Thursday, September 29, 2005


Huh? What's with this??? I know for a fact that cats fart at least once a year - to my knowledge. Either they fart more frequently than we know and they're too polite to let us know/smell it. Or, they simply just don't fart as frequently as us human counterparts do.

Crossing Signs

Let's see....

Question: How many times have we seen this sign during our lifetime?

Answer: One too many times.

I have another question for you.

Question: How many times have you seen this sign?

Answer: Once!

Who Cares?

Who cares about this? Someone wrote a book about what a deaf girl misses out on. I say... who cares? Life offers so much more than these...

Porno for the Deaf

Who would you like to be the interpreter who pops up in that corner?

The Things Brits Do!

What's up with this?

Deaf Bunny

CDC warning - please take note of this disease

Please be aware of this new, insidious disease.

THE CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL has issued a no-nonsense, albeit delayed, warning about a new, highly virulent strain of sexually transmitted disease.

This disease is contracted through dangerous and high risk behavior.

The disease is called Gonorrhea Lectim (pronounced "Gonna Re-elect him").

Many victims have contracted it after having been screwed for the past four years, in spite of having taken measures to protect themselves from this especially troublesome disease.

Cognitive sequellae of individuals infected with Gonorrhea Lectim include, but are not limited to, anti-social personality disorder traits; delusions of grandeur with a distinct messianic flavor; chronic mangling of the English language; extreme cognitive dissonance; inability to incorporate new information; pronounced xenophobia and homophobia; inability to accept responsibility for actions; exceptional cowardice masked by acts of misplaced bravado; uncontrolled facial smirking; total ignorance of geography and history; tendencies toward creating evangelical theocracies; and a strong propensity for categorical, all-or-nothing behavior.

The disease is sweeping Washington, DC and there are considerable outbreaks throughout the country. Naturalists and epidemiologists are amazed and baffled that this malignant disease originated only a few years ago in a Texas bush.

Please inform any of your friends and associates who have been acting unusual lately.

Grandmommy's Hometown

My grandmommy hails from Ribera, Sicilia. I decided to check out google image and use it for this post.

This is the armor for Ribera, my grandmother's hometown.

Ribera is in the Providence of Agrigento.

Here's my grandmother's home island: Sicilia. Think of it as the mainland Italia kicking its soccer ball, the island of Sicilia. To get an idea of where Ribera is, just look for Agrigento, and Ribera is to the northwest.

A Favor to Ask....

A favor to ask -- And it only takes a minute ..

The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on their site daily to meet their quota for donating at least one free mammogram each day to an underprivileged woman.

It takes only a few seconds to go to their site and click on "donating a mammogram" (the rectangular pink button in the middle). There's no financial obligation; it doesn't cost you a thing.

Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammograms in exchange for advertising.

Here's the website! PLEASE pass it along to all the people you know!


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Interpreters Provided?

I'm glad that they provide a TTY number. I hope it really works and that competently-trained people are answering the TTY calls.

In the meantime, I wonder if certified interpreters are provided at these sites mentioned below. I sure hope so.

Approximately 10% of Americans have a degree of hearing loss. A smaller percentage out of that are Deaf with ASL as their first language. Now, apply that % to the population of Katrina victims and people displaced by the hurricane. Do the math, and the number of Deaf, deaf and hard of hearing people is high enough to warrant competent interpreters at each Disaster Recovery Center site.

I also wonder which agencies that focus on serving Deaf clients have been formallly identified by FEMA as service provideres for Deaf people who're Katrina victims - in each state (i.e., Texas, Louisana, Florida). For example, New York Society for the Deaf provided Project Liberty services to the Deaf community (as identified and designated by FEMA and the state) to help Deaf NYCers, their friends and families deal with the aftermath of 9/11.

I also want to know how FEMA is ensuring access for displaced Deaf people who have been moved or sent to other states. Did they already have such deaf and interpreter agencies on list for each state as part of emergency preparedness and emergency management plans?



AUSTIN – To help meet the ongoing needs of those who suffered damage from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Texas Governor’s Division of Emergency Management opened Disaster Recovery Centers. The centers provide a single location where people are able to talk face-to-face with recovery specialists.

There are two ways to begin the application process. People may call FEMA’s toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing impairment. Both numbers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice. Or apply online at

Disaster assistance may include grants to help pay for temporary housing, minor home repair and other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other sources. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also are available for residential and business losses not covered by insurance.

Representatives from local, state and federal agencies, and voluntary organizations, will staff the Disaster Recovery Centers. Visitors can:

• Inquire about the status of their application.
• Receive referrals for temporary rental assistance resources.
• Get help completing SBA low-interest loan applications for homeowners, renters or business owners;
• Receive information about different types of state and federal disaster assistance.
• Receive referrals to American Red Cross and other voluntary organizations to help with immediate unmet needs.
• Learn cost-effective measures to reduce the impact of future flooding or disaster losses.

These federal and state Disaster Recovery Centers are open, or will open as noted, until further notice:

Greater Austin Area DRC
825 East Rundberg Lane
Suite E
Austin (Closed on Sundays)
Hours: 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Kelly Air Force Base
809 Davy Crockett Road
Bldg. 171
San Antonio
Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Amon Carter Exhibit Hall
3401 Burnett Tandy Drive
Fort Worth
Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Island Community Center
4700 Broadway
Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Kelly Air Force Base
809 Davy Crockett Rd
Bldg. 1537
San Antonio
Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Greater Houston Area DRC
6059 South Loop
Opening Wed. Sept. 28
Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Dallas Convention Center
650 Griffin Street
Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.

A Hands-On Adventure

From the newsroom of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Honolulu, Hawaii, Sunday, September 25, 2005 .....

A hands-on adventureTactile sign language helps a deaf and blind couple express their excitement about their first trip to Oahu

By Helen Altonn

Ken and Annie Sting of Seattle can't see or hear, but they had the time of their lives visiting Oahu through touching.

They experienced Hawaii's culture, plants, history and marine life through tactile sign language.

"And they really like the smells of things, like leis," said Holly Delcambre, volunteer interpreter with the couple. "Plumerias are a big hit."

Ken Sting, 65, recently retired from the Light House for the Blind, a sheltered workshop in Seattle, where his wife, 58, still works. Their trip here Sept. 13-22 was a retirement celebration.

They left Thursday talking about returning for three or four weeks. "It's been a great experience," Sting said through Delcambre.

"It is so beautiful here," said Annie, explaining her impressions of Hawaii were formed by Elvis Presley's "Blue Hawaii" movie when she still had vision.

The two have Usher syndrome, an inherited disease resulting in hearing loss and retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disorder causing vision to worsen over time. Balance problems also may occur.

There are three types of Usher syndrome, according to the National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders. The Stings have type 1, one of the most common types, said Delcambre.

People with USH1 are profoundly deaf from birth. Children begin to have vision problems by the time they are 10.

Annie has "a tiny itsy bit of sight," Delcambre said. Ken has a guide dog, Skinner, he left at home.

The couple uses tactile sign language, holding another person's hands and using movements to converse."They do sign language on their hands or my hands," Delcambre demonstrated. "They feel the shape and movement. You can express a lot of emotions through your hands."

The couple was clearly excited as they used their hands to describe playing with Sea Life Park's hybrid dolphin-whale Kekaimalu and her baby, Kawilikai. The wholfins performed, splashed them with water, nuzzled and kissed them.

"I got to kiss a dolphin. Can you imagine that?" Annie said through interpreter Tracey Clark. "I loved touching it and feeling the flippers. I'm so thankful to be able to do this."

"Dolphins are very smart," her husband said. "I got to put my hands on his back and he came up and gave me a kiss ... The skin is so soft."

He said he feels the adventure "was a blessing from God."The Stings were on the go every day with Delcambre and Clark, both longtime friends and traveling companions, and interpreter Rogelio Rios, who just graduated from high school. His father is deaf-blind and he wanted to check things out to see if he could bring him here, Delcambre said.

"Ken's impression was it's really a good place for people who are deaf-blind to come because people are really friendly and helpful and there's so much to touch.

"Although he's "kind of a shy guy," she said he's talking about giving a lecture on his Hawaii experience to a deaf-blind class in Seattle. He has a lot to tell.The couple, married 19 years, danced to vibrations from speakers at the block party on Kalakaua Avenue. They fed the fish at the Byodo-In Temple, rang the bell and felt it ringing. They smelled flowers and touched the long needle as a woman made leis outside their hotel.

At Dole Plantation, they enjoyed a train tour and felt pineapples, which they had thought grew on trees.

They loved Iolani Palace, Delcambre said. "People there were so nice. They had a bunch of things to touch at the end," such as wood from the flooring, curtain fabric and a piece of crystal from the chandelier.

They touched names on the wall at the Arizona Memorial, looking for Sting and Annie's maiden name, Thomas, but found neither. They met a 94-year-old Pearl Harbor veteran who signed a book for Ken and the three posed for a photo.

They went to the swap meet three times. "They really got into that, feeling everything and talking to people," Delcambre said. Ken, signing with Delcambre, said he found two hula dancing dolls with batteries to take home that were "a bargain" for $14.

They felt a coconut at a stand, drank the milk with a straw and then ate fresh sliced coconut. "They really liked that," Delcambre said. "Especially Ken. He was going on and on about how they don't have that in Seattle.

"They felt a lot of different fruits and vegetables at Chinatown, tasted sugar cane and touched live squirming catfish.

They thought the Polynesian Cultural Center "was really fun," Delcambre said. "The people there were really wonderful."

The most exciting part, she said, was the Samoan exhibit where one of the men did a special demonstration allowing Ken to feel him hopping up a tree with a strap around his feet.

The couple also was intrigued with how bananas grow in a bunch on a tree, she said.

A woman demonstrating weaving showed Annie what she was doing and gave her a woven hat and the couple learned how to weave a fish in the Tonga area.

Among other memories they're taking home:

They went to a noodle house and were sitting at the counter when birds flew in, Delcambre said. "It was like a different thing for us.

"They sat on their hotel balcony during a rain thinking the whole day was ruined and then, unlike rain in Seattle, it stopped.

They managed to get to the beach between excursions, Delcambre said. "Ken kept saying, 'Is Jaws here?'

"Turtles swam up while they were having a picnic lunch at a beach near Sea Life Park, she said. "Annie was very thrilled with that."

The couple had a surprise birthday party Tuesday night for Clark with a passion fruit, guava and pineapple "rainbow cake" Ken ordered at a bakery that morning, Delcambre said. The couple gave her a little Hawaiian pineapple-shaped container they had purchased at Dole Plantation.

Their "trip of a lifetime" ended with a luau Wednesday night.

© Honolulu Star-Bulletin 2005


Oprah to Produce Broadway Version of 'Purple'

NEW YORK (Sept. 25) - "The Color Purple," a musical based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, will have Oprah Winfrey as a producer and investor when it opens on Broadway in December.

In Winfrey's first Broadway venture, she will contribute more than $1 million of the musical's $10 million production cost, The New York Times reported Sunday on its Web site.

The musical, which has been revised since receiving some bad reviews when it opened in Atlanta last year, will be called "Oprah Winfrey Presents: 'The Color Purple."'

Winfrey told the Times it has been "a secret dream" to be part of Broadway.

"I hope to do for this production some of what I've been able to do for books - that is, to open the door to the possibilities for a world of people who have never been or even thought of going to a Broadway show," she said.

Winfrey was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the film version of "The Color Purple," directed by Steven Spielberg.

Walker's book has been adapted by Marsha Norman, author of "'night, Mother," while the score is by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray.

The Winfrey production will be directed by Gary Griffin, a Chicago-based director best known for his small-scale productions of musicals such as "My Fair Lady" and "Pacific Overtures." The choreographer is Donald Byrd.

Besides Winfrey, producers include Quincy Jones, Scott Sanders and Roy Furman.

The actress LaChanze will star in the show.

"The Color Purple" is told through the eyes of Celie, a timid young Southern woman who is raped by her father, gives birth to two children and suffers years of cruelty married to an abusive man.

09/25/05 22:23 EDT

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

Attack of the Mold Spores in New Orleans

U know there's an epidemic of molds growing in New Orleans and surrounding areas? If it was me, I'd just move elsewhere.


Monster Mold Threatens Health in the South

NEW ORLEANS (Sept. 27) - Wearing goggles, gloves, galoshes and a mask, Veronica Randazzo lasted only 10 minutes inside her home in St. Bernard Parish. Her eyes burned, her mouth filled with a salty taste and she felt nauseous. Her 26-year-old daughter, Alicia, also covered in gear, came out coughing.

"That mold," she said. "It smells like death."

Mold now forms an interior version of kudzu in the soggy South, posing health dangers that will make many homes tear-downs and will force schools and hospitals to do expensive repairs.

It's a problem that any homeowner who has ever had a flooded basement or a leaky roof has faced. But the magnitude of this problem leaves many storm victims prey to unscrupulous or incompetent remediators. Home test kits for mold, for example, are worthless, experts say.

Don't expect help from insurance companies, either. Most policies were revised in the last decade to exclude mold damage because of "sick building" lawsuits alleging illnesses. Although mold's danger to those with asthma or allergies is real, there's little or no science behind other claims, and a lot of hype.

"We went through a period when people were really irrational about the threat posed by the mere sight of mold in their homes," said Nicholas Money, a mold expert from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and author of "Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores," a book about mold.

"If you give me 10 minutes in anybody's home, I'll find mold growth somewhere," he said.
Mold is everywhere. Most people have no problem living with this ubiquitous fungus. It reproduces by making spores, which travel unseen through the air and grow on any moist surface, usually destroying it as the creeping crud grows.

Mold can't be eliminated but can be controlled by limiting moisture, which is exactly what couldn't be done after Hurricane Katrina. Standing water created ideal growth conditions and allowed mold to penetrate so deep that experts fear that even studs of many homes are saturated and unsalvageable.

In fact, New Orleans is where mold's health risks were first recognized.

A Louisiana State University allergist, the late Dr. John Salvaggio, described at medical meetings in the 1970s what he called "New Orleans asthma," an illness that filled hospital emergency rooms each fall with people who couldn't breathe. He linked it to high levels of mold spores that appeared in the humid, late summer months.

"These are potent allergens," but only for people who have mold allergies, said Dr. Jordan Fink, a Medical College of Wisconsin professor and past president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Molds produce irritants that can provoke coughing, and some make spores that contain toxins, which further irritate airways.

"The real pariah is this thing called Stachybotrys chartarum. This organism produces a greater variety of toxins and in greater concentrations than any other mold that's been studied," Money said.

Doctors at Cleveland's Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital blamed it for a cluster of cases of pulmonary hemorrhage, or bleeding into the lungs, that killed several children in the 1990s, but the link was never proved.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no firm evidence linking mold to the lung problem, memory loss or other alleged woes beyond asthma and allergy.

However, the sheer amount of it in the South could trigger problems for some people who haven't had them before, medical experts said.

"The child who didn't have a significant problem before may be in a much different scenario now," said Dr. Michael Wasserman, a pediatrician at Ochsner Clinic in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie whose office and home were flooded and are now covered in mold. He plans to tear down his house.

Even dead mold can provoke asthma in susceptible people, meaning that places open to the public - restaurants, schools, businesses - must eliminate it.

This is most true for hospitals, where mold spores can cause deadly lung diseases in people with weak immune systems or organ transplants. Such concerns already led Charity Hospital's owners to mothball it.

Tulane University Hospital and Clinic's cleanup is expected to take months.

"The first floor's got pretty much mold. It's going to be pretty much a total loss," said Ron Chatagnier, project coordinator for C&B Services, a Texas company hired by the hospital's owner, HCA.

"It might be difficult or impossible to reopen some of these medical centers," said Joe Cappiello, an official with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
"It's not just the physical destruction that you see," but ventilation systems and ductwork full of mold, ready "to seed the rest of the hospital with spores" if the heat or air conditioning were turned on, he said.

As for houses, "anything that's been submerged probably will be a tear-down," said Jeffrey May, a Boston-area building inspector, chemist and book author who has investigated thousands of buildings for mold problems.

Clothes can be washed or dry cleaned, but most furniture is a loss. Ditto for carpeting, insulation, wallpaper and drywall, which no longer lives up to its name. Mattresses that didn't get wet probably have mold if they were in a room that did.

"Anything with a cushion you can forget about," May said.

The general advice is the same as when food is suspected of being spoiled: when in doubt, throw it out.

When is professional help needed?

"It's simply a matter of extent. If you've got small areas of mold, just a few square feet, it's something a homeowner can clean with 10 percent bleach," said Anu Dixit, a fungus expert at Saint Louis University.

She studied mold after the Mississippi River floods in 1993 and 1994, and found cleaning measures often were ineffective, mainly because people started rebuilding too soon, before the surrounding area was completely dry.

In the New Orleans suburb of Lakeview, Toby Roesler found a water line 7 feet high on his home and mold growing in large black and white colonies from every wall and ceiling on the first floor.

Wearing goggles, a mask and rubber gloves, he sprayed down the stairwell with a bleach solution. A crew will arrive soon to gut the lower floor.

"I think it's salvageable," he said, but admitted, "It's going to be some gross work to get it ready."

Others won't try.

Dionne Thiel, who lives next door to the Randazzo family, was only 7 when Hurricane Betsy raced through her neighborhood 40 years ago. Returning on Monday, after Hurricane Katrina, something was instantly familiar.

"The mold and the water," she said. "It's the exact same smell."

Mold covered her dining room walls, snaked up doorframes and even found its way into the candles she sold for a living. She and her husband salvaged his golf clubs but left the rest. They'll move to Arizona.

"I would never want to live here again," said her husband, Don Thiel. "It's not going to be safe."

Associated Press writers Julia Silverman and Allen G. Breed contributed reporting for this story from Louisiana; Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione reported from Milwaukee.

09/27/05 15:22 EDT

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Old Enough For AARP?

Am I old enough for AARP? I opened yet another mail from AARP offering deals for older people. I started receiving AARP mail when I was in middle school. I suspect they got my name through AAA or some other organization because of my father and/or Grandma's membership. They were old enough to receive AARP material. I wasn't. I find it hilarious. At least I get a glimpse on what older people are offered through AARP. Talk about good education and time to get used to the idea of becoming old enough to qualify for certain services and programs as well as learning what my options may be by the time I actually am old enough for AARP.

Dinner That We Never Ate

Two friends and I went out to a restaurant and had a dinner that we never ate.

Caught your attention and went huh?

What happened was we placed our order upon seating. We chatted and went through two bowls of breads, some kind of spicy dip, wine, and drinks. As time went by, we watched other tables being served and slowly watched restaurant patrons leave the place. Before we knew it, the place was empty with the exception of us and the restaurant workers.

While sipping my glass of water, I saw the waitress slide the bill with candies onto our table. I broke out into laughters. Everyone else at the table laughed so hard. We received a bill for a dinner that we never ate!

The workers were puzzled and came over at our gesture. We indicated that we were billed for food we never were served. They felt so bad. We cancelled our order. They apologized profusely and did not charge us for our drinks. I decided to tip them anyway for good service (for drinks and taking order) as well as their sincere concern about us never being fed. We left the restaurant laughing hysterically and walked down the street to a local diner, still laughing. We sat at our new restaurant booth laughing. The waiter smiled as we laughingly placed our order. This time, we were served dinner.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Why Women Won't Take Men On Vacations....

Thanks to a friend for sending this hilarious email... about why women won't take men on vacations....

Desperately Waiting

I've been desperately waiting to see the "Desperate Housewives" season premiere which will finally take place tomorrow! It's going to be quite a season! If you'd like to get together at my home to eat and watch the premiere, email me!


March On, Protestors!

March On! They have my full support!

Anti-War Protesters March in D.C., London

WASHINGTON (AP) - Opponents of the war in Iraq rallied by the thousands Saturday to demand the return of U.S. troops, staging a day of protest, song and remembrance of the dead in marches through Washington and other cities in the U.S. and Europe.

More than 2,000 people gathered on the Ellipse hours before the showcase demonstration past the White House, the first wave of what organizers said would be the largest Washington rally since the war began. President Bush himself was out of town, monitoring hurricane recovery efforts from Colorado and Texas.

"We have to get involved," said Erika McCroskey, 27, who came from Des Moines, Iowa, with her younger sister and mother for her first demonstration, traveling in just one of the buses that poured into the capital from far-flung places.

"Bush Lied, Thousands Died," said one sign. "End the Occupation," said another.

While united against the war, political beliefs varied in the Washington crowd. Paul Rutherford, 60, of Vandalia, Mich., said he is a Republican who supported Bush in the last election and still does - except for the war.

"President Bush needs to admit he made a mistake in the war and bring the troops home, and let's move on," he said. His wife, Judy, 58, called the removal of Saddam Hussein "a noble mission" but said U.S. troops should have left when claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction proved unfounded.

"We found that there were none and yet we still stay there and innocent people are dying daily," she said.

Arthur Pollock, 47, of Cecil County, Md., said he was against the war from the beginning. He wants the soldiers out, but not all at once.

"They've got to leave slowly," said Pollock, attending his first protest. "It will be utter chaos in that country if we pull them out all at once."

A crowd in London, estimated by police at 10,000, marched in support of withdrawing British troops from Iraq. Violent clashes between insurgents and British troops in the southern Iraq city of Basra in recent days highlighted the need to get out, protesters said.

"Enough is enough," said Lindsey German, an official of the Stop the War Coalition, which organized the march. "It is now time, once again, for the British people to step forward into the streets and insist that this time we will not be ignored."

Rallies were planned, too, in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Florence, Rome, Paris and Madrid.

In a hitch for some coming to the protest, 13 Amtrak trains running between New York and Washington were delayed for up to three hours Saturday morning for repair of overhead electrical lines. Protest organizers said that held up thousands coming to the rally.

"We believe we are at a tipping point whereby the anti-war sentiment has now become the majority sentiment," said Brian Becker, national coordinator for ANSWER, one of the main anti-war organizers.

Cindy Sheehan, the California mother who drew thousands of demonstrators to her 26-day vigil outside President Bush's Texas ranch last month, joined the protest. Sheehan's 24-year-old son, Casey, was killed in an ambush in Sadr City, Iraq, last year.

Supporters of President Bush's policy in Iraq assembled in smaller numbers to get their voice heard in the day's anti-war din.

Gary Qualls, 48, of Temple, Texas, whose Marine reservist son, Louis, died last year in the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, spoke in support of continued U.S. involvement.

"If you bring them home now, who's going to be responsible for all the atrocities that are fixing to happen over there?" he asked. "Cindy Sheehan?

The protest route runs to the front of the White House, down to the Justice Department and then back to the Washington Monument, site of an 11-hour concert and rally featuring folk singer Joan Baez and stretching well into the night.

Sheehan and other mothers against the war held a small rally near the Washington Monument on Friday. They spoke just a few feet from 1,000 white wooden crosses tucked into the grass to symbolize the more than 1,900 members of the U.S. armed forces who have died since the beginning of the war in March 2003.

At a rally at the U.S. Navy Memorial put on by Protest Warrior and other groups supporting Bush's policy, demonstrators denounced Sheehan as a mother exploiting her son's death.

"If I were to die in Iraq, I wouldn't want my parents to be like Cindy Sheehan," said Army National Guard Spc. Julie McManus, 20, of Drexel Hill, Pa., who was among more than 100 people holding signs. "I'd be ashamed of them."

McManus said she drove to Washington with her boyfriend; she wore a white tank top with the words "American Solider" in black marker.

Associated Press writer Elizabeth White contributed to this report.

On the Net:

ANSWER Coalition:

Gold Star Families for Peace:

Families United for our Troops:

09/24/05 11:57 EDT

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

New York Times Article: Kill the Light, Save a Bird

I'm so glad that New York Times ran this article to educate us about how the lights affect birds. How many of us NYCers and tourists think about wildlife while we are in this city and easily caught up in the wonders of people and buildings? Birds besides pigeons do exist and live above and around us.

Kill the Light, Save a Bird

Published: September 23, 2005

Tourists have always flocked to see the bright lights of New York City, but starting this week, the city is dimming parts of its renowned skyline to ward off one group of visitors: migratory birds. The Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, the Citigroup Center, the Morgan Stanley Building and the World Financial Center are among the high-profile high-rises that have agreed to requests from the city and the Audubon Society to dim or turn off nonessential lighting at midnight.

At left, the Chrysler Building about 11 p.m. on Wednesday, and then an hour later, its lights turned down to aid birds.

Thus the city's skyscrapers will defer to nature at least twice a year: by dimming their lights in September and October, during the peak of the fall migratory season, and again in April and May, during the peak of the spring migratory season.

While the Empire State Building's lighting policy to protect migratory birds is decades old, and other buildings have used netting on glass windows so birds do not mistake reflections for sky, this policy will be the first citywide effort to protect migratory birds from crashing into buildings. The voluntary policy is aimed at buildings taller than 40 stories, as well as lower glass buildings that hug the Hudson and East Rivers, which birds use as navigational aides. About five million birds pass through New York City during migration season, according to E. J. McAdams, the executive director of the New York City Audubon Society.

The combination of glass, tall buildings and bright light is extremely dangerous for birds, according to Daniel Klem, an ornithologist at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. He says that a conservative estimate is that more than 100 million birds die each year from crashing into glass on structures of all types, even houses.

"Here is the bottom line: Birds just don't see glass," said Professor Klem. "The animals are not able to recognize glass as a barrier and avoid it."

And lights, particularly those from skyscrapers, distract migratory birds from the visual cues they receive from the stars and the moon, said Douglas Stotz, a conservation ecologist at the Field Museum in Chicago.

The bright lights of tall city buildings pull the birds off their migratory path and into urban canyons, especially when skies are foggy or overcast. Then the birds either crash into the building's glass at night because they are attracted to the light, or they circle the buildings until they become exhausted. In the morning, when they try to escape the city, they crash into the glass because they are confused by the reflection of sky.

Unless people look carefully, the dead birds can be hard to spot because many of them are small songbirds.

"They would be swept up by custodial staff," said Adrian Benepe, the New York City parks commissioner. "I've often seen them on the streets, and wondered, 'Why is this little songbird dead on the street?' "

Since 1997, Audubon Society volunteers have collected more than 4,000 dead birds of 100 different species at just a handful of buildings in Midtown and Lower Manhattan.

Toronto began a program to dim its lights in 1993, and Chicago started a voluntary program in 1999 that now includes 100 buildings. In Chicago, the Field Museum found an 80 percent reduction in bird deaths when lights were turned off during a five-year study on a single Chicago Building, McCormick Place. "When the lights are on, you get these big bird kills, and when they aren't, you don't," said Judy Pollock, director of bird conservation for the Audubon Society in Chicago.

Even with a dimmed skyline, the problem of birds crashing into glass remains. Environmental groups are working with the construction industry to come up with glass that can be seen by birds, potentially by giving the glass a UV coating.

Three real estate groups have agreed to promote the program to dim lights among their members: the Real Estate Board of New York, the Building Owners' and Managers' Association, and the Associated Builders and Owners of Greater New York. "We are going to make it a little safer for the birds to visit here," said Steve Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board, which represents many real estate developers. "The response that we have gotten is overwhelmingly, 'Sure.' "

Certainly lower electric bills help sell the concept. Call it saving two birds with one stone: preventing fatal bird crashes while conserving energy. Energy savings could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most buildings plan to turn off just their exterior lights, but some will also turn off interior lights and ask their tenants to draw the shades. The only buildings expected to opt out are ones that are contractually obligated to keep advertisements lighted, Mr. Spinola said.

Of the city's landmark buildings, the Empire State Building has long been aware of migratory bird problems. For at least 25 years, the building has turned off its decorative lights when large numbers of birds are observed flying around the top of the building during migration season. The circling birds are particularly common during foggy or overcast nights, said Lydia Ruth, a spokeswoman for the building.

Employees from the observatory will call down to the building engineers to tell them to shut off the lights. "We don't want to take any chances, and we don't want to cause any bird death," Ms. Ruth said. "But we have people call the next day, 'Why did you turn the lights out early?' You can't keep everybody happy."

Storm Affects Southbound Migration of Birds

Poor birds. I hope the changes aren't too permanent and that the species can rebound and recover, especially the local birds.

Storm Affects Southbound Migration of Birds

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (Sept. 23) - For millennia, fall's Gulf of Mexico hurricanes have butted gale-force winds against the southbound journeys of migrating birds. Somehow, the birds have been able to sense storm paths and survive.

"This is not new to birds," Cliff Shackelford, an ornithologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said Friday as Hurricane Rita began lashing the central Gulf Coast. "Birds can detect things like barometric pressure, changes in wind. ... With a storm like Rita, so big it's covering the whole ... Gulf, they're not going to take that first step."

The Texas coast acts as a funnel for birds migrating from North American summer grounds to wintering havens in Central and South America. Bird watchers from around the world come to the region for glimpses of hundreds of species of birds.

Rita's northern trek countered peak migration for hawks, and her direction earlier in the week prompted an evacuation order that canceled Corpus Christi's annual Celebration of Flight.

"This is the largest hawk watch in the U.S., that's why we invite everybody out," festival organizer Joel Simon said. "We had 44,000 yesterday, which is a good day. We're hoping some more get through today before the storm."

The Texas tail is the convergence point for four major flyways, two of them coming west along the Gulf from East Texas and Louisiana. Hummingbirds have been coming through for weeks, Simon said, as well as songbirds, shorebirds and "pretty colored birds" like orioles, buntings, and warblers.

He said the hawks would be stressed but would likely find free skies to the west.

Scientists debate whether hurricanes are worsening due to global warming or whether the Gulf is just on the violent side of a repeating cycle. Either way, the biggest problem if the trend continues may be destruction of the already dwindling habitat of birds living year-round on the Gulf, such as the long-legged herons and egrets that wade in salty marshes.

"I'm more worries about the resident birds," Simon said. "They're not used to going anywhere."

09/23/05 19:22 EDT

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

Congratulations, Jennell Dickens!

Congratulations! What a pregnancy for a 22 year-old woman! I wish the best in their lives and health.


Quintuplets Born at University of Maryland Medical Center

BALTIMORE (Sept. 23) - Jennell Dickens is single, petite, and 22 years old.

On Wednesday, she became the mother of quintuplets.

"A lot of people didn't think I would make it this far," said the cheerful new mother during a press conference Friday at the University of Maryland Medical Center, her face glowing with pride.

The babies - a boy and four girls - are the first set of quintuplets born at the Baltimore hospital in more than 30 years and only the second set born in Maryland since the new millineum, health officials said.

The hospital has established the Dickens Quintuplets Fund to collect donations for the babies.

Doctors said the quintuplets, born 10 weeks early, are doing well and are being monitored closely.

"The first baby came out screaming and hollering," said Dickens, an administrative assistant at the hospital's division of emergency medicine. "After the initial shock was over, everything else was okay."

The babies ranged in weight from one-pound, 12 ounces to two-pounds, 13 ounces. Together, they weighed more than 11 pounds.

"It is truly remarkable for a woman to carry quintuplets past 30 weeks," said Dr. Hugh Mighty, who delivered all five babies and led a team of 30 specialists. "The fact that Ms. Dickens was able to do that enabled the babies to grow bigger and has improved their chances of survival."

Dickens had been at the hospital since July 12 to allow doctors to monitor her progress.

"The delivery went very smoothly and Ms. Dickens was comfortable and awake so that she could see each baby being born," said Dr. Andrew Malinow, a member of the delivery team.

Dickens said she found out she was having quintuplets nine weeks into her pregnancy when she went for her first prenatal visit and the doctor noticed her uterus was up higher than normal. The next day, an ultrasound reading showed she was carrying five babies.

"I just cried," said Dickens. "At that point I didn't know what to expect. It's a lot to take on. I just wish for the best of health for them."

Older sister, Sharita, 23, was in shock when she got the call at work that her sister was having quintuplets.

"I went from sitting in the chair to being on the floor," she said. "I'm just excited that they're here."

Sharita has two children of her own, ages two and five, but said, "They'll definitely be loved. There is plenty of love in our family."

Her mother Floryn said she thought her daughter was joking when she received the news.

"I just laughed," said the grandmother of seven. "But, once I saw the sonogram I just couldn't believe it."

Dickens, who was presented five baby t-shirts, is expected to released from the hospital over the weekend.

Neonatologist Dr. Rose Viscardi said the newborns may be able to go home within the next two months, provided they continue to do well.

"Right now they're great. It's too early to see if there will be long term problems."

The births took two-and-a-half minutes. Each baby was assigned their own group of doctors immediately following their births. There were four other births at the hospital on that day, as well.

"The initial hurdle is making sure that each baby is breathing own their own," said Viscardi, who noted one baby was placed on a ventilator shortly after birth. "We need to also make sure they are able to maintain temperature."

Pictures of each baby, wearing a white hat with letters "A" through "E" to distinguish identity, were on display at the press conference at the hospital. All are currently in incubators.

They've been named JaMir Amare, Si'ani Ritay, NaRae Dimetria, Jade and Rayne Anye.

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the medical center is the largest in the state and is part of the University of Maryland Hospital for Children.

09/23/05 14:31 EDT

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

Officially Disabled

Yippee! I'm officially disabled in the eye of NYC.

Just received my replacement reduced-fare metrocard in the mail. They never sent me the replacement after I made few calls over the past year with my new address. I already called them with my new address 3 years ago - before I moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Now, they have my new address on file "officially." I will still send a letter in writing anyway to be on the safe side and also thank them for sending the replacement so promptly after the most recent call.

I'm also thrilled that it has my older picture - with my thinner face on it with a nice smile. The picture was taken over 6 years ago around the time I moved to NYC.

And, I'm glad to be a disabled rider once again in the MTA system and save money big time. No more staring or yelling by the bus driver when I board the bus and forget I have to pay full fare instead of half fare only to have someone inform me to go back to the front of the bus to pay the remaining fare. No more bumping hard and bruising my waist while trying to go through the non-moving turnstile only to realize there isn't enough fare and ending up holding up friends while I refill my card. No more!

Friday, September 23, 2005

turning toward turning toward

Paintings and conceptual works by

Gregory Gadilan Horwitz

is informed by the artist’s personal history and heritage and blurs the boundaries between religious and artistic concepts. The work found in “Turning Toward Turning Toward” is inspired by the unique configurations of the pages of the Talmud, the concept of shatnez which forbids one from combining wool and linen in a garment and Jewish skullcaps, with which the artist playfully explores the dynamics between individuality and commonality.

To learn more about the artist visit

A Message From Jade

Hello Everyone!

First off, I want to thank those of you who came to my party on September 10th to celebrate my 40th Birthday Bash. This party was not only a birthday celebration. It was a time of rebirth as well as image and business rebranding. Many of you who came to the party were loyal supporters for many years when I first started out 15 years ago. Those of you who are now continual supporters, thank you for being a part of my film career journey. This is just the biginning of my PRIME... TBC...

If you have not yet check out my new website, now's the time!

Here's a list of people I'd like to thank, please acknowledge them!

* My long time companion & supporter, Linda Mosca-Ginis for picking out the right outfit for the party. I love you gurl!

* Jenuma for the ride and keeping me sane. LOL.

* Bianca, Maleni, Linda, Vicki and Michelle for helping with food and preparation and making sure my people were well fed. Maleni Chaitoo came with me to check out the hotel a week before and took my party pictures in the first link. Thanks, sweetie!

* Zach, Jason, Andrew and Darren for bartending and making sure my people enjoyed themselves. Haha.

* My lovely brother for food shopping, the lovely carrot cake and sharing the expenses.

Friends who flew/drove from out of town: Michelle Banks, Ellen Roth, Barb Gurga, Bonnie Kaplan, Stephanie Clark, Sharon Levine, Jenuma, business associate & partner Tim Trotto, and my 9/11 documentary editor, Adrean Mangiardi. Thank you for coming.

Last but not least, my publicist and friend, Sarah Pack for her enormous heart and charity for helping me plan this party and for promoting it. Guys, she rock!!!! She made sure everything was in control. She's the behind-the-scene lady and not to be messed with. LOL. She got style, too. Ya heard!?

I had a wonderful time with each and everyone of you. It was a night to be remembered. I will ALWAYS cherish it. Those of you who donated monetary gift, would you be so kind to email me your snail mail address to I'd sincerely appreciate it very much. Thank you again for coming. I hope to God I didn't forget to thank anyone else. Thank you a million times. Oh yeah, thanks Vicki, Melissa, Andy, Jaime, Ellen, Maleni and James for their pictures. I love them all!!!

For those of you who were missing, I'm truly sorry but you missed a helluva party!!!

Anyway, I have attached three links for you to enjoy my online photo album from our recent get together, CINEMATIC LIMELIGHT OF JADE. Please enjoy them!

The first link is: Cinematic Limelight of Jade

The second one is called: A Night of the Intimates

And finally, A Night of Suga' n' Spices


Queen Jade

Love This Quote

Love this quote from Melmira's site:

To love what you do and feel that it matters - how could anything be more fun? -Katharine Graham

Captioning Blooper

While watching the news last night with my roommates, we broke out in laughter after holding our breath watching the Jet Blue plane landing with its disabled front wheel. Why? There was a captioning blooper: "Amongst 140 marriages, passengers on the Jet Blue landing...."

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Authorities search for criminals among hurricane refugees

Authorities search for criminals among hurricane refugees

Thursday, September 22, 2005; Posted: 9:59 a.m. EDT (13:59 GMT)

MIDDLETOWN, Rhode Island (AP) -- After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, federal officials flew Brian Murph and more than 100 other victims to Rhode Island. They were greeted by the governor and cheered by residents.

Then the handcuffs were placed on Murph.

State police did criminal background checks on every refugee and found that more than half had a criminal arrest records -- a third for felonies. Murph was the only one with an outstanding arrest warrant, for larceny and other crimes.

Around the nation, state and local authorities are checking refugees' pasts as they are welcomed into homes, schools, houses of worship and housing projects. In some states, half the refugees have rap sheets.

"It's a balancing act," said Kyle Smith, deputy director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. "We don't want to treat them like criminals after they have been traumatized, but we want to make sure they are in no danger nor the families they are housed with."

Civil libertarians call the checks thinly veiled race and class discrimination against people who have suffered already. The checks are made on those evacuated or forced to seek help from charities or others -- in other words, people who are often black and poor.

"I think it's happening partly because who these people are and where they came from," said Steve Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island ACLU. "The mere fact that people have past criminal records in and of itself doesn't say anything about harm to the community."

Some state and local governments screened just those refugees evacuated by the federal government. Others screened anyone placed in private homes -- and screened the hosts as well.

In South Carolina, state police checked every evacuee flown there by the government. Of 547 people checked, 301 had criminal records, according to Robert Stewart, state Law Enforcement Division Chief.

While most had been law-abiding for years or had committed minor offenses, the group included those convicted of rape or aggravated assault. Two had warrants, but were not held because the states weren't interested in extraditing them.

"This was all done for everyone's protection," Stewart said. "If you're going to be sheltering people, it would be prudent for people taking them in to know what criminal pasts they might have."

The state police in West Virginia said roughly half of the nearly 350 Katrina victims evacuated by the government to that state had criminal records, and 22 percent have a history of committing a violent crime.

In Massachusetts, where about 200 evacuees were flown to a military base on Cape Cod, criminal background checks turned up six sex offenders and one man wanted for rape in Louisiana. Two of the sex offenders have since left the state, said Katie Ford, a spokeswoman for the state public safety office. The rape suspect was being held on $250,000 bail.

In Tennessee, police checked every federal evacuee flown to Knoxville and found outstanding warrants for two people in Louisiana -- but Louisiana did not want to extradite them.

In Texas, with more than 300,000 refugees, local officials have run 20,000 criminal background checks on evacuees, as well as the relief workers helping them and people who have opened up their homes.

Most of the checks have found little for police to be concerned about. Philadelphia police found no criminals as of the middle of last week, even though the local ACLU branch objected to the checks themselves.

Several states with thousands of refugees aren't checking criminal backgrounds at all. Missouri has no formal effort to check its 6,000 refugees. Neither has California, which reported about 3,800 refugees earlier this month, or Maryland, Minnesota and Michigan, which together took in several thousand evacuees.

In Middletown, a community just north of Newport, several evacuees shrugged at the prospect of background checks and said they understood the state's desire to learn more about them.

"I would like to know if there's any skeletons in the closet with my neighbors or the community," said one refugee, 38-year-old Carmen Williams.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

League Buzz, Special Edition

League Buzz, Special Edition

FEAST SNEAK PEEK for League Buzz subscribers only.

Feast with Famous Faces
Monday, September 26th from 6:30pm-9:30pm
270 Park Avenue (between 47th & 48th Streets)

If you haven't purchased your Feast tickets yet, don't worry. It's not too late. Tickets are still available.

Contact Astrid Flores at 917.305.7820 or email to buy your ticket today!


One lucky bidder will win:

· A personal tour of the set of One Life to Live
· An autographed script from the cast of One Life to Live
· Lunch with Daytime Emmy nominated star Kassie DePaiva

One lucky bidder will win:

· Two Tickets to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on Broadway
· The Opportunity to meet Norbert Leo Butz, Recipient of the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Astaire and Drama League Awards for his performance as Freddy Benson in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

· A champagne toast with Norbert Leo Butz
· A Backstage tour of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with an introduction to cast members and crew

One lucky bidder will win:

· Two House Seats to Hairspray
· A Backstage tour of Hairspray with the opportunity to meet the cast and crew
· DVD of the original movie, Hairspray
· Gift Basket of Hairspray Souvenir Merchandise

Auction Item
Tennis Anyone?
One lucky bidder will win:

· Four (4) VIP Box Seat Tickets in "J-BLOCK" (James Blake's personal cheering section) for one of James Blake's matches during Pilot Pen August 18-26, 2006

· Meet and Greet for entire party of four (4) with James Blake, 2005 Pilot Pen Tennis Champion and US Open Quarterfinalist, during the 2006 Pilot Pen (autographs & photos)

· One (1) Autographed "J-BLOCK" tee
· Dinner for four (4) in the Racquet Club
· Four (4) Pilot Pen Tennis Goody Bags

Auction item
Pure love(tm) Pendant designed by Kenneth David
One lucky bidder will win:

· 1 Carat total weight 3 stone, past-present-future, pure love(tm) pendant set in 14K and 24K pure gold.

*** Must be present at event to bid on the auction items***

Sneak preview of some of the raffle and silent auction items to look out for! Tip off: if you're not able to come to the Feast, you can still buy raffle tix - 1 for $25 or 5 for $100 (yes, yes, we know the amazing deal you get if you buy 5!)

Partial list: Grand Raffle prizes donated by (and not limited to) the following:

· Butter Restaurant
· Cockburn Port and Ghirardelli Chocolate
· Fortunoff
· Fifi La Roo
· Grand Hyatt New York
· Gutzees
· Hermes of Paris
· JetBlue Airways
· Lake Morey Resort
· Laura Geller Makeup
· New Line Home Entertainment
· Rosa Mexicano
· Science+ Beauty Medical Spa
· St. Regis Hotel
· Tahari
· The Art Institute of New York City
· Theatre Development Fund
· Trans-Ocean Import Co.
· Travel Group and Continental Airlines
· TRIO Restaurant and Wine Bar

Reminder: 1 ticket for $25 and 5 tickets for $100!
Contact: Astrid Flores at 917.305.7820 or

Well, League Buzzers, that's the Feast Sneak Peek!
Looking forward to Feasting with you on September 26th, 6:30-9:30 at the JPMorgan Chase building at 270 Park Ave. (Btw. 47th & 48th)!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Got this from an acquaintance.


When I stand up for myself and my beliefs, they call me a bitch.

When I stand up for those I love, they call me a bitch.

When I speak my mind, think my own thoughts or do things my own way, they call me a bitch.

Being a bitch means I won't compromise what's in my heart. It means I live my life MY way. It means I won't allow anyone to step on me.

When I refuse to tolerate injustice and speak against it, I am defined as a bitch.

The same thing happens when I take time for myself instead of being everyone's maid, or when I act a little selfish.

It means I have the courage and strength to allow myself to be who I truly am and won't become anyone else's idea of what they think I "should" be.

I am outspoken, opinionated and determined. I want what I want and there is nothing wrong with that!

So try to stomp on me, try to douse my inner flame, try to squash every ounce of beauty I hold within me. You won't succeed.

And if that makes me a bitch, so be it. I embrace the title and am proud to bear it.

B - Babe
I - In
T - Total
C - Control of
H - Herself

B = Beautiful
I = Intelligent
T = Talented
C = Charming
H = Hell of a Woman

B = Beautiful
I = Individual
T = That
C = Can
H = Handle anything

"If you can't do something right, get a woman to do it."

"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody is watching."

To all my bitchy friends - Stand Proud!

Have a great day!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Miscellaneous Thoughts

A hurricane has come through my bedroom frequently over the past few weeks. As soon as it's cleaned up and everything's put away, another hurricane comes through. Hurricane Sarah sure pays regular visits. It's been a Category 5 since I began Fall semester classes and internship.

My parents are going to Ukraine again from September 28 - October 15. It'll be my father's 7th time while it'll be my mother's 5th time (I think).

Ever notice that the Bush family has a trademark facial feature? It's the pursed lip look. President Bush had the exact same pursed lips look on 9/11 just like Jeb Bush's son had in his mug shot after being arrested for public intoxication and resisting arrest. The Bush family definitely has substance abuse issues running throughout the generations. I wish them the best.

Some people move around so frequently in NYC that I call them Cockroach Movers. They fly from one apartment to the next apartment. They move all the time just like cockroaches and rats that sometimes I lose track of where few people currently live. All I have to do is wait until the next party or social gathering to find out the latest residence for certain people.

I'm still thinking about Jade's successful party at Hotel Ganesevoort which took place last weekend. Wow. Few new pictures were added recently. More will continue to be added to the photo album. To view pictures, go to:

To check out Jade's awesome brand new website look, go to



Major exhibition for first time presents history of slaves who built New York

The remarkable, untold story of New York's deep involvement in the slave trade is the focus of a major multi-media exhibition, Slavery in New York, which opens October 7, 2005 and runs through March 5, 2006 at the New-York Historical Society, at Central Park West and 77th Street in New York City.

The 9,000 square-foot exhibition (the largest in the Society's 200-year history), incorporates historically detailed video re-enactments, audio narrative and interactive video displays, along with rare, primary source materials (paintings, original documents, artifacts) to detail this remarkable, dark time in America's history.

Exhibition highlights include: giant billowing sails and voices (speakinga dozen African dialects) suggestive of the harrowing Middle Passage; a multi-media installation portraying a local well where slaves met as they gathered water and (in 1712) fomented a slave rebellion; and wire sculptures, which evoke the toil of the faceless, voiceless peoples whose histories were (nearly) erased. The rarely seen, original hand written draft of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation will be on display from October 7-16.

Bills of sale for the human slave trade; advertisements offering rewards for runaway slaves; original 18th century maps detailing farmland (in what is now Soho) dedicated to freed blacks; letters revealing the details of daily life of slaves and slave holders; and objects such as a silver tea service crafted by slaves from Africa's Gold Coast, offer a window into another time.

A portion of the exhibit will recreate, through ships logs and diaries, the experience of a 10-year-old, Priscilla, kidnapped from Sierra Leone and brought as a slave to the New World.

James Horton (author of Slavery and the Making of America) is chief historian, and Richard Rabinowitz (president of the American History Workshop) is curator. For additional information visit:





Directions: To get to The New-York Historical Society take B or C trains to 81st Street or M10 bus to 77th Street; M79 to 81st and CPW.

Dolphins Missing After Katrina Found

I was so relieved to hear that these dolphins were found and rescued!

Dolphins Missing After Katrina Found
Aquarium's Eight Bottlenose Animals Found Huddled Together

(Sept. 15) - Eight bottlenose dolphins that were washed out of their aquarium tank in Gulfport, Miss., have been found swimming together in the Gulf of Mexico. But they're not safe yet.

Because the dolphins are domesticated, aquarium officials fear they can't survive in the wild and that the effort to recapture them will take some time.

Moby Solangi, owner and director of the Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, moved as many of his 14 dolphins as time allowed to hotels on higher ground. Three took up residence in the pool at Gulfport's Best Western, and three made the pool at the Holiday Inn their home during the storm.

The remaining eight stayed behind at the aquarium's pool "that has survived every hurricane, including Camille, and survived [Katrina] as well, but didn't survive the 40-foot tidal wave," Solangi said.

That wave swept away all eight dolphins. It also destroyed the pool, which will take 18 to 24 months to rebuild, Solangi said. The six dolphins who rode out the storm in hotel pools have all since been transferred to the Gulfarium in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

For nearly two weeks, there were no signs of the eight missing dolphins. Finally, the head of the aquarium secured a ride on a sheriff's department helicopter and what he saw, after just five minutes, was surprising.The eight dolphins were swimming together in the Gulf of Mexico.

"It was total astonishment and a miracle that you have eight dolphins that were swept away and are now right back in your backyard and you can touch 'em," Solangi said.

Immediately, the Oceanarium's trainers were out on the scene, feeding their dolphins and plotting how to rescue them.

"They wouldn't leave, I mean they were flipping, they were jumping, they hadn't had food for two weeks," Solangi said. "They don't have FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency], they don't have anybody else but their trainers."

The hope is to teach the animals to leap onto mats and then into boats so they can be transferred to pools the Navy is bringing in. A dolphin rescue team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association is helping in the effort.

"Many of the dolphins are already trained to come up on their stomachs, we call that beaching," said Delphine Vanderpool, a dolphin trainer at the Marine Life Oceanarium. "If we can get some of them to beach on the mat, that would be great."

"It looks really good for at least six of the animals," said Jeff Foster, who is part of the NOAA team. "Two are a little standoffish."

The dolphins who don't learn how to jump onto the mats will be rescued by nets, Vanderpool said.

"All of them have lost weight," Vanderpool added. "But right now, they seem to be doing well.

To learn more about the Marine Life Oceanarium and its dolphins, visit

09-15-05 11:43 EDT

Copyright 2005

Out of Katrina's Wake, Victims Find Aid in Harlem

I wonder if any of them are deaf.

Out of Katrina's Wake, Victims Find Aid in Harlem
By NINA BERNSTEIN (NY Times, I think)

Published: September 17, 2005

Using a model developed to help bereaved families after 9/11, New York has turned one floor of an old Harlem welfare office into a welcoming center where several hundred Katrina storm survivors are finding one-stop disaster assistance.

Asia Townsend of New Orleans waited for her son, David, 27, Friday at the hurricane disaster relief center in Harlem.

The center, which opened at noon Thursday, had handled more than 300 people from 100 families by Friday evening, city officials said, describing them as people who had made their way on their own from the storm-devastated Gulf region to join friends and family in New York. State rules for identification were waived so that no one would be denied public aid for lack of documents lost in the flood.

"We wanted to make these people feel welcome," said Bob McHugh, a spokesman for the city's Human Resources Administration. He said employees worked around the clock to remodel the space for the city's Office of Emergency Management, which is in charge of the overall operation. "These people are traumatized, and New York's going to be there for them."

On Friday night, the two dozen people at the center were almost overwhelmed by the city and state officials who were there to offer help. There was a day care area where children could play with toys on a newly-tiled floor, banks of telephones, computers and cubicles for privacy.

Besides such basics as food stamps, Medicaid and housing assistance, the families found offers of counseling from the Office of Mental Health, help accessing bank records from the State of New York Department of Banking, representatives from the Social Security Administration, and Red Cross workers handing out debit cards and hotel assignments.

"I'm tired, hungry; I'm ready to settle down," said Sheila Clifton, 39, who was holding a donated teddy bear and seeking a place to sleep for her family - sons Nicholas, 15, and Brandon, 17, and her granddaughter, Akyra Nettles, 5. "Everything's in one place, and I like it like that."

Nicholas said they had walked out of their house in New Orleans' Carrollton section in waist-high water two days after the storm, gathering what belongings they could, including important documents. With rides from friends and strangers, they made their way to Texarkana, Tex., and finally, after learning from an online bulletin board that Ms. Clifton's brother in New York was looking for her, they flew to New York with the help of the Federal Emergency Management Administration, or FEMA. Ms. Clifton had not seen her brother in seven years, Nicholas said.

Ms. Clifton, who said that before the flood she worked at the Place d'Armes Hotel in the French Quarter and was a student at Southern University, soon had a hotel room provided by the Red Cross, and had signed up for other benefits.

Initially, New York State prepared for many more than the 750 or so people who have shown up in county social services offices since the hurricane, said Joseph F. Bruno, the city's emergency management commissioner. Until Monday, officials at FEMA, had planned to send planeloads of Katrina evacuees to the state, and the city and six counties had volunteered to take them in - including Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Erie, Onondaga and Monroe.

Camp Smith near Bear Mountain had been selected as a staging area for up to 1,500 at a time and the state had agreed to accept as many as 5,000. Then the state, city and county officials who had mobilized for the event were told mass transports were off. Apparently too many evacuees resisted a secondary migration so far from home, Robert Doar, commissioner of the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, said yesterday.

Meanwhile, however, the state relaxed the rules for obtaining public benefits like food stamps, Medicaid and cash assistance. "If someone presents themselves as a victim of Katrina and doesn't have a driver's license or ID, those document requirements should be waived," Mr. Doar said yesterday.

"The situation in New Orleans was unprecedented. We wanted to respond in a way that showed the heart of New York, and we have."

At the same time, he added, counties were told, "Don't completely forget about the fact that there are unfortunate people in your cities and towns who will attempt to abuse this."

At the center, which will be open seven days a week - 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday - most of those seeking help Friday night had documentation, officials said.

Before reaching the center at 530 W. 135th Street, near Broadway, many had stopped at a welcome center set up nearby in the Great Hall of City University of New York, where weary families were issued photo ID's, screened by health care workers, and collected free MetroCards, diapers, comfort kits and cots.

Officials said they expected about 50 families a day. Mr. Bruno suggested that most would eventually return home to rebuild their city. But some seemed ready to put down roots.

Ollie Stewart, who worked at a home for abused children in New Orleans and lived in the Garden District, said his mother wound up in Tennessee and his sister in Georgia. But he likes what he has seen since Sept. 2, when he moved in with his 37-year-old brother, Darryl Bloodsaw. After picking up a Red Cross debit card worth $360 for 14 days, he said he was planning to stay in New York.

"They're taking care of me here," he said, "showing me mad love."

Peter Beller contributed reporting for this article.

Digital Mammograms Good for Young Women

Here's some education for us young women. I sure don't want my mammary glands squashed into pancakes when I'm older or ever during my lifetime. Who knows? I sure hope there's better technology by the time I need routine mammograms. In the meantime, I can rest assured that there's digital imaging for me. Knock on wood that I won't ever need one anyway. I don't like exposing my chest to medical professionals anyway.

Digital Mammograms Good for Young Women

(Sept. 16) -- Newer mammograms that allow doctors to use digital imaging to help spot cancer are better than standard X-rays for young women and those with dense breasts, but not for most post-menopausal women, a landmark study concludes.

Doctors say women who aren't in one of the groups that benefited can skip the extra cost of the newer digital tests and have a standard mammogram.

However, they expect digital tests to become more common because of their many advantages, including that they can be stored on a computer and sent electronically whenever a woman moves or a new doctor needs to see them.

"Everything is going filmless. If there's no disadvantage to digital mammography, I would presume over time it will replace film screening," said Dr. Kathy Brandt, chief of breast imaging at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who had no role in the study.

The study involved 42,760 women in the United States and Canada and was done by the American College of Radiology Imaging Network. It was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

Results were to be reported Friday at a medical meeting. They also were released online by the New England Journal of Medicine and will appear in its Oct. 27 edition.

Mammograms cut the risk of dying of breast cancer by up to 35 percent among women 50 and older, but only by 15 to 20 percent among younger women, who tend to have dense breasts that standard film X-rays have trouble penetrating.

Digital mammograms produce images on a computer screen, where they can be enhanced or magnified to reveal lurking signs of cancer. Doctors have hoped that this would improve mammography's usefulness for younger women.

The study aimed to learn whether they are more accurate; that is, whether they correctly detected cancer and didn't give too many "false alarms."

Each participant received both types of mammograms. Results were reviewed independently by two radiologists, and biopsies settled whether suspicious findings were cancer. Follow-up exams were done a year later to see how many cancers had been missed the first time around.

A total of 335 breast cancers were found. Both types of mammograms missed about 30 percent of them.

Digital mammograms proved 15 percent more accurate than standard film X-rays among women under 50, in whom breast cancer is relatively uncommon. Among women with dense breasts and those not yet in menopause, digital mammograms were 11 percent and 15 percent better, respectively.

For all other women, "film is just as good," said Dr. Etta Pisano, a radiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who led the study.

She said the results should help prioritize who gets the more expensive tests.

"We don't have enough digital mammography for everyone to get it and some women won't benefit from it anyway," Pisano said.

The first digital machines came on the U.S. market in 2001, but they account for only 8 percent of mammography equipment today, largely because of cost. Medicare pays an average of $85.65 for a standard film mammogram and $135.29 for a digital one.

Robert Smith, director of screening at the American Cancer Society, said no woman should delay getting a mammogram if a digital one is not available. The society recommends annual mammograms starting at age 40; the federal government advises them every one to two years for women in their 40s and then annually starting at age 50.

As for the study results, "we'd always like a newer technology to do better in every way," but improving mammograms for certain groups of women is still a gain, he said.

In the study, about two-thirds of women either had dense breasts, were under 50 or had not reached menopause. That led Dr. Daniel Sullivan, who heads cancer imaging at the cancer institute, to conclude "it may not be completely representative of the general population" because most mammograms are done on women over 50 who have fatty breasts.

The study was the largest ever done to compare mammography techniques. Earlier studies have found digital mammograms to be comparable in accuracy to film for women in general.

On the Net:

New England Journal:

09/16/05 09:20 EDT

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

Pizza Farm Gives Tourists a Slice of Life

I think this is an absolutely brilliant way to make a living, educate others, run a farm, and make a profit. Kudos to the farmers for their creativity.

Pizza Farm Gives Tourists a Slice of Life

DOW, Ill. (Sept. 16) - Walt Gregory found a way to make dough harvesting pizza. The retired insurance agent and his business partner have carved up quite a tourist draw near the Mississippi River town of Alton, educating people with a half-acre circular plot divided up like the slices of a huge pizza.

Each of the eight wedges represents something used on a pizza - from tomatoes to peppers to herbs including rosemary and sage. Three goats represent milk and Cleo the cow is symbolic of beef. Seven penned-in pigs illustrate pork.

The chickens pecking nearby? Eggs, of course.

"I enjoy it immensely, just to see the looks on people's faces and seeing some people make the connection," Gregory said from his 3-year-old "R" Pizza Farm. "A 62-year-old lady, standing with her husband, didn't know pepperoni came from pigs."

Only a handful of such farms are believed to exist in the United States. However, farmers increasingly are turning to inventive land use - cornfield mazes are another example - to supplement their bottom lines. Illinois, which is among the nation's leaders in pumpkin and horseradish production, is no exception.

The project seems to be working for Gregory and business partner Lynne Weis. They expect their organic pizza "demonstration" farm to draw 5,000 to 6,000 visitors this year, far more than the 1,500 visitors in 2004 or the 300 the year before that.

The two have a similar venture near Quincy, with plans for a third next spring near Peoria.

"Word's getting out," Gregory said as he walked through the wedges, plucking peppers and tomatoes along the way.

During tours offered from April through October, Gregory briefs guests about the ingredients, then walks them through each slice. Afterward, there's pizza and soda in a pizzeria inside a log cabin.

Most of the ingredients come from the farm and are organic, including the fennel herb commonly used to flavor Italian sausage. Gregory still hopes to find a source of organic cheese and is talking with an Amish slaughterhouse about supplying organic pepperoni.

Gregory hopes to educate guests about organic growing. He makes no bones about his opposition to corporations behind agricultural biotechnology or farmers who use herbicide-resistant products he considers dangerous.

"Someone's got to stand against them. That's what I try to accomplish with the pizza farm," said Gregory, who elsewhere on his spread grows asparagus, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, squash, pumpkins and corn.

Elizabeth Decker, a second-grade teacher in nearby Bethalto, can't seem to get her fill of the farm. She has taken her classes, which typically number 20 students and chaperoning parents, on the tour every year since the farm opened.

Decker said the place teaches kids firsthand what goes into a pizza, from harvest to hearth.

"I think parents learn just as much as the children," she said.

09-16-05 19:14 EDT

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

Candidates Screened for First Face Transplant

I think that the idea itself is mind-boggling. Yet, I understand the doctors' rationale for doing this type of transplant. Imagine how much this might help a deaf person since facial expression is a crucial part of ASL. It'd be strange to have the face of someone else and to have a new face affect your identity.

Candidates Screened for First Face Transplant


CLEVELAND (Sept. 17) - In the next few weeks, five men and seven women will secretly visit the Cleveland Clinic to interview for the chance to have a radical operation that's never been tried anywhere in the world.

They will smile, raise their eyebrows, close their eyes, open their mouths. Dr. Maria Siemionow will study their cheekbones, lips and noses. She will ask what they hope to gain and what they most fear.

Then she will ask, "Are you afraid that you will look like another person?"

Because whoever she chooses will endure the ultimate identity crisis.

Siemionow wants to attempt a face transplant.

This is no extreme TV makeover. It is a medical frontier being explored by a doctor who wants the public to understand what she is trying to do.

It is this: to give people horribly disfigured by burns, accidents or other tragedies a chance at a new life. Today's best treatments still leave many of them with freakish, scar-tissue masks that don't look or move like natural skin.

These people already have lost the sense of identity that is linked to the face; the transplant is merely "taking a skin envelope" and slipping their identity inside, Siemionow contends.

Her supporters note her experience, careful planning, the team of experts assembled to help her, and the practice she has done on animals and dozens of cadavers to perfect the technique.

But her critics say the operation is way too risky for something that is not a matter of life or death, as organ transplants are. They paint the frighteningly surreal image of a worst-case scenario: a transplanted face being rejected and sloughing away, leaving the patient worse off than before.

Such qualms recently scuttled face transplant plans in France and England.

Ultimately, it comes to this: a hospital, doctor and patient willing to try it.

The first two are now in place. The third is expected to be shortly.

The "consent form" says that this surgery is so novel and its risks so unknown that doctors don't think informed consent is even possible.

Here is what it tells potential patients:

Your face will be removed and replaced with one donated from a cadaver, matched for tissue type, age, sex and skin color. Surgery should last 8 to 10 hours; the hospital stay, 10 to 14 days.

Complications could include infections that turn your new face black and require a second transplant or reconstruction with skin grafts. Drugs to prevent rejection will be needed lifelong, and they raise the risk of kidney damage and cancer.

After the transplant you might feel remorse, disappointment, or grief or guilt toward the donor. The clinic will try to shield your identity, but the press likely will discover it.

The clinic will cover costs for the first patient; nothing about others has been decided.

Another form tells donor families that the person receiving the face will not resemble their dead loved one. The recipient should look similar to how he or she did before the injury because the new skin goes on existing bone and muscle, which give a face its shape.

All of the little things that make up facial expression - mannerisms like winking when telling a joke or blushing at a compliment - are hard-wired into the brain and personality, not embedded in the skin.

Some research suggests the end result would be a combination of the two appearances.

Surgeons will graft skin to cover the donor's wound, but a closed casket or cremation will be required.

It took more than a year to win approval from the 13-member Institutional Review Board, the clinic's gatekeeper of research. Siemionow assembled surgeons, psychiatrists, social workers, therapists, nurses and patient advocates, and worked with LifeBanc, the organ procurement agency she expects will help obtain a face.

At first, not everyone was on her side, acknowledged the board's vice chairman, Dr. Alan Lichtin. After months of debate, Siemionow brought in photographs of potential patients.

Looking at the contorted images, Lichtin said he was struck by "the failure of the present state of the art to help these people." He decided he didn't want to deprive the surgeon or patients of the chance.

The board's decision didn't have to be unanimous.

In the end, it was.

Surgeons wished they could have done a transplant six years ago, when a 2-year-old boy attacked by a pit bull dog was brought to the University of Texas in Dallas where Dr. Karol Gutowski was training.

Other doctors had tried to reattach part of the boy's mauled face but it didn't take. The Texas surgeons did five skin grafts in a bloody, 28-hour surgery. Muscles from the boy's thigh were moved to around his mouth. Part of his abdomen became the lower part of his face. Two forearm sections became lips and mouth.

"He'll never be normal," said Gutowski, now a reconstructive surgeon at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Surviving such wounds can be "life by 1,000 cuts." Patients endure dozens of operations to graft skin inch by inch from their backs, arms, buttocks and legs. Only small amounts can be taken at a time because of bleeding.

Surgeons often return to the same areas every few weeks, reopening old wounds and building up skin. Years later, many patients are still having surgeries. A face transplant - applying a sheet of skin in one operation - could be a better solution.

Despite its shock factor, it involves routine microsurgery. One or two pairs of veins and arteries on either side of the face would be connected from the donor tissue to the recipient. About 20 nerve endings would be stitched together to try to restore sensation and movement. Tiny sutures would anchor the new tissue to the recipient's scalp and neck, and areas around the eyes, nose and mouth.

"For 10 years now, it could have been done," said Dr. John Barker, director of plastic surgery research at the University of Louisville, where the first hand transplant in the United States was performed in 1999.

Several years ago, these doctors announced their intent to do face transplants, but no hospital has yet agreed. They also are working with doctors in the Netherlands; nothing is imminent.

However, Siemionow had been doing experimental groundwork. She already had creatures that resembled raccoons in reverse - white rats with masks of dark fur - from years of face transplant experiments. She developed a plan and got clinic approval before going public, and insists she is not competing to do the first case.

"I hope nobody will be frivolous or do things just for fame. We are almost over-cautious," she said.

Siemionow, 55, went to medical school in Poland, trained in Europe and the United States, and has done thousands of surgeries in nearly 30 years. The success of this one depends on picking the right patient.

She wants a clear-cut first case. No children because risks are too great. No cancer patients because anti-rejection drugs raise the risk of recurrence.

"You want to choose patients who are really disfigured, not someone who has a little scar," yet with enough healthy skin for traditional grafts if the transplant fails, she said.

The person must bond with the transplant team, especially Siemionow. How much would she want to know about the person?

"Everything possible. It's a commitment on both sides," she said.

Dr. Joseph Locala will decide whether candidates are mentally fit. His chief concern: making sure they realize the risks.

"They almost need to understand as much as the surgeon," he said.

A psychiatrist who has worked with transplant patients for 11 years, Locala knows they often have been coached on what to say to be chosen. He'd veto candidates who had abused alcohol or drugs, because they may not comply with medications.

Likewise someone who had attempted or seriously threatened suicide, or with little family or friends for support.

"I'm looking for a psychologically strong person. We want people who are going to make it through," he explained.

Dr. James Zins, chairman of plastic surgery, expects to be among the 10 to 12 doctors involved in the transplant and has been screening patients.

"We get some pretty strange calls from people who are really not candidates," he said. For someone to be chosen, "they're going to have to get a pass from every member of the team."

Matthew Teffeteller might seem an ideal candidate.

Hair is driving him crazy. What used to be a beard can't grow through the skin-graft quilt that Vanderbilt University doctors stitched over parts of his face that were seared off in a car crash. Trapped under this crust, hair festers, leading to staph infections, pain and more surgeries.

"It's a nightmare and it never ends," he said. "Being burned is the worst thing that can happen to you. I'm about sure of it."

Teffeteller, 26, lives south of Knoxville, in the foothills of Great Smoky Mountains National Park where he worked, ironically, as a fire fighter. The day after Valentine's Day in 2002, he was taking his pregnant wife to buy a cowboy hat and go country line dancing to celebrate their first anniversary.

"The next thing I remember, everything just went all to pieces...there was a big explosion. I remember seeing gas splash off of the windshield," he said.

Rear-ended by a truck, his car flipped and caught on fire. His wife died. He was burned trying to free her.

"They said my face was charcoal black," he said.

He didn't see it for two months, until he glimpsed a mirror on his way to therapy.

"Oh, my God," he thought. "I remember seeing my eyes pulled open. I remember my ears were burned off, and I remember my bottom lip being pulled down."

Three years later, his face still frightens children. Yet he wouldn't try a transplant.

"Having somebody else's face ... that wouldn't be right. When I look in the mirror, I might be scarred but I can still tell that it's me," he said.

"I'd be afraid something would go wrong, too. What would you do if you didn't have a face? Could you live?"

Bioethicist Carson Strong at the University of Tennessee wonders, too.

"It would leave the patient with an extensive facial wound with potentially serious physical and psychological consequences," he wrote last summer in the American Journal of Bioethics.

Such worries led the Royal College of Surgeons in England and the French National Ethics Advisory Committee to decide it shouldn't be tried. Any doctor considering it should examine soul and conscience, Strong wrote.

Ironically, people most emotionally devastated by disfigurement are those most likely to seek a transplant and least able to cope with uncertain results, media attention and loss of privacy, ethicists from England wrote in the same journal.

One worried that a donor family might have unhealthy expectations of seeing a loved-one "live on" in another person's body, or that recipients might want to see and approve a potential face.

No way, said Siemionow.

"It's not a shopping mall. They need to rely on our judgment. If they are starting to shop, they are not good candidates," she said.

Siemionow said critics should admit that risks and need for the transplant are debatable.

"Really, who has the right to decide about the patient's quality of life?" she asked. "It's very important not to kind of scare society.... We will do our best to help the patient."

If all of the candidates back out, "that's OK. It means that we are not ready yet," she said.

But if a transplant succeeds, many people who live in misery could benefit, said Gutowski, the Wisconsin surgeon.

"Someone's got to push the envelope," he said. "In retrospect, we'll know whether it should be done."

09-17-05 17:00 EDT

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.