Sunday, May 31, 2009

Susan Boyle 'admitted to clinic'

Susan Boyle 'admitted to clinic'

Susan Boyle was runner-up in the talent show on Saturday night

Britain's Got Talent's star Susan Boyle has been admitted to a private London clinic, it is being reported.

The Sun said the Scottish singer has been admitted to the Priory clinic with exhaustion a day after she was runner-up in ITV1 talent show final.

Police were called to a London hotel on Sunday at 1800 BST to doctors assessing a woman under the Mental Health Act, Scotland Yard confirmed.

That woman was taken voluntarily by ambulance to a clinic, they said.

At the request of doctors, police accompanied the ambulance.

The Priory Clinic said: "We can neither confirm nor deny the reports."

Dance group Diversity beat the West Lothian singer to be named the winner of the talent show on Saturday night in a final watched by an audience of 18 million.

On Sunday, it emerged Boyle was taking time off on the advice of a doctor.

Television company talkbackThames released a statement offering her "ongoing support".

The singer became an international singing sensation after first performing "I Dreamed A Dream" in the contest, a song she reprised for the final.

Her performances have attracted millions of hits on video-sharing websites and led to an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show.

Take Your Victory Lap, Susan Boyle

Take Your Victory Lap, Susan Boyle
Chris Matyszczyk: It May Have Been A 2nd Place Finish, But She Still Went Out A Winner

(CBS) This editorial was written by Chris Matyszczyk, a creative director who advises major corporations on content creation and marketing.
Susan Boyle has always come second in life.

Second in opportunity. Second, according to those who bullied her in her dismal hometown, in intelligence. And second, one suspects, to the needs of others in her family.

By coming in second in "Britain's Got Talent," however, Boyle got some relief from the frivolous flickers of fame that were burning her very being.

She tossed frumpiness aside, choosing instead to wear the dress of the musical lady she always dreamed of being.

Her eyebrows, still tensely clenched for fear of unwarranted attack from some critic, or perhaps some deranged Englishman, told of her determination to stare down her new surroundings.

They told of her fierce need to quiet every shake and shiver that must have coursed through her body all week.

We had heard that she was breaking down, when it was actually us, or those of us who have heads permanently placed just inside the parts we use for sitting, who were doing the breaking.

Journalists goaded her into reaction. Casual bystanders thought they knew, owned her, or at least had every right to either grab her hem or tear it.

The "Daily Mail" reported that psychiatrists had been counseling her all week.

And then she was supposed to go out and win a talent show that, in her heart, she would have rather have watched in her local pub.

She sang "I Dreamed a Dream" with feeling. Many feelings.

She felt that the opportunity to do what she desperately craved would be forthcoming whether she won in the eyes of the sedentary or not.

She felt that she could sing with defiance and a little delight because this new world into which she had been introduced by the perverse power of the Web allowed her to know about the world beyond her own shores and be known there.

She also felt that even if there were some in Britain who wanted to cut her down to size (a finely-tuned British thing to do), there were those all over the world who felt she was the embodiment of all their secret, and even silly, hopes and dreams.

That those in Britain believed the extremely entertaining dance group, Diversity, was better mattered nothing.

Now Susan Boyle can record and perform. She can enchant America and other places on the globe, where people watched an apparently ordinary human being do something that wasn't merely extraordinary, but that felt extraordinary.

Because she made people feel, she can now herself feel at least some joy in being respected, loved and admired.

No one will dwell on the fact that she came second in some mercifully mundane little British talent show.

Everyone will remember that on some day back in 2009, they watched a video on YouTube and they wept.

Diversity can't escape Susan Boyle

Diversity can't escape Susan Boyle, despite victory in Britain's Got Talent

(Daniel Deme/EPA)

Diversity - the day after winning the BGT title
Valentine Low

Smiling, self-conscious and doing their best to hide the fact that they had scarcely gone to bed since last night’s victory on Britain’s Got Talent, the boys from Diversity faced the world’s press today — and discovered the difference between winning and coming first.

The 11-strong dance troupe from Essex caused a notable upset when they beat Susan Boyle into second place, winning nearly a quarter of the public vote.

But if they thought that the record company headquarters was filled with the international media because Good Morning America had developed a sudden and inexplicable interest in Essex street dance, they were in for a letdown.

The first question, naturally enough, was about them — but the second was about Susan Boyle, and what they had said to each other backstage.

On the international stage, this competition has produced only one truly global star; and, talented though they may, it is not Ashley Banjo, his brother and their friends, but a 48-year-old spinster from Lothian who looks like a dinner lady and sings like a miracle.

Despite reports of her volatile temper, their post-victory encounter with the woman the tabloids have cruelly dubbed The Hairy Angel passed off better than anyone could have hoped. “She was probably more gracious off stage than on stage,” said Banjo, 20. “She gave us big hugs, and she had a bit of a dance with us. She was really cool about it.”

Despite being a runner-up, Boyle is predicted to make millions from the international interest in her story. Quite how Simon Cowell will turn Diversity into a gold mine was unclear – as they “can’t sing”.

Banjo said: “It’s a new thing, a street dance group. Obviously with George [Sampson] last year he was a solo dancer so it’s completely different to a group of people, so that’s something that I can’t answer. However, he wants to make money out of us, he can do it.”

Sampson, 15, has since had a No 1 DVD and a sell-out West End show. The winner of the first series, the mobile phone salesman Paul Potts, has become an opera sensation. His debut album sold 3.5 million copies.

When asked about what their dream was now, Ian McNaughton, 25, who works for a City law firm, said: “It’s still early days, there’s so much out there to do. We’ve got the Royal Variety Performance and the tour as well, but we’re open to anything.”

Banjo, a science graduate, said he was so convinced that the group would lose, he had a speech prepared congratulating Boyle, and his “legs gave way” when the result was announced.

Diversity will now take part in the Britain’s Got Talent tour along with the nine other finalists next month and will perform in front of the Queen at The Royal Variety Performance in December.

According to show organisers their biggest appearance before Britain’s Got Talent was being paid £150 to appear in a fashion show at a shopping centre in Essex. The group was founded in Dagenham.

Diversity took 24.9 per cent of the public vote, above Boyle’s 20.2 per cent share. The contestant in third place, the saxophonist Julian Smith, gained 16.4 per cent. ITV said that it attracted nearly three quarters of the TV audience, with a peak of 19.2 million viewers.

The surprise result was a victory for bookmakers, which had taken more than £3 million in bets. A spokesman for William Hill said that his company had made a six-figure sum out of the upset. Boyle is heading for a recording contract and a £5 million fortune despite her loss.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

She Soars With Final Performance

Susan Boyle Loses 'Britain's Got Talent,' But Soars With Final Performance
Singer returns to 'I Dreamed a Dream,' but comes in second to dance troupe Diversity.

By Jem Aswad
Views 21,233

The world was fixated on the final "Britain's Got Talent" Saturday (May 30), mainly to see how the unlikely overnight sensation Susan Boyle, who has been battered by the media in the wake of last week's shaky performance on the show would fare. She did not disappoint her fans, who, judging by the amount of traffic clogging the show's Web site, were flocking to their computers to see her performance — but ultimately came in second, losing out to dance troupe Diversity. The 10-member British troupe will receive 100,000 pounds ($160,000) and will perform at the Royal Variety Performance before the Queen.

After singing performances from contestants Shaheen Jafargholi (who was told by judge Simon Cowell, "You have a great chance of winning this whole thing"), 2 Grand, Hollie Steel and Shaun Smith, Boyle returned to the stage with the song that made her famous, "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Misérables," soaring through the song with a rendition that had the crowd standing on its feet before she was halfway done.

After the performance, the show's hosts acknowledged the pressure Boyle has been under this week, to which she said: "I want to thank the people for all the support they've given me, especially the people at home and people in the audience. Thank you all very much."

Asked if it was worth it, she replied, "Well worth it! Well worth it! To hell with everything!" Asked if she feels at home onstage, she said, "I really feel at home onstage, of course I do, I'm among friends am I not?" she asked, looking straight into the crowd.

Judge Piers Morgan, who commented extensively on Boyle's hardships last week, even citing negative headlines before saying, "I thought, all you have to do to answer all your critics... is sing the song we all fell in love with, sing it better than you did last time, and Susan, I'm not supposed to favor anyone in this competition as a judge, but forget it, that was the greatest performance I've seen in 'Britain's Got Talent' history, you should win this competition, I loved it!" Boyle grimaced slightly and put her hand over her face.

Judge Amanda Holden seconded his praise, adding that "Simon [Cowell] had a tear in his eye, and I've never seen that before."

For his part, Cowell referred to her "weird seven weeks" and said, "You had every right to walk away from this ... and a lot of people said you shouldn't even be in this competition, that you're not equipped to deal with it. For what? For you to sit at home with your cat and say 'I've missed an opportunity'? I completely disagree with that. Win or lose, you had the guts to come back here tonight and face your critics, and you beat them. And that's the most important thing. Whatever happens, and I've got to know the real Susan Boyle, who is not the person I've seen portrayed in the media, you can walk away from this, win or lose, with your head held high. I absolutely adore you."

When Diversity were announced as winners, Boyle put on a brave face, saying, "The best people won," and she wished them "all the best."

Diversity win Britain's Got Talent

Diversity win Britain's Got Talent
Published: Saturday, 30 May 2009, 7:57AM

Street dancers Diversity have emerged as the surprise winners of Britain's Got Talent.

The dance group beat favourite Susan Boyle into second place, scooping the first prize of £100,000 and a place on stage at the Royal Variety Performance

The group, which includes three sets of brothers, put in a stunning performance, weaving in a cheeky reference to the judges' buzzers.

Scottish singer Boyle, who had been the bookies' front-runner for most of the ITV1 series, said: "The best people won. They're very entertaining. Lads - I wish you all the best."

Boyle earlier gave a triumphant performance of I Dreamed a Dream, the song that brought her worldwide fame, following a week of reports that she was failing to cope with the sudden media attention.

There was no repeat of the emotional scenes that saw 10-year-old Hollie Steel perform twice after bursting into tears while performing Edelweiss on Friday.

The other acts were dancers Aidan Davis, Flawless, and Stavros Flatley and singers Shaun Smith, Shaheen Jafargholi, Hollie Steel and 2 Grand.

Sad to see her loose tonight.

Well I am sad Susan did not win but she has great things ahead to look forward to! This quote is for you Susan!

"I passionately hate the idea of being with it, I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time." - Orson Welles

It will always be Susan's Song!


"The performance the world has been waiting for is here! Susan Boyle, the 47-year-old from Scotland, takes on the other acts from the Britain's Got Talent live final. She wowed in her audition and stole the show in the semi-finals. Will she do the same tonight?"

I think she nailed it I sure hope the voters do too!

ITV talent show finale under way

Susan Boyle is the favourite to win the talent show

The 10 finalists on Britain's Got Talent have begun their bid to be crowned the winner of this year's show.

West Lothian singer Susan Boyle remains the favourite to win the ITV1 talent show, with 11-year-old dancer Aidan Davis her nearest competition.

London street dance group Flawless kicked off the show with a routine to a medley of Michael Jackson hits.

The winner of the show will get to perform at the Royal Variety Show and receive a £100,000 prize.

The series has not been short of drama with show bosses rejecting suggestions earlier this week that Boyle might be axed from the show amid fears she was not coping with the pressure of her new-found fame.

Boyle had struggled to handle the attention and thought about quitting the show to escape the attention, judge Piers Morgan said.

And during the last semi-final, 10-year-old Hollie Steel burst into tears while singing Edelweiss before being given a second chance by the judges to perform again.

Monday's semi-final became the most-watched episode in the current series with 15.4m viewers, and it is thought the final may be watched by as many as 20m people.

Latin Hymn for Pentecost

Come, thou Holy Spirit, come:
And from thy celestial home send thy light and brilliancy.
Come, thou father of the poor,
come who givest all our store,
come the soul's true radiancy.
Come, of comforters the best, of the soul the sweetest guest,
sweetly and refreshingly.
Come, in labour rest most sweet,
shade and coolness in the heat, comfort in adversity.
Thou who art the Light most blest,
come fulfill their inmost breast, who believe most faithfully.
For without thy Godhead's dower,
man hath nothing in his power, save to work iniquity.
What is filthy make thou pure,
what is wounded work its cure,
water what is parched and dry.
Gently bend the stubborn will,
warm to life the heart that's chill,
guide who goeth erringly.
Fill thy faithful who adore,
and confess thee evermore,
with thy sevenfold mystery.
Here thy grace and virtue send,
grant salvation in the end, and in heaven felicity. Amen.

(Latin Hymn, 13th century)

O God the Holy Ghost

O God the Holy Ghost
Who art light unto thine elect
Evermore enlighten us.
Thou who art fire of love
Evermore enkindle us.
Thou who art Lord and Giver of Life,
Evermore live in us.
Thou who bestowest sevenfold grace,
Evermore replenish us.
As the wind is thy symbol,
So forward our goings.
As the dove, so launch us heavenwards.
As water, so purify our spirits.
As a cloud, so abate our temptations.
As dew, so revive our languor.
As fire, so purge our dross

Christina Rossetti (AD 1830-1894)

Now even Liam Gallagher is backing Susan Boyle to win tonight

Published Date: 30 May 2009
BOSSES at Britain's Got Talent yesterday declared that Susan Boyle was in "fantastic form and high spirits" ahead of the show's climax tonight.
Organisers admitted the Scots singer had had "a wobble" in the past few days, when she was involved in a confrontation with police outside her hotel.

But a spokeswoman for the programme yesterday insisted there was no question of the

pulling out of the
final, on which bookmakers expect punters to gamble more than £3 million.

William Hill said it was taking bets that Boyle will perform in the West End before the end of the year, snatch the Christmas Number One slot and even propose to judge Piers Morgan during tonight's show.

Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher and Scottish Labour Party leader Iain Gray yesterday emerged as Boyle's latest unlikely admirers – the latter admitting he was reduced to tears by her first performance.

The West Lothian singer's idol, Elaine Paige, issued a last-minute good luck message to the church volunteer, who is thought to have been on the verge of walking out of the programme because of the strain she was under. She was said to have lost her cool after being harassed by journalists and members of the public on Wednesday, after which she considered quitting the contest.

The show's spokeswoman said: "She has had a bit of a wobble, but is all right now. Susan will definitely be in the final. She's in fantastic form and high spirits.

"The only pressure she's been under has been as a result of harassment from the media, who were asked to stay away from the hotel where the contestants were staying."

Writing on his blog yesterday, Morgan said: "My bet is that she will respond with the performance of her life at the final.

"This is one tough lady who has had to fight since the day she was born, and there is no way she's going to quit now."

Meanwhile, outspoken rocker Gallagher has revealed his softer side by backing Boyle to win the programme.

He declared: "Susan Boyle, I'm bang into it, man. But she's had it all sewn up from the first audition, hasn't she?"

The singer, from Blackburn, became an overnight internet sensation after an initial appearance on the show in April.

Speaking about Ms Boyle's debut, Mr Gray said yesterday: "I don't know if I should admit this but I was in tears at the first performance, with everybody else."

Paige said she was "very touched" that Ms Boyle had chosen to sing Memory, one of her best-known songs, during the semi-final of Britain's Got Talent. The opening of the musical Cats in 1981 led to Paige's rendition of the classic song becoming one of her most successful hits.

"I'd like to wish Susan good luck for the final. I'll be watching with fingers crossed and hopefully I'll see her on my Radio 2 show very soon," she said.

Friday, May 29, 2009

War What is it good For? Edwin Starr - War

"War" is a soul song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for the Motown label in 1969. Whitfield produced the song, a blatant anti-Vietnam War protest, with The Temptations as the original vocalists. After Motown began receiving repeated requests to release "War" as a single, Whitfield re-recorded the song with Edwin Starr as the vocalist, deciding to withhold the Temptations' version so as not to alienate their more conservative fans. Starr's version of "War" was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1970, and is not only the most successful and well-known record of his career, but is also one of the most popular protest songs ever recorded. Its power was reasserted when Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band took their rendition into the Top 10 in 1986.

Edwin Starr - War

War! - huh- yeah-
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing

War! – huh – yeah-
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Say it again y’all

War! – huh – good God
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me…

Ohhh… War! I despise
Because it means destruction’
Of innocent lives

War means tears
to thousands of mothers eyes
When their sons go to fight
and lose their lives

I said - War! Huh – Good God y’all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Say it again

War! Whoa, Lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me…

War! It ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker
War! Friend only to the undertaker
War! It’s an enemy to all mankind
The thought of war blows my mind

War has caused unrest in the younger generation
Induction then destruction-
Who wants to die?

Ohhh… War – Good God Y’all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Say it, Say it, Say it

War! Uh-huh – Yeah - Huh!
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me…

War! It ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker
War! It’s got one friend, that’s the undertaker
War has shattered many a young mans dreams
Made him disabled bitter and mean
Life is much to precious to spend fighting wars these days
War can’t give life, it can only take it away

War! Huh – Good God y’all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Say it again

War! Whoa, Lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me…

War! It ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker
War! Friend only to the undertaker
Peace Love and Understanding;
tell me, is there no place for them today?
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But Lord knows there’s got to be a better way

War! Huh – Good God y’all
What is it good for?
You tell me
Say it, Say it, Say it

War! Huh – Good God y’all
What is it good for?
Stand up and shout it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


The name amethyst derives from the ancient Greek word amethustos, meaning sober. Ancient Greeks maintained that amethyst held many beneficial powers. Among the most important of these is it's ability to protect from drunkenness. Wearers of amethyst jewelry, such as necklaces and rings, or drinking from a cup fashioned from amethyst seemed to be immune to becoming intoxicated. The origin of amethyst is also related to Greek Mythology in a parable about the god Dionysus and the goddess Dianna. Amethyst has been thought to have many attributes throughout history, and all of them are good. The stone was thought to control evil thoughts, quicken intelligence, make a shrewd man in business, preserve soldiers from battle wounds, aid the warrior to victory, help the hunter in search of his game, protect the wearer from contagious diseases, and put demons to flight if the figure of a bear is inscribed on the jewel. Amethyst was known as a gem that would bring forth the highest, purest aspirations of human kind. Chastity, sobriety, and control over one’s thoughts were all attributes heightened by wearing the stone. The gem would guard against the anger of passion, and the violent or base nature of its wearer. The stone encouraged calm, bravery, and contemplation.

Wear these and you will never get drunk!

Pentecost Beads

Red Carnelian stone beads with Sterling Silver, Celtic Beads and dove for Pentecost.

Folklore suggests that carnelian was used protect the traveler after death and guard against evil. Carnelian's healing properties are thought to help purify the blood, relieve menstrual cramps and back pain. It is also thought to be beneficial in the treatment of infertility and is worn to enhance passion and desire.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Prop 8 Upheld in California

I am glad Prop 8 was upheld in California. I am not for Gay "marriage". If Gay activists want some form of civil union like they have in the UK I am OK with that. I have many Gay friends but I do not think we should change the very institution our society is built upon on such a pretense as the need for equal protection for Gay couples to receive social benefits or the right to visit ones companion in the hospital. These are separate issues unrelated to marriage. Marriage is the union of a man and women and a bunch of New Age, self righteous, misguided, would-be social reformers with rainbow flags screaming about their civil rights can't change what is fact. Around the world for thousands and thousands of years marriage has always been about protecting the children and providing a safe atmosphere to rear children and protect women when they are preoccupied by small children and pregnant. A man and a women join to become a unit and that is what marriage is. All this hoopla about the right to marry who you please is just a crock of selfish garbage. Gay people deserve the benefits of the state and society concerning inheritance and visiting rights in the hospital but they do not need the protection of marriage. We have become so spoiled and arrogant in the West we have thrown away our neighborhoods and our extended families and our sense of social sacrifice. Do we now want to hold marriage under water until it too is dead? I think marriage is the union of a man and women and I do not think anything can or should change that. I am not making any moral judgment on Homosexual behavior, however marriage is not something that is for everyone nor has it ever been for everyone. If you don't like what marriage is don't wed. Be happy you made the right choice for you don't try to force the whole world to redefine what marriage is to suit your own little need for security and acceptance. Marriage is not a shield or a trophy, its a commitment for life. It should never be entered into lightly.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Liberated and Unhappy

Published: May 25, 2009

American women are wealthier, healthier and better educated than they were 30 years ago. They’re more likely to work outside the home, and more likely to earn salaries comparable to men’s when they do. They can leave abusive marriages and sue sexist employers. They enjoy unprecedented control over their own fertility. On some fronts — graduation rates, life expectancy and even job security — men look increasingly like the second sex.

But all the achievements of the feminist era may have delivered women to greater unhappiness. In the 1960s, when Betty Friedan diagnosed her fellow wives and daughters as the victims of “the problem with no name,” American women reported themselves happier, on average, than did men. Today, that gender gap has reversed. Male happiness has inched up, and female happiness has dropped. In postfeminist America, men are happier than women.

This is “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness,” the subject of a provocative paper from the economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers. The paper is fascinating not only because of what it shows, but because the authors deliberately avoid floating an easy explanation for their data.

The decline of the two-parent family, for instance, is almost certainly depressing life satisfaction for the women stuck raising kids alone. But this can’t be the only explanation, since the trend toward greater female discontent cuts across lines of class and race. A working-class Hispanic woman is far more likely to be a single mother than her white and wealthy counterpart, yet the male-female happiness gap holds in East Hampton and East L.A. alike.

Again, maybe the happiness numbers are being tipped downward by a mounting female workload — the famous “second shift,” in which women continue to do the lion’s share of household chores even as they’re handed more and more workplace responsibility. It’s certainly possible — but as Wolfers and Stevenson point out, recent surveys actually show similar workload patterns for men and women over all.

Or perhaps the problem is political — maybe women prefer egalitarian, low-risk societies, and the cowboy capitalism of the Reagan era had an anxiety-inducing effect on the American female. But even in the warm, nurturing, egalitarian European Union, female happiness has fallen relative to men’s across the last three decades.

All this ambiguity lends itself to broad-brush readings. A strict feminist and a stringent gender-role traditionalist alike will probably find vindication of their premises between the lines of Wolfers and Stevenson’s careful prose. The feminist will see evidence of a revolution interrupted, in which rising expectations are bumping against glass ceilings, breeding entirely justified resentments. The traditionalist will see evidence of a revolution gone awry, in which women have been pressured into lifestyles that run counter to their biological imperatives, and men have been liberated to embrace a piggish irresponsibility.

There’s evidence to fit each of these narratives. But there’s also room for both.

Feminists and traditionalists should be able to agree, for instance, that the structures of American society don’t make enough allowances for the particular challenges of motherhood. We can squabble forever about the choices that mothers ought to make, but the difficult work-parenthood juggle is here to stay. (Just ask Sarah and Todd Palin.) And there are all kinds of ways — from a more family-friendly tax code to a more accommodating educational system — that public policy can make that juggle easier. Conservatives and liberals won’t agree on the means, but they ought to agree on the end: a nation where it’s easier to balance work and child-rearing, however you think that balance should be struck.

They should also be able to agree that the steady advance of single motherhood threatens the interests and happiness of women. Here the public-policy options are limited; some kind of social stigma is a necessity. But a new-model stigma shouldn’t (and couldn’t) look like the old sexism. There’s no necessary reason why feminists and cultural conservatives can’t join forces — in the same way that they made common cause during the pornography wars of the 1980s — behind a social revolution that ostracizes serial baby-daddies and trophy-wife collectors as thoroughly as the “fallen women” of a more patriarchal age.

No reason, of course, save the fact that contemporary America doesn’t seem willing to accept sexual stigma, period. We simply don’t have the stomach for permanently ostracizing the sexually irresponsible — be they a pregnant starlet, a thrice-divorced tycoon, or even a prostitute-hiring politician.

In this sense, ours is a kinder, gentler, more forgiving country than it was 40 years ago. But for half the public, it’s an unhappier country as well.

Monday, May 25, 2009


words and music by Pete Seeger

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the flowers gone?
Girls have picked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young girls gone?
Taken husbands every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young men gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young men gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young men gone?
Gone for soldiers every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Covered with flowers every one
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

John McCrae: In Flanders Fields (1915)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Dove of Peace

Memorial Day

I used to like memorial day when the dying was in the past. I used to drive my horse and buggy in the Panama Parade and feel happy but I don't feel like parades as long as there are Americans in harms way fighting for nothing in the hot desert sun. It's a somber day for me now. I thought the Vietnam war had taught us to be just and to be kind but I was wrong. I am not sure it will ever be a happy day again it will always be weighted down with what has transpired since 9/11.

Susan Boyle Moves Up

The Associated Press
Monday, May 25, 2009; 1:18 AM

LONDON -- Surprise singing sensation Susan Boyle made a new television appearance, showcasing once again her soaring voice _ but refusing to compromise on the frumpy look that made her an Internet sensation.

The shy church volunteer gave a rousing, but occasionally nervous, performance on the "American Idol"-style show "Britain's Got Talent," with a version of the song "Memory" from the musical "Cats."

Members of the public voting in a telephone poll picked her as the best of eight performers who appeared Sunday, meaning she will sing again in the contest's final next Saturday.

Flashing a broad smile, Boyle danced in delight as results were announced and said she had relished the chance to perform. "Fantastic, absolutely fantastic," she said. "What pressure? I've really enjoyed myself tonight."

Wearing a plum colored beaded dress _ and a touch more makeup than during her last performance _ but with the same unruly shock of hair, Boyle overcame early jitters to deliver a powerful vocal.

Producers said the 47-year-old's appearance was being posted on the Internet almost immediately, after about 60 million people watched her last performance via YouTube.

In her first performance last month, judges who'd raised eyebrows at Boyle's dowdy image were won over by her bold voice and surprisingly confident performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" from the musical "Les Miserables." The sometimes awkward looking Scot won praise from celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore, and even won a mention in her favorite cartoon "The Simpsons."

On Sunday, the show's judges and audience rose to their feet to applaud, but those posting comments to the Twitter Web site appeared divided. While some hailed her performance, others appeared underwhelmed.

Bookmaker William Hill has made her a runaway favorite to win on May 30.

Contestants are competing to perform at Britain's annual Royal Variety Show _ attended by members of the royal family _ and win a 100,000 pound ($159,000) prize.

The singer, who lives alone with her cat Pebbles in one of Scotland's poorest regions, said before Sunday's performance that she wouldn't transform her appearance. "I just want people to see me for who I am, and do my best at singing the song, that's what I am focusing on," she said.

Boyle, who says she's never been kissed, grew up the youngest of nine children in Blackburn, a community of 4,750 people 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Edinburgh, in Scotland, and a district blighted by unemployment and crime. She suffered learning difficulties as a child and was bullied by other children.

As an adult, she's struggled for work but had been a regular on her local karaoke circuit and performed in church choirs.

In an interview with The Associated Press at her home last month, she said the death of her mother had inspired her to enter the TV talent show.

"I wanted to show her I could do something with my life," Boyle said.


On The Net:

Britain's Got Talent

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pictish Style Garnet Necklace

I made this today and matching garnet earrings.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chautauqua Lake Portage Tour

Until the advent of the railroad in Chautauqua county in the 1850's, the Portage Trail was an important link between the Great Lakes, Western Pennsylvania and the Ohio Valley. It ceased to be a line of communication for transporting of merchandise as the railroads pushed westward, after which it became an important highway for travelers between communities from Westfield to Jamestown. Today it is the western terminus of New York Route 394.

A re-enactment of the 1700s will be taking place this weekend throughout the county for the Chautauqua Lake Portage Tour.

From Barcelona to Chautauqua Lake, the portage trail has hundreds of different trees, plants, flowers, birds, animals, fish, fossil rocks, geological formations and waterfalls that can be seen along the several historic sites and beautiful views. It also follows within 500 feet of the original Portage Trail all the way. The elevation at Lake Erie is 570 feet, with the highest point along the trail being at 1,400 feet. The elevation at Lake Chautauqua is 1,310 feet.

Today, a group will start the re-enactment by walking from Lake Erie to Mayville, starting off at 11 a.m. from Barcelona to McClurg Mansion Museum in Westfield where the county's Historical Society is located. From there, the group will go to the Portage Hill Gallery, which showcase the artwork of Audrey Kay Dowling and several other artists from the Chautauqua region. Then the final stop for the group today will be Mayville Park where participants will spend the night camping.

On Saturday, the group will start its 18-mile canoe trip, with their first stop being in Stow. From Stow, the group will then go on to Celoron's Lucille Ball Memorial Park, where camp will be set up for the night. The Moose Club will also be holding a chicken barbecue dinner that evening as well at the park.

On Sunday, starting at 1 p.m., participants will present a living history program to the public on the French and Indian War, which occurred from 1754 to 1763. The group will also present colonial life presentations including clothing, gear, cooking, trades and weapons.

History of the Portage Trail
Chautauqua County, NY

The old Portage Trail is one of the most historic ten miles in American History and it played a large part in the settlement of western Pennsylvania and the Ohio Valley. It was roughly nine miles long, running from Barcelona Harbor to Mayville. Originally it was an Indian portage between Lake Erie and Lake Chautauqua long before the white man came to this country.

The first known white man to travel over the Old Indian portage was Etienne Brule, a French voyager, who in 1615 reported to the French rulers in Canada that this was the best route to establishing an Empire westward over the continent. In 1630 the French explorer La Salle passed over the trail and on down to the Ohio River. Chaussegras De Lery, who was a member of the French Expedition of Baron De Longueuil, which was sent in the spring of 1739 to find the best, short route to the Ohio Valleu from Lake Erie, mapped and measured the trail and was largely responsible for the later building of "The Old French Road" over the Indian Portage. The trail is definitely associated with the French and Indian War which enlarged eventually into the Seven Year War involving several European nations and led to the determination of the extent of the British Empire in America. It also decided in Britains favor the issue of whether America should be French or English.

The Longueuil expedition traveled over the portage to Lake Chautauqua to a point which is now Mayville and paddled down the lake to a spot which is now Jamestown and then portaged past some rapids thru Jamestown to Conewango Creek. At this point, we should probably note that Barcelona was called "Camp Chatakoin", Lake Chautauqua was "Lake Chatakoin" and the Conewango was called "Kanavangon." An old French map of 1740 by Sieur de Mandeville shows the portage to "Hiatackoun" (Lake Chautauqua).

In a letter from Marquis de Beaucharnois, the French ruler of Canada, to the minister of the Colonies in France he describes the Longueuil expedition from LaChine (Montreal) to Lake Erie, then along the south shore to a portage, four leagues long to Lake St. Croix (Chautauqua) to explore the possibility of a short water route to the Oyo River (Ohio). So we see that Lake Chautauqua has had many names including a Seneca Indian name of "Ga-Jah-da-quah" meaning "place where big fish were taken out." This word was later smoothed out by the French explorers to "Tchadakoin." We find here and there several meanings of the word including "The Lake High Up" and "Bag of Water Tied in the Middle" any of which would adequately describe the lake but we like the one about "Lake where big fish (muskellunge) were taken out." As far back as any records go, Lake Chautauqua has been known world wide for Muskalunge.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

How safe are regional airlines?

WASHINGTON — Last week was a bad one for Colgan Air and the late crew of Flight 3407 — but it might just be the first of many for the regional airline industry.

Flying turboprops and small jets, regional airlines now run nearly half of the nation’s commercial flights. But those airlines, whose names remain unknown to much of the flying public, have been responsible for all of the nation’s multiple-fatality commercial plane crashes since 2002.

A total of 164 people have died in those crashes as flagship airlines increasingly outsourced their less-profitable routes to smaller carriers that don the logos of the major airlines while paying their air crews far less.

At big airlines, for example, pilots usually earn in the six figures, while Colgan said its pay averages about $67,000 a year for pilots and $24,000 for co-pilots— nearly $20,000 less than received by bus drivers for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

But now the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 — the Colgan plane that plummeted into a house Feb. 12 in Clarence Center, killing 50 people — is sparking a debate in Washington over whether those huge savings come at the cost of safety.

Last week’s National Transportation Safety Board hearings on the crash prompted bipartisan outrage, and Congress plans to follow up with hearings on the regional airlines and how the Federal Aviation Administration regulates them.

“The disclosures about crew rest, compensation, training and many other issues demonstrate the urgent need for Congress and the FAA to take actions to make certain the same standards exist for both commuter airlines and the major carriers,” said Sen. Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat and chairman of the Senate Aviation Operations, Safety and Security Subcommittee.

Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., cited damning evidence from Flight 3407’s cockpit voice recorder, which revealed a distracted crew that didn’t know how to react once the plane started to stall.

“When you read the transcripts from the last minutes, it’s appalling,” he said. “I hope we dig deep there — training, the condition of the equipment. I just think there are a lot of questions. We owe it to these families who have been so profoundly affected.”

Of course, bipartisan outrage is nothing new on Capitol Hill, and the passion of lawmakers often fades as a story recedes from the front pages and as lobbyists from powerful interests come calling to say that, really, everything is just fine the way it is.

Families who lost loved ones on Flight 3407 say they won’t let that happen.

“When this investigation is over, we’d want to see a recommendation that the FAA needs [better oversight] over small commuter airlines,” said Kevin Kuwik, whose girlfriend, Lorin Maurer, was killed in the crash.

The timing might be right for getting the FAA to act.

The Senate Commerce, Transportation and Science Committee will hold a confirmation hearing Tuesday for Randy Babbitt, President Obama’s nominee to head the agency that both regulates and promotes the commercial aviation industry.

Babbitt, who led the Air Line Pilots Association in the 1990s, is expected to be far less deferential than his predecessors to the airlines.

“Looking at this, obviously the FAA is asleep at the switch,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N. Y.

Study of training pushed

Obsessed with budgetary issues, the agency cut back on its oversight of regional airlines while they were growing. Schumer said he expects Babbitt to pay closer attention to how the regional airlines operate.

“It seems from these hearings, too many crew members are overworked and underpaid without any regard for their consequences,” Schumer added.

While senators grill Babbitt, the House this week will put the final touches on its version of a bill reauthorizing the FAA for the next four years. It likely will include an amendment mandating a Government Accountability Act study of all commercial airline pilot training and certification programs.

“The disparity in training between the small regional carriers and the larger carriers definitely needs to be reexamined,” said Rep. Chris Lee, RClarence, who introduced the amendment with Democratic Reps. Louise M. Slaughter of Fairport and Brian Higgins of Buffalo.

If the crew of Flight 3407 had been trained in recovering from stalls, “this thing could have been avoided,” Lee added.

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, D-N. Y., said she hopes to get tougher safety regulations included when the Senate takes up the FAA reauthorization bill later this year.

“There were systematic risks and systematic failures” that led up to the Clarence crash, said Gillibrand, who wrote to the safety board’s acting chairman last week to urge the board “not to turn the pilots of Flight 3407 into scapegoats.”

Broader failures tied to the crash are likely to be spelled out this summer as the House and Senate aviation subcommittees hold hearings on the safety of regional airlines.

Those hearings are likely to explore the salary and training issues that the safety board examined—plus a host of other questions, such as what some see as the deception and greed at the very root of the relationship between the major carriers and the regionals.

Mike Loftus, a former Continental pilot whose daughter, Madeline, died on Flight 3407, left last week’s hearings enraged about that relationship.

“She didn’t buy a Colgan ticket,” Loftus noted. “She bought a Continental ticket.”

The tickets and the planes for many flights still say Continental, Delta or US Airways, even if the flights are operated by Colgan, Comair or Chautauqua Airlines, whose names are spelled out only in smaller print on planes and on travel Web sites such as Expedia.

Loftus said Continental outsourced its regional flights to save money and, therefore, bears responsibility for the crash.

“Continental’s greed is to blame,” Loftus said.

Safety board members, meanwhile, fretted that safety standards on the cheap-labor regional airlines might not match those of the major carriers.

“This is the central issue in this case: Do we have one level of safety?” said Kitty Higgins, a board member.

After the accident, Colgan made several changes in its operations, including improvements in pilot training, and a representative for Continental said the airline feels confident that Colgan and its other subcontractors meet its safety standards.

“We expect our partners to adhere to the highest level of operational safety,” said Julie King, a spokeswoman for Continental.

That’s just what regional carriers do, said Roger Cohen, president of the Regional Airline Association.

Asked about the fact that all recent major airline disasters have involved regional airlines, Cohen noted that two of the last seven years had no crashes at all.

“And if you go back 10 years, the numbers get reversed,” with the major airlines recording far more accidents, Cohen said.

But that was before the regional industry grew.

Cohen also defended the lower salaries of regional carriers, citing highly paid Wall Street executives as proof that quantity of pay does not necessarily buy quality of performance.

While defending the industry, Cohen also said, after the Clarence crash, “I think we are going to work with the FAA and Congress to be sure air travel is as safe as it can be.”

Such promises alone are not likely to placate lawmakers like Rep. John A. Boccieri, an Ohio Democrat who last week wrote a letter to George A. “Buddy” Casey, Colgan’s president, saying, “It is becoming clear that the 50 deaths that occurred that night in February were not only tragic, but likely avoidable.”

Hearings stun congressman

Boccieri, an Air Force Reserve pilot with 13 years of experience, was aghast at what the safety board hearings revealed.

“I think it’s time that we put our foot down for minimum training requirements” for regional airline pilots, said Boccieri, a St. Bonaventure University graduate. “This airline was not requiring pilots to learn how to recover from a stall — and that’s one of the basic flight maneuvers.”

Boccieri, who remains in the Air Force Reserve, said several of his colleagues endure low pay and tough schedules in their regular jobs as regional airline pilots.

“The committee I serve on has to seriously address what’s happening to commercial aviation in this country,” Boccieri said of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Flight 3407 crew failed to heed loss of speed

Flight 3407 crew failed to heed loss of speed
Slowdown preceded air crash in Clarence
By Jerry Zremski and Michael Beebe

WASHINGTON — The crew of Continental Connection Flight 3407 wasn’t paying enough attention to notice that the plane was losing speed to the point where its stall warning sounded, the head of the National Transportation Safety Board said Friday.

“There was a bleed-off of speed with no attention paid to it,” said Mark V. Rosenker, who presided over three days of hearings in the Feb. 12 crash that claimed 50 lives in Clarence.

“This should have been a normal approach” to landing at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, Rosenker added in an interview with The Buffalo News.

Rosenker’s comments address one of the abiding mysteries of the crash: why the plane’s speed got so slow that the stall warning system activated.

Much has been made of the pilot’s inappropriate reactions in response to the stall warning system, but Rosenker’s comments, along with testimony in the hearings, make it clear that the crew’s errors had begun earlier.

The crew slowed the speed of the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 in preparation for landing — as it was supposed to do.

Data released by the safety board this week shows the plane’s speed slowing from 185 knots to 139 knots in 24 seconds.

“That’s not necessarily a rapid slow-down,” Rosenker said.

The problem is, the plane was then allowed to slow to below 138 knots—the correct “target speed” for the aircraft on approach to landing in icing conditions, a report from the Safety Board’s Operations Group said. Other sources familiar with the Q400 said they would not recommend flying the plane slower than 140 knots.

In fact, 3.9 seconds after Flight 3407 was flying at 139 knots, its speed fell to 131 — and the “stick shaker,” part of the stall warning system, activated.

While investigators initially thought ice on the wings may have slowed the plane down, the safety board later found that the moderate level of ice on the wings had a “minimal impact” on its stall speed.

But the plane’s pilot, Capt. Marvin Renslow, apparently had a major impact.

An animated re-creation of the flight’s last seconds shows that at 10:16 p.m. — less than a minute before the crash — the plane’s throttle was moved back to near the “flight idle” position, which is intended to slow the aircraft.

The animation shows the plane slowing quickly after that, and slowing down even more as the crew lowers the landing gear and the flaps, which also slow the plane down.

The trouble is, the plane just got too slow and entered what’s called an aerodynamic stall — in which it, in essence, was moving so slowly that its wings no longer could keep the aircraft flying.

Renslow apparently did not notice that the speed had dropped too far — and neither did First Officer Rebecca L. Shaw, who was supposed to be monitoring the instruments at that point.

Complete Buffalo News coverage of the Flight 3407 crash investigation, including documents, video and profiles of the victims.

Other testimony at this week’s hearings revealed that Renslow and Shaw responded incorrectly to the ensuing stall.

Renslow pulled back on the plane’s yoke when he should have done just the opposite, and Shaw put the plane’s flaps up even though doing so was the wrong response, witnesses testified.

Several officials at the hearing questioned whether a National Aeronautics and Space Administration video that Colgan pilots had been shown — which shows how to recover from a stall caused by icing on the plane’s tail—might have influenced Renslow’s decision to pull back on the yoke.

Renslow’s response would have been correct if the plane had experienced a tail stall, said Tom Ratvasky, a NASA test pilot and icing expert. But it was precisely the wrong response to a wing stall, which is what the plane experienced.

Several questioners said they wondered why that video would be shown to pilots, given that the Federal Aviation Administration will not certify planes that are susceptible to tail stalls.

Ratvasky said showing pilots that video was valuable, but acknowledged it could create confusion for pilots who get a stall warning.

“Remember,” he said in his final comments, “you have very little time to correctly diagnose the problem and take the proper corrective action.”

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tell Me It Ain't so?

(CNN) -- A wheel from the main landing gear of a Colgan Airlines passenger plane fell off and rolled away as the aircraft was landing in Buffalo, New York, earlier this week.

A wheel fell off the landing gear of Q400 Bombardier upon landing on Colgan Flight 3268 earlier this week.

On Thursday night, The Toronto Sun posted a video of the incident shot by a passenger on the Q400 Bombardier -- the same type of plane involved in a fatal Colgan Airlines crash three months ago, also on approach to Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

The video shows the wheel touch down on the ground and then roll away, followed by metal parts that are meant to keep the wheels in place.

The plane was towed to the gate, where everyone on board "deplaned normally," said Joe Williams, a spokesman for Pinnacle Airlines, Colgan's parent company.

"At no time was any passenger or crew member at risk, nor were any injuries reported," Williams said of the Tuesday incident. "The aircraft was properly maintained in accordance with the manufacturer and Federal Aviation Administration procedures."

Williams said the incident "appears to have been caused by the failure of the outer wheel bearing ... the bearing was relatively new, having been on the aircraft for five weeks."

Colgan Flight 3268 originated in Newark, New Jersey.

"I was scared, and the other passengers looked worried, too," one passenger told the Toronto newspaper. "For a moment, I thought the worst in that we may not make it."

Three months ago, Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed in nearby Clarence Center, New York, killing all 49 passengers and crew members aboard. One person was killed on the ground.
Hearings about the cause of that accident have been held in Washington this week. Investigators have focused on pilot fatigue as a possible cause of the crash.

Thistle Gourd Birdhouse

My Mother made this birdhouse from a dried gourd and I painted it. It now hangs in my Brother's garden.

O were my Love yon Lilac fair

O WERE my Love yon lilac fair,
Wi' purple blossoms to the spring,
And I a bird to shelter there,
When wearied on my little wing;
How I wad mourn when it was torn
By autumn wild and winter rude!
But I wad sing on wanton wing
When youthfu' May its bloom renew'd.

O gin my Love were yon red rose
That grows upon the castle wa',
And I mysel a drap o' dew,
Into her bonnie breast to fa';
O there, beyond expression blest,
I'd feast on beauty a' the night;
Seal'd on her silk-saft faulds to rest,
Till fley'd awa' by Phoebus' light.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fatal folly: Pilot in deadly Buffalo plane crash was unfit to fly

Fatal folly: Pilot in deadly Buffalo plane crash was unfit to fly

Wednesday, May 13th 2009, 4:00 AM

When you have a pilot who got his license at 14, flew crop dusters at 15, served in the Air Force and flew F-4 Phantom fighters, all before becoming an airline captain, you end up with 155 people surviving an emergency landing in the Hudson.

When you have a pilot who passed through four careers before attending an aviation academy for eight months, who repeatedly flunked flight tests, whose first airline job paid so little he moonlighted at a supermarket, you end up with a plane crash that kills 50 people.

The gaping differences between USAir Flight 1549 Capt. Chesley Sullenberger and Colgan Air Flight 3407 Capt. Marvin Renslow point to a severe degradation in the quality of commercial aviation personnel.

In decades past, airlines had fleets of large jets and relied on spit-shined ex-military officers to fly them. Now, the big carriers farm out many flights to commuter or regional outfits that fly smaller planes and pay pilots as little as $19,000 a year.

As devalued as the work is, the jobs still draw eager young people, as well as career-changers like Renslow, who was 45 when Colgan hired him. In his case, the adage that you get what you pay for came tragically true.

By the time he took the controls on the Feb. 12 Newark-to-Buffalo flight, he'd failed tests for his instrument, commercial, multiengine and air transport pilot ratings. He'd also flunked two proficiency checks with Colgan.

The plane began to ice up as Renslow was making a landing approach. First officer Rebecca Shaw, 24, said on the flight recorder that she didn't yet feel competent to captain an iced-over plane. Renslow wasn't up to it either, though there was not enough ice to severely hamper its performance.

When the turboprop's speed fell, causing a stall, he made the wrong move with his yoke. The plane whirled out of control and into a house.

Testifying before Congress after the Miracle in the Hudson, Sullenberger said he didn't know of a single airline pilot who would recommend the profession to his or her children. That's terrifying. How many more Marvin Renslows are up there?

from Ode in May

What is so sweet and dear
...As a prosperous morn in May,
...The confident prime of the day,
And the dauntless youth of the year,
When nothing that asks for bliss,
...Asking aright, is denied,
And half of the world a bridegroom is,
And half of the world a bride?

.....from Ode in May by Sir William Watson (1858-1935

Happy 51st Birthday, Jim!

This song is for my dear husband on his birthday

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


My breasts get in the way allot but boy am I glad they are not as big as the carving below, now that would be hard you couldn't see to read the paper!

Ancient Figurine of Voluptuous Woman Is Found

Ancient Figurine of Voluptuous Woman Is Found

Published: May 13, 2009

No one would mistake the Stone Age ivory carving for a Venus de Milo. The voluptuous woman depicted is, to say the least, earthier, with huge, projecting breasts and sexually explicit genitalia.
Enlarge This Image

H. Jensen

A. Bridgeman Art Library; B. P. Jugie/MNP, Les Eyzies, Distr. RMN; C. RMN

Sexual images in early Homo sapiens European art: A. A "Venus" figurine from Willnedorf, Austria, 105 millimeters in height, dated about 28,000 years ago; B. Female "vulvar" symbols carved on a limestone block from the La Ferrassie rock shelter, southwest France, dated about 35,000 years ago; C. A phallus, carved from the horn core of a bison, from the Blanchard rock shelter, southwest France; the carving is about 36,000 years old and is 250 millimeters long.

Nicholas J. Conard, an archaeologist at the University of Tübingen in Germany, who found the small carving in a cave last year, says it is at least 35,000 years old, “one of the oldest known examples of figurative art” in the world. It is about 5,000 years older than some other so-called Venus artifacts made by early populations of Homo sapiens in Europe.

Another archaeologist, Paul Mellars of the University of Cambridge in England, agrees and goes on to remark on the obvious. By modern standards, he says, the figurine’s blatant sexuality “could be seen as bordering on the pornographic.”

The tiny statuette was uncovered last September in a cave in southwestern Germany, near Ulm and the Danube headwaters. Dr. Conard’s report on the find is being published Thursday in the journal Nature.

The discovery, Dr. Conard wrote, “radically changes our view of the origins of Paleolithic art.” Before this, he noted, female imagery was unknown, most carvings and cave drawings being of mammoths, horses and other animals.

Scholars say the figurine is roughly contemporaneous with other early expressions of artistic creativity, like drawings on cave walls in southeastern France and northern Italy. The inspiration and symbolism behind the rather sudden flowering have long been debated by art historians.

Commenting in the journal on the new discovery, Dr. Mellars, who did not participate in the research, wrote that the artifact was one of 25 similar carvings found over the past 70 years in other caves in the Swabian region of southern Germany — “a veritable art gallery of early ‘modern’ human art.”

These sites, he concluded, “must be seen as the birthplace of true sculpture in the European — maybe global — artistic tradition.”

The large caves were presumably inviting sanctuaries, scholars say, for populations of modern humans migrating then into central and western Europe. These were the people who eventually displaced the resident Neanderthals, around 30,000 years ago.

Dr. Conard reported that the discovery was made beneath three feet of red-brown sediment in the floor of the Hohle Fels cave. Six fragments of the carved ivory, including all but the left arm and shoulder, were recovered. When he brushed dirt off the torso, he said, “the importance of the discovery became apparent.”

The short, squat torso is dominated by oversized breasts and broad buttocks. The split between the two halves of the buttocks is deep and continuous without interruption to the front of the figurine. A greatly enlarged vulva, Dr. Conard said, emphasizes the “deliberate exaggeration” of the figurine’s sexual characteristics.

As such, the object reminded experts of the most famous of the sexually explicit figurines from the Stone Age, the Venus of Willendorf, discovered in Austria a century ago. It was somewhat larger and dated at about 24,000 years ago, but it was in a style that appeared to be prevalent for several thousand years. Scholars speculate that these Venus figurines, as they are known, were associated with fertility beliefs or shamanistic rituals.

The Hohle Fels artifact, less than 2.5 inches long and weighing little more than an ounce, is headless. Carved at the top, instead, is a ring, evidently to allow the object to be suspended from a string or thong.

Its sexual symbolism should not come as a surprise, Dr. Mellars said, because at about the same time people in western France were chipping out limestone to represent vulvas. Nor were these Stone Age artists fixated only on female sexuality. Archaeologists in recent years have also found phallic representations carved out of bone, ivory and bison horn.

Experts say pilots' reaction doomed Flight 3407

Experts say pilots' reaction doomed Flight 3407
Upward Move Prevented Stall Recovery

By Michael Beebe

WASHINGTON — Capt. Marvin D. Renslow could have prevented the fatal plunge of Continental Connection Flight 3407 on Feb. 12 had he lowered the nose of the aircraft, increased power and leveled the turboprop’s wings, experts testified on the first day of National Transportation Safety Board hearings into the Clarence Center crash.

Instead, Renslow, 47, a pilot who came to flying as a second career, appeared to act surprised when the aircraft’s stall warning came on and did the exact opposite of a proper stall recovery. He jerked the plane upward and caused it to spin out of control.

Both the chief test pilot for Bombardier’s Dash 8 Q400, who had performed more than 1,000 stall recoveries in the aircraft’s testing phase, and Colgan Air’s chief simulation supervisor testified that Renslow could have saved the aircraft.

And three officials with Colgan, the Continental subcontractor that operated the flight, testified at day’s end that both Renslow and co-pilot Rebecca L. Shaw showed a lack of what they called situational awareness. They were not paying attention, and the stall alarm caught them off-guard, the officials said.

Add to that the cockpit chatter between the two pilots below 10,000 feet — a violation of Federal Aviation Administration regulations — and both pilots violating Colgan Air rules on off-duty time, and it was a grim day of testimony regarding the two pilots.

But the first vice president of the pilots union, the Airline Pilots Association, as well as Mary Schiavo, a former FAA executive who heads an aviation safety alliance, said that there was plenty of blame to go around.

“This hearing is focusing on training,” said Capt. Paul A. Rice of the pilots union. “Not on an individual or an individual group, it’s focusing on training.”

But even Schiavo, who has been critical of past investigations that seem to focus on pilot error, said she was dismayed when she read the transcript of Renslow and Shaw chatting in the cockpit while crucial flight information seemed to be ignored.

Dean Bandavanis, director of flight operations for Colgan, was more than dismayed.

“That crew was not ready to respond to a stall warning,” Bandavanis testified. “They kind of acted surprised.”

He was asked why he thought a Colgan Air crew, after the Buffalo accident, had a stall warning coming into the Burlington, Vt., airport but came out of it with no injury or accident, while Renslow and Shaw had the same thing happen and crashed.

“The violations of ‘sterile cockpit’ procedures, [failing] to obey the instruments and staying alert,” Bandavanis said. “That was the main difference between [Flight 3407] and the Burlington operation.”

Complete Buffalo News coverage of the crash of Flight 3407, including the days following the crash, the investigation and the lives of those who were lost.

A stall in aviation comes not when engines fail, but when wind flowing over the wings is halted, causing the plane to eventually crash if the pilot doesn’t correct the problem.

Wally Warren, who as the chief test pilot for Bombardier, the Canadian manufacturer of the twin-engine aircraft, did more than 1,000 stall procedures, was asked by safety board member Deborah A. P. Hersman, whether he thought that Renslow could have pulled out of the stall. Or, she asked, was he too low at 600 feet above sea level to have the aircraft pull out?

“Altitude has nothing to do with stall recovery,“ Warren answered.

“In my opinion, you could be at the altitude this plane was at, you could still lower the nose, increase the power and recover,” he said.

Mark V. Rosenker, acting chairman of the safety board, asked the same question of Paul Pryor, who directs flight simulation training on the Q400 for Colgan.

“In this case, based on your professional knowledge and knowing the altitude of the aircraft, and the parameters it was operating in,” Rosenker asked him, “do you believe this was a recoverable stall?”

Pryor looked back at him and answered simply, “My opinion is yes.”

It was stunning testimony from both men as they essentially said Renslow could have righted the ship and saved the 50 lives the crash claimed.

The audience for the hearing, which included family members and friends of the crash victims, had already watched a three-dimensional animation showing a pristine white Colgan Air jet approaching Buffalo Niagara International Airport on that fateful night. Before she showed the animation, Lorenda Ward, the hearing officer and safety board investigator in charge, allowed a minute for families who could not bear to watch the recreation to leave the hearing room. Several people left.

The animation showed the final two minutes of Flight 3407’s descent toward Buffalo. It was a bird’s eye view, as if another plane had followed the Colgan aircraft before it crashed and burned.

Tuesday’s hearing also included testimony about Renslow, who commuted from Florida to his home base in Newark, N. J., of sleeping in the Colgan flight crew room, against regulations. Colgan said the company had no record of either pilot having an apartment or place to stay in Newark, where Flight 3407 originated.

Shaw, the records showed, violated company policy by flying from Washington State on the night before the flight, as a passenger on a FedEx plane.

She also had a cold, and the cockpit microphone on Flight 3407 picked up her continual sneezing.

Bandavanis, Colgan’s flight operations director, said Shaw could have called in sick because of her cold. And she could have called in fatigued, he said, because of her red-eye flight the night before.

Colgan allows pilots to take time off if fatigue builds up, but pilots say airline companies have other ways of making pilots pay for that time off.

The last witnesses, all Colgan employees, were asked about a pilot’s situational awareness, or knowing all the things they have to monitor and keep straight to have a successful flight.

“I’d like to take it down to the 30 seconds prior to the stall indicator,” said John E. “Jeb” Barrett, Colgan’s director of flight standards, “And it’s obvious, at that point, that throughout a lack of situational awareness, there is not any airspeed awareness. There’s no monitoring of the instruments — not by the pilot flying, or the pilot monitoring.”

Bandavanis, who seemed to take his pilots’ actions personally, told Rosenker, “A company can have the best [standard operating procedures], the best-trained pilots, the best supervision out there, but it all wrestles down to the integrity of the flight crew.

“And when I say integrity, sir, I mean doing the right thing when nobody’s watching.”

Colgan says.....

Colgan says it is no longer hiring inexperienced pilots
By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON — Colgan Air has revised its pilot hiring standards in a way that would have disqualified someone as inexperienced as the pilot of the doomed Flight 3407, the company said today as hearings into the Feb. 12 crash turned to the company's hiring and employment practices.

In addition, testimony revealed that the copilot of Flight 3407 — which crashed into a home in Clarence, killing 50 — had a gross annual salary of about $16,254 a year.

The second day of National Transportation Safety Board hearings in the crash moved the focus away from the pilot, Capt. Marvin Renslow, and toward Colgan, the Continental Airlines subcontractor that operated Flight 3407.

Under questioning from investigators, Mary Finnegan, Colgan's vice president for administration, acknowledged that when Renslow was hired, the minimum number of flight hours to be considered for hiring was 600 hours.

Since the Clarence crash, Colgan has boosted its minimum flying requirement for new pilots to 1,000 hours, Finnegan acknowledged.

That acknowledgement came a day after the transcript of the flight's cockpit voice recorder showed Renslow saying he had only 625 hours of flying time when Colgan hired him.

"Oh wow," the co-pilot, Rebecca Lynn Shaw, replied. "That's not much for, uh, back when you got hired."

Colgan officials also said that if they had known that Renslow failed to acknowledge on his job application that he had failed three federal "check flights," he would not have been hired.

Renslow acknowledged only one of those failures, but Colgan, hamstrung in part by a federal privacy law, never double-checked that part of his application with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Asked if Renslow "slipped under the radar" by getting hired at Colgan, Finnegan said no.

"I don't think he slipped in under the radar," she said. "We did our job."

Colgan officials also faced harsh questions about how much it pays its flight crews.

Investigator Roger Cox said his research showed Colgan pilots making $21 an hour — or $16,254 a year.

Finnegan said the hourly salary is closer to $23 an hour, meaning Shaw would have made more than $16,254. Nevertheless, Cox questioned whether that is enough for Colgan employees such as Shaw who are based in Newark.

"Did you expect her to reside in the New York metro area at that rate of pay?," he asked.

"We do not dictate where our employs want to live," replied Finnegan, saying Colgan's salaries are "industry standard."

Shaw commuted on an overnight flight from her home in Seattle before reporting to duty in Newark the day of the crash.

Hiring, Training of Pilots Under Fire in Crash Probe of Doomed Buffalo Jet

The experience of the pilots of the prop jet involved in the worst U.S. plane crash in seven years came under fire again Wednesday — with airline officials in the hot seat about whether the pair operating Buffalo-bound Flight 3407 should have been in the cockpit.

Testimony resumed in the three-day public probe by the National Transportation and Safety Board into what caused the Continental Connection flight, operated by Colgan Air, to dive into a house on an icy February night moments before landing.

All 49 on board were killed, along with a man inside the home.

NTSB member Kitty Higgins said during testimony that the pilots' long commutes, pay levels and fatigue created "a recipe for an accident."

Transcripts of the flight's final moments reveal that pilot Marvin Renslow and first officer Rebecca Shaw were chatting about their careers and her lack of experience operating a plane in icy conditions, according to the cockpit voice recorder.

The two were engaged in the discussion even after they noticed the buildup of ice on the windshield of the Dash 8-Q400 Bombardier, a twin-engine turboprop.

Flight 3407 was approaching Buffalo Niagara International Airport the night of Feb. 12 when the prop jet experienced an aerodynamic stall.

The plane rolled back and forth, then plunged into a house in a fiery crash, killing everyone aboard and one man on the ground.

Federal investigators hammered Colgan Air executives about the pay of their pilots — in 24-year-old Shaw's case, she made between $16,000 and $20,000 a year, according to testimony — as well as whether they were discouraged from getting second jobs and felt pressure by the company not to call in sick.

Pilot fatigue also is being examined as a factor in the Flight 3407 crash.

The night before the accident, Shaw flew overnight as a passenger from Seattle to Memphis —where she rested in a crew lounge — before flying to Newark to report to work, according to testimony. Shaw also complained about congestion and may have been suffering from a cold.

"That looks like a 36-hour clock to me," Higgins said. "It sounds pretty horrible to me."

"Fatigue is a huge factor...While her duty may have started at one time, her commuting time added to that," she said.

Fatigue and illness impacts the "professionalism" of crew members, who should come to work "fresh" or they "should not be flying the aircraft," a Colgan Air official said during testimony.

Click here for the entire docket for the NTSB hearings on the crash.

Click here for the schedule of the hearings and to watch them via live Webcast.

Officials for Colgan Air Inc. of Manassas, Va., which operated the flight for Continental, also acknowledged in response to questions from board members that Renslow and Shaw weren't paying close attention to the plane's instruments and were surprised by a stall warning.

Nor did they follow the airline's procedures for responding to a stall.

Further testimony and documents also showed that Renslow had failed several training tests before and after being hired by Colgan in 2005. He had been certified to fly the Dash-8 plane for about three months.

Paul Pryor, Colgan's head of pilot training, acknowledged that Renslow didn't have any hands-on training on the Dash 8's stick pusher — a key safety system that automatically kicks on in response to a stall — although he had received hands-on stick pusher training on a smaller plane that he previously flew.,2933,520028,00.html

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Most Pilots Knew What Happened Long Ago

6 weeks ago my close friend who is a retired pilot told me that the crash of flight 3407 was caused by the pilot pulling back not pushing forward on the stick just as the FAA report now shows. I asked my friend tonight how he knew so early when the investigation report had not yet come out and this is what he said:

"Yeah, a real shame. Hard for me to understand why the "stick-pusher" procedure wasn't practiced in the flight simulator. I had training in the procedure for the Lear Jets I flew. We practiced and were trained in all manner of emergencies. Makes me wonder about the state of training these days.

No mystery about my knowledge of the crash when we went to the bead show... I had seen a preliminary report concerning the airplane's flight data recorder and what it revealed about the flight's last few moments. The data showed that the aircraft went into a steep nose-up attitude and then rolled violently past 90 degrees to the horizontal. This is consistent with the control yoke (the "stick") being yanked back suddenly, stalling the aircraft, while simultaneously heavy power was applied aggravating the stall. Since this had happened at a low altitude, during the approach to landing, there was not enough altitude left to recover. Evidently poor training led the pilot to pull back on the yoke when he should have pushed forward at the first indication of the "stick-pusher". As I said, I have practiced that very thing many times in the flight simulators at Flight Safety International in Wichita. The shame of it is that the reports now say the these crews flying the aircraft in question are not required to do this procedure. Without knowing what the "pusher" feels like and sounds like (it is accompanied by a heavy vibrating sound) I guess the flight crew didn't know what was happening and what actions were required. I can see why the report you sent me said that some of the training pilots and check airmen have resigned. Hopefully this tragedy will cause some serious changes in training to be made. Tragedies usually do.

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