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In the moments before death, the heart plays a central role, conventional wisdom says. That is, as the heart stops beating and blood stops flowing, the rest of the body slowly shuts down. But new research suggests this view may be wrong.

Scientists studied the heart and brain activity of rats in the moments before the animals died from lack of oxygen, and found that the animals’ brains sent a flurry of signals to the heart that caused irrevocable damage to the organ, and in fact caused its demise. When the researchers blocked these signals, the heart survived for longer.

If a similar process occurs in humans, then it might be possible to help people survive after their hearts stop by cutting off this storm of signals from the brain, according to the study published today (April 6) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [Beyond Vegetables and Exercise: 5 Surprising Ways to Be Heart Healthy]
“People naturally focus on the heart, thinking that if you save the heart, you’ll save the brain,” said study co-author Jimo Borjigin, a neuroscientist at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. But her team found something surprising. “You have to sever [the chemical communication between] the brain and heart in order to save the heart,” Borjigin told Live Science, adding that the finding is “contrary to almost all emergency medical practice.”

Every year, more than 400,000 Americans experience cardiac arrest — which is when the heart stops beating. Even with medical treatment, only about 10 percent survive and are discharged from the hospital, according to the American Heart Association.

The researchers addressed the question of why the heart of a previously healthy person suddenly stops functioning completely, after only a few minutes without oxygen.

It turns out that even when a person in cardiac arrest loses consciousness and shows no signs of life, the brain continues to be active. In a previous study published in PNAS in 2013, Borjigin and her colleagues found that as the heart is dying, it gets flooded with signals from the brain, probably in a desperate attempt to save the heart.

This barrage of signals may be responsible for the near-death experiences some people report, Borjigin said.

In the new study, the researchers induced cardiac arrest in rats by having them breathe carbon dioxide or by subjecting them to lethal injection. The researchers then studied the animals’ brain activity using electroencephalography (EEG) and their heart activity using echocardiography (ECG) in the moments leading up to death. The team also measured the signaling chemicals present in the rats’ hearts and brains throughout the experiment.

Initially, the animals’ heart rates dropped off steeply. But then, their brain activity became strongly synchronized with the heart activity. The researchers used a new technology they developed for measuring heart rate, beat by beat.

While the heart and brain were in sync, the researchers observed a flood of more than a dozen neurochemicals, such as dopamine, which produces feelings of pleasure, and norepinephrine, which causes feelings of alertness. This flood of chemicals could explain why people who undergo near-death experiences describe them as “realer than real,” Borjigin noted.

In the rats, the brain and heart activity remained synchronized until the heart went into a state called ventricular fibrillation, in which the lower chambers of the heart quiver instead of contracting properly, preventing the heart from pumping blood.

But when the researchers blocked the flow of these chemicals from the brain to the heart, by severing the rats’ spinal cords before killing them, it delayed ventricular fibrillation. As a result, the animals survived for three times as long as the rats whose heart-brain connection was left intact.

Of course, all of this research was done in rats. Whether human bodies behave similarly is the million-dollar question, Borjigin said.

If researchers can find a way to “sever” the connection between the brain and the heart using drugs (rather than by actually severing the actual spinal cord), then it could be possible to administer these drugs to a person experiencing cardiac arrest. This would give health care workers more time to treat these patients, Borjigi

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015 12:11AM
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) — The last year has been a tough one for Sebastian Delgado. The 22-year-old began having seizures and was then diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

“They found a tumor in my head so I knew I had to get brain surgery,” Delgado said.

While doctors were medically saving his life, Delgado says, his dog, Maiden, was emotionally getting him through the ordeal.

“I took her walking, we went hiking, all that stuff, you know,” he said. “I just did everything with my dog.”

“The first thing that he asked me when he got out of surgery is, ‘Where’s Maiden?'” said Delgado’s girlfriend, Monica Tomer. “He could hardly talk or say his own name, but he remembered his puppy.”

But now, Maiden is gone. On Saturday, the 10-month-old pit bull found an open gate at the Riverside home of family friends and wandered off near Jefferson Street and Magnolia Avenue.

Delgado and Tomer have since been desperately searching for Maiden. With nowhere else to turn, Tomer’s sister contacted Eyewitness News by using #ABC7Eyewitness.

“She’s got big ears, a pink nose with like little brown freckles on it, green and brown eyes and she just looks funny, but she’s cute though,” Delgado said.

Delgado and Tomer have contacted every animal shelter from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. They’ve hung up fliers and posted signs as well. They’re now hoping someone will see Maiden and give them a call.

“It just breaks my heart because he deserves to have her,” Tomer said.

Delgado says he needs her as well. Doctors say his tumor will most likely come back, as will chemotherapy and possibly more brain surgery.

A man battling brain cancer is asking for the public’s help in finding his biggest supporter, his dog. Maiden went missing in Riverside Saturday, March 14, 2014.
Meanwhile, Delgado says, his focus right now is making sure Maiden is safe.

“I hope they’re not doing anything wrong to her because I know she’s a pit bull and a lot of people do bad stuff to them. I just hope they give her back to me,” he said.

Anyone with information on Maiden’s whereabouts was urged to contact Delgado at or call (909) 450-6136.

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Ray Collins

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It may sound like the plot of a Disney movie – but Todd the fox really does think he’s a dog.
The animal was tamed after being rescued as a four-month-old cub and was raised as a domestic pet by owner Emma D’Sylva.
Since then the lovable fox has picked up a number of canine characteristics such as tail wagging, playing with toys and even walking on a lead.

The 11-month-old animal accompanies Ms D’Sylva’s pet labradors Sky and Oakley on walks, drawing double-takes from other dog-walkers when they see Todd trotting through the local park. 

He also sleeps in a kennel in his enclosure in the garden, plays energetically with the other dogs and even wags his tail when it’s feeding time.

Emma, 25, from Stanfield, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., said: ‘Todd has been captive-bred so he has never been in the wild.
‘I’ve had him since he was about four months old because his previous owners couldn’t look after him any more.
Emma adopted Todd the fox when he was four-months old

Canine customs: Todd enjoys going on walks, playing with dog toys and even wags his tail when he’s happy
Sleeps in a kennel: The 11-month-old domesticated animal spends his nights in a plastic kennel with blankets
Sleeps in a kennel: The 11-month-old domesticated animal spends his nights in a plastic kennel with blankets
‘I get people coming over to me asking if he is a fox and if they can stroke him.
‘He was a bit crazy when he first came to me last year but now he has a really strong bond with me and he will walk on a lead.
‘He is very playful with me. He will run up to me wagging his tail when I go to feed him and he will roll over to have his belly tickled.
‘He will come into the house but he has got a purpose built enclosure and he much prefers being outside.
‘We got him a little plastic kennel in his enclosure with blankets which is similar to a dog bed.
‘He is similar to a dog but he is a bit more hyperactive. He gets on with my two dogs, and wants to play with them all the time.
Playful: The fox, pictured in the park with Ms D’Sylva, cannot be let off the lead because he is deaf
Playful: The fox, pictured in the park with Ms D’Sylva, cannot be let off the lead because he is deaf
School visits: Ms D’Sylva has 40 pets and takes some of them, including Todd, into schools and care homes so that children and the elderly can interact with them
School visits: Ms D’Sylva has 40 pets and takes some of them, including Todd, into schools and care homes so that children and the elderly can interact with them
‘He tries to do what the dogs do but I can’t let him off the lead because he’s deaf so I can’t shout him to come back.
‘At first he was bonkers but he is getting more used to being in the company of other people now.
‘If people or dogs come up to him in the park he will lie down at first and freeze but after a few seconds he will sniff around the dogs or sit patiently.’
Todd also lives with Emma’s menagerie of other creatures at her three-bedroomed house including a skunk, a raccoon, lizards and snakes.
She takes some of her 40 pets into schools and care homes to enable children and the elderly to interact with a range of captive-bred animals.
Emma, who lives with her partner Steve Johnson, 34, added: ‘Todd went out on his first school visit the other week and the children really enjoyed stroking him while he was in my arms.

Walking companions: Todd is pictured in the woods with Ms D’Sylva’s two labradors Sky and Oakley
‘He’s really getting used to things now and I’m looking forward to letting more and more people meet him.’
An RSPCA spokesperson said there were no legal restrictions on people keeping animals and pets in England and Wales as long as they were treated well.
He added: ‘Foxes have not been domesticated and a fox in captivity would have the same needs as in the wild.
‘Anyone who keeps these animals is under a legal obligation to meet their needs under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.’

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Joseph Campbell’s Mythic Journey

by Jonathan Young

New Perspectives Magazine — July 1994
Mythologist Joseph Campbell was a masterful storyteller. He could weave tales from every corner of the world into spell-binding narratives. His lifelong quest from childhood days as a devout Catholic altar boy to fame as the world’s most noted scholar in comparative mythology makes for a fine heroic story.

The adventure picks up when young Joe Campbell sees the Indians in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1912. The future scholar soon became convinced that he had Indian blood. One of the striking details of the early years was Campbell’s youthful studiousness. He read his way through the children’s section of the public library and was admitted to the adult stacks at the age of eleven. He devoted himself to every available fact about Native American life, including the reports of the Bureau of American Ethnology. By high school, he was already writing articles on Native American mythology, presenting many of the themes he would still be working in his eighties.

Campbell’s life was a passionate intellectual journey. College years at Columbia University were spent discovering literature while becoming a track star and playing in a jazz band on weekends. Graduate study in the Holy Grail legends of Arthurian mythology took him to Paris and Munich where he discovered the ideas of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung as well as James Joyce, Thomas Mann and modern art. This is when he saw the parallels between mythic themes in literature and psychological lessons such as those revealed in dreams.

Returning to Columbia, Campbell wanted to expand the scope of his dissertation topic beyond the Grail myth to include parallels with psychology and art. His advisors made it clear that such a daring perspective would not be acceptable. The depression had set in and, with no job prospects, Campbell abandoned doctoral work and went off to Woodstock for five years of intensive study of the imagination. At every turn, Campbell met the interesting thinkers of the time – many of whom became friends, from the philosopher Krishnamurti to Adelle Davis, who was Campbell’s first serious romantic interest long before her career as a nutritionist. During a break from his period of unsponsored scholarship, Campbell travelled to California, where he met an unknown novelist named John Steinbeck and promptly fell in love with Steinbeck’s wife, Carol. Another part of his west coast adventure was a trip up the Northwest coast to Alaska collecting marine specimens with “Doc” Ed Ricketts who was later immortalized in Steinbeck’s Cannery Row.

Teaching and writing

Finally, a job offer came from Sarah Lawrence College. This most experimental school provided the setting for the next 38 years of Campbell’s work. He became a master teacher and mentor to generations of notable women. He credits his students for bringing the element of personal application to his writing. His future wife, Jean Erdman, began as a student at Sarah Lawrence the same year that Campbell joined the faculty. She went on to star in Martha Graham’s dance company, then became a acclaimed choreographer in her own right and founded the performance dance department at New York University.

As these two prolific talents energetically pursued their creative careers they moved among the bright lights of New York’s artistic and intellectual circles. Composer John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham were particularly close. Indologist Heinrich Zimmer was such a kindred spirit that, upon his untimely death, Campbell was asked to edit and complete his works. Through Zimmer, Campbell met Carl Jung and participated in the Jungian Eranos Conferences in Switzerland.

It was the publication of The Hero With a Thousand Faces in 1949 that established Joseph Campbell as the preeminent comparative mythologist of our time. He wanted the book to be a guide to reading a myth. Campbell explained how challenging experiences could be seen as initiatory adventures. It was this connection between ancient stories and the emotional concerns of modern life that was distinctive. As Campbell observed, “The latest incarnation of Oedipus, the continued romance of Beauty and the Beast, stand this afternoon on the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, waiting for the traffic light to change.”

Campbell’s prodigious scholarship went on to include the four-volume Masks of God as well as The Mythic Image and the lavishly illustrated series The Historical Atlas of World Mythology. As his influence grows, Joseph Campbell seems destined to join Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung as one of this century’s great disseminators of the psychological wisdom of mythology.

Encounters with a storyteller

Coming away from the first seminar I attended with Joseph Campbell, I had a new sense that meaning could be found in every direction. The weekend had been filled with Campbell’s enchanting storytelling. He had explained that the great scriptures of the world’s religions could be understood as metaphors for psychological changes. It was a major turning point in my life.

One conversation with him that first weekend had been especially significant for me. We were sitting down to dinner together and I mentioned that I missed the ritual of saying grace before meals. I said that it just wasn’t clear to me at that time what I should give thanks to. Campbell gently suggested that I say my thanks to the animals and plants that had given their lives so that my life would continue. In a few words, he captured the essence of an old ritual and gave it fuller meaning. It was typical of his way of showing the significance of familiar details of everyday situations.

It might be worth mentioning that Campbell was also eating meat. He liked to tease vegetarians by saying they were people who couldn’t hear a carrot scream. His humor illustrated some of the most important points, like the comment that the mid-life crisis was getting to the top of the ladder, only to discover that it was leaning against the wrong wall.

The same evening that first seminar ended, I was to lead a discussion group at a local church. It was something I did often, but this Sunday was different. It wasn’t just the usual personal problems and philisophical questions. We ended up talking about the symbolic messages available in ordinary life. I realized that Campbell’s vision had really gripped me.

There would be many more seminars with Campbell. Usually I would be his aide, taking care of details and being his driver. I would seize any chance to spend extra time with him and ask one more question. Campbell’s style was profoundly natural. He would tell stories drawn from many traditions, often weaving several stories to show similarities. His lectures were usually illustrated with slides of the sacred images of each of the cultures involved.

One setting was an ecumenical retreat center. He would occasionally comment on the images on the walls of the chapel. Noting the crucifix, Campbell would describe some of the many resurrection stories from different cultures and comment on how the symbolism suggests personal spiritual integration. His ease in drawing on a wide range of material was striking.

During his visits to Santa Barbara it was sometimes my responsibility to get him away from the seminar for a quiet meal. One evening I took him to a restaurant out on the local pier with Jean Houston who was presenting with him that weekend. Joseph Campbell was every bit as charming at dinner as at the lectern. He looked out over the oceanfront and remarked on Santa Barbara’s great beauty and how sad he was about the decline of his native New York City. He noted that his new home in Hawaii was also a place of abundant natural loveliness.

Ritual as mythic experience

Campbell believed that participation in ritual could put you into a direct experience of mythic reality. One day he told a beautiful Native American story of the buffalo princess who let herself be married to a buffalo so that her tribe could eat. It showed the deep connection between the indians and the animals they relied on for survival. That evening, Campbell suggested that we enact the story as the indians had in one of their major rituals. When our group gathered to prepare it was decided that I would play the princess. I guess it was type – casting since I am bearded and six-foot-five. Campbell was delighted with our trickster approach and said none of his groups had taken that angle before.

It sometimes fell to me to take him out to Santa Barbara Airport for his departure. This was a prized task because I would have time alone to ask more questions. He was always gracious. One time he had recounted a story from Arthur’s round table in which a horse is cut in half as a knight is entering an enchanted city. I asked why the horse had to die. He explained that I was being too literal in my reaction. The horse was a symbol for our physical nature which was not the vehicle for entrance into the sacred realm. In a few words he explained a great metaphysical principle.

The last time was in 1985, two years before he died. The topic was the beloved of the soul. Campbell described the spiritual dimensions of romantic love. When The Power of Myth television series with Joseph Campbell was broadcast, millions of people were inspired by the wisdom of the late mythologist. Many lives were deeply changed by this amazing teacher. The world found out what a devoted band of Campbell’s students had known – that this man’s message was a great treasure of our time.

My training had been in comparative religion and, later, clinical psychology. Joseph Campbell showed the psychological dimensions of the great spiritual traditions. For me, Campbell was the one teacher who explained how it all fit together. My approach to therapy changed markedly to include story and soul. The seminars on creativity I had been giving became workshops on the symbolic wisdom of mythic stories. Passing on Campbell’s work had become a calling.

A few years later, the college in Santa Barbara that had sponsored the seminars with Joseph Campbell started a graduate program in psychology with an emphasis in mythology and religious studies. I eagerly accepted an offer to be one of the core professors. It was a chance to teach the ideas that Campbell had outlined to future leaders in the field of psychology. The program grew and now the Pacifica Graduate Institute has trained hundreds of therapists and has some four hundred students currently working on Masters and Doctoral degrees.

When the Campbell family was deciding where the archives would be located, Pacifica was chosen. Mrs. Campbell felt that it was the one college that was teaching the parallels between psychology and mythology in the spirit of Campbell’s pioneering work.

A mythic calling

The president of Pacifica knew that Joseph Campbell had been a mentor to me and offered me the task of building an appropriate repository for the papers and books. Beginning in 1990, my labor of love as curator of the Joseph Campbell Archives and Library was to assemble the thousands of books and years of notes Campbell gathered in nearly seventy years of scholarship. Working in his studies in New York and Honolulu with Mrs. Campbell to understand how he used each book and how he arranged his files has been memorable. When I would come across outlines for the very seminars that had effected me so deeply, it was like finding lost jewels.

The library is administered by an independent, non-profit, corporation. The facility, which formally opened in January of 1993, has displays of religious objects collected by Campbell in his travels and an extensive photo exhibit of his life and work. Choosing the pictures from the family albums was especially rewarding. Most of them have never been published and can only be seen at the archives.

The personal aspects of folklore and mythology has been the theme of the seminars I’ve been invited to give around the country for the last ten years. My notes from the many occasions I was with Joseph Campbell as he addressed these issues have been the core of my presentations. It is one of those marvelous turns that life takes that I now have the opportunity to edit these materials that have had such a personal impact on my inner life.

One of the most rewarding experiences I have as I travel to present seminars on mythic stories is to meet the many people who have been inspired by Joseph Campbell and his work. Everywhere I go people tell me stories about studying with him at Sarah Lawrence College or meeting him after one of his lectures. Whether through seeing him in person, reading his books or seeing him on television, people describe the profound impact that Joseph Campbell’s ideas have had on their lives.

Campbell’s opus is not yet fully published. His literary executors have nine additional books in various stages of the editing process. These will be released over the next several years. Many hours of lectures on video are to be released in newly edited versions. Joseph Campbell’s influence on our understanding of mythology seems to still be on the rise. When the religious history of this century is written, the impact of Joseph Campbell will surely be a major event in our collective spiritual development.

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desktop-1409865137-1-600x450Polly is the sole survivor of the three emaciated horses found abandoned in the UK. After six months of rehabilitation, she’s finally healthy and happy. But the beginning of her story is absolutely tragic.

Discovered initially by the RSPCA, Polly was the most emaciated horse the Horse Trust had ever seen. After being rescued, her heroes began to see her spirit shine through; Polly proved to be very affectionate, despite her nightmarish life and her battle with malnourishment and skin issues. Jeanette Allen, Chief Executive of The Horse Trust said “It seems such a long time since Polly came to us in February. Hers was a case of cruelty of the worst kind. Her condition was so terrible that we could never be totally sure if she would pull through until recently. Every day Polly enjoys from now is a bonus. It won’t be the end of treatment for her, but it is the beginning of her new life.”



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uui ll op pp 980xu 980xoo 980xh 980x, 980x.. 980x 640x364DOG CATS

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How long does it take to master a craft? How about 80 years? Because 109-year-old Australian Alfred Date has been knitting since the 1930s and his latest/most famous endeavor was making mini sweaters… for endangered penguins!

Back in 2013, Victoria’s Phillip Island Penguin Foundation asked for volunteers to make sweaters for the rare “little penguins.” Alfie, who has yet to learn to say no, pitched in.

Father to 7, grandparent to 20, he’s not only been an active knitter, but also a sportsman, having played golf till his 90’s.
His secret for longevity? “Waking up every morning”. See, he’s a joker, too!




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Stephanie Gonzales, a crime prevention specialist for the Woods Cross Police Department, told her family adopted young Spot — full name, Spoticus — “right before Christmas,” when her husband’s co-worker had an unexpected litter of puppies. Soon thereafter, Gonzales had her reasons for bringing Spot to work.

“I wanted to show off my new dog,” she said with a laugh. “Of course, they thought he was the cutest little thing.”

And while Spot doesn’t have any official duties, he does offer a valuable service.

“The detective walked in, he was in a grumpy mood,” Gonzales said of Spot’s first day reporting for duty. “He’d just had a horrible call, and [Spot] just runs up and completely loves him. And [Spot] does that with every officer.”

The impression Spot had on her co-workers and visitors that first day convinced Gonzales to bring Spot along on a daily basis. “Everybody who came in the office — whether you work here or wanted to make a police report — has been like, ‘Oh, what a cute dog!'” she added. “Even if you’re in the worst mood, I mean, [there’s] a little puppy. How do you not love that?”

Spot’s greatest accomplishment during his short tenure was calming a young boy who’d wandered into the police station.

“We had a lost boy who was brought to the station, probably two weeks ago,” Gonzales said. “He did not know who police were, and was very, very reluctant to come in. But as soon as he was in here, and he saw the dog, he was like, ‘Oh, a dog!’ We let him throw [Spot] a toy. He completely warmed up, finally told us his name, finally got his phone number, and we were able to get him back to his parents.”

In addition to learning a few tricks ranging from “stick ’em up” to rolling over, Spot is described by Gonzales as “spunky, willing to learn and very energetic” — that is, when he’s not napping on a giant pile of stuffed animals. “As soon as he hears the door open, he jumps off my chair to the door to greet anybody who comes,” she added. “Not one person has complained.”

Back at home, Spot continues to be affectionate, palling around with Gonzales’ husband, four children and two bullmastiffs — all dwarfing the pup who goes by “Officer Spot” on the police department’s website.

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Not So Silly


bomsIt turns out that psychedelics aren’t just good for turning into an elf and jousting a car. Psychiatrists, psychologists and specialists in addiction and recovery from traumatic experiences have been investigating the use of hallucinogens in treatment programs, and the results indicate that psychedelics actually have practical therapeutic uses. And one drug has proven particularly useful. Repeated studies have found the psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms, psilocybin, can help people move past major life issues — like beating alcoholism and becoming more empathetic.
The research: One study concluded that controlled exposure to psilocybin could have long-lasting medical and spiritual benefits. In 2011, Johns Hopkins researchers found that by giving volunteer test subjects just the right dose (not enough to give them a terrifying bad trip), they were able to reliably induce transcendental experiences in volunteers. This provoked long-lasting psychological growth and helped the volunteers to find peace in their lives, all without side effects. Nearly all of the 18 test subjects, average age 46, were college graduates. Seventy-eight percent were religious and all were interested in finding a scientific experience.
Fourteen months later, 94% said their trip on magic mushrooms was one of the five most important moments of their lives. Thirty-nine percent said it was the most important thing that had ever happened to them. Their colleagues, friends, and family members said the participants were kinder and happier; the volunteers had positive experiences ranging from more empathy and improved marriages to less drinking.
Lead author Roland Griffiths told TIME’s Healthland that “The important point here is that we found the sweet spot where we can optimize the positive persistent effects and avoid some of the fear and anxiety that can occur and can be quite disruptive.”
What’s more, the researchers say that those changes in personality are highly atypical, because personalities tend to be pretty set in stone after the age of 25-30. According to postdoctoral researcher Katherine MacLean, who contributed to the study, “This is one of the first studies to show that you actually can change adult personality.”
“Many years later, people are saying it was one of the most profound experiences of their life,” she continued. “If you think about it in that context, it’s not that surprising that it might be permanent.”
This is strictly do-not-try-this-at-home. Maclean says that “in an unsupervised setting, if that sort of fear or anxiety set in, the classic bad trip, it could be pretty dangerous.” But “On the most speculative side, this suggests that there might be an application of psilocybin for creativity or more intellectual outcomes that we really haven’t explored at all.”
More research: Within the past few decades, interest in hallucinogens has expanded from the counter-culture to dedicated, methodological research. For example, another study published in 2010 conducted research into whether psilocybin can lend some comfort to terminal cancer patients — finding evidence that it reduced death anxiety and experienced significantly less depression. According to study researcher Dr. Charles Grob, “Individuals did speak up and tell us that they felt it was of great value.” NYU’s Dr. Stephen Ross, who conducted a similar study, told SCPR that “To me it’s been some of the most remarkable clinical findings I’ve ever seen as a psychiatrist.”
Psychologist Clark Martin, Ph.D., who participated in the study as a volunteer, describes his experience below:

As well as participant Janeen Delaney:

As a result of the studies, a joint UCLA, NYU and Johns Hopkins team is conducting large-scale phase three trial next year.
Cluster headache patients say (with the backing of some doctors) that psilocybin and LSD provide them with significant relief, which researchers argue need further study.
A 2012 study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found evidence that psilocybin “enhances autobiographical recollection,” suggesting psychiatric uses in “the recall of salient memories or to reverse negative cognitive biases.” A review of the pyschiatric research performed on psilocybin concluded that the risks of therapy were acceptable and that “most subjects described the experience as pleasurable, enriching and non-threatening.” And this year, Zürich researchers released a study in which they administered psilocybin to 25 volunteers. The treatment was found to be associated with an “increase of positive mood in healthy volunteers.”
So basically, there’s at least some hard evidence that this:

… Has the potential to be helpful, leading to introspection, self-reflection, and relief from psychiatric conditions.
Other drugs: Other illegal drugs have been linked to positive psychological outcomes. Trials with MDMA have had positive results in patients suffering from PTSD. Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies founder Rick Doblin, who works with Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, discusses why MDMA might be the first psychedelic to “open the door into traditional psychiatry and psychology”:

So why isn’t there more evidence? The federal government is only now beginning to loosen its restrictions on medical uses of mind-altering substances, and it’s doing so very cautiously. In 2013, a group of psychiatrists released a review saying government restrictions made even researching psychoactive drugs “difficult and in many cases almost impossible.”


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Let It Be (Sold)


The childhood home of Beatles legend Paul McCartney is going under the hammer at Liverpool’s Cavern Club this month.

Fans of the icon can bid for 72 Western Avenue, in Speke, where Macca lived until the mid 1950s.

Paul was just four years old when his parents Jim and Mary moved into the humble three bedroom terrace – then a council house.

It is said to be the first house Paul remembers living at and he has spoken fondly of the six years he spent there.

The family became well known in the local area during their time at Western Avenue, due to Mary’s career as a local midwife.

Today, the ground floor of the house features a hallway, lounge, dining room and kitchen, while upstairs there are three bedrooms and a family bathroom. The property has gardens to the front and rear.

Beatles fans will have the chance to own the piece of history, when it is auctioned at a guide price of £100,000 plus, at the Cavern Club on February 26, 2015, at 7pm.

Stephen Giddins, regional sales director, of estate agent Entwistle Green, said: “We are delighted to be acting on behalf of the current owner of 72 Western Avenue, a property which has such a unique history. The Beatles, arguably one the biggest bands of all time, still attract thousands of visitors to Liverpool each year, so to get the opportunity to offer for sale Paul McCartney’s childhood home is very exciting.

“Taking into consideration the location, the property itself and the background we expect a lot of interest locally and internationally and would urge all interested parties to register their details as soon as possible to ensure they don’t miss out on this rare opportunity.”

In October 2013, John Lennon’s childhood home at 9 Newcastle Road in Wavertree, sold at auction for £480,000 and last October George Harrison’s former home 26 Upton Green, in Speke, where he lived from 1949 until the early sixties, sold for £156,000.

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It was a normal day for the builders tasked with some routine ground work near London’s Canary Wharf. They had left a couple of ground holes open, so when they heard the cries of a young animal, they knew where to look. Lo and behold, they peeked into one of the deep, muddy holes and found a small helpless animal. They had no idea it was a four-month-old fox cub caked in mud and horribly petrified.

The fox had been trapped with no chance of escape, covered in thick layers of dried mud from head to toe. The builders rescued him, and then it was off to South Essex Wildlife Hospital. There, his saviors nursed him with food, water and a much-needed bath. He was christened ‘Muddsey.’ Whereas before Muddsey was hardly recognizable as a living creature under all that sludge, let alone a fox, to see his adorable face shine through after a good cleaning is simply amazing.

The staff said, “None of us knew how long he had been down that hole — it could have been all weekend.”

Check out Muddsey’s photos below. I’m so glad this poor baby was rescued; the world is more adorable for it. Please SHARE this story with your friends, and help spread the power of animal rescue!

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We all have been adopted but there are many more who need your help, So, Please visit your local animal shelter and adopted a pet.

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Anyone who has house hunted in a major city recently has likely encountered one of two things: serious anxiety and a questionable amount of underutilized space. At least that’s what Dutch architecture firm Heijmans found when they ventured into their latest project — a set of affordable movable homes designed with budget-strapped renters in mind.

Much like the portable tiny home Spanish architecture firm Ábaton introduced to us back in 2013, the “Heijmans ONE” is a prefabricated home made out of solid wood frames and solar panels that can be built pretty much anywhere, in a single day. According to Heijmans, the compact, energy-efficient homes were designed to make use of the “derelict sites” (aka empty lots) that exist in cities like Amsterdam, and includes everything one would need to live, such as a kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom and even an outside patio.

Carmen Felix, a test resident who spent three months living for free in a Heijmans ONE, told the Huffington Post that the homes are perfect for people who need a temporary home but don’t want to skimp on beautiful design. “The thing I love the most about the homes is that you get the whole package,” says Felix. “It looks small, but it’s everything you need and want in a house. And all the wood gives you an immediate ‘holiday in Scandinavia vibe.'”

Heijmans, whose previous work includes an innovative glow-in-the-dark road developed the homes for people ages 25 to 35 who find it “difficult to obtain financing for a house” and may not even desire to do so. The cost, at the time of publishing, is € 700 or around $800 a month. 30 units are set to be in use in the Netherlands this fall. To see how you can obtain one of these homes, contact Heijmans.

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Like sneezing, goose bumps (also known as the pilomotor reflex) represent one of your body’s automatic responses, meant to increase your chances of survival in the harsh world.

Cold environments and strong emotions (like fear) are both known to give your skin the texture of plucked poultry. When the muscle fiber connected to a hair follicle tightens, the skin surrounding the follicle puckers into a goose bump, pulling the connected hair straight up.

One effect is to generate warmth: straightened hair traps a layer of air against the skin, insulating the body. Unfortunately, human hair is so thin and short as to render the reflex virtually useless, but in hairier mammals goose bumps don’t just look silly. In fact, a cat or mouse’s battle-ready stance is related to our own pilomotor reflex. In their case the muscles are responding to perceived threats by making the animals appear larger.

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Missan, 29, may be the world’s oldest cat, according to its Swedish owner who says that aside from suffering from some minor back and kidney problems, there is no reason why her furry friend won’t make it to the grand age of 30.

Missan the Swedish farm cat is turning 30 this spring and may be the world oldest living cat. By far.

“I read an article about another cat that was supposed to be the world’s oldest, and I just thought to myself: ‘mine is older!’,” Missan’s owner Åsa Wickberg, from Karlskoga, told the TT news agency.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Poppy from Britain was listed as the world’s oldest cat last year at the age of 24.

Wickberg said she found Missan as an abandoned kitten in 1985, with the family dog quickly adopting her as one of her own.

“She’s a bit of a loner, and has always been a bit shy and a little cautious. But she likes dogs. She takes to them very quickly.”

Although Missan’s age has somewhat taken its toll on her, with some back and kidney problems, it has been nothing that some cortisone and new eating habits haven’t been able to fix.

Wickberg is convinced Missan will make it to the age of 30.

“It feels highly likely,” she said.

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Outdoor Fitness Broadway's Healthiest Show Girl: Elsie Connor was elected as the healthiest Chorus girl on the New York stage, seen with her boxing gloves. USA. Photograph around 1930  (Photo by Austrian Archives (S) Fitness: Exercises for the stabilization of the backbone and the wrist in the Westminster Hospital School for Massage and Medical Gymnasts, Photograph, England, Oct, 24th 1929 Water cycle - 1928 slide_331897_3290116_free Mechanical Horse Take That Exercise Bike slide_331897_3290083_free slide_331897_3290082_free slide_331897_3290080_free slide_331897_3290044_free slide_331897_3290043_free slide_331897_3290041_free slide_331897_3290038_free slide_331897_3290033_free slide_331897_3290030_free slide_331897_3290028_free slide_331897_3290025_free slide_331897_3290021_free

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Buddah Mummy Skeleton

o-MUMMY-570Researchers examining a nearly 1,000-year-old statue of Buddha on display in Holland discovered something very unusual hidden inside: the mummy of a meditating monk.

Calling the mummy its “oldest patient ever,” the Meander Medical Center in the Dutch city of Amersfoort used a CT scanner to take images of the body inside the statue and an endoscope to examine the thoracic and abdominal cavities.

The mummy is believed to be that of Liuquan, a Buddhist monk who died in China around 1,100 A.D. During their examination, the researchers found that the mummy’s internal organs had apparently been removed and the space filled with “paper scraps that were printed with ancient Chinese characters,” the hospital said in a news release.

The statue was on display as part of the “Mummies: Life Beyond Death” exhibition at the Drents Museum in the Netherlands last year, and this was the first time it had been let out of China.

A brochure from the event says this may be a case of self-mummification.

These monks would typically subsist on water, seeds and nuts for 1,000 days, then roots, pine bark and a toxic tea made from sap of the Chinese lacquer tree for another 1,000 days while sealed inside a stone tomb, according to CNET.

They would breathe through a small tube and ring a bell to let everyone know they were still alive, Business Insider Australia reported. Once the ringing stopped, they’d be left inside for another 1,000 days.

Those who were mummified are said to have achieved enlightenment, Smithsonian reported.

It’s not clear whether Liuquan self-mummified, but the removal of the organs and presence of scraps of paper suggest that may not have been the case.

The statue is now on display in Hungary at the Natural History Museum.


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Dead…Or Meditating?

42-41376421.jpg__800x600_q85_cropIt’s weird enough to discover a mummy that’s been perfectly preserved in full lotus posture. But the story of a mummified monk found in Mongolia only gets stranger. Not only was the body discovered when a man tried to sell it on the black market, but some Buddhists claim that the mummified monk isn’t really dead at all.

The BBC reports that the mummy, which is being analyzed by forensics experts at the National Center of Forensic Expertise in Mongolia, was found wrapped in cattle skins and is remarkably well-preserved. That could be due to the freezing temperatures in far-flung Mongolia…or could something else be at play?

Barry Kerzin is a Buddhist monk himself and the physician to the Dalai Lama. He tells the Siberian Times that he thinks the mummy is in a state of “tukdam,” a deep meditative state that’s one step away from enlightenment:

I had the privilege to take care of some meditators who were in a tukdam state.

If the person is able to remain in this state for more than three weeks—which rarely happens—his body gradually shrinks, and in the end all that remains from the person is his hair, nails, and clothes. Usually in this case, people who live next to the monk see a rainbow that glows in the sky for several days. This means that he has found a ‘rainbow body’. This is the highest state close to the state of Buddha.

So how long might this trance have lasted? Some speculate that the monk was the teacher of Lama Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov, a monk who was found mummified in 2002. Itigilov reportedly told his students he was going to die and ordered them to exhume his remains at a later date. He began meditating, died, and was found in pristine condition 88 years later.

The jury may be out on whether the Mongolian mummy is just dead or about to reach enlightenment, but one thing is clear: it’s not that weird to find bizarre human remains. From screaming mummies to bodies that still contain organs and blood thousands of years after they were buried, archaeologists find frightening remains all the time. Who knows what other mysteries lie buried beneath the earth?


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“Not With A Bang, But A Whimper”


If a new theory turns out to be true, the universe may not have started with a bang.

In the new formulation, the universe was never a singularity, or an infinitely small and infinitely dense point of matter. In fact, the universe may have no beginning at all.

“Our theory suggests that the age of the universe could be infinite,” said study co-author Saurya Das, a theoretical physicist at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.
The new concept could also explain what dark matter — the mysterious, invisible substance that makes up most of the universe — is actually made of, Das added.

Big Bang under fire

According to the Big Bang theory, the universe was born about 13.8 billion years ago. All the matter that exists today was once squished into an infinitely dense, infinitely tiny, ultra-hot point called a singularity. This tiny fireball then exploded and gave rise to the early universe.

The singularity comes out of the math of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which describes how mass warps space-time, and another equation (called Raychaudhuri’s equation) that predicts whether the trajectory of something will converge or diverge over time. Going backward in time, according to these equations, all matter in the universe was once in a single point — the Big Bang singularity.

But that’s not quite true. In Einstein’s formulation, the laws of physics actually break before the singularity is reached. But scientists extrapolate backward as if the physics equations still hold, said Robert Brandenberger, a theoretical cosmologist at McGill University in Montreal, who was not involved in the study.

“So when we say that the universe begins with a big bang, we really have no right to say that,” Brandenberger told Live Science.

There are other problems brewing in physics — namely, that the two most dominant theories, quantum mechanics and general relativity, can’t be reconciled.

Quantum mechanics says that the behavior of tiny subatomic particles is fundamentally uncertain. This is at odds with Einstein’s general relativity, which is deterministic, meaning that once all the natural laws are known, the future is completely predetermined by the past, Das said.

And neither theory explains what dark matter, an invisible form of matter that exerts a gravitational pull on ordinary matter but cannot be detected by most telescopes, is made of.

Das and his colleagues wanted a way to resolve at least some of these problems. To do so, they looked at an older way of visualizing quantum mechanics, called Bohmian mechanics. In it, a hidden variable governs the bizarre behavior of subatomic particles. Unlike other formulations of quantum mechanics, it provides a way to calculate the trajectory of a particle.

Using this old-fashioned form of quantum theory, the researchers calculated a small correction term that could be included in Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Then, they figured out what would happen in deep time.  The upshot? In the new formulation, there is no singularity, and the universe is infinitely old.

A way to test the theory

One way of interpreting the quantum correction term in their equation is that it is related to the density of dark matter, Das said.

If so, the universe could be filled with a superfluid made of hypothetical particles, such as the gravity-carrying particles known as gravitons, or ultra-cold, ghostlike particles known as axions, Das said.

One way to test the theory is to look at how dark matter is distributed in the universe and see if it matches the properties of the proposed superfluid, Das said.

“If our results match with those, even approximately, that’s great,” Das told Live Science.

However, the new equations are just one way to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. For instance, a part of string theory known as string gas cosmology predicts that the universe once had a long-lasting static phase, while other theories predict there was once a cosmic “bounce,” where the universe first contracted until it reached a very small size, then began expanding, Brandenberg said.

Either way, the universe was once very, very small and hot.

“The fact that there’s a hot fireball at very early times: that is confirmed,” Brandenberg told Live Science. “When you try to go back all the way to the singularity, that’s when the problems arise.”

The new theory was explained in a paper published Feb. 4 in the journal Physical Letters B, and another paper that is currently under peer review, which was published in the preprint journal arXiv.

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Forever Dogs

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Growling is a valuable means of communication for a dog – something that dog owners should appreciate and respect rather than punish. Of course, we don’t want our dog to growl at us, but neither do we want him to fail to growl if something makes him uncomfortable; that’s very important information in a successful canine-human relationship.

Don’t punish your dog for growling; you need to know when he’s uncomfortable so he’s not pushed past his ability to cope. Note: Play-growling is perfectly acceptable. As long as you’re sure he’s playing, there’s no need to modify this behavior.

It’s very common for dog owners to punish their dogs for growling. Unfortunately, this often suppresses the growl – eliminating his ability to warn us that he’s about to snap, literally and figuratively. On other occasions, punishing a growling, uncomfortable dog can induce him to escalate into full-on aggression.

So, if you’re not supposed to punish your dog for growling, what are you supposed to do? The next time your dog growls at you, try this:

1.) Stop. Whatever you’re doing, stop. If your dog’s growl threshold is near his bite threshold – that is, if there’s not much time between his growl and his bite, get safe. If his growl doesn’t mean a bite is imminent, stop what you’re doing but stay where you are. Wait until he relaxes, then move away, so you’re rewarding the relaxed behavior rather than the growl.

2.) Analyze the situation. What elicited the growl? Were you touching or grooming him? Restraining him? Making direct eye contact? Taking something away from him? Making him do something?

3.) Figure out a different way to accomplish your goal without eliciting a growl. Lure him rather than physically pushing or pulling him. Have someone else feed him treats while you touch, groom, or restrain him. If you don’t have to do whatever it was that elicited the growl, don’t – until you can convince him that it’s a good thing rather than a bad thing.

4.) Evaluate the stressors in your dog’s world and reduce or eliminate as many of them as possible. For example, if your dog is unaccustomed to strangers, then having your sister and her husband and three kids as houseguests for the past week would undoubtedly stress your dog. Noise-phobic dogs might be under a strain if city crews have been digging up a nearby street with heavy equipment or there was a thunderstorm last night. The vacuum cleaner is a common stressor for dogs. A loud argument between you and your spouse could stress your dog as well as you, and your stress is stressful to your dog. Harsh verbal or physical punishment, an outburst of aroused barking at the mail carrier, fence fighting with another dog. The list could go on and on.

Keep in mind that stress causes aggression, and stressors are cumulative; it’s not just the immediate stimulus that caused the growl, but a combination of all the stressors he’s experienced in the past few days. This explains why he may growl at you today when you do something, but he didn’t growl last week when you did the exact same thing. The more stressors you can remove overall, the less likely he is to growl the next time you do whatever it was that elicited the growl this time.

5.) Institute a behavior modification program to change his opinion about the thing that made him growl. One way to do this is to use counter-conditioning and desensitization to convince him the bad thing is a good thing (see “Fear Itself,” WDJ April 2007).

Another way is through the careful use of negative reinforcement as in a Constructional Aggression Treatment (CAT) program to teach him a new behavioral strategy when presented with the discomfort-causing stimulus. (For much more detail about CAT programs, see “Building Better Behavior,” May 2008).

If you need help to create and implement a behavior modification protocol, contact a qualified behavior professional who is experienced and successful in modifying aggressive behavior with positive, dog-friendly techniques. Good places to start your search are and, or my own trainer referral lists at


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Prozac may not be the only way to get rid of your serious blues. Soil microbes have been found to have similar effects on the brain and are without side effects and chemical dependency potential. Learn how to harness the natural antidepressant in soil and make yourself happier and healthier. Read on to see how dirt makes you happy.

Natural remedies have been around for untold centuries. These natural remedies included cures for almost any physical ailment as well as mental and emotional afflictions. Ancient healers may not have known why something worked but simply that it did. Modern scientists have unraveled the why of many medicinal plants and practices but only recently are they finding remedies that were previously unknown and yet, still a part of the natural life cycle. Soil microbes and human health now have a positive link which has been studied and found to be verifiable.

Soil Microbes and Human Health

Did you know that there’s a natural antidepressant in soil? It’s true. Mycobacterium vaccae is the substance under study and has indeed been found to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide. The bacterium is found in soil and may stimulate serotonin production, which makes you relaxed and happier. Studies were conducted on cancer patients and they reported a better quality of life and less stress.

Serotonin has been linked depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar problems. The bacterium appears to be a natural antidepressant in soil and has no adverse health effects. These antidepressant microbes in soil may be as easy to use as just playing in the dirt.

Most avid gardeners will tell you that their landscape is their “happy place” and the actual physical act of gardening is a stress reducer and mood lifter. The fact that there is some science behind it adds additional credibility to these garden addicts’ claims. The presence of a soil bacteria antidepressant is not a surprise to many of us who have experienced the phenomenon ourselves. Backing it up with science is fascinating, but not shocking, to the happy gardener.

Mycrobacterium antidepressant microbes in soil are also being investigated for improving cognitive function, Crohn’s disease and even rheumatoid arthritis.

How Dirt Makes You Happy

Antidepressant microbes in soil cause cytokine levels to rise, which results in the production of higher levels of serotonin. The bacterium was tested both by injection and ingestion on rats and the results were increased cognitive ability, lower stress and better concentration to tasks than a control group.

Gardeners inhale the bacteria, have topical contact with it and get it into their bloodstreams when there is a cut or other pathway for infection. The natural effects of the soil bacteria antidepressant can be felt for up to 3 weeks if the experiments with rats are any indication. So get out and play in the dirt and improve your mood and your life.

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column_what_are_the_most_famous_quotes_about_dogs“Dogs never bite me. Just humans.”
—Marilyn Monroe

Dogs are commonly referred to as “man’s best friend,” and 50 famous people also had choice and lasting words for our four-legged colleagues.

“You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, ‘Wow, you’re right! I never would’ve thought of that!’”
—Dave Barry (author, Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway: A Vicious and Unprovoked Attack on Our Most Cherished Political Institutions)

“A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.”
—Robert Benchley (humorist and actor, Broadway Melody of 1938)

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
—Josh Billings (a.k.a. Henry Wheeler Shaw; humorist and lecturer)

“Hounds follow those who feed them.”
―Otto von Bismarck (1st Chancellor of Germany)

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
—Roger Caras (photographer and writer)

“Every dog has his day, unless he loses his tail, then he has a weak-end.”
—June Carter Cash (singer)

“Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more.”
—Agatha Christie (author, Death on the Nile)

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.”
―M.K. Clinton (author, The Returns)

“The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.”
—Charles de Gaulle (former President of the French Republic)

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.”
—Johnny Depp (actor, Pirates of the Caribbean)

“Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell.”
—Emily Dickinson (poet, “Hope is the Thing with Feathers”)

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
—Dwight D. Eisenhower (34th President of the United States)

“Why does watching a dog be a dog fill one with happiness?”
—Jonathan Safran Foer (author, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)

“There are three faithful friends: an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.”
—Benjamin Franklin (Founding Father of the United States)

“Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate.”
—Sigmund Freud (psychoanalyst)

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”
—Robert A. Heinlein (author, Starship Troopers)

“When an eighty-five pound mammal licks your tears away, then tries to sit on your lap, it’s hard to feel sad.”
―Kristan Higgins (author, In Your Dreams)

“To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.”
—Aldous Huxley (author, Brave New World)

“There are times when even the best manager is like the little boy with the big dog — waiting to see where the dog wants to go so he can take him there.”
—Lee Iacocca (former president and CEO of Chrysler)

“Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.”
—Franklin P. Jones (humorist and PR executive)

“A dog can’t think that much about what he’s doing, he just does what feels right.”
―Barbara Kingsolver (author, Animal Dreams)

“When the Man waked up he said, ‘What is Wild Dog doing here?’ And the Woman said, ‘His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.'”
—Rudyard Kipling (author, The Jungle Book)

“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
—Dean Koontz (author, Whispers)

“Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.”
—Ann Landers (a.k.a. Eppie Lederer; famous advice columnist)

“I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.”
—Abraham Lincoln (16th President of the United States)

“A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.”
—Jack London (author, The Call of the Wild)

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
—Groucho Marx (comedian)

“Dogs don’t rationalize. They don’t hold anything against a person. They don’t see the outside of a human but the inside of a human.”
—Cesar Millan (dog trainer)

“Dogs never bite me. Just humans.”
—Marilyn Monroe (actress, Some Like It Hot)

“No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does.”
—Christopher Morley (author, Kitty Foyle)

“If you think dogs can’t count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them.”
—Phil Pastoret (author, Our Boarding House)

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.”
—Gilda Radner (comedienne)

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
—Will Rogers (actor, A Connecticut Yankee)

“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.”
—Andy Rooney (contributor, 60 Minutes)

“I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.”
—Rita Rudner (comedienne)

“Happiness is a warm puppy.”
—Charles M. Schulz (cartoonist, Peanuts)

“If you eliminate smoking and gambling, you will be amazed to find that almost all an Englishman’s pleasures can be, and mostly are, shared by his dog.”
—George Bernard Shaw (playwright)

“I’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.”
—John Steinbeck (author, The Grapes of Wrath)

“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.”
—Robert Louis Stevenson (author, Treasure Island)

“Dogs got personality. Personality goes a long way.”
—Quentin Tarantino (director and screenwriter, Pulp Fiction)

“Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses.”
—Elizabeth Taylor (actress, Cleopatra)

“If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.”
—James Thurber (author, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”)

“A hungry dog hunts best.”
—Lee Trevino (golfer)

“If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”
—Harry S. Truman (33rd President of the United States)

“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”
—Mark Twain (author, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)

“Ever consider what our dogs must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul, chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we’re the greatest hunters on earth!”
—Anne Tyler (author, The Accidental Tourist)

“A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won’t be too bad.”
—Robert Wagner (actor, The Longest Day)

“Let sleeping dogs lie.”
—Robert Walpole (first Prime Minister of Great Britain)

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It’s fairly well known that traumatic brain injury — a complex injury caused by a jolt or blow to the head — disproportionately affects athletes and soldiers. But what about the 1 in 4 women in the U.S. who are estimated to be survivors of domestic violence?

What Are The Symptoms Of TBI?

According to Hirsch Handmaker, a radiologist who is studying the link between domestic violence and TBI, as many as 20 million women each year may suffer from TBI from abusive relationships. Symptoms of TBI include headaches, double vision, imbalance and decreased motor ability, as well as problems with memory, planning, learning, aggression, irritability and depression, he said.

Women who suspect they may have undiagnosed brain injury should see their primary care physician and get a referral for testing, said Robert Knechtel, M.D., interim director of the Sojourner BRAIN program, which launched an ambitious effort to research TBI in domestic violence survivors this week. Women may be referred to an ophthalmologist, audiologist, cognitive therapist or a neurologist for testing, depending on their symptoms.

Knechtel said the most important thing is to be honest with your doctor about the cause of injury. “Don’t be ashamed of telling the physician that you’ve been a victim of domestic violence,” he said. “They need to get the complete picture.”

Make A List Of Injuries, Including When They Happened

Knechtel recommends that women write down a list of all the times they were hit in the head and what part of the head was hit, if it is safe to do so. TBI affects memory, so for some women, this may be a difficult task. But in order to treat TBI, he said, doctors need to pinpoint exactly where the injury is located in the brain.

Women should also note if they have ever been strangled — a common tactic by abusers and a predictor of future lethal violence. “Strangulation is a cause of traumatic brain injury, and you don’t really even need to lose consciousness,” Knechtel said. “If you have decrease of blood flow to the brain, you can have parts of the brain that are affected.”

Ask Your Doctor Any Questions About Your Injuries. Make Sure They Are Answered.

Write down questions for the doctor before the visit, Knechtel said, and make sure they are answered before you leave. While there is growing awareness of TBI in military and athletes, he said, many health care providers are still not educated about brain injury caused by domestic violence and may downplay women’s symptoms, or chalk them up to stress. “Insist on testing, and on having an investigation done,” Knechtel said. “If you are being ignored, you may need to find a different doctor.”

If a woman has an acute injury, she should seek help immediately at an emergency room. “The first 24 to 48 hours are critical from a concussion standpoint,” he said.

If You Experience A Concussion, It’s OK To Sleep And Rest

Knechtel cautioned that women are especially vulnerable to brain injury in the aftermath of a concussion, and should do whatever is possible to avoid a secondary head injury while in recovery. “The additive nature of concussions over a short period of time can significantly impact long-term brain damage,” he said, comparing a woman who is discharged from the hospital and subsequently assaulted to a football player who returns to active play before his brain is healed.

Following a concussion, he said, it can be helpful to lie down in a quiet, dark room and sleep. Despite what many of us were told growing up, letting someone fall asleep after a concussion is actually exactly what the brain needs.

Contact Your Local Domestic Violence Coalition

Allie Bones, the CEO of the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, recommends that women who have TBI symptoms reach out to their state domestic violence coalition to see what support services are available in their area.

“The coalitions tend to have the best information about what the domestic violence programs across the state offer,” she said. “These days, most programs are trying to focus on a trauma-informed approach, coming from the perspective that people who have experienced trauma have a lot of different ways their brain may be affected.”

Connecting with a domestic violence coalition can give women an opportunity to talk about their experiences, and to get support with some of the typical problems that domestic violence survivors struggle with, like finding affordable housing and filing for divorce, which can become even more unmanageable with a brain injury.


Domestic violence power and control wheel. Credit: Domestic Abuse Intervention Project

Seek Out Help With Legal Issues

Symptoms of TBI can make simple tasks, such as filling out forms and remembering dates and times, challenging. For women who are involved in court cases due to their abuse, brain injury can make an already confounding process even harder.

“Having a legal advocate who can help them navigate those processes is really important,” Bones said, adding that a state coalition should be able to help put survivors in touch with advocates who can assist them. “They might not be able to do it themselves.”

Never Give Up Hope

Chris Nowinski, executive director of the Sports Legacy Institute, had one message to women who have signs of brain injury: Don’t give up hope.

“Whatever your symptoms are, there is treatment to make you feel better, and you should aggressively pursue it,” he said. “Sometimes symptoms can last for years and slowly fade away.”

Nowinski said it is important for women who may have TBI to be educated so they can adjust how they live, and educate those around them to better understand their medical condition.

“There’s a lot of people in this country living with the effects of traumatic brain injury,” he said. “We are all trying to get connected and raise awareness and advance research and get better treatment. We deserve it.”

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

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Bo Diddley was born Ellas Bates. He had his name changed to Ellas McDaniels when he was adopted. He took his stage name from a one-stringed Deep South instrument, the Diddley Bow. Diddley was trained on the violin as a child, but switched to guitar (to emulate John Lee Hooker) when his sister gave him one for a Christmas present.

The diddley bow is a single-stringed American instrument which influenced the development of the blues sound. It consists of a single string of baling wire tensioned between two nails on a board over a glass bottle, which is used both as a bridge and as a means to magnify the instrument’s sound.

It was traditionally considered a starter or children’s instrument in the Deep South, especially in the African American community and is rarely heard outside the rural South, but it may have been influenced to some degree by West African instruments.[1] Other nicknames for this instrument include “jitterbug” or “one-string”, while an ethnomusicologist would formally call it a “monochord zither”.

One notable performer of the instrument was the Mississippi blues musician Lonnie Pitchford, who used to demonstrate the instrument by stretching a wire between two nails hammered into the wood of a vertical beam making up part of the front porch of his home. Pitchford’s headstone, placed on his grave in 2000 by the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund, is actually designed with a playable diddley bow on the side as requested by Pitchford’s family.

Other notable traditional players include Lewis Dotson, Glen Faulkner, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Compton Jones, Eddie “One String” Jones, Napoleon Strickland, Moses Williams, James “Super Chikan” Johnson and “One String Sam” Wilson. Willie Joe Duncan was also notable for his work with a very large electrified diddley bow he called a Unitar. Some members of the Motown band “The Funk Brothers” are said to have learned to play the guitar on the diddley bow. Great bluesman Buddy Guy learned to play music on a two-string homemade diddley bow before getting his first guitar (a Harmony acoustic).

Recent performers who use similar instruments include New York City-based jazz pianist Cooper-Moore, American bluesman Seasick Steve, Samm Bennett, Danny Kroha, One String Willie, and blind musician Velcro Lewis. Jack White makes one at the beginning of the movie It Might Get Loud, then after playing it quips “Who says you need to buy a guitar?”. Seasick Steve recorded a tribute song to his diddley bow on his song “Diddley Bo” from his 2009 album, Man From Another Time. 

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  • By Alan Graham
  • Coronado’s total operating budget for 2013-14 is projected to be $52.2 million
  •   Total revenues projected at $56.7 million, with a surplus above operating of $4.5 million
  •   An additional $4.9 million has been approved to fund capital improvement projects
  •   The General Fund, the City’s largest operating fund, has projected revenues of $42 mil- lion and projected expenditures of $41.2 million
  •   This leaves the General Fund with a projected surplus of $793,000
  •   General Fund reserves are projected at $36.9 million

Orange Avenue commercial corridor Bike Corral

Budget Highlights

  •   General Fund revenue comes mostly from property and hotel taxes
  •   More than 5 percent, or $2.7 million, of Coronado’s discretionary revenue has been allotted to theCapital Improvement Program
  •   General Fund revenue is projected to increase 5.4 percent over 2012-13
  •   Budget allows for a high level of service while increasing reserve funding for facility replacement
  •   Employee compensation is programmed at the same level as 2012-13
  •   Projected General Fund balance (reserve) at the end of the year equals nearly 90 percent of expendi- tures
  •   Twenty-four new capital projects are funded in the 2013-14 budget
  •   The annual contribution to long-term facilities replacement has doubled in 2013-14 to $1.3 million
  •   $18.2 million has been budgeted for Public Safety and nearly $5 million for Culture and Leisure
  •   Coronado provides more than $1 million in grant funding to community-serving organizations

Property Taxes
Transient Occupancy Taxes Sales & Use Taxes Franchise Taxes
Other Taxes
Investment Earnings Licenses & Permits Charges for Services Intergovernmental

& Reimbursements Transfers in from Other Funds All Other

Total General Fund Revenue

22,605 11,600 2,70


1,034 136 437


4,392 1,281

Wastewater Revenue Wastewater Expenditures Wastewater CIP

Golf Course Revenue Golf Course Expenditures Golf Course CIP

Stormwater Revenue Stormwater Expenditures Stormwater CIP

(Police, Fire & Beach Lifeguards) 18,272 Community Development

(Planning & Building) Construction, Maintenance &

Transportation Culture & Leisure

Total General Fund Expenditures


11,294 4,996

150 $41,254

The Wastewater and Golf Course operations are supported entirely by user fees and charg- es. Stormwater services are supported by fees and general tax revenue.

Top-paid employees

City Manager City Manager $215,489
Director Of Fire Services
Standardized position: Fire Chief 
Fire Services $164,215
Police Sergeant Police Services $163,700
Police Sergeant Police Services $163,320
Director Of Admin. Services Administrative Services $160,758
Director Of Community Development, Redevelopment & Housing Community Development $157,104
Director Of Engineering & Project Development Engineering $156,737
Assistant City Manager City Manager $155,407
Police Sergeant Police Services $148,565
Director Of Public Services Public Services $147,633
Fire Captain Fire Services $145,735
Police Commander Police Services $145,717
Fire Captain Fire Services $143,159
Police Commander Police Services $143,049
Fire Captain Fire Services $141,987
Fire Battalion Chief Fire Services $141,800
Fire Captain Fire Services $138,897
Police Commander Police Services $138,840
Police Sergeant Police Services $135,392
Police Sergeant Police Services $135,327
Police Sergeant Police Services $134,163
Police Sergeant Police Services $134,137
Director Of Recreation Recreation Services $133,563
Principal Engineer Engineering $127,603
Director Of Library Services Library Services $126,704
Fire Battalion Chief Fire Services $126,202
Capital Projects Manager Engineering $122,286
Senior Police Officer Police Services $122,205
Police Officer Police Services $120,370
Finance Manager Administrative Services $119,455
Police Officer Police Services $118,730
Fire Engineer Fire Services $117,258
Fire Engineer Fire Services $116,247
Fire Captain Fire Services $115,336
Fire Fighter – Paramedic Fire Services $113,581
Police Sergeant Police Services $112,614
Police Services $112,523
Fire Fighter – Paramedic Fire Services $112,244
Inform. Technology Manager Administrative Services $112,235
Director Of Golf Course Operations Golf $112,125
Fire Fighter – Paramedic Fire Services $112,114
Fire Fighter – Paramedic Fire Services $112,049
Fire Engineer Fire Services $111,909
Police Officer Police Services $110,709
Fire Engineer Fire Services $108,886
Golf Maintenance Supervisor Golf $108,726
Public Service Supervisor Public Services $108,157
Police Officer Police Services $107,854
Police Officer Police Services $106,270
Senior Police Officer Police Services $105,214

Sr. Management Analyst City Manager $104,248
Police Officer Police Services $103,536
Fire Captain Fire Services $103,199
City Clerk City Clerk $102,384
Fire Fighter – Paramedic Fire Services $102,279
Sr. Management Analyst Community Development $102,266
Fire Fighter Fire Services $102,219
Fire Fighter – Paramedic Fire Services $101,753
Senior Police Officer Police Services $101,442
Fire Engineer Fire Services $101,253
Police Officer Police Services $100,973
Fire Fighter – Paramedic Fire Services $99,410
Police Officer Police Services $99,278
Fire Fighter – Paramedic Fire Services $99,168
Master Mechanic (Terminal) Public Services $99,151
Police Officer Police Services $98,171
Police Services $96,788
Fire Fighter Fire Services $96,622
Police Officer Police Services $95,533
Police Officer Police Services $95,033
Senior Police Officer Police Services $93,751
Fire Fighter – Paramedic Fire Services $93,687
Fire Fighter – Paramedic Fire Services $92,687
Police Officer Police Services $92,680
Police Officer Police Services $90,890

Office Specialist Golf $23,436
Beach Lifeguard Fire Services $23,410
Office Assistant II Recreation Services $23,187
Beach Lifeguard Fire Services $22,968
Recreation Leader Recreation Services $22,481
Aquatics Instructor Recreation Services $22,324
Aquatics Instructor Recreation Services $22,253
Maintenance Worker II Public Services $22,216
Librarian I Library Services $21,757
Recreation Specialist Recreation Services $21,719
Recreation Specialist Recreation Services $21,437
Beach Lifeguard Fire Services $21,052
Library Assistant II Library Services $21,011
Accounting Technician Public Services $20,856
Police Officer Police Services $20,340
Building Inspec Supervisor Community Development $20,235
Library Assistant I Library Services $20,059
Administrative Secretary Library Services $20,026
Librarian I Library Services $19,693
Library Assistant I Library Services $19,421
Library Assistant I Library Services $19,395
Aquatics Instructor Recreation Services $19,216
Kennel Assistant Police Services $18,754
Library Assistant I Library Services $18,699

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article-2416873-1BBDF905000005DC-644_634x537A group of women hailed as ‘America’s first celebrity models’ tantalized audiences during the 19th century, not with provocative dance routines or barely-there outfits, but with their Rapunzel-like locks.
The Sutherland Sisters, consisting of Sarah, Victoria, Isabella, Grace, Naomi, Mary and Dora, each boasted ankle-skimming hair which apparently measured a collective 37 feet in length.
The siblings’ biographer, Brandon Stickney reveals how they became one of the ‘sexiest’ performing acts in the U.S. and their patented ‘miracle’ hair-growing tonic scored sales of over $3million.
Girls, let down your hair: The seven Sutherland Sisters, Sarah, Victoria, Isabella, Grace, Naomi, Mary and Dora photographed with their father Reverend Fletcher
Girls, let down your hair: The seven Sutherland Sisters, Sarah, Victoria, Isabella, Grace, Naomi, Mary and Dora photographed with their father Reverend Fletcher
The sisters, along with their only brother, Charles, were born between 1851 and 1865 in the rural farming community of Cambria, New York.

In an effort to dig the family out of poverty their father, Reverend Fletcher Sutherland, pushed them into show business, originally encouraging their singing talents.
However, after they joined the circus company, Barnum & Bailey, where they were billed as the ‘the seven most pleasing wonders of the world’, he realized the audiences were more enthralled by their flowing tresses than their vocal prowess.

Magic formula: It was rumored that the the girl’s mother, Mary, who died in 1867, applied an ‘offensive-smelling’ ointment on their hair to stimulate growth when they were growing up
Biographer, Mr Stickney writes: ‘Though their shows, consisting of church music, parlor songs and drawing-room ballads, received rave reviews, it was ultimately the girls’ hair that seemed the biggest draw.’
It was rumored that their mother, Mary, who died in 1867, applied an ‘offensive-smelling’ ointment on their hair to stimulate growth when they were growing up.
And in a bid to capitalize on public interest, Mr Sutherland had the idea of producing and selling a hair tonic with the family name as its signature.
According to Hair Raising Stories, the academic journal The Pharmaceutical Era analyzed the The Seven Sutherland Sisters Hair Grower and published its findings in 1893.

Forgotten past: The Sutherland sisters went on to make a fortune from their trademarked hair care products and lived lives of great excess
The solution was made up of 56per cent witch-hazel water, 44per cent bay rum, and a little bit of salt, magnesia, and hydrochloric acid.
A label on the glass bottle reportedly read: ‘To our patrons: The enclosed preparation is manufactured and used by ourselves and we recommend it as the best in the world.’
In addition to using the sisters as living proof, the name and portrait of Reverend Sutherland appeared in most of the advertising.
‘The preacher’s title fostered a label of pious honesty to accompany their claims,’ Mr Stickney reveals.
The hair care products were sold between 50 cents and $1.50 a piece, which could be a day to nearly a whole week’s salary in the 1880s.
Thanks to their marketing tactics the Sutherlands sold 2.5million bottles of hair grower by 1890, just about four years after production began, and more than $3million in reported income was realized.

Pieces of history: On eBay a glass bottle once containing The Seven Sutherland Sisters Hair Grower is listed at $249.99 (left), while a 1903 newspaper advert for their ointment is priced at $9.99 (right)
According to Mr Stickney, the Sutherland women achieved such celebrity status, they dominated the front page of newspapers and were featured in titles including Cosmopolitan, The New Yorker, The New York Times and Time.
The Niagara County Historical Society reports that five years after their father’s death around 1888, the Sutherland Sisters built a lavish mansion in their hometown of Cambria.
The house had 14 rooms, hot and cold running water, beds imported from Europe, hardwood floors, chandeliers, as well as an attic room for the cook and maids.
However, on January 24, 1938, the house burned to the ground, ‘taking many relics of The Sisters’ glory days with it’.
The Sutherland family continued to live lives of extreme excess and, although they earned millions of dollars in their lifetimes from their hair care products, they all died destitute.
Today many items from their now defunct beauty range regularly crop up at auction.
On eBay a glass bottle once containing The Seven Sutherland Sisters Hair Grower is listed at $249.99, while a 1903 newspaper advert for their ointment is priced at $9.99.

article-2416873-1BBC53E3000005DC-401_634x408 article-2416873-1BBDBB94000005DC-907_634x361 article-2416873-1BBE02BA000005DC-89_306x423



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Mathew-StreetBeatles tourist hotspot could be destined for radical transformation.

Mathew Street could be given a new lease of life as a series of developments look set to transform the world-famous tourist destination.

The Beatles hotspot could see several new restaurants, shops and flats opening up in the coming months if city planning chiefs give their backing to a host of schemes.

And while Mathew Street itself could get a makeover, Cavern Walks shopping centre is also being overhauled thanks to a new manager with ambitions to fill its empty retail units within months.

Developers and businesses have their hearts set on a number of projects on Mathew Street and Victoria Street which, together, could revitalise the popular city centre attraction.

Already a huge draw for Beatles fans due to the Cavern, Mathew Street also offers fans the chance to revel in Merseyside’s musical history by taking in the Wall of Records.

But vacant buildings and shop units have cast a shadow over the street despite its popularity with tourists.

All that could change this summer, however. The huge Produce Exchange site, which the ECHO exclusively toured last week, is set to be overhauled as part of a several separate projects being considered by Liverpool council’s planning department.

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On this day in 1971, the most decorated combat hero of World War II is tragically killed. Audie Leon Murphy wasn’t supposed to be a hero! In fact, when he first tried to join the military, the Marines rejected him because of his small size. The paratroopers rejected him, too. Disappointed, he signed up to be a soldier.

The young Texan wasn’t one to be kept down! He soon proved himself to be a skilled marksman and a brave soldier.

Perhaps his most famous demonstration of bravery occurred on January 26, 1945. He was in the small town of Holtzwihr, France, with his unit of only 40 men. They’d been ordered to hold a particular road until reinforcements arrived. Unfortunately, the Nazis chose that moment to attack. Murphy’s men were badly outnumbered—there were up against 250 Nazis and 6 tanks!

Murphy ordered his men to fall back into the woods, even as he picked up his field phone and called for an Allied artillery attack. As Allied fire fell, he was able to take control of a burning tank. Perhaps more importantly, he took control of its machine gun! Germans were all around him, but he fired on the Nazi infantry for an hour until his ammunition ran out. He was talking on his field phone the whole time, helping to direct Allied artillery fire! When his ammunition was finally exhausted, he left the tank. Refusing medical treatment for his injuries, he organized his men into a counterattack. In the end, Murphy and his 40 men rebuffed the 250 Germans.

“I expected to see the whole damn tank destroyer blow up under him any minute,” Private Anthony Abramski later testified. “For an hour, he held off the enemy force single-handed, fighting against impossible odds. . . . The fight that Lieutenant MURPHY put up was the greatest display of guts and courage I have ever seen. There is only one in a million who would be willing to stand up on a burning vehicle, loaded up with explosives, and hold off around 250 raging KRAUTS for an hour and do all that when he was wounded.”

After the war, Murphy came home to a hero’s welcome! He’d earned 28 awards, including the Medal of Honor and some French and Belgian honors. He earned every American medal for valor. He’d done all of this, and he was only 20 years old! He was soon featured on the cover of Life magazine, which brought him to the attention of Hollywood. The soldier-turned-actor would go on to act in dozens of movies, and his memoirs would be made into a film, To Hell and Back. He also became a songwriter.

Despite these successes, everything was not rosy for Murphy in these years. He was candid about the fact that he suffered from “battle fatigue” (today known as post-traumatic stress disorder), and he struggled with insomnia. Nevertheless, he apparently didn’t know how to stay away from military service. He joined the Texas National Guard in 1950, hoping that he would be called to serve in the Korean War. It didn’t happen. He later transferred to the Army Reserve.

Murphy was killed in a private plane crash on May 28, 1971. After his death, he was buried with full military honors in Arlington Cemetery. Finally, just two years ago, his home state of Texas posthumously awarded him its greatest military honor: the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor.

The poor son of sharecroppers was not supposed to be a hero—and yet he was! Determination, perseverance, exceeding expectations . . . . How AMERICAN.

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If you’ve ever wished you could post up on a mountaintop forever, then meet your new home.

Ecocapsule is a tiny, 86 square-foot living capsule that, as soon as next year, will enable owners to live virtually anywhere. Each mobile pod comes with sleeping space for two, a mini kitchen, a fully functional toilet and shower, storage space, a desk and two windows.

The pods, which are currently in pre-production, harvest rainwater and remove bacteria all on their own, while powering themselves with sun and wind. The capsule’s battery can also charge electric cars, Gizmodo reports, making the location possibilities breathtakingly endless — from beaches to jungles to wide-open prairies.

Pricing for the Ecocapsules is not yet available, but Slovakia-based Nice Architects do know that shipping the pods to the U.S. will not be cheap — it’s estimated to cost about $2,400 to have a pod shipped to New York City.


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Clint Eastwood is a tough man and patriot who has had extraordinary success in Hollywood. He is perhaps the most successful conservative actor in the history of American cinema, especially when you consider his directing skills… including the recent box office smash hit “American Sniper.”

But just because Clint could buy his son anything he wanted, doesn’t mean he did it! Good parents teach young children that things shouldn’t be handed to you, and you should work for what you have. Clint made his son, who is now 29, have a job “for as long as he can remember.”

“My dad was pretty old school,” Eastwood tells PEOPLE for its latest issue. “I’ve had a job since I can remember and it’s not like he was like, ‘Hey, what kind of car do you want?’” he says with a laugh. “My first car was a ’91 Ford Crown Victoria that was $1,000. And I had to buy every car after that. I had to do it all.”
via People

For most of his life, he used the name Scott Reeves to stay out of the spotlight. He is humble and has good manners, because of Clint’s excellent parenting skills!

“I like being under the radar. I didn’t get into this business to become famous,” he said. “I got into this business because I like acting and I want to make movies. I would be happy living the rest of my life never famous.”
Scott graduated with a degree in communications from Loyola Marymount in 2008 and Clint hasn’t given Scott an easy route to pursue his acting ambitions either.

“My dad always says, ‘Just stick around.’ Everybody thinks it’s an overnight success. But the reality is, it takes years of hard work,” the hunk said.
Good job, Clint! Many ‘Hollywood’-style parents would easily buy their children sports cars and pay for their college. That can lead to major problems later in life.

But Mr. Eastwood taught his son the value of hard work and discipline. Fantastic!



Posted in Clarion Rock, Summer 2015 | Leave a comment



Photos of Jim Morrison’s and Pam’s first home located in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles have been published recently. This is a big deal as we never see a good quality picture of the “Love Street” home before they began rebuilding it in the 90’s. The only picture of the house from that time that has been in circulating Doors fan pages was of poor quality and very small.

This is the original house just as it was before it was touched, rebuild, refurnished and resold many times. These are all the original wood, windows, nails, screws and structure of the home. Over the years the house was left to rot. No one lived in it after Jim and Pam moved to the Norton Avenue place in 1970. I don’t know the reason why Jim and Pam up and left Laurel Canyon. Could very well be because of the Sharon Tate Manson murders. A lot of celebrities ran from their homes when Sharon and her friends were found murdered in her home. It escalated when the Labianca’s bodies were discovered the next night.

Morrison fans had stolen parts of the home. From wood planks to pieces from their stove. There have been plenty of renovations to the home as last year the house burnt down and was rebuilt. For me the original home Jim and Pam lived in is gone. It was gone the moment they added new wood, floors, walls and a bell to the upper part of the house. It never had a bell when Jim and Pam lived there. Today the house no longer has wood. It’s now made entirely of cement and that bell was added in again.

Posted in Summer 2015 | Leave a comment

Omnia Vincit Amor (Love Conquers All)

This is a love story that begins with two grieving strangers who are about to become a family of 10.

Jessica and Ryan Ronne had never met and were living in different states when they both lost their spouses to brain cancer within the same week. Brought together by an online message, they began corresponding, fell in love and married.
The Ronne family includes parents Ryan and Jessica, and their seven children from previous marriages. Jessica is pregnant with the couple’s first child.
Their household — which now includes her four children and his three kids — is about to expand again as Jessica prepares to give birth to the couple’s first baby in June. And there’s one more reason they’re beaming: She’s just earned a master’s degree, a dream almost a decade in the making.

It’s a moment for the family to savor.

“I don’t really have words for it. I’m so at peace in this life and happy,” Jessica, 38, told TODAY Parents.

“She taught me how to live again,” Ryan, 37, said.
Ryan and Jessica Ronne share a light moment.
Just a few years ago, life was filled with heartache for both of them.

Jessica lived in suburban Grand Rapids, Michigan, with her husband Jason. When he suddenly began losing weight and having seizures in 2007, doctors found a brain tumor, an oligodendroglioma. Surgery helped for a while, but the tumor came back as a baseball-size glioblastoma.

“I felt like I was drowning every day trying to take care of the four kids and a husband who was completely deteriorating,” Jessica recalled.

Jason died on Aug. 24, 2010.

At that moment, some 1,000 miles away in Guymon, Oklahoma, Ryan had just four days left with his wife Kaci. After suffering from excruciating headaches after giving birth to the couple’s third child several months earlier, a scan revealed she had an astrocytoma, a tumor on her brain stem. “It’s going to kill her,” a doctor bluntly told Ryan.

Kaci died on Aug. 28, 2010.

Looking for a way to keep family and friends updated on their spouses’ conditions, both Jessica and Ryan started writing separate blogs online. And somehow, a woman they had never met was reading both of them. On Halloween in 2010, she sent Jessica a message.

“There’s this man in Oklahoma who lost his wife four days after you lost your husband and I just think you could be encouraging to him,” it read.

Jessica found Ryan’s website and left a message offering to talk or email, if he wanted to.

“What was strange was that same Halloween night, my son came in after they’d been trick-or-treating and he said, ‘Dad, when are we going to get a new mom?'” Ryan recalled.

“That just floored me because it had only been two months. I was in terrible shape… I’m not even thinking about that at all. When I prayed with him that night, we just said, ‘God, if that’s what I’m supposed to do, give me a sign, show me something… just prepare my heart for something like that.’ I woke up the next morning to her email.”
Jessica and Ryan began emailing the next day and talked on the phone a week later, staying on the line for hours. They weren’t looking for romance, but the connection between the young widow and widower was instant. They decided to meet on Dec. 2, 2010, in Savannah, Georgia, a city both had always wanted to visit and which they called “neutral ground:” no kids or family to distract them from figuring out what was happening.

“Both of us had really good marriages and thought, ‘I want to do this again.’ I knew very quickly, even in the conversations, that I wanted her to be my wife and spend time with her for the rest of my life,” Ryan said.
Jessica and Ryan had two weddings: one at a courthouse in April 2011, and a church wedding one month later in which their children all took part.
He proposed in February 2011 and the couple married two months later. Jessica’s special-needs son Lucas, who was born with hydrocephalus, attended a great school in Grand Rapids, so Ryan and his kids moved from Oklahoma to Michigan so Lucas would not have to be uprooted.

In 2013, the Ronnes fulfilled their dream of living in a big country house by moving to a 30-acre property in Bath Springs, Tennesee.

The household now includes seven kids under 13: Caleb, 12; Lucas, 10; Mabel, 8; Joshua, 5; Tate, 11; Mya, 10; and Jada, 5. The couple has adopted each other’s children.

“The kids all just meshed as if they were brothers and sisters from day one. It’s just amazing how they just took to each other immediately,” Ryan said.

The children have chores and each day is structured so they grow up to be independent adults, he added. Still, there’s bound to be some chaos.

“We tell people we brace for the weekends. We love it when Monday morning comes because they all go back to school,” noted Jessica, who chronicles some of her experiences on her blog. “Our house isn’t going to be spotless and things are going to be loud and rowdy.”

Jessica comes from a big family — she is the oldest of 12 — so doing that much laundry, cooking and cleaning is not a big deal, she said. The country house has a big garden, fruit trees and chickens, allowing the Ronnes to focus on eating healthy — a big deal for a family so deeply touched by cancer.
Jessica Ronne received her master’s degree from Grand Valley State University last month.
The baby is due June 12, but there was one other big event to celebrate recently. Last month, Jessica graduated from Grand Valley State University with a master’s degree in education, a goal she began working on nine years ago, long before her life was interrupted by cancer, death and grief.

These days, it’s all about joy and love.

“It just feels right, all of it,” Jessica said.


Posted in Summer 2015 | Leave a comment

Slings & Arrows


‘To be or not to be, that is the question’. Read Hamlet’s famous soliloquy by Shakespeare below, along with a modern translation and explanation of what ‘To be or not to be’ is about’.

The question for him was whether to continue to exist or not – whether it was more noble to suffer the slings and arrows of an unbearable situation, or to declare war on the sea of troubles that afflict one, and by opposing them, end them. To die. He pondered the prospect. To sleep – as simple as that. And with that sleep we end the heartaches and the thousand natural miseries that human beings have to endure. It’s an end that we would all ardently hope for. To die. To sleep. To sleep. Perhaps to dream. Yes, that was the problem, because in that sleep of death the dreams we might have when we have shed this mortal body must make us pause. That’s the consideration that creates the calamity of such a long life. Because, who would tolerate the whips and scorns of time; the tyrant’s offences against us; the contempt of proud men; the pain of rejected love; the insolence of officious authority; and the advantage that the worst people take of the best, when one could just release oneself with a naked blade? Who would carry this load, sweating and grunting under the burden of a weary life if it weren’t for the dread of the after life – that unexplored country from whose border no traveler returns? That’s the thing that confounds us and makes us put up with those evils that we know rather than hurry to others that we don’t know about. So thinking about it makes cowards of us all, and it follows that the first impulse to end our life is obscured by reflecting on it. And great and important plans are diluted to the point where we don’t do anything.

To be, or not to be–that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep–
No more–and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep–
To sleep–perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprise of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action. — Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia! — Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.


Posted in Clarion Rock, Summer 2015 | 1 Comment



Mary Fields was born a slave in Tennessee, after the Civil War anMary Fields d freed her of her bondage, the free woman decided to strike off on her own hook. A fiery, feisty sort, she shared a driving ambition with audacity, and a penchant for physical altercation on a regular basis. She also had a love of smoking rather large foul smelling cigars.

Mary was six foot tall; heavy : tough as nails; short tempered; two fisted; powerful and is said to have toted a pair of six-shooters and an eight or ten-gauge shotgun (for those of you who do not know that is bigger than the 12 gauge the police carry today). How in the heck has this legend in her own time faded from today’s wild west history?

In 1884 she made her way toward Cascade County (west-central Montana) in search of opportunity. Seeking to improve her sustenance and adventure. While awaiting for the fore mentioned opportunity to present itself she accepted employment with the Ursuline Nuns at the mission in Cascade, Montana. The job was not much of a step up the ladder of success. The St. Peter Mission, was a very simple facility, located in the remote wilderness frontier, devoted to the conversion of the heathen savages and other disgusting customers who wandered along. remote as it was it was rather well funded.

Mary was hired to do the heavy work, she chopped wood, did some stone work and rough carpentry. She dug the the necessary holes (the ones for the out houses). And when the missions reserves started to run low, Mary made the supply runs to the train stop, or as far as Great Falls or the city of Helena when special needs needed to be filled.

So here is one of those stories I referred to in the disclaimer. Although every account I reviewed told it about the same.. On one night run, (the distance was not that great but it was cooler at night.). Mary’s wagon was attacked by a pack of wolves. The horses bolted and Mary could not regain control, the wagon overturned, the team escaped. Mary and the supplies were unceremoniously dumped on the darkStage Coach Mary, Mary Fields prairie.

The story continues with Mary holding the wolves at bay the rest of the night with her rifle and revolvers. All this occurred in the pitch darkness of the prairie night. Anyway some how she survived the night and with the coming of day light was able to eventually deliver the goods to the relieved nun’s who had spent $30 on the whole mess. They were not so relieved with Mary’s safety that they did not deduct they price of a keg of molasses that leaked from a keg that had hit a rock from her salary.

Mary’s pugnacious nature kept her prepared for any inconveniences from wolves to drunken cowboys. Going heavily armed at all times and ready with her rock hard fists, ready for a fist fight at the drop of a hat, most gave Mary a wide berth. Mary did not pay heed to the Victorian standard for women at that time, her fashion statement rather presented her in an unfavorable light. Heaven help the ruffian men who tried to trample her hard earned rights. Oh woe to them!

The GREAT FALLS EXAMINER claimed that she broke more noses in central Montana than any other person. The Examiner was the only paper in circulation in the Cascades at the time.

One hired hand at the mission confronted them with a complaint on the fact that Mary, a mere woman, was making $2 a month more than he ($9 vs. $7) , and just what made her think she was worth more than him? His name reportedly was Yu Lum Duck, he complained to the Bishop, and more publicly in a saloon in a rougher version. What made the uppity colored woman think she was better than him?

Now Mary was a regular customer in this saloon, and word soon was carried to her ears. Mary’s blood began to stew and boil. Shortly after Mary saw him cleaning one of the latrines behind the mission. Mary intended to simply shoot him, she missed. The affair became a general shootout with neither hitting the other. Bullets flew everywhere. After the fracas was over both parties split – neither had scored a direct hit. But one of Mary’s bullets glanced off a rock and hit the forlorn Yu Lum Duck in the left buttock – completely ruining his new $1.85 trousers. But worse than that, one of Mary’s bullets had passed through the Bishop’s laundry hanging behind the mission, putting holes in his drawers and two white shirts.

The Bishop demanded that Mary be fired and the complaining man was given her job and the $2 raise with it.

Out of work Mary tried the restaurant business. Her cooking was so terrible, that no one would eat it. Soon she was looking for work again.

Mary Fields In 1895 she landed a job carrying the U. S. Mail. This work suited her fine as she had always been independent and determined. She quickly earned a reputation for delivering the mail in all kinds of conditions regardless of the weather. She and her old mule plugged along through bitter raw blizzards, roasting heat and drenching rain. She and old Moses (the mule) delivered mail to remote miner’s cabins and other outposts – delivering mail, land claim forms and parcels that kept communication open to the outside world. She is credited with helping advance the development of a large portion of central Montana, a contribution that is not recognized today.

This is where she became known as Stagecoach Mary, not by association with a stage line but because she Mary Fields was so dependable of keeping a regular schedule. Mary kept up this activity until well into her sixties. But the ravages of time wore her down, and she retired from the mail delivery business. She needed an income so at the age of seventy she went to the laundry business in Cascade.

Figuring that she deserved to relax she did not do much laundry. Rather, she spent much of her time in the local saloon, drinking whiskey, and smoking her foul but beloved cigars. She entertained the assortment of sweaty and dusty men with stories of her exploits and claimed to be a crack shot, but her aim at the cuspidor was none to good and she often missed to the disgust of the nearby patron who was in the way. But what the hell, she did laundry didn’t she? One lout refused to pay his full laundry bill he had ordered extra starch in his cuff and collar, Mary heard him out in the street. She left the saloon and confronted him with a solid blow to the jaw. She knocked him flat at the age of seventy-two with the one blow and knocked out a tooth. Mary later said that the satisfaction she got from hitting him was worth the amount he owed her.  The recipent  of the blow afterwards expressed gratitude to Mary for knocking out his tooth, it had been troubling him for some time.

Mary died of liver failure in 1914. She was buried with a simple wooden cross in Hillside Cemetery in Cascade.

People who knew this mellow cigar smoking, whiskey drinking old lady were hard pressed to believe she was the gun packing, short-tempered female of old they had heard so much about.

That this historical Old Gal lived is documented pretty well, she like so many has been lost in the dust of time. It is good to brush the dust off some of these old tales and air them out again.

Well tiime to ramble on out of here.

Posted in Summer 2015 | Leave a comment


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r-DOG-403xFBKilo the pit bull was about to see the end of his life at a local animal shelter, when Candice Miller brought him home.

“Rescued in literally his last hour,” Miller says.

The brown and white doggie had arrived at the shelter, where Miller volunteers, from a home where it was said he’d been beaten, and forced to live outside, and where he didn’t get enough to eat. He and a female dog were bred, and then, Miller says, their puppies were subject to the same conditions.

That past had left Kilo fearful. He was so nervous that he crawled on his belly, when moving around the shelter. Miller devoted herself to improving his confidence, but Kilo was still overlooked.

Miller needed some healing, too. She’d recently quit a job that had left her stressed, depressed and anxious. One of her older dogs had recently died; she was heartbroken, to boot.

Taking care of shelter dogs, especially the pit bulls, was how Miller tried to soothe herself. She’d noticed they “got looked over” but “were incredibly gentle, sweet, loving and affectionate even in the shelter environment. It was impossible not to fall in love!”

She fell hard for Kilo. But no one else did; he just wasn’t putting on his best face for potential adopters.

After a couple of months, Kilo was given five more days to be adopted, or he’d be euthanized. Miller checked in on him every day. No takers. On the last day, when she called, Miller was told Kilo was in the holding area, waiting his turn to die.

She started to cry, then rushed right over to pick him up.

“The rest was history,” she says. “Kilo came into my life at a point where I needed him the most … We both had been through some bad stuff, but together are absolutely happy and healthy.”

Kilo — and Miller — got lucky, as did the three other pits, including a spectacularly adorable new puppy, Miller’s also taken in in the last few years.

It’s estimated that some 800,000 – 1 million pits are killed in shelters every year.

And Miller’s goal now is to help other pups, like hers, find their own happy families, by showing the world how great it looks when your home, your life, is overrun by dogs.

Posted in Clarion Causes, Summer 2015 | 1 Comment


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Posted in Clarion Causes, Summer 2015 | 1 Comment


A sweet-natured pit bull named Stevie will be allowed to accompany his human to school each day, a federal judge has ruled — a victory for the rights of certified service animals like Stevie, and especially for the youngster who relies on him so much.

Seven-year-old Anthony has cerebral palsy, and therefore requires a little more help with things than most children his age. Fortunately, Stevie is always there to walk alongside him, offer him comfort and alert grown-ups when something is wrong. But for the past two years, officials at Anthony’s school in Broward County, Florida, said his dog couldn’t accompany him to class, reports the Miami Herald.

Since then, Anthony’s mother Monica Alboniga has been fighting in court for her son’s right to take Stevie to class. She feared that the school’s strict rules regarding service animals would get her son expelled.

“I feel completely safe every time he is with the dog, because I know the dog will look for help,” said Alboniga. “When Anthony is having convulsions, [Stevie] starts barking and goes looking for us. Then he goes back to Anthony and stays with him.”

Among the rules put in place by the school required Alboniga to pay for a “handler” to accompany Stevie and Anthony — a requirement so prohibitively expensive, her lawyer called it “an impossible barrier.”

After a long legal battle, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom issued her ruling — and she sided with Stevie.

“Stevie is fully trained. Throughout the school day, Stevie simply stays by [Anthony’s] side,” Bloom wrote.

“Given the specific facts here, having Stevie tethered to [Anthony] in school would constitute control by [Anthony] over his service animal as the animal’s handler with the meaning of the regulation. As such, permitting [Anthony] to attend school with Stevie tethered to him would be a reasonable accommodation required of the School Board.”
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, schools aren’t allowed to separate people from their service animals. The extent of that law has been challenged before, but Stevie’s case could set a precedent.

“He is a very good dog,” Alboniga told the Herald. “He is very sweet, and very obedient. He is the best there is.”


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Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of life of the Indigenous people of the Great Plains before, and during, the arrival and subsequent spread of the European pioneers. Raised in the traditions of his people until the age of eleven, he was then educated at the Carlisle Indian Industrial Boarding School of Pennsylvania, where he learned the english language and way of life. (Though a National Historical Landmark, Carlisle remains a place of controversy in Native circles.)

Like his above mentioned contemporaries, however, his native roots were deep, leaving him in the unique position of being a conduit between cultures. Though his movement through the white man’s world was not without “success” — he had numerous movie roles in Hollywood — his enduring legacy was the protection of the way of life of his people.

By the time of his death he had published 4 books and had become a leader at the forefront of the progressive movement aimed at preserving Native American heritage and sovereignty, coming to be known as a strong voice in the education of the white man as to the Native American way of life. Here, then, are 10 quotes from the great Sioux Indian Chief known as Standing Bear that will be sure to disturb much of what you think you know about “modern” culture.

1) Praise, flattery, exaggerated manners and fine, high-sounding words were no part of Lakota politeness. Excessive manners were put down as insincere, and the constant talker was considered rude and thoughtless. Conversation was never begun at once, or in a hurried manner.

2) Children were taught that true politeness was to be defined in actions rather than in words. They were never allowed to pass between the fire and the older person or a visitor, to speak while others were speaking, or to make fun of a crippled or disfigured person. If a child thoughtlessly tried to do so, a parent, in a quiet voice, immediately set him right.

3) Silence was meaningful with the Lakota, and his granting a space of silence before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regardful of the rule that ‘thought comes before speech.’…and in the midst of sorrow, sickness, death or misfortune of any kind, and in the presence of the notable and great, silence was the mark of respect… strict observance of this tenet of good behavior was the reason, no doubt, for his being given the false characterization by the white man of being a stoic. He has been judged to be dumb, stupid, indifferent, and unfeeling.

4) We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, the winding streams with tangled growth, as ‘wild’. Only to the white man was nature a ‘wilderness’ and only to him was it ‘infested’ with ‘wild’ animals and ‘savage’ people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery.

5) With all creatures of the earth, sky and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them. And so close did some of the Lakotas come to their feathered and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue.

6) This concept of life and its relations was humanizing and gave to the Lakota an abiding love. It filled his being with the joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.

7) It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth… the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly. He can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.

8) Everything was possessed of personality, only differing from us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature learns, and that was to feel beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensified human futility, so whatever came we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint.

9) …the old Lakota was wise. He knew that a man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans, too. So he kept his children close to nature’s softening influence.

10) Civilization has been thrust upon me… and it has not added one whit to my love for truth, honesty, and generosity.

Posted in Summer 2015 | Leave a comment

Barbarurex Morrisioni



To get through the long, tedious hours sitting in the fossil archives at the University of California-Berkeley, Jason Head would listen to the hypnotic sounds of The Doors.

So when he happened upon one of the biggest lizards that ever walked on land, he found it fitting to name it after the band’s frontman, Jim Morrison — the original Lizard King.

But that’s not what makes this find interesting. It’s what the existence of the “Bearded King Morrison” tells us about the effects of climate change that’s intriguing.

The climate connection

Lizards, like snakes and turtles, are cold-blooded animals. They depend on warmth from their surroundings to heat their bodies.

Bearded King Morrison, known scientifically as Barbarurex morrisioni, was six feet long.

And when the environment warms up, they become more active, get hungrier, eat more and grow.

For six years, Head sifted through fossils of animals that lived 40 million years ago, looking for clues on climate change.

Then it jumped out at him: The Bearded King Morrison, as Head named his now-extinct lizard. Head and his team introduced it in a study to be published Wednesday by research journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“It struck me that we had something here that was quite large and quite unique,” he said.

The find was striking, because when it comes to climate trends, bigger reptiles point to a warmer climate, Head said.

“One of the things you can actually do is estimate past temperatures by looking at the body size of fossil reptiles,” said Head, a paleontologist who studies the Earth and its atmosphere at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The lizard’s hefty size helped confirm the elevated global temperature during a period known as the Paleocene greenhouse.

“This would be a globally warmed time in Earth’s history, where there’s no ice at the poles,” Head said. There was a lot of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere back then.

Sound familiar?

Man-made global warming in the 21st century is pushing temperatures back up in that direction, he said.

Current average temperatures are only about 2.5 degrees Celsius shy of where they were 40 million years ago, Head said, when the Bearded King Morrison grazed in the forests of what is now Myanmar.

The Doors connection

The lizard’s proper scientific name is Barbarurex morrisioni, and there is a backstory to how Head arrived at it. The Doors is Head’s favorite 60’s rock band.

“I had their albums going on kind of endless loop while we were writing and doing the analysis on the lizard,” he said.

The size of the lizard took him by surprise. It reminded him of the nickname of now deceased Doors singer Morrison, also known as the Lizard King. Morrison also had a reputation for standing up for the environment.

The king-size lizard, the ecological connection. For Head, the name fit.

The Bearded King Morrison was no dinosaur. It was smaller than today’s crocodiles and Komodo dragons.

But those are carnivorous reptiles. This was an herbivore. It ate plants.

It was six feet long and weighed as much as a German shepherd, pretty sizable for a lizard.

Head says he hasn’t found fossil records that show why the creature eventually went extinct.

The evolution of such a large reptile shows what a huge effect a slight warming bump can have, Head said. With the ice caps gone, Earth’s climate became warm and muggy, and forest covered the planet.

There was plenty of greenery for the chubby lizard to munch through.

As man-made climate change progresses, existing reptiles will spread out into new territory, Head predicts.

So can we see another spurt of such giant lizards? Unlikely.

For them to evolve to the size of the Bearded King Morrison, they would require global temperatures to slowly rise a few degrees and then remain stable for a very long time.

Today’s climate is warming so rapidly that “we’ll basically block off their ability to respond to the temperature increase,” Head said.

Instead of evolution, he said, we’ll see extinction.

Or, as Morrison sang, “This is the end, my only friend.”


Posted in Clarion Causes, Summer 2015 | Leave a comment


Rademenesa was diagnosed with an inflamed respiratory tract when he was 2 months old. He survived the ordeal and now lives at the animal shelter and keeps other sick animals company and tries to nurse them back to health.

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Honoring Our living Heroes By Eddie Zeller


Another Beautiful Morning at Camp Pendleton for the MARSOC/MSOB Navy Cross and Bronze Star Ceremony.

What an Honor again to be Invited to this Marine Corps Ceremony for some Real Heroes who deserve to be recognized for what Marines do Best.

Semper Fi. GySgt. Jacklin,N/C,

GySgt Bill Simpson, B/S,

GySgt Chris Buckminster B/S,

SSgt Hafeez Hussein, B/S,

Sgt Bill Hall, B/S, Sgt David Harris B/S…

All Marine Special Operators….

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Posted in Clarion Causes, Summer 2015 | 1 Comment



Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is known for his long career in professional wrestling and butt-kicking roles in action flicks, but he showed off his softer side on Instagram on Easter.

Johnson was driving his truck when he noticed a group of young men running after his vehicle and yelling.

“Thought to myself, ‘Should I stop or keep drivin’?’ I stopped. I hop out of my truck and this kid runs up to me, hugs the hell outta me,” he wrote on the photo-sharing social media site.

The man hugging “The Rock” was Nick Miller, who battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “(Miller said) It’s been his life’s dream to meet me and tell me how much I’ve inspired him to fight cancer… and hard-core chemo and stem cell transplant treatments. He was a little teary eyed and said for months and months all he’s wanted to do was find me and say this face to face.”

Johnson was moved by Miller’s story and thanked him for sharing it, hugging Miller and his friends.

“As I’m drivin’ I start shaking my head (and tearing up) at how fragile life is and how amazing and cool the universe was to make this meeting happen between myself and this special kid Nick Miller,” Johnson wrote.

“Let’s always take a moment to count our blessings… cause there’s always something to be grateful for.”


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Your feet’s bottom are a direct and powerful access points for your body’s internal organs in what the Chinese medicine term as meridians. Each organ within one’s body is provided a pathway by these meridians. According to others, meridians are non-existent within one’s body or at the feet’s bottom. Believers of Chinese medicine will tell you that there is a close relationship between the nervous system and the meridian system.

If you know what a body’s nervous system is, then it’s easy for you to understand what meridians mean. The two are one and the same thing taking into consideration of their location and interpretation within one’s body.

Approximately,7000 nerve endings are located at the feet of a person and they are directly linked with the various organs in the body of a person.

They are likened to electrical circuits but their power is in most cases dormant as many do not seek for acupuncture to aid the nerves or meridians in any way and nowadays people wear shoes. It’s because of that we recommend people to walk barefoot while outside. By doing that, the meridians at the feet’s bottom are stimulated as well as grounding of one’s body to the negative ion of the earth’s field takes place.

For these meridians (electrical circuits) to be opened as well as ensure the internal organs are purified minus opting for any dietary measures, cutting garlic or onions and wearing them with sock at the bottom of the feet when sleeping is encouraged.

Since garlic and onions are natural air purifiers, they can kill bacteria and germs whenever they are topically applied to the skin. They at the same time contain phosphoric acid (which makes people cry whenever they are cut open) which if it enters into one’s bloodstream, it does blood purification and at the same time kills any germs or bacteria which may be existent and thus protects one from being a victim of flu.

There is that percentage of people who believe that whenever an onion is reused, there is a possibility of it having bacteria and germs. I’m not sure about that statement because while others are supporting it, there is that percentage which is against it. What I’m sure about is, whenever an onion is cut, the exposed surface gets oxidized and that means it’s not the healthiest or freshest thing to take and thus it’s recommended to cut the exposed layer off to ensure to ensure any existent bacteria or germs are not eaten.

The following are the steps which you should follow whenever you want to kills bacteria and germs through blood purification.

Step 1: Organic Onions Are Cut Into Slices (Red or White Onions)

Organic onions are preferred since they do not contain chemicals such as pesticides and it couldn’t be nice letting them enter into your bloodstreams while you’re asleep. The onions are supposed to be cut into flat slices to that they can cover the feet’s bottom substantially as you sleep.

Step 2: Cover The Bottom Of Your Feet With The Onions And Put On Your Socks As You Sleep!

While asleep, the onion’s natural powers are in action in what is known as (Trans-dermal application) leading to killing of germs and bacteria and blood purification and at the same time toxins are absorbed! Purification of your room’s air also takes place.

Users also benefit from air purification effects. Chopped up onions have been used in places like England to purify air and as a result prevent other infections such as flu and any probable infectious attacks.

The picture below shows the systems and organs in the body together with their meridian points of connection at the foot region.


The following are the benefits of putting the cut onions in your sock (at your feet’s bottom) as you sleep…

Blood purification: When the phosphoric acid that’s found in onions is absorbed via the trans-dermal means blood purification takes place.

Kills pathogens, germs and bacteria: Garlic and onions have strong anti-viral and anti-bacteria benefits.

Air purification: the smelly onion chamber created at the feet’s bottom purifies air and leaves the feet with a better smell that’s free of chemicals and toxins which are pulled while you’re sleeping.


Posted in Summer 2015 | Leave a comment


What is overthinking? Is it thinking too much? Is it worrying too much? It seems to be a cycle of thoughts that leads to worrying when it won’t break.

We read into every little thing – from when we don’t get a text back to when someone glances at us and we interpret it as a threat; it’s by design. We can control our thoughts and the extent they exist with a purposeful focus that stops any worry and anxiety before it even starts.

1. See the bigger picture.

Fractal everything out. In any situation, you can take yourself and view it from a higher or objective perspective. When you feel overwhelmed from all your responsibilities, take your view point out of the equation. Clear your mind, merge with the void for a moment. See what you are working toward, see the bigger picture of what you want in your life.

Is what you’re doing right now working toward your passion? If not, shift onto the path that will bring you the most joy!

2. Stay present.

This is so important in all aspects of life. Being fully aware, engaged and present takes interaction and connection to a whole new level. By focusing on each point in an interaction and not going off in thought is crucial to not overthinking.

When we are already lost in a train of thought while a conversation is still going, we don’t fully experience it and it’s not fair to those engaging with us.

We don’t give the energy back when we aren’t fully engaged with others. Stay present, take a breath and straighten your back every time you feel yourself slip into disengagement.

3. Be a person of action.

Do what you’ll say you’ll do because actions speak SO much louder than words. If you have a plan or something Growing-Hands you’ve been talking about doing; do it. Bring your idea’s to fruition because we are creators and that’s what we came here to do.

When we are in a zone of creation, that pure focused energy is immensely powerful and is the push that brought us everything we use today.

All the inventions, everything we can physically use were once ethereal thoughts that we brought forth from the higher realms onto the 3D!

4. Let go; find peace in the unknown.

We can’t know everything (yet), so find peace in not knowing. We aren’t meant to experience this life having all the answers. We came here to ask the questions and create the answers ourselves.

Break the cycle of overthinking the same thing. It brings nothing but anxiety and creates preconceived expectations that aren’t fair to anyone.

When you find yourself caught in a thought cycle, take a breath, look around and focus on your environment to get yourself back in the moment. It’s all about where your focus is and how long you can keep it there. Practice expanding your attention span and putting your energy into what brings you joy.

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A terrified and malnourished dog named Bitty was recently rescued from a sewer tunnel. Within hours, he was unrecognizable.

Annie Hart, founder of the Los Angeles-based animal rescue group Rescue from the Hart, told The Huffington Post that the dog had been saved just in time from what could’ve been a disastrous situation.

“When we received the call for help, we were told that there had originally been two dogs, but one drowned earlier in the day during a rainstorm. With another storm on its way, we rushed to the location to try and save Bitty in time,” Hart said.

Hart rescued Bitty with the help of Eldad Hagar, founder of the animal rescue group Hope for Paws. In the video above, Hagar gently coaxes Bitty out of the tunnel. The visibly frightened dog is seen panicking as Hagar attempts to win his trust.

Once rescued and smothered with love, Bitty clearly undergoes a profound transformation. The change “from scared to loving” is “heartwarming” to watch, Hart said.



Posted in Summer 2015 | 1 Comment



The 10-year-old dog named Sissy walked all the way into the lobby of Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, where Franck is recovering from complications related to cancer surgery, according to NBC affiliate KWWL.

Nancy Franck’s dog walked 20 blocks alone from her home to visit Franck at a hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Franck told KWWL that she’d assumed her daughter, Sarah Wood, secretly dropped the dog off.

“I said, ‘Did you sneak this dog in?’ Sarah said, ‘No, [Sissy] snuck herself in,'” Franck said. “Set the door off — she got in by herself, too. So, she was on a mission.”

Franck called Sissy’s visit a “big boost,” especially since Sissy went missing for a few hours that day. Franck’s husband, Dale, had taken Sissy and another dog, Barney, out of the house to let the pets relieve themselves, but only Barney came back inside.

“I thought they both came back in the house,” Dale said. “I was panicking.”

Thankfully, Mercy’s security personnel found Sissy, who was reunited with Nancy for a few minutes before returning home. There, Wood told KWWL, Sissy would have a story to tell.

“I’m sure when Sissy got home,” Wood said, “she told Barney, ‘Guess who I got to see, and what I got to do, and where I went?'”

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Posted in Clarion Spring 2015, Summer 2015 | Leave a comment



Two cops on patrol in Anniston, Alabama, noticed something unusual about a puppy by the side of the road. It didn’t appear to have any tags, and it looked extremely unhealthy.

As they got closer, The Dodo reports, they noticed its head was extremely swollen due to injuries on its neck, head, and shoulders. They later learned that these are injuries consistent with dog-fighting, and it’s possible the puppy was used as a “bait dog.”

The officers tried to get closer, but the dog, clearly frightened, attempted to run away. His wounds prevented him from running quickly or in a straight path, however, and the officers soon caught up with him.

Upon learning that an animal control officer was not available, Officers Matthew Preuninger and Brian Scott scooped up the puppy and got him to an animal hospital. A veterinarian said that if they hadn’t found the 10-week-old puppy when they did, he may not have made it, The Anniston Star reports.

It took Preuninger’s wife one look at the pit bull puppy to know that the dog, now named “Phil,” had just found his forever home.

“It was our mission at that time that Phil was OK, and the more we interacted with the vet and his staff, the more Phil was a part of our lives,” Preuninger said.
Phil had two other rescue dogs and a cat already waiting at home to greet him.

Phil has adapted nicely to his new life, and though sometimes he’s “haunted by his nightmares” and whimpers or barks in his sleep, The Dodo reports, he’s found comfort in his new family.


Posted in Clarion Spring 2015, Summer 2015 | Leave a comment


Baby Blanca


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This 9 lbs, 1-foot-diameter “multi tool” was designed as a calling card by the F.W. Holler Company of Solingen, Germany, who were seeking to make a name for German knife manufacturers in Solingen (who had a centuries-long reputation for knife making) among the emerging market for Swiss Army Knives. It has 100 “blades,” including a .22 revolver. And a straight razor.

It’s hard to tell by photos alone, but this multi-tool is much larger than your typical Swiss Army knife. Its handle is about 10 inches long, 6 inches wide and 4 inches deep, which makes a lot of sense when you realize how many different types of blades have to fit into it. To start, there’s two dagger blades, a serrated bread knife, a few pairs of shears, a couple of saw blades, a corkscrew, a lancet (for boils?), button hooks, a cigar cutter (hey, why not!), mechanical pens and pencils, and even a piano tuning fork (whew). Really, the only thing the knife is missing is a bottle opener, since the bottle cap we know today wasn’t invented until 1892.

The tool weighs in at around 9 pounds, and with everything fully extended, the object reaches about a foot in diameter, which makes this much more a suitcase knife than a pocket knife. Miller says it takes about 25 minutes to fully open the gadget, and even when you take your time, it’s a dangerous task. “I’ve cut myself on that darn straight razor,” he says. The Smithsonian acquired the knife in 1986 after it was donated by James F. Parker. While alive, Parker was well known in knife collection circles—he owned his own cutlery company and served as the first president of the Knife Collectors Association. Miller says the first time he saw the object he couldn’t believe it was real. “I was particularly impressed with the revolver,” he recalls. “If you bring this knife to a gunfight, you’re OK.”


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2015 Front Page

Coronado Clarion Winter Edition 2015 front cover900

Posted in Coronado Clarion Winter Issue 2015, Uncategorized | 1 Comment


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Layka Wardog

For portrait photographer Martin Schoeller, known for his signature eye-to-eye, full-face portraits, the least of his worries is having his subject stand still on the X marked on his seamless background. But when it came to a three-legged decorated war hero, one leg lost to surgery after taking four rounds from an AK-47, this was exactly the problem.

Picture of the photographer using tennis balls to help Layka the dog post for a photo.
Layka, a Belgian Malinois, a breed known to have inexhaustible energy—the highest of all dog breeds—graces the June cover of National Geographic magazine. “She was a celebrity in her own right,” Martin said, and after capturing a few frames, “I knew I had my hands full.”

Martin was going for a dignified look, fitting of a war dog that almost gave her life to save a squad of soldiers in Afghanistan. “The dog is basically a soldier and we treated her with the respect of a military person,” Martin said. “She’s not a lap dog that sits on the sofa, but a disciplined fighting dog.” He wanted to capture her in this spirit. To do that, Martin knew he had to photograph her with her mouth closed. And that was the tough part.

“The close-up was harder than I thought it was going to be, the dog was so full energy,” Martin said. She was “like the energy bunny and never slowed down.” As a result she got hot during the shoot and was heavily panting—and out came her tongue. The dog just couldn’t sit still.

Picture of several takes of Layka the dog’s portrait
“We took her outside to run a bit of energy out of her, and she was so quick on her feet that I you couldn’t even tell that she only had three legs.” But that didn’t seem to slow her down. “We used the tennis ball, made noise, jangled keys trying to capture her attention like a baby,” Martin said. He gave up on the tennis ball because she just got too excited when she saw it and lurched off the X.

So Martin hunkered down, lowered the thermostat to 62°F and got to work. Layka’s owner, Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald, was at her side, comforting and encouraging his dog with all his love and affection.

Picture of the final image of Layka the dog that was used for the June 2014 of National Geographic magazine
Exceptional portrait photographers have the ability to connect soul-to-soul with their subjects. Mentally bobbing and weaving like a boxer in a ring to capture that elusive moment—the twinkle in the eye, the sought after expression, the special facial gesture, until they know they have it. Martin went several rounds before he landed what he knew was the knockout punch. He connected with Layka for a split second and grabbed the prize he was after.

Posted in Coronado Clarion Winter Issue 2015 | Leave a comment

Where There’s A Will…..


Jim_Morrison_1968-270x300Who opened the door to battles over the Jim Morrison Estate? Who won … and what did they win when the dust settled? And does drinking your loved one’s blood constitute a valid marriage ceremony?Jim Morrison estate

This is installment #2 of our weekly Estate Planning Lessons From The Stars series, which is based on the Celebrity Legacies TV show for which we provide commentary as the estate legal experts. See other articles in the series here.

Doors front-man Jim Morrison died young at just 27 years of age, in 1971. While his estate had limited cash when Morrison died, the assets in his estate became worth around $80 million.
Despite his young age, hard-partying lifestyle, and free spirit, Jim Morrison took some steps to protect his estate … sort of. Two years before he died, Morrison created a will. It was a simplistic and poorly-drafted will, but a valid will nonetheless.

At least, it appeared to be valid initially. It left everything to his long-time companion, Pamela Courson, and if she failed to survive Morrison by three months, then his assets would pass to his brother and sister. Even though Courson did survive Morrison by more than three months, she was never able to enjoy the inheritance.

After Jim Morrison died, his estate was tied up in litigation in probate court. Dozens of women came forward with paternity claims. To make it worse, Morrison’s former Doors band mates also sued, claiming a bigger share of the Doors royalties.

Courson received a modest stipend to live on during the probate proceedings, but it wasn’t enough to support her lifestyle, or even pay for Morrison’s funeral. She was a reported heroin addict, and according to some, Courson turned to prostitution to support her drug habit.

Then Courson died only three years after Morrison — also from a heroin overdose and also at age 27. Because she died without a will, the Jim Morrison fortune would pass to her heirs under intestate law. That means Courson’s parents stood to receive the entire Morrison estate.

So Jim Morrison’s parents lit a fire on another round of litigation, attacking Morrison’s will and fighting about whether the common-law marriage to Courson was legitimate.

It was a valid question, for two reasons. One, the happy couple lived in California when they “married,” but the marriage was supported by a common-law marriage application in Colorado, which wasn’t even signed.

Second, Morrison had, only a year before, gone through a prior marriage ceremony with another girlfriend, Patricia Kennealy. Unlike the relationship with Courson, Morrison sealed the deal with Kennealy by undergoing a pagan marriage ritual that involved walking over fire and drinking each other’s blood.

Despite this extraordinary level of commitment, the probate court eventually determined that Morrison’s marriage to Courson was valid, despite his exchange of blood with Patricia Kennealy. How is that justice?!?

And still the fighting continued. Courson’s parents not only had to prove she was legally married to Morrison, they also had to defend against the will contest brought by Morrison’s parents. The Doors singer’s parents claimed his will was invalid, because he was not competent when he wrote it. Why not? They alleged he was under the influence of narcotics at the time.

In the end, the Morrison war ended with an out-of-court settlement. Reportedly, they split everything 50/50. But it was the Coursons who walked away with the all-important rights to manage and control Morrison’s image, music, and royalties.

And what about Morrison’s brother and sister — the alternate beneficiaries? They received nothing, because of the three-month clause. Would Morrison really have wanted them to be left out, in favor of two sets of parents he didn’t like?

Probably not! Mr. Courson reportedly disliked Jim Morrison, did not approve of his daughter’s relationship with the singer, and even blamed Morrison for Courson’s death. And Morrison’s parents were not exactly close to him before he died, either. Morrison’s dad felt his rock-star son had a “complete lack of talent” in music and should have chosen a different career. Morrison publicly claimed that his parents were dead.

The lesson from this saga (for Doors fans and non-Doors fans alike): A simple will is usually not enough. While it is very unusual for a will done by a 27-year old to be challenged on the basis of competency, it is almost always easier for disgruntled family members to challenge the validity of a simple will, rather than a trust done by an experienced estate planning attorney.

Wills have to pass through probate court, which often lead to delays, complications, and extra fighting — as Pamela Courson learned. Overly-simplistic wills, unlike properly-drafted trusts, often fail to address the many “what-ifs” that can occur when someone dies. Such as, what if Courson was to survive Morrison for three years, but not long enough for the estate to be distributed — who would Morrison have wanted to inherit his money then? Questions such as this can easily be addressed in a proper trust.

You don’t need to be worth $80 million to follow this advice! Almost everyone with assets of significance should take the time to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to find out if a trust is right for them. This can give you the piece of mind that the people (or charities) whom you want to receive your assets will do so, in the way you want, instead of allowing your wishes to be derailed by probate court complications.

If you want your heirs to “break on through to the other side” of probate drama, meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to do the proper estate planning.

Posted in Coronado Clarion Winter Issue 2015 | 1 Comment

HEARTBEAT By: Alan Graham

'Beethoven', 19th century. Artist: William Holl

Many who listen to Beethoven’s masterpieces would describe them as deeply heartfelt — and according to new research, this description may be surprisingly apt.

The unusual rhythms found in some of Beethoven’s most iconic works may be linked to the heart condition cardiac arrhythmia, which he is suspected to have had, research from the University of Michigan and University of Washington suggests.

In a new paper published in the journal Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, the researchers — a cardiologist, a medical historian and a musicologist — investigated the link between the German composer’s likely heart condition and his music.
“We started thinking about the ways that somebody’s physical illnesses and physical body could manifest in the music they were making,” one of the study’s co-authors, Dr. Joel Howell, a medical historian and professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan, told The Huffington Post.

The researchers examined the rhythmic patterns of a number of Beethoven’s compositions for clues of this condition, and indeed found that the rhythms of certain sections of his famous works reflect the irregular rhythms of cardiac arrhythmia.

“When your heart beats irregularly from heart disease, it does so in some predictable patterns,” Howell said in a written statement. “We think we hear some of those same patterns in his music.”

Cardiac arrhythmia can cause the heart to beat too slow, too fast or with an irregular beat. The researchers found that unexpected changes of pace and keys — such as the intense final movement “Cavatina” in Beethoven’s String Quartet in B-flat Major, Opus 130 — appeared to match these patterns. Arrhythmic patterns were also detected in iconic pieces like the Piano Sonata in A-flat major, Opus 110.

Historians and physicians have substantial inferential evidence to suggest that Beethoven suffered from heart disease, in addition to a host of other maladies, including irritable bowel syndrome and syphilis. Many of the maladies Beethoven was known to suffer from have been found to contribute to an irregular heartbeat, Howell explained.

According to the paper’s authors, Beethoven’s deafness could have made him even more sensitive to the rhythm of his own heartbeat, which is perhaps why it was so influential for his music.

But Beethoven isn’t the only famous artist who may have had a medical condition that deeply affected his work. Claude Monet experienced vision problems and was diagnosed with cataracts in the later years of his life. Around the age of 65, he began experiencing changes in his perception of color — and at this time, his paintings shifted towards muddier colors. After he was diagnosed with cataracts at age 72, Monet’s work became noticeably more abstract.

“The synergy between our minds and our bodies shapes how we experience the world,” Howell said in the statement. “This is especially apparent in the world of arts and music, which reflects so much of people’s innermost experiences.”

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The idea that during sleep our minds shut down from the outside world is ancient and one that is still deeply anchored in our view of sleep today, despite some everyday life experiences and recent scientific discoveries that would tend to prove that our brains don’t completely switch off from our environment.

On the contrary, our brains can keep the gate slightly open. For example, we wake up more easily when we hear our own name or a particularly salient sound such as an alarm clock or a fire alarm compared to equally loud but less relevant sounds.

In research published in Current Biology, we went one step further to show that complex stimuli can not only be processed while we sleep but that this information can be used to make decisions, similarly as when we’re awake.

Our approach was simple: We built on knowledge about how the brain quickly automates complex chores. Driving a car, for example, requires integrating a lot of information at the same time, making rapid decisions and putting them into action through complex motor sequences. And you can drive all the way home without remembering anything, as we do when we say we’re on “automatic pilot.”

When we’re asleep, the brain regions critical for paying attention to or implementing instructions are deactivated, of course, which makes it impossible to start performing a task. But we wanted to see whether any processes continued in the brain after sleep onset if participants in an experiment were given an automatized task just before.

To do this, we carried out experiments in which we got participants to categorize spoken words that were separated into two categories: words that referred to animals or objects — for example “cat” or “hat,” in a first experiment; then real words like “hammer” vs. pseudo-words (words that can be pronounced but are found nowhere in the dictionary) like “fabu” in a second one.
Participants were asked to indicate the category of the word that they heard by pressing a left or right button. Once the task became more automatic, we asked them to continue to respond to the words, but they were also allowed to fall asleep. Since they were lying down in a dark room, most of them fell asleep while words were being played.

At the same time we monitored their state of vigilance thanks to EEG electrodes placed on their head. Once they were asleep, and without disturbing the flow of words they were hearing, we gave our participants new items from the same categories. The idea here was to force them to extract the meaning of the word (in the first experiment) or to check whether a word was part of the lexicon (in the second experiment) in order to be able to respond.

Of course, when asleep, participants stopped pressing buttons. So in order to check whether their brains were still responding to the words, we looked at the activity in the motor areas of the brain. Planning to press a button on your left involves your right hemisphere and vice-versa. By looking at the lateralization of brain activity in motor areas, it is possible to see whether someone is preparing a response and toward which side. Applying this method to our sleepers allowed us to show that even during sleep, their brains continued to routinely prepare for right and left responses according to the meaning of the words they were hearing.

Even more interesting, at the end of the experiment and after they woke up, participants had no memory of the words they heard during their sleep, though they recalled the words heard while they were awake very well. So not only did they process complex information while being completely asleep, but they did it unconsciously. Our work sheds new light about the brain’s ability to process information while asleep but also while being unconscious.
This study is just the beginning. Important questions have yet to be answered. If we are able to prepare for actions during sleep, why is it that we do not perform them? What kind of processing can or cannot be achieved by the sleeping brain? Can sentences or series of sentences be processed? What happens when we dream? Would these sounds be incorporated into the dream scenery?

But most importantly, our work revives that age-old fantasy of learning during our sleep. It is well known that sleep is important to consolidate previously learned information or that some basic form of learning like conditioning can take place while we are asleep. But can more complex forms of learning take place and what would be the cost in terms of what sacrifices the brain would make to do this?

Sleep is important for the brain and total sleep deprivation leads to death after about two to four weeks. Indeed, it should be borne in mind that sleep is a crucial phenomenon and universal to all animals. We proved here that sleep is not an all-or-none state, not that forcing our brain to learn and do things during the night would be ultimately beneficial in the long run.

Posted in Coronado Clarion Winter Issue 2015 | Leave a comment



An Anaheim police K-9 handler has been reunited with his German shepherd partner, Bruno, after the dog was shot in the face last week by a suspect.

Officer R.J. Young and his newborn daughter visited Bruno for 30 minutes at Yorba Regional Animal Hospital late Monday.

Young had postponed seeing Bruno because of the dog’s weak lungs and concerns that would be too excited during a visit.

“The best part of my day was when I got to lay down with him for 10 [minutes],” Young said, in a statement posted on the Orange County Police Canine Assn.’s Facebook page.

Bruno suffered a shattered jaw as a result of the bullet’s impact, but the association said he was making substantial progress.

The German shepherd was shot Thursday about 1:45 p.m. as two Orange County probation officers went to a home in the 1100 block of Mayfair Avenue.

The suspect they were looking for was with two men who fled as authorities approached. One of the men shot at officers multiple times, Anaheim police said.

During a subsequent search, Bruno found one of the men hiding near a trash can. He then fired on officers and Bruno, striking the dog in the face, according to Anaheim police Lt. Tim Schmidt.

Officers returned fire, killing the suspect, later identified as Robert Moreno Jr., 22.

The canine is unlikely to return to work, according to a message posted on Facebook by the Friends of the Anaheim Police K9 Assn.

It’s anticipated Young will purchase Bruno from the city and acquire his future medical costs, the association added.

Friends of the Anaheim Police K9 Assn. have launched a fundraiser to help pay for Bruno’s future expenses.



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Robin Williams

I am a survivor of suicide.

By Katie Hurley

I don’t talk about it a lot these days, as I’ve reached the point where it feels like a lifetime ago. Healing was a long and grief-stricken process. There were times when I felt very alone in my grief and there were times when I felt lost and confused. The trouble with suicide is that no one knows what to say. No one knows how to react. So they smile and wave and attempt distraction… but they never ever say the word. The survivors, it seems, are often left to survive on their own.

I experienced endless waves of emotion in the days, weeks, months and even years following the loss of my father. The “what ifs” kept me up at night, causing me to float through each day in a state of perpetual exhaustion. What if I had answered the phone that night? Would the sound of my voice have changed his mind? Would he have done it at a later date, anyway? Survivor’s guilt, indeed.

Sometimes, I cried. Sometimes, I sat perfectly still watching the waves crash down on Main Beach, hoping for a sign of some kind that he had reached a better place. Sometimes, I silently scolded myself for not seeing the warning signs. Sometimes, I bargained with God or anyone else who might be in charge up there. Bring him back to us. Please, just bring him back. Sometimes I felt angry. Why us? Why me? Why him?

Yes, I experienced a range of emotions before making peace with the loss. But one thought that never ever (not even for one second) crossed my mind was this ill-informed opinion that suicide is selfish. Suicide is a lot of things, but selfish isn’t one of them.

Suicide is a decision made out of desperation, hopelessness, isolation and loneliness. The black hole that is clinical depression is all-consuming. Feeling like a burden to loved ones, feeling like there is no way out, feeling trapped and feeling isolated are all common among people who suffer from depression.

People who say that suicide is selfish always reference the survivors. It’s selfish to leave children, spouses and other family members behind, so they say. They’re not thinking about the survivors, or so they would have us believe. What they don’t know is that those very loved ones are the reason many people hang on for just one more day. They do think about the survivors, probably up until the very last moment in many cases. But the soul-crushing depression that envelops them leaves them feeling like there is no alternative. Like the only way to get out is to opt out. And that is a devastating thought to endure.

Until you’ve stared down that level of depression, until you’ve lost your soul to a sea of emptiness and darkness… you don’t get to make those judgments. You might not understand it, and you are certainly entitled to your own feelings, but making those judgments and spreading that kind of negativity won’t help the next person. In fact, it will only hurt others.

As the world mourns the loss of Robin Williams, people everywhere are left feeling helpless and confused. How could someone who appeared so happy in actuality be so very depressed? The truth is that many, many people face the very same struggle each and every day. Some will commit suicide. Some will attempt. And some will hang on for dear life. Most won’t be able to ask for the help that they need to overcome their mental illness.

You can help.

Know the warning signs for suicide. 50-75% of people who attempt suicide will tell someone about their intention. Listen when people talk. Make eye contact. Convey empathy. And for the love of people everywhere, put down that ridiculous not-so-SmartPhone and be human.

Check in on friends struggling with depression. Even if they don’t answer the phone or come to the door, make an effort to let them know that you are there. Friendship isn’t about saving lost souls; friendship is about listening and being present.

Reach out to survivors of suicide. Practice using the words “suicide” and “depression” so that they roll off the tongue as easily as “unicorns” and “bubble gum.” Listen as they tell their stories. Hold their hands. Be kind with their hearts. And hug them every single time.

Encourage help. Learn about the resources in your area so that you can help friends and loved ones in need. Don’t be afraid to check in over and over again. Don’t be afraid to convey your concern. One human connection can make a big difference in the life of someone struggling with mental illness and/or survivor’s guilt.

30,000 people commit suicide in the United States each year. 750,000 people attempt suicide. It’s time to raise awareness, increase empathy and kindness, and bring those numbers down.

It’s time to talk about suicide and depression.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Follow Katie Hurley on Twitter:

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“Madness in a whisper Neon crackle
The hiss of tires
A city growls”
-Jim Morrison

‘Excerpted from: ‘I Remember jim Morrison’

When our son Dylan was two years old, we drove up to visit Uncle Jim. He and Pamela lived in a Spanish- style house on Verbena Drive in the Hollywood Hills. A wall-length plate glass window in the living room overlooked the hills. It was a spectacular light show. The city blazed all night long. The Grahams gazed at the awesome contrast to their tiny, quiet, fairy tale town on the beach.

When we arrived at the house, Pamela was in an agitated state. She and Jim had another knock-down-dragged-out fight and he had left again.

“Well, I don’t know where he is…I haven’t seen him for days…He hasn’t even called…He was arrested last week.” Pamela spoke in nervous bursts. “I’m really worried about him and the rent is due on the boutique…My Porsche needs a new transmission…I’ve been really sick myself…I was on a diet of brown rice and orange juice for ten days…I had to go to the hospital and I freaked out on the way…”

I said to myself, “Gotta get the fuck out of here. No wonder he’s gone missing.” Then, I announced, “I’ll go look for him.”

Jim would disappear for weeks on end. Pamela searched in vain each time. She tried to instruct me where to find him, “He may be at Barney’s Beanery…You could try the studio…but they won’t tell me anything… they’re Jewish and you know what Jews are like…” I was cared for and half-raised by Jews after the Second World War in war torn Liverpool. Pamela’s narrow viewpoint were upsetting to me. It was the Jews that clothed and fed me through the bitter winters which blanketed what remained of the city after the Nazi blitz. I was one of the lucky ones. My face was chubby compared to the boney, emaciated children I stood in line with, holding their ration book s and waiting for the sweet shop to open. The chocolate-covered loquat loaves tasted bitter. The other kids didn’t notice like I did. I know what Jews are like. I wished to say, “They’re just like family, you stupid, ignorant bitch!” but refrained.

Anne and Dylan stayed behind with Pamela while I went down to find Jim.

I shook my head as I wound down through the hills. I drove down Santa Monica Boulevard to the Rat’s Maze – the office, the studio, the boutique, the bar, and the motel – the five major points of the Rat’s Maze. The Lizard moved from point to point.

The first point of the maze was The Doors’ office which was a hop, skip, and a jump from the corner of Santa Monica and La Cienega Boulevards. Half a block down La Cienega stood Pamela’s boutique, Themis. Across the street was the then fledgling Elektra Records Studio. Next door was Jim’s favorite or more likely most convenient watering hole, Barney’s Beanery. It was a famous hangout for the mob among other unsavory characters. The last point was the infamous Alta Cienega Motel.

Morrison moved between these points like a rat in a maze – the office to the boutique to the studio to the watering hole and ultimately ended up at the motel.

I found the Lizard at Elektra. He was sitting on the floor in the barely- finished and ill-equipped Elektra Records Studio. I smiled through the glass. Morrison waved me in. Robbie Krieger sat next to Jim on some pure-hippie cushions. He played chords for Jim’s approval. The Lizard King provided wizard lyrics. That’s how they made music in the olden days!!

“I’ll be finished in a couple of hours”, Jim said.

I tousled Morrison’s long, curly hair. He smiled. We sparred back and forth. Krieger was aghast! Someone actually touched the Lizard King! I went back to the control booth. Paul Rothschild stood at the mixer smoking a needle-thin joint. It smelled like very low-grade Mexican grass, rancid and nauseating. He sucked in the toxic, green smoke. They both ignored me as I entered.

The grass really didn’t even work back in the olden days. One suffered lack of oxygen, a fried throat, and we just thought we were getting high. Rothschild, the Silenus*, was irritated by my presence. “This is the guy from the streets of Liverpool who married the King’s sister. This is the guy who can kill people with a single head butt, a street fighter…as mad as Morrison, a dangerous combination.” The not-so-jolly Silenus fumed under the amber light.

Jim was becoming increasingly irritated by Rothschild as he demanded take after take for something that never seemed to get any better. The engineer, Bruce Botnick, lost it when he was ordered to place a dressing screen around Jim in a futile effort to capture a better sound. The bald, pedantic, producer was bumming everyone out with his suffocating demands. Botnick yelled,“What good will that do?” Silenus shot back, “Just do as I say!”

As the oriental screen was brought in, Jim shook his head. Looking into the control booth, he yelled out, “This is not working. I’m gonna take a break.” The next one to lose it would be the Silenus himself. As Jim was leaving the room he blurted out, “If he’s not back in fifteen minutes, I’m leaving. The Silenus had done some prison time for selling pot and now had a serious focus on something he called, the time thing. “I did two years in the joint. My time is precious. I don’t wait around for anyone, man. It’s all about the time thing, man.” Two hours later, the Silenus sat in his car smoking some more rancid grass, not waiting around some more, for anyone, and doing some more time.

Jim and I walked back to the studio. Morrison knocked at the door. Morrison knocked again. He realized all have left. He picked up a potted fern and hurled it through the glass front door. An alarm blared. The Silenus hopped out of his car and ran up to see what had happened.

“What’s going on, Jim?”
Jim fumed, “Hey, man. I was coming back to work.”

“Everyone left, man. They could not wait any longer.” Rothschild was powerlessly angry.

Morrison said, “I can’t work like that, man. Why did you put that dressing screen around me when I was singing?”

The Silenus used redundant phrases in an attempt to be cool. “It produces a very groovy sound, man.”

“Well, I can’t work like that, man.”

Rothschild looked at the shattered glass inside the building. I laughed infecting Morrison. The Silenus whirled. He half opened his mouth in a benign effort to gain authority with us. This only produced schoolboy like smirks which soon erupted into belly laughter. Rothschild was disgusted and he walked hurriedly to his car.

Still laughing about the flying fickle fern, Morrison drove to the Whiskey A-Go-Go. The doorman gave Jim an affectionate hug and let us in ahead of everyone else in line. The band was dull, the drinks were watered, and the patrons were drunk, bored, and glassy eyed. After a while, I said, “It’s time to go see your sister and your nephew. They’re waiting at the house with Pamela.”

*In Greek mythology, a silenus is a part bestial and part human creature of the forests and mountains. Part of Dionysus’ entourage, the sileni are usually represented as aged satyrs—drunken, jolly, bald, fat, bearded, and possessing horse ears. According to some myths, they were prophets; but according to others they were so perpetually stupefied with drink that they were unable to distinguish truth from falsehood. In some legends, only one such creature appears, Silenus, described as the oldest of the satyrs, the son of Hermes or Pan. He was the companion, adviser, or tutor of Dionysus.

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wynneThe first crossword puzzle.

By Arthur Wynne, December 21, 1913
from The New York World

Crossword puzzles are said to be the most popular and widespread word game in the world, yet have a short history. The first crosswords appeared in England during the 19th century. They were of an elementary kind, apparently derived from the word square, a group of words arranged so the letters read alike vertically and horizontally, and printed in children’s puzzle books and various periodicals. In the United States, however, the puzzle developed into a serious adult pastime.

The first known published crossword puzzle was created by a journalist named Arthur Wynne from Liverpool, and he is usually credited as the inventor of the popular word game. December 21, 1913 was the date and it appeared in a Sunday newspaper, the New York World. Wynne’s puzzle(see below) differed from today’s crosswords in that it was diamond shaped and contained no internal black squares. During the early 1920’s other newspapers picked up the newly discovered pastime and within a decade crossword puzzles were featured in almost all American newspapers. It was in this period crosswords began to assume their familiar form. Ten years after its rebirth in the States it crossed the Atlantic and re-conquered Europe.

The first appearance of a crossword in a British publication was in Pearson’s Magazine in February 1922, and the first Times crossword appeared on February 1 1930. British puzzles quickly developed their own style, being considerably more difficult than the American variety. In particular the cryptic crossword became established and rapidly gained popularity. The generally considered governing rules for cryptic puzzles were laid down by A. F. Ritchie and D. S. Macnutt.

These people, gifted with the ability to see words puzzled together in given geometrical patterns and capable of twisting and turning words into word plays dancing on the wit of human minds, have since constructed millions of puzzles by hand and each of these puzzlers has developed personal styles known and loved by his fans. These people have set the standard of what to expect from a quality crossword puzzle.

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“He took a face from the ancient gallery and he walked on down the hall………

From The End 1966.

When we were producing, “Morrison, The Rock Opera”, at Gazzarri’s, I received a call from my mother-in-law, Clara. She asked me to check out a lead on someone who was selling 8×10 photographs of Jim along with a taped interview of Jim, Ray, Robbie, and John that had been conducted at SUNY College in upstate New York. The interviewer was a journalism student, who had held onto the tapes and photographs now offering the package up for sale.

With all the national press coverage of Anne and I producing the project about her dead rock star brother, anyone and everyone came out of the woodwork to sell or tell anything about the Lizard King. This would be the first of many contacts – some weird, some poignant, and lots of off- the-charts, out-to-there Fan-a-tics.

When I spoke with the seller, I was surprised he was letting them go for such a pittance. I bought two sets and took one to Clara.

I found her going through a box of black-and-white baby pictures of the three Morrison kids. She was picking out all the photographs of Jim. There was one of a flaxen, blond-haired Jim sitting on Coronado Beach in 1946 in a linen diaper.

Clara removed Dylan’s picture from an album of her grandchildren by her daughter, Anne. I was blown away as Clara started laughing when she compared the photography of our firstborn, sitting on the same beach, in almost the same pose, wearing a linen diaper, some twenty years later. Dylan was Jim’s living double. Those Morrison genes are strong, and Dylan, especially, along with his mother, resembles Jim the most.

Clara and I chuckled as we continued looking at more photographs. A few minutes later, she abruptly left the room and returned with an old suit box. She removed the lid, took Jim’s Cub Scout uniform out of the box, and laid it gently on the table.

As Clara stood there fondly gazing at her find, I realized this was the first time I had ever seen her show a profound sense of loss. She fussed over the uniform, straightening the collar, and soothing the small garment out, as she lovingly reminisced about her firstborn.

The sadness that permeated the room was contagious leaving me with a suppressed mourning mindset to this very day.

I once saw a documentary about elephants in which the matriarch was leading her herd through the jungle. She stopped at a pile of baby elephant bones. The rest of the herd gathered around and joined her in gently turning over and caressing the bones whilst making sad, throaty sounds. That forlorn scene transmitted the same grief ridden pall I experienced that day.

This poignant scene was interrupted by the sound of the Admiral’s car returning from a game of golf. Clara quickly gathered up the precious items and left the room. We never discussed with the Admiral the real reason for my visit. He refused to talk about Jim publicly and Clara complied even though she truly longed to recoup memories of her son kept secreted away for such a very, long time.

Some years later, Clara put together a Jim Morrison gallery in the garage of the family home. She plastered the walls with his baby pictures, lots of school papers and letters he had written, along with all of his gold, platinum, and double platinum record albums, posters, buttons, et cetera. Finally, I thought, the late Lizard King was being honored out in the open.

One Christmas morning, not long after, the Admiral and Clara were sitting in front of the fireplace with a blazing fire when a burning ember flew out igniting the throw rug in front of the hearth. The Admiral quickly stomped out the small flame, then rolled up the carpet, and put it in the garage.

During the night, while the Morrison’s slept, the carpet re-ignited and burned down half of the garage, incinerating and obliterating The Ancient Gallery that had been carefully and lovingly put together by a grieving mother.

“Look! See it burn. Bask in the warm hot coals…” – Jim Morrison

It was a sad and macabre way to end our story, but that was just like Jim Morrison: a Greek tragedy keeps playing on a perpetual celestial loop.


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10369572_611059539005502_503425808769246965_n These two dogs  were dropped off at a central Florida animal shelter within a day of each other. They became instant best friends.

“They are still connected at the hip. They walk side by side,” says their new mom, Ronda Chewning. “They even eat side by side.”1610812_609316275846495_5522518838155656465_n

Chewning says she’d never been involved with the animal rescue community before seeing the photo of the boys — the tan one was called Darby at the time; the black-and-white dog hadn’t been named yet — on the Second Chance Rescue Facebook page.

It was the end of August, and the 3-year-old dogs’ situation was described as “urgent.” They were scheduled to be euthanized in early September if no one were to take them home.

“I had no plan to get any dogs, let alone two,” Chewning says. “We live on a tight budget, and two dogs weren’t in the budget.”
But Chewning, who lives in Orlando, felt what she describes as a kind of divine sense that she ought to get involved. That, and when she posted to Facebook that she was going to check on Darby and his nameless friend, she got a lot of messages of encouragement — and promises to help, financially.

“Everyone said get them, they would donate,” she says. And they have. She’s raised more than $2,100 so far toward the dogs’ medical bills, which are extensive, since there’s been tests and antibiotics and one dog has already tested positive for heartworm.

On Sept. 4, the dogs — now named Ares and Zeus after the Greek god of war and the father of gods, respectively — came to live with Chewning and her daughter Jamie (initially the arrangement was supposed to be temporary, though Chewning says she’s “really torn now” about the prospect of ever giving them up to another home).

They’ve joined two preexisting pups of the household: a miniature pinscher named Chanel and a Maltipoo named Princess.

“The big dogs were OK with our little dogs, and the little dogs welcomed them home,” Chewning says.
Overlooking one little incident with a chewed-up sandal and a bit of initial shyness, it’s been a smooth transition.

Within a day, her new dogs had begun to come out of their shell. And now, Chewning says, “they stand on their hind legs and almost hug you and give kisses. They even come to you and like to be held.”

She is grateful for whatever human or otherworldly forces brought these dogs together, and then to her; she is grateful to the many people who are helping her to pay for Ares and Zeus’ vet bills. She also hopes her growing collection of canines, and their growing number of online and in-person fans, will inspire others to adopt a new furry friend of their own.

“The boys’ kill date was last Friday,” Chewning says. “They are beautiful, gentle and loving dogs. What a waste if they had been put down.”



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It’s commonly believed that dogs wag their tails to convey that they are happy and friendly, but this isn’t exactly true.

Dogs do use their tails to communicate, though a wagging tail doesn’t always mean, “Come pet me!”

Dogs have a kind of language that’s based on the position and motion of their tails. The position of a dog’s tail reveals its emotional state.

When a dog is relaxed, its tail will be in its “natural” position, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

This natural position differs between breeds. The tails of most dogs, for example, hang down near their hocks, or heels. But pugs have tails that curl upward, and greyhounds have tails that rest slightly between their legs.

If a dog is nervous or submissive, it’ll hold its tail lower than its natural position, and will tuck its tail under its body if it’s scared. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a tail held higher than normal may indicate the dog is aroused by something, while a vertical tail indicates aggression.

A tail held straight out means the dog is curious about something.

Tail wagging reflects a dog’s excitement, with more vigorous wagging relating to greater excitement.

In 2007, researchers discovered that the way a dog wags its tail also gives clues about what it’s feeling.

Specifically, a tail wagging to the right indicates positive emotions, and a tail wagging to the left indicates negative emotions.

This phenomenon has to do with the fact that the brain’s left hemisphere controls the right side of the body, and vice versa. Research on the approach-avoidance behavior of other animals has shown that the left hemisphere is associated with positive-approach feelings, and the right hemisphere is associated with negative-avoidance feelings.

Interestingly, a 2013 study found that dogs understand the asymmetric tail wagging of other dogs — a right-wagging tail relaxes other canines, while a left-wagging tail makes them stressed.

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Do you love the good smell of rain? If so, you’re not alone.

In fact, some scientists believe that people inherited their affection for the scent of rain from ancestors who relied on rainy weather for their survival.

But what makes rain smell so nice? There are several scents associated with rainfall that people find pleasing.
One of these odors, called “petrichor,” lingers when rain falls after a prolonged dry spell. Petrichor — the term was coined in 1964 by two Australian scientists studying the smells of wet weather — is derived from a pair of chemical reactions.

Some plants secrete oils during dry periods, and when it rains, these oils are released into the air. The second reaction that creates petrichor occurs when chemicals produced by soil-dwelling bacteria known as actinomycetes are released. These aromatic compounds combine to create the pleasant petrichor scent when rain hits the ground.

Another scent associated with rain is ozone. During a thunderstorm, lightning can split oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere, and they in turn can recombine into nitric oxide. This substance interacts with other chemicals in the atmosphere to form ozone, which has a sharp smell faintly reminiscent of chlorine.

When someone says they can smell rain coming, it may be that wind from an approaching storm has carried ozone down from the clouds and into the person’s nostrils.


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Oscar Wilde, Victor Hugo and Jim Morrison meet in Public’s ‘L’Hotel’


Ed Dixon is best known for his 40-year career as a Broadway singer, but he comes to Pittsburgh as the writer of more than a dozen plays and musicals. Brent Harris is known for playing classical roles from coast to coast, but he’s here to originate a character in “L’Hotel,” a world premiere at Pittsburgh Public Theater.

Where: Pittsburgh Public Theater at the O’Reilly Theater, Downtown.

When: Today through Dec. 14. 7 p.m. Tuesdays; 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays (except Nov. 27; also 2 p.m. Dec. 11); 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays (no matinee Nov. 15 and 22); 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays (no matinee Dec. 14).

Mr. Dixon wrote the Public-commissioned play based on an idea from producing artistic director Ted Pappas, who has collaborated with Mr. Dixon from the beginning and directs the production.

“We were going to sit down to create a musical together and the first thing Ted said was, ‘Well, I don’t really have any ideas for musicals … but I have always wanted someone to write a play about Pere Lachaise, and I said, ‘What’s that?’ He couldn’t believe I didn’t know, and now I can’t believe I didn’t know.”

Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris is the resting place of marquee names such as Moliere and Pissarro, Marceau and Piaf, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas … Mr. Dixon was handed a list by his friend and went off to write.

The names that made the cut — Oscar Wilde, Sarah Bernhardt, Jim Morrison, Victor Hugo, Isadora Duncan and Gioacchino Rossini — weren’t the problem so much as how to get them talking.

“I’ll tell you how I got my toe in the water. … About midnight that night I thought, ‘What if it starts at a dead run?’ Then I thought, what if there was a waiter who for all eternity had to satisfy these gigantic egos, had to take care of them? And that became the turning point. And indeed, there is frantic activity from beginning to end,” Mr. Dixon said.

“I had an idea for a play, and he turned it into something much more than I could ever imagined,” Mr. Pappas said.

The clash of these titans of the arts takes place in the luxurious Old World hotel of the title, designed by James Noone and including stained-glass created by local artisans. The waiter will be portrayed by Evan Zes, a well-traveled comedian who proved his physical dexterity in City Theatre’s “The 39 Steps.” Another writer creation for “L’Hotel” is a mysterious woman (Erika Cuenca) who makes possible the idea of reincarnation.

At the center is Oscar Wilde, whose voice most resonates with Mr. Dixon. For the actor originating the role, “It’s like stepping on the moon,” Mr. Harris said.

He knew of Wilde, of course, having performed in plays such as “The Importance of Being Earnest,” but began to delve into the man, studying portraits and getting an idea of “the artful way he liked to present himself.” He found a more human connection reading “De Profundis,” an essay on spirituality and faith written during the gay writer’s imprisonment for “gross indecency.”

“It was startling and moving, so personal and surprising in how naked and bare and painful it was,” he said. “When we think of Oscar Wilde, we think of this glittering comic force, endlessly witty. People know about his tragedy, but I began to understand what a horrible, horrible fall it was and a terrible ending. There’s this dark side to his life.”

“I love what Brent is doing,” said Mr. Dixon, who had just rewritten a major scene dictated by something he saw in rehearsal. “In many ways that’s the heart of the play. Someone asked me why I made Wilde the central character, and I said, ‘Because he’s me, stupid!’ ” the writer said with a laugh. “The way the play works out, it’s geared toward him and he has several soliloquy moments that really enforce the view.”

Joining Mr. Harris’ Wilde are actress Bernhardt (Deanne Lorette), Doors frontman Morrison (Daniel Hartley), “Les Miserables” author Hugo (Sam Tsoutsouvas), dancer Duncan (Kati Brazda) and “Barber of Seville” composer Rossini (Tony Triano). Mr. Hartley has perhaps the toughest job, because Morrison, who died in 1971, can be seen online with the click of a keyboard. Other famous names in Pere Lachaise who didn’t make the cut are given their due with mentions, either in conversation or by playing their music.

The half-dozen cemetery denizens who Mr. Dixon has gathered for “L’Hotel” are representative of anyone who pines for immortality through art.

“They are from different disciplines, and this is a play about art and the meaning of art and the importance of art. Also this a play about what fame is and who is remembered,’ ” Mr. Dixon said. “Once I got connected to these people, I couldn’t imagine it going in any other direction.”

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I REMEMBER for Apple iBook Store

Excerpted from:   I Remember Jim Morrison

Written By: Alan Graham


When we heard that Jim had been found dead in a bathtub in his Paris apartment, we started making inquiries about the circumstances and events leading up to his last moments.

The day after we heard, I called Bill Siddons, the Doors’ manager. Neither he nor the three remaining Doors had tried to contact anyone in the family. Nor did even one of Jim’s many friends make any attempt to get hold of his brother and sister, Andy and Anne.
Bill issued a blanket statement to the press that Jim had died in Paris of heart failure and was buried quietly and secretly so as to avoid a circus- like atmosphere of press coverage. The same terse statement was offered to us and no more.
The callousness of this stance is understandable when a school of barracuda is circling your dinghy, but to exclude Anne and Andy – Jim’s blood – was too cruel for words. Siddons was a nice guy, but when he buried Jim secretly, he left us all with a cavern of unanswered questions.
The people around Jim in Paris kept the details of his death a secret until the news broke. Even then, they made no effort to contact any of Jim’s family members.
Pamela Courson had gone to great lengths to cover up Jim’s death and his true identity. Just three days after he died, and the day after he was buried, she immediately returned to Los Angeles to engage the services of a probate attorney so as to lay claim to his estate as his “wife”.
I called Agnes Varda*, who, along with Marianne Faithful** and Jean de Breteuil***, had been involved with the whole affair before and/or after Jim’s corpse was discovered. They were extremely tight-lipped about any of the details. Varda was absolutely rude and rebuffed my inquiries with an unsympathetic and abrupt response as if it was none of my business. I asked her to simply furnish me with some information so that the family could at least know what had happened to Jim.
“Well, they did not care about him when he was alive. Why should I give them any information now?”
In one way, she was right. Morrison had not made his parents proud. In fact, Jim’s radical poetry and music was the antithesis of their values and beliefs. At that moment in history, there was an impossible chasm between Jim and any authority – especially his parents. Jim Morrison was not alone. For this convulsive dynamic was occurring in the lives of millions of other American families across this land.
*Agnes Varda is a French experimental filmmaker and was a close friend to Jim in Paris.
Marianne Faithful is a British singer, songwriter, and actress. Her career has been overshadowed by her constant struggle with heroin abuse.
 Jean de Breteuil,“The Count”, a French nobleman and drug dealer, who had a romantic tryst with Pamela during her stay in Paris. It is rumored that he was with Pamela as a lover on the eve of Jim’s demise.
“The Count, like a vampire who moves in darkness dispensing Russian Roulette potions of evil, he, like his victims/clients is powerless to alter course and has long since had the desire to even think of doing otherwise.”

-Al Graham Ghost “Radio Theater”




“I DON’T LIKE LONDON,” admits Marianne Faithfull in the new issue of MOJO magazine. “I come here for promotion and I’m asked the most incredible questions.” The last time she was here one journalist even had the brass neck to ask her “Why exactly did you kill Jim Morrison?”

MOJO magazine’s 250th issue, featuring CSNY, Marianne Faithfull and more, on sale in the UK now.
“I decided to take it very seriously,” she tells MOJO’s Tom Doyle in a relaxed and confessional interview, “and tell him exactly what happened and why I didn’t kill Jim Morrison. But I know who did.”

The story goes back to the summer of 1971, when she travelled to Paris with her then-boyfriend, heroin dealer to the stars Jean de Breiteuil. Upon their arrival Breiteuil told Faithfull that he had to pay a visit to The Doors’ singer’s apartment at 17 Rue Beautreillis. She says she felt a strange sense of foreboding and stayed behind at the couple’s hotel, knocking herself out with downers.

“I could intuitively feel trouble,” she recalls. “I thought, I’ll take a few Tuinal and I won’t be there. And he went to see Jim Morrison and killed him. I mean I’m sure it was an accident. Poor bastard. The smack was too strong? Yeah. And he died. And I didn’t know anything about this. Anyway, everybody connected to the death of this poor guy is dead now. Except me.”

In a fascinating piece that roams freely over her now-50-year career, she recounts how she worked with Nick Cave on her new album, ponders how life might have turned out if she’d become “Mrs Gene Pitney” and reveals how she was “appalled” by the death of Amy Winehouse.

“Amy was very, very wary of me,” she says. “She knew that I knew and she didn’t want me to say anything. There’s a level of narcissism which is all mixed up with self-hatred. I know it well. It’s like a glass wall between you and the world, so that all the love that everybody pours onto you, you don’t feel it. But I can’t think what I could have done apart from take her and [shouts] shake her! ‘You stupid little c**t! Wake up!’”

There’s all that and more in the 250th issue of MOJO magazine, on sale now.

Faithfull’s new studio album Give My Love To London is released on September 29. Produced by Rob Ellis and Dimitri Tikovoi and mixed by Flood, it features collaborators including Adrian Utley (Portishead), Brian Eno, Ed Harcourt and Warren Ellis & Jim Sclavunos (The Bad Seeds). Songwriting contributors and co-conspirators – with Marianne penning the majority of the lyrics – include Nick Cave, Roger Waters, Steve Earle, Tom McRae and Anna Calvi.


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n-OBIT-largeSometimes, even in death, the best person to get the job done is yourself. We figure that’s what led Margaret (Marge) Aitken Holcombe to write her own obituary, and when reader Pam Gallagher sent it to our attention, we had to agree that this was The Best Obit. Ever. Many thanks to The Island Funeral Home in Hilton Head Island, S.C., for its permission to publish this.

Here’s what Marge wrote: “I died at Hilton Head Hospital from a wide assortment of ailments on Tuesday, August 12, 2014. When a friend facetiously asked if I was writing my obituary before or after I passed away, I told her “Carol, I know my limitations.

I was born in Paterson, N.J. to Robert Jr. and Isabella Findlay, Aitken, wonderful parents, on January 20, 1930. It was the era of “Children should be seen and not heard” and my sister Heather and I were thought to be deaf mutes for most of our childhood.

After graduation from Paterson Central High school In January, 1948, I took a “summer job” with N.J. Bell Telephone Co. as a stenographer (who could not type – and never could) and ended my 35 years with them as District Manager, Residence Services. I never thought of giving up my day job to attend college because I was making the magnificent sum of $33 a week. With the help of that lavish salary and a couple of scholarships, I was relieved – make that worn out -that I did graduate in four years with a Rutgers BA in social studies with highest honors. I did this by concurrently attending Fairleigh Dickinson, Fordham and Rutgers Universities while holding down a full time job. I hope you won’t think me otiose. (I always wanted to use that word.)

When we retired to the Island in 1984, I volunteered for the Hilton Head Orchestra League, was President of the Port Royal Racquet Club, and served on the Hilton Head Hospital Auxiliary Board. I chaired the hospital’s 1990 Charity Ball and also chaired fund-raising dinners for the hospital. As a board member of the Friends of Hilton Head Library, I initiated the ongoing Book Break series and chaired the 2000 and 2001 events. And you thought I was just another plain face, but very wrinkled.

At the hospital, my volunteer job was to prepare the production reports for one department which I did for 20 years and was just getting the hang of it, when catastrophe struck. I had worked out the calculations by sliding counters along rods on my abacus. One of the important hospital staff spied this little old lady happily working her ancient tool and didn’t feel that it quite projected the image that our hospital wanted – a high tech facility fast-forwarding into modern times. In short order, the abacus was gone (I think to the Smithsonian) and the reports were outsourced to India.

I enjoyed my life and want to thank some of those that made this possible. Topping the list is family and close survivors, the most important, my husband Jack, was always my knight in shinning[sic] armor – well, actually my knight in tennis shorts, but for a romantic spin, I’ll go with the armor. He was taken from me suddenly in April, 2014; he’ll live with me forever.

Surviving is my sister, Heather (Emil) Scaglione of Lavallette, N.J. She is funny, warm, overly generous and the best sister, bar none. My adored nieces are Susan (David) Helterban of Sewell, N.J.; Patricia (Robert) O’Herlihy of Ridgewood, N.J.; Roberta Tomlinson of Lavallette, N.J. I’m fortunate to have a special cousin, Dawn (Kurt) Eigenmann of Sun City and lucky, to have inherited stepson, Jon (Charlotte) of Medford, N.J. and stepdaughter Lisa Holcombe of Santa Cruz, California. Lighting up our lives were our “adopted daughters”, Beverly Maloney and Jessica Bevan of Hilton Head. I was blessed with an angel who became my friend and caregiver, Elaine Kellmen.

Carol Mueller of Hilton Head gave new meaning to the word “friend”. She was my personal shopper for everything from greeting cards to clothes. She brought lunch every week and encouraged me to socialize, exercise and get well, generally making a pest of herself. (Kidding, Carol.) I don’t know what I would have done without her and thank goodness I never had to find out.

I am beholden to Burke’s Main Street Pharmacy for letting me use their store as a meeting place with old friends; it was the center of my social life. David, the younger and more handsome (his words) and Tim, the older and more intelligent (his words) of the brothers Burke would ask “Can we help you or would you just like to wander aimlessly?” I chose the latter and came to know their stock better than they did. Our condo looked like Burke’s Annex; I had everything from a simple cane to a wheelchair. When we moved, Burke’s sent my prescriptions right to my door at Seabrook and their friendly delivery man’s knock became the highlight of my day. We’re talking mad social life here.

The Seabrook was a godsend. The services they offered were perfect – I didn’t have to leave the premises. The professional and helpful staff, the friendly atmosphere, makes it a special place. But the jewel of Seabrook is the food, for this “World’s Best Worst Cook” to have the island’s ultimate restaurant available each evening was beyond my wildest dreams. My waistline, if you could find it, was testament to Seabrook’s cuisine.

I’m thankful for the uplifting courses offered by Life Long Learning of Hilton Head Island. I joined LLHHI because just being among them made me seem more intelligent that I was – an easy task. This organization advertises that the courses, are taught by our peers – my peers they weren’t – not even close.

Before coming to the Island, the only thing I wrote were checks. Then the Island Packet, in 1996, asked for comments on how to unclog traffic problems on Rt. 278. I sent in a column that suggested, humorously, that the solution was for drivers to make Right Turns Only.” Thus began a 12 year “career” writing a monthly humor column for the Packet. Fortunately, my editor was David Lauderdale.

Not only is he a talented writer and a superb storyteller, but more importantly a good man. In case I make a return trip here, I want to cover all the bases.

As a surprise for our 35th wedding anniversary, my husband published my first 84 columns in a book titled, “May All Your Turns Be Right Ones.” I never made left turns; it took a little longer to get places, but it cut down on the agita. The Hilton Head Rotary Club marketed the book with all proceeds going to their project of building a new home for Deep Well.

Then for my 80th birthday, my spouse had the remaining columns set in a book, cleverly titled, “May All Your Turns Always Be Right Ones.” Again, the Rotary club sold the books with the monies designated to building a new home for Memory Matters. At a Rotary meeting we were invited to attend, Jack and I were shocked and surprised to be presented with a Paul Harris fellowship. We were honored and humbled being aware of how infrequently these fellowships are awarded to Non-Rotarians, I likened it to be second only to receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor. Thank you Hilton Head Rotary.

In 2012, The Girl Scouts of America celebrated their 100th anniversary. Being a Girl Scout added so much to my life. I was honored to be a scout and absolutely thrilled to spend three summer weeks each year at Camp Te Ata in upstate New York. My husband was fascinated when I explained that one of our projects was to start a fire in the woods and heat some stew ingredients (don’t ask) in a tin coffee can. It was a meal to die for, which I’m certain, some campers did. Strange, I never had one request for the “Camp Te Ata” stew recipe.

Everyone thinks that his or her doctor is the best, but I win this contest hands down. My oncologist, Dr. Gary Thomas, who, by the way is a dead ringer for the comic actor, Jim Carrey, is a credit to his profession, and a source of strength to his patients. His staff of angels is incredible. When he called Jack and me to his office to confirm the diagnosis of multiple myeloma, my husband asked if we would see any physical changes in me. He answered, “She’ll probably grow a tail” – Jim Carrey cold not have quipped it better. Luckily, Veronica’s Secret assured me that their back-slit hostess skirt was ideally suited for my condition. What a relief.

Dr. Michael Platt, my ideal primary physician for over 20 years is the kind of doctor everyone wishes they had. He is a warm, caring man who takes time with each patient; a superb diagnostician and an all-around good human being. For all these reasons, I call him “Dr. Perfect,” (I’m sure he’s thrilled with that title). Aware of my limited mental capabilities, he scheduled extra time for my visits. Dr. P spoke slowly, drew diagrams using simple stick figures and demonstrated my problem with the full-figured skeleton to help me out. His nurse, Barbara, was always patient and kind. I couldn’t have been in better hands.

A big hug to Dr. Dorian Colorado and the wonderful staff at the Animal Care Clinic. When our 14 year old Cocker Spaniel, Mr. Chips, was failing, Dr. Colorado took him to her home so he would be surrounded by familiar faces and fed him bits of his favorite food. She summoned us to her clinic on a Sunday so the three of us could say our goodbyes with loving last kisses from Chips AND she delivered her first child the next morning. I told Dr. C that when my time comes to be “put down”, she has the job.

The delight of our later years is the already named Natalie-Love-Bug (don’t you love it?) a friendly, huggy-kissy cocker spaniel.

Because our pets give us unconditional love and enrich our lives, I would be honored to have donations made to the Hilton Head Humane Association, P.O. Box 21790, Hilton Head Island, SC, 29925 or Hospice Care of the Lowcountry, PO Box 3827, Bluffton, SC, 29910.

I’ve had a wonderful life and thank you to all who made it so.

Love, Marge

Marge’s self-written obit isn’t the first one, of course. In June, actor James Rebhorn, who died of cancer at age 65, left behind an obituary he penned himself. Titled “His Life According To Jim,” it appeared originally on his church’s website. It quickly went viral, leading some to wonder if self-written obituaries weren’t the way of the future.

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All Together Now


A sculpture commemorating the famous truce of Christmas Day 1914 was unveiled at Liverpool’s Bombed Out Church.

The statue, named All Together Now, was designed by sculptor Andy Edwards and depicts a British and a German soldier greeting each other with a football by their side.

It captures the remarkable moment in December 1914 when enemy soldiers along the Western Front laid down their weapons and emerged from their trenches to shake hands, sing carols, exchange rations, and even take part in small­scale kickabouts.

One hundred years on, the memory of the brief transformation of No-­Mans land into a football field remains an enduring symbol of the triumph of peace and common humanity over conflict, and Tom Calderbank, the Liverpool creative activist who curated the display in the church, hopes the visiting public will take the message of peace away with them.

Mr Calderbank said: “The sculpture is a symbol of hope and peace and is about the gap between where we want to be and where we are.

“160 million people have been killed worldwide in conflict since the truce which this statue commemorates. We cannot allow the next 100 years to be like the past 100 years, and I hope that the people who touch this statue will leave transformed and work for peace.”

The unveiling of the statue came on the same day as the launch of the Peace Collective’s charity single, also entitled All Together Now.

Mr Calderbank explained that the sculpture is connected to the song in more than just name: “The artist’s inspiration for the sculpture didn’t just come from events 100 years ago but also from that song, and we really hope that All Together Now will make it to Christmas number one.”

The statue will remain in the church all week and is open to members of the public from 12­-6pm.

One visitor, Steven Parkes, described the sculpture as “simply amazing”, adding: “It just sums up the need to bridge the gap.

“We won’t stop war but we can reduce its frequency, and that is what it’s all about.”

In addition to hosting the statue, the church is also draped in football scarves from clubs all across the world which were donated to LFC for the 25th Hillsborough Memorial Service earlier this year.

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When this bearded badass in Norway saw a duck trapped under the ice on the surface of a lake, he didn’t hesitate to leap into the frigid lake, shattering the ice, rescuing the duck and making a new feathered friend in the process!

As crazy as jumping into an icy lake may seem to most of us, that’s exactly what 36-year-old ice bather (and duck rescuer) Lars Jørun Langøien was already there to do anyway. When he spotted the duck, he was already in swimwear, so he simply dove in to rescue it and give it mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Now, some people are calling Langøien Karl, King of Ducks, and the name certainly fits!



Posted in Coronado Clarion Winter Issue 2015 | 1 Comment

The Women Who Are Kicking ISIS Ass

It’s not enough for some Kurdish mothers to send their sons off to war against Islamic State. Their daughters are going, too.

SULIMANIYA, Iraq—Every morning when veteran fighter Lt. Col. Nasreen Hamlawa walks into her office, the first thing she sees is her daughter’s martyr poster. Snapped on the front lines outside Kirkuk just days before she was killed, Rangin Hamlawa, 26, dressed in classic beige peshmerga fatigues and holding a sniper rifle, stares hard into the camera.

“I’m glad my daughter died for a cause,” Hamlawa said calmly, referring to the duty of the peshmergas (described as a “regional guard force” in the Iraqi constitution) to defend Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. “It’s a cause, beliefs that I share,” she said, “and now all I want is to return to the battlefield to continue that work.”

Hamlawa was by her daughter’s side when she was fatally wounded in October. A round of mortar fire launched by the Islamic State landed near their position, riddling Rangin’s body with shrapnel. As Rangin was being prepared to be evacuated to a hospital back in Sulimaniya, Hamlawa’s fellow fighters told her to stay by her daughter’s side and travel with her to the hospital. But, Hamlawa says, she choose to stay on the front lines instead, “I stayed with my other daughters.” Ten days later Rangin died.

Martyr Rangin, as she’s now referred to at the base, was the first female peshmerga fighter to be killed in battle from the 2nd Battalion, since its founding 18 years ago. While the senior officers are veterans of battles against Saddam Hussein’s forces and the Iran-Iraq War, for the majority of the more than 500 women in the unit, the fight against the Islamic State was the first time they’d seen battle.

And while Hamlawa says her daughter’s death has only strengthened the resolve of her fellow fighters, the unit has since been taken off the front lines and called back to their base for further training.

The unit’s commander, Col. Nahida Ahmed Rashid, denies that ordering her troops off the front lines had anything to do with Rangin’s death. She says the women were called back as a matter of common practice for more heavy weapons training. But she admits she’s stir crazy at the base; she wants to return to the fight.

“[Rangin’s death], her loss made our women stronger and more adamant to take their revenge,” she said. “We didn’t want to come back [to our base].”

But, she says, Rangin’s death has also left a “gap” in her unit. “It a big loss,” she says, her eyes sad but dry. “She was one of our bravest fighters.”

Susannah George
Throughout the afternoon, Rashid was inundated with phone calls and knocks on the door. Since Rangin’s death, Rashid says the numbers of women seeking to join the peshmerga has skyrocketed.

“We are getting more and more people asking to join,” she said, so many that she has had to start turning them down because she no longer has the capacity to train new fighters.

Gesturing to a small photograph of Rangin she wears on her lapel, Rashid says she saw a lot of herself in the young officer and was hoping that one day she would take over command of the unit.

“I could see she was a talented leader,” Rashid said of her first impressions of Rangin. “I’m getting older so I was trying to train her to be the one to replace me if I’m not here anymore.” Rashid said she was initially criticized for making the relatively junior Rangin her deputy, but she believed in the young fighter and stood by her decision.

“All these peshmerga are my daughters but this one was special to me, she was close to me,” Rashid said, “I loved her so much, everyone did.”

“When you become a peshmerga, your life becomes like a butterfly,” she said. “You can go at any moment.”
The 2nd Battalion was formally established in 1996 during the Kurdish civil war by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) as they were battling the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP).

In four years of brutal fighting reportedly sparked by a quarrel between a KDP landlord and a group of PUK shop owners, an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people were killed. However, the true death toll is believed to be higher as mass graves dating back to that period are still being discovered in the Kurdish region. The conflict ended in 1998 following intensive U.S. mediation with a treaty that divided power and resources between the two parties.

“The idea was to eliminate the difference between men and women in Kurdistan,” said Rashid, who was then a founding member of the unit. After fighting alongside her brothers for years in the 1980s, she demanded the women fighters be formally recognized.

“We wanted to have what the civilized nations do,” she said, “Have women in the armed forces and at the same time fight for women’s rights.”

The relatively young unit partnered with American troops in 2003 during the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, but rarely saw battle. Most female peshmerga fighters were tasked with staffing checkpoints and guarding bases alongside their male counterparts. But following the fall of Mosul and the Islamic State’s ultimate thwarted advance on Erbil, the unit was called up to fight.

“We were part of the unit protecting gas and oil depots outside of Kirkuk,” Rashid says. Her unit first deployed in late June—“A very hot summer,” she remembers. “We first participated in the fight in Basheer against [ISIS], then later our women deployed to the Jalawla area.”

In both arenas, Rashid describes the work of her troops as critical to the Peshmerga victories achieved around the strategically important city of Kirkuk.

“Of course the women fighters are important [in the fight against the Islamic State],” said Jaber Yawer, the spokesman for the peshmerga forces. Darkly joking, he added, “We were running out of the men.”

Yawer says as a matter of policy, the female peshmerga unit is treated the same as the other male units. “We don’t think that they are weak,” he said. “They play an important role fighting next to the men because they complement one another.”

Susannah George
Like Rashid, Hamlawa, the mother of the slain female fighter, first fought alongside her brothers in the 1970s against Saddam Hussein’s forces before formally joining the peshmerga when the female unit was established. She says her family encouraged her to join and she, in turn, encouraged her own children.

“We’ve been brought up that Kurdistan is the first thing, to liberate our country and protect our country, so that’s our guiding principle,” she explained from behind a desk in her dark office, “I always wanted my children to follow my path.”

Her family, she said, was aware of the risks. “When you become a peshmerga your life becomes like a butterfly,” she said. “You can go at any moment.”

Another of Hamlawa’s children—a son—is on the front lines outside Kirkuk, she says, while her three surviving daughters, all fighters as well, want to return as soon as possible.

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“Children are dear to their mothers, but our land, Kurdistan, is also dear to us.” At this, Hamlawa’s strong eyes water slightly. She dabbed them with a tissue and continued without ceremony. “Without martyrs, you’ll never see a free Kurdistan.”


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LONDON (AP) — A mushroom with hallucinogenic properties has been found growing at Buckingham Palace but no one suspects Queen Elizabeth II of cultivating the magic mushroom.

The Amanita muscaria was found growing wild in the extensive palace gardens during preparations for a television show.

The mushroom’s hallucinogenic properties have long been known and it has commonly been used in rituals.

Palace officials said Friday there are several hundred species of mushrooms growing in the palace gardens, including a number of naturally occurring Amanita muscaria.

The mushroom can be beneficial to trees but can be poisonous to humans.

Officials say mushrooms from the garden are not used in the palace kitchens.

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Scarecrow Town


NAGORO, Japan (AP) — This village deep in the rugged mountains of southern Japan once was home to hundreds of families. Now, only 35 people remain, outnumbered three-to-one by scarecrows that Tsukimi Ayano crafted to help fill the days and replace neighbors who died or moved away.

At 65, Ayano is one of the younger residents of Nagoro. She moved back from Osaka to look after her 85-year-old father after decades away.

“They bring back memories,” Ayano said of the life-sized dolls crowded into corners of her farmhouse home, perched on fences and trees, huddled side-by-side at a produce stall, the bus stop, anywhere a living person might stop to take a rest.

“That old lady used to come and chat and drink tea. That old man used to love to drink sake and tell stories. It reminds me of the old times, when they were still alive and well,” she said.

Even more than its fading status as an export superpower, Japan’s dwindling population may be its biggest challenge. More than 10,000 towns and villages in Japan are depopulated, the homes and infrastructure crumbling as the countryside empties thanks to the falling birthrate and rapid aging.

First the jobs go. Then the schools. Eventually, the electricity meters stop.

Neither Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party nor any of its rivals have figured out how to “revive localities,” an issue that has perplexed Japanese leaders for decades.

But local communities are trying various strategies for attracting younger residents, slowing if not reversing their decline. In Kamiyama, a farming community closer to the regional capital, community organizers have mapped out plans for attracting artists and high-tech companies.

Nagoro is more typical of the thousands of communities that are turning into ghost towns or at best, open-air museums, frozen in time.

The one-street town is mostly abandoned, its shops and homes permanently shuttered.

The closure of the local elementary school two years ago was the last straw. Ayano unlocks the door and guides visitors through spotless classrooms populated with scarecrow students and teachers.

When she returned to her hometown 13 years ago, Ayano tried farming. Thinking her radish seeds may have been eaten by crows, she decided to make some scarecrows. Now there are more 100 scattered around Nagoro and nearby towns.

Like handcarved Buddhist sculptures, each has its own whimsical expression. Some sleep, their eyelids permanently shut. Others cuddle toddler scarecrows or man plows and hoes.

Ayano brings one along for company on her 90-minute drive to buy groceries in the nearest big town. But most remain behind, to be photographed and marveled at by tourists who detour through the winding mountain roads.

“If I hadn’t made these scarecrows, people would just drive right by,” said Ayano.

The plight of Japan’s countryside is partly a consequence of the country’s economic success. As Japan grew increasingly affluent after World War II, younger Japanese flooded into the cities to fill jobs in factories and service industries, leaving their elders to tend small farms.

Greater Tokyo, with more than 37 million people and Osaka-Kobe, with 11.5 million, account for nearly 40 percent of the country’s 127 million people.

“There’s been this huge sucking sound as the countryside is emptied out,” said Joel Cohen, a professor at Columbia University’s Laboratory of Populations.

Japan’s population began to decline in 2010 from a peak of 128 million. Without a drastic increase in the birthrate or a loosening of the staunch Japanese resistance to immigration, it is forecast to fall to 108 million by 2050 and to 87 million by 2060. By then, four in 10 Japanese will be over 65 years old.

The population of Miyoshi, which is the town closest to Nagoro, fell from 45,340 in 1985 to about 27,000 last year. A quarter of its population is over 75 years old. To entice residents to have more children, the town began offering free nursery care for third children, free diapers and formula to age 2 and free health care through junior high school.

“The way to stop this is to get people to have more babies,” said mayor Seiichi Kurokawa. “Apart from that, we need for people to return here or move here.”

But it’s not an easy sell, despite the fresh air and abundant space.

“You can’t just grab people by the necks like kittens and drag them here,” Kurokawa said.

Getting residents of half-empty towns to accept newcomers can also be a challenge.

In Kamiyama, to the east, the town still struggles to convince owners who are often relatives living in distant cities to open up abandoned homes for rent or renovation, said Shinya Ominami, chairman of a civic group that has led efforts to revive the town.

In a briefing for potential investors and visiting officials, Ominami shows a slide of the town’s shopping street, dotted with houses that are empty, and then another with some of the buildings filled with new businesses — a bistro, a design studio, an IT incubation hub.

“Once we accept this is the reality, we can figure out how to cope with it,” Ominami said.

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Chinese Romans


In a remote corner of China, one village tells a strange lineage tale. The story (and some DNA evidence) goes, the locals are the descendants of a band of Roman soldiers from 36 B.C.
In a tiny, remote Chinese village, an ancient Roman bloodline may live on. The town of Liqian sits on the edge of the Gobi desert, 200 miles from any metropolis, and 4,500 miles from Rome. But for half a century, scientists and archaeologists have been trying to prove that the ruddy-skinned, light-eyed, and fair-haired residents of Liqian are lost relatives of a missing Roman battalion of mercenaries that fought against the Chinese long before Marco Polo started east.

The theory was first floated in the 1950s by Professor Homer Dubs of Oxford University. In a lecture to the China Society in London, he theorized that Liqian was connected to an ancient battle between the Huns and the Chinese that was fought, in part, by Roman mercenary soldiers in 36 B.C.

According to lore, 145 of these original soldiers of fortune either fled battle or were captured and settled in the area. Lending proof to this theory was a set of Chinese documents which show, 2,000 years ago, the city was renamed to mean “prisoners taken in storming a city.” Another legend claims the villagers descended from a 6,000-person army led by famed Roman General Marcus Crassus’s son that disappeared without a trace.

Dubs embarked on his investigation after discovering the name “Liqian” translated to the ancient Chinese word for Rome. His theory had little physical evidence until 1989, when archaeologists discovered ruins outside the town that prove a settlement existed at the time they suspected. Despite interest from international teams, further outside research was halted at the time due to political tensions in China following the Tiananmen Square massacres.

Years later, in 2005, scientists took advantage of a more open government to draw blood samples from 93 residents of Liqian. Testing yielded shocking results as to their genetic makeup: some villagers were found to have DNA that contained 56 percent Caucasian origins.

DNA proof isn’t enough for academics to link the townsfolk directly to a lost Roman army. Scholars argue that the Huns included Caucasians, Asians, and Mongols in their ranks, since the area was an international trading route.

“If there weren’t Romans before in Liqian, there certainly are now.”
“The county is on the Silk Road, so there were many chances for trans-national marriages,” said Yang Gongle, a professor at Beijing Normal University, to China Daily. “The ‘foreign’ origin of the Yongchang villagers, as proven by the DNA tests, does not necessarily mean they are of ancient Roman origin.”

Two years later, further tests were done, but this time to a disappointing conclusion.  Roman mercenary origin could not be accepted as true according to paternal genetic variation,” the study’s authors wrote in the Journal of Human Genetics.

That hasn’t dissuaded scholars and scientists from what has become a heated debate. Soon after these results, China and Italy joined forces to open the Italian Studies Center at Lanzhou University with the intention of tracking lost Roman descendants in the region, where the 4,000-mile Silk Road once linked Asia and Europe.

“We hope to prove the legend by digging and discovering more evidence of China’s early contact with the Roman Empire,” Yuan Honggeng, head of the center, told China Daily.

One green-eyed man, nicknamed “Cai the Roman,” became an instant celebrity due to his decidedly Roman physical characteristics. He told the Telegraph that had been informed by his great-grandfather that there remained Roman tombs more than two days’ walk away. But so far, the lack of proven Roman artifacts or ruins in the town has raised suspicions.

“For it to be indisputable, one would need to find items such as Roman money or weapons that were typical of Roman legionaries,” anthropologist Maurizio Bettini, of Siena University, told La Repubblica. “Without proof of this kind, the story of the lost legions is just a legend.”

But the legends are enough proof for the town of Liqian. Before the DNA testing even began, the villagers seized on the story of their possible roots and turned it into a tourism industry. A Roman-esque pillar was erected at the town’s entrance and some entrepreneurial townsfolk don armor and replica battle wear to entertain the visitors that have begun to trickle into the remote province. These tourists, many of whom are Italian, can even stay in a Roman-style hotel. If there weren’t Romans before in Liqian, there certainly are now.

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(From: An American Prayer)


Shake dreams from your hair
my pretty child, my sweet one.
Choose the day and choose the sign of your day
the day’s divinity
First thing you see.

A vast radiant beach and cooled jeweled moon
Couples naked race down by its quiet side
And we laugh like soft, mad children
Smug in the wooly cotton brains of infancy
The music and voices are all around us.

Choose they croon the Ancient Ones
the time has come again
choose now, they croon
beneath the moon
beside an ancient lake

Enter again the sweet forest
Enter the hot dream
Come with us
everything is broken up and dances.

Indians scattered,
On dawn’s highway bleeding
Ghosts crowd the young child’s
Fragile eggshell mind

We have assembled inside,
This ancient and insane theater
To propagate our lust for life,
And flee the swarming wisdom of the streets.

The barns have stormed
The windows kept,
And only one of all the rest
To dance and save us
From the divine mockery of words,
Music inflames temperament.

Ooh great creator of being
Grant us one more hour,
To perform our art
And perfect our lives.

We need great golden copulations,

When the true kings murderers
Are allowed to roam free,
A thousand magicians arise in the land
Where are the feast we are promised?

One more thing

Thank you oh lord
For the white blind light
Thank you oh lord
For the white blind light

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10612756_733365360070543_5919736194017034737_nThere are two kinds of people in this world: those who think the Doors are a hokey caricature of male rock stardom and those who think they’re, you know, shamans.

The Doors, who took their name from a line in William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite”), combined jazz chord changes and Latin rhythms with flamenco, surf, raga, blues, and psychedelia, all in one ’60s rock band, often in one song: “Light My Fire,” “The End,” “Roadhouse Blues,” and “People Are Strange,” just to name a few. The power of the Doors’ music is that it is so unabashedly arty that it begs to be made fun of, especially by older people or those who went through Doors periods themselves and are now into Steely Dan or Animal Collective or some other less embarrassing musical endeavor.

And why embarrassing? Because the Doors reflect a conflict many of us have with artists we think we have outgrown. For those with a youthful bent, sustained naïveté, or a poetical inclination, the combination of the Doors’ music and Jim Morrison’s lyrics can be transformative. In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s memoir depicting her early days in New York and friendship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe, the singer neatly encapsulates how she, and many others, “felt both kinship and contempt for [Morrison]” while watching him perform for the first time. “I observed his every move in a state of cold hyperawareness. I remember this feeling much more clearly than the concert. I felt, watching Jim Morrison, that I could do that.”

But for those same people a few years on, the Morrison mythology of a rock-singer-slash-poet whose lyrics reflect influences from the Romantics, French Symbolists, and Beats feels, at best, silly, and so he becomes one of the better punch lines to any number of poetry jokes.

But the Lizard King is not dead.

Although it may not shock that Doors music is still popular, what might surprise is that Jim Morrison’s poetry still has an audience. As I write this, the remastered CD of An American Prayer, a Jim Morrison spoken-word album posthumously released in 1978, sits at number one on Amazon’s “Music > Miscellaneous > Poetry, Spoken Word & Interviews” chart, ahead of Jim Carroll and Alcoholics Anonymous and neck-and-neck with Tom Waits. Morrison’s collections of poetry continue to sell, too. Two of his three poetry titles reside semipermanently on Amazon’s poetry best-seller list—Wilderness: The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison, Volume 1 (#26) and The Lords and the New Creatures (#40)—sitting alongside Allen Ginsberg, Mary Oliver, and Tupac Shakur, and ahead of Eliot, Frost, Poe, and Bishop.

This is irritating to serious poetry people. But maybe there is something to Morrison’s poetry beyond the laughs. Maybe it’s time we considered him to be something more. Maybe it’s time we accepted him as a bona fide American poet.

Just how seriously Jim Morrison can be taken as a poet depends on whom you ask, but there’s no question that he regarded himself as the real deal. Starting with No One Here Gets Out Alive and each subsequent biography, Morrison is portrayed as carrying Arthur Rimbaud’s poetry books in his pocket or quoting from Nietzsche, all by way of suggesting the singer should be taken seriously as a poet, without many other reasons why. Like many real poets, Morrison self-published his work. The Lords: Notes on Vision appeared as single vellum pages with “© James Douglas Morrison 1969 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED” on the bottom of each page, housed inside a blue portfolio folder. He made 100 copies and gave them out to friends. Then came The New Creatures, a slim hardcover edition of 100 copies, privately printed in 1969. An Ode to LA while Thinking of Brian Jones, Deceased, a broadside or pamphlet, was handed out at concerts after the death of the Rolling Stones guitarist, and An American Prayer was printed in an edition of 500 in 1970.

In 1970, Simon & Schuster published The Lords and The New Creatures, which combined his first two books. Other than San Francisco poet and Morrison friend Michael McClure, who urged him to self-publish his work and pursue his writing, no one from the serious poetry world seemed to pay much attention. Despite this, the book is currently in its 50th printing. But clearly sales alone can’t transform one into a serious poet. That takes academia.

Morrison writes in Wilderness’s prologue. “It just ticks off possibilities.” When I first set out to write this essay, I hoped it would be a brilliant exegesis of Jim Morrison, Real Poet. In the back of my mind, I envisioned a couple of his poems featured as a sidebar, maybe a sequence of prose-poem aphorisms from The Lords to drive home how relevant and “now” he could be. But I have stopped worrying whether James Douglas Morrison—The Last Holy Fool, Sex God, Black Priest of the Great Society—can join the tenuous tribe of poets. He’s been showing up for the meetings for so long now, there’s no sense in throwing him out.

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Jack Kerouac
LOS ANGELES (AP) — It’s been called the letter that launched a literary genre — 16,000 amphetamine-fueled, stream-of-consciousness words written by Neal Cassady to his friend Jack Kerouac in 1950.

Upon reading them, Kerouac scrapped an early draft of “On The Road” and, during a three-week writing binge, revised his novel into a style similar to Cassady’s, one that would become known as Beat literature.

The letter, Kerouac said shortly before his death, would have transformed his counterculture muse Cassady into a towering literary figure, if only it hadn’t been lost.

Turns out it wasn’t, says Joe Maddalena, whose Southern California auction house Profiles in History is putting the letter up for sale Dec. 17. It was just misplaced, for 60-some years.

It’s being offered as part of a collection that includes papers by E.E. Cummings, Kenneth Rexroth, Robert Penn Warren and other prominent literary figures. But Maddalena believes the item bidders will want most is Cassady’s 18-page, single-spaced screed describing a drunken, sexually charged, sometimes comical visit to his hometown of Denver.

“It’s the seminal piece of literature of the Beat Generation, and there are so many rumors and speculation of what happened to it,” Maddalena said.

Kerouac told The Paris Review in 1968 that poet Allen Ginsberg loaned the letter to a friend who lived on a houseboat in Northern California. Kerouac believed the friend then dropped it overboard.

“It was my property, a letter to me, so Allen shouldn’t have been so careless with it, nor the guy on the houseboat,” he said.

As for the quality of the letter, Kerouac described it this way: “It was the greatest piece of writing I ever saw, better’n anybody in America, or at least enough to make Melville, Twain, Dreiser, Wolfe, I dunno who, spin in their graves.”

It turns out Ginsberg apparently was trying to get it published when he mailed the letter to Golden Goose Press in San Francisco. There it remained, unopened, until the small publishing house folded.

When it did, its owner planned to throw the letter in the trash, along with every other unopened submission he still had in his files.

That was when the operator of a small, independent music label who shared an office with publisher Richard Emerson came to the rescue. He took every manuscript, letter and receipt in the Golden Goose Archives home with him.

“My father didn’t know who Allen Ginsberg was, he didn’t know Cassady, he wasn’t part of the Beat scene, but he loved poetry,” said Los Angeles performance artist Jean Spinosa, who found the letter as she was cleaning out her late father’s house two years ago. “He didn’t understand how anyone would want to throw someone’s words out.”

Although she knew who Kerouac and Cassady were, Spinosa had never heard of “The Joan Anderson Letter,” the name Kerouac gave it for Cassady’s description of a woman he’d had a brief romance with.

“It’s invaluable,” historian and Kerouac biographer Dennis McNally said. “It inspired Kerouac greatly in the direction he wanted to travel, which was this spontaneous style of writing contained in a letter that had just boiled out of Neal Cassady’s brain.”

It was a style he’d put to use in the novels “On The Road” and “Visions of Cody,” which featured Cassady, thinly disguised under the names Dean Moriarty and Cody Pomeroy, as their protagonists. He’d continue to use it in such books as “The Subterraneans,” ”The Dharma Bums” and “Lonesome Traveler,” cementing his reputation as the father of the Beat Generation.

Cassady would gain some small measure of fame as Kerouac’s muse and, later, as the sidekick who drove novelist Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters bus across the country.

Meanwhile, about a third of “The Joan Anderson Letter,” copied by someone before it disappeared, became well-known to students of Kerouac.

When Spinosa discovered she had the whole thing, she took it to Maddalena, a prominent dealer in historical documents and pop-culture artifacts, to authenticate it.

He’s reluctant to estimate what it might sell for. Although the original manuscript of “On The Road” fetched $2.4 million in 2001, everyone knew that existed. It’s much harder to estimate the value, he said, of something no one knew was still around.

For her part, Spinosa says, she’s just happy her father rescued the letter from the trash. She’s hoping whoever buys it will give the public a chance to see it.

“The letter is so good, and you see why these guys loved him,” she says of Cassady’s fellow Beats. “The writing, it just breathes off the page.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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It’s the cry that struck fear into our ancestors’ hearts for 300 years… “the Vikings are coming!”. They were huge, bearded barbarians in animal fur tunics and horned helmets who raped and pillaged their way across four continents and “went berserk” on battlefields. Or were they?

That’s certainly the stereotypical image of the Norse warriors handed down through ancient sagas, history books and, more recently, films and TV series.

But it looks like the Vikings had a bit of a bad press – well, three centuries of it – thanks to the understandably-miffed monks whose monasteries they looted.

Now, a stunning new exhibition at the British Museum is redrawing the cartoon caricature of these Scandinavian savages to reveal them in a fascinating new light.

They were a contradictory bunch – shameless raiders yet shrewd traders; pagans yet culture vultures; smelly soap-dodgers who hated messy hair; and testosterone-fuelled warriors who believed girl-power won their battles.

And the look? Well, forget Conan the Barbarian, think Johnny Rotten crossed with Captain Jack Sparrow but with Jay-Z’s jewellery and MC Hammer’s trousers.

DisneyGuy liner: The Vikins probably looked more like Captain Jack Sparrow than their traditional image
We should also banish the idea of bearskins, matted whiskers and shell necklaces. It seems they were more into silk cloaks, groomed beards and bling.

“The traditional image of the Vikings was invented by 19th century Romantics,” explains Gareth Williams, curator of the exhibition, Vikings: life and legend.

“They’ve been portrayed as big, muscular savages with very silly helmets. Well, how else would a Romantic depict a Viking?

“But they were a hugely complex society who picked up cultural influences from all the countries they visited.

“And they were very much into their bling – sheer ostentatious showing-off.”

He adds: “They displayed their wealth and status by wearing ridiculously-impractical clothing, jewellery and weapons, and eating in style. I defy anyone to look at the beautifully crafted artefacts in the exhibition and tell me these were barbarians.

“That reputation comes from the fact they raided monasteries and churches.

“The monks wrote accounts of this and, from their point of view, it was a complete outrage that these pagans attacked religious institutions.

“Yet it was perfectly acceptable for a Christian ruler at the time to kill 7,000 Slavs in a day because they didn’t want to be converted.”

Paul RafterySainsbury Exhibitions Gallery, British Museum Extension, LondonVessel: The Roskilde 6
The Vikings were the original social rebels – the punks or Hells Angels of the years 800-1050. But before anyone goes soft on them, Gareth adds:

“They weren’t fluffy bunnies. They were pirates and raiders, that’s what ‘viking’ means. They were slave traders and brutal warriors.”

They also practised human sacrifice and took hallucinogenic drugs. And they were not averse to bumping off a dead mate’s wife and chucking her in his coffin… after drugging her so they could all have sex with her.

“But,” says Gareth, “they were also peaceful and successful traders who brought ideas on economic systems, religious thought, literacy and art from the countries they reached.”
Thanks to their powerful longships, the Viking stomping ground stretched from Constantinople and Russia in the east, across to Greenland and North America, and covered the British Isles, France, Spain and the Mediterranean.

They traded amber, whale bone, furs, weapons, wine and jewellery. But whether raiding or trading, the Vikings had to look dapper. Gareth says: “They wore big metal bracelets of set weights – decorative and ostentatious but practical because everyone knew their value.

“It was like a wearing a gold Rolex watch with the price tag still attached.”

One exhibit is a huge necklace, 10ins in diameter and weighing 4lbs. It’s made of woven gold strands that could be unwound, hacked off and traded. “Eat your heart out Jay-Z,” jokes Gareth.

“It’s stupidly impractical to wear, but think of the posing value. They also wore massive cloak brooches with foot-long spikes sticking up which could have had someone’s eye out.”

The Trustees of the British MuseumNeck-ring, 10th century. Kalmergrden, Tiss, Zealand, Denmark. GoldBling: A 10th century gold neck band
The Vikings may not have smelled good, a contemporary chronicler called them “the filthiest of God’s creatures, never washing themselves”, but hair was another matter.

“They took their grooming very seriously and combs are one of the commonest grave finds,” Gareth explains.

Their solid-gold toiletry sets included delicate ear spoons for scooping out wax. The men also used a kohl-like eyeliner – “think Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean,” says Gareth.

Viking men were also heavily tattooed but their most striking and fearsome fashion statement was their gnashers.

They would file horizontal lines into the enamel on their front teeth and paint in red resin. Gareth says: “That’s like your punk sticking a safety pin through his nose. It would have been very uncomfortable and it’s quite deliberately saying ‘If I’m prepared to do this to myself, what am I going to do to you?’.”

The Vikings filed decorative grooves into their teeth to scare their enemies
Another myth about Vikings is that of the “berserkir” or berserker warriors, from which we get the expression “going berserk”. Legend has it they went into battle naked and gnawing their shields – as depicted by some of the 12th century Lewis Chessmen pieces at the museum – and believing they had transformed into bears.

They were said to have worked themselves up into a feel-no-pain frenzy with the help of henbane, a hallucinogenic plant.

But while shape-shifting was a Viking belief, Gareth thinks they were just high on adrenaline, carrying bear claw charms and showing bear-like ferocity – rather than actually being bare.

Weapons and armour were huge status symbols. Vikings gave their ornate swords names like Legbiter but when a warrior died in battle his sword was ritually killed too – bent double, and interred with him. Swords have also been found in the graves of women of the Viking era. It led to speculation they were warriors too.

The Vikings believed in Valkyries – terrifying female spirits of war – however, Gareth is not convinced there were female soldiers. He thinks the weapons may have been heirlooms buried with the last in a family line.

But Viking women were quite independent. They could own their own property and controlled the purse-strings in the marital home.

The Trustees of the British MuseumThe Lewis Chessmen, berserkersBite me: The Lewis Chessmen despicted Berserkers
They also had their own bling, including brooches, possibly worn provocatively over their breasts. But their burial goods still suggest a typical domestic life… cooking utensils, and even ironing boards. Not for all women though. Experts have re-examined what were thought to be roasting spits or pokers found in women’s graves.

They’re now thought to be magic wands carried by sorceresses who could use their powers to unleash fearsome spirits to help warriors in battle – and in the bedroom, with spells to boost their potency.

But the Vikings’ real power lay in the longships which enabled them to conquer on such a huge scale.

The centrepiece of the exhibition at the museum in Central London is the amazing Roskilde 6, the largest longship ever found.

At 40 yards long, it was big enough for 40 oarsmen and could carry 100 men.

Experts believe it was built for Danish King Cnut the Great who conquered England in 1016. “Status wise it’s like the Royal Yacht Britannia,” says Gareth.

It was decorated in gold and silver, with gleaming weaponry on show. It was like a gangsta rapper’s yacht. Bling on the Vikings!

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The long-in-the-works Janis Joplin biopic, Get It While You Can, will begin shooting in the second half of 2015 in Los Angeles and San Francisco with Amy Adams starring as the singer. Dallas Buyers Club director Jean-Marc Vallée is in negotiations to helm the picture, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Ron Terry, who previously executive produced a TV movie about Jimi Hendrix in 2000, and Teresa Kounin Terry wrote the script; Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, who co-wrote Dallas Buyers Club together, are in negotiations to rewrite it.

Get It While You Can is one of many Joplin biopics that have been in various stages of production over the past decade. For close to 15 years, producer Peter Newman has been attempting to make a film simply titled Joplin, with a screenplay by former Rolling Stone contributor David Dalton, and, in 2012, he’d cast Tony Award–winning actress Nina Arianda in the lead role. Previously, Zooey Deschanel, Pink and Lili Taylor have all been attached to play Joplin in the latter biopic.

That film, which IMDb still lists as being in development, centers on a Rolling Stone reporter writing a cover story on the singer and following her on tour. Director Sean Durkin, who made Martha Marcy May Marlene, in 2011, is attached to helm the film.

Also, in 2003, Renée Zellweger was attached to play Joplin in another biopic that has since been abandoned.

Adams is the star of the upcoming Tim Burton film, Big Eyes, in which she plays painter Margaret Keane, whose work was at the center of an art-world scandal involving her husband, Walter. She will appear on Saturday Night Live to promote the movie on December 20th.

Vallee recently finished making a movie titled Demolition, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper. His latest movie, Wild, stars Reese Witherspoon and will come out on December 5th.


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Forgotten Brain Region


A major pathway of the human brain involved in visual perception, attention and movement — and overlooked by many researchers for more than a century — is finally getting its moment in the sun.

In 2012, researchers made note of a pathway in a region of the brain associated with reading, but “we couldn’t find it in any atlas,” said Jason Yeatman, a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences. “We’d thought we had discovered a new pathway that no one else had noticed before.”

A quick investigation showed that the pathway, known as the vertical occipital fasciculus (VOF), was not actually unknown. Famed neuroscientist Carl Wernicke discovered the pathway in 1881, during the dissection of a monkey brain that was most likely a macaque. [10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Brain]
But besides Wernicke’s discovery, and a few other mentions throughout the years, the VOF is largely absent from studies of the human brain. This made Yeatman and his colleagues wonder, “How did a whole piece of brain anatomy get forgotten?” he said.

The researchers immersed themselves in century-old brain atlases and studies, trying to decipher when and why the VOF went missing from mainstream scientific literature. They also scanned the brains of 37 individuals, and found an algorithm that can help present-day researchers pinpoint the elusive pathway.

The study provides a comprehensive look at the VOF’s history, said Dr. Jeremy Schmahmann, a professor of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the new research. Schmahmann co-wrote the book “Fiber Pathways of the Brain” (Oxford University Press, 2006), which describes how the VOF is structured in the brain of a monkey and a human.

The new study confirms the VOF’s location in the human brain “and then presents a coherent discussion about how it could be relevant,” said Schmahmann, who is also a director of the Laboratory for Neuroanatomy and Cerebellar Neurobiology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Teacher-student dispute?

The VOF may have been the victim of a disagreement between Wernicke and his famous teacher, Theodor Meynert, a German-Austrian neuroanatomist. Meynert directed the psychiatric clinic at the University of Vienna, and also taught Sigmund Freud and the famed Russian neuropsychiatrist Sergei Korsakoff.

Wernicke is known for his 1874 discovery of Wernicke’s area, a region of the brain essential for understanding written and spoken language. After his breakthrough, Wernicke studied in Meynert’s lab for about six months in the late 1870s and early 1880s.

Brain diagram with a missing pathwayPin It Neuroanatomist Theodor Meynert left out the vertical occipital fasciculus in the last article he published before his death in 1892.
Credit: Jason Yeatman and Kevin Weiner, with permission from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.View full size image
But although Wernicke also discovered the VOF, Meynert did not include it in any of his studies. It’s possible that Meynert ignored the pathway because it broke one of his tenets about brain organization, Yeatman told Live Science.

“Meynert had proposed the original theory of the organization of these pathways,” Yeatman said. “He proposed that, as a rule, they all go anterior-posterior, or basically from front to back, longitudinally across the brain.”

The VOF, in contrast, goes up and down. “Wernicke’s discovery contradicted this majorly accepted principle of brain organization,” Yeatman said.

Other neuroanatomists found the VOF in the human brain, but the pathway sits largely unlabeled in brain atlases throughout history, Yeatman said. [3D Images: Exploring the Human Brain]

Yet maybe Meynert didn’t mean any harm, Schmahmann said. Meynert did not focus on fiber pathways in the occipital lobe, including, but not limited to the VOF. “Meynert’s apparent non-discussion of these fiber systems may simply have reflected his interest and focus,” Schmahmann said.

Moreover, the VOF’s also went by many names, which may have pushed it into further obscurity. Atlases give it different labels, including “Wernicke’s perpendicular fasciculus,” “perpendicular occipital fasciculus of Wernicke” and “stratum profundum convexitatis.”

Varying dissection techniques in the late 1800s and early 1900s also made the VOF hard to pinpoint.

“You’re slicing with a knife and trying to look for structure. It’s very easy to miss something if you slice it a different way,” Yeatman said.

Pathway reintroduction

To remedy the confusion, Yeatman and his colleagues wrote an algorithm to help researchers find and identify the VOF. They used an MRI technique called diffusion-weighted imaging, which measures the size and direction of the brain’s different pathways.

Four brain drawingsPin It Brain illustrations that show the vertical occipital fasciculus, except for Ludwig Edinger’s 1885 drawing, which like many other atlases left the region unlabeled throughout history.
Credit: Jason Yeatman and Kevin Weiner, with permission from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.View full size image
After imaging the brains of 37 people, the researchers found that the VOF starts in the occipital lobe, a part of the brain that processes visual information. It then spreads out like a sheet, connecting different brain regions: those that help people perceive visual categories, such as words and faces, and those involved with eye movements, attention and motion perception, the researchers said. The pathway could therefore help explain how the brain connects the two types of visual perception, Schmahmann said.

“There has to be some way for that dichotomy to merge,” he said, “and the Wernicke fascicle is one way for the ‘where’ and the ‘what’ streams in the visual modality to become a unified whole.”

Interestingly, two case studies from the 1970s found that people with damage to the VOF lost their ability to read because they could no longer recognize words. Moreover, the VOF has different myelination, a coating on nerve cells that helps information move faster.

“We don’t know what it means yet, but [the myelination differences are] very consistent across every subject,” Yeatman said. “It opens up some new hypotheses, new directions to study: Why is this structure so different than the other neighboring pathways?”

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Egyptian Spells


Researchers have deciphered an ancient Egyptian handbook, revealing a series of invocations and spells.

Among other things, the “Handbook of Ritual Power,” as researchers call the book, tells readers how to cast love spells, exorcise evil spirits and treat “black jaundice,” a bacterial infection that is still around today and can be fatal.

The book is about 1,300 years old, and is written in Coptic, an Egyptian language. It is made of bound pages of parchment — a type of book that researchers call a codex.
“It is a complete 20-page parchment codex, containing the handbook of a ritual practitioner,” write Malcolm Choat and Iain Gardner, who are professors in Australia at Macquarie University and the University of Sydney, respectively, in their book, “A Coptic Handbook of Ritual Power” (Brepols, 2014).

The ancient book “starts with a lengthy series of invocations that culminate with drawings and words of power,” they write. “These are followed by a number of prescriptions or spells to cure possession by spirits and various ailments, or to bring success in love and business.”

For instance, to subjugate someone, the codex says you have to say a magical formula over two nails, and then “drive them into his doorpost, one on the right side (and) one on the left.”

The Sethians

Researchers believe that the codex may date to the 7th or 8th century. During this time, many Egyptians were Christian and the codex contains a number of invocations referencing Jesus.

However, some of the invocations seem more associated with a group that is sometimes called “Sethians.” This group flourished in Egypt during the early centuries of Christianity and held Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve, in high regard. One invocation in the newly deciphered codex calls “Seth, Seth, the living Christ.” [The Holy Land: 7 Amazing Archaeological Finds]

The opening of the codex refers to a divine figure named “Baktiotha” whose identity is a mystery, researchers say. The lines read, “I give thanks to you and I call upon you, the Baktiotha: The great one, who is very trustworthy; the one who is lord over the forty and the nine kinds of serpents,” according to the translation.

“The Baktiotha is an ambivalent figure. He is a great power and a ruler of forces in the material realm,” Choat and Gardner said at a conference, before their book on the codex was published.

Historical records indicate that church leaders regarded the Sethians as heretics and by the 7th century, the Sethians were either extinct or dying out.

This codex, with its mix of Sethian and Orthodox Christian invocations, may in fact be a transitional document, written before all Sethian invocations were purged from magical texts, the researchers said. They noted that there are other texts that are similar to the newly deciphered codex, but which contain more Orthodox Christian and fewer Sethian features.

The researchers believe that the invocations were originally separate from 27 of the spells in the codex, but later, the invocations and these spells were combined, to form a “single instrument of ritual power,” Choat told Live Science in an email.

Who would have used it?

The identity of the person who used this codex is a mystery. The user of the codex would not necessarily have been a priest or monk.

“It is my sense that there were ritual practitioners outside the ranks of the clergy and monks, but exactly who they were is shielded from us by the fact that people didn’t really want to be labeled as a “magician,'” Choat said.

Some of the language used in the codex suggests that it was written with a male user in mind, however, that “wouldn’t have stopped a female ritual practitioner from using the text, of course,” he said.


The origin of the codex is also a mystery. Macquarie University acquired it in late 1981 from Michael Fackelmann, an antiquities dealer based in Vienna. In “the 70s and early 80s, Macquarie University (like many collections around the world) purchased papyri from Michael Fackelmann,” Choat said in the email.

But where Fackelmann got the codex from is unknown. The style of writing suggests that the codex originally came from Upper Egypt.

“The dialect suggests an origin in Upper Egypt, perhaps in the vicinity of Ashmunein/Hermopolis,” which was an ancient city, Choat and Gardner write in their book.

The codex is now housed in the Museum of Ancient Cultures at Macquarie University in Sydney.

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We love our dogs.

In the 30,000 years humans and dogs have lived together, man’s best friend has only become a more popular and beloved pet. Today dogs are a fixture in almost 50% of American households.

From the way dogs thump their tails, invade our laps and steal our pillows, it certainly seems like they love us back. But since dogs can’t tell us what’s going on inside their furry heads, can we ever be sure?

Actually, yes. Thanks to recent developments in brain imaging technology, we’re starting to get a better picture of the happenings inside the canine cranium.

That’s right — scientists are actually studying the brains of dogs. And what the studies show is welcome news for all dog owners: Not only do dogs seem to love us back, they actually see us as their family. It turns out that dogs rely on humans more than they do their own kind for affection, protection and everything in between.

Dogs gathered around MRI scanner MR Research Center in Budapest. Image Credit: Borbala Ferenczy

The most direct brain-based evidence that dogs are hopelessly devoted to humans comes from a recent neuroimaging study about odor processing in the dog brain. Animal cognition scientists at Emory University trained dogs to lie very still in an MRI machine and used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to measure their neural responses to the smell of people and dogs, both familiar and unknown. Because dogs navigate the world through their noses, the way they process smell offers a lot of potential insight into social behavior.

Only the lingering aroma of dogs’ owners sparked activation in the “reward center” of their brains, called the caudate nucleus. The findings suggest that, of all the wafting smells to take in, dogs prioritize the hint of their beloved human family over anything or anyone else.

The results from the scent study jive with other canine neuroimaging research. Over in Budapest, researchers at Eotvos Lorand University studied canine brain activity in response to different human and dog sounds, including voices, barks and the meaningful grunts and sighs both species emit. Before this study, we had no idea what happens inside canine brains when humans make noise.

Among other surprising findings, the study revealed marked similarities in the way dog and human brains process emotionally laden vocal sounds. Researchers found that happy sounds in particular light up the auditory cortex in both species. This commonality speaks to the uniquely strong communication system underlying the interspecies bond.

In short: Dogs don’t just seem to pick up on our subtle mood changes — they are actually physically wired to pick up on them.

“It’s very interesting to understand the tool kit that helps such successful vocal communication between two species,” Attila Andics, a neuroscientist and lead author of the study, told Mic. “We didn’t need neuroimaging to see that communication works [between dogs and people], but without it, we didn’t understand why it works. Now we’re really starting to.”

Dog waiting to be scanned at MR Research Center in Budapest. Image Credit: Borbala Ferenczy.

Behavior research supports the recent neuroscience too. According to Andics, dogs interact with their human caregivers in the same way babies do their parents. When dogs are scared or worried, they run to their owners, just as distressed toddlers make a beeline for their parents. This is in stark contrast to other domesticated animals: Petrified cats, as well as horses, will run away.

Dogs are also the only non-primate animal to look people in the eyes. This is something Andics, along with other researchers, discovered about a decade ago when he studied the domestication of wolves, which he thought would share that trait. They endeavored to raise wolves like dogs. This is a unique behavior between dogs and humans — dogs seek out eye contact from people, but not their biological dog parents.

“Bonding with owners is much more important for dogs than other pets,” said Andics.

Image Credit: Getty

Scientists have also looked at the dog-human relationship from the other direction. As it turns out, people reciprocate dogs’ strong feelings. In a study published in PLOS One in October, Massachusetts General Hospital researchers measured human brain activity in response to photos of dogs and children. Study participants were women who’d had dogs and babies for at least two years. Both types of photos sparked activity in brain regions associated with emotion, reward, affiliation, visual processing and social interaction. Basically, both furry and (typically) less-furry family members make us equally happy.

Dog-lovers have committed a few notable gaffes in interpreting dogs’ facial expressions, e.g., assuming the often-documented hangdog look signifies guilt, an emotion that, most behavior experts agree, requires a multifaceted notion of self-awareness that dogs probably don’t have.

But, as with family, our instinctive hunches about dog behavior are often correct.

“Sometimes our intuition about what’s going on inside dogs’ heads is dead-on,” said Laurie Santos, the lead researcher at Yale’s Canine Cognition Center. “Like, that dogs are seeking out help from us — and that’s true based on studies — which is different from even their closest relatives, wolves.”

The precise wish or worry lurking in a dog’s doleful look may not always be clear. But we can relish the fact that we know our pets love us as much as we hoped, maybe even more. Even if they’re not full-fledged children, they see us as family. And to us? Well, they’ll always be our babies.

Dog Fashion Show Held Ahead Of Next Week's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

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Chopin Exhumed



WARSAW, Poland (AP) —

As Frederic Chopin gasped for air on his deathbed in Paris in 1849, he whispered a request that became the stuff of musical legend: Remove my heart after I die and entomb it in Poland. He wanted the symbol of his soul to rest in the native land he pined for from self-imposed exile in France.

Ever since, the composer’s body has rested in peace at the famed Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris — while his heart has endured a wild journey of intrigue and adulation.

First it was sealed in a jar of liquor believed to be cognac. Then it was smuggled into Warsaw past Russian border guards. Once in his hometown, Chopin’s heart passed through the hands of several relatives before being enshrined within a pillar in Holy Cross Church. During World War II, it briefly fell into the clutches of the Nazis. The organ has been exhumed several times, most recently in a secret operation to check whether the tissue remains well preserved.

Chopin’s heart inspires a deep fascination in Poland normally reserved for the relics of saints. For Poles, Chopin’s nostalgic compositions capture the national spirit — and the heart’s fate is seen as intertwined with Poland’s greatest agonies and triumphs over nearly two centuries of foreign occupation, warfare and liberation.

“This is a very emotional object for Poles,” said Michal Witt, a geneticist involved in the inspection. Chopin is “extremely special for the Polish soul.”

Chopin experts have wanted to carry out genetic testing to establish whether the sickly genius died at 39 of tuberculosis, as is generally believed, or of some other illness. But they remain frustrated. The Polish church and government, the custodians of the heart, have for years refused requests for any invasive tests, partly because of the opposition of a distant living relative of the composer.

This year, however, they finally consented to a superficial inspection after a forensic scientist raised alarm that after so many years the alcohol could have evaporated, leaving the heart to dry up and darken.

Close to midnight on April 14, after the last worshippers had left the Holy Cross Church, 13 people sworn to secrecy gathered in the dark sanctuary.

They included the archbishop of Warsaw, the culture minister, two scientists and other officials. With a feeling of mystery hanging in the air, they worked in total concentration, mostly whispering, as they removed the heart from its resting place and carried out the inspection — taking more than 1,000 photos and adding hot wax to the jar’s seal to prevent evaporation. Warsaw’s archbishop recited prayers over the heart and it was returned to its rightful place. By morning, visitors to the church saw no trace of the exhumation.

“The spirit of this night was very sublime,” said Tadeusz Dobosz, the forensic scientist on the team.

Polish officials kept all details of the inspection secret for five months before going public about it in September, giving no reason for the delay. They are also not releasing photographs of the heart, mindful of ethical considerations surrounding the display of human remains, said Artur Szklener, director of the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw, a state body that helps preserve the composer’s legacy.

“We don’t want this to be a media sensation, with photos of the heart in the newspapers,” Szklener said. However, to prove that the heart is in good shape, he showed The Associated Press photographs of the organ, an enlarged white lump submerged in an amber-colored fluid in a crystal jar.

Some Chopin experts are critical of what they consider a lack of transparency.

Steven Lagerberg — the American author of “Chopin’s Heart: The Quest to Identify the Mysterious Illness of the World’s Most Beloved Composer” — believes international experts should have also been involved in the inspection. He said he wishes that the exhumation had involved genetic tests on a small sample of tissue to determine the cause of Chopin’s death.

Though Lagerberg and others believe that Chopin probably died of tuberculosis — the official cause of death — the matter isn’t fully settled. Some scientists suspect cystic fibrosis, a disease still unknown in Chopin’s time, or even some other illnesses.

“The mystery of this man’s illness lingers on — how he could survive for so long with such a chronic illness and how he could write pieces of such extraordinary beauty,” Lagerberg said. “It’s an intellectual puzzle, it’s a medical mystery and it’s an issue of great scientific curiosity.”

Chopin was born near Warsaw in 1810 to a Polish mother and French emigre father. He lived in Warsaw until 1830, when he made his way to Paris — where he chose a life of exile because of the brutal repressions imposed by Imperial Russia after a failed uprising.

Fulfilling Chopin’s deathbed wish, which was also inspired by the composer’s fear of being buried alive, his sister Ludwika smuggled the heart to Warsaw, probably beneath her skirts. After being kept in the family home for several years it was eventually buried in the Baroque Holy Cross Church, in central Warsaw.

It remained there until World War II, when the Nazi occupiers removed it for safekeeping during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Even as they slaughtered Poles block-by-block, killing 200,000 people in retribution for the revolt, they took pains to preserve the relic of a composer that the Germans have sometimes claimed as their own, because of the influence great German composers had on him. After the fighting was over, they returned it to the Polish church in a ceremony meant to show their respect for culture.

Bogdan Zdrojewski, the culture minister who took part in the April inspection, defended his refusal to allow invasive testing of the heart.

“We in Poland often say that Chopin died longing for his homeland,” said Zdrojewski, who has since left the culture ministry to be a lawmaker at the European Parliament. “Additional information which could possibly be gained about his death would not be enough of a reason to disturb Chopin’s heart.”

Nonetheless officials have already announced plans for another inspection — 50 years from now.

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SAN ANGELO, Texas — When an 85-year-old rancher was rushed to the emergency room in an ambulance, his faithful dog Buddy was left behind.

But not for long.

About 20 miles after paramedics loaded JR Nicholson into the vehicle and drove off, another driver frantically waved them down, the Standard-Times reported.

He said there was a dog riding on a step on the side of the ambulance.

Buddy, a 35-pound Beagle mix, had jumped aboard, paramedics told the newspaper. They had no choice but to bring the dog inside and continue on to the hospital.

Nicholson, who had been experiencing dizziness, was released later the same day. Buddy was allowed to visit him.

“I was impressed,” said Nicholson, who acquired the dog from a shelter four months ago. “He didn’t have to go to the hospital with me, but he did.”

“He’s now a member of the family.”


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Numerous scientists over many years have studied the role of consciousness and how it can directly influence our physical material world. Large amounts of research have been published which clearly demonstrate that yes, consciousness and what we perceive to be our physical material world are directly intertwined. I will provide more examples of this towards the end of the article, but for now we are going to take a look at one.

We’ve written about it numerous times, it’s called the quantum double slit experiment, and it’s a great example of how consciousness can affect our physical material world. A paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Physics Essays explains how this experiment has been used multiple times to explore the role of consciousness in shaping the nature of physical reality.

In this experiment, a double-slit optical system was used to test the possible role of consciousness in the collapse of the quantum wave-function. The ratio of the interference pattern’s double slit spectral power to its single slit spectral power was predicted to decrease when attention was focused toward the double slit as compared to away from it. The study found that factors associated with consciousness significantly correlated in predicted ways with perturbations in the double slit interference pattern.

“Observation not only disturbs what has to be measured, they produce it. We compel the electron to assume a definite position. We ourselves produce the results of the measurement.” 

QUANTUMA number of experiments were conducted to measure perturbations in the wavefuntion. In the first experiment, participants were instructed to direct their attention toward the double-slit apparatus or to withdraw their attention-toward a task. At certain times, a computerized voice instructed them saying: “Please influence the beam now,” and for attention away it said “You may now relax.” This first experiment was modestly in accordance with the consciousness collapse hypothesis (perturbations in the double slit interference pattern).

The second experiment was conducted at a Zen Buddhist temple, which was a great place to recruit meditators for the experiment. This time:

“For audio feedback, during attention-away periods the computer played a soft, continuous drone tone, and during attention-toward periods it played a musical note that changed in pitch to reflect the real-time value of R (perturbations in wave function). Participants were instructed to direct their attention toward the double-slit device as in the initial experiment. If they were successful, then the double slit spectral power was predicted to decline, and in turn the pitch of the musical note would also decline.”

This test finished after 19 participants participated in 31 sessions. At the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) laboratory, three meditators contributed 11 sessions and four non-meditators contributed 7 sessions. At the Zen Buddhist temple, 12 meditators contributed 13 sessions. The tests were supervised, and a double-slit apparatus was presented.

This experiment provided more evidence, and in the IONS laboratory the meditators showed “superior performance” as compared to the non-meditators.

A third experiment was then conducted, using 33 sessions where six meditators contributed to 22 sessions and seven non-meditators contributed to 11 sessions. The 22 meditator sessions resulted in “a significant decline” in the ration of the interference pattern. The meditators here had “an especially strong statistical effect.” This experiment clearly supported the hypothesis.

In the fourth experiment, thirty one people contributed 51 sessions, and the experimental effect size observed in this study was 3 times greater than that observed in the first four experiments.

The study goes on, and consistently outlines a number of factors associated with consciousness (I focused on the ones using meditation, but there are more in the study) to collapse the quantum wave function, or interfere with its pattern.

“The study found that factors associated with consciousness significantly correlated in predicted ways with perturbations in the double slit interference pattern.”

Below is a visual demonstration of the quantum double slit experiment.
This experiment is one out of many that prove consciousness and our physical material world are intertwined. We recently published a study titled “10 Scientific Studies That Prove Consciousness Can Alter Our Physical Material World.” You can read that HERE

A fundamental conclusion of new physics also acknowledges that the observer creates the reality. As observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality. Physicists are being forced to admit that the universe is a “mental” construction. Pioneering physicist Sir James Jeans wrote: “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter. Get over it, and accept the inarguable conclusion. The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.” 

Science is quickly catching up to ancient wisdom. Changing our world requires action, yes, but that action must come from a place of peace, love , cooperation and understanding. Who is to say that meditation, and directing intention towards what we would like to change is not the base of action? If you change within, manifestation without will begin to unfold, and that’s exactly what’s happening on our planet right now. If our hearts are in the right place, and our intentions are pure, we will be provided with the necessary opportunities using action to implement change. This is why the role of consciousness, and recognizing the role of consciousness is so important. It plays a large factor in creating global change on a mass scale.

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” – Albert Einstein

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Tripple Elvis

NEW YORK (AP) — Extremely rare portraits by Andy Warhol of Hollywood superstars Elvis Presley and Marlon Brando were among the highlights at a record-breaking auction of postwar and contemporary art on Wednesday.
Warhol’s “Triple Elvis (Ferus Type)” sold for $81.9 million and “Four Marlons” brought in $69.6 million at Christie’s, which said the evening sale realized $852.9 million, the highest total for any auction.
Works by Willem de Kooning and Cy Twombly also broke auction records for the artists.
“Triple Elvis” and “Four Marlons” rate among Warhol’s most famous portraits. The nearly 7-foot-high portraits were acquired by German casino company WestSpiel in the 1970s for one of its casinos.
The Elvis, executed in ink and silver paint in 1963, depicts the rock ‘n’ roll heartthrob as a cowboy, armed and shooting from the hip. The Brando silkscreen, created three years later, shows the actor on a motorcycle in a black leather jacket, an image that is repeated four times.

Warhol produced a series of 22 images of Elvis. His “Double Elvis (Ferus Type)” sold for $37 million at Sotheby’s in 2012.
Last fall, his “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster)” set an auction record for his work when it sold at Sotheby’s for $105.4 million.
There’s only one other four-times Brando, in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen. A “Double Marlon” sold at Christie’s for $32.5 million in 2008.
De Kooning’s “Clamdigger,” a life-size sculpture created in 1972, sold for $29.2 million, a world auction record for a sculpture by the artist. The bronze sculpture never left the artist, and it stood in the entry of his studio on eastern Long Island for about four decades.
The inspiration for it came from the clam diggers the abstract expressionist artist observed on the beach every day.
“Clamdiggers” was offered for sale by the daughters of Lisa de Kooning, who inherited the sculpture from her father when he died in 1997. She died in 2012.
The auction record for any work by de Kooning is $32.1 million for “Untitled VIII,” set last year at Christie’s.
Twombly’s “Untitled,” one of the famous series of “Blackboard” paintings he made between 1966 and 1971, brought in $69.6 million, a world auction record for his work. With their spiraling lines on a dark gray background, the paintings were so-named because they resembled the slate of classroom blackboard.
An oversized sculpture of a monkey by the popular artist Jeff Koons was another auction highlight.
Koons’ whimsical stainless steel “Balloon Monkey (Orange)” fetched $25.9 million. Measuring nearly 12 feet high and 20 feet long, it looks like an inflated twisted balloon.
Koons became the most expensive living artist last year when his “Balloon Dog (Orange)” was auctioned for $58.4 million. A retrospective of his work recently closed at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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Dog lovers will find it baffling that cats are the world’s most popular pet. After all, they’re passive-aggressive, emotionally unavailable, and known for their chilly independence—traits that at most qualify felines for the role of “man’s best frenemy.”
It turns out, though, there’s an evolutionary reason for this tense relationship. That is, cats are in many ways still wild.
“Cats, unlike dogs, are really only semi-domesticated,” says Wes Warren, professor of genetics Washington University and co-author of the first complete mapping of the house cat genome—specifically, that of an Abyssinian named Cinnamon.

Comparing the DNA differences between house cats and wild cats, Warren and his colleagues found that where the genes of domesticated kitties and wild cats diverge has to do with fur patterns, grace, and docility. The latter are the genes that influence behaviors such as reward-seeking and response to fear.
The context for this split is telling. The divergence likely began some 9,000 years ago, after humans had made the shift to agriculture. Drawn to the teeming rodent populations that gathered during grain harvests, wild cats began interacting with humans. And because cats kept rodents in check, the researchers hypothesize, humans likely encouraged them to stay by offering them food scraps as a reward. These early farmers eventually kept cats that stuck around.
“Selection for docility, as a result of becoming accustomed to humans for food rewards,” write the researchers, “was most likely the major force that altered the first domesticated cat genomes.” In other words, the ones that stuck around were the cats with those genes that encouraged interaction with humans, thereby making those traits prevalent in what became the global domestic cat population.
As intriguing, though, is what didn’t change in human-friendly cats during those nine millennia. House cats still have the broadest hearing range among carnivores, which allows them to detect their prey’s movement. They also retain their night-vision abilities and the ability to digest high-protein, high-fat diets. This implies that, unlike those of dogs, their genes haven’t evolved to make cats dependent on humans for food.
This indicates only a modest influence of domestication on cat genes, compared with dogs, say the researchers. In fact, according to recent research on canine genomes, dogs became man’s best friend back when humans were still hunting and gathering—between 11,000 and 16,000 years ago. Their typically more omnivorous diets evolved as human lifestyle shifted toward agrarian living.
So why have kitties stayed wilder? The genome-mappers theorize it’s because house cat populations have continued to interbreed with wild cats. Also, humans’ “cat fancy”—meaning, our fanaticism about creating weird cat breeds—only began in the last 200 or so years.
They came for the mice, stayed for the food scraps, and whenever it suited, kept cuddly with the cats from the other side of the granary. In other words, not only are cats still mostly wild, but they pretty much tamed themselves. Maybe that means humans are “cats’ best friend.”

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