Sunday, April 30, 2006

Peace takes courage

Ava Lowrey is a 15 year old artist and peace activist. She put an animation on the web, WWJD, which made her the target of some extraordinary hate mail. It is a powerful animation, which you can see here:

She has a new animation,
which answers the hate mail -- this comes with a warning: adult language and poor spelling ahead, because she quotes from those attacks. This young woman is a true patriot. Check it out.

Diety of the Day

This is a wonderful site. Tell the world! Support the Gods! Every time you mention Godchecker you earn Godly bonus points. And it's travel related: Win a luxury holiday in Heaven with the deity of your choice!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Scooter Libby

Does anyone else remember when NPR's Libby Lewis interviewed Libby Lewis about the leaks? Classic. Should have been a bit on SCTV back in the day.

Technical success

Thank you Alicia. I appreciate the help.

more techno-challenged stuff

Argh. I can't figure out how to post two logos on my sidebar. Big Brass Alliance and After Downing Street. It's simple, but every time I do it, the image doesn't display properly. I need Geek Squad, I think.

My daughter and granddaughter just called me. My daughter is great, and she put the baby on the phone, who chatters away in some language all her own. Sweet voice, I miss her to pieces. She has so much to say, none of it English, and she thinks everyone around her is sort of thick because they don't speak her language. It's adorable.

Off to work for an hour to do a honeymoon -- then tonight, a friend is singing in a huge Vivaldi spring ensemble.

Saw "Paradise Now" on DVD last night. Two young Palestinians living in the West Bank, recruited to be suicide bombers. The choice for one is clear -- for the other young man, not so much. But it was stunning, because ultimately the one who was so certain that there was no choice realizes that acts of terrorism are not the solution -- that the only solution for Israelis and Palestinians must come at the negotiating table, without killings. It was a powerful film, gorgeous.

Friday, April 28, 2006

How Bush & Company got away with it

This is a quote from Nazi leader Herman Goering: "Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to do the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

I believe that this administration allowed the attacks of September 11, 2001, to happen because it would be all they needed to put their war agenda in place. September 11, 2001, put America to sleep, made most of us unwilling to take a stand in oposition to an immoral war fueled only by our addiction to oil, greed, and insanity.

We have to wake up, we have to wake up, we have to wake up. More and more of us are finding our voice. Let's honor those killed on September 11, and since, by standing up and saying NO to Bush & Company.

Morning thoughts

Joined Grandmothers for Peace. It's strange only because I feel too young to be a grandmother. But I have this gorgeous 1 year old granddaughter, and I want her to grow up in a world of peace. I want her to be alert, awake, and aware of what she can do to contribute to a greater good. She is the love of my life, and I want the world for her.

On the other hand, I joined Big Brass Alliance and can't quite figure out how to put the logo onto my sidebar, so I feel like an old fogey. I know I'm missing something simple, but can't quite figure out what I'm doing incorrectly. Sigh. So I emailed for technical support. When in doubt, ask for help.

Found out yesterday that I'm not going to go to Australia in June for ATE -- I'm okay with this, as I went last year. And I'm going in September. Bhutan in November. Maybe The Baltics in July, probably not. My passport is at the ready though, and I can pack in a hurry. Nothing like a good adventure to make me happy!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

World's tallest ice sculpture at Ski Dubai By Aftab H. Kola

History was made recently when Dubai was inducted into the Guinness World Records for the world's tallest ice sculpture. Standing at 40 feet, the sculpture is a replica of the Burj Al Alam, the world’s tallest commercial tower by Dubai-based developer Fortune Group.

In conjunction with the launch of their latest and greatest development, the Fortune Group was set to break more than one world record. The Burj Al Alam, Arabic for The World Tower measures 482 metres and upon its completion in 2009, will be one of the world’s tallest commercial towers, beating current number one, Taiwan’s Taipei 101. To celebrate their crowning achievement, the Fortune Group along with Whisper Events and MAC Advertising decided to fly in France’s Michel Amann, two-time world Ice Carving champion to create the Burj Al Alam in ice.

“The Burj Al Alam is the culmination of a dream and everyone at Fortune Group is standing proud today as we break one existing world record, the tallest commercial tower and create a new record in the Guinness World Records with the world’s tallest ice sculpture,” proudly states Ahmed Khoory, Chairman, Fortune Group, adding “When this idea was just an idea and so far from becoming a reality, I never imagined the Fortune Group would be the name behind such an amazing and historical accomplishment. We are honored and overjoyed to be a part of cementing Dubai’s global recognition.”

The biggest obstacle lay in the logistics behind such a creation. With current temperatures ushering in the advent of an early Dubai summer, this was no simple feat and could not have been realized without the support of Ski Dubai and the Mall of the Emirates. To create the groundbreaking 25 ton edifice, a specialized team of 10 carvers clocked a total of 1440 man-hours and used 45 tons of ice to create an iconic and unforgettable ice sculpture that has forever immortalized Fortune Group’s Burj Al Alam and the emirate of Dubai.

Currently showcased in Ski Dubai at the Mall of the Emirates, the Burj Al Alam ice sculpture is available for public viewing all of this week and gives Dubai's residents and visitors the exclusive opportunity to see what the rest of the world will only read about.


See what a few oil wells will do for ya?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Questions I've been asked when traveling

Questions have all been since Bush's first term in office: "how do you live with this administration?" from a friend who is from New Zealand. A stranger in South Africa asked me, just prior to the November 2004 election, "Can't you people do something?" (Apparently not.) We are viewed as children by a lot of cultures -- fueled by greed, and focused on self. Just read that this Rodriguez woman who stars in "Lost" would rather do jail time than community service for her guilty DUI verdict. Sometimes I feel like I can't breathe.

Why Gas Prices Won't Go Down, from today's LA Times

With an administration that lives by greed, we are becoming a third world nation.

Why Gas Prices Won't Go Down
By Elizabeth Douglass, Times Staff WriterApril 26, 2006
The steps proposed by President Bush on Tuesday to rein in soaring gasoline prices would do little to cut fuel costs for outraged motorists before the summer driving season, industry experts said.That's because the factors driving today's record gasoline prices are varied and complex — and beyond the reach of presidential dictate. They include a shortage of refining capacity, rampant speculation in oil markets, oil company choices about fuel additives, unrelenting gasoline demand and high industry profits.

Even so, U.S. commodities traders seemed to give the president credit for the effort.Prices on oil and gasoline markets fell after Bush halted government oil purchases for the strategic petroleum reserve and urged the Environmental Protection Agency to consider relaxing clean-fuel rules if gasoline supply problems emerge. The moves were aimed at keeping more oil on the open market and making it easier for refiners to deliver fuel where it is most needed."It took oil prices down, it took oil stocks down and it calmed the market," said Fadel Gheit, an oil industry analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. in New York. But the proposals, he added, "aren't really going to do anything. It's good TV and gives the appearance of being in touch."That appearance, already important in an election year, will be more so this week, as oil companies including giant Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. announce first-quarter profits that are expected to top previous records that generated anger at the pump and in Congress."They are going to be record, blockbuster, huge, given the fact of where these commodity prices are going," said John Kilduff, a senior vice president at commodities firm Fimat USA Inc. in New York.Exxon Mobil took in about $1 billion a day in revenue in the last six months of 2005, which translated into profit of about $10 billion for each quarter.The president's actions will do little to damp the oil prices that are behind the profits.Industry experts point out, for example, that Bush's pledge to stop taking oil off the market to help fill the oil reserve is a move that would ease prices if there were a short-term supply crunch. Right now, however, the United States has plenty of oil."Crude oil supplies are at an almost eight-year high," Kilduff said. "The price is obviously not reflecting that. It's reflecting the worries about the future."Oil passed the $75-a-barrel mark last week, largely because of concerns that geopolitical tensions over Iran's nuclear program could interrupt shipments from that country, the world's No. 2 exporter. Traders operating in a continuous state of what they call "petronoia" are worried as well about political turmoil affecting key suppliers such as Nigeria, Chad and Venezuela.On Tuesday, oil for June delivery fell 45 cents to $72.88 a barrel in New York. After dipping as low as $2.07 a gallon after Bush's remarks, gasoline rebounded to finish the day down 4.48 cents to $2.129 on wholesale markets.The high cost of oil, often passed quickly from the futures markets to daily crude purchases, is responsible for about half the price at the pump, experts say. But other factors also are pushing up current retail prices, which in California on Monday hit a record average of $3.068 for a gallon of self-serve regular, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.Adjusted for inflation, the price of gasoline is just below its all-time high set in the early 1980s.U.S. gasoline stockpiles have been drained in recent months because of lower output at domestic refineries — some still suffering from hurricane damage along the Gulf Coast and others undergoing longer-than-normal spring maintenance.Gasoline traders also fretted that there could be supply glitches as some refiners switched to adding ethanol to summertime fuel instead of MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether — an additive known to contaminate groundwater. A government agency recently warned that such disruptions could increase price volatility and cause brief gasoline shortages.Prompted by those worries, Bush ordered the EPA to be ready to grant clean-fuel waivers to counter any ill effects of the switch-over. That move also was viewed Tuesday as providing only limited relief, because many refiners are unlikely to change course by seeking a waiver just as the ethanol transition is nearing completion.The nation's refiners "are pretty much committed regardless," said John Felmy, chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group in Washington. "The switch pretty much is going to be done by May 1, and that's Monday."Analysts also said U.S. gasoline supplies should soon swell because more refineries have returned to full fuel production and tanker loads of imports are on the way. Barring new troubles, they said, retail prices should start falling on their own before Memorial Day.Looking ahead, though, experts see a continuing struggle to keep up with steadily growing demand for oil as well as for gasoline, diesel and other fuels.Rising fuel demand in the U.S., boosted largely by economic growth, has for years outpaced production from domestic refineries — making the market more susceptible to the availability and price of imported supplies. The same is true for oil.The situation is made worse by the meteoric growth in oil and fuel consumption in the hot economies of India and China. Soaring demand there is straining the ever-precarious worldwide oil balance as well as creating stiff competition for imports.Such deeply rooted problems are not easily or quickly solved, said Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, an industry research firm in Massachusetts."Every president who has problems with energy learns that there is not a lot you can do in the short term," said Yergin, author of "The Prize," a Pulitzer Prize-winning book on the oil industry. "The system is overstressed … and the truth is most of the [solutions] are medium-term or long-term."What counts in the short term is demand, he said, noting that prices retreated when consumption dropped amid the price surge that followed last year's hurricanes. For immediate effects, Yergin said, "it's really not what the administration does — what really matters is what consumers do."

Shrub, take two

My one year old granddaughter doesn't have trouble putting these shapes into her Tupperware ball. Is it 2008 yet?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Travel woes

So it has come to this: guy calls the office today to find out if it is cheaper to FLY to his destination than to drive. He said gas will cost him around $400 for the round trip if he drives; but the flight turned out to be $650 for the round trip. We told him "Get a good road map and some munchies for the road."

I'm still new to blogging

It's a new form of keeping a journal. I'm very new to this. Been reading a bunch of blogs, and I started this one ages ago but couldn't figure out how to get back to it. But here I am.

two blogs I like: politics, music, more my favorite guide in Australia

Floods, Cyclones, Hurricanes, Tsunamis

My Aboriginal elder friend says that Rainbow is mad at us, so he slaps his tail and causes floods. Reasons to be mad: complete disregard for the earth, global warming -- man-made disaster. Have you seen the glacial melt? Kilimanjaro was once covered with snow at the top -- almost completely gone. Glaciers in Alaska will be gone within 50 years. If you're looking for beachfront property, maybe you should move to Nevada...