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NBA's Stern scolds Christie on sports bet effort

NBA's Stern scolds Christie on sports bet effort
Christie and said New Jersey "has no idea what it's doing" by seeking to allow sports betting in the state in a deposition published Friday in the ongoing legal battle between the governor, the four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA. Stern …
Read more on Yahoo! News (blog)

HRIC Urges Release of Liu Xiaobo, Presents Translation to Mark Peace Prize
News blackout and the indifference of society as a whole enabled the CPC to successfully carry out suppressive tactics that nipped any organized civil forces in the bud. Outside of China … During the Cultural Revolution, there were Yu Luoke (遇罗克 …
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Perfect town for marijuana venue?
With the passage of Amendment 64, the stage is set for new businesses to bud. McDonald, who credits medical marijuana for his comeback from kidney cancer, is poised to capitalize. He's naming the venue Mary Jane's at Stoner, in honor of Mary Jane, a …
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KNOW WHO YOUR CZARS ARE –ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU SICK —ONLY OBAMA COULD CREATE POSITIONS FOR THESE INCOMPENTENT COMMUNISTS AND SOCIALISTS
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Image by SS&SS
ARTWORK BY ROB SMITH JR.COM

Stunning……

There are very few of us who know just what all the CZAR’s do up in D.C……………..Here is their names and job descriptions…….should be educational to ALL AMERICANS…………no matter what your political agenda……if you resent this list, then get angry at the one who put these characters on the payroll. And not at the one who posted it

OBAMA’S "CZARS"– Read who they are and realize what they want to do.

Richard Holbrooke
AfghanistanCzar
Ultra liberal anti gun former Gov. Of New Mexico. Pro Abortion and legal drug use.

Dissolve the 2nd Amendment

Ed Montgomery
Auto recovery Czar
Black radical anti business activist. Affirmative Action and Job Preference for blacks. Univ of Maryland Business School Dean teaches US business has caused world poverty. ACORN board member. Communist DuBois Club member.

Jeffrey Crowley
AIDS Czar
Radical Homosexual.. A Gay Rights activist. Believes in Gay Marriage and especially, a Special Status for homosexuals only, including complete free health care for gays.

Alan Bersin
Border Czar
The former failed superintendent of San Diego . Ultra Liberal friend of Hilary Clinton. Served as Border Czar under Janet Reno – to keep borders open to illegals without interference from US

David J. Hayes
California Water Czar
Sr. Fellow of radical environmentalist group, "Progress Policy". No training or experience in water management whatsoever.

Ron Bloom
Car Czar
Auto Union worker. Anti business & anti nuclear. Has worked hard to force US auto makers out of business. Sits on the Board of Chrysler which is now Auto Union owned. How did this happen?

Dennis Ross
Central Region Czar
Believes US policy has caused Mid East wars. Obama apologist to the world. Anti gun and completely pro abortion.

Lynn Rosenthal
Domestic Violence Czar
Director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. Vicious anti male feminist. Supported male castration.Imagine?

Gil Kerlikowske
Drug Czar
devoted lobbyist for every restrictive gun law proposal, Former Chief of Police in Liberal Seattle. Believes no American should own a firearm. Supports legalization of all drugs

Paul Volcker
E conomicCzar
Head of Fed Reserve under Jimmy Carter when US economy nearly failed. Obama appointed head of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board which engineered the Obama economic disaster to US economy. Member of anti business "Progressive Policy" organization

Carol Brower
Energy and Environment Czar
Political Radical Former head of EPA – known for anti-business activism. Strong anti-gun ownership.

Joshua DuBois
Faith Based Czar
Political Black activist-Degree in Black Nationalism. Anti gun ownership lobbyist. WHAT THE HELL DOES A FAITH BASED CZAR DO???????????

Cameron Davis
Great LakesCzar
Chicago radical anti business environmentalist. Blames George Bush for "Poisoning the water that minorities have to drink." No experience or training in water management. Former ACORN Board member (what does that tell us?)

Van Jones
Green Jobs Czar
(since resigned).. Black activist Member of American communist Party and San Francisco Communist Party who said Geo Bush caused the 911 attack and wanted Bush investigated by the World Court for war crimes. Black activist with strong anti-white views.

Daniel Fried
Guantanamo Closure Czar
Human Rights activist for Foreign Terrorists. Believes America has caused the war on terrorism. Believes terrorists have rights above and beyond Americans.

Nancy-Ann DeParle.
Health Czar
Former head of Medicare / Medicaid. Strong Health Care Rationing proponent. She is married to a reporter for The New York Times.

Vivek Kundra
Information Czar
Born in New Delhi , India . Controls all public information, including labels and news releases. Monitors all private Internet emails. (hello?)

Todd Stern
International Climate Czar
Anti business former White House chief of Staff- Strong supportrer of the Kyoto Accord. Pushing hard for Cap and Trade. Blames US business for Global warming. Anti- US business prosperity.

Dennis Blair
Intelligence Czar
Ret. Navy. Stopped US guided missile program as "provocative". Chair of ultra liberal "Council on Foreign Relations" which blames American organizations for regional wars.

George Mitchell
Mideast Peace Czar
Fmr. Sen from Maine Left wing radical. Has said Israel should be split up into "2 or 3 " smaller more manageable plots". (God forbid) A true Anti-nuclear anti-gun & pro homosexual "special rights" advocate

Kenneth Feinberg
Pay Czar
Chief of Staff to TED KENNEDY. Lawyer who got rich off the 911 victims payoffs. (horribly true)

Cass Sunstein
Regulatory Czar
"common gLiberal activist judge believes free speech needs to be limited for the good". Essentially against 1st amendment. Rules against personal freedoms many times -like private gun ownership and right to free speech. This guy has to be run out of Washington!!

John Holdren
Science Czar
Fierce ideological environmentalist, Sierra Club, Anti business activist. Claims US business has caused world poverty. No Science training.

Earl Devaney
Stimulus Accountability Czar
Spent career trying to take guns away from American citizens. Believes in Open Borders to Mexico . Author of statement blaming US gun stores for drug war in Mexico .

J. Scott Gration
Sudan Czar
Native of Democratic Republic of Congo . Believes US does little to help Third World countries. Council of foreign relations, asking for higher US taxes to support United Nations

Herb Allison
TARP Czar
Fannie Mae CEO responsible for the US recession by using real estate mortgages to back up the US stock market. Caused millions of people to lose their life savings.

John Brennan
Terrorism Czar
Anti CIA activist. No training in diplomatic or gov. affairs. Believes Open Borders to Mexico and a dialog with terrorists and has suggested Obama disband US military A TOTAL MORON!!!!!

Aneesh Chopra
Technology Czar
No Technology training. Worked for the Advisory Board Company, a health care think tank for hospitals. Anti doctor activist. Supports Obama Health care Rationing and salaried doctors working exclusively for the Gov. health care plan

Adolfo Carrion Jr..
Urban Affairs Czar
Puerto Rican born Anti American activist and leftist group member in Latin America . Millionaire "slum lord" of the Bronx , NY. Owns many lavish homes and condos which he got from "sweetheart" deals with labor unions. Wants higher taxes on middle class to pay for minority housing and health care

Ashton Carter
Weapons Czar
Leftist. Wants all private weapons in US destroyed. Supports UN ban on firearms ownership in America .. No Other "policy"

Gary Samore
WMD Policy Czar
Former US Communist. Wants US to destroy all WMD unilaterally as a show of good faith. Has no other "policy".

AND HERE’S A LINK THAT EXPLAINS WHY ALL THESE PEOPLE WERE APPOINTED TO THESE POSTS ——–PURE AND SIMPLE
www.flickr.com/photos/sandiandsteve/4854305144/

Dan Fogelberg (1951 – 2007)
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Image by guano
Dan Fogelberg, local boy here (central Illinois) passes away on Beethoven’s birthday. I used to sing Dan’s songs “Face the Fire” and "There’s a Place in the World for a Gambler" when I was learning guitar. “Face the Fire” was his anti-nuclear anthem, after the Three Mile Island accident.

In 1980 I saw Dan up close, playing for 150,000 anti-nuke activists on the capital lawn in Washington DC. He had changed the chorus of “Gambler” into a solar power thing. Everyone was singing along “Let it shine, oh let it shine” with our arms swaying in the air. He kept repeating the chorus and we wereall singing along so that Jimmy Carter could hear us in the White House.

The WHOLE CROWD was swaying back and forth with our arms in the air, and the place was packed like sardines. At the end of the song, people had moved forward towards the stage and we discovered were so tightly together that we couldn’t get our arms back down. We were laughing, couldn’t find a place to bring down one elbow at a time. It was cosmic. Thank you for that moment, Dan! You were a soldier in the environmental army. The Earth will miss ya.

Prostate cancer got Dan at age 56. Prostate is the number one cancer for American men, ahead of colon cancer and lung cancer. It got Zappa in 1993 at age 52, and I started eating healthy salads in his honor. Stan Musial is hanging on with prostate cancer at age 87. They say when younger men get prostate cancer, it is much more virulent.

I heard that the body naturally makes a chemical that protects against prostate cancer, and about 10% of men have a deficiency in that chemical, which puts them at greater risk. This chemical is also found in the cruciferous vegetables; broccoli, radish, and cauliflower. For 14 years now I have been eating what I call a “Zappa Salad” with plenty of radish and cauliflower. I used to add raw broccoli, but I now prefer broccoli steamed with cheese, rather than in my salads.

———————————————-

Here’s the wikipedia bio on Dan…

Daniel "Dan" Grayling Fogelberg (August 13, 1951 – December 16, 2007) was an American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, whose music was inspired by sources as diverse as folk, pop, classical, jazz, and bluegrass music.

Dan Fogelberg, the youngest of Lawrence and Margaret (Young) Fogelberg’s three sons, was born in Peoria, Illinois. His father was a high school band director who spent most of his career at Peoria Woodruff High School and Pekin High School, and his mother was a pianist. (His father would later be the inspiration for the song "Leader of the Band".) Using a Mel Bay course book, Dan taught himself to play a Hawaiian slide guitar his grandfather gave to him; he also learned to play the piano. He started his music career at age 14 when he joined his first band, The Clan, which paid homage to The Beatles. His second band was another cover combo, The Coachmen, which, in 1967, released two singles on Ledger Records: "Maybe Time Will Let Me Forget" and "Don’t Want To Lose Her."

After graduating from Woodruff High School in 1969, he studied theater arts and painting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and began performing as a solo acoustic player in area coffeehouses. There, he was discovered in 1971 by Irving Azoff. Fogelberg and Azoff, who started his music-management career promoting another Illinois act, REO Speedwagon, moved to California to seek their fortunes. Fogelberg became a session musician who played with pop-folk artists like Van Morrison. In 1972, he released his debut album Home Free to lukewarm response. His second effort was much more successful: the 1974 Joe Walsh-produced album Souvenirs and its hit song "Part of the Plan" made him a major star.

Following Souvenirs, Fogelberg released a string of gold and platinum albums Captured Angel in 1975; his masterpiece Nether Lands in 1977 and found commercial success with songs like "The Power of Gold," "The Language of Love," and "Lonely in Love". His 1978 Twin Sons of Different Mothers was the first of two collaborations with jazz flutist Tim Weisberg. 1979′s Phoenix was his most successful with "Longer" which became a wedding standard. The Innocent Age, released in October 1981, reached the peak of critical and popular acclaim. The double album "song cycle" included three of his biggest hits: "Leader of the Band," "Hard To Say," and "Same Old Lang Syne," based on a real-life accidental meeting with a former girlfriend. in 1984 he rocked again with Windows And Walls

In 1985, Fogelberg released High Country Snows. Recorded in Nashville, it showcased his (and some of the industry’s best) talent in the bluegrass genre. Vince Gill, Jerry Douglas, David Grisman, Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen were among those who contributed to the record. in 1987, a return to rock with Exiles then a tribute to Earth preservation with 1990′s Wild Places and 1991′s live Greetings From The West

River of Souls, released in 1993, was Fogelberg’s last studio album for Sony Records. In 1997, Portrait encompassed his career with four discs, each highlighting a different facet of his music: "Ballads," "Rock and Roll," "Tales and Travels" (which displayed his talents as a narrative songwriter) and "Hits." In 1999, he fulfilled a career-long dream of creating a Christmas album called "First Christmas Morning" and, in 2003, Full Circle showcased a return to the folk-influenced, 1970s soft rock-style of music for which he and other singer-songwriters from his era had gained popular recognition.

A very personal songwriter, Fogelberg also used his music to address social issues, among them peace and Native American concerns. He was particularly outspoken about his commitment to the environment and to finding alternatives to nuclear power. To that end, Fogelberg performed at a number of the Musicians United for Safe Energy "No Nukes" concerts in 1979 and 1980.

His live concerts won acclaim across the nation over the years. Fogelberg said that one of his proudest moments came in 1979 when he played at New York’s Carnegie Hall for an audience that included his mother and father. Most summers, Fogelberg would perform with a full band or in a solo acoustic setting; the differing formats allowed the artist to show the breadth and depth of his talent as a singer, guitarist, pianist and bandleader. In 2002, fans showed their appreciation by choosing Fogelberg to be one of the first 10 inductees into the Performers Hall of Fame at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado.

In May 2004, Dan Fogelberg was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. He underwent hormonal therapy and achieved a partial remission, which did not eliminate his cancer, but reduced it and stopped its spread. On August 13, 2005, his 54th birthday, Fogelberg announced the success of his cancer treatments and he thanked fans for their support, but said that he had no immediate plans to return to making music, but was keeping his options open, and enjoying spending time with his wife, musician Jean Fogelberg.

Fogelberg, who, since 1982, lived on Mountain Bird Ranch, 610 acres near Pagosa Springs, Colorado, put the lavishly appointed property up for sale at an asking price of US million.

He lost his battle against cancer on December 16, 2007 at his home in Maine with his wife, Jean, by his side.

* On the September 25, 2006, episode of the NBC show Late Night with Conan O’Brien, O’Brien concluded his discussion of the controversy over Pope Benedict’s public use of a statement by a 14th century Byzantine emperor, and singer Cat Stevens’ reaction to the remarks, with the punchline: "So far, no word yet from Dan Fogelberg. [light laughter, then a pause] He was a singer back in the ’70s."
* Two of his songs have been used in feature films: "There’s a Place in the World for a Gambler" (originally on Souvenirs) can be heard in the 1978 movie FM; and "Times Like These" was used in the 1980 movie Urban Cowboy, a year before it appeared on The Innocent Age.
* In a Bloom County comic strip, the character Lola Granola confesses to having a tattoo of Dan Fogelberg’s face.
* In BASEketball the future owner of "The Beers" refers to Joe Cooper and his generation as fans of Dan Fogelberg.
* Comedian Denis Leary, on his CD "No Cure for Cancer" mentions Dan Fogelberg by saying "Heavy metal bands are on trial because kids commit suicide… Judas Priest on trial because ‘my kid bought the record, and he listened to the lyrics and na na na na na na. Well that’s great! That sets a legal precedent! Does that mean I can sue Dan Fogelberg for making me into a pussy in the mid ’70s? Is that possible? Huh? Huh? Your honor, between him and James Taylor, I didn’t get a blowjob until I was 27 years old!"

Marijuana legalization: States send message, feds aren't listening
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Cannabis II
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Cannabis, also recognized as marijuana[1] or marihuana, or ganja (from Hindi/Sanskrit: गांजा gānjā, hemp),[two] is a psychoactive item of the plant Cannabis sativa, or more usually, Cannabis sativa subsp. indica. The herbal type of the drug consists of dried mature flowers and subtending leaves of pistillate (female) plants. The resinous form, recognized as hashish,[3] consists mainly of glandular trichomes collected from the identical plant material. The key biologically active chemical compound in cannabis is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), generally referred to as THC.
People have been consuming cannabis considering that prehistory,[4] although in the 20th century there was a rise in its use for recreational, religious or spiritual, and medicinal purposes. It is estimated that about 4 percent[5] of the world’s adult population use cannabis annually and .6 percent every day. Cannabis is the world’s most usually employed illegal drug.[6] The possession, use, or sale of psychoactive cannabis products became illegal in most parts of the globe in the early 20th century. Because then, some countries have intensified the enforcement of cannabis prohibition while other individuals have reduced the priority of enforcement.

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Necron warriors on the hill open fire into the approaching hive tyrant
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Image by jon_a_ross
Full battle report here
jon-a-ross.livejournal.com/966006.html

Warhammer battle report Necrons vs Tyranids 1200 points
1200 point annihilation battle Necrons vs. Tyranids, dawn of war deployment. 4th edition tyranid codex against the 4th edition necron codex.

A necron force awakens to find their world has become infested with life. An annoying and aggressive life that needs to be cleansed. The nercon lord arose with his core troops and set an ambush. A monolith and some destroyers would backup the lord should this life force be stronger then what he can deal with.

(turn one)
The alien force themselves was a numerous horde of little clawed beasts and one larger mind leading them toward. The small horde would rush forward towards the nercon lord, ignoring the second group of warriors in their eagerness to rend the nercons. The larger one sprayed some thick acid towards the necron warriors. Three of them started to smoke, as the acid worked its way into their steel breasts. Only one falls as the self repair units are already knitting the others together.

The fallen necron gets back up as the repair units do their job. The tryanid hordes are weaving their way around a number of barriers. These same barriers were now giving the necrons difficultly in cutting them down with their gauss flayers. Only four of the little beasts would be ripped into their individual molecules.

(turn two)
But the screams of the little beasts must have excited the others creatures, as two giant creatures turned towards the necrons. Five larger then man creatures also arrived, acting with more brains then the little ones.

For the necrons however, it was the little ones that were their fixed attention. Two streams of them were flowing around the hill in the center, rushing towards the lord and his bodyguard. Before the little hordes could reach them the large Tyrant splashed more acid upon the warriors, but they were able to ignore such a biological attack with ease.

But as the little horrors reached the warriors, the nercon lord gave the signal to charge in turn. Lightning sparked and jumped between the warriors as they parried bone claws with ageless metal blades. Two warriors find themselves falling to the ground, their limbs removed. Four of the little creatures lay dead upon the ground. Any focus that they had was lost when they rushed and their fear had them flee away from the silent and emotionless warriors.

The necron lord with the cold mechanical skill of a man who has seen more years then a river holds water ordered his troops to cut down the fleeing creatures, wiping them all out.
(Failed leadership tests on the hormagaunt broods who lost combat, sweeping advance successful by the necrons because of the high initiative of the necron lord.)

Even as one of the fallen necron warriors arose, using his fellow fallen warriors head as his own the lord scanned the battlefield. Only nine creatures were out there, but another six in the distance. This battle should be quick indeed. Yet, there was something about the size of the creatures approaching that encouraged the lord to summon his support.

The warriors themselves dug into the ground they held and were prepared to push back the beasts. Fifteen yet unbloodied this battle watch as one large creature with huge claws and a weapon dripping acid approaches. The lord without a word orders his warriors to blast the original large creature. Their shots marked the shell of the creature but otherwise had no effect.

The destroyers also found their shots, for all they had larger gauss weapons, to have no effect upon the beast. The monolith, seeing the lack of success, uses it’s particle whip upon the Tyrant. The blast wounds the tyrant where the lesser weapons had failed.

(Five smaller tyranid warriors will arrive, this group with devourers and a barbed strangler. They join the first tyranid warriors who have deathspitters and a venom cannon. The hive tyrant has scything talons and a venom cannon as well as toxin sacs, bio-plasma and enhanced senses. One Carnifex has crushing claws, tusks, spine banks and a venom cannon. The second has scything talons, spine banks and a barbed strangler. The final carnifex, who doesn’t arrive on turn 3, has two pair of scything talons and bio-plasma.)

Now thirteen large creatures are moving towards the necrons. The large leader once more shoots acid over the warriors, this time two fall under its sticky weight. The one with the claws sprays acid over the monolith, but it is unable to find a crack in the living armour of the necron vehicle. The rest of the tyranid forces just run forward.

The necron force will stand fast to meet them. The gauss weaponry with its unnatural green light lashes out towards the approaching beasts. A beast with two large claws and a seed throwing gun was harmed by both the necron destroyers and the monolith, but it keeps going. The necron warriors led by the necron lord unload into the original large creature, scoring a minor injury for all the guns involved.

(turn four)
The Tryanids themselves kept moving forward. The large creatures all fired with their big guns, one necron warrior falling for their trouble. The little tyranid warriors opened up with their deathspitters and venom cannon on the same necron warriors having four more fall to the ground. The ragged line of the living was approaching the warriors.

The necron destroyers move back a bit as does the monolith. The approaching Tyranids will still have quite a run to get to them, but they are getting very close. The monolith fires into the creatures climbing upon a hill, but even a direct hit fails to kill any of them. (Three wounded) The warriors next to them blast into the clawed creature, but once again only minor wounds are inflicted. The destroyers shoot towards their target, but it refuses to fall. The warriors from their spot on the hill blast the creature that started all the trouble and finally are able to bring it down.

But the creatures are indeed getting close now.

(turn five)
One last large creature, this one all claws, arrives, while the rest move forward. Thirteen shapes remain, with the twelve that are in range all firing upon the necrons instead of running towards them. Two of the necron destroyers are surprised when the seed launched by the taloned beast explodes under them, growing quickly into a twisting vine and pulling them from the air. The same sort of pod grabs a number of the warriors by the meteorites, with another falls to a small slug like creature that was launched as part of a massive volley into them. Four warriors lie fallen, while two destroyers also drop. The necron lords own group weathers the attack much better, now that they know what to expect.

Neither destroyer is able to pull themselves together after their fall, but all the necron warriors get up. The monolith drifts toward, feeling itself indestructible and seeking to end the little creature threat. Between the particle whip and the gauss flux guns along the side four of those warriors on the hill fall, blasted into pieces. The necron warriors attempt to do the same with the large claws beast facing them, but fail to get even a minor wound. The necrons body guarding the necron lord fire into the approaching creatures, killing two for their trouble.

Seven creatures remain, all large and threatening, but perhaps not as much as they were at the start.

(turn six)
The beasts move forward, most blasting with their alien guns. The clawed giant beast melts one of the warriors under the acid spray before crashing into them like a train. The smaller creature on that side misses, perhaps because of the sheer bulk of the beast moving into his line of fire. The taloned beast with the seed pod fires his wide, but still catches the destroyer, only to have this experienced fellow escape damage. The other beasts pouring in kill three more necron warriors with their deathspitters and venom cannon.

The tusked and clawed beast smashing into the necrons had one last secret to share, the rows of spines along its back. One necron warrior gets a face full and falls, while three more are crushed between the claws. They fall into pieces to great to be repaired this battle. The great beast takes a wound from the necrons striking at hit, but otherwise it wins the battle. The fearless necrons see no reason to retreat and thus stay put, attempting to bring it down.

A total of seven warriors have been lost, while there are still seven beasts facing them. The necron lord is growing tired of taking all this damage and gestures a charge forward. The twelve remaining warriors fire into the beasts as they move forward, claiming two of them. The necron lord wounds the last one. The destroyer using his heavy gauss cannon finally strips enough of the matter from the taloned beast to finally bring it down. The monolith uses its guns to slay the final tyranid warrior, while the carnifex goes unharmed. The two scything talons carnifex takes the particle whip and has the wound.

In close combat the clawed beast is too slow to stop a warrior from blasting out a massive chunk of its chest. The rest finish it, reducing it into so many loose strips of flesh.

The two beasts that remain are not much of a problem (game ends.)

I think what did in the tyranids in this battle was the deployment. With only two troop choices on the table at the start it meant they had to pound across the table to get into combat at a disadvantage. Taking such a heavy force towards the large beast side of the scale was perhaps unwise, but with four monstrous targets if they could’ve reached close combat they would have pushed through the necrons in close combat. And once the necrons were reduced to eight people the monolith would no longer be much of a problem.

I was worried actually that the necrons were in trouble when the hormagaunts reached them on turn two. But under the 5th edition rules for close combat, once they lost with their low leadership they were in trouble. Breaking and being destroyed rather then being able to get back into the leadership range of the tyrant cost them.

But that charge is indeed something I would do again, as having the large block of warriors outnumbered and locked in combat slowing being pulled to pieces. I am also thinking of doing a rematch once I have the 5th edition Tyranid codex to see how they compare.

Tyranids closing in on the necrons on both sides
effects of smoking on the brain

Image by jon_a_ross
Full battle report here
jon-a-ross.livejournal.com/966006.html

Warhammer battle report Necrons vs Tyranids 1200 points
1200 point annihilation battle Necrons vs. Tyranids, dawn of war deployment. 4th edition tyranid codex against the 4th edition necron codex.

A necron force awakens to find their world has become infested with life. An annoying and aggressive life that needs to be cleansed. The nercon lord arose with his core troops and set an ambush. A monolith and some destroyers would backup the lord should this life force be stronger then what he can deal with.

(turn one)
The alien force themselves was a numerous horde of little clawed beasts and one larger mind leading them toward. The small horde would rush forward towards the nercon lord, ignoring the second group of warriors in their eagerness to rend the nercons. The larger one sprayed some thick acid towards the necron warriors. Three of them started to smoke, as the acid worked its way into their steel breasts. Only one falls as the self repair units are already knitting the others together.

The fallen necron gets back up as the repair units do their job. The tryanid hordes are weaving their way around a number of barriers. These same barriers were now giving the necrons difficultly in cutting them down with their gauss flayers. Only four of the little beasts would be ripped into their individual molecules.

(turn two)
But the screams of the little beasts must have excited the others creatures, as two giant creatures turned towards the necrons. Five larger then man creatures also arrived, acting with more brains then the little ones.

For the necrons however, it was the little ones that were their fixed attention. Two streams of them were flowing around the hill in the center, rushing towards the lord and his bodyguard. Before the little hordes could reach them the large Tyrant splashed more acid upon the warriors, but they were able to ignore such a biological attack with ease.

But as the little horrors reached the warriors, the nercon lord gave the signal to charge in turn. Lightning sparked and jumped between the warriors as they parried bone claws with ageless metal blades. Two warriors find themselves falling to the ground, their limbs removed. Four of the little creatures lay dead upon the ground. Any focus that they had was lost when they rushed and their fear had them flee away from the silent and emotionless warriors.

The necron lord with the cold mechanical skill of a man who has seen more years then a river holds water ordered his troops to cut down the fleeing creatures, wiping them all out.
(Failed leadership tests on the hormagaunt broods who lost combat, sweeping advance successful by the necrons because of the high initiative of the necron lord.)

Even as one of the fallen necron warriors arose, using his fellow fallen warriors head as his own the lord scanned the battlefield. Only nine creatures were out there, but another six in the distance. This battle should be quick indeed. Yet, there was something about the size of the creatures approaching that encouraged the lord to summon his support.

The warriors themselves dug into the ground they held and were prepared to push back the beasts. Fifteen yet unbloodied this battle watch as one large creature with huge claws and a weapon dripping acid approaches. The lord without a word orders his warriors to blast the original large creature. Their shots marked the shell of the creature but otherwise had no effect.

The destroyers also found their shots, for all they had larger gauss weapons, to have no effect upon the beast. The monolith, seeing the lack of success, uses it’s particle whip upon the Tyrant. The blast wounds the tyrant where the lesser weapons had failed.

(Five smaller tyranid warriors will arrive, this group with devourers and a barbed strangler. They join the first tyranid warriors who have deathspitters and a venom cannon. The hive tyrant has scything talons and a venom cannon as well as toxin sacs, bio-plasma and enhanced senses. One Carnifex has crushing claws, tusks, spine banks and a venom cannon. The second has scything talons, spine banks and a barbed strangler. The final carnifex, who doesn’t arrive on turn 3, has two pair of scything talons and bio-plasma.)

Now thirteen large creatures are moving towards the necrons. The large leader once more shoots acid over the warriors, this time two fall under its sticky weight. The one with the claws sprays acid over the monolith, but it is unable to find a crack in the living armour of the necron vehicle. The rest of the tyranid forces just run forward.

The necron force will stand fast to meet them. The gauss weaponry with its unnatural green light lashes out towards the approaching beasts. A beast with two large claws and a seed throwing gun was harmed by both the necron destroyers and the monolith, but it keeps going. The necron warriors led by the necron lord unload into the original large creature, scoring a minor injury for all the guns involved.

(turn four)
The Tryanids themselves kept moving forward. The large creatures all fired with their big guns, one necron warrior falling for their trouble. The little tyranid warriors opened up with their deathspitters and venom cannon on the same necron warriors having four more fall to the ground. The ragged line of the living was approaching the warriors.

The necron destroyers move back a bit as does the monolith. The approaching Tyranids will still have quite a run to get to them, but they are getting very close. The monolith fires into the creatures climbing upon a hill, but even a direct hit fails to kill any of them. (Three wounded) The warriors next to them blast into the clawed creature, but once again only minor wounds are inflicted. The destroyers shoot towards their target, but it refuses to fall. The warriors from their spot on the hill blast the creature that started all the trouble and finally are able to bring it down.

But the creatures are indeed getting close now.

(turn five)
One last large creature, this one all claws, arrives, while the rest move forward. Thirteen shapes remain, with the twelve that are in range all firing upon the necrons instead of running towards them. Two of the necron destroyers are surprised when the seed launched by the taloned beast explodes under them, growing quickly into a twisting vine and pulling them from the air. The same sort of pod grabs a number of the warriors by the meteorites, with another falls to a small slug like creature that was launched as part of a massive volley into them. Four warriors lie fallen, while two destroyers also drop. The necron lords own group weathers the attack much better, now that they know what to expect.

Neither destroyer is able to pull themselves together after their fall, but all the necron warriors get up. The monolith drifts toward, feeling itself indestructible and seeking to end the little creature threat. Between the particle whip and the gauss flux guns along the side four of those warriors on the hill fall, blasted into pieces. The necron warriors attempt to do the same with the large claws beast facing them, but fail to get even a minor wound. The necrons body guarding the necron lord fire into the approaching creatures, killing two for their trouble.

Seven creatures remain, all large and threatening, but perhaps not as much as they were at the start.

(turn six)
The beasts move forward, most blasting with their alien guns. The clawed giant beast melts one of the warriors under the acid spray before crashing into them like a train. The smaller creature on that side misses, perhaps because of the sheer bulk of the beast moving into his line of fire. The taloned beast with the seed pod fires his wide, but still catches the destroyer, only to have this experienced fellow escape damage. The other beasts pouring in kill three more necron warriors with their deathspitters and venom cannon.

The tusked and clawed beast smashing into the necrons had one last secret to share, the rows of spines along its back. One necron warrior gets a face full and falls, while three more are crushed between the claws. They fall into pieces to great to be repaired this battle. The great beast takes a wound from the necrons striking at hit, but otherwise it wins the battle. The fearless necrons see no reason to retreat and thus stay put, attempting to bring it down.

A total of seven warriors have been lost, while there are still seven beasts facing them. The necron lord is growing tired of taking all this damage and gestures a charge forward. The twelve remaining warriors fire into the beasts as they move forward, claiming two of them. The necron lord wounds the last one. The destroyer using his heavy gauss cannon finally strips enough of the matter from the taloned beast to finally bring it down. The monolith uses its guns to slay the final tyranid warrior, while the carnifex goes unharmed. The two scything talons carnifex takes the particle whip and has the wound.

In close combat the clawed beast is too slow to stop a warrior from blasting out a massive chunk of its chest. The rest finish it, reducing it into so many loose strips of flesh.

The two beasts that remain are not much of a problem (game ends.)

I think what did in the tyranids in this battle was the deployment. With only two troop choices on the table at the start it meant they had to pound across the table to get into combat at a disadvantage. Taking such a heavy force towards the large beast side of the scale was perhaps unwise, but with four monstrous targets if they could’ve reached close combat they would have pushed through the necrons in close combat. And once the necrons were reduced to eight people the monolith would no longer be much of a problem.

I was worried actually that the necrons were in trouble when the hormagaunts reached them on turn two. But under the 5th edition rules for close combat, once they lost with their low leadership they were in trouble. Breaking and being destroyed rather then being able to get back into the leadership range of the tyrant cost them.

But that charge is indeed something I would do again, as having the large block of warriors outnumbered and locked in combat slowing being pulled to pieces. I am also thinking of doing a rematch once I have the 5th edition Tyranid codex to see how they compare.

Necrons under fire on the hill from tyranid ranged attacks
effects of smoking on the brain

Image by jon_a_ross
Full battle report here
jon-a-ross.livejournal.com/966006.html

Warhammer battle report Necrons vs Tyranids 1200 points
1200 point annihilation battle Necrons vs. Tyranids, dawn of war deployment. 4th edition tyranid codex against the 4th edition necron codex.

A necron force awakens to find their world has become infested with life. An annoying and aggressive life that needs to be cleansed. The nercon lord arose with his core troops and set an ambush. A monolith and some destroyers would backup the lord should this life force be stronger then what he can deal with.

(turn one)
The alien force themselves was a numerous horde of little clawed beasts and one larger mind leading them toward. The small horde would rush forward towards the nercon lord, ignoring the second group of warriors in their eagerness to rend the nercons. The larger one sprayed some thick acid towards the necron warriors. Three of them started to smoke, as the acid worked its way into their steel breasts. Only one falls as the self repair units are already knitting the others together.

The fallen necron gets back up as the repair units do their job. The tryanid hordes are weaving their way around a number of barriers. These same barriers were now giving the necrons difficultly in cutting them down with their gauss flayers. Only four of the little beasts would be ripped into their individual molecules.

(turn two)
But the screams of the little beasts must have excited the others creatures, as two giant creatures turned towards the necrons. Five larger then man creatures also arrived, acting with more brains then the little ones.

For the necrons however, it was the little ones that were their fixed attention. Two streams of them were flowing around the hill in the center, rushing towards the lord and his bodyguard. Before the little hordes could reach them the large Tyrant splashed more acid upon the warriors, but they were able to ignore such a biological attack with ease.

But as the little horrors reached the warriors, the nercon lord gave the signal to charge in turn. Lightning sparked and jumped between the warriors as they parried bone claws with ageless metal blades. Two warriors find themselves falling to the ground, their limbs removed. Four of the little creatures lay dead upon the ground. Any focus that they had was lost when they rushed and their fear had them flee away from the silent and emotionless warriors.

The necron lord with the cold mechanical skill of a man who has seen more years then a river holds water ordered his troops to cut down the fleeing creatures, wiping them all out.
(Failed leadership tests on the hormagaunt broods who lost combat, sweeping advance successful by the necrons because of the high initiative of the necron lord.)

Even as one of the fallen necron warriors arose, using his fellow fallen warriors head as his own the lord scanned the battlefield. Only nine creatures were out there, but another six in the distance. This battle should be quick indeed. Yet, there was something about the size of the creatures approaching that encouraged the lord to summon his support.

The warriors themselves dug into the ground they held and were prepared to push back the beasts. Fifteen yet unbloodied this battle watch as one large creature with huge claws and a weapon dripping acid approaches. The lord without a word orders his warriors to blast the original large creature. Their shots marked the shell of the creature but otherwise had no effect.

The destroyers also found their shots, for all they had larger gauss weapons, to have no effect upon the beast. The monolith, seeing the lack of success, uses it’s particle whip upon the Tyrant. The blast wounds the tyrant where the lesser weapons had failed.

(Five smaller tyranid warriors will arrive, this group with devourers and a barbed strangler. They join the first tyranid warriors who have deathspitters and a venom cannon. The hive tyrant has scything talons and a venom cannon as well as toxin sacs, bio-plasma and enhanced senses. One Carnifex has crushing claws, tusks, spine banks and a venom cannon. The second has scything talons, spine banks and a barbed strangler. The final carnifex, who doesn’t arrive on turn 3, has two pair of scything talons and bio-plasma.)

Now thirteen large creatures are moving towards the necrons. The large leader once more shoots acid over the warriors, this time two fall under its sticky weight. The one with the claws sprays acid over the monolith, but it is unable to find a crack in the living armour of the necron vehicle. The rest of the tyranid forces just run forward.

The necron force will stand fast to meet them. The gauss weaponry with its unnatural green light lashes out towards the approaching beasts. A beast with two large claws and a seed throwing gun was harmed by both the necron destroyers and the monolith, but it keeps going. The necron warriors led by the necron lord unload into the original large creature, scoring a minor injury for all the guns involved.

(turn four)
The Tryanids themselves kept moving forward. The large creatures all fired with their big guns, one necron warrior falling for their trouble. The little tyranid warriors opened up with their deathspitters and venom cannon on the same necron warriors having four more fall to the ground. The ragged line of the living was approaching the warriors.

The necron destroyers move back a bit as does the monolith. The approaching Tyranids will still have quite a run to get to them, but they are getting very close. The monolith fires into the creatures climbing upon a hill, but even a direct hit fails to kill any of them. (Three wounded) The warriors next to them blast into the clawed creature, but once again only minor wounds are inflicted. The destroyers shoot towards their target, but it refuses to fall. The warriors from their spot on the hill blast the creature that started all the trouble and finally are able to bring it down.

But the creatures are indeed getting close now.

(turn five)
One last large creature, this one all claws, arrives, while the rest move forward. Thirteen shapes remain, with the twelve that are in range all firing upon the necrons instead of running towards them. Two of the necron destroyers are surprised when the seed launched by the taloned beast explodes under them, growing quickly into a twisting vine and pulling them from the air. The same sort of pod grabs a number of the warriors by the meteorites, with another falls to a small slug like creature that was launched as part of a massive volley into them. Four warriors lie fallen, while two destroyers also drop. The necron lords own group weathers the attack much better, now that they know what to expect.

Neither destroyer is able to pull themselves together after their fall, but all the necron warriors get up. The monolith drifts toward, feeling itself indestructible and seeking to end the little creature threat. Between the particle whip and the gauss flux guns along the side four of those warriors on the hill fall, blasted into pieces. The necron warriors attempt to do the same with the large claws beast facing them, but fail to get even a minor wound. The necrons body guarding the necron lord fire into the approaching creatures, killing two for their trouble.

Seven creatures remain, all large and threatening, but perhaps not as much as they were at the start.

(turn six)
The beasts move forward, most blasting with their alien guns. The clawed giant beast melts one of the warriors under the acid spray before crashing into them like a train. The smaller creature on that side misses, perhaps because of the sheer bulk of the beast moving into his line of fire. The taloned beast with the seed pod fires his wide, but still catches the destroyer, only to have this experienced fellow escape damage. The other beasts pouring in kill three more necron warriors with their deathspitters and venom cannon.

The tusked and clawed beast smashing into the necrons had one last secret to share, the rows of spines along its back. One necron warrior gets a face full and falls, while three more are crushed between the claws. They fall into pieces to great to be repaired this battle. The great beast takes a wound from the necrons striking at hit, but otherwise it wins the battle. The fearless necrons see no reason to retreat and thus stay put, attempting to bring it down.

A total of seven warriors have been lost, while there are still seven beasts facing them. The necron lord is growing tired of taking all this damage and gestures a charge forward. The twelve remaining warriors fire into the beasts as they move forward, claiming two of them. The necron lord wounds the last one. The destroyer using his heavy gauss cannon finally strips enough of the matter from the taloned beast to finally bring it down. The monolith uses its guns to slay the final tyranid warrior, while the carnifex goes unharmed. The two scything talons carnifex takes the particle whip and has the wound.

In close combat the clawed beast is too slow to stop a warrior from blasting out a massive chunk of its chest. The rest finish it, reducing it into so many loose strips of flesh.

The two beasts that remain are not much of a problem (game ends.)

I think what did in the tyranids in this battle was the deployment. With only two troop choices on the table at the start it meant they had to pound across the table to get into combat at a disadvantage. Taking such a heavy force towards the large beast side of the scale was perhaps unwise, but with four monstrous targets if they could’ve reached close combat they would have pushed through the necrons in close combat. And once the necrons were reduced to eight people the monolith would no longer be much of a problem.

I was worried actually that the necrons were in trouble when the hormagaunts reached them on turn two. But under the 5th edition rules for close combat, once they lost with their low leadership they were in trouble. Breaking and being destroyed rather then being able to get back into the leadership range of the tyrant cost them.

But that charge is indeed something I would do again, as having the large block of warriors outnumbered and locked in combat slowing being pulled to pieces. I am also thinking of doing a rematch once I have the 5th edition Tyranid codex to see how they compare.

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Due Procedure: An Interview with Chris Adler from Lamb of God
Right after a a lot-publicized derailment due to legal matters, that had rendered the band &quotuntourable&quot for nearly 3 months, Lamb of God is about to kick off its national tour in Phoenix on October 30th. In Flames and Sylosis are on all of the dates, with …
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9.4.09
The flight arrived on time; and the twelve hours while on board passed quickly and without incident. To be sure, the quality of the Cathay Pacific service was exemplary once again.

Heathrow reminds me of Newark International. The décor comes straight out of the sterile 80′s and is less an eyesore than an insipid background to the rhythm of human activity, such hustle and bustle, at the fore. There certainly are faces from all races present, creating a rich mosaic of humanity which is refreshing if not completely revitalizing after swimming for so long in a sea of Chinese faces in Hong Kong.

Internet access is sealed in England, it seems. Nothing is free; everything is egregiously monetized from the wireless hotspots down to the desktop terminals. I guess Hong Kong has spoiled me with its abundant, free access to the information superhighway.

11.4.09
Despite staying in a room with five other backpackers, I have been sleeping well. The mattress and pillow are firm; my earplugs keep the noise out; and the sleeping quarters are as dark as a cave when the lights are out, and only as bright as, perhaps, a dreary rainy day when on. All in all, St. Paul’s is a excellent place to stay for the gregarious, adventurous, and penurious city explorer – couchsurfing may be a tenable alternative; I’ll test for next time.

Yesterday Connie and I gorged ourselves at the borough market where there were all sorts of delectable, savory victuals. There was definitely a European flavor to the food fair: simmering sausages were to be found everywhere; and much as the meat was plentiful, and genuine, so were the dairy delicacies, in the form of myriad rounds of cheese, stacked high behind checkered tabletops. Of course, we washed these tasty morsels down with copious amounts of alcohol that flowed from cups as though amber waterfalls. For the first time I tried mulled wine, which tasted like warm, rancid fruit punch – the ideal tonic for a drizzling London day, I suppose. We later killed the afternoon at the pub, shooting the breeze while imbibing several diminutive half-pints in the process. Getting smashed at four in the afternoon doesn’t seem like such a bad thing anymore, especially when you are having fun in the company of friends; I can more appreciate why the English do it so much!

Earlier in the day, we visited the Tate Modern. Its turbine room lived up to its prominent billing what with a giant spider, complete with bulbous egg sac, anchoring the retrospective exhibit. The permanent galleries, too, were a delight upon which to feast one’s eyes. Picasso, Warhol and Pollock ruled the chambers of the upper floors with the products of their lithe wrists; and I ended up becoming a huge fan of cubism, while developing a disdain for abstract art and its vacuous images, which, I feel, are devoid of both motivation and emotion.

My first trip yesterday morning was to Emirates Stadium, home of the Arsenal Gunners. It towers imperiously over the surrounding neighborhood; yet for all its majesty, the place sure was quiet! Business did pick up later, however, once the armory shop opened, and dozens of fans descended on it like bees to a hive. I, too, swooped in on a gift-buying mission, and wound up purchasing a book for Godfrey, a scarf for a student, and a jersey – on sale, of course – for good measure.

I’m sitting in the Westminster Abbey Museum now, resting my weary legs and burdened back. So far, I’ve been verily impressed with what I’ve seen, such a confluence of splendor and history before me that it would require days to absorb it all, when regretfully I can spare only a few hours. My favorite part of the abbey is the poets corner where no less a literary luminary than Samuel Johnson rests in peace – his bust confirms his homely presence, which was so vividly captured in his biography.

For lunch I had a steak and ale pie, served with mash, taken alongside a Guinness, extra cold – 2 degrees centigrade colder, the bartender explained. It went down well, like all the other delicious meals I’ve had in England; and no doubt by now I have grown accustomed to inebriation at half past two. Besides, Liverpool were playing inspired football against Blackburn; and my lunch was complete.

Having had my fill of football, I decided to skip my ticket scalping endeavor at Stamford Bridge and instead wandered over to the British Museum to inspect their extensive collections. Along the way, my eye caught a theater, its doors wide open and admitting customers. With much rapidity, I subsequently checked the show times, saw that a performance was set to begin, and at last rushed to the box office to purchase a discounted ticket – if you call a 40 pound ticket a deal, that is. That’s how I grabbed a seat to watch Hairspray in the West End.

The show was worth forty pounds. The music was addictive; and the stage design and effects were not so much kitschy as delightfully stimulating – the pulsating background lights were at once scintillating and penetrating. The actors as well were vivacious, oozing charisma while they danced and delivered lines dripping in humor. Hairspray is a quality production and most definitely recommended.

12.4.09
At breakfast I sat across from a man who asked me to which country Hong Kong had been returned – China or Japan. That was pretty funny. Then he started spitting on my food as he spoke, completely oblivious to my breakfast becoming the receptacle in which the fruit of his inner churl was being placed. I guess I understand the convention nowadays of covering one’s mouth whilst speaking and masticating at the same time!

We actually conversed on London life in general, and I praised London for its racial integration, the act of which is a prodigious leap of faith for any society, trying to be inclusive, accepting all sorts of people. It wasn’t as though the Brits were trying in vain to be all things to all men, using Spanish with the visitors from Spain, German with the Germans and, even, Hindi with the Indians, regardless of whether or not Hindi was their native language; not even considering the absurd idea of encouraging the international adoption of their language; thereby completely keeping English in English hands and allowing its proud polyglots to "practice" their languages. Indeed, the attempt of the Londoners to avail themselves of the rich mosaic of ethnic knowledge, and to seek a common understanding with a ubiquitous English accent is an exemplar, and the bedrock for any world city.

I celebrated Jesus’ resurrection at the St. Andrew’s Street Church in Cambridge. The parishioners of this Baptist church were warm and affable, and I met several of them, including one visiting (Halliday) linguistics scholar from Zhongshan university in Guangzhou, who in fact had visited my tiny City University of Hong Kong in 2003. The service itself was more traditional and the believers fewer in number than the "progressive" services at any of the charismatic, evangelical churches in HK; yet that’s what makes this part of the body of Christ unique; besides, the message was as brief as a powerpoint slide, and informative no less; the power word which spoke into my life being a question from John 21:22 – what is that to you?

Big trees; exquisite lawns; and old, pointy colleges; that’s Cambridge in a nutshell. Sitting here, sipping on a half-pint of Woodforde’s Wherry, I’ve had a leisurely, if not languorous, day so far; my sole duty consisting of walking around while absorbing the verdant environment as though a sponge, camera in tow.

I am back at the sublime beer, savoring a pint of Sharp’s DoomBar before my fish and chips arrive; the drinking age is 18, but anyone whose visage even hints of youthful brilliance is likely to get carded these days, the bartender told me. The youth drinking culture here is almost as twisted as the university drinking culture in America.

My stay in Cambridge, relaxing and desultory as it may be, is about to end after this late lunch. I an not sure if there is anything left to see, save for the American graveyard which rests an impossible two miles away. I have had a wonderful time in this town; and am thankful for the access into its living history – the residents here must demonstrate remarkable patience and tolerance what with so many tourists ambling on the streets, peering – and photographing – into every nook and cranny.

13.4.09
There are no rubbish bins, yet I’ve seen on the streets many mixed race couples in which the men tend to be white – the women also belonging to a light colored ethnicity, usually some sort of Asian; as well saw some black dudes and Indian dudes with white chicks.

People here hold doors, even at the entrance to the toilet. Sometimes it appears as though they are going out on a limb, just waiting for the one who will take the responsibility for the door from them, at which point I rush out to relieve them of such a fortuitous burden.

I visited the British Museum this morning. The two hours I spent there did neither myself nor the exhibits any justice because there really is too much to survey, enough captivating stuff to last an entire day, I think. The bottomless well of artifacts from antiquity, drawing from sources as diverse as Korea, and Mesopotamia, is a credit to the British empire, without whose looting most of this amazing booty would be unavailable for our purview; better, I think, for these priceless treasures to be open to all in the grandest supermarket of history than away from human eyes, and worst yet, in the hands of unscrupulous collectors or in the rubbish bin, possibly.

Irene and I took in the ballet Giselle at The Royal Opera House in the afternoon. The building is a plush marvel, and a testament to this city’s love for the arts. The ballet itself was satisfying, the first half being superior to the second, in which the nimble dancers demonstrated their phenomenal dexterity in, of all places, a graveyard covered in a cloak of smoke and darkness. I admit, their dance of the dead, in such a gloomy necropolis, did strike me as, strange.

Two amicable ladies from Kent convinced me to visit their hometown tomorrow, where, they told me, the authentic, "working" Leeds Castle and the mighty interesting home of Charles Darwin await.

I’m nursing a pint of Green King Ruddles and wondering about the profusion of British ales and lagers; the British have done a great deed for the world by creating an interminable line of low-alcohol session beers that can be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner; and their disservice is this: besides this inexhaustible supply of cheap beer ensnaring my inner alcoholic, I feel myself putting on my freshman fifteen, almost ten years after the fact; I am going to have to run a bit harder back in Hong Kong if I want to burn all this malty fuel off.

Irene suggested I stop by the National Art Gallery since we were in the area; and it was an hour well spent. The gallery currently presents a special exhibit on Picasso, the non-ticketed section of which features several seductive renderings, including David spying on Bathsheba – repeated in clever variants – and parodies of other masters’ works. Furthermore, the main gallery houses two fabulous portraits by Joshua Reynolds, who happens to be favorite of mine, he in life being a close friend of Samuel Johnson – I passed by Boswells, where its namesake first met Johnson, on my way to the opera house.

14.4.09
I prayed last night, and went through my list, lifting everyone on it up to the Lord. That felt good; that God is alive now, and ever present in my life and in the lives of my brothers and sisters.

Doubtless, then, I have felt quite wistful, as though a specter in the land of the living, being in a place where religious fervor, it seems, is a thing of the past, a trifling for many, to be hidden away in the opaque corners of centuries-old cathedrals that are more expensive tourist destinations than liberating homes of worship these days. Indeed, I have yet to see anyone pray, outside of the Easter service which I attended in Cambridge – for such an ecstatic moment in verily a grand church, would you believe that it was only attended by at most three dozen spirited ones. The people of England, and Europe in general, have, it is my hope, only locked away the Word, relegating it to the quiet vault of their hearts. May it be taken out in the sudden pause before mealtimes and in the still crisp mornings and cool, silent nights. There is still hope for a revival in this place, for faith to rise like that splendid sun every morning. God would love to rescue them, to deliver them in this day, it is certain.

I wonder what Londoners think, if anything at all, about their police state which, like a vine in the shadows, has taken root in all corners of daily life, from the terrorist notifications in the underground, which implore Londoners to report all things suspicious, to the pair of dogs which eagerly stroll through Euston. What makes this all the more incredible is the fact that even the United States, the indomitable nemesis of the fledgling, rebel order, doesn’t dare bombard its citizens with such fear mongering these days, especially with Obama in office; maybe we’ve grown wise in these past few years to the dubious returns of surrendering civil liberties to the state, of having our bags checked everywhere – London Eye; Hairspray; and The Royal Opera House check bags in London while the museums do not; somehow, that doesn’t add up for me.

I’m in a majestic bookshop on New Street in Birmingham, and certainly to confirm my suspicions, there are just as many books on the death of Christianity in Britain as there are books which attempt to murder Christianity everywhere. I did find, however, a nice biography on John Wesley by Roy Hattersley and The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I may pick up the former.

Lunch with Sally was pleasant and mirthful. We dined at a French restaurant nearby New Street – yes, Birmingham is a cultural capitol! Sally and I both tried their omelette, while her boyfriend had the fish, without chips. Conversation was light, the levity was there and so was our reminiscing about those fleeting moments during our first year in Hong Kong; it is amazing how friendships can resume so suddenly with a smile. On their recommendation, I am on my way to Warwick Castle – they also suggested that I visit Cadbury World, but they cannot take on additional visitors at the moment, the tourist office staff informed me, much to my disappointment!

Visiting Warwick Castle really made for a great day out. The castle, parts of which were established by William the Conquerer in 1068, is as much a kitschy tourist trap as a meticulous preservation of history, at times a sillier version of Ocean Park while at others a dignified dedication to a most glorious, inexorably English past. The castle caters to all visitors; and not surprisingly, that which delighted all audiences was a giant trebuchet siege engine, which for the five p.m. performance hurled a fireball high and far into the air – fantastic! Taliban beware!

15.4.09
I’m leaving on a jet plane this evening; don’t know when I’ll be back in England again. I’ll miss this quirky, yet endearing place; and that I shall miss Irene and Tom who so generously welcomed me into their home, fed me, and suffered my use of their toilet and shower goes without saying. I’m grateful for God’s many blessings on this trip.

On the itinerary today is a trip to John Wesley’s home, followed by a visit to the Imperial War Museum. Already this morning I picked up a tube of Oilatum, a week late perhaps, which Teri recommended I use to treat this obstinate, dermal weakness of mine – I’m happy to report that my skin has stopped crying.

John Wesley’s home is alive and well. Services are still held in the chapel everyday; and its crypt, so far from being a cellar for the dead, is a bright, spacious museum in which all things Wesley are on display – I never realized how much of an iconic figure he became in England; at the height of this idol frenzy, ironic in itself, he must have been as popular as the Beatles were at their apex. The house itself is a multi-story edifice with narrow, precipitous staircases and spacious rooms decorated in an 18th century fashion.

I found Samuel Johnson’s house within a maze of red brick hidden alongside Fleet Street. To be in the home of the man who wrote the English dictionary, and whose indefatigable love for obscure words became the inspiration for my own lexical obsession, this, by far, is the climax of my visit to England! The best certainly has been saved for last.

There are a multitude of portraits hanging around the house like ornaments on a tree. Every likeness has its own story, meticulously retold on the crib sheets in each room. Celebrities abound, including David Garrick and Sir Joshua Reynolds, who painted several of the finer images in the house. I have developed a particular affinity for Oliver Goldsmith, of whom Boswell writes, "His person was short, his countenance coarse and vulgar, his deportment that of a scholar awkwardly affecting the easy gentleman. It appears as though I, too, could use a more flattering description of myself!

I regretfully couldn’t stop to try the curry in England; I guess the CityU canteen’s take on the dish will have to do. I did, however, have the opportune task of flirting with the cute Cathay Pacific counter staff who checked me in. She was gorgeous in red, light powder on her cheeks, with real diamond earrings, she said; and her small, delicate face, commanded by a posh British accent rendered her positively irresistible, electrifying. Not only did she grant me an aisle seat but she had the gumption to return my fawning with zest; she must be a pro at this by now.

I saw her again as she was pulling double-duty, collecting tickets prior to boarding. She remembered my quest for curry; and in the fog of infatuation, where nary a man has been made, I fumbled my words like the sloppy kid who has had too much punch. I am just an amateur, alas, an "Oliver Goldsmith" with the ladies – I got no game – booyah!

Some final, consequential bits: because of the chavs, Burberry no longer sells those fashionable baseball caps; because of the IRA, rubbish bins are no longer a commodity on the streets of London, and as a result, the streets and the Underground of the city are a soiled mess; and because of other terrorists from distant, more arid lands, going through a Western airport has taken on the tedium of perfunctory procedure that doesn’t make me feel any safer from my invisible enemies.

At last, I saw so many Indians working at Heathrow that I could have easily mistaken the place for Mumbai. Their presence surprised me because their portion of the general population surely must be less than their portion of Heathrow staff, indicating some mysterious hiring bias. Regardless, they do a superb job with cursory airport checks, and in general are absurdly funny and witty when not tactless.

That’s all for England!

Irene at the Grocer in Chinatown
alternative smoke shop

Image by Wootang01
9.4.09
The flight arrived on time; and the twelve hours while on board passed quickly and without incident. To be sure, the quality of the Cathay Pacific service was exemplary once again.

Heathrow reminds me of Newark International. The décor comes straight out of the sterile 80′s and is less an eyesore than an insipid background to the rhythm of human activity, such hustle and bustle, at the fore. There certainly are faces from all races present, creating a rich mosaic of humanity which is refreshing if not completely revitalizing after swimming for so long in a sea of Chinese faces in Hong Kong.

Internet access is sealed in England, it seems. Nothing is free; everything is egregiously monetized from the wireless hotspots down to the desktop terminals. I guess Hong Kong has spoiled me with its abundant, free access to the information superhighway.

11.4.09
Despite staying in a room with five other backpackers, I have been sleeping well. The mattress and pillow are firm; my earplugs keep the noise out; and the sleeping quarters are as dark as a cave when the lights are out, and only as bright as, perhaps, a dreary rainy day when on. All in all, St. Paul’s is a excellent place to stay for the gregarious, adventurous, and penurious city explorer – couchsurfing may be a tenable alternative; I’ll test for next time.

Yesterday Connie and I gorged ourselves at the borough market where there were all sorts of delectable, savory victuals. There was definitely a European flavor to the food fair: simmering sausages were to be found everywhere; and much as the meat was plentiful, and genuine, so were the dairy delicacies, in the form of myriad rounds of cheese, stacked high behind checkered tabletops. Of course, we washed these tasty morsels down with copious amounts of alcohol that flowed from cups as though amber waterfalls. For the first time I tried mulled wine, which tasted like warm, rancid fruit punch – the ideal tonic for a drizzling London day, I suppose. We later killed the afternoon at the pub, shooting the breeze while imbibing several diminutive half-pints in the process. Getting smashed at four in the afternoon doesn’t seem like such a bad thing anymore, especially when you are having fun in the company of friends; I can more appreciate why the English do it so much!

Earlier in the day, we visited the Tate Modern. Its turbine room lived up to its prominent billing what with a giant spider, complete with bulbous egg sac, anchoring the retrospective exhibit. The permanent galleries, too, were a delight upon which to feast one’s eyes. Picasso, Warhol and Pollock ruled the chambers of the upper floors with the products of their lithe wrists; and I ended up becoming a huge fan of cubism, while developing a disdain for abstract art and its vacuous images, which, I feel, are devoid of both motivation and emotion.

My first trip yesterday morning was to Emirates Stadium, home of the Arsenal Gunners. It towers imperiously over the surrounding neighborhood; yet for all its majesty, the place sure was quiet! Business did pick up later, however, once the armory shop opened, and dozens of fans descended on it like bees to a hive. I, too, swooped in on a gift-buying mission, and wound up purchasing a book for Godfrey, a scarf for a student, and a jersey – on sale, of course – for good measure.

I’m sitting in the Westminster Abbey Museum now, resting my weary legs and burdened back. So far, I’ve been verily impressed with what I’ve seen, such a confluence of splendor and history before me that it would require days to absorb it all, when regretfully I can spare only a few hours. My favorite part of the abbey is the poets corner where no less a literary luminary than Samuel Johnson rests in peace – his bust confirms his homely presence, which was so vividly captured in his biography.

For lunch I had a steak and ale pie, served with mash, taken alongside a Guinness, extra cold – 2 degrees centigrade colder, the bartender explained. It went down well, like all the other delicious meals I’ve had in England; and no doubt by now I have grown accustomed to inebriation at half past two. Besides, Liverpool were playing inspired football against Blackburn; and my lunch was complete.

Having had my fill of football, I decided to skip my ticket scalping endeavor at Stamford Bridge and instead wandered over to the British Museum to inspect their extensive collections. Along the way, my eye caught a theater, its doors wide open and admitting customers. With much rapidity, I subsequently checked the show times, saw that a performance was set to begin, and at last rushed to the box office to purchase a discounted ticket – if you call a 40 pound ticket a deal, that is. That’s how I grabbed a seat to watch Hairspray in the West End.

The show was worth forty pounds. The music was addictive; and the stage design and effects were not so much kitschy as delightfully stimulating – the pulsating background lights were at once scintillating and penetrating. The actors as well were vivacious, oozing charisma while they danced and delivered lines dripping in humor. Hairspray is a quality production and most definitely recommended.

12.4.09
At breakfast I sat across from a man who asked me to which country Hong Kong had been returned – China or Japan. That was pretty funny. Then he started spitting on my food as he spoke, completely oblivious to my breakfast becoming the receptacle in which the fruit of his inner churl was being placed. I guess I understand the convention nowadays of covering one’s mouth whilst speaking and masticating at the same time!

We actually conversed on London life in general, and I praised London for its racial integration, the act of which is a prodigious leap of faith for any society, trying to be inclusive, accepting all sorts of people. It wasn’t as though the Brits were trying in vain to be all things to all men, using Spanish with the visitors from Spain, German with the Germans and, even, Hindi with the Indians, regardless of whether or not Hindi was their native language; not even considering the absurd idea of encouraging the international adoption of their language; thereby completely keeping English in English hands and allowing its proud polyglots to "practice" their languages. Indeed, the attempt of the Londoners to avail themselves of the rich mosaic of ethnic knowledge, and to seek a common understanding with a ubiquitous English accent is an exemplar, and the bedrock for any world city.

I celebrated Jesus’ resurrection at the St. Andrew’s Street Church in Cambridge. The parishioners of this Baptist church were warm and affable, and I met several of them, including one visiting (Halliday) linguistics scholar from Zhongshan university in Guangzhou, who in fact had visited my tiny City University of Hong Kong in 2003. The service itself was more traditional and the believers fewer in number than the "progressive" services at any of the charismatic, evangelical churches in HK; yet that’s what makes this part of the body of Christ unique; besides, the message was as brief as a powerpoint slide, and informative no less; the power word which spoke into my life being a question from John 21:22 – what is that to you?

Big trees; exquisite lawns; and old, pointy colleges; that’s Cambridge in a nutshell. Sitting here, sipping on a half-pint of Woodforde’s Wherry, I’ve had a leisurely, if not languorous, day so far; my sole duty consisting of walking around while absorbing the verdant environment as though a sponge, camera in tow.

I am back at the sublime beer, savoring a pint of Sharp’s DoomBar before my fish and chips arrive; the drinking age is 18, but anyone whose visage even hints of youthful brilliance is likely to get carded these days, the bartender told me. The youth drinking culture here is almost as twisted as the university drinking culture in America.

My stay in Cambridge, relaxing and desultory as it may be, is about to end after this late lunch. I an not sure if there is anything left to see, save for the American graveyard which rests an impossible two miles away. I have had a wonderful time in this town; and am thankful for the access into its living history – the residents here must demonstrate remarkable patience and tolerance what with so many tourists ambling on the streets, peering – and photographing – into every nook and cranny.

13.4.09
There are no rubbish bins, yet I’ve seen on the streets many mixed race couples in which the men tend to be white – the women also belonging to a light colored ethnicity, usually some sort of Asian; as well saw some black dudes and Indian dudes with white chicks.

People here hold doors, even at the entrance to the toilet. Sometimes it appears as though they are going out on a limb, just waiting for the one who will take the responsibility for the door from them, at which point I rush out to relieve them of such a fortuitous burden.

I visited the British Museum this morning. The two hours I spent there did neither myself nor the exhibits any justice because there really is too much to survey, enough captivating stuff to last an entire day, I think. The bottomless well of artifacts from antiquity, drawing from sources as diverse as Korea, and Mesopotamia, is a credit to the British empire, without whose looting most of this amazing booty would be unavailable for our purview; better, I think, for these priceless treasures to be open to all in the grandest supermarket of history than away from human eyes, and worst yet, in the hands of unscrupulous collectors or in the rubbish bin, possibly.

Irene and I took in the ballet Giselle at The Royal Opera House in the afternoon. The building is a plush marvel, and a testament to this city’s love for the arts. The ballet itself was satisfying, the first half being superior to the second, in which the nimble dancers demonstrated their phenomenal dexterity in, of all places, a graveyard covered in a cloak of smoke and darkness. I admit, their dance of the dead, in such a gloomy necropolis, did strike me as, strange.

Two amicable ladies from Kent convinced me to visit their hometown tomorrow, where, they told me, the authentic, "working" Leeds Castle and the mighty interesting home of Charles Darwin await.

I’m nursing a pint of Green King Ruddles and wondering about the profusion of British ales and lagers; the British have done a great deed for the world by creating an interminable line of low-alcohol session beers that can be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner; and their disservice is this: besides this inexhaustible supply of cheap beer ensnaring my inner alcoholic, I feel myself putting on my freshman fifteen, almost ten years after the fact; I am going to have to run a bit harder back in Hong Kong if I want to burn all this malty fuel off.

Irene suggested I stop by the National Art Gallery since we were in the area; and it was an hour well spent. The gallery currently presents a special exhibit on Picasso, the non-ticketed section of which features several seductive renderings, including David spying on Bathsheba – repeated in clever variants – and parodies of other masters’ works. Furthermore, the main gallery houses two fabulous portraits by Joshua Reynolds, who happens to be favorite of mine, he in life being a close friend of Samuel Johnson – I passed by Boswells, where its namesake first met Johnson, on my way to the opera house.

14.4.09
I prayed last night, and went through my list, lifting everyone on it up to the Lord. That felt good; that God is alive now, and ever present in my life and in the lives of my brothers and sisters.

Doubtless, then, I have felt quite wistful, as though a specter in the land of the living, being in a place where religious fervor, it seems, is a thing of the past, a trifling for many, to be hidden away in the opaque corners of centuries-old cathedrals that are more expensive tourist destinations than liberating homes of worship these days. Indeed, I have yet to see anyone pray, outside of the Easter service which I attended in Cambridge – for such an ecstatic moment in verily a grand church, would you believe that it was only attended by at most three dozen spirited ones. The people of England, and Europe in general, have, it is my hope, only locked away the Word, relegating it to the quiet vault of their hearts. May it be taken out in the sudden pause before mealtimes and in the still crisp mornings and cool, silent nights. There is still hope for a revival in this place, for faith to rise like that splendid sun every morning. God would love to rescue them, to deliver them in this day, it is certain.

I wonder what Londoners think, if anything at all, about their police state which, like a vine in the shadows, has taken root in all corners of daily life, from the terrorist notifications in the underground, which implore Londoners to report all things suspicious, to the pair of dogs which eagerly stroll through Euston. What makes this all the more incredible is the fact that even the United States, the indomitable nemesis of the fledgling, rebel order, doesn’t dare bombard its citizens with such fear mongering these days, especially with Obama in office; maybe we’ve grown wise in these past few years to the dubious returns of surrendering civil liberties to the state, of having our bags checked everywhere – London Eye; Hairspray; and The Royal Opera House check bags in London while the museums do not; somehow, that doesn’t add up for me.

I’m in a majestic bookshop on New Street in Birmingham, and certainly to confirm my suspicions, there are just as many books on the death of Christianity in Britain as there are books which attempt to murder Christianity everywhere. I did find, however, a nice biography on John Wesley by Roy Hattersley and The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I may pick up the former.

Lunch with Sally was pleasant and mirthful. We dined at a French restaurant nearby New Street – yes, Birmingham is a cultural capitol! Sally and I both tried their omelette, while her boyfriend had the fish, without chips. Conversation was light, the levity was there and so was our reminiscing about those fleeting moments during our first year in Hong Kong; it is amazing how friendships can resume so suddenly with a smile. On their recommendation, I am on my way to Warwick Castle – they also suggested that I visit Cadbury World, but they cannot take on additional visitors at the moment, the tourist office staff informed me, much to my disappointment!

Visiting Warwick Castle really made for a great day out. The castle, parts of which were established by William the Conquerer in 1068, is as much a kitschy tourist trap as a meticulous preservation of history, at times a sillier version of Ocean Park while at others a dignified dedication to a most glorious, inexorably English past. The castle caters to all visitors; and not surprisingly, that which delighted all audiences was a giant trebuchet siege engine, which for the five p.m. performance hurled a fireball high and far into the air – fantastic! Taliban beware!

15.4.09
I’m leaving on a jet plane this evening; don’t know when I’ll be back in England again. I’ll miss this quirky, yet endearing place; and that I shall miss Irene and Tom who so generously welcomed me into their home, fed me, and suffered my use of their toilet and shower goes without saying. I’m grateful for God’s many blessings on this trip.

On the itinerary today is a trip to John Wesley’s home, followed by a visit to the Imperial War Museum. Already this morning I picked up a tube of Oilatum, a week late perhaps, which Teri recommended I use to treat this obstinate, dermal weakness of mine – I’m happy to report that my skin has stopped crying.

John Wesley’s home is alive and well. Services are still held in the chapel everyday; and its crypt, so far from being a cellar for the dead, is a bright, spacious museum in which all things Wesley are on display – I never realized how much of an iconic figure he became in England; at the height of this idol frenzy, ironic in itself, he must have been as popular as the Beatles were at their apex. The house itself is a multi-story edifice with narrow, precipitous staircases and spacious rooms decorated in an 18th century fashion.

I found Samuel Johnson’s house within a maze of red brick hidden alongside Fleet Street. To be in the home of the man who wrote the English dictionary, and whose indefatigable love for obscure words became the inspiration for my own lexical obsession, this, by far, is the climax of my visit to England! The best certainly has been saved for last.

There are a multitude of portraits hanging around the house like ornaments on a tree. Every likeness has its own story, meticulously retold on the crib sheets in each room. Celebrities abound, including David Garrick and Sir Joshua Reynolds, who painted several of the finer images in the house. I have developed a particular affinity for Oliver Goldsmith, of whom Boswell writes, "His person was short, his countenance coarse and vulgar, his deportment that of a scholar awkwardly affecting the easy gentleman. It appears as though I, too, could use a more flattering description of myself!

I regretfully couldn’t stop to try the curry in England; I guess the CityU canteen’s take on the dish will have to do. I did, however, have the opportune task of flirting with the cute Cathay Pacific counter staff who checked me in. She was gorgeous in red, light powder on her cheeks, with real diamond earrings, she said; and her small, delicate face, commanded by a posh British accent rendered her positively irresistible, electrifying. Not only did she grant me an aisle seat but she had the gumption to return my fawning with zest; she must be a pro at this by now.

I saw her again as she was pulling double-duty, collecting tickets prior to boarding. She remembered my quest for curry; and in the fog of infatuation, where nary a man has been made, I fumbled my words like the sloppy kid who has had too much punch. I am just an amateur, alas, an "Oliver Goldsmith" with the ladies – I got no game – booyah!

Some final, consequential bits: because of the chavs, Burberry no longer sells those fashionable baseball caps; because of the IRA, rubbish bins are no longer a commodity on the streets of London, and as a result, the streets and the Underground of the city are a soiled mess; and because of other terrorists from distant, more arid lands, going through a Western airport has taken on the tedium of perfunctory procedure that doesn’t make me feel any safer from my invisible enemies.

At last, I saw so many Indians working at Heathrow that I could have easily mistaken the place for Mumbai. Their presence surprised me because their portion of the general population surely must be less than their portion of Heathrow staff, indicating some mysterious hiring bias. Regardless, they do a superb job with cursory airport checks, and in general are absurdly funny and witty when not tactless.

That’s all for England!

Top Shop protest, Oxford Street, London – 26 March 2011
alternative smoke shop

Image by chrisjohnbeckett

Frweed Pro helps medical cannabis individuals discover the right strain for what ails
If you live in a state (or nation) where MMJ is legal, you and your physician have decided together it's the finest medication for you, and you have a valid prescription, the decision to fill it is completely yours. If you do opt for MMJ, although, there …
Read more on Appolicious

The Vampire Diaries &quotGrowing Pains&quot Evaluation: Forever's Gonna Start off Tonight
It was hecka interesting to me that this show brought in an overtly religious component to the vampire lore. Anyway, the large shocker was that not only was the anti-vampire council not a total joke, they apparently had the resources and the legal …
Read more on Tv.com (weblog)

Cool Hi Times Smoke Shop photos

A few nice hi times smoke shop images I found:


hi times smoke shop

Image by wakingphotolife:
(Sunday cont.)

When the sheriffs let me out of county, it was my brother who came to pick me up. Doug. 18 years, fresh out of high school, skinny, short, spoke with a speech impediment and under-bit jaw. Soft spoken, sensitive, shy and loyal. Douglas. My brother. Braces and retainers throughout the most exciting years of his life. Instead of smoking pot and shop lifting, he spent his time by himself in record shops finding heavy metal records. Doug Funny everyone called him. When I was a senior then, he was only a freshmen.

"Did you tell mom and dad?" I said.
"No."
"Thanks. I’ll tell them myself."
"What happened?" he said.
"They said I was drunk driving."
"Were you?"
"I don’t know."
"Where’s the car?"
"At the tow yard. It’s totaled."
"You should be glad you’re fucking alive and that you didn’t kill anyone."
"I know."
"Fuck you John."
"I know. Sorry."

He wasn’t about his car. He was mad about me. As his brother, I was always causing shit for everyone. So rarely mad. Never cursed at me like that before. Ever. My baby brother. My only brother. I knew he wanted to say: Why do you keep doing this to yourself John?

Me: a young twenty one at the time, coming from a party at four in the morning. Hit a guard rail and did a 360 in the middle of the freeway a few miles past the Golden Gate Bridge. Car was smashed in from the front. Axle twisted enough so that wheel was parallel to the ground. I guessed this is what kept the car from flipping over too. A few miles earlier and I would not be here. I would be in San Francisco Bay with the car. Or could have been worse. Could have hit a tree. Funny. There are a lot of trees on that part of the highway 101. But none for me.

Doug. My brother. My sweet brother. Was pissed but didn’t say anything else. I was grateful that he came to get me. They put me in the cell for 18 hours. Took my tie and shoe laces. The floor of the detox is not concrete but a funny plastic texture. Cold, and like a rubber mallet. "Where’s my phone call?" I said to the deputy.
"If you have coins."
Fuck, I thought. They were laughing at me. The sheriffs. People only get phone calls on TV cop shows.
I called Doug collect and left a message. It was 5:30 in the morning.

He drove two hours, all the way to Marin County Jail in San Rafael to pick me up. Didn’t say anything when we drove up to the tow-yard. We actually bought McDonald’s on the way there. Didn’t say anything when he saw the car he had spent the last year and a half trying to pay off. A red Nissan Fairlady Z with twin turbos, aftermarket intake, exhaust and racing rims. Now sat like a broken red nail. Doug, my brother who did not know how to be angry at family could not say anything else while looking at his car.

Parents didn’t cry. Mom asked me to go to the hospital ER to get my head checked out. I thought she meant it so I went. Doug drove me to Kaiser. When I came back, she asked me, “Where did you guys go?” My dad locked himself in his room. Something I would do.

DUI Laywers. Court cases. Community service. Fines. Accident fees. Hiked up car insurance. Unable to get to work. Lost work. No license to work. No legs. No mobility. Lost year. "Fuck it!"

During this year, two months after the accident, Doug joined the marines. Hoo-rah. Went to Camp Pendleton for a bit. Got buff. Got tanned. Came home with a crew cut. Sweet brother Doug no more. But still shy, still soft spoken, still loyal. Still spoke with a speech impediment and underbit jaw. Would have surgery on it later, one of the many surgeries he would have. "I just shut up and shoot," he said.
“What the hell?” I said.

My mom caressed his shaved head. Jar-head now. My dad came outside and we had a barbecue. Drank Heineken’s in the backyard and had bulgogi style beef and Chinese short ribs. No hamburgers and hot dogs here. What are we, white?

We never talked about the car. I never paid him back for it either. But he was joining the marines during wartime. Who would had ever thought? How could you talk about anything else?

Doug invited his girlfriend with him. Dougy, she called him. She had a kid too but we did not this until after he left.

Very cliche. Soldier warrior leaves for battle. Proposes before he gets sent off. Child birthed while he was overseas. My brother couldn’t have reenacted it better. My brother. The one who kept Captain America and Batman comics under his bed.

He got on one knee and proposed to Connie. Right there on the backyard lawn. There was only for of us. Mom gasped and cried. Dad didn’t know what the hell was going on and was flipping meat over the Weber grill. Me: I yelled at him, "Fuck you Doug!" but in a happy way. "Hoo-fuckin’-rah! You’re bitch made now." I kept laughing. Boyz II Men start playing in my head.
"Watch your mouth boy. Don’t talk to him like that," my dad said.
Dougy and I looked at him. It’s alright, Dougy was saying. We’re family. He’s happy for me too.

Weeks later, they sent him to Iraq. His humvee column hit an IED on the way back to base. He lost a leg. Another cliche. Mom cried. Dad locked himself in his room for the second time. Connie, I could never forget her face that day. We couldn’t have written it any better.

They sent him to San Antonio first, Brooks Army Medical Center, before he came home. When he came back, he only stayed a few days. He was going to move in with Connie, who was in Santa Barbara with her family. He leave the day after. When I brought him from the airport, my dad came out to look at his sons.

Me, standing there. The one always causing shit. The one who went to college but was wasting away. Doug, the good one. The soft spoken shy sweet son. The sensitive and loyal one. The one who barely made it through school and made mom cry in all kinds of way, but never through his own fault.

Me: standing on two legs next to Doug. Doug: next to me with only one. The other half was his Navy colored uniform pants tucked underneath him. No wonder the first thing my dad did was punch me in the face. I didn’t say anything.
“Fuck you shit John!” he said. "Get out of my house! Get out! Get out!"
"See you later man," I said to Doug and left.

But I knew it wasn’t me he was really mad at. He didn’t mean to say that to me.

At night, we went out to the bar and he got smashed. He cried in the car while I drove him home. After that, I didn’t see Doug for a while. When I did, we were "grown ass men" by then who didn’t talk about feelings and memories.

A hot dog, a soda, a churro. A drive down to Pismo Beach. I realized that Santa Barbara was not that far from Pismo. It had been three years already. Junior should be almost ten now.

After calling Louis, I called Doug and told him I was coming down to Santa Barbara.
"What?" he said. He didn’t believe me.
"I said I’ll be there in six hours."
"Why all of a sudden?"
"A friend told me that when a person is busy being sad about them self, they forget about the rest of the world. I missed my brother. Is that not a reason."
I could hear something crash in the background.
"Alright alright. I’ll see you then."
"Later."
"Call me when you get here."


hi times smoke shop

Image by wakingphotolife:
I waited for her everyday at Exit A. It’s the exit that is closest to the APM shopping mall and the stairs on the other side will lead you onto the street that leads into the center of Kwun Tong. If you go to the end, where the railing and concrete barrier is, every few minutes, you can see and hear the MTR travel by in its muted roar.

Many people wait here. It is its most busiest during the late afternoon and early evening rush hour. People wait for their lovers. People wait for their friends and classmate. They stand by the railing smoking cigarettes, playing their hand-held games, seclude themselves into their headphones, or check the texts on their cell phones. I waited here everyday for her. She worked at a bank office during the day and went to school every night. I met her during her transition period when she transferred from one side of Hong Kong to the other. There was only enough time for a quick meal and we went through our daily ritual — "How was work?", "What did you do today?", "Have you ate yet?" — quickly. Then we would have a period of silence as we walked through the crowded streets.

It was a suffering existence. I use the word suffering because that is how we treated it and how we had felt. It suffered to be apart from each other. Enough that over time, even though we had lived under the same roof and shared the same bedroom, we had become ghosts to each other: the empty coffee cups left on the kitchen counter, dishes unwashed in the sink, the air conditioner suddenly turned on when it had been off, the ironing board that was hot to touch. And then there were the transitions: I would there early and look at the MTR travel by in it’s muted roar, the people around me, the people on the blurring by above me, and at 5:30 she would be coming from the end of the walkway. And I would wave and she would wave back. And I’d hug her and she’d hug me back. There is only so much that you can do in such short time.

During dinner one night, where they placed your cup of milk tea onto a bowl of ice to prevent the dilution that’s cause from melting ice, I told her, "I don’t feel like I know you anymore. And I want to know you again." She looked out the window at the MTR that you could feel and see whenever it came by, "But you do know me. What’s wrong? You’ve become so needy," she said.
"I’m not needy, I just feel like we’ve become indifferent; like routines that we go through everyday."
"I think you are trying hard to think about it; just let things go. The harder you try to analyze and think about things, the less you’ll know. And I’ll become unknowable."
I didn’t really understand her, but she had the feeling of being right.

We walked to the bus station down the street. I’d ride the bus with her to school. She would change out of her heels into her Converses. And I’d put them into my bag for her to bring back home. It was close to a two hour trip on some days including the walk to the front of the school. But what difference does two hours make in the end.


hi times smoke shop

Image by wakingphotolife:
"So what did she say?"
"She said, she said she cant’ make it and has other things to do."
"What things?"
"I don’t know. Why don’t you ask her for yourself?"
"I don’t want to. She’s probably screwing around with that guy."
"Which one?"
"The one who works at the hotel, the one from Shenzhen."
"Oh him."
"Let’s go."
"I don’t see why you’re getting worked up about it."
"I’m not."

They walked back across the bridge and into the rundown shopping plaza. Some of the men who loitered around town crowded around a window to watch Miss Hong Kong on the television screen. On other days, they would be rooted to turned up buckets crouched over wooden boards and chess pieces. But not today.

They forced a path through the gawkers. "Hey, watch were you going?"
"Why don’t you fuck off."

He unchained the motorbike and put the chain into the storage compartment on the back and then got on. She stepped lightly and quickly on a peg on the kickstand and straddled the seat behind him.

The engine reverberated along the alleyway as they joined the rest of the traffic along the ride. She reached over his shoulder and removed the carton of cigarettes from his breast pocket, removing one and gripping it between her lips with her chin on his shoulder. She then reached into his pocket and removed the lighter. With her arm reaching across his chest and underneath his chin, she lit it.

"What the hell are you doing?"
"Smoking."
"How many times have I told you to not put that thing near my face."
"Lighten up."

He unlocked and opened the door to the apartment. It was small and spare. The ceiling leaked during half the year and for that, they lined buckets underneath its drip along the corner. Occasionally, the floor drain in the kitchen would flood over. It splashed as he stopped over a small line of tiles on the other side of the door.

"Fuck. It’s flooded again."
"Do you want me to get the mop and the towels?"
"No. Just leave it. I’ll take care of it later. Let’s check the bedroom first."

She sat on the edge of the bed, facing the television as he propped himself up on one elbow and drank. As she watched, he observed the curve within the bottom of her neck line.

"Who do you think’s going to win this year?"
"None of them, if I had my choice."
"Well, choose one."
"The one on the left then."
"That one?"
"No. Number 14, the one over there."
"Are you serious?"
"Yeah, why?"
"She’s ugly."

He placed the cup on the window sill. It began to rice outside. Soon, they would hear the droplets as they hit the bottom of the empty plastic bucket.
"Do you still want to go?"
"No, it’s raining. I don’t think it’s going to stop for the night."
"That’s too bad, I really wanted to go."
"Maybe tomorrow. My sister can go with you then."

"I’m going downstairs to cover the motorbike."

He took the blue tarp from the corner of the room and walked down the flight of stairs and to the sidewalk. He threw it over the length of the motorbike and tied it down, looping the rope through the spokes of the wheels. It rained harder as he worked while around him, interior lights along the sidewalks shops and buildings gradually turned on.

He looked up at the window of their apartment on the fifteenth floor. She opened the window and shouted down, "Hey! The one you picked! She won! Hurry and come watch with me."

He looked at her and then past her. The drops fell directly on this face and with his eyes open, he could almost see them form from nothing, tiny shards of light that shone briefly before they landed.

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Some cool rolling papers free shipping images:

Dramway to Railway
rolling papers free shipping

Image by brizzle born and bred
As Our first local ‘railway’, the historic Dramway certainly deserves room in the history books. Its construction straddled that period between horse-drawn transport, such as carts and canal barges, and the newly invented steam engine.

Although there is no recognised origin of the word ‘dramway’, it is used locally to describe a narrow railway connected with, and used by the coal industry. Whilst not identified as such in a dictionary, the word ’dram’ appears to be a South Gloucestershire colloquialism or sobriquet for the coal carrying truck, but may just be the local mispronunciation of the word ‘tram’, which is used to describe the same type of vehicle in other parts of the Country. Locally, the dramway was constructed to convey coal from the coalfields at Coalpit Heath to the River Avon at Keynsham, having on its route connected up with other mines at Westerleigh, Mangotsfield, Syston, North Common and Oldland Common.

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Problems with coal transportation

In this day and age of modern roads, it is perhaps surprising that Mine Owners should have contemplated, not only the need, but were also prepared to meet the cost of , constructing such a railed track over so many miles, just to get their coal as far as the river, and for it then to have to be transferred to barges, before the coal could arrive in the market place of either Bristol or Bath.

However, the state of the roads at the end of the eighteenth century, and into the beginning of the nineteenth century, was so bad that the mine owners had little choice. The owners were, after all, business men with a constant eye for profit, and it was soon realised that the construction of such a circuitous route would not only ease the carriage of coal, it would also lower the cost of transportation.

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from the coalfields to the customer

As the nineteenth century developed, the demand for coal grew at an ever increasing rate, and many ideas were put forward to bring the product from the coalfields to the customer more quickly and, importantly, at less cost. In 1803, a proposal was put forward by the Wilts & Berks Canal Co. to build a railroad from Pucklechurch and Coalpit Heath to the Avon near Keynsham. Although this proposal was supported by the Kennet & Avon Canal Company, nothing seems to have come from it. Some 9 years later, a John Blackwell surveyed a route from Coalpit Heath to the River Avon, but was unable to recommend that a railway line should be built, on the grounds that the proposed route was too hilly, and it would mean that the line would have to be very crooked.

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A further 15 years were to pass before the matter of getting the coal to the river was resurrected, and with the increasing need to bring the coal to the customer, there was perhaps a greater urgency to get things done. After a number of frustrating delays, an Act of Parliament to build the line received the Royal assent on the 19th June 1828.

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From Coalpit Heath to River Avon

As Coalpit Heath is some 400ft. above the level of the River Avon at Keynsham, the railroad was carefully graded so that full trucks could "free-wheel" from the mine to either Londonderry Wharf at Willsbridge, for onward shipment to Bristol or, to Town Wharf for onward shipment to Bath and onto London.

The practice of the day was to collect a number of trucks together to form a train which would travel at around a walking pace. (ie 3-4 miles per hour) Each truck was about 9ft.long, and built on a railway standard gauge wheel base of 4’8" wide. It could carry 4 tons of coal in its wooden body which had sloping ends for ease of tipping, and ran on four – 30" diameter iron flanged wheels. The only motive power ever used on the line was that provided by the horse who pulled the trucks whilst walking between the rails, with the driver walking beside the wagons in order to operate the brake.

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/2040109854/

Horsepower

For the journey to the river, the hardest job for both man and horse was to prevent the wagons from over-running the downward gradient. On at least one occasion, a driver failed to apply the spragg (ie the long handle), to the brake lever on the wagon quickly enough, which caused the loaded vehicles to gather speed, pushing the horse in front of them. Before the driver was able to recover the position, the speed and force of the train was such that the poor unfortunate horse was tripped to the ground and killed as the wagons crashed into it. Almost certainly other instances of a similar nature took place but, this would appear to be the only time that the horse was killed whilst still on the track.

More often than not, the horse carried out its work unattended, although, with the majority of the route consisting of a single track, there must have been some form of control/signalling, so that the down loaded wagons could pass with safety, the up empties.

Each mine would have its own trucks, which under the conditions of the Act, had to have the mine owners name shown in 2" high letters on each side. In addition, the trucks had to display its relevant wagon number, and its weight. Almost certainly, a group of trucks from the same mine would, as they had left the mine together, stay together whilst traversing the dramway, but nevertheless it would have been an important part of the working day to ensure that each empty truck was correctly returned to the right mine.

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/2049799323/

Avon & Gloucestershire Railway

Although starting at Coalpit Heath, the dramway entered the north eastern boundary of the parish near Shortwood, passing the site of the first Mangotsfield Railway Station, where it officially became known as "the Avon & Gloucestershire Railway", branching off the main route (The Bristol & Gloucestershire Railway), which ran on through to Bristol, terminating at Cuckold’s Pill (now known as Avon Street Wharf), on the Floating Harbour.

Once beyond the Mangotsfield station, the dramway entered a narrow brick-lined tunnel under the road embankment, curving off to the right on its way to the Clay Pit and Syston Hill Colliery. During the construction, in 1869, of the Midland Railways’ branch line to Bath, the dramway was diverted into the railway cutting so as to avoid crossing the main line twice on the level. As the original curve of the dramway turned right, it passed a building originally used as a horse gin and, just beyond, the route was joined by the branch line from the lower Soundwell Pit.

This pit, which was situated at or near the junction of Chiphouse Road and Station Road, joined the main trackway by means of a small incline (still clearly visible today). The incline is therefore one of the very few stretches of track on the whole dramway system which would have required the loaded trucks to have been hauled uphill.

Having passed the old pump house, the dramway continued over the common on a sizeable embankment before being joined by a small spur from Syston Hill Colliery. Once past this colliery, the track crossed the road by means of a small bridge, (unfortunately no longer in existence) as the road level has been brought up to meet the trackbed. Continuing across the common, the track then ran under the bridge carrying Norman Road, passing on the left a brick and tile works which was later to have a short spur connecting it with the system. Beyond this point, the next obstacle met by the dramway was the London Road at Warmley which it crossed on the level, just down from the level·crossing to be built by the Midland Railway Company. In this section, the dramway was connected with Crown Pit Colliery, one of the largest mines in the area.

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Oldland Common

Continuing south, the dramway ran through a cutting, and passed under a bridge near St. Barnabas Church, before entering an old sandstone quarry and on to yet another embankment. Passing under Poplar Road and Victoria Road, the track continued across North Common, meeting the High Street, Oldland Common almost opposite Weston Court. Crossing the turnpike the track entered a brick lined tunnel, beneath a house, and then went through part of Redfield Farm, where there was a branch which curved back, under High Street and over the Midland Railway, on a stone bridge, for a quarter of a mile to Bull Hall Colliery. There was also to be built at this point, a small spur to connect Hole (sometime referred to as Haul Lane Pit). Almost certainly the track bed at this point was well below the natural ground-level, as upon leaving the farm area, it passed under Redfield Hill, along the backs of the houses facing the High Street, (probably in a cutting)passing the bottom of Castle Road to a short tunnel which took the dramway under Barry Road. It then continued, in a cutting just south of School Lane, which was becoming progressively deeper, before bearing left to enter a 73 yard long tunnel to take it under the Midland Railway line and Cherry Gardens Lane. It is said that most of this tunnel was bored out of solid rock which meant that the rails could be pinned straight onto the rock floor, without the need for using the customary stone sleepers. Having passed through the relatively short rock cutting found immediately south of this tunnel, the track emerged on a high embankment overlooking a steeply sided, picturesque valley some 30-40 feet above the meandering stream.

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California Pit

Sweeping around to the right, the dramway was in later years to meet at this point the track from California Pit, to become known as Tramway Junction. To get the coal from the California Pit by rail, meant that there would have to be built an incline to bring the colliery wagons down to meet the lower dramway, as well as bridging the Warmley Brook. Having done so, the engineers then had to ensure that any rogue trucks in the system which might run away down the incline, would cause the least amount of damage possible. Accordingly, the track was laid so that having descended the incline, the rails turned to the left, running along side the dramway for a short length, before using a trailing point to connect with the "main line". By taking this course of action, any run away wagon from the incline would, (provided it remained on the track) be made to run uphill and thus slow it’s speed to a stop, rather than turn straight into the descent, and cause all sorts of havoc in either the tunnel or over the un-manned level crossing or, at Willsbridge wharf.

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Willsbridge Tunnel

Having passed what was to become, some 50 years later, Tramway Junction, the line curved left, and entered yet another stone-line cutting, although this one was at around 50ft. deeper than the others. Through this cutting, the track was then swallowed up by one of the most difficult engineering projects on the whole line, the 150 yard Willsbridge Tunnel. Beyond the tunnel, the track ran through a grass-lined cutting, complete with a passing loop, before crossing the Bath Road at an unguarded level crossing. South of the crossing, the track divided into wagon sidings for use as storage and, for the purpose of collating of owners wagons, and was fully equipped with its own weighbridge. The main track continued passed this storage area, and just before reaching the lane which led down to Clack Mill Farm, the track entered a further small tunnel (just 65ft long) to take it under the Keynsham Road and on across the fields in a cutting to Back or Avon Wharf.

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Towards the end of 1830, and after a number of inspection trips had taken place, the Committee was told at its November meeting, that the Willsbridge tunnel had a mistake in its level which would involve the need to deepen it, and that two bridges had not been built to plan. It was also highly recommended at that meeting that, for safety reasons, and also to minimise future maintenance costs, that a maximum speed limit of 6 mph, should be laid down, and rigorously enforced, with offenders liable to instant dismissal.

1830, the first train of 6 loaded wagons left Hole Lane Colliery

By December, the Committee were informed that rails were shortly to be laid at the Backs (Avon Wharf`), whilst the crane to be used there was already in situ. Work proceeded so well that on the 30 December 1830, the first train of 6 loaded wagons left Hole Lane Colliery and travelled through to Avon Wharf, despite the fact that Hole Lane did not have, at that time, a rail connection with the dramway, and thus to make the journey, the loaded wagons had first to be dragged across the road, and then rolled on to the lines.

By the middle of January 1831, the dramway was usable for more than 12 miles from the river, and although Hole Lane stopped sending down any coal for the time being, Syston Hill Pit was properly connected, and able to send coal through. Thus, for the first time ever, coal from that pit, inquantity, was able to reach the river in less than an hour from leaving the pit-head.

The winter of 1831 was quite severe, with heavy rain and deep frosts causing the newly formed cuttings, and embankments to move and slide. Work however continued on the northern section, and repairs were carried out to the damage caused by winter weather so that by the first week of May 1831, Hole Lane was able to send through 60 tons of coal in 15 wagons, despite the problems of the previous weeks when, damage had been caused to a number of its wagons, after vandals had released the trucks and sent them rolling down the dramway.

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The cold wet winter was followed by a hot dry summer, which, when combined with the pounding of the loaded wagons, brought just the right recipe for further, and more alarming settlement of the earthworks. Concern was expressed about the movement of the embankment at Warmley and stout timbers had to be used to restrict further movement. However, the Oldland embankment overlooking the Southwood Valley was found to be so unsafe, that it was necessary to build a massive stone retaining wall to keep the earthworks in position.

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maintaining the dramway

Throughout 1831 work continued, to improve and maintain the dramway, including, at the cost of £80.37 for materials, the construction of the branch line to Hole Lane. When completed, that colliery was able to fully use the line, and loaded wagons were dispatched to the wharfs on at least 5 days per week. By November 1832, the line was fully operational, and around 3,000 tons of coal per month in around 750 wagon trips, was being shipped out of just Avon Wharf. This involved considerable logistic problems in ensuring that the empty wagons did not foul the running line and cause delay in the loaded wagons arriving at the wharf whilst, at the same time, ensuring that the empty trucks were at the correct pit-head ready to receive the coal, as and when required. Such was the effect of the dramway in easing the transportation of coal to the market place, that the price fell by 3/- to 4/- (l5p—20p) per ton.

new branch-line added

Partly to ease the traffic, and partly to avoid the cost of using the Keynsham lock, it was decided to construct a branch to a new wharf, to be built on the river at Londonderry Farm and locally known as Jacky Whites. Work on the branch started in December 1832, and the wharf became operational in October 1833, with two berths, one for large and one for small coal.

The amount of coal shipped out over the dramway had probably reached its peak by March 1836, but a substantial decline started later that year, and continued over the next, 14 years, so that by 1850, only around 204 tons of coal per week were being taken over the route. A year later, the owners of the Avon & Gloucestershire Railway – The Kennet & Avon Canal Company, were taken over by the Great Western Railway, but by then there was very little traffic using the line, particularly from the northern section, with pits having been worked out, flooded, or abandoned. By 1865, the GWR had obtained powers under the GWR (Additional Powers) Act to abandon the whole or part of the dramway, and during January 1867 Hole Lane Pit sent through the last revenue earning load of coal to the river.

For the next 10 years or more, the dramway remained unused

For the next 10 years or more, the dramway remained unused, whilst nature continued to reclaim that which was hers. However, with the re-opening in 1876 of California Colliery, plans were made to lay a connecting branch with the dramway in order that coal could be taken out in bulk. To do so would involve the need to construct an incline, and the building of a bridge across the Warmley Brook. Eventually in 1881, the line from Oldland was repaired, and coal was taken to Londonderry Wharf.

By then a wharf had been built at Willsbridge for coal to be taken away by road, whilst the sidings had been considerably enlarged. During 1892 it was recorded that over 100 tons of coal was being shipped out through the three wharfs per day.

As was the pattern of the local coalfields, success was not to last, and within 14 years the California Coal Company was in financial difficulties. The amount of coal dispatched over the dramway in October 1903, had fallen to 1,164 tons, or less than 40 tons per day, and it was becoming less and less economical to send coal out in this way, especially as the maintenance of the infrastructure was increasing all of the time. Matters came to a sudden and dramatic end in March 1904. when a considerable amount of water burst in from old workings and, totally closed down the production of coal. According to an entry in the wharfage book, the last load of coal to-be sent through to Willsbridge wharf, occurred on the 30 January 1904, when 66 tons left the pit-head.

Whilst it is possible that coal was sent through to the river wharfage during February, there is a suspicion that, due to the financial difficulties being experienced by the owners, the production of coal, and the maintenance of the coal face, was neglected during February, and that very few, if any, miners worked underground after the last week of January 1904.

all traffic on the Avon Tramway has now ceased

On the 9 July 1906, the Traffic Committee of the Great Western Railway, were informed by it’s General Manager that, "all traffic on the Avon Tramway has now ceased" Thus for the second time in its relatively short existence, the line lay abandoned, whilst nature again tried to reclaim that which was hers.

Although the track in the colliery yard and along to the incline was sold as an asset of the California Coal Company, the bulk of the track on the dramway remained until it was removed as salvage during the First World War. However, some of the rails ended up locally as fence rails and some can still be seen at Londonderry Farm.

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Midland Railway Company

In 1845 the Midland Railway Company took over the broad gauged Bristol & Gloucester Railway, and in May of the following year gave notice that it intended applying to Parliament for an Act to enable a line to be constructed from Mangotsfield to Bath. Had their first proposal not been withdrawn at the time of the second reading, then it is quite probable that Oldland would never have been on the railway map, as the original intention was to build a branch line north of Wick, through Freezing Hill, before descending into Bath via the Swainswick Valley, and onto a terminus to have been built at Bathwick.

Whilst the Act was dead and buried, the idea was not, although it was to lay dormant for a number of years. It was not until 1862 that the idea re-surfaced, when serious consideration was given to the report of a survey which took the new 9 mile long proposed route through to Bridgeyate, Upton Cheyney, Kelston and on into Bath, to terminate at Queens Parade. However, this proposal did not suit everyone, particularly wealthy landowners at Kelston and at Bath. Many influential objections were raised, resulting in the plan being subsequently abandoned in October 1863.

At this time the Midland Railway were even more determined to get to Bath, and a new route was chosen to take the line along the now familiar route through Warmley and Bitton. With less objection, this new plan was presented to Parliament, and on the 21 July 1864 the "Mangotsfield and Bath Act received its Royal Assent. By May 1866, well over 600 men were employed on the construction of the route, which continued for the next three years, the line being officially opened on the 3 August 1867, even though the Bath terminus was at that time not complete and the trains had to stop just short of the river, the eventual terminus being built on just the other side.

During 1874, the Somerset & Dorset Railway Company their extension to Bath thereby connecting with the Midland Railway at their Bath Green Park Station. This meant that instead of the branch being no more than a long spur culminating in a dead-end, trains from the north could now continue on to the south coast and the holiday town of Bournemouth.

Throughout most of its existence, the work of running the branch line was mostly mundane, probably reaching its peak during the the 1930’s and l940’s. A station at Oldland Common was opened in 1935, whilst another station, the one at Kelston was closed in 1949.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_pBPgUxnRY

Beeching Cuts

Following the infamous Beeching Report the writing was on the wall with regard to the well-being of this line, and in 1953 the Bristol terminus at St. Philips was permanently closed, with trains now starting and finishing at Temple Meads. In the same year the station at Weston (Bath) was closed to passengers. The end came quite quickly, with the closure in 1965, of the goods yards of Warmley, Bitton and Weston plus the closure of the Bitton signal box. Just four passenger trains per day were left to keep the line open, but on the 7 March 1966 these trains succumbed to the pressures of the railway hierarchy, and Warmley, Oldland Common, and Bitton, together-with the other stations on the line, closed completely.

Bath Gasworks

All that remained was a daily service of coal being taken to Bath Gas Works. However, with the introduction of North Sea Gas, the need to produce town gas from coal became unnecessary, and in July 1971, gas production at Bath ceased, and so did the need for the line.

This should have been the end of line and, for most of it, that is precisely what happened.

However, part of the line, and in particular that part which runs through the area covered by the-village and the parish was resurrected. More of this later, but first a general description of the local route.

www.flickr.com/photos/bogbrush6666/3908675515/

Warmley Station

When built, Warmley station gave the appearance of being a temporary structure with the platform buildings being constructed of wood, although the Station Master’s house was, and still is, a solid stone construction. A goods yard was set out, and contained three roads, plus a large goods shed built of brick and stone. In 1899, a timber foot-bridge was built at the London Road end of the station, which not only enabled passengers to cross the tracks but, also enabled pedestrians to continue with their journey when the level-crossing gates were set for the movement of the trains.

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/2120677793/

Odland Station

This bridge was eventually replaced by one built of plate girder around 1929. From Warmley, the line descends towards Oldland Common, but the village had to wait until the 2 December 1935 before its name was added to the Railway Gazetteer, with the opening of its own station. Although by all standards, the station was a very poor example of those built on the branch, it was the only one on the line to be connected to the mains electricity, and thus, had the sleeper built platforms and the modest waiting rooms lit by this power. The decision to build a station at Oldland proved popular, and generally the trains picked up more passengers here than at Bitton.

Although parcels could be collected and left at Oldland, the station, being in a cutting, had no sidings and, thus, there were no facilities for goods traffic. With the run-down of the branch, the station was no longer manned after 7 December 1964.

www.flickr.com/photos/midlandexplorerboy/5116698537/

Bitton Station

After leaving Oldland station the route continued through a series of cuttings for a mile before reaching Bitton station. Here the main building on the down platform was built of local stone whilst, opposite there stood a shelter also built of local stone. Just north of the station, there was built a four road goods yard, one of which ran through a substantial goods shed, where up to six or so wagons could be unloaded under cover.

The goods yard was well patronised, and handled a variety of materials ranging from chemicals to locally dug moulding sand (from a quarry in Ryedown Lane), raw and finished materials re the Bitton Paper Mill plus, sheet steel, coal, machinery and farm implements and, animal hides. Within the yard there existed a fixed crane with a lifting capacity of 4 tons. Flowers, fruit and vegetables from nearby garden nurseries were dispatched by passenger train, with some of these products going as far afield as Scotland. To deal with this traffic, there was, at the turn of the century, a station master plus, 4 porters; 2 clerks and, 2 signalmen, employed at Bitton station.

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/2038209532/

The End from rail to road

As already stated, having built up the traffic and importance of this line by the 1930/40’s, there then occurred a decline in the use of railways, with both passengers and goods being switched to the roads. This manifested itself when the line was closed to passengers in 1966 and, to goods in 1971. By then the branch line had, during 1969, been reduced to single track working and was basically treated by the railway authorities as being nothing more than a long siding which stretched all of the way from Yate to Bath.

www.sgmrg.co.uk/kingswoodcoal.php

1958 Edsel: Lousy Car But Great Planter.
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Image by bill barber
Here’s a link to how this same Edsel looked in 1959. I took this picture with my Brownie Hawkeye when I was thirteen.
farm2.static.flickr.com/1286/544933741_8e82112e81.jpg

A bit busy today and tomorrow, but will try to visit everyone’s stream. Thanks for your patience

When my stepfather first met my mother in 1959, he was driving a brand new 1958 Ford Edsel. At that time it was touted as being far ahead of its time. The big feature was the ability of the driver to shift gears by pushing buttons on a touch pad in the centre of the steering wheel.

After a few years the Edsel was abandoned. It had become an embarrassment to Ford. The button shift did not live up to its potential, and was notorious for losing its timing. It sometimes took up to five seconds from the time you pushed a button until the time the transmission shifted, usually with a jolting ‘thunk’. Further, the Edsel was an overly heavy car, even in an age of heavy cars.

I did drive it a fair bit over a ten year period, and it could be scary at times.

Over the years I wondered what happened to it. I couldn’t remember it being traded in. Then, several years ago, I spotted it in the farm yard at my brother, Steve’s, place. it was pretty badly smacked up, and had been used for .22 practice. I always meant to photograph it, but didn’t get a chance until yesterday. It had been towed about fifty feet from where I originally saw it, and the tow had not been kind.

From my set entitled “Steve and Marg’s Farm”
www.flickr.com/photos/21861018@N00/sets/72157608031549391/
In my collection entitled “Places”
www.flickr.com/photos/21861018@N00/collections/7215760074…
In my photostream
www.flickr.com/photos/21861018@N00/

The Story of the Edsel
(taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edsel
The Edsel was a marquee division of Ford Motor Company during the 1958, 1959 and 1960 model years.

In the early 1950s, the Ford Motor Co. became a publicly traded corporation that was no longer entirely owned by members of the Ford family. They were then able to sell cars according to then-current market trends following the sellers’ market of the postwar years. The new management compared the roster of Ford makes with that of General Motors, and noted that Lincoln competed not with Cadillac, but with Oldsmobile. Since Ford had an excess of money on hand from the success of the Ford Thunderbird the plan was developed to move Lincoln upmarket with the Continental at the top, and to add another make to the intermediate slot vacated by Lincoln. Research and development had begun in 1955 under the name "E-car," which stood for "Experimental car." This represented a new division of the firm alongside that of Ford itself and the Lincoln-Mercury division, whose cars at the time shared the same body.

The Edsel was introduced amidst considerable publicity on "E Day"—September 4, 1957. It was promoted by a top-rated television special, The Edsel Show on October 13, but it was not enough to counter the adverse public reaction to the car’s styling and conventional build. For months Ford had been circulating rumours that led consumers to expect an entirely new kind of car when in reality the Edsel shared its bodywork with other Ford models.

The Edsel was to be sold through a new Ford division. It existed from November 1956 until January 1958, after which Edsels were made by the Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln division (referred to as M-E-L). Edsel was sold through a new network of 1,500 dealers. This briefly brought total dealers of all Ford products to 10,000. Ford saw this as a way to come closer to parity with the other two companies of the Big Three: Chrysler had 10,000 dealers and General Motors had 16,000. As soon as it became apparent that the Edsels were not selling, many of these dealers added Lincoln-Mercury, English Ford and/or Taunus dealerships to their lines with the encouragement of Ford Motor Company. Some dealers, however, closed.

For the 1958 model year, Edsel produced four models, including the larger Mercury-based Citation and Corsair, and the smaller Ford-based Pacer and Ranger. The Citation came in two-door and four-door hardtops and two-door convertible versions. The Corsair came in two-door and four-door hardtop versions. The Pacer came in two-door and four-door hardtops, four-door sedan, and two-door convertible. The Ranger came in two-door and four-door hardtop or sedan versions. The four-door Bermuda and Villager wagons and the two-door Roundup wagon were based on the 116" wheelbase Ford station wagon platform and shared the trim and features of the Ranger and Pacer models. It included several innovative features, among which were its "rolling dome" speedometer and its Teletouch transmission shifting system in the center of the steering wheel. Other design innovations included an ergonomically designed controls for the driver, and self-adjusting brakes (often claimed as a first for the industry, although Studebaker had pioneered them earlier in the decade).

In the first year, 63,110 Edsels were sold in the U.S. with another 4,935 sold in Canada. Though below expectations, it was still the second largest car launch for any brand to date, second only to the Plymouth introduction in 1928.

For the 1959 model year, there were only two Edsels: the Ranger and the Corsair. The two larger cars were not produced. The new Corsair came in two-door and four-door hardtops, four-door sedan, and two-door convertible. The Ranger came in two-door and four-door hardtops, two-door and four-door sedans, and the Villager station wagon. In the 1959 model year, 44,891 cars were sold in the U.S., with an additional 2,505 sales in Canada.

For the 1960 model year, Edsel’s last, only the Ranger and Villager were produced. The 1960 Edsel, in its final model year, emerged as a Ford. Its grill, hood, and four taillights, along with its side sweep spears, were the only real differences separating the Edsel from the Ford.

Ford announced the end of the Edsel program on Thursday, November 19, 1959. However, cars continued being produced until late in November, with the final tally at 2,846 1960 models. Total sales were approximately 84,000, less than half McNamara’s projected break-even point. The company lost 0 million on the venture [1].

On Friday, November 20, United Press International’s (UPI) wire service reported that book values for used Edsels had decreased by as much as 0 [approximately 00 in 2006 dollars] (based on condition and age) immediately following the Ford press release. In some newspaper markets, dealers scrambled to renegotiate newspaper advertising contracts involving the 1960 Edsel models, while others dropped the name from their dealership’s advertising "slugs." Ford issued a statement that it would distribute coupons to consumers who purchased 1960 models (and carryover 1959 models) prior to the announcement, valued at 0 to 0 towards the purchase of new Ford products to offset the decreased values. The company also issued credits to dealers for stock unsold or received, following the announcement.

There is no single reason why the Edsel failed, and failed so spectacularly. Popular culture often faults the car’s styling. Consumer Reports cited poor workmanship. Marketing experts hold the Edsel up as a supreme example of corporate America’s failure to understand the nature of the American consumer. Business analysts cite the weak internal support for the product inside Ford’s executive offices. According to author and Edsel scholar Jan Deutsch, the Edsel was "the wrong car at the wrong time."

One popular misconception was that the Edsel was an engineering failure, or a lemon, although it shared the same general reliability of its sister Mercury and Ford models that were built in the same factories. The Edsel is most famous for being a marketing disaster. Indeed, the name Edsel came to be synonymous with commercial failure, and similar ill-fated products have often been colloquially referred to as Edsels. Since it was such a debacle, it provided a case study for marketers on how not to market a product. The main reason the Edsel’s failure is so famous was that it flopped despite Ford’s investment of 0,000,000 in its development.

The prerelease advertising campaign touted the car as having "…more YOU ideas," and the teaser advertisements in magazines only revealed glimpses of the car through a highly blurred lens or wrapped in paper or under tarps. Edsels were shipped to the dealerships undercover and remained wrapped on the dealer lots.

But the public also had a hard time understanding what the Edsel was, mostly because Ford made the mistake of pricing the Edsel within Mercury’s market price segment. Theoretically, the Edsel was conceived to fit into Ford’s marketing plans as the brand slotted in between Ford and Mercury. However, when the car arrived in 1958, its least expensive model—the Ranger—was priced within of the most expensive and best-trimmed Ford sedan and less than Mercury’s base Medalist model. In its midrange pricing, Edsel’s Pacer and Corsair models were more expensive than their Mercury counterparts. Edsel’s top-of-the-line Citation four door hardtop model was the only model priced to correctly compete with Mercury’s mid-range Montclair Turnpike Cruiser model.

Not only was the Edsel competing against its own sister divisions, but model for model, consumers did not understand what the car was supposed to be—a step up or a step below the Mercury.

After its introduction to the public, the Edsel did not live up to its overblown hype, even though it did have many new features, such as self-adjusting rear brakes and automatic lubrication. While consumer focus groups had said these and other features would make the "E" car attractive to them as car buyers, the cost of the cars outstripped what the public was willing to pay. When many potential buyers saw the base price tag, they simply left the dealership, and others were frightened by the price for a fully loaded, top of the line model.

One of the external forces working against the Edsel that Ford had no control over was the onset of the recession in late 1957.

When the Edsel was in its planning stages in the early and mid-1950s, the American economy was robust and growing. However, in the years that spanned the planning to its introduction, an economic recession hit, and American consumers not only shifted their idea of what an ideal car should be; in prior economic downturns, buyers flocked to the lower price marques like Plymouth, Chevrolet, and Ford. But in 1958, even these cars were perceived by some as unnecessarily large, and while the compact Rambler saw itself shoot to the third best selling make, none of the Big Three had anything compact to sell except their European cars built for Vauxhall, Simca, and Opel. The compacts introduced by the Big Three in 1960 were the direct result of the recession of 1958.

Compounding Edsel’s problems was that the car had to appeal to buyers of other well established nameplates from the Big Three, such as Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Dodge, DeSoto, and even its internal sister division, Mercury — itself never a stellar sales success.

Even if the 1958 recession hadn’t hit when it did, the Edsel was entering into a shrinking marketplace. While Ernest Breech convinced Ford management that this market segment offered great untapped opportunity in the early 1950s, when the "E" car was in its earliest stages, by 1957, independent manufacturers in the mid-price field were drifting towards insolvency. Hoping to turn around their losses, Packard acquired Studebaker, yet the venerable Packard was no longer produced after 1958. On the other hand, American Motors changed its focus to the compact Rambler models, while their pre-merger brands (Nash and Hudson) were discontinued after the 1957 model year. Even Chrysler saw sales of its DeSoto marque drop dramatically from its 1957 high by over 50% in 1958. Following a disastrous 1959 model year, plans were made in Highland Park to discontinue DeSoto during its 1961 model year run.

Thus, the large, expensive Edsel that was planned to be all things to all people suddenly stood for excess, not progress.

The name of the car, Edsel, is also often cited as a further reason for its unpopularity. Naming the vehicle after Edsel Ford was proposed early in its development. However, the Ford family strongly opposed its use, Henry Ford II stating that he didn’t want his father’s good name spinning around on thousands of hubcaps. Ford also ran internal studies to decide on a name and even dispatched employees to stand outside movie theaters to poll audiences as to what their feelings were on several ideas. They reached no conclusions.

Ford hired the advertising firm Foote, Cone and Belding to come up with a name. However, when the advertising agency issued its report, citing over 6,000 possibilities, Ford’s Ernest Breech commented that they had been hired to develop a name, not 6,000. Early favorites for the name brand included Citation, Corsair, Pacer, and Ranger, which were ultimately chosen for the vehicle’s series names.

David Wallace, Manager of Marketing Research, and coworker Bob Young unofficially invited poet Marianne Moore for input and suggestions. Moore’s unorthodox contributions (among them "Utopian Turtletop," "Pastelogram," and "Mongoose Civique") were meant to stir creative thought and were not officially authorized or contractual in nature. History has greatly exaggerated her relationship to the project.
At the behest of Ernest Breech, who was chairing a meeting in the absence of Henry Ford II, the car was finally called "Edsel" in honor of Edsel Ford, former company president and son of Henry Ford. Marketing surveys later found the name was thought to sound like the name of a tractor (Edson) and therefore was unpopular with the public.

Moreover, several consumer studies showed that people associated the name "Edsel" with "weasel" and "dead cell" (dead battery), drawing further unattractive comparisons.

Perhaps the most important factor in the Edsel’s failure, however, was that when the car was introduced, the U.S. was entering a period of recession. Sales for all car manufacturers, even those not introducing new models, were down; consumers entered a period of preferring less expensive, more fuel-efficient automobiles.

Edsels were fast, but required premium gas and did not have the fuel economy desired during a recession. Mechanics disliked the bigger engine because of its unique design. The cylinder head had no combustion chamber and was perfectly flat, with the head set at an angle and "roof" pistons forming both a squish zone on one side and a combustion chamber on the other, meaning that the combustion took place entirely within the cylinder bore. This design reduced the cost of manufacture and possibly carbon buildup, but appeared strange to mechanics.

There were also reports of mechanical flaws in the models originating in the factory, due to lack of quality control and confusion of parts with other Ford models. Edsels in their first (1958) model year were made in both Mercury and Ford factories; the longer wheelbase models, Citation and Corsair, were produced alongside the Mercury products, and the shorter wheelbase models, Pacer and Ranger, were produced alongside the Ford products. There was never a stand-alone Edsel factory devoted solely to Edsel model production; workers making Fords and Mercurys literally had to change parts bins and tools to assemble extra Edsels once their hourly quota of regular Fords and Mercurys was achieved. As such, the desired quality control of the different Edsel models was difficult to attain for the new make of car. Many Edsels left the line unfinished, with the extra parts having been put into the trunks, with assembly instructions for the mechanics at the dealerships.

The Edsel is best remembered for its trademark "horsecollar" grille, which made it stand out from other cars of the period. A widely circulated wisecrack at the time was that "It looked like an Oldsmobile sucking on a lemon." Men often referred to the horsecollar grille as being akin to a woman’s genitalia. In fact, Robin Jones, a Ford designer at the time, later recalled that someone in the design studio – presumably as a cruel joke – actually taped hair to the inside of the grille area on one of the clay models produced during the design process; the end result, according to Jones, "looked like a hormonally-disturbed cow after giving birth."

Jokes aside, the front of the original Edsel turned out nothing like what was originally intended. Roy Brown, the original chief designer on the project, wanted a slender, almost delicate opening in the center; engineers, fearing engine cooling problems, vetoed the intended design, which led to the "horsecollar." The vertical grille theme, while improved for the 1959 models, was discontinued for the 1960 models, which were almost indistinguishable from Ford models of the same year, although the new front-end design bore no small resemblance to that of the 1959 Pontiac.

Many drivers disliked having the automatic transmission as pushbuttons (above) mounted on the steering wheel hub: this was the traditional location of the horn, and drivers ended up shifting gears instead of honking the horn. While the Edsel was fast, the location of the transmission pushbuttons was not conducive to street racing. There were jokes about stoplight dragsters and the buttons: D for Drag, L for Leap, and R for Race (instead of Drive, Low and Reverse).

There were also complaints about the taillights on 1958-model Edsel station wagons, which were boomerang-shaped and placed in a reverse fashion; at a distance, they appeared as arrows pointed in the opposite direction of the turn being made. While the left turn signal blinked, its arrow shape pointed right, and vice versa. However, there was little that could be done to give the Ford-based station wagons a unique appearance from the rear; corporate management insisted that no sheetmetal could be changed. Only the taillights and trim could be touched.

While the car and Ford’s planning of the car are the most often cited reasons for its failure, internal politics within the executive offices at Ford are as much to blame for the failure of the Edsel. Following World War II, Henry Ford II brought on Robert McNamara as one of the "whiz kids" to help turn Ford around. McNamara’s cost cutting and cost containment skills helped Ford emerge from its near collapse after the war. As such, McNamara eventually assumed a great deal of power at Ford. In many ways, McNamara was very much like Henry Ford: both men were committed to Ford above all other things and had little use for Continental, Lincoln, Mercury, and Edsel brand cars made by the company.

McNamara was against the formation of the separate divisions for Continental, Lincoln, Mercury, and Edsel cars, and moved to consolidate Lincoln, Mercury, and Edsel into the M-E-L division. McNamara saw to it that the Continental program was canceled and that the model was merged into the Lincoln range for 1958. He next set his sights on Edsel by maneuvering for elimination of the dual wheelbases and separate body used in 1958; instead, the Edsel would share the Ford platform and use Ford’s inner body structure for 1959. In 1960, the Edsel emerged as a Ford with different trim. McNamara also moved to reduce Edsel’s advertising budget for 1959, and for 1960, he virtually eliminated it. The final blow came in the fall of 1959, when McNamara convinced Henry Ford II and the management structure that the Edsel was doomed and that it was time to end production before the Edsel bled the company dry. (Note: McNamara also attempted to end the Lincoln nameplate; however, that effort ended with Elwood Engel’s now classic redesign of 1961.) McNamara left Ford when he was named Secretary of Defense by President John F. Kennedy.

During the 1964 presidential election, Republican nominee Barry Goldwater blamed McNamara, then Secretary of Defense, for the Edsel’s failure. Eventually, Ford’s former executive vice president and financial contributor to Goldwater’s campaign Ernest R. Breech wrote the Senator’s campaign explaining that "Mr. McNamara … had nothing to do with the plans for the Edsel car or any part of the program." However, the charge continued to be leveled against McNamara for years. During his time as head of the World Bank he instructed his public affairs officer to distribute copies of Breech’s letter to the press whenever the accusation was made.[2]

The scheduled 1960 Edsel Comet compact car was hastily rebranded the Comet and assigned to Mercury dealerships. The Comet was an instant success, selling more cars in its first year than all models of Edsel produced during its three-year run. Styling touches seen in the Comets sold to the public that allude to being part of the Edsel family of models included the instrument cluster, rear tailfins (though canted diagonally), and the taillight shape (the lens is visually similar to that used on the 1960 Edsel, and even retained the embossed "E" code). The Comet’s keys were even shaped like Edsel keys, with the center bar removed from the "E" to form a "C." For 1962, Ford officially assigned the Comet to the Mercury brand.

As the Edsel was a large commercial failure, the name became a popular joke in various media. A backronym, "Every Day Something Else Leaks", was inspired by the car’s failure. Television programs, cartoons, video games, and films have all used the Edsel as humor, usually as a quick joke or as a sight gag.

In May 1958, then Vice President Richard Nixon was on a trip to Peru, riding in an Edsel convertible, when he was pelted with eggs and tomatoes by demonstrators. Nixon later joked: "They were throwing eggs at the car, not me."[3]

Fifty years after its spectacular failure, Edsel has become a highly collectible item amongst vintage car hobbyists. Fewer than 6,000 Edsels survive and are considered collectors’ items. A mint 1958 Citation convertible sometimes sells for over 0,000,[1] while rare models, like the 1960 convertible, may price up to 0,000. While the design was considered "ugly" fifty years ago, many other car manufacturers, such as Pontiac and Alfa Romeo, have employed similar vertical grille successfully on their car designs.
Many of the Edsel’s features, such as transmission lock on ignition, adjustable brakes, gear selection as steering wheel buttons etc, which were considered "too impractical" in the late 1950s, are today standard features of sports cars.

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Stained Glass III
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St. Michael’s and All Angels Church

Stage 1 of a private project, to make and install stained glass windows in the historic church of St Michael and All Angels in Sandakan, Borneo (Sabah) has been completed. The world class, heritage windows are a memorial to Australian and British prisoners of war who died in Sabah – at Sandakan, Ranau or on the death marches – during 1942-1945, and a thanksgiving to the local people who risked, and gave, their lives to help them. A total of 2428 POWs (of whom 1787 were Australian) died at Sandakan or on one of the infamous death marches to Ranau, the bulk of them in 1945, sixty years ago. Only six Australians who escaped, survived. All 641 British POWs perished. This is the first time Australians from all states have had the opportunity to participate in such a project or to show their gratitude to the people of Sabah, many of whom were tortured or imprisoned for trying to help the prisoners. Eight were executed by firing squad. How many others died is impossible to assess.

Many of the prisoners, who were transferred from Singapore by ship, spent the night in the church before marching to the Sandakan compound, 12 kilometres away. Built in the late 1890s from local stone, in the style of a cathedral, St Michael’s is one of only four buildings to survive World War II. All, interestingly, were places of worship – two small Chinese temples, and the town mosque.

The idea to create a memorial window was conceived in 2003, during a trip to Sandakan, where I conduct an Anzac Day service with a small group of POW relatives each year. I approached the Rector to discuss my idea and, as a result, the church authorities made available the entire, tri-panelled west window. Over five metres in height, it dominates the main entrance. Response to the project from relatives of the prisoners and other caring people was so great (over 0,000 donated) that it was possible to commission the west window, and three more below, and to create a beautiful POW Chapel in the church.

Philip Handel, a well-known Sydney artisan who has spent a life-time designing and making stained glass windows for gothic-style churches, came out of retirement to undertake the project. He used only hand-blown, antique French glass of the highest quality, and which he had not seen in Australia for twenty years. Using this exquisite glass as his basis, he then began creating his masterpiece. Coincidentally, the main window consists of 2,500 pieces – one piece for each POW. Each piece of glass, after Handel had added the detail he required to create his design, was fired in a special kiln, up to three times, depending on the depth of detail required.

The design of all four windows is integrated. The main window is spread across the three panels, or lights. Various shades of blue on the outer border represent the oceans which link the three nations. The subject for the upper, or memorial section, is from the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 12, depicting a shining angel backed by ruby-coloured, spiralling shapes suggesting movement, and enclosed by a rainbow-hued circle – a symbol of peace and hope for the future.

Below, in a prison cell, sits St Peter, who is under sentence of death. He is amazed at the awesome sight and incredulous at the miraculous loosening of his chains, and his subsequent deliverance which the Roman guards are unable to prevent. This scene is a reminder of the Almighty’s power to free the spirit of mankind from evil and oppression. The text, ‘By the strength of your arm, preserve those condemned to die’, reinforces this message.

Above the angel, at the top of the central arch, sprays of wattle surround the floral emblems of the Australian states from which the men enlisted. The orange and yellow hues in the centre represent the colours of the outback and the setting sun; the purple tones, the mountain ranges.

The lower section of the window features the well-known parable, The Good Samaritan. This story, which teaches compassion between strangers, typifies the spirit of mateship which sustained the prisoners until the end, and exemplifies the compassion of local people towards strangers in need of help and comfort during many dark days. Included in this setting is a representation of The Big Tree – a mengarris and a prominent landmark at the infamous Sandakan POW Camp. Another coloured spectrum, echoing the rainbow theme, frames the figures and the whole picture is encompassed with the flowers of Australia, Britain and Sabah, united by their wartime experience. The focus words Endurance, Honour, Compassion, Courage and Sacrifice, describe the triumph of the spirit and will over flesh – the purpose of the memorial.

Below the main window are a large arched window over the west door, featuring a brilliantly coloured Christian cross, and two much smaller windows to either side – an angel representing Peace and another representing Eternity. The centre piece of the chapel, directly below the main window and incorporating the small angel windows, is a finely crafted, altar-like Table of Honour, with polished granite top, on which are inscribed the words ‘For there are deeds that should not pass away, And names that must not be forgotten.’ Over the granite is a glass case, containing the Roll of Honour, inscribed with the names of all our POWs, and local people who died or helped, and the Book of Special Remembrance, containing the names of all donors, along with the names of people they are jointly or individually honouring, and any special inscription. The books, hand-bound in burgundy, Moroccan leather and hand tooled in gold, are composed of archival parchment guaranteed to last 500 years. Each week, a new page will be turned. Resting on the blank left-hand page of each book, as a paper-weight, is a life-size pewter gum leaf, with a cluster of gum nuts. Around the walls of the chapel are regimental plaques, donated by associations and individuals and a hand-made pulpit banner, donated by the family of Padre McLiver, an Australian army officer, who used it at his services, following the liberation of Borneo in 1945, and which we had framed.

The breathtakingly beautiful windows and the chapel were dedicated at 4 pm on Anzac Eve. The 130 Australians and four British present, along with 50 family members of local people being honoured, knew they were about to witness something very special when the opening notes of the Trumpet Voluntary heralded a grand procession of a forty-voice choir dressed in brand-new robes, colour parties carrying the flags of Australia, Britain, Sabah and Malaysia (the Australian flag escorted by an Australian soldier whose grandfather had died at Sandakan) and senior Anglican clergy, headed by the Archbishop of South-East Asia Province, Datuk Yong Ping Chung, all clad in gorgeous cream, gold and red regalia.

The four windows, draped in burgundy silk shot with gold, were unveiled and dedicated, one by one, with various people from the POW families, and local people, assisting the Archbishop. With the afternoon sun lighting up the three lower windows in spectacular fashion, the strains of the Hallelujah Chorus filled the church and the final curtain rose slowly, to reveal a window of such stunning and awesome magnificence that every person present, some 300 all told, stopped clapping and stood in rapt silence, absolutely transfixed. Tears poured down almost every cheek, including those of cameramen and journalists. I have never experienced anything like it. The Windows of Remembrance must surely be Philip Handel’s finest work.

The following day, at 4 pm, there was an ‘official opening’ by the Deputy Chief Minister and Sabah’s Minister for Tourism, at a most joyous and moving celebration, a wonderful community event at which children danced and balloons were released. The Minister, along with representatives of the Australian and British High Commissions and other dignitaries, entered the church, where they gazed in wonderment as the Windows were revealed one at a time, as on the previous day.

However, it was not until later, at the reception attended by the VIPs and our donors, that I realised how much our windows meant to the wider community. There was total silence and a good many more tears when a tiny Chinese lady presented me with a beautiful oil painting of Mt Kinabalu, where local legend says the spirits of the dead ascend, to express her gratitude for honouring the local people in the Windows of Remembrance. Aged 82, she had travelled by public bus with her son, as her interpreter, all the way from Kota Kinabalu – a journey of seven hours – to meet me.

The many people who have expressed their disappointment at having missed out on Stage 1 are now invited to participate in Stage 2 – to install stained glass in the two remaining major windows, over the north and south doors.

Our prisoners left us a wonderful legacy – goodwill and friendship between nations, forged by our prisoners with the people of Sabah in a time of great adversity. We will endorse this legacy by having friendship and love for our fellow man as our focus for Stage 2.

Here is your chance to be part of something very special. If you would like to ensure that the precious legacy of our POWs is passed to successive generations; if you would like to transform the tragedy and grief of Sandakan into something beautiful and uplifting, a testimony to the triumph of good over evil and a source of wonder, awe and a joy for hundreds of years to come, please contact me. Any excess funds will be used to set up a maintenance fund for all the stained glass and to support the Sandakan Memorial Scholarship Scheme.

Scripted by author – Lynette Ramsey Silver, Australia

Croatian house dream becomes nightmare for Canadian
Robert spent the following months dealing with both the bank, who claimed to have no knowledge whatsoever of the home changing hands, and Marijana who vehemently denied responsibility. “Every time I threatened her with law suits and legalities she …
Read much more on Croatian Occasions

Less a nation of shopkeepers, more a land of stand-ups
I caught the contagion in March this year and, five modest gigs later, I can safely say no legal high compares with the euphoria you really feel when a space of strangers laughs at your gags. Each chortle is a massage … When this year's queen of comedy, 28 …
Read much more on Telegraph.co.uk

Check out these herbs that make you high images:

Bell Telephone System .. Dinner in a Flash — “What’s for dinner?” (October 29, 2011 / 1 Cheshvan 5772) …item 2.. Delicious meals prepared in minutes (February 9, 2012 / 16 Shevat 5772) …
herbs that make you high

Image by marsmet542
Sumptuous Chicken and Veggies… This chicken can be extremely moist and juicy, depending on the pan you choose to bake it in.

I suggest a Pyrex or corning ware with a tight fitting lid for best results. If unavailable, try wrapping the pan very well with tin foil to prevent moisture escaping. Use whatever vegetables are handy and easy, below are my suggestions.

The onion and tomato are essential though, as they are key contributors to the amount of juice.
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…..item 1)…. aish.com …. Dinner in a Flash … Quick recipes and tips for saving time in the kitchen

October 29, 2011 / 1 Cheshvan 5772

by Rivka Moshayev
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After a long days work, you walk in the door at five. Dinner needs to be on the table in an hour and the hungry troops are already asking, “What’s for dinner?” With homework and bedtime up ahead, there is no spare time to while away in the kitchen. Here are some great tips for saving time and a few recipes that require only a few minutes of preparation time.

Tips in thinking ahead:

….. Make long lasting salads over the weekend. Salads like Moroccan carrot salad, fresh carrot salad, cucumber salad, corn salad are all great dishes that will keep for quite a few days in the fridge. Our first course on shabbos is usually lots and lots of salads – if you make a large amount of each you can use one a day as a refreshing side dish during the week.

….. Just keep cutting. If you are making a salad that doesn’t keep well after seasoning, like lettuce salad or Israeli salad than cut a large amount to store in a the fridge and season only what you need for now. Tomorrow, you can pull out the container and season another few portions and voila – a freshly made salad.

….. Be prepared. If you already have your food processor out, then go ahead and add an extra few carrots or zucchini or whatever it is you are grating. Place the extra in a sandwich baggie and freeze it. When you are a throwing together a last minute soup, just tear open the bag and throw those shredded veggies in! The same goes for garlic pressing or chopping parsley – just go ahead and freeze some. (According to Jewish law, it is important to add some salt to unpeeled garlic if leaving it overnight before mixing it into another mixture.)

….. Why not cook it? So, this may sound strange, but when you have half a bowl of tomato basil salad leftover and you know that no one is going to eat it tomorrow, you can toss that into your chicken, brisket, or homemade tomato sauce and you have a delicacy! You can even freeze it and save it for an opportune entrée! This applies to many salads like carrot or three colored pepper salad. Just use your imagination before rushing to throw those wilting veggies out! You may just save yourself lots of cutting time.

Here are a few recipes that are real quickies, but using the above tips you can cut already minimal preparation time in half!
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——Sumptuous Chicken and Veggies

This chicken can be extremely moist and juicy, depending on the pan you choose to bake it in. I suggest a Pyrex or corning ware with a tight fitting lid for best results. If unavailable, try wrapping the pan very well with tin foil to prevent moisture escaping. Use whatever vegetables are handy and easy, below are my suggestions. The onion and tomato are essential though, as they are key contributors to the amount of juice.

Serves 4 -6

1 onion cut into quarters
3 large potatoes, peeled or scrubbed and cut into cubes
1 large sweet potato, peeled or scrubbed and cut into ½” wide circles
2 carrots, peeled or scrubbed and cut into sticks
2 zucchinis, scrubbed and cut into half circles
1 tomato, sliced
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 cup of canned or fresh green beans, washed and snipped
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 Tablespoon Oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 chicken, cut in eight or
4 Chicken thighs or
4 pieces of chicken breast or
One package Chicken wings

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit. Place all vegetables in Pyrex roasting pan. Add spices and toss. Dip chicken pieces in the vegetable mixture to coat with spices and then place on top of the vegetable layer. Bake for 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender and chicken is completely cooked.

Enjoy!
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——Choose Your Ending Soup

This soup is so versatile. The basic beginning is simple and quick and you can add whatever you would like to give it its name. Put in lentils and it is lentil soup, barleys and you have barley soup. Just remember, whichever legume or grain you add will determine the required cooking time. Red lentils, quinoa s or white rice cook very quickly, whereas wheat berries or brown rice need at least half an hour longer, but are also more filling.

Serves 6

2 Tablespoons oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 tomato, grated or cubed
2 teaspoons curry
2 teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon turmeric
Kosher Salt , to taste
Black Pepper, to taste
4 cups boiling water
One of the following:
2 cups red lentils, rinsed or
1 cup white or brown rice or
¾ quinoa or
1 cup wheat berries or
1 cup barley
Or ¾ cup whole bulgur

Directions: Heat oil in large soup pot. Add onions and sauté, covered, on medium low heat till soft. Add carrots, zuchinni, tomato and spices and sauté, covered, for an additional five minutes on medium-low heat. Add boiling water and red lentils or other legumes. Cook on medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the legumes are very soft. If soup is too thick, add water. Cooking time varies, depending on ingredients. Serve with toasted bread or warm pitas.

Enjoy!
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——Crispy Oven Baked Potatoes with Sour Cream Sauce

An old time American favorite is baked potatoes, but let’s be honest, who has an hour and a half for that potato to cook all the way through? Your family will love this speedy and crispy version! Add a platter of freshly cut veggies or a cucumber salad and you have dinner!

Serves 6

8 potatoes, peeled or scrubbed and cut into cubes
2 Tablespoons oil
½ Tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 pint sour cream
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 green onions, chopped or 1 Tablespoon chopped dill
2 cloves of garlic, minced

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, toss potatoes with oil and spices. Spread evenly on baking sheet. Bake until potatoes are soft and edges are browned or until desired crispiness, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour sour cream into small mixing bowl, add salt pepper, green onions or dill and garlic.
Serve with hot potatoes!

Enjoy!
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——Shleppy Moes

A homemade version of a childhood favorite dish. Fast to prepare and a real crowd pleaser!

Serves 6

2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 ½ pounds ground beef
½ cup of dry red wine
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon basil, dried or fresh
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper ( optional)

In medium saucepot , heat oil. Add onion and sauté , covered, till soft over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and bell peppers. Saute, covered, for another three minutes. Crumble the ground meat over the vegetables. Do not mix. Cover and allow meat to cook. When meat has turned gray in color, mix and add the wine, tomato paste, mustard, and spices. There should be enough sauce from the meat and vegetables themselves, but if not, add ¼ cup of water to create sauce. Simmer for 10-15 minutes on low fire. Serve over hamburger bun, toasted challah or rice.

Enjoy!

Related Article: Chicken Wings
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…..item 2)…. aish.com … HOME FAMILY COOKING CORNER … Quick Dinners

Delicious meals prepared in minutes.
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February 9, 2012 / 16 Shevat 5772

by Gitta Bixenspanner

www.aish.com/f/r/Quick_Dinners.html

Ever stand in front of the fridge or freezer pondering what to serve for dinner? In today’s rushed world with so many obligations to attend it is imperative that we have some meals that can be whipped up in minutes. Here are a few recipes that fit that description. They are simple, full meals that take very little time to prepare and thus can be served in minutes.
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—— FLAVORFUL PAN SEARED TILAPIA

Serve this simple yet flavorful fish dish with whole grain couscous and steamed green beans for a delicious meal that can be served in minutes. If using frozen tilapia, thaw before preparing.
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Ingredients:

4 tilapia fillets (6 to 8 ounces each)
1 Tbs oil
1 Tbs chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Cajun seasoning (optional)
1 lemon, juiced

Directions:

Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Add oil and melt over medium heat. Add the tilapia and sprinkle with the parsley, garlic, and Cajun seasoning. Drizzle with the lemon juice. Cook for 5 minutes, turning the fillets once, until the fish flakes easily.

Preparation: 8 minutes
Serves: 4
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—— EASY VEGETABLE OMELETTE

Eggs are always the easiest to serve when there is no time for anything more elaborate. Eggs being a full protein is a great choice for those occasions when tight on time. With vegetables and cheese they are tasty and a satisfying full meal!
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Serve with whole wheat bread or stuff into a toasted whole wheat pita.

Ingredients

½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
1 Tbs chopped tomatoes + more tomatoes for garnish
4 egg, beaten
8 egg whites, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Tbs grated Mozzarella cheese

Directions:

In a large bowl mix whole eggs and egg whites. Sprinkle with a little salt, and set aside. In a medium non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat, add the onion and peppers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until sizzling. Add the tomatoes. Cook for about 1 minute longer, or until just starting to soften. Set aside.

Coat a frying pan with 1 Tbs oil, or cooking spray and ladle ¼ of the egg mixture into the pan. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes, lifting the cooked edges of the egg mixture with a fork so the uncooked egg can run underneath, and until the bottom is almost set. Add ¼ of prepared vegetables sprinkle with 1 Tbs cheese. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the eggs are cooked through. Then fold the omelette in half and serve. Repeat with remaining eggs and vegetable mixture for 4 delicious omelettes.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Serves: 4
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—— MOIST BAKED TENDER CHICKEN FINGERS

These chicken breasts are moist and tender even though they are baked in the oven. Served with your favorite grain such as rice millet or barley and some steamed broccoli florets it is a complete meal that takes minutes to prepare. It is sure to be a favorite with young and old!
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Ingredients:

1/3 cup light mayonnaise spiced with a sprinkle of onion powder and garlic powder
1/2 cup Panko crumbs or whole wheat bread crumbs
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup ground flaxseed for added nutrition (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Coat a large baking sheet liberally with cooking spray.

Place the spiced mayonnaise in a shallow bowl. Combine the bread crumbs and flaxseed in another shallow bowl. Dip the chicken into the dressing and dredge in the crumb mixture, then place it on the prepared well oiled baking sheet. Coat the breasts with cooking spray.
Bake for 20 minutes, turning once, or until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear.

Preparation: 30 minutes total time
Serves: 4
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—— QUICK QUINOA & TOFU MEAL

Quinoa is a delicately flavoured, protein-rich grain. Rinsing removes any residue of saponin, quinoa’s natural, bitter protective covering. Find it in natural-foods stores and the natural-foods sections of many supermarkets .It is easy to prepare and is a full meal in one dish! Prepare extra quinoa and serve it in a variety of dishes the next day!
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Tofu is a good source of protein for those that keep a vegetarian diet. To prepare the tofu buy the firm tofu with herbs, cut them into slices and pat dry with a paper towel. Then cut into desired size usually cubes and marinate in 1/3 cup light Tamari Sauce and 1/3 cup honey. Shake vigorously so all pieces are well coated. The longer they marinate the better the taste!

Precooked “baked tofu” is available in better health food stores it is firmer than water-packed tofu and comes in a wide variety of flavours. You might also like flavoured baked tofu on a sandwich or in a stir-fry.

Try various flavours until you find the one that you like best!

Ingredients:

2 cups water
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
¼ cup lemon juice
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup prepared marinated tofu or
1 package baked smoked tofu, (6-8 oz.)
1 small yellow bell pepper, diced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup diced cucumber
½ cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
½ cup slivered almonds toasted

Directions:

Bring water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the water has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes

Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, oil, garlic, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Add the cooled quinoa, tofu, bell pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, and parsley; toss well to combine. Garnish with toasted slivered almonds.

Serve hot or cold.
Make Ahead Tip: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 day.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Serves 4
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—— BROWN RICE PILAF WITH CHICKPEAS & SPINACH

This recipe represents a balanced meal all in one dish. Whole grains, protein-packed chickpeas and vitamin rich spinach offer endless health benefits, while onions sauteed in cumin and paprika provide all the flavour. Brown Rice is a great substitute for heavier pastas and absorbs flavour of the ingredients it’s combined with. Brown rice and chick peas are a full protein that keeps the calories low and the nutrients high.
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Ingredients:

1 cup brown rice
½ cup wild rice
3 cups water
1 Tbs olive oil
1¼ cup chopped white onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp salt
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 (10-oz.) bag frozen spinach drained
1 cup water
¼ tsp black pepper

Directions:

Combine brown rice and wild rice and cook in water for about 30 minutes or until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

While the rice cooks, heat 1 Tbs olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped white onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes until translucent.

Stir in the minced garlic, ground cumin, paprika, turmeric, and salt and tomato paste. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly until the tomato paste darkens in color.

Add the chickpeas and water. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Let simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the cooked spinach and black pepper. Let simmer until spinach is warm.

Transfer the cooked rice pilaf to a bowl, using a fork to fluff it.

Fold the chickpea mixture into the rice pilaf and serve warm.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Serves: 4.
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—— CRUSTLESS SPINACH, MUSHROOM AND FETA QUICHE

When hosting Melaveh Malka or a dairy meal for special company there has to be something different to please the crowds. This quiche fits the bill it is considered crust less yet the addition of flour makes for a delicious crusty bottom and sides to this quiche. It is simple and nutritious.
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Ingredients:

1 large onion, diced 1 bag frozen Spinach 8 oz
8 oz fresh mushrooms (or a can without the liquid)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1 1/3 cups plain (unsweetened) yogurt
¾ cup feta cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a 10-inch quiche/tart pan (or a pie plate) In a medium frying pan, cook diced onion with a bit of vegetable oil (or cooking spray) over medium-high heat until translucent and tender. Add in frozen spinach and washed mushrooms cook until just warmed through. Set aside to cool for a few minutes In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in yogurt, then stir in spinach-mushroom mixture. Pour vegetable mixture into prepared pan. Top with feta cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, or until center is set and the outside edge is golden brown. Let set for 5 minutes, then slice and serve. Serve with a salad and chunky slice of bread for a complete meal.

Preparation: 20 minutes
Serves: 6
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The Man Bait Mandate … Six Can’t-Resist Goat Cheese Recipes — “I like goat cheese because I can taste their stubbornness.” (Feb 7th, 2012) …
herbs that make you high

Image by marsmet544
Cooking with goat cheese is pretty much the same as with other cheese. When you heat goat cheese, it softens, but doesn’t melt the way cow milk cheeses do.

If fact, if it has a rind on it, you can treat it much like you do a good brie and spread it on crackers or bread with roasted garlic, fruit preserves or grilled onions.
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…..item 1)…. ORTHODOX UNION … www.ou.org/life/food … Enhancing Jewish Life …

Six Can’t-Resist Goat Cheese Recipes
By Eileen Goltz … Feb 7th, 2012

www.ou.org/life/food/recipes/six-cant-resist-goat-cheese-…

Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.

Kosher cheese has never been so available or so artesian. However, I have never, ever been a fan of strong tasting cheeses. My friend Arlene and my son Avi, however, are big fans and say, “Blue cheese forever!” and, “Bring on the Chevre (goat cheese)!”

In fact, my 24-year-old teases me with phrases like: “It’s sooo yummy Mommy – here try some!” as he’s trying to force-feed me a fork full. He also occasionally throws in my personal favorite: “I like goat cheese because I can taste their stubbornness.”

All this from the man who thinks mac ‘n cheese is gourmet if I use two kinds of cheese instead of one.

So after his last round of finger-licking, lip-smacking, in-my-face snacking, he asked me what the difference between feta cheese and goat cheese was. He’d heard me refer to the feta I was using as a goat cheese “in disguise.” I explained that while feta is primarily made from sheep’s milk, it actually contains goat’s milk as well. According to the laws, rules and regulations pertaining to content, “feta cheese” can contain no more than 30% goat’s milk and must contain at least 70% sheep’s milk.

His eyes glazed over about three words into my explanation. TMI for him, great column for my readers. So about goat cheese…

The best way to store your goat cheese is to keep it tightly wrapped in plastic wrap or in a zip-style bag in your refrigerator. Goat cheeses can have a flavor or taste ranging from “oh-my-goodness” strong and sharp and crumbly to light, mild and smooth.

You can buy goat cheeses in a bunch of shapes (cone, disc, wheel, log and the ever popular hockey puck shape). It’s sold fresh, aged or marinated in olive oil or wine as well as coated in herb, spices and – my son’s personal favorite – cracked pepper.

Cooking with goat cheese is pretty much the same as with other cheese. When you heat goat cheese, it softens, but doesn’t melt the way cow milk cheeses do. If fact, if it has a rind on it, you can treat it much like you do a good brie and spread it on crackers or bread with roasted garlic, fruit preserves or grilled onions.

Goat is also good for you is when it comes to calories and cholesterol. Compared to regular cream cheese, goat cheese is higher in calcium and lower in fat, calories and cholesterol.

Like I said – I’m not a huge fan of goat cheese. But several of my readers are, and they sent in a few of the following recipes swearing that even I (who won’t touch the stuff except to serve it) would love them. Let me know what you think.
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— POTATO CHEESE CHILIES (dairy)

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

… 2 cups mashed potatoes, hot or cold

… 1/2 cup chevre (goat cheese)

… 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

… 1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies

… 1 tablespoon chopped green onion

… salt

… about 1 pound fresh poblano chilies (also called pasillas; 6-8 equal size ones), rinsed

… 1 cup salsa

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, use a fork or mixer to blend potatoes, chevre, 1/4 cup chilies, onion and salt to taste.

2. Wearing rubber gloves, cut poblanos in half lengthways. With a knife, cut the membranes and seed from the inside each poblano chili, leaving stem end in place (to form a cup). Fill the chilies equally with potato mixture.

3. Set chilies in an oiled 9X13 casserole, filling it. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup diced chilies, and bake until stuffing is golden brown, about 20 minutes longer. Serve with salsa.

Modified from a Barbara Schack recipe published in Sunset Magazine.
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— PENNE PASTA AND VEGETABLES WITH GOAT CHEESE AND SPINACH SAUCE (dairy)

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

… 1 lb penne pasta, cooked, drained, cooled and tossed with a little oil

… 8 oven-roasted baby artichokes, or small can artichoke hearts, drained very well

… 2 roasted bell peppers, peeled and thickly sliced

… 12 oz mushrooms, halved

… 2 tablespoons olive oil

… 2 minced shallots

… 1 tablespoons minced garlic

… 2 cups white wine

… 1 cup cream or half & half

… 6 ounces goat cheese

… 1/2 bunch spinach cleaned, roots off

… 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil and/or parsley

… 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese

… salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Put pot of water on to boil. Heat olive oil in pan; add artichokes, pepper, mushrooms, shallots and garlic. Simmer 2 minutes. Add wine and reduce by half. Add cream and simmer until warm throughout.

2. Add chevre, stirring with wooden spoon. Lower cooked pasta and raw spinach into boiling water (only 10 seconds) and quickly drain. Toss gently with cream sauce, divide into 4 bowls and garnish with 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil and/or parsley, 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese and salt and pepper.

Modified from a recipe from Jesse McQuarrie of Feast Bistro, Santa Rosa, CA.
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— YAM AND GOAT CHEESE WONTONS (dairy)

Servings: 38

Ingredients:

… 3/4 lb small yams, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

… 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

… 2 leeks, white part only, chopped

… 2 tablespoons fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried

… 3 1/2 oz mild goat cheese

… salt and pepper to taste

… 38 wonton wrappers

… oil for deep frying

Directions:

1. Cook yams in medium saucepan of boiling water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Transfer to a bowl. Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Mix in sage.

2. Add leek mixture and goat cheese to cooked yams and mash with fork. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Tip: Filling can be prepared one day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.

3. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of filling in center of each wonton. Brush wonton edges with water. Fold diagonally in half, pressing edges to seal.

4. Pour oil into heavy large saucepan to depth of 3 inches and heat to 350. Add prepared wontons in batches and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer wontons to paper towels and drain. Arrange on platter and serve.

Submitted by K.T. Meisner Chicago, IL Modified from about.com.
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— NO-NOODLE EGGPLANT AND GOAT CHEESE LASAGNA (dairy)

Servings: 8

Ingredients:

Tip: You can make the tomato sauce ahead of time cover and refrigerate it for several days, or freeze up to 1 month or use store bought sauce if you don’t have the time to make homemade sauce.
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… 3 cups canned vegetable or chicken broth

… 1/4 cup olive oil

… 2 cups diced red bell peppers

… 2 tablespoons minced garlic

… 2 cups diced red onion

… 2 tablespoons tomato paste

… 1 can (28 oz) Italian-style whole peeled tomatoes, undrained

… 1 dried bay leaf

… 2 tablespoons butter

… 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves

… 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves

… 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

… 2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher (coarse) salt

… 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

… 2 unpeeled eggplants (about 2 1/2 lbs total)

… 1 cup flour

… 2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil or peanut oil

… 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

… 1/2 lb. goat cheese

… 3 tablespoons Italian bread crumbs

Directions:

1. In 2-quart saucepan, bring broth to a boil and cook 8 to 10 minutes until reduced by half. Meanwhile, in 3-quart heavy saucepan, heat 1/4 cup oil. Add the bell peppers; cook about 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until peppers begin to brown. Stir in garlic; cook about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in onion; cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion begins to brown.

2. Stir in tomato paste, tomatoes (with juice), broth and bay leaf; break up tomatoes with spoon. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered 20 to 25 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. Stir in butter, oregano, basil, 1 tablespoon parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Remove bay leaf. Keep warm over low heat.

3. Cut unpeeled eggplants lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; let stand 20 minutes, then rinse and dry. In shallow medium bowl, mix flour and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until hot. Coat eggplant slices in flour, shaking off excess. Add eggplant in batches to oil in skillet; cook about 2 minutes, turning once, until browned (add more oil as needed). Drain on paper towels.

4. Preheat oven to 375. In bottom of 13×9 glass baking dish, spread thin layer of tomato sauce. Arrange layer of eggplant in dish to cover bottom completely; spread with another layer of sauce. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon of the parsley; dot with 1/3 of the goat cheese. Repeat layering twice, beginning with eggplant and ending with wine. Do not press down on layers. Top with remaining eggplant and another thin layer of sauce. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan (about 2 tablespoons), remaining parsley (about 1 tablespoon) and the bread crumbs.

Tip: At this point, the dish can be covered and refrigerated up to 1 day; return to room temperature before baking, or add another 10 minutes to bake time if baking straight from refrigerator.

5. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until browned and bubbling (do not overbrown). Let stand a few minutes before cutting into squares to serve.

From my files, modified from epicurious.com.
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— GOAT CHEESE, OLIVE, RED PEPPER AND SPINACH FRITTATA (dairy)

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

… 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil

… 1 large red pepper, diced

… 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh tarragon finely minced

… 1/4 cup sliced green onions

… 6 oz spinach ends, trimmed

… 1/3 cup diced black olives

… salt and pepper

… 8 large eggs

… 1 tablespoon milk

… 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

… 2 1/2 oz goat cheese crumbled (Brie can also be used)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425. In a large, heavy, 10-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over low heat. Add the red pepper, 1/2 tablespoon tarragon and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add the green onions and olives and cook for 1 more minute, then remove the vegetables to a plate.

2. Add the remaining oil to the skillet and add the spinach, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Remove half of the spinach to a plate and keep the remaining half in skillet.

3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, vigorously whisk the eggs with the milk, parsley, the remaining tablespoon of tarragon, salt and pepper. Add the eggs to the skillet on top of the spinach and remove from the heat. Scatter the goat cheese, remaining spinach and the peppers on top of the eggs and place on the middle shelf of the oven.

4. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until it looks “puffed” and the egg looks cooked; there shouldn’t be any “wet” looking egg left. Remove from oven and serve hot or at room temperature.

Submitted by Andi Genese from Teaneck, NJ. Source unknown.
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— GOAT CHEESE MACARONI (dairy)

Servings: 4 – 6

Ingredients:

… 2/3 to 1 pound macaroni shaped pasta, cooked al dente, drained

… 3 tablespoons butter

… 3 tablespoons flour

… 2 1/2 to 3 cups milk or half and half

… ground pepper

… 2 tablespoons minced onion

… 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

… 1/2 cup goat cheese

… 1 tablespoon olive oil

… 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

… 3 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs

… 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh

… 1/4 to 1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled

… grated pepper

Directions:

1. Grease the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish and set it aside. Preheat oven to 350. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour whisking to create a paste and cook 1 minute. Slowly add the milk, whisking to create a smooth sauce. Let cook about 5 minutes or until it coats the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat and slowly add the Parmesan, onion and the goat cheese, whisking until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2. Place the drained macaroni back into the saucepan and pour the cheese sauce on top, stirring coat. Pour the mixture into the prepared 9X13 dish. In a bowl, place the 1/3 cup parmesan, breadcrumbs, thyme, 1/4 cup goat cheese and a little pepper. Mix to combine. Sprinkle the topping over the macaroni and then top with the crumbled goat cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, kosher.com and the OU Shabbat Shalom Website. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine. You can visit Eileen’s blog by clicking: Cuisine by Eileen.

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IMD 2007 HDR Group Shot – Post Hike
herbs that make you high

Image by justin
It’s hard for me to take a photo that’s not high dynamic range (if I have the right camera – in this case, a Sony DSC-R1).

Here, the USC Interactive Media Division class of 2007 posed together (minus Yuechuan Ke) for an exposure-bracketed group portrait. This after the Temescal Thesis Hike (chronicled by Noha).

From left: Erik Nelson, Peggy Weil, Josh Green, Jess Rosenblatt, Doo-Yul "Doox" Park, Noah Keating, Aaron Meyers, Mihai Peteu (squatting), Michael Naimark, Herb Yang, Justin Hall. The professors are the ones wearing sunglasses.

I zoomed out after this shot, after people asked if you could recognize the outdoor context. I set the camera up on self-timer and seem to have moved here after I rushed to my spot.

Photomatix HDR making; Photoshop resize. No color retouching.

Bourne police warn about smoking 'Spice' and terrible effects
Bourne police are warning the pubic about the toxic effects of smoking or ingesting synthetic marijuana legally sold in innocently but brightly labeled bags with names such as “Mr. Smiley,” “K2,” “Scooby Do” and “Mr. Nice Guy. … But when you get sick …
Read a lot more on Wicked Nearby

Main spice bust leaves two arrested, buyers higher and dry
&quotDang, they got busted for spice? Actually? I came to acquire some,&quot he admitted. Words from a normal client who couldn't get what he came for due to the fact now it's in the hands of Richmond County narcotics investigators. &quotI can get gas and Mountain Dew across …
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Duck is a classy alternative to chicken
But the meat and skin are so wealthy that you can get by with serving less than you would with leaner chicken. … It's high in calories.&quot From a culinary point of view, &quotit's OK as soon as in a whilst – but I'd rather be consuming olive oil,&quot she mentioned. For that …
Read far more on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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