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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
The folks that you're associating with have been truly enjoying your company -- and truly learning from you.
They've decided to act on what you've taught them, too -- so however subtle their message is, and however subtly they're portraying it, rest assured that you'll recognize it and that you won't be the only one to pick up on it.
You may, however, need to ask them to tone down their rhetoric.
Just a touch.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Florence, Toscana, Italy
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Kemaman, Terengganu, Malaysia
Hilversum, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
London, England, United Kingdom
Santander, Cantabria, Spain

as well as Hungary, Finland, Indonesia, Argentina and in cities across the United States such as Los Angeles, Hurricane, Franklin, Parkville and more.

Today is:
Today is Sunday, September 12, the 255th day of 2010.
There are 110 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Video Games Day

It is also National Grandparent's Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

The gods love Carolina Naturally

When the gods were asked where they wanted to live they said Carolina Naturally

Upping the cute factor


Rock Balancing as Art

Canadian photographer Peter Riedel balances rocks atop each other as art. It’s not easy, and the results are fascinating. The precarious sculptures don’t last long at the seashore, but are captured in photographs. 

Spain On The Edge

For many, Spain is and forever will be associated with its beautiful coastline and beaches and that is certainly where most tourists head. However, there is an altogether steeper side to this 'larger than you might have thought country' on the Iberian Peninsula. This is Spain on the edge, where geography meets history head on.

Historic hotel's contents for sale

One painting said to portray young girl who became hotel's ghost; many items there since 1922 opening.
This photo is displayed in the Vance Hotel lobby each fall before Halloween.

The stately, five-story Vance Hotel in downtown Statesville welcomed millions of visitors from 1922 to 2008. It also served for a time as a retirement home, hosted several major movies and, according to some local folklore, may have been haunted.

But now, with new plans on the horizon, the unique contents of the now-vacant building - which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places - are up for sale.

Thomas Wilson, the owner of the 72,000-square-foot building, will offer restaurant and banquet room furniture, paintings, kitchen utensils, tapestries and many other items in a massive liquidation sale from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day next Sunday through Sept. 24.

From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. today there is a pre-sale walk-through to allow inspection of the many items. Virtually everything that's been inside the hotel will be on display.
Proceeds of the sale will be split between Wilson and a church in south Statesville.

Wilson acquired the hotel in 2008 from its former owner, Cecil Stallard, who bought it in 2003 and kept it open until fall 2006. Caretaker Wade Ikard said the hotel is under contract for sale.
Stallard and Ikard have both heard that a bar, restaurant and banquet facility are among the new owner's planned uses. Both declined to identify the new owner or provide other information on future plans for the old hotel at Front and Center streets.

Ikard spent most of Labor Day weekend doing an inventory of what's inside.
The list shows more than 1,000 items for sale. Among the more valuable and historic pieces are the paintings that adorned the hotel lobby and hallways since it opened 88 years ago.

One painting, portraying a small girl, has played a role in a strange story about the hotel.
According to some local historians, late one night many years ago, a young girl got into a dispute with her mother and bolted from their hotel room. Wearing an expensive, beaded dress, the girl went to sit by the hotel's swimming pool, to have a moment by herself. Then she decided to dive in. The weight of the dress pulled her to the bottom, and she drowned.

Since then, people have reported seeing a young girl near the hotel, dripping water from head to toe.
Since the drowning, Ikard said, visitors would come to the hotel around Halloween to check things out. The staff would move the painting, which is for sale, to the lobby to "add to the atmosphere," he said.
Ikard could not verify that the girl in the picture was the one who drowned, but he confirmed that a drowning occurred at the pool years ago.

And the legend lives on.

"When the movie crew was here with George Clooney in 2008 shooting the movie 'Leatherheads,'" local historian Nancy Davis said, "there were phone calls for me, the librarians and other historians, because the crew swore they kept seeing this wet girl in the hotel."

Iredell County's 2007 property revaluation listed the hotel's market value as $926,000. Some of the artifacts inside, however, may be priceless, Stallard said.
"Quite a few of the items, such as pictures, mirrors and kitchen utensils, stem from the original opening in 1922," Stallard said.

Shakespeare and Company

One of the most photographed bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, located in Paris’ Left Bank. The bookstore houses young writers, known as “tumbleweeds,” who earn their keep by working in the shop for a couple of hours each day. How delightful would it be to sleep in a bed surrounded by all these lovely old books?

Beautiful college campuses

You'll need to go outside the Ivy League to find most of these architectural marvels.  

Non Sequitur


WTC Ship Gives Up Lucky Coin

WTC Ship Gives Up Lucky Coin

WTC Ship Gives Up Lucky Coin
Since the 2nd century B.C., shipbuilders have been slipping a coin into the structure of their vessels.

The Ground Zero mosque that used to exist

Business Insider:
It turns out there was a Muslim prayer room on the 17th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center, where Americans and other traveling Muslims prayed every day.

On September 11th, 2001, when a handful of terrorists flew planes into the towers, some of the folks who used the room evacuated in time. Others probably didn't.

In other words, there already was a "ground zero mosque"--used by Muslim Americans who were murdered just like everyone else.

Poverty rate growing rapidly

And you can thank the repugicans for it.
The ranks of poor Americans are approaching levels not seen since the 1960s, experts say. 

British MPs feared Murdoch's newspaper so never called CEO for investigation

This is stunning news about Rupert Murdoch's News of the World newspaper. British politicians failed to call the newspaper's CEO because they feared their lives would be turned upside down with more attacks. It really does make you wonder about the power of Murdoch's media empire in the UK as well as the US. The Guardian:
A cross-party committee of MPs abandoned plans to force the News International chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, to testify last year after they were warned that their private lives would be investigated, a former member alleged last night.

Adam Price, a former Plaid Cymru MP, told Channel 4 News that a group of committee members shied away from the "nuclear option" of issuing a warrant for Brooks to attend after a senior Tory warned that News International would "go for us".

Adrian Sanders, a Liberal Democrat member of the committee, said that the Tory chairman of the committee, John Whittingdale, had issued the warning. "The chairman himself had made some sort of allusion towards what could happen were we to go down this route. But there was no surprise in that because it was sort of, 'Well, yeh, we knew that from that beginning'."

The truth be told


Cancer-Fighting Foods

Cancer-Fighting Foods: Facts and Fiction

The Price of Happiness

Seems to be $75,000.

Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness turned out to be flat wrong. Researchers have now proven that indeed money *can* buy happiness … up to a point.
In the study, researchers tried to evaluate the effect of money in two ways: One was on how people think about their lives and the other was on the feelings they have as they experience life. Responses from more than 450,000 Americans, gathered in 2008 and 2009, were evaluated.
The study found that people’s evaluations of their lives improved steadily with annual income. But the quality of their everyday experiences — their feelings — did not improve above an income of $75,000 a year. As income decreased from $75,000, people reported decreasing happiness and increasing sadness, as well as stress. The study found that being divorced, being sick and other painful experiences have worse effects on a poor person than on a wealthier one.
"More money does not necessarily buy more happiness, but less money is associated with emotional pain," the authors wrote. "Perhaps $75,000 is a threshold beyond which further increases in income no longer improve individuals’ ability to do what matters most to their emotional well-being, such as spending time with people they like, avoiding pain and disease, and enjoying leisure."

Everything Your Parents Told You About Studying Is Wrong

Everything you’ve learned about how to study is wrong. Did you think that having a study room, sticking to a homework schedule and intensely focusing on a single thing are good study habits? Think again:
In one classic 1978 experiment, psychologists found that college students who studied a list of 40 vocabulary words in two different rooms — one windowless and cluttered, the other modern, with a view on a courtyard — did far better on a test than students who studied the words twice, in the same room. Later studies have confirmed the finding, for a variety of topics. [...]
Varying the type of material studied in a single sitting — alternating, for example, among vocabulary, reading and speaking in a new language — seems to leave a deeper impression on the brain than does concentrating on just one skill at a time. Musicians have known this for years, and their practice sessions often include a mix of scales, musical pieces and rhythmic work. Many athletes, too, routinely mix their workouts with strength, speed and skill drills.

Why does your tummy growl?

Tummy growls are really just internal farts, according to Indiana Public Media's "A Moment of Science."
Basically, the involuntary muscle movements that push food through your digestive tract keep working even after most of that food has moved on down the line. Eventually, gas bubbles are all that's left to be squeezed, and you get a rumbling sound as they pop. It's part of how your intestine keeps itself cleansed—no expensive pills or powders required!
The same contractions that cause your stomach to growl also clean out the GI tract. To see how this cleaning movement works, picture a long hose made of a pliable material. If there were an object, say an egg, at one end of the hose, you could push it from that end to the other by squeezing all along the length of the hose. ... In order to push out bits of food particles left over from a meal, your gastrointestinal tract creates waves of contractions all along the length of the intestines at a rate of two or three per minute.

Bizarre Business Ideas That Made Millionaires

An affair website for married people, a dog poop-scooping business, goggles for dogs. 
Here are ten bizarre business ideas that made their inventors millionaires.



Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints
Look for the code on the bottom of plastics to limit your exposure to two chemicals.

Things They Won't Tell You

Things They Won't Tell You
The person who gives you the estimate may not be the one who does the job. 

Cars mechanics don't like

These automobiles are no friend to your local repair shop because they're just too reliable.

Is the 3,000-mile oil change outdated?

Car experts say the old rule doesn't apply to models bought in the last seven or eight years.  



Ten US States Constitutionally Protect The Right To Hunt & Fish

deerslayer book cover image
Deerslayer book cover picture excerpt. 
Image credit:Wikipedia
As one commenter on this trend states, seeking constitutional protection of the right to fish and hunt seems to be something of a 'tempest in a tea pot.' PETA celebrities have Deerslayer's leather stockings in a bundle, apparently. How else could you explain 10 US states amending their constitutions to protect hunting and fishing? (There is no National Fishing Rod Association equivalent to the NRA, by the way.)
Maybe it's more than naked PETA reps and NRA paranoia that have got 'em scared. Recently, EPA turned down a petition to ban the use of all lead shot, even for target shooting. Globally, there have been attempts to ban lead fishing sinkers to protect waterfowl and birds of prey - some having met with success at the US state level, in Canada, and in the EU.
Article continues: Ultimate Locavorism: Ten US States Constitutionally Protect The Right To Hunt & Fish

A Fish Tale

Frank Yarborough of Clover caught this 4.98-pound, 19.5-inch Pacu from Lake Wylie last week.
It is believed the be the largest ever caught from Lake Wylie.

On an overdue fishing trip with his brother last week, dropping line just off from a frequented restaurant dock made all the sense in the world to Frank Yarborough. What happened next, well, he’s still scratching his head.
“It’s definitely the strangest thing I ever caught in Lake Wylie,” Yarborough said of his almost five-pound, 20-inch pacu. “We had all kinds of people looking at it, taking pictures of it, Goggling it at the boat landing.”
On Wednesday Yarborough turned 40, yet in all those years even the lifelong Clover resident never once saw a fish with “teeth like a human” pulled from Lake Wylie. Now he pulls it out of his freezer — a non-native pacu that comes from the piranha family.

State biologists measured the pacu at 4.98 pounds and 19.5 inches – the largest ever from Lake Wylie.
“That’s the biggest one we’ve seen out of Lake Wylie,” said Wes Stewart, fisheries expert with South Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The fish was so large, in fact, that biologists told Yarborough and girlfriend Theresa Woods that they wanted to send off a sample of its brain tissue to figure out how old the fish was, and maybe even how it got that big.
“They have caught them before, but not this big,” Woods said. “They were kind of excited about it.”

Fishing Milestone

Steve Wozniak traveled the globe to catch more different kinds of fish than any angler in history.



The Pentagon and Fireflies

Scientists hope the secrets of the bugs' light could one day save American soldiers.  

Hippo-like Mammals Once Basked in Toasty Arctic

Hippo-like Mammals Once Basked in Toasty Arctic

Oldest Roman Baths In Asia Minor

An archaeological team has discovered the oldest Roman baths in Asia Minor - underneath existing Roman baths.

Nature's Incredible Cover-Up: An Ancient Amazonian Civilization

Was the thick, intimidating Amazon forest once home to an advanced civilization? A group of archaeologists turn to the vegetated landscape for answers.  

Scientists discover thick layer of oil on floor of Gulf

It sounds like quite a lot of the leaked oil has found its way to the bottom and is not going anywhere. Not surprisingly, dead fish and shrimp are being found under the layer of oil.

The Research Vessel Oceanus sailed on Aug. 21 on a mission to figure out what happened to the more than 4 million barrels of oil that gushed into the water. Onboard, Samantha Joye, a professor in the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Georgia, says she suddenly has a pretty good idea about where a lot of it ended up. It's showing up in samples of the seafloor, between the well site and the coast.

"I've collected literally hundreds of sediment cores from the Gulf of Mexico, including around this area. And I've never seen anything like this," she said in an interview via satellite phone from the boat.

Joye describes seeing layers of oily material — in some places more than 2 inches thick — covering the bottom of the seafloor.

"It's very fluffy and porous. And there are little tar balls in there you can see that look like microscopic cauliflower heads," she says.

Archaeologists Sound Alarm about Risk BP Drilling in Libya Could Pose to Ancient Sites

sabratha libya ancient site photo
Some of Libya's most important coastal ruins could be irreparably harmed by an oil spill.  
Photo by moscayan via Flickr.
With its rich ancient sites only recently opened up to visitors, Libya's slowly developing tourism industry may be in trouble before it really even gets going. According to archaeologists, 7th-century-BC cities and historic shipwrecks -- many of them still being surveyed -- could be at risk from BP's plans to sink an oil well off the country's coast before the end of the year.
Article continues: Archaeologists Sound Alarm about Risk BP Drilling in Libya Could Pose to Ancient Sites

Abandoned Islands

One of the strangest cities in the world sits just off the coast of Azerbaijan, abandoned and dilapidated. ‘Oily Rocks’ began with a single path out over the water and grew into a system of paths and platforms built on the back of ships sunken to serve as the city’s foundation. It was all created to serve the oil industry, and before long, it contained housing, schools, libraries and shops for the workers and their families. Now, only part of it remains as many of the paths have disappeared into the surf.

Evil horseman from Lord of the Rings captured on camera

A couple were stunned when they took this photograph of a waterfall – and captured a chilling apparition of an evil horseman from the Lord of the Rings. Stephen and Sue Barringer, 55 and 51, were on a walking holiday in the Yorkshire Dales when they took a picture of a beautiful waterfall.

But when they later watched a slideshow of the images they were shocked to see a dark, cloaked figure staring out at them. The cascading water had formed the shape of a ghoulish man – who looked identical to one of the nine ringwraiths, or Nazgul, in the Lord of the Rings.

Mom-of-three Sue, from Ramsey, near Huntingdon, Cambs., said: ”We didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary when we were at the waterfall and we even sat there for a cup of coffee. But when we got home and saw the dark figure of a hooded man we were just astonished.

”There were no rocks there so we think the shape must have been made entirely from falling water. The figure just leaps out at you and it is very spooky. I’m sure it isn’t a ghost or anything like that, but it does seem very supernatural.”