Mac Tonight

I have to begin by referring to the post title and by asking if anyone remembers the "Mac tonight" MacDonald's commercials from like 20 years ago. It featured a lounge singer whose head was shaped like a crescent moon...anyone? Please comment if you recall that.

Anyway, back to the actual reason for this post...

I am hereby announcing that the next post you read
from this very site may very well have been composed on a MacBook. This astronomical increase in technology will be evident in the way that my blog...um...well.....

OK fine! It will have exactly zero effect on my blog from the perspective of you, my reader(s), but according to apple.com my computer experience will be greatly improved, particularly in the "fun" category. As if that wasn't exciting enough news, my new computer will come equipped with Mac OS X Leopard, the latest operating system for the Macs which will be released in a mere 2.5 hours. I can barely contain my excitement. Sarcasm aside, I'm actually pretty chuffed (a Brit-slang term I just learned recently) about this new computer thing. We decided to get one for our time in Ukraine and the Macs had more cool things that we wanted and less junk things that we didn't. In the next few weeks I'll likely be updating you on how this new platform will affect communications during 2008. I am hoping to do audio/video podcasts in addition to the blog that will help keep everyone in the loop.

Liverpool's Weekend Test

On Wednesday, Liverpool apparently decided that they no longer felt like returning to the Champions League final, or the knock-out stage for that matter. My Reds lost to the Turkish side Besiktas to drop to the bottom of their group and put themselves squarely behind the proverbial eight ball in the qualifying group stage of the CL. To add insult to injury (from which star striker and leading goal scorer Fernando Torres has yet to recover), it was the second time in as many games that defender Sami Hyypia scored on OUR goal.
Despite those sour grapes, I am past this disappointment and looking towards our vitally important upcoming match with top-of-the-table Arsenal on Sunday. Thankfully we get them at Anfield which means this is the Scientologist's (aka Gooners, aka Gunners, aka Arsenal) first serious foray outside of London this season. Ironically, the Reds have had much better results away from Liverpool than at their home grounds making the game's location a disadvantage for both sides! The Gooners have been playing amazing football all season and though neither team have lost, Liverpool's 4 draws to Arsenal's 1 create the gap in the standings between the 2 teams.
The aforementioned Torres is listed as likely, but I doubt that he'll start. The is a strong chance that long-absent midfielder Xabi Alonso will also return to the line-up but his fitness after 5 weeks off is questionable. Both winger Jermaine Pennant and defender Daniel Agger are out for this first major test of the season.


E is for Elephant Lynching?!?

I really think that this time I am bringing you some unique history and I believe the picture backs up my claim.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I got the idea for an elephant post from the Discovery Channel. I subsequently stumbled across the story which has 3 "E" related subjects.
It is the narrative of Mighty Mary, a large elephant (E #1) performing with Sparks World Famous Shows circus in Tennessee in 1913. On the night of September 12th, she apparently tossed her assistant trainer, Red Eldridge (E #2) against a drink stand with her trunk and proceeded to stomp his head repeatedly, killing him. In her defense, most accounts agree that Eldridge, a hotel worker who had been a trainer for exactly one day, provoked the reaction in the five-ton animal by pestering her while she ate. This strange event became an immediate media sensation and agenda journalism took over. Rumors flew about "Murderous Mary's" past violent behavior and nearby communities that had been eagerly awaiting the circus' arrival, instantly began lining up to boycott the event. The furor quickly became so intense that she was shot two dozen times by a local blacksmith, which apparently did very little to the killer beast.
The purveyor of the circus, Charlie Sparks, bravely stuck by his animal for nearly 12 hours before succumbing to the community pressure and deciding that in order to save his traveling extravaganza, he must publicly execute poor Mary. She was taken by train to Edwin, TN (E #3) where she was to be hanged by a rail car crane on the 13th. The first attempt merely served to show that their noose chain wasn't strong enough and to break Mary's hip. The second try proved to be successful and she was buried next to the train tracks.
As far as I or Wikipedia know, this is the only known instance of Jim Crowe-style elephant lynching and a black mark on the history of the great state of Tennessee.

Fact of the Day, E: Part 1 - From Dentist to Elephant

You may wonder how I come up with alphabetically ordered Fact of the Day topics that are so riveting - or maybe you don't. Either way, I'll walk you through a typical post. Since I already know what letter then next topic must pertain to, I just keep my eyes open for objects which begin with that letter. Once I find a promising object, I usually do an internet search for interesting events that include this object. Here's the for instance...today I was sitting the dentist chair, above which is a TV tuned to the Discovery channel. There was an interesting looking (there was no sound) nature show with included elephants. During one scene, three elephants are traveling down a sand dune and I noticed that due to the constraints of leg length, in order to go down such a steep hill they had to walk with their front legs and drag their hind legs. It was fascinating to me both because it looked very funny and because I'd never heard that this was an issue (and I know a lot of useless junk!). This interesting fact reminded me that I am on E for Fact of the Day thus, upon my arrival at work I did a quick elephant search. The next post is the result of this query.


Quote of the Day

I just caught this on Powerline. In my opinion, this is by far the best quote of this political cycle thus far. This is in response to Hillary Clinton's bid to create a museum at the site of 1969's famous/infamous Woodstock Music Festival.

"In case you missed it, a few days ago Senator Clinton tried to spend one million dollars on the Woodstock concert museum. Now, my friends, I wasn't there. I'm sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event. I was tied up at the time."
-John McCain, US Senator, presidential candidate and POW in Vietnam

I don't agree with McCain on some policy issues but let's not forget that the man has given more for this country than all the other presidential candidates combined. Here's the video:


Fact of the Day - D is for Derby

A derby (pronounced DARBY in British English) is the shorthand for a local sporting rivalry. The opinions on the origins of this usage are extremely varied but it seems to have originated well before 1900 in reference to crosstown competitions in the UK. My personal favorite theory is that it comes from the Royal Shrovetide Football matches played in Derbyshire (or in the city of Derby itself) which were all-in matches involving as many as 1000 players per game with goals on either side of town. Deaths were standard in most meetings.

Two of the most heralded Derbies in Football were played Saturday. They were:

Liverpool v. Everton (Merseyside Derby) - The rivalry goes back to the 1890s when Everton FC, in a dispute with the owners of their home stadium - Anfield - relocated less than a mile away to the new Goodison Park. Out of spite, Anfield's owners started Liverpool FC which proceeded to became one of the world's most legendary footballing powerhouses, eclipsing the stadium's former tenants (ok, so I'm a little biased). To add to this rivalry, Liverpool's notorious fans played a major role in English football clubs being banned from European competition - coincidentally during the same period in which Everton was at it's zenith, depriving the "Blues" a coveted Euro Championship. So how did this most recent Merseyside Derby turn out? Liverpool 2 Everton 1 on 2 Dirk Kuyt penalty goals.

Is there a rivalry that can surpass that which occurs in Liverpool twice per year in passion, intensity and animosity? Oh yeah. The world's most contentious Derby is:

Celtic v. Rangers (Old Firm Derby) - Played as many as four times every year since Celtic's inaugural game in 1888 (nearly 380 meetings), this match-up pits the two most storied sides in Scottish football. Both from Glasgow, these clubs each represent opposing social, ethnic, political and religious communities. Celtic's traditional support is Catholic, largely Irish and Republican (in reference to the Northern Ireland issue) while Rangers has ties in the Protestant, Scottish and Loyalist communities. In the not so distant past, the sectarian nature of the games led to frequent violence and deaths were not uncommon. Still, even with reduced "extracurricular" activities, the Old Firm displays a raw tribalism that is fairly rare in the western world. Also played this weekend, the result was a surprisingly one-side blowout - Rangers 3 Celtic 0.


Who can resist "NEW"?

I always mock my wife for being unable to resist any product that has NEW on the package. Skittles has a NEW flavor? Let's get it! NEW Basil Raisin Bran? Great! NEW Snickers with pebbles and rabbit pellets? Sold!
Well, it appears that I am not immune to this marketing technique either. For those of you who don't have Blogger accounts/Blogs, its page layout feature gives you the opportunity to "add a page element." Once selected, a pop-up page gives you a variety of "elements" which you can add to your blog. These vary from text to html code to link lists to advertising. Occasionally Blogger adds element types just to make things more interesting. It was with that in mind that checked in with the formatting feature today. Sure enough, there at the top of the options was:
New! Poll!
Add an opinion poll to your blog!
Ok, so I'm fully aware that I have few enough readers to just ask both of you what your opinions are on any given topic without adding an entirely new section to my blog page and yet.......
Please look to the right and notice (though I'm sure you already have) that I am also unable to resist the draw of those 3 magical letters! I succumbed to the NEWness of the poll so make it worth my while and let me know which of my handful of subjects you prefer. If you need to review (though I am nearly positive that you 2 have memorized every one of my 101 posts) or have trouble deciding, you can select a topic from the list below the poll and peruse past ruminations.


You can't make this stuff up

I know I have been basically apolitical for the past few months but this story has brought me back to the subject. Most of you know that I am firm supporter of completing the mission in Iraq so this story that I caught on Powerline really frustrates me. Virtually all of the conservative media (largely talk radio and online) persist in the contention that the mainstream media has a liberal bias particularly when it comes to a war under a Republican president - and are routinely castigated for this view. This story has to affirm that when it comes to President Bush and Iraq, the is just no such thing as good news.

The article from Yahoo News is titled "As Violence falls in Iraq, cemetery workers feel the pinch." Here is a priceless excerpt:

At what's believed to be the world's largest cemetery, where Shiite Muslims aspire to be buried and millions already have been, business isn't good.

A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that's cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.

No matter how well General Patreus and our armed forces do in Iraq, we must always be victimizing someone. Seriously folks, you cannot make this stuff up...


Fact of the Day - C: The Colosseum

As an interesting note, this post of the "C - Fact of the Day" is also my 100th post on this blog - C being the Roman numeral for 100. Pretty strange coincidence, huh?In honor of this, today's post will have a Roman flavor.

I present the Colosseum in Rome.

The edifice, completed in 80AD, was originally known as Amphitheatrum Flavium or Flavian Amphitheater after the family name of the Emperors who commissioned its construction. The term Colosseum derives from the Colossal statue for Nero that stood next to the arena. It hosted gladiator battles as well as less violent cultural events uninterrupted for almost 500 years. In its prime it was capable of seating roughly 50,000 spectators. The stadium floor, though sand covering wooden planks, was actually the roof of an elaborate, two-tiered underground maze from which people, animals and decorations could be quickly inserted into the arena for its assorted performances.


Hunting Update

If you haven't had a chance to read my previous post in which I explain where I've been for the past 3 weeks, start there and come back to this one.

Last week I was given the opportunity to hunt pronghorn out east with Pack String Ranch Outfitters (see link in the sidebar at right) which is owned by my boss' husband. Marshall and I (http://partlows.blogspot.com/) were asked to run boarder patrol in exchange for the chance to shoot does during our free-time. Both of us were successful in this endeavour for the most part.

Marshall got his doe (on the far left of the photo) on Sunday morning with a solid shot just inside of 200 yards. She was a good sized animal and he was pleased to have gotten her down. Mine was a little more complex. I didn't get a chance until Monday morning and I missed my first shot from well inside 100 yards. Truly an embarrassment. After an unsuccessful stalk and a good deal more walking we stumbled upon an animal no more than 80 yards away. Before I could get a shot, it ran down into a draw and stopped on the other side. Marshall ranged it at around 370 yards from where I was standing but I felt like it was a doable shot. I was right and dropped her on the spot with one shot. Unfortunately when we got to her we discovered "she" was in fact a small "he". After much debate we recalled that the regulations allow for this common mistake for bucks with horns/antlers under 5 inches and breathed a sigh of relief that we wouldn't have to explain ourselves to a DOW officer. As a consolation, my pathetically small animal had been shot previously through his left front leg and would have fallen to the myriad coyotes within the next few weeks anyway.

In all, everyone that came with a tag left with an animal and a good time was had by all. Thanks to Patrick and the rest of the regular staff at Pack String.

I'm back

I've finally returned to my blogging after nearly 3 weeks of being either too busy or away from my computer. For the last 2 weeks of September I was involved in my organization's (Global Action) major donor event immediately followed by our international staff/partner conference. It was amazing to see our friends from all over the world and hear what God is doing in their home countries. I had the privilege of speaking with incredible leaders from (in no specific order): India, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, UK, Ivory Coast, Bulgaria, Sweden, Honduras, El Salvador, Burma, Malaysia, Egypt, Pakistan, Kenya, Serbia, Australia, Brazil, Burundi and South Africa (sorry if I forgot anyone). These were truly humble people. I was honored in playing pool with average folks from Asia and Europe as well as playing chauffeur to the wife of Burundi's Vice President. The entire experience was too much to encapsulate in a few paragraphs but believe me when I say that I am changed for having met these wonderful people.