June 20th, 2006

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our elected officials -

Watch this and feel even sadder about who some people choose to vote for.  It is amazing!!


This guy is dumb!

I'm up early as it seemed the only way to fit everything in today.  I am going up to Sonoma to meet Jan.  She has appointments made with bakeries and a florist and we are going to choose flowers and a cake for the wedding.  I am delighted to be included in the choosing.  Of course, my stomach is still a bit upset from eating too much anniversary cake, but I'm sure it will settle when more floats in.  : )

Yesterday was a delight, and I'm floating on featherbeds of essence and insight right now.  Things are spinning in the loveliest and most potent of ways.  I feel like a honeybee buzzing in a hive of activity as pollen turns to honey and everything is sweet.

Yesterday I felt myself as a lion, sleeping, resting, arousing, running, and a gazelle feeding, noticing, and running delightfully away from the lion.  It was a fun game and no one was eaten, though, at times, that exchange of energy is required to keep us here.   Happy gallivanting today!!   May all your choosing and chasing be fun, and may you ingest just enough to continue your thrive in the tribe.  
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All forms of health -

This was sent to me, so I don't know who to credit as to the writing of it, but the message is so important, I place it here.

Ocoee beagle wins live-saving award

Kevin_weaver2 Belle, an Ocoee beagle that dialed 9-1-1 when her owner suffered a life-threatening diabetic seizure, is the first animal to receive the VITA (latin for life) Wireless Samaritan Award. Belle and owner Kevin Weaver (left with Belle) will be honored at a dinner in Washington on June 19.  Belle was 2 years old when Weaver got her for companionship. But later he paid $8,000 to have Belle trained to alert owners of oncoming seizures and to respond. By simply licking and sniffing the tip of Weaver's nose several times a day, Belle can detect through taste and smell his blood sugar levels. When his levels drop below normal, Belle warns Weaver by whining and pawing at him. The investment paid off Feb. 7 when Weaver awoke feeling ill. Belle whined and pawed at him but within minutes he slipped into a diabetic seizure. Quick-thinking Belle retrieved Weaver's wireless phone and with her teeth pressed the 9 key - which was preprogrammed to dial 9-1-1. Paramedics arrived within minutes. "I am convinced that if Belle wasn't with me that morning, I wouldn't be alive today," Weaver said. "Belle is more than just a life-saver, she's my best friend."  The VITA  is presented by the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association and Wireless Foundation.

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Seed bank -

Here is another article sent to me.  Again, I do not know the source, but it seems important to know.

Huge seed bank breaks ground
100 nations' post-doomsday plan

The high-security vault, almost half the length of a football field, will be carved into a mountain on a remote island above the Arctic Circle. If the looming fences, motion detectors and steel air-lock doors are not disincentive enough for anyone hoping to breach the facility's concrete interior, the polar bears roaming outside should help.

The more than 100 nations that have collectively endorsed the vault's construction say it will be the most secure facility of its kind in the world. Given the stakes, they agree, nothing less would do.

Its precious contents? Seeds -- millions and millions of them -- from virtually every variety of food on the planet.

Crop seeds are the source of human sustenance, the product of 10,000 years of selective breeding dating from the dawn of agriculture. The "doomsday vault," as some have come to call it, is to be the ultimate backup in the event of a global catastrophe -- the go-to place after an asteroid hit or nuclear or biowarfare holocaust so that, difficult as those times would be, humankind would not have to start again from scratch.

Once just a dream, attractive only in comparison to the nightmare that would precede its use -- this planetary larder is about to become a reality. Today, on the barren Norwegian outpost of Svalbard, the prime ministers of five nations and a small throng of other officials are to lay the cornerstone for what will be, in effect, the Fort Knox of seeds, the Svalbard International Seed Vault.

"We will have the biological foundation for all of agriculture, which is really saying something," said Cary Fowler, executive secretary of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, the international organization coordinating the vault's creation with the Norwegian government. "It is a stunning achievement, if you think about it, and it would be about as safe as human beings can make it."

Scientists estimate there are 2 million varieties of plants used for food and forage today. That includes an astonishing 100,000 varieties of rice, the major staple of the human diet, and more than 1,000 varieties of banana, a nutritious fruit of global importance.

Most of today's seed banks are designed to be working banks -- their contents available to breeders and researchers. That means they are inherently accessible and less than totally secure.

"Svalbard is meant to be the bank of last resort," said Pat Mooney, executive director of ETC Group, a Canadian civil society organization focused on food security. "It's the backup for the whole world."

The Norwegian government is paying for the facility's construction -- an estimated $3 million. The trust has established an endowment that so far has $50 million of the $260 million that will be needed to sustain operations without depleting its principal. Contributions have come from about a dozen countries as well as foundations, seed companies and others.
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The dawn -

The day turns from dark to light.  The sun touches the top of the hill, the trees.   I feel this wand of warmth open inside.  The longest day, the solstice is tomorrow, and I feel that peeling the way to more light in me.   I am grateful to be finished with treatment for this glorious time of year.  Joy to you all!!   Awake!!   The day is a stream. 
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I continue to be amazed -

There is an odd part after the third paragraph I can't get rid of.  It's rather annoying, perhaps like those he is talking about. 


Laugh Liberally

Dan Neil
June 18, 2006

It is often said that liberals don't have a sense of humor. What is this, a joke? I don't get it. What's alarming is that so many conservatives think "A Prairie Home Companion" isn't funny. Powdermilk Biscuits? Ads for the Ketchup Advisory Board? Come on!

I've been tirelessly scouring message boards and blogs for nearly an hour, and it's clear that for many conservatives, "APHC"—Garrison Keillor's 32-year-old musical variety show heard on public radio—is pretty much unbearable.

"Garrison Keillor" rants one poster, "perfectly evokes a sort of left-leaning snob-appeal that is also reflected in his demographic: people who live in rich, quaint, walkable streetcar suburbs and sneer at the folks who live in the more affordable newer towns a little far out . . . . Or people who contribute occasional op/eds to their local alternative newsweekly, writing them on a 1937 Remington typewriter. Who drive Volkswagen Passats out to their ocean/lakeside cottage retreat, where they go to unwind, drink Riesling and listen to scratchy mono recordings of Caruso or Callas."

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You know, for irresponsible stereotyping, all this seems oddly specific. You reckon this guy is talking about his brother-in-law?

With the arrival of Robert Altman's new film "A Prairie Home Companion," Keillor and "APHC" have the opportunity to be hated by a much wider audience. The film, which stars, among others, left-wing bomb-thrower Lindsay Lohan, is a backstage fable about a local musical variety show, like Keillor's, being shut down by an evil corporate radio conglomerate based in Texas that is, for legal reasons, not called Clear Channel.

As a fan of "APHC" since 1983, I'm delighted to think that millions of new fans might discover the show, which, with its small-town homilies, family-friendly humor and rootsy music, plays like a huge buffered analgesic for America's throbbing pop culture headache. And yet, I'm a little leery of the sudden prominence. It's long been safely hidden away from right-wingers where they would never find it—public radio. But now I'm afraid the sweet old show is about to be keelhauled by partisan politics. I dread the night Keillor appears on "Hannity & Colmes."

HANNITY: Mr. Keillor, you're a rich man. Why should conservative Americans' tax dollars go to support your liberal program on National Public Radio, which openly mocks our commander in chief . . . .

KEILLOR: You know, I had an uncle back in Lake Wobegon . . . .

HANNITY: Die, liberal, die!!

Because the movie is set behind the scenes of the show, I thought it might be useful to go backstage during the June 2 taping at the Hollywood Bowl to see the real thing. From the wings I could see the audience settling into their high-priced box seats and, sure enough, they were a bunch of cheese-eating hybrid drivers, all right. Beards and Birkenstocks, trim waists and natural fibers. Every one of them looked like they belonged on the Whole Foods board of directors.

Keillor could not look more different: the Hitler haircut, the catfish mouth, the not-quite-plumb schoolboy glasses. His face looks like it was assembled from used tea bags. Also, I think a man his age (63) and in his position should definitely own pants that reach his ankles.

My point is, if right-wingers abhor trendiness, well, Keillor's their man.

When the show began, I noticed an odd thing. None of the humor—none of it—came at the expense of "the Other," which is to say, Republicans, Christian conservatives, Bill O'Reilly. It was, actually, directed at the foibles of Hollywood liberals, with skits lampooning mood stabilizers and eating disorders (try "Xanax Salad Sprinkles"), permissive parents and age discrimination in the film business: "Barb, it's not too late. There are plenty of interesting roles for older women with difficult hair."

And then we all sang "America the Beautiful"—three verses, no less—"The Red River Valley" and "That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine," a song made popular by that well-known subversive Gene Autry.

When the movie "Fargo" came out, Rush Limbaugh accused the filmmakers of mocking the boy-howdy Minnesotans. He couldn't have been more wrong (actually, he could, and later on proved it). "Fargo" honored the Minnesotans for their wit, their courage under fire, their laconic grace. I think something of the same misunderstanding stalks "APHC."

It's odd that an entertainment so wholesome and traditional, so mild, could antagonize anyone. I suppose to people used to being divided, everything looks divisive. The brilliance of "APHC" is that it's nostalgic for a golden era of tolerance that never was.

It is possible for us to laugh at ourselves, together, without fear. I'm as hard-core an atheist as you're likely to find this side of Finland, and yet I love it when Keillor sings old-time gospel songs, safe in the knowledge the Jesus Brigade isn't coming after me to make sure I don't marry a man. We could ask for no better than that we all live in Lake Wobegon.
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Evening of a Beautiful Day!

I journeyed to the town of Sonoma, and was amazed at how close it is from here.  I enjoyed coffee and a muffin in a beautiful outdoor garden after checking out the Depot Hotel where Jeff and Jan will be married.  I LOVE it.  It's perfect.  We met, and visited one bakery, and tasted, and then, ate lunch at a lovely place I had seen on line.  I think we have our rehearsal dinner spot.  We then went to another bakery for more tasting, and it was the place.  He had made five scrumptious cakes for us to taste, and, then, kept giving us cookies.  He is cheerful and a wonderful baker, and an incredible human being  We are thrilled.  Then, we looked at more rehearsal dinner places, which only cemented our lunch spot more firmly as the one.  Then, it was flower time.  We spent two hours with the flower woman, and are thrilled with everything we chose today.  I am happy tired as I tuck into the blessings of the day and night.  Weddings really are wonderful, I must say, and the town of Sonoma is a gem.  Everyone smiles at everyone, and the locals all seem to know each other, and somehow I felt like a local today.  I certainly feel like I know the town.  We walked all over it many times.  It is a lovely place, and I am soon to bed.   Night Night to All!!