The Invisible Belt Invisibelt        
No more unflattering bulge from bulky belt buckles! This flat, undetectable and adjustable belt instantly gives you a sleeker, slimmer look.

I saw this on the MSN homepage. It is a clear plastic belt, similar to lingerie straps, which has a flat hook instead of a buckle. It holds up your jeans or pants, but doesn't make that "buckle bump" which shows under tops worn untucked.

No more unflattering bulge from bulky belt buckles! This flat, undetectable and adjustable belt instantly gives you a sleeker, slimmer look!

You know when you buy a pair of jeans that are just a little too big on the waist? Running to the tailor is a major time and money drain, and wearing an ordinary belt (ugh, that bulky buckle!) won't work either.

Think about it, do you really want to put your favorite fitted top over the dreaded buckle bulge? We didn't -- so we invented the Invisibelt -- a smooth, undetectable belt with a flat clasp.

Nicknamed the No Buckle Belt by its fans, the Invisibelt will help you look slim, finished and fabulous all day. It's genius! An ideal functional, fashion accessory with adjustable plastic belt with a flat clasp belt instead of a belt buckle. Plastic band, width is 7/8 inches. Naked is clear; Noir is black (a sexy patent sheen)

One woman received the invisibelt in the mail a few days ago. She decided to give it a tough few days' wear before she reported it either way.

So far it seemed to be doing a good job. It comes with instructions on how to adjust its length that makes it sound like it could be easily be stretched if pulled the wrong way, but so far it seemed to be holding up well. The clasp is plastic but easy to use, and it isn't bumpy at all.
Oliver Allen
http://invisibelt.blogspot.com/
          1994        

From: "scrittore della domenica" <scritdom72@unimi.it>
To: "lorenzo" <Lrnz73@unipi.it>
Date sent: Mon, 14 Feb 1994 12:09:05
Subject: Eccomi

Mannaggia a te! Che c'era di male nelle lettere cartacee? Signornò. "Dai, mandami un'e-mail! E' facile, divertente, vedrai!". - Intanto ho dovuto iscrivermi al laboratorio d'informatica di questa cavolo di università, dove bisogna fare domanda in carta bollata anche per un caffè al bar. Poi, io il computer manco lo so usare. A quest'ora dovrei essere in sala studio a preparare l'esame di diritto privato comparato (capirai); invece sto qua ad arrovellarmi con tastiera e mouse.

Va beh. Ti scrivo per questo: devi assolutamente registrarmi un po' di cassette di musica rock. Hai presente? Quella che tu hai sempre detto che io la snobbo. Specialmente, quanto più progressive anni '70 riesci a procurarmi. Non so, gli Yes, i Genesis, i King Crimson, quella roba là. E poi il grunge. Non i Nirvana, ché onestamente non li reggo: Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden. E magari della musica da discoteca, però di un certo livello. E ci sarebbe un pezzo di un gruppo inglese che mi ossessiona, si chiama... ce l'ho sulla punta della lingua. Basta, appena mi ricordo il titolo te lo dico.

No, non sono impazzito. E' che ho conosciuto una ragazza molto simpatica che ha questi gusti musicali. Anche molto bella, a dire la verità. Anzi, la sola cosa che le vorrei dire è proprio questa: che la trovo bellissima. Ma, tu mi conosci; non c'è verso; se provo ad affrontare l'argomento, ammutolisco senza rimedio. Così mi servono urgentemente altri argomenti di conversazione. Lei studia inglese, e fin qui posso arrangiarmi. L'ho anche accompagnata a lezione, ho studiato i suoi appunti. Sai? Sto diventando, credo, il massimo esperto di T. S. Eliot di tutto il basso Ionio reggino. Quest'estate, se non altro, potrò esibirmi nei locali sul lungomare recitando The Waste Land a memoria.

Ma tutto questo non basta. Prima o poi dovrò trovare il coraggio di invitarla a uscire una sera, che so, ad un concerto, o addirittura (non ridere) a ballare. Perché ho capito che alle matinée in Conservatorio lei non ci viene. Ebbene, è qui che subentri tu. Devi aiutarmi ad andare oltre Beethoven. Ripeto, procurami del rock, perché mi serve come il pane!

Attendo tue notizie, stammi bene.

P.S. Mi sono ricordato il titolo di quella canzone: Creep, dei Radiohead.


From: "scrittore della domenica" <scritdom72@unimi.it>
To: "lorenzo" <Lrnz73@unipi.it>
Date sent: Mon, 21 Mar 1994 15:31:22
Subject: Re: Re: Eccomi

Grandi novità! Abbiamo occupato. Ora la nostra casa dello studente è Pensionato Universitario Occupato Autogestito. L'abbiamo deciso venerdì sera, al termine di un'agitata assemblea sugli ultimi aumenti delle rette e della mensa. Io mi sono aggiudicato la gran parte dei turni di notte in portineria: sia per evitare i turni di pulizia, sia perché mi piace fare le ore piccole e perché durante l'occupazione c'è un bel clima. Si parla, si beve, si fuma tabacco e non solo: effettivamente, non sto studiando granché. Però mi diverto.

Ieri, per esempio, verso la mezzanotte la situazione comprendeva una bottiglia di mirto, uno stereo, sei-sette persone fra cui Alice (la ragazza di cui ti ho parlato nella mia ultima lettera) e me. Il guaio è che dopo un'oretta loro sono usciti, per andare credo in discoteca, mentre io dovevo rimanere per continuare il turno; ma mi hanno lasciato la bottiglia, d'altronde semivuota, e lo stereo. O forse due bottiglie e due sterei, a quel punto non capivo più bene. Sono riuscito, in qualche modo, a togliere la cassetta dei Rage Against The Machine e a mettere su il Lamento d'Arianna di Monteverdi, che in quel momento era anche più adatto.

A proposito: mi hai registrato le cassette che ti ho chiesto? Se scendi anche tu in Calabria per le elezioni, tra una settimana me le puoi dare. Ma l'hai visto quel pagliaccio miliardario? E pensa che magari qualcuno lo voterà anche. Viviamo in un paese meraviglioso.


From: "scrittore della domenica" <scritdom72@unimi.it>
To: "lorenzo" <Lrnz73@unipi.it>
Date sent: Fri, 15 Apr 1994, 16:05:30
Subject: buona notte al secchio

La sai una cosa? Tre anni fa, dopo il diploma, commisi un solo errore.

Allo sportello della stazione chiesi un biglietto per Milano. Sbagliai: avrei dovuto comprare un sola andata per Londra, o per Parigi, o per Berlino.

L'occupazione è finita. L'Ente per il Diritto allo Studio ha promesso che, col nuovo bilancio, ben il 3,75% delle risorse aggiuntive sarà stanziato per porre rimedio ai recenti rincari delle tariffe, compatibilmente con il principio del pareggio contabile.

Insomma: non abbiamo ottenuto un bel niente.

Ho saputo che Alice si è fidanzata. Con uno studente d'ingegneria, milanese da varie generazioni e di ottima famiglia, buon giocatore dilettante di basket. Ha una macchina svedese con doppia alimentazione, benzina verde e gas, perché bisogna proteggere l'ambiente. Un bravissimo ragazzo.

Tutto è perduto. Mentre questa ridicola nazione, consegnatasi ancora volontaria nelle mani di un tirannello squilibrato, si avvia verso il suo triste destino, io ti comunico la mia irrevocabile decisione.

Pongo rimedio al mio errore.

Espatrio.

E basta, con queste e-mail del piffero! Ti farò avere prossimamente il mio nuovo recapito estero.

La sai un'altra cosa? Siamese Dream degli Smashing Pumpkins è molto più noioso della più tediosa sinfonia di Bruckner.


From: "scrittore della domenica" <scritdom72@unimi.it>
To: "lorenzo" <Lrnz73@unipi.it>
Date sent: Tue, 26 Apr 1994 16:28:43
Subject: scherzavo

E niente: all'estero non sono andato.

Ti spiego cos'è successo.

Sai che mi è sempre piaciuto stare sveglio fino a tardi; ultimamente sto esagerando; mi succede spesso di fare l'alba. Da un po' non scendo neanche più in sala studio, per non rischiare d'incontrare Alice. La sera me ne sto tappato in camera, ascoltando Brahms.

Un mio consiglio per i giovani: se abitate in una casa dello studente, cercate di non innamorarvi mai di un'altra persona ospite del pensionato. Soprattutto se non corrisposti.

Bene: domenica notte, mentre studiavo, ho messo su il Tristano. Così, tanto per cambiare. Ma, poco dopo il preludio, ho dovuto spegnere.

Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?


Mi si è annebbiata la vista, e ho scoperto che avevo finito i kleenex. Ho chiuso il libro. Mi sono alzato dalla sedia e sono andato a lavarmi il viso con l'acqua fredda. Poi sono tornato alla scrivania.

Ho acceso il quinto canale della radio (quello che trasmette solo classica). C'era un brano di avanguardia; una cosa che non conoscevo, una specie di collage sonoro sul tipo di Revolution 9 dei Beatles, hai presente? Folle in tumulto, suoni strani, rumori ambientali, nastri in loop, voci umane che declamano sillabe incomprensibili. Un delirio.

Roba forte! Ho attaccato lo spinotto delle cuffie alla radio e mi sono sparato il brano nelle orecchie, chiudendo gli occhi e reclinando indietro la testa. A un certo punto, dal tappeto sonoro ha cominciato a emergere una voce femminile, che sembrava pronunciare un testo coerente. Dapprima si sentiva sullo sfondo, e non si capiva bene cosa dicesse; qualcosa sul Vietnam. Man mano, la voce diventava sempre più forte, più netta, e veniva sempre più in primo piano. Alla fine, con una presenza sonora impressionante, la voce scandiva, anzi no scolpiva, queste parole: "Rimanete qui, e combattete per la vostra dignità di uomini".

"Avete ascoltato: Luigi Nono, Contrappunto dialettico alla mente", ha detto l'annunciatore.

Ho staccato lo spinotto, ho tolto le cuffie e ho spento la radio.

Ho riconsiderato la mia intenzione di espatriare. Ho pensato: ma non l'ho già fatto? Sono già emigrato. E prima di me mio padre, proprio negli anni in cui Nono componeva quel pezzo.

Quante volte ancora voglio fare le valigie?

Possibile che l'unica soluzione sia quella di scappare sempre più lontano?

L'indomani, 25 aprile, sono andato alla manifestazione. Il concentramento era alle due del pomeriggio; ma mi sono svegliato così tardi che non ho potuto neanche fare colazione. Ho preso un caffè al distributore automatico giù in atrio e sono uscito, in direzione porta Venezia.

Era previsto un corteo molto grande. E' stato immenso. Mai vista tanta gente tutta insieme! E che varietà, quanti colori, che musiche, che allegria! Quanta pioggia, anche: veniva giù a secchiate, per tutta la durata della manifestazione.



Io ero in fondo al corteo, e pensa che non sono neppure riuscito a entrare in piazza Duomo, tanto era gremita! Ho svoltato per piazza Fontana, poi per via Larga. Ho vagato per un pezzo; non so chi o cosa mi aspettassi di trovare, a parte qualcosa da mettere sotto i denti, dato che avevo una fame da lupo.

Mi sono ritrovato, non so come, in piazza Sant'Alessandro, vicino alla facoltà di lingue, che naturalmente era chiusa; c'era però un bar-tavola calda miracolosamente aperto; mi ci sono fiondato dentro.

Ero seduto sul mio sgabello, dando le spalle all'ingresso, e divoravo la mia pizzetta, ovviamente pessima come solo a Milano la sanno fare, quando mi è parso di vedere una sorta di variazione nella luce. Come se avesse improvvisamente smesso di piovere e fosse uscito un sole splendente.

Mi giro, e vedo Alice entrare nel locale e raggiungermi.

Era in tenuta da manifestazione: jeans sdruciti, camicia grunge, niente make-up (lei che di solito è così curata). I lunghi capelli biondi inumiditi dalla pioggia, che intanto continuava a scrosciare.

"Ciao", le dico. "Dov'è il tuo fidanzato?"

"Sciocco", mi ha risposto. "Oggi ci sono cose più importanti", ha detto. "C'è mezza casa dello studente qui fuori: abbiamo fatto uno striscione molto figo, lo andiamo ad attaccare al portone dell'I.S.U. Cosa fai qua, solo come un gufo? Vieni anche tu!"

Non me lo sono fatto dire due volte.

E dunque. Fra un mese ho l'esame di diritto sindacale. Materia interessante, sai? Credo che chiederò la tesi.

Per ora rimango qui.

(Racconto già pubblicato su Evulon. Ogni riferimento a fatti, persone, città, eventi, uomini politici, bar e pizzette della realtà è puramente casuale).
          Su "My Favorite Things" di John Coltrane        
Il 16 novembre 1959 debuttava a Broadway The Sound of Music, di Richard Rodgers e Oscar Hammerstein, uno dei musical più popolari di tutti i tempi anche grazie alla versione cinematografica che ne fu tratta nel 1965 (regia di Robert Wise, protagonista Julie Andrews, la versione italiana porta il titolo Tutti insieme appassionatamente).

Una particolare canzone tratta da questo musical ha avuto fortuna immensa. Di My Favorite Things, infatti, si contano centinaia di cover; l'elenco preparato dai redattori di Radio Rai è lungo sedici pagine.

Qui mi occuperò della versione forse più celebre, quella incisa in studio da John Coltrane il 21 ottobre 1960. Per capire quest'ultima, però, è opportuno partire dalla versione originale di Richard Rodgers. In questo articolo mi avvarrò dell'analisi condotta dal massimo studioso di Coltrane, il musicologo Lewis Porter, nella sua fondamentale monografia (Blue Train. La vita e la musica di John Coltrane, traduzione di Adelaide Cioni, Minimum Fax, Roma 2006, pp. 277-80).

La canzone è musicalmente molto semplice. Si tratta di un valzer in mi minore di quattro strofe, A-A-A'-B. Le prime tre strofe hanno la stessa musica, salvo che nella terza strofa, A', dove ci sono otto battute in maggiore. La quarta strofa, B, usa una diversa melodia e finisce in sol maggiore.

Qui di seguito copio il testo della canzone, di Oscar Hammerstein, cui faccio seguire una traduzione, volutamente molto pedestre, che ho preparato grazie all'ausilio del traduttore automatico di Google:



(A) "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

(A) Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

(A') Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

(B) When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad!"

"Gocce di pioggia su rose e baffi di gattini
Bollitori di rame luminosi e caldi guanti di lana
Pacchetti di carta marrone legati con corde
Queste sono alcune delle mie cose preferite

Pony color crema e croccanti struedel di mele
Campanelli e campanelli da slitta e schnitzel con tagliatelle
Le oche selvatiche che volano con la luna sulle ali
Queste sono alcune delle mie cose preferite

Ragazze in abiti bianchi con sciarpe di raso blu
Fiocchi di neve che rimangono sul mio naso e sulle ciglia
Inverni bianchi d'argento che si sciolgono in primavere
Queste sono alcune delle mie cose preferite

Quando il cane morde
Quando l'ape punge
Quando mi sento triste
Non ho che da ricordarmi delle mie cose preferite
E allora non mi sento così male!"

The Sound of Music è ambientato a Salisburgo, fra le due guerre. Richard Rodgers ha naturalmente cercato di tener conto della tradizione musicale austriaca: My Favorite Things, come detto, è un valzer; negli altri brani si sentono riferimenti allo jodler, al laendler, al canto gregoriano, ecc. In un numero c'è anche un singolare omaggio ad Haydn: la canzone So long, farewell è eseguita da un coro di bambini che, uno alla volta, abbandonano il proscenio, finché a cantare rimane una sola bambina, così come, nel finale della Sinfonia degli addii, tutti gli esecutori smettono uno alla volta di suonare facendo concludere la sinfonia da un solo violinista.

Come ci si potrebbe aspettare, il testo di My Favorite Things fa uso di un immaginario prettamente alpino, o comunque nordeuropeo: bollitori per il té, guanti di lana, slitte che corrono sulla neve... Se di questa canzone volessimo realizzare un video-clip animato, seguendo pedissequamente il testo, dovremmo adoperare in prevalenza le tinte chiare, e in particolare il colore bianco, la cui presenza, in corrispondenza della terza strofa (quella con le otto battute in maggiore), diventa quasi ossessiva: abiti bianchi, fiocchi di neve, inverni bianchi... (Nella versione cinematografica quest'aspetto "eurocentrico" della canzone è ancora più sottolineato dal forte accento british di Julie Andrews).

Molti si sono chiesti cosa potesse avere indotto un artista come John Coltrane, che da lì a poco sarebbe diventato un'icona della cultura afro-americana, a musicare una sua versione di questo brano, il quale inizialmente c'entrava così poco con il jazz.

Secondo Lewis Porter, è un errore "dare per scontato che Coltrane trovasse la canzone sciocca e che per questo volesse abbellirla". Al contrario, Coltrane ammirava sinceramente questa canzone e, nella sua versione, la trattò "con rispetto". Il "messaggio" della canzone, "che le cose buone ci aiutano a superare le cattive", è secondo Porter "del tutto sensato e prezioso - per nulla sciocco - è solo che utilizza esempi alla portata di un bambino, perché nel copione la canzone si rivolge a dei bambini".

Qui però l'ottimo Porter ha preso una cantonata. Nel film, è vero, Julie Andrews canta la canzone a dei bambini. Il film, però, è del 1965, quindi è posteriore all'incisione di John Coltrane, che a quell'epoca poteva conoscere solo la versione teatrale di questo musical; e, nella versione teatrale, la protagonista canta My Favorite Things in una delle scene iniziali, che si svolgono in un convento di suore, e non la canta ai bambini, bensì alla Madre Badessa del convento.

Sembra, in realtà, che Coltrane non fosse attratto tanto dal "messaggio" della canzone, quanto invece dalla sua manipolabilità sul piano strettamente musicale. Ecco come si espresse Coltrane in un'intervista: "Questo valzer è fantastico: se lo suoni lento, senti un elemento di gospel che non è per niente sgradevole; se lo suoni veloce, possiede altre innegabili qualità. E' molto interessante scoprire un terreno che si rinnova a seconda dell'impulso che gli dai".

Quindi, si direbbe che il valzer di Rodgers fosse per Coltrane quello che il valzer di Diabelli era stato per il Beethoven dell'op. 120: poco più che un pretesto, un canovaccio utile per imbastire una serie potenzialmente infinita di variazioni che poco o nulla hanno a che fare con il tema originale. E, in verità, Coltrane eseguì in concerto My Favorite Things moltissime volte (secondo Wikipedia, sono state documentate su nastro non meno di 45 esecuzioni), creandone versioni sempre più lontane dalla canzone originale, fino a renderla irriconoscibile.

La versione sull'album si compone di un'introduzione di quattro battute, suonata due volte; viene poi esposto un vamp (breve inciso ritmico, costantemente ripetuto, che è per il jazz quello che nel rock si chiama riff e nella musica barocca si chiama ostinato), cui fanno seguito un primo assolo di Coltrane, un altro assolo di McCoy Tyner al pianoforte, e un assolo finale ancora di Coltrane, per complessivi 14 minuti circa. Nel primo assolo Coltrane esegue le prime due strofe (A) in minore, poi c'è un interludio in maggiore, poi altre due strofe (A) in minore. Gli altri due assoli seguono lo stesso schema, salvo che per la parte finale dell'assolo conclusivo di Coltrane, di cui dirò fra poco.



La prima cosa che si nota all'ascolto è che Coltrane ha spostato molto lontano dall'Europa il baricentro etnico del brano. La ripetizione ossessiva, ipnotica, di un inciso ritmico in tempo dispari; la voce acuta dello strumento a fiato (un sax soprano, fino ad allora poco usato nel jazz); il clima di fissità tonale e il senso del tempo molto dilatato, sono tutti elementi che richiamano la musica orientale. (A me il brano fa venire in mente una danza sufi). Porter nota che Coltrane era appassionato di musica indiana, era un ammiratore di Ravi Shankar, ed era profondamente interessato alla musica folk e modale di tutto il mondo, nonché alle scale pentatoniche (pare che certe volte, nelle sue esercitazioni, eseguisse col sassofono determinate sequenze del Concerto per orchestra di Béla Bartók). Sempre secondo Porter, in My Favorite Things si possono anche scorgere influenze musicali provenienti dall'Africa occidentale.

La cosa per me più sorprendente è che, nella musica originale di questa canzone, Coltrane abbia sentito un "elemento gospel". Per quanto ascolto e riascolto la canzone di Rodgers e Hammerstein, devo confessare che questo elemento gospel non riesco assolutamente a percepirlo. Ma è significativo che, per Coltrane, la canzone avesse qualcosa a che fare con le radici stesse della musica nera americana. Questo forse ci aiuta a far luce su un'altra singolarità della versione di Coltrane.

Abbiamo detto che la versione coltraniana di My Favorite Things è basata sulla strofa A della musica originale. Che fine ha fatto la strofa B, quella il cui testo contiene, secondo Porter, il "messaggio" della canzone e che si conclude in modo maggiore?

Alla fine del suo assolo conclusivo, Coltrane esegue anche la strofa B, senza apportare particolari variazioni alla musica. Però la esegue in mi minore, dandole, secondo Porter, "un effetto più pensoso, riflessivo".

Il testo originale della strofa B fa riferimento ad api che pungono e a cani che mordono, per delineare scherzosamente una situazione da "giornata storta", in cui le cose, chissà perché, non vanno per il verso giusto. Ma questa situazione si supera (dice la canzone) richiamando alla mente le piccole cose belle della vita. Se si fa in questo modo, l'atteggiamento cambia e ci si accorge che non si sta poi così male. La canzone si chiude così, trionfalmente, in sol maggiore.

Qui, però, è meglio fare ricorso alla bella traduzione ritmica di Antonio Amurri (quella utilizzata nella versione italiana del film), che ha colto al meglio il senso di questa strofa:



"Se son triste, infelice, e non so il perché,
io penso alle cose che amo di più
e torna il seren per me!"

Immaginiamo ora di sentire queste parole sovrapposte al mi minore del sax di John Coltrane, nelle battute finali del suo secondo assolo (a partire dal minuto 12'33''). L'effetto è di un'ironia indefinibile, profonda, pungente, tristemente consapevole. Uno speciale tipo di sarcasmo, composto e controllatissimo, ma inequivocabile.

Per me (e sottolineo: per me) in questo minuto e dodici secondi di musica c'è l'essenza stessa del jazz. Ogni volta che l'ascolto, mi commuovo.

Provo a spiegarmi meglio.

Il cantante e chitarrista Huddie W. Leadbetter (1885-1949), uno fra i musicisti più influenti della musica nera americana del secolo ventesimo, tentò una volta di definire a parole quel particolare complesso psicologico che porta il nome di blues. Possiamo leggere le sue parole come una specie di negativo fotografico della canzone di Rodgers e Hammerstein:

"Quando la notte sei sdraiato nel letto, e ti giri da una parte e dall'altra senza riuscire a prendere sonno, non c'è niente da fare. I blues si sono impadroniti di te... Quando ti svegli al mattino, ti siedi sulla sponda del letto, e puoi avere vicino a te padre e madre, sorella e fratello, il tuo ragazzo o la tua ragazza, ma non hai voglia di parlargli... Non ti hanno fatto niente, e tu non hai fatto niente a loro, ma che cosa importa? I blues si sono impadroniti di te".

Così commenta Arrigo Polillo nel suo classico Jazz. La vicenda e i protagonisti della musica afro-americana (Mondadori, Milano 2009, p. 43): "Avere i blues è qualcosa di diverso dall'essere triste dell'uomo bianco. E' essere afflitti da un tedio esistenziale, da una malinconia greve che non lascia spazio alle fantasticherie, vuol dire autocommiserazione, rassegnazione, vuol dire disperazione sorda, grigiore, miseria. E' una poesia fondata sulle cose di tutti i giorni, su personaggi familiari, visti in una luce realistica, con occhio disincantato. Non c'è, né ci vuol essere, nel blues, trasfigurazione lirica, che è un lusso da bianchi; non c'è dramma, perché il dramma è fatto di ombre ma anche di luci. C'è invece la consapevolezza di una tragedia in atto, che non finirà mai. Il blues singer non canta la vita, ma il non morire, parla sempre di ciò che non ha e che non avrà mai".

Ecco il senso del mi minore con cui si conclude My Favorite Things di John Coltrane. Non c'è consolazione, e non c'è neanche protesta. E' la constatazione oggettiva di una situazione fondamentalmente tragica. Il "messaggio" della canzone di Rodgers e Hammerstein è sovvertito. Vista in questa luce, non solo la canzone, ma la stessa cultura (musicale e non solo) cui essa fa riferimento, viene radicalmente messa in questione.
          '..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention .. Financial politicians..' (no replies)        
'..If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention..'

'This Fed has already engineered the next crisis, just as Greenspan kept rates too low for too long, ignored his regulatory responsibility, and engineered the housing bubble and subprime crisis. If you can’t see this next crisis coming, you’re not paying the right kind of attention. The Trump Fed is going to have to deal with that crisis, but we still have many questions as to what a Trump Fed will actually look like or do.'

John Mauldin (Source, Jun 25, 2017)


'..Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

'Powerful people everywhere routinely make decisions that hurt others. We see it in central bankers, politicians, corporate CEOs, religious groups, universities – any large organization. The old saying is right: Power really does corrupt. And corruption is a barrier to sustainable economic growth. This is more than a political problem; it has a serious economic impact.

Recent psychological research suggests that powerful people behave remarkably like traumatic brain injury victims. Controlled experiments show that, given power over others, people often become impulsive and less sensitive to risk. Most important, test subjects often lose empathy, that is, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

..

Powerful people also lose a capacity called “mirroring.” When we observe other people doing something, our brains react as if we were doing the same thing. It’s why, when you watch a sporting event, you may unconsciously mimic a golf swing or the referee’s hand signals. Some portion of your brain thinks you are really there. But when researchers prime test subjects with powerful feelings, their mirroring capacity decreases.

You can see why this is a problem. The Protected-class members of the Federal Open Market Committee must feel quite powerful when they gather in that fancy room to make policy decisions. It’s no wonder they forget how their decisions will affect regular working-class people: Their empathy circuits get turned off.'

- Patrick Watson, The Wedge Goes Deeper, June 30, 2017


'..I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest..'

'Re-entering the news flow was a jolt, and not in a good way. Looking with fresh eyes at the economic numbers and central bankers’ statements convinced me that we will soon be in deep trouble. I now feel that it's highly likely we will face a major financial crisis, if not later this year, then by the end of 2018 at the latest. Just a few months ago, I thought we could avoid a crisis and muddle through. Now I think we’re past that point. The key decision-makers have (1) done nothing, (2) done the wrong thing, or (3) done the right thing too late.

Having realized this, I’m adjusting my research efforts. I believe a major crisis is coming. The questions now are, how severe will it be, and how will we get through it? With the election of President Trump and a Republican Congress, your naïve analyst was hopeful that we would get significant tax reform, in addition to reform of a healthcare system that is simply devastating to so many people and small businesses. I thought maybe we’d see this administration cutting through some bureaucratic red tape quickly. With such reforms in mind I was hopeful we could avoid a recession even if a crisis developed in China or Europe.

..

One news item I didn’t miss on St. Thomas – and rather wish I had – was Janet Yellen’s reassurance regarding the likelihood of another financial crisis. Here is the full quote.

Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? You know probably that would be going too far, but I do think we’re much safer, and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be. [emphasis added]

I disagree with almost every word in those two sentences, but my belief is less important than Chair Yellen’s. If she really believes this, then she is oblivious to major instabilities that still riddle the financial system. That’s not good.

..

Financial politicians (which is what central bankers really are) have a long history of saying the wrong things at the wrong time. Far worse, they simply fail to tell the truth. Former Eurogroup leader Jean-Claude Juncker admitted as much: “When it becomes serious, you have to lie,” he said in the throes of Europe’s 2011 debt crisis.'

- John Mauldin, Prepare for Turbulence, July 9, 2017


'..Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

'This week marks the five-year anniversary of Draghi’s “whatever it takes.” I remember the summer of 2012 as if it were yesterday. From the Bubble analysis perspective, it was a Critical Juncture – for financial markets and risk perceptions, for policy and for the global economy. Italian 10-year yields hit 6.60% on July 24, 2012. On that same day, Spain saw yields surge to 7.62%. Italian banks were in freefall, while European bank stocks (STOXX600) were rapidly approaching 2009 lows. Having risen above 55 in 2011, Deutsche Bank traded at 23.23 on July 25, 2012.

It was my view at the time that the “European” crisis posed a clear and immediate threat to the global financial system. A crisis of confidence in Italian debt (and Spanish and “periphery” debt) risked a crisis of confidence in European banks – and a loss of confidence in European finance risked dismantling the euro monetary regime.

Derivatives markets were in the crosshairs back in 2012. A crisis of confidence in European debt and the euro would surely have tested the derivatives marketplace to the limits. Moreover, with the big European banks having evolved into dominant players in derivatives trading (taking share from U.S. counterparts after the mortgage crisis), counter-party issues were at the brink of becoming a serious global market problem. It’s as well worth mentioning that European banks were major providers of finance for emerging markets.

From the global government finance Bubble perspective, Draghi’s “whatever it takes” was a seminal development. The Bernanke Fed employed QE measures during the 2008 financial crisis to accommodate deleveraging and stabilize dislocated markets. Mario Draghi leapfrogged (helicopter) Bernanke, turning to open-ended QE and other extreme measures to preserve euro monetary integration. No longer would QE be viewed as a temporary crisis management tool. And just completely disregard traditional monetary axiom that central banks should operate as lender of last resort in the event of temporary illiquidity – but must avoid propping up the insolvent. “Whatever it takes” advocates covert bailouts for whomever and whatever a small group of central bankers chooses – illiquid, insolvent, irredeemable or otherwise. Now five years after the first utterance of “whatever it takes,” the Draghi ECB is still pumping out enormous amounts of “money” on a monthly basis (buying sovereigns and corporates) with rates near zero.

..

Thinking back five years, U.S. markets at the time were incredibly complacent. The risk of crisis in Europe was downplayed: Policymakers had it all under control. Sometime later, the Financial Times - in a fascinating behind-the-scenes exposé - confirmed the gravity of the situation and how frazzled European leaders were at the brink of losing control. Yet central bankers, once again, saved the day – further solidifying their superhero status.

I’m convinced five years of “whatever it takes” took the global government finance Bubble deeper into perilous uncharted territory. Certainly, markets are more complacent than ever, believing central bankers are fully committed to prolonging indefinitely the securities bull market. Meanwhile, leverage, speculative excess and trend-following flows have had an additional five years to accumulate. Market distortions – including valuations, deeply embedded complacency, and Trillions of perceived safe securities – have become only further detached from reality. And the longer all this unstable finance flows freely into the real economy, the deeper the structural maladjustment.'

- Doug Noland, Five Years of Whatever It Takes, July 29, 2017


'..This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.'

'While I've written about numerous valuation measures over time, the most reliable ones share a common feature: they focus on identifying "sufficient statistics" for the very, very long-term stream of cash flows that stocks can be expected to deliver into the hands of investors over time. On that front, revenues are typically more robust "sufficient statistics" than current or year-ahead earnings. See Exhaustion Gaps and the Fear of Missing Out for a table showing the relative reliability of a variety of measures. In April 2007, I estimated that an appropriate valuation for the S&P 500 stood about 850, roughly -40% lower than prevailing levels. By the October peak, the prospective market loss to normal valuation had increased to about -46%. As it happened, the subsequent collapse of the housing bubble took the S&P 500 about -55% lower. In late-October 2008, as the market plunge crossed below historically reliable valuation norms, I observed that the S&P 500 had become undervalued on our measures.

Again attempting to “stimulate” the economy from the recession that followed, the Federal Reserve cut short-term interest rates to zero in recent years, provoking yet another episode of yield-seeking speculation, where yield-starved investors created demand for virtually every class of securities, in the hope of achieving returns in excess of zero. Meanwhile, Wall Street, suffering from what J.K. Galbraith once called the “extreme brevity of the financial memory,” convinced itself yet again that the whole episode was built on something more solid than quotes on a screen and blotches of ink on paper..

..

..greater real economic activity was never the likely outcome of all this quantitative easing (indeed, one can show that the path of the economy since the crisis has not been materially different than what one could have projected using wholly non-monetary variables). Rather, Ben Bernanke, in his self-appointed role as Mad Hatter, was convinced that offensively hypervalued financial markets - that encourage the speculative misallocation of capital, imply dismal expected future returns, and create temporary paper profits that ultimately collapse - somehow represent a greater and more desirable form of “wealth” compared with reasonably-valued financial markets that offer attractive expected returns and help to soundly allocate capital. Believing that wealth is embodied by the price of a security rather than its future stream of cash flows, QE has created a world of hypervaluation, zero prospective future returns, and massive downside risks across nearly every conventional asset class.

And so, the Fed created such an enormous pool of zero interest bank reserves that investors would feel pressure to chase stocks, junk debt, anything to get rid of these yield-free hot potatoes. That didn’t stimulate more real, productive investment; it just created more investors who were frustrated with zero returns, because someone had to hold that base money, and in aggregate, all of them had to hold over $4 trillion of the stuff at every moment in time.

When you look objectively at what the Fed actually did, should be obvious how its actions encouraged this bubble. Every time someone would get rid of zero-interest base money by buying a riskier security, the seller would get the base money, and the cycle would continue until every asset was priced to deliver future returns near zero. We’re now at the point where junk yields are among the lowest in history, stock market valuations are so extreme that we estimate zero or negative S&P 500 average annual nominal total returns over the coming 10-12 year horizon, and our estimate of 12-year prospective total returns on a conventional mix of 60% stocks, 30% Treasury bonds, and 10% Treasury bills has never been lower (about 1% annually here). This whole episode is likely to end so badly that future children will learn about it in school and shake their heads in wonder at the rank stupidity of it all, just like many of us did when we learned about the Dutch Tulip mania.

Examine all risk exposures, consider your investment horizon and risk-tolerance carefully, commit to the flexibility toward greater market exposure at points where a material retreat in valuations is joined by early improvement in market action (even if the news happens to be very negative at that point), fasten your protective gear, and expect a little bit of whiplash. Remember that the “catalysts” often become evident after prices move, not before. The completion of this market cycle may or may not be immediate, but with the median stock at easily the most extreme price/revenue ratio in history, and a run-of-the-mill outcome now being market loss on the order of -60%, the contrast between recent stability and likely future volatility could hardly be more striking.'

- John P. Hussman, Ph.D., Hot Potatoes and Dutch Tulips, July 31, 2017


Context

(2017) - '..a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929 .. the stage has now been set..'

(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..'

'..the Next 30 Years: “Everything is Deflationary”..'

          (2017) - '..a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929 .. the stage has now been set..' (no replies)        
'..But after a decade of unprecedented expansion of government debt and central bank Credit, the stage has now been set for a more systemic 1929-like financial dislocation.'

'June 27 – Reuters (William Schomberg, Marc Jones, Jason Lange and Lindsay Dunsmuir): “U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Tuesday that she does not believe that there will be another financial crisis for at least as long as she lives, thanks largely to reforms of the banking system since the 2007-09 crash. ‘Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis?’ Yellen said… ‘You know probably that would be going too far but I do think we're much safer and I hope that it will not be in our lifetimes and I don't believe it will be,’ she said.”

While headlines somewhat paraphrased Yellen’s actual comment, “We Will not see Another Crisis in Our Lifetime” is reminiscent of Irving Fisher’s “permanent plateau” just weeks before the great crash of 1929. While on the subject, I never bought into the popular comparison between 2008 and 1929 – and the related notion of 2008 as “the 100-year flood”. The 2008/09 crisis was for the most part a private debt crisis associated with the bursting of a Bubble in mortgage Credit – not dissimilar to previous serial global crises, only larger and somewhat more systemic. It was not, however, a deeply systemic debt crisis akin to the aftermath of 1929, which was characterized by a crisis of confidence in the banking system, the markets and finance more generally, along with a loss of faith in government policy and institutions. But after a decade of unprecedented expansion of government debt and central bank Credit, the stage has now been set for a more systemic 1929-like financial dislocation.

As such, it’s ironic that the Fed has branded the banking system cured and so well capitalized that bankers can now boost dividends, buybacks and, presumably, risk-taking. As conventional central bank thinking goes, a well-capitalized banking system provides a powerful buffer for thwarting the winds of financial crisis. Chair Yellen, apparently, surveys current bank capital levels and extrapolates to systemic stability. Yet the next crisis lurks not with the banks but within the securities and derivatives markets: too much leverage and too much “money” employed in trend-following trading strategies. Too much hedging, speculating and leveraging in derivatives. Market misperceptions and distortions on an epic scale.

Compared to 2008, the leveraged speculating community and the ETF complex are significantly larger and potentially perilous. The derivatives markets are these days acutely more vulnerable to liquidity issues and dislocation. Never have global markets been so dominated by trend-following strategies. It’s a serious issue that asset market performance – stocks, bond, corporate Credit, EM, real estate, etc. – have all become so tightly correlated. There are huge vulnerabilities associated with various markets having become so highly synchronized on a global basis. And in the grand scheme of grossly inflated global securities, asset and derivatives markets, the scope of available bank capital is trivial.

I realize that, at this late stage of the great bull market, such a question sounds hopelessly disconnected. Yet, when markets reverse sharply lower and The Crowd suddenly moves to de-risk, who is left to take the other side of what has become One Gargantuan “Trade”? We’re all familiar with the pat response: “Central banks. They’ll have no choice.” Okay, but I’m more interested in the timing and circumstances.

Central bankers are now signaling their desire to proceed with normalization, along with noting concerns for elevated asset prices. As such, I suspect they will be somewhat more circumspect going forward when it comes to backstopping the markets - than, say, back in 2013 with Bernanke’s “flash crash” or with the China scare of early-2016. Perhaps this might help to explain why the VIX spiked above 15 during Thursday afternoon trading. Even corporate debt markets showed a flash of vulnerability this week.'

- Doug Noland, Weekly Commentary: The Road to Normalization, July 1, 2017


Context (Banking Reform - English/Dutch) '..a truly stable financial and monetary system for the twenty-first century..'

'Unsound Finance gets to the heart of the issue.'

'..Like monetarists, Keynes held no capital theory .. the role time plays..' - Jesús Huerta de Soto

'..Loose financial conditions and record debt issuance..'


'..investors’ fear of missing out is looking increasingly desperate..'

'..a giant passive 'beta' bubble .. This may be the Mother of all beta bubbles..'

'..The same combination prevailed at the 1929, 1972, 1987, 2000, and 2007 market peaks..'


(Banking Reform - Monetary Reform) - '..debt is our biggest security threat..'

          Three days in Berlin (or improving the pim user experience)        

KDE Project:

Last weekend I've met with some of our old timer KDEPIM developers and some of the newer ones who are interested in KDEPIM or related technologies in the KDAB offices in Berlin.
Being a KDAB employee for a few years already (wow, time is passing quickly), the place was familiar, the people looked familiar. The foosball table was slightly familiar, although some players changed their dresses in order to spread confusion inside the visitor's heads. That is the only reason we've lost against locals with 5-0, 5-0.
Suprisingly enough, the table wasn't used that much. Why? Because people were busy either working and talking. What they talked about I don't know too much, as I focused on some issues I planned to fix, but others can testify that Volker did not sit too much in front of his computers, but was dragged from one place to another for various discussions.
Most of us started on Friday around noon. I won't tell too much about what others did, that is mostly their problem. Especially if they were on the other side of the room and I didn't saw their screens, I can't tell if they worked at all or not. They looked like they did though. ;) I can share some things about what some sitting nearby did. See later.
As recently I became the de-facto maintainer and bugfixer for mail filters, I worked mostly on them. Unfortunately the first attempt to fix a bug failed: a bug that bothers me, although it is not the most reported one. It is about mails not being filtered for a while after a resume from hibernation. It is hard to reproduce, and although I run into it, I couldn't reproduce reliably enough and in a way I can debug it. After fighting with it and realising it won't work, I gave up. See you next time.
Meantime we had some excellent food in an Indian restaurant, then when finally everybody arrived (almost everybody to be honest, plus even some more from KDAB who didn't sign up, but show up there), we were ready to start with presenting the kdepim and Akonadi architecture. Old time pimsters Volker Krause, Kevin Krammer and Tobias Koenig helped me with it, and sometimes saved me, as my knowledge in some area proved to be superficial. We ended up with a pretty impressive drawing on the whiteboard:
Hopefully for those being on site it was understandable.

Time passed, so we went out for dinner to a Greek restaurant at the corner. Nice place, third time being there, good food (seems Berlin has only good eating places). We even saw how Germany won over Ireland. Too bad Steveire (Stephen Kelly) was not there... We continued with some more talks and hacking, then everybody went to their sleeping places.
Some left earlier, some later waiting for remote developers to show up and discuss the patches (he didn't show up).

Day 2
Next day started around 9 o'clock for some. Later for others. I continued with the filter debugging and fixing. I looked at the bugreports and tried to come up with some bugs that are both would help the users and myself. I'm selfish, I want to fix the bugs I run into. ;) One problem that bothered me for a long time is that email content from online IMAP is downloaded even if no filter for IMAP requires it (but a filter for e.g POP3 needs the full content). Now this is fixed and those who use online imap could notice a great speedup in mail syncing (depending on their filter setup). Another often reported issue was duplicating the mails, especially after spam filtering. You've ended up with a mail in the spam folder and a mail in the original place. This could be combined with a conflict dialog shown up as well for that mail. This problem actually revealed a not-well handled case down inside the Akonadi stack that was created by a reordering of filter commands in the filtering code. For those who want technical details: if there was a move action (like "move mail to spam folder") followed by a modify action (like "mark as read"), the filter reordered this to "mark as read" followed by a move. Unfortunately this exposed two problems, (mostly, but not only) IMAP specific: on IMAP you can't modify a mail, instead you create a new one and delete the old. What happened here is that a filter changed the mail (run through bogofilter/spamassasin), then the "mark as read" action was executed, which uploaded the changes, including the changed mail to the IMAP server. This caused a new ID for the item on the IMAP server. The mail with the old ID was deleted. Then the filter agent performed a move, but he had only the *old* ID, before the modifications. The move - if performed between two different resources, like IMAP and local maildir - is technically a copy followed by a delete. The copy worked fine, but the delete didn't. It tried to delete the old mail again (which was gone), not the modified version. That's how you ended up with a duplicate.
The current solution is to reorder the filtering pipeline, so the move is performed before the flag modifications. The extra benefit is that the filtered message is not uploaded again just to be deleted the next second. Speedup, less network traffic, better user experience. This doesn't fix the main problem with Akonadi, but it is an acceptable workaround. The reordering is so far only in the master branch (KDE 4.10), but the relevant code will be backported to the 4.9 branch, so it will be in 4.9.3.
And speaking of conflicts, that was the next hot topic, and one of the often reported bugs. It was mostly caused by conflicting flag changes (read/spam/important/etc), either caused by KMail itself plus the filtering or just KMail. After some discussion we agreed, that reporting conflicts on flag changes doesn't make sense, so we should not bother the user. It is not data loss, and in worst case some flag is reset. In normal case nothing wrong happens, as Akonadi is able to merge two changes in the flags (or so claims Volker).
I have to admit that this fix was not completed at the sprint, I finished it today, as I noticed more code in KDEPIM that didn't disable conflict check on flag changes.
While doing the changes, I did quite some refactoring, cleaning up the code as much as I could do for the parts I touched. The code was originally deep inside KMail (as most of other code), got extracted from it for 4.8.0, and now we are at the stage that we can make the extracted code more cleaner, we can remove some things that doesn't make sense anymore now that the filtering is not inside KMail.
While reading the bug reports, I also run into one indicating that mails arriving to an MBOX account (like /var/spool/mail/username) are not filtered automatically. Sounds like an easy bug to fix and so was it. Now they are filtered.
Finally another annoying issue was fixed: there was no indication that filtering is ongoing. Now when this happens, you can see in the KMail's progress bar.
The net result of the above: faster filtering, less annoying and useless error dialogs for the users. And according to bugzilla, 31 bugs less (some were duplicates though).

Nepomuk...one of the things that, well, so far I was always recommending for users to turn off. Slight detour here: what is Nepomuk and its relation to KMail? Nepomuk helps you to find data. It indexes all kind of data and with some queries you can find e.g every file where my name is mentioned, all email addresses from any file, etc. There is a process that goes through the akonadi data (emails, calendars, etc) and "feeds" to it for Nepomuk to be indexed. Then there are queries and code in KMail accessing Nepomuk: getting email addresses for composer's autocompletion, searching inside mail bodies, tagging your emails with custom tags, etc.
Unfortunately there are problems around it. One is that some queries ae processed quite slowly, that in turn slows down KMail, leading to poor user experience. E.g switching between mails, sending mails, etc. is slow. Or startup is slow or even blocked. I tried to fix the last part as I just run into it, but as this was my very first Nepomuk related patch, I'm not sure 100% succeeded. We found a problem with the Nepomuk API itself, and I informed Vishesh, the Nepomuk developer about it (even if I used non-blocking calls against Nepomuk, one call is blocking without question). He suggested something I might try later, although I'd be more happier if somebody with real Nepomuk knowledge could give a review of the pim Nepomuk usage.
Then there is the Akonadi feeder, that gives the data to Nepomuk. Something is not perfect there and the indexing causes a serious slowdown, where either itself or Nepomuk (actually its storage backend, virtuoso) starts to use the CPU *a lot*. This is the main reason I recommend to users to disable Nepomuk so far. We had Christian Mollekopf the author of the feeder in the sprint, and he worked on some optimizations. Hopefully this will improve the situation. Meantime we (and I) tried to convince Vishesh to use KMail, so he can see himself the problems our users face.

As a break we had another presentation, this time about KMail itself, what components make up KMail, how they are distributed. As far as I saw, this was less interesting to the audience, they rather looked at their computers and hacked on something. Luckily our KMail maintainer, Laurent Montel, is super active, but I wouldn't mind more contributors. Too bad he wasn't at the sprint.

We had a lunch at a nearby place, nothing extra, but the food was (again) good.

What did other do? Let's see what I can remember... Sune dreamed about crypto stuff and composite jobs. He worked on making some cryptographic code asynchronous and started to get faimiliar with kdepim code. I'd not say he picked up the easiest job.
Volker run around all the time, discussed various things like "spanish sync" with Alex Fiestas (see here), database backends with Martin, change recorder with David Faure (who remotely joined the meeting and got lost inside the change recorder code ... he has the solution now in his head, so be patient, we will end up with a better implementation for it that again speeds up Akonadi), job pipelines with me, and who knows what with others, as for a long time he just disappeared with a bunch of developers. They actually ended up in the lobby discussing "stuff". Milian Wolf, who is not (or not yet?) a KDEPIM developer, but mainly a KDevelop one, joined us and used massif to track down some ugly memory usage in KMail. And he did a good job in it. Previously KMail used more and more memory as you navigated between large folders (Alex mentioned some 2GB for him), while now it levels up at one point and doesn't increase. He might blog himself about, as he has also some nice graphs.
Then there were two guys from KDAB, who are old time pim developers (quiz: find their names in this blog), but they cooked something else, not related to KDEPIM, not related concretely to KDE, but to a lower level: to Qt. It is an amazingly cool stuff, but I don't want to give more details. Expect it to be presented a the Qt Developer Days, either in a talk or at the KDAB booth. Don't worry, I'm pretty sure it will be freely available what they did and KDE can enjoy it in the future.
I'm sorry that I don't remember what the rest did. In general I know that Martin Klapetek worked on the social network resources, Mark Gaiser, who recently started to work on KDEPIM stuff eagerly listened to our presentations and worked on a QML calendar application, Alex kept reporting bugs and discussed improvements with Volker, while John Layt, the "timezone KDE guy" worked on plasma calendar related issues.
As a KDE person Chani also joined us for a while, we quickly nominated her as the QML and Plasma person, so all questions related to them were immediately redirected to Chani. Jos Poortvilet was also supposed to join for some talks, but he could show up only on Sunday for personal reasons.
At the end of the day everybody was so busy, so instead of going out for eating, we just ordered some pizza. And most of us stood in the office well past midnight.

Day 3
Well, the above partially happened on Sunday. It was a shorter day for me, due to the late night standup before, and that I had to go to the airport after lunch. A lunch that wasn't exactly as planned. We went out for a Doner Kebab place that is supposed to be the best one in Berlin. It is just a small kiosk on the sidewalk in a street, but man, there was a big queue for it. On a Sunday! Locals says it is worse on weekdays. Even after almost an hour, we still had 10 persons in front of us, my departure time was approaching, so I gave up and instead bought some (quite good) chinese fast-food from a nearby place, then rushed to the airport.
A long journey awaited me with a 3 hour stopover in Munich, but luckily I had a power supply there and even some network (they offer 30 minutes/day/phone number), so I could continue on the work I started at the sprint. After flying and driving another 2.5 hours, I arrived late (or rather early) morning next day back home, and after sleept until around 10. Then I started to work again for KDAB, a work that is just as enjoyable as working for KDE. After all, the two communities has a serious overlap. ;)
That's from the sprint. If you'll be at the Qt Developer Days Europe, we might meet there. I'm looking forward for a good conference.


          The story of some bugfixes        

KDE Project:

This is the story of how bugfixes can happen. For each bug there is a bug reporter. It doesn't really matter if it is another developer or a non-developer user, as in the end it is just a user. Or does it? Let's see.

The first bug I fixed not so long ago was a line on the chat asking "what's ctrl+shift+l supposed to do in kmail?" from Albert (tsdgeos). Sounded like user support, but turned out that the reason he asked me was that pressing this combination crashed KMail. Of course, I tried and could reproduce it. It was related to Favorite Folders and as nor the reporter, nor I had such folders configured, it was rather straightforward where the problem is. Half an hour ago the bugfix was committed, everybody is happy.

The second was more complicated. There was a long standing report from our KDE expert David Faure that resulted in losing the mail content on move. It wasn't the first time I looked at the code to find the problem, without success. We couldn't even reproduce the bug. Then suddenly a message came on IRC: he could reproduce it again and found a pattern how it happens: it happens if the source mail account (resource) is in offline mode, meaning KMail *might* not have access to the whole mails, only to the cached parts (the mail header). Having this information finding the bug was relatively easy and next day David has the patch. But he wasn't happy: now he got an ugly message box with an error that doesn't mean too much, an error that doesn't tell what is the problem and what could be the solution. So I looked up how this could be fixed. The solution wasn't straightforward, involved changing several pim related components, including adding a new DBUS method that is used to communicated between different Akonadi part, but in the end I had it...only to realize that although I get a nice error now when copying mails, I can't read my mails. Because it gives a DBUS related error. I've added a method returning a string, but from the error it said that it was expecting a string, but got a boolean. Confusing.
Looked at the code, looked again, tried different things: no go. I told to David (knowing that he is an extermly good developer), that here is the code, here is the error, I have no idea what to do.
He looked at, and all seemed fine. It was late, we both called it a night and went to sleep. Of course the problem bothered me, so next day I wanted to give it a go. Guess what, David was also online (this was Saturday), he was also interested in the problem. :) To make the story short, he found the issue: the problem was a setDelayedReply( true ); call I overlooked. That caused basically QDBus to ignore our return value, that must be sent later (and the code sent a boolean there). David did a refactoring, I found a corner case, we both tested, all was fine. After a few final touches, like making the string translatable the patch was ready for review. As David said, it was a nice teamwork.

The last one was the same day at evening: a complaint that KMail cannot move/delete folders from an IMAP inbox. Weird bug, as most of us use IMAP, so this should have been noticed before. I asked for details, I asked for different logs, to try different scenarios. The reporter followed everything I told promptly, and the surroundings of the bug started to take shape. He had an IMAP server without support for ACL (access rights). In that case we should assume everything is fully accessible. And so was everything for him, but the top-level inbox. Having that information, by reading the code I found the faulty line - a line that was weird, and unneeded. The line was introduced because of a bugfix, so I looked up the bug only to find users complained it is still not fixed. No wonder, as the fix was not doing anything about the original problem, but unfortunately created other problems. I have to admit that the API involved is easy to be used in a wrong way, but hard to fix now. For those interested (and to avoid such API), here is the problem:

// Returns the rights the user has on the collection.
Collection::Rights Collection::rights() const
{
CollectionRightsAttribute *attr = attribute();
if ( attr ) {
return attr->rights();
} else {
return AllRights;
}
}


// Sets the @p rights the user has on the collection.
void Collection::setRights( Rights rights )
{
CollectionRightsAttribute *attr = attribute( AddIfMissing );
attr->setRights( rights );
}

And the problematic commit looked like this:

Collection root;
root.setRights( Akonadi::Collection::CanCreateCollection );

You see, by default, a Collection object doesn't have any rights set. If Collection::rights() is called it will return AllRights. What happens after the above setRights() call? The Collection will have now right attributes (CanCreateCollection), so a further Collection::rights() returns that attribute. But *only* that one. Certainly not the behavior one would expect. We can debate that the plural form (setRightS) suggests that, but I still find bad API.
Back to the reporter, luckily the problem could be fixed with the developer tool called "akonadiconsole", so he was happy. Other users will get the fix in the next release.

From the three reporters two were KDE developers. One not having too much knowledge about the PIM part, the other having some knowledge, as he is the one running in the most weird PIM Issues, and we just tell to him to fix his own bugs, while the third was somebody who I never met before, so I assume he is a regular user.

What helped in all cases was communication: giving valuable information (like how to reproduce, what is your configuration, etc) and carefully following the instructions the developer makes. Especially if the developer cannot reproduce it, the only real chance to fix it is that the user acts as the eyes and hands of the developer. If I tell to my hand to type "foo", but it types "bar", nothing good will result in it, as I'd expecet that "foo" was typed and act further accordingly.
So bug reporters, please try to gather as much information from your side as possible when creating a report and always follow the requests a developer makes.

You should not draw a wrong conclusion from the above: that reporting on *development channels* on IRC helps and you should always come there with your bugs. IRC is great for instant communication. It is very bad though as you might not find the right person there when you report.
Use the bugtracker. Wait patiently for feedback (e.g. I work on KDE only from time to time and many others do the same). It is ok to ask about certain bug on IRC, but don't forget to report it. It is also ok, once the developer responds and starts to work on the bug to contact him on IRC (if you know its nick), as communication is faster on it.
Just saying something doesn't work on IRC will also not do any good, unless you are prepared to help track down the issue. And then you will suddenly become part of the team. It is not that hard to be a KDE contributor, no? :)

To answer my first question: does it matter if the reporter is a developer or a user? In certain aspect it does, I couldn't fix the bug (at least not that easy) without David. It might be slightly easier or faster to get out information from a developer. But if the communication is good, it doesn't matter too much.


          WBSSC Interview: A Very Short Guide        
[Please note that our Premium Interview Guidance runs for more than 60 pages in A4 size PDF. GET IT HERE>> Face the WBSSC Interview Board Easily A very short introduction First things first: Have a sound and deep sleep at night. Rise up early and collect the English newspapers like The Statesman or The Telegraph […]
          Why I Sing        
This post was written by guest contributor Yasmin N. Ali. The sounds of violin spun around an increasingly frenzied melody of sitar, tabla and the loud, confident vocals of the lead singer.  He danced and spun around his band mates, all of whom were jumping to the steady beats pouring from the drummer.  The result […]
          Maple Walnut Banana Bread        
My freezer is overflowing with bananas. I adore the fruit, but only at certain moments in their ripening cycle. For me to eat a banana straight up, it has to be slightly green, when it juuust starts to turn into a beautiful greenish-yellow and the peel is easy to open but still lends a nice cracking sound to the...

Read More »


          Sticky Miso Chicken Wings        
I awoke to the sound of chirping birds yesterday morning, which was a surprising and exciting sign that spring is right around the corner. It has been a long and particularly wintery winter this year; we’ve had a highly unusual amount of snowfall in a city that barely gets two inches a year. It’s been a dark, dreary...

Read More »


          This is The Boy!        
Hello fellows in the blog-i-verse. I am filling my end of the bargain about Silas. I chose the name for a few reasons. First, I heard it and I liked it. Second, it is Latin for: Of the Woods, which Old English Sheep dogs are......kinda. Lastly, it sounds cool. The alternative was Seamus. Seamus didn't fit......thus Silas was dubbed so. Well, bed time for the girl, the dog, and the boy. Ciao bellas.

-The Boy

P.S. The Girl is great, just FYI.
          Swinging away in his Hammock        
Well puppy has been picked up from the pound and is doing really well at T's. He plays well with the other animals (they've got a bajillion) and he is sleeping soundly through the night on his hammock. Yes, you heard me right. His hammock. T decided that with all that hair (he has a lot of it, apparently) he would get too hot at night sleeping directly on the floor so she bought him a hammock. This has got me wondering. If she spoils our dog this much, what the heck is it going to be like when we have kids and she's a grandmother? The thought scares me a little.
In any case, at least he's happy. He's had his frontline and a big ol' flea bath, he gets neutered next Thursday and then he comes home to us the Sunday after that. Of course, in the meantime, we have to get a home for him to come to.
The big move is Friday. I work until 5. The boy works till 4. There are no UHauls left in the entire town. This should be fun.
          Skiing to the Music of the World…        
One of the most exciting parts about a ski trip is waking up in the cabin on a morning of a big ski day. There’s the smell of eggs and bacon on the stove, the sound of hurried footsteps echoing across the wood floors, the unspoken nervousness from the rookie skiers, and most importantly, the … Continue reading
          Bloomberg Interview: State Of The U.S. Housing Market 2017         
Despite what others may be saying, the housing market is fine. Some have sounded disappointed with regard to […]
          Swing Fest at the Chattanooga Market        
The big band Sweet Georgia Sound will be featured at Swing Fest on Sunday, June 3rd at the Chattanooga Market . Swing Fest began in 2002 as a celebration of big band music and dance. The Chattanooga Market is setting up a dance floor and invites everyone to come down and dance to the music of Sweet Georgia Sound while shopping for local produce and artisan wares. The Chattanooga Market is open every Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm at the First Tennessee Pavilion on Carter Street. http://archive.org/download/Swingfest2012/Swingfest2012.mp3
          Chris Brisson's 37 Days To Clean Credit        
My site could be banned at any moment.

37 Days To Clean Credit

Yes, I know this sounds crazy ...but
the reason I say is simple:

----------------
THIS INFORMATION COULD BRING THE CREDIT
REPAIR INDUSTRY TO ITS KNEES!
----------------

You can see for yourself here:
Before you go there, you should know this
information is pure gold to the credit repair
companies.

Heck, they make millions doing what you
can for free.

People like you and me deserve this information.
And if the credit repair industry wants to ban
my site, that PROVES that these secrets are the
real deal. (Why else would they want to keep
this information from us?)

Anyway - here's the site that everyone's talking
about. It's not joke. People call me the "good guy"
and *them* the bad guys.

Talk soon,

Chris Brisson

P.S. I really *did* get an email from a credit
repair expert telling me they are going to ban
my site because they don't want the info being
leaked out to folks like us. If you want to see
what all the fuss is about, I'd go to the site
now. It might not be there tomorrow.

Here it is again:

          Comment on Frakkin' Toasters – A BSG Fiasco by Mark        
Curious how I can find a copy of the Fiasco playset - Frakkin' Toasters? Would love to play it as a group of friends have found the joy of this game and your playset sounds great! :)
          Comment on Episode 213- Games Addressing Social and Personal Issues by Todd        
I could try! Which games are you thinking about? Is there one we mentioned that sounded interesting?
          Comment on Episode 204: What We Did On Our Summer Break by Fridrik        
You guys gat so close to ending up in my PodFade pile. I'm so glad you did not. Keep it up guys and galls. I really enjoy the show. What else is one to do on cold arctic nights here in Iceland then warm one self to the soothing sounds of the Jankcast. Also, when you have Timos Viking funeral you have to post pictures. Or he will not make it into podcast Valhalla.
          Comment on JANK 200! by mrm1138        
I am hopelessly behind on my podcasts, so I only just got around to listening to this today. There were two things that struck me about this episode. You'll have to forgive me, though, because I'm not good at remembering the names of the casters and whose voice is whose. First, I must say that the idea of regimented interaction is precisely why I enjoy gaming. I'd always considered myself an introvert, but my wife, who is truly an introvert, has classified me as an extrovert who is just painfully shy. She can't stand to be around people for more than a couple hours and a time and needs to go home and have a lot of downtime to recharge. (She has never gotten into RPGs—as opposed to board games or card games—because the idea of spending several hours being forced to interact with people sounds like a nightmare to her.) I, on the other hand, really enjoy being around people for long periods of time. The only problem is that I have trouble keeping up a conversation unless there's something very definite to talk about, and that's where games come in. Second, when one of the casters mentioned that tabletop roleplaying gamers tend to be a progressive group of people (and that he himself was an activist for a time), I definitely agreed. I am huge into comic books, but one of the reasons I can't stand to listen to comic book podcasts is because the hosts tend to be your typical bigoted fanboys who will go into a nerd rage if a previously straight character comes out of the closet, or a white superhero is replaced by another character of a different skin color* or sex, or anything they perceive as being political correctness being forced into their comics. While the TTRPG community's record certainly isn't spotless—there were some particularly vile comments from TTRP-gamers after Gen Con delivered the press release regarding Indiana's "religious freedom" bill—I don't feel that the bigotry involved is nearly as rampant as it is in the worlds of comics and video games. *See the recent announcement of Miles Morales replacing Peter Parker as Spider-Man in the main Marvel Universe.
          Comment on Episode 195: Franchise Mashup Challenge!!!!!! by Kevin Weiser        
Thanks David! Glad you enjoyed it. I'm assuming you've read Marvel 1602? It sounds like it's right up your alley. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_1602
          Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound        
Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound
author: John Biewen
name: Marisa
average rating: 4.28
book published: 2010
rating: 0
read at:
date added: 2016/09/06
shelves: to-read, for-purchase
review:


          Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production        
Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production
author: Jonathan Kern
name: Marisa
average rating: 4.20
book published: 2008
rating: 0
read at:
date added: 2016/09/06
shelves: for-purchase
review:


          Runaway        
Runaway
author: Alice Munro
name: Marisa
average rating: 4.00
book published: 2004
rating: 4
read at: 2015/03/24
date added: 2015/03/24
shelves:
review:
Alice Munro is my comfort food. I know that can sound strange -- many of her stories deal with loneliness, unfinished business, longing, and quiet moments of reflection. BUT -- I love how true to life they are. I think I find her comforting because she encapsulates a women's experience so beautifully. It is a rare gift to be able to describe the oddities and silence of life with such awe and respect. This is my fourth (at least?!) foray into her works and I am so happy to know there are more books out there for me to read!

          Allure of the ‘cat fight’: Sex, sex ... and maybe more          
There are a few primal sounds known to cause the heads of men to whirl and their eyes to alight with interest: the crack of bat on ball, the hiss of meat on flame and the simple, clarion shout of “Girl fight!”
          Be skeptical of these 6 healthy-sounding phrases        

While you're grocery shopping, your B.S. detector should go off when you see these six seemingly healthy phrases. In this Oct. 15, 2009, file photo, Kolleen Irwin and her daughter Ariel, 3, shop for groceries at a Target store in Philadelphia. With help from Ilyse Schapiro, M.S., a registered dietitian in private practice in the New York City area, we got the scoop on six suspect phrases you've seen in the supermarket.



          New method allows better prostate cancer tests        
Researchers are reporting a new method that could put an end to painful prostate biopsies that miss the tumor. They’ve combined magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, with ultrasound in a way that can guide a skilled doctor right to a prostate tumor.
          Curtis Harding, Japanese Breakfast, and More Music Discoveries        
"It's music to soundtrack a dream or that state right before dreaming and it's a rare song that could be as affecting any time of... Read More
          Cut Copy, Mr. Jukes and More Music Discoveries        
"The song sounds typically melancholy and longing but is actually about finding 'hope in a hopeless situation,' according to the band." This week on the... Read More
          George Ezra, St. Vincent and More Music Discoveries        
"Young musicians and bands can often be some of the most exciting as they navigate their influences and exactly what they want to sound like."... Read More
          Dear Trump Supporters        

If the very text of the Declaration of Indpendence, being read out on the Fourth of July, sounds to you like a propoganda attack against your guy in the White House, then I submit the problem is with your guy in  the White House.  Not with the Declaration of Independence, and not with the people

The post Dear Trump Supporters appeared first on The Hathor Legacy.


          Writing. No sound        
none
          Eating pancake. No sound        
none
          Forty summers ago – July 5, 1977 – grand jury began hearing testimony, piercing, slightly, the ongoing Showalter hit-run cover-up in New London, CT        


Editor’s Note: The Showalter grand jury is noteworthy in that forces for justice – Judge Joseph Dannehy, Special Prosecutor Austin McGuigan and as many as 17 Connecticut State Police detectives – could only knock down some of the walls protecting New London Police, State’s Attorney C. Robert Satti, Asst. State’s Attorney Harold Dean, Judge Angelo Santaniello, former Mayor Harvey Mallove and others who escaped complete discovery. The cover-up continues to this day, highlighted by the suppression and disappearance of the grand jury transcripts.




The foundation for investigative reporting in this case was developed by John Peterson, who was managing editor of The Norwich Bulletin during the grand jury. The grand jury began hearing testimony on July 5, 1977
.








Special Prosecutor McGuigan became Chief State’s Attorney, then was fired after convicting appointees of the governor and many other public officials.

---
Chronology, Grand Juror Report, Follow-up Columns
Via
Law And Justice In Everyday Life, CT Law Tribune


F. Lee Bailey on Law and Justice in Everyday Life and the Showalter case:

This book - which is mainly about public officials, police, judges and lawyers either shaming or shining - is a good read. Many of the stories stand alone, like slices of life. Others will appear early in the book, with follow-up chapters later. The crown jewel, in my view, is his handling of the strange death of Kevin Showalter, who was slammed 50 feet down the road in New London, Connecticut on Christmas Eve 1973 while changing a tire on the traffic side of a parked car. For many years, Andy Thibault dogged a case which public officials seemed determined to let die, despite the presence of a likely suspect. He tells me his mentor, John Peterson, broke the case open and then handed over the torch. Joined by the victim's mother, Lucille, who revealed herself as a determined but delightful woman as the story unfolds, Andy beats up on police, prosecutors, judges and governors until finally there is action. Spurred on by an appointment hastened by Gov. Ella Grasso, Judge Joseph Dannehy conducted one of the most brilliant and thorough investigations I have ever seen. If this book were only about the Showalter case, it would be worth the price.

APPENDIX

THE SHOWALTER CHRONOLOGY – A FOUR YEAR SEARCH FOR JUSTICE


New London, Ct.

1973

December 24

Approximately 11:10 to 11:20 p.m. Kevin B. Showalter is killed. Car leaves scene. Only taillights observed by a neighbor.

There is much confusion. Mr. Showalter had been changing a tire on his companion’s car. His companion Debra Emilyta, was sitting about six feet away from the car on a stone wall.

Ms. Emilyta told police she heard a thud, but did not see the car which struck Mr. Showalter. She said she ran across the road, a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue near Plant Street, before seeing Mr. Showalter’s body.

Mr. Showalter’s body was thrown 22 feet from the believed point of impact, onto a sidewalk near a large tree. The police report prepared that night noted the deceased’s shoes were found 110 feet apart. Part of a leg bone was found 75 feet away.

Michael Buscetto of Mike’s Auto Body gives police body putty, apparently from the car which struck Mr. Showalter. The putty never made it to the police station. Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko later denies its existence.

December 25

Autopsy performed. No trace of alcohol or drugs found. Cause of death listed as lacerated liver and broken neck.

In efforts to console Mrs. Showalter, friends, neighbors, witnesses and officials volunteer information about the accident. She quietly listens for about six weeks, taking it for granted that police are acting on the same information. December 26

New London police begin full-scale search for red car.

1974

February 6

FBI report describes paint particles on Mr. Showalter’s clothing as “racing green” or “forest green” used on 1968 Chrysler products.

February 7

Mrs. Showalter notes she had the impression local police were not actively pursuing the case. She began interviewing those persons who came to her voluntarily and made a written record of her findings.

During the next three weeks, Mrs. Showalter spends much of her time making telephone calls and knocking on doors. She and her youngest son Craig, then 14, visited a number of local auto dealers and garages. She said in most cases they were told police had not made any inquiries of them.

February 28

New London police conduct first interview with Harvey N. Mallove, the downtown merchant and former mayor and city councilor. Mallove stated he drove by Pequot Avenue near Plant Street shortly before 11:15 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1973. Seven people near the accident scene contradict what he said he saw.

April 20

Mrs. Showalter writes to State’s Atty. Edmund J. O’Brien, requesting a one-man grand jury investigation into her son’s death. O’Brien never responds.

On the same day, Atty. Thomas Bishop, representing Mrs. Showalter as the administratix of Mr. Showalter’s estate, asks Atty. Joseph Moukawsher to conduct a coroner’s inquest of the hit-run death.

April 23

Moukawsher agrees to conduct inquest but must confer with New London police before setting date.

June 4

Mrs. Showalter writes to New London Police Chief John J. Crowley, asking for a progress report on the investigation by his force. Crowley neither acknowledges receipt of letter nor responds. Copies of letter were sent to City Manager C. Francis Driscoll, and Abraham Kirshenbaum, then chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

June 10

Mrs. Showalter asks Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello to call for a grand jury investigation.

June 24

Santaniello notes Moukawsher has agreed to conduct coroner’s inquest. He tells Mrs. Showalter, “If it appears that during any stage of this proceeding that any further intercession is necessary, appropriate action will be taken at that time.”

July 2

Mrs. Showalter writes to City Manager C. Francis Driscoll, asking for a report from his office assessing the police department’s handling of the case. She also asks for a reply to her June 4 letter to Police Chief Crowley.

July 9

Driscoll tells Crowley to prepare a complete report for Mrs. Showalter.

July 10

Bucko completes report on fatal accident.

July 25

Driscoll sends Mrs. Showalter Bucko’s report. The report said Mr. Showalter’s body was in the road, but the ambulance crew which took Mr. Showalter to Lawrence Memorial Hospital said they found him on the sidewalk several feet away. No police officer ever saw the body at the scene since the first officer arrived as the body was being placed in the ambulance.

Bucko says paint particles from a 1968 Plymouth at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton are similar to those found on Mr. Showalter’s clothing, but the same paint is used on any 1968 Chrysler product.

Bucko also says a piece of metal Mrs. Showalter found near the accident scene is in the detective bureau. When Mrs. Showalter first offered the metal to police, they refused to sign a receipt for it.

August 6

Mrs. Showalter writes to Driscoll regarding Bucko’s report. She lists six pages of comments on allegedly “serious omissions” and “strictly opinion judgments” by Bucko.

Mrs. Showalter also writes to Chief State’s Atty. Joseph Gormley, asking him to send a representative to the coroner’s inquest. She includes copies of correspondence with local officials and Bucko’s report.

August 9

Mrs. Showalter requests a meeting with the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

August 15

Bucko updates report, at request of city manager Driscoll.

Bucko said of the body location, “the position he (Mr. Showalter) was found in at the scene of the accident, in my opinion, would not help in solving this matter.” Erroneous on the report is the position of the car jack which is shown on the front bumper. The car Mr. Showalter was working on, a Ford Pinto, had to be jacked from the side of the vehicle.

Omitted from the report is the location of a car mat seen to the rear of the car and the spare tire Mr. Showalter never got to put on the car.

August 20

Gormley writes to Mrs. Showalter, telling her the local police investigation “has proceeded smoothly,” and there is “no reason for this office to initiate its own investigation.”

August 28

The Public Safety Committee of the New London City Council meets in closed session for one hour to discuss the hit-run death. Chief Crowley requested the closed session. He said there is evidence that could jeopardize future action.

Mrs. Showalter submitted a 12-page statement for the meeting, but did not attend.

Crowley said the case is not closed and it appears an arrest may be made.

August 31

Mallove submits official statement to New London police.

November, 1974

After being postponed several times, the coroner’s inquest hears testimony from 50 persons. No findings issued.

1975

January 24

A state police detective participating in the federal grand jury probe of the city police department has told one of its patrolmen they identified the driver of the car which struck and killed Mr. Showalter on Christmas Eve, 1973.

“We know who killed the Showalter kid, how come you don’t?” the detective was quoted in The Norwich Bulletin as saying.

March 19-22

The Bulletin, in a four-part series, shows:

- Eyewitnesses and what New London police called “near witnesses” drastically differed in their accounts of the accident.

- Microscopic paint particles found on Mr. Showalter’s clothing on which police based their search may not have been left by the vehicle which struck him.

- Evidence entrusted to police officers at the scene has never been seen since.

- A claim by police that it would cost as much as $1,200 to trace vehicles possible involved in the mishap was declared false by the state Motor Vehicle Department.

The Bulletin, when preparing the series of articles, made repeated efforts to discuss the case with police officials but Lt. K.T. Bucko, who headed the case, on the advice of then Police Chief John Crowley, would not.

April 3 State police conduct an extensive door-to-door inquiry in the Pequot Avenue region. State police have been looking into the case as part of a federal grand jury investigation into alleged corruption within the city force.

July 12

The state of Connecticut offers a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the hit-run death of Mr. Showalter. A total of $3,000 is now being offered. Classmates and friends of Mr. Showalter’s have already collected $1,000.

July 21

A community effort by friends and classmates raises the reward to $5,000.

November 8

The transcript of the coroner’s inquest of the hit-run death conducted nearly a year ago has yet to be typed, Coroner Joseph Moukawsher confirms. He said he wants to review the transcript even though he believes his six-day long inquest did not establish any guilt in the case. He said he has not spoken with the court reporter assigned to the case since the early summer.

December 10

Mrs. Showalter writes to State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti, requesting a one-man grand jury investigation. No response.

1976

January 6

Satti refuses to confirm or deny the existence of Mrs. Showalter’s request. Mrs. Showalter has also asked Satti’s office to ascertain the location of recorded tapes made during the coroner’s inquest.

January 9

Mrs. Showalter sends a special delivery letter to Satti asking for a response to the December 10 request. No response.

February 19

In a feature article, also carried statewide by the Associated Press, The Bulletin profiles Mrs. Showalter on page one.

Some public officials regard her as a persistent nuisance, someone to be ignored and sidestepped, but Mrs. Lucille M. Showalter will not breathe easily until they tell her who killed her son, Bulletin reporter Fred Vollono wrote.

“The official comment seems to be there is nothing to it,” Mrs. Showalter said. “It is just the ramblings of a grief-stricken mother. But there are many people who urge me to go on. They say, ‘Lucille, if you stop, then nothing will ever be done.’”

February 23

Mrs. Showalter receives a letter of confession from an inmate at Somers state prison. The inmate said he was plagued by news accounts of the death. Every time he seems to forget the accident, the inmate said, he reads another news story.

April 2

Mrs. Showalter submits a third written request to Satti for a grand-jury probe. No response.

May 6

Common Pleas court Prosecutor Harold Dean quashes the only lead in the two and a half year old investigation, The Norwich Bulletin reports. The lead was the letter of confession written by the inmate at Somers Prison. State police arrested the inmate for harassment of the victim’s mother, Mrs. Showalter, to whom the letter was sent. Dean nolled the case and allowed it to be dismissed despite a prior meeting with state police when the significance of the arrest was discussed.

State police did not believe the letter writer was responsible for the hit-run death, but they thought the letter contained possibly significant information. Dean said he was certain the accused had no knowledge of the case, because he was incarcerated when Mr. Showalter was killed.

August 7 The day following the Bulletin’s report of Dean quashing the lead, Chief State’s Atty. Joseph Gormley says he had “no idea” why the lead “which very well could have led to something,” resulted in a dead end. Two state police officers had met with Gormley to discuss the letter of confession.

August 6

State police list the investigation into the killing of Mr. Showalter as “closed pending further development.” That classification came 31 days after Dean threw the harassment case out of court.

August 30

Mrs. Showalter again asks Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello to call for a one-man grand jury probe.

September 1

Mrs. Showalter publicly renews her efforts to have a one-man grand jury reopen the investigation into the hit-run killing of her son. In a statement sent to 22 media outlets, Mrs. Showalter says she made the appeal in an August 30 letter to Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello. She says she was asking the judge to “make good on a promise” he made to her in June 1974. Santaniello wrote in a June 24, 1974 letter, Superior Court intercession would be possible if the investigation required it.

Santaniello said, “probably the proper person” to approach would be State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti. But Mrs. Showalter said she is ignoring Satti because he failed to respond to her December 1975 letter asking for the grand jury.

September 23

State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti says he needs another three weeks to review information on the killing of Mr. Showalter before deciding whether the investigation should be reopened or shelved.

Satti says he had hoped to have the matter resolved by today, but the sinking of his 35-foot cabin cruiser two weeks ago, an unexpected report of crimes by New London police, and a new trial forced him behind schedule.

November 23

Mrs. Showalter turns to Governor Ella T. Grasso for help.

“I cannot endure this loss of a beloved son in the midst of a governmental system that appears to neither act nor care,” Mrs. Showalter says in a letter to the governor.

Mrs. Showalter says she is skeptical the New London County State’s Attorney’s review of the case will result in the one-man grand jury she has requested. Satti today said he is still reviewing transcripts of the Coroner’s Inquest and refused further comment.

December 21

Just three days before the third anniversary of the killing of Kevin B. Showalter, the state’s chief court administrator orders the city’s only unsolved hit-and-run case reopened.

John P. Cotter signs an order creating a one-man jury to probe the death, renewing hopes that allegations of police bungling and mishandling of the case will be settled.

“I can’t yet believe it,” says Mrs. Showalter, calling the action a “literal miracle.”

Cotter, a justice on the state Supreme Court, selects retired Superior Court Judge Raymond J. Devlin to head the one-man grand jury.

An attorney representing Mrs. Lucille M. Showalter also files a $600,000 lawsuit against the unnamed person(s) responsible for the killing of her son. Atty. Averum J. Sprecher of East Haddam says the suit is aimed at protecting Mrs. Showalter’s rights.

“The action as I have filed it will definitively preserve her rights when the investigative bodies finally determine who killed the boy,” he said. The suit is aimed at heading off fears the state’s statute of limitations might preclude Mrs. Showalter from pursuing civil action if the killer is found.

December 24

Superior Court Judge Joseph F. Dannehy is ordered to replace State Referee Raymond J. Devlin as the one-man grand juror investigating Mr. Showalter’s death. Chief Court Administrator John P. Cotter says Judge Devlin had asked to be taken off the case because he was too busy with other duties, and would be unable to commute from his New Haven office.

1977

January 4

Austin J. McGuigan, the special prosecutor assigned to the one-man grand jury probing the hit-run death of Mr. Showalter promises to pull “all the stops” in his investigation but says he needs help from the public to succeed.

McGuigan has worked for the state for two years as the top investigator of organized crime. He appeals to anyone with information to call him confidentially.

February 8

State Police Commissioner Edward P. Leonard, as part of a last-resort effort, makes a personal appeal to area residents for information about the killing of Mr. Showalter. In a letter to the people who live near the Pequot Avenue site where Mr. Showalter died, Leonard asks for facts – “No matter how insignificant they may appear” – which might shed light on the car, the driver or the accident scene.

Special Prosecutor McGuigan says police “had no suspects.” However, he says if a suspect is found police believe there is sufficient evidence to tie the person to the case.

April 18

Investigators say they feel confident the Showalter case will be solved.

The new optimism comes after a public appeal netted more than 300 leads, new laboratory analysis of existing evidence, and an accounting of each of the more than 10,000 green Chrysler products registered in Eastern Connecticut when Mr. Showalter was killed.

The new evidence means “there is a significant possibility the vehicle in question was not a green Chrysler,” Special Prosecutor Austin McGuigan says. While the investigators will not say what other color the car might have been, the evidence apparently opens new avenues for the investigation. Previously, other theories on who drove the death car, theories which have had some substantiation, were locked into the green Chrysler theory, police acknowledge.

May 10

State police investigators spend two and a half hours recreating and filming the Pequot Avenue death scene where Mr. Showalter was the victim of the hit and run.

May 18

State police again film and re-create death scene.

June 22

The Bulletin reports that one of the most intensive investigations in state police history, the probe into Mr. Showalter’s hit-run death, will be given to a one-man grand jury July 5 in Windham county Superior Court.

Judge Joseph F. Dannehy, the grand juror, imposes a gag order on all investigators assigned to the case. Special Prosecutor McGuigan and 17 state police detectives had gathered evidence for the grand jury.

June 23

More than 50 persons will be subpoenaed and the scope of the probe will be expanded to include subsequent actions connected with the accident, The Bulletin reports.

June 24

Eleven New London police officers, including the top detective involved in the first of three investigations of the hit-run death, have been subpoenaed, The Bulletin reports.

July 5

The grand jury begins behind closed doors with testimony by New London Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko.

Outside, a television camera crew drips with sweat under the glare of a hot summer sun.

Inside it is quiet and cool – almost like any other day. The state police detectives and reporters talk about golf, baseball and other summertime activities. Because of the gag order imposed by Judge Dannehy, they can’t talk about what is most on their minds, what has brought them all together – the unsolved hit-run death of Kevin B. Showalter.

The session lasts about five hours and also includes testimony by Mrs. Showalter and Debra Emilyta, Mr. Showalter’s companion the night he died.

Ms. Emilyta has been sitting on a wall about 6 feet from Mr. Showalter when he was killed. She told police she only heard the 20-year-old Mitchell College student struck, and did not see the car which struck him.

July 6

Witnesses include Michael Buscetto of Mike’s Arco in New London. What he identified as body putty, apparently from the car that struck and killed Mr. Showalter, has never been seen since police officers placed it in an envelope that night, according to sources.

Ms. Emilyta concludes testimony.

Also testifying are Dr. Robert Weller, members of his family, and a friend, who while returning home from church drove past Mr. Showalter as he was changing the tire. They were among the last persons to see Mr. Showalter alive.

Other witnesses include Mrs. Ruth P. Hendel and Mrs. Charles (Shirley Pope) Alloway, her daughter.

On Christmas Eve, 1973, Mrs. Hendel had just turned away from the window of her home on Pequot Avenue where she had been watching Mr. Showalter work on the Emilyta car. She heard the noise of the car striking Mr. Showalter and turning back quickly she caught a glimpse of the taillights. Her first impression of the fleeing southbound car was that it was bright-colored, possibly red.

Mrs. Hendel continued to watch the accident scene as she telephoned Mrs. Alloway, the wife of a New London police officer.

Arthur Adams of New London, a Mitchell College security guard and former state policeman, also testifies. Aside from Ms. Emilyta and the hit-run driver, Adams may have been one of the last persons to see Mr. Showalter alive.

Adams saw Mr. Showalter working on the car and Ms. Emilyta sitting on the stone wall, swinging her legs. He observed the girl with a coat collar wrapped around her head, in conversation with Mr. Showalter, after the Weller party had driven by.

Adams continued on his rounds towards the Montauk Avenue side of the campus. Sometime after 11 p.m., he saw an ambulance heading for the hospital and two police cars heading down Plant Street.

July 7

Some of the last persons who saw Mr. Showalter alive and one of the first who saw him dead testify.

Six members of the Sitty family, who were celebrating Christmas Eve and occasionally watching Mr. Showalter change a tire from inside a house on Pequot Avenue, tell the grand jury what they knew about the case, Edmond Sitty had brought out a blanket and a corduroy coat to put over Mr. Showalter’s body after he had been struck and killed.

A New London High School classmate of Mr. Showalter, Arthur Petrini, was a passenger in a car that passed the accident scene sometime after Mr. Showalter was killed and before the ambulance and police arrived. He also testified.

July 12

Witnesses included two firemen and a dispatcher, two nurses and an orderly, the New London County Medical Examiner, the first man to officially identify Mr. Showalter, and a woman who lives near the accident scene.

Larry Grimes, a security guard who knew Mr. Showalter from Mitchell College, had made the preliminary identification at Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals, where he also worked. Mrs. Dorothy Bryson of Pequot Avenue, who came upon the accident scene, also testifies.

July 13

New London police officers pack the waiting room of the Windham County Courthouse. Of the 11 who were subpoenaed last month, at least seven are present.

The 11 include Patrolmen Vincent McGrath, Steven Colonis, Thomas P. Bowes Jr., and Cpl. Joseph Chiapponne, all of whom were involved in the initial investigation. With the change of shift, Sgt. Joseph Jullarine, Patrolmen Richard West and Glenn Davis and Det. Sgt. Konstanty T. Bucko joined the probe. Bucko was off duty at the time.

McGrath filed the motor vehicle report of the accident and the sketch on the report was by Bowes. Bucko took photographs of the scene and gathered evidence. His photographs may be the only ones taken. Bucko also went to the hospital and got the victim’s clothing, according to sources.

Colonis, the first officer on the scene, apparently arrived as Mr. Showalter was being placed in the ambulance. He interviewed Ms. Emilyta and took her to the station to file a 13-sentence statement.

There is some confusion of whether Colonis drove an unmarked police car that night. Sources say police made conflicting statements on that question.

July 14

Thomas Wainwright, who played tennis with Kevin Showalter at New London High, saw his lifeless body on a sidewalk on Pequot Avenue before an ambulance or police arrived, and is among those testifying today. Arthur Petrini, who testified last week, was a passenger in Wainwright’s car.

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Wainwright, who were stopped by police after circling the scene in another auto, also testify.

At least seven New London police officers are at the courthouse, but it is not known how many are testifying.

July 19

The grand jury shifts beyond reconstructions by “near witnesses,” as Sgt. Joseph Jullarine, now retired, testifies. He was the squad leader who reportedly conducted “an intensive investigation” for a red car during the 11:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. shift on Christmas Day 1973.

July 20

The grand jury investigators spend much of the day alone reviewing physical evidence and testimony. Only three witnesses – New London police who have already appeared during the proceedings – are present.

July 21

Det. Bucko appears for at least the fourth time in the nine days the grand jury has convened. The session begins at 10 a.m. and ends about 5:45 p.m., with his departure.

A nurse’s aide who knelt by Mr. Showalter’s body, feeling for a pulse, also testifies, Sue Costello, who heard the report of an accident as she was leaving Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals in New London from her shift, had arrived on the scene before ambulance personnel and police.

July 26

The scope of the grand jury probe goes beyond Mr. Showlater’s death and runs smack into a crucial area of dispute with the appearance of New London police detective Walter Petchark.

On Christmas Day 1973, with evidence already missing and news of Mr. Showalter’s death on the radio, Petchark reportedly received a call from former mayor Harvey N. Mallove. Mallove later told The Bulletin there was no truth to the report. But he allegedly told Petchark he thought he saw the accident the night before.

Three city police detectives – Bucko, Petchark, and Carmello Fazzina – were present at the inquiry. They were followed by laboratory technicians from the FBI, who lent their expertise in the analysis of headlight glass possibly belonging to the death vehicle.

July 27

The former counsel for the estate of Mr. Showalter testifies. Atty. Thomas Bishop confirms his representation of the estate was severed in June 1974.

Thomas and Donald Wainwright return for further testimony.

July 28

Witnesses include Mrs. S.F. Zimet of Ledyard. Mallove said he was visiting at her home on Christmas Eve 1973, left about 10:45 p.m., and was home in New London about half an hour later.

Mrs. Zimet is accompanied by her attorney, L. Patrick Gray. Gray, like Bishop, is a member of the New London law firm Suissman, Shapiro, Wool, and Brennan.

Other witnesses include New London city Manager C. Francis Driscoll and Elise Mallove, Mallove’s daughter. Miss Mallove was home for her Christmas vacation in 1973.

The grand jury begins a four-week recess. More than 50 persons were called during the first 12 days of the inquiry.

August 30

New London police investigators and a newspaper editor who has followed their unsolved hit-run death case for three years are among the witnesses.

Retired Police Chief John Crowley and Det. Lt. K.T. Bucko, who refused repeated pleas by The Bulletin in March of 1975 to discuss the death of Kevin B. Showalter, gives testimony – as did the paper’s managing editor, John C. Peterson.

Peterson testifies for three hours.

August 31

The attorney who conducted a coroner’s inquest into Mr. Showalter’s death, the results of which have never met public scrutiny, is the first witness today. Atty. Joseph Moukwasher, who heard testimony from 50 witnesses during six days in September and November of 1974, is one of the few persons familiar with the substance of that investigation.

It took more than two years for the transcripts of the hearings to be typed and submitted to State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti.

State Police Sgt. Donald Crouch, who in 1974 and 1975 worked for the federal grand jury investigating alleged corruption in the New London force, also testifies. Other witnesses included Rosemary Benson and Carol James.

September 1

Physical exhibits appear to outnumber witnesses in the 15th day of proceedings. Two state police technicians from the crime lab in Bethany carry satchels concealing evidence into the closed courtroom. One exhibit is a light colored automobile fender, which was dented and streaked.

September 2

Det. Edward Pickett of the New London County State’s Attorney’s office, who helped administer a lie detector test to Ms. Emilyta, testifies. Ms. Emilyta passed the test.

Another detective, private investigator Joe Harris, is also called. A former Waterford police sergeant, he worked on the case for a brief time, on his own.

Other witnesses in a short session include State Police Sgt. Charles Trotter, a principal investigator in the federal grand jury probe of the New London city police.

September 12

Two persons who saw Mr. Showalter on Christmas Eve 1973, hours before he was killed testify.

Ramona Ricci, a coworker of Mr. Showalter’s at a Waterford discotheque, attended one of two parties Mr. Showalter had planned to go to after work that night. Nancy Wicksham, who also testified, had joined friends that holiday evening at the club.

September 18

Mallove says his status as a suspect in the case is “nothing new.” During testimony in a New Jersey courtroom, Connecticut State Police revealed Mallove is a prime suspect in the hit-run case. The testimony concerned refusal by two New Jersey men to comply with a subpoena issued by the one-man grand jury. Trooper Charles Wargat also testified he was told the two men repaired Mallove’s car on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day 1973.

Mallove tells The Bulletin he did not know the men and never had a car repaired at their shop on Reed Street in New London. He says he didn’t kill Mr. Showalter and doesn’t know anything about anybody who did.

September 19

One of the two men who testified with immunity today has said in a published account he has no knowledge of the case and denied any car was repaired in his New London shop on Christmas Eve 1973.

Walter String Jr. made those comments in the New Jersey Courier Post. He and his son, Walter String III, had been ordered to appear today by a New Jersey judge, after refusing to comply with a subpoena.

Among the dozen or so witnesses are New London city police Sgt. Donald Sloan and Cpl. Charles Alloway. They took the first full statement from Ms. Emilyta, five days after the accident.

September 26

Darlene Barnes, a friend of Mr. Showalter who patronized the Waterford discotheque where he worked, is among the witnesses today. Ms. Barnes was also one of the 50 witnesses during the coroner’s inquest of 1974.

October 3

Larry Grimes testifies again. The Mitchell College security guard who made the first identification of Mr. Showalter at Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals, was also at the courthouse on July 12, and Sept. 26.

The grand jury will be in recess until October 17. It has convened 20 times since July 5 and heard about 90 witnesses.

October 11

Judge Dannehy says published reports that Mallove is a prime suspect in the case “couldn’t bother me in the least.”

“They (the newspapers) are free to speculate if they wish,” Dannehy says. “I am not concerned with their claimed right to freedom of expression.

I think that sometimes their attitude is to publish and be damned, but they don’t bother me.”

“Why don’t you wait” for the grand jury report? Dannehy asked.

October 17

The sales manager of a New London auto firm who said he has sold a number of cars to the family of a suspect in the hit-run case testifies.

In 1970, Peter Emmanuel Sr. of New London Motors sold a Lincoln Continental to Harvey N. Mallove, whom state police have identified as a suspect in the Christmas Eve, 1973 death. A compact car was among the other autos the New London firm sold to Mallove.

State police were looking for a green Chrysler product when they first questioned New London motors personnel, Emmanuel said before he testified. But the firm didn’t sell Mallove such a vehicle, which police had believed was the death car, he added.

October 24

The grand jury does not convene today because the investigators were not ready to proceed, Judge Dannehy said. He said he plans to conduct several more sessions before adjourning to write the final report, but did not specify.

November 14

The grand jury meets for its first regular session since October 17 and hears one witness. The witness, Gary Jordan of New London, said he was dating Elise Mallove on Christmas Eve 1973.

Sources say the grand jury conducted at least one special session since October 17, but it was not known who testified.

November 21

State police continue working long and irregular hours probing Mr. Showalter’s death as they re-create the hit-run scene on Pequot Avenue near Plant Street for at least the third time.

November 29

The man whom state police have said they consider a prime suspect in New London’s only unsolved hit-run death has his day in court.

Harvey N. Mallove testifies for about four hours before the secret grand jury probing Mr. Showalter’s death. Atty. Leo J. McNamara accompanies Mallove to the Windham County Courthouse.

Mallove says he was one of a number of persons who drove by the accident scene shortly before or after Mr. Showalter was killed. But a four-part series by The Bulletin in March of 1975 showed Mallove saw a scene that seven other persons said could not have taken place.

Mallove passed the accident scene within a minute or two after an ambulance call was logged. His statement to New London police – dated eight months later – conflicts with accounts of seven persons at the scene or looking out their windows seconds after Mr. Showalter was struck.

Mr. Showalter was struck by a car as he changed a tire on a friend’s parked Ford Pinto, on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue near Plant Street.

In his statement, Mallove said he saw an automobile parked at an angle in front of the Pinto. None of the seven persons saw any car stopped at the scene immediately after the victim was hit according to the July 10, 1974 report by New London Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko.

Mallove’s vivid description of a middle-aged man talking with a girl near the car also conflicts with statements by the seven persons.

In his statement, Mallove said he assumed the man was a member of the police department. But Bucko claims in the July 10 report that Mallove told him the talking to the girl was “NOT” a policeman.

Bucko’s report also claims Mallove learned on Christmas Day 1974 that “a man had been killed and he remarked to some people that he saw the body.” But Bucko continued to report that after Mallove viewed photographs of the scene he realized what he mistook for a body was a floor mat. In his statement, Mallove said he saw a “flat object which I assumed was a blanket or a mat.”

In his August 31, 1974 statement, Mallove said, “Seeing no trouble, accident, or any evidence of anything out of place…I continued on my way home.”

In the July 10, 1974 report, Bucko claims; “Mr. Mallove stated he was going to stop because he realized there had been an accident.”

Mallove has told The Bulletin that Bucko misquoted him.

December 7

The calling of witnesses ends with Mallove’s second appearance.

The proceedings included a film screening, apparently of the death scene as re-created by state police.

After the 35 minute screening, Special Prosecutor McGuigan and Judge Dannehy questioned Mallove for about 40 minutes. That was the bulk of the afternoon session.

The question of whether indictments should be handed down in New London’s only unsolved hit-run death now rests with Judge Dannehy.

After 24 sessions and more than 100 witnesses, Dannehy said the next step for the grand jury is the final report on who killed Kevin B. Saltwater.

1978

Feb. 17 Report filed.

Feb. 22

Report made public.

  • THE DANNEHY REPORT


  • SHOWALTER COVERUP COLUMNS

    Chapter 1

    Law and Justice in Everyday Life

    Cover-Up In New London

    Hit-And-Run Continues To Mock Justice


    Sept. 4, 2000

    If Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney John Bailey wants to bring closure to cold cases, here’s one from New London that should top the list: The Showalter hit-and-run cover-up is a dark chapter in Connecticut history, a tale more appropriate for a Third World country.

    And yet, only one thing bothers former New London County State’s Attorney C. Robert Satti about the Showalter case: that it was investigated at all.

    Satti, now retired, made the point again and again, most recently this year. Satti’s complaint, made during the wake of the late state police Detective George Ryalls, was that Ryalls’ obituary mentioned the suspect the prosecutor refused to pursue in the Showalter probe.

    Kevin B. Showalter, a 20-year-old Mitchell College student, was killed at 11:12 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1973. He was changing a tire on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue on the New London shoreline when he was struck and killed. His girlfriend, sitting only 6 feet away on a stone wall, claims she saw nothing.

    Auto body putty from the death car disappeared after a tow truck driver gave it to New London police. The evidence file that was supposed to contain the putty was stuffed with bathroom tiles. The file that was supposed to contain headlight glass from the death car instead contained glass from three different headlights. State police and others suspected that, in order to throw legitimate investigators off the trail, the late young man's clothing was pounded on a different-colored car than the one that killed him.

    The victim's mother, Lucille M. Showalter, tried to get a grand jury investigation of the cover-up. She was rebuffed repeatedly by the presiding judge, Angelo Santaniello who, it later became clear, was best friends with the leading suspect. Santaniello then referred Showalter to prosecutor Satti, who happened to be his former law partner. Satti refused to acknowledge registered letters from Mrs. Showalter pleading for a grand jury probe.

    Satti did finally meet with Mrs. Showalter in 1978, after Judge Joseph Dannehy of Willimantic, acting as a one-man grand jury, named former New London Mayor Harvey N. Mallove as the probable driver of the hit-run vehicle. Satti called the three-hour meeting, in which he repeatedly told Mrs. Showalter that there never should have been a grand jury investigation under Dannehy.

    Mallove held a good hand; he had the best legal muscle in New London County on his side. New London police would not question him for more than seven months, and then only in a perfunctory manner. They would say they inspected his cars, but they did not. Significantly, Mallove’s Lincoln had been repaired, but it wasn’t until state police took over the case four years after the accident that the fender was finally seized.

    Santaniello would arrange for a coroner’s inquest and put his niece in charge of typing the transcript. Only after two years of intense public pressure would the transcript be typed. But the inquest never issued a finding.

    Santaniello tipped off Mallove that he was a suspect. The judge was also aware of what local police knew about the case. Mrs. Showalter memorialized the admissions in tape-recorded telephone conversations.

    “I did talk to Harvey,” Santaniello told Mrs. Showalter on Oct. 17, 1975, “and I said, `You’re suspected.’ As a matter of fact, at that time a police officer came to him on the same day or the next day, and told him you were making accusations about him and that he was a prime suspect.” The day before, Mallove told Mrs. Showalter, “Judge Santaniello is of the opinion that you fingered me.”

    It was not until 1977 that state police, who took over the case at the behest of former Gov. Ella Grasso, formally named Mallove a suspect. Next week, I'll propose a means to solve the Showalter cover-up.

    Showalter Cover-Up Is New London's Shame

    Sept. 11, 2000

    New London, where I grew up and began working in the 1960s and ‘70s, was a dirty little city with character.

    It had a restaurant called the Hygienic that was everything but. There were at least a couple bars where the cops couldn't do anything, except maybe a little business.

    The top pimp in town never went to jail until he was about 60 and a certain court official retired.

    New London will always be the city that tried to cover up the Christmas Eve 1973 hit-and-run death of Kevin B. Showalter. It's been doing a pretty good job for nearly 27 years, but the onion is beginning to peel.

    The local daily newspaper admitted -- in its official history published this year -- that it did a shoddy job on the Showalter case. Specifically, The Day admitted its failure to explore the relationship between a former mayor and a top judge, and their influence on the course of the criminal investigation. That’s a beginning.

    Political and police corruption goes back a couple generations in New London. By the 1970s, New London police were widely known to be involved in the selling of women, dope and refrigerators, among other things. A federal grand jury took note. But as with the Showalter case, there were these little problems with the evidence.

    A jewelry store owner and former city mayor multi-millionaire Harvey Mallove was the prime suspect in the hit-and-run death of Showalter, a student at Mitchell College. Showalter’s date that night, Christmas Eve 1973, said she saw nothing from her vantage point six feet away, sitting on a stone wall under a streetlight on a residential street as a young man changed the tire of her car.

    Harvey was everybody’s pal. He would take kids to the Super Bowl, then, down the road, get them jobs as cops. He was friends with bums in the street and bums in high political office. He was wired. The standing joke among reporters became: Harvey's a great guy to have a beer with, just don't change your tire if he's driving by.

    “I didn't kill the kid in any way, shape or form,” Harvey told me many times. As mayor, Harvey helped hire a few police chiefs. His best friend was the administrative judge for the county; that was the judge who controlled the early stages of the investigation, specifically a coroner’s inquest that never issued a finding.

    State police followed up a report that Mallove’s best friend, County Administrative Judge Angelo G. Santaniello, was with Mallove on Christmas Eve 1973. Santaniello reportedly was No. 11 on a guest list for a party at the home of his political mentor, the late state Sen. Peter Mariani. The Mariani party was one of two Mallove attended that night.

    Santaniello told reporters he never went out on Christmas Eve.

    Another state judge, Joseph F. Dannehy, conducted two grand jury investigations. In 1978, Dannehy named Mallove as the probable driver of the hit-run vehicle, but said evidence that might have ensured conviction was either mishandled or destroyed.

    Mallove died a few years ago with this legacy. Others still have time to come clean and tell the truth about the cover-up. Mrs. Showalter tried unsuccessfully to have Satti, Santaniello and others prosecuted for hindrance of prosecution (CGS Section 53a-166) warning of impending discovery, providing means of avoiding discovery, preventing discovery by deception. Because a conspiracy to hinder prosecution is an ongoing crime, those with information could tell Chief State's Attorney John Bailey, who has begun an initiative to solve some of the state's cold homicide cases.

    Isn’t it time? No one kept the system honest when it counted, though some tried. Most stood by as the system that was supposed to protect the victim and his family betrayed them all.

    Where is the conscience of the community?

    Cold Case On Ice Forever

    Nov. 6, 2000

    One way to deflect attention from a suspect is to get investigators involved in meaningless, time-consuming tasks. Another way is to create a bogus suspect who is then exposed as such, causing a belief that the case is just too hazy to pursue.

    Both of these devices were used repeatedly in the cover-up of the Showalter hit-run case in New London. Whether this was happenstance, indifference, incompetence or malfeasance, the result was the same. The system failed.

    And now, it seems, the truth will remain buried forever.

    Judge Joseph F. Dannehy, the grand juror who investigated the case, wrote in his finding of fact: “After December 25, 1973, the New London Police Department did virtually nothing to solve the hit-run death of Kevin B. Showalter.” The accident occurred the night before.

    Local police and court officials, however, were pro-active in another sense. Their actions served to protect the assailant.

    For example, New London police claimed it would cost as much as $1,200 to trace vehicles using data from the state Motor Vehicle Department. The motor vehicle department declared there was no such charge.

    Nevertheless, New London police spent their time hand-sorting local motor vehicle cards. They looked for a green Chrysler. That was likely a false lead; state police said paint particles found on the victim's clothing did not come from the car that killed him.

    Former Mayor Harvey Mallove began meeting informally with police and court officials as early as Dec. 25, 1973. Mallove wanted to know what the police knew.

    The only lead after two and a half years was quashed by then New London Common Pleas Court Prosecutor Harold Dean in May 1976. The lead was a letter of confession written by a Somers prison inmate to the victim’s mother, Lucille Showalter.

    “I told Harold how important that was to me,” Mallove, the prime suspect, confided to an associate. He also acknowledged discussing the purported confession with his best friend, the presiding judge for the county, Angelo Santaniello.

    The author of the letter was known to be connected with “fences,” or purveyors of stolen goods in the New London area. State police arrested him for harassment of Mrs. Showalter. Two state troopers met with Dean for an hour. They told him the letter contained possibly significant information. State police also believed they could connect the dots in New London between the letter writer and the powers-that-be. Did he owe some favors? Was he paid? Police knew the author had no liability for the accident; he was actually in Florida at the time of the hit-run.

    Dean nolled and dismissed the case without telling the troopers or Mallove. Soon thereafter, state police listed the killing of Showalter as “closed pending further development.” Upon learning of Dean's action, Chief State's Attorney Joseph Gormley remarked he had “no idea” why the lead, “which very well could have led to something,” resulted in a dead end. The case would remain closed for six months, until Gov. Ella Grasso brought the matter to Justice John Cotter.

    Was there criminal activity connected with the Showalter cover-up? It appears we will never know for certain. Dannehy named Mallove as the probable driver, noting that evidence which might have ensured conviction was destroyed. The Chief State’s Attorney’s Office reviewed aspects of the case this fall after a series of columns appeared in The Law Tribune. However, the statute of limitations for the most likely potential charge, conspiracy to hinder prosecution of motor vehicle misconduct, has expired. This shameful case, it appears, is destined to stay on ice forever.

    - AND:

    Olympic Gold for Missing Evidence


    November 28, 2005

    Judge Ellen Gordon was in way over her head with what she tried pass off as a ruling in Day Publishing v. State's Attorney.

    Clueless Gordon was handed a hot one, a case no one has ever wanted in the so-called New London Judicial District. Every single time this case has come to court, begging for justice, The Robes, the prosecutors and their minions have either desecrated their oaths or looked the other way. Clueless Gordon, fairly new to the scene, has managed to join the list of those who are both ostriches and failures.

    The Day newspaper asked Gordon this year to release the grand jury testimony regarding the cover-up of the 1973 hit-run death of Kevin Showalter. Before Gordon probably ever heard of Showalter, five New London County judges recused themselves from a John Doe civil suit against the driver because they were friends with the prime suspect, Harvey Mallove. Mallove -- the late mayor of New London and multimillionaire jeweler who picked police chiefs, planned to run for Congress and starred in the social scene -- was prone to say, "I never killed the kid -- in any way, shape or form."

    It's not like we could expect a New London judge to show guts or brains in this case. Compelling testimony from the first of two grand juries implicated local law enforcement and court officials in a widespread cover-up.

    On Christmas Eve 1973 at 11:12 p.m., as the call came in, a high-ranking New London officer, said, "F--k him, he's dead," and then left to go home. Showalter, a 20-year-old Mitchell College student, lay dead on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue by the shoreline. His body was thrown 22 feet from the point of impact. His shoes were found 110 feet apart. A leg bone was 75 feet away.

    A tow truck driver gave police auto body putty from the death car. The putty was never seen again. New London police mixed headlight glass from at least three different cars in what they called the evidence file. Replacing the auto body putty was bathroom tile. A local coroner's inquest never issued a finding. State police, who took over the case at the behest of Gov. Ella Grasso, were bewildered and angry when they could not find the transcript of the coroner's inquest. Mallove's best friend -- the presiding judge for the county, Angelo G. Santaniello -- had put his niece in charge of typing that transcript. Santaniello also tipped off Mallove to his status as a suspect.

    Now, Clueless Gordon can't find the 3,000-page transcript of the first grand jury. Does she care? Court clerks allegedly performed a diligent search. Would any reasonable person believe or accept any of this?

    Among the last persons known to possess the grand jury report was the late State's Attorney, C. Robert Satti. Satti, who refused to investigate the case before a special prosecutor was appointed, claimed he returned a copy to the grand juror, then Willimantic Superior Court Judge (later Supreme Court Justice) Joseph Dannehy. Both Dannehy and Satti are dead. Did "Do Nothing Bob" -- Mallove's moniker for Satti -- take it with him? We might as well ask Harvey, also dead, or Kevin.

    Gordon's pathetic decision, dated Nov. 7, went on for about a sentence before its first fatal error. It might sound like a technical error, but it's much, much more than that. She actually said New London police investigated the case.

    Before this, I thought it might take generations to remove the stench from the New London courthouse. Alas, for New London, the stench of this cover-up is forever.


    Find & Open
    the Showalter File

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    http://cooljustice.blogspot.com/
    June 4, 2017









    Editor's Note: This column may be reprinted or re-posted courtesy of The Cool Justice Report http://cooljustice.blogspot.com.

    Connecticut has been a very safe place to avoid arrest and prosecution for failing to report sexual abuse -- especially if you're a teacher or administrator at a prep school.

    That's just part of the picture.

    Suppose you lose your teaching job after being accused of rape. Just don't put that job on your resume. You'll be fine for perhaps a decade or more. It also helps to amend your full name on the resume. Supposed background checks will fail to detect resume gaps and irregularities.

    But what about that mandatory reporting law compelling teachers and administrators to report suspected abuse to the state? No problem. It hasn't been enforced with any great enthusiasm at the preps: No report, no warning for future employers or victims.

    The revelations come after a series of articles by The Boston Globe Spotlight Team and an investigation by the powerhouse law firm Covington & Burling for Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford. The Globe found that abuse victims routinely suffered retaliation at private schools in New England. The schools in turn covered up the abuse. Choate, for example, failed to report abuse incidents prior to 2010.

    A spokeswoman for Connecticut courts told The Cool Justice Report there were just 14 arrests in the state for failing to report sexual abuse from January 2010 through late April 2017. During the same time, there were only four convictions, according to the data provided via the state Judicial Department. One of the convictions was of a day care operator. No additional data was available immediately.

    There is only a one-year statute of limitations for failure to report sexual abuse claims, and that crime is a misdemeanor. Connecticut Deputy Chief State's Attorney Len Boyle said in a statement there are no plans to try to change that, but he noted there is a five-year statute of limitations for a felony charge if prosecutors are able to cite willfulness or other aggravating factors. Willfulness, like intent, carries with it a significant burden of proof.

    "The one-year statute of limitations," Boyle said, "is largely consistent with the limitations periods for all crimes (i.e.: one year for a misdemeanor and five years for a felony). We have not sought to lengthen it. The more egregious cases of failure to report (willfulness, gross negligence, etc.) are felonies and provide a five year limitations period."

    Boyle's office is investigating whether anyone at Choate broke the law by failing to report suspected abuse, The Hartford Courant reported in April.

    Among the 12 teachers accused of abuse in the Choate report, one went on to become a teacher and administrator at several public schools in Connecticut. He was able to avoid detection partly by amending his name and omitting two teaching jobs at private schools -- Choate and The Gunnery, in Washington, CT -- on his resume. The resume, obtained under Connecticut's Freedom of Information law, also shows some overlap for jobs at public schools in Connecticut and New York.

    This teacher / administrator, Jaime E. Rivera, aka Jaime Rivera-Murillo, resigned as principal of Wamogo High School in Litchfield in April. Before that, he was a teacher and assistant principal at Newtown High School for about 11 years. The first teaching job listed on his resume was at Henry Abbot Technical High School in Danbury, beginning in 2001. That leaves a seven-year gap following his graduation from St. Michael's College in Vermont, where he reported earning a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language.

    The Covington & Burling report says Rivera-Murillo was fired after being accused of anally raping one student and grabbing the breast of another during a Choate field trip to Costa Rica in 1999. Rivera, a faculty leader for the trip, denied engaging in sexual misconduct but admitting drinking alcohol including beer with students and "local moonshine" with others.

    Choate did not report the alleged assaults at the time as required by law. The alleged rape victim told the Covington & Burling team that a female administrator admonished students not to discuss what happened.

    The process for vetting resumes at Connecticut public schools like Wamogo and Newtown high schools and Abbot Tech seems to be check the boxes and wave the guy through with barely a pretense of scrutiny. This abysmal failure of diligence and critical thinking should be alarming to students, parents and all taxpayers.

    "He didn't list Choate as a former employer when he applied," Christine Chinni, the lawyer for Regional District 6 which includes Wamogo, told The Boston Globe.

    District 6 Superintendent Edward Drapp, asked about the committee of 12 that reviewed Rivera-Murillo's credentials and the review process, declined to discuss his procedures for background checks. Besides the resume, which he produced after a formal FOI request, Drapp was also asked to provide documents related to that review committee. Here is Drapp's response: "Attached is a copy of Mr. Rivera's resume. This is the only document in the district's possession that meets the criteria of your FOI request. For the remainder of the school year I will be focused on the students and therefore I am not doing any additional interviews or making any other statements on this matter."

    Drapp's response sounds like the result of bad coaching from an inept lawyer. The assertion that there are no documents regarding the review committee is not credible. Are we to believe the review committee never had a meeting?

    The Globe reported in April that the sexual misconduct at Choate occurred from 1963 to 2010 and ranged from intimate kissing to groping and sexual intercourse. The Covington & Burling report cites 12 teachers. Other Globe stories cited more than 100 private schools in New England with more than 300 former students saying they faced sexual abuse or harassment.

    Just last month, The Kent School was sued and accused of failing to report a 49-year-old teacher who had sex with a 15-year-old student in the late 1980s.

    The student claims her advisor scolded her for spreading vicious rumors. Another teacher allegedly told the student she was a sinner for committing adultery. The suit claims the abuse was widely known at the school and that the student was shunned, called "obviously crazy" and blamed for the teacher's breakdown. During a church service the student attended at the school, the suit asserts, Kent staff openly prayed for the teacher's well being. The teacher subsequently got a job at a private school in Indiana.

    Kent School, founded in 1906, charges more than $60,000 annually for tuition, board and fees.

    Rev. Richardson Schell, the headmaster, said in a statement: "We do not know why [the student] has elected to pursue a lawsuit at this time."

    Schell opened the statement by saying he had reviewed the complaint: " ... I am deeply sorry for the wrongful actions of the former Kent teacher who engaged in an inappropriate relationship with this former student ... as the Headmaster of the school then, I responded immediately and to the best of my ability."

    The statement does not address the school's duty to report the alleged abuse in a timely manner.

    Notably, Schell undertook a massive letter writing campaign some years later when he was annoyed by what he called a TV sitcom's "obnoxious, objectionable content." His letter writing campaign netted responses from 17 companies and he also reached out to publications including Advertising Age and Media Week to generate publicity regarding his concerns about popular culture, The New York Times reported.

    Finally, on the national front, The Associated Press reported that a former president of Penn State and two other former university administrators were each sentenced Friday to at least two months in jail for failing to alert authorities to a 2001 allegation against ex-assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, a decision that enabled the now-convicted serial predator to continue molesting boys.

    Thibault, a private investigator for the Hartford office of Integrated Security Services http://www.intesecurity.com/, is the author of a second collection of newspaper columns, “more COOL JUSTICE” http://morecooljustice.com/, credited with helping to free a woman unjustly convicted of first degree murder. His public service includes four years on a local board of education. Follow him on Twitter @cooljustice.









  • The Choate Report










  • Short version of column
    Via Hearst CT dailies


  • Danbury News Times


  • Connecticut Post


  • Norwalk Hour


  • Greenwich Time


  • Stamford Advocate







  • more COOL JUSTICE







  •           Protecting Our Houses of Worship: Guest Column by Security Expert / Retired NYPD Detective Sergeant         

    By ALAN SCHISSEL

    Founder & Chief Executive Officer

  • Integrated Security Services

  • According to the Washington Post, “it’s been a bad 2017 for Jews.” During the month of January, 48 bomb threats were called in to Jewish community centers across the country. Also last month, a neo-Nazi made national news by promising to hold a march in Whitefish, Montana to intimidate the town’s small Jewish population.

    This, of course, was followed by another unprecedented press conference by our President during which two reporters were moved to ask Mr. Trump about the rise in anti-Semitism. Many of us were aghast at the President’s rude and dismissive response, and his unwillingness to address the question seriously. The fact is, the country is experiencing an alarming increase of anti-Semitic incidents, and this has been trending upward since 2015. A security report issued by the Department of Homeland Security on protecting houses of worship stated that the United States has approximately 345,000 religious congregations representing 230 denominational groups and roughly 150 million members. Despite being sanctuaries from the troubles of the world, houses of worship have also been targets as violence has spiked across the country in recent years. The killing of nine people at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina was the largest mass shooting in a house of worship since 1991, when nine people were shot at the Wat Promkunaram Buddhist temple in Waddell, Arizona, northwest of Phoenix.

    [Under relentless pressure, the President subsequently denounced anti-Semitism.]

  • Empathy and action: Muslims unite to help fix vandalized Jewish cemeteries


  • The intent of this column is to generate awareness and provide a short guide which contains security practices for religious institutions, parishioners and our non religious communities to help deter threats, mitigate hazards and risks, and minimize the damage caused by an incident in or around a house of worship, including mass casualty events.

    I preface with the word “short” because there is a wide range of methods from programmatic and procedural considerations to technological enhancements that religious facilities and their leadership may consider implementing based upon the most likely threats to their facilities and their available resources. Basic security principals would suggest taking a blended approach to security and safety with the goal of hardening the facility to deter, detect and/or delay a criminal occurrence before it happens. The next steps are equally important and this is where lives are saved and mass casualties are reduced. Selecting the appropriate response to a threat or armed intrusion will help facilitate a safe transition into an effective recovery and restoration of services mode.

    Identifying Your Threats & Vulnerabilities

    Identifying and evaluating a known or potential threat to a given facility is the first step of a security assessment. The results of which will guide the process of developing a security plan. A proper readiness plan will aim to deter a threat or mitigate a threat by reducing the religious facility’s vulnerability to those threats.

    Natural Hazards vs. Targeted Violence

    As stated before, all life safety solutions should be designed using a blended approach to managing risk. Protecting a religious facility means your emergency management plan(s) must address an all-hazard approach to both natural hazards, e.g., infectious diseases and illnesses, fire, and seismic and weather-related events (hurricanes, tornadoes, flash floods) as well as targeted attacks. Spontaneous and pre-planned attacks are likely to occur by individual(s) who use firearms; improvised explosive devices (IEDs); vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs); chemical, biological, or radiological attacks; or arson in order to inflict a number of casualties and damage to religious facilities.

    Protective Measures

    As previously mentioned earlier, a house of worship environment is managed by creating layers of protective measures in collaboration with state and local partners that allow religious institutions to deter, detect and delay threats. These layers also allow an institution to consider a threat as soon as possible and to more effectively respond to, further deter, eliminate or mitigate that threat.

    • Technological sensors such as CCTV surveillance cameras or alarms (fire, smoke, wind, and intrusion detection) will trigger informed decision-making.

    • Barriers, such as locked doors or fixed barriers or uniform security personnel should be in place to deter or delay a threat and afford more time for effective decision making.

    • Having the correct inbound and outbound communication network in place will influence a number key decisions. Time, or the lack of time, is a principle disrupter of effective decision-making. Sound communication strategies such as emergency email blasts, voice activated alert systems, and silent alert systems help to improve response to and during a crisis. An effective communication protocol should expand the window of time available to leaders to make sound decisions.

    Additional Measures to Consider:

    • Reporting Procedures

    • Establishing Collaborative Planning Teams

    • Starting an Emergency Operations Plan

    • Define Roles and Responsibilities

    • Notification Procedures

    • Evacuation Lockdown and Shelter‐In‐Place Policies and Procedures

    • Plans for Diverse Needs of Children and Staff

    • Necessary Equipment and Supplies

    • Common Vocabulary

    • Emergency Drills

    Call us at (212) 808-4153, or write us to tell what you think or how we can be of more assistance and remember, always dial 911 first in an emergency!







  • Integrated Security Services


  • About Alan Schissel










  • Cool Justice Editor’s Note: By way of disclosure, Cool Justice is an occasional denizen of Integrated’s Hartford office and once in a while even does a little work …

  • more COOL JUSTICE

  • Hartford PI Stars in Network Real-Life Manhunt Show

  •           The future of electricity        
    The future of electricity

    When the future of electricity is discussed, quite a number of thoughts come into mind. Let’s look at a few of such ideas. Electricity will be wireless!
    Wouldn’t it be delightful to see no wires in the house even with an uninterrupted supply of electricity? Will the future see wireless supply of electricity? Apparently, it will, according to industry experts. Last year, a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducted a wireless electricity experiment successfully. This dream has never been far-fetched, and with the success of wireless electricity experiments, this dream will soon come true. So, it is not very far that we will see electrical appliances charging themselves off air!

    Consumers will have complete control!
    Industry experts believe that in future, your power supply will not be dependent on the electricity department but on you. You will have complete control on how you want the power supply to reach your place. You may not be required to pay the mandatory amount when you are vacationing around the world, shutting off the house. Experts see a variety of control options for consumers in the future. Now, whether this future is in the next ten years, or twenty, or a fifty years is not known, but what is known is that the future will see the consumers in control of what they use.

    Electrical energy will be clean!
    Do you know that the remains of electricity production emit enormous amounts of carbon dioxide in the air? The future of electricity is perceived as green and clean. Given the concern for the environment, the electricity in future will make use of renewable sources of energy, leading to a clean environment. Currently, electricity is produced mostly by consuming fuels that are on the verge of being extinct. All things will be electric!
    OK, we have already seen electric cars and electric shavers, what else will the future see? May be, electric shoes! Combs, toothbrushes, watches, glasses, even clothes may become electrical gadgets. If these sound far-fetched ideas, visit the futuristic shops at Akihabara in Japan for a glimpse of the future.

    There will be no outages!
    More than anything, consumers look forward to seeing a future with absolutely no power outages. Alternate power solutions promise to take us into a future that has no power interruptions. With increased dependency on power for everything, consumers need to have an uninterrupted supply of power.

    Make power at home with solar and wind energy to eliminate your power bill. Get our complete guide at www.renewableenergyrescources.com

    Make power at home with solar and wind energy to eliminate your power bill.
    Get our complete guide at
    www.renewableenergyrescources.com


              Hit-and-Run Chronology, Grand Jury Report & Follow-up Columns, Re; Library Discussion 9-22-16        

    Open
    the Showalter File

  • Hartford Courant Editorial




  • Cool Justice Editor's Note:
    This post is primarily for patrons and guests of the Sprague Public Library, who might participate in a discussion on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. A link to announcements of that event is at the very bottom of this post. Thanks for reading, AT.


    Via
    Law And Justice In Everyday Life


    F. Lee Bailey on Law and Justice in Everyday Life and the Showalter case:

    This book - which is mainly about public officials, police, judges and lawyers either shaming or shining - is a good read. Many of the stories stand alone, like slices of life. Others will appear early in the book, with follow-up chapters later. The crown jewel, in my view, is his handling of the strange death of Kevin Showalter, who was slammed 50 feet down the road in New London, Connecticut on Christmas Eve 1973 while changing a tire on the traffic side of a parked car. For many years, Andy Thibault dogged a case which public officials seemed determined to let die, despite the presence of a likely suspect. He tells me his mentor, John Peterson, broke the case open and then handed over the torch. Joined by the victim's mother, Lucille, who revealed herself as a determined but delightful woman as the story unfolds, Andy beats up on police, prosecutors, judges and governors until finally there is action. Spurred on by an appointment hastened by Gov. Ella Grasso, Judge Joseph Dannehy conducted one of the most brilliant and thorough investigations I have ever seen. If this book were only about the Showalter case, it would be worth the price.

    APPENDIX

    THE SHOWALTER CHRONOLOGY – A FOUR YEAR SEARCH FOR JUSTICE


    New London, Ct.

    1973

    December 24

    Approximately 11:10 to 11:20 p.m. Kevin B. Showalter is killed. Car leaves scene. Only taillights observed by a neighbor.

    There is much confusion. Mr. Showalter had been changing a tire on his companion’s car. His companion Debra Emilyta, was sitting about six feet away from the car on a stone wall.

    Ms. Emilyta told police she heard a thud, but did not see the car which struck Mr. Showalter. She said she ran across the road, a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue near Plant Street, before seeing Mr. Showalter’s body.

    Mr. Showalter’s body was thrown 22 feet from the believed point of impact, onto a sidewalk near a large tree. The police report prepared that night noted the deceased’s shoes were found 110 feet apart. Part of a leg bone was found 75 feet away.

    Michael Buscetto of Mike’s Auto Body gives police body putty, apparently from the car which struck Mr. Showalter. The putty never made it to the police station. Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko later denies its existence.

    December 25

    Autopsy performed. No trace of alcohol or drugs found. Cause of death listed as lacerated liver and broken neck.

    In efforts to console Mrs. Showalter, friends, neighbors, witnesses and officials volunteer information about the accident. She quietly listens for about six weeks, taking it for granted that police are acting on the same information. December 26

    New London police begin full-scale search for red car.

    1974

    February 6

    FBI report describes paint particles on Mr. Showalter’s clothing as “racing green” or “forest green” used on 1968 Chrysler products.

    February 7

    Mrs. Showalter notes she had the impression local police were not actively pursuing the case. She began interviewing those persons who came to her voluntarily and made a written record of her findings.

    During the next three weeks, Mrs. Showalter spends much of her time making telephone calls and knocking on doors. She and her youngest son Craig, then 14, visited a number of local auto dealers and garages. She said in most cases they were told police had not made any inquiries of them.

    February 28

    New London police conduct first interview with Harvey N. Mallove, the downtown merchant and former mayor and city councilor. Mallove stated he drove by Pequot Avenue near Plant Street shortly before 11:15 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1973. Seven people near the accident scene contradict what he said he saw.

    April 20

    Mrs. Showalter writes to State’s Atty. Edmund J. O’Brien, requesting a one-man grand jury investigation into her son’s death. O’Brien never responds.

    On the same day, Atty. Thomas Bishop, representing Mrs. Showalter as the administratix of Mr. Showalter’s estate, asks Atty. Joseph Moukawsher to conduct a coroner’s inquest of the hit-run death.

    April 23

    Moukawsher agrees to conduct inquest but must confer with New London police before setting date.

    June 4

    Mrs. Showalter writes to New London Police Chief John J. Crowley, asking for a progress report on the investigation by his force. Crowley neither acknowledges receipt of letter nor responds. Copies of letter were sent to City Manager C. Francis Driscoll, and Abraham Kirshenbaum, then chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

    June 10

    Mrs. Showalter asks Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello to call for a grand jury investigation.

    June 24

    Santaniello notes Moukawsher has agreed to conduct coroner’s inquest. He tells Mrs. Showalter, “If it appears that during any stage of this proceeding that any further intercession is necessary, appropriate action will be taken at that time.”

    July 2

    Mrs. Showalter writes to City Manager C. Francis Driscoll, asking for a report from his office assessing the police department’s handling of the case. She also asks for a reply to her June 4 letter to Police Chief Crowley.

    July 9

    Driscoll tells Crowley to prepare a complete report for Mrs. Showalter.

    July 10

    Bucko completes report on fatal accident.

    July 25

    Driscoll sends Mrs. Showalter Bucko’s report. The report said Mr. Showalter’s body was in the road, but the ambulance crew which took Mr. Showalter to Lawrence Memorial Hospital said they found him on the sidewalk several feet away. No police officer ever saw the body at the scene since the first officer arrived as the body was being placed in the ambulance.

    Bucko says paint particles from a 1968 Plymouth at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton are similar to those found on Mr. Showalter’s clothing, but the same paint is used on any 1968 Chrysler product.

    Bucko also says a piece of metal Mrs. Showalter found near the accident scene is in the detective bureau. When Mrs. Showalter first offered the metal to police, they refused to sign a receipt for it.

    August 6

    Mrs. Showalter writes to Driscoll regarding Bucko’s report. She lists six pages of comments on allegedly “serious omissions” and “strictly opinion judgments” by Bucko.

    Mrs. Showalter also writes to Chief State’s Atty. Joseph Gormley, asking him to send a representative to the coroner’s inquest. She includes copies of correspondence with local officials and Bucko’s report.

    August 9

    Mrs. Showalter requests a meeting with the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

    August 15

    Bucko updates report, at request of city manager Driscoll.

    Bucko said of the body location, “the position he (Mr. Showalter) was found in at the scene of the accident, in my opinion, would not help in solving this matter.” Erroneous on the report is the position of the car jack which is shown on the front bumper. The car Mr. Showalter was working on, a Ford Pinto, had to be jacked from the side of the vehicle.

    Omitted from the report is the location of a car mat seen to the rear of the car and the spare tire Mr. Showalter never got to put on the car.

    August 20

    Gormley writes to Mrs. Showalter, telling her the local police investigation “has proceeded smoothly,” and there is “no reason for this office to initiate its own investigation.”

    August 28

    The Public Safety Committee of the New London City Council meets in closed session for one hour to discuss the hit-run death. Chief Crowley requested the closed session. He said there is evidence that could jeopardize future action.

    Mrs. Showalter submitted a 12-page statement for the meeting, but did not attend.

    Crowley said the case is not closed and it appears an arrest may be made.

    August 31

    Mallove submits official statement to New London police.

    November, 1974

    After being postponed several times, the coroner’s inquest hears testimony from 50 persons. No findings issued.

    1975

    January 24

    A state police detective participating in the federal grand jury probe of the city police department has told one of its patrolmen they identified the driver of the car which struck and killed Mr. Showalter on Christmas Eve, 1973.

    “We know who killed the Showalter kid, how come you don’t?” the detective was quoted in The Norwich Bulletin as saying.

    March 19-22

    The Bulletin, in a four-part series, shows:

    - Eyewitnesses and what New London police called “near witnesses” drastically differed in their accounts of the accident.

    - Microscopic paint particles found on Mr. Showalter’s clothing on which police based their search may not have been left by the vehicle which struck him.

    - Evidence entrusted to police officers at the scene has never been seen since.

    - A claim by police that it would cost as much as $1,200 to trace vehicles possible involved in the mishap was declared false by the state Motor Vehicle Department.

    The Bulletin, when preparing the series of articles, made repeated efforts to discuss the case with police officials but Lt. K.T. Bucko, who headed the case, on the advice of then Police Chief John Crowley, would not.

    April 3 State police conduct an extensive door-to-door inquiry in the Pequot Avenue region. State police have been looking into the case as part of a federal grand jury investigation into alleged corruption within the city force.

    July 12

    The state of Connecticut offers a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the hit-run death of Mr. Showalter. A total of $3,000 is now being offered. Classmates and friends of Mr. Showalter’s have already collected $1,000.

    July 21

    A community effort by friends and classmates raises the reward to $5,000.

    November 8

    The transcript of the coroner’s inquest of the hit-run death conducted nearly a year ago has yet to be typed, Coroner Joseph Moukawsher confirms. He said he wants to review the transcript even though he believes his six-day long inquest did not establish any guilt in the case. He said he has not spoken with the court reporter assigned to the case since the early summer.

    December 10

    Mrs. Showalter writes to State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti, requesting a one-man grand jury investigation. No response.

    1976

    January 6

    Satti refuses to confirm or deny the existence of Mrs. Showalter’s request. Mrs. Showalter has also asked Satti’s office to ascertain the location of recorded tapes made during the coroner’s inquest.

    January 9

    Mrs. Showalter sends a special delivery letter to Satti asking for a response to the December 10 request. No response.

    February 19

    In a feature article, also carried statewide by the Associated Press, The Bulletin profiles Mrs. Showalter on page one.

    Some public officials regard her as a persistent nuisance, someone to be ignored and sidestepped, but Mrs. Lucille M. Showalter will not breathe easily until they tell her who killed her son, Bulletin reporter Fred Vollono wrote.

    “The official comment seems to be there is nothing to it,” Mrs. Showalter said. “It is just the ramblings of a grief-stricken mother. But there are many people who urge me to go on. They say, ‘Lucille, if you stop, then nothing will ever be done.’”

    February 23

    Mrs. Showalter receives a letter of confession from an inmate at Somers state prison. The inmate said he was plagued by news accounts of the death. Every time he seems to forget the accident, the inmate said, he reads another news story.

    April 2

    Mrs. Showalter submits a third written request to Satti for a grand-jury probe. No response.

    May 6

    Common Pleas court Prosecutor Harold Dean quashes the only lead in the two and a half year old investigation, The Norwich Bulletin reports. The lead was the letter of confession written by the inmate at Somers Prison. State police arrested the inmate for harassment of the victim’s mother, Mrs. Showalter, to whom the letter was sent. Dean nolled the case and allowed it to be dismissed despite a prior meeting with state police when the significance of the arrest was discussed.

    State police did not believe the letter writer was responsible for the hit-run death, but they thought the letter contained possibly significant information. Dean said he was certain the accused had no knowledge of the case, because he was incarcerated when Mr. Showalter was killed.

    August 7 The day following the Bulletin’s report of Dean quashing the lead, Chief State’s Atty. Joseph Gormley says he had “no idea” why the lead “which very well could have led to something,” resulted in a dead end. Two state police officers had met with Gormley to discuss the letter of confession.

    August 6

    State police list the investigation into the killing of Mr. Showalter as “closed pending further development.” That classification came 31 days after Dean threw the harassment case out of court.

    August 30

    Mrs. Showalter again asks Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello to call for a one-man grand jury probe.

    September 1

    Mrs. Showalter publicly renews her efforts to have a one-man grand jury reopen the investigation into the hit-run killing of her son. In a statement sent to 22 media outlets, Mrs. Showalter says she made the appeal in an August 30 letter to Superior Court Judge Angelo Santaniello. She says she was asking the judge to “make good on a promise” he made to her in June 1974. Santaniello wrote in a June 24, 1974 letter, Superior Court intercession would be possible if the investigation required it.

    Santaniello said, “probably the proper person” to approach would be State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti. But Mrs. Showalter said she is ignoring Satti because he failed to respond to her December 1975 letter asking for the grand jury.

    September 23

    State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti says he needs another three weeks to review information on the killing of Mr. Showalter before deciding whether the investigation should be reopened or shelved.

    Satti says he had hoped to have the matter resolved by today, but the sinking of his 35-foot cabin cruiser two weeks ago, an unexpected report of crimes by New London police, and a new trial forced him behind schedule.

    November 23

    Mrs. Showalter turns to Governor Ella T. Grasso for help.

    “I cannot endure this loss of a beloved son in the midst of a governmental system that appears to neither act nor care,” Mrs. Showalter says in a letter to the governor.

    Mrs. Showalter says she is skeptical the New London County State’s Attorney’s review of the case will result in the one-man grand jury she has requested. Satti today said he is still reviewing transcripts of the Coroner’s Inquest and refused further comment.

    December 21

    Just three days before the third anniversary of the killing of Kevin B. Showalter, the state’s chief court administrator orders the city’s only unsolved hit-and-run case reopened.

    John P. Cotter signs an order creating a one-man jury to probe the death, renewing hopes that allegations of police bungling and mishandling of the case will be settled.

    “I can’t yet believe it,” says Mrs. Showalter, calling the action a “literal miracle.”

    Cotter, a justice on the state Supreme Court, selects retired Superior Court Judge Raymond J. Devlin to head the one-man grand jury.

    An attorney representing Mrs. Lucille M. Showalter also files a $600,000 lawsuit against the unnamed person(s) responsible for the killing of her son. Atty. Averum J. Sprecher of East Haddam says the suit is aimed at protecting Mrs. Showalter’s rights.

    “The action as I have filed it will definitively preserve her rights when the investigative bodies finally determine who killed the boy,” he said. The suit is aimed at heading off fears the state’s statute of limitations might preclude Mrs. Showalter from pursuing civil action if the killer is found.

    December 24

    Superior Court Judge Joseph F. Dannehy is ordered to replace State Referee Raymond J. Devlin as the one-man grand juror investigating Mr. Showalter’s death. Chief Court Administrator John P. Cotter says Judge Devlin had asked to be taken off the case because he was too busy with other duties, and would be unable to commute from his New Haven office.

    1977

    January 4

    Austin J. McGuigan, the special prosecutor assigned to the one-man grand jury probing the hit-run death of Mr. Showalter promises to pull “all the stops” in his investigation but says he needs help from the public to succeed.

    McGuigan has worked for the state for two years as the top investigator of organized crime. He appeals to anyone with information to call him confidentially.

    February 8

    State Police Commissioner Edward P. Leonard, as part of a last-resort effort, makes a personal appeal to area residents for information about the killing of Mr. Showalter. In a letter to the people who live near the Pequot Avenue site where Mr. Showalter died, Leonard asks for facts – “No matter how insignificant they may appear” – which might shed light on the car, the driver or the accident scene.

    Special Prosecutor McGuigan says police “had no suspects.” However, he says if a suspect is found police believe there is sufficient evidence to tie the person to the case.

    April 18

    Investigators say they feel confident the Showalter case will be solved.

    The new optimism comes after a public appeal netted more than 300 leads, new laboratory analysis of existing evidence, and an accounting of each of the more than 10,000 green Chrysler products registered in Eastern Connecticut when Mr. Showalter was killed.

    The new evidence means “there is a significant possibility the vehicle in question was not a green Chrysler,” Special Prosecutor Austin McGuigan says. While the investigators will not say what other color the car might have been, the evidence apparently opens new avenues for the investigation. Previously, other theories on who drove the death car, theories which have had some substantiation, were locked into the green Chrysler theory, police acknowledge.

    May 10

    State police investigators spend two and a half hours recreating and filming the Pequot Avenue death scene where Mr. Showalter was the victim of the hit and run.

    May 18

    State police again film and re-create death scene.

    June 22

    The Bulletin reports that one of the most intensive investigations in state police history, the probe into Mr. Showalter’s hit-run death, will be given to a one-man grand jury July 5 in Windham county Superior Court.

    Judge Joseph F. Dannehy, the grand juror, imposes a gag order on all investigators assigned to the case. Special Prosecutor McGuigan and 17 state police detectives had gathered evidence for the grand jury.

    June 23

    More than 50 persons will be subpoenaed and the scope of the probe will be expanded to include subsequent actions connected with the accident, The Bulletin reports.

    June 24

    Eleven New London police officers, including the top detective involved in the first of three investigations of the hit-run death, have been subpoenaed, The Bulletin reports.

    July 5

    The grand jury begins behind closed doors with testimony by New London Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko.

    Outside, a television camera crew drips with sweat under the glare of a hot summer sun.

    Inside it is quiet and cool – almost like any other day. The state police detectives and reporters talk about golf, baseball and other summertime activities. Because of the gag order imposed by Judge Dannehy, they can’t talk about what is most on their minds, what has brought them all together – the unsolved hit-run death of Kevin B. Showalter.

    The session lasts about five hours and also includes testimony by Mrs. Showalter and Debra Emilyta, Mr. Showalter’s companion the night he died.

    Ms. Emilyta has been sitting on a wall about 6 feet from Mr. Showalter when he was killed. She told police she only heard the 20-year-old Mitchell College student struck, and did not see the car which struck him.

    July 6

    Witnesses include Michael Buscetto of Mike’s Arco in New London. What he identified as body putty, apparently from the car that struck and killed Mr. Showalter, has never been seen since police officers placed it in an envelope that night, according to sources.

    Ms. Emilyta concludes testimony.

    Also testifying are Dr. Robert Weller, members of his family, and a friend, who while returning home from church drove past Mr. Showalter as he was changing the tire. They were among the last persons to see Mr. Showalter alive.

    Other witnesses include Mrs. Ruth P. Hendel and Mrs. Charles (Shirley Pope) Alloway, her daughter.

    On Christmas Eve, 1973, Mrs. Hendel had just turned away from the window of her home on Pequot Avenue where she had been watching Mr. Showalter work on the Emilyta car. She heard the noise of the car striking Mr. Showalter and turning back quickly she caught a glimpse of the taillights. Her first impression of the fleeing southbound car was that it was bright-colored, possibly red.

    Mrs. Hendel continued to watch the accident scene as she telephoned Mrs. Alloway, the wife of a New London police officer.

    Arthur Adams of New London, a Mitchell College security guard and former state policeman, also testifies. Aside from Ms. Emilyta and the hit-run driver, Adams may have been one of the last persons to see Mr. Showalter alive.

    Adams saw Mr. Showalter working on the car and Ms. Emilyta sitting on the stone wall, swinging her legs. He observed the girl with a coat collar wrapped around her head, in conversation with Mr. Showalter, after the Weller party had driven by.

    Adams continued on his rounds towards the Montauk Avenue side of the campus. Sometime after 11 p.m., he saw an ambulance heading for the hospital and two police cars heading down Plant Street.

    July 7

    Some of the last persons who saw Mr. Showalter alive and one of the first who saw him dead testify.

    Six members of the Sitty family, who were celebrating Christmas Eve and occasionally watching Mr. Showalter change a tire from inside a house on Pequot Avenue, tell the grand jury what they knew about the case, Edmond Sitty had brought out a blanket and a corduroy coat to put over Mr. Showalter’s body after he had been struck and killed.

    A New London High School classmate of Mr. Showalter, Arthur Petrini, was a passenger in a car that passed the accident scene sometime after Mr. Showalter was killed and before the ambulance and police arrived. He also testified.

    July 12

    Witnesses included two firemen and a dispatcher, two nurses and an orderly, the New London County Medical Examiner, the first man to officially identify Mr. Showalter, and a woman who lives near the accident scene.

    Larry Grimes, a security guard who knew Mr. Showalter from Mitchell College, had made the preliminary identification at Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals, where he also worked. Mrs. Dorothy Bryson of Pequot Avenue, who came upon the accident scene, also testifies.

    July 13

    New London police officers pack the waiting room of the Windham County Courthouse. Of the 11 who were subpoenaed last month, at least seven are present.

    The 11 include Patrolmen Vincent McGrath, Steven Colonis, Thomas P. Bowes Jr., and Cpl. Joseph Chiapponne, all of whom were involved in the initial investigation. With the change of shift, Sgt. Joseph Jullarine, Patrolmen Richard West and Glenn Davis and Det. Sgt. Konstanty T. Bucko joined the probe. Bucko was off duty at the time.

    McGrath filed the motor vehicle report of the accident and the sketch on the report was by Bowes. Bucko took photographs of the scene and gathered evidence. His photographs may be the only ones taken. Bucko also went to the hospital and got the victim’s clothing, according to sources.

    Colonis, the first officer on the scene, apparently arrived as Mr. Showalter was being placed in the ambulance. He interviewed Ms. Emilyta and took her to the station to file a 13-sentence statement.

    There is some confusion of whether Colonis drove an unmarked police car that night. Sources say police made conflicting statements on that question.

    July 14

    Thomas Wainwright, who played tennis with Kevin Showalter at New London High, saw his lifeless body on a sidewalk on Pequot Avenue before an ambulance or police arrived, and is among those testifying today. Arthur Petrini, who testified last week, was a passenger in Wainwright’s car.

    Mr. and Mrs. Donald Wainwright, who were stopped by police after circling the scene in another auto, also testify.

    At least seven New London police officers are at the courthouse, but it is not known how many are testifying.

    July 19

    The grand jury shifts beyond reconstructions by “near witnesses,” as Sgt. Joseph Jullarine, now retired, testifies. He was the squad leader who reportedly conducted “an intensive investigation” for a red car during the 11:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. shift on Christmas Day 1973.

    July 20

    The grand jury investigators spend much of the day alone reviewing physical evidence and testimony. Only three witnesses – New London police who have already appeared during the proceedings – are present.

    July 21

    Det. Bucko appears for at least the fourth time in the nine days the grand jury has convened. The session begins at 10 a.m. and ends about 5:45 p.m., with his departure.

    A nurse’s aide who knelt by Mr. Showalter’s body, feeling for a pulse, also testifies, Sue Costello, who heard the report of an accident as she was leaving Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals in New London from her shift, had arrived on the scene before ambulance personnel and police.

    July 26

    The scope of the grand jury probe goes beyond Mr. Showlater’s death and runs smack into a crucial area of dispute with the appearance of New London police detective Walter Petchark.

    On Christmas Day 1973, with evidence already missing and news of Mr. Showalter’s death on the radio, Petchark reportedly received a call from former mayor Harvey N. Mallove. Mallove later told The Bulletin there was no truth to the report. But he allegedly told Petchark he thought he saw the accident the night before.

    Three city police detectives – Bucko, Petchark, and Carmello Fazzina – were present at the inquiry. They were followed by laboratory technicians from the FBI, who lent their expertise in the analysis of headlight glass possibly belonging to the death vehicle.

    July 27

    The former counsel for the estate of Mr. Showalter testifies. Atty. Thomas Bishop confirms his representation of the estate was severed in June 1974.

    Thomas and Donald Wainwright return for further testimony.

    July 28

    Witnesses include Mrs. S.F. Zimet of Ledyard. Mallove said he was visiting at her home on Christmas Eve 1973, left about 10:45 p.m., and was home in New London about half an hour later.

    Mrs. Zimet is accompanied by her attorney, L. Patrick Gray. Gray, like Bishop, is a member of the New London law firm Suissman, Shapiro, Wool, and Brennan.

    Other witnesses include New London city Manager C. Francis Driscoll and Elise Mallove, Mallove’s daughter. Miss Mallove was home for her Christmas vacation in 1973.

    The grand jury begins a four-week recess. More than 50 persons were called during the first 12 days of the inquiry.

    August 30

    New London police investigators and a newspaper editor who has followed their unsolved hit-run death case for three years are among the witnesses.

    Retired Police Chief John Crowley and Det. Lt. K.T. Bucko, who refused repeated pleas by The Bulletin in March of 1975 to discuss the death of Kevin B. Showalter, gives testimony – as did the paper’s managing editor, John C. Peterson.

    Peterson testifies for three hours.

    August 31

    The attorney who conducted a coroner’s inquest into Mr. Showalter’s death, the results of which have never met public scrutiny, is the first witness today. Atty. Joseph Moukwasher, who heard testimony from 50 witnesses during six days in September and November of 1974, is one of the few persons familiar with the substance of that investigation.

    It took more than two years for the transcripts of the hearings to be typed and submitted to State’s Atty. C. Robert Satti.

    State Police Sgt. Donald Crouch, who in 1974 and 1975 worked for the federal grand jury investigating alleged corruption in the New London force, also testifies. Other witnesses included Rosemary Benson and Carol James.

    September 1

    Physical exhibits appear to outnumber witnesses in the 15th day of proceedings. Two state police technicians from the crime lab in Bethany carry satchels concealing evidence into the closed courtroom. One exhibit is a light colored automobile fender, which was dented and streaked.

    September 2

    Det. Edward Pickett of the New London County State’s Attorney’s office, who helped administer a lie detector test to Ms. Emilyta, testifies. Ms. Emilyta passed the test.

    Another detective, private investigator Joe Harris, is also called. A former Waterford police sergeant, he worked on the case for a brief time, on his own.

    Other witnesses in a short session include State Police Sgt. Charles Trotter, a principal investigator in the federal grand jury probe of the New London city police.

    September 12

    Two persons who saw Mr. Showalter on Christmas Eve 1973, hours before he was killed testify.

    Ramona Ricci, a coworker of Mr. Showalter’s at a Waterford discotheque, attended one of two parties Mr. Showalter had planned to go to after work that night. Nancy Wicksham, who also testified, had joined friends that holiday evening at the club.

    September 18

    Mallove says his status as a suspect in the case is “nothing new.” During testimony in a New Jersey courtroom, Connecticut State Police revealed Mallove is a prime suspect in the hit-run case. The testimony concerned refusal by two New Jersey men to comply with a subpoena issued by the one-man grand jury. Trooper Charles Wargat also testified he was told the two men repaired Mallove’s car on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day 1973.

    Mallove tells The Bulletin he did not know the men and never had a car repaired at their shop on Reed Street in New London. He says he didn’t kill Mr. Showalter and doesn’t know anything about anybody who did.

    September 19

    One of the two men who testified with immunity today has said in a published account he has no knowledge of the case and denied any car was repaired in his New London shop on Christmas Eve 1973.

    Walter String Jr. made those comments in the New Jersey Courier Post. He and his son, Walter String III, had been ordered to appear today by a New Jersey judge, after refusing to comply with a subpoena.

    Among the dozen or so witnesses are New London city police Sgt. Donald Sloan and Cpl. Charles Alloway. They took the first full statement from Ms. Emilyta, five days after the accident.

    September 26

    Darlene Barnes, a friend of Mr. Showalter who patronized the Waterford discotheque where he worked, is among the witnesses today. Ms. Barnes was also one of the 50 witnesses during the coroner’s inquest of 1974.

    October 3

    Larry Grimes testifies again. The Mitchell College security guard who made the first identification of Mr. Showalter at Lawrence and Memorial Hospitals, was also at the courthouse on July 12, and Sept. 26.

    The grand jury will be in recess until October 17. It has convened 20 times since July 5 and heard about 90 witnesses.

    October 11

    Judge Dannehy says published reports that Mallove is a prime suspect in the case “couldn’t bother me in the least.”

    “They (the newspapers) are free to speculate if they wish,” Dannehy says. “I am not concerned with their claimed right to freedom of expression.

    I think that sometimes their attitude is to publish and be damned, but they don’t bother me.”

    “Why don’t you wait” for the grand jury report? Dannehy asked.

    October 17

    The sales manager of a New London auto firm who said he has sold a number of cars to the family of a suspect in the hit-run case testifies.

    In 1970, Peter Emmanuel Sr. of New London Motors sold a Lincoln Continental to Harvey N. Mallove, whom state police have identified as a suspect in the Christmas Eve, 1973 death. A compact car was among the other autos the New London firm sold to Mallove.

    State police were looking for a green Chrysler product when they first questioned New London motors personnel, Emmanuel said before he testified. But the firm didn’t sell Mallove such a vehicle, which police had believed was the death car, he added.

    October 24

    The grand jury does not convene today because the investigators were not ready to proceed, Judge Dannehy said. He said he plans to conduct several more sessions before adjourning to write the final report, but did not specify.

    November 14

    The grand jury meets for its first regular session since October 17 and hears one witness. The witness, Gary Jordan of New London, said he was dating Elise Mallove on Christmas Eve 1973.

    Sources say the grand jury conducted at least one special session since October 17, but it was not known who testified.

    November 21

    State police continue working long and irregular hours probing Mr. Showalter’s death as they re-create the hit-run scene on Pequot Avenue near Plant Street for at least the third time.

    November 29

    The man whom state police have said they consider a prime suspect in New London’s only unsolved hit-run death has his day in court.

    Harvey N. Mallove testifies for about four hours before the secret grand jury probing Mr. Showalter’s death. Atty. Leo J. McNamara accompanies Mallove to the Windham County Courthouse.

    Mallove says he was one of a number of persons who drove by the accident scene shortly before or after Mr. Showalter was killed. But a four-part series by The Bulletin in March of 1975 showed Mallove saw a scene that seven other persons said could not have taken place.

    Mallove passed the accident scene within a minute or two after an ambulance call was logged. His statement to New London police – dated eight months later – conflicts with accounts of seven persons at the scene or looking out their windows seconds after Mr. Showalter was struck.

    Mr. Showalter was struck by a car as he changed a tire on a friend’s parked Ford Pinto, on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue near Plant Street.

    In his statement, Mallove said he saw an automobile parked at an angle in front of the Pinto. None of the seven persons saw any car stopped at the scene immediately after the victim was hit according to the July 10, 1974 report by New London Det. Lt. Konstanty T. Bucko.

    Mallove’s vivid description of a middle-aged man talking with a girl near the car also conflicts with statements by the seven persons.

    In his statement, Mallove said he assumed the man was a member of the police department. But Bucko claims in the July 10 report that Mallove told him the talking to the girl was “NOT” a policeman.

    Bucko’s report also claims Mallove learned on Christmas Day 1974 that “a man had been killed and he remarked to some people that he saw the body.” But Bucko continued to report that after Mallove viewed photographs of the scene he realized what he mistook for a body was a floor mat. In his statement, Mallove said he saw a “flat object which I assumed was a blanket or a mat.”

    In his August 31, 1974 statement, Mallove said, “Seeing no trouble, accident, or any evidence of anything out of place…I continued on my way home.”

    In the July 10, 1974 report, Bucko claims; “Mr. Mallove stated he was going to stop because he realized there had been an accident.”

    Mallove has told The Bulletin that Bucko misquoted him.

    December 7

    The calling of witnesses ends with Mallove’s second appearance.

    The proceedings included a film screening, apparently of the death scene as re-created by state police.

    After the 35 minute screening, Special Prosecutor McGuigan and Judge Dannehy questioned Mallove for about 40 minutes. That was the bulk of the afternoon session.

    The question of whether indictments should be handed down in New London’s only unsolved hit-run death now rests with Judge Dannehy.

    After 24 sessions and more than 100 witnesses, Dannehy said the next step for the grand jury is the final report on who killed Kevin B. Saltwater.

    1978

    Feb. 17 Report filed.

    Feb. 22

    Report made public.

  • THE DANNEHY REPORT


  • SHOWALTER COVERUP COLUMNS

    Chapter 1

    Law and Justice in Everyday Life

    Cover-Up In New London

    Hit-And-Run Continues To Mock Justice


    Sept. 4, 2000

    If Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney John Bailey wants to bring closure to cold cases, here’s one from New London that should top the list: The Showalter hit-and-run cover-up is a dark chapter in Connecticut history, a tale more appropriate for a Third World country.

    And yet, only one thing bothers former New London County State’s Attorney C. Robert Satti about the Showalter case: that it was investigated at all.

    Satti, now retired, made the point again and again, most recently this year. Satti’s complaint, made during the wake of the late state police Detective George Ryalls, was that Ryalls’ obituary mentioned the suspect the prosecutor refused to pursue in the Showalter probe.

    Kevin B. Showalter, a 20-year-old Mitchell College student, was killed at 11:12 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1973. He was changing a tire on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue on the New London shoreline when he was struck and killed. His girlfriend, sitting only 6 feet away on a stone wall, claims she saw nothing.

    Auto body putty from the death car disappeared after a tow truck driver gave it to New London police. The evidence file that was supposed to contain the putty was stuffed with bathroom tiles. The file that was supposed to contain headlight glass from the death car instead contained glass from three different headlights. State police and others suspected that, in order to throw legitimate investigators off the trail, the late young man's clothing was pounded on a different-colored car than the one that killed him.

    The victim's mother, Lucille M. Showalter, tried to get a grand jury investigation of the cover-up. She was rebuffed repeatedly by the presiding judge, Angelo Santaniello who, it later became clear, was best friends with the leading suspect. Santaniello then referred Showalter to prosecutor Satti, who happened to be his former law partner. Satti refused to acknowledge registered letters from Mrs. Showalter pleading for a grand jury probe.

    Satti did finally meet with Mrs. Showalter in 1978, after Judge Joseph Dannehy of Willimantic, acting as a one-man grand jury, named former New London Mayor Harvey N. Mallove as the probable driver of the hit-run vehicle. Satti called the three-hour meeting, in which he repeatedly told Mrs. Showalter that there never should have been a grand jury investigation under Dannehy.

    Mallove held a good hand; he had the best legal muscle in New London County on his side. New London police would not question him for more than seven months, and then only in a perfunctory manner. They would say they inspected his cars, but they did not. Significantly, Mallove’s Lincoln had been repaired, but it wasn’t until state police took over the case four years after the accident that the fender was finally seized.

    Santaniello would arrange for a coroner’s inquest and put his niece in charge of typing the transcript. Only after two years of intense public pressure would the transcript be typed. But the inquest never issued a finding.

    Santaniello tipped off Mallove that he was a suspect. The judge was also aware of what local police knew about the case. Mrs. Showalter memorialized the admissions in tape-recorded telephone conversations.

    “I did talk to Harvey,” Santaniello told Mrs. Showalter on Oct. 17, 1975, “and I said, `You’re suspected.’ As a matter of fact, at that time a police officer came to him on the same day or the next day, and told him you were making accusations about him and that he was a prime suspect.” The day before, Mallove told Mrs. Showalter, “Judge Santaniello is of the opinion that you fingered me.”

    It was not until 1977 that state police, who took over the case at the behest of former Gov. Ella Grasso, formally named Mallove a suspect. Next week, I'll propose a means to solve the Showalter cover-up.

    Showalter Cover-Up Is New London's Shame

    Sept. 11, 2000

    New London, where I grew up and began working in the 1960s and ‘70s, was a dirty little city with character.

    It had a restaurant called the Hygienic that was everything but. There were at least a couple bars where the cops couldn't do anything, except maybe a little business.

    The top pimp in town never went to jail until he was about 60 and a certain court official retired.

    New London will always be the city that tried to cover up the Christmas Eve 1973 hit-and-run death of Kevin B. Showalter. It's been doing a pretty good job for nearly 27 years, but the onion is beginning to peel.

    The local daily newspaper admitted -- in its official history published this year -- that it did a shoddy job on the Showalter case. Specifically, The Day admitted its failure to explore the relationship between a former mayor and a top judge, and their influence on the course of the criminal investigation. That’s a beginning.

    Political and police corruption goes back a couple generations in New London. By the 1970s, New London police were widely known to be involved in the selling of women, dope and refrigerators, among other things. A federal grand jury took note. But as with the Showalter case, there were these little problems with the evidence.

    A jewelry store owner and former city mayor multi-millionaire Harvey Mallove was the prime suspect in the hit-and-run death of Showalter, a student at Mitchell College. Showalter’s date that night, Christmas Eve 1973, said she saw nothing from her vantage point six feet away, sitting on a stone wall under a streetlight on a residential street as a young man changed the tire of her car.

    Harvey was everybody’s pal. He would take kids to the Super Bowl, then, down the road, get them jobs as cops. He was friends with bums in the street and bums in high political office. He was wired. The standing joke among reporters became: Harvey's a great guy to have a beer with, just don't change your tire if he's driving by.

    “I didn't kill the kid in any way, shape or form,” Harvey told me many times. As mayor, Harvey helped hire a few police chiefs. His best friend was the administrative judge for the county; that was the judge who controlled the early stages of the investigation, specifically a coroner’s inquest that never issued a finding.

    State police followed up a report that Mallove’s best friend, County Administrative Judge Angelo G. Santaniello, was with Mallove on Christmas Eve 1973. Santaniello reportedly was No. 11 on a guest list for a party at the home of his political mentor, the late state Sen. Peter Mariani. The Mariani party was one of two Mallove attended that night.

    Santaniello told reporters he never went out on Christmas Eve.

    Another state judge, Joseph F. Dannehy, conducted two grand jury investigations. In 1978, Dannehy named Mallove as the probable driver of the hit-run vehicle, but said evidence that might have ensured conviction was either mishandled or destroyed.

    Mallove died a few years ago with this legacy. Others still have time to come clean and tell the truth about the cover-up. Mrs. Showalter tried unsuccessfully to have Satti, Santaniello and others prosecuted for hindrance of prosecution (CGS Section 53a-166) warning of impending discovery, providing means of avoiding discovery, preventing discovery by deception. Because a conspiracy to hinder prosecution is an ongoing crime, those with information could tell Chief State's Attorney John Bailey, who has begun an initiative to solve some of the state's cold homicide cases.

    Isn’t it time? No one kept the system honest when it counted, though some tried. Most stood by as the system that was supposed to protect the victim and his family betrayed them all.

    Where is the conscience of the community?

    Cold Case On Ice Forever

    Nov. 6, 2000

    One way to deflect attention from a suspect is to get investigators involved in meaningless, time-consuming tasks. Another way is to create a bogus suspect who is then exposed as such, causing a belief that the case is just too hazy to pursue.

    Both of these devices were used repeatedly in the cover-up of the Showalter hit-run case in New London. Whether this was happenstance, indifference, incompetence or malfeasance, the result was the same. The system failed.

    And now, it seems, the truth will remain buried forever.

    Judge Joseph F. Dannehy, the grand juror who investigated the case, wrote in his finding of fact: “After December 25, 1973, the New London Police Department did virtually nothing to solve the hit-run death of Kevin B. Showalter.” The accident occurred the night before.

    Local police and court officials, however, were pro-active in another sense. Their actions served to protect the assailant.

    For example, New London police claimed it would cost as much as $1,200 to trace vehicles using data from the state Motor Vehicle Department. The motor vehicle department declared there was no such charge.

    Nevertheless, New London police spent their time hand-sorting local motor vehicle cards. They looked for a green Chrysler. That was likely a false lead; state police said paint particles found on the victim's clothing did not come from the car that killed him.

    Former Mayor Harvey Mallove began meeting informally with police and court officials as early as Dec. 25, 1973. Mallove wanted to know what the police knew.

    The only lead after two and a half years was quashed by then New London Common Pleas Court Prosecutor Harold Dean in May 1976. The lead was a letter of confession written by a Somers prison inmate to the victim’s mother, Lucille Showalter.

    “I told Harold how important that was to me,” Mallove, the prime suspect, confided to an associate. He also acknowledged discussing the purported confession with his best friend, the presiding judge for the county, Angelo Santaniello.

    The author of the letter was known to be connected with “fences,” or purveyors of stolen goods in the New London area. State police arrested him for harassment of Mrs. Showalter. Two state troopers met with Dean for an hour. They told him the letter contained possibly significant information. State police also believed they could connect the dots in New London between the letter writer and the powers-that-be. Did he owe some favors? Was he paid? Police knew the author had no liability for the accident; he was actually in Florida at the time of the hit-run.

    Dean nolled and dismissed the case without telling the troopers or Mallove. Soon thereafter, state police listed the killing of Showalter as “closed pending further development.” Upon learning of Dean's action, Chief State's Attorney Joseph Gormley remarked he had “no idea” why the lead, “which very well could have led to something,” resulted in a dead end. The case would remain closed for six months, until Gov. Ella Grasso brought the matter to Justice John Cotter.

    Was there criminal activity connected with the Showalter cover-up? It appears we will never know for certain. Dannehy named Mallove as the probable driver, noting that evidence which might have ensured conviction was destroyed. The Chief State’s Attorney’s Office reviewed aspects of the case this fall after a series of columns appeared in The Law Tribune. However, the statute of limitations for the most likely potential charge, conspiracy to hinder prosecution of motor vehicle misconduct, has expired. This shameful case, it appears, is destined to stay on ice forever.

    - AND:

    Olympic Gold for Missing Evidence


    November 28, 2005

    Judge Ellen Gordon was in way over her head with what she tried pass off as a ruling in Day Publishing v. State's Attorney.

    Clueless Gordon was handed a hot one, a case no one has ever wanted in the so-called New London Judicial District. Every single time this case has come to court, begging for justice, The Robes, the prosecutors and their minions have either desecrated their oaths or looked the other way. Clueless Gordon, fairly new to the scene, has managed to join the list of those who are both ostriches and failures.

    The Day newspaper asked Gordon this year to release the grand jury testimony regarding the cover-up of the 1973 hit-run death of Kevin Showalter. Before Gordon probably ever heard of Showalter, five New London County judges recused themselves from a John Doe civil suit against the driver because they were friends with the prime suspect, Harvey Mallove. Mallove -- the late mayor of New London and multimillionaire jeweler who picked police chiefs, planned to run for Congress and starred in the social scene -- was prone to say, "I never killed the kid -- in any way, shape or form."

    It's not like we could expect a New London judge to show guts or brains in this case. Compelling testimony from the first of two grand juries implicated local law enforcement and court officials in a widespread cover-up.

    On Christmas Eve 1973 at 11:12 p.m., as the call came in, a high-ranking New London officer, said, "F--k him, he's dead," and then left to go home. Showalter, a 20-year-old Mitchell College student, lay dead on a well-lit section of Pequot Avenue by the shoreline. His body was thrown 22 feet from the point of impact. His shoes were found 110 feet apart. A leg bone was 75 feet away.

    A tow truck driver gave police auto body putty from the death car. The putty was never seen again. New London police mixed headlight glass from at least three different cars in what they called the evidence file. Replacing the auto body putty was bathroom tile. A local coroner's inquest never issued a finding. State police, who took over the case at the behest of Gov. Ella Grasso, were bewildered and angry when they could not find the transcript of the coroner's inquest. Mallove's best friend -- the presiding judge for the county, Angelo G. Santaniello -- had put his niece in charge of typing that transcript. Santaniello also tipped off Mallove to his status as a suspect.

    Now, Clueless Gordon can't find the 3,000-page transcript of the first grand jury. Does she care? Court clerks allegedly performed a diligent search. Would any reasonable person believe or accept any of this?

    Among the last persons known to possess the grand jury report was the late State's Attorney, C. Robert Satti. Satti, who refused to investigate the case before a special prosecutor was appointed, claimed he returned a copy to the grand juror, then Willimantic Superior Court Judge (later Supreme Court Justice) Joseph Dannehy. Both Dannehy and Satti are dead. Did "Do Nothing Bob" -- Mallove's moniker for Satti -- take it with him? We might as well ask Harvey, also dead, or Kevin.

    Gordon's pathetic decision, dated Nov. 7, went on for about a sentence before its first fatal error. It might sound like a technical error, but it's much, much more than that. She actually said New London police investigated the case.

    Before this, I thought it might take generations to remove the stench from the New London courthouse. Alas, for New London, the stench of this cover-up is forever.







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  •           Za'atar         
    Summer Za'atar on the border with Lebanon
    There is a little confusion around the name "Za'atar" and what exactly does it refer to: A condiment? A spice mix? An herb? And if so - which herb exactly - Hyssop? Thyme? Oregano? Marjoram?

    The truth is that za'atar is an Arabic word used interchangeably for a number of wild herbs that grow wild in the Mediterranean region, and all contain thymol and carvacrol. Hence their similar sharp and warm aroma, bitter taste and spicy, almost hot "bite". They also share similar medicinal properties, most of them used in folk medicine for most digestive ailments and respiratory complaints. The mixture known to us as "Za'atar" is in fact a misnomer. Za'atar is originally the name of the plant now classified as Origanum syriacum, but in Arabic it is loosely applied to several other related wild and not so wild herbs.

    Zaatar

    The name for the condiment is in fact "doukka" (pronounced often as "Do-ak" with a very throaty "K" that almost sounds like an "A" so in reality the word sounds more like "Do-ah"). In Arabic this means "to grind". Each region in the Arab world has its own "Doukka", which is either sprinkled on food, or more commonly covered in olive oil to which the traditional regional bread is dipped. For example - Egypt has a complex nut-based doukka with toasted hazelnuts or walnuts, to which toasted or untoasted spices such as cumin, coriander seeds, green peppercorns and sweet fennel have been added.

    In the Levant "doukka" happens to be made primarily of a mixture of thymol-containing herbs, with "The" Za'atar (Origanum syriacum) being the star of the show. Lesser amounts of other herbs, will be added - the most important of which are "Za'atar Farsi" (winter savory), Israeli Thyme (Corydothymus capitatus), Zuta זוטה לבנה ( Micromeria fruiticosa barbata), a delicate wild white mint known in English as White-Leaved Savory (which does not even belong to the savory genus, but to micromeria because of its tiny leaves). Common oregano (Origanum vulgare) makes a good addition, albeit cannot substitute for the real Za'atar or Syrian oregano if you actually know the real deal. Likewise, marjoram and thyme can also make a good addition but not be at the centre. Even though their profiles are similar - there are some nuances that will be lost if using only the garden variety oreganos and thymes and none of the wild stuff.

    Many other things can be added to the mix, the most important being sumac berries (Rhus coriaria) for their wonderful salty-sour flavour, and toasted sesame seeds for their pop-in-the-mouth nuttiness. But you'll also find spices sometimes, including more obscure ones such as butum (بطم) - toasted terebinth fruits (Pistachia palestina), which are really like tiny pistachios with the outer red peel intact. I've got a few of those drying right now, because I've never seen them in any market before and I'm very curious how they taste as a spice.

    The following are several authentic Za'atar recipes I've collected - and of course you are welcome to browse google's universe of shared recipes, but be cautious of a few things if you want to make an authentic za'atar:
    1) Use actual Origanum syriacum even if a generic "oregano" is called for
    2) Do not by any stretch of the imagination use "fresh" leaves. They must be dried first. And only then will you grind them up with the rest of the ingredients. This is a dried herb and spice mix. Not a fresh herb concoction.
    3) Usage of salt, although found in many recipes, seems very superfluous to me, unless you are not using sumac berries. These have a unique taste - equally salty and tangy. The whole point of using them is so you do not need to use salt. Likewise, using citric acid is a way to fake the sumac effect. Which I'm not quit sure why would anyone do that aside from laziness. Sumac berries are difficult to grind manually (or even in a coffee grinder) - but you can find ground sumac easily in many spice shops and markets.

    When shopping for pre-made spice mixes, or any ground spices for that matter, the main culprit is adulteration and using old raw material that are "dressed up" as authentic. It's hard to teach someone who've never tasted or smelled za'atar what to look for, but some things are a telling sign. For example: if you don't see the dark maroon red and still taste salt or tanginess, it is probably from salt and citrus acid, and not from the (missing) red sumac berries. Secondly, another visual sign - za'atar leaves are rather grey in colour when dried, so any other colour you see (olive green) is either food colouring or a combination of other types of "za'atar" herbs (i.e.: thyme, za'atar farsi, etc.). Best sign is by taste - if it taste like dust (and looks like dust) it's either too old or just a fake.

    I suggest you start with the most basic three ingredients, and then play with the proportions and adding other herbs and/or spices. You can even start with equal amount of za'atar leaves, sumac and sesame and adjust to taste.

    Safta Ada's Za'atar Recipe 
    This is my mom's handmade recipe that she would make from wild harvested za'atar (before it was illegal to pick any) and would even send it to Vancouver so I can enjoy a taste of home.
    1 cup dried za'atar leaves, coarsely crushed between your palms, or pounded with mortar and pestle to a finer powder
    4 Tbs ground sumac berries (I suggest you purchase them pre-ground, otherwise their seeds can break your teeth!)
    2 Tbs toasted brown sesame seeds, whole

    May Bsisu wrote an excellent book, The Arab Table, which I highly recommend, and it includes a unique Palestinian style of za'atar that includes caraway:
    10oz oregano (I assume she means za'atar)
    5oz thyme
    3 Tbs sumac, ground
    1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
    2-1/2 Tbs coarse salt
    1/2 tsp allspice, ground
    1/4 tsp caraway seeds, ground 

    Easy Lebanese Recipes provides a "Traditional Rich Recipe" for za'atar that I'm compelled to try, with dried za'atar, roasted sesame, sumac, marjoram, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, fennel, aniseed and salt.

    Mamma's Lebanese Kitchen recipe contains thyme, marjoram, sumac, sesame, cumin, coriander, fennel, cinnamon and salt.

    How to consume za'atar?
    Use your za'atar mixed with olive oil as a dip for bread, on top of labneh (strained yoghurt cheese) or as a substitute for butter under any other soft or hard cheese, avocado, etc.
    It's also a nice addition to salads, and for baking fish or poultry. I also like to add it to chickpeas that I fry whole in olive oil, after they've been cooked and drained.

    Fresh za'atar leaves come in late winter and can be enjoyed all through spring, and can be fried in olive oil much like tender sage leaves and become this wonderful crispy topping for fresh bread, pasta, roasted vegetables, etc. Also, they can be used as they are in salads (May Bsisu has a recipe for fresh oregano salad in that book as well), with lots of onion and tomatoe. The Druze use it to season the dough or the fillings for various savoury pastries, such as sambusak (a flatbread that is folded in half to conceal a thin layer of highly seasoned stuffing, and baked in the tabun) and fatayer (little dough pockets filled with cheese), and the dried whole leaves can be used much like oregano in meat and pasta sauces, in soups, stews, breads, etc.

    Now, let's explore the Za'atar "group" of plants:

    Hyssop (Wild Oregano)

    Ezov (the Hebrew word for the Biblical Hyssop - not the European Hyssopus officials which is also a medicinal plant, and produces a rather toxic essential oil), which is now classified as an oregano, Origanum syriacum (formerly Majorana syriaca). Like many of the other aromatic plants from the Lamiaceae family, za'atar has a winter and spring foliage and a summer foliage, which is smaller in order to preserve water and survive the long arid season. I suspect the essential oils also aid with the survival of these plants in such harsh conditions - because whenever they are grown in regions where the water is more abundant (British Columbia, for example) - their flavour is largely lacking. What you see above is the luscious winter "look", which features soft and larger leaves, and their colour is much greener, and therefore more similar to the common oregano (Origanum vulgare).

    Satureja

    Za'atar Farsi (meaning Persian Za'atar), or as it is called in Hebrew צתרה ורודה - Tzatra Vruda (Pink Tzatra) which really is winter or mountain savory (Satureja montana). Its long needle-like leaves have a sharp, spicy taste. When we were growing up my mom would spice the egg for French Toast with them and make them literally savoury.

    Thymbra spicata צתרנית משובלת
    Mediterranean Thyme (Thymbra spicata), in Hebrew צתרנית משובלת Tzatranit Meshubelet is also called in Arabic "Za'atar farsi", and has a very similar leaf shape (only a bit longer, narrower and softer) and almost identical odour and aroma profile. It has flowers that look a bit more like chaffs of wheat (not unlike those of Lavandula dentata, and is even more rare to find than Satureja montana.

    Coridothymus capitatus
    Israeli Thyme (Corydothymus capitatis / Thymus capitatus / Thymbra capitata) or in Hebrew Koranit Mekurkefet קורנית מקורקפת is also known by many other names - Israeli oreganum (oil), Cretan thyme, Corido thyme, Headed savory, Thyme of the Ancient, Conehead thyme and most commonly - Spanish Oregano (even though it is not classified as "origanum"). This oil is what is often sold as "oregano oil", by the way. This is now a rare plant that in our area grows only along the rocky seashores of the North Coast leading to Lebanon. The leaves are tiny and sharp, like a miniature version of the Pink Tzatra, but they grow more dense and close together to form clusters around the tip of the branches. The branches are woody-looking almost like bonsai trees that crawl all over the rocks - and the flowers tiny and purplish-pink. The aroma is clean and maybe a little more simple than that of za'atar, but also the taste is much more sharp and phenolic.




              Now you can stop asking me when “Jericho” and “Law & Order” will be back.        
    Sorry if that sounds snippy but, look, I'm only human. If I had a lollipop for every time somebody asked me what happened to those shows, I'd have Dum Dums for the entire city of Seattle. And Portland. And Eugene.
              Medicines for the Soul        
    Christmas in Nazareth

    On Christmas Eve my brother invited us to go with him on an urban evening stroll in Nazareth, to experience the holiday at the historic birthplace of Christianity. My brother is a tour-guide, so it's always an experience to go for walks with him. He always knows about more than what meets the eye, and has connections with people where we visit that makes every trip with him, even to familiar places, a different experience.

    Our experience started on a rather stressful note, being stuck in traffic in a very narrow, one-way downhill street that would make San Francisco's terrain look rather friendly. There was no traffic control despite very heavy flow of visitors to watch the festivities. We were stuck in what should have been a two minute drive for 45 minutes. When we finally found a 3/4 parking spot between a dumpster and another truck and got out, it was drizzling and cold, as it should be in midwinter in the Galilee.

    The large square in front of the Church of the Annunciation was festive with an enormous tree-like construction with many lights and a big glowing red star on top and next to it the customary nativity scene. Many people around were wearing Santa Claus hats, blowing little annoying-sounding horns; but thankfully above it all was a recording of Fairuz singing Christmas songs. Christmas in the Middle East is certainly very different than anywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere.

    I don't recall ever visiting in Nazareth, even though our family has special ties with the city. My mom's midwife, a Christian-Arab from the neighbouring village of Kfar Yasif is originally from Nazareth. Both our families have five children each (aside from me, my mom has four boys, and her midwife has five daughters). We are all in more or less the same ages. If it weren't for the strange political climate of this country, they'd all be married to each other by now...

    Safdi's in Nazareth
    Aside from the religious spots (Nazareth's spring, bath house and historic city centre, Mary's Well and its Church, AKA Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, and the Roman Catholic Basiclia of the Anunnciation (كنيسة البشار  in Arabic בזיליקת הבשורה / כנסיית הבשורה) - we also went into the old souk (market) of Nazareth, which is sadly mostly dormant due to modernization. Very few people have the desire or time to find parking in narrow alleyways that were built thousand years ago and wander between merchants to compare prices and negotiate bargains. It's much easier to go to the mall and pay with plastic cards all in one place, and cart your goods to the car underground. It was very sad to see so many stores closed, behind them are beautiful old shops with arched ceilings. Some of the old apartment buildings - although mostly neglected - were used to be effendi's homes, and their ceilings are made of Cedar of Lebanon, and hand-painted by a Lebanese artist from the time of the Ottoman empire. It's a lost world, and only recently some brave entrepreneurs have taken the initiative to renovate such places and open boutique hotels, hostels and cultural centres in the ancient cities of the country. There was also a little shop in the entrance to the empty souk, full of beautiful local craftsmanship. I hope to see more such things develop.

    Meicines for the Soul
    Once we reached the part of the souk that was still alive, I bought a cupful of coal-roasted chestnuts, reminiscing the cold foggy nights in Vancouver when we'd buy them from Yve's Chestnuts and warm our frozen mittens with their starchy, caramel-scented comfort. At the bottom of the hill there were some of the country's best Halawiyat (Arabic patisseries), where one should stop by for kunafeh - even if they don't have time or room in their stomach. But we were in a group with a different agenda than enjoying life on the stop - and instead continued on to Ziad Safdi's grocery store, which is really more of a magical old-fashioned herb and spice shop, that contains many folk remedies for all kinds of physical ailments, a collection of essential oils from local plants that is distilled in Nablus; speculates such as mastic gum, and mastic-flavoured chewing gum; and last but not least - assortment of medicines for the soul in the form of incense (pictured above) to be burned in special clay pots. You could find there anything from frankincense and myrrh to colourful and sparkling blends typically burned in churches.

    Fine Nazarethi Baclava
    As we continued on, we stumbled upon other interesting merchants, such as this man who brews coffee in a special pot decorated with olive branches and misbaha (prayer beads) that has hot charcoal in a pipe in the middle, and sends impressive steam to the air. We continued to El Babour Mill - Nazareth original steam-powered miller (the name is a mispronunciation of the English word "vapour") -  now more of a live museum for old mills, sieves and pieces of history from the family that keeps this tradition - and a spice and candy shop. I bought there a jar of black-coloured nigella spread, and green frikeh (charred green wheat berries). The tour ended there and once everyone spread to all four direction of the winds, my brother, daughter and I stopped at a more humble bakey and bought some spinach-filled sambusac, date-filled sesame balls, and karakish - savoury cookies that look like hard flatbreads studded with fragrant seeds of sesame and fennel.
    Charcoal Coffee


              Cabut Gigi Bongsu di Hospital Putrajaya - Part 1        
    Salam semuaaa...

    Selama ni wanie duk baca je cerita orang cabut gigi bongsu ni macam mana. Haaa~~ kali ni merasa sendiri.. tak lawak wehh... serius tak best perasaan tu.. aahahahaha. Sebab apa ada Part 1? Haa.. jom baca..

    Gigi bongsu kanan wanie impacted (horizontal) macam gambar kat bawah.

    Credit picture to : http://www.exodontia.info/Wisdom_Tooth_Impaction_Classification.html

    Nampak dia tengah tido? Tapi gigi geraham depan gigi bongsu tu dah kena cabut last year. So, tak lah sakit sangat gigi bongsu ni. Cuma sekali sekala bila dia bergerak rasanya (tudiaaa speculation), terasa weh sakit berdenyut tu walau sekejap. Jadinya, 7 April lepas, kebetulan off day, wanie ke Puspanitapuri di Putrajaya untuk scaling gigi dan nak ambik referral letter untuk buang gigi bongsu. Kat Puspanitapuri tak boleh buat sebab situ untuk kes kecil-kecil je macam tampalan or scaling macam tu... 

     Dah dapat referral letter, terus call Hospital Putrajaya untuk booking tarikh appointment. Yup.. call je. TAPI, kena ada referral letter dari klinik kerajaan atau swasta dulu tau. Sebab time call, dorang akan tanya referral letter dari klinik mana. OK, so dah dapat tarikh appointment pada 14 April. Time ni, tak buat apa-apa lagi tau. Doktor cuma x-ray dan check saja. Disebabkan sebatang gigi sahaja, maka doktor cuma akan melakukan local bius, maksudnya surgery akan dilakukan waktu kita sedar. Sounds scary, tapi, beranikan diri je....

    Alright, dapat appointment untuk surgery which is semalam, 11 Mei. 3 hari sebelum surgery, wanie scaling gigi siap-siap di Klinik Dr. K kat Precint Diplomatik. Yang ni effort sendiri la, and doktor gigi pun sarankan untuk kita scaling gigi dulu before surgery. Pagi surgery tu, wanie dah makan kenyang-kenyang bihun goreng, walaupun nak telan pun nak mampu sebab takut.. haaa~ ceritanya, 5 ke 6 hari lepas, gigi bongsu yang sebelah kiri  wanie dah start sakit yang Tuhan je tahu! Ok takpe... sabar... tahan dengan painkiller. Sampailah ke hari yang dinantikan, terus bagitau doktor nak tukar cabut gigi kiri instead of kanan. Doktor ok je... memandangkan gigi terlalu dekat dengan nerve, doktor dahh bagitau kesan-kesan yang akan dialami JIKA nerve tercedera atau terputus sewaktu surgery. OK kan ajelah.. kita percaya pada doktor. Lagipun, doktor yang nak surgery kan wanie ni doktor pakar. Bagus sangat-sangat, diorang melayan je wanie punya songeh. Sebab takut, badan dah seram sejuk and menggigil. Wanie siap mintak blanket untuk selimutkan badan ke kaki. Hahahaha~ and nasib baik, few days sebelum surgery, wanie dok makan painkiller, so, bila tiba hari surgery, gigi dah tak sakit dan mudah untuk doktor buat kerja.

    OK, dorang mulakan dengan cucuk ubat bius. Lepas dah kebas ape semua, dorang start pasang macam screw kot.. hahahaha~ wanie tak nampak sebab mata semua ditutup. Reason tutup mata, lampu surgery tu sangat bright. Tak kisah, wanie lagi suka sebab even mata dah tutup, wanie still pejam mata di sambil badan sedikit menggigil. Wanie pasang earphone, dengar spotify untuk kurangkan mindset yang fikir macam-macam. OK, pastu dengar bunyi mesin ngenggg ngenggg ngenggg... wanie rasa, time ni dorang tengah potong tulang rahang sikit. Trust me, tak rasa apa pun. Even doktor cut bahagian gusi pun wanie tak rasa apa... cuma, bila part doktor start nak pulas gigi tu kot, untuk nak longgarkan, wanie rasa sakit sangat. Doktor tambah ubat bius dalam 2 ke 3 kali macam tu, tapi still sakit.... uhuuu~~

    Sudahnya, doktor tak boleh nak teruskan. Doktor syak sebab nerve tu, itu yang buat wanie sakit. So, doktor jahit balik gusi. Kemudian, set appointment baru untuk full bius. Maksudnya, surgery akan dilakukan waktu wanie tido dan akan masuk ke bilik bedah. Oleh sebab full bius, doktor sarankan untuk buang keempat-empat gigi bongsu sekaligus. Wanie setuju je, biar sakit sekali dah la.. lepas ambil ubat, naik ke tingkat 1 Wad Harian atau Daycare untuk jumpa pakar bius - ni untuk saringan je.

    So, sekarang, dapat lah MC 2 hari (Khamis Jumaat) and cuti Sabtu Ahad. Wanie dah minta kat boss untuk extra cuti Isnin Selasa just in case anything happened. 

    Lepas habis ubat bius tu, dah start berdenyut. Takpe, wanie makan painkiller. Dapat 2 jenis painkiller, satu yang kuat and satu lagi yang biasa. Wanie terus makan yang kuat sebab nanti takut sakit. Lagipun, husband kena kerja.. dia dah halfday teman wanie kat hospital. Taknaklah nak kacau dia kan.. bengkak, yes ada sikit. Malam semalam kitorang laki bini siap layan movie lagi sebelum tido.. kat rumahh eh.. tak koseerrr nak gi panggung wayang. hahaha.. 

    Pagi ni bangun tidur, terasa pipi berat semacam. Bila tengok cermin, mak aihh.. dah serupa hamster simpan biji durian dalam mulut. Terus mandi-mandi, berus gigi pun slow-slow, pastu kumur dengan Listerine. Siap mandi semua, terus ngadap breakfast (whipped potato KFC as carbs dengan nugget). And terus makan ubat antibiotik dan painkiller sebab dah start sakit berdenyut, sakit lagi dari semalam. Itu yang orang kata, second day yang ko nak meraung sakan.. takpe, boleh tahan lagi. Mujur husband ada beli Bactidol, lepas makan, kumur dengan Bactidol pulak. Tapi, tak perlu rinse dengan air. Yang ni untuk mengelakkan dari bacteria atau fungus dalam mulut. Sesape ada ulser pun boleh guna. 

     Mahal sikit dari Listerine, dalam RM 18 macam tu. Boleh beli di Guardian. 

    Tu je untuk Part 1 kali ni... next appointment lepas raya Julai nanti. Nanti wanie cerita macam mana alkisah dah siap operation nanti. Berdenyut sakit ni... nak tido jap. Bye korang..



              Sound Shapes preview: Run, jump, dance        
    Do you own any of the following?

    A. Very flexible, DJ-quality headphones
    B. A messenger bag sized specifically for vinyl records
    C. A modded Game Boy/Game Boy Color/etc. for creating music
    D. The freshest styles and moves, straight from Planet Funketron

    If you answered "Yes" to any of the above, and you also share my love for precision platforming in video games like N+ and Super Meat Boy, then Sound Shapes is gonna be your jam.%Gallery-125607%
              Homily: Baptism of the Lord 2015        
    In yesterday’s Gospel, Jesus is baptized in the Jordan by John and when he comes out of the waters he hears the words that should echo in each of our hearts and souls every day. It is core to our baptisms – core to our life. The problem is that we have forgotten the sounds of those words…and thus can be headed in the wrong direction when it comes to our own spirituality. What are those words? And why do we need to listen for them…but more importantly, why do we need to then repeat them to those in our lives? Check out what I have to say on this.
              Homily: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time        
    This Sunday’s Gospel ends on a wrenching note. “Many are invited, but few are chosen” That doesn’t sound too Christ-like to me. And unfortunately it is one of those lines in the Bible that is often misread, misunderstood and misused. So how is this Good News? Is it true that only a few are “chosen?” And what is meaning behind this parable that calls us to make a choice in our lives? Check it out!
              Homily: First Sunday of Lent Cycle A        
    It seems that before Christ was ready to begin his ministry it required barren time in the desert – a place of solitude without distractions. It is there that needed to wrestle with the same temptations we still face today: power, possessions and prestige. And on this first Sunday of Lent we journey into our personal deserts where we are called to ‘repent’ or in other words, ‘to turn around.’ It seems only in that type of liminal space can we find true transformation. Why? And, what does that type of transformation sound like? Click the link below and see what I mean!
              AUTO-SEMEJANZAS Y FAMILIARIDADES: HUELLAS Y FLUJOS        
                                                                   â€œA great presence is hard to see. A great sound is hard to hear. A great figure has no form.” Lao-Tzu

                                                                    "Cantando alegre, cruzó el valle, pasó la Sabana y al mar llegó". Calavera y la Popular Independiente.

    Una de mis obsesiones permanentes son los flujos que generan patrones auto-semejantes, es en otras palabras, una obsesión por una nueva rama de la matemática llamada "geometría fractal". Sin embargo, el patrón fractal no es exclusivo únicamente de la geometría. El fractal se puede oír en música, en especial la música de Bach como este concierto donde los patrones son auto-semejantes, sin dejar de notar las diferencias. Son los flujos de muchas cosas que generan ciertos patrones auto-semejantes dibujando formas geométricamente hermosas.  Sin embargo ¿cómo podemos trascender un concepto de la matemática a la filosofía? ¿Cómo podemos utilizar el fractal para ampliar y trascender el rango de nuestros conocimientos? ¿Cómo pueden unas ideas matemáticas y de filosofía del caos aportarnos a descubrir la causa y sentido del todo? A continuación daremos un abrebocas al concepto matemático para luego trascenderlo a la filosofía y al arte y comprender cuáles son las huellas que dejan los flujos de movimiento de las cosas en los seres.

    1. DESCRIBIENDO E INTUYENDO LOS FRACTALES: Auto-semejanzas.

    1.1 Intuyendo al fractal y su causa
    ¿Qué es un fractal? ¿Cuál es su esencia? ¿Cómo es un fractal en términos geométricos? Muchas preguntas pueden surgir legítimamente acerca de lo que es un fractal en términos geométricos o de espacio.

    Un fractal es mejor mostrarlo que describirlo, en él se verá la auto-semejanza. Auto-semejanza que implica que la parte se asemeja al todo y el todo a la parte y para parafrasear a la señorita Antioquia "también del mismo modo y en el sentido contrario". El concepto de auto-semejanza es más intuitivo que racional y o mejor es mostrar la imagen de un fractal, el más famoso, el conjunto de Mandelbrot:


    Los fractales, son entonces estos modelos generados por fórmulas de retroalimentación no-lineal  (Las siete leyes del caos, pág. 138). En últimas son funciones en los términos que aprendimos matemáticas en el colegio. Sin embargo, la definición de la causa de los fractales, "fórmulas de retroalimentación no-lineal", términos que nadie entiende, es válido para los fractales generados por computador como el conjunto de Mandelbrot. Sin embargo, los fractales y más aquellos que son naturales, implican algo mucho más profundo.

    A los fractales naturales podríamos denominarlos la huella del caos (Las siete leyes del caos, pág. 140) o más bien de los flujos de movimiento que son caóticos. En términos Aristótelicos le hemos dado la vuelta al fractal desde la perspectiva de la causa-eficiente. Es decir lo que los origina. Sin embargo, la explicación de su origen era para intuir el concepto de "auto-semejanza" que es en últimas la esencia del fractal.

    Los flujos de movimiento decíamos dejan una huella Â¿cómo es esa huella? ¡Auto-semejante a escalas diferentes! (Las siete leyes del caos, pág. 140) Si se observa el conjunto de Mandelbrot podemos ver que a primera vista tiene una imagen, pero mirando las más pequeñas encontramos que hay un cierto patrón que se repite. La forma en la que se repite la huella del flujo de movimiento se denomina auto-semejanza. Invitemos a los autores de "Las Siete Leyes del Caos" para que nos expliquen lo que es la auto-semejanza:

    "Por mor de la claridad, diremos que el término 'autosemejante' incluye esta idea de las diferencias individuales y la singularidad, así como las similitudes (...) En algunas formas fractales -particularmente aquellas generadas por los computadores mediante fórmulas matemáticas- la autosemejanza tiene algo de mecánica. En otros fractales -de la naturaleza y el arte- lo que es autosemejante se halla mezclado con lo que es diferente de forma tal que constituyen un desafío a la descripción." (Las siete leyes del caos, pág. 142)
    1.2 Fractales naturales y algunas preguntas
    Si el Conjunto de Mandelbrot es un fractal artificial ¿cómo sería un fractal natural? ¡Algo que suele verse mejor desde la ventanilla de un avión! Si alguien quiere cazar fractales que pida la ventanilla de un avión así haya algunos mal encarados que crean que es capricho. Algo como la siguiente foto:

    NUBES FRACTALES

    El flujo de movimiento en el caso de las nubes es el agua, el fluido -término físico- más común en la tierra. La huella que deja son las formas que tienen una retroalimentación del sol, luego del "albedo" que producen devolviendo radiación solar al espacio, los choques de las goticas, la disminución de la temperatura ocasionada por el impacto de la devolución de la radiación que disminuye la evaporación, lo que disminuye la temperatura, aumenta la condensación, disminuye la humedad específica, al enfriar aumenta la presión. Mejor dicho es una situación de una multicausalidad enorme o sea de muchas causas, que se retroalimentan así mismas... 

    Esos fractales naturales son la huella de aquello que los primeros filósofos denominaban el arjé. Los primeros filósofos empezaron a ver que la naturaleza estaba compuesta de algo y el fluir de ese algo era lo que generaba los seres. Ese arjé plural o singular me parece que siempre era algo sometido a un flujo de movimiento capaz de dejar huella: Vgr -Agua, Aire, Fuego, Tierra. 

    Sin embargo, al ver el amplio movimiento. Algunos como Heráclito decían "uno no se baña dos veces en el mismo río", pero ante eso se genera una pregunta ¿cómo puede nombrar al río si siempre es diferente? Parménides se iba al otro extremo de considerar todo como eterno e inmutable. Pero ¿cómo explica que no hay una nube igual a otra? ¿Cómo explica al anciano y al niño? Heráclito diría que son personas distintas, lo que es contra-evidente, pero también sería contra-evidente negar la diferencia, son la misma persona pero con una diferencia en su estado. En todo caso ¿en qué medida habría impactado en su filosofía la geometría fractal? Una pregunta que generará en el lector un flujo de preguntas y respuestas... "¡Un diálogo es un fractal!" dice la Mula Pensante.

    1.3 De la filosofía a la intuición
    Quisiera cerrar este fractal con dos frases que muevan la intuición para comprender lo que es un fractal. Muchas veces la intuición la mente la entiende en forma de paradoja, o las paradojas producen intuiciones, y también del mismo modo y en el sentido contrario:

    "Ver el mundo en un grano de arena,
    y el cielo en una flor silvestre;
    tener el infinito en la palma de la mano
    y la eternidad en una hora."
    Flower world/mundo en la flor
    ¿El mundo en una flor...? ¡Quizás!
    (William Blake en PAPPAS, 1996, pág. 50)
    Dice un texto budista Chan: 

    "Se levanta una partícula de polvo y toda la tierra está allí; florece una flor y amanece un universo con ella" (Las siete leyes del caos, pág. 142-143)
    Finalmente:
    “A great presence is hard to see. A great sound is hard to hear. A great figure has no form.” Lao-Tzu. Y mi pésima traducción: "Una gran presencia es difícil de ver. Un gran sonido es difícil de oír. Una gran figura no tiene forma.". Ahh y es una cita que leí en
    http://www.yamamotomasao.jp/from_the_artist_3.html
    Hago una advertencia a los lectores eruditos desprevenidos y creen tener el dogma en sus cerebros que esto no es panteismo. Es una filosofía que quizás aún no la tenga categorizada en su aburrida cabeza. Es posible comprender la pluralidad de los entes y la trascendencia de Dios y las intuiciones orientales acerca de la parte y el todo. Las interrelaciones entre los entes que participan de la creación de Dios son mucho más profundas y delicadas de lo que parecen. Mejor dicho es una frase de desahogo ante tanto dogmático suelto que en vez de procurar entender y debatir busca clasificar y categorizar. Por cierto, las cosas no son mentiras o verdades porque yo las clasifique en modelos negativos, eso es una falacia denominada muñeco de paja.

    2. DE LA MATEMÁTICA A LA FILOSOFÍA: Familiaridades.
    Me escribe en estos días la Mula Pensante en facebook "el Apocalipsis es un fractal". Ante tal sorpresa le pregunté ¿Por qué? Y lo que me contestó me permitió entender el concepto de Iglesia. Me contestó o tal vez le entendí algo así como "la lucha individual de cada Cristiano es auto-semejante y se retro-alimenta a la lucha de la Iglesia Universal". La cuestión tiene lógica, si la gracias es un flujo de movimiento sobrenatural su huella ha de estar determinada por la lucha individual de cada cristiano. En últimas la gracia es un río que viene de Dios y a Él pretende llevarnos. De la misma forma podemos considerar el diálogo como un fractal que es la huella de un flujo de movimiento de ideas o insultos en algunos casos: insultos o ideas son fractales al fin y al cabo. También vemos fractales en la música, en especial de Bach.

    Esas autosemejanzas geométricas podríamos denominarlas también familiaridades. Los apartes de una melodía de Bach suelen ser similares al todo y así mismo a otras partes. Las nubes suelen ser familiares a las montañas, que suelen ser familiares a los árboles, las olas forman en la arena rizos familiares a las corrientes de los ríos. La auto-semejanza fractal traducida como una familiaridad esencial nos lleva a una intuición que los metafísicos descubren por lógica... ¡hay algo en común entre los seres/entes! ¡Que SON! Filósofos como Ockham por el contrario niegan esas familiaridades y dejan lo común de las cosas como meros nombres flatus vocis.

    Entre las mismas cosas hay una familiaridad, algo común, que viene como huella del rastro de los flujos de movimiento. No significa que todas sean lo mismo, para que haya autosemejanza tiene que haber diferencia. Podríamos llegar a múltiples disquisiciones al respecto, pero esa familiaridad y la retroalimentación que cada cosa hace a la otra y por ende a sí misma, sumada en un flujo de tendencias o fines al bien, ¿no será una prueba de que el arjé es el flujo del amor? Si los entes naturales se retroalimentan a sí mismos para lograr sus fines, todos esos entes tienen una huella de algo amoroso que los trasciende. La misma familiaridad y la retroalimentación que los entes hacen al flujo debe indicar que en ellos hay inmanente algo de amor. ¿Será que el amor es el arjé? El amor es querer el bien del otro, los flujos de movimiento naturales parecen indicar el bien de las cosas o que siempre les hacen un bien, un bien que las trasciende pero que las retroalimenta.

    Escher Metamorfosis. Estos cuadros utilizan los fractales para  dibujar las imágenes, pero el fondo que puede interpretárse es que todas sus imágenes a pesar de ser distintas cuentan con esa familiaridad.

    Me encantaría sentar claro que efectivamente ese amor proviene del Dios que es su causa, pero esto dejaría muchas dudas acerca de cómo de las familiaridades entre los entes que se retroalimentan se puede llegar a concluir que ese arjé proviene del flujo del amor. Creo que es así, pero esto lo digo por fe, no porque tenga la prueba fehaciente. Es decir, la existencia del mundo denota un Dios, pero que lo que mueva el mundo sea movido por el amor, es algo que requiere mayor rigor y profundidad. Apenas voy entendiendo las familiaridades. No sé lo que intuyo y razono.

    3. FAMILIAS Y FAMILIARIDADES: Arte.
    La razón intencional de este escrito era mostrar la auto-semejanza o familiaridad entre las intuiciones o sensibilidades mía y de un primo. El primo Calavera, es el cantante de la Banda Calavera y la Popular Independiente que son un nuevo género musical que busca mezclar la tradicional guasca antioqueña con un poco de rock. Es algo estilo Juanes pero mejor a mi modo de ver. Lo curioso del asunto es que oyendo una de sus canciones que advierto está mal grabada porque todavía no lo han hecho en estudio descubrí que la banda describía la intuición que me persigue hace días, la intuición y vocación hacia los "flujos". Vocación e intuición que me hace desear viajar en exceso en avión y pedir una bendita ventanilla. La canción donde Teo Calavera expresa la idea del flujo y de las familiaridades es "Soñé en el Río":

     

    Al fin y al cabo, las familias tienen la huella de la genética y también de prácticas -virtudes y vicios- de hace muchos años. Oír al abuelo diciendo que el cogía tigres de la cola y que venía El Alispruz, o a la abuelita obsesionada por tener las flores más hermosas de las palmas tienen claros impactos: "soñé una finca para mi madre -dice la canción-, llena de flores mirando al sol" . Son otra forma de "genética" pero a ambos nos tocaron y dejaron huellas en el espíritu que ahora queremos expresar al mundo. Que se expresan de acuerdo al espíritu y vocación individual, pero que tienen su auto-semejanza, su familiaridad. La familia es la portadora del flujo de herencia material y espiritual, esos flujos generan auto-semejanzas y diferencias en sus miembros.

    Teo Calavera hace sus alispruces mediante la música. La canción bellas imágenes describe los flujos de movimiento. La canción describe ese constante movimiento "soñé en el río y el río me llevó, bajó por la montaña..." luego la descripción lleva a la forma de cómo baja el río "Cantando alegre, cruzó el valle, pasó la Sabana y al mar llegó". Ese punto del mar donde se funde con el todo, con una cultura "eran las voces de una nación"  o la paradoja con la totalidad "mientras las olas me iban llevando yo era el cielo y tú mi sol". La canción tiene el mismo estilo literario de García Márquez, un realismo mágico, que describe la realidad sin desdibujarla pero de una forma curiosamente mística. En el fondo refleja ese anhelo de amor, de querer unirse con el universo, con la totalidad de las cosas en imágenes llegando a un mar que refleja ese todo de los anhelos humanos.

    INCONCLUSIÓN
    Ya se me volvió un delicioso vicio -o quizás virtud- de dejar mis escritos inconclusos. La razón es fractal ¡no quiero agotar el flujo del conocimiento! El fin de un ensayo no es el fin de lo que se pueda decir de una cosa, el fin de un ensayo es el comienzo para que muchos en su libre razonar, su creatividad y su inteligencia utilicen esas ideas para algo. Que las utilicen así sea para decir lo ridículo que es un autor o para tomar parte razonable y criticar el resto. Tesis, Antítesis y Síntesis como el Hegel Pop es imposible tenerlas en un escrito.  La dialéctica -que es quizás la ciencia que estudia los flujos de diálogos- no se agota en un escrito, ni en un autor. La verdad no es tan caprichosa como para quedarse en una sola cabeza.

    Por eso que siga el fluir, el movimiento, la dialéctica, las Tesis, Antítesis y Síntesis del Hegel Pop. Que le den duro al ensayo, modifiquen la idea y sea simplemente una ayuda de mi parte en el constante parto del conocimiento que no es oficio particular sino de la humanidad. Ojo, que sea oficio de la humanidad no significa como creen erradamente los marxistas que eso es oficio del estado. El estado es una metáfora de lo contrario al flujo de movimiento. Es oficio de la humanidad en cabezas particulares que libremente lo retroalimentan ¡un buen ejemplo es Wikipedia! En fin...

    BIBLIOGRAFÍA

    PAPPAS, T. (1996). LA MAGIA DE LA MATEMÁTICA. El orden oculto tras la naturaleza y el arte. (M. Rosenberg, Trad.) Madrid, España: Zugarto Ediciones S.A. 

    Peat, F. D., & Briggs, J. (1999). Las siete leyes del caos (Primera Edición ed.). (D. Mas, Trad.) Barcelona, Cataluña, España: Grijalbo.

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              Comment on Video: 2019 Porsche 911 Type 992 at the Nurburgring by Paul        
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              Book publishing site reports that Amazon is aggressive in deleting less-than-valid book reviews of self-published books         

    A site called “Just Publishing” offers what looks like good advice to new authors especially with self-published books, especially POD.

    “Why did Amazon delete my book reviews?  Because there was a problem with how you got the reviews”, link.

    I can certainly understand that paying for reviews is unethical (although you would wonder if people pay for Yelp and Angie's List, which both companies adamantly say you cannot).

    I can understand that family is off limits.  But the article also implies social media friends is a no-no.  That’s getting difficult, and I hadn’t heard that before.  People who network enough to sell their books the old fashioned way probably would attract quality Facebook friends and Instagram and twitter followers.  Such a policy would sound a bit self-defeating.

    It is true that there are industry statistics on the expected reasonable ratio of books sold to reviews – it’s high.



    I’ve noticed something else about the POD business.  POD companies often mark the list prices high, which will be only slightly discounted on the Amazon and BN sites, and perhaps some others.  Then they encourage authors to try copies themselves by buying hundreds of copies at maybe 50% off or so.  An author who really wants to operate her own wholesale (with bookstores) and retail (with consumers) could mark them up to about 60% or so and make a profit.  But that would be so time consuming that the author wouldn’t have time for new material.

    It’s frankly very difficult to sell books, or sell advertising on a blog, unless you have built a reputation first in some niche that relates to something people will pay for.  Fiction sometimes provides an exception, but even then it is often niche-like.  Hopefully it’s legitimate (not porn). Given the “gofundme” culture online today (which has become much more prominent than it was two decades ago when I got into this) there is probably opportunity to “sell” in the special needs area – but I have my own psychological and perhaps moral qualms about this.



              Remembering Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead": At age 24 I loved it, a lot of people hate it         

    Here’s a curious article by Pamela Paul from the New York Times Review on Sunday, April 16, “The Joy of Hate Reading”, or, online, “Why you should read books you hate”   Sounds like good material for a monthly book club.



    Paul describes her experience reading Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead”(1943, the year of my birth), which became a film in 1950. I remember reading it in the fall of 1967 (the Signet paperback), my last semester of graduate school at the University of Kansas, before entering the Army in 1968.  My roommate, from a town near the Colorado border named Tribune, was a fan of Rand and objectivism, and students had an objectivism discussion group that met in the cafeteria of McCollum Hall (now torn down and replaced).



    I remember Dominque, Howard Roark, and the suave but conventional Peter Keating.  I remember the climax, where the hero blows up his own building out of contempt for being made to misuse his property.

    I would read “Atlas Shrugged” two years later, while at Fort Eustis VA while in the Army.


              Decoding the Maze of Metrics in the App Economy        
    DAU, MAU, downloads, usage, open rate, retention -- these terms can sound like a foreign language to those new to the app space.
                      

    NATHAN'S FIRST

    NATHAN'S FIRST
    (sent from a proud dad) 

    My name is Dan Baxter and I live in Galway NY, Saratoga
    county and I read your articles on a regular basis. I wanted to send  you a
    bragging letter about my son Nathan who is 13 years old . Yesterday May 1st
    2017 I accompanied him on his first turkey hunt as a licensed hunter. We got
    up dark and early at 0430 and prepped for a long morning off calling and
    chasing birds thru the fields of our 60 acre property. We arrived at our
    blind that I had set up earlier in the week in preparation for the big day
    at 0500. As we nestled in I gave him the pep talk of what could happen if we
    see a bird and go over the safety rules and how it was his choice weather to
    shoot or pass. I did not want to pressure him into thinking that he must
    take the shot just to impress me. I began calling to the birds at 0530 and
    right off the bat we heard a gobble from behind. Both are faces lit up and I
    knew at that moment he was ready. Over the next fifteen minutes I made the
    prettiest cluck and purr sounds that no Tom turkey could withstand. As we
    sat in the blind waiting, he heard some leaves rustling to our side and when
    we looked we saw a nice hen come out to start feeding , followed by a
    second. At that time I told him to be ready because our boy was coming in
    from the right of us. A few seconds later , there he was standing straight
    in front of us 20 feet away strutting in all his glory. As I looked over at
    my son I could see the awe on his face of being so close to them and
    watching him do his strut and drumming. At that time I explained that he
    needed to slowly take aim, prepare and take a deep breath. I said " get
    ready bud and take the shot at your pace " , after watching him and waiting
    ,what seemed to be 10 minutes ,I hear the rifle go off and I look out and
    see that he has taken the best shot ever . Bird down!!! As I looked back at
    him I could see him shaking and taking deep breaths, that's when I asked him
    how he was and what he felt. He says he is "all good", that's when I told
    him that feeling you felt and watching the wild life is what hunting is all
    about. It is now only 0557, and although we only got to spend an hour
    together that morning, I will remember it for a life time and I hope he does
    as well. The tom weighed in at 20lbs with a nine inch beard and one inch
    spurs. I have been hunting for 20 years and have never gotten a tom that
    big. I am excited that he was able to have the chance and hope that he will
    carry on this family tradition with his kids in the future. I am attaching a
    picture for you to see. Thanks for your time.




                      

    12 YEAR OLD BRECK BREEN'S FIRST TURKEY

    FIRST TURKEY HUNT IS A SUCCESS

    “I think you are more excited than Breck about tomorrow’s turkey hunt,” my wife said to me last Friday night. She was referring to my taking 12 year old Breck Breen, Wilton out for his first wild turkey hunt. Last weekend, April 20 and 21 had been set aside as the Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend for licensed junior in NYS, ages 12-15. They had to be accompanied by an adult and they were allowed to take one bearded turkey. Breck’s dad Tim, who was a bit under the weather, asked me if I would take him out; and I jumped at the chance.




    I know that Tim had been grooming his son to all aspects of the outdoors and that included gun safety, hunting and marksmanship; first with a Crosman air gun and then with a .22 and lastly a shotgun. I found out that he had shown some of his good shooting abilities off during his NYS 4H Shooting Sports Hunter Education course breaking a few clay birds; so I figured he would be ready for the turkey hunt.



    My plan was to register him in the Sharp Spurs Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation that included a tremendous cook out with all the trimmings along with some friendly competition and prizes for all the 51 kids that signed up for this ‘free’ contest. When I told my friend, Mike Galcik, Schuylerville about my young hunter he volunteered some of his hot spots providing I take an oath of secrecy; which I did.



    Early the next morning I received a text message and a photo of 3 strutting toms from Mike that said: “Have Breck pick one.” And when I spoke to him later in the day we decided to put a ground blind up the next afternoon. However that part of the plan did not work; because when we were going to put the blind up the hedgerow of the field we found it with about 20 turkeys. Now I think it was about this time on Friday that I started to get really excited.



    After dinner on Friday Breck and I headed for the range to pattern and punch some holes in life size turkey head targets. It was a short shoot, because Breck’s 3 shots from that little 20 gauge Youth Model 500 Mossberg at 22 yards put more than enough pellets in the neck head area to drop any turkey. He was definitely ready.



    THE HUNT

    I never heard the alarm go off at 3 a.m.; because I awoke at 2:30 a.m. and started getting ready. I did wonder what the effects of all torrential downpour and extremely high winds would have on the birds. Wild turkeys spend the night roosting in trees holding on to the branch with their feet; so it had to be a see-saw wet ride for them.



    Breck and my enthusiasm had us sitting in Mike’s driveway at least a half hour earlier than are 5 a.m. meeting time but it went quickly and we loaded up all our gear in Mike’s truck. It was windy, cold and slightly drizzling but when we heard that gobble just as we were getting out of the truck at our destination, we all warmed up.



    Entering the field a good distance down from where the birds were roosting we hugged the edge of a hedgerow making our way to a setup point near where the turkeys usually go by in the morning. Mike set up about 15 yards behind us and when it started to get light he began to answer the already talking toms up on the hill. It was about 15 minutes when Breck whispered: “Here comes one.” It was definitely a tom and on several occasions would display his fan and do a little strutting. He was headed straight for us. Breck sat perfectly still with his cheek frozen to the stock of his shotgun; and he never moved. Unfortunately despite Mike’s good calling the real thing (3 hens) appeared and a few yelps from them turned him in their direction. It is hard to beat the real thing. And it wasn’t long before we watched the entire flock cross the paved road entering another field.



    Quickly we packed up and back tracked down the field, across the road and up to a ridge where we hoped would put us ahead of them; and it worked. Breck and Mike set up just overlooking the ridge where below them were several toms. Mike quickly got Breck setup and started to talk to the birds; but although they occasional gobbled a response they had no intention of leaving their harem. Finally they moved off, back across the road exactly where they had crossed earlier. “If we hunt tomorrow,” Mike said, “we will set up early right there where they had crossed.”



    TIME TO MOVE

    It was only a short ride to the next spot. We had only walked about 300 yards down a farm road when we caught a glimpse of turkeys in a field. Quickly we set up in a hedgerow and Mike started to calling; and within minutes he was getting responses from the tom. But all they did was talk; and he too had no intention of leaving his ladies. We did get some far off gobbles but it would require spooking the birds in the field so we headed back to the truck.



    The next stop was only about 15 minutes away and again we started down a farm road that ended at an old cornfield. Setting up at the corner, Mike said he expected turkeys to be at the back of the field feeding and when he made his first yelp call that is exactly where the gobble came from. For a while the caller and the gobbler talked but his reluctance to come to us told us he was “henned up.” But just as we were about to go to him, out pops a mature yelping and clucking hen. Now we had live bait.



    We sat still watching and let her do the calling and she was getting responses from one or maybe two gobblers. However once she disappeared into the woods we had to move and get in front of her hoping the gobbler would follow. And he did.



    Once we got in front of her, and we could hear her continuing to yelp, we quickly set up in a small overgrown green field about 50 yards into the woods from the farm road. Things started to happen fast beginning with the hen who yelped her way past us; and with the help of Mike’s calling the two of them had what sounded like not one but two toms following.



    I was amazed at how calm Breck was during all this excitement; quite unusual for a 12 year old on his first turkey hunt. Another hen passed us quickly and within minutes the thundering gobbles were very close. However there were two of them as we expected. Unfortunately they were about 50 plus yards out; and a bit too far for the 20 gauge. Each time they started to move off Mike talked them back in but not close enough; and eventually the disappeared gobbling responses to Mike’s calls as they moved off.



    Moving time again and from the climb up this steep ridge following a young man and a 12 year old I realized I was a 68 year old; but they were kind and waited on the top for me to catch up. Moving along the edge of the field we would stop and make a few calls and it wasn’t long before we got another response. Another quick setup and from the gobbler’s responses he was coming straight two us.



    I was sitting behind Breck and Mike waiting to turn on my movie camera when next to me, standing no more than 30 yards were 2 gobblers announcing their presence. These may have been the two that stayed out of range down below. I dare not move or they surely would have seen me; but when I looked at Breck he was right on them. It seemed longer than it really was before Breck pulled the trigger and I watch the tom fold. This little hunter had shot his first tom wild turkey and his smile stretched from ear to ear. High 5s were definitely in order and both Mike and I were extremely happy. Definitely a GREAT hunt. For me this hunt is the very best one I have ever been on.



    The gobbler weighed in at 15 pounds and carried a 4 3/4 inch beard and you can see it and a smiling Breck Breen if you click on this link to my BLOG http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=4811742045506221910#editor/target=post;postID=7893723070742898833;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=postname



    But our day was not over. After thanking Mike for all his help we headed for Auriemma’s house to register Breck’s tom. It was a packed house of camo clad kids and adults when we arrived. The final count was 51 youth hunters; which is outstanding. And I believe 15 of them shot a tom; and I saw three twenty pounders, any of which, I would like to see in my sights on May 1. Once again the Mike and Michele Auriemma did a tremendous job. The food was good and there was plenty of it and all the kids left with 3 prizes. THANK YOU Mike and Michele and all those sponsors and helpers.


























              BLACK BEAR MEETS REMINGTON R-25        

    It was a warm sunny late September afternoon when I pulled into the Canadian Border Customs in Lewiston several weeks ago in route to Port Loring, Ontario where I hoped to shoot my seventh black bear. Little did I know then that this would be the last ray of sunshine I would see for the next 5 days. Having my gun registration paper work completed prior to my arrival helped to expedite the process; however when I opened my gun case and the Canadian officer saw my new fully camouflaged Remington R-25 .308 caliber modular repeating rifle, he was quite impressed as were several of his fellow officers who also came over to look. Once across the border I knew that I would not reach Port Loring until the wee hours of the night and decided to drive until about 9 p.m. and find a motel to spend the night; which I did in Trey, Ontario. And by mid-morning the next day I was knocking on Hermann and Lise Stroeher’s door. It was really good to see them again since my last visit 4 or 5 years ago and they were as warm and friendly as ever. But Hermann was all business and told me we can talk later and to follow him to where I would be staying. He wanted me to get unpacked and back to his house by 1:30 p.m. so I would be in my treestand by 2:30 p.m. I could feel the adrenaline already starting to boil just thinking about the hunt. My accommodations this year were at Wright Point Resort, a beautiful spot on the banks of the Pigeon Lake which is actually is part of the Pickerel River system; and it is loaded with small and largemouth bass, northern pike and walleye(they call them pickerel). The owners, Dianne and Dan Feasby, had set me up in one of their 4 motel rooms which, like their 7 lake-side cottages were fully furnished with all modern appliances, dishes, pans, etc. and they had boats and motor rentals right there. What a place to spend a week’s vacation, fishing and/or hunting. And if you are a snowmobiler, they showed me an Ontario trail map with thousands of miles of snowmobile trails. Unfortunately I only got to fish the lake for about two hours; in which time I caught and released 31 nice bass. The majority were smallies, the largest measuring 20 inches and two of the largemouth were over 3 pounds. All were taken on a Stick-O-Worm rigged wacky style. I did leave the rest of these worms with Dan and one of his campers. The hospitality here was outstanding and if you would like to see more go to their web site at, wrightpointresort.com. DAY 1 At 1:30 p.m. I was following Hermann in my truck headed to my treestand site and I was anxious. It was a long ride, approximately 25 miles on a paved road and another 6 miles into the bush on a dirt road where I parked my truck and Hermann walked me in on a small trail to the site got me settled, then headed back to camp. There were dark clouds beginning to roll in but I was hoping the rain would hold off until dark. It didn’t. Perhaps and hour or so after I climbed into the stand I heard thunder in the distance behind me; but it sounded like it was going away from me. It wasn’t. The rains came first but I was ready for that and quickly slipped into my rain suit and used another light rain jacket to cover my gun. The winds followed shortly and I found out later that they were upward of 40; which at times felt like I was on the high seas. Within 45 minutes of the start of the rain the thunder began, and with it the lightning. Now my choices were climb out of the stand and go sit in the truck until it passed and then sneak back in, which would probably ruin the hunt. So I chose the second option of staying in the tree. An hour or so later the thunder and lighting did stop, but the heavy rain and high winds didn’t. And at 7:50 p.m., the end of legal shooting time, I climbed down from the stand and sloshed my way back to the truck. Did not see a bear. Back at camp no one else had seen a bear either and Hermann said that the combination of the heavy rain, high winds and thunder and lightning makes them very nervous. All we could do is go back out again the next morning. DAY 2 I was in my stand an hour before sunup and when I looked through my scope I could see that the bait had not been touched; so there was still a chance that the bear would come in this morning. Forgot to mention it was still raining and the wind was about 20-25 mph. At 10:30 a.m. I climbed down and headed back to camp. After breakfast and a short nap I was sitting in the stand in full rain gear hoping that tonight was the night. The rain continued along with the heavy winds all evening and once again there were no bear visits. But I did have 4 grouse cooing around under my stand for about an hour. The grouse season was open but the .308 was a little overkill for grouse hunting. DAY 3 After another morning of rain, wind and no bear I met up with Hermann who suggested that after breakfast I join him on his morning baiting trips and we could check the activity at several of the sites, and I could pick the one I liked for the afternoon hunt. We visited 5 sites, all of which were hit since the last time he checked them. The site that I choose had plenty of activity signs but the real draw for me was the timber wolf tracks I saw in the mud on the way in that got me excited. Only once, years ago while sitting in a treestand at Hermann’s, I had a timber wolf appear about 150 yards from me. I did get to look at him through my binoculars but he quickly disappeared. That evening the rain continued and it was then that I realized the value of good equipment. Other than my hands and face the only thing that got a little wet and cold during these long sits in the nasty weather was my nose. The camouflaged Red Head Squaltex Bone Dry rain gear totally protected my body from the rain and the wind and the Burris Full Field II, in all this nasty rain, never once fogged up on me. Actually I did get a bit wet the next day when climbing down from my stand in the morning I caught my jacket on a nail and ripped a big chuck out of it. As for the bear this particular evening; nothing came it. DAY 4 The final day, my last chance. The morning hunt went too quickly and the rain did stop for an hour or so and, the sun did shine for perhaps an hour. But there were no bears. It was going down to the wire again. That afternoon I was in the stand earlier than usual but knew this was it; because tomorrow I was heading home. The weather was actually fairly pleasant; for awhile. Then about 3 p.m. the winds began followed by the rain, and with each hour both increased and by 6 p.m. things were back to normal; heavy rains and gusting winds that were causing my treestand to move a good six inches from side to side. I must have looked at my watch at least a dozen times; and time was running out. I remember checking my watch at it 7:35 p.m. and saying to myself, just 10 more minutes of legal shooting time left; it looks like it is over. But when I looked up there he was coming in, 70 yards away in the opening. Quickly I shouldered the gun and put the crosshair on the bear’s shoulder and clicked off the safety. My only problem now was that the 40 plus mph wind was again rocking the stand side to side. It seemed like forever that I held the horizontal crosshair of the scope on target just waiting for the wind to stop. And when it did I set the crosshairs on its shoulder and tapped the R-25 trigger and the Remington 150 grain Ultra Bonded PSP put him down. To say I was relieved and excited would be an understatement as I scrambled down the steps and trotted to the bear. A tap on his nose with the rifle barrel told me what I already knew; it was over. Quickly I unloaded my rifle, put it in its case, which is required when leaving the woods after legal shooting time in Canada, and quickly headed to my truck to go get Hermann. He was as happy as I was about the news and he had already put the ATV on the back of his pickup; and we headed back to get my bear. Once again I watched Hermann’s skill with the Outdoor Edge cutlery(Kodi-Pak) I had given him years ago. But the fun really began when we had to drag the bear about 20 yards over a number of brush piles and stumps to the ATV. Two old men pulling on a bear would have made a great photo, but we got it there and loaded on the back of the ATV. And yes, it was still raining and windy; but I really did not care. This was another great hunt with some very special old and new friends; and I have to rate it as my most memorable bear hunt. If you would like to see more photos of the bear you can go to, fishguydblog.blogspot.com/
              COMPLETION OF THE NWTF CANADIAN SLAM        

    Last week I traveled to the Canadian Province of British Columbia where I hoped to fulfill my final requirement for the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) Canadian Slam by harvesting a Merriam turkey. According to NWTF’s record book only one person, Kathleen Neault, Colorado, has completed this Slam; and I was hoping to become the second. In October last year I had harvested an Eastern turkey in Hastings County, Ontario. These are the only two turkeys needed to qualify for this recognition. This past winter I surfed the net for turkey hunting outfitters in Canada that guided for Merriam and found out that there were very few. Turkey hunting in Canada is fairly new and generally there is little interest in hunting them; but that has been rapidly changing with the continuing increase in the Canada populations of wild turkeys. My choice for this hunt was the Kettle River Guides/Outfitters operated by Tami and Melvin Kilback who have been in business for over 33 years for whitetail and mule deer, elk, moose, bear, cougar, lynx and bobcat. And their trophy wall of successful clients was extremely impressive. And they were eager to add some turkey photos to this collection. Upon my arrival at the base camp I was greeted by my guide, Jamie York who helped me settle in to my cabin and then sat down to discuss the morning’s strategies. We would be hunting the high ground on a vast piece of Crown(public) hunting land and based on what Jamie had scouted we decided that we would get there early and walk and talk our way along the trails trying to solicit gobbles from a love sick tom. As for calling, I handed him a Wilson’s Game Call black walnut box call and told him he could call and I would shoot. According to Jamie 10 years ago in this area turkey sightings were very rare but now the population has increased significantly. Little did we know just how big this population really was. What I liked immediately about the hunt was the fact that we could legally hunt from sunup(5 a.m.) until a little past 8 p.m. And he also said that turkeys could hunt with either a shotgun or a rimfire rifle. And in the spring the limit was just one bearded bird. My choice of gun for this Slam was a new Mossberg model 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun which, for the first time in my turkey hunting career, I topped off with a fixed power, circle and cross hair reticle Maine Vue scope. I was very impressed with this combination at the range. It had worked well on my Ontario turkey hunt and I also used it to shoot several coyotes this past winter. In fact I also shot a dozen or so Canada geese with it during the early September season hunt. So my confidence level with this gun was extremely high. When that target was in that circle it was history. It seemed like I had just closed my eyes when the alarm announce sounded my 3 a.m. wake-up. The things a hunter will do just to chase a wild turkey; but what a beautiful country to do it in. Coffee to go and a banana, and we were headed up a narrow dirt road to Crown (public) land where Jamie had seen a number of Merriam a few day before. We never got a chance to use our walk and talk plan because the birds began to gobble before he had gone 50 yards from the truck and it was still 20 minutes before legal shooting time. There were 4 gobbles coming from 4 different directions so we thought it best to set up as soon as we were out of sight of the truck. With our two decoy hens in place we started to yelp softly and the double-gobbling responses were immediate. I never expected this type of a greeting but I will admit I had visions of calling the airlines that afternoon after the photo shoot of my tom, to see if I could get an early flight home. No such luck because those toms, which continued to gobble for about an hour never came close to us; they just went silent. Something was wrong and I did not know what it was. Moving farther up the ridge about a half mile we called again and got several more responses which sent us scrambling to get set up. And the results were an exact duplicate of our first encounter - they would not come in. For the next several hours we had toms gobbling all over this high country and never got one to come to us. When we headed back at 10 a.m. for breakfast we had 17 responding toms and not one sighting. Now breakfast was a real SLAM prepared by our camp cook, Jeannie. Her breakfast menu was right out of the weight watchers cook book. It included pancakes with 4 kinds of syrup, eggs over easy, home fries, sausage and bacon. And that evening at dinner it too was a 5 star meal. And that is the way it was for the rest of my stay. I never left the table hungry. When we returned to the turkey woods that afternoon it was like a repeat of the morning with plenty of turkey talking and responses but no appearances. The total gobblers heard that day we estimated to be 22. On Day two we awoke to find the ground covered with about 1-2 inches of snow and a very cold biting wind; but it had little or no effect on the turkeys. They were again gobbling and responding to our calls all morning and still no incoming toms. I was beginning to loose my confidence and was definitely confused at what was happening. I did however believe that from what we were experiencing, that perhaps the breeding season was over. Moving on we found an area where we could see where turkey had been feeding and I decided to take off on one set of tracks that headed down the hill. Tracking a turkey in the snow is something I had never done in all my years of hunting turkeys. It was definitely different but unfortunately the trail ended at the edge of a brook after three-quarters of a mile. And at day’s end we had spoken with 16 more toms, and not once did I release the safety on my Mossberg. FINAL DAY If it did not happen today I would have to re-book and wait a whole year to get another chance at completing my Canadian Slam. And to add to the pressure, the blinding snow and occasional rain was constant. I told Jamie to stay warm and dry and just drop me off a quarter of mile from where we had found the tracks the day before. I planned on setting up and sitting there all day in hopes of their return. At sunup they were talking but not moving and after 4 ½ hours of sitting and shivering I called Jamie to be picked up. Time to ride and call and until be got a response. And I will admit that my confidence level was extremely low and I believed it was over until next Spring. But we were not ready to call it quits just yet. At our third stop we got a chorus of gobbling response but again they would not come in. Jamie, who knew this country better than anyone, suggested be try a drive. He would get above the birds and try to move them down to me. I am not confident in turkey drives but, at this point it couldn’t hurt to try. When he got there I heard him softly calling and the turkeys answering but nothing was coming down to me. I was wondering why he had stopped calling when I heard the truck coming. “Ed, I think they are roosted up there,” he said; “want to see if we can sneak them?” Now sneaking and peeking a group of turkeys is next to impossible to do without being busted. But “Why not?” Back up on top we slowly began to move down the snow-covered hill towards what sounded like a flock of toms gobbling; even though we were not calling them. After each step I took I expected to hear the putt, putt alarm and the flapping of wings as they flew off. But Jamie had and idea, which I believe was the whole key to the final success of this hunt, when he moved off to the right of ,me and then down out of sight of the turkey continuing to work the box call softly all the way. By doing this the turkeys were looking in his direction which allowed me a little more freedom to make my move. My plan was to reach a large fallen pine tree which I estimated to be about 20 yards from the birds. When I reached it I shouldered the Mossberg, put my thumb on the safety, took a deep breath and stepped around the tree. My plan was to take the first tom that I saw. But when I did step out I did not expect to see what probably was close to 20 toms; some roosting and others on the ground. Picking out the closest one I got him in the scope and squeezed the trigger. In seconds there were turkeys in the air everywhere; except for the one 2 year old tom who lay on the ground. My quest for the Canadian Slam had ended. When Jamie retrieved my turkey he said that the shot was actually 45 yards. It was a great hunt, in a great setting with some great people. I can assure you that the turkey woods of Kettle River Guides/Outfitters have an abundance of Merriam turkeys. You can check them out at kettleriverguides.com. If possible, I plan on returning to British Columbia next April; and if you are interested in coming along drop me an email (enoonan@nycap.rr.com).

              NEWFOUNDLAND MOOSE - SCI SILVER AWARD        


    PART I - THE BEGINNING
    Have you ever flipped through the pages of Field & Stream or watched an exciting big game hunt on the Outdoor Channel and said to yourself, “Someday I would like to do that?” I guess all hunters have a specific species they dream about pursuing and mine has always been a moose. In terms of my “bucket list” for animals I want to hunt, the moose has always been number one. For years, I have sent my check to Vermont and Maine in hopes of getting drawn in their moose hunting lottery; but it never was. But last Fall I received an email from Amsterdam hunters Dick Andrews and Marshall Knapik and Rich Kraus(Ballston Spa) about their Newfoundland moose hunt that finally lit the fire under me. And the results is that in 3 weeks my dream hunt will finally become a reality.

    The moose, which is derived from the Algonkian name meaning “eater of twigs,” was not native to Newfoundland. They were introduced, two bulls and two cows from New Brunswick, in 1904 and today it is estimated that there is a population of 120,000. Moose are the largest member of the deer family with a weak eyesight but their most acute sense is their hearing. Their habitat is includes swampy areas as well as forested higher ground around lakes.

    The destination, which I choose mainly because of Dick’s recommendation and the fact that he has hunted there successfully five times already and will be returning in 2010, is Sam’s Hunting and Fishing Camps located in Portland Creek, Newfoundland, Canada. Owned and operated by Sam and Hebbert Caines, they have over 30 years of experience guiding and outfitting hunters. Sam’s has three hunting camps located in Area No. 3 on the Northern Peninsula: St. Paul’s Big Pond, where I will be hunting, which is one-half mile from Gros Morne National Park which is 35 miles from Deer Lake; Long Range Mountains at Trophy Lake and High Pond which are each 60 miles from Deer Lake which is the pick up point for all Sam’s hunters. Now although we will be hunting from fly-in remote sites, which I am looking forward to, it is comforting to know that there is two-way radio and cell telephone contact with these camps.

    There are two ways to get to Deer Lake; driving and flying. If you drive there is a 5 - 8 hour ferry crossing depending upon the weather or, my choice, drive to Montreal and fly into Deer Lake. Here I will spend the night, be picked up early the next morning and flown in to camp by helicopter. And this, the helicopter ride, is something I am looking forward to also. All the camps are built to Newfoundland Tourism specifications and include indoor toilets, showers, two bedroom with two single beds in each, a large dining room and a kitchen. And each camp has a full time cook. Each hunter has his/her own guide. The actual hunting is done by spot and stalk, which is walking and glassing a variety of terrains, and/or sometimes glassing from elevated blinds.

    Now when choosing a guide/outfitter success rate should always be a major consideration. In the case of Sam’s Hunting and Fishing Camps he has a 90 percent success rate for moose and 100 percent for caribou. Unfortunately, I applied for a Woodland caribou hunting tag but did not receive one; but I did get a black bear permit which I hopefully will be able to fill during this hunt. As for the caribou, I will try again next year.

    BORDER CROSSING
    When hunting in Canada there are a number of forms and documents that are needed when crossing the border. The easiest way to travel to and from Canada is with a passport. As for your firearm, this too is fairly simple and most of the paperwork can be competed before you go. You cannot bring a fully automatic weapon, handgun or pepper spray into Canada. Your regular hunting rifle/shotgun is not a problem as long as complete a Nonresident Firearms Declaration(CAFC909EF) form. Sam sent this form to me when I confirmed my hunt with him in February. The form is very simple to complete and on it you can register up to 3 firearms and the cost is $25(Canadian) which you pay at the time of crossing. The registration is good for 60 days. Do not sign and date the form until you are at customs. In all the times I have traveled to Canada with a firearm(s) to hunt it has been a very simple process which usually will take no more than 30 minutes. To download this form Goggle “Canadian firearms declaration form.”

    With regards to transporting firearms to Canada , which they may or may not inspect at the border, is in a protective and lockable case, and obviously, unloaded. It is wise if your gun is a bolt action to remove the bolt, and if it a clip remove the clip.

    CLOTHING
    Weather-wise, during September it is usually very pleasant in the mid - 40s which is good hunting weather. But Dick and other hunters who have been to Newfoundland in September all agree that things can change very quickly. “You will hunt in the rain,” they tell me and things will get damp and therefore layering you clothing is the best method. The absolute must for this trip is quality rain gear which should include quality rubber boots that are 16 or 17 inches high and with aggressive tread.


    THE GUN/AMMO
    Now those of you who know me are probably saying: “First moose hunt; he will surely have to buy a new gun.” That’s what my wife thought also. Well, believe it or not, the gun that I will be using is one that is already in my gun cabinet. In fact I have had it for at least 7 years now and never really shot anything with it. It is a ported Remington Model 700 BDL in the .300 Win Mag caliber. I told you I knew that one day I would be making this hunt and actually bought the gun solely for the purpose of hunting moose with it. The only action it has seen up until now has been a twice a year complete cleaning and oiling. But now that my dream hunt is going to be a reality I have added a quality optic and spent some range time getting acquainted with this gun; and I am very impressed with its performance and power; just what is needed to bring down a large bull moose that stands higher than a large saddle horse and can weigh as much as 1500 pounds.

    When I asked Sam and Hebbert what to expect in terms of the range of shooting distance he said that it could be anywhere from 50 yards to 400 yards; which was another reason I chose the .300 win mag cartridge.

    With the number of quality scopes offered today my selection of the right one for this rifle and especially this hunt was difficult. At the Shot Show in January I spent one day visiting optic manufacturers booths and reviewing what they were offering in scopes. One in particular impressed me; Hawke Optics. And when Brad Bonar, their Sales Manager, let me look through their Endurance 30 series 3-12x50 L3 Dot IR reticle scope all I could think about was placing that red dot on the shoulder of my Newfoundland bull moose. Other important features include a 30mm matt black mono tube, it is fog and waterproof, shockproof and has an 11 setting rheostat to adjust the Dot’s intensity to any light condition.

    After mounting and bore sighting the scope I headed for the range where I tested 3 brands of ammunition shooting from a Caldwell Lead Sled shooting rest which is the only way to sight in a firearm for two reasons: one is that you get the best accuracy and two, it absorbs almost all of the felt recoil. My 3-shot grouping with the Endurance was quite impressive(one-half inch) and the best results were with the Winchester Supreme Elite XP3, 180 grain 2-stage expansion bullet with delayed controlled expansion, deep penetration and high weight retention. Ballistically it has a muzzle velocity of 3000 feet per second and energy of 3597 foot pounds. Just the right medicine for taking a moose down. Zeroed at 200 yards it will be 1.4 inches high at 100 yards and 6.4 inches low at 300 yards. And should I get that 400 yard shot, my holdover will be 18.5 inches.

    One other service I found helpful when dealing with Hawke Optics was their Ballistic Reticle Calculator(BRC) which is a free software package that will help you to choose the right ammunition for your gun and print a copy of the results. This program covers calibers from a 177 air rifle, up to a 300 Weatherby magnum and even will calculate the best crossbow bolt for your crossbow. To get the BRC go to their web at hawkeoptics, click on “Hawke BRC” and they will email it to you. And while you are there click on “NEW Reticle Information” and see how my L3 DOT IR looks when sighting in a bull elk in the field.

    PART II - THE HUNT

    Forty five years ago when I realized how much I enjoyed big game hunting I promised myself that someday I was going to go on a moose hunt. And two weeks ago my wish came true in Newfoundland at Sam’s Hunting and Fishing Camps; and I can honestly say it was the most exciting hunting adventures I have ever experienced.

    It was 2a.m. when I stepped off the plane in Deer Lake along with several other camo clad passengers and headed for the baggage claim conveyor. Now if you have ever traveled with a firearm on a hunting trip you know how good you feel when you see that gun case come out on the conveyor; and mine did. But my suitcase, with all my hunting clothes, boots and other accessories, didn’t. Now I had a real problem because in just 4 hours my outfitter Sam Caines was going to pick me up and take me to the helicopter that would fly me into St. Paul’s Big Pond; which was the only access to the camp.

    At the airline desk I completed the missing baggage claim form and explained the situation and asked how, when they found my bag, they would get it to me. They would have to send it to the outfitter who would then have it flown out to me at the camp. So when I climbed into that helicopter later that morning I was wearing my hunting clothes: jeans, Nike shoes, long sleeve cotton shirt, baseball cap and a photographer’s vest. Not exactly what I needed for the spot and stalk hunting in wet bogs in the wind and rain and temperatures in the low 40s.

    The helicopter ride was great and I got a chance to see just how beautiful the Newfoundland wilderness really is; and it was then that I felt the excitement of the upcoming hunt despite the knot in my stomach because of my lost luggage. I could not hunt like this and all I thought about was having to stay in camp for 7 days and not being able to hunt; something I waited a lifetime to do.

    After settling in, which did not take long for me, I got to meet the other three hunters: Oscar Primelles, my roommate from Florida; and Victor Chandler and Wayne Cleveland who were both from Nova Scotia. The staff included guides Hebbert, Sherman and Harrison Caines, Ralph House and Derrick Kelly our camp cook. Each hunter at Sam’s has his/her own guide. Ironically all had heard of my problem with the airlines and they all said “they would dress me.” Each one of them contributed to my hunting outfit and when I dressed for hunting on Monday morning the only piece of clothing I was wearing that was mine was my underwear; which by the way, I washed each evening and hung over the wood stove to dry.

    That evening before the hunt I felt lot better knowing I would be able to hunt comfortably and thoroughly enjoyed Derrick’s ham dinner with all the trimmings which we all found out was equally outstanding all week. And that included the home made bread, pies and cakes.

    MONDAY
    It rained all night and it was raining at 7 a.m. with 5-10 ph winds and temperatures in the mid - 30s when Sherman, my guide, and I along with Oscar and his guide Hebbert, all climbed into an 18 foot aluminum boat and headed for the other end of the pond. This “pond” by the way was the size of Saratoga Lake.

    Once on shore we all started up 12 STOP mountain which is the name I gave it because it required 12 rest stops where I would catch my breath before I reached the top. Sherman and I stayed on one side of the top while Oscar and Hebbert went over the top to the other side to set up. Each of the guides would call, using only their mouths, but nothing came in.

    By 9 a.m. the wind had picked up considerably and that combined with the heavy rains made sitting difficult; and at by 11:00 we were back in the boat and headed for camp. And when we got there Derrick’s homemade turkey vegetable soup was just what we all needed. No one that morning had seen a moose.

    The afternoon watch took us up another steep incline( 10 Stop mountain) and the bad weather conditions were the same. I remember reading that moose do not move much when it is rainy and windy and they didn’t this evening either. Victor and Ralph reported seeing two cow moose that evening but they were about 500 yards across the bog.

    TUESDAY
    Anticipation was high that morning despite the fact that conditions had actually gotten tougher and we had to wait about an hour for the fog to lift before we left camp. This time Sherman and I headed out behind the camp for an area they called the Waiting Rock stand. It was an 8 stops climb for me and we climbed into the 20 foot high tower. These towers are quite unique. They(guides) find four 10 - 12 inch trees that are in a square about 5 or 6 feet apart, trim the branches from the ground up, cut the tops off the trees, and build a platform blind enclosing the sides with canvas and with seats. It is quite comfortable but I found out that temperatures were a bit colder at this height. And at times the high winds would create horizontal rains which added to our discomfort. But that’s hunting. And again, by 10 a.m. we were headed back to camp without sighting a single moose.

    It was on this trip back to camp that I found out about what Newfoundlanders call a bog hole, and why they told me to always watch and duplicate where your guide steps; which I did on the first day. However on this day I got caught up in looking at the beautiful scenery and my right foot with the 18 inch high boot found its way into a 24 in hole full f water. I knew than that I was done hunting for the day. But as it turned out, because of the bad weather no one went out that afternoon.

    WEDNESDAY
    Finally Mother Nature turned off the water, reduced the wind and replaced them with chilly 34 degree temperatures. At daybreak Sherman and I headed back up for the Waiting Rock tower; but we never made it. The evening before Hebbert had told me that in the history of this camp Waiting Rock had produced at least 100 moose harvests and on this day I was about to make it 101.

    Several hundred yards from camp we stopped and Sherman made a few cow calls but got no response. Continuing up the hill we were just about 100 yards from the bog that the tower was located in when Sherman stopped, tapped his ear and pointed at the thick spruce off to our left. I heard the scraping and then saw those large palmated antlers thrashing the trees and brush about 80 yards from us. I think I froze momentarily in awe. It is one thing to watch something like this on the Outdoor Channel, but it is nothing like actually being there. Quickly and quietly I chambered a round and turned the Hawke scopes power down to 4. I don’t remember being nervous but I am sure I was.

    By watching the movement of the bushes and trees we could see the bull was heading parallel to us and hopefully he would cross a 15 foot opening about 50 yards from me. Sherman motioned me up a few yards where I set up on a small rise in the trail, got down on one knee, clicked off my safety and laid my cheek on the stock.

    All the time I could feel the chill running up and down my spine and my heart was pounding. To keep the bull headed in our direction Sherman cleverly turned his back on the bull and called again making it sound like this love sick cow was leaving. It worked.

    Not only did the bull step into the opening but he started to turn down the trail towards me. I don’t know remember my feelings or even pulling the trigger when that big bull was just 40 yards from me slowly tossing his head from side to side. I knew I had hit him, but I am not sure he knew. Shot number two got the reaction I was looking for and shot number three put him on the ground. It was then that I remember what the veteran hunters and guides in camp said; “ shoot until he is down.”

    My knees were a bit shaky when I stood up and so were my hands as Sherman and I waited a few minutes before moving cautiously toward the fallen bull. And when we were sure he was dead the high 5s, hoots, hugs and handshakes began. I don’t know exactly how many times I thanked Sherman, my 27 year old guide, for my first bull; and he thanked me also; because I was actually the first client he had guided.

    I believe I stood over my bull for at least 15 minutes just admiring his rack, head, swollen neck and shoulders. Everything about him was “BIG.”

    Now the real work was about to begin for Sherman. That big half ton at least animal had to be rolled over and not only field dressed but boned, quartered and carried out on a pack frame.

    Back in camp that afternoon after another long photo shoot Hebbert gave me my bulls statistics. He estimated that the bull weighed 1500 pounds, was 7-8 years old, had 22 measurable points, 13 inch palms, a 48 3/4 inch spread and the bases of his antlers measured 9 3/4 inches around.

    As for the other hunters in camp they too tagged out by the end of the week. My cabin roommate Oscar, shot a 10 point bull, called in by Hebbert, just about 550 yards from where I took my bull on the Waiting Rock watch. On the next morning, Thursday, Harrison called in a 3 point bull and a cow moose to Victor, who chose to shoot the cow. And at 9:10 a.m. on Saturday, the final day of hunting, I was in camp when Ralph called in to report he had called in a 4 point bull at the Waiting Rock tower, which Wayne dropped with just one shot at 158 yards. It was this 73 year old gentleman’s 10 th bull and his 10 th year of hunting with Sam. The first week of the 2009 moose hunt at St. Paul’s Big Pond was 100 percent successful. And I later found out that only one hunter in all three of Sam’s outpost camps had not taken a moose this week.

    If you have ever considered a moose hunt I highly recommend that you contact Sam’s Hunting and Fishing Camps(709-898-2535).



              solfeggiosounds.com – Solfeggio 396 Delta        
    Let’s start off today with a review of solfeggiosounds.com – Solfeggio 396 Delta. The review will incorporate all of the info that I have managed to find during my research. I haven’t actually gone out and bought – instead I’ve done all the research about it, so you don’t have to. Also included in my [...]
              Increased Website Traffic Though Forum Traffic        
    Before blogs came out in the open to gain popularity, forums were initially created. Forums are a brilliant thing and increased website traffic and made Internet history.



    It gained the highest users online. To be part of a certain community online, people must join these forums. Many people join communities where they have the same interests. Many internet marketers capitalized on these forums because they could benefit just by joining forums.



    Now, let's say you started your very own forum and the possibility of having a lot of user interaction is really huge. You have been expecting traffic, spent a lot of months for your page rank to increase considering it's at 5, but the problem is, there is no traffic at all.



    increased website traffic


    You have checked your site but there are definitely no members. Now you are wondering what went wrong. No one even signed to join your forum. The very reason why these things happen is because no one cared to join your forum and there are no members and there are no posts visible in your forum.



    Every user wants to join a large forum where they can share and exchange their ideas and even leave a question for another user to answer. When a new member signs up and leaves a question, and the chances of that question being answered are very slim, new users just leave and find larger forums with a lot of members.



    So how can you make forum traffic? Just follow these steps to get started.



    Always start with a smaller forum. You can add less than 10 categories for your site. Just make the very important ones that could attract the users’ interests. The fewer categories, the easier it is to fill the forum.



    If you are opposed to using certain controversial methods, then just ignore this one and move on. This sounds crazy, but this will definitely help. Make bogus users; create different names and different details. Just remember to use the same email if what you did has email activation. This is just to make things easy for you. Then next thing to do is to post as many as you can. You can create threads about topics that are related to your very site. Then you can log on as the other fake user, so you can reply to the posts. Make a lot of threads but make sure that there are 10 replies from the other fake users you have created.



    This process can be very time consuming. So you can do different things each day. You can either create a thread for a day or remember to post at least 10 replies to that thread. You can do this for three months or longer.



    Now when someone glances at your site, they will actually see that there are many threads. Posts are visible too. So this user will be convinced that there is actually a community in your site. Now this user will start to register and post.



    Always remember that you need to keep on track with their threads and posts so you will be able to reply with your own account and with the fake accounts that you have created. When you reply to the new users threads, then they will be very convinced, they will stay in your forum and most likely they will spread the views for increased website traffic. Making this requires patience, so be patient enough to succeed.



    If you don't want to do this process, you have another alternative too. The only thing that you need is some money, but it won't hurt. If you are the lazy type, you can go to sites that offer services like these instead of making fake ones.



    There are sites that offer these services; they have real users who will enter your forum, sign up and post threads according to the plan that you choose and that will suit your preferences. They will make threads and posts that are much related to the topic in your forum. Now your forums will be filled with real people, and new users will be convinced to sign up too, like the former process. The only difference is that here these are real paid people.



    These are some of the ways to get forum traffic. You only need to have patience if you opt to use the manual way if you have budget constraints. On the other hand, if you have enough money to pay for sites which offer this kind of service, it wouldn't hurt. So go on and check what really suits your preferences. The most important thing is to get forum traffic to keep pace with your business.



    Find out how to increase website traffic and how increased website traffic can help your website by visiting us now.
              CFO$ – WWE: Playing with Power (TJ Perkins) – Single [iTunes Plus M4A]        
    Genres: Soundtrack, Music Released: 30 September 2016 ℗ 2016 WWE, Inc. Tracklist: Store Download
              New Resource for African-American Genealogy: IAAM Center for Family History        


    The International African American Museum (IAAM), opening in early 2020 in Charleston, SC, will include a Center for Family History dedicated to helping researchers trace African-Americans in their family trees.

    It sounds like a long time to wait, but the center's website is already available, with a growing collection of obituary, funeral and marriage records, as well as research tips in a Learning Library and a blog by professional genealogist Robin Foster.

    Toni Carrier, founder of the LowCountry Africana website, is developing the IAAM Center for Family History. Staff will assist researchers in finding resources about their families and help with DNA testing.

    The $75 million museum and research center will be located at Charleston's former Gadsden’s Wharf, where almost half of all enslaved Africans first arrived in America via the Transatlantic Slave Trade. You can see artist's renderings of the museum here.

    SaveSave
              Comment on Vernissage: Austrian Painter Karl Winkler by Ana De-Jesus        
    I love art exhibitions as well! I really like the sound of Karls work and to me it seems like a cross between surrealism i.e. Salvador Dali and a reference to cubism too!
              Comment on Rituals Body Scrubs Review by Chloe        
    Hi, I've not heard of these products before. I love the style and colour of the packaging. The body scrub sounds great and I want to try it now. I shall be Googling the brand now.
              With an emphasis on culture, a new kind of nature trail emerges along Chicago’s south lakefront        
    Environment & Conservation

    North of the Margaret Burroughs Beach, a Caracol-inspired gathering space with a Mesoamerican hop scotch game is be part of a new trail in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor. This is one of five sites installed in by teams of artists and community-based organizations whose designs are inspired both by local ecology, as well as the heritage of communities adjacent to the south lakefront.

    Moving along the trail, just past the 31st Harbor, an intertwined monarch butterfly sculpture crowns a hill, this design will be circled with common milkweed. West of Lake Shore Drive on 31st Street, south on the trail, a Scholar's rock sits in a grove of mature oak trees; have a seat and imagine the sounds of traffic as waves from an ocean, urban nature at its best. Crossing 39th street/Oakwood, on the west side of Lake Shore Drive, designed for growth every year, sculpted willow branches take organic shapes. The woodchip trail continues, a fallen tree hugs a bird sculpture born from the Sankofa symbol, a soulful reflection on nature.

    The Gathering Spaces, part of the Roots & Routes Initiative, were curated by a volunteer committee comprised of arts professionals and community leaders. 

    Caracol Opening

    Caracol, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Roots & Routes, Habitat Restoration, Pilsen, Contratiempo, Chicago, Lakefront
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum


    1. Caracol

    Lead artists:  Georgina Valverde, Diana Solis, Jose Terrazas

    Non-profit partner:  contratiempo (Pilsen) – preserves and highlights the cultural identity and contributions of the Spanish-speaking

    Latino population in the United States.

    Description:  Drawing on rich connections from the natural world and cultural symbolism, Caracol (“snail” and “shell” in Spanish) represents the immigrant's desire to belong while maintaining the core of memory and identity. Snails perform a critical role in the food chain, breaking down plant matter and aiding in the nutrification of the soil. Likewise, immigrants economic and cultural contributions enrich and revitalize the host society. Caracol´spiral-shaped structure suggests ongoing movement from the core to a widening exterior—from the familiar to the unknown.  The installation includes a table that can function as a work or picnic table, and as a painting surface for a series of murals featuring the interplay of language and images, a stage, and a hopscotch game that uses Mesoamerican numbers.

     

    La Ronda Parakata

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, La Ronda Parakata
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    2. La Ronda Parakata

    Lead artists:  Hector DuarteAlfonso “Piloto” Nieves

    Non-profit partner:  Casa Michoacán (Pilsen) – promotes cultural, social, and sporting activities between the Mexican and immigrant Michoacán community, with a transnational vision.

    Description:  This project is a circular sculpture inspired by the magic symbolism of the butterfly, harmony with nature, and migration.  It is demarcated by a delicate sculptural ring or “ronda” of interlocking butterfly forms. The center of the space features native plants and cement blocks that are being repurposed as rustic seating.

     

    Set in Stone

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Set in Stone
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    3. Set in Stone

    Lead artists:  Andy Bellomo, Anna Murphy

    Non-profit partner:  Chinese-American Museum of Chicago (Chinatown) -- promotes the culture and history of Chinese-Americans in the Midwest through exhibitions, education and research.

    Description:  This project is an interpretation of a traditional Chinese “scholar’s rock” by sculpting, molding and fabricating a sculpture that emulates the magnificence felt through viewing these rocks. The scholar’s rock sculpture is placed at the center of a tranquil rock garden with hand-carved log benches for viewing/contemplation.

     

    Sounding Bronzeville

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Sounding Bronzeville
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    4. Sounding Bronzeville

    Lead artists:  Fo Wilson, Norman Teague

    Non-profit partner:  Bronzeville Community Development Partnership (Bronzeville) -- focuses on information technology, heritage tourism, hospitality workforce development and training, preservation and sustainability in Bronzeville.

    Description:  This site includes several organic, amorphous sculptural forms that rise from the ground in different heights and shapes, covered with native plant material. Some of these forms serve as seating, and some have “sound ports” or “nesting ports.” These openings allow for visibility through the forms as well as opportunities for specific audial experiences between people. This piece commemorates and remembers the strength and resilience of thousands of African-Americans who made the journey from the South seeking better opportunities North with 100 years of the Great Migration.

    Architects: Monica Chadha and Mike Newman; Landscape Architects Nilay Mistry and Nathan Wright; Willow Furniture Maker and Consultant Dave Chapman

     

    Sankofa for the Earth

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Sankofa for the Earth
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    5. Sankofa for the Earth

    Lead artists:  Arlene Turner Crawford, Dorian Sylvain, Raymond A. Thomas

    Non-profit partner:  South Side Community Art Center (Bronzeville) -- preserves, conserves and promotes the legacy and future of African American art and artists, while educating the community on the value of art and culture.

    Description:  This project features a “Sankofa” bird made from mixed-media and recycled materials. In Africa, a bird looking backwards over its tail represents the Sankofa symbol, which means “go back and fetch it.” It is an understanding that our past(s) holds important information to move us forward in life. There is a mosaic on the exterior of the bird and mural on the interior representing Bronzeville history. QR codes are integrated into the mural design to allow visitors with smartphones, to access sites with information about the images included in the mural, as well as, information on Bronzeville, the Chicago Park District and the Field Museum.

     

    How to get to the Gathering Spaces: 

    Gathering Spaces Map


              Re: Whats Your Favorite "Treat"?        

    Rensch wrote:

    I know there is peanuts covered in M&M's (like 'em), but i never heard something like peanut butter M&M's and peanut butter KitKat chunky.

    Sounds interesting though...

    And a dark KitKat... really? We've got milk and white ones here though.

    Dark Chocolate YUCK >.<! White Chocolate Heaven ^^!


              Re: Whats Your Favorite "Treat"?        

    I know there is peanuts covered in M&M's (like 'em), but i never heard something like peanut butter M&M's and peanut butter KitKat chunky.

    Sounds interesting though...

    And a dark KitKat... really? We've got milk and white ones here though.


              DIY: Wooden Ocarina        
    I was proud as a peacock when I mastered Frère Jacques on the tin whistle. It took me hours! To me, being able to play the ocarina sounds like a feat in itself, but building one from scratch is even more phenomenal. If you’re up for the task, gladiator Bob has made a great Instructable […]
              Sleep Apnea        

    Sleep Apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound. Sleep […]

    The post Sleep Apnea appeared first on Medical Treatment, Medical Treatment centre, Medical healthcare Centre.


              Blog Post: The Next Step In Interactive Fiction        

    You awaken in a strange cylindrical room without a recollection of how you got there. Your head hurts. Judging from the view from a window, you’re in a tower. You head downstairs, open a door, and turn. At least, that’s what your character, Anna, is experiencing; for you, the player, things are just as disorienting.[Excerpt]

    You see Anna’s story displayed on your screen in text. You swipe down as you read, and see a small graphic of a window inset into the text. As Anna sees that she’s in a tower and makes out a lighthouse, you’ve scrolled the text down far enough for that lighthouse to appear in the window frame. The words stack like stairs as she begins her descent. When she opens the door at the bottom and heads to the right, the text turns as well – and you turn your iPad to keep up. You never take direct control of Anna. Instead, you swipe along branching paths of text, solving puzzles and reading about her fate along the way. 

    Simogo Games’ horror title Year Walk showed that a modern game could effectively provide scares without relying on gross-out visuals or overly complex gameplay. The mobile release also cleverly played with the concept of apps, with an optional free companion providing valuable insight into Year Walk’s folklore and help for puzzles. Device 6 shows a continued fascination with both the peculiarities of mobile gaming and an even more stripped-down approach to adventure.

    I’d advise you to play with a notebook nearby; there are loads of little details sprinkled throughout, and even things that seem insignificant can be critically useful later on. Chapters are short enough that backtracking (or reading) isn’t bothersome. Puzzles are tricky without being needlessly obscure. Because each chapter is self-contained, you usually have access to everything you need to complete each one within a few minutes. Of course, that assumes that you’ve been paying close attention. The puzzles are stripped down as much as the visuals, usually only requiring button presses between two options. They’re no less satisfying than those with full visual inventories, however, and my internal “Hell yeah!” moments were just as loud as in any other puzzle-heavy game.

    Once you complete a chapter, Simogo doesn’t exactly break the fourth wall, as much as it presses firmly against it. There are a lot of clever things going on within (and outside of) the game’s story, and I hate to ruin it for prospective players. Without going into detail, I will say that I loved the regular pendulum swing between drollness and desperation.

    Sound is used to great effect throughout the game. Device 6 opens with a jazzy tune that would be perfect for most retro spy movies, and espionage-inspired audio elements are retained throughout the game. Many of the recordings that you hear in the game reminded me of those mysterious numbers stations heard on shortwave radios. There are light touches throughout, too. Anna leaves crunching footsteps as players scroll, and sound effects seemed to have been timed perfectly for when my eyes would hit the appropriate moment. It’s a visually sparse experience, and the audio helps to fill in some of those atmospheric gaps.

    I wasn’t expecting to discover that one of my new favorite point-and-click adventure games would feature so little pointing and clicking, but that’s what Device 6 has done. I felt more than a little silly rotating my iPad around to read Anna along a new path, but her story was worth it in the end.

    [view:2778036502001]


              DeepMind AI teaches itself about the world by watching videos        
    AI usually relies on humans to label the world for them, but a new system from DeepMind learns to recognise images and sounds by matching up what it hears with what it sees
              The mythology of programming language ideas        

    If you read a about the history of science, you will no doubt be astonished by some of the amazing theories that people used to believe. I recently finished reading The Invention of Science by David Wootton, which documents many of them (and is well worth reading, not just because of this!) For example, did you know that if you put garlic on a magnet, the magnet will stop working? Fortunately, you can recover the magnet by smearing goats blood on it. Giambattista della Porta tested this and concluded that it was false, but Alexander Ross argued that our garlic is perhaps not so vigorous as those of ancient Greeks.

    You can just laugh at these stories, but they can serve as interesting lessons for any scientist. The lesson, however, is not the obvious one. Academics will sometimes read those stories and use them to argue against something they do not consider scientific - arguing that it is like believing that garlic break magnets.

    This is not how the analogy works. What is amazing about the old stories is that the conclusions that now seem funny often had very solid reasoning behind them. If you believed in the basic assumption of the time, then you could reach the same conclusions by following fairly sound reasoning principles. In other words, the amazing theories were scientific and entirely reasonable. The lesson is that what seems a completely reasonable idea now, may turn out to be wrong and quite hilarious in retrospect.

    In this article, I will look at a couple of amazing theories that people believed in the past and I will explain why they were reasonable given the way of thinking of the time. Along the way, I will explore some of the ways of thinking that we use today about programming and computer science and why they might appear silly in the future.


              The Gamma and Digital News Innovation Fund        

    Last year, I wrote a bit about my interest in building programming tools for data journalism. Data journalism might sound like a niche field, but that is not the case if we talk about data-driven storytelling more generally,

    In programming, your outcome is typically some application that does stuff. In data science, your outcome is very often a report or a story that aims to influence people's behavior or company decisions. No matter whether you are a journalist writing an article about government spending or an analyst producing internal sales reports, you are telling stories with data.

    Being able to tell stories with data (but also verify and assess other people's stories that can be backed by data) is becoming a vital skill in the modern world, which is partly why I find this topic extremely important and interesting. But to do this currently, you need to be a skilled programmer, great designer and good storyteller, all at the same time!

    I have not written about this topic much over the last year (mainly because I was busy with Coeffects, fsharpConf, FsLab and fsharpWorks), but this will be changing - I'm very happy to announce that my data-journalism related project The Gamma has been awarded funding from the DNI Innovation Fund and I'll be working on it over the next year at the Alan Turing Institute in London.


              Philosophical questions about programming        

    Combining philosophy and computer science might appear a bit odd. The disciplines have very little overlap. Both philosophers and computer scientists get taught formal logic at some point in their undergraduate courses, but that's probably as close as they get.

    But the fact that the disciplines do not overlap much might very well be the reason why putting them together is interesting. In an article about Design and Science, Joichi Ito (from MIT Media Lab), describes the term antidisciplinary and nicely summarizes why looking at such unusual combinations is worthwhile:

    Interdisciplinary work is when people from different disciplines work together. But antidisciplinary is something very different; it's about working in spaces that simply do not fit into any existing academic discipline.

    [When focusing on disciplines, it] takes more and more effort and resources to make a unique contribution. While the space between and beyond the disciplines can be academically risky, it (...) requires fewer resources to try promising, unorthodox approaches; and provides the potential to have tremendous impact (...).

    As you can see from some of my earlier blog posts, I think the space between philosophy and computer science is an interesting area. In this article, I'll explain why. Unlike some of the previous posts (about miscomputation, types and philosophy of science), this post is quite broad and does not go into much detail.

    At the danger of sounding like a collection of random rants, I look at a number of questions that arise when you look at computer science from the philosophical perspective, but I won't attempt to answer them. You can see this article as a research proposal too - and I hope to write more about some of the questions in the future. I wish antidisciplinary work was more common and I believe looking into such questions could have the tremendous impact that Joichi Ito mentioned.


              The Gamma: Simple code behind interactive articles        

    There are huge amounts of data around us that we could use to better understand the world. Every company collects large amounts of data about their sales or customers. Governments and international organizations increasingly release interesting data sets to the public through various open government data initiatives (data.gov or data.gov.uk). But raw data does not tell you much.

    An interesting recent development is data journalism. Data journalists tell stories using data. A data driven article is based on an interesting observation from the data, it includes (interactive) visualizations that illustrate the point and it often allows the reader to get the raw data.

    Adding a chart produced in, say, Excel to an article is easy, but building good interactive visualization is much harder. Ideally, the data driven article should not be just text with static pictures, but a program that links the original data source to the visualization. This lets readers explore how the data is used, update the content when new data is available and change parameters of the visualization if they need to understand different aspect of the topic.

    This is in short what I'm trying to build with The Gamma project. If you're interested in building better reports or data driven articles, continue reading!

    I did a talk about The Gamma project at the fantastic Future Programming workshop at the StrangeLoop conference last week (thanks for inviting me!) and there is a recording of my 40 minute talk on YouTube, so if you prefer to watch videos, check it out!

    Are you a data journalist or data analyst? We're looking for early partners! I joined the EF programme to work on this and if the project sounds like something you'd like to see happen, please get in touch or share your contact details on The Gamma page!


              Creating web sites with Suave: How to contribute to F# Snippets        

    The core of many web sites and web APIs is very simple. Given an HTTP request, produce a HTTP response. In F#, we can represent this as a function with type Request -> Response. To make our server scalable, we should make the function asynchronous to avoid unnecessary blocking of threads. In F#, this can be captured as Request -> Async<Response>. Sounds pretty simple, right? So why are there so many evil frameworks that make simple web programming difficult?

    Fortunately, there is a nice F# library called Suave.io that is based exactly on the above idea:

    Suave is a simple web development F# library providing a lightweight web server and a set of combinators to manipulate route flow and task composition.

    I recently decided to start a new version of the F# Snippets web site and I wanted to keep the implementation functional, simple, cross-platform and easy to contrbute to. I wrote a first prototype of the implementation using Suave and already received a few contributions via pull requests! In this blog post, I'll share a few interesting aspects of the implementation and I'll give you some good pointers where you can learn more about Suave. There is no excuse for not contributing to F# Snippets v2 after reading this blog post!


              A yellow jacket and some strange weather        
    Jewellery charity shopped
    I had a busy week last week. I volunteered on Monday as usual and on Tuesday I was at the Guild House. They had had a pamper evening previously and raised a good amount of money; some of which was from goods from the charity shop, but what a mess was left behind...

    I left  the Guild House with three items; I had sworn I wasn't going to buy anymore stuff with my holidays not far off, but I can't resist a bargain. I bought a lovely bright yellow jacket (above); a summer dressing gown which I'll take and leave at the caravan and a pair of summer trousers. That's it now; I need to tighten my purse strings...


    Wednesday's outfit


    All the jewellery is charity shopped except watch; Christmas present, and earrings; present from OH bought on a trip to Oxford.


    Everything charity shopped except slip on shoes - Primarni. 

     I was invigilating all day on Wednesday in the large gym of the university where I used to work. Two two hour exams and you have be there 30 minutes before the exam start time to get the room ready. There's a lot walking involved in invigilating; you spend most of the time on your feet. Patrolling  the aisles to make sure there's no funny business going on; fetching more exam scripts for those who write a lot (!), escorting students to the loo. I probably clock up miles but as I have to turn my phone off I'll never know how many... It rained heavily for most of the day and by the afternoon the roof of the gym began to leak - luckily not on any students' heads!

    I stayed at the campus for lunch and met a few of my ex colleagues which was nice. I invigilated again on Thursday morning and I'm doing two days next week as well.

    Friday's outfit

    On Friday I did the school run, went to the hairdressers, and organised a cake for OH's birthday which was also on Friday. We went out in the evening with two of my three brothers (Julian is on tour at the moment) to Corby to a Portuguese restaurant to celebrate. We had a really enjoyable evening.


    Everything is charity shopped but I can't remember where...I think the kimono is from the Red Cross; the trousers are from F&F and the white top is by Next; all in their second summer of wear. The weather was wet and dull on Friday all day. Where the heck has the summer gone?


    All jewellery charity shopped and the boots are daughter donated. As it got chillier toward the evening on Friday I took these thin cotton trousers off and replaced them with jeans - and socks!


    On Saturday I went to see my son. Luckily the weather had improved and the drive there was great but coming back we had torrential rain and hailstones!

    Everything is charity shopped; the yellow jacket is from M&S and I got it at the Guild House last Tuesday. Jeans; can't remember and the spotted top was charity shopped last summer, but again I can't remember where...


    White lace slip-ons; Primarni. All jewellery charity shopped.

    I forgot to say in my last post that I received an email from someone at T.M. Lewin (who are a firm of shirt makers). They had seen that I'd acknowledged wearing their shirt on one of my blog posts and wanted to know if I would add a link to their company. I declined on the grounds this is my personal blog and I'm not giving anyone free advertising! They also mentioned something about wedding dresses; oh dear, they certainly asked the wrong person!

    On Monday it was back to  volunteer at the Red Cross. I was so proud of myself - I left with one headscarf priced £1.50.! What a beautiful day it turned out to be. Hot and sunny. The first truly hot sunny day I've experienced this year.


    Everything charity shopped except the red shoes - PJ Shoes in Kemspton.


    Kimono from New Look and jeans are from Monsoon; both 1.99 at the Red Cross last year. The jeans are a purpley blue and they match the purple flower in the kimono perfectly. The floral top underneath the kimono is from a charity shop in Donegal and cost 50 cents.


    All jewellery charity shopped.

    I believe the rest of this week is going to be very pleasant so I'm planning to walk every day for the next few days, as I didn't get any walking done last week. I always miss walking when I don't do it for a while.

    I know it is definitely summer now because the swifts have arrived; screaming high up in the sky over the street where I live. To me that is the sound of summer.

              Donald Trump warns journalists, calls them most dishonest human beings        

    Washington: Describing journalists as the most dishonest human beings on Earth, US President Donald Trump has said he has been "running a war" with the media and warned them of consequences for falsely reporting that less number of people attended his inauguration.

    "We had a massive field of people. You saw them. Packed.

    I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field," Trump said.

    "I say, wait a minute, I made a speech. I looked out, it looked like a million, million and a half people. They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there.

    They (media) said, Donald Trump did not draw well. I said, it was almost raining, the rain should have scared them away, but God looked down and he said, we're not going to let it rain on your speech," he said.

    "Then I walked off and it poured right after I left. It poured. But, we have something that's amazing because, it looked like a million and a half people. Whatever it was, it was. But it went all the way back to the Washington Monument.

    And I turn on -- and by mistake I get this network, and it showed an empty field. And it said we drew 250,000 people," he said.

    "Now, that's not bad, but it's a lie. We had 250,000 people literally around in the little bowl that we constructed. That was 250,000 people. The rest of the 20-block area, all the way back to the Washington Monument, was packed.

    So we caught them, and we caught them in a beauty. I think they're going to pay a big price," Trump warned.

    Trump was speaking at the CIA headquarters.

    He told his top spy agency that this is the reason for him visiting the CIA headquarters as the media has portrayed that he has differences with the intelligence community.

    "The reason you're my first stop is that, as you know, I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth," Trump said amidst applause and laughter from the CIA officials attending his maiden address to them.

    "They sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community. And I just want to let you know, the reason you're the number-one stop is exactly the opposite.

    They understand that, too," he said and then said that the crown strength of his inauguration was being accurately being written by the media.

    Then Trump listed out another incident.

    So a reporter wrote that Trump took down the bust, of Martin Luther King.

    "It was right there. But there was a cameraman that was in front of it. So a reporter writes a story about I took down. I would never do that because I have great respect for Martin Luther King. But this is how dishonest the media is," Trump alleged.

    "I only like to say that because I love honesty. I like honest reporting. I will tell you, final time -- when you let in your thousands of other people that have been trying to come in -- because I am coming back -- we're going to have to get you a larger room," Trump said indicating that he would have a bigger room for the White House press corps.

    Donald Trump warns journalists, calls them most dishonest human beings
    Section: 
    Yes
    News Source: 
    Facebook Instant Article: 
    No

              Sound Off, Aug. 10, 2017        

    Comparing apple to orange

    37671497

    read more


              Bose SoundLink Air – trÃ¥dlös frihet med AirPlay!        

    Nu har även välkända Bose gett sig in i kampen om AirPlay-högtalarna med den nya och gör det riktigt bra. SoundLink Air ger Dig möjligheten att enkelt strömma musik frÃ¥n din Apple-produkt med ett stort och fylligt ljud. Om man vill spela musik frÃ¥n annan enhet sÃ¥ kopplas denna in i Aux-ingÃ¥ngen pÃ¥ högtalaren. Hemligheten […]

    The post Bose SoundLink Air – trådlös frihet med AirPlay! appeared first on SmartHifi.se.


              The Long Journey Queen's 'Brighton Rock' Took to the 'Baby Driver' Soundtrack        
    Queen's "Brighton Rock" grew out of a lengthy period of experimentation by guitarist Brian May. Continue reading…
              Horror Headlines: Tuesday August 24th, 2010        
    On this day in history: 

    1992 - Hurricane Andrew smashed into Florida, causing record damage; 55 deaths in Florida, Louisiana and the Bahamas were blamed on the storm

    In Real People News: 

    Police in New York found an 18-inch alligator that crawled out of an overflowing Astoria storm drain and hunkered down beneath a parked car on Sunday. Enjoy your commute pricks!

    News Bullet: 

    "Piranha 3D" didn't break any box office records this past weekend but a sequel has already been announced. Not a big surprise I guess but I am looking forward to seeing how they bring back Kelly Brook. What I mean is please bring back Kelly Brook... please!

    If this memo is to be believed than it looks like we'll be seeing the teaser for "Scream 4" in theaters sometime this November. If it's fake a bunch of people will talk about how stupid all of us were for thinking it was real. One thing is for sure though, I have absolutely no desire to see "Scream 4"

    Steven Spielberg along with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are planning on bringing Joe Hill's "Locke & Key" to the small screen in the near future. The comic book revolves around a couple of kids who watch over a old mansion filled with spooky doors that send them to different worlds and give them super powers. With so many people with classy sounding names attached to this there's no way it can't win.

    Good news everyone! "Saw II" the video game will be available for your PS3 and Xbox 360 on October 19th. Alright I really have no idea if that is good news but it can't be any worse then "Saw 3D" coming out shortly after.


              Home computer repair - Home computer repair Tampa troubleshooting        
    The basic parts of a Home computer repair are monitor, motherboard, SMPS, processor, daughter board, network cards, RAM, CMOS battery, hard disk, buses (cables), keyboard, mouse, UPS and modem. So these components will face damage as they are electronic components.


     Long beep sound heard while starting custom pc repair tampa and OS is not loading. Your RAM is damaged. So buy a RAM either D RAM or SD RAM after checking the slot in your motherboard and install new RAM.


    Your Operating system OS may be damaged due to improper shutdown or due to missing of some files. Please re install your OS. Another problem can be your hard disk damage.


    Huge sound coming from CPU. Your cabinet cooling fan may be making that huge noise while working. Try to replace that bad cooling fan with a good one.


    Sometimes there will be problem in Home PC repair Tampa booting. So Home computer repair boot troubleshooting can be done by pressing delete button while restarting PC and providing appropriate settings in BIOS.


    If you are like most people who often use computer repairs Tampa at work or in your home, then you must also know how frustrating it can be when your Home computer repair crashes in the middle of an important task. Home computer repair errors such as crashes and file corruption are often a result of registry problems. To make sure your PC always performs efficiently, you have to invest in registry repair software.


    Do you use a free windows registry repair for your Laptop computer repair? There are a few guidelines that you need to keep in mind when purchasing software and these are:


    It is important to note however, that software that can find many errors aren’t necessarily the best kind. Some dubious repair programs list errors where there aren’t actually any so choose well.


    Unless you are a certified Home computer repair genius, it is best to choose user friendly software. Everyone needs free window registry repair programs.



     



    Some Home computer repairs actually come with a built-in registry repair program and while you may be tempted to fix the registry yourself, remember that you might inadvertently delete information that is critical to Home computer repair operations.


    About the author: Tampa pc pros inc takes pride in offering a wide range of computing solutions like: Pc Repair Tampa , Computer Repair Tampa , Custom Pc Repair Tampa , Computer Repair Service Tampa , Virus Removal Service Tampa.

    computer security help: data backup

    computer security help: data backup

    Article Source: www.articlesnatch.com


              Snatcher Alien- The Invasion        
    Snatcher Alien- the Invasion Prepare you for an alien attack. Crazy Aliens come to the earth for snatch things like food, vegetables, animals, energy. Sound Crazy, but itu2019s true. We need to save the earth from aliens. nnInkcadre presents the Snatcher Alien- The invasion where we have Added 50+ challenging Different Level. Reach the target […]
              Tag! You're It        

    Biologists catch and tag big sawfish in Florida waters

    Food for Thought

    Once a common top predator throughout coastal seas around the globe, sawfish have become remarkably rare. Indeed, today most populations are threatened with extinction. So spotting even one of these animals is reason to rejoice, notes Beau Yeiser of Mote Marine Laboratory in southern Florida. And this week, "we are nothing but giddy," he reports.

    He and colleague Tonya Wiley just returned from a 2-day sawfish-scouting expedition during which they tagged a 7-foot male on Oct. 16. At that size, the strapping youth may be 5 to 7 years old, Yeiser says. He cautions, however, that estimating age is challenging "as we try and piece together the life history of this species. We don't even know its size at maturity yet."

    These animals—essentially flattened sharks with wings—are members of the ray family. Only one species of this fish remains in U.S. waters, mostly off of Florida. Over the first half of the 20th century, this smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) was fished to the brink of extinction—largely by accident.

    Although many cultures eat sawfish—the animals' fins are especially prized in Asia as the featured ingredient in a pricey soup—most of the animals in U.S. waters were landed and destroyed as bycatch, that is, nuisance species hauled in by commercial fishing fleets. The dire status of sawfish globally won these animals protection, last month, under a treaty banning international trade in endangered species (see Hammered Saws).

    So far this year, Yeiser and Wiley have caught just 14 sawfish, most of them less than 4 feet long. Those would still be little kids, considering that these fish are almost a yard long at birth. Then again, the pair had expected only small ones because they've mainly been cruising coastal shallows this year in hopes of running into newborns and youngsters.

    The scientists attach a numbered identification tag to the dorsal fin of every sawfish they catch—and then release the animal.

    But last week's catch was so big that it qualified for a second identifier: a pop-up archival tag, or PAT. These recording devices are so heavy that they're reserved for large sawfish—at least 7-footers. To date, only some dozen of these animals have received PATs. Costing at least $4,000 each, these data-storage systems collect information every minute, for months, on the depth at which its host is swimming, the water temperature, and light levels. The latter information gets plugged into a computer program that roughly gauges the animal's geographic coordinates at any moment.

    Researchers program a PAT to pop off the fish on a particular date. Once it floats to the surface, it sends its stored information in spurts, twice a day, to a satellite. That orbiting relay station then shoots those data back to Earth and the scientists' email addresses.

    Last week's sawfish encounter took place in a southern Florida national wildlife refuge, in very shallow water. Investigated as a possible nursery, Yeiser says "I was expecting any sawfish that I might catch to be perhaps 4 to 5 feet in length." Instead, he found a much older juvenile. "But that's the beauty of this [sawfish] project; you never know what you are going to get when you're scouting a species that has not been studied much!"

    Yeiser named the youth that he tagged last week Raloff. Hmmm—I like the sound of that. Its tag is programmed to pop off on March 15. Stay tuned for an update on my namesake's travels.

    If all goes well, that is.

    A 7- and an 11-foot sawfish each received PATs in May. Although the satellite tags had been programmed to pop off 3 months later, they actually surfaced within just a couple weeks, Yeiser says—and were never recovered.

    So, each time biologists deploy the pricey devices, he says, "we just cross our fingers that they won't pop up early—or get lost in the middle of the Gulf."

    Don't try this yourself

    The sawfish is an endangered species, so federal law forbids its capture—except by researchers who have been granted a waiver. And even they need to release an animal after measuring and tagging it.

    It's against the law to even harass the animals. Still, anglers may inadvertently snag one of the toothy marvels. When that happens, this species "should be released by keeping the fish in the water and cutting the line as close to the hook as possible," according to guidelines issued late last year by the National Marine Fisheries Service in St. Petersburg, Fla. "If it can be done safely, untangle the line if it is wrapped around the saw. Do not handle the animal or attempt to remove any hooks on the saw, except for with a long-handled dehooker," NOAA says.

    Biologists request that any anglers who sight a sawfish report their encounter to the Mote lab. Its scientists are maintaining a database to help them identify important habitat for these endangered animals.

    As interesting as these piscine oddities are, biologists would prefer that the public give the fish a wide berth. The primary reason: Approaching the animals can stress them, chase them from what should be waters safe from predators, or even interfere with their reproduction.

    But there's another reason to steer clear, according to Captain Harvey Lee Hamilton, who charters a fishing boat out of Pineland, Fla. "I've caught plenty of sawfish in my life, and I'll tell you: They're dangerous. I'm still scared to death of them." Their saws—which he terms blades—are edged with dozens of razor-sharp "teeth." The muscular animals slash those saws from side to side to kill prey or defend themselves.

    Says Hamilton: "Those fish get big, with blades that can go to at least 5 foot." And they slash those blades "so fast," he says, "that they could slice your feet off." Indeed, he told Science News Online: "I'd rather fight a shark than a sawfish."


    If you would like to comment on this Food for Thought, please see the blog version.

    Citations

    Beau Yeiser and Tonya R. Wiley

    Center for Shark Research

    Mote Marine Laboratory

    1600 Ken Thompson Parkway

    Sarasota, FL 34236

    Smalltooth Sawfish Coordinator

    National Marine Fisheries Service

    Southeast Regional Office, Protected Resources Division

    263 13th Avenue South

    St. Petersburg, FL 33071
    Further Reading

    2006. Mote scientists to help eBay identify species in new sawfish ban. Mote Marine Laboratory news release. Jan. 25. Available at [Go to].

    Mote Marine Laboratory. How you can help save the U.S. smalltooth sawfish. Available at [Go to].

    Raloff. J. 2007. Hammered saws. Science News 172(Aug. 11):90-92. Available at [Go to].

    ______. 2002. Clipping the fin trade. Science News 162(Oct. 12):232-234. Available at [Go to].

    Sawfish in Peril: Sawfish Education Program. Available at [Go to].

              Goldwash – LDR        
    Goldwash is back with an entrancing new track titled “LDR.” Breathtaking vocals and a dreamy instrumental make for an extremely enjoyable existential funk track. This one’s delectable, slow groove is sure to be cycling through my indie playlists for some time.
              Goldwash – Separate [Music Video]        
    Peep this stunning new music video for “Separate” by Goldwash. The producer’s jazzy tune features the man himself playing piano and singing over while a fancy looking couple engage in dinner and drinks…sounds like something I should be doing on this Saturday evening instead of sitting here and writing this…and on that note, PEACE, I’m […]
              Goldwash – Honest        
    Goldwash is back with yet another spectacular existential funk track titled “Honest.” This guy has been making a splash in the music scene recently with his stylish singing and smooth downtempo beats. If you’re looking for a unique funk project, definitely get to know this guy.
              Goldwash – Malady        
    Often times you stumble upon a song from an artist and it feels like it’s missing something. This is not the case for Goldwash. “Malady” feels like a cohesive record that tells a story. Enjoy.
              Comment on No-Cost Recording: How To Eat To Lose Weight & Boost Your Energy Without Dieting by Rachael Jakubik        
    I would love to hear your recording for free and hope it is as good as it sounds.
              RE[3]: embedded        
    Sounds more like you should be using an ethernet switch to me
              For When You've Shat Your Pot Full        
    itunes pic
    This is a test, a worksong, an experiment. A demo podcast, to check that it is going okay, that it can be accessed and listened to. A collection of songs that are linked together solely because I think they sit alongside each other suitably well. Quite a down-tempo collection, this podcast to me feels like that anxiety when you realise something is not quite right, but you struggle to work out exactly what's gone wrong. Then it hits, you. You've only gone and shat your pot full! 1. Gruff Rhys- Candylion 2. Blonde Redhead- 23 3. The Pierces- Boring 4. Mercury Rev- Secret for a Song 5. Arcade Fire- No Cars Go 6. Johnny Cash- God's Gonna Cut You Down 7. The Hold Steady- Chips Ahoy 8. Elliot Smith- Everything Reminds Me of Her 9. Blind Melon- No Rain 10. Elton John- Tiny Dancer 11. Labi Siffre- I Got The 12. Otis Redding- Satisfaction 13. Isaac Hayes- Good Love 14. Erykah Badu- On and On 15. Soulsavers- No Expectations 16. R.E.M.- Bad Day 17. The Triffids- Bury Me Deep In Love 18. James- She's a Star
              Inglewood Community Garden Thrives with Art, Culture & Music!        
    Inglewood, California  Written by Ginger Van Hook May 20, 2010
            Inglewood Community Garden is a dream students at Morningside High School have realized today with the help of Inglewood City Council member, Ralph L. Franklin of District 4, Teachers and Mentors, Miss Roshondra Woods, World History Teacher, Mr. Shawn Stanton at Morningside High School with Mr. D'Artagnan Scorza, Director at The Social Justice Learning Institute, and Mr. Sirls, the Principal of Morningside High School. Photography Ginger Van Hook, 2010
    For some of the students, it was hard to believe that these beautiful green corn leaves had come from all this dirt and gravel, but the miracle on Yukon and 107th Street in Inglewood was in full bloom. A student by the name of Jazz told the audience that she has been disheartened at first to see that this was a big empty lot with what seemed endless rocks. Then the students started clearing the land and putting their hearts and souls into the earth and the soil responded to their efforts to grow everything from tomatoes to chilies, jalapenos, lettuce, squash as well as herbs like parsley and oregano too.




    'Jazz' told us about the transformation of the garden and the friendships that she had made. She explained how there was a new community where before there had been an empty space. The audience cheered for the success of the students and there was a heightened sense of community achievement in the air. There was a slight breeze coming from the ocean that brushed the leaves of the  tomatoes and the peppers ever so slightly. The sun beat down upon the earth and music filled the air. Musicians played the guitar and percussion rhythms with their hands and their bodies moved to the beat. Guests were invited to take a water bottle from the center of the garden and in ceremonious ritual to bless the land with the names of their ancestors. I watered a patch of tomatoes and recalled my grandparents in the past. It was hard to remain objective. I was involved. I was now a part of this new blessing upon the community.  I was no longer a reporter, witnessing for the writing of a story, I was pulled into the land, the dirt, the rocky earth and right into the story, taken in by the aroma of fresh tomato leaves and the scent of strawberry flowers and consequently, the encouragement of artistic, poetic, talented new friends.


    D'Artagnan ScorzaDirector for The Social Justice Learning Institute 
    said his students are working on a Food Initiative




     Mr. Sirls, the Principal of Morningside High School, gave the students and supporters encouragement then went over to the wall and autographed his hand print in green.
    Mr. Sirl leaves his mark on the community garden wall.










    Janet Simmons read her poem that she wrote for the Inglewood Community Garden:

    I dedicate...
    I dedicate...
    my words,
    my voice,
    my sound,
    and my choice...
    of speech
    I speak of here.
    I dedicate...
    I dedicate...
    what I have seeked here
    throughout, without and within this garden
    I dedicate...
    I dedicate...
    my rough hands
    and my
    rock indented knees
    my wind tormented hair 
    and 
    the dirt infected breeze
    that flows through this garden
    like a stream of music through my ears
    When it comes down to it
    this would not mean as much
    without you, me, us
    so
    I dedicate myself to you.


    There were cooking demonstrations and watermelon slices.


    The Los Angeles Times came to cover the event and I captured Glenn Koenig working in earnest covering the tree planting ceremony. This Photo is by Ginger Van Hook, but at least four or five reporters were on scene to witness this miracle transforming strangers into friends, and smiles turning lives into a tight knit community bonding over vegetables and issues of social justice, friendship and healthy meals...All good things going on in the City of Inglewood!

    Julie Prejean a Forestry Senior Manager for TREE PEOPLE 
    came to support the garden opening and to donate and help plant  a special tree. 
    She told her eager audience of new gardeners that they could choose its name.

    City Council Member Ralph L. Franklin praised the students, 
    teachers and supporters for taking the initiative and making it all happen, 
    and 'what a beautiful day it is for a planting ceremony!'



    USC reporter Christine Trang from the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism
    interviewed various participants and was preparing her report for southlareport.com

    Inglewood Artists and supporters, Ken Ober, Renee Fox and Ceres Madoo, Alumni Relations at Otis College of Art and Design came to support the Morningside High School Community Garden Opening Ceremonies. 
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook 2010.

    As an Inglewood Artist I was invited to attend this event, thanks to Ceres Madoo and when I arrived,  I did not know what to expect; but whatever it was to be, I knew this was a GREAT IDEA! As I milled about I got the opportunity to meet Mr. D'Artagnan Scorza who told me how the students from Morningside High School had gotten together to discuss civic engagement, how to show school spirit,  how to improve the community and how to better serve the needs of the school district.  The students themselves came up with the concept of a community garden, but at first, did not  have the means to make it happen. The original students were from Miss Roshondra's class and Mr. Shawn Stanton's class. A good idea took root then and there. One thing led to another and with the help of Inglewood City Council Member Ralph Franklin, their project got the encouragement and the support they needed right there from the school district's land.  
    This property belongs to the school so now the students are able to 
    develop a way to empower themselves to be a self sustaining community 
    with healthy nourishing meals for its students. 
    No better way to grow fine artists, fine students and fine citizens
    than to take the seeds and cultivate, 
    water frequently, daily, encourage with wisdom and respect for the land.
    The students have a great number of plans which includes a farmer's market, music, art and culinary culture events.























              The Art of Lovin' Trees --- Featuring Joel Tauber        




    The Art of Lovin’ Trees-- 
    Featuring Artist Joel Tauber
    Story dedicated to Joel and Alison
    in celebration of their joyous engagement on November 9th,
    2008

    Written and Researched by Enilde Van Hook
    Story Consult and Editing by Luke Van Hook
    Painting, www.lukevanhook.com
    Photography, www.gingervanhook.com
    Writing, www.enildeingelsvanhook.com


     America is having a love affair with trees and California is second to none in leading its appreciation of trees. Digging deep into the roots of this story, I have followed and researched the tree culture specifically in Los Angeles where our love of trees has spawned a unique pop tree culture relating to art. Our popular tree culture today includes but is not limited to tree sculptures, tree paintings, tree photographs, tree videos, tree poetry, tree songs, tree jewelry, tree movies and even tree love affairs. 


    Tree Earing created by Joel Tauber for his Sick-Amour Tree in Pasadena, California.
    Additional Tree Jewelry created by Joel Tauber to adorn the Sick-Amour Tree includes leaf jewelry, as well as the male earing and the female earing that hang from the tree below.  
    Photos of tree jewelry courtesy of  Susanne Vielmetter Gallery 5795 West Washington Blvd., Culver City, California 90232 www.vielmetter.com   infor@vielmetter.com (323-933-2117)


    Sick-Amour Tree in the parkinglot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl, protected by barriers installed by Joel Tauber in his quest to save his beloved tree. Tree wearing the earings looks hot!  Photo courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Gallery.
    Leaf sculpture by Joel Tauber
    Female tree earing by Joel Tauber.
    Male tree earing created by Joel Tauber, photo courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Gallery, 2008

    For the record, our love of trees goes way back to the dawn of time when we were swinging in the trees, however, our love has grown and matured since then. The Greek and Roman heritage of literature and art bestows us with intoxicating stories of their Gods having entanglements with humans. Some of their deities were known as protectors of trees and nature such as Dionysus the Greek god of agriculture, fertility, wine and merriment. He was later renamed Bacchus by the Romans and reported to be the Tree God. Back in the day when artists carved trees into stone and marble relief sculptures to worship in the temples of their mythological gods, people celebrated the sacredness of trees, grapevines and sometimes the unions of gods and mortals. There was Pomona, the goddess of fruit trees who married Vertumnus, the god of fruits and gardens. Digging deep enough, one is sure to find stories of deities mating with trees and spawning children of the harvest for instance.

    In modern literary circles there are a number of great imaginative family favorites written about trees, like “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. Then there’s the infamous story of how Robinson Crusoe lived in a tree-house, and of utmost importance to our American history of trees, we propagate the very memorable legend of ‘Johnny Appleseed’.

    In our contemporary times we have a legend in the making too. I have been fortunate to witness the emergence of a new ‘Johnny Appleseed’ and interestingly enough, the story involves a recent romantic love affair between one special tree and a mortal that is well worth pursuing the story. Sometime in the fall of in 2007, I met Joel Tauber. This is the artist who I believe was struck by a mythological bolt of lighting, so to speak, pertaining to one of the Greek or Roman deities’. Joel Tauber is said to have fallen head over heels in love with one particular Sycamore Tree in the parking lot of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. My chance meeting with this now famous mortal under the influence of an enchanted mystical spell, has led me to research the mysteries intrinsic in the charms of trees. I too have been struck with the frailty of trees, their vulnerabilities, and their enormous strengths and inspiration. This together with my own personal experiences with trees has prompted me to come out of my shell and discuss the subject in all seriousness.

    My own personal background is not in trees. I am simply a tree-lover from childhood. For a little over ten years, my professional background was in radio as a disc jockey and on-air personality. I listened to music, reviewed songs and kept tabs on the pop music culture. I worked in the Los Angeles market as well as Santa Barbara, California; Eventually I moved to expand my work experience in neighboring radio markets like Reno, Carson City, Lake Tahoe and Gardnerville/Minden, Nevada. It was through traveling that I saw some of the most beautiful trees along the routes through Northern California and Northern Nevada!
    While I drove from one radio market to another over the years, I watched the trees go by at the various speed limits along the highways of my life’s journeys. Thus you will understand when I tell you that often I see art and life, for that matter, through a series of moving images in my head which include a music bed. 
    I was eleven years old when in 1970, Joni Mitchell wrote and released a song called ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ whose lyrics surpassed the test of time and is currently in airplay by a glut of new groups. The lyrics began with “…They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum and they charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see ‘em.” One of the barometers I use to gage the influence of any particular song, music or artwork that I come into contact with is if it will surpass the test of time, among other important criteria. This song became one of my favorite songs of all time. The lyrics made so much sense to me.
    When I met Joel Tauber, I was introduced to the enormous scope of his Sick-Amour Tree-Baby Project. It was then that I suddenly started hearing Joni Mitchell’s song in my mind again, only this time, as I got in my car, Counting Crows was performing the song. When I started doing more research on the song that I could not get out of my head, I was struck by how many artists had re-recorded the song and barely changed anything about the words. There is Amy Grant, who upgraded the dollar amount from $1.50 to $25 when singing about how much the museums charged people to enter. Additionally there is Green Day, Sarah McLachlan, Charlie Barker, Bob Dylan, Moya Brennan, Ireen Sheer, Donnie Eidt and a host of so many others that have recorded ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ it was simply overwhelming!
    I think the importance of the lyrics to this one particular song is that it reveals the fact that people love trees and hate parking lots. The message is that if it weren’t for our trees, we could be living in a frying pan! The impact of this single song is that it reveals what is really going on in people’s minds. There is a reason why so many artists are flocking to re-record the lyrics in their own way.











    Not only are trees involved in the music arena, trees as subjects, are very involved in politics as well. Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin at the time, took a leading role in developing the celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd 1970 as a way to commemorate our environmental concerns. Arbor Day is presently celebrated as well with the first ceremonial tree planting in Washington D.C. on April 27th in 2001, all evidence that goes to prove the people of our planet do care about what happens to our trees.


    Trees stand as a testiment and memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King

    Dr. Martin Luther King is memorialized with trees along Expositon Blvd. across from the Los Angeles Coliseum and down the street from the University of Southern California.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook


    Online sources on the subject of trees are rich in number. For instance, eighteen years ago, here in Los Angeles, a multi racial group of volunteers planted 400 Canary Island Pine trees along seven miles of road on Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s life. Today, this living homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. continues to thrive and keep the dream alive for his followers. The founder and President of www.treepeople.org is Mr. Andy Lipkis and he keeps tabs on the trees to make sure all 400 trees stay healthy.



    Mayor Antonio Villarigosa is the person to thank for the ‘Million Trees Initiative’ he signed into effect in May of 2006 and Los Angeles residents can learn how they too can receive up to 7 free trees to plant on their property. Visit the website at www.milliontreesla.org to learn the details.   Also in Portland, Oregon there is www.friendsoftrees.org and in Bellingham Washington you will find www.geocities.com. There is also the International Society of Arboriculture called ISA and can be accessed by visiting www.isa-arbor.com. You will also find a great deal of valuable advise on the growth and care of trees at www.treesaregood.com and check out Tree Care Industry Association TCIA as well.



    Mark Dion created an art piece titled "Library for the Birds of Antwerp" which is also a good example of how art is vitally connected with our tree culture and how it connects Mark Dion to his PBS special where he removed a dead tree from the forest and recreated its living components in a city scape in Washington.  From the "20th Century Artbook Phaidon Press 1996", the caption reads: "Using props from the natural and man-made world, Dion has constructed an installation that explores contemporary attitudes to science and the environment. He has created a fictional and hybridized situation in which the trappings associated with knowledge, learning and classification--such as books and photographs--are juxtaposed with natural elements including birds and wood.   The representation of nature is a fundamental subject in Dion's art, and here he takes on the role of sociologist/anthropologist and blurring the boundaries between authentic and fake, representation and parody. By adopting the persona of a scientist and by satirizing man's obsession with categorization, Dion questions the values of the Western world.  His subject matter is heavily influence by popular culture.  In Dion's world we might witness Mickey Mouse as an explorer, or Clark Kent interviewing Dr. Frankenstein." (Photo and contents are used in this story for purposes of artistic review.)

    In the art world, an artist named Mark Dion was featured in a documentary film report that aired in 2007. To view the video one may visit on the Internet by going to www.pbs.org and find Mark Dion as he took the subject of trees and made an art piece that explored what would happen if one were to take a tree after its death, take it out of its familial context of natural forest, and re-create the ecosystem in an environment that would otherwise be a hostile urban setting, needless to say, a cityscape. Just outside of Seattle Washington, he states, a Hemlock fell on February 8th, 1996…and so begins an elaborate experiment that pits optimism against reality." The PBS special is very detailed and you will enjoy the depth of research and work that Mark Dion went to to take a tree out of the forest and recreate the setting in the city.  The difference between the artwork presented by Mark Dion and  the artwork presented by Joel Tauber is in the nature of the life of the tree. Mark Dion works with a dead tree and its living components, and Joel Tauber creates life out of a tree seed and duplicates it all over his community.


    Thus I’ve discovered for myself that when I researched the subject of trees, I discovered Joel Tauber wasn’t alone! However, instead of creating an experiment in ecology, Joel Tauber goes further than Mark Dion does with this concept of eco-systems and their frailties. Joel Tauber begins a journey that could eventually repair the eco-systems that man has destroyed. This is where Joel Tauber takes the lead in the art world and becomes not only the realist but the optimistic hope for trees in desecrated forests all over the country.
    Joel Tauber’s work as a living project of art in 2008 has resonance and his story is well worth telling again and again. He is certainly not the first, nor the last to get involved in the love of trees, but he is the first in contemporary times to have been associated with a mythological and mystical occurrence of reproducing tree babies out of just hugging one lonely tree.


    The last time I saw a man hugging a tree, he was hugging the tree for all the wrong reasons. At the MOCA, Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, some years back I was viewing an exhibition that was in town by the Utah born artist now working in Los Angeles, Paul McCarthy. While this work of art depicted a very raw and unsettling sculpture of ‘tree-lovin’ it had nothing whatsoever to do with the love of any tree. The work displayed a timely political statement about our government rather than the love for trees, but bear in mind that the thought involved images from man’s intimate involvement with trees both in the biblical sense and in the sense of man’s raping of the planet. Joel Tauber’s work counteracts the devastation of many years of neglect for our trees with a very basic recipe for the renewal of our commitment to our green-leafed friends. Now, when I see the image of Joel Tauber hugging his Sycamore Tree in Pasadena, I get a whole new perspective for the love for our planet, our trees and our environment as a whole.

    "The Garden" by Paul McCarthy from The 20th Century Art Book, 
    Phaidon Press Limited, page 280. Photo is used for purposes of artistic review.
    The caption in the book reads as follows: " 'The Garden'  is a full-scale tableau of an outdoor, woodland scene, complete with leafy trees, shrubs and rocks.  This tranquil picture of nature is rudely interrupted by the presence of a middle-aged, balding man with his trousers round his ankles, engaged in a wholly unnatural act. From one side of the installation, his actions are not immediately apparent, being partially hidden by the tree trunks and foliage, but the sound of mechanical activity draws the viewer in to discover the shocking sight of a man copulating with a tree.  This robotic figure, with its endlessly repetitive movements, is both comical and crude, and is intended by McCarthy to question notions of acceptable public behavior and sexual morality.  McCarthy is a lecturer at UCLA as well as an artist. His sculptural installations evolved out of his earlier performance work which focused on his own body engaged in extreme and disturbing acts."




    To further explain this romantic entanglement between a tree and a mortal, I cite some important historical facts. Back in 2005, Joel Tauber was in the parking lot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl, when he spotted a particularly lonely and neglected Sycamore Tree. There are hundreds of thousands of trees in Pasadena, and a great number of them thrive very well on the grounds of the Rose Bowl, should you ever drive through this luscious community of tree and rose-lovers, you will see. But Joel Tauber focused his attention on one specific lonely tree. He started to note more and more how cars would hit the bark of the tree and scrape it, injuring the tree repeatedly. Joel Tauber became a witness to this tree’s life. Taking compassion and friendship upon this particular tree, Tauber began to film the area of the parking lot where the tree was growing. He got the idea to put up solid barriers to protect it from cars and also carried water in large plastic bags to irrigate the tree. Soon, Tauber found himself as a one-man band, orchestrating a symphony of activities leading to editing mass quantities of tree footage, fighting City Hall, and embarking on a quest to save this tree from infertility using tried and true guerilla tactics that would make tree-huggers stand and salute. To personally view the Sick-Amour project, along with the giant scale tree sculpture installation exhibited at Susanne Vielmetter Gallery in 2007, you may visit www.vielmetter.com.













                   Recently, I had the privilege and opportunity to discuss Joel Tauber’s work with Susanne Vielmetter and she was delighted to tell me what a wonderful sense of humor that Tauber exhibits in all of his works of art. Susanne Vielmetter reviewed the Underwater project with me as well as the Flying Project which Tauber presented.
    She explained how deep down, she feels Tauber is on a quest for meaning in his work and that he has a keen sense of humor that unifies and makes his ideas successful. She states that he uses the comical and the tragic in the Tree-Baby project to address the issues of urban living in our time and very subtly pokes fun at the problems innate in urban planning. The real irony of a small Sycamore tree dying of thirst in a parking lot of a beautiful park in a paradise-like valley, alongside the 110 Pasadena Freeway where 80% of the territory is plastered with concrete and the water below runs along asphalt channels of the Los Angeles River is not lost on Tauber, she explained. To contrast, Susanne Vielmetter cited that parks in Europe allow for weeds to grow naturally on landscapes that are not covered with concrete. Joel Tauber’s projects were initially presented at the Susanne Vielmetter Gallery located at 5795 Washington Blvd., in Culver City, California. The response Susanne Vielmetter’s Gallery received was incredibly exciting, even though at first, some folks thought Joel Tauber was a nut; he went on to prove just how serious he really is about changing the landscape of our environment, one tree at a time.



    Joel Tauber has a large body of video artwork, photographs and developing tree babies, (the children of a mortal and a Charmed Sycamore Tree) and one may also visit www.joeltauber.com.
    As I learned more and more about Joel Tauber’s project, I realized how blessed we all are that tree-lovin’ is not a singular act of love or even a fleeting love of art. I realized how connected we all are to our environment and how the idea of having a special friend ‘the tree’, any tree in any state, in any country for that matter is a beautiful connection to have. The connection that Joel Tauber has to his Sycamore Tree is in synch with the love that the country is experiencing during our new millennium. We have all become acutely aware of the fragility of life; we realize now more than ever that we must respect our dependence on our environment and value our trees.

    The first thing that struck me about Joel Tauber was that we had the love of trees in common. He seemed a bit shy, unassuming and humble yet I was later to learn the enormous power he wielded for this one frail and neglected tree in the parking lot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California. I was truly inspired by the level of involvement and commitment he had demonstrated for his own beloved Sycamore Tree which he had turned into a full-blown art-project including video, photography and sculptured jewelry. (He did it all!) He named this work the Sick-Amour Project mainly because he said he felt this tree was ill from the lack of love and the inability to have tree babies to fulfill its legacy. I had never personally met someone with such an extreme love and dedication to one particular tree. In our local newscasts, I had heard stories of people who became very emotional when a land developer was about to cut down a tree they considered a relic of their community; in which case people got very nasty about the issue and would chain themselves to the trees or surround the location with demonstrators that would shut down the jobsite. That’s when the news crews would come in with their cameras and boom mikes and the news helicopters would hover in circles above the trees trying to capture the ‘event’ that was creating all the uproar. A very recent example of this type of community behavior is written about on the front pages of the Los Angeles Times where Eric Bailey, a Times Staff Writer, wrote an extensive story about the tree-issues pertaining to Scotia, California where activists are protesting the logging of the Great California REDWOODS! Read the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times, August 24th, 2008 or visit www.latimes.com online to learn how the tree-sitters are doing today.

    But Joel Tauber is a different type of activist. He doesn’t consider himself an activist at all. He merely states, humbly, just for the record, that he loves this one particular Sycamore Tree and it is an outrage to him to see how his new best friend is being suffocated under a six-inch blanket of black tar and asphalt. Better yet, Joel Tauber does something about it. Not with a crew of forty thousand demonstrators, not even with a crew of forty residents. He does this on his own, quietly challenging the laws of the city of Pasadena and humbly takes responsibility for the care and nurturing of his new best friend. I was touched. At once I began to marvel at his potent idea.



    The art of loving our trees has grown roots in the higher levels of the art world as well. For instance, if one were to visit the J. Paul Getty Museum both at the Getty Villa which recently re-opened in Malibu and at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, you will find the love of trees has grown branches on all the hillsides surrounding both properties. There are lucky Sycamores and fortunate Pines; there are Pomegranate trees, Apple trees, Pear trees, Jacaranda trees and trees that just look good in a vista overlooking the ocean. Millions of dollars went into the development of artistic gardens which envelope the California landscape against a backdrop of the Pacific Ocean on one edge and the rolling hills of Malibu on the other.






    Over in the area of the Miracle Mile, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is celebrating an enormous renovation of its facilities and you guessed it, there are aisles and isles of gigantic palm trees lining the walkways to the entrance of the museum in concert with a unique and flamboyant architecture that has drawn the attention of the art-world with the generosity of Eli and Edythe Broad of the Broad Foundation. The Broad Contemporary Art Museum is the new wing at the LACMA and is considered the largest space in the country devoted exclusively to contemporary art. With a ‘living art display’ dedicated to the iconic palm trees, not native to California, Robert Irwin has developed a plein-air walkway through ‘Palm Gardens’ as one makes their way to the entrances of the museum.





    Lush green trees thrive all over Pasadena, California, home of the Rose Bowl where Joel Tauber fell in love with a Sycamore Tree.  Photo by Ginger Van Hook, 2008




     The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California  is also home to some of the most exquisite antiquities in its museum history which includes sculptures amid a forest like atmosphere. Currently at the Norton Simon Museum, among its many exhibitions, one may enjoy the artwork of Ruth Weisberg, Dean of the Gayle Garner Roski School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California. Opening on October 17, 2008 the Weisberg exhibition at the Norton Simon runs through March 2, 2009. Additionally a lecture by the artist is planned where Weisberg discusses: Guido Cagnacci and the Resonant Image on Sunday November 16, 2008.  The Norton Simon Museum of Art is located at 411 West Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, California. Ruth Weisberg was instrumental in selecting the work of Joel Tauber to be permanently planted on the Main University Campus of USC on January 24, 2008 where a tree planting ceremony was held and attended by numerous members of USC faculty, staff, students and guests. The location of the new tree-baby, child of the Sick-Amour Project, currently exists on the Exposition side of the campus between Gate one and the Fischer Gallery, across the street from the Museum of Natural History. 


    In Pasadena, where lovers of trees line every street of the city as the landscapes are lush with all types of trees and where these wonderful healthy trees keep cool the throngs of tourists who visit the Rose Bowl every year, is also home to the Norton Simon Museum and the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Both locations are areas where tree-lovin’ may be experienced alongside some of California’s best-known artworks. Visit the NORTON SIMON MUSEUM at www.nortonsimon.org located at 411 West Colorado, Pasadena, California 91105 or visit the PASADENA MUSEUM OF CALIFORNIA ART at www.pmcaonline.com at 490 East Union Street, Pasadena, California.



    In San Marino, California, the art of trees, gardens and succulents has found a worthy haven at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens spanning an area of 120 acres dedicated to the fine arts founded by Henry E. Huntington in 1928 as the very first public art gallery in Southern California. Along with English portraits and French eighteenth-century furniture, one will delight in tours of the unique garden paradise established for the pure love of the botanical arts.


    On the hillside along the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles, one may also enjoy walking along the elegant landscapes of the Skirball Cultural Center and Museum grounds and witness the serenity of the trees as Weeping Willows slope their leaves to the ground, and gentle breezes sway the branches of Sycamores, Oaks and Birch trees. Visit the Skirball Museum online at www.skirball.org, or enjoy a personal walk along the grounds and explore the tributes to culture at 2701 North Sepulveda, Los Angeles 90049.

    Trees at the Skirball Museum and Cultural Center thrive and enjoy the mild California climate.


    In San Diego, one enjoys walking through a vast museum complex housing 15 unique museums in Balboa Park, not to mention to the collection of rare cactus and enormous Eucalyptus trees (just to name one tree type out of numerous ones) which shade the paths leading from one museum to another.

    Each of the locations I have mentioned or described here is where I personally walked through, witnessed, and or photographed sophisticated artistic tree landscapes of the California terrain.

    The Roots of my personal anxieties: Why I care.

    The impact of my meeting Joel Tauber coincided with an important event that took place for me way before I knew about his Sick-Amour Tree project and was what eventually led me to throw myself into this frenzied study of trees over this summer. Thus I do not necessarily consider myself struck by any of the Greek or Roman gods. I believe my influence came with a special awareness of the frailty of trees with this personal story:

    A little over one year ago, on June 30th, 2007 I was walking our dog Sasha, around the block for one of our frequent walks. I rounded the corner to the next block when I was taken aback as I witnessed a set of ‘city’ crewmembers slaughtering what appeared to be a California Oak tree. I had grown quite fond of that particular Oak on my many walks while I was writing my first novel. As a matter of fact, I had used that model of tree to describe a forest of these trees in a chapter in my first fiction novel. I especially love the sculptured texture of the Mighty gnarly Oaks. This tree had been the one to rekindle my relationship with the trees of my imagination. My stomach got queasy when I saw how it was being destroyed. I would have thrown-up, but I got a hold of my emotions and took Sasha home. Not only did I return to the scene of the slaughter, but I brought my camera to document the death and dismemberment of this great oak; I was so distraught that I returned again to the site, without my camera this time, and begged the men to stop for a moment while I sought out the seeds for this tree. To my surprise, the men stopped and helped me search for the seeds.








    When I got home, I had no idea what to do with the seeds. I called a couple of nurseries until a gentleman at a nursery in Marina del Rey explained to me that I had to wait until the pods dried up and slit to get at the seeds and plant them. So, I waited until the pods were black and wrinkled. I split them according to the directions I had gotten from this kind anonymous arborist. (He suggested a process much like that which squirrels have for cracking the pods.) I photographed the seeds and compared them with the larger seed of an apricot fruit tree and the seed of a maple tree.






    Once properly documented, I planted them in a small brown pot. Two weeks later, the first seed came up. A few days later another seed appeared to take root. On the one-year anniversary of the re-birth day of this Great Knurly Oak tree, July 20th, 2008, I documented how large the great twin oaks had become. The highest little bitty branch was about fourteen inches tall. I estimated this tree had grown a little over an inch every month. A compassionate act of kindness yielded a new life on the impulse of grief. The impulse of grief affected not only me; there is an entire world of tree-lovers mourning the losses of their favorite tree friends in surrounding communities.












    What about the subconscious feelings innate in developing a relationship with a tree? For instance, what draws people to want to save a particular tree? 

    I can really only speak to my own experience in that my relationship with trees started when I was a child.

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    It's TUSAL time! Here's my reclaimed pasta jar next to my newest ultrasound photo (taken at 35 weeks). Stubborn kid wouldn't let us get a proper shot. You can see most of his face, though his arm is up over his chin. He sleeps like his daddy!
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              interview with guenter schlienz        


    Guenter Schlienz (Stuttgart, Germany) is known for his vast catalogue of tape & cdr releases on different great labels around the world – Sacred Phrases, SicSic, Goldtimers, Constellation Tatsu, etc. He is the man behind wonderful Cosmic Winnetou label, releasing all kinds of experimental/drone/ambient artists — maybe not as frequently as we'd like, but each time pleasing the taste of any tape music geek. Creating his minimalist compositions by means of d.i.y modular synths, tape loops and field recordings, Guenter achieves the serenity of classic ambient works, while keeping the vibe of 70s kosmische musik (think Cluster or Harmonia) and sometimes reaches the territories of academic minimalism, exploring the sound as ding an sich, inspiring the listener to invent its own narrative. Being part of Navel band since mid 90s, Guenter's place in music world has a long, but still almost unknown story which continues nowadays with further explorations of all kinds of ambient music.

    ~~~

    Pied Paper: First of all, I'm curious about how it all started for you — ambient music, synth building, tape releases, etc. I know that you were involved in many other projects before, call you tell a bit about them too?

    GS: phew, where did it all started… definitely many many moons ago. was active mid till end 90s in some heavy stoner psychedelic rock band. was the guy responsible for producing some "far out sounds" with his guitar and some delay pedal. so there already was this drone element in what i did. but far from recognizing it as this for myself. bit later during the same decade i did a session with a guy who did guitar and singing for another noise rock outfit. we just fiddled around with our guitars and with every pedal we could get our hands on. we recorded our very first session with some broken 4track and quite liked the results. after presenting the finished cdr people came back and reported "this is quite cool drone music". so yep, that's how we learned the name of this style. and after having the name we were able to dig deeper and learned names like Stars of the Lid, Flying Saucer Attack, Brian Eno etc pp. this guitar drone project of us is called Navel and we are still recording and doing live shows.

    beginning of the 00's i quit doing this rock band stuff, so there was plenty time to do some other things. after getting introduced to all this amazing kraut and kosmische musik (during a navel live show in france by an english man, but that's another story) there was the idea to do some kind of electronic music solo. so i needed an instrument, and after bit of research i discovered that the schematics for some modular synthesizer would be something i could manage with the training in electronics i already had. so i started soldering, first quite simple filters, later more and more sophisticated modules.

    the tapes, yep, fast forward to the end of last decade. stumbled over this tape scene thing by accident via the internet (god bless it). those days i was pretty frustrated and bored by the music all the labels and magazines i knew presented, so this occurred to me like a big relief. yes. so many people and projects and bands and labels are doing fantastic stuff, exactly the music i love, right at the moment, and sell it for very low money to people all around the world. yes! couldn't belief my eyes. that the favorite medium of all those labels and projects were cassettes don't really bothered me (of course i had this "ugh? on tape? strange…" moment like everybody else i guess), because i never really stopped using this media since my early childhood days.

    I like to dramatize a bit some things some times, but this discovery of the tape label scene kind of saved my artistic live. it gave me so much energy and confirmation and countless hours of joy during listening sessions that i got the feeling that i have to give something back. hence i started my own tape label.


    Pied Paper: Your music sounds almost academic sometimes, especially works as Organ Studies, Loop Studies and Furniture Sounds — which, as I understand is a homage to Eric Satie. But your name is strongly associated with "underground tape scene", as we call it. Did you ever thought about making your music open for the interpretations, to write it down on a paper maybe, letting the others perform it?

    GS: huh, not sure if i my music sounds bit like academic music. for sure i'm quite interested in this genre, mean contemporary composers with "classical" musical education composing pieces for concert halls and operas and stuff. like their approach to their art through quite rigid concepts, their huge knowledge about musical structures and about music of many centuries and cultures. perhaps you see my enthusiasm for their rigidness shining through my stuff? that would be a compliment for sure, at least in my opinion. and of course, if there would be a small ensemble crazy enough to perform it, i would love to write a score for them (though not sure if i would like to conduct it). but i guess your name must be some lou reed or some other in the same league to be honored like this. actually i'm pretty sure that many of those academic contemporary composers would be happily release their stuff on tape if they would only know this special scene around it.


    Pied Paper: It's clear that ambient music is a wide field for interpretation, same sound can be perceived in different ways depending on the artwork, liner notes, track titles, etc. Can you tell something about your own perception of your music? Does it have some stories within, or it's just abstract form which everyone can fill with its own meaning?

    as you see in the answer of the last question i like some kind of concept around the music. and if this concept even gets its visual equal with the artwork i'm more than happy. so of course, there is a story in every piece. but hey, its music, its a form of art, so who am i to dictate what some listener and spectator wants to see in it? isn't it the very meaning of any art, that the consumer of it knits his very personal meaning to it?

    actually i am not able to describe what i hear in my music anyway. for me the answer to this question would lead to some kind of poem, some painting, some huge novel, some dance or any other arty abstraction. in none of the mentioned techniques 'm very good at, so please, listen to the music.


    Pied Paper: Imagine a situation when you someone asks you to create music with specific mood, theme, etc. — like for a movie scene or something — would it be easy for you? What you enjoy more - improvisation or composition?

    already did this, i mean creating some music for a specific use (to earn some money), and hey, that is pretty hard work (and hard earned money)! to create some music without some customers needs to be satisfied, just the personal ones, isn't really easy to do as well, but much more gratifying for the soul. its an privilege to be able to do this, and i have a (pretty time consuming) bread and butter job to create the circumstances to fulfill it.

    can't really separate those strategies during my performances, both live and during my recording sessions. its always a mixture of plan and being ready to include some coincidences respectively enlightenments. actually my believe is, gained through many observations and talks about such things, that nearly every work in which i am interested in is created this way.


    Pied Paper: I know that you enjoy recording outdoor, do you have any specific set-up for this?

    not really specific, the equipment just have to have some possibility to work battery driven. luckily my modulars fall into this category. just to improve the handling of such adventure i have build my modulars as small and compact as possible, and since a couple of months a work on some modules who will be included into some water proofed case.


    Pied Paper: Probably you've noticed that releases of first wave of cassette drone/ambient in 2009-11 was mostly lo-fi and many of same artists still doing tapes nowadays came to much cleared and well-produced sound - is that natural growth or trying to be more "mainstream"?

    yes, i'm aware of this development as well. i think it just was some other group of people with bit different background which had been running those labels you' mention. In those early days of the reemerging of this medium the leading actors had had mostly a background in the noise scene. hence the tape as favorite medium, hence the cheap and ugly aesthetics of the chosen instruments. these different (don't like to ad some other evaluative adjective) sounding tapes of lately are from people without this background, they just take over the torch and work with it out of their musical socialization. so in my opinion it is either "natural growth", this sounds like some kind of improvement who isn't any need for, nor a try to reach broader audiences. the good stuff of recently is produced by people who are just as true to their own style as their ancestors had been, and therefore it is as important and equal beautiful as the old stuff.


    Pied Paper: As a label owner, can you tell how many demos you receive? Which kind of styles you receive most? I'm asking because it seems that ambient/psych/drone music isn't that popular anymore - I see tons of vaporwave/webpunk tapes at new-born labels, while such imprints as Stunned, Tranquility tapes, Goldtimers are long gone (or maybe it's just old man's talk, huh).

    yes, and i'm very happy about it, i receive quite a lot of demos. always love to get some new sounds for my ears. mostly the artists are very good informed about the style of the music i usually release and about the aesthetics i'm interested in. perhaps you are right, there are less people out there which do their own style of ambient/psych/drone as perhaps eight years ago, but i'm not sure about that. and as i stated in the last paragraph i think those vaporwave labels and the like took the torch of the cassette celebration and run with it their own way. and this is a good thing. who needs the 16th or whatever version of the emeralds (insert here the name of your favorite release of those years)? isn't this exactly what have happened with pop and rock music and what makes this stuff sometimes unbearable to listen to?


    Pied Paper: And what are your plans for the Cosmic Winnetou in the foreseeable future?

    prepare my next batch right now which will be released in a couple of weeks. but after this 13th cosmic winnetou bundle of cassettes i will need a hiatus, unfortunately. i love to do the label work, but it is very time consuming. have lots of projects for this year, music and private stuff, so i have to pull the brakes to this project for this year. but really looking forward to restart the tape label with new ideas and energies end of this year.


    Pied Paper: Do you ever think about future of music? Is it possible to invent something new, or we are doomed to retro-mania, returning to same tunes from different angles?

    of course there will some day somebody release some music which haven't been heard before and will blow all of us completely into the void. don't know which day this will happen, but i'm pretty sure someday it will. just look around, not only the music is stuck into retro mode. clothing, hair style, performing arts, pictorial arts, industrial design, i think that in our days nearly every form of artefacts are done with quite old ideas, just a few new kind of tools here and there. the whole mood, you can call it "zeitgeist" if you like, is like "let's try to preserve what we have", not "perhaps this is a better idea for the future, let's work on it". in my opinion everything is linked together somehow, and we have this retro mania since the 90s, starting with this global change of the modus vivendi. but nothing is forever, so i'm sure this will change someday. these thoughts are just my 50cents about a very complex question. but yeah, i think about this, and love to exchange ideas about this kind of topic.


    Pied Paper: Humans already sent some music with space probes - which titles would you choose for such mission? I know you won't choose Wagner, huh :)

    really nice question, this is. indeed already thought about that, and i think the nasa did a quite good job with the "golden record" for the voyager mission. very good selection which shows how wonderfully diverse sounds humans are able to produce, and each and all of them aim at the listeners heart. but always wondered if it would be perhaps a good idea to send some field recordings of this strange planet into the void, and f so, which i would chose.

    some people laughing, some people fighting, a mother singing her baby to sleep, the audience at a soccer game, a sundown at the shore of a calm sea with waves and cicades and everything? what else?


    Pied Paper: Okay, that's it — you can send high fives here or add something if needed! Thank you!

    hey, high five to you and many thanks for those questions! took my a while to type the answers, because you found some topics and ideas i love to share my thoughts on it. and of course many thanks for your support!

    perhaps i would like to ad a big "thank you" to all the readers of those lines, time is precious and i'm happy that you waste it reading them. and a big "thank you" to all the people who listen to my music and perhaps even bought the cassettes and cds and vinyls with my music on it. to know that somebody out there cares about my music means a lot to me. hugs.

    guenterschlienz.de

    selected albums:
    guenter's bandcamp
    sterne uber der stadt
    organ studies
    tape studies
    autumn



              stag hare ~ starlights gloom        

    stag hare ~ starlights gloom (inner islands, 2017)

    Farewell, Stag Hare!

    «Starlights Gloom is an album about heaviness and lightness. Its made up of primarily sampled material from throughout the Stag Hare catalog. Its sort of a final farewell to the now decade long project, while being its own creature as well. I wanted it to be sort of feminine and tough, ethereal and grounding. It's maybe the last piece of art I have left to release that connects back to a specifically really hard time in my life. And so it was with mixed feelings that I was able to sit down with the tracks and finally finish them. By "really hard" I mean I didn't really think I was going to make it and I recorded the first versions of these tracks as a way to share a certain energy to my child as he grew up in case I wasn't around. I didn't want them to be sad, but I didn't want them to be overly optimistic either. After sitting on them for 2 years, and obviously still alive, thank Goddess, I decided I needed to finally finish these tracks and move on with my life. I used those initial sketches as a stepping off point and then just took the tracks where it felt like they wanted to go. The album isn't intended as any kind of profound statement, they are just tracks that sound good to me and I just finished them in a way that felt good. I didn't labor over them or think very deeply on them. In a way this was actually the most effortless Stag Hare album I have made, using mostly samples and short cuts to get the tracks where I wanted. And it felt fun, and it felt good. It's a bittersweet farewell to the whole Stag Hare project. I more or less have lived in the Stag Hare world for most of my adult life, and through it and the people it has been able to quietly reach I have stayed grounded and inspired. I love you all, and you all have helped keep me alive for the past ten years while I figured a lot of shit out. Still figuring that shit out, but I feel like I can finally step out of my Stag Hare safety womb and go try some other stuff.
    ~ Willow Skye-Biggs

    listen ~ support
    also here
    ~__~

              azaleas / cloudsound / forest walker        
    azaleas ~ sapphire (blank_tapes, 2016)

    «Long-form new-age collages. First full-length from Azaleas». ~ blank_tapes

    Two years ago I had a pleasure to share a split tape with Azaleas (duo of Kyle Wade & Alice Andres-Wade hailing from Denver) on Rainbow Pyramid label and started waiting patiently for their full-length debut. Hope was not lost, and here it is, spinning in my deck on repeat mode since December! And with the first winds of the spring this music seems to unfold even broader, carrying eternal bliss of best ambient genre developments. Shimmering layers of synth soundscapes, massive drones, new-agey melodies and organic hum of field recordings... Everything in its place, all corners rounded, every transition made with care. This tape has rare ability to became more and more interesting with every spin, telling the same stories differently each time you listen to it. You may get lost in all those layers, fades and vibes, travelling between dark thickets and wide open eyes of lakes, but don't worry – the hiss of blank tape in the end will leave you under charms of these marvelous tunes with joyful smile on your face and pleasant feeling in the heart. Highest recommendations!

    listen ~ support

    cloudsound ~ indigo appalachia (fluere tapes, 2017)

    «Reverie over outer space air space tween canopy slopes of mauve ambrosial gazes to ribbonious unfurls later spooled» ~ fluere tapes

    Less is more! I always admired the ability to create pleasant atmosphere with seemingly minimalist and truly lo-fi sound. What Fluere Tapes boss Lee Boyd did on this tape easily falls into category of lo-fi drone, but the less you care about labeling, the more you receive in impression value. Actually, this tape can be a marvelous post-rock or shoegaze epic, simply recorded hundred of times from one old dusty tape to another. Yet, it has this unexplainable charm that wraps you like a cozy blanket, carrying away as a good old magic flying carpet. Massive layers of sound are hidden behind the surface of pleasant sound - same as the incredible amount of water looks like beautiful cloud from the surface. As the the artwork itself, this music is fused by light, an enormous cosmic nebula sending its glorious radiance light years away... Also I must admit that this particular album brought a lot of nostalgic moments for me, remembering those early psych/drone tapes by Deep Magic or Sundrips, feeling the awe in presence of those energies, such pure and sincere, like they are directly radiating from the artist's heart. Maybe I'm just too sentimental, but there is nothing is this world like Cloudsound. Absolute bliss.

    listen ~ support

    forest walker ~ uv sea (constellation tatsu)

    Sincerely – I have no words to describe this album. It's clear, that with such love for ambient music I possess, album like UV Sea would turn into breathtaking experience. Forest Walker puts everything in one canvas and manages to blend all treasures of ambient genre into a single whole thing. Thing in itself. Pulsation of synth lines, deepest drones, huge waves of reverberated noises... even dusty saturated beats do no harm to this never-ending stream of bliss, supporting its torrent thought your perception channels. Is that infinity of the Universe transcending by the aural medium or endlessness of sound, forging new universe inside ours – who knows? Depends on which interpretation of quantum mechanics you follow. One thing is clear here, this music exist in more than one dimension. It spans like endless wave and each track is just range of frequencies we able to perceive. It's easy to imagine UV Sea as short part of huge intergalactic transmission, captured by limited instruments of humankind and then interpreted by our even more limited sense organs. But the message is so powerful that we can get it if not consciously, but more subtly, just intuitively. And unable to verbally express... Yet, transmission continues, so tune in!

    listen ~ support

              stag hare / crown of eternity        


    stag hare ~ velvet & bone (inner islands, 2016)

    «Velvet and Bone is structured as a gothic fable. It is about the act of self reflection through knowing another. It is about seeing the shadow and knowing the shadow. It is about seeing death and knowing death. It is about bones, and the way they are shaped by the tensions put on them by various opposing muscles. It is about the swamps of depression. It is about love in its most tragic and therefore most beautiful form». ~ stag hare

    Being a huge fan sometimes stops me from writing reviews – maybe it's just subconscious feeling that words can spoil the fragility of music, especially when the music is as personal as Stag Hare are. There are so many kinds of art, of sound, ways of expression, but not that many artists are interested in putting their true emotions into art. Looks like image and the presentation are more important than revealing the personal side  of life and it's understandable. But when the image contradicts to inner story it may say something about our ability to feel the difference. What I like about Stag Hare (and the whole Inner Islands roster, actually) is sincerity, openness, fearless sharing of life as it seen by the artist, reflecting everything in music, telling stories which at some level are universal for all human beings – we just go through them by our own patterns. So, here it spins, new tape with Stag Hare's songs and this time they're actually songs with lyrics printed on j-card! «Opening (Depression)» starts with deep drone tune and it's actually not so dark, as drone ambient can be, but it has this longing which fades in second track – slowly, but confidently building sparkling layers of blissful folk song and entering the same territories Stag Hare known for, but this time with the strong presence of the new kind of energy. Dreamer has awakened and discovered that real world is the challenge and was never separated from the dream. The inner and the outer are not that different categories, simply matter of viewpoint. These songs are still dreamy and so magical, they bloom like astral flowers from the deepness of psychedelic revelation, but at the same time the thickness of the physical is present, like never-ending drone – it simply stitches once separated into whole... Natural & urban, transcendence and routine, simply life as it is. Aspiration to non-duality is primal to every spiritual being, but the ability to separate things is not less important, it's actually the only way our mind can work, endlessly dividing and then synthesizing at new levels of understanding, just to separate again... Okay, think I went too far, so let's say it's just wonderful music for everything you want from it. Â«Velvet and Bone» can be just beautiful background for your daily activities as successfully, as the impetus for philosophizing (which is clear in my case), it chills and gives energy, it brings joy and contains many different moods at the same time. Music of high potential to unfold. Truly personal, but universal – you may learn something from it, consciously or not. In any case, you won't regret hearing it. 

    listen ~ buy tape



    crown of eternity ~ dream architecture (inner islands, 2017)


    «Dream Architecture contains the deep and complex harmonics of 11 gongs, as well as the sonorous tones of more than 60 bells, sound plates, sound triangles, tuned metals and singing bowls. Crown of Eternity carefully and patiently blend and orchestrate their instruments to create harmonic fields that invite the listener to dive in and not only explore the nature of the sound current, but also their inner landscape». inner islands

    Some things change and some not. But it depends on the perspective, of course. Music of gongs, singing bowls and similar stuff was in the New Age genre since its inception. Of course it existed before, but not as music, but more as a spiritual practice. And this function of primal metal instruments vibrations resonating through your body remains unchanged – you'd rather hear such music at some yoga place, than in the concert club. Same private and personal feeling is present at this tape, as with Stag Hare release above. We are left alone with resonance, created with carefulness. It nurtures your senses, sets the right mood for relaxing contemplation, it gives landscape for your inner gazing... The experience of listening to such tape may be rewarding, but I guess it's nothing compared to Crown of Eternity live sets. The amount of gongs, plates, bowls and other metal resonators seen on photos has its own impression even without hearing the music! But if you had the chance to join such session at least once in your life, then you know what I mean. Here the point which turns spiritual practice into music – the act of recording. Same can be told about about any "sacred music" like tibetan monks' throat singing or orthodox chorals: when you are out of the moment of actual happening, when this is recorded or even just put into the studio or onto stage – it turns into completely different story. But this is really one big theme and it leads us away from music itself. Which is, by my humble opinion, can be always regarded as thing in itself without looking at its context and further analysis. Call me consumer, but some things need to be simply enjoyed. This tape is highly enjoyable even if my sound system is unable to produce same effect as live session with all those beautiful resonating stuff. But still, the sound resonates with my soul and think that's the most important here. Usually I listen recordings like this (Klaus Wiese, Danny Becher, Karma Moffet to name just a few) when I'm tired of any other music and it's always refreshing, kind of pleasant pause in the never-ending stream of music and always-present daily noise. Harmony & meditation, and nothing else here actually. What else do you need? 

    listen ~ buy tape


              check out ~ the book        
    check out ~ the book (hornschaft, 2016)

    «CHECK OUT is a project involving sound, images and words. It is divided into sections (chapters / tracks) and has three main granularities, i.e. excess, exposure, and death» ~ horschaft

    This is simply gorgeous. No exaggerating, this is the first and second and third impression on this release. Even before hearing the music, holding this beautiful LP-sized book with matte-finished hardcover, full of atmospheric photographs and collected impressions makes my heart beating faster. Maybe just because I like photography and work in printing business, but I don't think it is the only reason. The book unfolds masterfully captured moments of fleeting beauty, seen in tiny details, in landscape, in urban and naturalistic, in simple movements and casual glances. And while the music starts its weaving, your attention is already caught by spells of this creation. It is really hard to make something outstanding in times of ambient music abundance, which we are facing now. Revival of physical formats paves new ways of representation of highly subjective artistic visions and it results in variety of forms – handmade editions, special inserts, quests for ordering, etc. But despite the common idea that music must speak for itself, it's actually a new level of music production – making not really a product, but an art object. Imagine yourself visiting art gallery: some pictures on the walls, subtle music playing... Your impression is fleeting, it depends on so many factors and lies under so much pressure of the modern life-style and its rhythm, that it dissipates as quickly, as the morning dew under the sun since you leave the gallery... Subjective means personal, and personal art it's always just a tiny window, a glance inside the world of the Other. The less objective you are trying to be, the bigger this window gets, expanding the ways of perceive and understand each other. Simple idea, but not that easy to follow when it comes to practice. But if you have the exhibition delivered right at your place, carefully prepared for revisiting its virtues, hiding some details for attentive exploration... Probably it gives much more freedom both for you and for the artist. Ability to explore deeper is a luxury in a modern world.

    I won't divide the music and pictures of this edition, I'd rather tell that they are as inseparable as our five senses. Interconnection of impressions creates polarity, accumulates the impulse to discovery, and that's a very good approach in case of ambient music. It creates the deepness and instead of hearing just another melodic guitar ambience and dusty, melancholic soundscapes we plunge into the world of CHECK OUT without hesitation, exploring sensation of every tiny detail of mood, which appears only once – right now, right at this page, with this exact transition of the sounds. This album gives us an environment so fragile and sensitive to any change. It seems that CHECK OUT is about capturing the fleetness of our life, about unavoidable death of every beautiful thing...  But at some point of deepening inside it you may realize that this is happens all the time and that's what life is, a game of perception, of the novelty and excess, of discovery and forgetting... This album not just captures something, but brings the deeper level in the game.

    preview ~ support






              electric sound bath        

    electric sound bath ~ moon drip (fluere tapes, 2016)

    Sound form perception of moon found within in order to perceive its lunar gift vision of itself at a hearts arms magnetic pulse distance ~ fluere tapes

    Latest release from Sweden cozy label Fluere Tapes follows the aesthetics of best ambient-drone outfits blossomed on tape scene in 2009-2011 – shimmering lo-fi soundscapes taken from guitars and synths, slowly evolving atmosphere, calming/meditative touch, feeling of something personal, as if played on private event for a few friends... Seems predictable at first glance, especially for one who's not that much into lengthy drone tapestries, but hides gorgeous moments of serenity and pure bliss for those who know how to listen. Nothing special, actually – get rid of any expectations, turn off analyzing parts of your mind, make yourself comfortable and simply enjoy the ride of slow waves of sound. Then every change of mood in music seems so natural to current time and space – something that was truly needed right-here-right-now but wasn't clear until the very moment of appearance. Expected and surprising at the same time – that's the magic of this tape. Quite often perception of music has certain competitive aspect, like you're testing the ability of musicians to surprise you, evaluating their skills, knowledge of technical side, etc.. And a lot of artists and listeners are good with that, even at ambient/drone scene... Yet, ambient music shouldn't be perceived such way, it's purpose and it's possibility stretches far more forward. Without getting too new-agey, I'd say that music like "Moon Drip" (which is actually a very fine example of non-centered sound continuum usually called ambient) is a wonderful mood changer – calming and transparent, gentle enveloping wave full of bright glares and distant echoes, yet dynamic enough and always changing, every time at any angle if you look close enough. Highly enjoyable background for evening chill and perfect companion for morning walk along the waterfront. And don't forget about the last track "Music For Train Stations", which spans over 40 minutes and suits its name very-very well. Now you know which tape you should take to the next train trip! 

    listen ~ support



              eva geist ~ äquator system        

    eva geist ~ äquator system (elestial sound, 2016)

    «Dedicated to dreams, lost paradises, and new horizons of human belonging, Äquator System transcends a musical journey from a hidden center to an endless distance, reminding us that we are made of galaxies.» ~ eva geist

    Exploring the vastness of modern retromania, I often ask myself one question – what if there is actually no such thing as "past" in music and maybe even no such thing as "music development"? Evolution of music usually means the technical side of its creation, hence almost all changes are simply consequences of new gear's features or simple invention of new terms for already existing things - as it was with Brian Eno "inventing" the ambient music. Of course, music history had some major shifts, but talking about them we can't avoid discussion of the gear (and by gear I mean any instrument) and methods to work with it, be it physical or digital, composition or performance, etc. Such things say more about form of music, but much less about it's essence. Maybe nostalgia always was a big part of this "essence", tuning the aural visions through personal experience. Some kind of universal feeling that connects our minds to the idea of some "golden era" in time and space coordinates. This can be expressed in many ways, but the very idea of creation of some sound continuum, which comforts its creator (and likely the audience) remains fundamental for music evolution.

    Reading the liner notes for Elestial Sound tape release of this album brings the same perspective on the so-called "retro-ambient" scene. As Steve Roach recently said in the interview for Bandcamp, it never was about styles or fashion, it's all about space which music creates for the listener and the author himself, as reflection of his personal story line. I don't really know was the "Äquator System" taken from childhood memories about educational films and TV show soundtracks or not – what really matters is the timeline it contains inside itself. It's a story, enigmatic one. It brings so many colorful pictures, visions and narratives not necessarily associated with past, though it sounds really "retro". Actually, all differences between modern styles of music are based on the timbre, on the particular sound, and each timbre, especially when it comes to electronics, is already has its place on styles map. But the essence is avoided, it seems that we forget to look inside the sounds, to see beyond the surface. Because when we do it, whole universe unfolds before our inner gaze and it may be hard to navigate inside it, since we need to lose yourself to some degree, to step out of  our customary coordinate system. Anchors of style definitions or even mere labeling are good when (and where) they needed, but don't forget about sails! "Äquator System" is a playfully created soundworld, full of mesmerizing beauty, fun moments and dramatic shifts – so let yourself explore, it will be a great adventure.

    listen ~ buy tape

              rod hamilton and tiffany seal ~ versatile ambience        

    rod hamilton and tiffany seal ~ versatile ambience
    (ehse records, 2016)

    Rod Hamilton and Tiffany Seal are an electronic music duo from Baltimore, MD. Their instrumental album, Versatile Ambience, was performed live to cassette. eshe records

    When I enjoy something very much it seems hard to write about it just because I have some kind of fear – so many things to express, such intense feelings... Sometimes it feels like trying to embrace the sea waves. Thinking about this tape I tried to avoid comparisons, but it's impossible not to mention Tuluum Shimmering or Dream Safari or Black Joker or early High Wolf to describe the feeling this recording gives me. Being a huge fan of 2009-11 psych drone tape music, when everything was so lo-fi, psychedelic and sweet, I can't avoid nostalgia while listening to something like this. Blissful vibes of xylophone sound, calm ambiences, tape-hiss-infused loops and weird new-agey feeling of relaxation on the edge with psychedelic revelation... So deeply warm and embracing sound, that it's almost impossible to break the listening into parts – only pressing repeat button feels like right choice. Your trip will feature tropical islands, jungle & mighty rivers, warm deserts and calm oases, therapeutic relaxation sessions, third eye opening, flying with the bees over unearthly beautiful flowers... Okay, think you already get what to expect here! So don't hesitate and grab your piece of this charming exotic beauty. Absolutely recommended and highly gratifying sounds for your inner self.

    listen ~ buy


              end of the year list        


    Hola friends! This year Microphones were not as active as usual due to many reasons, but we still listen a lot of music and always eager to share is with other souls through this world. Here is the list of albums we love and enjoy, music that gives inspiration and peaceful feeling of the life flow. No particular order, no ranks, just good vibes delivered by amazing artist all around the globe. Enjoy!

    Braeyden Jae — Fog Mirror (Whited Sepulchre)
    Ant'lrd — Sleep Drive (Whited Sepulchre)
    Josephine Foster — No More Lamps in the Morning (Fire America)
    Deep Magic & Mohave Triangles — Split (Diatom Bath)
    Matthewdavid's Mindflight — Trust the Guide and Glide (Leaving Records)
    Thousand Foot Whale Claw — Cosmic Winds (Constellation Tatsu)
    Gamardah Fungus — Herbs And Potions (Flaming Pines)
    Cloudsound — Static Sense & Wonder Stasis (ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ)
    Saåad — Verdaillon (In Paradisum)
    Pandelindio & Bird People — Sporal Dispersal (Frente Al Fuego)
    Les Halles — Transient + Sentient (Not Not Fun)
    alineko — summer of love (ПANΘEON)
    David Colohan — Hill of the Moon (Was Ist Das?)
    Sarah Davachi — Dominions (Jaz Records)
    David Parsons — Puja (Gterma)
    Grykë Pyje — Fragments of High Sensitivity (Ikuisuus / Hyster Tapes)
    Bear Bones, Lay Low — Hacia La Luz (Self-released)
    Alone in the Hollow Garden — Receiving the 17 Daggers of Light (Self-released)
    SONM — embody (Pearly Snowdrift)
    Mathias Grassow & Closing The Eternity — Untitled tape (ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ)
    Directorsound — Sun Suites For a Rising Moon (ШАΛАШ)
    Useless — HEXA (Terminal Dream)
    TVVIN_PINEZ_M4LL — 植物波 - p l a n t w a v e (Adhesive Sounds)
    Hong Kong Express — Hong Kong Express (TKX)
    Hybrid Palms — Pacific Image (Sounds of the Dawn)
    Lunaria — All is Dream (Sounds of the Dawn)
    Julia Bloop — Bllop (Rotifer Cassettes)
    Guenter Schlienz — Augenblicke (Sacred Phrases)
    Guenter Schlienz ‎— Book of Dreams (Cosmic Winnetou)
    Mårble — Looking for Marine Iguana (Echotourist)
    Rod Hamilton and Tiffany Seal — Versatile Ambience (Ehse Records)
    555 — Thee Omega Seed (MJMJ Records)
    Kyle Landstra — Variables of Resolve (Moog Music)
    Sunmoonstar & Inner Travels — Split tape (Scenic Rhythms)
    Inner Travels — Clear Seeing (Inner Islands)
    More Future Suffering — Self-titled (Winter Sea Label)
    You C + Foresteppe — Seven Sleepers (ШАΛАШ)
    A.Shark — 45 (Ominor Records)
    Stag Hare — Velvet & Bone (Inner Islands)
    Channelers — Space Makes Clearing (Inner Islands)
    Ashan — Death is the New Life (Heavy Mess)
    Sister Grotto — Blindside (Heavy Mess)
    Eva Geist — Äquator System (Elestial Sound)
    Tuluum Shimmering — Where the Turquoise Spring Sings Among Pebbles (Self-released)
    Sun Cycles — It Cuts the Plow Reins (Psychic Troubles Tapes)
    Paa Annandalii — Cavernous Fruits (Rotifer) 
    Bird People — Down of the Hamsa (Eiderdown)
    Чайник Болотных Богов — Гранатовый Сон (GV Sound)
    Matthew Barlow — Sound Meditations (Sounds of the Dawn)
    Jöns — Music For Euronews (Strategic Tape Reserve)

    Support the artists and the labels, share music with friends, play your favourite tapes to Christmas tree!
    Have a great year ahead! We wish you love & good vibes!

    ~ sincerely yours, microphones in the the trees team ~ 


              matthew barlow        



    "A word on my process and overall concept when I was doing these “sound meditations”: Each one generally only had one track, and everything was improvised live and recorded in one take with no overdubs. Once the track was exported and posted online, the original master was deleted. This method was a practice of “calm abiding” with sound in the present moment, allowing what would arise to come and go. It wasn’t about creating a piece of music but rather about practicing a particular state of mind. It was one of my most freeing and rewarding experiences in making music, and I’m honored that it has been enjoyed by so many. This one is dedicated to the present moment and to the peace that can be found there provided we just listen. Very special thanks to Sounds of the Dawn, Steve Targo, and Kyle Landstra – without your inspiration, this music would not be possible." matthew barlow

    “The heart surrenders everything to the present moment. The mind judges and holds back.” – Ram Dass


    Sound Meditations by Matthew Barlow invites you to immerse yourself in the gentle flow of synth improvisations and field recordings. To still your mind and to open your heart to the present moment. Slowly the soothing sounds pass by in a fluent and organic way, going to a place where words lose their meaning and the music speaks for itself. It´s the feeling of apparent effortlessness and obvious natural beauty that makes this album an instant classic. More music by Matthew can be found here.





              channelers ~ video & album premiere        


    Each time I see the news from Inner Islands my days turns into a little celebration. The music this label releases resonates so deeply with my perception of the world, that it feels almost impossible. Of course there are always some space for interpretations and subjectiveness but some things don't need an explanation. They just emerge somewhere between the sounds, between the flips of the tape, in the soft humming of endless water streams shown in this amazing video which label's boss Sean Conrad shot in American deserts and over expanses of Iceland... When the beauty arises, it touches hearts directly, without need in words. That's why we love music so much - it can be pure beauty, without strict material form, just flow of vibrations from one soul to another. It needs just few instruments or voice to appear and an open ear to be heard.

    channelers ~ space makes clearing (inner islands, 2016)

     Â«Reverence for the cycles of life, for the ever-changing sky, for the yearning that drives one forward, for the acceptance
    that keeps one still».
    inner islands

    On the different paths life makes through the space and time there are always cycles, seasons, changes which unfold like an endless spiral. With every new turn we may feel something like deja vu, considering the ability of our minds to forget everything quickly, to think in one dimension. To regain the experience of past cycles in the present, to make them significant and changing, we create rituals - may kinds of them. Starting from morning tea and social interactions and up to religions and annual celebrations. And once again our minds are failing, forgetting the meaning, flattening the experience... So the only way here is awareness, which unavoidably leads to self-invented ceremonies, practices, to the clear feeling of your own unique path. While listening to the music created by any of Sean Conrad's projects this feeling on the uniqueness appears with every album, showing the perception of the world, which may be shared, but at the same time remains thw whole in itself. Like any river is created by the thousands of streams, the Inner Islands is a bright torrent of personal world perceptions, created by many artists and Sean's ability to maintain that stream is amazing. There is a place for many forms and crossroad for many path, but still this unique universe of sound keeps its doors open for any resonating soul. And its essence is always changing, moving with the sun and moon, growing, unfolding... Archipelago of the tiny whirls of creative energy, forming something bigger and powerful than its part taken separately. Each album of Ashan or Channelers seems like a private ceremony, which concentrates the overall aura of Inner Islands. Gathering of winds and waters, celebration of new cycle, which begins with every new batch of sounds released to the world... It may seem unimportant, but this is the thing of such intimate creations - it becomes bigger, when you inside of it. Like gazing at the drop of water, which reflects the whole sky. Each song here is a drop. And each tiny moment of silence between them is the passage from the inner to the outer. It's simply fascinating.

    listen ~ buy

              lunaria / tvvin_pinez_m4all        

    lunaria ~ all is dream (sounds of the dawn, 2016)

    Second tape release at Sounds of The Dawn brings to the world a new masterpiece in the new age genre - an it's only a debut album, recorded by Daniel - a member of our blog's team. Listening to this tape is an immersion into the state of heightened sensitivity, when everything becomes brighter and clearer. It may sound as a cliche when it comes to ambient new age music, but I'm too assured in the fact that actually any music can do that if it has sincerity. There are nothing supernatural about the impact which music can do on our minds and we don't need scientific proofs for that - just an open-minded listening, which leaves analysis and criticism beyond the perception. Blissful tones of this music is a soft contradiction to the modern pop-music with its aggressive production. One may call it escapism, but then one should ask himself - where are you escaping when listening to radio hits? What is real? Which reality is true and everlasting, and which is just temporary construct of humanity's greed? Nature is all around us, but we mostly ignore it, building our own realities, first concrete and metal, then virtual... But when I go with this though further, while bathing in the crystal clear melodies and chimes of Lunaria, I realise that answer is already here - literally. On the tape cover. It says "all is dream" and duality of the meaning of the word "dream" makes the answer even clearer. There is no escapism. Global civilization, the Humankind, even Cyberspace - everything is Nature, part of our planet's evolutionary process. And this whole process is just a part of universal dream. Who dreams it? We all do, and by doing that we can make all kinds of things... And we do them, many different things, not always pleasant - saying "what the difference?". But when someone makes music like this, when someone listens to it and it makes one's dream a bit brighter and lucid - I can be only happy. And it makes a difference.

    listen ~ buy tape ~ buy cd
     

    tvvin_pinez_m4all ~ 植物波 [ p l a n t w a v e ] (adhesive sounds, 2016)

    Colorful, growing plants are the key to livening up any interior décor. 

    During the course of last year or two vaporwave has become much more structured genre, than it was at the beginning. To tell the truth, it was more like a joke, than a "real music" and some people still think that way. But even superficial acquaintance with everything vapowave-themed on Bandcamp brings so many sub-genres and variations, that no joke can have. Being 100% product of postmodernism, this music recycles long-forgotten tunes, giving them another perspective in the massive retromania, which overfilled music market nowadays. And by doing that, vaporwave shifts the perception towards images and situations that actually never existed. If you old enough to remember early 90s, you can feel the similarity in atmosphere and aesthetics, but there are still too many differences, which makes vaporwave-induced nostalgia no more than a postmodernist trick. And it tells a lot about the way we remember, think and perceive. Take this tape - typical, I'd even say classical vapowave album full of slowed disco tunes, ambient passages and late 80s new age reminiscences - but still none of these things in sum. It reminds me making collages of old magazines - you can put together some random parts from your mom's old knitting magazine, modern National Geographic and some last year's newspaper. Of course, you get some new picture, but what is more important - this picture transcends time, it brings everything in present moment, making it joyful. So what's the difference between music for plants, recorded by 80's new age artists and this tape? Only time - which is just an instrument for the artist, a way to make perspective, to give us a hint on our own head interior. Do you have any living plants there? I bet they'll love this tape, because it sounds damn chill and relaxing.

    listen ~ support

              matthew barlow / ashan        

    matthew barlow ~ hatha (inner islands, 2016)

    «Just being, without striving. A place of stillness». inner islands

    Focusing on sound healing practices, Matt Barlow took a vacation with his renowned Twin Springs Tapes label and started recording more and more music, which takes new turn in unfolding American New Age music. His latest tape for Inner Islands gives you not only the opportunity to relax and get nice background music for 30 minutes but also the possibility of deepest meditation on the nature of music. Combining simple drones with electronic melodies and contemplative flute playing, this tape reflects the idea, which I run through my haed so many times, while listening to some good ambient records - you don't need to be focused, to perceive everything in this flow of aural sensations, but at the same time, staying out any activity in mind and environment you actually start feeling everything so clearly! I think this state cannot be achieved by means of intentional focusing, so this state feels much more natural and I'm always so childishly happy when it happens. Of course, not only music can bring it, nature can too - bird songs, streaming water, whisper of the leaves... And you can actually hear and feel same energies in these two compositions. There is nothing supernatural about it, but still I have no other word than magic.

    listen ~ buy tape
     

    ashan ~ death is new life (heavy mess, 2016)

     Â«Sean Conrad (Channelers, Orra, Inner Islands) returns as Ashan with a collection of new songs exploring where the physical meets the spiritual and how the two influence and dialogue each other». heavy mess

    For the new label run by Braeyden Jae (former boss of Inner Islands label), Sean Conrad (current Inner Islands mastermind) put an exclusive recording which brings to light new facet of his Ashan alias. Usually taking place somewhere far from city hum and electricity circuits, Ashan (almost) always was about instrumental psych-new-age jams, self-invented mantra singing and celebration of simple joys of life – this time Sean takes electric guitar, some distortion and drums, blending the rock music benefits with Ashan's usual sound. You already curious how it sounds? Okay, just hit play on Bandcamp and read further. And I'll continue playing this on repeat, each time wondering how same energy can take so many forms. This is obviously same Ashan I used to and behind all those walls of sounds, electronic drones, krautrock beats and psychedelic solos I hear same magic, that once entered this complicate world with "To Return To" album. Folk music can take many forms and I suppose that there is nothing hard for experienced artist as Mr. Conrad to transform his music into powerful rock outfit without losing primary inspiration. Actually this is fun synchronism between to friends – putting softest side of Braeyden Jae's music at Inner Islands and heavier side of Ashan on Heavy Mess. Consider this as "anti-unplugged" album and simply enjoy it!

    listen ~ buy tape


              saåad ~ verdaillon        

    saåad ~ verdaillon (in paradisum, 2016)

    When it comes to drone music one may think "there is nothing special about it - just lonely guys making sounds with their laptops" and usually this is true. Of course, there are many bands using guitars or synths for this and it makes music a bit more interesting. But how about church organ? I don't know many drone albums with such source of sound - Razen, Anna Von Hausswolff, Charlemagne Palestine of course... But still not much. French duo Saåad is well-know to any drone maniac for their powerful, raw sound and this time it takes new turn on the spiral of their evolution. Using the organ of Church of Notre-Dame de la Dalbade along with the field recording made at the same place, they managed to recreate haunting ambiance of the times, when music was truly spiritual and served not just for entertainment. This approach makes sense in the modern world, full of music created almost for no reason - if only for fun, but just out of boredom, especially when it comes to ambient & drone... This album is not just excursion, it has ability to transport your mind into the places & states of transformation, of better feeling yourself and world around you. I'd say it has meditative qualities, but there is nothing new-agey about it. Just pure power of sound, energy of life, captured it the short moments of aural bliss.
      
    listen ~ buy

              dugout canoe ~ over unity        

    dugout canoe ~ over unity (self-released, 2016)

    «A 54 minute tapestry of transcendental motifs caterwauling fizzy manifestations hurled forth from the Unified Field. Professionally dubbed and duplicated blue-green glitter tape with printed art and full color J-card in a soft poly case». dugout canoe

    Imagine Terry Riley playing some old video game and realizing that instead of actually playing it, he can play music with it. So he starts pushing all those buttons in a manner he does with electronic organ and the game becomes more and more chaotic, yet doesn't want to end anyway. At some point game gains awareness and transcends its own code, achieving digital enlightenment and disappearing from the physical plan... Now you get an idea how this tapes sounds, with the only difference that instead of Terry there is Jacob Isaacs behind the wheel and you may heard his tunes already in Bridgetown Records catalogue. Speed is really high, so all your attempts to analyse this music are doomed to vanish in abundance of 8-bit tunes, voice samples and rumbling drones somewhere deep beneath all of this. It may seem pretty hard-core, but actually this music has certain New Age and bright futuristic feeling about it, sounding like dynamic Osho meditation for cybernetic mind or minimal techno party for androids on the loose. Take Kara-Lis Coverdale and Giant Claw, let them dance, smoke few joints and flirt (only musically speaking, of course) and you'll get "Over Unity" in result. 

    listen ~ buy tape 

    PS: By the way, one of this album's perks is the fact that you can listen to it from any point, it works perfectly from any tape position and at any player / volume / speakers / headphones, etc. Just amazing! 


              sister grotto ~ song for an unborn sun        

    sister grotto ~ song for an unborn sun (self-released, 2016)

    I love when things happen right as they should. One may ask who knows how do I know the way they actually should happen, but I can't explain that, it's just a feeling. Something you realize just in the right moment. You know then that this is exact space-time point where you belong right know. Opening bandcamp page with new Sister Grotto album tonight was something usual for me, I just pressed play, made speakers louder and had some tea. And somewhere in the halfway it hit me right into the hearth. Looking at the distant trains passing by, watching red lights at the smokestacks... Peaceful air of white night, smell of trees after the rain, slow clouds above all of it and the moon sleeping on them. It seemed that music goes from everywhere, being just a part of all of this wonder, simply existing as the air itself. People sleeping in all those huge buildings and stars hiding behind this grey sky – they have so much in common. Sound of Madeline's guitar unfolds like fog, bringing peace and kind of protection. Her voice washes my thoughts away from shores of my mind. Peaceful melancholia of these melodies flies somewhere between my window and horizon bringing echoes of the day which ended so quietly. There will be noise and rumble again on these streets tomorrow, but while sun is unborn, I'll enjoy that feeling. Every single part of it, even if it brings tears to my eyes. 

    listen ~ buy tape


              rest easy, volume 1 by australian newborn label hi tide        


    hi tide (various artists) ~ rest easy, volume 1

    Volume 1 of our 'Rest Easy' compilation series showcases eight relaxing tracks made by musicians living across the continent of Australia. Digital timbres are blended with field recordings and analogue tones, structured by circadian rhythms and fluid compositional trails to create a soothing, contemplative journey suited to long walks, kayaking and other easygoing activities; enjoy in loungerooms, libraries, hotsprings, bathhouses and anyplace easily softened by the sounds of the Ambient. hi tide

    What do you need when the summer sun hides beneath the clouds? What do you want, when you sit by your window, watching rivers of the sky falling on the ground, making trees hum and asphalt wet? Yes, that's right, it's music! Something calm and warm, something so relaxing, that you will go up to the sky with the air, reaching the highest clouds to see the sun over them. Same sun that shine right now somewhere over the places you've never been, over the oceans you never touched, over the mountains you never climbed... Maybe right now it shines over Australia, where dozens of people read same blogs you enjoy, drink same kind of tea, seeing same dreams when sun goes down. There are many things which are universal, and probably music is the most universal (if I may say so) of them. Sharing their visions of life and their dreams, a group of highly talented artists joined for this compilation, which gives a very nice perspective on the present ambient music scene in Australia. Of course, we live in the global world now, we meet each other here, in the web – but there is always something special about such selections. I'd call it "a taste" of a place (and time!), which can be translated only by such lucid medium as music. Something you won't see in the tourist brochure or read in Wikipedia. I'm sure, Australians know things about relaxing but there is definitely something more about this compilation than just global laziness we all share. If I'll try explaining it further, magic will be gone. So just press the link already! And relax ~_~
     
    listen ~ download ~ support

    ps: Any money given for this album will be donated directly to Bush Heritage Australia, a conservation organisation protecting millions of hectares of ecologically important land and working in close partnership with traditional landowners.


              rafi bookstaber        

     rafi bookstaber ~ late summer (woodsist, 2016)


    “We’d like to welcome back our old friend Rafi Bookstaber. It’s all good... the immediate thing I felt when I jammed his Late Summer for the first time was wanting to hug life, cosmic love in the underground. 

    “This is a diff kind of human digitata, it’s sweet analog. You dig spring reverb, then maybe flesh it with sum Ra-fi. Pure jam. Extended solos and explorations go from downtown woodland discord and eternal reverie to Relatively Clean Rivers and beat earth poetics. Pretty darlin’ indeed...

    “What a vapor trail of music; very groovy to see folks finally catching up to this head. Dawn of a new vibration out of his occult pedigree in so many spaced out earth objects (Death Chants / Aswara / Von Himmel / Mendocino). Bookstaber also logged golden hours with Time-Lag and that deep scene. The beginning of an ear and golden spirit juice. Mined private press vision with his own Azriel and Humito imprints, shucked handmades~there’s also his groove and howl with the wolfpack in the MV / EE axis. Oxide, preserves and records…Rafi hummed the music of maidens. Iron Maiden this is not, shipbuilding it sails, four sail and many years ago I was there, so was Rafi’s fi. You dig, apache? Find some wampum, blow a journey, be here now for Late Summer eternal...” Matt “MV” Valentine

    buy ~ listen

              apenino & árbore        
    apenino & árbore ~ allá donde estás, estoy (self-released, 2016)

    «Pilar se fue el 16 de noviembre de 2015, se fue tras 14 años juntos. medir la pegada emocional que eso supone es imposible. sólo el que tenga peludos y los ame como a un humano puede entenderlo. si ya no comes animales, como en mi caso, la cercanía emocional es intangible. desde el día uno he tenido miedo al adiós de Pilar, ese miedo ha sobrevolado como una nube cada uno de los días que compartimos vida». apenino & árbore

    There is no such thing as happiness, when you lost someone. There can be a lot of things as emptiness, despair, anxiety, but happiness turns into abstract concept. Society will tell you a lot about death and how to deal with it, we have formulas and catchwords for every imaginable situation. But under the surface of dealing with pain it remains untouched – fear, uncomfortable feeling of change, that cannot be reversed... And it doesn't really matter who's missing in your life now. Animal can be the closest family member and if you ever lost one, you know what I'm talking about here. Maybe it's too sentimental but knowing that your animal will definitely live shorter life than you never helps to deal with their passing. And how beautiful when this feeling of loss transforms into art, into vivid memory, that will never disappear as easily, as human memory can do. Music is a very flexible material and anything can be projected onto it. As a water surface, it reflects things, but at the same time has its own deepness. And at some point it doesn't even matter what artist wanted from this tunes for himself – music always gives you more. In case of this wonderful 17-min track sound creates a beautiful picture of the sunny day, spent in happy laziness, just watching the game of light and shadows in you room. Wind gently touches curtains, bringing flower aromas with it. And beneath all of this you hear slow evolving drone, so similar to cat's purr...



    p.d.: por primera vez no ponemos gratis la descarga, hemos pensado que el dinero que se recaude, tenga como destino ayudar a los gatos de la calle a través de la asociación Gatos en los Árboles.
              89th Academy Awards        
    An unexciting post for a largely unexciting Oscar year. La La Land is going to lap up Oscars left, right and centre this year. A movie which is all the more special to me because I watched it in a nice and cozy theater with my now fiancé, on an evening made even more special as we drove around the city past midnight with it's soundtrack softly humming on our car's stereo. :)

    City of Stars
    Are you shining just for me?

    A rush
    A glance
    A touch
    A dance

    A look in somebody's eyes
    To light up the skies
    To open the world and send it reeling
    A voice that says, I'll be here
    And you'll be alright



    Category // Prediction // My Pick // Hit or Miss

    Best Film // La La Land // // hit, miss (LOL)

    Actor // Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea // Ryan Gosling, La La Land // hit

    Actress // Emma Stone, La La Land // // hit

    Director // Damien Chazelle, La La Land // // hit

    Supporting Actor // Mahershala Ali, Moonlight // // hit

    Supporting Actress // Viola Davis, Fences // Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures // hit

    Original Screenplay // La La Land // // miss

    Adapted Screenplay // Moonlight // // hit

    Animation // Zootopia // // hit

    Foreign Language // The Salesman // // hit

    Cinematography // La La Land // Arrival // hit

    Editing // La La Land // // miss

    Production Design // La La Land // // hit

    Costume Design // Jackie // // miss

    Music // La La Land // // hit

    Original Song // City of Stars, La La Land // Audition, La La Land // hit

    Visual Effects // The Jungle Book // Kubo and The Two Strings // hit

    Total:   13 / 17

              Beer, Music & Getting To Know Each Other        


    You must remember this?

    Once upon a time there was a boy. Once upon a time there was a girl. Both were fond of beer. Beer was simple and easy - no commitments. Given so many types, there is always something for everyone. And you never drink beer to get drunk; you drink beer to drink beer. Of all the beer joints, in all the towns, in all the world, they walk into this one. Two tall glasses of foggy weiss in front of them, the concoction still retaining the character of the grain it was made from, and the continuous effervescence making it look like an abstract display piece with a hypnotic magical potion swirling inside. Smiles, sips, and a little chit-chat. All three of which serve little or nothing towards "getting to know each other."

    It is a confused term, really. Getting to know each other. If they are getting to knowing each other, well, when are they going to get there? And what are they going to know after they get there? And what are they going to do after they know they got there? And if they have gotten to it, what happens when there is nothing else to know? The term suffers from an extra preposition and an extra verb. It should be distilled down to just... getting each other. There's nothing more, either they get it or they don't.

    Once upon a time there was a boy. Once upon a time there was a girl. Both got this.

    A kiss is still a kiss.
    A sigh is just a sigh.
    The fundamental things apply


    Once upon a time there was a boy. Once upon a time there was a girl. Both were fond of music. The boy and the girl both collected music, making playlists as they swam through life. It was as if music gave a soundtrack to their lives - important events, people - in a life otherwise only filled with background noise. The songs aged and matured as their surrounding evolved, with them. And curating music with someone made it all the more special.

    When this boy and this girl met, the boy asked if he could propose a song. The girl asked which one. The boy extended "As Time Goes By". The girl said, "I think it is the beginning of a great playlist."

    And when two lovers woo
    They still say I love you
    Moonlight and lovesongs never out of date

    Once upon a time there was a boy. Once upon a time there was a girl. Both got this.

              87th Academy Awards        
    ------------
    Note 1: Hello, and welcome to the annual edition of my pretending to understand how the average-age-55-years-white-American-old-men vote to find the best movie of the year! It's almost like how the new Pope is picked. Almost.

    Note 2: Post 3.0 is going to be awesome, just like my previous two posts. Also, this year, a bunch of us got together to make an AWESOME app for Oscars - Award Street. Check it out!
    ------------


    This year is pretty much going to be Boyhood vs. Birdman. A lot of people are going to get their predictions wrong this year depending on which way The Academy leans, unless your prediction is that a movie whose name starts with the letter 'B' is going to take home the grandest prize, and you can be sure about nailing it. Personally, I want to be screaming "It's a boy!" when it's announced. That man, Linklater, deserves a trophy by now. He got nominated for the last 2 movies of the 'Before' trilogy, and has made cult classics like Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Waking Life, and School of Rock. He might just walk away with 3 trophies in his hands this year and that would be AWESOME. If The Academy leans towards Birdman instead of Boyhood, it will be sad, and them trying incredibly hard to be cool. Boyhood is an achievement, period. A movie event we are going to be talking about for a long, long time. It will be fitting if Boyhood is announced for the Best Picture, and this plays:

    I don't wanna be a big man
    Just wanna fight like everyone else


    No major controversies with the nominations, although no love for Nightcrawler, The Lego Movie, and no cinematography nod for Interstellar broke my heart a little. But then, what's an Oscar without a little heartbreak, right?

    Right then, let's get on with it.




    CategoryPredictionPickVishesh TippaniQuotesHit / Miss
    Best Motion Picture of the YearBoyhood
    I think this category isn't even a contest. Boyhood is by far the best movie on this list. Also, instead of the standard Film/Director split the Academy is known for doing, I think this year is going to see a Film/Writing split, between Boyhood and Birdman.'You know how everyone's always saying seize the moment? I don't know, I'm kind of thinking it's the other way around, you know, like the moment seizes us.'Miss. Birdman. Oh well.
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading RoleMichael Keaton, Birdman
    Another year, BC! This year's going cleanly to Mr. Keaton.'A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing.'Miss. Well, I am glad. Great performance by Eddie Redmayne in Theory of Everything.
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading RoleJulianne Moore, Still AliceRosamund Pike, Gone GirlThe chills Rosamund Pike gives you! Goodness. I wish she won this one, but she won't.From Gone Girl: 'I'm the cunt you married. The only time you liked yourself was when you were trying to be someone this cunt might like. I'm not a quitter, I'm that cunt. I killed for you; who else can say that? You think you'd be happy with a nice Midwestern girl? No way, baby! I'm it.'Hit!
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting RoleJ.K. Simmons, Whiplash
    The only thing going for Whiplash. Simmons' powerful performance made this movie worth a while. His performance took me back to when I was in school.'There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job.'Hit!
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting RolePatricia Arquette, Boyhood
    Boyhood could very well have been called 'Motherhood', and it would have remained as true. Patricia deserves this gold!'I just thought there would be more.'Hit! YAY!
    Best Achievement in DirectingRichard Linklater, Boyhood
    Please. Starting to feel a little bad for Mr. Anderson though. Maybe Mr. Anderson is destined to be seventh time lucky another year.'I finally figured it out. It's like when they realized it was gonna be too expensive to actually build cyborgs and robots. I mean, the costs of that were impossible. They decided to just let humans turn themselves into robots. That's what's going on right now. I mean, why not? They're billions of us just laying around, not really doing anything. We don't cost anything. We're even pretty good at self-maintenance and reproducing constantly. And as it turns out, we're already biologically programmed for our little cyborg upgrades. I read this thing the other day about how When you hear that ding on your inbox, you get like a dopamine rush in your brain. It's like we're being chemically rewarded for allowing ourselves to be brainwashed. How evil is that? We're fucked.'Miss. Iñárritu, Birdman. Oh well. Another year, bigger movie, Linklater!
    Best Original ScreenplayBirdmanBoyhoodThis is going to be a close call, but I think Birdman will pull through in the end. Also, if it does, the Best Picture announcement is going to induce double the nervousness. Writing/Film split seldom happens. The last time this happened was with Argo (2012), and Million Dollar Baby (2005) before that.From Boyhood: 'I mean, what makes you think that elves are any more magical than something like a whale? Yoy know what I mean? What if I told you a story about how underneath the ocean, there was this giant sea mammal that used sonar and sang songs and it was so big that its heart was the size of a car and you could crawl through the arteries? I mean, you'd think that was pretty magical, right?'Hit!
    Best Adapted ScreenplayThe Imitation Game
    The better crop are the ones in the original writing category. The adapted is pretty non-exciting, unless American Sniper takes it because of the emotions involved.'Do you know why people like violence? It is because it feels good. Humans find violence deeply satisfying. But remove the satisfaction, and the act becomes... hollow.'Hit!
    Best Animated Feature Film of the YearHow to train your Dragon 2
    No nomination for The Lego Movie was really disappointing. Nothing much here.
    'Some of us were just born different.'Miss. Big Hero 6. Blah. I couldn't care less without The Lego Movie nomination.
    Best Achievement in CinematographyBirdmanThe Grand Budapest HotelNo nomination for Interstellar was a disappointment. A win for Grand Budapest would redeem it.'You're looking so well, darling, you really are... they've done a marvelous job. I don't know what sort of cream they've put on you down at the morgue, but... I want some.'Hit!
    Best Achievement in EditingBoyhood
    This is a no contest. Editing footage spanning 12 years into this masterpiece!'I find myself so furious at all these people that I am in contact with just for controlling me or whatever but you know they are not even aware they are doing it.'Miss. Whiplash. :/
    Best Achievement in Production DesignThe Grand Budapest HotelInterstellarWell, I am going to pick Interstellar for whichever category it's nominated in!From Interstellar: 'Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.'Hit!
    Best Achievement in Costume DesignThe Grand Budapest Hotel

    'You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed that's what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant... oh, fuck it.'Hit!
    Best Achievement in Makeup and HairstylingThe Grand Budapest Hotel
    A lack of Theory of Everything here was a little bit surprising.'I must say, I find that girl utterly delightful. Flat as a board, enormous birthmark the shape of Mexico over half her face, sweating for hours on end in that sweltering kitchen, while Mendl, genius though he is, looms over her like a hulking gorilla. Yet without question, without fail, always and invariably, she's exceedingly lovely.'Hit!
    Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original ScoreInterstellar
    Zimmer's score made Interstellar more grandiose than it already was. Just 1 win for him from 9 nominations, I think he can use another win, and deservedly so. Theory of Everything has a good chance of taking it away.'Those aren't mountains, they're waves.'Miss. Grand Budapest Hotel. This movie is on a roll tonight! Desplat deserved a win, nominated for 2 movies this year, and 7 before this.
    Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original SongSelmaThe Lego MovieI like 'Lost Stars' from Begin Again. But my pick is The Lego Movie because it was AWESOME, and these buggers did not give it a nod for Animated Feature.From The Lego Movie: 'All this is true because it rhymes.'Hit!
    Best Achievement in Sound MixingInterstellar
    There was a bunch of controversy around Interstellar's sound. It doesn't matter. A couple of IMAX viewings is what those buggers need.'You're telling me it takes two numbers to measure your own ass but only one to measure my son's future?'Miss. Whiplash. For not giving it to Interstellar, I tell you, Academy, "Not my tempo."
    Best Achievement in Sound EditingInterstellar
    see: above. Although, American Sniper might snatch this one. Also, I think Fury should have gotten a nod here.'And that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us.'Miss. Sniper made a headshot at TARS.
    Best Achievement in Visual EffectsInterstellar
    This is a no-contest. Why are there even other nominees?!'Do not go gentle into that good night; Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.'Hit! Although it's sad that Interstellar might end its count with this.
    Best Short Film, Live ActionThe Phone CallButter LampThis is the first time I got to watch all the live-action shorts before the event. Pretty great movies, all. My favorite's got to be Butter Lamp, for the sheer ingenuity of script.
    Hit!
    Best Short Film, AnimatedFeast
    It's a dog's life.
    Hit!




    Total:
    13 / 21


    Who are you rooting for?


    87th Academy Awards...

              86th Academy Awards        
    ------------
    Note 1: Well, I did a post on Oscars last year, so I am going to do one every year now. Talk about being clingy, heh.

    Note 2.0: Post 2.0 is going to be bigger and better, aww yeah!
    ------------

    It hasn't been a stellar year for movies compared to the previous year, neither there nor here. A year of massive snubs too (I weep for you, Coen brothers, Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson). '12 years a slave' emerges as the 'Lincoln' from last year, and TEN nominations for 'American Hustle', are you effing kidding me?! The race is wide open (which makes it mildly interesting), and my prediction is that this year predictions in general are going to go for a toss. My sentiments for this year's Oscars are best summarized by the movie nominated this year for Makeup and Hairstyling, a movie that will be selling DVDs with 'Oscar nominee' plastered on its cover - 'Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa'.

    The complete list of nominations is available here. This is going to be a difficult year for predictions, so whenever in doubt, I will stick to a golden rule - snub American Hustle!




    CategoryPredictionPickVishesh TippaniQuotesHit / Miss
    Best Motion Picture of the Year12 Years a SlaveThe Wolf of Wall StreetThe Wolf of Wall Street is by far the best movie of this year, its only fault being that it isn't "Best Picture material". F.U. American Hustle, I wish Jonah Hill peed all over you.From TWOWS: "My name is Jordan Belfort. The year I turned 26, I made 49 million dollars, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week."Hit! But they got it wrong. Time.
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading RoleMatthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers ClubLeonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Streetsee: Best Motion Picture of the Year
    P.S.: F.U. American Hustle.
    From TWOWS: "I am not gonna die sober!"Hit! So disappointed for Leo!
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading RoleCate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
    Kill me for saying it, but I don't think Amy Adams' cleavage deserves an Oscar. F.U."Who do you have to sleep with around here to get a Stoli martini with a twist of lemon?"Hit!
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting RoleJared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
    see: Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling"Relax, I don't bite. I guess you're handsome, in a Texas, hick, white trash, dumb kind of way."Hit! 
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting RoleLupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
    If only Scarlett Johansson was nominated. Sigh. And F. U. JLaw, Eff. You. You didn't deserve it last year, you don't deserve it this year.From Her:
    "You know, I can feel the fear that you carry around and I wish there was... something I could do to help you let go of it because if you could, I don't think you'd feel so alone anymore."
    Hit! So much deserve! 
    Best Achievement in DirectingAlfonso Cuarón, GravityMartin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Streetsee: Best Motion Picture of the YearFrom TWOWS:
    'The name of the game, moving the money from the client's pocket to your pocket.'
    'But if you can make your clients money at the same time it's advantageous to everyone, correct?'
    'No.'
    Hit!
    Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the ScreenSpike Jonze, Her
    The writing is just devastating. Devastating. Isn't that what great writing is supposed to be?"Sometimes I think I have felt everything I'm ever gonna feel. And from here on out, I'm not gonna feel anything new. Just lesser versions of what I've already felt."Hit!
    Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published12 Years a SlaveRichard Linklater, Before MidnightAnyone who has followed the 'Before...' series will hardly contest that Linklater deserves this, but well...From Before Midnight:
    "Like sunlight, sunset, we appear, we disappear. We are so important to some, but... we are just passing through."
    Hit!
    Best Animated Feature Film of the YearFrozen
    ♥♥♥♥♥
    'Olaf! You're melting!'
    'Some people are worth melting for.'
    Hit! â™¥
    Best Foreign Language Film of the YearThe Great Beauty
    The Great Beauty is what To Rome with Love should have been, or rather what this movie should have been called.'We're all on the brink of despair; all we can do is look each other in the face, keep each other company, joke a little... don't you agree?'Hit!
    Best Achievement in CinematographyGravity
    Technical awards for Gravity is quite a no-brainer this year. From the camera-work to sound, Gravity is, without a doubt, going to sweep the technical awards.'Houston, I have a bad feeling about this mission.'
    'Please elaborate.'
    'Well, it reminds of a story.'
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in EditingGravityCaptain PhillipsCaptain Phillips' climax got close to Argo's climax. It's tough to beat Gravity for the technical awards this year.From Captain Phillips:
    "Shut up, Irish. Too much talking."
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Production DesignAmerican HustleHerHer was a surprise (and deserving) nomination for this category, and the minimalism in the look and feel of the movie only goes on to show how much thought was put into it. Oh, and yes, F. U. American Hustle.From Her:
    "Your past is just a story you tell yourself."
    Miss. The Great Gatsby.
    Best Achievement in Costume DesignAmerican Hustle
    Probably the only good thing about American Hustle. Yup, Amy Adams' cleavage wasn't one."But, you know I thought you were mysterious like my mother. Until, it turned out... the mysterious just meant depressed." Miss. Because in-your-face costumes are the way to go. :| The Great Gatsby.
    Best Achievement in Makeup and HairstylingDallas Buyers Club
    see: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original ScoreSteven Price, Gravity
    While I really wish Thomas Newman, after being nominated 11 times before this (including Wall·E), won this one for his great score in a music-heavy Saving Mr. Banks, I feel Steven Price deserves this one. Check it out.
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song'Let it go', Frozen'Ordinary Love', U2, Mandela: Long Walk to FreedomThis is a tough one to pick, between 'Ordinary Love' and 'Let it go'. I do want to see U2 win, after they didn't win the last time they were nominated. And while you are at it, 'The Moon Song' from 'Her' is absolutely heart-breaking.
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Sound MixingGravity
    see: Best Achievement in Cinematography
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Sound EditingGravity
    see: Best Achievement in Cinematography
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Visual EffectsGravity
    see: Best Achievement in Cinematography
    Hit!




    Total:
    18 / 20


    Who are you rooting for?

    86th Academy Awards...

              Aam Aadmi Party: the political start-up        


    "Aaj hum yahaan aayein hain sabse ye kehne, ki kuch to karna hoga. Hum sabko kuch karna hoga."

    "Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota. Use perfect banaana hota hai. Police mai bharti honge, military join karenge, IAS banenge, politics ka hissa ban ke iss desh ki sarkaar chalaayenge. Ye desh badlega, hum badlenge ise."

    -- Rang De Basanti (2006)


    I quoted from Rang De Basanti, but it does not mean that this is going to be an incensed hysterical rant of a twenty-something someone which goes "Inquilab Zindabad!". Inquilab, sure. But let's put it into perspective and context. Inquilab will happen. One step at a time.


    Election is coming.

    It's easy to talk about politics sitting in our rooms, dissing any and everything that is happening around us. Heck, even this post qualifies. People here in India, and people abroad too - US, Europe, or farther east, you name it. "India has gone beyond a point-of-no-return." Sure, it must have sounded profound sitting in a room in a high-rise with a city skyline view in some sophisticated corner of the world, or here, in India. Sorry, no. But I have no interest in a conversation that begins or ends with that sentence, whether you live in India, or live abroad and intend to come back. It does not sound profound to me because I intend to spend my life in this country, by choice. Hopefully.

    I would not care if haters and dissers shoot holes into this post. By all means, go ahead. I admit I don't know my politics or economics. Let the intellectual masturbation begin. But I will not engage you in a conversation unless you give me a viable choice in the upcoming Delhi elections in November. We'll talk about NaMo vs Rahul Gandhi, sure, after the Delhi elections.


    It is really sad that after 66 years of our country's independence, the issues today, still, in the capital of India are Water, Electricity, Safety of Women, and Corruption. Forget Infrastructure, Public Health, or a healthy eco-system for entrepreneurs, we haven't afforded ourselves that luxury. Not yet.

    We, the youth, are lucky to have been born at a very opportune moment in the history of our country. We have the privilege to be a part of the 'Indian growth story', to be the Indian growth story. Be a part of it. Engage. Of course, it is unreasonable to ask people to quit whatever they wish to do with their lives and set out "to clean the system". No. But help those who are trying, in whatever little way. You can still be a part of it. That's why I am writing this.

    I know about a start-up that is trying to win the Delhi elections. I hope they do. It was unthinkable until a year ago, that a newly formed political party could think of forming a state government, let alone contesting elections with a strong foothold, or even fielding candidates in all the contested constituencies with confidence. Today, not so much. AAP doesn't have a long history, nor do they have the money or the adequate resources even, but they do have the passion and the will to do something. They believe they can, I believe they can. Sure, you or me might not agree with everything that they say or want to do, but do you agree with anyone a hundred percent? And if not them, who is your pick, and why? The question is whether anyone, anyone with the will and the passion can make a difference if they want? This is the test.

    Santosh died. No, I am not using her name to sensationalize this and drive my point across. The fact is, a good person wanted to contest the elections, and she died. It is NOT trivial. Can you do something about it?

    Take a look at their candidates list. Go ahead, look at their profiles. There is a commando who lost his hearing a hundred percent during 26/11, and was fired from the Army after that. Or this construction worker living in the slums, who is looking to contest from Rajouri Garden. And then, there is an ex-IRS IITian who championed the cause of RTI. He is pitting himself against Sheila Dixit. These people are getting their voice heard. We are getting our voice heard.

    At the very least what I'm confident of is this, that these candidates won't be murderers or rapists, and that if they are deemed incapable or corrupt, they will be sacked by their own party. Atleast give these people a chance. One chance. And like all start-ups, they need money to scale. They have been angel funded by several investors, and are looking to mobilize resources through crowdsourcing.


    What are you doing, Delhi? I'm jealous because you got this opportunity before I did. And things are happening and will, with or without you. Here's what the donations to AAP from our country looks like [link] :


    Almost as much from Maharashtra as from Delhi?! And it's not even Maharashtra's elections! There is still time. Get on board with this, man.


    1) You can donate in kind. There is much more than just money that is required to contest elections. You can give whatever you have to spare. [link]

    2) You can adopt a constituency. From anywhere. [link]

    3) You can make a recurring donation every month. [link]

    4) Or, you can just donate once and be done with it. [link]

    5) And the least you can do is get your voter i-card made and exercise your franchise. Vote. [link]


    An incident happened not so long ago. Arvind Kejriwal was asked by a journalist, "What would you do if you don't win the Delhi elections?". He responded by saying, "If we lose, what will you do?"

    Atleast we are talking about the right things.

    So... what will you do?



    Oh, and in this interview, Arvind Kejriwal answers most of the questions commonly posed by the haters and the dissers. Do watch. You might not agree with him or still be unsatisfied, but atleast hear what he has got to say.





    If you know me personally, or have been following this blog, you would know that I am not someone who begs for likes and shares. But this one time, I will. If this post struck a chord, please share it. It's only a click, and is much less to ask than an Inquilab.



              7 things wrong with our country        
    ------------
    Note 1: If you are looking for a government/politician-bashing rant, or a discussion about corruption consuming our nation, or a list which enumerates education, poverty, development et al, this post is not going to touch any of those things.

    Note 2: This list is relative to things often found in other countries on most accounts.
    ------------


    #7 Pull-to-open bags

    This is a bag of delectable chips.


    This is how it should be open-able...



    ...so we can enjoy our chips like this...



    ...NOT ruined by this.



    If other countries in the world can have this, why can't we?! I mean, how difficult is it?!



    #6 Coca-cola

    This:

    Just look at this. How can you not want to have this refreshing drink with lunch and dinner, and to go alongside the chips in #7. (I skipped mentioning breakfast for the risk of it being an overkill.) For most countries, bottomless coke, or for that matter, any drink other than water is offered alongwith meals by default. Water is the last thing you should be drinking, with the evolution of man.



    #5 Airports

    They suck. And before you go all "T3" on me, again, they suck. Travelling, especially air-travel, should be an experience, not a punishment. Travelling by air is the pinnacle of human achievement. Think about it, you are flying at 30,000 ft, half-way across the world in less than 24 hours, at more than 900 kms per hour, while dining and watching movies along the way, even watching cat videos on youtube, and liking others' updates about their amazing lives. Not to mention the spectacular views and the perspective you get on our planet.

    Airports should present it as such. It should be huge, unlike anything you might have seen before. While you wait for your flight, you should have a magnificent view of the craft from the gate, through big glass panels, so you can marvel at its sheer size, filled with a childlike wonder. Not shoved into buses which take you on a tumbling ride towards your craft. There should be enough seating, clear signs and directions. The immigration should be polite, welcoming to its own citizens, a small "Welcome home." with a smile. The security should not feel derogatory. The experience should be welcoming. It's the pinnacle of human achievement, afterall.




    #4 Public Signs/Addresses

    A metro station should say "metro station", an airport or a railway station should be navigable from anywhere in the city, with signs that say "Airport -> 15 kms", and a bus-stop should say "Bus Stop". It made me think when a Chinese guy visiting India asked me at a bus stop, "How do you know that the bus will stop here?", and the only response I could give was, "Ummm, because this is where everyone else is standing.". It shouldn't be this way. 

    And the addresses should make sense, with numbered streets and crossings. Do away with the MG roads! Use more numbers, PLEASE! This should not be how my address looks/sounds:

    Opp. XYZ Hospital,
    Near ABC Hotel,
    Quite close to Forum mall,
    Come straight from PQR Flyover, and take 2nd right, then left.

    NO.

    My address should look like this:
    42, Lush Meadows Residence
    7, Riverview Road, Bangalore.

    That's IT.




    #3 Utility stores / Vending Machines

    Fewer malls, please? And more utility stores. Where I can go, pick things, pay money, and get out with minimal turnaround time. Maybe 7/11's at petrol pumps? And every other 100 meters too? And vending machines! Aaaargh. Quick turnaround time!




    #2 Breakfast

    There are CRORES of people who go to work every day. And they want breakfast. The corn-flakes, and the dosas and the idlys, and the paratha-sabzi are okay. People need to be able to grab a bite in the mornings, and quickly. Croissants, muffins, selection of juices and sandwiches, salads, fruits, as pre-packaged take-away, available close to any means of public transport. Also, coffee. How can so many other countries get this right, except us?! I will not even touch the despicable state of our lunches and dinners, but we can always work around that. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, remember?




    #1 Respect for workers

    Cheap labour, right? Be kind to the people working at your house. Give the auto-waalas 20 extra bucks. Talk to them, chat with them. Listen to their stories, they have several. Make a joke or two, and see them smile. Trust them. Offer them a glass of water, tea, or food after a few hours of hard manual work by default, which shouldn't be seen as an act of generosity, but of responsibility and of respect from a person, to another. Give them gifts on festivals, give them leaves. Give them a raise when you get one. Share your happiness with them, and be a part of theirs.

    So many poor Indians go abroad to work as sweepers, cleaners, carpenters, construction workers, and they do that with their heads held high, with pride. They don't want to come back. Give them that opportunity here. Make them feel that they belong, and that we are fellow-countrymen.




    7 things wrong with our country...

              most beautiful        
    I
    -

    I will say that you are the most beautiful girl in the world, and it will not be true.


    In an absolute sense, that is. For one, to call you the most beautiful girl in the world, I would have to see (meet?) all the girls in this world. Not that I don't like this idea, but it would be an impossible thing to do. And that is not the only problem. I mean, you could easily dismiss it as me talking in hyperbole, not that you would have a problem with it, would you? And even otherwise, it could be dismissed as me being cheesy, albeit in a good way, cheesy still. Or, it could be challenged by anyone, no?


    II
    --

    What songs, what words, sentences should I write?
    She walks with unsaid words and unshed eyes;
    A few steps behind me in the moonlight.
    She knows, and that I know not, yet she shies.
    Behind me, even the moonlight cries;
    So her lips unseal, eyes weep, wrong made right.
    She knows, and that I know not, yet she shies.
    Doth mystery revealed make romance bright?
    Her silence I hear and away I glide.
    Romance be mystery, and mystery tries
    the truth of my heart, healing from hurt pride.
    The shadow remains still, the water dries...
    Songs, words, sentences I could never write
    A few steps behind me in the moonlight.


    III
    ---

    "I love you."

    Heh, saying it even in front of the mirror is seeming so ridiculous, and I can only imagine how ridiculous it would be in front of her. Maybe I could put it differently.

    "Jab se tumse milaa hoon, bas tumhaare hi khayaalo mai khoya rehta hoon. Tumhaare bina mera naa aar hai naa paar. Mai tumse aur sirf tumse pyaar kartaa hoon." Yeah, right. Bollywood would be such a perfect way to go. Damn you, Bollywood! Real cinema, please?


    I have to get every expression, every gesture right. It has to be perfect. I will put on a smile first, give an elegant pause, look into her eyes, and just say it. If only I had some practice before! How, I know not, this mirror thing is surely not helping me.

    I should also be prepared for everything that she could say. I have to play every scenario in my head, and have an appropriate response for her every response, so that I do not look like a fool after saying it. She could say "Huh?! What?!", and then maybe leave or something. I am a little scared of this scenario, I wouldn't know what to do or say. Well, I kind of know what to say.

    I know that I have to tell her. She must know.

    On an off-chance, she could also say, "I love you too." And that would make me the happiest person on this planet, not that it is going to happen. But if I am getting prepared for everything, I might as well do an exhaustive job.

    We think that a number coming on a dice is a random event. It is not. It is a direct function of how a dice is thrown, and we could come up with a perfect model which could exactly predict the outcome on the dice. This, on the other hand, is a completely random event for me. For I have absolutely no control over it, nor am I in a position to predict the outcome. It has to be lived through to know.


    I met her in the evening. She looked beautiful, like always. It is amazing how when I meet her even today, I still feel like how I felt when I met her for the first time. It is such an amazing feeling, something one would want to hold on to for life.

    We ordered something to eat, while I was still trying to figure out the perfect time to pop the words. I was nervous. No matter how much prepared one is, when the time comes, it seems like an impossible thing to do. I decided to say it between the food and the dessert, that way, atleast the evening would surely end on a sweet note. And while I made this decision, a part of me hoped that the food never finishes.

    Time passed quickly, as is always the case when I am with her, and we ordered dessert. I now had a small window within which I had to say it. How?! My heart was racing! I think I let my nervousness show, even. "I love you", I said. The world around me moved in slow motion, and it seemed like there she was, in front of me, in suspended animation.

    Phew, here comes the dessert.


    IV
    ----

    When I met you for the first time, I remember the electricity. You looked beautiful. Enchanting, really. I don't really remember the major parts from that evening, what we talked about etc. But I remember such minor details that I amaze myself. Details which would never matter otherwise. I remember the sounds of your laughter. I remember the heating up of my ears when I embarrassed myself because of something really stupid I said, and you giggled still. And how I kept on going about something so obvious and trivial, and you looked and smiled. And how you kept going about something so obvious and trivial, while your hands rolled a chocolate-wrapper, which we had had then and there, before finishing up the whole box. I remember how you said that you needed to leave in another 5 minutes, and then stayed on for half-n-hour. And then before leaving, gently added, "So when do I see you again?". I remember how the entire evening felt like 2 minutes. The minor things about that encounter were the major parts of the evening, really.

    And then so many other times.

    People say that love is nothing more than a bunch of chemical reactions in our head. But isn't it amazing, that this other person could cause such strong feelings? I mean, if we were to dismiss love like this, then we should also dismiss having good food, coffee, chocolates, life, us, because even those are just a set of chemical reactions.


    I remember when we met one afternoon, and we were just walking along the street. It was just you between me and the setting sun. The sun-rays trickled through your hair, glistening. I couldn't look away. It seemed like nothing else in the world really mattered in that moment. And in that moment, in that one, single moment, you were the most beautiful girl in the world, in an absolute sense. And then several such times, again.

    I'll tell you every day of my life, that you are the most beautiful girl in the world. And when I do, I do not mean right then. I would really mean the moment in which you really were, and I would mean that because I have seen you in those moments, and so many such moments we would have spent together in which you would have been.


    I will say that you are the most beautiful girl in the world, and it will be true.

              85th Academy Awards        
    ------------
    Note 1: This is probably for the first time that I have watched almost all the movies in contention for the Oscars before the Oscar ceremony, so I might as well do a prediction post, with a healthy 2 weeks till the event. Just for the kicks, and maybe some "pre-Oscar discussion", not that it matters.

    Note 2: In every category, I will list one name if my prediction is same as my vote, two otherwise.
    ------------



    CategoryPredictionPickHit / Miss
    Best Motion Picture of the YearArgoAmourHit! Yay! \m/
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading RoleDaniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
    Hit!
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading RoleJessica Chastain, Zero Dark ThirtyEmmanuelle Riva, AmourMiss. JLaw, oh well. :|
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting RoleChristoph Waltz, Django Unchained
    Hit! Waltz, aww yeah!
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting RoleAnne HathawayLes Misérables
    Hit! Hathaway! ♥
    Best Achievement in DirectingSteven Spielberg, LincolnAng Lee, Life of PiWoohoo! Ang Lee for Life of Pi! \m/
    Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the ScreenQuentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
    Hit! T.A.R.A.N.T.I.N.O. \m/
    Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or PublishedTony Kushner, LincolnDavid Magee, Life of PiMiss. But Argo, deserved!
    Best Animated Feature Film of the YearBrave
    Hit! Pixar FTW!
    Best Foreign Language Film of the YearAmour
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in CinematographyClaudio Miranda, Life of Pi
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in EditingWilliam GoldenbergArgo
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Production DesignLife of Pi
    Miss. Lincoln, seriously? :|
    Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original ScoreMychael DannaLife of Pi
    Hit! \m/
    Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original SongAdeleSkyfall
    Hit!
    Best Achievement in Sound MixingSkyfall
    Miss. Les Misérables - deserved.
    Best Achievement in Sound EditingDjango Unchained
    Oh well, a tie! And both misses. (ZDT and Skyfall)
    Best Achievement in Visual EffectsLife of Pi
    Hit! 
    Best Documentary, FeaturesSearching for Sugar Man
    Hit!
    Best Short film, AnimatedPaperman
    Hit!


    Total:
     14 hits ( + 1 woohoo/ 20


    85th Academy Awards...

              Ah er.. well..        

    In reply to A little different spin

    Hey Nano...  I am sure that it may be difficult to tell it like it is.. but after all, Denial is NOT a river in Egypt..   Facts are sometimes difficult to give and just as difficult to receive. but they still are facts.  Sadly, I dare say many or even most of us will get that news one day that they have Mets.   I usually am one of those that does not want to know.. but there I was asking that difficult question only a few days after surgery... I saw my Surgeon gulp at the thought of having to give me an answer.. he told me I had about a 60% chance of no Mets.  I smiled at him and stated that was better than I had thought... 

    Still after about 9 months of clear scans I went back in to denial, only to have the reality hit when my scans came back with Mets.  I know I would of been better off, had I gotten more info prior surgery, and again prior to my first scan.  After all, knowledge is power.  I blindly went to two Oncologists that were not fully up to the fast pace / latest info on treatments.  I almost made a very bad mistake with Onc number one.. I got lucky that this Dr was not covered by my insurance and I went to Onc two that was obviously incompetent.  So, I went and e-mailed my surgeon asking advice... he quickly got me to one of the best in the country..!   And thanks to this list, I learned a LOT.. more than a LOT..!   Your diet info firmed up what I should or should not eat, thank you.  And, all the info on side effects on Votrient is priceless, it helped me prepare and not panic.. on and on.  I was a lot better prepared for the Votrient than I would of been without this place..!

    But one of the best parts of this forum is all the well wishes from people I have never met..!!   So, keep on giving sound advice.. we all need you.. and for that one person that may get a bit mffed about the truth, well.. they soon will (sadly) find out anyway.  but having advance info can also settle the mind...

    OK, off to start a new post...  

    Be Well All..!

    Ron


              Makesound par Jean-Philippe Renoult: le tableau électrique de la CNC        
    Aux Arts Codés, à Pantin, Jean-Philippe Renoult a ausculté le tableau électrique de la CNC, en enregistrant les basses fréquences de la machine à commande numérique. Ecoute au casque recommandée! Pour la 2ème saison de sa chronique en binaural pour Makery, Jean-Philippe Renoult ajoute davantage encore sa touche au son de la machine. La machine... Voir l'article
              Re: Solomon Durrett (parents Richard Durrett Jr & Esther Smith) m. Martha Smith (parents Thomas Smith and Mary "Polly" Meadearis)        
    The book has gone to the printers and I should have them in a few days (Aug, 2013).
    The list price will be $21.87 and I am discounting to $20 plus $3.00 for mailing.
    You may contact me at (Soundex) turfbinder at yahoo (dot) (com)Upon receipt I will give you my mailing address so you can send check or M. O. and I will send you a signed copy.
    I edited and published, Chuck Parsons did the foreword.
    Thanks
              MASTER IN MANAGEMENT PROGRAM A SUCCESS AT ECU        
    Rachel Seewald-Phan

    A year after being instituted as a new degree program by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, East Central University’s Master in Management program is a smashing success.

    At least in the eyes of Rachel Seewald-Phan, who is the first graduate of the program, the former Norman resident went straight into the MiM program after earning her bachelor’s degree and ended up completing her master’s degree in just one year.

    “It was such an amazing experience and learning process that helped me grow as a student and an individual,” said Seewald-Phan. “Because of the MiM program, I was able to relocate to a state where I had no connections and land a job in a little under a month after moving there.”

    Now a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, she is extremely grateful for the program.

    “When the opportunity to enroll in the program was presented, I was somewhat hesitant since my undergraduate degree was in mass communication and public relations and I do not have a heavy business background,” she said. “However, I can honestly say that this was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The faculty involved in the MiM program are very helpful in working to make sure the students understand the material. They truly want to see everyone succeed.”

    Seewald-Phan is now client services manager at Lenox Wealth Management in Cincinnati.

    “I love my job and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the MiM program and all the wonderful people in the Stonecipher School of Business,” said Seewald-Phan.

    The MiM program is designed to help those with a bachelor’s degree develop management skills. This includes students who received their degrees in non-business fields.

    “There are many who have earned their first degrees and have been placed in positions of managers, but have not been given the knowledge and skills needed to be in successful managerial positions,” said Wendell Godwin, dean of ECU’s Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business. “Additionally, current students, who are skilled practitioners of the subject matter of their first degrees, had their potential to advance to managerial positions limited due to a lack of knowledge and skills in business.”

    Objectives of the program are to:

    1. Provide an innovative, high-level, focused program in response to employers’ needs for managerial-level employees with a sound knowledge of business theory and practices.
    2. Improve student opportunities to either gain employment or increase their chance of a level promotion at their current employer by offering a degree that is suitable for current and potential entry-level managers whose degree was not in a business field.
    3. Work with local employers to utilize this degree as part of personal development plans for current and future front-line managers.
    4. Provide a unique program for those in ECU’s service area and region who are seeking to complement their non-business degree with a business graduate degree that can be completed in 12 months.

    The curriculum consists of 30 hours derived from such courses as managerial accounting, employment labor and law, economics for managers, finance for managers, research methods for managerial decision making, foundations of management, leadership and organizational behavior, strategic management and marketing management. Three more credit hours will also come from one of the following: managing in the global economy, special topics in management, internship in management and individual study in management.

    Godwin anticipates 50 students to be enrolled in the program this fall.

    “The student feedback is that what you learn in the classroom on a Tuesday can be applied on the job on Wednesday,” Godwin said. “It is more application-focused instead of theory-focused.”

    For more information on ECU’s Master in Management program go online to https://www.ecok.edu/academic-affairs-programs/academics/colleges-schools/school-of-graduate-studies/master-management or call Dr. Charlie Jones at 580-559-5269.

     

    -ECU-

    For Immediate Release: 

    Contact: Brian Johnson or Amy Ford

                                    East Central University Communications and Marketing

                                  580-559-5650 or 405-812-1428 (cell)


              5 Benefits of Secured Loans When Starting a Business        

    Personal Money Store Blog

    There are many benefits of getting a secured loan to use in your business. Business lending grows increasingly difficult to obtain in today’s economy. You have to show your business records, profit and loss statement and financial projections in a sound business plan. Your credit scores–both personal and business–affect whether your loan is approved. If

    5 Benefits of Secured Loans When Starting a Business


              MANZANITA...        
    the new Assemblehead in Sunburst Sound record "MANZANITA" is coming out june 19th, and while i'm no longer a member of the band i do still do the album artwork.  



    -a
              EXCLUSIVE: 'Bachelorette' Rachel Lindsay Sounds Off on Peter Kraus Breakup Says He Was Manipulative        
    Lindsay's fiance, Bryan Abasolo, also reveals that the 32-year-old lawyer told him 'I love you' while on their 'Fantasy Suite' date.
              re: Creating The Story For The Elder Scrolls Online        

    Sounds like the game is gonna be cool, can i get the skyrim statue in the background? :)


              Settling in        
    Settling in,
    with the light of the day retreating,
    I'm recalling eastern nights many years ago.
    I recall the heat, the windows open and the sounds of the street.
    I recall the chill, and plastic on the windowsill.
    The music that moved my soul
    and the spirit of friends that I could never let go.
    Living, as I am now, in what seems like 3 hours in the past -
    I watch the eastern nights pass while the light still fades on this foreign shore.
    I watch the movement of eastern life
    while my life in this warm Pacific light wraps me around it's hands
    takes me in and makes me grin.
              The First Word: Better Chance of Perry POTUS Bid Than Rain in Austin        
    On this day — Reaction from Perry's speech in New Orleans where the governor looked and sounded like a presidential candidate; Jon Huntsman scores a surprising second place in the RLC's straw poll; a quick look at the bills Perry vetoed; and Texas' water woes could begin to slow the state's population growth.
              Ouidah voodoo festival        
    Every year on 10 January, Benin celebrates its national religion with a festival in the coastal town of Ouidah (a place also known for its slave-trading history).  I've never managed to schedule a work-related trip to Benin in January, so I bit the bullet this year and bought my own flights so as to visit this festival.

    I've long wanted to experience a real voodoo ceremony, having read about the way people can supposedly become 'possessed' by spirits, but this is really a matter of luck, being in the right place at the right time.  A colleague has an aunt who carries out similar ceremonies here in Senegal, and I've pushed for an invitation, but the aunt says it would be too dangerous for me - that evil spirits might come up through the ground and enter my body, which would be a terrifying experience for me and could leave me permanently damaged - and so she will not allow me to attend one of her ceremonies.  Needless to say, I don't believe in evil spirits, so have no fear of any such ceremony going wrong in that way, but this isn't really an argument you can use here.

    So the voodoo festival in Ouidah would have to do as second best.  & I feel I should be careful here in any case not to give the wrong impression of voodoo - the Hollywood impression of a set of dark and perhaps evil practices - as the religion is not based around trances and animal sacrifices, those play only a small part related to major problems or events in people's lives.  The day-to-day practice of voodoo is far more mundane.

    I found no information about this festival on the internet other than the date, and even on a trip to Benin in December no-one could give me any information, so I turned up not really knowing what to expect - even whether I would find the festival!  I arrived in Ouidah late the evening before, found myself a hotel room, and asked the hotel manager what was going to happen.  There will be a big procession to the beach, he told me, and after the official ceremony, there would be "voodoo here, voodoo there, voodoo everywhere!", waving his hands about excitedly.  Voodoo is indeed everywhere in Ouidah (and in much of Benin and parts of neighbouring Togo), as it is the national religion.  You see little shrines next to houses, often sticky with the residue of earlier sacrifices (usually of beer or grain porridges, rather than animals), and various buildings with voodoo symbols painted on them (a rainbow, or a snake, for example).  But I didn't fly all this way, for a two-day visit, to see a fetish or a painted building.

    On the day of the festival I followed my hunch - a sound of singing and clapping which I traced to its origin in the local chief's house.  In return for a $10 payment for a 'photo permit' I was allowed in, and watched the chief and his entourage prepare, then we left in a big chaotic procession towards the python temple, with all the chief's family and guests dressed in their ceremonial finery. 
    Ouidah apparently means, in the local language, 'town of pythons' and the python is the most important local deity, so sacrifices had to be made there before the festival could start.  Two goats and two chickens were the victims, presumably fed to the pythons later.

    Then we made our way the 4km to the beach (the chiefs in their 4x4s, me on the back of a motorbike taxi) for the festival.  This was a strange event, formal in some ways (the US Ambassador was there, and Benin TV were broadcasting it live), but as well as the speeches and displays of drumming and dancing from the main stage of the big square, there were more animal sacrifices performed away from the stage, and various private dances with frenetic drumming in corners (including those in the first photo above) - mostly far more interesting, and with a far more authentic feel, than that put on for the Ambassador and the TV.

    Walking back into town after the formalities were over I passed another troupe of dancers heading towards the beach area - looking at the photos afterwards I had to ask myself why I hadn't followed them.  Bare breasts, grass skirts, ointment smeared over their bodies and the prospect of some wild dancing - I have to admit that as much as I want Africa to develop (clean water and education for all, but also further into the 21st century), it is this traditional, even 'primitive' side of the continent that really draws me in.

    Revisiting this post to add a further comment, as my lack of articulacy in the last paragraph was bothering me.  What I was trying to reflect was the conflict I so often face between the sensational and the mundane, in terms of representing Africa in my blog.  Of course I am more attracted by exploring (and writing about) the sensational side, but at the same time I don't want to give the wrong impression of the continent.  Bare-breasted women in grass skirts dancing around blood-smeared fetishes to the beat of frenetic drumming is something I want to see and write about, and is a valid image of a part of Africa, but it no more represents the wider African continent (nor even the voodoo religion) than a burnt-out car on a Belfast street represents the wider UK.  & I thought it was important to come back and make this clear, because so much of what one reads about Africa relies on stereotypical images of the place as primitive, poor, corrupt, disease-ridden, etc - and whilst those images do represent a part of the truth, it is only a small part, and I don't want to contribute to an overall negative view of this continent that I love so much.


              Mission (just about) accomplished        
    I was tired when I got home from Cambodia (via Istanbul), and the last thing I really wanted to hear was that my staff were having problems in Niger and I needed to join them as soon as possible in order to rescue the mission.

    It turned out that none of the planning had been done as one team member had been confined to bed with a painful attack of gout.  The other team member had arrived in Niger late after her flight was delayed by ten hours, and also stressed from her experience on the flight.  Stopped at Bamako for some passengers to leave and others to join the flight, she suddenly realised her laptop was missing.  In her distress she managed to persuade the crew to let her briefly disembark to chase after the departing passengers, and finding them still in the terminal she announced that her laptop was missing and she wanted everyone to open their bags.  A man who'd been sitting near her (and trying unsuccessfully to chat her up for much of the flight) came forward and handed it over.  He'd thought it belonged to another woman who'd got off the flight, blah, blah, blah...

    Perhaps her immune system was down after the stresses of her journey, as she then fell sick with malaria and spent the next five days in bed.

    So they needed me to join them much earlier than intended so as to take on some of the work.  I ran around changing my flight, getting an additional few days' visa, etc (all made more difficult by the fact that all of my admin and logistics colleagues were away on a training course), and flew out to join them on the Saturday evening.  Due to full hotels we were all staying in different places, so they had agreed to bring a big pile of files to me on the Sunday as preparatory reading for my intended two days out in the field visiting projects, but the taxi drivers were all on strike so I had to sit there twiddling my thumbs until an office driver got to me on the Monday morning.  Laden down with the files we drove the 160km to the Dosso field office, and after the day's work I spent the evening, until midnight, on my reading.  There was little else to do in any case as the hotel restaurant was closed and with no street lighting and no torch I was restricted to a beer from the hotel bar for my dinner.

    The next morning I was therefore quite hungry and could hardly believe it when told that the restaurant was still closed, with the chef not expected in for another couple of hours.  So I wandered out into the street, searching for somewhere selling food.  As Dosso is a kind of crossroads for travellers (mostly truckers) going from Niger to Benin or Nigeria, I quickly found somewhere.  No menu, just a chunk of baguette served with hot white beans, a dollop of mayonnaise and a glug of oil, but it was nicer than it sounds and a bargain at only 40¢.

    Once in the office, I gave them the list of projects I wanted to visit so that they could make the necessary arrangements.  They came back looking concerned.  There had been a kidnapping of six NGO staff on the Sunday night, so apparently meetings had been held the previous day between security officers of the NGOS and the UN agencies, and the decision had been made to stop all field visits.  I was also told that there was to be no movement between the country office and the field offices, so I had to stay put.  With two policemen guarding my room that night!

    I have to say that I felt it was all a huge overreaction; the kidnap had taken place 650km away, and as the kidnappers now had six hostages to deal with I thought it unlikely that they would be on the hunt for more.  Besides, this wasn't the first kidnapping of NGO staff in Niger over the past few years.  But I am not an expert on security matters, and obviously had to do what I was told in the circumstances.

    Overreaction or not, it meant I couldn't carry out the work that was my reason for going to Dosso, so the next day they agreed to transport me back to Niamey.

    Thankfully the other half of our planned project vists had been done a couple of days earlier so we were still able to draw some conclusions from our trip and produce a final report.

    Time to go home, and although our homes are in different places the first leg of the journey, Niamey - Ouagadougou, was the same for all three so we travelled together to the airport early on the Wednesday morning.  This trip hadn't done with us yet though, as we found that the aeroplane had not arrived the previous evening, and with no other flights departing Niamey that day we could not be re-routed.  So we were sent back to the hotel to wait.  A chance to phone my Mum, to take a dip in the pool, it wasn't all bad, but at the same time I really had been away for long enough and was keen to get home.  Friday was a public holiday so I had a long weekend to look forward to.

    Eventually, late afternoon, we got the call to go back to the airport; the plane had finally arrived.  At check-in I was asked whether I wanted to collect my luggage in Ouagadougou or check it through to Dakar.  I pointed out that as I had missed the midday connection with the Dakar flight it was a bit difficult to answer without more information on the rearranged connection.  At this they looked a little confused - it turned out they hadn't thought about that so I hadn't been booked on to any new connecting flight.

    After more than an hour waiting for information, I was told that unfortunately the next flight from Ouaga to Dakar was not until Friday lunchtime and so I would have to spend two nights in transit in Ouagadougou.  I was not pleased but of course there was nothing I could do.  In fact I was nearly removed from the Friday flight as I refused point blank to pay $50 for a transit visa, arguing that it was the airline's fault and so they would have to pay.  Fine in theory but all the airline's staff were off enjoying the public holiday...  But I made the flight and finally collapsed into bed at home on Friday night.

    Getting things done in Africa is rarely easy but this trip had managed to really pack in the challenges.
              Net-hunting with pygmies        
    The highlight of my holiday in the Central African Republic was not the wildlife, as I had expected, but a morning spent with the Ba'Aka.  This pygmy tribe are indigenous to the rainforest, still mostly living as hunter-gatherers in a lifestyle that will have hardly changed over thousands of years.  They are believed to be amongst the closest people, genetically, to the original humans.

    They really are very small, many with front teeth chiselled to points (which they consider beautiful), and with intricate little tattoos all over their faces.  Thye seem very innocent, almost childlike in their behaviour, which we saw clearly during our morning together.

    We accompanied them net-hunting: me, another tourist, a guide, and an interesting American man (Louis Sarno) who has lived with them for the past 27 years.  There were around 15 Ba'Aka going out on the hunt - men and women together as this like most tasks are shared equally - carrying their long, fibre nets, machetes and a couple of spears, and all quite excited as they enjoy the hunt.

    We followed them into the forest (as I constantly ducked to avoid branches and vines I could see the evolutionary advantage of their short stature) and they quickly set up the nets, hooking them up to the vegetation so as to form a long, metre-high barrier which curved round almost into a circle.  Then, inside the nets, they began to beat the vegetation with sticks, calling out with traditional cries, to flush out any animals into the nets.

    The first attempt was unsuccessful but on the second go they caught two blue duiker (tiny blue-grey coloured antelope), which would be shared out traditionally according to each person's role - who flushed it out, whose net it ran into, who killed it, etc.

    On the way out of the forest someone spotted some fruit ripening high up in the canopy, and before I could even switch my camera on one of the Ba'Aka had climbed maybe 30 metres up a tree trunk resembling a narrow telegraph pole, with no branches or anything to hold on to for support except for the trunk itself ... amazing.

    After the hunt the Ba'Aka piled into the backs of our vehicles.  Elated, they were like an excited bunch of schoolkids in the back of the school bus on a field trip!  They started singing and clapping - traditional songs, polyphonic and mostly just sounds rather than words, but occasionally with some high-pitched chattering sounds like a monkey's alarm call (apparently representing the spirits).  It was a magical experience being with them as they sang (not for we tourists but for themselves, to express their joy after a successful hunt), like being transported into another world.

    Sadly though it is a world which might not continue.  The American explained how Bantu poachers have entered the forest, with guns, killing animals in large numbers to sell to the bushmeat trade in the cities of the region.  Ba'Aka net-hunting is sustainable as they only take what they need to eat and as their population density is very low (average 1 person per square kilometre) the impact is also low.  Hunting large numbers of duiker and monkeys, with guns, is not sustainable and wildlife numbers have crashed.  He told a sad story of how he went out with an older Ba'Aka man to be shown the way they hunt monkeys - with bows and poisoned arrows - but that the man couldn't demonstrate his skills as they didn't find any monkeys. Later back on the road they met a Bantu man with a gun, carrying a sack full of dead monkeys.

    Indeed in the course of my week in the forest I saw only a troop of de Brazza's monkeys, a few balck-and-white colobus, and two solitary putty-nosed; apparently a couple of decades ago there would have been monkeys everywhere.
              Living in the light        
    It rained on Wednesday. Now I realise that this won’t sound particularly momentous to those of you living in rainy London, but this is Dakar. We don’t have winter and summer, we have a rainy season and a dry season and right now we are in the dry season. In the dry season it doesn’t rain. It is usually hot and sunny with blue skies, though sometimes the harmattan blows in from the Sahara desert and a white haze of dust hangs over the city, but it doesn’t rain.

    So when I woke on Wednesday morning I thought I must be dreaming when I heard rain sounds – thought it was some strange trick, perhaps the leaves of the mango tree tapping against the roof in the wind – but then I heard thunder and knew it was for real. & it was the day I was moving house.

    With my northern European background I groaned inwardly at the rain, thinking about all my books, clothes and CDs getting wet as the removal men carried the boxes out to the lorry. But in a semi-desert country like Senegal such unseasonal rain is considered good luck, especially for new ventures, and this portentous rainstorm was even mentioned on the evening news. Locals associated it with the presidency of the newly elected Macky Sall, but I knew better – it was for me, for my move to the new apartment.

    & so far it seems to have worked. My only loss on the move was one small glass. But more importantly I now live in a beautiful apartment. It has two bedrooms and one open plan lounge/diner/kitchen, with both the latter room and the master bedroom having large French windows opening on to the enormous south-west facing balcony with its sea view (OK, the sea is behind the rooftops and a big road, but I can still see it and its cooling breezes still reach my balcony). The contrast with the old house I moved out of could not be greater as this place is flooded with light – and I realise now how I suffered from the dark, gloomy interior of the house, built in the typical African way to face north and so avoid as much as possible of the sun.

    I didn’t set foot outside the apartment block for the whole weekend as I couldn’t bear to leave it. Just a trip downstairs to the shared swimming pool, which I had all to myself.

    The place does have its faults (otherwise it wouldn’t be within the budget of an NGO), but the planes flying overhead in the night have not woken me once. There is no generator, only little machines that keep the lights on during power cuts – but not the fridges, the hairdryers or the cookers. So far we haven’t had any power cuts but I’m sure they’ll come once we move into the hot and steamy rainy season. But I don’t think I’ll care because I am truly in love with this apartment. I don't know at the moment how long I have left in Senegal (as a management restructuring of my department is looming) but in a way that is making me treasure each day there even more.
              LIFE BEHIND BARS IN CHANGI PRISON (PART 3)        

    <strong>1/3 off for good behaviors</strong>

    All prisoners except for certain type of prisoners which I will elaborate on later in this thread. These prisoners are eligible for 1/3 off their sentrence for good behavior. This means that they only served 2/3 of the sentence imposed by the judge. This is also known as minus PH and weekends to some of you.

    This entitlement is for those who behaves themselves inside the prison while doing their time. Those who fight or misbehave will not be granted the above.

    There are 2 dates on the prisoner's card that is put outside his/her cell. This cardboard card will reflect the prisoners' name, Prison number, medical needs, special care (if any), EDR (Earliest Date of Release - this is the date of release after deducting 1/3 off) and LDR(Late Date of Release - the original date where the prisoner is supposed to be released)

    Those who are sentenced for CT (Corrective Training) are not eligible for this incentive as they are repeated offenders.

    Only those who had been sentenced to more than 14 days in prison are entitled. Last time yardstick was 3 mths.

    <strong>Caning </strong>

    All those who are sentenced to rotan will get a medical checkup before the caning. They must be certified fit by a Doctor. The caning must be done before the prisoner reach 50 yrs old.

    Regardless of how many strokes the Court imposed, all the rotans were be done on the same day unless the prisoner is unfit to carry on during the caning.

    The prisoner is secured to a standing platform where only his butts are exposed. The warden will then pick any of the canes in the room and procceed with the caning.

    As a general rule of the thumb, it is strongly advised that a person should never scream in pain when being cane or you will be the laughing stock of the rest of the prisoners.

    <strong>Home Dentention Schemes </strong>

    This scheme is opened to all prisoners except those on RT or had committed serious crimes or is a foreigner.

    The eligible prisoner has to served at least 50% of his sentence after the 1/3 off scheme for good behavior

    This scheme is where the prisoner is released from prison to serve his/her remaining time at home and is part of the rehabitation of the prisoner. The prisoner's family members like wife/husband/sister/brother/parents must be agreeable to this before the prisoner can go on this scheme

    A device is used and put on the ankle or wrist of the prisoner. A monitoring device is also placed in his/her house. The device linked to Cisco will sound if the tag is out of its monitoring zone in the house during the period of time when the prisoner is supposed to be at home.

    The prisoner is supposed to be at home during a certain set period of time. He/She can only be out of the house when working/studying where prior pernission must be granted by his/her supervisory warden.

    There are strict rules for this scheme
    1) Must be at home during the period of time when he/she is supposed to be
    2) Cannot indulge in vice like gambling, drinking, drugs or smoking
    3) No tampering of the device or monitoring system
    4) Subject to s/check via calls to residential house number or visits
    5) Subject to random urine test

    Any breaches will result in the home scheme being cancelled for the prisoner

    <strong> Courses </strong>

    Educational or skill courses are offered to prisoners to improve their employablities after their release, its also part of the rehabitional programme that the Prison dept undertakes.

    <strong>Yellow Ribbon Project</strong>

    This dept help former inmates to find jobs after their release

    Editor's Note: 

    Do you have a story to share? Please use our submission form or email us at editorial@allsingaporestuff.com. If not, why not give us a 'Like'?

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              a feeling of wanting to punch people when I heard them eating        
    Researchers have discovered a biological basis for misophonia (previously): "Brain imaging revealed that people with the condition have an abnormality in the emotional control mechanism which causes their brains to go into overdrive on hearing trigger sounds." The full text of the study was published last week in Current Biology (open access): The Brain Basis for Misophonia.
              'Whoa... big brain huh... cool!'"        
    Lovatt reasoned that if she could live with a dolphin around the clock, nurturing its interest in making human-like sounds, like a mother teaching a child to speak, they'd have more success. - stories from the NASA- funded project to teach Dolphins to talk using LSD (among other methods. )
              !1 Power MP3 WMA Recorder 1.00        
    Power MP3 WMA Recorder makes high-quality recordings directly from your sound card. It can record streaming audio directly to MP3, WMA and OGG files, no tempory wav file involved. Sound quality of the recordings remains excellent.
              !4D AudioPlayer SGLX 1.5        
    "!4D AudioPlayer SGLX" is a program using a powerful "Stereo Base Enhancing Effects System" ("4D") to play usual Audio files and CD Tracks. TRY IT and COMPARE THE SOUND WITH ANOTHER PLAYERS!
              !SoundTaxi 2007 7.3        
    SoundTaxi 2007 easily convert DRM protected music files and various audio files to unprotected MP3, CD, iPod and other MP3 player file formats at high speed and CD quality- legally.
              #1 CD to MP3 WAV Maker 1.04        
    CD to MP3 WAV Maker is an extremely easy and fast-speed tool to convert your audio CD to MP3, WAV, WMA and OGG files. It copies the audio digitally-not through the soundcard-which enables you to make perfect copies of the originals.Supports freedb
              #1 MP3 RM Converter 1.00        
    MP3 RM Converter supports batch conversion between MP3, WAV, WMA and OGG. And also, you can convert your MP3, WMA, WAV and OGG files to RM files. Converts the audio files digitally-not through the soundcard-which enables you to make perfect copies.
              Solid Brass Door Ringer-San Francisco Trolly Car-Vintage by butcherooney        

    20.00 USD

    Here is a solid brass door ringer that is intended to duplicate the sound of the San Francisco trolly car. This item is 7-1/2" long, 3-7/8" wide and 2-3/8" high.


              Beargrass Creek: An urban acupuncture opportunity        
    “It is truly a matter of how one looks at things – either as a problem or as an opportunity to do something creative.” (Jaime Lerner, 2014, p. 78) On a brisk fall afternoon, cyclists glide by on a dedicated bike path while the sound of more »
              Fix your Xperia X10        
    Many reviewers test a product over a period of 1 week and feel they can adequately give someone advice on whether or not to buy a certain product. I’ve lived with the Xperia X10 for almost a year now so my review is very personal and will touch on all the –ve’s and positives for the phone.

    Camera

    The camera on the phone is great and it was one of the key buying points when I got the phone. I have however realised that I don’t use the camera nearly as often as I thought I would. The camera is good compared to other phones, but no where near as good as a good 5 megapixel camera – such as Canon IXUS range.

    The dedicated camera button can take 4-10 seconds to launch camera app – that is annoying. I have not found a fix for that yet.

    TimeScape and MediaScape

    Those 2 apps were another reason I bought the phone. They were great for about 2-3 weeks, after which I wanted toknow how to get rid of them. The problem with those 2 apps is that you can get many apps on the market that can do a better job. For example, I don’t use MediaScape for music or video – instead I use PowerAmp and RockPlayer. Not X10 users I know use MediaScape. As for TimeScape – I used it for 1 week and never touched it again. It’s a shame that these are the 2 apps that hold back quick Android updates on the X10 – one has to wonder just how important they are to Sony Ericsson (yes no user would mind if you got rid of them)?

    Perhaps Sony Ericsson would do well to offer a customised version of X10 and a non customised version. If there was ever a phone that could have toppled the iPhone it was this phone. Sony Ericsson needs to be very careful not to fall in the Microsoft trap – for 10 years Microsoft thought it had the formula for Smartphones figured out. Users view their Smartphones like Computers. When a new OS comes out – give me the ability to update. If Sony Ericsson employees have computers, they will understand how important it is to be able to remove manufacturer add-ons – like MediaScape and TimeScape. Instead of wasting money on MediaScape why not just buy PowerAmp????

    On the Move Music Player Test

    You cannot select music using MediaScape if you’re walking. IMPOSSIBLE! The buttons are too small and the swipe bar at the bottom is just too thin. iPhone music player buttons are bigger and easy to select music as you walk. Blackberry Bold is also easy, albeit not touch screen. Sony Ericsson – maybe it’s time you fired you UX team! Seriously, pick uo one of the phones and walk at a moderate pace and try and select Album – Scroll to one in the middle of the list – select a song in the middle of the album! IMPOSSIBLE! Yet, this is an afterthought for iPhone or people who download a 3rd party app!


    Fixing Headset Volume on Xperia X10

    A quick look around on any train ride and ½ the people have headphones on. Music player functionality just has to be spot-on in this day and age where the iPod/iPhone set the benchmark over 3-4 years ago.

    The headset volume of Xperia X10 running Android 1.6 is just terrible. Many of you will say that the X10 is now on Android 2.1 Éclair. Great – so I retested and decided that the 2.1 results would be the best and most up to date. I compared it to 2 of my old phones – the iPhone 3G the Blackberry Bold (9000) and my wife’s iPhone 4. I conducted the test with a pair of in-ear JVC-FXC80 headphones and over-ear AKG 701. The X10 volume is still terrible. It is about ½ as loud as the iPhone 3G. The Blackberry Bold is very loud and clear – the iPhone 4 has no reception but sounds great all the same.

    I downloaded PowerAmp and tried to boost the volume that way. DISTORTION! That’s right, when it’s loud the music is simply too distorted. This is obviously not the fix for the volume. PowerAmp is a great music player, but it is definitely not going to sort out your music playing experience on the X10.

    I did a quick search using Google and there were suggestions that the Nordic ROM would fix the headphone problem. So at last after almost 10 months I decided to download a custom ROM and root my phone whilst I was at it.

    So I went here - http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=835308 and downloaded the custom ROM, loaded it on the X10 and fired up the music player.

    FIXED!

    Yes, the music is now louder. Shame on you Sony Ericsson!

    Saving Battery

    Here is the best tip anyone can give you. Download a plain black background and use it as your wallpaper. Turn down your screen brightness (contrast is better with the black wall paper) and there you have it. 20-30% better battery!

    Keyboard

    Does anyone actually use the Default X10 keyboard? I use SwiftKey.

    Making Phone calls

    The buttons are now bigger and pressing the call button does not tale you to another menu item like in 1.6 but makes the call! Good job. I think the calling functionality is good. Just make the letters a little bigger on the contacts menu.

    Hindsight

    In hindsight I probably should have gone for the Google Nexus One. The fact that it receives updates before any other phone is justification enough. I have lived on Android 1.6 for almost 12 months and my contract ends in 6 months time. Logic would suggest – once bitten twice shy. The other reason is the volume on the Nexus One. I could play my music properly.

    My next phone will run be an HTC or Vanilla Android. I’m not interested in silly customisations that delay software upgrades – HTC somehow has their upgrades figured out.

    In 6 months time I’ll upgrade to a phone with better than 640 x 960 resolution. If Samsung can get AMOLED screens to 640 X 960 then they have a winner. But it would be silly to play catch up with the iPhone. I would suggest 640 X 1024.
              That late night walk to the barn        
    I don’t remember when it started, maybe a few years back after Ella was born, but now…every night, a little after 11:00, I make one last trek to the Big Barn to check on the llamas. Cold.  Still, so quiet.  My boots crunch the snow as I walk towards the barn.  The sound is so
              Finnish twist: Not your average park edit        

    With its quirky introduction, cinematic style and killer punk-rock soundtrack, this short movie featuring Finnish skiers Patrik Lilja and Atte Leppäsalo will keep you intrigued from you moment you hit play. The final product here has a unique feel. Using skits to intrigue the audience, there are hints of MSP’s hay-days filming with Brad Holmes, […]

    The post Finnish twist: Not your average park edit appeared first on Freeskier Magazine.


              By: Tracy López        
    Thanks, Leslie. Yes, cooking is really therapeutic - it's easy to get lost in the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, the stirring and chopping - I really love that. (It's the cleaning up I'm not so wild about jajaja.)
              Three prom outfits for under 80$        



     Low budget? no problem!

    I know special events and proms are just around the corner so I did a little search and found for you girls some cheap and classy ideas for as low as 70$ dress + bag. It sounds great, right?
    If you save that much on the dress and bag you could invest more in shoes. It's time to get your favorite pair from Jimmy Choo or Manolo Blahnik that will WOW your appearance.
    Or just spend your money on a nice vacation.
    So what do you think? Which is your favorite? I love the red dress!


    Stiu ca banchetele au inceput, invitatiile la nunti curg in posta , asa ca m-am gandit sa va vin in ajutor. Am gasit cateva tinute, rochie si geanta, la preturi foarte bune , chiar sub 300 lei , transport gratuit sau express prin DHL cu 15$.(putin zic eu). 
    Daca economisiti atat cu rochia si geanta, acum e momentul sa va aruncati la pereche favorita de la Jimmy Choo sau Manolo Blahnik. Sau va puteti cheltuii restul de bani intr-o excursie draguta. 
    Deci ce ziceti? Care e rochia preferata?
    Mie cea rosie imi place mult!


    1. Dress- Clutch     2. Dress- Clutch    3. Dress-Clutch

     Dress-clutch
     Dress-Clutch
    Dress-Clutch



              Review Filem Dunkirk: Perang Epik Terbaik Arahan Nolan!        
    Review Filem Dunkirk: Epik Perang Dunia Kedua Terbaik |Okay hari ni aku berkesempatan bersama rakan-rakan untuk tonton filem berjudul Dunkirk di GSC Sunway Carnival. Mana tidaknya aku memang beriya-iya ingin tahu jalan penceritaan filem bergenre perang ini dari karya pengarah hebat Hollywood, Christopher Nolan. Anda tahu tak, kebanyakan filem Christopher Nolan memerlukan penghayatan yang tinggi sepertimana filem Interstellar, Inception dan The Dark Knight. Dengan kali ini genre agak berbeza, rasanya filem Dunkirk ini perlu dihayati setiap detik penceritaan kerana ia berkait rapat kisah sebenar tentang sejarah Perang Dunia Kedua antara Tentera Bersatu vs Nazi Jerman. Menarik ke filem perang ni? Baca selanjutnya....

    Review Filem Dunkirk: Epik Perang Dunia Kedua Terbaik

    Sinopsis Filem Dunkirk 2017


    Sebelum tu biarlah aku mukadimah sedikit tentang sinopsis filem Dunkirk. Mesti anda ingin tahu tentang sejarah Perang Dunia Ke-2 ini dahulu? Filem Dunkirk mengisahkan peperangan membabitkan antara Pasukan Tentera Berikat dengan Tentera Nazi Jerman, dimana tentera Berikat telah dihentam teruk oleh tentera Nazi sehinggalah mereka terpaksa berundur ke sebuah tempat yang dikenali sebagai Dunkirk.

    Review Filem Dunkirk: Perang Epik Terbaik Arahan Nolan!

    Bagi mengelakkan kemusnahan besar terjadi, pihak Tentera Berikat telah merancang satu operasi besar-besaran untuk menyelamatkan 400,000 tentera yang terperangkap di tempat itu dari ditawan oleh tentera Nazi. Adakah tentera-tentera British, Perancis, Belanda dan termasuklah sekutunya berjaya diselamatkan daripada dibunuh oleh tentera Nazi?


    Review Filem Dunkirk


    Bagi aku pertama kali menonton filem perang sebegini agak janggal kerana plot penceritaan dari Christopher Nolan memaparkan 3 sisi 'views' yang berbeza dalam filem Dunkirk ini, dimana di darat (jeti), udara dan laut. Sebenarnya, ketiga-tiga pandangan ini berkait rapat apa yang telah terjadi dalam pertempuran di Dunkirk. Jika dilihat babak di atas udara mengisahkan seorang pilot bernama Furrier lakonan Tom Hardy yang berjuang bermati-matian untuk menyelamatkan tentera Bersekutu dari dibedil bom pesawat pengebom sehinggalah kehabisan minyak jet tempurnya.

    Review Filem Dunkirk: Epik Perang Dunia Kedua Terbaik Arahan Nolan!
    Babak Tom Hardy di Dalam Jet Spitfire 

    Di lautan, mengisahkan tentang pengemudi kapal layar yang sanggup bergadai nyawa untuk ke tempat pertempuran bernama Dunkirk, dimana seorang ayah bersama anaknya berjaya menyelamatkan seberapa ramai tentera Berikat dari serangan tentera Nazi. Dari pandangan darat pula lebih ke arah pengisahan di jeti, menunjukkan jumlah besar tentera Berikat yang menanti ketibaan kapal untuk menyelamatkan diri mereka dari peperangan ini.

    Review Filem Dunkirk: Epik Perang Dunia Kedua Terbaik Arahan Nolan!
    Sekumpulan Tentera di Jeti 

    Dari segi babak aksi agak menarik kerana filem Dunkirk tidak memerlukan banyak peluru , letupan dan darah untuk menghasilkan filem ini. Ia lebih menggambarkan suasana tegang dikalangan tentera yang ingin melarikan diri daripada dibedil bom dari pesawat. Bagi aku babak suspen dan thrill filem ini sangat menjadi, tambahan pulak dengan soundtracks sangat mantap untuk menggambarkan suasana suspens. Sekali sekala terkejut jugak aku kerana soundtrack letupan sangat tepat dan memang terbaiklah. Anda boleh lihat sendiri tentera yang terdesak untuk melarikan diri dan menyelamatkan tentera yang terperangkap.

    Dari segi karakter dan lakonan aktor, Nolan tidak memerlukan pelakon yang popular atau rupa yang kacak untuk melakonkan filem ini. Tetapi bakat yang ada setiap pelakon tersebut sepanjang filem ini ternyata berjaya membawakan karakter mereka begitu baik sekali. Jika dilihat filem ini dialog agak kurang sedikit berbanding filem-filem lain karya Nolan, anda boleh lihat lakonan Tom Hardy sebagai pilot jet pejuang yang kurang berdialog dan tidak menunjukkan muka sepanjang filem ini sehingga lah babak akhir baru menampilkan wajahnya, tetapi prestasi lakonannya sama seperti karakter Bane dalam trilogi Dark Knight.

    Selain itu, lakonan Fionn Whitehead sebagai Tommy, tentera muda British dianggap berjaya kerana setiap babak yang ditampilkan oleh beliau sangat menjadi walaupun ini filem pertama kalinya. Beliau menampilkan riak wajah yang begitu terdesak menyelamatkan diri sehinggalah beliau berjaya pulang dengan selamat bersama-sama rakan tentera yang lain.

    Review Filem Dunkirk: Epik Perang Dunia Kedua Terbaik Arahan Nolan!
    Fionn Whitehead 

    Secara keseluruhan yang boleh aku simpulkan filem ini harus dipuji dan dianggap salah satu filem yang perfect dari segi karakter pelakon, plot penceritaan, aksi, thrill dan kesan visual termasuklah soundtrack sudah cukup memuaskan hati penonton. Bagi pendapat aku filem ini bukannya semata-mata aksi suasana perang tetapi kepada menyelami perasaan tentera-tentera yang begitu terdesak melarikan diri.

    >> Baca juga : Review Filem War For Planet Of The Apes

    Rating Filem Dunkirk : 8/10
              Shade: Bene ma non benissimo, testo e video        

    Canzoni Web
    Shade: Bene ma non benissimo, testo e video

    Con “Bene ma non benissimo“, Shade diverte e trascina. Un po’ come aveva fatto già un anno fa con “Odio le Hit estive” e con le tante visualizzazioni ottenute dai contenuti web che ha postato nei mesi successivi. Ritornello accattivante e sound pop con ritmi afro catturano al primo ascolto e ricordano che potrebbe sempre […]

    Fonte: Shade: Bene ma non benissimo, testo e video
    Scritto da: Francesca Spanò


              Francesca Michielin: Vulcano, testo e video        

    Canzoni Web
    Francesca Michielin: Vulcano, testo e video

    Con Vulcano torna Francesca Michielin, a presentare il nuovo singolo, l’omonimo video e un progetto discografico che sarà disponibile da dopo l’estate. Una canzone che segna un passaggio a una maturità musicale per la giovane artista, con un nuovo sound, uno stile rinnovato e una serie di parole nel testo che iniziano per V. Ancora […]

    Fonte: Francesca Michielin: Vulcano, testo e video
    Scritto da: Francesca Spanò


              Look! Big Boi Announces ‘Daddy Fat Saxxx’ Tour Dates        
    The ATL’s own, Big Boi is back in the news feed today. This time around Big Boi Announces ‘Daddy Fat Saxxx’ Tour Dates. The wordsmith will hit the road soon, and with ‘Boomiverse’ still rockin’ he’s ready to showcase his sounds to the world. Fresh off dropping his music video for “Chocolate” the wordsmith plans […]
              Stunning Sound Anywhere! The GEMINI Lightweight Magnetic Stereo Speaker        
    Over the years we have been witness to a wide variety of portable ways to listen to music. From waterproof and more durable designs to sleek designs that are more like pieces of art that something to listen to your favorite tunes from. Today we get a look at a sleek new speaker that offers […]
              Watch: AMAX – “Soul Snatcher” & “Look At You Now” | Video        
    Always on the hunt for something new to listen to, we recently came across the sounds of AMAX. This talented singer/songwriter hails from New Jersey, and today he is back with not one, but two new music videos. Today we get to check out AMAX’s new videos for “Soul Snatcher” and “Look At You Now.” […]
              Listen: BL’EVE Brown – FINESSE Ft. Jimmy 2Shoes | Stream        
    If you have not yet experienced the sounds of BL’EVE Brown, today would be a great day to do so. Today BL’EVE Brown returns with a brand new track, unleashing a new single entitled “FINESSE.” The track finds Mr. Brown pairing up with Jimmy 2Shoes, unleashing a dose of their respective talents over top of […]
              MPEG decoding, state save/restore, NRF emulation, ...        
    It's been a while since I wrote anything here, but that doesn't mean that work on CD-i Emulator has stopped. On the contrary, a lot has happened in the last month and describing all of it will take a very long blog post. So here goes…

    Last January an annoying date-checking bug was found which forced me to release beta2 somewhat earlier than anticipated. After that I did no further work on CD-i Emulator. There were various reasons for this, but the most import one was a very busy period at my day job.

    After a well-earned vacation I resumed CD-i related work in early August. First I spent a few days on Walter Hunt's OS-9 port of gcc, the GNU C/C++ Compiler that I found in October of last year. Getting it working on a modern Cygwin installation was interesting and something very different from my usual line of work. The result could be useful for homebrew activities: it's a much more usable C compiler then the Microware OS-9 one and supports C++ as a bonus. I intend to use this for ROM-less emulation validation some day; see also below. The sources need to be released but I haven’t gotten to that stage yet.

    After that I had another go at the Digital Video cartridge emulation. At the point where I left off last year the major stumbling block was the presumed picture / frame buffering logic of the MPEG video driver. When the appropriate interrupt status bits are set the driver starts copying a bulk of status information to an array of device registers and it will sometimes also read from those registers. This is all controlled by several status and timing registers that are also referenced elsewhere and I previously could not get a handle on it.

    My first attempt this time was spending another few days staring at it and tracing it, but this did not gain me much new understanding. Finally I decided to just leave it for now and see how far I could get without understanding this part of the driver. I decided to once again attempt to get "CD-i Full Motion Video Technical Aspects" working.

    This CD-i was produced by Philips to give future Full Motion Video (as the new MPEG playback functions were called at the time) developers a demonstration of the technical capabilities of the new hardware, at a time when this hardware was still in the early beta phase. The CD-i actually contains the compiler libraries necessary for making FMV calls from CD-i applications, as these had not previously been widely distributed.

    It is not a very slick disc visually, being intended for developers, but it demonstrates a number of FMV techniques such as regular playback, playback control including pause, slow motion and single step, freeze frame and forward/backward scan, special effects like scrolling the FMV window, a seamless jump and a sample of overlay effects with the CD-i base case video planes.

    I had previously tried to run this disc on CD-i Emulator, but it always crashed for an unknown reason that I attributed to MPEG device emulation problems. This time I traced back the crash and it turned out to have nothing at all to do with FMV playback but was instead caused by an incorrect emulation of the 68000 instruction "move ea,ccr" which is supposed to set the condition code register (ccr) to the value specified by the effective address (ea). In the processor manual this is classified as a word instruction and I had emulated it as such, which turned out to be wrong as it caused a word write to the full status register which should have been a byte write to the lower eight bits of it which hold the condition codes.

    The problem manifested itself when the application calls the math trap handler for some mundane number calculations, which were naturally supposed to set the condition codes. The value written to the status register inadvertently changed the processor from user to system mode (and also scrambled the active interrupt masking level) which caused an instant stack switch that caused a bus error when the trap handler attempts to return to the application program (the cpu took the return address from the wrong stack and got garbage instead).

    Most CD-i applications probably don't use the math trap handler so the problem went undetected for a long time. Now that it's fixed some other titles have probably started working but I haven't tested that.

    After this, the FMV Technical Aspects application would get to its main menu screen, allowing me to start FMV playback operations. Regular playback worked fine until the end of the video clip, where there turned out to be status bit generation issues that prevented the application from properly detecting the end of video clip condition (the decoder is supposed to send a "buffer underflow" signal, among others, after the end of the MPEG data and my emulation didn't do that yet).

    This was not very easy to fix because of the way that MPEG data buffering and decoding is handled inside CD-i Emulator, which I'll get into below. So it took me some time.

    Regular play working fine, I started worrying about window control. This was the area where I feared the picture buffering stuff, but it turned out that this was easily bypassed. The horizontal / vertical scrolling functions were ideal to test this but it took me some time to get it working. There were bugs in several areas, including my integration of the MPEG video decoding code, which I took from the well-known mpeg2dec package. This code is written to decode a single video sequence and consequently did not handle image size changes without some re-initialization calls at the appropriate times. Failing that, it mostly just crashed (at the Windows application level) due to out-of-bounds video buffer accesses.

    Another issue was the timing of device register updates for image size changes; I turned out to have the basic mechanism wrong and consequently the driver would keep modifying the window parameters to incorrect values.

    Having all of the above fixed, I returned my attention to playback control. So far I can get the video playback properly paused, but I haven't been able to get it properly resumed. For some reason the application resumes the MPEG playback but it doesn't resume the disc playback. Since the driver waits for new data to arrive from disc before actually resuming MPEG playback nothing happens (this is documented as such). The application is presumably expecting some signal from the driver to get into the proper state for resuming disc playback, but I haven't found it yet.

    At this point, it seemed promising to look at other CD-i titles using playback control and the Philips Video CD application is an obvious candidate. Again, regular playback appears to work fine, but playback control (including pause/resume) does not. It turns out that this application uses a different driver call (it uses MV_ChSpeed instead of MV_Pause, probably in preparation for possible slow motion or single step), which never completes successfully, probably again because of device status signaling. Similar issues appear to block playback control in a few other titles I tried.

    I've given some thought to tracing driver calls and signals on an actual player to see what CD-i Emulator is doing wrong, and it appears to be relatively simple, there's just a bandwidth issue because all of the trace output will have to go out the serial port which can go no higher then 19200 baud. Some kind of data compression is obviously needed and I've determined a relatively simple scheme that should be enough (the CD-i player side will all need to be coded in 68000 machine language so simplicity is important!), but I haven't actually written any code for it yet.

    I know there are issues with the proper timing of some video status signals. Things like start-of-sequence, end-of-sequence and start-of-picture-group should be delayed until display of the corresponding picture, at present they are delivered at decoding time, which can be a few pictures early. But that does not really affect the titles I've tried so far, because they do not attempt picture-synced operations. An application like The Lost Ride might be sensitive to thinks like this, though, and it needs to be fixed at some time. Similar issues are probably present with time code delivery. In addition, the last-picture-displayed and buffer-underflow signals are not always properly sent; I'm fixing these as I go along.

    In the process, I decided that the magenta border was getting annoying and tried to fix it. That turned out to be harder then I thought. The MPEG chip has a special border color register that is written by the MV_BColor driver call and it seemed enough to just pass the color value to the MPEG window overlay routines. Well, not so. Again the issue turned out to be timing of decoder status signals, but of a different kind. The driver doesn't write the border color registers until it has seen some progress in certain timing registers related to the picture buffering thing, presumably to avoid visual flashes or something on the actual hardware. Fortunately, it turned out to be easy to simulate that progress, taking care not to trigger the complicated picture buffer code that I so far managed to keep dormant.

    At some point, possibly related to slow motion or freeze frame, I might need to actually tackle that code but I hope to by that time have gained more understanding of the supposed workings of the MPEG chip.

    Looking at the above, you might think that all of the difficulties are with the MPEG video decoding and that is indeed mostly true. I did have to fix something in the MPEG audio decoding, related to the pause/resume problems, and that was the updating of the audio decoder clock. When audio and video playback are synchronized the MPEG video driver uses the MPEG audio clock as it's timing reference, which means that it has to be stopped and restarted when video playback control operations occur. Since I had never before seriously tested this, the audio clock wasn't stopped at all and the video driver obligingly continued decoding and displaying pictures until it ran out of buffered data.

    There is currently just one known problem with the MPEG audio decoding: the audio isn't properly attenuated as specified by the driver. This causes little audio distortions at some stream transitions and when buffers run out. There is also a problem with base case audio synchronization but that is hard to trigger and possibly even not audible in many titles so I'll worry about that much later.

    Above I promised to get into the MPEG data buffering and decoding issue. The basic problem is one of conceptual mismatch: the CD-i decoding hardware gets data "pushed" into it (by DMA or direct device I/O) at the behest of the driver, whereas the MPEG decoding code (based on the publicly available mpeg2dec and musicout programs from the MPEG Software Simulation Group) expects to "pull" the data it needs during decoding. Things get messy when the decoding runs out of data, as the code does not expect to ever do so (it was originally written to decode from a disc file which of course never runs out of data until the end of the sequence). Some obvious solutions include putting the decoding in a separate thread (which given multi-core processors might be a good idea anyway from a performance perspective) and modifying it to become restartable at some previous sync point (most easily this would be the start of an audio frame or a picture or picture slice). Both options are somewhat involved although they have obvious benefits, and it may turn out that I will need to do one of them anyway at some point. For now I've avoided the problems by carefully timing calls into the MPEG decoding code so that enough data to decode a single audio frame or video picture should always be available; the MPEG data stream at the system level contains enough timestamp and buffering information to make this possible (in particular, it specifies the exact decoding time of every audio frame or video picture in relation to the timing of the data stream, thus making it possible to make those calls into the decoding code at a time that a valid MPEG data stream will have already filled the buffers far enough).

    The approach depends on the timing of the MPEG data entering the decoder, which means that it does not handle buffer underflow conditions unless you add some kind of automatic decoding that continues even if no more MPEG data appears, and this is basically what I’ve done. In the end it was just relatively straightforward extension of the automatic decoding already there to handle the fact that MPEG audio streams do not have to explicitly timestamp every single audio frame (the CD-i Green Book does not even allow this unless you waste massive amounts of space in each MPEG audio data sector) and would have been needed anyway to correctly decode the last pictures of a sequence, but that had never been tested before.

    For performance and possible patent reasons I have taken care to edit the MPEG decoding code (placing appropriate #ifdef lines at the right places) so that only MPEG 1 video and audio layer I/II decoding code is compiled into the CD-i Emulator executable. This is all that is needed for CD-i anyway and MPEG 2 video and audio layer III greatly complicate the decoding and thus significantly enlarge the compiled code.

    Being somewhat stymied at the FMV front, I next decided to spend some time on another lingering issue. During testing, I often have to do the same exact sequence of mouse actions to get a CD-i application to a problem point and this is starting to be annoying. Input recording and playback are a partial solution to this but then you still have to wait while the application goes through it, which is also annoying and can sometimes take quite some time anyway. The obvious solution is a full emulation state save/restore feature, which I've given some thought and started implementing. It's nowhere near finished, though.

    During the MESS collaboration I spent some time investigating the MESS save/restore mechanism. If at all possible I would love to be compatible for CD-i emulation states, but it turns out to be quite hard to do. The basic internal mechanism is quite similar in spirit to what I developed for CD-i Emulator, but it's the way the data is actually saved that makes compatibility very hard. Both approaches basically boil down to saving and restoring all the relevant emulation state variables, which includes easy things like the contents of cpu, memory and device registers but also internal device state variables. The latter are of course not identical between different emulators but they could probably be converted if some effort was thrown at it and for a typical device they aren't very complex anyway. The MESS implementation uses an initialization-time registration of all state variables; at save/restore time it just walks the registrations and saves or restores the binary contents of those variables. CD-i Emulator has a somewhat more flexible approach; at save/restore time it calls a device-specific serialize function to save or restore the contents of the state variables. The actual registration / serialization codes are structurally similar in the two emulators (a simple list of macro/function calls on the state variables) but the code runs at different times.

    The real problem is that MESS includes very little meta information in the save files: only a single checksum of all the names and types of registered state variables in registration order. This is enough to validate the save data at restore time if the state variables of the saving emulator exactly match those of the restoring emulator, because there is no information to implement skipping or conversions. This holds between different versions or in some case even configurations of MESS emulators, but it holds even more so between MESS and CD-i Emulator! The meta information could of course be obtained from the MESS source code (relatively simply macro modifications could cause it to be written out) but that would require exact tracking of MESS versions because every version could have its own checksum corresponding to different meta information (in this case CD-i Emulator would need meta information sets for every MESS checksum value it wants to support).

    I want CD-i Emulator to be more flexible, especially during development, so I decided to make full meta information an option in the save file. The saved state of every device is always versioned, which allows the save/restore code to implement explicit conversion where needed, but during development this isn't good enough. With full meta information turned on, the name and type of every state variable precedes the save data for that variable in the save file. This allows more-or-less automatic skipping of unknown state variables and when properly implemented the restore code can also handle variable reordering. At release time, I will fix the version numbers and save full metadata information sets for those version numbers so that the same automatic skipping and handling of reordering can be done even if the metadata isn't in the save file (it probably won't be because of file size considerations, although that may turn out to be a non-issue because save files need to include the full RAM contents anyway which is 1 MB of data in the simplest case without any compression, which is of course an option).

    In addition to all of the above, I made some progress on the ROM-less emulation front. First I spent some time reading up on the internals of OS-9 file managers, because writing a replacement for the NRF file manager (NRF = Nonvolatile RAM File manager) seemed the logical next step. Actually writing it turned out not to be that hard, but there were of course bugs in the basic ROM emulation code. Most of them had to do with handlers not calling into the original ROM, which totally screwed up the tracing code. Some new functionality was also needed to properly read/write OS-9 data structures inside the emulated machine from the ROM emulation code; I wanted to implement this in such a way that compilation to "native" 68000 code remains a future option for ROM emulation modules. And of course the massive tracing described in the previous blog post had to be curtailed because it was impossible to see the relevant information in the morass of tracing output.

    The new emulated NRF stores its files in the PC file system and it currently works fine when you start it with no stored files (i.e., the player will boot). In that case it will write out a proper "csd" (Configuration Status Descriptor) file. However, if this file already exists, the player crashes, although I have so far not found any fault in the NRF code. The origin of the problem probably lies elsewhere; I suspect it has to do with the hidden "player_shell_settings.prf" file. This file is read and written by the ROM bootstrap even before OS-9 is running; it does this by directly accessing the NVRAM memory (the file never changes size and is always the first one in NVRAM). Since the bootstrap accesses of this file do not go through the NRF file manager or even the NVRAM driver they are not redirected by the OS-9 emulation. However, later accesses by the player shell *are* redirected and the player shell does not seem able to handle the file not existing in the PC file system in the case where a csd file already exists. Solutions include extending the emulated NRF to always access this particular file from the NVRAM instead of the PC file system or somehow synchronizing the two locations for the file. The latter is probably the easiest route given the fixed location and size of the file, but the former is also useful as it would provide a full reimplementation of the original NRF that could in principle be compiled to native 68000 code to replace the "original" NRF in ROM (this is where gcc comes in as alluded to earlier, since all emulation code is written in C++).

    In either case, I do not want the file manager to directly access emulated NVRAM although it could do so easily, as there is already an internal CNvramPort interface that provides just such access independent of the actual emulated NVRAM chip. The NRF file manager should instead call the NVRAM driver, which means that I need to implement cross-module calling first. It's not really hard in principle, the design has been done but there are a lot of little details to get right (the most obvious implementation uses at least 66 bytes of emulated stack space on each such call which I find excessive and might not even work; smarter implementations require some finicky register mask management or a "magic cookie" stacking approach, the latter having the best performance in the emulation case but being impossible in the native 68000 compilation case). When cross-module calling is working, I can also have the file manager allocate emulated memory and separate out the filename parsing functions by using the OS-9 system calls that provide these functions (the current emulated NRF does not allocate emulated memory which is arguably an emulation error and has the filename parsing coded out explicitly).

    When everything works correctly with the emulated NRF, I have to find some way of integrating it in the user experience. You could always start over without any NVRAM files, but I'd like to have some way of migrating files between the two possible locations without having to run CD-i Emulator with weird options. Extending the CD-i File Extractor (cdifile) by incorporating (part of) the emulated NRF seems the obvious choice, which would also provide me with some impetus to finally integrate it with the CD-i File Viewer (wcdiview) program that's supposed to be a GUI version of cdifile but so far is just a very thin skeleton barely able to graphically display a single CD-i IFF image file passed on the command line (it doesn't even have a File Open menu) and will often crash. A proper implementation would look like Windows Explorer with a tree view on the left (CD-i file system, real-time channels and records, IFF chunk structure, etc) and a variable content display on the right (raw data view, decoded sector view, code disassembly view, graphical image view, audio playback, slideshow playback, decoded MPEG view, MPEG playback, etc).

    That touches on another area in which I did some work last month: the saving of CD-i IFF image files for each emulated video frame. The motivation for this was to bring full-resolution real-time frame saving into the realm of the possible, as it would write only about 2 x (1024 + 280 x (384 + 32)) = 247 KB of raw CD-i video and DCP data per frame instead of 560 x 768 x 3 = 1260 KB of raw RGB. At least on my PC this has turned out not to be the case, however. The data is written out fine, which is not as easy as it sounds since video line data size can vary with each line because of pixel repeat and run-length encoding, but it's still too slow. That being so, I am not really very motivated to extend the CD-i IFF decoding implementation to actually decode this information. Some kind of compression could be an option, but that takes processor time and makes things even harder and possibly slower. Perhaps using another thread for this would be a solution, on a multi-core machine this should not greatly impact the basic emulation performance nor the debugging complexity as the compression code would be independent of the emulation itself.

    So there is still a lot of work to be done, but it's all quite interesting and will provide for some entertaining evenings and weekends in the coming weeks or possibly months.

              Lucky Luke on YouTube        
    I have just posted a "proof of concept" demonstration of CD-i Emulator MPEG decoding on YouTube:



    The Philips Media bumper animation is MPEG (audio and video) and so is the audio for the piano sequence. The in-game crash is due to an MPEG sound effect.

    This is with a Gate Array MPEG AH01 cartridge (22ER9141 F1 AH01); as the cartridge types get newer the decoding starts working lesser and lesser. Later GMPEG cartridges will crash earlier in the gameplay, VMPEG and IMPEG will not play MPEG at all. This is simply because I haven't gotten around to fixing those things yet; there are still major bugs in the buffering of the MPEG data and while that remains unfixed there is no point.

    The magenta border indicates "beta" quality; it is not that hard to display the proper color (black in this case), but this will remind everyone that it is a work in progress.

    Many other DVC titles will play their Philips bumper but crash soon thereafter; some others won't even get that far. In some cases this is not even due to MPEG decoding issues but to various "other" reasons for crashing (The 7th Guest is a notorious example).

    I have also put up a new draft of the upcoming version 0.5.3-beta1 Release Notes on the website.
              Soundmap cleanup, file writing, beta preparation        
    Today I started with the planned cleanup of the revised soundmap playback code. This took some time but I had it finished my mid-afternoon (please note that I have small children around, which can sometimes make the progress quite slow).

    By way of final test I did a 10 minute Burn:Cycle game session; there's still an audio decoding issue there because some parts of the music crackle heavily.

    Then I continued working on the WAV / AVI writing front. I have this essentially working now; both types of files are correctly written (the AVI files now include both audio and video). There are new options -writewav and -writeavi to invoke these functions from the command line.

    I used the WAV writing feature to check out the Burn:Cycle audio decoding issue. The audio samples go way out of range at the point of the crackles (they actually clamp against the minimum/maximum values). There is probably something wrong in the scaling or something.

    One generic issue with WAV file writing is that silent periods (where the CD-i application doesn't play any audio) do not show up in the recorded audio. For the moment, I've decided that this is a feature :-)

    There is also some kind of audio timing issue in AVI file writing; the recorded files sometimes sound "skippy". However, this may also be related to the speed of my PC; these are uncompressed AVI files which take 61.5 MB per second for the CD-i video data alone (50 x 3 x 768 x 560 bytes per second). Compared to this, audio is only a measly 172 KB per second :-)

    I've found that real-time AVI writing is nearly impossible on my hardware; the framerate drops below 2/50 sometimes (I've lowered the previous 10/50 limit) which makes the titles unplayable. Tomorrow I'll try my work PC which is much faster. That should also give me an opportunity to add frame rate throttling; on fast PC's the emulator currently runs too fast.

    However, non-realtime AVI writing also gives the "skippy" sound, so it may be unrelated. Sometimes the audio also gets way out of sync...

    One worrying generic issue is that CD-i Emulator seems to have become slower as of late, for no good reason that I can think of. It may be that some debugging code somewhere is slowing things down, but I haven't found it yet. Or it could be that the titles I'm currently running are simple more demanding...

    During testing, I also fixed a recent bug where mouse input and keyboard input interfere with each other. I also took out the use of the Shift key for button 2, as it is prone to generate false button presses when using Alt-Tab / Shift-Alt-Tab to switch between windows. You can still use the numeric "+" key for button 2, though, but that is too far away for generic use: I need an alternative closer to the space bar. Perhaps Backspace for button 2, and Esc for button 3 (buttons 1 and 2 together)?

    Finally, I've started putting together the first v0.5.3 beta distribution. It will be mostly identical to a v0.5.2 one, with some updates in the sys directory, updated cdiroms.ini and cditypes.rul files and of course an updated executable which will be named wcdiemu-v053b1.exe (for beta 1) to avoid accidentally overwriting an existing v0.5.2 executable. I've also taken a first crack at a release notes document (very descriptively named BETA1).
              What is It to Preach the Gospel?        
    A new MP3 sermon from Freely We Give Broadcast is now available on SermonAudio.com with the following details:

    Title: What is It to Preach the Gospel?
    Subtitle: Preachers who influenced us
    Speaker: Henry Mahan
    Broadcaster: Freely We Give Broadcast
    Event: Sunday Service
    Date: 5/22/1977
    Bible: 1 Corinthians 9:16
    Length: 46 min. (64kbps)

    Overview: Brother G. D. Fulton -my Dad- always said that ROLFE BARNARD was the most influential PREACHER in his life, but that Henry Mahan's sermon on -WHAT IS IT TO PREACH THE GOSPEL- was probably the one most influential SERMON -he gave tapes of this sermon to many people--.----What is it to TRULY PREACH THE GOSPEL- Is everything we hear on the radio, on TV, on recordings, on the Internet - is all of it SOUND GOSPEL PREACHING- By no means-----To preach God's Gospel to sinners is to---1. Tell the truth about God.--2. Tell the truth about Man.--3. Tell the truth about Christ--4. Tell the truth about Salvation.----Does your preacher stand for and PREACH these great truths- If not, ask him to download and soak his soul in this sermon from a man who has preached this Gospel of God's grace for more than 50 years and fought the world and Satan in order to build up a true Gospel witness in the Ashland KY area.----Hear Pastor Henry T. Mahan, and let us know how you respond to this message. WWF
              Ð¡Ð°ÑƒÐ½Ð´Ñ‚рек к фильму Любой ценой — Hell Or High Water Soundtrack        
    Любой ценой (Hell Or High Water), снятый в 2016 году — это великолепный атмосферный фильм, современный вестерн, повествующий про одноэтажную Америку, штат Техас, ковбойскую глубинку. Фильм снят спокойно, без пафоса, такое неторопливое повествование, скорее роуд-муви, чем фильм-погоня (хотя гоняться есть за кем и есть кому). Хорошие диалоги, и настоящие герои, которым веришь. В фильме отличная […]
              Amazing Grace of God        
    A new MP3 sermon from Freely We Give Broadcast is now available on SermonAudio.com with the following details:

    Title: Amazing Grace of God
    Speaker: G. D. Fulton
    Broadcaster: Freely We Give Broadcast
    Event: Radio Broadcast
    Date: 10/6/1987
    Bible: Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 2:11-12
    Length: 19 min. (64kbps)

    Overview: -Amazing grace, how sweet the sound---That saved a wretch like me---I once was lost but now am found,--Was blind but now I see- -John Newton-.----Many love to sing about -amazing grace,- but their hearts are not filled with grace but infested with evil cursing and blasphemies.----But where GRACE appears, it teaches the heart to fear God -read the other verses of that old hymn- and to obey Him.----Mr. Fulton labors the point, for he has met so many who are deceived by a lop-sided view of grace - without the corresponding GOOD WORKS that God said would be manifest in His people-
              Hunted and Hunter, Part IX        
    “We’ve been spotted!” Brannigan’s voice said over the comms. The Cutlass turned hard, pressing me against the restraints of my seat. “Call’s gone out, two hours ‘til full militia arrives.” I reached over and started the two hour timer on my mobiGlas. That was our window for getting in and out. “Looks like the decoys did their job, the pilot said. "Only two Gladii and a Cutlass in our way. Light defense, but we’re still in for a ride." One of the mercs pulled himself into the turret chair, hitting the button that raised it up to the controls. “Here we go!” shouted the merc sitting next to me as the ship banked again. Everyone wore almost identical airtight combat suits, but the personalized markings on the side of his helmet told me it was Vin, one of the younger mercs. The turret opened fire above, and staccato reverberations echoed through the hull as the twin guns belched fire. I caught a glimpse out the small porthole of the Banu vessel, trailing behind out of harm's way but still close enough to fire off its large guns. The Cutlass’ shields shimmered as a few rounds impacted, but nothing got through. The turret swiveled around to track one of the passing ships. “Scrapped one Gladius,” the merc manning it shouted with a whoop. “Missiles!” shouted the pilot. “Hold on!” A few dull thuds sounded as flares launched, then the ship spun around with a wrenching twist. I was sure we were about to get torn to pieces by a swarm of hunting missiles any second, and suddenly felt like the ship was a metal coffin. But the seconds passed, the ship completed its maneuver, and no missiles hit. “Evaded,” the pilot said, then accelerated the ship back around into the action. “Enemy Cutlass down.” “Yehaaa!” shouted Vin. Another barrage of bullets slammed the shields, then the shield died, and a trio of small holes suddenly appeared in the hull as rounds punched through the armor. There was a rushing of air that dropped to silence except for the reverberations through the hull. “We’ve been hit,” the pilot said over the comms. A weight slumped against my shoulder, I turned and saw Vin, still strapped into his seat, but with a large hole torn through his combat armor. Blood poured out like a fountain, spreading over the suit and chair and deck. Across from us Ajax pulled himself out of his restraints, despite the silent protests of those around him. He crossed over and knelt beside Vin, pulling bandages from his pack as he did so. But he didn’t apply them, it was already too late. After a silent fury, he clicked his comm on. “Man down.” A moment later the Cutlass banked again, sending Ajax sprawling across the floor. The other mercs grabbed him and kept him from tumbling more. A few seconds later the report came across that the final enemy had been destroyed. But it was a sullen celebration as the ships turned and headed for the planet, the limp body of Vin still slumped in the chair. I glanced at my mobiGlas. 1:57 left. The whole battle had lasted less than three minutes.  The air streamed back into the cabin as the Cutlass descended into the planet's atmosphere. After a few minutes the ship leveled off, wind whipping past the hull breaches. The ship settled down, hovering a short ways above the ground as the rear door lowered. "Everyone, go!" came the command. I unstrapped myself from the chair and hoisted my rifle, then followed the other mercs out of the ship. "We'll get her patched up and ready for pickup," the pilot said as the ramp closed up and the ship rose away. "Good hunting." We were standing in a clearing amongst a sparse, wooded area on a slight rise. Several hundred meters down the slope, partially obscured by the thin trees, sat a small mining town. Dawn was still an hour or so away, and two small moons glistened in the sky. It would have seemed peaceful, but for the gunfire that broke out almost as soon as we started down the slope. Energy bolts zipped through the trees, snapping branches and kicking up dirt. We quickly ducked behind the cover of trees, but the shots were so wild it almost wasn't necessary. "Charlie team on the ground," Ajax said over the comms. "On the ground and under fire. Looks like they've decided to put up a fight." "Understood," Brannigan's voice responded. "Alpha team touching down now, half a click north of the target. Pup, see what you can do about softening them up for us." I peered around the tree trunk at the town through the scope on my Behring CSS, a much lighter gun than the LR-620 and better for mobility. The village looked like a formula built frontier mining town. Squat, rugged buildings not so much built as placed, standard constructions produced in bulk and shipped out from factory worlds to be assembled where needed. The population couldn't have been more than a few hundred. The only unique building was the loading complex on the near side of town, a small pad and storage building topped with an AA turret. Several dozen of the inhabitants were rushing through the streets, armed with shotguns and a few rifles. One of the defenders stood in the shadow of a building, firing a MaxOx at the treeline. At this distance he'd have to get very lucky to hit anything with that. My bullet hit him in the thigh, and he fell. He'd survive, but was out of the fight. "Charlie team, move forward. Pup, stay here and keep us covered." The five mercenaries moved down the slope, keeping in the cover of the trees. I swept over the town with my scope. At first glance each building was the same as the next, but as I searched the outlines for armed defenders I noticed the small decorations and unique bits that made them homes. Their homes. And they were fighting to defend them. Even the coldness of the chems running through me couldn't bring me to shoot them, but I could still keep them from shooting back. Another man appeared around a building and raised a rifle. I shot the dirt in front of him, and he jumped back. A head appeared over another building, but it disappeared again as soon as my shot pinged off the roof beside him. Ajax and his five mercenaries safely reached the edge of the trees. "Charlie in place." "Beta in place," another merc chimed in. "Delta ready," a third said. "Remember," Brannigan said, "keep casualties to a minimum. Take them alive. Now take down that gun." An Ursa rover broke over the ridge to the north of town, turret firing at the buildings. The defenders ran, retreating back towards the center of town. Charlie team moved out of the treeline under cover of the barrage and quickly set up an ARM missile launcher. "Ready to fire," Ajax said a moment later. "Light up the target." I flipped on a laser on the side of my rifle and pointed it at the AA turret. "Target lit." A plume of smoke shot up from the ARM, a missile rising into the air and arcing down to the turret. A shield around the turret flared and died as the missile hit, then the turret itself erupted in flame as a second missile struck. "Target down," Ajax confirmed. "Air's clear." A figure appeared around the side of a building, a rifle pointed at the launcher. He was young, a teenage kid firing wildly. I buried a bullet into the ground at his feet, kicking up dirt around him, but he kept firing. Another shot whizzed by his head, but he didn't care. The other mercs were firing back, he was going to get himself killed. There was nothing else to do. My third bullet ripped through his knee. He fell back and out of sight. "Porter's hit," Ajax said. "It's bad. Moving back to the trees to stabilize him." "Draconis, rain fire on them." Brannigan's voice was cold, anger seething just beneath the surface. The Redeemer rose over the hill, turret lighting up first one house, then the next on the edge of town. It hovered over the town, the small arms fire doing nothing to its shields, firing back with devastating results at any that tried. It was over quickly. Under such a barrage the defenders had no choice but surrender. Smoke rose from the ruined shells of buildings as the townsfolk put down their guns and the mercenaries moved in. 1:26.
              Hijinks        
    “7.5% silver, 8% copper, 15% nickel…” Kilorn reads off his mobiGlas display - his fancy new mining-focused mobiGlas that he was quite proud of. He had been hoping for a greater concentration of silver but decided this would be fine to test out the new mining system he’d bought for his Dragonfly.  He was pretty sure he was going to fly slow as shit once the saddlebags were all filled up… but Kilorn certainly didn’t have the money for a Prospector yet. It’d have to do. Jumping on his forest green Dragonfly, Kilorn fires up the small craft and starts up the small mining drill, focusing on the area scanned by his mobiGlas. Due to this being a very small scale mining operation there wasn’t a ton of operator involvement… Kilorn’s mind wandered.  Where did it wander you might ask?  Well… he was only 19 so naturally his thoughts drifted towards girls.  Or, really, girl.  Norah. Norah is Kilorn’s best friend, partner in crime, and also the gorgeous girl he was crazy about.  Was she aware of that third note?  Not so much. Kilorn drifted away from consciousness briefly while deep in thought about his friend. “Kilo!” He was startled awake by someone shouting his nickname and his Dragonfly being shoved a few feet.  Struggling to get his bearings, he whipped his head around to glare at the perpetrator and his vision was filled with the beautiful mischievous grin of his friend. Norah sat astride her deep purple Dragonfly, sporting a rainbow coloured flight suit and long black hair that flew wildly in the wind as she rode.  Purple leather boots, one of which was fresh off having booted his saddlebag, adorned her feet and served to complete her ensemble. “Race me.  Last one to the ravine pays for dinner tonight.” “Norah… my Dragonfly is covered in mining equipment.” “Excuses.  Your propulsion is tuned and you have more experience.” “Fine.” Kilorn rapidly retracted the mining equipment and took off across the savannah-like terrain, pushing his Dragonfly to the limit. Despite his head start Norah had reacted quickly and was not far behind. They dodged and weaved around rock outcroppings, occasionally losing sight of each other for several seconds. BAM! Norah didn’t even recall the sounds of crunching metal.  She woke up with a pounding headache and good deal of confusion.  Kilo’s concerned face loomed over her. Norah’s ears were ringing… she could tell Kilo was trying to talk to her but she couldn’t hear at first. Finally she understood him and replied, “Kilo… Kilo, I think I’m okay.  Head hurts a bit though.  What… what happened?” A soft look came upon Kilorn’s eyes and he said, “We both came around that cliff at the same time from opposite directions. I don’t think either of us saw it coming.  We hit each other and unfortunately you got the worst of it… thrown from your ride.” Despite the pain and confusion, the look in Kilo’s eyes tugged at her.  It didn’t help when moments later he carefully removed her helmet and gently touched her face. Moments later Kilo leaned in to kiss her and all Norah could do… all she wanted to do really in that moment, was relax and return the affection. Kilorn pulled back and looked a bit guilty and worried. “Norah… I’m sorry.  Probably last thing you need at this moment.  Let’s get you to the medical unit.” “No Kilo, it was nice.  Thank you.  But yeah, my head isn’t feeling great.” Carefully Kilorn helped Norah to her feet and gently placed her on the back of his green Dragonfly.  After helping her get her helmet back on, he climbed on and began nursing his damaged ride back to the settlement. After a few minutes he felt Norah slump over and he stopped quickly, though carefully. “Norah?!” He jumped off and looked at her face closely… she was barely conscious.  Seeing no other alternative, Kilorn repositioned her gently on the front seat of the Dragonfly and then climbed on behind her, wrapping one arm protectively around her and using the other to start and navigate his craft. Kilorn pushed the Dragonfly faster, trying to get back as quickly as he could without crashing again. Despite repeated attempts, calling her name and shaking her lightly, he couldn’t get her to rouse. Spotting the settlement up ahead, Kilorn pushed the craft a bit faster though it groaned a bit in response. Pulling up outside the medical unit, he lifted Norah into his arms and quickly carried her inside. --- Hours later Kilorn had nearly lost his mind with worry. Finally a doctor strode out to see him, “Your friend is doing well…” A huge sigh of relief exploded from his chest. “Norah had some minor head trauma but we were able to take care of the damage.  You can come see her, she’s asking for you.” Wearing a bright smile Kilorn accompanied the doctor to Norah’s room and he rushed to her bedside. “I’m so glad you’re okay Norah!  I was so worried.  How’s your head?” “My head is feeling much better thanks to the doc.  I also need to thank you Kilo, I really appreciate you taking care of me.” “You would do the same for me.  Besides, I want another kiss.” The two shared a bright smile and then Norah chimed in, “Fine.  Once we get my purple beast fixed up we’ll really see who can be first to the ravine.  I win, I get to kiss you.  You win, you get to kiss me.” A deep chuckle was followed by, “Deal!”
              Tic-Talk Tonight: Theodore Felix-Grafton        
    Welcome to the newest edition of Tic-Talk, the transcript that follows is the full interview as conducted by Indira Nooyi with our guest interviewee, Theodore Felix-Grafton, local farmer from Goss I and former captain of the Nightingale. Interview was carried out on the planet Goss I on 2947-03-28. Indira Nooyi(IN): Good evening and welcome to another edition of Tic-Talk, for our traditional viewing audience this will be a bit of a departure from normal as this interview will be pre-recorded for the convenience of our current guest of tonight’s segment. Today I’m on the planet Goss I touring the farming operation of Theodore Felix-Grafton. Thank you for inviting us to your home, we really appreciate the chance to interview you today. Theodore Felix-Grafton(TFG): Well miss, the pleasure is all mine. Not every day a pretty young reporter visits this old man. IN: Well, we are here to highlight your unique story Mr. Felix-Grafton... TFG: No, no miss. Ted. Call me Ted. IN: Very well, Ted. Now your name came to our attention in a very indirect way, the producer of Tic-Talk heard about you from a neighbour of hers who told her a very interesting, wild story. Her neighbour maintains that you saved her life 22 years ago, from the Orion system. The thing that very much intrigued us at Tic-Talk tonight about this story was that, nobody has heard of this or even known about it until this very moment. I would have to say my very first question would be how do you think this managed to stay under the radar for so long? Cause you rescued how many people, Ted? TFG: Well, what I was doing wasn’t precisely sanctioned by the UEE. I was doing it to help people but I wasn’t sure how it would be received by the higher ups, so I asked those I saved to keep it a bit quiet. You know, not a secret to their friends and family but I asked them not to tell the media and such. My crew and I saved 47 people. Took some hits on our way out too… you can see some of the burns on Nightingale’s hull… like that one there. IN: So, these biodome pods you’re showing me now, once was the ship that took you to Orion system to save these 47 people? TFG: Interestingly, no. I couldn’t go in to Orion for this mission with biodome pods strapped to Nightingale… that just wouldn’t do. So Indira... may I call you Indira? IN: Of course, please do. TFG: So Indira, I called upon my dear friend Jack O’Leary who ran a Hope-class Endeavor named Mercy. He lent me his medical and landing bays for this mission. Interestingly these biodome pods have been here since then… I decided to bring Nightingale down here instead of bringing the farm pods back up… in the end. The rest of the buildings you see here are actually her, my ship.  Still protecting me. IN: Still living on, I’m sure she’s a comfort to you. I’m curious to know though why you decided to more or less invade the Orion system, risk discovery and possible death from the Vanduul, to rescue these people. Were they family? Friends? Was there a personal aspect that motivated you to do it? TFG: An old Genesis pilot I met in a freezing shithole of a bar in Oberon… I think the planet is Uriel? Anyway, he mentioned that he had heard from a reliable source that there were still folk stuck in Orion. Indira… two centuries of scraping together a life under constant threat of attack at any moment from the fucking Vanduul. Once I heard about those poor people I had to do something. But I’m not a fool. I checked with every source I could find and it seemed like the rumours had merit… that those people were actually there.  I thought I could help. Might’ve died trying, but what good is this ‘verse without people willing to help those who need it? IN: Very brave venture you undertook. Many of those families have been hiding or existing in Orion for generations now, the progeny of the original groups the UEE left behind when they vacated the system long ago. How did you know they wanted to be rescued or more to the point how did you get in touch with them to let them know you were coming? It otherwise might have been difficult to organize such a rescue. TFG: That’s the thing Indira, I couldn’t. I couldn’t risk the whole thing by broadcasting wide. I thought long and hard about it. If you were living in a place where you could die at any moment, even if it was home, wouldn’t you consider leaving so you and your family could be safe? IN: I would think so, but many of those families have grown accustomed to living stealthily. So, the 47 you rescued I would assume are the people you managed to either persuade to come with you or came of their own volition. Did you meet any Vanduul resistance either entering or leaving the system? TFG: Yeah… I was younger and a bit brash. I was going to Armitage to save people. If I had actually made it there I probably would have got everyone killed. As it turned out, during our pass by the main asteroid belt in Orion we got the luckiest and faintest hit on our sensors. We were a mite jumpy so at first we were sure it was the Vanduul come to tear us apart, but it became obvious after a few moments that it wasn’t anything of the sort. Turns out that a group of survivors from long ago had hidden out in the asteroid belt and eventually constructed a small space station out of several damaged ships and whatever scrap they could find. They had done a good job shielding it from scanners but the rickety thing was malfunctioning at that moment. IN: Sounds like a good bit of luck followed you into the Orion system. So, when you discovered the ‘space station’ did you manage to communicate with them or did you just send someone over to investigate? TFG: Still concerned about transmissions, I decided to just dispatch the ambulances from our bays to make contact. IN: And in doing so you found 47 survivors, and from what I’m hearing you arrived just at the right time before their current habitat started to fall into further disrepair.  Once you managed to dock with the station, you were able to evacuate the station and escape the system unscathed then? TFG: The folks were happy to see us. A bit wary, you understand, but once they knew fellow humans had come to help they were thrilled. They all came back with us. At that point the ship was getting very cozy… we had a total of 63 aboard. That was enough and from their tales it sounded like Armitage was a fool’s errand. Nightingale headed back for the jump point to Caliban but part way there we got the attention of a Vanduul patrol. They gave us a few scars for our efforts, though we ultimately were able to hold them off long enough to get through the jump. Caliban is no picnic either but thankfully we got through to Oberon unscathed. IN: Sounds like quite the adventure, Ted and I’m sure those 47 were unendingly grateful to you. I have one final question for you, after all that… what possessed you to give up a spacefaring life for that of a humble Goss farmer? TFG: They were grateful. They were. I was too though. It was the most exciting, nerve-wracking, and meaningful event of my life. That event grew some of my most cherished friendships. I still keep in contact with many of those folks. Interestingly, I actually married one of the survivors. Her name is Florence. Honestly after that I just felt that my adventuring days were over. It was time to come home, settle down, and do some work on the ground for once. For me at least, when it came down to it, I felt better to belong to a place. We’ve built a good life here, a nice place, don’t you think? IN: Indeed, it’s a very idyllic place to settle down and your story was not only inspiring but also shows that humanity can still do good things. Thank you for your time, Ted. I’m Indira Nooyi and this has been another edition of Tic-Talk, thanks for joining us and see you next week.  
              Tic-Talk Tonight: Lonnie Grant         
    Welcome to the newest edition of Tic-Talk, the transcript that follows is the full interview as conducted by Indira Nooyi with our guest interviewee, Lonnie Grant, captain of the Voyager. Interview was carried out on the planet Cascom in the Castra system on 2947-03-12. Indira Nooyi(IN): Good evening and welcome to another edition of Tic-Talk, I’m your host for the evening Indira Nooyi and with me tonight is the captain and pilot of a Freelancer DUR named Voyager. Thank you for joining me tonight, Mr. Grant. Lonnie Grant (LG): Thank you for having me on Indira. I love your show. IN: Thank you. Now Mr. Grant, you just recently discovered a new jump point, would you please tell our viewing audience a little bit about how you came to discover it. LG: Well you see Indira… it wasn’t really the most clever way to discover a jump point. It occurred to me that for the size of the system, Castra has an inordinate number of jump points… I think there were 5. It occurred to me that this concentration might be significant so I started scouring the outer rim of the system with my scanners. After a few days I got a hit on my jump scanners. IN: And upon closer investigation you found this new jump point, correct? LG: Yeah… it took me awhile to triangulate it but eventually I got close enough and she just opened up in front of me. They’re a beautiful sight, jump points. They’re all different… have their own character. IN: Did you immediately travel through it following discovery? LG: It’s always a nervous thing, you know? Plenty of explorers have vanished forever after attempting a new jump point. I guess that’s a long way of saying that I took some time... Wrote out messages for my family and friends and left them in a buoy before I ventured inside. IN: And what did you find on the other side? LG: Well first of all, this particular jump was pleasantly simple to navigate. Some of them can be really nasty. Either way, on the far side I discovered a red dwarf star with 4 major worlds orbiting, along with many other smaller worlds of course. IN: A brand new system then? LG: Yes! This is a fresh jump. IN: So, with that being said this opens up several possibilities to you. What do you see yourself doing with the jump point coordinates? Are you considering selling them to the military or off to a scientific research facility maybe? LG: My plan is to sell the coordinates to the UEE’s exploration and colonization division, and then return to the system to continue my work exploring the worlds it holds.  There’s a lot to learn! IN: That would make you a very rich man, Mr. Grant. Why continue to work and explore when you could retire and live the rest of your life in ease and comfort? LG: Honestly for most explorers… there’s a drive to keep pushing the edge of our knowledge and it doesn’t go away with a full bank account. I will always be most at home on the fringes, searching for the next horizon. Might have to update some of my equipment though! IN: Indeed and you will have the funds to do it. With this being a new system, I know that there is always a push to find new habitable worlds for humanity to colonize. Does this new system have anything that sets it apart from the rest? LG: So this is kind of interesting… This is a tiny star so the worlds orbit close. One appears too close, probably too hot. The furthest planet seems outside the habitable zone… although perhaps some extremophiles could live there. Once again though this is the long way of saying that the middle two planets appear habitable.  One is about the size of Earth and has large oceans covering about 80% of its surface.  The other one is smaller, about the size of Mars, and has limited water - maybe 20% ocean - but appears to support abundant life regardless. I haven’t taken any detailed scans yet… the new equipment would be right up that alley - help me get better quality scans. IN: So, at least two habitable worlds, your find might be more valuable then you consider it to be. If people were to move there today, what would they be calling this system? Do you plan to name it or leave that up to the scientists? LG: Well Indira, you have to understand that it is rare in an explorer’s career that they find anything of really major value. Comets, lucrative asteroids, small black holes… these are common place and enough to keep you going but new star systems are really the dream. I have thought of a name and I will be submitting it, with your approval. I do love your show, so I was going to name the system Indira. IN: Wow, I don’t know what to say, Mr. Grant. I’m very flattered. I only hope that whatever name you choose does the system justice. Sounds like you’ve found yourself a small little paradise. I sincerely wish you luck on your next adventure and again thank you for joining me tonight and sharing your story. Maybe it will inspire the next generation of explorers to go out there and find their own jump point. I’m Indira Nooyi and this has been another edition of Tic-Talk, thanks for joining us and see you next week.  
              Leir        
    ‘I’m not sure how he managed to do it.  How did he convince me?  Brian can be such a pain.  Now I’m down here getting shot at over some stupid crystals.’ Just a sample of the thoughts running around inside Dan Locke’s mind as his MISC Prospector “Erebus” worked away on collecting shards from the glacier blue crystal formations. An audible warning accompanied by a pale flashing yellow light on the control panel indicates that one of mining storage pods has been filled.  Leaving the Erebus in automatic mode, Dan climbs out of his seat and dons his old beaten up armour.  He pats his ever-present Arclight pistol on his hip and climbs out of the ship. Dan digs out an un-expanded empty storage pod, and then proceeds to detach and secure the full pod.  A small crane helps him lower the heavy storage container down to the ground.  During this entire exercise, Dan continually checks over his shoulder for any… visitors. Finally, after securing the empty mining pod to the Erebus, Dan begins climbing back into his ship when a flurry of laser bolts slam into the rocks, shrubs, and ground around him. Looking up, Dan gazes upon a trio of Dragonflies flown by… those who would rather he was not on Leir III.  The Outsiders, Sand Nomads, Sand People - call them what you will. Returning fire, the Prospector pilot takes cover in the entrance to his ship.  Crouching there in the doorway, Dan had just enough time to mutter, “Brian… you ass.  This is your fault.” Dan closely watches the three Dragonflies, keeping track of their movements despite the incoming fire.  It’s obvious they are surrounding him. Thankfully one of the nomads comes a little too close and a flurry of shots from Dan’s Arclight tear through him to even the odds slightly. Less thankfully... one of the remaining Dragonflies has positioned itself perfectly and opens up a torrent of fire on the Prospector entry.  Dan tucks himself tightly inside the door and ponders his predicament. Surely the other Dragonfly pilot would be attempting to steal the resources he worked so hard to extract. Mid way through Dan formulating a plan of action, a faint rumbling can be heard… growing louder.  Dan’s face sprouts a satisfied smile. Suddenly the stream of weapons fire engulfing the Erebus doorway ceases and the sounds of the Dragonfly in question turning to flee can be clearly picked out. Suddenly, the distinct sound of a larger ship’s laser cannon rings out.  Peering out the door, Dan watches as Brian’s trusty Hull B - the “Knarr” - mows down the fleeing Dragonfly with its twin laser cannons. The Knarr now spins with surprising agility and lights up the other Dragonfly which had just begun its attempt at strategic retreat. Moments later, the Knarr sets down nearby the Erebus. Dan, huge smile on his face, strides towards the newly arrived cargo ship.  Brian meets him at the bottom of the ramp and wraps his best friend up in a brief but genuine hug. “Dan! How are you making out?” Dan continues to wear his grin as he punches Brian solidly in the shoulder, “I’m alright.  Thanks to you.  Though… I was in this mess because of you.  So thanks for at least holding up your end.” Brian’s smile matches his friend’s, “Yeah I know this place can be a bit of a hot zone but those crystals will bring in some good credits!  Should be great for jewelry or holograms.” “Always about the credits eh?  No matter the risks.” “Well, sometimes you have to take the risk.” “Fair enough.  Now… enough of this rambling.  Let’s load up the Knarr and get both of us out of here before their friends come looking for them!” The pair work diligently to load the full Prospector mining pods from Erebus onto the Hull B framework, breaking briefly a couple times to tell jokes and pass along news. Now ready to depart their separate ways for the moment, the two friends embrace once more. “Dan, don’t be a stranger.  I’ll front you 20,000 credits now and I’ll send you the rest of your cut once I have it all sold.  Thanks for joining me in this.” “Don’t mention it Brian… things got a little hairier than I would have liked, but you came through in the end in that department.  Let me know how the sales go and have a safe trip!” “Will do!  Let me know the next time you need an assist from ol’ Knarr here.” Several minutes later the pair of MISC ships ease off the ground and slowly head away from Leir III and on to new destinations with new opportunities.
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              Lavender Love- get pretty in parma violet shades of lilac, lavender and palest dusky mauve        

    Anyone who has even the mildest interest in fashion is probably well aware by now of the fact that pastel colours and pale, ice cream hues are just about THE biggest trend for SS12. As you cannot have failed to notice, glacial shades of spearmint green, palest pink and powder blue were all over the catwalks from Meadham Kirchhoff's living raggedy-ann dolls with their towering pastel-tinted beehives and frou-frou skirts, to Louis Vuitton's frothy fashion fairy tale show complete with fair ground carousel, dolly mixture mules and La Moss in a twinkling tiara. Therefore, at the risk of regurgitating the words of every fashion magazine I've read in the last two months and indulging in all things saccharine and sweetie-inspired (as much as I would love to- I'm all about the candy colours) I have decided not to bore you with repetition (no matter how pretty it sounds!) and instead focus on the one pastel shade that is tempting my sartorial sweet tooth right now more than all its pretty competitors.

    The shade I'm talking about, is in fact, lavender. It is a colour and fragrance that I once associated with 'old lady-ness' (if I can coin such a term) due to it's old English associations and the fact that a gift set of lavender-scented soap was just about the only Christmas/birthday present that my granny couldn't seem to find one million and one objections to. As a child, I thought of lavender (the colour and fragrance) as the sort of thing one might find in Marks and Spencer's giftware department, or adorning the bathroom of a fussy, elderly lady with a weakness for lace and frills. However, what with the recent explosion of all things pale, pretty and pastel hued, I am feeling a real lavender love that reveals just how much I've been seduced by the lovely lilacy shade and its connotations of delicacy, softness and old-school femininity. What with my love of vintage, I find that in recent years I've developed a new appreciation for lavender's traditional English connotations, and that the pale, pretty colour is surprisingly and quite stunningly flattering when teamed with the dream combination of pale skin and red hair.


    In fact, just about any faded pastel hue looks perfectly pretty against pale skin, but I'm loving the off-beat quirkiness of lilac, being a colour that you would have thought would clash terribly with red. Well, okay, it does clash, but that's what I think makes red hair and lilac apparel such a unique, surprising and therefore flattering dream team. Back in the summer, you might recall a post I wrote all about my rediscovery of the colour purple, and how I was loving its magical, mystical, sultry-night-sky-in-the-summer vibes. Well, this season, it's all about faded, powdery shades that evoke hazy summer memories and strolls in the park under the shade of a pretty parasol, so I'm ditching deep purple for a paler shade of plum. Think parma violtets and the lilac-coloured iced gems when it comes to this look, opting for cool shades of palest purple and duskiest mauve. Here are some images to get you inspired, and which capture the romantic mood of my current lavender love..

    Pastels, pastels everywhere...
    The SS12 catwalks were a beautiful watercolour wash of palest lemon, glacial blue, spearmint green and dusky rose.

    Parma violet pin-up: The stunning Dita Von Teese whips up a sartorial sweet treat with her sugared-violet dress, pretty vanilla skin and cherry-red nails and lips.

    Deborah Ann Woll (who plays Jessica Hamby in True Blood) once again proves that scarlett locks, snow white skin and lilac are a match made in fashion heaven.



    Christina Hendricks is yet another porcelain-skinned redhead working the lavender look



    Me, modeling a floral lilac vintage dress for Bohemian Rose Vintage last Spring
    I adore this delicate lilac slip dress from Topshop.com. Team it with cream or nude heels for a summery tea party and you'll look as sweet as a (Louis Vuitton) sundae.

    Louis Vuitton's SS12 ad campaign featuring aforementioned sundaes. Yum ;-)

    Have a Louis Vuitton-style fashion fantasy and fly away on a fairground horse with this designer-esque collar from Rokit Vintage. The pretty lavender ribbon gives the prim cream lace a touch of parma violet sweetness.   
    Lots of love,

    The Porcelain Princess

    xxx
              Candy Floss Days of Summer        
    Before I start, I would just like to point out the fact that, yes, I know it's not summer. As much as I might wish it was- as much as I wish I could bury my head under my duvet and pretend that the stifling air in my room is drifting in through the window from a sultry, hot night instead of from my blow heater- even I cannot ignore the inevitable signs that the seasons are changing. The leaves are steadily turning gold, a bowl of freshly-collected, glossy brown conkers has taken pride of place on our living room table, and there is that definite nip in the air that demands the first trip up to the loft to uncover last season's fur coat and vintage Christmas jumpers.

    OK, I am not denying that there is not some excitement in this. The musty scent of vintage knits and the new crispness in the air carry with them that back to school feeling that has you hankering for the scent of new text books and high denier ribbed tights, and that gives you the urge to go to WH Smiths and buy a new pencil case, no matter how many years ago you left school. Autumn is a time of promise; the dry leaves on the pavement whisper to you of that smoky scent mixed with the taste of red toffee apples that can only mean bonfire night, and the echoes of fireworks resounding through the brilliant cold of black, November air. It all has a touch of magic to it, yes. Even I, eternal child of summer and running barefoot on the beach, have been a little affected by it's sparkle. And yet.

    As much as I look forward to winter and the promise of Christmas, I lament the loss of summer like the loss of a dear friend, or an intense, all-consuming holiday romance. For those short, fleeting summer months that we are (sometimes) blessed with in this country, there exists a time of endless possibilities; reading in the garden, camping by the sea, the smell that rises from a hot, sun-baked pavement after the rain has fallen. My memories of childhood and adolescence are a continuous steam of golden, sunlit flashes and hazy summer moments; of water fights in the garden, the faded pastel stripes of Neapolitan ice cream, toasting marshmallows with my little brothers and Adam Crossley from down the road, and then later: making up dance routines to Beyonce's Baby Boy, laying beside my best friend on the trampoline one cool summer night, looking up at the stars and laughing til our bodies shook and we could no longer breathe.

    So, while I do look forward to the coming of the colder months and the fashion opportunities that arise from them, I still look back to summer and its somewhat haunting beauty. I say haunting because for me, summer is the time of year that holds the most poignant memories, and although those memories are happy and golden, I have always thought that there is something about happy memories that is incredibly and overwhelmingly sad. Because- as happy as they are, as much as they represent a time of beauty and freedom and youth- they are gone. So it is with a bitter sweet feeling that I welcome in this season and say goodbye to the old.  

    But anyway, I have gone off on a ridiculous tangent that I totally didn't even plan to go into...What I really wanted to say was that right now, I am kind of liking the idea of hanging onto a remnant of those hazy, candyfloss days of seaside pier wanderings and summertime fairgrounds via my wardrobe. The person that originally inspired me to do so was the beautiful Marina Diamandis, who I mentioned in my last post and who is my celeb style crush of the week. When searching online for some sartorial inspiration for an outfit to wear at London Fashion Weekend (which I attended on Friday with my close friend Leah, as is our tradition) I came across Marina, dressed for the shows in a concoction of candy pink pieces, teamed with pale pink curls and matching lipstick. Finally, someone who wasn't draped in the predictable autumnal hues of September, but someone who was rocking an unashamedly sugary mix of shades teamed with none other than bare legs. I took note.


    As well as Marina, though, I have recently been reflecting on the fact that I have a rather extreme style crush on Kirsten Dunst, and that she is possibly one of the most beautiful women in the world. This is probable due to the fact that I watched The Virgin Suicides for the first time ever this summer (I know, it pains me that it took me 22 years to discover such an amazing and visually stunning film) and was taken aback by the haunting images, teenage nostalgia and hazy summer feeling that I always try to capture in my own creative writing. For me, Kirsten, with her laid back sun bleached waves, subtly suggestive smile and far-away dewy-eyed look, is the perfect embodiment of all those things that the film captures so well.     


    Film stills from The Virgin Suicides

    Getting back to my outfit though, I ended up ordering something in dark colours and edgy jewel tones with a flash of leopard print thrown in just because it went so well with the most amazing shoes the world has ever seen, which I simply had to order from Topshop the second I saw them. But alas, it wasn't to be. Although the shoes arrived on time, my vintage outfit arrived a day too late, and I was left desperately rifling through Absolute Vintage near Old Spittalfiels Market on my lunch hour in a big sweaty mess at the last minute. However, with Marina Diamandis in mind, as well as the lingering of summer vibes I was evidently clinging onto, I somehow found the perfect outfit. The thing is, the pictures I took at London Fashion Weekend are not majorly impressive, given that I'd been at work all day and had rushed there straight after on the tube, was horrendously hot, sweaty and disheveled. Not to mention that there weren't really many posing opportunities. Therefore, I decided to recreate the look today with a photoshoot in my room, and have a little fun reveling in girliness with my mum's set of hot rollers while I was at it. I hope you enjoy my attempt at clincing onto the fading days of summer with a little candy floss chic...




      Me in my London Fashion Weekend Outfit.

    Hope you enjoyed the post guys! xoxo
              Vintage Barbie        
    Okay, I am going to start this post with a plea, to any one who has been kind and loyal enough to continue following me despite the fact that, recently, I have been so entirely rubbish and negligent. Here goes. Please remind me never to leave it this long before posting again. Not only have I a) neglected all the followers that I've been so happy, excited and, most of all, grateful to acquire over the last nine months since starting this blog, but b) my head has been so full of ideas since my last post over two months ago, that it is now near to exploding, and I feel like I don't even know where to start.  Nevertheless, I will start somewhere, because it is my intention to turn my full commitment back to writing Porcelain Princess, so prepare yourself for the cathartic, sequin-spangled avalanche of ideas, inspiration and probably slightly hysterical sounding style-related sentences that are to follow. 

    In my defense, I must explain that I started a three month internship at Groupon UK as a creative writer in May, and have now secured a permanent position (yay!) As great as this is, never before did I appreciate just how much having a full time job and lengthy commute into London zaps up pretty much all of your time and energy. Oh for the uni days of getting up at noon, dreaming up outfits all day long, writing whenever the moment took me and attending the occasional lecture or Zumba class...it would be pretty safe to say that leaving the house at 7.40 in the morning and not getting back until 7.30 at night has made it a little difficult to find the time for this blog. However, in my moments of rest, the ideas have been brewing, words have been dancing tantalisingly in my head and my pink lap top has been calling...and so I am determined to make time to get in at least one post a week, and to get back to doing what I love most: writing about fashion. In an attempt to spice things up a bit and motivate myself not to return to my blogging days of silence, I have given the blog a bit of a makeover, which I think is a little more fresh. Please let me know what you think :-) Anyway, that's enough rabbiting on about that, so here's a pretty picture to get things started, and then let's get on to the important stuff...

     MAC Barbie-themed ad campaign 

    So. Having reflected recently on my love for sequins, metallics and all things that sparkle, I have come to the conclusion that I perhaps lean a little towards Barbie-like tendencies of dressing. Now, don’t get me wrong - you won’t catch me wearing a vomit pink Big Brother contestant-style outfit complete with an OTT spray tan any time soon, but lately, I’ve been rather inspired by this whole notion of ‘Vintage Barbie’. It was actually a fellow Lookbooker and blogger (the very stylish Zee F from http://zizziswardrobe.blogspot.com/">ZiZi's Secret Wardrobe who I am going to credit for coming up with the phrase. After Zee very kindly commented on a photo I'd put up of myself in a black sequin vintage shift dress, over-sized doll lashes and bright pink lips, pointing out that the look was rather 'vintage Barbie,' the term stuck with me and I realised just how much it sums up the kind of style that is giving me the fashion goosebumps right now.

    As Barbie can be perceived as the very epitome of conventionality and even female objectification, it would seem odd that she is now a figure that I can draw inspiration from, given that her stereotypical, busty/blonde/skinny brand of beauty is one that the media constantly shoves down our throats, and which causes both women and men to aspire to a narrow-minded ideal of what it means to be beautiful. That said, there is simply something about Barbie and her mannequin-like perfection and overt 'girliness' that I belive can be used in an ironic sense to inspire, and to create something that is actually entirely fresh. Take Lily Allen in her ironic 'chav' get up, that she made her trademark when she first erupted onto the music scene, and which still inspires artists today like Gaga and Jessie J. Huge gold hoop earrings and thick ghetto-tastic chains fresh from the Argos catalogue may scream 'tacky' when teamed with a lurid-hued velour tracksuit or when adorning the lobes and neck of Vicky Pollard, but when taken and worn in the whimsical, fun, self-aware wat that Brits are so good at (in my opinion), it becomes something quite different indeed. Take Agyness Deyn, who arguably reinvented the whole 'bottle blonde' look, using her eccentric, urchin style to take it from page three glamour-model territory to the ultimate in quirky cool. You can't swing a beaten-up vintage satchel these days without knocking over sereval peroxide-blonde hipsters, who all manage to make the look contemporary with edgy hair styles, bold make up and nonchalantly thrown on faux-furs, battered leathers or studded denim jackets.  

    Speaking of bleach-begotten hair colours, I am currently obsessed with the idea of bleaching my hair blonde and dying it a pale, pastel pink. It is simply a fear of ruining the condition of the hair I have been painstakingly growing and caring for for the last four years that stops me (plus the fact that my hair is dyed bright red, and naturally brown.) However, I have never been more inspired by Polly-Pocket shades of softly falling curls and tumbling waves, and I highly suspect that by 2012, I'll be welcoming in the new year by finally succumbing to the bleach bottle.   

    Therefore, for all the above reasons, I am currently fascinated by the look of overtly girly, plastic-fantastic elements like bubble gum pink lips teamed with a vintage edginess that takes the look from WAG to cool. Think platinum blonde locks tied into a perky pony, teamed with luminous pale skin and the bedimmed glamour of a tarnished gold trophy jacket. If it’s inspiration you seek, look no further than blogger and Lookbooker Bonnie Strange from http://www.strangeambition.com/">Strange Ambition, whose stunning photography and crazy, sequin-spangled get-ups have me longing to raid her wardrobe and, well, just actually be her. Or, behold the dolly mixture-hued, glittery creations that are Miu Miu’s glitter boots. I kid you not when I say that never have I experienced shoe lust quite like this before. The pastel toned paillettes overlapping scale-like in Prada’s ad campaigns have got me feeling all mermaid Barbie, whilst the softly shimmering diamond-patterned knee-highs call to mind the teenage nostalgia of Clueless. That's not to mention the advert featuring a fresh-faced young model descending a staircase littered with cascades of candy-coloured glitter boots, which literally makes my heart flutter. So, it appears that irony is the key here folks; mixing up a bit of Malibu Barbie's unashamed girliness with a sprinkling of fun, tounge-in-cheek humour, 1980s vintage magic and all-out British eccentricity, Barbie can be allowed out of her dream house and let loose to wander the streets and catwalks ...                

    And here are the pictures: 

    The look that sparked my vintage Barbie fascination...

    Nicki Minaj- the embodiment of hip hop Barbie
    I personally think Patsy is a shining source of vintage Barbie inspiration

    Mac models exhibiting doll-like perfection and the Barbie and Asos collaboration from a few years back

    Marina Diamandis from Marina and The Diamonds, my official new style crush. Here she is at London Fashion Week looking like perfect vintage candy-floss 
    Photography from the AMAZING Bonnie Strange, taken from her photography blog:
    http://www.strangeambition.com/ If you haven't checked it out yet, do so immediately!
     Another of Bonnie's amazing pics- I want her blue hair so much!
    Picture from an unknown source, but one which I think perfectly demonstrates the vintage Barbie look.



    My own interpretation of 80s vintage Barbie (PS check out my new gold Toppers nail polish!)
    Below are some of Prada's ad campaigns featuring the adored glitter boots, diamond socks and pailette-covered dresses, as well as a random blue hair picture I found and a lovely picture of girls laughing and carrying clothes and balloons. To me, it captures the unashamed girliness of Barbie and the nostalgia of female adolescence.  I would actually wear that picture on a T shirt.







              Soundtrack to your workday.        
    …..Because we are the starring actors in our own biopics. Unless you work in a sound controlled environment, a little background music can go a long way in setting the mood for some workin’.   Now, obviously different work environments would have different options in terms of suitable songs, but following these generic principles can help
              Windswept Meadows and Mermaid Vibes        
    Having fallen fully in love with Topshop's Snake Valley collection, I have been filled lately with the desire to throw on a fringed kimono over a tye-dye tee, add heaps of sparkling turquoise jewels and gold gypsy- style chains, shake down my hair, dance through the pine-scented forests and run in open fields beneath a flaming pink sky. This seems like a perfect plan, apart from a few teeeeny drawbacks. Firstly, the sky here is currently more of a dark, menacing grey or just an open, freezing white than flaming pink, and I don't think there are any pine forests in my neck of the woods, and if there are , the air is not warm and summery and sweetly scented. It's more icy cold and full of those little flecks which you're not quite sure weather are rain, snow, or something in between. Here lies my problem. My head is full of warmth, summer rain, bare feet in the sand and dream catcher earrings. The English weather,on the other hand, calls more for wooly hats, scarves and furs. Oh-and don't forget brollies. If it rains in the summer while you're camping by the sea, you can just stroll through the downpour, (in theory) letting the pretty rain drops fall all around you, adding to the wavy beachy-ness of your tousled do. If it rains in winter, however, you simply freeze.

    So, to avoid this problem (sort of), I decided that I could work the look with added layers of knitwear, my fur coat, chunky winter boots and black opaques. Therefore, I decided to treat myself to a new outfit from Topshop's Snake Valley collection, which I can wear in the summer but which can also be styled up for colder weather. Another thing I've been dying to try for a while now is coloured streaks in my hair. I used to wear pink spray-in streaks when I was fifteen and I loved it, and have always secretly hoped I'd be able to rock them again one day without looking like a fifteen-year old circa 2004. Just lately, colourful cartoon-esque wigs have been seen on everyone from Katy Perry to Nikki Minaj, and coloured streaks were worn in the models' hair in the Topshop SS 11 campaign. Not to mention my beautiful friend Bee, who has been working electric blue streaks for as long as I've known her, and has now moved on to shocking purple (you go girl!) Every time I see a new celeb rocking a bright colbolt wig or pastel pink do, I fall in love with the look a hundred times more. I decided that my favourite colour, pink, wouldn't quite work with my red hair (although I will still give it a try!), so I decided on blue as the perfect compliment for my amber locks. Today, I headed straight for boots to buy my 'Azure Blue' coloured hairspray. Yay!     

    Just to make me adore this look even more- to me, blue and green ocean hues worn in beachy, mussed- up hair scream 'mermaid'. Ever since I can remember, I have always had a strong fascination with these imaginary beauties of the sea, and have always been enthralled by the ocean. It may have started with Disney's 'A Little Mermaid.' Nothing can inspire me quite the way the ocean can- the sound, the smell, the atmosphere that seems to hang around it, it's hypnotic, compelling, powerful beauty. Being near the sea makes me want to write about it, paint it, draw it, take pictures of it...and basically just become a mermaid. But seriously, I once read a book when I was eleven, called 'Daughter of the Sea', by Berlie Doherty. I found it in the year six book box at school, and fell in love with the first line. It begins: 'My tale is of the sea.' Wow. STILL gives me chills. Anyway, I hungrily devoured the book within a matter of hours and begged my mum to buy it for me, which she did. I still read it every few years. The story is about a little girl who is a Selke- a seal who can shed her silken skin and walk upon the land as a human. However, the sea will always run in her veins. Selke's feel the very ebb and flow of the tide within them, whenever they are on land, they long with all their hearts for the sea. One night, a childless fisherman, caught in a hideous storm, sees a baby in the water, thinking she must have come from a wreaked ship, and that she will surely be dead. The man fishes the child from the sea, finding that she is alive and well, and takes her home to his barren wife.  The wife is overcome with joy, and together they raise the sea-child as if she were their own, always afraid that one day the sea will claim her back. They name her Gioga, after the name of a sea-princess from a folk-tale. The narrative is woven with local myths and stories and tales of the sea in the far North of England, and the language itself seems to imitate the rushing sound of the tide, and whisper to you of shells and ships and Selkes and ship-wreaks. Ever since then, the sea has lived inside my head. The haunting tales and startling imagery of jagged black rocks and ferocious towers of sea spray  have stayed with me, and are called instantly to mind when ever I am near to the ocean. Seriously, EVERYONE should read this book.

    Anyway, before I go any more off tangent, I think that blue-streaked, mythical hair really adds a mermaid-y, sea-princess vibe to the snake valley look, and gives it that little touch of under-water magic. Here are some photos which capture the blue hair/mermaid vibe I am SO into right now:
        Katy Perry
    STUNNING picture that I found when I googled 'mermaids'.
    Amber Rose carries off the trend with a hip-hop edge
     
    Serious mermaid vibes. Oh GaGa, how I adore you.
    The oh-so-fabulous Nicki Minaj. She amazes me with both her music and her style.
    Found this when I googled 'blue hair.' Wow. Words cannot describe...

    I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this look. Am I brave enough to try it..? Hm, maybe only in celeb-land!


    My gorgeous friend Bee!

    So, moving on, here are some pics of me modeling the Snake-Valley/ mermaid look in a local park/woodland area. To my extreme happiness, my boyfriend has just bought an amazing new camera, as I've wanted a really decent camera to take professional pictures for this blog for absolutely forever. Unfortunately, neither of us knows the first thing about photography or how to use this amazing camera at the moment- but we are going to try and find out. We're hoping to take a short photography course, and still need to attack the manual (which is like a textbook) so please forgive the extreme amateur-ness of these photos- I just couldn't wait to give it a go and have an experiment! I hope you like them!

     
    Love and kisses, The Porcelain Princess xxx
              Breezy Summer Days in White        

    When I first saw these stunning pictures of Simone Rocha's SS11 collection on the popular style blog Love Aesthetics, I guess you could say that I had something of a fashion Proustian moment. In case you don't know, (as I didn't until recently when we did this at uni) a Proustian moment or memory is when something you encounter evokes recollections of the past without conscious effort. In other words, involuntary memory. It could be caused by a smell (the most powerful evocation of memory that we have), a taste, or just anything that triggers off a sense of powerful, unexpected memory or recollection. The term was coined by the French author Marcel Proust. It's like when you catch a whiff of perfume or aftershave that your ex used to wear, and suddenly you are overcome with the feelings that you had when you were with that person, and you feel as though you are right back in that time, in that compartmentalized  memory inside your head that you thought you'd closed the chapter on, that you thought was well and truly preserved as merely a memory, that you'd never have to revisit again. It's like you jumped right back into a photograph from the past, and just for that one moment, when you can smell that fragrance, the past is alive again, and you are there, back in that time, feeling that onslaught of forgotten emotions, back in that place you thought you'd put way back on a dusty shelf in your memory, far in the recesses of your mind.

    Well, seeing these photos didn't exactly give off the fragrance of youth or the taste of childhood, but they did take me back to a time, in that summer in 2006 that I mentioned in 'Acid Brights and Summer Rain', when I had an all-white outfit that I accessorized with bright, fuchsia pink lips. I think that that summer was so special to me, not just because it was a time of happiness and of hazy, adolescent dreaming, but because it was also around the time that I really started to discover real fashion. Before that, I had always been a tall, skinny, insecure teen who thought that 'fashion' meant piling on as much bronzer as I could, getting out as much flesh as was decently possible, and trying my absolute hardest to look like the 'popular' girls in school. It was when I got to the age of seventeen that I started to question this desperate desire to blend into the crowd and look like everybody else.

    I had discovered Sex and the City at the age of sixteen, and had watched, awed, as Carrie pranced the streets in tutus, outrageous hats, look-at-me knee-high socks and sometimes even ball gowns, with a confidence that made it seem like she owned the city. I had discovered Dita Von Teese, and realized that not only did staying out of the sun and remaining pale-skinned prevent you from premature aging and skin cancer, but also that it was beautiful. Watching shows like America's Next Top model and reading fashion magazines had taught me that being tall wasn't something to be ashamed of, and for the first time, I gave in to my love of heels. Before that, I'd only ever worn flat shoes, and would sometimes even stoop so that I was more the same height as my friends. It also taught me that beauty comes in many, many forms. Weather you're black, white, tanned, skinny, curvy, blonde or brunette, you can find your own way to be beautiful. For the first time in my life, I realized that fashion wasn't about making boys like you or fitting in, it was about being yourself, and most of all- having fun.

    I reveled in my new discoveries and growing confidence that summer. I tried new things and dared myself to step out of my comfort zone. I stopped being ashamed of what I'd previously seen as 'flaws' and finally learned to embrace my differences. The models on the pages of my copies of Vogue were tall, willowy and ethereal in their beauty- to me, they looked like something right out of a different world.  I wanted their perfect confidence, their grace and their ability to stand out on the page and make the clothes come alive. It was the first time I learned to take risks, and to try and stand out like my beautiful Vogue models. Sometimes I got it horrendously wrong, and people would laugh at me (like the time I cured my hair into ridiculously tight ringlets that bounced with my every step- BIG mistake) but at least I can look back now and say that I wasn't boring.

    That summer I remember reading in Vogue or Elle that lipstick was making a comeback. I was so excited by the idea of wearing bold, matte colour on my lips, that was so different from the translucent, shiny lip-gloss I was used to wearing throughout my teens. I remember reading about how you should team your bold, fuchsia lipstick with pale skin, powdered to perfection, and a lick of black mascara for a fresh, minimalist take, and the words to me sounded like poetry. I remember telling my best friend about it in a random, old man pub we'd managed to sneak into one summer night, and how she laughed and told me I was talking too loud because I was drunk, and that everyone was looking at me sitting there raving about pink lipstick.

    The Simone Rochas SS11 collection reminded me of the bright pink of that lipstick, and an all- white outfit I'd picked out to perfectly compliment the look. I had teamed together little white shorts from Zara, and a long, flowing, white top from Topshop that swung in the summer breeze when I walked.  Seeing the Simone Rochas SS11 collection and the white with neon pink accents makes me recall that summer with a perfect clarity. The heat, the freedom, the excitement, and the feeling of being just seventeen years old like the Dancing Queen, and of having the whole world at my feet.

    This summer, I cannot wait to re-rock this look. Here are some more images that are inspiring me right now:
    The beautiful Carrie in the first SATC movie


    Classic Carrie in a white vintage- looking sundress. I want her sun parasol!

    Carrie in the opening scene of SATC 2



    I love the way the Simone Rochas collection is made up of simplistic, deconstructed pieces layered under gauzy, billowy fabrics with pops of fluorescent pink accessories in futuristic shapes and plasticky materials (pink plastic box bag, I covet thee.) The collection was inspired by traditional Chinese mourning, when everyone wears white. Simone Rochas described in an interview how "I visited my grandad’s grave in Hong Kong and it was stark white but had highlighted flowers and that’s where I got the colourful accessories from and the pink clothes. It’s tough but with a feeling of romance." (If you want to read more of this interview, go to http://love-aesthetics.blogspot.com)

    Although this idea may seem slightly creepy, I actually think that it's kind of beautiful, if you think about mourning as a way of showing love and respect to lost loved ones. I like the idea so much more than wearing black. There's a purity to wearing white and decorating graves in bright, cheerful pink that to me seems to be more of a celebration of the person's life and your love for them than just sadness at their passing. I think the idea behind this collection is really unusual and beautiful- what do you think?

    It wasn't just at Simone Rocha that white clothes were seen on the runway. White was also seen at Dolche & Gabbana and Stella McCartney.
      I love the floaty sheer dresses, pretty white cotton bloomer shorts and puff-sleeved blouses as seen at Dolche & Gabbana.
    Long fluid silhouettes were seen in white at Stella McCartney.

    Since I first read the Simone Rochas post on Love Aesthetics, I've been scouring the internet for pieces I can buy to take on the look. They're just ideas at the moment so I can decide what to buy come summer. Here's what I've found so far...





    All the above are from www.topshop.com
    white vintage dress from www.rokit.co.uk


    Also from www.rokit.co.uk

    I love these sunnies, from www.topshop.com

    I've not managed to find many bright pink accessories yet, but I'm on the hunt! Come summer, I'll be strolling down memory lane in some of my bright pink lippy, for some more of those breezy summer days in white...

    Please comment and let me know what you think :-)
    The Porcelain Princess xoxoxo
              All That Glitters...        
    It is my personal belief, that deep down inside every woman, there lies a secretly burning passion for all things that sparkle. After all, isn't that  why diamonds are a girl's best friend? I believe that deep down within even the most tomboyish of girls, there is a secret lust for things that twinkle, things that shimmer, things that sparkle, shine, glitter and gleam. No? Okay, just me then...

    But seriously, ever since I was a little girl, I've been obsessed with glitter. I recall this one time, when one of my oldest friends (that means you, Leah Rossi!) and I sat in my bathroom, when we were about ten or eleven years old, collecting together all the glitter in my house that we could find. We collected up hair glitter, sparkly body spray, glittery mascara, glitter nail polish, glittery talc, shimmer face powder, you name it (remember all that 90's/early 00's stuff?)

    We sampled each of the products, spraying them and puffing them and squeezing them and what have you over the bath, so that it wouldn't go all over the floor, and analysing the different types of glitter. We decided to categorize the different types, to see which was the best. There was glitter with huge shiny bits in it, glitter in tiny particles that gave more of a subtle, shimmery effect...I can still smell the glitter spray now, heady and gluey and with that note of excitement and anticipation on it- it was the spray I put on whenever I was going to a school disco or a year six birthday party or to one of my parents' big new year's eve bashes. I think we thought we were glitter scientists or something. Leah, if you are reading this, you probably don't even recall this weird random memory, but you know what I'm like for having a freakishly good memory when it comes to this stuff! It reminds me of a time even further back, when Leah and I decided to paint all the china ornaments in my room with my gold glittery nail varnish, and the times we used to make 'gems' out of lumps of wet toilet paper left to dry and coloured in with felt-tipped pens and painted with the same glittery nail polish (now I know you remember that!)

    Well, weather or not anyone else shares this particular magpie tendency of mine (and Leah's!) to want to squeal with delight at the sight of glitter, that's what's got me all girlishly excited about my latest look. I'm calling it 'all that glitters' (another Sex and the City Reference, for any of those equally geekily obsessed fans among you). It all started with the outfit that I put together on one of my previous posts, the one with the pink sequined top and the leopard print heels (which I have now bought, and can't WAIT to wear out!) I loved the way the sequins on the top looked like those pink edible cake sparkles you can buy, and the way they winked and flashed and twinkled like stars in the light with my every tiny movement...

    I also adored the soft pale pink of it, and the combination of the sparkles and the girlish pastel hue. So, when I came across this GORGEOUS little vintage gem on my travels in Greenwich a few days later, I simply couldn't get it out of my head.

                                              (here is is, pictured with the pink Topshop top)

    I was browsing the rails in The Vintage Emporium, to see if there was anything that caught my eye, when I glimpsed it, twinkling softly in the dusty light. It was a pale, mint green, sixties style top, which also happened to be sparkly (insert inward screams of delight). I held it up to myself in the mirror and noticed that it went perfectly with my skin tone and hair colour (don't you just LOVE making those discoveries?) but then quickly told myself that I didn't need yet ANOTHER little sparkly top. I moved on to the next shop, The Beehive, which is a total treasure trove of affordable vintage pieces (not to mention owned by the most lovely, friendly, beautiful lady whom I spent a good long while chatting to about all things fashion) and ended up buying an eighties-tastic jumper, featuring a similar colour of green (which I have been living in all week- thanks Beehive!)

    That weekend, I simply couldn't make myself forget the darling little mint green top. It danced tantalizingly in front of my eyes inside my head, calling to me in a sound like crystals twinkling and clinking together (I know I'm getting totally carried away now, but I really did love the top). So, today I went back to The Vintage Emporium and bought it. Did I mention that it was only £15?? Total bargain, I know!

    It goes perfectly with the other stuff I bought to go with the pink Topshop top, so that's two outfits I have yet to wear out! In addition to this, I also decided I needed a cream fur coat to complete the outfit, and found this beauty on ebay, which I won (yay!) and which was delivered today:
     

    Don't you just love it!? It's real rabbit fur and sooo luxuriously soft and snuggly. I would just like to point out, that although I would never condone the purchase of new fur, this coat is vintage and therefore second hand. Hence, wearing it is actually a form of recycling, and if no one wore it, it would only be rotting away in some landfill somewhere, polluting the planet. ANYWAY.

    The pretty ice cream shades of the tops and the coat got me thinking about Tavi's fantastic Valley of the Dolls posts that I've recently read. If you want to check it out, go to:
    http://www.thestylerookie.com/
    For anyone who doesn't already know this-Tavi is amazing. Her blog was one of the main things that inspired me to start this. But getting back to my main point, her post was inspired by the 1966 novel, Valley of the Dolls, which was turned into a film in 1967. I have yet to actually see the film (it's on my list of fashionable things to watch, along with The Taxi Driver, which apparently is the film to channel for the current on-trend seventies vibe) but I've seen pictures from it, and am loving the pretty, innocent but plastic doll-like look that's going on. The look is all about pastels, candy colours, pretty-girl makeup and a kind of creepy doll-like perfection. Think of the candy-coloured houses in Edward Scissorhands (Tavi also references this in her post- I give her full credit for it- although I've always loved that image anyway!)

    To complete the all-that-glitters-meets-Valley-of-the-Dolls-look that I'm loving right now, I also bought two gorgeous Barry M lipsticks, one in an amazingly bright, shocking, almost fluorescent pink, and one in a beautiful pale chalky coral. I love the totally matte texture of the lipsticks combined with the intense, opaque quality of the colours. I have searched high and low for a reeeaally bright pink lipstick with a totally matte finish, and this is the first one I've found. Thanks Barry M!

    I am planning on wearing this look with fun, unexpected twists like leopard print (cue my new heels!), garishly bright lipstick and flashy, gold vintage jewelery to give it a trashy/fun/glam edge. And of course, extra long, doll-like lashes. Pictures of me wearing the outfits will follow (I want you to see them with the full benefit of my two hours of pampering, hair and makeup that I will do when I actually wear them out!)

    Here are some pictures that I feel capture the girly/glam vibe of the all that glitters look with it's Valley of the Dolls feel...enjoy!
     My magpie collection of sparkly tops! From left: vintage from ebay, vintage from ebay, vintage from Rokit, vintage from a shop in Whitechapel, vintage from The Vintage Emporium Greenwich, and Topshop.

     My pretty ice cream shaded tops go perfectly with my gold vintage bag from Rokit which I have actually worn to death!
    (clockwise from top) bracelet: Topshop, cuff: Topshop, earrings: from a charity shop in Hunstanton, earrings: also from charity shop in Hunstanton, ring: Topshop, necklace: vintage from Greenwich Market (only 99p!)

    My Barry M lipsticks, Topshop glitter, Benefit eyeshadow and Mac eyeshadow. Tutti-fruitti shades like this were seen all over the SS11 catwalks!

                                      I <3 Dolly Mixtures! xxx

      Glitter is a girl's best friend...
                                                     The Valley of the Dolls Look
    Hope you enjoyed the post, and please feel free to leave any comments! Have a sparkly day...

    The Porcelain Princes
    XOXO
              Avoiding Holiday Woes!        

    Avoiding Holiday Woes! The holidays are here and over-eating is upon us! So how do we prevent ourselves from over indulging? We can still have many of the things we enjoy with a little will power. Granted, that sounds easier said than done but through some quick research follow these tips and eat your way […]

    The post Avoiding Holiday Woes! appeared first on .


              Mathe spricht wieder / NMS Hainburgerstraße Klassen 2A/2B        
    SchülerInnen der 2B und 2B aus der NMS Hainburgerstraße stellen mathematische Grundbegriffe vor. Präsentiert werden die Themen Symmetrie, Raute, Koordinatensystem (‚Schulumbegungs-Geografie‘), Parallelogramm und Deltoid. Die Sendung ist gleichzeitig Soundtrack des audiovisuellen Projekts MATH>SPEAKS, in welchem SchülerInnen mit und ohne Fluchterfahrung gemeinsam mathematische Grundbegriffe erklären. Das Projekt an der NMS Hainburgerstraße wurde von KulturKontakt Austria und […]
              Mathe spricht / NMS Hörnesgasse        
    SchülerInnen der 1A aus der NMS Hörnesgasse stellen mathematische Grundbegriffe vor. Präsentiert werden die Themen Brüche, Pyramide, Dreieck, Rechenvorschriften, Kugel und Gleichungen. Die Sendung ist gleichzeitig Soundtrack des audiovisuellen Projekts MATH>SPEAKS, in welchem SchülerInnen mit und ohne Fluchterfahrung gemeinsam mathematische Grundbegriffe erklären. Das Projekt an der NMS Hörnesgasse wurde von KulturKontakt Austria und von der […]
              Mathe spricht (schon) wieder / NMS Hainburgerstraße        
    SchülerInnen der 1B aus der NMS Hainburgerstraße stellen mathematische Grundbegriffe vor.