Ok ...Well I have Hit 4504 as of 10am this morning, Halloween morning....I'm very happy for the hits, But Hey come on..I have hardly any comments or Guest book entries...I would really like to see who is coming around or at least where you are from, I'd like to start a project to see if we can get as many countries /cities in the world as possible...and I will post the results every so often :) What do you think....?
By Kristina Kregiel, Staff Writer
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Some locals call it the Providence Meeting House, others refer to it as Quaker Cemetery or Quaker Church.
Though it may be known to residents by several different names, there's one title that seems to overshadow the rest of them.
Everyone in the area seems to have heard a different story about the one-room house and accompanying cemetery tucked along Quaker Church Road -- a winding back road off Route 51 in Perryopolis.
Some claim people used the old meeting house -- originally used by Quaker pioneers -- to practice black magic.
Other supposed reports have told of orbs of light showing up on pictures people have snapped at the site or of visitors feeling ill and very cold at the house.
The most famous legend, though -- the one most frequently talked about -- involves the death of a young girl at the cemetery.
It is said that written on the inside wall of the house is a description of how the girl died. If someone should read the inscription, they will die the same way.
Dan Ankrom, a former Fayette County resident, visited the grounds on a number of occasions. The cemetery was a popular destination spot for area high school students eager to take a closer look at the urban legend. Ankrom was told over the years that the former meeting house was used in the 1800s as a place to kill witches.
Though there have been many stories passed down from generation to generation, none make reference to any eye-witnessed accounts.
So is Quaker Cemetery really home to the paranormal, or is it merely an old legend designed to scare people?
Ghost researcher Linda Davis has mixed opinions.
Davis and other members of the Mon Valley Ghost Research Society investigated Quaker Church and cemetery after they heard stories about the old meeting house being used for satanic rituals.
When they arrived, she says, pentagrams, writings on the wall and burned animal remains lead researchers to believe the rumors most likely were true.
But were the sacrifices and demonic scribblings the result of the supernatural?
After investigating the old meeting house, the Mon Valley Ghost Research Society came away with very little. No ghostly presence. No icy cold sensations. Nothing.
They collectively decided what they saw inside the house was the work of teenagers over the years.
Outside in the cemetery, however, was a different story.
Well after 2 a.m. on the night of the investigation, Davis says members were startled when they heard talking over the hill behind the cemetery.
They used a tape recorder to capture the muffled sound in the distance.
"When we played it back the voice said, 'Don't tell her anything'," says Davis.
After they searched the grounds, they found no logical explanation for the voice. No one was there.
"We were wandering around the cemetery all night and no one was seen except for a bunch of kids around midnight who took off when they saw us," she says.
"We think it's teenage kids going up there and upsetting the spirits."
Davis says the urban legend most likely was created by a teenager who got spooked while he was on the grounds one night and his story evolved into a scary tale that locals have passed along to one another.
Skeptics, though, say the legend was started by a group of bikers in order to keep others away while they used drugs at the cemetery property.
Is it possible the old meeting house of the Quaker pioneers evolved into a new meeting ground for spirits of the unknown? Or is it simply the site of local folklore that's taken on a life of its own?
We may never know as the truth likely is buried with those who originated the tale.
But unlike people, legends never die.
Legend: Chanting "Bloody Mary!" thirteen times in front of a candlelit mirror will summon a vengeful spirit.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1995]
If you go into the bathroom and look into the mirror with the lights off and the room completely black, and then say 'Bloody Mary' thirteen times, a woman will appear and scratch your face up/off.
I was told that if you said "Hell Mary" seven times in front of a mirror in a dark room, you would see Satan's image in the mirror. The story was embellished further by the teller, who claimed that after three "Hell Mary", the mirror turned red, and that after five an unclear face appeared.
Here's how I always heard the story. You go into a room with a mirror and turn all the lights off (this works well in a bathroom). You begin, in a whisper, to chant "bloody mary. bloody mary, Bloody Mary", as you continue to chant your voice should grow louder and louder into a near scream. While you are chanting you should be spinning around at a medium rate and taking a glimpse in the mirror at each pass. Near the 13th repetition of the words . . . "she" should appear and...?
A frend of mine said that her roommate tried this and ran out screaming from the bathroom. She was shaking and appeared genuinely terrified and refused to talk about the incident, but those who were around her when she came out noticed that her clenched fingers were covered in blood.
The avenging spirit goes by many names: Bloody Mary, Bloody Bones, Hell Mary, Mary Worth, Mary Worthington, Mary Whales, Mary Johnson, Mary Lou, Mary Jane, Sally, Kathy, Agnes, Black Agnes, Aggie, Svarte Madame.
Summoning Mary requires the right chant. "I believe in Mary Worth" is the key phrase according to one version, but others require the shouting of "Kathy, come out!" or the repetition of "Bloody Mary" into the mirror as many times as the ritual demands. (Sometimes Bloody Mary gets more of a script and is summoned by calls of "Bloody Mary! I killed your baby!")
The precise requirements of the ritual vary. Some specify that the mirror must be illuminated by a single candle; in others, there must be a candle on each side. In some versions, the message to Mary is repeated by just one girl who is either a volunteer or one selected by the others to summon up the mirror-witch. The number of chants needed to fetch Mary also varies.
What the mirror-witch does upon arrival varies too. She may strike her summoner dead, drive her mad, or fiercely scratch her face. She may merely peer malevolently out through the mirror, or she may drag one of the girls back through it to live with her.
Origins: The research into Bloody Mary goes back to 1978, when folklorist Janet Langlois published her essay on the legend. Belief in summoning the mirror-witch was even at that time widespread throughout the U.S.
Mary is summoned whenever squealing girls get together for a sleepover, but boys have been known to call on her too. (The 'Bloody Mary' legend was common when I was a kid in the early 1970s. We typically performed the "ritual" in bathrooms, because the bathrooms of our suburban homes had large mirrors and were easily darkened even during the day since they had no windows. A familiar 'Bloody Mary' story was one about a girl who supposedly ended her incantation with a spiteful "I don't believe in Mary Worth," then tripped over the doorjamb while exiting the bathroom and broke her
Mary is said to be a witch who was executed a hundred years ago for plying the black arts, or a woman of more modern times who died in a local car accident in which her face was hideously mutilated.
Some confuse the mirror witch with Mary I of England, whom history remembers as "Bloody Mary." An expanded version of that confusion has it that this murdering British queen killed young girls so she could bathe in their blood to preserve her youthful appearance.
Mary I of England (1553-1558) was anything but a famed beauty terrified of losing her looks -- she was a matronly, fortyish woman who had about as much sense of style as a dust mop. The idea of her bathing in the blood of slaughtered virgins to preserve her loveliness is ludicrous. She came by the moniker "Bloody Mary" because she had a number of Protestants put to death during her reign, as she tried to re-establish Catholicism as the religion of the land after the reigns of her father (Henry VIII, he who married six wives over the course of his lifetime and established himself as the head of a new religion rather than tolerate the Pope's saying he couldn't divorce wife #1 to marry wife #2) and her brother (Edward VI, who ruled after Henry died but passed away himself at the age of 16). Mary was a devoutly religious woman who saw what she was doing as the saving of her subjects' souls from eternal damnation, and in those times — as crazy as this sounds now — the eternal wellbeing of a soul was deemed far more important than the comparatively fleeting life of a person. That bringing the country back to Catholicism would also safeguard her throne was also a major consideration.
Mary I was the half sister of Elizabeth I (1558-1603). Both were daughters of Henry VIII, but Mary's mother was Katherine of Aragon and Elizabeth's mother was Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth I became Queen when Mary died, and she reigned for many years, coming to be called "The Virgin Queen" because she never married.
Some muddlings of this "murdering queen" variant claim that Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1567) is the "bloody Mary" of mirror summonings. Though this Mary was indeed a vain and foolish woman, history does not know her as a murderous one. (Well, okay, she did have a hand in doing away with a husband. But she didn't go after her subjects en masse, as did Mary I of England.)
So, although there was a British queen known as "Bloody Mary," no connection between her and the mirror witch has surfaced, save for their both having the same name. Likewise, the "Mary Worth" appellation of the malevolent apparition doesn't appear to be drawn from the lead character of a popular comic strip of the same name. In lore, as elsewhere, coincidences occur. (The "bathing in blood" detail is traditionally attributed to Elizabeth Bathory, but of course her name was not "Mary.")
Why would otherwise rational youngsters want to risk setting a murderous spirit on the rampage? Gail de Vos offers the following explanation:
So why do children continue to summon Bloody Mary, flirting with danger and possible tragedy? The ages between 9 and 12 are labeled "the Robinson age" by psychologists. This is the period when children need to satisfy their craving for excitement by participating in ritual games and playing in the dark. They are constantly looking for a safe way to extract pleasure and release anxiety and fears.
It's possible these "mirror witch" games have their roots in oldtime divining rituals involving unmarried girls and future husbands. There are a number of variations of these divinations, some involving chanting a rhyme in a darkened room on a special night and then quickly looking in the mirror to catch a glimpse of the bridegroom-to-be.
The concept of mirrors as portals between this world and the realm of spirits shows up in other beliefs, namely those surrounding funerals. It was common practice to cover mirrors in a house where a death had occurred until the body was taken for burial. (Back in the days before funeral homes, corpses were washed by the deceased's relatives, dressed in their funeral finery, and laid out in coffins in the front parlor. Consequently, the dead would be in the house for days.) It was believed if the dear departed caught a glimpse of himself in a mirror, his ghost would remain in the house because the mirror would trap his spirit.
Barbara "be Canadian — summon a Bloody Mary every time you're in a bar" Mikkelson
Sightings: The villain in the 1992 film Candyman is summoned by chanting his name into a mirror. In the 1998 movie Urban Legend, two co-eds try to summon an evil spirit by chanting 'Bloody Mary.' In an episode of television's The X Files ("Syzygy," original air date 26 January 1996), two teenage girls lure a rival for a boy's affections into the bathroom — and a "Bloody Mary" ritual — during a birthday party. They prevent her from leaving the bathroom, and the camera cuts to the rest of the partygoers downstairs, who hear a crash of breaking glass and a scream.
Last updated: 27 October 2005
TORONTO (AFP) - A 25-year-old Canadian mechanical engineer kicked a 50-yard field goal at half-time of a Canadian Football League game to win one million dollars Cdn (850,000 USD) in a contest here Thursday night.
Brian Diesbourg had been chosen randomly from 200,000 entries in the sponsor promotion that gave one lucky fan a chance to kick the ball through the goalposts like professional players in the North American football league.
So far this season, kickers for the nine Canadian Football League clubs have been successful in only 5-of-11 field goal attempts from beyond 50 yards.
Diesbourg, who had a 30-minute practice session with the kicker for the host Toronto Argonauts on Wednesday, missed attempts from 20, 30 and 40 yards away for lesser prizes.
But Diesbourg nailed his last kick before 40,000 screaming fans at half-time of Toronto's 34-11 victory over Hamilton.
Diesbourg, who said he has never played Canadian football, told reporters he plays in a senior men's soccer league and can kick the soccer ball the length of the field.
Diesbourg will receive the prize in 40 annual installments of 25,000 dollars Cdn (21,000 USD).
|You're Part Diva|
You know that a girl's gotta work it to get her way in the world.
And while you aren't about to throw a tantrum at every turn...
You do amp up the drama when you know you need it.
You mix charm, honesty, and kindness to get ahead.
|Your Fashion Style is Girly|
You dress to look beautiful and show off what you've got
Dresses, skirts, heels... whatever it takes to turn heads
You love feeling like a girl in any setting
Even your workout clothes are cute and feminine!
Cape Cod 25th Anniversary Sweepstakes
Grand Prize (1): A Trip for 2 to Cape Cod,
Massachusetts. Trip includes
round trip airfare for 2, hotel accommodations
for 4 nights/5 days, a
rental car for 5 days, and $500.00 spending
money. ARV: $3,000.00.
First Prize (25): A Cape Cod Potato Chip Company
Hat (valued at $16.00/each).
Second Prize (50): A Cape Cod Potato Chip Company
T-Shirt (valued at 15.00/each).
Daily Entry. Expires November 15, 2005. U.S.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
When Fat Boy leaves the house, I sometimes turn on the TV and watch the Animal Planet network. I'm not sure why, but when he went to run errands yesterday, I turned to the Weather Channel for a few minutes, and see that they've run out of names for 2005 Hurricanes (the small-brained ones didn't like the few choices for names beginning with Q/U/X/Y/Z) .. so they're going to use the letters from the Greek alphabet next.
Well, isn't that a fine How Do You Do? In two more storms, there could be a Tropical Storm Beta (or even Hurricane Beta). And then everyone will blame ME! I demand a recount.
Oct. 25 -- Are Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson the real-life Mulder and Scully? Plumbers by day and paranormal investigators by night, this dynamic duo thinks the truth is definitely out there.
'Ghost Hunters' follows the investigations of their organization, TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society), and has captured undeniable proof of the paranormal on film. With a 'Hunters' Halloween special on the horizon, Hawes chatted exclusively with AOL Television editor Sandy Deane about his wildest experiences and the shocking evidence being kept under wraps by the men in black and the Catholic Church.
Was there a personal experience that inspired you to create TAPS?
I had a personal experience and I just always keep it personal, but before that time I didn't believe in anything with the paranormal. It became my passion to try to put some kind of a scientific spin on this, try to really understand how it's actually feasible that after you pass you could still be sort of here.
What is the most amazing physical encounter you've had since then?
[There are] a lot of things that we can never show on TV. We've got a lot of past cases that are confidential. But we've worked on possession cases. You've got a 9-year-old little girl speaking in Latin and flipping out on you. We've worked on cases where furniture rearranged itself at 3AM every night. We caught some of that on film, but we ended up handing that over to the Catholic Church and they took control of that case.
What's the profile of the average TAPS member?
TAPS is made up of so many different people: psychiatrists, forensic scientists, nuclear physicists, police officers, biologists, lawyers, doctors, even stay-at-home moms. We've even got people from the FBI and Secret Service, the Department of Defense, but we can't show those people on TV because, of course, they're classified.
What's the spookiest or most active location you've investigated?
Eastern State Penitentiary is definitely at the top of my list. I also love the lighthouse (Race Rock Lighthouse in Long Island Sound).
What haunted locations are on your wish list?
I'd love to get overseas and check out some of the places in England and Scotland, which are said to be just notoriously haunted. Everything from Borley Rectory down to castles in Scotland.
Any plans to visit Salem?
We've got a seventh generation pagan in the group who would love to go over there, but she just feels the place has been too commercialized. Maybe next season.
How many cases result in confirmed activity?
Over 80 percent of all the cases can be disproved. Now that last 20 percent that's left, we're not saying it's proof of a ghost. A chair sliding across the floor by itself isn't showing me that it's the dead light keeper Ed pushing that chair. What it's telling me is that a chair doesn't slide across the floor by itself. So it's paranormal, para just meaning above the norm.
Does debunking help or hurt your organization?
It solidifies the evidence that we have. If we're going there to try to dismiss it and we catch a piece of evidence that we cannot disprove, well… that's something we can put out there and we don't have to worry that the skeptics are going to totally tear us apart.
How often do people tamper with evidence, like they did on the Queen Mary this season?
That doesn't happen very often, but of course now with the show, it does have a tendency to rear its ugly head a little more often than usual. We had one gentleman who built a speaker into his wall and tried to get us to believe that his house was haunted by the sounds coming through the house at night. Most people who call us actually believe that they have a problem.
What's your take on mediums like John Edwards?
I don't know John personally so I really can't state anything on him. But generally I do believe in "sensitives." I just believe there are a lot of people out there who believe they're sensitive who aren't. A lot of times you find them with a 1-900 number attached to their names.
When do you have time to live your lives?
At first, me and Grant were working full time and we were doing like 120 hours a week and it just wasn't working. Roto Rooter is a great company and they're extremely lenient when it comes to the filming schedule. We're extremely busy, we're always out filming but when it comes to the family time we make the best of it. And I've got five kids, so I need to make the best of it.
What's the one tip you would offer amateur ghost hunters?
First off, if you're ever investigating the paranormal, never go off alone. There are safety factors, there's also the reason where if you believe you've seen something and you're alone, there's nobody to back it up. Also, you don't have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to investigate the paranormal. You can spend $200 – $300 to start investigating.
Brian made a dramatic exit this season. Is he gone for good?
I have done everything I can for Brian. I have helped him out. I have taken him in at times when he's been pretty much homeless and gotten him back on his feet. It's tough, because to see him fall again it really hits you where it hurts. Me and Brian have a real good friendship and I'm still talking with Brian. You'll see a lot when it comes to the Halloween special.
What can you tell us about the Halloween special?
Um, we caught Satan. Just kidding! We filmed down in Savannah, Ga. I think it's going to be a controversial episode.
This is what we woke up to this morning on the news...Freaking gross pig!
DALLAS - A taxi driver is on trial for allegedly tainting baked items at the grocery store by sprinkling dried feces on the food. Prosecutors have store surveillance videotapes of two alleged incidents in July.
Behrouz Nahidmobarekeh, 49, is charged with two felony counts of tampering with consumer products.
Customers had complained that the fresh-baked items smelled and tasted like manure.
The defendant, who allegedly had a beef with the store over the way he'd been treated, faces punishment ranging from probation, to two to 20 years in prison.
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (3/4 cup)
1 (1 3/4-lb) butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (4 cups)
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or water
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook shallots and squash, stirring, until shallots are softened, about 5 minutes.
Add broth, brown sugar, sage, and salt, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar, pepper, and salt to taste.
Makes 4 servings.
A hint of whisky and tart cherries in the filling, plus an almost cakey crust, make this comforting pie unique. Serve with heavy cream for drizzling or some vanilla ice cream.
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup (or more) ice water
1 cup dried tart cherries
2 tablespoons Scotch whisky
3 to 3 1/2 pounds medium-size Golden Delicious apples (about 8), peeled, halved, cored, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon whipping cream beaten with 1 tablespoon sugar (for glaze)
Heavy cream or vanilla ice cream
Blend first 4 ingredients in processor 5 seconds. Add butter and blend, using on/off turns, until coarse meal forms. Add 1/4 cup ice water. Blend until dough comes together in moist clumps, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball. Divide in half. Shape into disks. Wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour.
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F. Mix cherries and whisky in small bowl. Let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir apples, sugar, and cinnamon in large bowl. Fold in cherry mixture.
Roll out 1 dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Mound filling in crust (filling will be high). Roll out remaining dough disk to 13-inch round and drape over pie. Fold top and bottom overhangs together to seal. Crimp edge of crust decoratively. Brush glaze over top of crust, but not crust edge. Cut several small slits in top crust.
Bake pie 10 minutes. Cover crust edge with foil and bake until apples are tender, about 50 minutes longer. Cool pie 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with cream or vanilla ice cream.
To protect the crust, fold a 36-inch-long piece of foil lenghtwise into a 4-inch-wide strip. Stand strip up on oven rack and wrap around the pie.
Makes 8 servings.
Samhain. All Hallows. All Hallow's Eve. Hallow E'en. Halloween.
The most magical night of the year. Exactly opposite Beltane on
the wheel of the year, Halloween is Beltane's dark twin. A night of
glowing jack-o-lanterns, bobbing for apples, tricks or treats, and
dressing in costume. A night of ghost stories and seances, tarot card readings and scrying with mirrors. A night of power, when the veil that separates our world from the Otherworld is at its thinnest. A 'spirit night', as they say in Wales.
All Hallow's Eve is the eve of All Hallow's Day (November 1st). And for once, even popular tradition remembers that the Eve is more important than the Day itself, the traditional celebration focusing on October 31st, beginning at sundown. And this seems only fitting for the great Celtic New Year's festival. Not that the holiday was Celtic only. In fact, it is startling how many ancient and unconnected cultures (the Egyptians and pre-Spanish Mexicans, for example) celebrated this as a festival of the dead. But the majority of our modern traditions can be traced to the British Isles.
The Celts called it Samhain, which means 'summer's end', according to their ancient two-fold division of the year, when summer ran from Beltane to Samhain and winter ran from Samhain to Beltane. (Some modern Covens echo this structure by letting the High Priest 'rule' the Coven beginning on Samhain, with rulership returned to the High Priestess at Beltane.) According to the later four-fold division of the year, Samhain is seen as 'autumn's end' and the beginning of winter. Samhain is pronounced (depending on where you're from) as 'sow-in' (in Ireland), or 'sow-een' (in Wales), or 'sav-en' (in Scotland), or (inevitably) 'sam-hane' (in the U.S., where we don't speak Gaelic).
Not only is Samhain the end of autumn; it is also, more importantly, the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. Celtic New Year's Eve, when the new year begins with the onset of the dark phase of the year, just as the new day begins at sundown. There are many representations of Celtic gods with two faces, and it surely must have been one of them who held sway over Samhain. Like his Greek counterpart Janus, he would straddle the theshold, one face turned toward the past in commemoration of those who died during the last year, and one face gazing hopefully toward the future, mystic eyes attempting to pierce the veil and divine what the coming year holds. These two themes, celebrating the dead and divining the future, are inexorably intertwined in Samhain, as they are likely to be in any New Year's celebration.
As a feast of the dead, it was believed the dead could, if they wished, return to the land of the living for this one night, to celebrate with their family, tribe, or clan. And so the great burial mounds of Ireland (sidh mounds) were opened up, with lighted torches lining the walls, so the dead could find their way. Extra places were set at the table and food set out for any who had died that year. And there are many stories that tell of Irish heroes making raids on the Underworld while the gates of faery stood open, though all must return to their appointed places by cock-crow.
As a feast of divination, this was the night par excellance for peering into the future. The reason for this has to do with the Celtic view of time. In a culture that uses a linear concept of time, like our modern one, New Year's Eve is simply a milestone on a very long road that stretches in a straight line from birth to death. Thus, the New Year's festival is a part of time. The ancient Celtic view of time, however, is cyclical. And in this framework, New Year's Eve represents a point outside of time, when the the natural order of the universe disolves back into primordial chaos, preparatory to re-establishing itself in a new order. Thus, Samhain is a night that exists outside of time and hence it may be used to view any other point in time. At no other holiday is a tarot card reading, crystal reading, or tea-leaf reading so likely to succeed.
The Christian religion, with its emphasis on the 'historical' Christ and his act of redemption 2000 years ago, is forced into a linear view of time,where 'seeing the future' is an illogical proposition. In fact, from the Christian perspective, any attempt to do so is seen as inherently evil. This did not keep the medieval Church from co-opting Samhain's other motif, commemoration of the dead. To the Church, however, it could never be a feast for all the dead, but only the blessed dead, all those hallowed (made holy) by obedience to God - thus, All Hallow's, or Hallowmas, later All Saints and All Souls.
There are so many types of divination that are traditional to Hallowstide, it is possible to mention only a few. Girls were told to place hazel nuts along the front of the firegrate, each one to symbolize one of her suiters. She could then divine her future husband by chanting, 'If you love me, pop and fly; if you hate me, burn and die.' Several methods used the apple, that most popular of Halloween fruits. You should slice an apple through the equator (to reveal the five-pointed star within) and then eat it by candlelight before a mirror.
Your future spouse will then appear over your shoulder. Or, peel an apple, making sure the peeling comes off in one long strand, reciting, 'I pare this apple round and round again; / My sweetheart's name to flourish on the plain: / I fling the unbroken paring o'er my head, / My sweetheart's letter on the ground to read.' Or, you might set a snail to crawl through the ashes of your hearth. The considerate little creature will then spell out the initial letter as it moves.
Perhaps the most famous icon of the holiday is the jack-o-lantern. Various authorities attribute it to either Scottish or Irish origin. However, it seems clear that it was used as a lantern by people who traveled the road this night, the scary face to frighten away spirits or faeries who might otherwise lead one astray. Set on porches and in windows, they cast the same spell of protection over the household. (The American pumpkin seems to have forever superseded the European gourd as the jack-o-lantern of choice.) Bobbing for apples may well represent the remnants of a Pagan 'baptism' rite called a 'seining', according to some writers. The water-filled tub is a latter-day Cauldron of Regeneration, into which the novice's head is immersed. The fact that the participant in this folk game was usually blindfolded with hands tied behind the back also puts one in mind of a traditional Craft initiation ceremony.
The custom of dressing in costume and 'trick-or-treating' is of Celtic origin with survivals particularly strong in Scotland. However, there are some important differences from the modern version. In the first place, the custom was not relegated to children, but was actively indulged in by adults as well. Also, the 'treat' which was required was often one of spirits (the liquid variety). This has recently been revived by college students who go 'trick-or-drinking'. And in ancient times, the roving bands would sing seasonal carols from house to house, making the tradition very similar to Yuletide wassailing. In fact, the custom known as 'caroling', now connected exclusively with mid-winter, was once practiced at all the major holidays. Finally, in Scotland at least, the tradition of dressing in costume consisted almost exclusively of cross-dressing (i.e., men dressing as women, and women as men). It seems as though ancient societies provided an oportunity for people to 'try on' the role of the opposite gender for one night of the year. (Although in Scotland, this is admittedly less dramatic - but more confusing - since men were in the habit of wearing skirt-like kilts anyway. Oh well...)
To Witches, Halloween is one of the four High Holidays, or Greater Sabbats, or cross-quarter days. Because it is the most important holiday of the year, it is sometimes called 'THE Great Sabbat.' It is an ironic fact that the newer, self-created Covens tend to use the older name of the holiday, Samhain, which they have discovered through modern research. While the older hereditary and traditional Covens often use the newer name, Halloween, which has been handed down through oral tradition within their Coven. (This is often holds true for the names of the other holidays, as well. One may often get an indication of a Coven's antiquity by noting what names it uses for the holidays.)
With such an important holiday, Witches often hold two distinct celebrations. First, a large Halloween party for non-Craft friends, often held on the previous weekend. And second, a Coven ritual held on Halloween night itself, late enough so as not to be interrupted by trick-or-treaters. If the rituals are performed properly, there is often the feeling of invisible friends taking part in the rites. Another date which may be utilized in planning celebrations is the actual cross-quarter day, or Old Halloween, or Halloween O.S. (Old Style). This occurs when the sun has reached 15 degrees Scorpio, an astrological 'power point' symbolized by the Eagle. The celebration would begin at sunset. Interestingly, this date (Old Halloween) was also appropriated by the Church as the holiday of Martinmas.
Of all the Witchcraft holidays, Halloween is the only one that still boasts anything near to popular celebration. Even though it is typically relegated to children (and the young-at-heart) and observed as an evening affair only, many of its traditions are firmly rooted in Paganism. Incidentally, some schools have recently attempted to abolish Halloween parties on the grounds that it violates the separation of state and religion. Speaking as a Pagan, I would be saddened by the success of this move, but as a supporter of the concept of religion-free public education, I fear I must concede the point. Nonetheless, it seems only right that there should be one night of the year when our minds are turned toward thoughts of the super-natural. A night when both Pagans and non-Pagans may ponder the mysteries of the Otherworld and its inhabitants. And if you are one of them, may all your jack-o'lanterns burn bright on this All Hallow's Eve.
Document Copyright © 1986, 1998 by Mike Nichols. This document can be re-published only as long as no information is lost or changed, credit is given to the author, and it is provided or used without cost to others. Other uses of this document must be approved in writing by Mike Nichols.
S A M H A I N
An Article About Samhain
The Pagan New Year, the most important of the Sabbats. The wheel has come full turn, signifying the end of the harvest that will ensure survival during the coming time of darkness, Winter. An ending of the old and a beginning of the new. It is also at this time that the separation between the physical and the spiritual world is at its most tenuous, hence a time for paying homage to the spirits of our ancestors, who may walk among us. The tradition of "trick or treat" has its roots in the custom of children going from door to door asking for "soul cakes" to gain
and maintain the goodwill of wandering spirits.
Colours: Brown, Black, Orange.
Incense: Nettle, Bayleaf, Tarragon, Sage, Oak Leave, Calendula, Frankincense, Myrrh.
Herbs: Acorn, Oak, Apple, Arborvitae, Corn, Hazel, Mullein, Nightshade,
Pumpkin, Sage, Turnip, Wormwood.
Gems: Hematite, Opal, Topaz.
Samhain Yule Imbolc Lady Day Beltane Litha-Midsummer Lammas Harvest Home
Halloween is a popular holiday that takes place on October 31. In the United States and Canada, children dress in costumes and go trick-or-treating. Many people carve jack-o'-lanterns out of pumpkins. Halloween parties for children feature fortunetelling, mock haunted houses, scary stories, and games, such as bobbing for apples. People decorate their houses and yards with images of ghosts, skeletons, witches, black cats, bats, and other symbols of Halloween. Many communities across the United States also hold parades and other celebrations for Halloween.
Halloween developed from an ancient pagan festival celebrated by Celtic people over 2,000 years ago in the area that is now the United Kingdom, Ireland, and northwestern France. The festival was called Samhain (pronounced SOW ehn), which means "summer's end." The festival marked the beginning of the dark winter season and was celebrated around November 1. In the 800's, the Christian church established a new holiday, All Saints' Day, on this date. All Saints' Day was also called All Hallows'. Hallow means saint, or one who is holy. The evening before All Hallows' was known as All Hallows' Eve, or as it came to be abbreviated, All Hallow e'en. This name was eventually shortened to Halloween.
Well It was terribly "cold" this morning...All the Poor Yuppies must be freezing...it was 45 degrees:) Nice....We like it, no problem...
Girls’ Night In Sweepstakes After a long week at work, Girls just want to have fun. Flirt with your chance to win a Girls’ Night In party package from Kotex® and Marie Claire.
The word "chocolate" comes from the Aztec word
which means "bitter water". Chocolate was
consumed as a bitter hot drink, seasoned with
pimiento or chili pepper.
Here is a site on Sewing Freebies,,,looks good.
URGENT – Hack’s Wife / Partner Eilhys Needs Help With Hack Stories
Hack was working on a book about "Leadership" when he died. To honor his request to finish the book, his widow Eilhys wants to hear from those of you able to share anecdotes about Leadership involving your personal experience with Hack—how his leadership affected you and/or the situation. And how life-lessons you learned from Hack affected and/or changed your life. Eilhys would also welcome any anecdotes about Hack for their archives. Please contact Eilhys directly.
To Contact Her please go to: Hack's Site--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|You Are Balanced - Believer - Empowered|
You feel your life is controlled both externally and internally.
You have a good sense of what you can control and what you should let go.
Depending on the situation, you sometimes try to exert more control.
Other times, you accept things for what they are and go with the flow.
You are a true believer in luck, fate, and karma.
You believe that life is a game of chance - not a game of skill.
You either consider yourself very unlucky or very lucky.
No matter what, you don't feel like you can change the hand you were dealt.
You have a good deal of power, but you also know the pecking order.
You realize that working the system does get you further.
You know who to defer to and who to control.
When it comes to the game of life, you play things flawlessly.
God Damned MURDERERS, freaking Vegan, WTF ever...You don't EVER feed a baby, the crap they were feeding that poor baby, If an adult wishes to be VEGAN fine , but to impose it on their children and Infant is criminal, children NEED good food, meat, veggies , Dairy, wheats...Unless there is some life threatening allergy to a food, all children DESERVE A PROPER Diet...I can Not believe the STUPIDITY of some people....They Killed that Baby, pure and simple...Poor baby, This makes me so Mad, Parents who willingly and with full knowledge Hurt/abuse/kill their children....MONSTERS real MONSTERS...I don't know what to say , so frustrated by this week...See story from yesterday....SAN Francisco Tragedy
By CURT ANDERSON, AP Legal Affairs Writer
Wed Oct 19, 2:41 PM ET
MIAMI - A dying 6-month-old baby who had been on a raw food diet looked like a starving famine victim usually seen in a poverty-stricken foreign country, a police officer testified on Tuesday in the manslaughter and child neglect trial of the infant's parents.
Homestead Officer Robert B. Brown told a Miami-Dade County jury that he saw Woyah Andressohn lying on a blanket on the floor of an apartment after he responded to a frantic 911 call placed the night of May 14, 2003 by her parents, Joseph and Lamoy Andressohn.
The baby's arms and legs were rail-thin and her belly was distended, Brown said. Trash and clothes were littered around the apartment along with orange peels and other bits of food, he said.
The baby's condition, he said, "looked like something you might see in a National Geographic magazine, in an African country or a Third World country," Brown testified as the nine-person jury was shown enlarged pictures of Woyah.
Prosecutors say the Andressohns starved the baby to death by feeding her a diet of wheat grass, coconut water and almond milk. The couple is also charged with neglect in the treatment and feeding of their other four children, who have been living with a relative under state supervision.
"It happened because her parents, Joseph and Lamoy, were irresponsible parents," said prosecutor Herbert E. Walker III in opening arguments. "Baby Woyah could not say, 'I'm hungry. This wheat grass just isn't enough. Give me more.'"
Under questioning from the Andressohns' attorneys, Brown admitted that he did not attempt to administer aid to Woyah the night she died and instead waited for emergency medical personnel to arrive while preserving the apartment scene for Miami-Dade homicide detectives. Woyah was pronounced dead on May 15, 2003, at Homestead Hospital.
"You did nothing to help resuscitate the child, right?" asked defense lawyer Robert Barrar.
"I was following my department guidelines," Brown replied.
Barrar and his fellow defense lawyer, Ellis Rubin, contend that the Andressohns were targeted in a rush to judgment based on part on their alternative lifestyle, including their desire to feed themselves and their children only natural raw foods. They also say that Woyah suffered from a congenital condition Ã lack of a thymus gland needed to build an immune system Ã that led to her death.
"She suffered from several congenital ailments," Rubin said. "It didn't matter what the diet was."
Two of the Andressohns' other children are scheduled to testify in the case Wednesday about how their parents forced them to undergo enemas and sometimes whipped them if they ate the wrong foods. The children will appear in court via video hookup, with television networks agreeing to obscure their faces.
The Andressohns each face more than 17 years in prison if convicted on charges of aggravated manslaughter and child neglect. Their trial is expected to last about two weeks.
Curt Anderson has covered legal issues in Washington and Miami since 2002.
By JULIANA BARBASSA, Associated Press Writer
Fri Oct 21, 7:25 AM ET
FRESNO, Calif. - An ice-encased body believed to be a World War II airman who crashed in 1942 was chipped out of a Sierra Nevada glacier and taken to a laboratory for identification, a deputy coroner said Thursday.
As the frozen body thaws, a picture is emerging — a fair-haired man in an Army uniform who suffered broken bones when his aircraft crashed in the wilderness, forensic experts said.
Soft tissues like skin and muscle have been well-preserved, as well as the man's sun-bleached hair and his uniform, which identifies him as a World-War II-era serviceman, officials said.
"There's a very good possibility for identification," said Paul Emanovsky, a forensic anthropologist with the Hawaii-based Joint Prisoner of War Accounting Command, which recovers and identifies missing military personnel. The identification process could take months.
Blustery weather kept rangers at Kings Canyon National Park from reaching the frozen remains for two days after ice climbers reported last weekend they had seen a man's head, shoulder and arm protruding from the thick ice.
About 80 percent of the body was buried in the glacier on 13,710-foot Mount Mendel. The area can be reached only by hiking two or three days, or by helicopter when the weather allows.
Six park rangers and a military forensics expert started chipping away at the ice Wednesday, freeing the body after about six hours, said ranger Alexandra Picavet.
"The ice initially wasn't bad to dig through, but then as they got deeper it became more difficult," said Picavet, who wasn't among the rangers who excavated the remains.
The crew had to be careful not to damage the remains and worked slowly because they didn't know how the body was positioned, Picavet said. The remains were then flown to the Fresno County Coroner's department.
Park officials summoned JPAC because the man was wearing a parachute stenciled with "Army." They believe he may be a crewman of an AT-7 navigational training plane that crashed Nov. 18, 1942. Several military planes crashed among the craggy peaks in the 1930s and 1940s.
The plane wreckage and four bodies were found by a climber in 1947. It's impossible to tell if this body is connected to that expedition pending the identification process, which will include a thorough examination of the clothing and any documents that may still exist, plus dental records, X-rays or DNA testing on the body.
Relatives of missing soldiers have already started calling from all around the country, wanting to see if this could be a long-lost father or brother, said Loralee Cervantes, Fresno County's coroner.
Military officials said there are 88,000 Americans still missing from past wars, most of them, 78,000, from World War II. Only about 35,000 are deemed recoverable.
JPAC has located and identified other remains from glaciers, where the ice keeps human tissue well preserved.
MISSOULA, Montana (Reuters) - Congress will get its Christmas tree this year after all.
U.S. District Judge James Singleton has clarified an earlier ruling that the U.S. Forest Service said had prevented it from cutting down the tree selected as the Christmas tree for the U.S. Capitol building.
In his clarification, Singleton said his initial ruling applied to major forest projects and that the Forest Service's sweeping interpretation of the ruling was misguided.
In response to the initial ruling, U.S. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth suspended nearly 1,500 activities in national forests and stopped issuing permits for hunting guides, mushroom pickers and firewood collectors.
Bosworth also pulled the permit to harvest the so-called Capitol holiday tree, an 80-foot tall Engelmann spruce in the Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico.
Singleton's clarification clears the way for the cutting of the tree on November 7.
"The Capitol holiday tree is going to be cut on schedule," Forest Service spokeswoman Heidi Valetkevitch said.
By Gina Serpe
Thu Oct 20, 5:00 PM ET
Winning the lottery may have caused nothing but trouble for Lost's Hurley, but hordes of Powerball players were willing to take their chances.
Hundreds of lotto players in the multi-state drawing selected the Emmy-winning show's cursed digits--4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42--in the $340 million drawing Wednesday.
Unfortunately--or maybe fortunately, considering the damage they've done--the Lost numbers lost.
Eva Robelia, spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Lottery, says more than 840 people across five states played the TV-inspired numbers, including 266 hopeful Hurleys in New Hampshire.
"A lot of people are playing those numbers," Robelia told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "There may be a couple of hundred in Wisconsin alone." Powerball is played in 27 states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Lost is the third-most watched show on television this season, averaging nearly 23 million viewers an episode.
The infamous digits first appeared on the ABC hit last season, when Jorge Garcia's Hugo "Hurley" Reyes used them to win the lottery. That is when his luck ran out.
The mysterious figures caused him nothing but grief--his grandfather died, his mother broke her ankle, their new house burnt down and he ultimately wound up on a certain doomed airliner. The digits subsequently turned up in other places, including the infamous hatch. This season, it was revealed that the sequence has to be entered into a computer every 108 minutes--or else the world will supposedly end.
Evidently, it was a fate gamblers were willing to deal with. But the crush of Lost fans would have proven incredibly unlucky if the numbers came up. Because so many had the same digits, the multimillion dollar jackpot would have been whittled down to just a few thousand bucks apiece.
Of course, the Lost numbers proved to be cursed in a different way--nobody who played them won. For the record the winning numbers were: 7, 21, 43, 44, 49 and 29.
According to lottery officials, the lone golden was sold in Jacksonville, Oregon, and the winner has yet to step forward and claim the hefty sum--roughly $110 million after taxes. The winnings mark the largest prize pool in the game's history and the second-largest haul in U.S. history.
"We advise them to get their 15 minutes of fame out of the way at a press conference, but it's up to the winners to decide what to do," Powerball spokesman Chuck Baumann said.
And our advice to the winner: Avoid uncharted islands with locked hatches. Just in case.
Well the way I see it is...
If the prisoners won't eat...well $#%& them...save money on feeding tubes...
By BEN FOX, Associated Press Writer
Thu Oct 20, 9:12 PM ET
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The chief doctor at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay denied allegations by hunger striking prisoners that feeding tubes have been misused as a form of punishment, according to an affidavit released Thursday.
In a statement filed in federal court in Washington, Dr. John Edmondson said that only doctors or nurses are allowed to remove or insert feeding tubes and they use a lubricant and offer an anesthetic to the hunger striking prisoner to ease any pain.
The handling of the hunger striking prisoners "equals or exceeds the standard of care available at accredited hospitals in the United States," Edmondson, a Navy captain, said in the affidavit.
His statement was a response to affidavits filed with the court from defense lawyers, who said that prisoners held at the U.S. base in eastern Cuba alleged that troops force-fed them with dirty feeding tubes and violently inserted and withdrew the tubes as punishment.
Prisoners also said they were taunted by troops who said the treatment was intended to persuade them to end the hunger strike that began Aug. 9.
The affidavits were filed as part of a lawsuit by defense attorneys seeking more frequent access to their clients and copies of their medical records.
A military spokesman on Wednesday denied allegations of abuse but did not know specifics about the use of feeding tubes and treatment of striking detainees at the hospital.
Edmondson said that guards do not verbally or physically harass the detainees in the prison hospital. "Their presence in the detention hospital is solely to ensure the safety and security of both the detainees and medical staff," he said.
Guantanamo officials have said this latest hunger strike began with 76 detainees protesting their confinement. Defense lawyers have cited other reasons as well, including complaints about food and water, alleged abuse by guards and interrogators and their desire to either face trial or be released. About 25 are now on strike.
At Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. military holds about 500 detainees suspected of terrorist activities.
The world's tallest -- and smelliest -- flower has bloomed, reaching a height of 2.94 metres, 18 centimetres more than the previous record for the species, the Stuttgart botanical garden said on Friday.
The Titan Arum, or Amorphophallus Titanum, nicknamed "corpse flower" because of its putrid stench, blooms rarely and briefly.
Garden staff have nicknamed the purple flower "Diva" and are charting its life on their web site, www.wilhelma.de.
But those keen for a glimpse, or a whiff, in person must be quick: just 24 hours after the 11 year-old plant produced its first flower, the bloom began to wilt on Friday.
The Titan Arum was discovered in 1878 in its sole indigenous habitat, the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and grows in cultivation in only a handful of places around the world.
Its scent has been likened to rotting fish or animal flesh.
"The smell is crucial to its survival in its natural habitat because it attracts pollinating carrion beetles and flesh flies," said botanist Franziska Lo-Kockel.
Lo-Kockel brought the bulb of the plant, weighing some 40 kilograms, from the University of Frankfurt to the Stuttgart gardens 11 years ago.
JMO - I have had personal experience with this sort of thing, I think that people should be allowed to end their own lives If they so choose to do so, but not for silly reasons, If afflicted with a terminal illness is the MOST valid reason. I would welcome comments on this...
By Liz Halloran
Sat Oct 1, 5:02 PM ET
'I know I'm ready," Rick Miller told his doctor over the phone. "I've had Phase 1, and I'm ready for Phase 2." Within two hours, Miller, 52, suffering from terminal cancer, was dead. A bowl of barbiturate-laced applesauce had eased him into a deep and final sleep. Miller's wife of 31 years and their son, Nathan, were at his bedside, holding his hands. His hospice nurse waited outside in the November night. "The last thing he saw was us smiling at him, and he was smiling at us," says Nora Miller, who had watched her husband's lung cancer spread to tumors that riddled his body and eventually confined him to the hospital bed in their Portland, Ore., living room. Days earlier, she had driven to the pharmacy to fill her husband's prescription for 50 Seconal capsules. "He wanted to be able to go," she says, "when he was ready to go."
The dose of barbiturates was not only fatal--it was also legal, prescribed by Miller's doctor and dispensed by a pharmacist under Oregon's 1994 Death With Dignity Act, a unique and fiercely debated experiment in state-sanctioned, physician-assisted suicide. But the act, blocked by lower courts until 1997, has been under aggressive attack by the Bush administration and is now in legal limbo, its future in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. This week, with John G. Roberts sitting in the chief's chair, the court opens its new term with arguments in Gonzales v. Oregon.
Balance of power. The central legal question in the case is fairly straightforward: Can a federal official charged with enforcing drug laws disregard the will of Oregon voters and bar physicians from prescribing lethal doses of controlled substances? But the overheated cultural and political environment in which the arguments will play out--stoked by the battle earlier this year over Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman in a persistent vegetative state who died after her husband maintained his right to remove her feeding tube--has made this case about much more than just the federal Controlled Substances Act. However the court rules, it is bound to have a profound effect on the balance of power between the states and the federal government and set a new course in the debate over the legality and morality of ending human life with the blessing of the state and the aid of a physician.
Gonzales v. Oregon will be this term's "premier federalism case," says Jonathan Adler, a Case Western Reserve University School of Law associate professor. But it's not the only important case that will test the judicial philosophy of the high court and its changing cast of players. With Roberts sworn in last week after being confirmed by the Senate 78 to 22, President Bush is expected to name a replacement for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor any day now. O'Connor will serve until a new justice is confirmed, a process that will take at least several months. Whatever its makeup, the court faces a full plate of controversial issues. Abortion, the religious use of drugs, and military recruiting on campuses are all on the court's new docket, which also includes a dash of B-list celebrity--a dispute over former Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith's claim to part of her late and very rich husband's estate.
End of life. As for the Oregon case, its roots go back to 1993. Eli Stutsman was a young lawyer interested in the issues associated with the end of life and began meeting with a small group of like-minded reformers to plot strategy for getting a physician-assisted suicide proposal before voters. "This was an earlier time, when the right-to-die movement was riding the crest of a wave," Stutsman said. "The climate was different." Jack Kervorkian had already embarked on his macabre career assisting suicides in Michigan, a practice that landed him in prison, where he remains. In 1976, judges on the New Jersey Supreme Court had allowed the parents of Karen Ann Quinlan, who was in a persistent vegetative state, to take her off a respirator, although Quinlan, breathing on her own, lived until 1985. In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the family of accident victim Nancy Cruzan, also in a vegetative state, permission to remove her feeding tube. She died later that year, when a lower court allowed the tube to be removed after it reviewed new evidence about Cruzan's wishes.
The Oregon measure, the Death With Dignity Act, was placed on the ballot in 1994 and passed with 51 percent of the vote. The law allows adults of sound mind suffering from terminal illnesses to request from their doctor prescriptions for lethal doses of medications. The act requires a second oral request at least 15 days later and an additional written request prepared and signed in the presence of two witnesses. Doctors may prescribe but not administer the drugs.
Oregonians are an independent and sometimes cantankerous bunch, says Robert Kenneth of Portland-based Death With Dignity, which helped secure the act's passage. They believe, he says, that "if no one tells us how to live, no one should tell us how to die." But opponents, including antiabortion organizations, blocked the law in court until 1997, when the Ninth Circuit Court lifted a lower court's injunction. That same year, 60 percent of Oregon voters rejected an attempt by opponents to repeal the law, turning aside arguments that it crossed an ethical line and could cause ill and disabled people to be coerced into suicide.
"The real effect of this law is that it has triggered a huge awareness of end-of-life options, including palliative care, hospice, and living wills," says Oregon's Sen. Ron Wyden (news, bio, voting record), who does not embrace assisted suicide but supports the will of his constituents. "It's led to a marked increase in terminally ill people spending their last days at home." Last year, Oregon physicians wrote 60 prescriptions for lethal doses of medication, according to the state's Department of Human Services, and 37 terminally ill residents died of physician-assisted suicide. Its data show that through the end of 2004, 208 patients took lethal, legal doses of drugs, though critics question the number because the state relies on voluntary reporting.
In a friend-of-the-court brief filed in support of Oregon's case, Wyden and other members of the state's congressional delegation argue that the regulation of the practice of medicine has historically been the purview of the state. The administration, they argue, should back off. "I think it's astounding--all over this administration there are people saying they believe in state's rights," Wyden says. "I guess they believe in state's rights if they think the state is right."
The Bush administration began its battle in 2001 with the "Ashcroft Directive," then Attorney General John Ashcroft's finding that controlled substances under law must be prescribed and dispensed for "legitimate medical purpose" only. Assisting in suicide does not qualify, he said, and physicians who wrote such prescriptions would lose their federal registration to prescribe drugs that fall under the federal Controlled Substances Act. The directive was shot down in U.S. District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court by judges who said the Department of Justice lacked the authority to overturn the Oregon law.
But in the administration's appeal to the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Paul Clement will argue that general principles of federalism support the Justice Department's authority to maintain a uniform national interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act, and that in this case--as in the recently decided U.S. Supreme Court decision that invalidated California's endorsement of the medical use and possession of marijuana--it is not obligated to bend to the wishes of individual states. Oregon lawyers, however, will argue that in the California case, the court deferred to the will of Congress, which they contend has not provided a clear statement of intent on whether the Justice Department can supersede the state law.
Slippery slope? A recent Gallup Poll shows that 58 percent of Americans agree that physicians should be allowed to help patients with incurable illnesses and suffering acute pain to commit suicide. The administration asserts that because Oregon is the only state to have legalized physician-assisted suicide, there is a broad consensus against it. Among those supporting the administration's argument is Diane Coleman, founder of Not Dead Yet, an advocacy group for people with disabilities. The law, Coleman says, is a form of discrimination against people who are disabled--and she includes the terminally ill in that group--and she calls it a slippery slope that could lead to medical care being withheld from the acutely ill if it is deemed too expensive. "People already have the ability to commit suicide by one means or another," she says. "Making it part of our healthcare system, making it nice, neat, acceptable, and routine will so greatly endanger those who really need our support. When they legalize assisted suicide for everybody, we might change our mind."
Not Dead Yet, along with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, antiabortion groups, and lawyer-evangelist Jay Sekulow, who has played a key role in helping the administration appoint conservative jurists to the bench, has filed a friend of the court brief supporting the administration.
Despite the enormous social debate surrounding physician-assisted suicide, the justices no doubt will stick to the strict legal issue of whether the attorney general has the authority to essentially nullify the Death With Dignity Act or whether they should be wary of prohibiting a singular experiment approved overwhelmingly by voters.
Since her husband's death in 1999, Nora Miller, now 55, has moved to Tucson, Ariz. She still supports the Oregon law that allowed her husband to end his life, however, and is speaking out for the rights of the terminally ill and their families to set their own course for their final days. "So many people seem like they're alone in this experience, and that's why I'm talking about it," she says. "No one has the right to accuse me of being heartless by letting my husband choose how to die."
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Prince William, elder son of heir-to-the-throne Britain's Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, will join the army next year as an officer cadet at Sandhurst military academy, Buckingham Palace said on Friday.
William, 23, who graduated from university earlier this year and will be joining Britain's biggest bank HSBC in November for work experience, has long been thought to have his eye on the army -- following in the footsteps of his younger brother Prince Harry, 21.
William has now passed the Regular Commissions Board exams -- a series of tests and tasks to gauge the ability of candidates to meet the mental, physical and emotional demands facing army officers.
"I am absolutely delighted to have got over the first hurdle, but I am only too well aware, having spoken so much to Harry, that this is just the beginning," William said in a statement.
"I am really looking forward to taking my place alongside all the other cadets at Sandhurst," he added.
As second in line to the throne, William has the prospect of eventually becoming Commander in Chief of Britain's armed forces -- the role traditionally occupied by the monarch.
William said in a wide-ranging interview last November that he was considering joining the army after finishing his geography degree at St Andrews University in Scotland, but would not expect or accept special treatment if he did so.
"The last thing I want to be is mollycoddled or wrapped up in cotton wool," he said then. "If I was to join the army, I would want to go where my men went and I would want to do what they did."
Harry, who entered Sandhurst earlier this year and who will therefore be senior to William, has joked that he was looking forward to his elder brother having to salute him.
A first grade teacher collected well known proverbs.
He gave each kid in the class the first half of the proverb,
and asked them to come up with the rest.
Here is what the kids came up with:
People in glass houses shouldn't... run around naked.
Better to be safe than... punch a 5th grader.
Strike while the... bug is close.
It's always darkest before ...daylight savings time.
Never underestimate the power of ...termites.
You can lead a horse to water but ... how?
Don't bite the hand that ...looks dirty.
No news is ... impossible.
A miss is as good as a ... Mr.
You can't teach an old dog ... math.
If you lie down with dogs, you ... will stink in the morning.
Love all, trust ... me.
The pen is mightier than . . . the pigs.
An idle mind is . . . the best way to relax.
Where there is smoke, there is . . . pollution.
Happy is the bride who . . . gets all the presents.
A penny saved is . . . not much.
Two is company, three is . . . The Musketeers.
None are so blind as . . . Helen Keller.
Children should be seen and not . . . spanked or grounded.
If at first you don't succeed . . . get new batteries.
You get out of something what you . . . see pictured on the box.
When the blind lead the blind . . . get out of the way.
When choosing a steak, look for meat with good marbling (fat that runs throughout). This keeps the meat from shrinking and drying as it cooks.
2 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon pitted and coarsely chopped Niçoise olives
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped
1 prime-aged New York strip steak (about 1 pound), cut 1 1/2 inches thick
1. Combine the tomatoes and olives in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Dress with the vinegar, oil, and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Set aside.
2. Preheat the broiler.
3. Broil the steak 4 inches from the heat source until browned, about 4 minutes on the first side. Turn over and cook for 3 minutes on the other side for medium-rare meat. Cook 1 minute longer for medium.
4. Let the meat rest 5 minutes before carving. Slice into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange on a serving platter. Spoon the reserved tomato-olive salsa atop the steak and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of parsley. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 616 calories, 9g carbohydrates, 63g protein, 35g fat, 162mg cholesterol.
Nutritional Breakdown: New Wellness, Richmond, Va.
Makes 2 servings.
Simply Delicious® by Sheila Lukins
LONDON (Reuters) - A cunning rat released on a deserted island off New Zealand outsmarted scientists and evaded traps, baits and sniffer dogs before being captured four months later on a neighbouring island, researchers said on Wednesday.
Scientists from the University of Auckland in New Zealand released the Norway rat on the 9.5-hectare (23.5-acre) island of Motuhoropapa to find out why rats are so difficult to eradicate.
They got more than they bargained for.
"Our findings confirm that eliminating a single invading rat is disproportionately difficult," James Russell and his colleagues said in a report in the science journal Nature.
Despite all their efforts, including fitting the rat with a radio collar, they couldn't catch the crafty creature.
After 10 weeks on the island the rodent decided it had had enough. It swam 400 metres, the longest distance recorded for a rat across open sea, to another rat-free island where it was eventually captured in a trap baited with penguin meat several weeks later.
The Norway rat, which is also called the brown or sewer rat, is a husky rodent that weighs about 11 ounces (312 gram) and has a long tail.
Invading rats on remote islands off the coast of New Zealand have been a recurring problem. Norway rats have invaded the uninhabited Noises Islands at least six times between 1981 and 2002.
"Our results may help in the design of conservation strategies to keep islands free of invasive rodents," Russell and team added.
FRANKFORT, Ind. - A stay-at-home mom is on strike — giving up her daily chores until her family gives her more help around the house.
Regina Stevenson, 41, sat on a lawn chair Tuesday on the sidewalk outside her home in Frankfort, 20 miles southeast of Lafayette, with a sign saying "Mom on Strike."
Stevenson has four children, ranging in age from 7 to 19. The youngest three live at home with her and her husband, Dennis, along with their daughter-in-law and grandson.
Stevenson says the large household means doing a lot of laundry, cooking, cleaning and gardening.
"I do everything except bring home the paycheck," she said, crediting her husband for that contribution.
Stevenson said her children are good kids and that her husband keeps odd hours and can't always pitch in.
But she said she wants more help around the house and that she won't be cleaning, cooking or doing other chores until they clean and learn to appreciate her.
"(Stay-at-home moms) are not paid with money, and I think that you should show a little courtesy and respect for what we do," she said.
We saw this the morning on the news, I was shocked, and started to cry...OMG those poor babies...Ok they say the woman was mentally ill, BUT OMG to do some thing so horrific, this is making me cry writing this....How could a MOTHER do this...???To me My Children are sacred, I would fight someone to the death to protect them...Poor little babies ..I can't write anymore too upset, I have to go and wake Bup up now, I need to hug him.
CHUBBUCK, Idaho - What should be some of a dog's greatest joys in life have become Skeeter's worst nightmare. Food, a chance at chasing a squirrel, going for a walk, or even an opportunity to sniff another dog all have the same effect on the 11-pound toy poodle: he's out cold.
"He has no personality right now," Shari Henderson told the Idaho State Journal. "It is scary. I don't want him turning into a couch pillow."
The condition, narcolepsy, is extremely rare in dogs and has fascinated Skeeter's veterinarian, Walter Rowntree of Bannock Animal Medical Center in Pocatello. The condition is so rare, Rowntree said, that there are no statistics available about its prevalence in dogs.
"I called four or five colleagues to brag that I'd diagnosed a narcoleptic dog," said Rowntree, who first examined Skeeter on Oct. 11 because of an enlarged lymph node.
The condition is more common in humans but has been documented in some dogs, horses, ponies and a single Brahman bull. It is caused by a disconnect between the normal sleep-wake cycle, triggered by excitement that causes the afflicted to go from being awake straight into a deep sleep. In humans, strong emotion triggers attacks, and dogs have strong emotions about eating, Rowntree said.
Stanford University researchers who studied a narcoleptic group of Dobermans discovered the dogs all lacked a certain brain protein involved in wakefulness.
With Skeeter, initially, only the sight of food triggered attacks. His condition has progressively gotten worse, and Rowntree hopes the human medication he prescribed for Skeeter on Tuesday — Ritalin and an antidepressant — will help restore Skeeter's normal routine.
Rowntree also notified faculty at the veterinary school at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., who requested video footage of Skeeter.
Skeeter once spent his afternoons roaming the fence line in the Henderson's one-acre yard. When Shari's husband, Darrell, took him for two-mile walks, he pulled on the chain wanting to walk faster.
Now that Skeeter falls asleep in mid-trot, the Hendersons place him in a stroller for his customary walk.
Skeeter can no longer eat regular dog food, so the Hendersons hand-feed him cooked vegetables and lunch meat. To keep Skeeter awake during the meal, they hold up his back legs and massage his neck.
Aside from the danger of falling asleep in mid-activity, Rowntree said narcoleptic dogs can live as long as healthy dogs.
But Rowntree also noted that there's no joy for a dog who can't stay awake to experience the things he once loved to do.
Bo Bice and his wife, Caroline Fisher, welcomed son Aidan Bice into the world Saturday, Bice's RCA rep, Roger Widynowski, confirms. It's the first child for both.
None of the tyke's vital statistics--or even place of birth--were released, though Bice and his missus have reportedly been spending most of their time in Nashville.
The American Idol runner-up, 29, met Fisher, 24, two years ago in his prefame days as a guitar store clerk in Hoover, Alabama. The fledgling rocker became a regular at the restaurant where Fisher waited tables and the duo quickly began a relationship.
They tied the knot in their homestate on June 15.
The baby news tops off a banner year for the long-haired rocker, who last May nabbed second place to country fried crooner Carrie Underwood on the Fox reality hit.
Bice's good luck streak continued when his debut single, "Inside Your Heaven"/"Vehicle," opened at number one on the singles chart, knocking bona fide winner Underwood out of the top spot.
But it hasn't all been smooth sailing for the southern songster.
While performing onstage as part of the Idols Live! tour last August, Bice suffered a broken foot, but planned to soldier on with the remaining dates.
Unfortunately, the erstwhile performer received a second blow when he was sidelined for good later in the month after undergoing emergency surgery to remove a blockage in his intestines.
But even a little hospital stay didn't stop the big-hearted crooner from helping those in need.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Bice temporarily donated his Helena, Alabama home to a New Orleans family of four left homeless by the city's flooding.
"I wanted to do anything I could," Bice told People earlier this month.
The rocker relocated to Nashville with his wife to work on his upcoming record. He plans on leaving his Alabama home open to victims of the hurricane for at least six to eight months.
Bice's debut album will be released on RCA Records this fall.
- JPL scientists are going to great lengths to dub Mars landmarks. The industrious rovers are overtaxing established naming systems.
By Jia-Rui Chong, Times Staff Writer
Diana Blaney, a planetary scientist working on the Mars rover missions, stared at a black-and-white image of three rocks about the size of duffle bags in Gusev Crater.
Feeling a little brain-dead from a lack of sleep and an overdose of Diet Coke, she scraped her mind for a name.
Then it came to her. She had just read an e-mail from two friends, so she typed "Rita" into her computer after their black shepherd-Labrador mix.
Now she was on a roll.
"Pepper," she decided, naming a rock after another friend's grayish-white cat, and "Ladrone," after Rita's black-and-white adopted brother.
The alien landscape of Mars took a few more steps toward becoming more familiar.
Like European explorers who named the New World after their homes in the Old, the Mars scientists have filled the strange landscape of the Red Planet with a mishmash of modern life on Earth.
The twin rover missions have forced scientists to come up with more than 4,000 names to mark everything from the majestic Columbia Hills to a few pebbles in the sand.
The result is an extravagantly labeled map punctuated by the scientists' ever-changing preoccupations with history, holidays, monkeys, ice cream, cartoon characters, sushi, Mayan words, Scandinavian fish delicacies … the list goes on and on.
It hasn't been easy.
Sometimes a rock gets named twice. Sometimes the names run afoul of the official naming protocol. Sometimes a team member doesn't like the theme for an area.
And sometimes team members get desperate.
Blaney has reached that state of mental blankness several times in the nearly two years the robotic rovers, Opportunity and Spirit, have been wandering the surface of Mars.
As a specialist directing the infrared instrument on Spirit, the 43-year-old scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge figures she has come up with several hundred names, each dutifully recorded in the rovers' mission database.
Brad Smith, 74, an astronomer who worked on several Mariner missions to map the Red Planet and who leads a task group on official naming on Mars for the International Astronomical Union, said there was a purpose to the naming madness: Scientists need a common set of names.
It is too difficult to discuss "that volcano on the left" or "the one on the right," he said. "People like to name their pets instead of saying, 'Hey you' or 'the dog.' "
The names from the rover missions are considered unofficial titles, but for some of the larger landmarks, they have stuck.
The Red Planet itself has gone through several names.
The Egyptians called it Har Decher, the Red One. The Babylonians referred to it as Nergal, the Star of Death. The Romans called it Mars, after their god of war.
A single name sufficed for thousands of years, but that began to change in the 19th century, when better telescopes allowed scientists to see more detailed features of the planet.
Astronomers Giovanni Schiaparelli and Eugene Antoniadi produced the first detailed maps of Mars, with about 100 names for what they thought were seas, continents, polar ice caps and canals or channels crisscrossing the surface.
The names, mostly drawn from the Bible, myths and classical locations, were used until the 1960s, when NASA's Mariner missions swooped by.
The detail from Mariner's cameras forced the International Astronomical Union to come up with an official Martian naming system.
The union decided that large craters would be named after deceased scientists or writers who had contributed to the lore of Mars, such as Schiaparelli and author H.G. Wells. Small craters would be named after towns and villages with populations of fewer than 100,000 people. Large valleys would be named using the word for Mars in various languages; small valleys would be named after rivers. Nothing smaller than 330 feet would get an official name unless it had exceptional scientific interest.
The arrival of the Mars rovers has overloaded the system. With the ability to look close and far with incredible detail, the two robots have forced scientists to churn out names like a sweatshop factory.
Some of the names, like Columbia Hills — after the ill-fated space shuttle that was destroyed as it reentered Earth's atmosphere in 2003 — have deep meaning in the history of space exploration. Others sound like they were named by exhausted scientists whose children watch a lot of cartoons.
Schiaperelli and Antoniadi "would probably be appalled" by the hodgepodge, said Smith, who has been involved with the astronomical union's Mars naming group for more than three decades.
The first days of the rover missions went smoothly enough.
Spirit was the first to touch down and, after getting settled, it snapped a picture of a nearby 30-foot crater that the mission's principal investigator dubbed Sleepy Hollow, after the long hours the mission team had been working.
Two prominent rocks were named Adirondack, for the mountain range in New York state, and Sashimi, because of the rock's salmon color.
Spirit's twin, Opportunity, landed three weeks later on the other side of the planet in Meridiani Planum.
Since everyone at JPL was raiding a freezer of ice cream at the time, Opportunity's controllers took their cue from their stomachs. That's why there is an area of round and chunky pebbles named Cookies N Cream and a lighter patch of soil named Vanilla.
Earlier this year, a pockmarked meteorite in Opportunity's path was named SpongeBob SquarePants. Scientists had to name a spot on the rock and came up with SpongeBob's best friend, Patrick.
Just before Valentine's Day last year, Jeff Moersch, 38, a planetary geologist at the University of Tennessee, decided to name a rock after his wife, Sarah.
Moersch, who worked mostly on the Spirit team, picked the biggest rock — about the size of a large inflatable exercise ball. He named a spot on the rock Be My Valentine.
Moersch said he and his colleagues realized they shouldn't have used such personal names in a big project funded with hundreds of millions of dollars of public money. NASA psychologists had actually given them lists of approved names.
"People just lose the lists," Moersch said. "The honest truth of it is, we're working on such a fast-paced schedule…. We have to quickly come up with any name that's unique. It doesn't matter so much what it is."
Blaney realized after she had named rocks for her friends' pets (unintentionally misspelling the name of one), and several other scientists had also used personal names, that naming systems needed to be created.
One involves Mayan words.
Blaney and her colleagues searched online for names such as Cobá, a ruined city on the Yucatan peninsula, and Tikal, a temple site in Guatemala.
They named a low, wrinkly crop of rock Uchben, after the Mayan word for "ancient," and a spot on the rock Koolik, which means "cut down."
"We started running out of Mayan city names," she said. "The people who had to spell them were really getting annoyed."
So they moved on to 1970s pop music: ABBA, the Bee Gees and Engelbert Humperdinck.
With so many names being hurled at Mars, it was inevitable that problems would crop up.
Last year, when Spirit was tooling around the base of Husband Hill, Blaney and her colleagues were naming rocks after bones — Wishbone, Funnybone and LaBrea (after L.A.'s tar pits).
A few weeks later, Blaney's team left for a science conference in San Francisco. Another team of scientists took over and began naming the same rocks after "The Twelve Days of Christmas" — Turtle Dove, Peartree and Calling Birds.
Jim Rice, 46, an astrogeologist who worked on Opportunity, wanted to get beyond all the frivolous names.
He had waited his whole life to see Mars up close and expected scientists in the decades to come to scrutinize their work.
"I just think naming things, big features like craters or hills or mountains, we should put some thought into that, not make it the flavor of peanut butter or something," Rice said. "We are explorers. The rovers are our robotic emissaries."
Rice imagined the thrill of discovery that ancient explorers must have felt.
"We are exploring literally a new world," he said. "We're 21st century explorers, the modern-day equivalent of Lewis and Clark."
Rice decided that a more appropriate strategy was to use the names of ships of exploration.
Eagle, the name of Neil Armstrong's lunar module, was a no-brainer. It became the name of the crater Opportunity landed in.
Then there was Fram, the ship that carried the first team of men to make it to the South Pole, and Vostok, a warship that navigated Antarctica and also the spaceship of Yuri Gagarin, the first person in space.
Since the rover teams were the ones scouring the Martian landscape and drilling holes, Rice believed it was their prerogative to spin a web of working names. "The IAU meets once every three years," he said. "Our mission was unfolding in real time and we needed to have names as it was going on."
The astronomical union doesn't much concern itself with these matters. Except in one case. The biggest controversy has been over the naming of seven Martian hills after the astronauts who died in the Columbia shuttle accident.
It was a clear violation of international rules that say the names of hills are to be based on major geographical areas nearby. In addition, people must be dead at least three years before their names can be used.
"We have to really stick by those rules with the international agreement on it," Smith said. "If you start breaking the rules, everything starts falling apart."
NASA and the astronomical union compromised, deciding to allow NASA to use the name in the popular press, but not entering it into the IAU database.
Rice doesn't mind if the monikers remain unofficial. He believes these names will stick:
"It doesn't matter if the IAU approves it or not. Unless there is an atomic war and the records are erased, when someone lands on Mars in 20 to 30 years and they go to Eagle Crater, they'll still call it Eagle Crater."