between the government and rival drug cartels. Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) has proposed an overhaul of the criminal justice system and Attorney General Eric Holder has vowed not to prosecute medical marijuana patients and clinics that are in compliance with state law.

Though the bill faces long odds in Congress, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture has said it "supports revisions to the federal rules and regulations authorizing commercial production of industrial hemp." The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has also passed a pro-hemp resolution.

Obama could change hemp policy without congressional action, noted Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra. "Obama should direct the DEA to stop confusing industrial hemp with its genetically distinct cousin, marijuana. While the new bill in Congress is a welcome step, the hemp industry is hopeful that the new leadership in the White House will prioritize the crop's benefits to farmers," he said.

Ryan Grim is the author of the forthcoming book This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sheepdogs Stress Flock?????

Tesco tells farm to stop using sheepdogs because they 'stress' the flock

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:45 PM on 04th April 2009

Sheepdogs herding a flock may be a familiar farmyard scene, but it could soon be confined to the past if bosses at Tesco have their way.

The supermarket chain has told its major supplier of lamb to stop using dogs, which it claims cause stress to the animals.

It means shepherds at the farm may need to use methods such as beating the ground with sticks and waving their arms to control the flock.

Outraged staff at Silver Fern Farms in Fairton, New Zealand may now have to get rid of up to 60 dogs to comply with the orders, meaning several of the animals will be destroyed.

Shepherd Mick Pethram told the Telegraph newspaper: 'New Zealand sheep are used to dogs, they know dogs.

'There's more stress in a human herding and manhandling them, waving their arms and beating sticks. Dogs are part of a sheep's life. This is absolute baloney.'

He continued: 'We'll be desperately trying to sell them, but most of us will end up putting down three or four each.

'These are good dogs. Taking away our dogs is like taking a hammer away from a builder; we can't do our job without them.'

In New Zealand, abattoirs are attached to farms and dogs are usually used to herd the sheep before slaughter.

Buyers for Tesco visited Silver Ferns Farm, which is one of the chain's biggest suppliers of lamb, earlier this year and were said to be upset at the dogs 'running riot'.

A spokesperson for the store said: ' We don't have a problem with sheepdogs, but we need to make sure they treat the sheep in a considerate manner, so they don't stress the sheep out.'

Scientists have found evidence that causing stress to animals before slaughter can cause the meat to become pale and watery.

However a spokesperson for the National Farmers Union said there was no evidence that sheepdogs caused animals to feel stressed.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1167370/Tesco-tells-farm-stop-using-sheepdogs-stress-flock.html

Price of Goat meat!

Ouch and I thought 6.00 a pound for lamb was dear! $13.00-17.00 For goat! Oooooooooo! Read the last post for more on this topic.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

From the New York Times on Eating Goat



By HENRY ALFORD
Published: March 31, 2009

YOU never know where goat will take you. When I asked the smiley butcher at Jefferson Market, the grocery store near my apartment in the West Village, whether he had any goat meat, he told me: “No. I got a leg of lamb, though — I could trim it nice and thin to make it look like goat.” I politely declined. We fell into conversation.

I found myself telling him: “Koreans think eating goat soup increases virility. It can lead to better sexytime.” My new friend responded: “My lamb does that a little. You won’t want to every night, but maybe every other night.” Reaching toward his counter to pick up a mound of hamburger, he paused to ask, “It’s for you, the goat?”

Mine is the tale of the recent convert. Admittedly, I’m late to the party: goat is the most widely consumed meat in the world, a staple of, among others, Mexican, Indian, Greek and southern Italian cuisines. Moreover, it’s been edging its way into yuppier climes for a year or so now, click-clacking its cloven hooves up and down the coasts and to places like Houston and Des Moines. (When New York magazine proclaimed eating goat a “trendlet” last summer, one reader wrote on the magazine’s Web site, “Here are white people again!!!! Acting like they invented goat meat.”) A famed beef and pork rancher, Bill Niman, returned from retirement to raise goats in Bolinas, Calif.; New York City has a chef (Scott Conant) who’s made kid his signature dish.

Novelty and great flavor aren’t the only draws here — the meat is lower in fat than chicken but higher in protein than beef. There’s even an adorable neologism (“chevon”) for those who want their meat to sound like a miniature Chevrolet or a member of a 1960’s girl group.

I’d partaken of the bearded ruminant before, most memorably in a Jamaican curry in Brooklyn. I’d liked the flavor of the meat, equidistant as it was from lamb and beef. But when my teeth wrangled a particularly tough piece of meat that was shield-shaped and curved and slightly rubbery, I had the distinct impression that I had bitten into the cup of a tiny bra.

Indeed, goats have long held a lowly reputation. Scavengers, they are falsely accused of eating tin cans. Their unappetizing visage is simultaneously dopey and satanic, like a Disney character with a terrible secret. Their chin hair is sometimes prodigious enough to carpet Montana. Chaucer said they “stinken.”

My conversion moment came this February when I went to the West Village restaurant Cabrito and had the goat tacos. This hip taquería-style restaurant — which is named after the baby goat that is pit-barbecued in Texas and Mexico — marinates its meat for 24 hours before wet-roasting it over pineapple, chilies, onion and garlic. The resultant delicious pulled meat is tender throughout and slightly crisp and caramelized around the edges. Think lamb, but with a tang of earthy darkness. Think lamb, but with a rustle in the bushes. Think ... jungle lamb.

Suddenly I was go go goat. I wanted to order goat in as many restaurants as possible. Shortly into this process, a friend asked me, “Is it gay meat?” Confused, I said, “There’s nothing gay about it at all.” She explained, “No, I said is it gamey?”

Oh, that. Only very slightly, and depending on how it’s prepared. Two of my favorite goat dishes in New York are the least gamey. At Scarpetta, Mr. Conant’s signature dish, capretto, consists of slices of moist-roasted kid floating on top of a column of peas and cubed fingerlings. Convivio serves baked cavatelli in a tomato-braised goat ragù. In both dishes, the meat is as tender as a Jennifer Aniston movie.

Once I’d tasted a wide variety of goat — from a spicy curry at Dera in Jackson Heights, to a goat paratha at the Indian takeout place Lassi, two blocks from my apartment — it was time to make some of my own. Three butchers in my neighborhood told me that, with three days’ or a week’s notice, they could get me frozen goat meat.

“You have elk and wild boar, but not goat?” I harangued a butcher at Citarella, invoking Norma Rae; he countered, “That’s how life is,” suddenly Montaigne. I had better luck at the Union Square greenmarket, where two farms, Patches of Stars and Lynnhaven, sell frozen meat for about $13 to $18 a pound on Saturdays (and Lynnhaven on Wednesdays, too), as well as at Esposito Meats at 900 Ninth Avenue, which has it daily ($4.98 a pound). I found fresh goat meat available daily at $4.50 a pound at Atlantic Halal on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

Two things quickly became clear once I started cooking. First, because it’s so lean, goat is particularly good when braised or cooked with moist heat so it won’t dry out. While my mantis, or mini Turkish ravioli, filled with goat and parsley and onion, were pretty good and my goat and pork polpettine, or tiny meatballs, slightly better, the two winners so far have been goat ragù and chèvre à cinq heures.


The former, an adaptation of the chef Andrew Carmellini’s lamb ragù, adds cumin and lots of fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary and mint) to a tomato ragù, yielding a dish that evokes the saturated greenness of a meadow in springtime. In the latter, an Anthony Bourdain recipe, you cook a garlic-clove-studded leg of lamb — or, in this case, goat — in a Dutch oven so it can have all the benefit of sitting for five hours in a pool of white wine and 20 more cloves of garlic.

My second realization was that goat, like lamb, has a lot of the fatty membrane known as caul. Though a sharp knife is your friend here, I have, on two occasions, resorted to using scissors, and, while doing so, been reminded of how the chef Fergus Henderson uses a Bic razor to depilate pig. This is the only part of cooking goat that I don’t love — however, I will confess that I think the single most terrifying passage in all of literature is from a lamb recipe in Madame Guinaudeau’s 1958 book “Traditional Moroccan Cooking”: “Make a hole with the point of the knife just above the knee joint of one of the legs between flesh and skin. Blow through the opening until the air gets to the fore legs and makes them stick up.”

It is the hallmark of the true enthusiast that he is wont to proselytize. Indeed, I recently threw a dinner party at which I served goat at every course — the polpettine among the appetizers, the ragù as our entrée, and a cheesecake interlarded with nearly a pound of Coach Farm’s chèvre for dessert. At evening’s end, as my wine-fueled guests prepared to scramble down the stairs of my four-flight walk-up, it was all I could do not to tie tiny bells around their necks.


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/01/dining/01goat.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hpw

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