Saturday, March 31, 2007


Today's religious holiday, according to my calendar, is the Islamic holiday Miladun-Nabi (I also see it called Miladdunnabi, Eid-e-Miladunnabi and Mawlid al-Nabi). It marks the birth of the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad, the founder of Islam.

The Prophet Muhammad was born about A.D. 570 in the city of Mecca and died in A.D. 632. He established Islam as a religion.

"At a critical point in his life, Muhammad received a vision of the angel Gabriel who called him into service as a prophet. He later received a second vision of Gabriel who told him to "magnify thy Lord." Muhammad then began to preach publicly in Mecca where he had lived for many years. Many people were receptive to his message but others ridiculed him. Because of the opposition of many citizens of Mecca and threats against him, Muhammad fled to Yathrib in A. D. 622. This journey of nearly 200 miles is known as the Hegira and is so important that the Muslim calendar begins with the year of the Hegira.

The Mawlid al-Nabi was first observed around the thirteenth century and was preceded by a month of celebration. The actual day of Muhammad's birthday included a sermon, recitation of litanies, honoring of religious dignitaries, gift giving, and a feast. The festival spread throughout the Muslim world and is celebrated in many countries today. However, some conservative sects (e.g., the Wahhabiyah) consider the celebration to be idolatrous."

See also:

Very interesting - the life of Muhammad:

Friday, March 30, 2007

A walk along the river

Kanawha River, Charleston, West Virginia

I have been walking every day, 30-45 minutes generally. The weather was perfect today so I snapped some pics with my cell phone. I usually walk on the Kanawha Boulevard, today I walked below it, on the lower sidewalk, which is much nicer and less crowded. I stop and sit by the river and enjoy the peacefulness before I go back, and it usually puts me in a good frame of mind to return to work.

Click on pics for larger versions

Sunshine, jet trail, trees!

The first half of the walk, upriver


To the right from where I was sitting

To the left

Looking up toward where I usually walk

On the way back, down river

I heart big old trees! In the background is the Southside Bridge. Maybe next week I'll walk across it. But then I'll just walk right back, because if I continued I'd have to walk up hill, up Bridge Road. It would be a beautiful place for a walk, and I see people walking over there, but I'm not in good enough shape for that yet.

Bye for now

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Weekly Quote

"What you believe yourself to be, you are." -- Claude M. Bristol

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Woman eats dog's food, gets sick

This beats just about all the tainted pet food stories I've seen!

"It's a case that could be related to the tainted pet food that has killed several dogs and cat's and sickened dozens more across in Canada and the United States.

Elaine Larabie tells the Ottawa Citizen that for three days she suffered symptoms that included loss of appetite, vomiting, foaming at the mouth and trouble urinating. She went to an emergency room on Tuesday and is now awaiting test results from blood work. advertisement

After noticing her dog, Missy, wasn't eating, Larabie said she took bites of Iams pet food in order to trick the terrier into thinking it was people food.

The ploy worked and the mealtime routine continued for about two weeks until both dog and master became sick on March 17."

More here: Woman, dog both sick after eating recalled pet food

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A couple of recent UFO stories

"Former Gov. [of Arizona] Fife Symington says now that those strange lights that appeared over Phoenix a decade ago were from another world and that he had a close encounter with an alien craft on March 13, 1997. 'I'm a pilot and I know just about every machine that flies. It was bigger than anything that I've ever seen. It remains a great mystery. Other people saw it, responsible people,' Symington said Thursday. 'I don't know why people would ridicule it.'"

UFOs flew over Phoenix in '97, Symington says

* * *

"France became the first country to open its files on UFOs Thursday when the national space agency unveiled a website documenting more than 1,600 sightings spanning five decades. The online archives, which will be updated as new cases are reported, catalogues in minute detail cases ranging from the easily dismissed to a handful that continue to perplex even hard-nosed scientists. ... Of the 1,600 cases registered since 1954, nearly 25 percent are classified as "type D", meaning that "despite good or very good data and credible witnesses, we are confronted with something we can't explain," ... .

France opens secret UFO files covering 50 years

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Happy Naw Ruz

Well I wanted to research this holiday more, but I don't have time, unfortunately. Here's a bit about this holiday, which coincides with the Vernal Equinox. On my calendar it is spelled "Naw-Ruz" but it appears to have other spellings as well.

"Naw-Rúz is an ancient Iranian New Years day festival which occurs near the Spring Equinox. It is now a world holiday of the Bah á'í faith. If the equinox occurs before sunset, then New Year's Day is celebrated on that day in the Middle East; otherwise it is delayed until the following day. In the rest of the world, it is always on MAR-21. It is celebrated with many symbols indicating regrowth and renewal - much like the Christian Easter. Some members follow the ancient Iranian "haft-sin" custom on this day involves arranging seven objects whose name begin with the letter "S" in Persian; e.g. hyacinths, apples, lilies, silver coins, garlic, vinegar and rue."

It appears to be celebrated all over the middle east. It is a time for spring cleaning, new clothes, visiting family. Not unlike the other new year celebrations I have been reading about.

There's a long Wikipedia article that has a lot more of the history and such:

Maybe next year I'll actually learn more about it :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Happy Ostara (and First Day of Spring!!)

For those of you new to this journal, I am learning about unfamiliar religious holidays which appear on my calendar.

Today is the Spring Equinox, and “Ostara”, which my calendar says is a Pagan/Wiccan holiday. It is the time of the balancing of the earth's gravity midway between the extremes of light and dark at Winter and Summer Solstice.

Ostara is based on several holidays celebrated around the Vernal Equinox. Ostara is one of the eight major Wiccan holidays and is celebrated on the Vernal Equinox. It marks the end of winter and beginning of the season of rebirth (spring). It is a time to honor the God and Goddess as natures balance returns to the world. To celebrate the rebirth of Mother Nature.

The name goes back to Jakob Grimm, who, in his Deutsche Mythologie, speculated about an ancient German goddess Ostara, after whom the Easter festival (german: Ostern) could have been named. (Although another article says this time is sacred to Eostre, the Saxon Lunar Goddess of fertility, where we get the word estrogen from and whose symbols were the egg and rabbit.) Obviously, the Christians took this holiday and made their own out of it, and incorporated some of the pagan symbols. That always amuses me because some Christians are or would be horrified to think that they are using pagan symbols. But to me, it is just another example of how many religions celebrate similar holidays around the same time. This is a time of rebirth and awakening after a long winter. Everything comes alive. I watch eagerly for the first crocuses, the first green leaves on the trees, the first yellow buds on the forsythia and I am filled with joy when I see them! It makes me want to celebrate too. What better time is there to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

I’m not sure exactly how Ostara is celebrated because I don’t have time to research it in depth. It appears to me that there is no one set way. Colored eggs, symbols of fertility such as rabbits and early spring flowers are mentioned, as are various rituals.

For Pagans, this is a day of preparation - reconsecrating magikal tools, balancing energies for new work, blessing seeds for spring planting, etc. It is also a time for introspection, examining where you might be unbalanced and where you need to let go of the past and prepare for a fertile future. You may conduct a simple ritual to honor the rebirth of Mother Nature and the coming of spring.

Sources/More Info:


Monday, March 19, 2007

Quote of the Week

"The ancient Hawaiians knew that there were many paths to the top of the mountain, each one beautiful in its own way - yet the view from the top is always the same. Their teachings remind us to honor our path and the path of our fellow travelers. Remember to walk always in light, live in love, and treat all beings with honor, dignity, and respect." - Susan Gregg

Saturday, March 17, 2007

IMPORTANT Pet Food Recall

There has been a major recall of wet pet food in cans and foil pouches, sold as store brands for Wal-Mart, Safeco, Krogers, PetSmart and others. There have been reports of kidney failure and death. They have also recalled Iams and Eukanuba canned and foil pouch food with code dates of 6339 through 7073 followed by plant code 4197.

The news story is here:

More detailed product info and list of brands is here:

I have both Iams and Nutro in my kitchen right now :(. Luckily only Roscoe & Snoop eat it and then only once or twice a week. I am going to throw it all out just to be safe.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

"Cats Invade Neb. House, 3 Injured"

Now that is a headline you just don't see everyday. What a story!

"NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) - Two stray cats got into a house and attacked three people inside, then were euthanized and checked for rabies, authorities said.
The cats entered Melissa Breva's house through an open front door on Monday, and attacked two women visitors and a boy, authorities said.

"I thought I had seen it all, but I have never seen anything like this," Chief of Police Martin Gutschenritter said.

Animal control officer John Pettit responded to a call for help, Gutschenritter said.

One woman was scratched and bitten on her legs; the other woman was bitten on her right calf, authorities said.

After talking to them, Pettit went to his truck for snares, then heard screaming from inside the house.

"When he ran back, he saw a young male with blood over his face," Gutschenritter said. "He was bitten on his forehead, nose, left ear and right cheek."

After some first aid from Pettit, the three were taken to Great Plains Regional Medical Center.

When investigator John Stadler arrived and opened the bedroom door, "he saw a gray and white cat baring its teeth in attack mode," Gutschenritter said. "He shut the bedroom door and returned to his car for a dart gun."

Both cats were shot, tranquilized and taken to the animal shelter, where they were euthanized.

The bodies were sent to Lincoln for rabies checks, Gutschenritter said.

Authorities want to find out who owned the cats. Under a city ordinance, cats may run free if they don't become nuisances."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Big & Rich: Instant Karma

Big & Rich is going to have a song on "Instant Karma", an all-star album benefiting Amnesty International's campaign to end the Darfur genocide. It will be out June 12 and sounds great.

More here:

Daily Darfur: Your Daily Dose of Activism: 3/12/07.

Quote of the Week

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."

- Mother Theresa

Monday, March 12, 2007

DaVinci Code

I finally watched the DaVinci Code (movie) this weekend. I was pleasantly surprised and thought it was very good. Like the book, it kept me on the edge of my seat. And it was pretty true to the book. Wikipedia lists the differences between the book and the film:

I’m not very good at reviewing. My review is either I like it or I don’t. :) And this one, I liked.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Secret

a/k/a The Law of Attraction

The book/DVD "The Secret" gives three steps--"ask, believe, receive" . More detailed in steps, from BeliefNet with a bit added by me (but from the film):

1. Clear Your Mind - Designate a place in your home as your "intention space," such as an altar. Sit, quietly, comfortably, and breathe. Meditate 5-10 minutes.

2. Decide What You Want - Be clear or you'll attract mixed results. Focus on your desires and dream big.

3. Ask For It - Write down what you want very specifically, in present-tense, as if you've already gotten your wish: "'I am so happy and grateful now that...' And then explain how you want your life to be, in every area. Say it in a positive way - leave out negative words like debt i.e. "I want to get out of debt." Instead say "I am living a life of abundance and wealth."

4. Visualize Having It - Every day, close your eyes for several minutes and imagine yourself standing inside your dream home, embracing your soul mate, standing in your ideal body. Keep focusing on what you want and imagining it so clearly that you can see, feel, smell, hear, and taste it.

5. Express and Feel Gratitude - Make a list of all that you're grateful for. Gratitude brings more good things to you and will open your heart .

6. Release Control - See your request going out to the Universe and let go of the details. Don't worry about how you will get it. The Universe will find a way.

7. Stay Positive - Be aware of your thoughts and feelings. Positive thoughts are more powerful than negative thoughts, so don't worry ifyou have negative ones. But try to turn them around and into positive ones. Feelings are more powerful than thoughts and you can monitor your thoughts by how you are feeling. Turn sad and angry feelings around quickly . Read a book you love, listen to music, think of your pet or someone you love, walk in nature. Stay up, light, and inspired. If you start doubting, replace that feeling with knowing you have it already.

8. Be Patient - Keep on believing and sending out positive thoughts and feelings.

9. Invite It In - Receive and enjoy your gifts. Send out gratitude and love for this process Srround yourself with photos of what you desire, say your desire aloud, go to an open house, a test drive. Do what it takes to let it enter your life.

10. Share the Wealth - Mother Teresa said she wouldn't attend an anti-war rally, but if there was ever a peace rally she'd be there. Along those lines, see Iraq and other troubled places filled with smiling, calm, peaceful people, bustling markets, sweetness, and inspiration. Feel peace in your body, send your love.

More here: 10 Steps to Unlocking 'The Secret'

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Trip to the Clay Center

Last weekend I took a trip to the the Clay Center (located in Charleston, West Virignia) with my nephew and niece. I had only been there once before, for a laser show in the Planetarium, so I was anxious to see the rest of it. I had seen that Africa: The Serenghetti was playing on the giant screen so I invited the kids to go with me. They had been several times so they had to show me around.

You can view pictures from our trip by clicking on this photo to see the album:

Clay Center

There is a beautiful sculpture out front, and I had the kids pose with the statue children before we sent in. Inside the Clay Center is the Avampato Discovery Museum, which includes interactive science exhibits. I love stuff like that! There are different sections, like "Earth City", which taught us about earth science and where had fun with water and dirt. Health Royale taught us about our bodies and health. It included a life-sized "intestine" and a Hollywood Squares game with talking body organs.

The best part (to me) is Gizmo Factory, which had things like a laser harp, a television studio (complete with anchor desk, teleprompters and monitors, and green screen), a full body pin screen, a voice modifier, and lots, lots more.

We really had a blast. I love kid stuff, particular when it teaches me things. You're never too old to re-learn all the stuff you forgot from science class!

The art museum upstairs is also very nice. They had exhibits from two West Virginia artists on display, as well as their permanent collection. Their website shows some of the art (perhaps all of the permanent collection), but it's not up to date. I can't find my favorite painting on it.

The Clay Center also has a giant screen, where we saw the movie. We skipped the planetarium this time.

I look forward to visiting the Clay Center again soon!

Happy International Women's Day 2007!

"Celebrated on 8 March, International Women's Day (IWD) is the global day connecting all women around the world and inspiring them to achieve their full potential. IWD celebrates the collective power of women past, present and future."

International Women's Day 2007

Picasa Updates

from the Google blog:

'Store and find even more photos on Picasa Web Albums
3/07/2007 09:15:00 PM

Posted by Mike Horowitz, Product Manager, Picasa

We have a few long-awaited improvements at Picasa Web Albums today. A new Community Photos search feature helps you discover and explore the public web albums of others on the site. Free storage is now 1GB (and counting)—that's room to post and share around 4,000 standard resolution photos. And we've made albums and photos easier to link to from any email, IM or website—simply copy and paste the code we show you."

Google rocks! I love everything they come out with. I've been using Picasa for a couple of years and love it. And now they've upped the storage on the web albums!

Official Google Blog: Store and find even more photos on Picasa Web Albums

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Happy Purim

Purim is a Jewish holiday commemorating a time when the Jewish people in Persia were saved from extermination.

The Book of Esther in the Bible relates the story of Purim. Esther was a beautiful young Jewish woman living in Persia, raised by her cousin Mordecai. Esther became part of the King of Persia’s harem, but he was not aware that she was Jewish. King Ahasuerus loved her more than his other women and made her queen.

Haman was one of the king’s advisors. He hated Mordecai because Mordecai refused to bow down to him. So Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish people. Haman told the king, "There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm. Their laws are different from those of every other people's, and they do not observe the king's laws; therefore it is not befitting the king to tolerate them." Esther 3:8. The king gave the fate of the Jewish people to Haman, to do with as he pleased. Haman planned to exterminate all of the Jews.

Mordecai persuaded Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jewish people, a dangeous thing to do because anyone who came into the king’s presence without being summoned could be put to death. Esther fasted for three days to prepare, then went into the king, who welcomed her. She told him of Haman's plot, the Jewish people were saved, and Haman was hanged on the gallows that had been prepared for Mordecai.

The word "Purim" means "lots" and refers to the lottery Haman used to choose the date for the massacre.

The day before Purim, the Fast of Esther is held to commemerate Esther's three days of fasting. On Purim, celebrations are held which include the reading the Book of Esther (whenever Haman is mentioned, it is customary to boo, hiss, stamp feet and rattle noisemakers), feasting, sending gifts of food and drink and making gifts to charity. It is customary to hold carnival-like celebrations, perform plays and parodies, and hold beauty contests.

Sources/Lots More Info:

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Happy Holi

Holi is a Hindu holiday that appears on my calendar for Saturday, March 3.

Holi falls on the Full moon day in the month of Phalgun on the Hindu Calendar (March on ours). This festival heralds the arrival of Spring and the triumph of good over evil. It is a day of hijinx and general hilarity. It has ancient origins, existing several centuries before Christ, but its meaning has changed over time.

Holi was originally a festival to celebrate good harvests and fertility of the land, but now commemorates the legend of an arrogant king who ordered his people to worship him as God. His son, Prahlada, however, continued worshiping Lord Vishnu. The king tried to kill his son but failed each time. Finally, he sent his sister, Holika, who was said to be immune to burning, to sit with the boy in a huge fire. However, Prince Prahlada emerged unscathed, while Holika burned to death.

This festival is also associated with the love of Krishna and Radha.

The festival is celebrated in different ways in different areas. Generally Holi is an excuse for Indians to shed inhibitions and caste differences for a day of spring fever and fun. Teenagers spend the day flirting and misbehaving in the streets, adults extend the hand of peace, and everyone chases everyone else around, throwing brightly colored powder (gulal) and water over each other.

On the night of the full moon, bonfires are lit to cleanse the air of evil spirits and bad vibes, and to symbolize the destruction of Holika. The next morning, the streets fill with people running, shouting, giggling and splashing. Marijuana-based bhang and thandai add to the uninhibited atmosphere. Promptly at noon, the craziness comes to an end and everyone heads to the river or bathtub, then inside to relax and partake of candies.

In some areas, women play “Holi” with the men. They drag their unlucky captives, beat them and dress them in female attire.

Sources/Lots more info:">

Friday, March 02, 2007

Peru: The Thirteen Towers of Chankillo

I have wanted to go to Peru since I saw it on that National Geographic show (that was only on for one season, unfortunately), called Worlds Apart, where they would take an American family and send them to all these exotic locations to live with and like the natives. Peru was so beautiful. The family they stayed with would go out on this mountain and meditate every morning while holding large crystals, Amethyst and others. I just wanted to be there so badly.

Celestine Prophecy is set there. I am fascinated by the ancient peoples in South America but I don't know a lot about them.

Anyway, I just saw this article about these stone towers on top of a hill in Peru ("the Thirteen Towers of Chankillo") that they have finally figured out is the Western hemisphere's oldest solar observatory. It's quite impressive from the arial view:

Here is the article: Stone towers make up oldest observatory in Peru

Big & Rich + Bon Jovi = We Got It Goin' On

"This year the Arena Football League will feature a duet between the iconic, Grammy Award-winning rock band Bon Jovi and country sensations Big & Rich. Philadelphia Soul co-owner Jon Bon Jovi and band-mate Richie Sambora co-wrote a brand new song titled "We Got It Goin' On" with Big Kenny and John Rich that will become the theme song and part of the opening video for ESPN's weekly 2007 AFL game telecasts. "We Got It Goin' On" will also appear on the upcoming Bon Jovi album, which is planned for a 2007 release. "


Thursday, March 01, 2007


The Blue Mountain Center of Meditation teaches meditation and other skills based on Eknath Easwaran’s Eight Point Program for spiritual growth. The following is taken from their website:


1. Meditation: Silent repetition in the mind of memorized inspirational passages from the world’s great religions. Practiced for one-half hour each morning.

2. The Mantram: Silent repetition in the mind of a Holy Name or a hallowed phrase from one of the world’s great religions. Practiced whenever possible throughout the day or night.

3. Slowing Down: Setting priorities and reducing the stress and friction caused by hurry.

4. One-Pointed Attention: Giving full concentration to the matter at hand.

5. Training the Senses: Overcoming conditioned habits and learning to enjoy what is beneficial.

6. Putting Others First: Gaining freedom from selfishness and separateness; finding joy in helping others.

7. Spiritual Companionship: Spending time regularly with others following the Eight Point Program for mutual inspiration and support.

8. Reading the Mystics: Drawing inspiration from writings by and about the world’s great spiritual figures and from the scriptures of all religions.

See their website for more information:

YouTube Birth Year Meme

Go to YouTube and do a search for your birth year and post a video from the results.

For 1963 here is my favorite -- a bizarre bicycle safety film with kids with monkey masks and tails. It's 14 minutes long and I didn't think I would watch the whole thing but I couldn't look away. The kids who don't practice good bicycle safety end up in all kinds of accidents, including incidents involving steam rollers, open manhole covers and dark tunnels! In the end only one little boy makes it to the picnic, which apparently is why they titled the film: "One Got Fat". Enjoy...

Honorable Mention:

Johnny Cash performing Ring of Fire:

Ronald McDonald is introduced in a McDonald's commercial... played by Willard Scott!