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Sunday, May 28, 2006
1. ITUNES Praising iTunes is like endorsing chocolate and puppies; well, duh. Even so,any discussion of music on the Web has tos tart here. With uts supersize catalog (more than 2 million tracks), fair pricing, and any-idiot-can-figure-it out interface., it's most people's first stop for downloading the latest Kelly Clarkson single or Mairah Carey remix. Since it launced in 2003, iTunes has trounced its competititors,capturing close to 75 percent of the marketplace and selling more than a billion tracks.

But while everyone knows iTunes is big, fewer people realize how useful it can be for findingnew tunes.Start with its top 100 downloads -- updated daily -- and you'll see an instant, direct reflection of American musical tastes: the newest Dixie Chicks single; surprise emo phenoms Panic! At the Disco; that Daniel Powter song tha'ts on American Idol every week.

2. EMUSIC.COM This underappreciated, expertly crated MP3 stoe is themusic geek's alternative to ITunes. It's packed with fantastic choices, and at $9.99 a month for 40 downloads, it's a great deal. Emusic sells tunes only from independent labels, which means you won't find most current pop hits here. But spend some time sifting through it's 1.2 million tracks - including new stuff from Neko Casr and Spoon and classic by Johnny Cash and Otis Redding - and you won't care. Best of all, the site's sharp editorial team steers you toward the good stuff with articles on the best Parisian jazz or the lastest Brazilian pop. And their "Dozens" lists are essential 12-album starting points in categories like "boomer-friendly rock", or "English folk", or "old-school punk".

3. PANDORA.COM Pefect for anyone who likes surprises. Pandora is a wizardly website that lests you customize a radio station to fit your own tastes. After logging in, users type in the name of a song or a band (the Beatles, for example); then Pandora uses a complex mathematical algorithm to find tracks matching the Liverpool lads' musical characteristics. In addition to Fab Four songs, our station came up with some Kinks and Stones, lots of obscure '60s nuggests, and unexpected contemporary acts like the Pernice Brothers.

4. RHAPSODY.COM If other MP3 stores leave you hungry, tuck into thismusical buffet. Pop gluttons will love Rhapsody's all-you-can-eat subscription service, which lets you download as many songs as you like for $9.99 a month. (Though the tracks will vanish from your hard drive when you stop paying. And it won't work with an iPOd). Another draw is the playlists, the most creative and well thought out of any MP3 store. Their genre mixes go way beyond the obvious into left-field genres like "pub-rock explosion" and "80s paisely underground". And somebody on staff obviously has a sense of humor. "Yatch rock" features smoot-sailing soft pop (Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald) fit for a day of sipping Cape Coddrs down at the marina.

5. MYSPACE.COM There's lot to dislike about MySpace. It's uglier than a Commodore 64, the music tracks are slow to load, and it has been co-opted by record labels, which pay for prime placement. Still, with more than 1.8 million bands offering their own homepages, it's impossible to ignore - it seems like every act you've ever heard of (and countless unsigned acts you haven't) posts free songs here. Read about a band? Head to MySpace and you're basically guarantedd to get something for your time; a prerelease album preview, a new single, oreven a raw demo. Weezer and Nine Inch Nails debuted their latest albums here, and Fred Durst recently posted a rant about former Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland. Maybe that't not a compelling advertisement, but hey, there are at least 999.999 non-Durst bands on there, too.

6. THE LIVE MUSIC ARCHIVE archieve.org/audio/etree.php The utopian ideal of the '60s thrives on thsi free concert swapping forum, where the old Grateful Dead tape-trading community has set up shop. But there's far more here than the latest Phil Lesh & Friends show. Ryan Adams, Jack Johnson,a nd Death Cab for Cutie are just a few of the nearly 2,000 bands with concerts on teh nonprofit stie.

7. STEREOGUM.COM Like a snarky best friend, this blog is the prime Web destination for rock and roll gossip and breaking Britney news. Despite its trashy celeb obsession and often goofy tone, themusic is no joke. Stereigum picks next-hot-bands with uncanny accuracy.(Current choice: the folk-pop of Beirut). Count on the site to point you toward the latest indie-rock crushes (Sufjan Stevens) fun covers (the Postal Service do Phil Collins) and prerelease singles from the likes of Kanye West.

8. TURNTABLELAB.COM The beat junkies at this Web store are intenselt dedicated cool-hunters, combing the globe for the latest obscure mash-up mixtape from Belgium, the rarest dub-reggae compilation from Jamaica, and underground hip-hop MCs from Brooklyn whom everyone will be raving about six months from now.Stock up on mix CDs drwan from their cache of hard-to-find music before your nest party and prepare to move the furniture.

9. KCRW'S AND KEXP'S SOMG OF THE DAY KRCW.com and KEXP.org Imagine booting up the computer every morning and finding a free new MPs on your hard drive from the Shins, post-punk legends Gang of Four, or inide-pop singer Jenny Lewis. Yhat's the appeal of these podcasts offered by Santa Monica's KCRW and Seattle's KEXP, two quality public stations that have updated NPR's boomer slant for the blog generation.

10. FLUXBLOG.ORG Site founder Matthew Perpetua has been posting MP3s nearly evert day since 2002, which makes him a veteran on the scene. His expereince has horned his audioblogging skills. Biased toward anything catchy and upbeat, Fluxblog islike an aural dose of Saint-John's-wort. Visitors can expect shiny dance-pop (Scissor Sisters), hard to find remixes (Hot chips' remake of Gorillaz's "Kids with Guns") and plenty of Kylie Minogue style disco princesses (Rboyn), all along before they hit back and mortar stores.

11.SMITHSONIANGLOBALSOUND.ORG The best program since the New Deal., this site opens up the Smithsonia's massive archieve of ethnological recordings. It's an astoundign resource for world music fans, who can instantly sample, download, or buy CDs of jaunty Carribean calypso, epic Indian ragas or coraking Uzbeki bards (yes, that's a good thing). And folk music obsessives will drool over the unrivaled collection of exclusive Americana. A sampling of Alan Lomax's famous field recordings can be found here, along with Moses Asch's Folkways collection of legends like Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, and Son Haus.

12. NPR'S 'ALL SONGS CONSIDERED' PODCAST NPR.org The radio network for the Volvo set actually has a lot more music to offer than Norah Jones and Garrison Keillor. Just listen to gentle-voiced host Bob Boilen, who each week briefly introuces a noteworthy new release, then plays an entire track or two. And unlike many podcasts, the focus here is on playing music, not talking about it. Expect lots of songs from dad-rock favourite like Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen, but Boilen also spotlights newer groups such as the Concrete and the Raconteurs in other words, it'll make your station wagon the coolest.

13. SOUL-SIDES.COM Run by a vinyl obsessive in California named Oliver Wang. Soul-Sides posts free MP3s of ultra-rate funk and soul, often from his personal collection of dusty 7-inches (We're talking really of rare stuff. Heard of the Romano Mussolini Trio? Didn't think so) A professor in his nonvirtual life, Wang also likes to educate his readers, offering history lessons on boscurities sampled in modern hip-hop hits.

14. I LOVE MUSIC ILXOR.com For the uninitiated, this message board can be an uninviting place. Threads are often filled with obscure Web slang, vicious flaming, and know-it-all 'tude. But it's also an amazing place to learn about music, both new and old. Fierce debate takes up the bulk of the bandwidth, often leading to some of the most intelligent music talk around (many posters are music critics) Last year's long running thread on Sri Lanka born rapper M.I.A. to pick one example was worthy of a grad school seminar.

15. MIXUNIT.COM Unless you live in a city with a thriving street vendor scene, this is your best choice for staying up-to-date with the who's who (and who hates who) of the hip-hop universe. That's because Mix Unit offers a massive selection of "Official" mixtapes-artists sanctioned CDs that fall in a legal gray area - where hungry rhyme spitters and established rappers try out their latest materials and went vent their anger. Did you hear that Cam'ron mixtape where he dissed Jay Z for wearing open toed mandals?

16. PITCHFORK Pitchforkmedia.com A website people love to dis. It's dense review often are overwritten, underedicted thickets of pretentious prose. The attitude? Frequently flip, mean, and smarmy. Grudgingly, however, we admit that the Chicago based site has become a tastemaking institution that's impossinble to ignore. When it anoints an obscure band with a glowing review - as it did with a then unknown Arcade Fire - we pay attention.

17. RADIO DAVID BYRNE davidbyrne.com/radio We're dying for a Talking Heads reunion, but we'd be bummed if it took Byrne away from this fascinating monthly show. Each program is based on a theme: "Latin Rock" or "Rednecks" Racists, and Reactionaries: Country Classics" or the unexpected "All Missy Elliott". He also pens related essays that are as insightful as you'd expect from the pop smarty.

18. INSOUND.COM An Amazon type megastore for hipsters. Insound makes it simple to explore the newest indie boomlet or Brit-rock trend. Most folks come for underground and impotant only CDs that iTunes or the local Best Buy does'nt stock, but we're also partial to the excellent in-house music stream, whci is a great summary of what's on college radio stations nationwide. Recent selections included Nick Drake soundlike Jose Gonzalez, raunchy Baltimire rappers Spank Rock, and lo-fi bizzarro folkies Wooden Wand. If you hear anything you like, buy it with an easy mouse click.

19. LEMON-RED.ORG This audioblog is the cheapest and easiest way to experience the hedonistic thrill of a sweaty late night dance club without paying a cover, risking a hangover, or even leaving your sofa. Every month, expect a susbtantial new set from such DJs as Montreal's Ghislain Poirier and Rhode Island's Certified Bananas. No single genre dominates Southren hip-hop, Jamaican dancehall and old-school funk have all been tackled though a mash-up aesthetic dominates. Never heard the Beach Boys, Young Jeezy, and Black Sabbath in a single hip grinding mix? Time to log on.

20. MUSIC.FOR-ROBOTS.COM A blog run by eight different people, which explains its broad, unclassifable taste. Minimalist techno, ragged indie rock, spiky post punk, and earthly hip-hop all make regular appearances on the slikcly designed site, whcih posts a couple of MP3s a day. May's highlights include a song from Texas born chanteuse Jollie Holland's new album, a prerelease Sufjan Stevens track and a stunning oysch folk meditation by singer Findlay Brown, who just became our favorite new artist. That is until we visit again.

21. WOXY.COM A casualty of FM radio consolidation, Cincinanati's WOXY went off the air in 2004, but it soon reemerged on the Web. The delivery sustem might have changed, but the message has'nt. WOXY remains dedicated to alternative acts like the Walkmen and Bloc Party. Also check out their "vintage" stream, where Generation-Xers can reminisce to a soundtrack of the Smiths, R.E.M, and otehr not-so-modern "modern rock" acts.

22. LITTLE STEVEN'S UNDERGROUND GARAGE littlestevensundergroundgarage.com On his weekly online radio show, Springsteen and Tony Soprano sideman Steven Van Zandt is the nation's premier priest of garage rock, spreading the gospel of no frills, first pumping rock and roll. Punctuating the music with his hepcat patter, Little Steven spins old school fuzz rock (The Yardbirds, the Kinks) their 21st century descendants (the White Stripes, Arctic Monkeys) and anyone who thinks less is more, gritty is good, and louder is better.

23. BBC RADIO BBC.co.uk/radio Don't let the Atlantic Ocean get between you and the world's most respected radio network. The Beebs website offers extensive free radio streams and podcasts, making it a must bookmark for all Anglophiles. Shows dedicated to only in England genres such grime, U.K. grage, and Northern soul are plentiful, along with live in studio sessions from hit bands like Snow Patrol Dance Music sets from DJs Giles Pereron, Judge Jules and Pete Tong bring London's famed nightlife to your PC and Steve Lamacqs influential weekly show is the place to hear the next Franz Ferdinand well before thy're on Saturday Night Live.

24. AOL MUSIC'S LISTENING PARTY AND MTV'S THE LEAK Music.AOL.com.MTV.com Ever felt bad about illegally downloading a leaked album weeks before its official release? Now you don't have to. This pair of sites lets you hear streams of the latest from Pearl Jam or Bruce Sprinsteen without any of the guilt. MTV's focuses on TRL types like Nick Lachey, while AOL's offering are a little more wide reaching.

25. DUSTY GROOVE AMERICA Dustygroove.com After you've burned out on Miles and Coltraine, expand your jazz listening habits at this Chicago based site. Full of bebop oddities, avant jazz imports and little known swing composers. Dusty Groove boasts a connoisseur friendly selection that's impeecable and far flung. Whether you want to explore Hungarian violin fusion ((Csaba Deseo) or Brazilian funk (Deodato), it's there. Beyond jazz, Dusty Groove carries plenty of curios for the open minded, including unusual sould reissures, kitchy sountracks and lots of Afro Latin gooves.

(Source: ENTERTAINMENTWEEKLY: Summer Music Preview)
posted by infraternam meam @ 1:43 PM   0 comments
RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS PATIENTS taking Humira or Remicade face triple the risk of developing several kinds of cancer and double getting the risk of getting serious infections, a study led by the Mayo Clinic found.

The analysis builds on previous reports about the risks associated with North Chicago-Ill. based Abbott Laboratories' Humira and Centocor's Remicade. But the earlier research focused mostly on one kind of cancer -- lymphoma -- and infections such as tuberculosis and pneumonia.

The study, reported Wednesday, found an apparent link to other cancers, too, including skin, gastrointerstinal, breast and lung tumors. It also says high doses appear to be the riskiest.

While the drugs' packaging information mentions some of the risks, the manufacturers said the new study does not prove the medication is at fault, and they said the research was flawed.

Study c0-author Dr. Eric Matteson, a Mayo Clinic rheumatologist, stressed the overall chances of developing cancer while using these drugs is still small.

(Source:CHICSUNTIMES/Associated Press)
posted by infraternam meam @ 1:35 PM   0 comments
Tuesday, May 23, 2006

More agressive treatment can help many heart patients to avoid second heart attacks and strokes, according to new guidelines issued by the country's two leading heart groups and endorsed by hte National Heart,Lung, and Blood Institute.

The groups are calling for more routine use of high-potency satin drugs to lower "bad cholesterol" -- low density lipoprotein, or LDL. They also recommend expanding the use of other drugs that lower blood pressure and ease the heart's workload and, for the first time, urge all chronic heart-disease patients to get seasonal flu shots.

"That's a really important, major new recommendation", said Dr. Sidney smith of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, who chaired the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology panel that issued the guidelines.

20 Million People
Because recent studies also show lower aspirin doses are just as effective forprevention as higher ones, the guidelines recommend dropping daily doses to bewtween 75 milligrams a day and 162 milligrams, except for people who have had heart-bypass surgery. Bypass patients fare best on 100 to 300 milligrams a day for up to a year.

The new guidelines could affect as many as 26 million Americans according to Smith.

'We've got the proof'
The guidelines don't address what to do for people who don't yet have heart disease, because it's so difficult to prove what works for them.

"If you're 30 years old and your LDL, cholesterol is a little high, common sense would tell you that it might be good to treat it, but we don't know because the evidence isn't in." said Dr. Robert Califf, director of the Duke University Clinical Research Institute, who was not part of the group issuing the recommendation. "If you're 70 years old and you've got a high LDL and you've already had a heart attack, your risk is something bad happening is so high, aggressive treatment makes sense. We've got the proof".

(Source: CHICSUNTIMES by: Garrett News Service by: Steve Sternberg)

New Guidelines to avoid having a second heart attack set targets for six key risk factors:

+ ELIMINATE CIGARETTE SMOKE, including secondhand exposure.

+ LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE to 140/90 in most heart patients and 130/80 in patients with diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

+ LOWER LDL (bad cholesterol) to less than 100 milligrams per deciliter of blood - or aim even lower, to 70 mg/deciliter.

+ BOOST EXERCISE LEVELS to 30 to 60 minutes seven days a week, up from 30 minutes three to four days a week.

+ SHRINK WAISTLINES, for men to less than 40 inches and women to less than 35 inches.

+ IF YOU HAVE DIABETES, keep your average blood sugar level to 7 percent or below.

posted by infraternam meam @ 1:16 PM   0 comments
Monday, May 22, 2006
On a summer night in 2003, after New York based venture capitalist Dan Burstein read Dan Brown's novel in one sitting, he became fascinated by several issues it raised. In particular, he was curious about Brown's inference that the figure seated at Jesus' right hand in Leonardo Da Vinci's famous painting "The Last Supper" was actually a woman -- perhaps Jesus' secret waife, Mary Magdalene.

"I went into our art book library in our house and pulled down the Leonardo Da Vinci books and took this new loook at "The Last Supper", he says. "And all of a sudden, in the middle of the night, under the spell of Da Vinci Code, it did look an awful lot like a female character".

Familiar with the famouse piece from travels abroad and classes in Western civilization, he began to "question some of my own assumptions about what I had learned in my education and in my past".

The next morning, Burstein swung by a bookstore in search of more sources on the topic, such as the blockbuster Holy Blood, Holy Grail and Elaine Pagels 1979 classic The Gnostic Gospels, both of which Brown references in his novel. Burstein began realizing "there was this very rich body ancient texts, about codes and code breaking, about conspiracies, about art history".

Having authored several books on technology and "futurism", Burstein decided to cull "the best of Brown's source material" and turn it into a Da Vinci Code anthology. In a mere three months, thanks to a team of 13 writers and edictors, "frantically working around the clock", Secrets of the Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Behind the Da Vinci Code hit shelves across the country.

Thanks to a months-long residency on the New York Times list of best-selling nonfiction, it has so far sold between 325,000 and 400,000 hrdcover copie dometically and hundred of thousands more in many languages around the globe.

Although his book leads the spin-off pack in copies sold, many of at least 20 other Da Vinci Code titles have found success by gloming into the manis surrounding Borwn's successful and controversial thriller. More are being squezzed out,thanks to big buzz for the movie adaptation starring Tom Hanks and due in theatres.

"I've never seen anything of this volune," says Karen Holt, deputy editor at Publishers Weekly. "Then again, there's a lot about The Da Vinci Code that's unprecendented in terms of the size of the sales and the popularity of the book."

Holt is amazed, however, that "people are publishing best-selling books based on proving that a work of fiction is not true. It would be like a documentary explaining why "Desperate Housewives" is not true.

There are the Da Vinci companions, from travel guides (Fodor's Guide to the Da Vinci Code) to one enterprising baker's The Da Vinci Code Diet. But works that purport to break, crack and de-code, the Code are especially abundant.

Darrell Bock's Breaking the Da Vinci Code has been out nearly two years and has sold about a quarter million copies.

A research professor of New Testament studies at the Dallas Theological Seminary, he was approached by Christian publisher Nelson Books to flesh out, in layman's terms, the religious aspects of Brown's story. "All I wanted to do is make sure that both havles of the record were out there and that the record was set somewhat straight on some of the claims that were completely off the mark".

Sandra Miesel, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax and holder of a master's degree in medieval history from the University of Illinois, concentrated on the historical snafus in Brown's book -- which she characterizes as "absolutely awful" Her title has sold more that 100,000 copies.

"At one point, I actually thought that maybe Brown was having a post modernist joke on the readers by seeing how many errors he could put in there", she says, "No, it was simple incompetence".

The Da Vinci Hoax, to which Chicago's Cardinal Francis George gave high marks, was for Miesel,(who teamed with religion writer Carl E. Olson) a means by which she views with disdain. "I wish it would be demolished", she says, "not just debunked".

I thasn't worked, obviously. Forty million people and counting have bought Brown's thriller, and they have passed it on to millions more friends and family members.

On the other hand, the Code Books have enriched their authors, been discussed extensively on TV and radio shows, increased Web site traffic and spawned additional book contracts, book-based television specials and special editions of national magazines.

"Dan Brown creatd the canvas for everybody else to write on or drip paint on, like a Jackson Pollock, says Roger Cooper, vice president and publisher of CDS Books, which put out Burstein's best seller. Like many publishers, CDS is surfing a Da Vinci wave that shows no sign of cresting.

"We're a business", Cooper says, "and we're selling a lot of books".

(Source: Abstracted from:SUNTIMESMAG by:Mike Thomas/Staff Reporter/ mthomas@suntimes.com)
posted by infraternam meam @ 12:12 AM   0 comments
Saturday, May 20, 2006
DAN BROWN'S THE DA VINCI CODE opened up in theatres in the U.S. I came to watch it and there were plenty of people on line to get a ticket. I bought a ticket for myself and my wife ahead of time so that I could get inside the theatre. U.S. law, prohibit standing room, so the cinema is accepting patrons on the capacity of the theatres only.

We went to a big mall that has at least eight cinemas inside and six of the eight cinemas was showing the movie.

VENI ( I came), and saw the movie and it was really a good movie and the story and the plot are really very suspenseful and very well done. The location and the places where it was filmed was really so great that it will transform the audience. I came to see the movie, not to be a critique on the religious messages that it connotes. One has to be broad minded to come and see this movie.

VIDI (I saw) . When I saw this movie, I don't understand what is the big hoopla and controversy about this, when the movie and the book clearly stated that this is a Novel. Even Dan Brown was professing that his book is a novel and fiction. It was superbly researched and the author made the historical background of the book to a mind bogling fantasy of any reader. One has to have the intellect and be braod minded to understand the booK and the movie.Not to judege his/her religion based on what the movie and the book is all about. The church always profess about faith. The movie should enlighten more the moviegoers the beauty and the history of the Crhistian faith.The movie did not and is not destroying any belief in the Christian faith nor any religious group to that matter. My nephew is a priest of OPUS DEI, he does not pratice self flagellation. I have other relatives who are Supernumeraries of OPUS DEI, and they live a happy and well balance life of a good christian. Who will buy the book of Dan Brown if he will not add mysticism and challenges to the reader when they read the book. Who will watch the movie -- if Hollywood will not put the Hollywood touch on the movie.

VICI (I conquer)I have seen the movie, read the book and I have Conquered all the ghost in me about the book and the movie. I have finally conquered in me the fear that this movie and this book might change my conviction and thinking about my religion. It did not -- it stregthen my conviction about my faith and the history behind it, not to mention the beauty of the presentation in both novel and historical form of both the movie and the book. I have conquered the many warnings that I read in papers and magazine about what this movie will bring to the people who will watch it. I was an ex-seminarian. I have been in Catholic seminary for nearly eight years of my life and decided not to be ordained a priest. I have read and understand my religion and have given my faith into it. I believe in the teachings of my church, or else it will not survive all the turmoils that it has undergone for so many years.

What do I think is being gained with all these hoopla and all these questions and uproar about the movie and the book? It is only making DAN BROWN a multi milionaire. The more media coverage this movie and book receives, the more people will buy the book and watch the movie.

Remember the controversy of Mel Gibson's movie THE PASSION OF CHRIST! There was a lot of publicity about it that it was anti-Semitic. So what happened to the movie, it became a mega blockbuster, made Mel Gibson a millionaire and the stars of the movie. Was there a riot and demonstration against the Jew and was there burning of the synagogue after the movie has been watched and see by millions of people? None of it happened and lots of people even bought the DVD movie of THE PASSION OF CHRIST as part of their collection like me.


posted by infraternam meam @ 3:34 PM   0 comments
MORE THAN 25 MILLION readers have devoured Dan Brown's best-selling 2003 thriller, The Da Vinci Code. The page turner riveted readers with a mysterious mix of historical and religious riddles. Which is why fans can't wait for May 19, the day the Ron Howard helmed film version -- starring Tom Hnaks, Jans Reno and Audrey Tautou -- opens. But not everyone's lining up to buy tickets to the $125 million blockbuster. The Catholic Church, the French -- even albinos -- despise The Da Vinci Code. Here's who's who of Da Vinci detractors.

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH -- The book claims that the Vatican has spent the past 2,000 years covering up the "fact" that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene , whos is the actual Holy Grail -- and had a child with her! The church inists that author Dan Brown -- who has always maintained that the book is a work of fiction -- implies that this is fact. The Catholic League even asked director Ron Howard even asked director Ron Howard to add a discalimer to the film, stating that the premise is, in fact, fiction. Howard may not do so.

OPUS DEI -- Members of the conservative Catholic lay organization Opus Dei are outraged at the book's portrayal of them. As group spokesman Brian Finnerty said, "The novel portrays Opus Dei in a completely inaccurate ways." In the novel, they are a powerful and ultimately evil secret society -- with members who practice self-flagellation - that resorts to murder to keep the "truth" about Mary Madalene from coming out.

ALBINOS -- Albinos -- people whose lack of pigmentation leaves their hair and skin white -- are not happy that the central vilain in the book and film is a murderous albino monk named Silas. Albino support group NOAH (The National Organziation for Albinism and Hypopigmentation) presiden Mike McGowan said, "Ron Howard can make a big difference for people with albinism if they adjust the Silas character to not be an evil albino." Worse yet, Silas is being played by Paul Bettany, 34, a very pale -- though non-albino -- actor.

THE FRENCH -- The action begins with a murder in the world-famous Louvre museum in Paris, whcih houses the Mona Lisa and receives an average of 20,000 visitors a day. The French are very protective of the Louvre and were upset that a Hollywood production was allowed to shoot inside. The filmamakers were given permission after having coffee with French President Jacques Chirac. But that didn't mean they had carte blanche. "There were all kinds of thing we could'nt do," says Howard, among them spilling fake blood on the floor and writing coded messages on the paintings. In fact, they had to use a replica of the Mona Lisa as they were forbidden to shine light on the original. Hopefully the French people will lighten up by the time the film makes its world premier at france's Cannes Film Festival May 17.

(Source: STARMAG by: Marshall Fine)
posted by infraternam meam @ 3:23 AM   0 comments
Friday, May 19, 2006
Tom Handks says his new thriller's plot is "nonsense", but that's not quieting protesters, who are slamming THE DA VINCI CODE as blasphemy for suggesting the Jesus fathered a child. Here are some ways opponents are fighting the film, whic premiers this week at the Cannes Film Festival:

1. BAN Both cinemas in the Farce Islands, a Danish territory, are refusing to show the adaptation of Dan Brown's blockbuster novel on grounds of sacrilege. This isn't the firt film banned there. Monty Python's Life of Biran was nixed for its naughty nuances.

2. STARVE If their government nixes a ban,a group of Catholics in India may fast -- "unto death", said one of its leaders.

3. SUE Top Vatican official Francis Cardinal Arinze said this film's insults to the faith may merit legal action to stop its dissemination.

4. RIDICULE The Da Vinci Code Response Group says it won't stoop to condemnations or boycotts but calls the film "harmless" and "grotesque".

5. PREACH More than half of U.S. pastors polled by Leadership, a Christian magazine,said they planned sermons, classes or seminars to discuss biblical and theological issues raised in the film.

6. COUNTERPROGRAM Along with the unusual pre-movice trailers, 250 theatres in Sydney, Australia, will show a brief Anglican video challenging the film, part of an effort to get 10percent of the city's population to become churchgoers by 2012.

(Source:TIMEMAG by: Jeremy Caplan)
posted by infraternam meam @ 2:57 PM   0 comments
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
IF YOU'RE LIKE MANAY AMERICANS, you probably don't realize that May 6-12 is National Nurses Week. Most people don't have to consider what it's like to be a nurse in today's health care environment until they're in a hospital or have a loved one who needs care in a hospital. They may hear on the news that there's a nurse shortage, but that reality of it won't hit most people until they end up in the hospital. When patients and families see nurses working long hours, without enough staff, and receiving salaries that have'nt kept up with the demands, they realize the critical role registered nurses play in our health care system.

As registered nurses, we have chosen our profession because we want to make a difference in our patients' lives. From welcoming a new baby into the world to assessing how an elderly patient responds to medication after a procedure, nurses are thee for patients and their medical colleagues. The worst situation we face as nurses is one in which we have to struggle to provide the care our patients need because hospitals have made choices that too often place their own financial interests above the health of patients.

Numerous studies have shown the effecs of short staffing on patient care. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that for each additional medical-surgical patient in a registered nurse's care, the risj of death increases by 7 percent. In hospitals with eight patients per nurse, patients have a 31 percent greater risk of dying that those in hospitals with four patients per nurse.

Hospitals' choices have made working conditions nearly impossible for nurses to provide the highest care, and many of us have gotten so frustrated we're leaving the bedside. Nearly 500,000 registered nurses have left for more rewarding careers. In Illinois alone, more than 83,000 registered nurses are licensed but nor employed for nursing.

At the same time nurses are leaving, we can also expect the need for more qualified nurses in hospitals to increase. Baby boomer nurses are turning in their scrubs in order to retire just as we need more of them to assist with an aging problems. And more senior citizens means the demand for nurses in physisicans offices and nursing homes will increase.

Typically, in a free-market economy, wages rise with demand. Surprisingly, though, research by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (using U.S. Department of Labor data) confirms that nurses' wages did'nt increas as the nursing shortage has worsened.

Rather than raising wages to meet their patients' staffing needs, hospitals use staffing practices that make the situation worse. Often they will attempt to meet the need by overworking nursing professionsla through excessive overtime. They also rely on contingent workers and one-time hiring bonuses. Most troubling of all, they simply don't staff the floors with enough nurses to provide topnotch care for all patients.

Believing that the public had a right to know about the nurse staffing crisis, the Nurse Alliance of Service Employees International Union worked witht he Illinois General Assembly to pass the Hospital Report Card Act in 2003. This law was the first of its kind to require hospitals to disclose important indicators of quality nursing care - including stafing leverls, nurse turnover and vacancy rates and cetain infection rates. Unfortunately, this law has yet to be fully implemented and these are proposals to dealy reporting by some hospitals.

As dedicated professionals, we refuse to let short staffing or any other burden prevent us from providing the absolute best care we know how to offer. This week rather than just recognizing the contributuins of nurses, the Nurse Alliance of SEIU is working hard to find solutions to the patient care crisis. We urge everyone who has been touched by the strength, commitment and compassion of a nurse to join us in urging at the national state and local levels that our hospitals place the priority back on patient care and target their resources to working with us to bring nurses back to the bedside. The states are too high for us to wait any longer.

(Source: CHISUNTIMES by: Karen Backus, a registered nurse, is director of the Nurse Alliance of SEIU in Illinois and chairs the nurse staffing subcommittee of the Department of Public Health's Facility, Report Card Technical Advisory Committee.)
posted by infraternam meam @ 10:12 PM   1 comments
Sunday, May 14, 2006
MOTHER'S DAY IS AN EMOTIONALLY CHARGED OCCASION for many families., but this was never what Anna M. Jarvis intention, when, in 1907, she proposed a day be set aside for children to pay tribute to their mothers. However, when Miss Jarvis organized this annual remembrance, the original commemoration was for a mother who had passed on into loving memory.

In an effor to ease her grief, Miss Jarvis (1864-1948) arranged for a special memorail service be held honoring her mother, providing five hundred carnations -- her mother's favorite flower -- as corsages.

For seven years, Mrs. Jarvis campaigned vigorously to create a holiday honoring mothers, winning many influential supporters, from suffragists and politicians. On May 8,1914, Woodrow Wilson, declared the second Sunday of May "Mother's Day", urging an annual "public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country."

This quickly degenerated into a commercial hoopla that distressed Anna Jarvis greatly, and the poor lady spent the rest of her life arguing in letters, pamphlets, and editorials that the holiday had been intended to inspire simple loving gestures "through some distinct act of kindness, visit, letter, gift or tribute to show remembrance of the mother to whom general affection is due."

(Source:Mrs Sharp's Traditions by Sarah Ban Breathnach)

Today we celebrate also the birthday of the following people:

* George Lucas, film Director, Star Wars.

* Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit, physicist, introduced Fahrenheit scale for thermometer.

* Thomas Gainsborough, British 18th century portrait and landscape painter.

* Claude Domier, German aircraft manufacturer, designer, prodiced earliest jets.

* Antonio Berni, Argentinian painter, collage artist, founder Nuevo Realisimo.

* Patrice Munsel, Coloratura soprano.

* Kurt Browning, Canadian 3x world champion on figure skater.

* Robert Owen, British 18-19th century philanthropic ssocial reformer.

* Bobby Darin, Singer, film actor.

(Source: Secret Language of Birthdays byGary Goldshneider & Joost Elffers)
posted by infraternam meam @ 2:59 PM   0 comments
Friday, May 12, 2006
Chicago car dealer John Hertz had an idea to make money off his inventory of used cars: turn them into cabs for people who could'nt afford pricey limousines. To attract riders, he painted the cabs sunnyside up. By 1925, Hertz' Yellow Cab Company had produced 2,700 cabs -- the largest taxi fleet in the world. John Hertz also statred another business or America's newly mobile masses: DrivUrSelf, which later became Hertz Rent-A-Car.

Thurgood Marshall remembered being tossed out of class -- often -- for clownin around at Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore. His teacher would punish him by making him recite the Constitution of the United States. By graduation, Marshall had it memorized -- which proved useful when, in 1967, he became the first African-American on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1749, George Washington went to work as a land surveyor at a stone office in White Post, Va. It was his first job. His employer was Lord Fairfax, believed to be the only English lord living in the Colonies. George's task: to set boundaries for furture farms for new colonies. But he did much more. He learned how to live on the frontier and accumulated important details about the area, which would serve him well as he planned troop movements in the French Indian war.

Lucilee Ball already was a successful actress when she married Desi Arnza, a handsome Cuban babdleader. But she confessed she was petrified when, on Dec. 17, 1941, she and Desi debuted a live act -- a comic skit, some song and dance at the modest Ritz Theatre in Newburgh, NY. "The audience loved it",, procalimed the local paper. Encouraged, the newlyweds went on to transform their lovebird luncaies into the show I Love Lucy, drawing audiences to the new medium that was TV.

When he flew mail in the early '30s, Elrey Jeppeson would find his way by following road maps, train lines and even waving farmers below. Convinced that there had to be a safer method, Jeppeson and his wife, Nadine, a pioneer stewardess for United Airlines, started scaling mountains and water towers, all in effort to get critical elevations for their new navigation charts. They moved to this tidy Cape Cod house on Denver's Grape street in 1941 and expanded their mom-and-pop business -- Jepp Charts -- interntaionally. The Navy adapted Hepp Charts to help guide its fliers through the dangerous skies of WWII. Astronaut John Glenn sent a letter whith this succint tribute , "I would'nt be here if it wasn't for you".

In 1920, a confectioner named Harry Burt found a neater way to sell his mouth-watering but messy chocolate coated ice cream: on a stick. Burt dubbed his patented creation the Good Humor Bar and began producing the treats from a confectionary in Youngstown, Ohio. Soon, he took them directly to the streers, dispatching a dozen frosty trucks driven by men in white suits. The bells announcing these at-your-door confections quickened young pulses across the country, guratnateeing sweet memories for generations.

Turn-of-the-century neighbors of the Porters in Peru, INd., head lots of music coming from this grand home, the birthplace of Cole Porter -- inlcuding a little ditty called "The Song of the Birds".Written in 1901 by the 10-year-old prodigy for his doting mama, Kate, the tune may not have had the suave wit of classic Porter compositions such as "I Get a Kick Out of You" and "Begin the Beguine". But it came form the heart -- which then belonged to Mama. It was Kate Porter who insisted that Cole start violin lessons at 6, piano at 8, and who later published 100 copies of one of those first homewgrown songs.

(Source: PARADEMAG by: Gerri Hishey)
posted by infraternam meam @ 8:57 PM   0 comments
Thursday, May 11, 2006

FRANKFURT, Germany -- A man who admitted killing and eating an aquaintance he met on the Intrnet was convicted of murder and sentence to life in prison Tuesday following his retrial.

Announcing the verdict at the Frankfurt state court, presiding Judge Klaus Drescher described the killing as "a particularly perverse murder".

Armin Meiwes' lawyers had argued that the court should instead convict him of the lesser offense of "killing on demand" on the grounds that he was only following his victim's wishes.

"He acted out of self seeking motives and has shown that to this day, he does not regret his actions," Drescher said. Meiwes watched calmly as the verdict was read.

The 44-year old computer technician's retrial opened in January. It was held after a federal appeals court overturned his initial manslaughter conviction, which carried an 81/2 year sentence, to allow prosecutors to seek a longer prison term.

At the retrial, Meiwes once again made a detailed confession, telling the court his version of the grisly details of the March 2001 killing of Bernd Juergen Brandes at Meiwes home in Rotenburg.

Meiwes said Brandes -- who had travrled from Berlin after answering his Internet posting seeking a young man for "slaughter and consumption" -- wanted to be stabbed to death after drinking a bottle of cold medicine to lose consciousness.

On Tuesday, the judge said Brandes could still have been saved at the time of the stabbing.

The defendant testified that Brandes, 43, had wanted to "be eaten alive."

In convicting Meiwes of murder, the court found Tuesday that he killed partly to satisfy his sexual urges. A court appointed psychiatric expert testified that he saw "significant danger of a repeat" offense of Meiwes.

Before Brandes was killed, the two attempted to eat parts of the man's body together, Meiwes said.

Meiwes frose parts of the body and ate more after the killing.

Police arrested Meiwes in December 2002 after a student in Austria alerted them to a message Meiwes had posted on the Internet seeking a man willing to be killed and eaten.

(Source: CHICAGOSUNTIMES by: Inge Treichel)
posted by infraternam meam @ 10:58 PM   0 comments
Complimentary? Alternative> It's tempting to lump everything outside of mainstream medical care into one big heap, but the terms describing these new options for helathcare aren't interchangeable. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a division of the National Institute of Health, provides these definitions:

a.) Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).
Is a group of diverse medical and healthcare systems practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. Theraphies, encompassed by CAM include things like acupuncture, nutrition, chiropractic, herbs, bodywork, yoga, gigong and aromatheraphy.

b.) Complementary Medicine.
Is used together with conventional medicine. An example of a complementary theraphy is using aromatheraphy to help lessen a patient's discomfort following a surgery.

c.) Alternative Medicine.
Is used in place of conventional medicine. An example of an alternative theraphy is using a special diet to treat cnacer instead of undergoing surgery, radiation or chemotheraphy that has been recommended by a conventional doctor.

d.) Integrative Medicine.
May incorporate any of these theraphies, which are finding their way way into the conventional medical world. NCCAM defines integrative medicine as the combination of "mainstream medical theraphies and CAM theraphies fo which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness". The U.S. government estimates that CAM is currently a $27 billion industry, according to The New York Times.

The Wide World of Alternative Theraphies
Integrative medicine combines conventional Western practices with complementary and alternative therapies. Some of those theraphies, like chiropractic, have already become entrenched in mainstream care. Here's a short guide to a few others you might encounter:

** ACUPUNCTURE: A healing practice developed in China more than 2,000 years ago. Techniques vary, but the most scientifically studied method involves stimulating key points on the body with hair-thin netallic needles that penetrate the skin.

** AROMATHERAPY: The use of flower or herb extracts (or essences) to help heal and soothe both body and mind.

** AYURVEDA: A practive that manipulates muscle tissue to promote circulation, relaxation, and a greater sense of physical and mental well-being.

** TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM): An ancient healthcare system based on the belief that a vital energy -- called Qi -- flows through the body and regulates a person's mental and physical well-being; when the flow of Qi is blocked or disrupted, according to TCM, illness or disease occurs; treatments include herbal therapy, meditation, accupuncture and restorative physical exercise.

** NATUROPHATHIC MEDICINE: Developed in Western cultures, this medical system is based on the belief that the body has an intrinsic healing power; naturophathic practitioners nourish and support this inner power with nutrition advice, counseling, homeophaty and treatments from Traditional Chinese Medicine.

For more information, visit the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine web site at: http://nccam.nih.gov

(Source: EXPERIENCELIFEMAG by: Betsy Noxom)
posted by infraternam meam @ 9:46 PM   0 comments
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
The New Pontiff Finds His Voice
(by: Peggy Noonan)

He was not called John Paul II the Adequate. And so that was the challenge for Pope Benedict XVI in the first year of his pontificate: how to fill the shoes of the last man who filled the shoes of the fisherman. Benedict's first encyclical, issued on Christmas Day 2005, took some by surprise, it began with thoughts on .... love. In his first words he quoted the Apostle John: "God so love, and God abides in him." With unselfconscious clarity. Benedict wrote, "Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction". You shall love your neighbor as yourself, he is saying. Love brings -- is -- charity. Look to the Good Samaritan for how to live. Look to St. Martin of Tours giving his cloak to a beggar.

This is God's Rottweiler? John Paul's enforcer? The man who bluntly told the Cardinals last year that they must clean the stables of the "filth" that had entered the church? According to those who have followed the work and life of Joseph Ratzinger -- now Pope Benedict -- this is the real him: the teacher, the thinker, the ponderer of deepest meanings. Benedict does not have the effortless theatrically and charisma of the young John Paul. But at his weekly audiences, Benedict, 79, has drawn larger crowds and as John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter has noted, people came to "see"John Paul, they come to "hear" Benedict.

(Peggy Noonan most recent book is John Paul the Great)

Master of the Universe
(By: Leslie Gelb)

YOU COULD SEE SOMETHING VERY SEPCIAL IN the young lady in 1986 when she entered for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. What was there went beyond ambition and her already formidable presence and steely persistence; it was an absoulute will to master whatever she encountered. Condoleezza Rice conquered the piano as a young girl and the complicated affairs after receiving her Ph.D.

As happens with those marked with ability and presence, the lords of the mountain reached down to anoint her as National Security Adviser to President Bush and now as his Secretary of State. After she became Secratary, even former critics lauded her for reinvigorating U.S. diplomacy, though they questioned whether she could sculpt a much needed grand strategy. She responded with one built around promoting democracry worldwide, without compromise, as a cure for everything from terrorism to economic downturns. But this strategy already hangs by hairs in Iraq and a tumultous Middle East.

Her reputation will turn on how she handles problems from hell like Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea. Could even Bismarck or Kissinger call down lightning from the mountaintop to tame those vipers? To her great credit, she has assembled a first-rate staff and keeps traveling and talking. And how ell she talks, eyes sometimes blazing fiercely when she is attacked. Rice, 51, has less than three years to reverse the many mistakes of a shaky Administration and master the job designed by the lords of the mountatin for the history books.

(Leslie Gelb is president emeritus of the Council of Foreign Relations in New York City)

Africa's First Female President
(By Laura Bush)

ELLEN JOHNSON-SIRLEAF IS A MAGNIFICENT LEADER AND AN AMAZING woman. In January I attended her inauguration in Monrovia, where she delivered a moving and inspiring address that spoke directly to the women of Liberia, of Africa and of the world. From her service as a Liberian Cabinet Minister in 1970s, senior United Nations administrator in the 1990s and now Liberia's President, Johnson-Sirleaf, 67, has never stopped working for democracy for her country. When she opposed the military rule of Samule Doe, she was imprisoned before eventually fleeing Liberia. Her years in exile afforded her valuable international experience throuhg her work at the World Banl and the U.N.

As the first woman every elected President in Africa, Johnson-Sirleaf is an example of what can heppen when girls are educated. Educated women are better positioned to contribute to their economies and their countries. When women are equipped with knowledge, they can be better mothers. Now that Liberia's 14-year civil war was ended, we hope women will follow Johnso-Sirleaf's example and return to their home country and be a part of Liberia's economic future. Johnson-Sirleaf's courage are an insipiration to me and women around the world.

(Mrs. Bush is the First Lady of the United States.)

The Prime Minister Who Shook Up Old Japan
(By Ian Buruma)

The most intersting thing about Junichiro Koizumi is that he is interesting. Most Japanese Prime Ministers have been dull figures, more suited to backroom politicking than to courting public appeal. Koizumi, 64, has used the mass media, especially television, to project an image of a good-looking, straight talking maverick. Like all media stars, he has cultivated a style that people can recognize. Admirers call him Lionheart for his flambouyant hairdo as well as his promise to change how things are done. And he maybe the first Japanese politician to combine loves of Elvis Presley and Richard Wagner.

In fact, Koizumi, whose grandfather was a Cabinet minsiter, is hardly an outisder in the political establishment. He was groomed for thigh office from the moment he could talk. And even though he managed to get a bill passed to privatize the postal system, most of his promised reforms have yet to bear fruit. He has gone his own way and alienated other Asians by continuing to honor the Japanese war dead, including war criminals, at Yasukuri shrine. His main foreign policy initiative was to send troops Iraq despite Japan's pacifist constitution. When Koizumi steps down later this year, he will have left at least one mark that successors must contend with, he dragged politics into the age of celebrity. Whoever takes his place an no longer be a colorless hack chosen in a backroom party deal. He or she will have to br genuinely popular,for better or for worse.

(Ian Buruma is a professor at Bard College and the author of Inventing Japan: 1853-1964)

Giving Money and Hope to the World
(By Amanda Bower)

Every year malaria kills 1 million people -- most of them African children under age 5. When Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, 50 and his wife Melinda, 41, were looking for ways to give ways to give away their prodigious wealth, they assumed that such mounumental problems were being worked on. Instead, Melinda says, they found a "vacuum that does need to be stepped into."

Step they did: the Gates Foundation now provides more than a third of the world's entire malaria research funding, and it's paying off. The most effective drug to trat the disease, naturally occurring Artemisinin, is in devastating short supply. But last month Gates funded scientist announced that they had created the technology to manufacture Artemisinic acid synthetically. Within five years, the cost of a life saving supply is expected to drop from US$2.40 to 25cents. Lead researcher Jay Keasling says it would not have been possible wihtout a US$43 million Gates grant. "I had companies call me and say, 'This is great, but we can't give you any money. We can't make a profit on this.'" he says.

But even if millions are saved from malaria, there will be more diseases and more death. The Gateses most profound influence has been to change expectations. Their belief that every life should have equal value, backed by their US$ 29 billioon endowment in the foundation, has injected hope not only into global health but also into their other priorities; public education, public libraries and at risk families. The couple demands from grantees the same relentless focus on results expected of Microsoft employees and takles away the classic excuse for failure, not enough money. They have inspired others -- from medical students, who are entering global-health fields in unprecedented numbers, to governments, which are putting billions into Gates initiatives. Says Jimmy Cater: "This is the most important foundation in the world."

(Source: TIMEMAG)
posted by infraternam meam @ 12:27 AM   0 comments
Monday, May 08, 2006
Make a difference.
You don't have to go to Africa. These organizations are among the respected for their effective work on the continent.

Africare works only in Africa on projects including emergency aid and community developments.

With more than 300 projects now under way in Africa, CARE provides food, shelter, education, and safety to those in need.

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, founded theis organization in 1982. Its waork in Africa includes activities from repatriation of refugees to eradication of infectious disease.

DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS(Medicins Sans Frontieres)
Health professionals volunteer to provide services and essential medications.

Staff members work with African lawyers and activists to advocae for human rights.

The group investigates reports of human rights abuse and lobbies for change.

Founded in 1933 to aid victims of Hitler's aregime, the IRC now helps Africa's refugees through on-site relief, legal advocacy, and resettlement.

Each year UNWFP feeds an average of 90 million people in more than 80 countries. Irs current work in Africa includes maintaining a major presence in Darfur, Sudan.

These sites can help you get the latest news in Africa.
** ALLAFRICA is the world's largest electonic distributor of African news and information. Got to allafrica.com.

** BBC NEWS AFRICA offers comphrehensive coverage of subjects including business, politics, cultue, and sports. Go to news.bbc.co.uk.

posted by infraternam meam @ 1:52 AM   0 comments
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students voted to keep the HYPHEN in the school's name, rather than change it to Milwaukee State University or Milwaukee University. It was another significant moment in the history of HYPHEN.

** After years of using double slashes denote the Hyphen, dictionaries gradually adopt the single, short horizontal stroke.

** 1959. "Ben-Hur", perhaps the greatest hyphenated movie of all time, is released.

** 1975. Farah Fawcett marries Lee Majors and changes her last name to Fawcett-Majors. He does not change his name.

** 1994. "Life on the Hyphen. The Cuban-American Way." which explores "Hyphenated" culture, is published.

** 2000. Daimler-Benz merges with Chrysler. After fierce negotiations, the no-hyphenated name (DaimlerChrysler)prevails.

** 2003. Is it "bling-bling" or "bling-bling"? The Oxford English Dictionary square off in their respective revised editions. Oxford favors hyphenation, Chambers says no. Can Diddy (formerly Puff Daddy, no hyphen)please settle this for the profs.?

** 2005. The hyphenated subdivision Winchester-on-the-Severn in Annaplois, Md., is on record for having the longest community name in the U.S.

** 2006. Parents of 10-year-old Leonhard Matthias Grunkin-Paul challenge Germany's strict anti-hyphenate names after marriage, but forbids them from passing the names on to their chhildren. The case is before the European Court of Justice.

** May 23,2006. The Hyphens, a Boston-area band, are slated to perform at PA's lounge in Somerville, Mass., proving that punctuation rocks.

(Sources: London Independent: New York Review of Books, Tribune archives, U.S. Geological Survey)
posted by infraternam meam @ 1:32 AM   0 comments
Sunday, May 07, 2006

Mike Brown
Kelly Brownell
Nancy Cox
Ricahrd Davidson
Kerry Emanuel
Jim Hansen
Zahi Hawass
Bill James
John Jones
Jim Yong Kim
Steven Levitt
Ma Jun
Jacques Rossouw
Andrew von Eschenbach
Jimmy Wales
Geoffrey West


Franz Beckenbauer
Mukhtaran Bibi
Joey Cheek
Chen Guangcheng
Bill Clinton & George H.W. Bush
Katie Couric
Jan Egeland
Ian Fishback
Al Gore
Angelina Jolie
Wynton Marsalis
Steve Nash
Orhan Pamuk
Pernessa Seele
Paul Simon
Wafa Sultan
Michell Wie
Elie Wiesel


Vikram Akula
Sean (Diddy) Combs
Jamie Dimon
The Flikcr Founders
Brian France
Tom Freston
Haung Guangyu
Omid Kordestani
Eddie Lampert
Raplh Lauren
Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum
Anne Mulcahy
The MySpace Men
Nandan Nilekani
Patricia Russo
Jim Sinegal
The Skype Guys
Steve Wynn
Dieter Zersche


J.J. Abrams
Tyra Banks
George Clooney
Stephen Colbert
Dane Cook
Ellen DeGeneres
Dixie Chicks
Matt Drudge
Nicolas Ghesquiere
Wayne Gould
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Ariana Huffington
Ang Lee
Rob Pardo
Renzo Piano
Rachel Ray
Jeff Skoll
Kiki Smith
Will Smith
Zadie Smith
Howard Stern
Meryl Streep
Reese Witherspoon
Daddy Yankee

(Source: TIMEMAG/2006 List)
posted by infraternam meam @ 9:17 AM   0 comments
Friday, May 05, 2006
(Dictators, democrats, holy men (and a TV host) -- these are the people with the clout and power to change our world.)

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran President

Archbishop Peter Akinola
Anglican Archbishop of Africa

Pope Benedict XVI
Roman Catholic Pope

George W. Bush
U.S. President

Hugo Chavez
Venezuela President

Hillary Rodham Clinton
New York Senator

Bill & Melinda Gates

Ismail Haniya
Hamas Leader Palestinian Authority

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
Africa's First Female President

Junichiro Koizumi
Prime Minister of Japan

John McCain
Republican U.S. Senator

Angela Merkel
Germany's First Woman Chancellor

Pervez Musharraf
Leader of Pakistan

Ehud Olmert
Israeli Prime Minister

Condoleezza Rice
U.S. Secretary of State

John Roberts
U.S. Supreme Court Justice

Muqtada al-Sadr
Iraq Shi'ite Leader

Jigme Singye Wangchuck
King of Bhutan

Wen Jiabao
Chinese Premier

Oprah Winfrey
TV Talk Show Host

Ayman al-Zawahiri
Bin Laden's No.1 Man

(Source: TIMEMAG/Special Edition)
posted by infraternam meam @ 12:20 PM   0 comments
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Four hundred years ago,in the evening of March 16,1521, Ferdinand Magellan anchored his little fleet in Philippine waters. To most people Philippine "history" begins with Antonio Pigafetta's splendid diary of Magellan's voyage.

Spanish colonization both of the Americas and the Philippines characterized by the fanatic zeal to spread the Christian faith. In Mexico and Peru many old records were preserved in more or less modified form in the writings of the early Christians and Spanish half-castes. In the Philippines the destruction of artifacts seemed thorough and only a few fragments have survived. One Spanish priest in southern Luzon boasted of having destroyed more than three hundred scrolls written in the native characters. The result is that we have no trustworthy native material, and our past can only be pieced together from data painstakingly gathered from neighboring countries and stitched with local tradition and archeological discoveries. No wonder most historians have tended to pass over the Pre-European period and begin the body of their work with Magellan's voyage.

When Magellan arrived in the Philippines, the archipelago was already one of the epicenters of the international trade.

William Henry Scott in his book, THE PRE-HISPANIC SOURCE MATERIALS writes:"When the Pre-Hispanic epoch was brought to a close by Ferdinand Magellan's arrival in 1521, Luzon traders were sailing to Timor, Malacca and Canton. They had colony in Minjam on the Malay Peninsula, a Portuguese appointed magistrate in Malacca, marriage relations with the Sultan of Brunei and were learning to speak Malay."

The pre-Hispanic Filipinos were very literate and used syllabaries of Indian origins. "These islanders are so given to reading and writing that there is hardly a man and much less a woman; who do not read and write in the letters of the island in Manila," wrote Father Chirino (1604).

The first recorded mention of the Philippines is in the official Sung history when certain traders from Ma-i (the present island of Mindoro) brought valuable merchandise to Canton for sale in 982 AD. As early as the 10th century, Philippine vessels were crossing the oceans to China and Champa for exportable trade goods.

From the 12th to the 15th centuries, accounts of Bruni, Sulu, Ma-i and other of the Philippine islands became more numerous. The following abbrevviated account comes from Chau Ju KUa, written about 1225:

" The island of Ma-i lies north of Borneo. When the trading ships enter the archipelago, they stop in front of the officials place, for that is the place of bartering of the country. There is a grat market there. After a ship had been boarded, the natives mix freely with the ship's folk. The chief's are in the habit of using white umbrellas, for which reason the traders offer them as gifts."

"The custom for trade is for the local traders to assemble in crowds and carry the goods away with them in baskets; and, even if one cannot at first know them, and can but slowly distinguish the men who remove the goods, yet there will be no loss. The local traders then carry those goods on to other islands for barter, and as a rule takes them about eight to nine months before they return, when they repay the merchants on shipboard with what they have obtained for the goods."

"The products of the country consist of yellow wax (beeswax), cotton, pearls, tortoise shell, medical betel nuts, fiber cloth (sinamay). The goods used in trading are porcelain, trade-gold, iron cauldrons, lead, colored glass beads, iron needles, pieces of iron, colored cotton stuff, red taffetas,ivory, silks of different colors, copper pots,sycee shoes and the like"

"The San-hsu (or three islands) belong to Ma-i; their names are Kia-ma-yen (Kalamian or Culion), Pa-lau-yu (probably Penon de Coron) and Pa-ki-nung (probably Busuanga), and each has its own tribes scattered over the islands. When the ships arrive there, the native come out to trade with them."

"In the remottest valleys, there lives another tribe called Hai-tan (Aetas). They are smaller in nature, they have curly hair and they nest in treetops. Whenever foreign traders arrive at teh settlements, they announce their presence to the natives by beating drums. Upon this, the natives race for the ships in small boats, carrying cotton, yellow wax, native cloth and coconut husk whch they offer for barter. If the prices cannot be agreed upon, one or two of the natives remain onboard the ship as hostages while the chief of the traders must on shore to meet the native ruler in order to come to an understanding. These being reached, the natives are offered presents fo silk umbrellas, procelain, and rattan baskets. After the traders return to their ships, the hostage are released. A ship will not remain at anchore longer than three days or four days which it proceeds to another place."

Several late Sung and Yuan period Chinese documents make frequent reference to the Philippine trade centers. Ports in Sulu are described as having a well developed, organized network for exportable forrest and maritime products (sandalwood, laka-wood, ebony, animal hides and pearls). The Sulu pearls were known to be whiter and rounder than those from other places and commanded a high price.

In addition to the above, we find the following accounts of trade in Sulu from the brush of a Chinese author in 1349:
"When a ship arrives there, the natives take all the goods and carry them for sale in the interior, while they also sell to the neighboring countires and when they come back, the native articless are delivered to the merchants as payment. The bative are always afraid that our ships will not return, and whenever a ship leaves they detain some men as hostages to make sure the ship cll again."

During the early 14th century, Chinese-Philippine trade relations grew stronger. In 1406, during the reign of Chinese emperor Ch'eng-tsu, a Filipino chieftain visited the Imperial Court at Nanking and was presented gifts of horses, silver and other products. This was followed by other trips. Another visit occurred diring Emperor Hung-was' regin in 1572 when the Filipino tribute embassy was welcomed at his court.

Early Spanish documents provide a detailed documentation of the Southeast Asian Trade. Aside from Borneo, Thailand and Japan wee regularly arriving at some of the larger Philippine coastal ports: Manila, Mindoro, Pangasinan, Cebu, Jolo (Sulu) and Cotabato. Filipino traders had singnificant knowledge and presence in other Southeast Asian trade ports such as Melaka, Borneo, Ternate (Moluccas) and Myanmar.

Chiefs in pre-Hispanic Philippines also financed and equipped outgoing trade voyages for foreign trade. Furthermore they made attempts to attract foreign trade partners by investing in port facilities, good harborage, military protection for merchants, housing, provision and entertaiment for foreign traders. They developed efficient systems for mobilizing the trade goods. 16th century descriptions of Manila record a well-fortified, heavily populated trade port with special quarters for Chinese and Japanese merchants and a well organized port area managed by a grand chieftain and a number oflesser chiefs.

Pre-Hispanic Philippines clearly indicates a sophisticated, cultured people focused on peaceful commerical trade and viable economic relations with their neighbors.

The purpose of this article is to remind this present generation about the grand history of their Ninuno(forefathers) and rekindle our Diwa(spirit of greatness) that has always been the heritage of the Filipino people.

(Source: FILIPINASMAG by: Charity Beyer-Bagatsing. The grandaugher of renowned antrhopologists Dr. H. Otley Beyer. She is the guardian of the Beyer Library Collection and publisher of Northwest Woman Magazine)
posted by infraternam meam @ 12:47 PM   0 comments
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
They rule the screens. She's a star at ABC - a co-anchor of Good Morning America and Primetime. He is the acclaimed director of The Graduate and THe Birdcage. A string of stage hits, including the musical Spamalot, show he can rule Broadway too.

The Terminator, a Republican, rode his fame as a body builder and action-flick actor to become the Governor of California. Shriver, a former NBC journalist and author, is a nice of J.F.K. and a Democrate. Somehow they have worked the politics out.

Jordan's King Abdullah II had a long military career before being named crown prince just days before his father, the king died. The outspoken Queen Rania, an advocate for women's rights, studied business. Togehter, they stand for moderate pro-Western views - and economic reforms.

Machel, and advocate for children and a former politician, is the widow of Mozambique's founding President Samora Machel, who died in 1998. Although retired from politics a year later, the two still actively camapaign for peace and human rights.

Singapore's Prime Minsiter Lee (the son of Lee Kuan Yew, the republic's first PM) married Ho in 1985. She has since become one of the most powerful businesswoman in the world, running Temasek Holdings, Singapore's national investment company.

She focuses on humanitarian issues, he on the environment. But the celebrity rags can't get enough of Brangelina. Rumors of romance during the filiming of Mr. & Mrs. Smith and the obsession when her pregnancy have sold lots of magazines.

With their good looks and star power, Woodward and Newman were 20th century hearthrobs. Today the actors focus as much on the philanthrophy as they do on stage and film. She has revitalized the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut. His Newman's Own brand has given more than U$200 million to charities.

Milanese fashion designer Prada won raves for her sleek black nylon handbags in the 1980s and is the queen of understated luxury. Bertelli, who married her in 1987, is the business genius behind the brand and has grown the Prada label into a billion dollar empire.

J.Lo sang a duet with Anthony on her 1999 debut album. Five years later (so long, Ben Affleck), she wed Anthony -- like her, a successful Puerto Rican - American singer-actor. He's won a pair of Grammys; she's been nominated fora Golden Glove.

Having no doubt heard their share of love jokes, the first couple of tennis wed in 2001 and have two children. Agassi continue to compete, although lately he has been beset by injuries. Graf retired in 1999 but was coaxed back to the court by her husband in March to benefit one of the charities the couple supports.

The wife of the man many consider the most powerful Vice President in U.S. history has had a long career of ther own in public service. She has authored many books and serves as a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

They're both bigwigs in the French Socialist Party. Hollande, a moderate, has been its leader since 1997. His partner Royal, with whom he has four children, is a likely candidate for the French presidency in 2007.

No one would accuse these two of sticking to the beaten path. Quirky Icelandic pop musician Bjork (who goes by one name) and her partner Barney, a U.S. contemporary artist, are innovators in their fields. Recently they joined forces -- beyond the romantic bond -- to make the old but beautiful art film Drawing Restraint 9.

Fans call Shawn Carter, a.k.a. Jay-Z the greatest rapper alive. He's a savvy businessman as well. A co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records and the president of Def Jam, he can wrest the spotlight even from his longtime girlfriend, star singer and actress Beyonce Knowles. But she beats him in the Grammy tally: she has nine to his five.

They rank among the most popular actors in the U.S. with dozens of film, TV and stage performances between them, plus four Golden Globes, two Emmys and two Tonys. Parker is also a fashion icon (she has starred in GAP ads) and a UNICEF ambassador while Brodercik raises money for AIDS research.


He led the U.S. through the Great Depression and most of World War II, while his wife, a distant cousin of his and the niece of former President Roosevelt, wrote a newspaper column, gave lectures and did radio spots as First Lady. Both were social activists concerned with the lives of the poor.

Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek and his Christian, U.S. educated wife were the darlings of the Western democrats. After losing mainland to Mao's communists, he ruled Taiwan until his death in 1975.

French existentialist philosopher-writers. Sartre and De Beauvoir challenged social norms via their ideas and texts and in their lifelong nonmonogamous relationship.

Argentina's President gained more than a radio star wife in his marriage to Evita, as she was known. She promoted her husband's policies in an adoring public and represented him abroad.

The troubled Kahlo and her philandering husband were among Mexico's greatest 20th century artists. Their rockyunion and ties to communists added to their intrigue.

(Source: Abstracted from TIMEMAG/"The lives and ideas of the world's most influential people")
posted by infraternam meam @ 10:35 PM   0 comments
** 1901
Dr. Alois Alzheimer examines 51 year old Aguste D. and diagnoses what he coins "presenile dementia".

** 1906
Dr. Emil Kraepelin rewards protege by naming "Alzheimer's disease" for him.

** 1936
Scientist's find same plaques and tangles in middle-aged and elderly brains.

** 1963
Researchers link cognitive decline to plaques and tangles.

** 1974
Old term "senile dementia" replaced by diagnosis of "Alzheimer's disease".

** 1975
Verbal cognitive test introduced as standard diagnostic tool.

** 1979
Alzheimer's Association formed to help patients and caregivers.

** 1980
Rita Hayworth's diagnosis makes Alzheimer's widely known worldwide.

** 1983
President Reagan approves task force for Alzheimer's research.

** 1984
Beta-amyloid identified as component of plaques between neurons.

** 1990
Tau protein identified as component tangles within neurons.

** 1991
First gene implicated in early-onset Alzheimer's.

** 1992
First gene implication as risk factor in late-onset Alzheimer's.

** 1993
FDA approves first Alzheirmers' drug, tacrine (Cognex), for mild to moderate symptoms.

** 1994
Former President Reagan announces diagnosis of Alzheimer's.

** 1996
Donepezil (Aricept) approved by FDA as safer treatment for mild to moderate symptoms and becomes most popular Alzheimer's drug.

** 1999
First Alzheimer's vaccine tested in mice but side effects halt human trials.

** 2003
Memantine (Nemenda) approved by FDA as first drug to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer's symptoms.

** 2004
U.S. government approves PET brain scans to diagnose Alzheimer's.

posted by infraternam meam @ 2:37 PM   0 comments
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Name: infraternam meam
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About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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