Blog Archives

Eight Belles – R.I.P. May 3, 2008

She was right there with the boys…the whole time, untouched and in full gallop digging all the way! Eight Belles was the first filly to run in the Kentucky Derby in nine years. That alone was an accomplishment for the owner and trainer but didn’t appear to be enough for the young girl. She was obviously looking for more and as the most experienced horse at the Derby, she probably expected more. She didn’t just run the race — she ran THE race of her life — and her last race. She didn’t win; she placed behind Big Brown, the one who would dominate everyone, and in a 20-horse field filled with the finest ‘stallions’ around, that’s something in and of itself.
It was a great run for the filly, until she crossed the finish line, and her jockey heard a sound.
As noted on the internet, some idiots are already making a big deal about the symbolism of this, trying to tie it to the presidential campaign and the fact that Hillary suggested people bet on the filly — Eight Belles — and she didn’t win.
The horse died on the track. If someone thinks that this is a joke worth pursuing, well, that’s between you, your soul, and God. Let go the desire to be cute about this.
Eight Belles – R.I.P. May 3, 2008

A first for Saudis: Mozart performed for both genders

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – It’s probably as revolutionary and groundbreaking as Mozart gets these days. A German-based quartet staged Saudi Arabia’s first-ever performance of European classical music in a public venue before a mixed gender audience.The concert, held at a government-run cultural center, broke many taboos in a country where public music is banned and the sexes are segregated even in lines at fast food outlets.The Friday night performance could be yet another indication that this strict Muslim kingdom is looking to open up to the rest of the world. more

Mayor McMannes and hospital honors local hero!

Martha Martinez, blue scrubs, was honored at work for her heroic actions when she pulled a man out of a burning vehicle and saved his life. Martinez is a surgical technician at Memorial Hermann Northeast. Off duty at 5 a.m. April 6, the first thing Martha Martinez wanted to do was go home and go back to sleep. Instead, she saved a man’s life. As Martinez, a surgical technician at Memorial Hermann Northeast, was driving home from work, she saw a car on fire on Aldine Bender.
“I was on my way home and I thought it was too dark to take the Hardy Toll Road, but something told me to go that route anyway,” she said.
While driving, Martinez noticed black smoke but thought it was someone burning trash. It wasn’t until she was on Aldine Bender that she realized a car was on fire.
“I called 911 and made a U-turn into the Napa Auto Parts parking lot and walked towards the car,” Martinez said. “I honestly didn’t think anyone was in the vehicle.”

As she opened the door, she noticed the victim was unconscious with his head laying on the steering wheel. She instinctively grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him out of the car to safety. Once she pulled him away, the car ignited into a full blaze.
Noticing that his sleeve was still smoking, she took off her scrub top and proceeded to pat his sleeve to put out the fire. She grabbed a bottle of water from her car and poured it on his face and turned him on his side.

According to the paramedics who arrived on the scene, her quick actions saved the man’s life.
Now known as a modern-day heroine, Martinez was honored for her brave actions by Memorial Hermann Northeast CEO Louis Smith, city of Humble Mayor Donnie McMannes, Partners in Caring and her co-workers.
“The city of Humble commends her for her heroic life-saving act and recognizes her service to our community as she performs her work at Memorial Hermann Northeast each day,” McMannes read in a proclamation, declaring April 21 as Martha Martinez Day.

Martinez has been a surgical technician for Memorial Hermann Northeast for two years. She and her husband of five years, Bruce, live in the Houston area.
“If something like this happens again, I feel that I would do what it took to save that person. That is how I was raised,” she said. “I would hope that if something ever happened to me that someone would stop and render aide like I did for him.”
The victim was taken to LBJ Hospital. There is no word on his identity or condition.

Wonderful podcast for writers!

About this episode
Four first-time authors — two novelists and two memoirists — talk to us
about their maiden voyages and the decision to write fact or fiction.


HEY 20! Here come the Rockets!

HOUSTON (AP) — Tracy McGrady pulled the towel over his shoulders, leaned back in his seat on the bench and smiled. The Houston Rockets’ 19th consecutive victory was a laugher. McGrady scored 19 points in less than three quarters and the Rockets routed cold-shooting New Jersey 91-73 on Monday night to match the third-longest winning streak in NBA history.

Houston won its 10th straight game by double digits, tying an NBA record last set by the Nets in 2004. The Rockets also won their 13th straight at the Toyota Center, the franchise’s longest home-court streak since the 1985-86 team won 20 consecutive games at The Summit.

Most importantly, the Rockets closed within one game of the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs for the top seed in the Western Conference. The Lakers play in Houston on Sunday, but the hype for that showdown can wait.

National Anthem!

With all of us voting for our candidate of choice, either in good, spirited debate or with a mean and evil, media-induced hatred, we should remember a couple of things: EVERYONE IN THE WORLD WANTS TO BE HERE! EVERYONE!! PERIOD!! EVERYONE! THE WORLD!! ALL OVER EVERYONE WANTS TO COME HERE!! TO THE USATHE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

Two: We should all remember this feeling.
(What feeling, you ask? Push play and find out!)

Hillary takes Texas!!!


Here we go—Don’t call it a comeback!


Good for her! And YES, that’s from a Republican!

Who knows—I may even vote for….

Are Lost’s New Time-Travel Physics Junk Science?

Maybe Not, Expert Says: Hollywood Sci-Fi vs. Reality

As if smoke monsters and tropical polar bears weren’t enough to keep our heads spinning, Thursday’s episode of Lost, “The Constant,” opened up a whole new can of worms: the fourth dimension.Flying from the island toward a mysterious freighter, pilot Frank Lapidus can’t keep his helicopter on the bearing that physicist Daniel Faraday says will get Desmond and Sayid to the freighter safely—presumably through a wormhole. They encounter some turbulence, and Desmond begins, yes, traveling through time, with increasingly rapid lapses between 1996 and the present (which, on the show, is still 2004).
With new particle physics research recently taking time travel from Doc Brown fantasy to down-the-line possibility, we spoke with Dr. Michio Kaku, whose new book, “Physics of the Impossible,” makes Lost’s flip-flop between past and present look, well, not impossible.Unlike deadly black holes, traversable wormholes could make a condition such as Desmond’s feasible if the portals that skip time and space without an event horizon were ever discovered, Kaku says. When treating him remotely over Lost’s super satellite phone, Faraday asks Desmond if he had been exposed to any extreme doses of radiation or electromagnetic energy that could make him “a little confused.” And that’s where the show’s producers did their homework for the key plot twist when the helicopter sends Desmond’s conscience to become unstuck in time.

“To open the wormhole, you need large amounts of energy,” Kaku says. “In principle, if you could harness the energy of a star, you might be able to bend time into a pretzel, but we are talking about astronomical amounts of energy.” Maybe like a huge source of electromagnetic energy that needs to be discharged every 108 minutes to keep from ripping a giant, gaping hole in the time-space continuum? Like the one that Desmond got an extreme closeup with in the Season 2 finale?Maybe. When Desmond warps back to visit Faraday at Oxford University in 1996, he watches Faraday zap a mouse with a dose of radiation, thereby sending her mind into the future. Upon her return a few minutes later, the lab rat can run a complex maze without hesitation; Faraday “unstuck” her in time. And there’s no law of physics preventing this kind of time travel—just a lack of know-how.
Stephen Hawking tried to create a chronology projection conjecture forbidding time travel, but he failed. So while most physicists would say that time travel is possible, we’re not officially back to the future just yet. “It would take a very advanced civilization to really do this,” Kaku says. “We are too primitive to harness this technology.” But it’s looking increasingly like some new island inhabitants might have just figured it out in time for some post-writers’ strike competition. —Erin Scottberg

"Jazz-Hands—Jack 2000!"

This Is Your Brain On Jazz:

ScienceDaily (Feb. 28, 2008) — A pair of Johns Hopkins and government scientists have discovered that when jazz musicians improvise, their brains turn off areas linked to self-censoring and inhibition, and turn on those that let self-expression flow.

It appears, they conclude, that jazz musicians create their unique improvised riffs by turning off inhibition and turning up creativity. The scientists from the University’s School of Medicine and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications Disorders describe their curiosity about the possible neurological underpinnings of the almost trance-like state jazz artists enter during spontaneous improvisation.

“When jazz musicians improvise, they often play with eyes closed in a distinctive, personal style that transcends traditional rules of melody and rhythm,” says Charles J. Limb, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a trained jazz saxophonist himself. “It’s a remarkable frame of mind,” he adds, “during which, all of a sudden, the musician is generating music that has never been heard, thought, practiced or played before. What comes out is completely spontaneous.”

Two guys who graduated Humble High School…

…over 50 years ago! WOW!
Photo by Kathy Parks

Humble resident James Crain made a presentation to the mayor and city council members. Crain set out to document each step of the construction project for the building of the new Court House.

“I’ve lived in Humble for years,” said Crain. “I raised my children here and I have seen many changes to the city. I appreciate the work that the mayor and council members have done through the years and I wanted to document this project from the ground up.”

Crain presented City of Humble Mayor Donnie McMannes with a photo record of the various steps of construction, from laying the slab to the completion of the project.

Photo: Humble Citizen James Crain (right) presents City of Humble Mayor Donnie McMannes with a photo history of the work involved in building the City’s new Court House.

X-FILES 2 — Leaked Trailer July 2008

I’ll be damned if it ain’t Mulder & Scully!

Humble’s newest addition is officially welcomed!

Humble’s Municipal Court is one highlight for 2008

Humble’s new Municipal Courthouse has already seen numerous cases since it opened last month, but the City made it official Friday as citizens came out to tour the building and celebrate the opening.

Mayor Donald McMannes cuts the ribbon on the new
Humble Municipal Courthouse. Photo by Roxanne White

The new courthouse took years of idea-pitching, a couple of months of building and just several hours to present it to the public. Judge Vic Pecorino who has been the court’s judge since 1982, said it was “a blessing” to have everything under one roof.
“We have two flat-screen televisions. So, if you come here because of a red-light camera, you are going to see yourself run that red light,” said Pecorino.

He added that the courthouse will make people feel more at ease rather than before, when the courthouse was located above the Humble Police Department.
“This will give the people more fairness in their eyes,” said Pecorino. “Now, we won’t have people standing side-by-side; we have enough room, we have a courthouse.”

Congressman Ted Poe was also in attendance and he presented two proclamations: one to Pecorino for being an “outstanding Harley Davidson” judge, and another to Mayor Donald McMannes for all of his contributions to justice.

BABY – The Final Update

My dear little one lost her fight yesterday, Friday the 15th, 2008. It was without a doubt one of the saddest days of my life. She tried so very hard at the end; she wanted so badly to stay with us but the pull of Heaven was just too strong. Most likely, my precious Roxy was the ‘Éminence grise’, standing at the forefront, ‘barking’ directions to everyone involved to “PULL” Baby to them. Roxy wins…just as she always did, just as she always does! She’s Roxy.

And now they’re back together: Roxy and Baby–just as it was meant to be, I guess.

Baby was ready and she wasn’t scared. In the end, she lay there, resting and quiet, excited about seeing her ‘sister’ again. The doctor looked at me and asked if I was ready. I said yes. I held Baby’s head in my hands and we looked deep into each other’s eyes, just staring and remembering all the wonderful times that we had together: chasing after frisbees in the Buffalo Bayou, strutting like gangsters around our neighborhood, laying together and watching tv, and just walking and looking and inhaling life all around us.
I held her head and smiled at her. She needed me there and I was. She wanted me to hold her and I did. She was ready for the end and I was with her—-Babycakes.

As I gripped her paw and slowly massaged her ear, my precious little girl’s soul faded away. She left to go home to Roxy. Her eyes were on – – her eyes were off. I was there until the final second.

She left us ….and I was watching.

BABY ***update***

Well, it was scheduled for today!


However, there was a change in plans.

After ‘visiting’ with Baby the last couple of days, my instincts have been flashing – Not Right; not now! Maybe in a week – but not now. She’s not ready yet. Roxy’s death has been the worst day of my life thus far but I ‘knew’ she was ready and that it needed it to happen. With Baby, it’s different; she’s got more of a ‘There’s a little something still in here. There’s a little left…’ awareness!

Look, she’s been my girl for 13 years; she wants that last shot, she’s damn well gonna get it. I’m going to take her in and have some blood work done and look at some options. The arthritis medicine is a certainty, as will be basic Tagamet for her stomach. Today, she was alert and could walk some and even ate something. This could be the ‘jolt’ before the end, I understand that. I also realize that she may have to go down next week…

…but she ain’t goin’ down today!

She said, “No” and her family was listening!

Pray for her…

Pray for Baby–

She’s nearly 14 years old and has had a great life. She had a best friend and mentor: Roxy-the love of my life. Now, it appears that Rox is getting anxious. The twin flame, the other love of my life is standing on the edge of time, this love of mine and asking me to be unselfish and let her leave; let her ‘go outside and play with Roxy!’

Nothing is rhyming…

Pray for my girl so that she’s not scared. Pray…

My Baby–

The world’s first time machine?

Tunnel to the past could open door to future within three months, say Russians!

Time travel could be a reality within just three months, Russian mathematicians have claimed.

They believe an experiment nuclear scientists plan to carry out in underground tunnels in Geneva in May could create a rift in the fabric of the universe.

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) hopes its “atom-smashing” tests – which aim to recreate the conditions in the first billionth of a second after the “Big Bang'” created everything – will shed invaluable light on the origins of the universe.

Scroll down for more…

Back to the Future

Life imitating art? Actors Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in the movie Back to the Future. Scientists say that time travel could be a reality in just three months

But Irina Aref’eva and Igor Volovich, of Moscow’s Steklov Mathematical Institute, say the energy produced by forcing tiny particles to collide at close to the speed of light could open the door to visitors from the future.

According to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, any large amounts of matter or energy will distort the space and time that surrounds it.

If the energy or mass is large enough, it is claimed that time can be distorted so much that it folds back on itself – creating a wormhole, or time tunnel, between the present and the future.

But Dr Brian Cox, a member of CERN and one of Britain’s leading experts in particle physics, is highly sceptical about the Russian claims, calling them “nothing more than a good science fiction story”.

He said: “Cosmic ray collisions in the upper atmosphere are far more energetic than anything we can produce.

“They have been occurring for five billion years, and no time travellers have appeared.

“Stephen Hawking has suggested that any future theory of quantum gravity will probably close this possibility off, not least because the universe usually proceeds in a sane way, and time travel into the past isn’t sane.”

Cynics often point out that if time travel was really possible, we would have been visited by people from the future.

However, Einstein’s laws of physics suggest that time travel is only possible into the past as far as the point when the first time machine was invented.

Star Trek – The BOOTLEG Trailer revealed!

I have NOT watched this trailer more than 20 times! I have NOT watched this trailer more than 20 times! I have NOT watched this trailer more than 20 times! I have NOT watched this trailer more than 20 times! I have NOT watched this trailer more than 20 times!

I have NOT watched this trailer more than 20 times! I have NOT watched this trailer more than 20 times! I have NOT watched this trailer more than 20 times! I have NOT watched this trailer more than 20 times! I have NOT watched this trailer more than 20 times!

Texans reports seeing UFO! Govt. says just ‘tricky lights!’


STEPHENVILLE, Texas (AP) — In this farming community where nightfall usually brings clear, starry skies, residents are abuzz over reported sightings of what many believe is a UFO.Several dozen people — including a pilot, county constable and business owners — say they have seen a large silent object with bright lights flying low and fast. Some reported seeing fighter jets chasing it.
“People wonder what in the world it is because this is the Bible Belt, and everyone is afraid it’s the end of times,” said Steve Allen, a freight company owner and pilot who said the object he saw last week was a mile long and half a mile wide. “It was positively, absolutely nothing from these parts.”
While federal officials say there’s a logical explanation, locals swear that it was larger, quieter, faster and lower to the ground than an airplane. They also said the object’s lights changed configuration, unlike those of a plane. People in several towns who reported seeing it over several weeks have offered similar descriptions of the object.

Machinist Ricky Sorrells said friends made fun of him when he told them he saw a flat, metallic object hovering about 300 feet over a pasture behind his Dublin, Texas, home. But he decided to come forward after reading similar accounts in the Stephenville Empire-Tribune.
“You hear about big bass or big buck in the area, but this is a different deal,” Sorrells said. “It feels good to hear that other people saw something, because that means I’m not crazy.”
Sorrells said he has seen the object several times. He said he watched it through his rifle’s telescopic lens and described it as very large and without seams, nuts or bolts.

Maj. Karl Lewis, a spokesman for the 301st Fighter Wing at the Joint Reserve Base Naval Air Station in Fort Worth, said no F-16s or other aircraft from his base were in the area the night of January 8, when most people reported the sighting. Lewis said the object may have been an illusion caused by two commercial airplanes. Lights from the aircraft would seem unusually bright and may appear orange from the setting sun.

“I’m 90 percent sure this was an airliner,” Lewis said. “With the sun’s angle, it can play tricks on you.”

Officials at the region’s two Air Force bases — Dyess in Abilene and Sheppard in Wichita Falls — also said none of their aircraft were in the area last week. The Air Force no longer investigates UFOs. One man has offered a reward for a photograph or videotape of the mysterious object.
About 200 UFO sightings are reported each month, mostly in California, Colorado and Texas, according to the Mutual UFO Network, which plans to go to the 17,000-resident town of Stephenville to investigate.

Fourteen percent of Americans polled last year by The Associated Press and Ipsos say they have seen a UFO. Erath County Constable Lee Roy Gaitan said he first saw red glowing lights and then white flashing lights moving fast, but that even with binoculars could not see the object to which the lights were attached.
“I didn’t see a flying saucer and I don’t know what it was, but it wasn’t an airplane, and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Gaitan said. “I think it must be some kind of military craft — at least I hope it was.”


Push to Play


Always the athlete who looked like he was running in ‘LEAD NIKES’ because of his natural LACK of speed, Shayne Mills, ironically, is back in the news for just that – LEAD. This time, he’s doing what he should’ve done on the 43-TRAP; he’s getting away from the LEAD…fast!!


Shayne Mills and Samantha Staley watch certified lead assessor Joe Zwissler test a family antique for lead during an inspection of their new rental home in St. Petersburg’s Old Northeast neighborhood. The couple is expecting a daughter this month. Staley, 34, and Mills, 38, feel that they have no choice but to figure it out. They’re trying to keep lead from reaching their unborn child, a girl to be named Sierra. It seems a daunting task.
“Now I’m thinking about all the gifts I got at the baby shower,” says Stayley. “What toys are safe? What toys aren’t safe?”

She and Mills found out their St. Petersburg rental home may contain lead when they signed the lease in mid November. They knew little about lead, but grew concerned. They learned of a Pinellas County Health Department program: pay $75 to $125 and a lead investigator would search their home for lead.

Joe Zwissler has been an environmental specialist with the Health Department for 16 years. At Stayley and Mills’ home, Zwissler finds lead on the doors, the windows, the kitchen wall, some tiles in the bathroom. Zwissler then tests the couple’s household items:

The baby spoons and the rattle? Negative.
The chess sets from Poland and Peru? A trace amount.
The San Francisco music box the new mom had planned to put on the baby’s dresser? Don’t put it there.

Zwissler also finds a lot of lead in Mills’ cream-colored University of Southern California fraternity beer mug.
“I drank a lot of beer out of that, I mean beer after beer,” Mills says.

He originally thought his girlfriend was overreacting. Now the father-to-be is worried.
A few days later, Zwissler calls back with the results of the dust in the baby’s room — a high lead reading, too high for comfort. The landlord tells Staley and Mills that she can’t afford the tens of thousands of dollars it will cost to remove the lead from the home. She would rather have them move out to be safe. So with weeks to go before Sierra arrives, Staley and Mills begin looking for another place.

“The idea of moving again, it’s just the last thing I want, ” Staley said. “But when you’re talking about the life of a child, you can’t afford to mess around. It doesn’t matter if we have to move 10 times. You do what’s right for the child.”


An action movie that’s not politically correct? Not PG-13? One that blows everything up and kills everything that moves? The bad guys lose? The good guys win? Wow – it’s definitely not a movie for the Democrats. Perhaps Rambo should try and talk his way through these feellings and maybe negotiate a way to bring them back without anyone being offended?

Screw it – say what you want about Bush but it is what it is: There has NOT been another terrorist attack since 9/11…period. Why? Because, right or wrong, they believe…they BELIEVE that Bush just may actually bomb ’em! Amazing what a deterrant will do – the fear of retribution or punishment. Of course, parents today have no idea about that – they let their kids get fat, do what they want, maintain no discipline, and never spend anytime with them. Try making them fear you a little and then maybe they’ll actually do what you say…assuming you give a damn and can put the freaking beer down for 5 minutes!

Here’s to Ronald Reagan – the 1980’s – Rambo – and an old time Republican-type action movie that just blows S#iT up!!

McMannes and Thomas in Sedona, Ariz – 2008

“Go climb a mountain, McMannes!”

Fine! So, Brandy and I did…and we found a really cool one
in a little place called Sedona, Arizona – January 2008

McMannes & Thomas in Sedona, Ariz – Jan 2008

Famous Relatives of Mike McMannes

Thanks to my mother’s undying love for research, these people are confirmed ancestors of yours truly (Courtesy of

A few – JUST A FEW – of the famous People related to Mike McMannes via Alma Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949)
American AuthorMargaret Munnerlyn Mitchell is best remembered for her hugely successful novel, Gone with the Wind. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1937 for the novel. Gone with the Wind is the second best selling hard-cover book, taking second only to the Bible.
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John Milton (1608-1674)
English PoetJohn Milton is famous for his epic poem “Paradise Lost.” The poem is written in blank verse and consists of twelve books. Paradise Lost follows the biblical story of the fall of man.
Relationship: 2nd Cousin 7 times removed
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Howard Hughes (1905-1976)
American AviatorHoward Robard Hughes was famous for his multiple air speed records. He also produced the films “Hells Angels” and “The Outlaw”.
Relationship: 6th Cousin 3 times removed
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D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930)
English AuthorD.H. Lawrence was a prolific and controversial writer. His novels include “Women in Love” and “Sons and Lovers”.
Relationship: 7th Cousin 1 times removed
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Booker Taliaferro Washington (1856-1915)
American educator, political leader, authorBooker T. Washington was born as a slave but was freed at the age of 9. He received national attention as a spokesperson for African American citizens.
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James “Wild Bill” Hickock (1837-1876)
American OutlawJames Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok was a legendary gunfighter and law man in the American Wild West. Many characters in Western novels are fashioned after Hickok.
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Mark Twain (1835-1910)
American AuthorSamuel Langhorne Clemens thought of his pen name, “Mark Twain,” while working on a riverboat. This humorist’s works include Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
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George Herbert Walker Bush (1924-)
41st President of the United States of AmericaPresident George H.W. Bush is known for leading the U.N. coalition in the Gulf War. His presidency saw the fall of the Berlin Wall.
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Marlon Brando (1924-2004)
American ActorMarlon Brando, Jr. was an Oscar-winning actor who appeared in many films including A Streetcar Named Desire, The Godfather, Julius Caesar, On the Waterfront, and Superman.
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William Faulkner (1897-1962)
American AuthorMississippi native William Cuthbert Faulkner was known for his long, winding sentences. Some of his famous novels include Go Down Moses and As I lay Dying.
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(Francisco) Pancho Villa (1878-1923)
Mexican revolutionaryDoroteo Arango Aráámbula, or Pancho Villa, an uneducated peasant, became one of the foremost and most famous generals of the Mexican Revolution.
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F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)
American AuthorFrancis Scott Fitzgerald is considered to be one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. He wrote “The Great Gatsby” and “This Side of Paradise”.
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Jane Austen (1775-1817)
English AuthorJane Austin was well educated and began writing at a young age. Though she wrote with a man’s alias, many of her novels, which include Pride and Prejudice and Emma, have become widely popular.
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‘Test tube universe’ hints at unifying theory!

A “universe in a test tube” that could be used to assess theories of everything has been created by physicists.

Time is running out – literally, say scientists”
Are we missing a dimension of time?
Are dark forces at work in space?

The test tube, the size of a little finger, has been cooled to a fraction of a degree above the lowest possible temperature, absolute zero, which is just over 273 degrees below the freezing point of water.

Does one of these test tubes hold a baby Universe?

Inside the tube an isotope of helium (called helium three) forms a “superfluid”, an ordered liquid where all the atoms are in the same state according to the theory that rules the subatomic domain, called quantum theory. What is remarkable is that atoms in the liquid, at temperatures within a thousandth of a degree of absolute zero, form structures that, according to the team at Lancaster University, are similar those seen in the cosmos.

“In effect, we have made a universe in a test tube,” says Richard Haley, who did the work with Prof George Pickett and other members of the “Ultra-low Temperature Group.”
The Holy Grail of physics is to establish an overarching explanation to unite all the particles and forces of the cosmos. But one of the complaints commonly levelled at a leading contender for a “theory of everything”, called string theory, is that it is impossible to test.

But now, according to the study in the journal Nature Physics, it may be possible using the universe in a test tube. “It was a serendipitous discovery,” says Haley.
The equations used to describe this superfluid turn up in many other branches of physics. “For instance, the internal structure of the superfluid mirrors very closely the structure of space-time itself, the ‘background’ of the universe in which we live,” says Haley. “Consequently the superfluid can be used to simulate particle and cosmic phenomena; black holes, cosmic strings and the Big Bang for instance.
“This is great for testing theories, since the equations describing helium-3 are well-established enough to say that it is the most complex system for which we already have the ‘Theory of Everything’,”
Haley continues. “If the analogous experiments don’t work in helium-3, then it’s probably time to go back to the drawing board (or computer) with your latest pet theory.”

Since the pioneering work of Albert Einstein, the quest for a theory of everything has depended on combining theories of the very small (quantum theory) and the very large (relativity).
One of the strangest features of such theories is that they require the universe to have more than three spatial dimensions to unify our picture of all forces and all matter. One promising candidate is supersymmetric string theory, in which ripples on strings are interpreted as particles. But, to their surprise, physicists found five superstring theories. Now the Lancaster experiments provide new insights into the phenomena predicted by these theories.

For the past three decades it has been known that strings are one member of a bigger class of objects called branes, which exist in higher dimensional space, that could be extended in more than one dimension – from strings of one dimension, to membranes of two dimensions, to those of p dimensions, dubbed p-branes. Moreover string theories and p-branes are facets of one underlying 11-dimensional M theory, which suggests that we live in a brane world: a four-dimensional surface, or brane, in a higher dimensional mixture of space and time.

People and most particles move in the brane, while the higher dimensions provide a framework to unify all forces, from gravity to those that act between atomic particles. While experiments have begun to highlight cracks in the current best theory, called “the standard model”, there is evidence that M theory’s extra hidden dimensions could be revealed next year when a Geneva atom smasher – the £4.4 billion Large Hadron Collider – begins experiments. But the Lancaster team offers another route to address this impasse.

One idea is that a collision between a brane and an antibrane could have triggered the Big Bang itself. This can now be simulated in superfluid helium within the little test tube.
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor


Harry’s NutsackersVRS Ferruzzo and Toes

Ferruzzo and Toes vrs THE MMC ULTIMATUM!!!

***CHAMPION 2007/2008***

“I just stayed focused and really worked my guys hard. This championship is a tribute to the player’s and their ability as much as it is to my genius in the field of Fantasy Football, which is basically without peer or rival and remains virtually unequalled in modern times.”

James Patterson – Author of Note

James Patterson

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Along Came A SpiderFINISHED!!

Kiss the GirlsSTARTED…


CLOAKED? I smell Romulans…

Towards Cloaking Visible Light: Three-dimensional Metamaterials For The Optical Wavelength Range

ScienceDaily (2007-12-24) — Last year researchers from Duke University stunned the world when they announced a cloaking device for the microwave range. This device made use of metamaterials that had a negative refractive index for electromagnetic radiation. The metamaterials were carefully designed split-ring resonators with a structure size much smaller than the wavelength. Only 10 stacked layers of metamaterials were necessary to achieve the desired invisibility effect. Now researchers have succeeded in manufacturing a stacked split-ring metamaterial for the optical wavelength range. … > read full article

I thought Kirk stole the cloaking device from the Romulans? See what happens when you mess with Star Trek canon? Everything gets screwed up!


Basically, Dean Middle School has a big LipSync show every year. There’s a mystery teachers – TEACHERS (Plural) skit at the end. Well, the teacher’s skit didn’t work so because I helped with a Michael Jackson skit, I was the one to fill in for the spot…with 1.5 days to prepare/ to cut the song/ to remember the moves/ to see if I even could still move like that! 🙂 Well, here’s the final cut – edited for dramatic purposes, of course!

CYFAIR hosted it.

The world watched.

20 years later….one final show – – one last time! There will be NO comeback!

The NEW Enterprise? NCC-1701 gets a refit!


The question: Is this a leaked pic of the new USS Enterprise!??

List of conspiracy theories – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

List of conspiracy theories – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ming the Mechanic: An E8 theory of everything

Ming the Mechanic: An E8 theory of everything
by Flemming Funch

According to Telegraph, a poor surfer dude physicist has come up with a theory of everything that has everybody talking.
The new theory reported today in New Scientist has been laid out in an online paper entitled “An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything” by Lisi, who completed his doctorate in theoretical physics in 1999 at the University of California, San Diego. He has high hopes that his new theory could provide what he says is a “radical new explanation” for the three decade old Standard Model, which weaves together three of the four fundamental forces of nature: the electromagnetic force; the strong force, which binds quarks together in atomic nuclei; and the weak force, which controls radioactive decay. The reason for the excitement is that Lisi’s model also takes account of gravity, a force that has only successfully been included by a rival and highly fashionable idea called string theory, one that proposes particles are made up of minute strings, which is highly complex and elegant but has lacked predictions by which to do experiments to see if it works.
But some are taking a cooler view. Prof Marcus du Sautoy, of Oxford University and author of Finding Moonshine, told the Telegraph: “The proposal in this paper looks a long shot and there seem to be a lot things still to fill in.” And a colleague Eric Weinstein in America added: “Lisi seems like a hell of a guy. I’d love to meet him. But my friend Lee Smolin is betting on a very very long shot.” Lisi’s inspiration lies in the most elegant and intricate shape known to mathematics, called E8 – a complex, eight-dimensional mathematical pattern with 248 points first found in 1887, but only fully understood by mathematicians this year after workings, that, if written out in tiny print, would cover an area the size of Manhattan.Read about the E8 at Wikipedia. And then explain it to me once you get it.

Leaked photos – STAR TREK XI

Leaked photos from the set of Star Trek 11!

‘General’ Tattoo Sketch – NOV 6th

Click the pic for LARGE version.

Maybe I should retire??

Sex with robots ‘not far away?’
October 13, 2007 11:43am

HUMANS will be marrying and having sex with robots by 2050, an artificial intelligence researcher has claimed. Netherlands university student David Levy, who recently completed his PhD on the subject of human-robot relationships, told LiveScience that robots would become so human-like in appearance, function and personality that many people would fall in love with them, have sex with them and even marry them.

“At first, sex with robots might be considered geeky, but once you have a story like ‘I had sex with a robot and it was great!’ appear in a magazine like Cosmo, I’d expect many people to jump on the bandwagon,” he said. In his thesis “Intimate Relationships with Artificial Partners”, Mr Levy argued that psychologists have identified roughly a dozen basic reasons why people fall in love, and almost all of them could apply to human-robot relationships.

“For instance, one thing that prompts people to fall in love are similarities in personality and knowledge, and all of this is programmable,” Mr Levy said. “Another reason people are more likely to fall in love is if they know the other person likes them, and that’s programmable too.” Mr Levy said Massachusetts would be the first jurisdiction to legalise human-robot marriage. “Massachusetts is more liberal than most other jurisdictions in the United States and has been at the forefront of same-sex marriage,” Mr Levy said. “There’s also a lot of high-tech research there.” Although roboticist Ronald Arkin at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta didn’t think human-robot marriages would be legal anywhere by 2050, he said “anything’s possible”.”Just because it’s not legal doesn’t mean people won’t try it,” he told LiveScience. “Humans are very unusual creatures.”If you ask me if every human will want to marry a robot, my answer is probably not. But will there be a subset of people? There are people ready right now to marry sex toys.”

MIND & BODY – The ReUnification!

For those older, natural bodybuilders out there, the idea of manipulating the body’s release of natural hormones through exercise and diet should be quite exciting. The hormones I’m referring to are the “big 3”, testosterone, GH and insulin.

For those who are older, the body’s natural output declines as we age, so being able to take maximum advantage of these is essential if you want to make big gains. Regardless of whether or not you are using pro-hormones – like I do – the right approach to training and diet will allow you to make the most of this opportunity.

Some of this information came from the August 2003 issue of Ironman magazine but this is a topic I was looking at back in the 90’s (for those who don’t know, I took a total 5-year lay-off from the sport around 1997 after 15 years) so I know this approach is not new but hopefully I can give you some tips that will help you get better results than you’re getting now.

The body’s natural production of testosterone can be increased through hard work on the big, compound movements, especially those where the body actually moves up and down, such as the squat and deadlift. Also, the bigger the muscle, the more testosterone is released in response to the exercise. What’s bigger than the legs and back?

So, starting your workout with 3-5 sets of heavy squats or deadlifts done for reps in the 6-10 range will work wonders. That’s easy to do on leg and back day but what if, like me, you train, say, chest and tri’s on a separate day and shoulders on another day (as in the routine listed in my “Coming back after 5 years, part two” article)?

What you need to do is begin these workouts with either squats or deadlifts. I don’t mean you have to work yourself into the ground but 1-3 working sets at a moderate weight will get the process started. Remember Vince Gironda? He used to have his trainees begin their arm workouts with squats! Why? Because he believed it “set the adrenal gland up for growth”.

He was pretty much on the right track. Of course, many people use split routines – so you could just design a split routine that had you doing squats one day and deadlifts on another day but I find I can design a better split with out those limitations.

For one thing, I find as I get older I can’t really do the same volume of work in a single day with enough intensity as I could 10 years ago. For another, research shows your body begins to shut down it’s output of anabolic hormones after 45-60 minutes. My current split allows me to complete every workout in 45 minutes or less.

What About GH?

Research shows that when GH is secreted along with testosterone, it magnifies the effect of the testosterone. Research also shows that there is a direct connection between the burn of lactic acid buildup and GH release. What better way to get the burn than through some form of extended sets, like drop sets (as in my “Killer Leg Training ” article).

Ways To Extend A Set:

Rest Pause – This is where you extend a set by first reaching failure, racking the weight for a 10 count and then continuing the set for another 3-4 reps. You can do this 2-3 times and all this counts as one set.
Forced Reps – This is where, at the end of a normal set, you have someone give you just a bit of help, enough of a pulling or pushing motion, depending on the exercise, to get the bar up. You can shoot for 3-4 extra reps per set on these . I would only do this on a few sets per body part so you don’t over train.

1 ½ Reps – As you complete a normal rep, continue and do the first half of the rep, going half way up and coming back to the start position. This counts as 1 rep.

Super Sets – Two exercises done back to back without stopping. You can do two exercises for the same body part or two for different body parts.

21’s – One of Arnold’s favorites. Using the curl as an example, you would do 7 full reps followed by 7 half reps from the starting position to half way up followed by 7 half reps from half way up to the top of the movement. All of this counts as one set.

Static Hold Reps – Using cable rows as an example, you would start your rep, hold the bar at your waist for a 10 count then complete the rep – this is one rep.

View All Intensity Builders!
There are many more techniques but I wanted to give you a few of the better ones.

Although you can extend a set of squats or deadlifts, it may make more sense to choose more of an isolation exercise – if you train alone or at home, with only one training partner, doing say, drop sets on these type of exercises will work easier.

Following is a list of the best exercises for this purpose – even if you train alone these will work. For hams – leg curls, for chest – the pec-deck or dumbbell fly using several pairs of pre weighted dumbbells, for back, lat pull-downs or low cable rows, for delts, laterals, for triceps, press-downs and for biceps, cable curls.

What About Insulin?

It can cause our body to store fat if you have constant spikes all day – that’s why watching your simple carb intake is a good idea. It also causes amino acids and creatine to be stored – this promotes protein synthesis. To get the anabolic actions with out the fat storage, you want to cause an insulin spike at two key times of the day – first thing in the morning when you first wake up and after your work out (the first anabolic window).

How? By drinking a mixture of fast carbs and protein, about 40 grams protein to 40-60 grams carbs. If you use a MRP, use it for this purpose. Or, even simpler, mix protein powder with some OJ, skim milk and a banana. Why at those times of the day?

First, you want to get nutrients in the bloodstream as fast as possible after your workout and take advantage of the anabolic actions of insulin at the most critical time. But in the morning, you are also at a critical time as far as nutrient needs are concerned.

You have just come off a short fast while you slept and research shows this creates an anabolic window (the second window) – take advantage of this by triggering an insulin spike. By keeping all your other meals high in protein and mixed with complex carbs, you can keep insulin spikes under control. So there you have it – an introduction to a training program that will make the most of your body’s natural hormone production. Try implementing these tips into your program and see if you don’t increase your gains.

Slideshow 2007

Killing time in the summer baby!

Look what I found….

July 30th is always a difficult day – in 1990, it was the day my brother died. It also comes one day after my birthday. A few days ago I came across and old bag of pictures. Inside were photos that I didn’t know still existed and something else – postcards from the edge. I couldn’t believe I stil had these. Thank God for my ‘pack-rattiness.’

Anyway, here are a couple pics (one retouched to resemble today) and the postcards I spoke of.

In this photo, I was 35 and he was 31…could’ve been fun! That’s what makes it so very sad!

Time before is Time again…

A cosmologist has created a mathematical model that he says shows space-time, contrary to common wisdom, did not begin with the Big Bang. Instead, the model suggests a universe pretty much like the one we live in today existed before the event, except it was contracting instead of expanding. If ever proven, the idea could force a complete rethinking of the origins of the cosmos and perhaps even open a doorway to an endless future.
The Big Bang–the sudden and extremely rapid expansion of space-time that began 13.7 billion years ago–is generally accepted among scientists as the beginning of the universe. However, they have long puzzled over a paradox that the event caused in the mathematical calculations of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. At the moment of the Big Bang, everything was thought to be crammed into a singularity–a space with no dimensions–that also contained infinite density. Einstein couldn’t explain how such a state could give rise to a universe of finite density and possibly finite dimensions.

Theoretical physicist Sean Carroll of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena put it more succinctly: “Everyone’s calculations show the universe started from a singularity,” he says, “but no one believes it.” Although most cosmologists think it sprang forth from nothingness along with the forces of nature, theoretical physicist Martin Bojowald of Pennsylvania State University in University Park thinks his mathematical model points to something even stranger: The cosmos is a leftover from a previous manifestation of existence.

Bojowald’s model is based on a new and developing line of theoretical reasoning called Loop Quantum Gravity, which attempts to reconcile Einstein’s theory with quantum mechanics by strongly suggesting that the current universe actually received a kick–start from the dying epoch of a previous, contracting universe. They do so by showing that the previous universe could not have compacted itself into a singularity, as general relativity predicts, because at extremes of temperature and pressure, gravity becomes repulsive instead of attractive. As a result, gravitational energy grew so large as the previous universe contracted that it created a “Big Bounce,” as Bojowald calls it, which ignited the current expansion.
With some luck, he says, it might be possible to find clues about what the previous universe was like from more detailed observations and models of quantum mechanics. Far-fetched or not, Carroll thinks Bojowald’s model represents a “good thing to be doing,” because somehow cosmologists are going to have to resolve the singularity dilemma, and although his conclusions might not provide the correct answer, it’s “not premature to be asking the questions.”


If rats benefit from the kindness of strangers they are more likely to assist an unfamiliar rat in future. In doing so, they provide the first evidence of an unusual form of altruism that appears to violate evolutionary theory. Claudia Rutte and Michael Taborsky of the University of Berne, Switzerland, trained rats to pull a lever that released food for their partner in the next cage. If the rats subsequently received snacks released by lever-pulling strangers in neighbouring cages, they were more likely to lever-pull and so feed another unfamiliar rat in the future. In other words, the rats became altruistic in response to a general level of cooperation in the population.

Theoretically, such “generalised reciprocity” shouldn’t exist. In large groups, dirty rats will take advantage of helpful strangers and offer nothing in return. It persists, says Taborsky, because exploited animals move away. “An animal is more likely to leave the group if it didn’t receive cooperation in the past,” he says. “This leads to cooperative and uncooperative groups in a population.” If cooperative groups are better at exploiting the environment, generalised reciprocity remains in the population. (PLoS Biology, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050196).

Mr. 3000

Make that 3,002. Biggio goes 5-for-6.
Everyone on the team, including those in the bullpen, stormed the field to congratulate Biggio. His wife Patty, sons Conor and Cavan, and daughter Quinn also joined in the celebration. His sons were in the dugout acting as bat boys. He kissed his wife and held his 7-year-old daughter in the air. He went to the dugout and hugged everyone while the crowd continued to go wild. And then the time came – Craig Biggio had one person he absolutely positively had to share this moment with.


Biggio pulled Jeff Bagwell out of the dugout and dragged him onto the infield where they stood arm and arm. Biggio and Bagwell played together for 15 seasons before Bagwell retired in December.

They stood there, hugging and smiling, waving, soaking in the moment together, just as they’d done so many times before. One final time, there they were – the greatest players this franchise has ever known. The Killer B’s! Biggio and Bagwell. Between the lines, on the field, adored by fans…

One last time.

Biggio got three singles in three at-bats, the last one a line drive to right-center in the bottom of the seventh inning. The 3,000-hit club got its 27th member Thursday night at 9:12 p.m. He would get five hits in all, the second-five hit game of his career. Biggio attempted to hustle it into a double and was thrown out for the third of the inning. Never mind that. The celebration began. His family joined him. His wife wept. Twenty seasons-2,781 games-10,648 at-bats. All of it will be defined by the next one. Flash bulbs popping with every pitch.

Fans stand through every turn at bat. Craig Biggio has earned all the adulation he gets.
He got standing ovations when he came to bat in the first, third and fifth innings. With one out in the third, he lined a single to left-center for No. 2,998. He got No. 2,999 in the fifth when Garrett Atkins threw wildly to first. Correct call by the official scorer.

His 3,000th hit arrived one day before the 19th anniversary of Biggio’s first big-league hit — June 29, 1988, a single off Orel Hershiser that began a sure Hall of Fame career during which he’s played in seven All-Star Games, six postseasons and one World Series. He is the only player in major league history to have at least 600 doubles (658), 250 home runs (286), 3,000 hits and 400 stolen bases (413).


“I couldn’t have scripted it any better,” Biggio said. “There are a lot of things that have happened over the past 20 years but tonight is the best.”

Biggio Photo Gallery through the years!
Biggio Stats Gallery through his career!!

Almost 3 years now…

My friend Sarah is a wonderful poet. She writes beautiful lyrics – just gorgeous. I was thinking of Rox and decided maybe I could write her something. I decided to give it a go. Lil’ Rox…the devastation never truly leaves. (Click pic – Roxy’s video)

‘Thunder away, my Love’
by Mike McMannes (With Epilogue)

She gazes into the who knows where, searching.
Pleased with life’s allowances – content with her place at the table.
Her voice howls delivering unintended softness.
Slowly, both drift away… the thunder submits.
She has won the day yet again.

So she lay.

She stares through the illusion of…
She smiles at the once was …
She clings to the might be, dreams of the yet still…

The dealer’s stare has begun. Play the cards, RO.
Odds sink as hope gets cast aside.

She knows. She knows.

Wide, uncertain eyes find their purpose – her love, her boy, her man, her soul.
Bravely…. She gazes again into the who knows where, searching.
Surveying without concern…

She knows.
She loves him.

Somewhere, a clock twists backwards. A bark, a resounding salute to youth.
The past and future fade.
She settles and finds his gaze for the last time.
A love just as the day they began.

He knows.
He so loves her.
And she, content with still being at the table…touching.
As minutes flee, seconds approach.

The dealer stares. Play the cards, RO.
Stand firm-stand pat; played all along was the hand she’d been dealt.
But it was his hand that was always for her.

“It’s ok, my boy – it’s ok.”
His desperate NO screams at the fading.
The pulse of their heart, a paw’s grip embedded.
The dealer breaks.
The Thunder saddens and bows his head.

She was.


Somewhere, she was laughing and jumping.
But in the somewhere, there was that certain some -one- she needed.
That someone was there – so something started.
She went chasing!
Somehow, she found him.

Hey. You’re his brother?
Yeah – – yeah, I am…
The smile. The eyes. The waggle.
…Well, hello Roxy!



‘The Road’ was taken!

I don’t write book reviews. I mean, unless you’re a book reviewer, who would actually spend time writing reviews of other people’s work, especially if you’ve begun the process of creating your own? However, I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by because when you’re moved – you’re moved; I’m going to stop writing and start writing (Get it? Ok then…). Today, I write a review of a book. Not just any book, mind you but one that has invoked inspiration, not only as a reader but as a writer.
The title of this book is THE ROAD, by Cormac McCarthy. In an earlier posting on DRAMABLOG, I discussed his interview with Oprah Winfrey. It was immediate and it was quick – I liked him. I liked his style and was taken with his ‘old charm.’ I must say that Mr. McCarthy most definitely caught me off guard.

I knew very little of him as a novelist, and even less about him as a person. The fact that he’s only done two print interviews in his lifetime is quite the oddity in itself. Couple that with the fact that he has never, ever appeared on television, well, that’s mind numbing. What about the fame? What about the attention? What about the me, me, me mentality of everyone, everywhere, with everything in every situation? Yeah, uh… not with this cat! I really and truly developed a healthy respect for Mr. McCarthy after seeing him interviewed. Of course, with Oprah, even though she has the interview of a lifetime, she makes it all about her, interrupting, the mic’d “Uh-Huh’ agreements that MUST be thrown in to affirm her knowledge of any and all subjects, even though was talking about Physics. Oprah is just…Oprah. She needs the attention. We all do but sometimes you just have to know when to let the other person have the floor.

He’s a very peculiar person-a very odd but intellectual man, I believe. He spends a great deal of his time at the Santa Fe Institute in Arizona. It’s here that many great minds get together to contemplate different thoughts, different philosophies, and different ways to approach things. McCarthy says that he likes coming to the Sante Fe Institute because there are a lot of bright people there who have a lot of bright things to say. My God if I could for just a week…anyway, I digress! It is here that Mr. McCarthy fits in perfectly. Further along in the interview, he talks about his main goal in life – not working. He simply doesn’t want to work and he has spent his whole life working toward that goal, working at not working. He mentions that he’s no afflicted artist who feels the anguish of his creations, his art. With that said, there’s no affectivity aroused from his art either. He’s just a writer who’s trying to understand his place in the world, as cliché as that sounds. Pulitzer Prize or not, he remains steadfast in who he is, but not so much as to be incapable of changing that mindset.

Last night, it was my mindset that was forced to change. I came to the end of THE ROAD. I must say, this book was truly, truly a great thing- for me, a wonderful experience. Never before have I had the written word bring me to such an emotional state quite like this book. To be honest, I’m not actually sure what it was that did it. The writing style, the structure with which this book was written is foreign to me. Strike that-his style WAS foreign to me but no longer. I’ve actually emulated him a great deal recently in my own writings and in my own different works. Trying to think like him, attempting to write like him, getting inside the head of someone like him has been fairly difficult… but I’m making progress!! 🙂

McCarthy goes on to say that he doesn’t think that interviews are good for your head. Also, when he was a kid he used to write, but when he was a teenager he did not do much of anything. He says that passion is a pretty fancy word. He likes what he does. He thinks that sometimes writing is difficult. You always have the vision of the perfect thing of which you can never achieve. But you never stop trying to achieve it. He thinks you have this interior image of something that is absolutely perfect. He thinks that this is your signpost, your guide. He thinks you will never get there; but without will not get anywhere.

THE ROAD tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world, one without cause and one without solution. It is simply a story about a man and a boy and their journey together. I’ve heard it described as a love story between a man and his son… and I’m good with that. Actually, I’m really good with that. That explanation is very simple but is quite comprehensive in its description. It is a love story-it is about a man-it is about a boy. However, it is so much more than that!

This atmosphere he describes in this novel is putrid, dank, and saturated with rot. The way he describes this landscape is beautiful, descriptive, and poetic. How can that be? How does he do this? I’m not really sure, and if I were, or if one day I were to become sure, perhaps my name will accompany his as a Pulitzer Prize winner. For now, I’m just not sure. He’s just a master of his art and he takes a great deal of pride in the fact that he has no inhibitions, no concerns, and no real care as to whether or not anyone buys his book or even likes it, for that matter. He sat down in front of a typewriter and decided to write a masterpiece… and that’s what he did. Here’s another complement for Mr. McCarthy – I could read this book again. For no other reason than the wondrous way in which it was written, I could indeed read this book again.

Each page meticulously describes an unfamiliar, and truly dark world in a complex and detailed way, yet remains quite straightforward in delivery and unmistakable in the depiction of what the characters encounter throughout their journey. And that’s what this was, a journey, a trip through time, an exposé of another man’s mind delineated on paper revealing a great affection and patience, not only for the characters but for their miserable surroundings, as well.

THE ROAD, by Cormac McCarthy is one of those books that forces you to put it down with but a few chapters remaining. If you are a true lover of books and stories, you understand this frame of mind, what kind of book does this and why. If you are not someone who can allow themselves to become entranced by the thoughts and words of another person, then let me explain-

You do not want the story to end!!

Great book! This was one of those stories; this was one of those books. I still hate the fact that so many great stories force me to say goodbye – say farewell to the enchanting characters, to the mesmeric worlds in which they live, and to my own bewitched state, a mindset that produces great joy but one which starts the fading away process the moment the final page flips from right to left.
great joy but still one which begins to fade away as the final page flips from right to left.






All good things MUST…

JERUSALEM — Three-century-old manuscripts by Isaac Newton calculating the exact date of the apocalypse, detailing the precise dimensions of the ancient temple in Jerusalem and interpreting passages of the Bible — exhibited this week for the first time — lay bare the little-known religious intensity of a man many consider history’s greatest scientist.
Newton, who died 280 years ago, is known for laying much of the groundwork for modern physics, astronomy, math and optics. But in a new Jerusalem exhibit, he appears as a scholar of deep faith who also found time to write on Jewish law — even penning a few phrases in careful Hebrew letters — and combing the Old Testament’s Book of Daniel for clues about the world’s end.
The documents, purchased by a Jewish scholar at a Sotheby’s auction in London in 1936, have been kept in safes at Israel’s national library in Jerusalem since 1969. Available for decades only to a small number of scholars, they have never before been shown to the public.

In one manuscript from the early 1700s, Newton used the cryptic Book of Daniel to calculate the date for the apocalypse, reaching the conclusion that the world would end no earlier than 2060.
“It may end later, but I see no reason for its ending sooner,” Newton wrote. However, he added, “This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail.”

In another document, Newton interpreted biblical prophecies to mean that the Jews would return to the Holy Land before the world ends. The end of days will see “the ruin of the wicked nations, the end of weeping and of all troubles, the return of the Jews captivity and their setting up a flourishing and everlasting Kingdom,” he posited.
The exhibit also includes treatises on daily practice in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. In one document, Newton discussed the exact dimensions of the temple — its plans mirrored the arrangement of the cosmos, he believed — and sketched it. Another paper contains words in Hebrew, including a sentence taken from the Jewish prayerbook. Yemima Ben-Menahem, one of the exhibit’s curators, said the papers show Newton’s conviction that important knowledge was hiding in ancient texts.
“He believed there was wisdom in the world that got lost. He thought it was coded, and that by studying things like the dimensions of the temple, he could decode it,” she said. The Newton papers, Ben-Menahem said, also complicate the idea that science is diametrically opposed to religion. “These documents show a scientist guided by religious fervor, by a desire to see God’s actions in the world,” she said. The archives of Hebrew University in Jerusalem include a 1940 letter from Albert Einstein to Abraham Shalom Yahuda, the collector who purchased the papers a year earlier. Newton’s religious writings, Einstein wrote, provide “a variety of sketches and ongoing changes that give us a most interesting look into the mental laboratory of this unique thinker.”

Cormac McCarthy takes the long hard ‘ROAD!’

Reclusive novelist talks to Oprah

New York, June 06: Nothing is predictable about Oprah Winfrey’s book picks — except for their sales. Once associated with inspirational narratives such as Jacqueline Mitchard’s “The Deep End of the Ocean,” Winfrey has been increasingly willing to take on the most challenging books and the most challenging writers.Over the past few years, she has recommended novels by Faulkner, Tolstoy and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, even as she advocates diet and self-help books, such as Rhonda Byrne’s million-selling “The Secret,” when not choosing works for her club.On Tuesday, she announced her new club selection: Jeffrey Eugenides’ “Middlesex,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel narrated by a hermaphrodite — someone with both male and female sexual organs — and aired a talk with her previous pick, Cormac McCarthy, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s first ever television interview.

“I am proud to be in the same company as Tolstoy and Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy,” Eugenides said in an interview from his home in Chicago.“The image Oprah Winfrey has had just isn’t true,” said Jonathan Galassi, publisher of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, which released Eugenides’ novel in 2002. “It seems that the club has been going more up market. I think she must have found that readers responded well to those kinds of books.”

The 73-year-old McCarthy has spoken with the press just twice before — both times for print publications — in the past 40 years, but he opened up for Winfrey. The author said he has nothing against the media; he just doesn’t like talking about what he does — a trait Winfrey illustrated with a story about how McCarthy, when he had no money years ago, refused a speaking engagement that would have paid him $2,000.

“You work your side of the street, I’ll work mine,” he said in an interview that was taped at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico.Dressed in a blue work shirt open at the collar and tan slacks, the author looked trim and much younger than his age. He sat slouched in an arm chair and spoke calmly, carefully, in a low, rumbling voice. His answers were thoughtful, even when the questions seemed to make him a bit uncomfortable, as when Winfrey asked whether “The Road” was “a love story to your son.””It was kind of refreshing how he didn’t seem to be aware of the camera, or play to the camera at all, as so-called professional authors do,” Eugenides said.

Known for his rural settings, biblical prose and affinity for bygone worlds, McCarthy said that while typically he doesn’t know where the ideas for his books originate, he can trace “The Road” to a trip he took with his young son to El Paso, Texas, about four years ago.There, standing at the window of a hotel in the middle of the night, his son asleep nearby, he started to imagine what El Paso might look like 50 or 100 years in the future.”I just had this image of these fires up on the hill … and I thought a lot about my little boy,” said McCarthy, whose previous books include “Blood Meridian” and “All the Pretty Horses.”He said he wrote some of his thoughts down and didn’t really think about it again until he was in Ireland a few years later and the novel came to him.”There was a book, and it was about that man and that little boy,” he said.”The Road,” this year’s winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, is about a father and his son as they wander through a barren post-nuclear landscape. It is dedicated to McCarthy’s son, John Francis, and the author acknowledged that he wouldn’t have written it had he not had a son.Having a child as an older man also had its effect on McCarthy.

“It wrenches you up out of your nap and makes you look at things fresh,” he said. “It forces the world on you, and I think it’s a good thing.”Winfrey was clearly fascinated with McCarthy’s life, particularly the time when he was so poor that he once was tossed out of a $40-a-month hotel because he couldn’t pay his bill. He told a story of living in a “shack in Tennessee,” having so little money that he could not afford to buy toothpaste when he ran out, only to discover a free sample of toothpaste in his mailbox. “Just when things were really, really bleak something would happen,” he said. Many authors jump or weep for joy upon receiving the word from Winfrey, publishing’s swiftest and surest path to the top of best seller lists. But McCarthy’s apparent indifference to having hundreds of thousands of new readers baffled and charmed the talk show host. “You are a different kind of author, let me tell you,” she said, chuckling.

I hope so much to be like this man! What an inspiration! He’s got it all – no contact with the press, he can write well, he’s got vision, he expresses himself, and he walks the walk! Good for him! Cormac McCarthy meet Mike McMannes – I think I can be better than he is. Mike McMannes is a better writer than Cormac McCarthy! (You gotta see it – you gotta believe it!)

The Human Being Re-Invented!

Biologists Make Skin Cells Work Like Stem Cells

New York Times

In a surprising advance that could sidestep the ethical debates surrounding stem cell biology, researchers have come much closer to a major goal of regenerative medicine, the conversion of a patient’s cells into specialized tissues that might replace those lost to disease. The advance is an easy-to-use technique for reprogramming a skin cell of a mouse back to the embryonic state. Embryonic cells can be induced in the laboratory to develop into many of the body’s major tissues.

If the technique can be adapted to human cells, researchers could use a patient’s skin cells to generate new heart, liver or kidney cells that might be transplantable and would not be rejected by the patient’s immune system. But scientists say they cannot predict when they can overcome the considerable problems in adapting the method to human cells. The technique, if adaptable to human cells, is much easier to apply than nuclear transfer, would not involve the expensive and controversial use of human eggs, and should avoid all or almost all of the ethical criticism directed at the use of embryonic stem cells.

“From the point of view of moving biomedicine and regenerative medicine faster, this is about as big a deal as you could imagine,” said Irving Weissman, a leading stem cell biologist at Stanford University, who was not involved in the new research.

David Scadden, a stem cell biologist at the Harvard Medical School, said the finding that cells could be reprogrammed with simple biochemical techniques “is truly extraordinary and frankly something most assumed would take a decade to work out.”

Beyond that is the hope of generating cells for therapy. Researchers have learned how to make embryonic cells in the laboratory develop into neurons, heart muscle cells and other tissues. In principle, these might be injected into a patient to replace or supplement the cells of the diseased tissue, without fear of immune rejection. Still, repairing the body with its own cells should in principle be a superior form of medicine to the surgeon’s knife and the oncologists’ poisons. But the first fruit of the new technique will be in figuring out how cells work.

This and other methods will lead to an explosion of information that will “open the door for understanding how cells program and re-program their fate,” Dr. Scadden predicted. If and when applicable to human cells, he said, the four-gene approach “will have profound implications for new biology, regenerative medicine and will change the ethical debate around stem cells.”

From Skin Cells to Stem Cells

Holocaust Diary of 14-Year-Old Dubbed the ‘Polish Anne Frank’ Unveiled

Monday , June 04, 2007

JERUSALEM — The diary of a 14-year-old Jewish girl, dubbed the “Polish Anne Frank,” was unveiled Monday by Israel’s Holocaust museum more than 60 years after the teenager vividly described the world crumbling around her as she came of age in a Jewish ghetto.
“The rope around us is getting tighter and tighter,” Rutka Laskier wrote in 1943, shortly before she was deported to Auschwitz. “I’m turning into an animal waiting to die.”
Within a few months Rutka was dead and, it seemed, her diary lost. But last year, a Polish friend who had saved the notebook finally came forth, exposing a riveting historical document.
“Rutka’s Notebook” is both a daily account of the horrors of the Holocaust in Bedzin, Poland, and a scrapbook detailing the life of a teenager in extraordinary circumstances. The 60-page memoir includes innocent adolescent banter, concerns and first loves — combined with a cold analysis of the fate of European Jewry.
Some 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis during World War II, after European Jews were herded into ghettos, banned from most jobs and forced to wear yellow stars to identify them.
“I simply can’t believe that one day I will be allowed to leave this house without the yellow star. Or even that this war will end one day. If this happens I will probably lose my mind from joy,” she wrote on Feb. 5, 1943. “The little faith I used to have has been completely shattered. If God existed, He would have certainly not permitted that human beings be thrown alive into furnaces, and the heads of little toddlers be smashed with gun butts or shoved into sacks and gassed to death.”

The following day she opened her entry with a heated description of her hatred toward her Nazi tormentors. But then, in an effortless transition, she described her crush on a boy named Janek and the anticipation of a first kiss. “I think my womanhood has awoken in me. That means, yesterday when I was taking a bath and the water stroked my body, I longed for someone’s hands to stroke me,” she wrote. “I didn’t know what it was, I have never had such sensations until now.” Later that day, she shifted back to her harsh reality, describing how she watched as a Nazi soldier tore a Jewish baby away from his mother and killed him with his bare hands.
The diary chronicles Rutka’s life from January to April 1943. She shared it with her friend Stanislawa Sapinska, who she met after Rutka’s family moved into a home owned by Sapinska’s family, which had been confiscated by the Nazis to be included in the Bedzin ghetto. Sapinska came to inspect the house and the girls — one Jewish, one Christian — formed a deep bond.
When Rutka feared she would not survive, she told her friend about the diary. Sapinska offered to hide it in the basement under the floorboards. After the war, she returned to reclaim it.
“She wanted me to save the diary,” Sapinska, now in her 80s, recalled Monday. “She said ‘I don’t know if I will survive, but I want the diary to live on, so that everyone will know what happened to the Jews.'”
Sapinska stashed the diary in her home library for more than 60 years. She said it was a precious memento and thought it to be too private to share with others. Only at the behest of her young nephew did she agree to hand it over last year. “He convinced me that it was an important historical artifact,” she said in Polish. In 1943, Rutka was the same age as Anne Frank, the Dutch teenager whose Holocaust diary has become one of the most widely read books in the world. Yad Vashem said Rutka’s newly discovered diary was authenticated by experts and Holocaust survivors. Rutka’s father, Yaakov, was the family’s only survivor. He died in 1986. But unlike Anne Frank’s father, he kept his painful past inside. After the war, he moved to Israel, where he started a new family. His Israeli daughter, Zahava Sherz, said her father never spoke of his other children, and the diary introduced her to the long-lost family she never knew.
“I was struck by this deep connection to Rutka,” said Sherz, 57. “I was an only child, and now I suddenly have an older sister. This black hole was suddenly filled, and I immediately fell in love with her.”
“I have a feeling that I am writing for the last time,” Rutka wrote on Feb. 20, 1943, as Nazi soldiers began gathering Jews outside her home for deportation. “I wish it would end already! This torment; this is hell. I try to escape from these thoughts of the next day, but they keep haunting me like nagging flies. If only I could say, it’s over, you only die once … but I can’t, because despite all these atrocities, I want to live, and wait for the following day.”

However, Rutka would write again. Her last entry was dated April 24, 1943, and her last written words were: “I’m very bored. The entire day I’m walking around the room. I have nothing to do.”
In August, she and her family were sent to Auschwitz, where she is believed to have been killed upon arrival.

"No Friend of Mine?"

Michael Jackson: new song surfaces!
‘No Friend Of Mine’ appears on the internet

A new Michael Jackson song has surfaced on the internet.The song, ‘No Friend Of Mine (Gangsta)’, is available on DJ Tempamental’s Myspace.The track also features Fugees member Pras.It is the first new material that has appeared from Jackson since since 2001’s ‘Invincible’ album.It was rumoured that Jackson has been working on tracks with Black Eyed Peas member, but this has not been confirmed.


An amateur scientist caught the footage this past Saturday.EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — Here she comes! In what Loch Ness Monster watchers say is among the finest footage ever taken of the elusive mythical creature, ‘Nessie’ returns – and the whole world is watching!

Much like an overgrown, sea-faring Greta Garbo, Nessie has always been a lady to shy away from public scrutiny, even though she is an emblem AND a true tourist draw. But if Nessie was more of a talker, I’m sure she would’ve found irresistable the TWO WORDS used by Michael Jordan upon his return to the NBA after toiling around baseball’s minor leagues.

“I’m Back!”

Reputed to swim beneath the waters of Scotland’s most mysterious lake, Nessie has re-emerged from the depths of the Loch. (Watch the ‘monster’ footage ) “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this jet black thing, about 45-feet (15 meters) long, moving fairly fast in the water,” said Gordon Holmes, the 55-year-old a lab technician from Shipley, Yorkshire, who took the video this past Saturday. He said it moved at about 6 mph (10 kph) and kept a fairly straight course.
“My initial thought is it could be a very big eel, they have serpent-like features and they may explain all the sightings in Loch Ness over the years.” Loch Ness is surrounded by myth and mystery, as it is the largest and deepest inland expanse of water in Britain. About 750 feet (230 meters) to the bottom, it’s even deeper than the North Sea.

Nessie watcher and marine biologist Adrian Shine of the Loch Ness 2000 center in Drumnadrochit, on the shores of the lake, viewed the video and hopes to properly analyze it in the coming months. “I see myself as a skeptical interpreter of what happens in the loch, but I do keep an open mind about these things and there is no doubt this is some of the best footage I have seen,” Shine said. He said the video is particularly useful because Holmes panned back to get the background shore into the shot. That means it was less likely to be a fake and provided geographical bearings allowing one to calculate how big the creature was and how fast it was traveling. While many sightings can be attributed to a drop of the local whisky, legends of Scottish monsters date back to one of the founders of the Christian church in Scotland, St. Columba, who wrote of them in about 565 A.D. More recently, there have been more than 4,000 purported Nessie sightings since she was first caught on camera by a surgeon on vacation in the 1930s.

Story Highlights

  • An amateur scientist has captured new video footage of the Loch Ness Monster
  • “Nessie” was first captured on video in the 1930s
  • There have been more than 4,000 purported sightings since then!

Since then, the faithful have speculated whether it is a completely unknown species, a sturgeon — even though they have not been native to Scotland’s waters for many years — or even a last surviving dinosaur. Shine doubts that last explanation. “There are a number of possible explanations to the sightings in the loch. It could be some biological creature, it could just be the waves of the loch or it could be some psychological phenomenon in as much as we see what we want to see,” he said. The Scottish media is skeptical of Nessie stories but Holmes’ footage is of such good quality that even the normally reticent BBC Scotland aired the video on its main news program on Tuesday.

Click below for video:


Humble’s future bright, Mayor says!

Humble Mayor Donnie McMannes told Rotarians the city has a bright financial future.
McMannes, who won re-election on May 12, said the city’s property tax rates are much lower than surrounding cities, and only Houston and Pasadena have better sales tax revenues.
The city collected about $10.7 million in sales tax last year and this year’s revenues are already up by about $500,000, McMannes said. “People are in our office continually wanting to be in Humble,” he said.

Although developers ask about creating new residential subdivisions in Humble, they also want the city to approve municipal utility districts within the city. These proposals have not met with approval from City Council, McMannes said.
Perk for senior citizensSenior citizens are in an especially good situation in Humble, the mayor said, because once they reach age 65 they pay a reduced rate for water and sewer service. Humble is working on $30 million in capital improvement projects that includes a new municipal court building, street and road improvements and sewer plant improvements, said McMannes.
The new municipal court building is essential because of the overcrowding in the existing court facility on the second floor of the police department building, he said. The city’s inspection and permit divisions will move into one of the existing buildings adjacent to the new court facility.
“We’re doing all this without raising our taxes,” McMannes said.
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