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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Hallowe'en!

Halloween joke

Two men were walking home after a Halloween party and decided to take a shortcut through the cemetery just for laughs. Right in the middle of the cemetery they were startled by a tap-tap-tapping noise coming from the misty shadows.

Trembling with fear, they found an old man with a hammer and chisel, chipping away at one of the headstones.

"Holy cow, Mister," one of them said after catching his breath, "You scared us half to death -- we thought you were a ghost! What are you doing working here so late at night?"

"Those fools!" the old man grumbled. "They misspelled my name!"

*Thanks, Rimsky :o)

Saturday, October 30, 2004


Just like this gif ;-)

Cool Photos

Cool Picture

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Cool Picture

Play With George W

Help George be happy.

Click here.

*Auntie 'M'


After Quasimodo's death, the bishop of the Cathedral of Notre Dame sent word through the streets of Paris that a new bell ringer was needed.

The bishop decided that he would conduct the interviews personally and went up into the belfry to begin the screening process. After observing several applicants demonstrate their skill, he had decided to call it a day. Just then, an armless man approached him and announced that he was there to apply for the bell ringer's job.

The bishop was incredulous. "You have no arms!"

"No matter," said the man. "Observe!"

And he began striking the bells with his face, producing a beautiful melody on the carillon. The bishop listened in astonishment; convinced he had finally found a replacement for Quasimodo.

But suddenly, rushing forward to strike a bell, the armless man tripped and plunged headlong out of the belfry window to his death in the street below. The stunned bishop rushed to his side. When he reached the street, a crowd had gathered around the fallen figure, drawn by the beautiful music they had heard only moments before.

As they silently parted to let the bishop through, one of them asked, "Bishop, who was this man?"

"I don't know his name," the bishop sadly replied,

(scroll down)


WAIT! WAIT! There's more.............

The following day, despite the sadness that weighed heavily on his heart due to the unfortunate death of the armless campanologist, the bishop continued his interviews for the bell ringer of Notre Dame.

The first man to approach him said, "Your Excellency, I am the brother of the poor armless wretch that fell to his death from this very belfry yesterday. I pray that you honour his life by allowing me to replace him in this duty."

The bishop agreed to give the man an audition, and, as the armless man's brother stooped to pick up a mallet to strike the first bell, he groaned, clutched at his chest, twirled around, and died on the spot.

Two monks, hearing the bishop's cries of grief of this second tragedy, rushed up the stairs to his side. "What has happened? Who is the man?" the first monk asked breathlessly.

"I don't know his name," sighed the distraught bishop, but............."

(.....Wait for it.......)

(.......It's worth it.......)


*Auntie 'M'

Friday, October 29, 2004

Have a great weekend!

Church Ordered To Stop Gay Outreach

Vatican strikes at Gays (Minneapolis, Minnesota) The Vatican has ordered a Minneapolis church to end its outreach program to the LGBT community.

St. Joan of Arc is known throughout the Midwest as a welcoming church for gays and lesbians. But, the Vatican sees the program, which includes Gay Pride material on its website, as a violation of Church doctrine.

The order to end the program was delivered in person to Rev. George Wertin of St. Joan's by two bishops. It was later reiterated in a statement issued by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

It specifically tells Wertin that the Pride material must be removed and that the church must stop allowing unordained guests to speak during mass.

The Archdiocese later issued a public statement saying that "the Archdiocese welcomes gay and lesbian worshippers who are in full communion with the moral teachings of the Church as they apply to all Catholics. It does not, however, endorse the promotion of sexual relations among unmarried persons."

Wertin said he will abide by the directive and that an official response from the congregation will made to the Archdiocese and the Vatican at a later date. Several parish committees are working on the reply.

St. Joan's has a long history of supporting the gay and lesbian community, including its organization of a hospice for people dying of AIDS and parish participation in Gay Pride events.

In an interview with the Star Tribune parish administrator Peter Eichten said emotions following the directive has ranged from fear to anger.

"We've really tried to avoid creating a we-versus-them type of situation," he told the paper. "We've never felt that we've done anything contrary to the teachings of the church. We would not do that. We feel that the gospel demand is to be open and hospitable to all people, no matter who or what they are."

This isn't the first time the church has been censured by the Archdiocese. Last year, internationally known minister and gay rights activist Mel White was barred from speaking at St. Joan's. White had been invited to give the homily, but on orders from Archbishop Harry Flynn the invitation was withdrawn.

Click on the banner below to read about the programs:

Click here

Martha's been busy....

Martha has been busy

Martha has been busy

Martha has been busy

Martha has been busy

Martha has been busy

*Auntie 'M'

Bobbit Family Update

In a recent Channel 4 news broadcast, it was announced that Lorena Bobbitt's sister Louella was arrested for an alleged attempt to perform the same act on her husband as her famous sister had done several years ago. Sources reveal the sister was not as accurate as Lorena.

She allegedly missed the target and stabbed her husband in the upper thigh causing severe muscle and tendon damage. The husband is reported to be in serious, but stable condition, and Louella has been charged with

A Misdewiener!


*Auntie 'M'

You named it what????

You named it what?

You named it what?

You named it what?

You named it what?

You named it what?

You named it what?

You named it what?

*Auntie 'M'

The Blonde and the Coke Machine

Pop Machine There was a beautiful young blonde who was going to a soda machine and she arrived there just before a business man coming to quench his thirst. She opened her purse and put in 50 cents, studied the machine a little, pushed a Diet Coke selection, and out came a Diet Coke which she placed on a counter by the machine.

Then she reached in her purse again and pulled out a dollar and inserted it in the machine. Studying the machine carefully, she pushed the button for Coke Classic and out came a Coke Classic and 50 cents change.

She immediately took the 50 cents and put it in the machine, studied it for a moment and pushed the Mountain Dew button. Out came a Mountain Dew. As she was reaching into her purse again, the business man who had been waiting patiently for several minutes now spoke up.

"Excuse me Ms. but are you done yet?" She looked at him and indignantly replied: "Well Duhhh!, I'm still winning"

Blonde woman

*Auntie 'M'

It just isn't Halloween

Flaming bag of poo

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Fascinating prehistoric dwarf skeleton found

In an astonishing discovery that could rewrite the history of human evolution, scientists say they have found the skeleton of a new human species, a dwarf, marooned for eons in a tropical Lost World while modern man rapidly colonized the rest of the planet. In an astonishing discovery that could rewrite the history of human evolution, scientists say they have found the skeleton of a new human species, a dwarf, marooned for eons in a tropical Lost World while modern man rapidly colonized the rest of the planet.

The finding on a remote Indonesian island has stunned anthropologists like no other in recent memory. It is a fundamentally new creature that bears more of a resemblance to fictional, barefooted hobbits than modern humans.

Yet biologically speaking, it may have been closely related to us and perhaps even shared its caves with our ancestors.

The 3-foot-tall adult female skeleton found in a cave is believed 18,000 years old. It smashes the long-cherished scientific belief that our species, Homo sapiens, systematically crowded out other upright-walking human cousins beginning 160,000 years ago and that we've had Earth to ourselves for tens of thousands of years.

Instead, it suggests recent evolution was more complex than previously thought.

And it demonstrates that Africa, the acknowledged cradle of humanity, does not hold all the answers to persistent questions of how — and where — we came to be.

"This finding really does rewrite our knowledge of human evolution," said Chris Stringer, who directs human origins studies at the Natural History Museum in London. "And to have them present less than 20,000 years ago is frankly astonishing."

Scientists called the dwarf skeleton "the most extreme" figure to be included in the extended human family. Certainly, she is the shortest.

She is the best example of a trove of fragmented bones that account for as many as seven of these primitive individuals that lived on the equatorial island of Flores, located east of Java and northwest of Australia. The mostly intact female skeleton was found in September 2003.

Scientists have named the extinct species Homo floresiensis, or Flores Man, and details appear in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

The specimens' ages range from 95,000 to 12,000 years old, meaning they lived until the threshold of recorded human history and perhaps crossed paths with the ancestors of today's islanders.

Flores Man was hardly formidable. His grapefruit-sized brain was two-thirds smaller than ours, and closer to the brains of today's chimpanzees and transitional prehuman species in Africa than vanished 2 million years ago.

Yet Flores Man made stone tools, lit fires and organized group hunts for meat. Bones of fish, birds and rodents found near the skeleton were charred, suggesting they were cooked.

All this suggests Flores Man lived communally and communicated effectively, perhaps even verbally.

"It is arguably the most significant discovery concerning our own genus in my lifetime," said anthropologist Bernard Wood of George Washington University, who reviewed the research independently.

Discoveries simply "don't get any better than that," proclaimed Robert Foley and Marta Mirazon Lahr of Cambridge University in a written analysis.

To others, the species' baffling combination of slight dimensions and coarse features bears almost no meaningful comparison either to modern humans or to our larger, archaic cousins.

They suggest that Flores Man doesn't belong in the genus Homo at all, even if it was a recent contemporary. But they are unsure where to classify it.

"I don't think anybody can pigeonhole this into the very simple-minded theories of what is human," anthropologist Jeffrey Schwartz of the University of Pittsburgh. "There is no biological reason to call it Homo. We have to rethink what it is."

For now, most researchers have been limited to examining digital photographs of the specimens. The female partial skeleton and other fragments are stored in a laboratory in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Researchers from Australia and Indonesia found the partial skeleton 13 months ago in a shallow limestone cave known as Liang Bua. The cave, which extends into a hillside for about 130 feet, has been the subject of scientific analysis since 1964. Fenced off and patrolled by guards, it is surrounded by coffee farms.

Older stone tools and other artifacts previously found on the island suggest that Flores Man is part of a substantial archaic human lineage.

"So the 18,000-year-old skeleton cannot be some kind of 'freak' that we just happened to stumble across," said one of the discoverers, radiocarbon dating expert Richard G. Roberts of the University of Wollongong in Australia.

But the environment in which Flores Man lived was indeed peculiar, and scientists say it probably contributed to the specimen's unusually small dimensions.

Millenia ago, Flores was a kind of a looking-glass world, a real-life Middle-earth inhabited by a menagerie of fantastical creatures like giant tortoises, elephants as small as ponies and rats as big as hunting dogs.

It even had a dragon, although they were giant lizards like today's carnivorous Komodo dragons rather than the treasure-hoarding Smaug described by novelist J.R.R. Tolkien in his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Artifacts suggest that a big-boned human cousin, Homo erectus, migrated from Java to Flores and other islands, perhaps by bamboo raft, nearly 1 million years ago.

Researchers suspect that Flores Man probably is an H. erectus descendant that was squeezed by the pressures of natural selection.

Nature is full of mammals — deer, squirrels and pigs, for example — living in marginal, isolated environments that gradually dwarf when food isn't plentiful and predators aren't threatening.

This is the first time that the evolution of dwarfism has been recorded in a human relative, said the study's lead author, Peter Brown of the University of New England in Australia.

Just how this primitive, remnant species managed to hang on is uncertain. Inbreeding certainly would've been a danger. Geologic evidence suggests a massive volcanic eruption sealed its fate some 12,000 years ago, along with other unusual island species like the dwarf elephant species, stegodon.

Now, scientists are more puzzled by the specimen's jumble of features that appear to be borrowed from different human ancestors.

This much is clear: Its worn teeth and fused skull show it was an adult. The shape of the pelvis is female. The skull is wide like H. erectus. But the sides are rounder and the crown traces an arc from ear to ear. The skull of H. erectus has straight sides and a pointed crown, they said.

The lower jaw contains large, blunt teeth and roots like Australopithecus, a prehuman ancestor in Africa more than 3 million years ago. The front teeth are smaller and more like modern human teeth.

The eye sockets are big and round, but unlike other members of the Homo genus, it has hardly any chin or browline.

The rest of the skeleton looks as if it walked upright, but the pelvis and the shinbone have primitive, even apelike features.

Bones from the species' feet and hands have not yet been found. Delicate artifacts found in the cave were described as "toy-sized" versions of stone tools made by H. erectus. They suggest that Flores Man retained intelligence and dexterity to flake small weapons with sharp edges, even if its body shrunk over time.

"I've spent a sleepless night trying to figure out what to do with this thing," said Schwartz. "It's a mind-blower. It makes me think of nothing else in this world."

Even more speculative is whether Flores Man met with modern humans, and what might've happened.

Folklore experts have reported persistent legends of little people living on Flores and nearby islands. Islanders called the creature "Ebu Gogo" and say it was about 3 feet tall.

Rectum Good










*Daryn :OD

Almost All Are True

True or False? Three of these four things really happened, just recently. Are you cynical enough to figure out the made-up story?

(a) A judge in California told juror-candidates that if they were embarrassed to admit that they couldn't be fair, just to make up another excuse, and he'd let them go.

(b) Australia's tax agency signed up as a sponsor of this year's awards pageant for the country's pornography and prostitution industry.

(c) The insurer Lloyd's of London wrote a policy on a male model that would pay off if accident or illness caused him to lose 85 percent of his chest hair.

(d) A court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, approved the forcible implanting of a radio frequency identification tag in the arms of a man's two wives so he can monitor their whereabouts.

Answer to Almost All Are True: (a), (b), and (c) are true.

News of the wierd....

This just in

People With Issues

(1) Michael J. Sterkins, 51, was arrested in Lockport, La., in July and charged as the man who, in five incidents, grabbed girls and women in cemeteries and cut off their ponytails. (One ponytail was recovered from his home, with the ends glued, placed underneath the Bible at his bedside.) [Daily Comet (Houma, La.), 7-14-04]

(2) Among the evidence found in a search of Sung Koo Kim's home in Tigard, Ore., in June (Kim is a suspect in the disappearance of a female Brigham Young University student): 1,000 pairs of women's underwear, bagged, with some labeled as to which college dorm and woman it came from, and bags of clothes-dryer lint, labeled as to the campus laundry room of origin. [WTOP Radio-AP, 6-22-04]

Least Competent Criminals

* At an August hearing in Calgary, Alberta, in which four prostitutes testified against a 17-year-old male customer who had allegedly committed post-sex armed robbery against them, one of the four described the incident that eventually led to the youth's capture. While the boy held a dagger to the woman's chest and rummaged through her purse, he came upon her recent eviction notice, prompting him to ask her if she would like to rent the basement apartment in his home (and he gave her his phone number). [Calgary Herald, 8-12-04, 8-13-04]

*Thanks, Daryn!


Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end. There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.

All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.

Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance. Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.

So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire. The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.

It won't matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived at the end.

It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant. Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built. What will matter is not what you got, but what you gave. What will matter is not your success, but your significance. What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught. What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example. What will matter is not your competence, but your character. What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone. What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you. What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident. It's not a matter of circumstance but of choice. Choose to live a life that matters.

*Thanks Daryn!

Pick up Lines

Pickup Lines

Pickup Lines

Pickup Lines

Pickup Lines

Pickup Lines

*Auntie 'M'

Organic Computing

DNA The computer this story was written on is a silicon computer that relies on transistors carefully arranged on the two-dimensional surface of a ceramic wafer to carry out moderately parallel computations extremely rapidly. The person reading this column is a carbon computer that relies on trillions of organic molecules suspended in a 3D semi-conductor saline solution (basically sea water) to carry our computations on an unimaginably parallel scale. The fact that organic computers make themselves is one small testament to their incredible power. Most people don’t think of the organic chemistry going on in their bodies as computing, but as you will come to see, it is.

DNA, as we all know, is the stuff of life. For the sake of discussion, imagine DNA as being RAM in your conventional computer. It stores an enormous amount of information about how an organic system should be assembled. The RAM in your computer is read from and written to by the CPU in chunks of bits. DNA, on the other hand, is being read from by thousands of tiny molecules simultaneously. The organic chemistry term for this is transcription. Tiny molecules unzip strands of DNA, read the instructions of a gene to generate an RNA molecule which then breaks away from the DNA strand, floats across the nuclear membrane and gets grabbed by molecules on the other side, which read the strand of RNA to construct a protein. You can think of RNA as the system bus that copies data from RAM to the CPU cache where it can be worked on. A single strand of DNA is usually having genes transcribed into RNA from its surface at thousands of points along it simultaneously.

When a regular computer thinks, it generates some information. When an organic computer thinks, it generates you. What's truly fascinating about organic computing is how this happens. A regular computer program is composed of what are called opcodes, numbers that instruct the CPU to add, subtract, or move some information from one place to another inn memory to produce a calculation. RNA is just a list of organic opcodes that instruct the cell's machinery on how to assemble a protein. Proteins are the building blocks and the computational machinery that all organic systems are made of. Each protein is effectively its own little program that carries out some computational function. Proteins are themselves assembled from a list of amino acids. There are only 21 amino acids that are stitched together to assemble all of the different proteins in the human body, thus amino acids are the fundamental Legos that we're all made of.

A strand of RNA contains a list of what are called nucleotides. Each group of six nucleotides are interpreted by the cell's protein manufacturing machinery as a 6-bit number (opcode) indexing a 0 to 64 number space. Each nucleotide group instructs the RNA transcription process to add one of the 21 amino acid building blocks to the protein it is constructing. Just like ordinary computers, organic computers make errors, and in their case errors can be deadly. The two most common transcription errors for a given amino acid also encode for the correct amino acid. In other words your DNA stores an extra bit with every opcode instruction for error correction during copying (3 x 21 = 63...). What's the unused number space used for? It's the stop signal that indicates the completion of a protein.

To summarize, you are made of proteins; proteins are little programs that are the computational byproducts of RNA transcription. RNA functions like a system bus, and DNA is RAM that stores everything about YOU as 6-bit sequences of nucleotides. Most organic life is made of out of 21 amino acids because 21 is the number of building blocks that can be efficiently encoded in organic RAM with error correction. You are a giant, walking, talking LEGO construction assembled by proteins from trillions of little amino acid building blocks and sea water whose sole purpose is to compute new copies of yourself before the inevitable accumulation of calculation errors causes you to crash permanently.

*Alex St. John

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Quiz Me!

At the end of this, you are asked a question. Answer it immediately. Don't stop and think about it. Just say the first thing that pops into your mind.

This is kind of spooky!

Do not go to the next calculation before you have finished the previous one. You do not need to write or remember the answers, just do it using your mind. You'll be surprised. Handle each calculation separately...

How much is . .
15 + 6
3 + 56
89 + 2
12 + 53
75 + 2
25 + 52
63 + 32
I know! Calculations are hard work, but it's nearly over..
Come on, one more..
123 + 5




Click above to visit


The Poppy Coin

(Winnipeg, Manitoba) –Today the Royal Canadian Mint together with The Royal Canadian Legion unveiled the world's first coloured circulation coin. The 25-cent coin features a red poppy, the symbol that pays homage to the 117,000 brave Canadians that have died while in the service of the nation.

The red poppy is Canada's flower of remembrance. Each Remembrance Day, Canadians show their abiding respect for those who have freely given their lives for the cause of freedom, justice and peace by wearing a poppy. On the eve of the 2004 Remembrance Day commemorations, the Royal Canadian Mint is proud to launch a landmark coloured circulation coin that will remind Canadians in a singular way of our proud role in world history and to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedom.

"The poppy is a hallowed symbol to our members and to all Canadians" Said Mary Ann Burdett, Dominion President, The Royal Canadian Legion. "As the guardian of the memory of lost comrades and friends, the Legion has a solemn responsibility to ensure that the poppy is always used in a dignified manner. I want to express my deep appreciation to the Royal Canadian Mint for designing a coin whose unique coloured design will make the 2004 Remembrance Day commemoration truly special."

"We owe our veterans a debt we can never repay and the Mint is to be congratulated for having the technical ingenuity to produce a coloured coin," said Minister of Veterans Affairs, Albina Guarnieri. "I am sure this will serve to remind all Canadians every day of the importance of supporting the Legion's Poppy and Remembrance Campaign."

"The Mint felt very strongly about dedicating the world's first coloured circulation coin to Canada's war veterans," said David C. Dingwall, President and C.E.O. of the Royal Canadian Mint. "The self sacrifice and courage symbolized by the poppy is universally understood by all Canadians and it also epitomizes Canada's pride of place in world history. I want to thank the Royal Canadian Legion for allowing us to use the poppy image, and to congratulate our Mint production team for making this world first possible. More importantly, I hope that the poppy coin will inspire Canadians to support the Legion's 2004 Poppy and Remembrance Campaign, which helps provide needed services and support for our veterans."

Beginning on October 21, 2004, the new poppy coin will be available from Tim Hortons locations across Canada. Tim Hortons, a distinctive Canadian enterprise, is the Mint's exclusive distribution partner for the poppy coin. Because coins are produced to meet demand, poppy coins will also be available at financial institutions in the months following the coin's unveil.

"The Mint has created one of the most unique coins in the world that features a special symbol that all Canadians can relate to and be proud of," said Bill Moir, Executive Vice President, Marketing for Tim Hortons. "Canadians have supported Tim Hortons for 40 years and our Veterans and current members of the Canadian Forces are some of our most loyal customers. So when the Mint approached Tim Hortons, we knew we had to be a part of this commemorative launch."

To meet the engineering and design challenges entailed in producing the world's first- ever coloured circulation coin, the Royal Canadian Mint perfected a high speed colouring process that will generate 30 million coins. The process ensures that the colour adheres to the metal and is resistant against wear from daily use or from exposure to common household products and detergents. With normal wear and tear, the colour should remain for one to three years, but can be removed with harsh chemicals or friction. A permanent poppy has been struck on the coin which will retain its full value, even if the red colour has been removed.

In addition to the circulation coin, the Royal Canadian Mint is proud to announce that it has minted a 2004 Special Edition Proof Silver Dollar The Poppy. It will feature a finely struck version of the circulation coin design, encapsulated and presented in a display case lined with flock and protected by an outer box. It will be sold for $49.95 CAD. Earlier this year, the Mint unveiled a Sterling Silver collector coin to commemorate the D-Day anniversary.

All Royal Canadian Mint products and individual coins are available directly from the Mint at 1-800-267-1871 in Canada, 1-800-268-6468 in the US, or on the Internet at http://www.mint.ca. The coins are also available at Canada Post and the Royal Canadian Mint's global network of dealers and distributors.

The Royal Canadian Mint, an ISO 9001 2000 certified company, is the Crown Corporation responsible for the minting and distribution of Canada's circulation coins. In operation since 1908, the Royal Canadian Mint is recognized as one of the largest and most versatile mints in the world, offering a wide range of specialized, high quality coinage products and related services on an international scale.

Sad Story...

I lived on a farm when I was a child. Times were hard back then, and the area where I lived was economically depressed.

I knew that the neighbours were having a hard time making ends meet.

One day, I heard a knock at the door, and when I went to answer, this is the sad sight that I saw.

It just broke my heart.

Click here.

How To Avoid The Flu?

Good advice on how to avoid the flu this year.

Eat right! Make sure you get your daily dose of fruits and veggies.

Take your vitamins and bump up your vitamin C.

Get plenty of exercise because exercise helps build your immune system.

Walk for at least an hour a day, go for a swim, take the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.

Wash your hands often.

If you can't wash them, keep a bottle of antibacterial stuff around.

Get lots of fresh air.

Open windows whenever possible.

Get plenty of rest.

Try to eliminate as much stress from your life as you can.

OR ....

You can take the doctors office approach.

Think about it, when you go for a shot, what do they do first?

Clean your arm with alcohol.

Why? Because alcohol kills germs.


I walk to the liquor store (exercise),

I put lime in my Corona (fruit),

celery in my Bloody Mary ( veggies),

drink on the bar patio (fresh air),

get drunk, tell jokes, and laugh (eliminate stress)
and then pass out (rest).

The way I see it,

if you keep your alcohol levels up flu germs can't get you!!!!

The Sign Painter

Sign Painter

Jumping to conclusions again, eh?

*Auntie 'M'

Stonechild report lashes Saskatoon police (14 years after the fact)

Neal Stonechild's body dumped in a field in north Saskatoon (Saskatoon) Saskatoon police took a native teenager into custody and attempted a cover-up when the 17-year-old was later discovered frozen with handcuff marks on his face, an inquiry has found.

The final report of the inquiry into the death of Neil Stonechild also laments the bitter racial divide between natives and non-natives in Saskatchewan.

"As I reviewed the evidence of this inquiry, I was reminded, again and again, of the chasm that separates aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in this city and this province," commissioner Justice David Wright wrote. "Our two communities do not know each other and do not seem to want to."

One of the most scathing sections of the commissioner's report describes how police reacted when they found the native teenager's body lying face-down in a snowy field near the outskirts of town in November, 1990, with his hands pulled into his sleeves in a futile attempt to stay warm.

The principal investigator, then Mortality Sergeant Keith Jarvis, conducted a brief and shoddy examination of the death in order to conceal his colleagues' possible wrongdoing, the commissioner wrote.

"The only reasonable inference that can be drawn is that Jarvis was not prepared to pursue the investigation because he was either aware of police involvement or suspected police involvement," Judge Wright said.

It is impossible to know what exactly happened to Mr. Stonechild on the night he disappeared, Mr. Wright concluded, but he dismissed nearly all the police arguments that officers were not involved.

His report finds that somebody called police to complain about the drunken teenager on the evening of Nov. 24, 1990, and that Constables Brad Senger and Larry Hartwig were dispatched to investigate.

The last person who admitted seeing Mr. Stonechild was his friend Jason Roy, who said he saw the young man with his face pressed against the window of a police cruiser.

Neil Stonechild "He was freaking out," Mr. Roy testified. "He was saying, 'Jay, help me. Help me. These guys are going to kill me.'"

Police lawyers pointed out errors and contradictions in Mr. Roy's statement, and suggested that the officers never encountered Mr. Stonechild that evening. But Judge Wright said he found Mr. Roy "sincere and thoughtful."

Lawyers for the officers also claimed that police couldn't have taken Mr. Stonechild to the northern edge of town where he was ultimately discovered, because they wouldn't have had time to make the drive between their dispatched calls in Snowberry Downs and O'Regan Crescent on the city's west side.

Again, the commissioner decided that the police version wasn't credible.

"I am satisfied that Cst. Hartwig and Cst. Senger had adequate time between the Snowberry Downs dispatch and O'Regan Crescent dispatch to transport Stonechild to the northwest industrial area of Saskatoon," Judge Wright wrote.

A police expert also testified that marks on Mr. Stonechild's face were not caused by handcuffs, contradicting other experts, but Judge Wright said: "I am not convinced by her opinion."

What is clear, Mr. Wright wrote, is that the young man was taken into custody by the two officers and he was later found dead of cold exposure with marks on his face "likely caused by handcuffs."

Saskatoon police have faced persistent allegations that they practised so-called "starlight tours," in which natives who caused trouble were picked up and taken to the edge of town on cold nights, forcing them to walk home.

Judge Wright praised the force for recent attempts to reform itself, but concluded that more work remains.

"The fundamental problem the service has to address is the public perception that it does not take seriously complaints about its members and that it defends its members against complaints," he wrote.

More broadly, the commissioner compared relations between natives and non-natives in Saskatchewan to the alienated anglophone and francophone communities in Hugh MacLennan's 1945 novel, Two Solitudes.

"The void is emphasized by the interaction of an essentially non-aboriginal police force and the aboriginal community," he said.

To bridge that gap, the report offers eight recommendations, including more cultural training, more native officers, and an improved complaints process.

The report does not recommend that Saskatchewan establish a third-party investigative agency similar to Ontario's Special Investigations Unit, whose detectives examine all deaths and serious injuries involving police. The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations has been hoping the province would establish a local equivalent of the SIU.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

AOL survey finds rampant threats, uninformed users

AOL (IDG News Service) A survey conducted by Internet service provider America Online Inc. (AOL) found that 20 per cent of home computers were infected by a virus or worm, and that various forms of snooping programs such as spyware and adware are on a whopping 80 per cent of systems. Despite that, more than two thirds of home users think they are safe from online threats.

The survey of home computers and their owners reveals a gap between users' perceptions and the prevalence actual threats on the Internet. That gap causes many home computer users to forgo security precautions such as antivirus and firewall software, and could pose a threat to the integrity of sensitive personal and financial information, which survey respondents said they are increasingly using their computer to manage, according to a statement released by AOL.

The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a nonprofit group that seeks to raise public awareness of cybersecurity issues, also helped conduct the survey. Technical experts examined 329 home computers connected to the Internet with either broadband or dial-up connections in September and October. Participants were interviewed about their awareness of online threats. Following their interview, AOL technicians examined the firewall and antivirus settings on participants' computers and looked for virus infections and for the presence of spyware and adware.

More than 70 per cent of those who participated in the survey falsely believed they were safe from viruses and online threats, even though almost 20 per cent of those were currently infected by a virus and two-thirds (63 per cent) acknowledged being infected in the past, the survey found.

Spyware was an even more common and under-appreciated problem than viruses, the survey showed. Spyware or adware programs were found on 80 per cent of the computers analyzed, with an average of 93 spyware or adware components on the infected machines.

Spyware is a broad term that describes a category of programs, such as keylogging software, that illegally monitors a computer user's activity, often capturing and transmitting that information. Adware describes legally installed software, including Web page "cookies," that track user behavior such as Web surfing, often for the benefit of online advertisers.

About 90 per cent of those whose computers were infected with spyware didn't know about the infections and didn't know what spyware programs are, the survey showed.

In addition to widespread ignorance about computer threats, the AOL technicians found lax security on many of the systems they inspected. While 85 per cent of those surveyed installed antivirus software on their machine, 67 per cent of those surveyed lacked up-to-date antivirus signatures that could stop the latest threats, AOL said. A majority of users, 67 per cent, also go without firewall software that can protect Internet-connected machines from attacks, AOL said.

Confusion about the purpose and necessity of security programs may be part of the problem. A majority of users said they did not understand what a firewall is or how it works, and 58 per cent of those interviewed couldn't explain the difference between a firewall and antivirus software, the company said.

Users surveyed also were confused or unaware of the symptoms of infections by spyware and other malicious code. For example, 63 per cent of those with pop-up blocking software said they still receive pop-up messages. Around 40 per cent of those surveyed reported their Web browser's home page or search results being changed without their permission -- all classic symptoms of spyware or virus infection.

Computer software makers are doing their part to make software products more secure, he said, citing the recent security improvements in Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP Service Pack 2 release.

The NCSA is backed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and leading security software makers including Microsoft, RSA Security Inc., Symantec Corp. and McAfee Inc. The group published a list of 10 cybersecurity tips on their Web site (http://www.staysafeonline.info) and is hoping that news of the survey prompts more users to visit the site and follow its guidance on protecting Internet-connected machines, Watson said.

By: Paul Roberts

I Am Gay

This is an open letter to my Father, my Mother, my Brother, my Sister, my Aunt, my Uncle, my Grandmother, my Grandfather, my Cousin and my friend.

I am writing to You today with a heavy heart. I do not how to say this, so I
guess I will just blurt it out.


I am afraid to tell You who I am.

I'm The Pink Sheep Of The FamilyI could be any of the following:
I am the daughter You gave birth to, I am the one You nursed.
I am the son You taught how to play baseball, I am the one You took fishing.
I am the Granddaughter You baked cookies for, I am the one You taught to sew.
I am the Grandson You saved Your card collection for, I am the one who holds Your hand on a walk.
I am the Mother You hug every night, I am the one who needs Your love.
I am the Father who worries a lot; I am the one who needs Your acceptance.
I am the sister You talk about Your fears to, I am the one who is hoping You
are listening.
I am the brother You wrestle with, I am the one who hopes You will protect me.
I am the cousin You played hide and seek with, I am the one who is afraid, and is hiding.
I am Your friend.

Please accept me for what I am, and that is a person - who happens to be Gay.


Marrk Twain

I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue . .
"No good in a bed, but fine against a wall."
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Last week, I stated this woman was the ugliest woman I had ever seen. I have since been visited by her sister . . . . and now wish to withdraw that statement.
~Mark Twain

The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible.
~George Burns

Santa Claus has the right idea ... Visit people only once a year.
~Victor Borge

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
~Mark Twain

What would men be without women?
Scarce, sir .. mighty scarce.
~Mark Twain

By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.

I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.
~Groucho Marx

My wife has a slight impediment in her speech. Every now and then she stops to breathe.
~Jimmy Durante

The male is a domestic animal which, if treated with firmness and kindness, can be trained to do most things.
~Jilly Cooper

I have never hated a man enough to give his diamonds back.
~Zsa Zsa Gabor

Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat.
~Alex Levine

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.
~Mark Twain

Mark Twain

*Thanks, Daryn!