Tarry for the Nonce

November 30, 2005

Happy Memories

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 5:36 pm

Do you have any idea how long it took me to find a non-social-commentaried obituary for Stan Berenstain? Sheesh.

Stan Berenstain, who with his wife created the popular children’s books about the Berenstain Bears, has died . . .

In more than 200 books, the Berenstain Bears, written and illustrated by Stan and Jan Berenstain, helped children for 40 years cope with trips to the dentist, babysitters, eating junk food and cleaning their messy rooms . . .

The first Berenstain Bears book, “The Big Honey Hunt,” was published in 1962. The couple developed the series with children’s author Theodor Geisel better known as Dr. Seuss, then head of children’s publishing at Random House with the goal of teaching children to read while entertaining them . . .

Stan and Jan Berenstain began drawing together when they met at Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art in 1941.

The two married soon after he got out of World War II-era Army service and began submitting cartoons to magazines. They became contributors to The Saturday Evening Post, McCalls and Collier’s.

In their early years of collaboration, the couple wrote the “All in the Family” cartoon series for McCall’s and Good Housekeeping. In 1962, they began an association with Geisel, who suggested that they write for the juvenile market.

I guess Dr. Suess is also the one who suggested naming the characters “The Berenstain Bears.”

I love the Berenstain Bear books. My top five:

(1) Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room
(2) Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners
(3) Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food
(4) Old Hat, New Hat
(5) Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree

I can still hear my mom’s voice reading them to me.

Brother Against Brother

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 5:27 pm

The story of the kidnapped aid workers just got more interesting. The four aid workers are members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, a group in Iraq who “continue during the post-war occupation to expose abusive acts by U.S. Armed Forces and support Iraqis committed to nonviolent resistance.”

I guess their support network backfired, which is unfortunate. I honestly hope they have been able to explain to their captors that they are really on their side.

No matter though. The CPT knows just who to blame:

“We are angry because what has happened to our teammates is the result of the actions of the U.S. and U.K. governments due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people.”

Somehow, I have a feeling their solidarity will fail to win over their captors, who see dramatic kidnappings as a quick way to grab news coverage. I suppose the best that CPT workers can hope from this particular group of terrorists is that they don’t have the stomach for executions.

(Hat tip to Best of the Web.)

He Looked Cold, I Guess

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 5:15 pm

I would be remiss if I failed to note the odd definition of “truth in reporting” as employed by MoveOn.org:

“Some folks won’t be home this holiday season,” the 30-second spot declared before showing a video pan of a group of soldiers getting military rations. The narrator then stated that “150,000 American men and women are stuck in Iraq.”

The problem is that not only did the web site use pictures of British soldiers to represent Americans, they also doctored the stills for some inexplicable reason, replacing a man’s shorts with fatigues.

MoveOn.org has since pulled the ad.

What the Nose Knows

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 2:00 pm

Nose cells are quite remarkable:

At least ten operations will be carried out to test in humans a technique pioneered in animals by the neuroscientist Geoffrey Raisman, who heads the spinal repair unit of University College, London. He discovered 20 years ago that cells from the lining of the nose constantly regenerate themselves. Professor Raisman’s team believes that if those cells were implanted at the site of the damage they would build a bridge across the break, allowing the nerve fibres to knit back together . . .

The first operations will not enable someone as badly hurt as [Christopher] Reeve was to walk again, but they could heal the common motorbike injury sustained when the nerves in the arm are pulled out of the spinal cord. Until now, such injuries have been inoperable . . .

Studies in animals have established that the cell implants can restore nerve functions. Rats with severed nerves have regained functions of a forepaw. But the first human study, which tests the safety of the procedure, will be limited to patients with one very specific and similar injury to ensure the results are clear . . .

If successful, with refinement and research the procedure could be tried on people in a wheelchair. It also has the potential to heal other nerve injuries, such as those caused by stroke, blindness and deafness.

Best of all, the patient is being healed with their own body (i.e. no fear of rejection, etc.)

A Lost Movie Extra?

Filed under: Entertainment — lmwalker @ 1:54 pm

Man-sized scorpion tracks were found in Scotland:

A scientist poring over 330-million-year-old tracks in a layer of sandstone in Scotland believes they were made by an extraordinary water scorpion that was as big as a man.

The huge six-legged creature was about 1.6 metres (64 inches) long and a metre (40 inches) wide, according to the study, published on Thursday in Nature, the weekly British science journal.

Tail Sting was really low budget. Maybe they couldn’t afford trick photography.

If You Don’t Like Your Face . . .

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 1:48 pm

. . . you may have another:

French surgeons have carried out the world’s first face transplant, on a 38-year-old French woman whose lips and nose were ripped off in a dog attack, one of the team told AFP . . .

In the high-risk operation, a triangle formed by the nose and mouth was grafted on to the patient, from the northern French town of Valenciennes, who was admitted to hospital in May, the weekly said.

The facial tissues, muscles, arteries and blood veins needed for the transplant were taken on Sunday from a donor in the northern city of Lille, who was in a brain-dead condition, according to Le Point.

If this becomes a possibiliy, will attractive people be more at risk for having their organs stolen?

Cameron Diaz

Filed under: Entertainment — lmwalker @ 1:42 pm

Chicagoans will be interested to note that November 15th was declared “Julie Andrews Day.”

While that seems a bit excessive, I am pleased that she is getting some press now that the 40th anniversary edition of the Sound of Music is on the shelves.

I have learned from the interviews:

Her favorite song is Edelweiss.

She has no problem with The Sound of Music being her defining role.

She made an album of memories from the movie, but saved no props.

The gazebo scene ended up in silhouette because she and Plummer couldn’t stop giggling.

The Salzburg weather was drippy during filming.

The helicoptor kept knocking her to the ground during the opening scene.

She thinks Cameron Diaz should play the part of Maria in a remake.

Putting Money Where My Mouth Is

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 1:40 pm

Howard, you have inspired me.

I just made a $100 donation to The Women’s Center.

November 29, 2005

Surfing Water and Net

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 2:41 pm

Much as I hate humidity, I’m tempted to move to New Orleans:

In an attempt to boost its stalled economy, the hurricane-ravaged city of New Orleans is starting the nation’s first free wireless Internet network owned and run by a major city . . .

The system will operate at 512 kilobytes per second as long as the city remains under a state of emergency.

Noninvolvement Didn’t Help

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 2:39 pm

German television broadcast photos Tuesday showing a blindfolded German woman being led away by armed captors in Iraq . . .

The pictures of Susanne Osthoff were taken from a video in which her captors demanded that Germany stop any dealings with Iraq’s government, according to Germany’s ARD television. Germany has ruled out sending troops to Iraq and opposed the U.S.-led war.

Considering how completely unsupportive they were of the war, I’m sure Germany is shocked – shocked – to find one of their own targeted. And I’m equally willing to bet they are the only ones who are surprised.

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