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  • Originally posted by E40FDNYL35 View Post
    May 26, 2009 -- French officials have announced a Tour de France for prisoners. It will feature 196 inmates -- followed closely by 124 guards -- pedaling 1,400 miles. The race will start in Lille on June 4 and end in Paris.
    Here is more to this story:

    Bicycle chain gain for French convicts
    By SCOTT SAYARE, Associated Press Writer

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 (06-10) 19:54 PDT PARIS, France (AP)

    From behind prison bars, the view never changes. From behind the handlebars of racing bikes, dozens of French inmates are seeing the vineyards of Provence, the sun-drenched Mediterranean coast and the majestic spires of the Alps in their own special Tour de France.

    The convicts are cycling in the inaugural "Tour de France Penitentiaire" — an event whose goal is not just to physically challenge the prisoners, organizers say, but also to instill self-respect and pride that will help prepare their return to normal life.

    There are differences, of course, from the real Tour de France: The prisoners' two-week, 1,370-mile event, which began June 4, is not as grueling as the 2,100-mile, three-week Tour. Any "breakaways" or "escapes" from the pack are strictly forbidden. And the inmates' guards are riding along with the convicts in the peloton, or pack, with a police escort among the support vehicles.

    It's not a competition, prison officials say, but rather an exercise in commitment, solidarity and grit.

    "It's a beautiful gift they're giving me," said Olivier, an inmate at a prison in Montmedy, near Luxembourg, who is scheduled for release in two months. He gave only his first name in accordance with French judicial regulations.

    "It brings a close to my situation perfectly, spot-on," he added. "It's the icing on the cake."

    Officials chose the nearly 200 participating inmates from across France, prisoners with terms as short as two years and as long as 25. They are men and women, young and old, petty crooks and hardened criminals — including rapists and killers.

    Most of the inmates have been training since January. The event's 15 stages average about 90 miles, with some stretching to more than 135 miles.

    Starts and finishes were selected for their proximity to penitentiaries, where the tour picks up or drops off inmates and prison personnel as it circles France. A core group of six prisoners and a dozen guards is riding the entire course, which finishes in Paris, like the real Tour — minus the champagne and fanfare.

    Wardens, guards, judges and prisoners ride shoulder-to-shoulder, indistinguishable from one another in their matching white jerseys, helmets and cycling shorts.

    The prison peloton has rolled through villages and hamlets to applause. Cheering crowds have massed each stage's finish line. It helps, perhaps, that the riders are unidentifiable as members of the penal system, except for the word "Penitentiaire" across the backs of their jerseys.

    As prisons have become more crowded in recent years, officials have increasingly turned their attention to the ways of returning inmates to society.

    "It's an absolute innovation to take the risk — but which is a calculated risk — of sending out so many prisoners at the same time and for so long, and to expose them in such a willful and even deliberate way to the eyes of French society," said Francois Grosvalet, director of athletic programs for French prisons.

    Andrew Coyle, a professor of prison studies at King's College, London, who spent 25 years as an overseer in British penitentiaries, acknowledges that some people won't understand a program that allows inmates on even a supervised outing such as this.

    "Invariably, when any prison administration does these things, people will say, 'Hang on, why is this happening? Aren't they in there to be punished?'" Coyle said. "But if we're serious about helping prisoners to re-enter and to reintegrate, then we need to find opportunities to give them positive experiences."

    French victims' groups agree.

    "At a certain moment, you have to consider these people, these individuals, these prisoners as people who might one day once again take up the path of society, of community life," said Sabrina Bellucci, director of the French National Institute for Victims' Aid and Mediation.

    Prison officials decided on cycling "because in the history of French sporting events, the Tour de France is something that finds itself very near the summit," Grosvalet said, speaking by phone from a support vehicle behind the riders.

    British cyclist David Millar, who has won several stages of the Tour de France, said the sport was well-suited to help the inmates.

    "I can't think of a better way to strip down a person to their basic human nature," Millar said.

    He knows something about rehabilitation. He returned to racing in 2006 after serving a two-year doping suspension.

    "I have had my own personal struggles," he said, "and it was cycling that gave me the peace and tranquility I needed to rediscover myself, then the passion and drive to better myself."

    Cycling's simple elegance has long enchanted the French, who lionize their champion riders.

    "Actually, it looks a bit like the Tour de France that we know," said Thierry Huguenin, sponsorship director for Francaise des Jeux, a French lottery group that helped finance the event.

    The company also sponsors a professional cycling team, a perennial competitor in the better-known Tour; in the past months, the pro racers and coaches visited prisoners to offer advice.

    Huguenin himself has been pedaling in the pack.

    "The guards and the prisoners, who are usually archrivals, are teammates here," he said, speaking by phone as he refilled his water bottles during a sunny, 116-mile stage from Valenciennes to Montmedy, in the north.

    The Tour de France Penitentiaire comes at a difficult moment for the country's penal system.

    French prisons, long viewed as brutal institutions, have seen a rash of suicides by both inmates and employees recently. Correctional workers blame living and work conditions in the aging, increasingly overpopulated facilities — many dating from before World War I — and the Justice Ministry says the system is more than 10,000 detainees over capacity.

    But the riders have temporarily put such concerns out of mind, focusing instead on the whir and click of spinning chains and shifting gears, on the open road unfurling before them.

    "We're not here to remind them what they've done," Huguenin said. "We're here to talk about the future."

    AP Sports writer Chris Jenkins in Milwaukee contributed to this story.

    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

    Comment


    • The "REAL" version of the movie Final Destination?

      Woman Who Missed Doomed Air France Flight Dies in Car Crash

      After narrow escape, fate catches up with Italian traveler

      By XANA O'NEILL

      Updated 1:48 PM EDT, Thu, Jun 11, 2009

      AP
      Johanna Ganthaler, from Italy, was on vacation in Brazil with her husband missed the doomed jetliner when they arrived late at the airport in Rio de Janerio.

      A woman who dodged death when she and her husband narrowly missed Air France Flight 447 before it plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 aboard, was killed in a car accident just over a week later.

      Johanna Ganthaler a retiree from the Bolzano-Bozen province, was on vacation in Brazil with her husband Kurt when the pair miraculously missed the doomed flight to Paris. But their luck ran out on an Austrian road earlier this week when their car swerved into the path of an oncoming truck outside the town of Kufstein, the Times (U.K.) reported.

      Kurt Ganthaler was badly hurt in the accident.

      Flight 447 disappeared from radar shortly after leaving Rio de Janeiro and is believed to have broken apart shortly after it left the airport in Brazil on May 31 with 228 people on board.

      Some three dozen bodies have been fished out of the ocean where the Airbus jet plunged into the water. A nuclear-powered French submarine has begun scouring the seafloor for any sign of the black box, which could hold the key to determining what felled the plane.

      The Ganthalers flew out of the country on a flight the day after the jet went missing.
      If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

      "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

      "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

      Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

      impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

      IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

      Comment


      • #1 Streakers - Well, that would have been something to see, that's for sure! Or maybe not, as I heard that they were described by the witnesses as "nothing special". How deflating to your ego would that be, to get plastered all over the news and have it all summed up as *yawn*.

        #2 tour DUH prison - Thanks for posting that update. I have wondered if I was a bit harsh in my initial reaction. Still undecided, as a part of me definitely leans back to the "do they deserve the privilege of such a life experience?" when there are probably thousands of law-abiding people around the world who would love such an opportunity, but do not have the money, time or freedom to train and participate in such a race.

        However, I do understand better now why they (both the organizers and participants) are doing it and what they expect to get out of it. I just wonder if there aren't other more appropriate programs that could accomplish the same feelings of self-worth and skills to help them integrate successfully back into society for the prisoners?

        #3 Car crash - I guess I've been watching too many movies, CSIs etc. because the statement "swerved into" makes me suspicious as to was it really an accident or could it have been deliberate? Perhaps he/she/they couldn't handle the survivor's guilt? No offense is meant by this observation, in case anyone decides that I should be raked over the coals. And yes, I am perfectly aware that we only have this one little news article to go by and that we all know the media doesn't always get the details right.

        Maybe it was just fate. I'm just sharing what my first split-second feeling was.

        Terrible tragedy either way.

        #4 - In answer to your question in the earthquake thread that I haven't had time to reply to ... I only wish

        Who's the dummy now?: Driver caught with mannequin on Burnaby HOV lane


        Vancouver SunJune 11, 2009 1:02 PM
        Comments (4)
        StoryPhotos ( 1 )

        Transit police officers Const. Valente and Const. Shipley wit the seized mannequin.
        Photograph by: .., Transit police handout

        METRO VANCOUVER -- Two transit police officers found a female mannequin dressed in a grey hoody in the passenger seat of a car they pulled over Wednesday in the Highway 1 HOV lane in Burnaby.

        The officers, who were driving back to their office on the highway about 3 p.m., made the startling discovery after getting a feeling something wasn't right about an eastbound Mercedes-Benz.

        When they pulled the car over at the Sprott exit, they found the mannequin and a 28-year-old male driver from Abbotsford who couldn't offer an excuse for driving in the high-occupancy-vehicle lane.

        "His female mannequin was seized, with her hoody, but may be returned pending any court proceedings," transit police said in a press release Thursday.

        The driver was issued a $109 fine.

        “That is a first for me," said Const. Bruce Shipley, a three-year member of the police service. “Everyone is in a hurry these days, but the HOV Lane is there for a reason; you get caught misusing it and you could be fined."

        © Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

        Your Comments

        John
        June 11, 2009 - 1:19 PMFlag this as Inappropriate
        She's kind of hot...

        Marc
        June 11, 2009 - 1:17 PMFlag this as Inappropriate
        Slow news day I guess?

        Eric
        June 11, 2009 - 1:05 PMFlag this as Inappropriate
        why is this news? Is there going to be an indepth report on cyclist not wearing helmets in Kelowna next? The TC needs to focus on ACTUAL news worthy stories.

        LOL!
        June 11, 2009 - 1:04 PMFlag this as Inappropriate
        I have to say that is hilarious!!!
        Attached Files
        September 11th - Never Forget

        I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

        Sheri
        IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
        Honorary Flatlander

        RAY WAS HERE FIRST

        Comment


        • A Good News Story:

          'Miracle baby' reaches one Montreal tot survives heart scare

          Canwest News ServiceJune 13, 2009

          There was a phalanx of doctors, a flood of cameras, and an auditorium full of hospital staff.

          But the star of the show at the Montreal Children's Hospital was a tiny boy, not yet one year old, whose survival was termed "a small miracle."

          Doctors and his parents beamed with pride and love as they described Panagiotis Baltzis as the youngest -- he turns one next week -- and smallest baby in Canada to have made a full recovery after being hooked up to a heart-lung machine and a device called a Berlin Heart. There are only about 10 such cases known in the world, doctors said.

          Yesterday, he appeared alert and healthy. Last December, he was found to be very ill when his parents brought him to the hospital emergency ward at five months, because he was not gaining weight.

          Medical staff soon noticed his heart was beating too quickly and abnormally -- at 230 beats per minutes -- and his parents were told he might have to be hooked up to a heart-lung machine or be given a heart transplant.

          The baby was hooked up to a complex heart-and-lung machine called ECMO, but had to be removed when complications ensued.

          The miracle was that, deprived of external support, the heart began to function on its own.

          © Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
          If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

          "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

          "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

          Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

          impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

          IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

          Comment


          • Lucky puppy survives being flushed down toilet: report


            Agence France-Presse
            June 15, 2009
            StoryPhotos ( 1 )Video ( 1 )


            LONDON - A puppy in Britain had a lucky escape after a four-year-old boy accidentally flushed it down the toilet when he was trying to wash it, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported Monday.


            The week-old cocker spaniel's young owner, Daniel Blair, thought the puppy needed a wash after it got muddy playing in the garden, so he put it in the toilet and flushed it.


            But his plan went disastrously wrong when the animal was swept away and became trapped in a waste pipe for nearly four hours.


            Firefighters and animal welfare officers could not reach it, so Daniel's mother eventually called a plumber, who found the dog lying upside down in a pipe about 20 metres away from their house in Northolt, west London.


            Plumber Will Craig said he used a long rod to push the puppy to the nearest manhole cover, where it could be fished out to safety.


            "I pushed him really slowly and watched the poor thing wriggling around," he said. "Eventually I pushed him far enough for the firemen to grab. Suddenly everyone started cheering. We couldn't believe he was still alive."


            The dog — which has been named Dyno after the plumbing firm which rescued it — is now safe and well and back with the family.


            Daniel has apologized, blaming his twin brother for getting the dog dirty and saying: "I had to give him a wash. I'm so, so sorry. I won't do it again."

            © Copyright (c) Canwest News Service
            A handout image obtained on June 15, 2009, in London shows a puppy called Dyno stuck in a drain after being flushed down the toilet. The puppy had a lucky escape after a four-year-old boy accidentally flushed it down the toilet when he was trying to wash it, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported Monday. The week-old cocker spaniel's young owner, Daniel Blair, thought the puppy needed a wash after it got muddy playing in the garden, so he put it in the toilet and flushed it.
            Photograph by: Handout, AFP/Getty Images
            Attached Files
            September 11th - Never Forget

            I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

            Sheri
            IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
            Honorary Flatlander

            RAY WAS HERE FIRST

            Comment


            • SAP! SAP! SAP! HEHEHEEEE Good luck to ya Boyo! May there be much happiness for you and Da Missus.

              Seawall 'chalk-ablock' with sweet romance

              By Matthew Pearson, Times ColonistJune 16, 2009 2:07 AM

              The writing was on the sidewalk for Kim St. George.

              The Victoria woman was walking along the seawall with her boyfriend Sunday night when she came upon a chalk-written message.

              "Will you marry me?," it asked in yellow and blue block letters.

              Her boyfriend, Trevor Busch, then dropped to his knee, ring in hand.

              St. George, of course, accepted his proposal. The couple are now setting a date for the wedding.

              Busch's plan began earlier in the day with breakfast in bed and an afternoon picnic at Thetis Lake. St. George had just returned home from a six-week trip to Europe, so while she slept off her jet lag in the late afternoon, he slipped out to Laurel Point and chose a piece of gently sloping asphalt as his canvas.

              After penning the proposal, Busch grabbed some nearby traffic cones and used them to mark the area.

              "I was so worried someone was going to deface it," he said yesterday.

              The couple dined at the Blue Crab Bar and Grill. Afterward, they took the fateful stroll along the seawall. Another couple stopped to take the newly engaged couple's picture.

              Busch and St. George have been dating for 10 months. Although they both lived in Red Deer, Alta., a few years ago, they met on Vancouver Island.

              [email protected]

              © Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
              If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

              "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

              "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

              Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

              impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

              IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

              Comment


              • Mushroom?

                Mushroom a sexy find - with a racy name
                David Perlman, Chronicle Science Editor

                Tuesday, June 16, 2009

                A bizarre African mushroom that triggers snarky laughter and double-entendre jokes, has brought a fresh measure of dubious fame to an eminent Bay Area botanist and his colleague working on a tiny cluster of African islands far older than Darwin's fabled Galápagos.

                The fungus is a new plant species called Phallus dreweseii, and aside from provoking snide giggles, it bespeaks the extraordinary biodiversity of those remote islands that are now threatened by the world's appetite for oil.

                The botanist is Dennis A. Desjardin, a world-roaming mycologist at San Francisco State University. His colleague - for whom Desjardin named the mushroom - is Robert Drewes, a herpetologist best known for the huge variety of frogs he has discovered throughout Africa.

                Drewes has led three major expeditions to the island nation of São Tómé and Príncipe, located in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of West Africa. Because so little is known of the plant and animal life on the islands, Drewes has encouraged specialists in every field of biology to explore their mist-shrouded mountains, grasslands and forests.

                Desjardin was there two years ago, and along with Bryan Perry, his San Francisco State student, has recently published a report on his latest discovery in Mycologia, the leading journal of fungus science.

                The new plant species, he said in an interview, is "a tiny little thing, barely 2 1/2 inches long and thinner than your little finger.

                "I found it growing out of an old rotting log in a forest on a mountaintop, and after I spotted the first one, I saw several more right in the same spot," he said.

                Discovering a new species of any living plant or animal, is considered a feather in the cap of the finders, but this one is just another day on the job for Desjardin. He already has at least 100 other new mushroom species to his credit from forays he has made in Java, Indonesia; Thailand, Malaysia, Micronesia and Brazil.

                Mushrooms are, he said, "the great recyclers." Their role in decomposing dead and dying plants and trees and returning their nutrient sugars and minerals to the Earth so new growth can flourish make them crucial to the health of fields and forests.

                Drewes described the island ecology of São Tómé and Príncipe as remarkably diverse. Hundreds, if not thousands, of plants and animals have evolved for millions of years there, much the way many have done in the Galápagos archipelago. But while the volcanic islands where Darwin famously visited in 1835 are at most 5 million years old, Príncipe is 31 million years old and São Tómé, once a huge volcano, is 13 million years old - isolated from the African mainland all that time, according to Drewes.

                "Oddly enough," Drewes said, "many of the plants and animals there are closely related - not to West Africa - but to the continent's eastern side. The big mystery is: how could all that life have moved across an entire continent, and how long did it take?"

                In more recent history, São Tómé and Príncipe were major centers of the slave trade, with Portuguese traders carrying slaves westward to their colonies in Brazil. Later the islands were noted for their cocoa plantations, but that industry has largely died away.

                And now comes oil: Major American and international companies are drilling into known offshore formations in the Gulf of Guinea between the two islands and Nigeria, and in São Tómé the people are keyed up for a coming boom, Drewes said.

                "That's why I've been encouraging scientists in every field I can think of - in marine biology, herpetology, ichthyology, entomology, arachnidology, mammology and, of course, mycology to discover what's there," he said.

                "The population of the entire nation is only about 160,000, and we need to let the local people know exactly what they have in their land," he added. "Then they can make informed decisions about what they want to do about that rich biodiversity when the oil boom really hits."

                As for his name attached to the new mushroom, Phallus dreweseii, Drewes said: "It doesn't bother me a bit. It's really a big honor, and kind of a kick."

                E-mail David Perlman at [email protected].

                This article appeared on page B - 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle
                Attached Files
                If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

                "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

                "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

                Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

                impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

                IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

                Comment


                • This would be something I never really thought about before...

                  Saanich crashes with young cyclists show costs

                  By Ann Hui, Times Colonist June 18, 2009 6:06 AM

                  Drivers beware: Colliding with young cyclists could end up costing you, even if you're not at fault.

                  On Tuesday in unrelated incidents, two young cyclists were hit by vehicles in Saanich. In the first, a 14-year-old was hit by a car on Highway 17 near Elk Lake as he attempted to cross two lanes of traffic. In the second, a 10-year-old boy slammed into the side of a moving truck on Canterbury Road while trying to cross the road.

                  Both cyclists were taken to hospital. The 10-year-old had emergency surgery and is in critical care, while the 14-year-old is recovering from minor injuries.

                  In both cases, Saanich police said the cyclist seemed to be at fault, and the 14-year-old was given a $109 ticket for careless cycling -- what a driver who committed the same violation would be fined. (Given his age, the 10-year-old likely won't get a ticket.)

                  Cylists on roads and highways have the same rights and duties as drivers of vehicles and are governed under the Motor Vehicle Act, said Saanich police spokesman Sgt. John Price.

                  Yet because cyclists are uninsured by ICBC and because both cyclists are minors, it's likely the accident will end up costing the drivers.

                  ICBC spokesman Adam Grossman said drivers who are hit by cyclists and only have basic insurance -- and not collision coverage -- end up paying for damages to their vehicles out of their own pocket. Even drivers who are fully covered could see the claim affecting their insurance premiums, possibly increasing the amount they pay for auto insurance, Grossman said.

                  Drivers hit by cyclists can sue for damages, but not when the cyclists are minors.

                  "You simply cannot sue someone who's a minor," said Barri Marlatt, a personal injury lawyer at Hutchison Oss-Cech Marlatt, who is not involved with these cases.

                  The Parental Responsibility Act, which allows people who have experienced damage to property caused by a child to sue the parents of that child, cannot be used in these cases either, because the collisions were not intentional, Marlatt said.

                  [email protected]

                  © Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
                  If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

                  "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

                  "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

                  Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

                  impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

                  IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

                  Comment


                  • Saanich police find drunk, naked woman in car


                    Times Colonist
                    June 18, 2009 11:13 AM

                    Saanich police officers got an eyeful when they investigated an impaired driving incident.

                    Just before midnight on Wednesday, officers patrolling the Gorge Road area were flagged two times by different motorists who report suspicious behavior in a vehicle traveling westbound on Gorge Road West.

                    Officers found the vehicle stopped at a traffic light on Gorge Road where it meets Admirals Road with a 31-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman passed out inside. The engine was running and man was buckled into his seat belt with his head tilted back. The woman’s clothing consisted of a single white sock on her left foot.

                    Officers woke the man who, it was learned, had passed out at the red light and continued to sleep through the signal changes, said Sgt. John Price, Saanich police spokesman.

                    When roused, both were extremely disoriented and appeared extremely intoxicated. The woman, a resident of Victoria who is known to police, was taken to hospital by ambulance for suspected GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate - more commonly known as the date-rape drug) overdose.

                    The driver, a Sooke resident, was arrested for impaired operation of a motor vehicle. When he exited the vehicle, officers noticed drug paraphernalia in plain view and a search yielded four types of drugs that officers believe to be marijuana, heroin, crystal meth and GHB. The drugs have been sent to a lab for analysis.

                    The driver was held in cells until sober, when he was released on a promise to appear in court on July 30. In addition to the impaired charge, police are recommending drug charges be filed against him.

                    © Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
                    September 11th - Never Forget

                    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

                    Sheri
                    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
                    Honorary Flatlander

                    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

                    Comment


                    • Fur and Feathers Flock Together

                      Chicken takes kitten under its wing

                      By JONATHAN LLOYD

                      Updated 6:53 AM EDT, Wed, Jun 17, 2009

                      Fur and Feathers Flock Together

                      For Tofu the kitten, nothing beats hitting the sack alongside Big-Wig the chicken. Tofu and Big-Wig, a Chinese Silkie, formed an animal odd couple after the sick kitten was rescued from the crawl space of a Los Angeles home.

                      Construction workers were about to close the space, evicting baseball-sized Tofu and her brother about two weeks ago.

                      "When I picked her up, she was in really bad condition," said Gisela Reoya, who was able to grab four-week-old Tofu.

                      The kitten was malnourished, covered in fleas and suffering from eye infections. Reoya already has four Boxers, so she had to pass on Tofu, but Anne Hars and her Silkie chickens provided the perfect match.

                      "They're sort of the lapdogs of the chicken world," Hars said. "They're known for the mothering skills. So, we decided to see if Big-Wig might keep the kitten warm. The kitten immediately crawled under the chicken and slept. The chicken made room for her, constantly tending the kitten to make sure she was comfortable."

                      They tried the same thing after finding Tofu's brother under a car, but he was too sick to survive.

                      Tofu -- so named because tofu is used as a chicken substitute -- thrived under Big-Wig's care. She spent most of the time in her basket with the chicken until a well-meaning passerby Sunday noticed her outside the Hars' gate.

                      "I'm sure she thought she was a stray kitten who needed help, so she took her," Hars said.

                      Hars and her husband printed posters with Tofu's picture, but also broadcast their plea for Tofu's return by filling in two thought bubbles painted on the street-facing exterior of the residence.

                      Somebody got the message. On Monday afternoon, Hars found a note on her door -- "Don't worry. The kitten is OK and comfortable."

                      It turned out Tofu was with a bunch of party animals -- a couple on the way to a birthday bash scooped up the kitten when they saw her in the street. They took her to a party for a neighbor, who saw the Hars' "Missing Kitten" mural the next day.

                      Tofu was back under Big-Wig's wing Monday night.


                      PHOTOCREDIT:

                      Anne Hars
                      A mass of fur and feathers in a basket.

                      Happiness is a warm bed -- particularly if that bed can maintain a constant temperature of 110 degrees, has silky soft feathers and keeps the clucking down at night.

                      http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/we...nder-Wing.html
                      If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

                      "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

                      "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

                      Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

                      impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

                      IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

                      Comment


                      • Now You Know

                        Life in the fast lane. Sperm documentary shows becoming a dad isn't exactly easy, and nature can be quite cruel

                        By TANYA ENBERG

                        Last Updated: 18th June 2009, 3:35am

                        Ninety-nine per cent of sperm are dead or dying within 30 minutes of entering the vagina. It's almost as though everything is working against it.

                        Even basic biology refuses to just lie back and take one for the team.

                        If fact, for men hoping to become a dad, nature may be the cruelest force of all.

                        A compelling new documentary entitled The Great Sperm Race (airing on Father's Day at 8 p.m. on Discovery Channel) examines the harrowing journey of sperm over a 48-hour period, from ejaculation to their attempt to reach one egg.

                        Timing may be everything, but with each step, sperm face off against attackers, road blocks and a confusing myriad of unclear mazes.

                        There are no second or third-place prizes in this brutal and crushing competition. When it comes to conception, it's every sperm for itself.

                        The death toll is high, with just one out of millions surviving the long, arduous battle.

                        Indeed, becoming a dad isn't exactly easy.

                        Upon entering a female's body, sperm doesn't exactly receive a warm welcome. A woman's immune system -- responding to the foreign invasion -- starts mercilessly killing off the little swimmers before they can get any further.

                        Sounds rather grim, doesn't it?

                        So fascinating are these wiggly-tailed cells, you may find yourself cheering for them much in the same way rowdy revellers holler at a bull fight.

                        But, not all sperm are created equal.

                        Some are misshaped with heads that are either too big or too small. Some even have two heads. Others may just be poor swimmers and simply not up to the task of reaching a woman's reproductive organs.

                        "That's why there are millions of sperm cells," explains fertility and sperm expert, Dr. Joanna Ellington, who also appears in the documentary.

                        "The system is built to make sure the best survive -- the one who swims the straightest and gets to the egg first makes it."

                        To stand even the remotest chance of survival, a sperm cell has to be athletic and tough.

                        And while cutting-edge DNA and good endurance helps, sometimes winning the race just boils down to dumb luck. A less worthy opponent can strike gold simply from being in the right place at the right time.

                        "You can have sperm that has problems with it that can still get to the egg," says Ellington.

                        "In that case, the sperm can swim fine and even look fine ... but it's partially timing."

                        - 99% - of sperm are dead or dying within 30 minutes of entering the vagina

                        ---

                        Boost fertility with 'gourmet sex'

                        When it comes to fertility issues, animal instinct can pack a powerful baby-making punch with something sperm expert Dr. Joanna Ellington calls "gourmet sex."

                        For couples trying to conceive, the idea is simply this: Great quality sex tends to provide the best sperm he has to offer.

                        "It's really important because the more excited and stimulated the man is, the better the sperm he'll produce is," explains Ellington.

                        "When you have a quickie, the ejaculate quantity is very small. When he's very excited, he's drawing from sperm farther back in the system. You actually can improve fertility and good sperm by as much as 50% with excitement."

                        Exactly how a woman's arousal level might contribute to increasing fertility is a tad murky, although Ellington believes it's equally important, if only for pleasure itself.

                        "This is another one of those unanswered questions," she says.

                        "Obviously, sadly, thousands of women have gotten pregnant without orgasm."

                        However, the muscular contractions of woman's body during orgasm can help move sperm up the pipes, she notes.

                        For guys, whether through sex or masturbation, regular "release" (about every two or three days) helps keep sperm fresh and healthy.

                        "For a man, the more he ejaculates, the higher his testosterone," says Ellington

                        "It creates healthier sperm. It's kind of counterintuitive to the idea of 'I want him to save it up,'" she says.

                        "It doesn't matter if he does it with you or in the shower by himself, it's going to improve his sperm."

                        BITS AND BITES

                        - A sperm cell contains 23 chromosomes of DNA, with either an X for a girl or Y for a boy, which will determine a baby's sex.

                        - The quality of human sperm has dropped in the past 30 years, much of which is believed to be linked to environmental chemicals.

                        - The temperature of a man's testicles are three degrees lower than the rest of his body.

                        Early experts believed that sperm contained a fully developed human in miniature form.

                        - A man produces about 100 million sperm daily.

                        - Drugs, such as antidepressants, can impact healthy sperm production, as can smoking, alcohol consumption and poor diet.

                        - In the average healthy man, less than 20% of his sperm is of ideal quality in terms of form and function.

                        I thought the photo was really kuul
                        Attached Files
                        If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

                        "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

                        "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

                        Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

                        impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

                        IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

                        Comment


                        • Man fined for 'writing off' the kids

                          Canwest News Service June 23, 2009

                          A North Vancouver contractor has been fined more than $20,000 after admitting to claiming his young children as paid "subcontractors" to evade taxes.

                          Donald Stewart Dewar was sentenced last week after pleading guilty in provincial court to one count of tax evasion.

                          Dewar, who operated Pacific Framing, was busted by Revenue Canada after an investigation revealed he had been writing off payments supposedly made to three of his kids as subcontractors. One of the children was two and another was four years old at the time.

                          Revenue Canada (now the Canada Revenue Agency) spokesman Bradley Alvarez said the attempt to "write off the children" understandably attracted the attention of investigators.

                          Dewar claimed $128,200 in false expenses supposedly paid to three of his kids over an eight-year period from 2000-07, when they were between two and nine years old.

                          Alvarez added Dewar never actually paid his children anything.

                          Revenue Canada originally disallowed Dewar's expense claims for his "subcontractors" following a random audit in June 2007. But Dewar appealed that decision twice. Tax collectors referred the issue to investigators after checking social insurance numbers of his subcontractors and discovering their young ages. In November, investigators seized documents from Dewar's home.

                          In addition to the fine, Dewar must pay the $27,000 in taxes owing, plus penalties. As part of his sentence, he was put on probation for one year and ordered to do 25 hours of community service with Habitat for Humanity.

                          © Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
                          If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

                          "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

                          "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

                          Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

                          impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

                          IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

                          Comment


                          • More Victoria nudists "on the run". Dang it Sheri, I think you live in the wrong area! LOL

                            Guerrilla nudists in the mist

                            Times Colonist June 23, 2009

                            Maybe it's the warm weather. In any case, Saanich police were called to another incident of public nudity over the weekend.

                            Just days after an inebriated woman was discovered in a car wearing only a white sock, a resident in the 900-block of Scotia Street called police to report that naked men were running through the sprinklers in Rutledge Park about 1 a.m. Saturday.

                            When police arrived, the men had vanished into the mist. It's unclear how many there were.

                            Price said public nudity is a Criminal Code violation, regardless of whether the nudity occurs on public or private property if there is no lawful reason to be undressed in public view.

                            © Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
                            If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

                            "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

                            "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

                            Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

                            impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

                            IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

                            Comment


                            • Just wondering if it's really that muggy out West right now....

                              Originally posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
                              More Victoria nudists "on the run". Dang it Sheri, I think you live in the wrong area! LOL

                              Guerrilla nudists in the mist

                              Times Colonist June 23, 2009

                              Maybe it's the warm weather. In any case, Saanich police were called to another incident of public nudity over the weekend.

                              Just days after an inebriated woman was discovered in a car wearing only a white sock, a resident in the 900-block of Scotia Street called police to report that naked men were running through the sprinklers in Rutledge Park about 1 a.m. Saturday.

                              When police arrived, the men had vanished into the mist. It's unclear how many there were.

                              Price said public nudity is a Criminal Code violation, regardless of whether the nudity occurs on public or private property if there is no lawful reason to be undressed in public view.

                              © Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

                              Comment


                              • Nah. It usually doen't get much more than a BALLmy 25dC in summer, normally with very little real humidity.
                                If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

                                "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

                                "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

                                Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

                                impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

                                IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

                                Comment

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