Saturday, February 9, 2008

Goddess Maria Lionza

I have never heard of this "Maria Lionza" goddess cult mentioned in this story: "Santeria Surging in Venezuela," By JORGE RUEDA – 2 days ago (perhaps February 6, 2008). The first thing that came to mind, upon reading this name, was that of Mario Lanza, the great tenor who died far too young at 38. I wondered if there was a connection. Okay, I'm sentimental :) But, in order to determine that, I needed to learn more about "Maria Lionza." This article indicates that the legend has Spanish origins (Roman Catholic syncretized with various African traditions) – so – no connection to Maria Lanza, who was Italian-American (and Mario Lanza was his stage name; he was born Alfredo Arnold Cocozza). But the story of Maria Lionza is a rip-roaring good one: From Afro-Caribbean Religions Cult to Maria Lionza The Cult of Maria Lonza is a genuine manifestation of syncretism binding magical and religious elements together that concur in the Caribbean Basin. In this particular cult, the three Venezuelan ethnic groups converge here: Maria Lonza (Spain), the Guaicaipuro Indian (indigenous) and the first Negro named Pedro Camejo (Africa). The place that gave rise to this cult is in Serrania de Sorte in the state of Yaracuy, Venezuela. It is believed that this cult was born out of the devotion to the forces of nature, the spirits of the rivers, caves and jungles, so this makes a dramatic difference in the cult as observed in today in Venezuela, Colombia, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The remainders of indigenous practices, coupled with the spiritualism brought in the early 20th century by Allan Kardec, whipped this cult into shape and soon began to spread out. The legend has it that Maria Lionza was an indigenous princess that was abducted by an anaconda snake, the master of the lagoon. God punished the crawler by making it so swollen that its burst apart at the seams. The blowup caused a great flooding that killed off the entire tribe the princess belonged to. The girl became the master of the lagoon, the rivers, the jungle and the wild animals. Her original name was lost and the moniker Maria popped up as part of the syncretism with the Virgin. Her spirit lives up in the mountain of Sorte where thousands of worshippers climb in search of miracles. There are many a legend that unites mythological characters from different parts of the region. The number of worshippers is on the rise. They come from every walk of life and spiritual centers from both the rural and urban areas. This is a boon-seeking, syncretism-oriented and pragmatic cult that is constantly feeding on worshippers' contributions. If we make a difference between religion and cult, we'll notice that religion implies established rituals, shrines, priesthood hierarchies, catechisms and a well-defined mythology, whereas cults rely on prayers, religious sacrificed pointed in only one direction and a certain deity. Thus, we can corroborate that in the Cult of Maria Lonza the pantheon varies, the rituals are individualized and there's no trace of those who initiated the cult, the qualification of the spiritual leaders, the names of the spirits invoked and the ritual techniques. Some leaders have tried to join doctrines and found associations of other leaders and worshippers, but no consensus has ever been reached. They have also attempted to tidy up a considerable amount of spirits through the creation of guidelines. However, this has never caught on among practitioners. Regardless of the fact that the figure of Maria Lonza appears as the centerpiece in every shrine and altar, the number of spirits invoked has grown so dramatically that only a handful of mediums are prepared to receive a spirit so strong as the cult's centerpiece. Magical and religious activities are conducted especially on weekends in centers led by bancos who could be either men or women. They are self-taught people who rely on realistic knowledge and their own personal charisma. Each priest establishes his own set of rules. The mediums known as materias- receive the spirits when they get in a trance triggered by inhaling cigar smoke, drinking rum and sometimes doing drugs. Some spirits show up in a violent way, so the banco must look after the medium to prevent him from getting hurt. After a period of excitement, almost all materias calm down and then consultations begin. Priests sprinkle worshippers with sugar cane rum and blow cigar smoke on the mediums faces for their purification. In turn, mediums sometimes serve their own blood during the course of some magical and healing rites. The spiritual possession of the worshippers is key in this cult, whose indigenous influence is twice as much noticeable. There are some evident analogies with the Christian rituals and Kardecism. Practitioners are also obliged to bring all the necessary objects for the rituals and they are sometimes bound to fork over huge sums of money demanded by the spirits themselves. For the most part, this has to do with purification rites conducted with water, magic sponges, scents, cigar smoke, alcohol and candles. The latter is the most widespread practice today consisting of laying the patient on the floor and let the banco make drawings around his body with powders. Then, he lights up a few candles along the figure lines as he pours flowers or the blood of sacrificed animals. He also blows cigar smoke, sprinkle some herbal scents or rum all over the patients body, according to the supernatural orders he receives or the instructions briefed by the banco. On the other hand, shrines are decked out with lithographic materials depicting the major spirits and statues of the Venezuelan Trinity. Worshippers also place food, candles, garments, flowers, incense, cigars, decorations and glasses of water. Crucifixes and the so-called Hand of the Great Power. There are no initiation rituals as such, but candle ceremonies serve to unleash a new medium and to let the spirits approach more easily. Sometimes practitioners wash the head of a would-be medium using herbal infusions. Several times a year, pilgrimages are organized before the conduction of certain major works, especially during Holy Week and on October 12, to mark the Day of Race. These observances will depend on the characteristics of their practitioners. Maria Lonza is said to be an indigenous deity. However, there was a time when the picture of a white priestess showed up in some lithographic materials to depict the divinity. This figure stands today for the white race in the Venezuelan Trinity. Dictator Pedro Jimenez ordered the construction of a monument in Caracas back in the 1950s. The divinity was represented by a naked indigenous damsel riding on the back of tapir. Worshippers usually place request letters, flowers and wreaths at the base of the monumental statue. The Cult of Maria Lonza, synthesis of magical and religious elements hailing from different cultures, counts on an ever-growing number of practitioners not only in Venezuela, but also in Colombia, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The boon-seeking character of this cult provide worshippers with solutions to their spiritual and material tribulations, at least apparently, a reason why this religious movement has grown roots so deep into the people.

Domestic Goddess Married 74 Years...

and still going strong! A story from the Eleni Hale February 10, 2008 12:00am WHEN Clarrie Armstrong was 20 he made his girlfriend a promise. "You're the first girl I've been with and you'll be my last," he said. He kept his word and, 74 years after they met, Grace and Clarrie Armstrong are one of Victoria's longest-married couples. Next month the happy couple will celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary. "I love her so very much and have never considered anyone else," 94-year-old Mr Armstrong said. "It's been a happy experience being married." But the proposal had to be prompted by a stranger. An elderly woman from church invited the then 18- and 22-year-olds to dinner and mistook them for a married couple. "She said, 'So I take it this is Mrs Armstrong?' and that gave me an idea," he said. A smitten Mr Armstrong proposed in the car on the way home and the rest is history. The former architect said that, though life had been rocky, they had faced each obstacle together. Mrs Armstrong, 90, a self-confessed domestic goddess, admitted to being old fashioned when it came to a woman's role. "He was the money-maker and I was in charge of the home," she said. Five children in 10 years kept her busy, but she said taking the time to talk things out with her husband was the secret to maintaining a happy relationship. And a warning to all those who believe in love at first sight. "Get to know each other well first," Mr Armstrong warned.

Goddess Bhagwati and the Recovery of The Vedas

A wonderful tale from the Hindu religion, where the Goddess Bhagwati comes to the rescue of mankind - and the other gods and goddesses! A tale of victory of good over evil. Recovery of the Vedas By Manju Gupta (February 8, 2008) Durgam was a strong but evil-minded king of the rakshasas (demons). He said to his ministers, “Why is it that after defeating the gods so many times, we have had to concede defeat to them? There must be some reason for it.” A minister replied, “It appears to me that the knowledge behind this power lies in the Vedas.” Durgam decided to do penance so that Lord Brahma would get pleased with him and grant him his desire to get hold of the Vedas. He went deep into the forest and prayed and prayed to Lord Brahma. After years of strict penance, Durgam so pleased Lord Brahma that he appeared before him and asked, “Why have you been praying so devotedly to me? It seems you want something from me. Tell me what is it that you want. I’ll give it to you because I am very happy with your prayers.” Durgam replied, “I want to see the Vedas and keep them in my custody. I assure you I’ll keep them very safely.” Lord Brahma granted him his wish. Durgam received the Vedas and after going through them, hid them in pataal loka (hell), away from the prying eyes of others. In the heavens, the gods daily read the Vedas to find the secrets of remaining young always but now, with the Vedas gone, they started growing old and lost all their strength. Durgam launched an attack on the gods and took Indra, Agni, Kuber, Varun and Yamraj into captivity. With Indra and Varun in captivity, the environment underwent a change—the wind stopped blowing; there were no rains; famine and drought occurred everywhere. So the gods went to Lord Vishnu to seek help. Vishnu advised them to approach Goddess Bhagwati as he felt that only she could help them. So the gods reached Goddess Bhagwati and told her their tale of woe. Goddess Bhagwati gave them a leaf growing on her body and said, “Keep this leaf with you for protection. Now you will find there will be rain on the earth and all will be lovely and green. There will be no famine or drought.” True to the Goddess’s words, rains came, crops began to grow and famine disappeared, bringing relief to the people. She then formed ten other goddesses from her body and along with her warriors attacked the rakshasas in a fierce battle in which even Goddess Mahakali participated. The rakshasas fled in terror. Goddess Bhagwati then said to Durgam, “Give me the Vedas and go and rule over the pataal loka in peace.” But Durgam refused to part with the Vedas. Goddess Bhagwati launched an attack on Durgam. Finding that it was not easy to win over the rakshasas, finally Goddess Bhagwati was forced to hurl her trident at Durgam. It went and pierced his heart and he died on the spot. The gods were pleased at this victory of the goddess and on searching the pataal loka, they found the Vedas hidden in a corner. They quickly took it away with them to heaven. Peace now reigned supreme over the earth.

2008 Moscow Open Round 8 Results

Sorry - missed Round 7 - I was shoveling! Rank after round 8 Rank SNo. Name Rtg FED Pts Fide 1 7 IM Muzychuk Anna 2460 SLO 7Ѕ 33 2 1 IM Ushenina Anna 2484 UKR 6Ѕ 32 3 14 IM Tairova Elena 2386 RUS 6Ѕ 31 4 9 IM Harika Dronavalli 2455 IND 6Ѕ 28Ѕ 5 26 WFM Bodnaruk Anastasia 2317 RUS 6 30 6 24 WFM Girya Olga 2342 RUS 6 29 7 8 WGM Zhukova Natalia 2443 UKR 6 29 8 5 IM Krush Irina 2473 USA 6 28 9 4 GM Lahno Kateryna 2475 UKR 6 27Ѕ 10 20 WIM Vasilkova Svetlana 2359 RUS 5Ѕ 28Ѕ 11 18 WFM Malgina-Sterliagova Tatiana 2374 RUS 5Ѕ 27Ѕ 12 19 WGM Melia Salome 2362 GEO 5Ѕ 27 13 49 WFM Severiukhina Zoja 2199 RUS 5Ѕ 27 14 21 IM Gvetadze Sopio 2352 GEO 5Ѕ 27 15 17 IM Turova Irina 2377 RUS 5Ѕ 27 16 2 IM Danielian Elina 2480 ARM 5Ѕ 26Ѕ 17 13 WGM Mongontuul Bathuyag 2389 MGL 5Ѕ 26 18 10 IM Matveeva Svetlana 2433 RUS 5Ѕ 25Ѕ 19 3 WGM Pogonina Natalija 2476 RUS 5Ѕ 25 20 40 WIM Cherenkova Kristina 2256 RUS 5Ѕ 24 21 29 WGM Shaidullina Sandugach 2306 RUS 5Ѕ 23 22 69 WFM Yakovich Yuliya 2130 RUS 5Ѕ 21Ѕ 23 42 WFM Ambartsumova Karina 2228 RUS 5Ѕ 21 24 30 WFM Fominykh Maria 2305 RUS 5 25Ѕ 25 16 IM Vasilevich Irina 2378 RUS 5 25 26 38 WIM Iljushina Olga 2268 RUS 5 25 27 15 WIM Charochkina Daria 2383 RUS 5 24 28 6 IM Javakhishvili Lela 2470 GEO 5 23Ѕ 29 12 WGM Grabuzova Tatiana 2392 RUS 5 23 30 57 Pustovoitova Daria 2166 RUS 5 23 31 27 WFM Paikidze Nazi 2311 GEO 5 23 32 66 WFM Karpova Lyudmila 2139 RUS 5 23 33 62 WFM Repina Varvara 2158 RUS 5 22 34 23 WIM Burtasova Anna 2345 RUS 5 21Ѕ 35 44 WIM Dolgova Olga 2217 RUS 5 21 36 90 Semenova Elena 2012 RUS 5 18 37 105 Dogodkina Julia 1917 RUS 5 16 38 25 WGM Manakova Maria 2331 SRB 4Ѕ 26 39 22 WGM Kovanova Baira 2348 RUS 4Ѕ 26 40 33 WFM Gunina Valentina 2295 RUS 4Ѕ 23Ѕ 41 37 WGM Semenova Irina 2270 RUS 4Ѕ 22Ѕ 42 36 WFM Tomilova Elena 2276 RUS 4Ѕ 22Ѕ 43 58 WFM Suslova Alena 2165 RUS 4Ѕ 21Ѕ 44 41 WIM Yanjindulam Dulamsuren 2256 MGL 4Ѕ 21Ѕ 45 43 WIM Gromova Iulia 2219 RUS 4Ѕ 21Ѕ 46 35 WGM Huda Maryana 2278 UKR 4Ѕ 21Ѕ 47 48 Savina Anastasia 2202 RUS 4Ѕ 20Ѕ 48 50 Kudriashova Irina 2192 RUS 4Ѕ 20 49 54 WIM Sazonova Elena N 2183 RUS 4Ѕ 20 50 28 WIM Strutinskaya Galina N 2309 RUS 4Ѕ 20 59 WFM Airapetian Tatevik 2162 RUS 4Ѕ 20 52 63 WFM Karibaeva Elvira 2153 RUS 4Ѕ 20 53 78 WFM Dzhabrailova Inara 2065 RUS 4Ѕ 17 54 96 Shalukhina Tatyana 1972 KAZ 4Ѕ 17 55 56 Kuzevanova Evgenia 2167 RUS 4 24 56 61 WFM Fakhretdinova Margarita 2160 RUS 4 21Ѕ 57 34 WGM Fatalibekova Elena 2293 RUS 4 21 58 55 WFM Kharmunova Nadejda 2170 RUS 4 21 59 45 Ostertag Galina 2210 RUS 4 21 60 39 WGM Golubenko Valentina 2264 CRO 4 21 61 53 WFM Bogumil Tatiana 2186 RUS 4 20Ѕ 62 76 Dobrzhanskaya Irina 2087 UKR 4 20 63 60 WIM Mouradian Knarik 2161 LIB 4 20 64 67 WFM Kostrikina Anna 2138 RUS 4 20 65 64 Drozdova Dina 2149 RUS 4 19 66 51 WFM Abramova Ekaterina 2190 RUS 4 19 67 131 Sergeeva Viktoria 0 KAZ 4 19 68 46 Krestianova Tatiana 2208 RUS 4 18Ѕ 69 71 WFM Kalmykova Anastasia 2124 RUS 4 18 70 79 Bukhteeva Viktoria 2065 RUS 4 17 71 87 Aganesova Evgeniya 2038 UKR 4 17 72 75 WFM Ivanova Daria 2104 RUS 4 16 73 86 Ognerubova Anastasia 2041 RUS 4 16 74 82 WFM Zarivkina Victorya 2056 RUS 4 15 75 113 Niks Yana 1865 RUS 4 15 76 135 Tereshechkina Maya 0 RUS 4 14 77 72 WFM Kuzmenko Elena 2118 RUS 4 13 78 52 WFM Shulakova Svetlana 2190 RUS 3Ѕ 19 79 47 WFM Kineva Ekaterina 2204 RUS 3Ѕ 18Ѕ 80 74 WFM Larina Marija 2109 RUS 3Ѕ 16Ѕ 81 83 Avdeyeva Viktoriya 1958 AZE 3Ѕ 16 82 80 WFM Melnik Galina 2063 RUS 3Ѕ 15 83 101 Blokhina Elvira 1947 RUS 3Ѕ 15 84 93 WFM Kalashnikova Larisa 1983 RUS 3Ѕ 14Ѕ 85 104 Severina Maria 1918 RUS 3Ѕ 14Ѕ 86 111 WFM Styazhkina Anna 1878 RUS 3Ѕ 14Ѕ 87 91 Kluchik Julia 2002 RUS 3Ѕ 14 88 68 WIM Vrublevskaya Olga 2137 RUS 3Ѕ 13Ѕ 89 77 WFM Gvanceladze Anna 2069 RUS 3Ѕ 13Ѕ 90 106 Golban Ludmila 1910 MDA 3Ѕ 12Ѕ 91 95 Volkova Ekaterina 1974 RUS 3Ѕ 12Ѕ 92 115 Forova Tatiana 1857 RUS 3Ѕ 12 93 107 Butneva Larisa 1904 RUS 3Ѕ 10Ѕ 94 31 Borisova Elizaveta 2305 RUS 3 18Ѕ 95 89 Miloserdova Irina 2015 RUS 3 16 96 65 WFM Khropova Larisa 2143 RUS 3 15Ѕ 97 88 WFM Beliaeva Natalia 2020 RUS 3 15 98 84 Abramova Yulia 2053 RUS 3 15 99 99 Koroteeva Ksenia 1955 RUS 3 14Ѕ 100 85 Kabanova Irina 2044 RUS 3 14 101 98 Grigoryeva Olga A. 1955 RUS 3 13Ѕ 102 97 Gavrjuchenkova Angelina 1957 RUS 3 13Ѕ 103 103 Bavina Lyudmila 1945 RUS 3 13 104 70 WFM Kiseljova Marya 2129 RUS 3 13 105 118 Nazarian Marina 1811 RUS 3 12Ѕ 106 133 Sorokina Nadejda 0 RUS 3 12 107 100 Andreeva Elena 1954 RUS 3 11Ѕ 108 102 Chernyshova Natalia 1947 RUS 3 11Ѕ 109 109 WFM Della-Rossa Anastasia 1898 RUS 3 9Ѕ 110 125 Grishina Irina 0 RUS 3 9 111 73 Gorbunova Alexandra 2113 RUS 2Ѕ 14 112 129 Maliutina Yulia 0 RUS 2Ѕ 14 113 108 Frantsuzova Lyudmila 1899 RUS 2Ѕ 14 114 94 Kovalenko Yulya 1980 RUS 2Ѕ 13 115 114 WFM Mestnikova Varvara 1861 RUS 2Ѕ 13 116 112 Braun Elina 1870 RUS 2Ѕ 11Ѕ 117 81 Zaryvkina Anastasia 2063 RUS 2Ѕ 10 118 126 Karimova Karina 0 RUS 2Ѕ 9Ѕ 119 128 Kvirikashvili Sofiko 0 RUS 2Ѕ 9Ѕ 120 127 Kukushkina Angelina 0 RUS 2Ѕ 8Ѕ 121 120 Afanasieva Elena 0 RUS 2Ѕ 7Ѕ 122 124 Gataulina Svetlana 0 RUS 2 9Ѕ 123 132 Soboleva Anastasia 0 RUS 2 8 124 136 Vanchikova Dulma 0 RUS 2 7 125 116 Belkina Oksana 1853 RUS 2 7 126 117 Milashevskaja Valentina 1816 RUS 1Ѕ 6 127 92 Lein Marina 1991 RUS 1 7 128 123 Chernyh Yana 0 RUS 1 4 129 11 IM Paehtz Elisabeth 2420 GER Ѕ 4 130 110 Hamza Amira 1884 ALG 0 0 134 Tarasova Maria 0 RUS 0 0 132 130 Samigulina Renata 0 RUS 0 0 133 32 WGM Saunina Ludmila 2303 RUS 0 0 122 Cherniavskaya Klara 0 RUS 0 0 135 119 Ivanova Marianna 1773 RUS 0 0 121 Bokova Irina 0 RUS 0 0

$10,000 Will Buy...

From [ February 8th, 2008 @ 8:42 pm ] ... [ C. S. Magor ] Mammoth Ivory Chess Set will make you King of the Chess Club I was never in the chess club at school. At times, though I was tempted to join, it and the people in it; were never quite my flavor. That is not to say I do not enjoy a game of chess, on the contrary, I love the occasional game. I cannot think of any better way to spend an evening than with a fine cigar, a nip of Bowmore Mariner Single Malt Scotch Whiskey and a Mammoth Ivory Collector Series Signature Chess Set with pieces made from 40,000-year-old mammoth ivory. This is no ebony and ivory board, it is all ivory. The white pieces retain their original color, while the black pieces are stained black. As you might imagine it has a price tag to match its rarity. But hey, it comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and they throw in the leather base pads for free. The board materials they use are pretty sweet too, featuring amboyna, ebony and spalted maple. Price $10,000

Regional Chess News: Peoria, IL

From Area chess teams make a move Local high school students compete in statewide tourney Saturday, February 9, 2008 By Brian Feldt Of The Journal StarPeoria - Just 32 small warriors stood between Michael Mahoney and his enemy as a room full of more than a 1,000 high school students was so quiet, one could only here the constant pounding of clocks. Rarely is a ballroom packed with teenagers so calm, but the focus and determination needed to play a solid chess match requires the silence. The high school students were competing in the 2008 Illinois High School Association's Chess Team State Tournament, which kicked off Friday at the Civic Center. The tournament will conclude today with the crowning of a new champion after the final round scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. Mahoney, the No. 2 ranked player for Peoria Notre Dame, lost his first-round match Friday but said the overall experience is something that he cherishes. "You get to make friends, meet new people and it is really challenging," he said. "You can have good games and then you can have bad games. It can get really intense while playing fast, moving fast, hitting the clock, moving, thinking. It's just fun." Shortly after 10 a.m. Friday, 37,120 assorted chess pieces were in play as nearly 150 schools challenged for the state title. Area high schools competing included Peoria Notre Dame, Richwoods, Galva, Woodruff and Princeville. Among them, Woodruff was the highest rated team coming in with a ranking of 51. Meanwhile, Notre Dame, Richwoods, Galva and Princeville were ranked 71st, 81st, 64th and 98th respectively. Mahoney and his eight-member squad will look to make a run to compete with some of the best chess players and teams Illinois has to offer. His coach, though, said finishing around the assigned ranking would be enough for his appetite. "We haven't had a team in our school for a few years," said Notre Dame coach Bill Smith, who revived the program that had been dead for three years. "If we could finish around the same spot that we are ranked, then that would be great." Smith said a few of his seniors had competed when they were freshmen and had hoped the chess team would be resurrected by the time they reached their final year. Eying the opportunity, Smith said he started the program and got a good response, and things just took off from there. He also said his first state tournament would be a learning experience for most players. "For one thing, with us being a new team made mostly of freshmen and sophomores, they get an idea of how much excitement they can find on a state level," he said. "And basically, they can find out just how good they really are by competing here." For more experienced teams, though, the weekend event is the culmination of a hard-fought season. Jeanette Quetel, a coach at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, Ill., said the tournament is the highlight of her players' season. The day off school, she added, was an extra bonus. "They look forward to this because it is the pinnacle of their chess experiences, because of the high-energy competition and because it is so challenging and engaging," she said. "Then, when they are done, they get to have some fun with their friends and teammates back at the hotel. That combination is pretty exciting for them."

Friday, February 8, 2008

The State of Ohio Persecuted a Squirrel - and It's Rescuer!

I don't know who this Judge is (was?), but here's a reprint of one of his more famous local decisions. It would have been even better if it had been republished during the Christmas holiday! Talk about the state abusing its power - geez! One of Judge John Adkins' most famous cases is reprinted from The Circleville Herald, (serving all of Pickaway County - hmmm, what the hell are they picking away at, I ask you?) Wednesday, December 24, 1997. Angele the squirrel given her home for the holidays Circleville Herald Staff Angele Daniel Nicole will enjoy Christmas and several future holidays with Mary Jane Clifton, thanks to a case dismissal by Judge John R. Adkins. The pet squirrel has been the subject of a dispute between Clifton and the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODW) since October. Officers for the ODW told Clifton she could not house the squirrel she had found 17 months ago in downtown Circleville because she did not have a license to do so. On Oct. 30 Clifton pleaded not guilty to unlawfully having a game quadruped - a squirrel in captivity - without applying for or possessing a game propagating license from the ODW. She requested a jury trial at that time. According to Adkins' written decision, ODW supervisor James Lehman testified that the Division has no such rules setting out criteria for the allowance or rejection of applications for licenses. He provided copies of the Ohio Administrative Code, which state that the animal may be hunted, trapped, taken or possessed, if thereafter immediately it is put to death by any reasonable means. "It is clear from Officer Lehman's testimony that had Mrs. Clifton taken this gray squirrel from the Thursday following Labor Day through Jan. 31 (hunting season) and subsequently thereafter killed it, she would have committed no wrong, assuming that she had acquired the proper license from the State to engage in such activity," Adkins noted in his written statement. He further stated that "there is no reasonable prospect that this case will be tried at any time in the future." He goes on to say there are far more serious cases on the docket impacting the health, safety and welfare of the public. It was stated that the court finds there are not appropriate rules setting forth clearly and distinctly the rules and regulations for a person in good faith to satisfy the obvious legislative intent, including the preservation of animal life. "No one could be so myopic as to perceive that the legislature of the state of Ohio is so ambivalent to the protection of wild animals as to have legislated an act which required, manifestly, that all animals found in whatever location defined under the statute must be thereafter killed or turned over to a clinical rehabilitation specialist who at best might hope the animal would survive," the opinion stated. The court does not find the statute unconstitutional or vague, Adkins reported; however, the statute in this case was found to be unconstitutional because "there must be provided a fair warning to the ordinary citizen so behavior can comport with dictates of the statute." Secondly, Adkins stated that enforcement of the law cannot be capricious or discriminatory by agents with "too much authority and too few constraints." The truth of the case, Adkins wrote, is that a citizen tried to act kindly to aid a threatened animal. As a reward for this act of kindness the wildlife officer would have chosen to fine and jail Clifton and take the animal, which could mean "obviously, death for the squirrel." Clifton could have been imprisoned for 60 days and made to pay a $500 fine if the maximum penalty had been issued. Lehman testified that a squirrel would live about 11 months in the wild. Adkins said that since the squirrel has lived 17 months so far, the state's insistence on turning this squirrel back to the wild makes no sense. "Even the most myopic child would perceive no sense of justice or right in the position of the state." In conclusion, Adkins stated: "At a time when the State is struggling to find resources to educate our children and to make them intelligent, compassionate people, so that our youth can be educated in honest, life-enhancing pursuits, it is more than ironic that the State, further the Director of Law of Circleville, would choose to allocate the resources of two uniformed officers to pursue a woman who demonstrates no culpable mental state. The court is not so foolhardy. Therefore, for all the reasons set forth above, the court finds the defendant's motion to be well taken and the case is dismissed forthwith. Further, this gray squirrel shall be permitted to be retained in and about the property of Mary Jane Clifton without further interference. Although the court cautions Mrs. Clifton that it does not expect to view this squirrel in the public being bandied about in strange wearing apparel of any kind." In response to the decision, Clifton said her holidays will be much brighter. "I was very excited," Clifton said, noting that she first learned of the good news from a friend who heard the information on a television newscast. Clifton says she has been told that she cannot dress Angele up in handmade clothing anymore because it would bring too much attention to her; however, she said she would not change anything else she has done, given the chance. Clifton admitted that she is not angry with the wildlife officers, only the "unconstitutional laws" that are written. She said the Ohio Division of Wildlife has 30 days to appeal the decision. "If they appeal, they will have a lot to lose," she said. "I know in my heart that they will never win. They took my constitutional rights away from me. They denied me a permit." In response to the cards and words of support Clifton has received from individuals all across the United States and elsewhere, she says "thank you," adding that she has accumulated a substantial list of names to send thank-yous to. Adkins said the holidays were a vital factor in the timing of his decision. "It seemed a good time of year to do it," he said. "The more research I did, the more it became clear what should be done," he said, noting that he had no difficulty making his decision. ODW officers could not be reached for comment. ********************************************************************************** The average life of squirrels in Ohio is only 11 months? Hmmm, my squirrels (who live outside in their own nests in the trees in my backyard, thank you very much) seem to live on average 36 months and I'm pretty sure (short of doing DNA tests) that at least a couple of them have for 5 years. By close observation, you can tell them apart from each other, and that's how I know. Also, this handy website says the following: How long do squirrels live? Squirrels in captivity have lived to be twenty years old. Most Gray squirrels will die before their first birthday, not due to predators or the lack of food. But by being run over by vehicles. If they survive their first year, they should live five or six more years.

Friday Night Miscellany

Actress Jessica Alba described an "attack" by a "ghost" when she was 17. Sounds like sleep paralysis. I’ve had it happen several times (although not recently, thank goddess), always upon awakening – it’s an absolutely terrifying experience. The feeling of not being able to move, of "something" seemingly pressing down on you or sitting on your chest, of not even being able to utter a sound. The phenomena is often accompanied by hallucinations; thus, in addition to the feeling of your chest being sat upon, one time I smelled what I thought was a man’s aftershave lotion, heard heavy breathing and felt the other side of the bed "give" as if someone was sitting down on the bed; one time I saw a gigantic spider slowly crawling toward me from the foot of the bed; one time I saw a ghostly female figure dressed all in white float down the hallway – but that was impossible because my bed did not face the door looking out to the hallway! Some years ago, in discussing this with an acquaintance who had a great deal of knowledge about various esoteric traditions and sects, he said it sounded as if I was experiencing paralysis caused by the stirring of the kundalini "serpent" that – metaphysically speaking – sits at the base of the spine, down by one’s tailbone. There also might be some connection to this feeling of paralysis and the "out of body" experience. I leave it to you to figure it all out – I never have – I’ve been too busy the past several years trying to solve the mysteries of chess! Ah ha ha ha ha ha! These should be the best of times for Venezuela, blessed with the largest conventional oil reserves outside the Middle East and oil prices near record highs. But this country’s economic and social problems have become so acute lately that President Hugo Chávez is facing an unusual onslaught of criticism, even from his own supporters, about his management of the country. Lead paragraph of an article at The New York Times "In Venezuela, Faith in Chávez Starts to Wane." The goof! His kind of economics just does not work - If it did – there would be NO FOOD SHORTAGES! Duh! It's even stupider than Reganomics and "trickle down" - and we now know that Regan had Alzheimer's disease even then! Irony: Biofuels Deemed a Greenhouse Threat. Oh crap! They’re thinking of doing more tinkering around with human embryos. What’s the matter with these people – haven’t they ever heard about the horrors of the eugenics wars that Earth suffered in Star Trek? And here's the real question: if it's been tinkered with, is it still "human?" Geez Louise! Oh – and here they are – creating Borg insects! Implants Create Insect Cyborgs. Egoddess! I’ll take sleep paralysis anytime, honest! Darlings, since the blizzard that wasn’t a blizzard of Wednesday (it technically wasn't a blizzard because we did not have sustained winds of 40 mph, only "gusts" that blew every five seconds or so for eight hours), I’ve been a shoveling fool! I haven’t stopped – except to eat, sleep and go to work. We got about 14 inches of snow here – about 20 in my driveway due to drifting. Wet, heavy snow, that has gotten even wetter and heavier since yesterday and today, as the temperature hovered in the mid-30’s and the sun was out for a couple of hours yesterday, increasing the melt-off rate. My painful left shoulder is now numb, but I figure whatever I did to it can’t be too bad since I still have full range of motion. I have visions of developing Popeye arms... As a consequence of the achy shoulder, I’ve been trying to throw the snow over the right shoulder – and now have boulder size hunks of snow sling-shot all over my lawn, lol – or what would be my lawn if it wasn’t buried under all that blankety-blank-blank snow! Tomorrow, though, it all ends. It’s supposed to start out mild enough but by early afternoon the temperature is forecast to start dropping – all the way to well below zero by evening with windchills in the 35 below zero range. Oh great, just great. So, I will be out with the sunrise shoveling as much as I can, and then off to the supermarket for one last shop before the deep freeze hits. I will then come home and continue shoveling until my shovel goes ‘BOING’ and bounces off the frozen solid foot plus of soon-to-be-ice that is still covering more than 50% of my driveway. Oh – did I mention – its snowing again. We’re supposed to get 2 more inches tonight. Last night I got wine and goodies for me; tonight I stocked up on goodies for my good buddies the squirrels and the birds - and I have 20 pounds of peanuts to be delivered on Sunday. Tomorrow's shopping trip will stock up on more wine (an absolute necessity in this household) and lots of red meat. I crave protein and practically raw meat these cold snowy days - yes, darlings, I admit it, I'm a direct descendant of Neanderthal man (and woman, har!) - there seem to be several hundred thousands of us hanging around Wisconsin. Good thing those pesky scientists don't know about us, don't cha know. 'night...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

2008 Moscow Open Round 6 Results

Hooray - a cross-table is now available! Rank after round 6 Rank SNo. Name Rtg FED Pts Fide 1 1 IM Ushenina Anna 2484 UKR 5Ѕ 20 2 7 IM Muzychuk Anna 2460 SLO 5Ѕ 19 3 26 WFM Bodnaruk Anastasia 2317 RUS 5 18 4 24 WFM Girya Olga 2342 RUS 5 17 5 4 IM Lahno Kateryna 2475 UKR 5 16Ѕ 6 14 IM Tairova Elena 2386 RUS 4Ѕ 19 7 20 WIM Vasilkova Svetlana 2359 RUS 4Ѕ 18 8 8 WGM Zhukova Natalia 2457 UKR 4Ѕ 18 9 25 WGM Manakova Maria 2331 SRB 4Ѕ 17 10 21 IM Gvetadze Sopio 2352 GEO 4Ѕ 17 11 5 IM Krush Irina 2473 USA 4Ѕ 17 12 19 WGM Melia Salome 2362 GEO 4Ѕ 16Ѕ 13 9 IM Harika Dronavalli 2455 IND 4Ѕ 16Ѕ 14 18 WFM Malgina-Sterliagova Tatiana 2374 RUS 4Ѕ 16Ѕ 15 2 IM Danielian Elina 2480 ARM 4Ѕ 16Ѕ 16 17 IM Turova Irina 2377 RUS 4Ѕ 16 17 38 WIM Iljushina Olga 2268 RUS 4Ѕ 15Ѕ 18 33 WFM Gunina Valentina 2295 RUS 4Ѕ 14Ѕ 19 41 WFM Yanjindulam Dulamsuren 2256 MGL 4Ѕ 12Ѕ 20 22 WGM Kovanova Baira 2348 RUS 4 17 21 49 WFM Severiukhina Zoja 2199 RUS 4 17 22 30 WFM Fominykh Maria 2305 RUS 4 15Ѕ 23 13 WGM Mongontuul Bathuyag 2389 MGL 4 15Ѕ 24 10 IM Matveeva Svetlana 2433 RUS 4 15 25 16 IM Vasilevich Irina 2378 RUS 4 15 26 3 WGM Pogonina Natalija 2476 RUS 4 14Ѕ 27 15 WIM Charochkina Daria 2383 RUS 4 14 36 WFM Tomilova Elena 2276 RUS 4 14 29 61 WFM Fakhretdinova Margarita 2160 RUS 4 13Ѕ 30 62 WFM Repina Varvara 2158 RUS 4 13 31 34 WGM Fatalibekova Elena 2293 RUS 4 13 32 45 Ostertag Galina 2210 RUS 4 13 33 56 Kuzevanova Evgenia 2167 RUS 3Ѕ 16Ѕ 34 57 Pustovoitova Daria 2166 RUS 3Ѕ 14 35 40 WIM Cherenkova Kristina 2256 RUS 3Ѕ 14 36 6 IM Javakhishvili Lela 2470 GEO 3Ѕ 14 27 WFM Paikidze Nazi 2311 GEO 3Ѕ 14 38 66 WFM Karpova Lyudmila 2139 RUS 3Ѕ 14 39 55 WFM Kharmunova Nadejda 2170 RUS 3Ѕ 13Ѕ 40 37 WGM Semenova Irina 2270 RUS 3Ѕ 13Ѕ 41 12 WGM Grabuzova Tatiana 2392 RUS 3Ѕ 13Ѕ 42 43 WIM Gromova Iulia 2219 RUS 3Ѕ 13 43 39 WGM Golubenko Valentina 2264 CRO 3Ѕ 13 44 29 WGM Shaidullina Sandugach 2306 RUS 3Ѕ 13 45 48 Savina Anastasia 2202 RUS 3Ѕ 12Ѕ 46 53 WFM Bogumil Tatiana 2186 RUS 3Ѕ 12Ѕ 47 52 WFM Shulakova Svetlana 2190 RUS 3Ѕ 12 48 50 Kudriashova Irina 2192 RUS 3Ѕ 12 49 54 WIM Sazonova Elena N 2183 RUS 3Ѕ 12 50 59 WFM Airapetian Tatevik 2162 RUS 3Ѕ 12 51 69 WFM Yakovich Yuliya 2130 RUS 3Ѕ 11Ѕ 52 47 WFM Kineva Ekaterina 2204 RUS 3Ѕ 11Ѕ 53 42 WFM Ambartsumova Karina 2228 RUS 3Ѕ 11 54 28 WIM Strutinskaya Galina N 2309 RUS 3Ѕ 11 55 58 WFM Suslova Alena 2165 RUS 3 13 56 67 WFM Kostrikina Anna 2138 RUS 3 13 57 35 WGM Huda Maryana 2278 UKR 3 13 58 23 WIM Burtasova Anna 2345 RUS 3 12Ѕ 31 Borisova Elizaveta 2305 RUS 3 12Ѕ 60 76 Dobrzhanskaya Irina 2087 UKR 3 12 61 44 WIM Dolgova Olga 2217 RUS 3 12 64 Drozdova Dina 2149 RUS 3 12 63 60 WIM Mouradian Knarik 2161 LIB 3 12 64 63 WFM Karibaeva Elvira 2153 RUS 3 11Ѕ 65 46 Krestianova Tatiana 2208 RUS 3 11Ѕ 66 51 WFM Abramova Ekaterina 2190 RUS 3 11 67 71 WFM Kalmykova Anastasia 2124 RUS 3 11 68 131 Sergeeva Viktoria 0 KAZ 3 11 69 89 Miloserdova Irina 2015 RUS 3 10 70 87 Aganesova Evgeniya 2038 UKR 3 10 71 83 Avdeyeva Viktoriya 2054 AZE 3 9Ѕ 72 65 WFM Khropova Larisa 2143 RUS 3 9Ѕ 73 90 Semenova Elena 2012 RUS 3 9 74 84 Abramova Yulia 2053 RUS 3 9 75 96 Shalukhina Tatyana 1972 KAZ 3 8Ѕ 76 101 Blokhina Elvira 1947 RUS 3 8Ѕ 77 105 Dogodkina Julia 1917 RUS 3 7 78 72 WFM Kuzmenko Elena 2118 RUS 3 6 79 79 Bukhteeva Viktoria 2065 RUS 2Ѕ 9Ѕ 80 74 WFM Larina Marija 2109 RUS 2Ѕ 9Ѕ 81 75 WFM Ivanova Daria 2104 RUS 2Ѕ 9 82 78 WFM Dzhabrailova Inara 2065 RUS 2Ѕ 9 83 73 Gorbunova Alexandra 2113 RUS 2Ѕ 9 88 WFM Beliaeva Natalia 2020 RUS 2Ѕ 9 129 Maliutina Yulia 0 RUS 2Ѕ 9 86 108 Frantsuzova Lyudmila 1899 RUS 2Ѕ 9 87 99 Koroteeva Ksenia 1955 RUS 2Ѕ 8Ѕ 88 86 Ognerubova Anastasia 2041 RUS 2Ѕ 8Ѕ 89 104 Severina Maria 1918 RUS 2Ѕ 8Ѕ 90 80 WFM Melnik Galina 2063 RUS 2Ѕ 8 91 94 Kovalenko Yulya 1980 RUS 2Ѕ 8 92 113 Niks Yana 1865 RUS 2Ѕ 8 93 85 Kabanova Irina 2044 RUS 2Ѕ 8 94 93 WFM Kalashnikova Larisa 1983 RUS 2Ѕ 7Ѕ 95 77 WFM Gvanceladze Anna 2069 RUS 2Ѕ 7 96 118 Nazarian Marina 1811 RUS 2Ѕ 7 97 95 Volkova Ekaterina 1974 RUS 2Ѕ 6Ѕ 98 68 WIM Vrublevskaya Olga 2137 RUS 2Ѕ 6Ѕ 99 112 Braun Elina 1870 RUS 2Ѕ 6Ѕ 100 100 Andreeva Elena 1954 RUS 2Ѕ 5Ѕ 101 115 Forova Tatiana 1857 RUS 2Ѕ 5Ѕ 102 111 WFM Styazhkina Anna 1878 RUS 2 8Ѕ 103 103 Bavina Lyudmila 1945 RUS 2 8 104 82 WFM Zarivkina Victorya 2056 RUS 2 8 105 91 Kluchik Julia 2002 RUS 2 8 106 98 Grigoryeva Olga A. 1955 RUS 2 7Ѕ 107 70 WFM Kiseljova Marya 2129 RUS 2 7Ѕ 108 97 Gavrjuchenkova Angelina 1957 RUS 2 7Ѕ 109 135 Tereshechkina Maya 0 RUS 2 7 110 133 Sorokina Nadejda 0 RUS 2 7 111 106 Golban Ludmila 1910 MDA 2 6 112 126 Karimova Karina 0 RUS 2 4Ѕ 113 125 Grishina Irina 0 RUS 2 4 114 136 Vanchikova Dulma 0 RUS 2 3 115 114 WFM Mestnikova Varvara 1861 RUS 1Ѕ 8Ѕ 116 81 Zaryvkina Anastasia 2063 RUS 1Ѕ 6 117 102 Chernyshova Natalia 1947 RUS 1Ѕ 6 118 124 Gataulina Svetlana 0 RUS 1Ѕ 5Ѕ 119 128 Kvirikashvili Sofiko 0 RUS 1Ѕ 5 120 107 Butneva Larisa 1904 RUS 1Ѕ 4Ѕ 121 127 Kukushkina Angelina 0 RUS 1Ѕ 4Ѕ 122 132 Soboleva Anastasia 0 RUS 1Ѕ 4 123 120 Afanasieva Elena 0 RUS 1Ѕ 3Ѕ 124 116 Belkina Oksana 1853 RUS 1Ѕ 3 125 92 Lein Marina 1991 RUS 1 5 126 109 WFM Della-Rossa Anastasia 1898 RUS 1 4Ѕ 127 117 Milashevskaja Valentina 1816 RUS 1 3 128 123 Chernyh Yana 0 RUS 1 2 129 11 IM Paehtz Elisabeth 2420 GER Ѕ 3 130 122 Cherniavskaya Klara 0 RUS 0 0 134 Tarasova Maria 0 RUS 0 0 132 32 WGM Saunina Ludmila 2303 RUS 0 0 110 Hamza Amira 1884 ALG 0 0 130 Samigulina Renata 0 RUS 0 0 135 119 Ivanova Marianna 1773 RUS 0 0 136 121 Bokova Irina 0 RUS 0 0

Ahhhh, the Chess Scene in "The Thomas Crown Affair"

From Variety 100's "Just for Variety"
1967: Duo set for 'Crown' By ARMY ARCHERD, Thurs., Feb. 7, 2008, 12:16pm PT

-->Sept. 14, 1967
GOOD MORNING: Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway were showered and sauna'd yesterday in a semi-nude scene by Norman Jewison on "The Crown Caper" set. The nervous stars were calmed by the director with "You only have to worry with what the camera sees." ... The stage was, of course, closed - "to everyone except me," noted Harold Mirisch ... A sexier scene, claims Jewison, was lensed earlier -- a chess game between McQueen and Miss D., latter in a sheer gown sans bra. Yes, this film is a change of pace for McQueen. Chess? ...

(2008 Update: "Everyone still talks about that scene," Jewison tells me today. "I got away with murder!" The well-reviewed film was released under the title of "The Thomas Crown Affair" and included the Oscar-winning tune, "The Windmills of Your Mind" by Michel Legrand and Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Alan tells me, "Norman asked us to write a song to underline the anxiety of Steve McQueen in his glider. And Michel wrote music reflecting the windmills of your mind." The songwriters are re-teaming for a B'way musical based on Paul Gallico's "The Man Who Was Magic." ... And Jewison is teaming again with screenwriter John Patrick Stanley on an adaptation of "Bread and Tulips" to be titled "The Accordion" which will film in New Orleans once the financing is completed. (That's why he's in town.) Jewison and Stanley also teamed on "Moonstruck" for which Cher and Stanley won Oscars. Jewison, 81, recently completed "The Statement" with screenwriter Ron Harwood who is Oscar-nominated this year for "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" screenplay. On Monday, Jewison presented Harwood with a "Movies For Grownups" award from AARP at the Hotel Bel-Air gala.)

Archaeology and Myths: Romulus and Remus

From USA Today
Does a cave prove Romulus and Remus are no myth?
February 7, 2008
By Andrea Pitzer, Special for USA TODAY
(Photo: Italian Culture Ministry via AP
An underground grotto believed to have been worshipped by ancient Romans as the place where a wolf nursed the city's legendary founder Romulus and his twin brother Remus. Is this the lupercalex?)

The discovery of an ancient Roman cave has unearthed a debate about its historical purpose and delved into a deeper question for scholars: Can archaeology prove mythology?

The cave was found when a camera was lowered through a hole in Rome's Palatine Hill during restorations of the palace of the Emperor Augustus, who ruled from the late first century B.C. until his death in A.D. 14. The Palatine Hill was a seat of power in ancient Rome; today it is home to the fragile remains of palaces and temples.

The discovery of the vaulted cavern, more than 50 feet underground and covered in mosaics, was announced in November. Some believe it is a shrine of the Lupercale, the sacred cave where Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome, are said to have been suckled by a wolf —lupa in Latin.

According to Roman mythology, the twin sons of a priestess and Mars, the god of war, were set adrift in the Tiber River. Instead of drowning, the infants washed ashore.

Francesco Rutelli, Italy's Minister of Culture, says the cave is the Lupercale celebrated in Augustus' time, as evidenced by references in 2,000-year-old texts.

Archaeologist Andrea Carandini of Rome's La Sapienza University calls the finding "one of the greatest discoveries ever made" and says the chances are "minimal" that the cave is not the site revered by the Romans as the Lupercale.

Carandini and others point to discoveries such as the cave and earlier findings of ancient structures as evidence that myths about the city's founding reflect history, and say that the founder of Rome may actually have been named Romulus.

Subject to interpretation
But linking artifacts to legends is risky business, say historians and other archaeologists.

"Everyone always wants to think that archaeology has proved the Bible is true, or that there really was a Trojan War, or that King Arthur was a real character," says historian T.P. Wiseman of England's University of Exeter.

"Archaeology by its nature can't provide such evidence."

He says that when archaeologists interpret an artifact, their expert perspective is essentially a best guess, because there's no means of confirmation.

Historian Christopher Smith of Scotland's University of St. Andrews notes that even if artifacts clearly reference the Romulus and Remus story, all they will show is that the cavern is a place where first-century Romans celebrated the legend — not that the story is real.

"It is tempting to argue that the finds support historical events," Smith says, "when in fact they merely support ancient beliefs about events."

Wiseman says everything we believe we know about the ancient world must be treated as a hypothesis, one that may be disproved by future finds. The only concrete relationship between an artifact and a myth is "what people create with their own will to believe."

Earlier discoveries linked to Romulus and Remus, who supposedly founded Rome in 753 B.C., have divided experts.

In 1988, Carandini discovered a section of wall in Rome dating from the eighth century B.C., which he linked to a boundary found in the legend: Romulus killed Remus when he mocked such a wall. Other archaeologists and historians have recognized the validity of Carandini's find as an archaeological discovery but don't see it giving credence to mythology.

The Capitoline Wolf, a bronze statue of a wolf suckling a pair of infant boys, has come under fire. Long believed to be a fifth-century B.C. Etruscan statue, it may be much younger than that. Last year, Anna Maria Carruba, who was involved in its restoration, published a book claiming the process showed that the wolf was made outside Italy during the medieval period.

If so, Wiseman says, the statue is no longer proof that fifth-century B.C. inhabitants knew the story of Romulus and Remus, which had added weight to the argument that the legend might have historical roots.

Archaeologist Adriano La Regina, also of La Sapienza, who was in charge of the city's archaeological excavations from 1976 to 2005, is among those who argue that the newly discovered cave is not the Lupercale. Ancient sources, from the writings of Dionysius to Cicero, indicate otherwise, he says.

Historian Mario Torelli of Italy's University of Perugia suggests the chamber is only a grotto of the Palatine palace, included in the historical record since the 16th century.

More to discover
Augustus saw himself as a new founder — Romulus and Remus combined, according to Stanford University scholar Adrienne Mayor. And with written references to an actual Lupercale site during Augustus' time, Mayor believes it's fair game for scholars to try to find it.

Mayor says more study has to be done before drawing conclusions about the underground chamber. Experts have been investigating the cave with endoscopes and laser scanners, fearful that the grotto — already partially caved in — would not survive an archaeological dig.

Still, Mayor is impressed that the ancient story of the nurturing wolf has survived at least 2,000 years and has meaning for people today. Trying to connect with the past, "humans return again and again to archaeology to confirm the reality of myth," she says. "It's a timeless impulse."

Contributing: The Associated Press

At the Mercy of Rain

Archeology Writer Warns of Drought With Climate Change By Grant Rhodes, Guest Writer, 2-05-08 Brian Fagan, a leading archaeological writer, said at a lecture at the University of Montana Tuesday night that one of the key ramifications of climate change will be its effect on the world’s water. “Many millions of people in the world today live at the mercy of the rain,” Fagan said. “And because of that, one of the great issues of climate change is our vulnerability.” As part of the 2008 Wilderness Institute’s Lecture Series, Fagan’s presentation was entitled, “The Great Warming Drought and the Flail of God: An Archaeologist Looks at Climate Change.” It focused on how, until recently, we knew little about ancient climate change. But now archaeologists are able to illustrate how civilizations survived and adapted to different warming and cooling periods hundreds of years ago. Fagan noted at the beginning of “The Little Ice Age,” which lasted from the Thirteenth to the Seventeenth Century, storms and rains destroyed crops, forcing people to adapt to the changing conditions. “It was a period of serious famine but also a period of agricultural innovation,” Fagan said. “In short, there was an agricultural revolution.” Fagan uses these historical examples as a lesson that climate change forces people to be innovative. “It is the social and cultural impact of climate change that makes all the difference.” Fagan warned that it is not just Africa and other under-developed regions that will suffer from a water shortage. Parts of the Southwest United States and Southern Rockies, along with parts of the Midwest along the Eastern slope of the Rockies, are considered arid or semi-arid regions. “In the next century, extreme drought will affect 30 percent of us on Earth, which will be up from 3 percent,” Fagan said. Moderate drought would affect half of all of us, he added. “These are reasonable forecasts for the future. We must learn from the lessons of climate change in the past.” So how do we deal with global warming and impending crisis of water shortage today? “The issue isn’t if we can stop global warming. The issue is how do we live with it,” Fagan said. It is important to not let the issue become the “silent elephant in the room,” Fagan warned. There is a need to address it on a personal level as well as on a governmental level. While trying to stay as apolitical as possible on the issue, Fagan did say, “We spend so much money on stupid wars, and we don’t spend it on our future.” Fagan assured the audience that despite an impending water shortage, life will go on. “Humans are adaptive, and capable of making changes, but at the expense of great suffering,” he said. While saying nobody knows what global temperatures will do—whether they will continue to increase or begin to go down—Fagan admitted to being scared at the possibilities. Not scared for himself, but for future generation, because they will be the ones that have to live with it. Speaking to a crowd of mostly students, Fagan warned, “We are playing a huge game of Russian Roulette, and you guys are right in the middle of it.”

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Goddess Pele

From Pele and the Calabash of Poi Adapted by Amy Friedman February 5, 2008 People say the goddess of the volcano known as Pele was born in Tahiti, one of six daughters. But Pele's father, the powerful god of heaven and earth, grew tired of her explosive temper, and so at long last he gave her a canoe and exiled her from his land. Led by her eldest brother, Kamohoali'i, king of the sharks, Pele made her way to Hawaii. When she reached the islands, Pele used her pa'oa, a long, sharp stick, to strike deep into each place she landed, creating great pits of fire wherever she went. Pele's oldest sister killed her in a great battle, but when Pele died, she transformed into a goddess and settled on the island of Hawaii, where she lives to this day, inhabiting the crater at the summit of the Kilauea volcano. When Kilauea erupts, people say it is Pele's temper bursting forth, and they speak of the face of the goddess that appears amidst the volcanic eruptions. People also tell tales of seeing her wandering out in the world, sometimes disguised as a frail old woman, other times as a beautiful young girl, often leading a tiny white dog. People see her on long, empty roads in Kilauea National Park, but usually when they turn to look again, she has mysteriously vanished. And so it was that one day, disguised as a hag and leaning on a gnarled cane, Pele walked down the mountain toward a village to wander among the people. She came to a large home thatched with ti-leaves, a sign of the family's high rank. The windows of the house opened out onto a lovely garden of taro, coconut palms and bananas. The setting was beautiful, and so Pele peered inside. She saw a family of well-dressed people sitting around a table, clearly enjoying a feast."Aloha," she called, and the man of the family turned, startled to see a stranger at his door. "Aloha," he said, but he did not sound happy. "Can I help you?"Pele nodded. "I have walked a long way," she said, exhaustion in her voice. "I am very hungry. Perhaps you would be kind enough to offer me a calabash of poi. I see you grow a great deal of taro in your beautiful garden." Now the women at the table had spent many hours pounding the potatolike taro root and cooking their delicious poi; the men had worked hard at their harvest. And all they could think was that if they gave some away, that would be less for them later. "I'm afraid we have too little left to share," the man said. "This will have to last us for a long, long time." "Then perhaps a piece of fish," asked Pele. "Ah, it's all gone, I fear," said the man. This time he lied. "A few berries for an old woman?" she asked. "To quench my thirst." "Oh, our berries are green," the woman of the house lied, hiding the pot of berries. "You probably cannot see they are green because your eyes are so old." Now Pele's eyes were anything but old, and now they gleamed with fire, but she stopped herself from exploding with rage. Instead she simply bowed and backed away. Pele continued down the road until she came to a neighbor's house, this one a small hut on a narrow patch of land. She stopped at the gate and watched as a family talked and laughed together in their little garden. They were enjoying the sight of the setting sun beyond the slopes in the distance. "Aloha," Pele called. "I see you have finished your supper, which is a shame since I hoped to have a little poi. I'm very hungry." At once the poor farmer smiled at Pele, and everyone in the family smiled as well, each one radiating warmth, as if they had inhaled the sun. "Come in," said the man. "You are more than welcome. Please, make yourself comfortable." Before he had finished speaking, his wife had prepared a calabash of poi for the old woman and led her to a mat on the floor. Pele sat and ate heartily, dipping her fingers again and again into the delicious poi. When she had devoured the bowlful, she looked up and asked, "Have you any more?" Without hesitation, the woman filled the calabash with another helping of poi, and once again Pele devoured the treat. Then she looked up. "Any more?" Again the woman did not hesitate to fill the calabash as full as she could. "I'm so sorry," she apologized, "this is the last of our poi. As you can see, we have a small garden and little taro." When Pele finished eating the third calabash, she rose from her place on the mat. She moved more slowly now, for she was full, but her face glowed with the fire of pleasure. "From this day on," she said, "whatever you plant in your garden at night will be full grown by morning, and you will have as many crops in your garden in one day as your neighbor will grow in 10 years." Then she walked outside, and when the family turned to wave to her, she had vanished. The next morning the poor man awoke and walked into his garden. He stared in wonder, for everywhere he looked, ripe bananas hung on new, sturdy plants, and full-grown taro stood ready to be harvested. His sugarcane plants reached so high he could barely see their tops. Then the poor farmer looked across the road toward the beautiful garden of his rich and powerful neighbor, and saw that the rich man's garden was bare. And so he understood that he had been blessed by the goddess of the volcano because of his hospitality to a poor old woman.

2008 Moscow Open Round 5 Results

Bo. Name Pts Res. Pts Name 1 IM Tairova Elena 4 Ѕ - Ѕ 4 IM Ushenina Anna 2 IM Gvetadze Sopio 3Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ 3Ѕ IM Krush Irina 3 Kuzevanova Evgenia 3Ѕ 0 - 1 3Ѕ IM Muzychuk Anna 4 WGM Zhukova Natalia 3Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ 3Ѕ WGM Kovanova Baira 5 WIM Vasilkova Svetlana 3Ѕ 1 - 0 3Ѕ WFM Severiukhina Zoja 6 WGM Manakova Maria 3 Ѕ - Ѕ 3 IM Danielian Elina 7 WFM Bodnaruk Anastasia 3 1 - 0 3 WGM Pogonina Natalija 8 IM Lahno Kateryna 3 1 - 0 3 WFM Fominykh Maria 9 WFM Paikidze Nazi 3 0 - 1 3 IM Harika Dronavalli 10 IM Matveeva Svetlana 3 1 - 0 3 WGM Fatalibekova Elena 11 WGM Huda Maryana 3 0 - 1 3 IM Vasilevich Irina 12 IM Turova Irina 3 Ѕ - Ѕ 3 Pustovoitova Daria 13 WFM Tomilova Elena 3 0 - 1 3 WFM Malgina-Sterliagova Tatiana 14 WGM Melia Salome 3 1 - 0 3 WFM Karpova Lyudmila 15 WFM Suslova Alena 3 0 - 1 3 WFM Girya Olga 16 IM Javakhishvili Lela 2Ѕ 1 - 0 3 Dobrzhanskaya Irina 17 WGM Mongontuul Bathuyag 2Ѕ 1 - 0 2Ѕ WFM Bogumil Tatiana 18 WIM Burtasova Anna 2Ѕ 0 - 1 2Ѕ WFM Kharmunova Nadejda 19 WGM Shaidullina Sandugach 2Ѕ 0 - 1 2Ѕ WFM Yakovich Yuliya 20 WFM Gunina Valentina 2Ѕ 1 - 0 2Ѕ WFM Kalmykova Anastasia 21 WIM Gromova Iulia 2Ѕ 1 - 0 2Ѕ WGM Semenova Irina 22 WIM Iljushina Olga 2Ѕ 1 - 0 2Ѕ WFM Kostrikina Anna 23 Kudriashova Irina 2Ѕ 0 - 1 2Ѕ WIM Cherenkova Kristina 24 WFM Shulakova Svetlana 2Ѕ 0 - 1 2Ѕ WFM Yanjindulam Dulamsuren 25 Sergeeva Viktoria 2Ѕ 0 - 1 2 WGM Grabuzova Tatiana 26 WIM Charochkina Daria 2 1 - 0 2 WFM Khropova Larisa 27 WFM Kiseljova Marya 2 0 - 1 2 WIM Strutinskaya Galina N 28 Borisova Elizaveta 2 Ѕ - Ѕ 2 Gorbunova Alexandra 29 WGM Golubenko Valentina 2 1 - 0 2 WFM Larina Marija 30 WFM Ambartsumova Karina 2 Ѕ - Ѕ 2 WFM Ivanova Daria 31 Bukhteeva Viktoria 2 0 - 1 2 WIM Dolgova Olga 32 Abramova Yulia 2 0 - 1 2 Ostertag Galina 33 Krestianova Tatiana 2 Ѕ - Ѕ 2 WFM Dzhabrailova Inara 34 WFM Beliaeva Natalia 2 Ѕ - Ѕ 2 WFM Kineva Ekaterina 35 Savina Anastasia 2 1 - 0 2 Semenova Elena 36 Frantsuzova Lyudmila 2 0 - 1 2 WFM Abramova Ekaterina 37 WIM Sazonova Elena N 2 1 - 0 2 Kluchik Julia 38 Miloserdova Irina 2 0 - 1 2 WFM Airapetian Tatevik 39 WIM Mouradian Knarik 2 1 - 0 2 WFM Kalashnikova Larisa 40 WFM Styazhkina Anna 2 0 - 1 2 WFM Fakhretdinova Margarita 41 WFM Repina Varvara 2 1 - 0 2 Grigoryeva Olga A. 42 Maliutina Yulia 2 Ѕ - Ѕ 2 WFM Karibaeva Elvira 43 Drozdova Dina 2 1 - 0 2 Severina Maria 44 WFM Zarivkina Victorya 1Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ 2 Niks Yana 45 Kovalenko Yulya 1Ѕ 1 - 0 1Ѕ WFM Melnik Galina 46 Chernyshova Natalia 1Ѕ 0 - 1 1Ѕ Avdeyeva Viktoriya 47 Kabanova Irina 1Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ 1Ѕ Shalukhina Tatyana 48 WFM Mestnikova Varvara 1Ѕ 0 - 1 1Ѕ Ognerubova Anastasia 49 Aganesova Evgeniya 1Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ 1Ѕ Nazarian Marina 50 Gataulina Svetlana 1Ѕ 0 - 1 1 WIM Vrublevskaya Olga 51 WFM Kuzmenko Elena 1 1 - 0 1 WFM Della-Rossa Anastasia 52 WFM Gvanceladze Anna 1 Ѕ - Ѕ 1 Braun Elina 53 Zaryvkina Anastasia 1 Ѕ - Ѕ 1 Forova Tatiana 54 Volkova Ekaterina 1 1 - 0 1 Milashevskaja Valentina 55 Kvirikashvili Sofiko 1 Ѕ - Ѕ 1 Gavrjuchenkova Angelina 56 Koroteeva Ksenia 1 1 - 0 1 Afanasieva Elena 57 Blokhina Elvira 1 1 - 0 1 Grishina Irina 58 Bavina Lyudmila 1 1 - 0 1 Kukushkina Angelina 59 Dogodkina Julia 1 1 - 0 1 Soboleva Anastasia 60 Sorokina Nadejda 1 1 - 0 1 Golban Ludmila 61 Butneva Larisa 1 0 - 1 1 Tereshechkina Maya 62 Belkina Oksana Ѕ 0 - 1 Ѕ Andreeva Elena 63 Ivanova Marianna 0 - - + Ѕ Karimova Karina 64 Vanchikova Dulma 0 1 - 0 0 Bokova Irina Chernyh Yana 0 1 - - Bye 65 IM Paehtz Elisabeth Ѕ - - 0 - 66 WGM Saunina Ludmila 0 - - 0 - 67 Lein Marina 1 - - 0 - 68 Hamza Amira 0 - - 0 - 69 Cherniavskaya Klara 0 - - 0 - 70 Samigulina Renata 0 - - 0 - 71 Tarasova Maria 0 - - 0 -

Ancient Seal Inscription Re-translated


Feb 4, 2008 20:26 Updated Feb 5, 2008 17:14
Archeologist revises read of ancient seal inscription

A prominent Israeli archeologist said Monday that she has revised her reading of an inscription on an ancient seal uncovered in an archeological excavation in Jerusalem's City of David after various scholars around the world critiqued her original interpretation of the name on the seal.

The 2,500 year-old black stone seal was found last month amid stratified layers of debris in the excavation under way just outside the Old City walls near the Dung Gate, said archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, who is leading the dig.

Mazar had originally read the name on the seal as "Temech," and suggested that it belonged to the family of that name mentioned in the Book of Nehemiah.

But after the find was first reported in The Jerusalem Post, various epigraphers around the world said Mazar had erred by reading the inscription on the seal straight on (from right to left) rather than backwards (from left to right), as a result of the fact that a seal creates a mirror image when used to inscribe a piece of clay.

The critics, including the European scholar Peter van der Veen, as well as the epigrapher Ryan Byrne, co-director of the Tel Dan excavations, suggested in Internet blogs that the correct reading of the seal is actually "Shlomit," also a biblical name.

Mazar said Monday that she accepted the reading of "Shlomit" on the ancient seal, and added that she appreciated the scholarly research on the issue.

"We are involved in research, not in proving our own opinions," Mazar said.

She noted that the name Shlomit was known in the period from which the seal dated, and that other contemporary seals had been found that bore names of women who held official status in the administration.

It was not clear whether the name on the seal had any connection to the daughter of Zerubbabel, mentioned in 1 Chronicles 3:19, since the name was apparently common in the period.

The grandson of Judean King Jehoachin, Zerubbabel, led the first band of Jews who returned from the Babylonian captivity, and laid the foundation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

"What we can say for sure is that this woman was an important woman in the society," Mazar said.

The seal, which portrays a common and popular cultic scene, was bought in Babylon and dates to 538-445 BCE, Mazar said.

In contrast, Byrne suggested that a date in the late seventh or early sixth century was more probable, noting that scene was typical of the Iron Age Levant and that there was no reason to surmise the seal had been made in Babylon.

The 2.1 X 1.8 cm elliptical seal is engraved with two bearded priests standing on either side of an incense alter with their hands raised in a position of worship.

A crescent moon, the symbol of the chief Babylonian god Sin, appears on the top of the altar, Mazar said.

The fact that this cultic scene relates to a Babylonian god seemed not to have disturbed the Jews that used the seal, she added.

Mazar gained international prominence for her recent excavation that may have uncovered the biblical palace of King David.

The three-year-old east Jerusalem dig is being sponsored by the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem research institute, where Mazar serves as a senior fellow, and the City of David Foundation, which promotes Jewish settlement throughout east Jerusalem.

Snow Bound!

They said it was coming - and it did. It started at 4 yesterday afternoon and it's still snowing hard outside, more than 24 hours later. So far about 18 inches has piled up in my driveway - not including the five foot tall pile of nasty plowed into the end of my driveway courtesy of the demon plow driver (I will kill him with a stake through his frigging heart if I can ever catch the plow). I didn't expect that they would, and I already knew there was no way on Goddess' green earth that I was going to attempt to make it to the bus stop today and travel the 11 miles downtown - guess what - they closed the office! The first time in the more than 5 years I've worked there! so, I didn't have to use a vacation day today after all, thank goodness for small favors! I shoveled 3 times, all to no avail. Once starting at 6 a.m. this morning to go get my newspaper - when there was only half a foot of snow on the ground; once around noon when I foolishly through I might be able to get down to the supermarket and pick up some more peanuts - the squirrels were ravenous this morning and for the couple of hour window while the back deck stayed unburied under snow, they miraculously appeared out of nowhere (perhaps they fly when we are looking?). Well, I should have gone, despite the blowing snow and unplowed roads. It just got worse at the day wore on. What was supposed to end at 6 p.m. is now forecast to end at 9 p.m. With winds gusting out of the east, and then the northeast, and now north/northeast up to 40 mph, the drifing is fierce. Things got so bad, the county transportation system pulled its buses off the road, service ended at 5:30 p.m. I really feel for all the people working who missed their last bus and are waiting, waiting, waiting... Not everyone listens to all news radio or television while at work, and those are the places where the announcement of suspension of bus service were made. There might even be people out there who didn't hear the announcement while still at home getting ready to go to work, and they're out there at bus stops waiting, waiting, waiting... Oh Goddess! I think I hurt my left shoulder shoveling, it hurts like the dickens. This last time, I shoveled from 5:38 p.m. until 7 p.m. and managed to open up about a 3 foot wide path from my front porch down to the road, where it narrows to about 2 feet because I don't have anywhere to go with the snow in the hill plowed into the end of my driveway - I can't toss it up any higher, about 4.5 feet high along the left side of the driveway. My mail box and paper box are buried - that means I won't get any mail until I can get it dug out - and that means it will wait until spring! I can't toss the snow up any higher than it already is. I may be able to hire someone to come and plow me out, about a week from now.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

2008 Moscow Open Round 4 Results

Bo. Name Pts Res. Pts Name 1 IM Ushenina Anna 3 1 - 0 3 WGM Manakova Maria 2 WFM Severiukhina Zoja 3 Ѕ - Ѕ 3 WGM Zhukova Natalia 3 IM Tairova Elena 3 1 - 0 3 WFM Bodnaruk Anastasia 4 IM Danielian Elina 2Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ 3 Kuzevanova Evgenia 5 IM Krush Irina 2Ѕ 1 - 0 2Ѕ WIM Burtasova Anna 6 IM Muzychuk Anna 2Ѕ 1 - 0 2Ѕ WIM Iljushina Olga 7 WGM Kovanova Baira 2Ѕ 1 - 0 2Ѕ WGM Mongontuul Bathuyag 8 WFM Fominykh Maria 2Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ 2Ѕ IM Turova Irina 9 WGM Semenova Irina 2Ѕ 0 - 1 2Ѕ WIM Vasilkova Svetlana 10 WFM Kostrikina Anna 2Ѕ 0 - 1 2Ѕ IM Gvetadze Sopio 11 WGM Pogonina Natalija 2 1 - 0 2 Krestianova Tatiana 12 WIM Dolgova Olga 2 0 - 1 2 IM Lahno Kateryna 13 WFM Bogumil Tatiana 2 Ѕ - Ѕ 2 IM Javakhishvili Lela 14 IM Harika Dronavalli 2 1 - 0 2 Savina Anastasia 15 Ostertag Galina 2 0 - 1 2 IM Matveeva Svetlana 16 WGM Grabuzova Tatiana 2 0 - 1 2 WFM Suslova Alena 17 Pustovoitova Daria 2 1 - 0 2 WIM Charochkina Daria 18 IM Vasilevich Irina 2 1 - 0 2 WIM Mouradian Knarik 19 WFM Malgina-Sterliagova Tatiana 2 1 - 0 2 WFM Repina Varvara 20 WFM Fakhretdinova Margarita 2 0 - 1 2 WGM Melia Salome 21 WFM Girya Olga 2 1 - 0 2 Bukhteeva Viktoria 22 WFM Karibaeva Elvira 2 0 - 1 2 WFM Paikidze Nazi 23 WFM Kalmykova Anastasia 2 Ѕ - Ѕ 2 WGM Shaidullina Sandugach 24 WFM Karpova Lyudmila 2 1 - 0 2 Borisova Elizaveta 25 WGM Fatalibekova Elena 2 1 - 0 2 Drozdova Dina 26 WGM Huda Maryana 2 1 - 0 2 Miloserdova Irina 27 WFM Larina Marija 2 0 - 1 2 WFM Tomilova Elena 28 Dobrzhanskaya Irina 2 1 - 0 2 WGM Golubenko Valentina 29 WIM Cherenkova Kristina 2 Ѕ - Ѕ 2 Sergeeva Viktoria 30 WFM Melnik Galina 1Ѕ 0 - 1 1Ѕ WFM Gunina Valentina 31 WFM Yanjindulam Dulamsuren 1Ѕ 1 - 0 1Ѕ WFM Zarivkina Victorya 32 Avdeyeva Viktoriya 1Ѕ 0 - 1 1Ѕ WIM Gromova Iulia 33 WFM Kineva Ekaterina 1Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ 1Ѕ Abramova Yulia 34 Ognerubova Anastasia 1Ѕ 0 - 1 1Ѕ Kudriashova Irina 35 Shalukhina Tatyana 1Ѕ 0 - 1 1Ѕ WFM Shulakova Svetlana 36 Severina Maria 1Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ 1Ѕ WIM Sazonova Elena N 37 WFM Kharmunova Nadejda 1Ѕ 1 - 0 1Ѕ Aganesova Evgeniya 38 WFM Airapetian Tatevik 1Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ 1Ѕ Frantsuzova Lyudmila 39 WFM Khropova Larisa 1Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ 1Ѕ WFM Styazhkina Anna 40 WFM Yakovich Yuliya 1Ѕ 1 - 0 1Ѕ WFM Mestnikova Varvara 41 WIM Strutinskaya Galina N 1 1 - 0 1 Volkova Ekaterina 42 Gavrjuchenkova Angelina 1 0 - 1 1 WFM Ambartsumova Karina 43 WFM Abramova Ekaterina 1 1 - 0 1 Koroteeva Ksenia 44 Golban Ludmila 1 0 - 1 1 WFM Kiseljova Marya 45 Gorbunova Alexandra 1 1 - 0 1 Blokhina Elvira 46 WFM Ivanova Daria 1 1 - 0 1 Bavina Lyudmila 47 Grigoryeva Olga A. 1 1 - 0 1 WFM Gvanceladze Anna 48 WFM Dzhabrailova Inara 1 1 - 0 1 Dogodkina Julia 49 Niks Yana 1 1 - 0 1 Zaryvkina Anastasia 50 Nazarian Marina 1 Ѕ - Ѕ 1 Kabanova Irina 51 Kukushkina Angelina 1 0 - 1 1 WFM Beliaeva Natalia 52 Semenova Elena 1 1 - 0 1 Butneva Larisa 53 Kluchik Julia 1 1 - 0 1 Tereshechkina Maya 54 Maliutina Yulia 1 + - - 1 Lein Marina 55 WFM Kalashnikova Larisa 1 1 - 0 1 Sorokina Nadejda 56 WIM Vrublevskaya Olga Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ Ѕ Forova Tatiana 57 Belkina Oksana Ѕ 0 - 1 Ѕ Kovalenko Yulya 58 Andreeva Elena Ѕ 0 - 1 Ѕ Gataulina Svetlana 59 Karimova Karina Ѕ 0 - 1 Ѕ Chernyshova Natalia 60 WFM Della-Rossa Anastasia Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ Ѕ Kvirikashvili Sofiko 61 Soboleva Anastasia Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ Ѕ Braun Elina 62 Bokova Irina 0 0 - 1 0 WFM Kuzmenko Elena 63 Chernyh Yana 0 0 - 1 0 Milashevskaja Valentina 64 Grishina Irina 0 1 - 0 0 Ivanova Marianna 65 Afanasieva Elena 0 1 - 0 0 Vanchikova Dulma

Whiz Kid Furtado Back in the News

From The Navhind Times Ivana, Anirudh win U-9 crowns NT Sports Reporter Margao, Feb 5 Double World Under-8 champion Ivana Furtado created another record by winning the state Under-9 chess championships for the third consecutive time at BPS Club, Margao. In the last round Ivana beat Gauri Hadkonkar to finish with a perfect score of 5 out of 5 matches and Gauri had to remain content with the second place in a keenly contested event. Ivana was felicitated on the occasion by reputed table tennis coach Subodh Shevde and presented a cash award as well. She will now represent Goa along with 4 other girls - Gauri Hadkonkar (4), Riya Sawant (4), Saloni Bandekar (4) and Sakshi Prabhu (3) - in the upcoming national U-9 girls chess championship to be played in New Delhi from April 28. Riya Sawant, who stood in the top 10 in two National Championships in the same year, was also felicitated and was given a cash award. In the boys section, it was Anirudh Bhat of Margao with 6 points who stood first after drawing with Ritviz Parab in the crucial last round. Anirudh built up a strong position and actually was slightly better when Ritviz offered him a draw. He gleefully accepted as he knew that half a point was suffice to give him the title. The boys team that will represent Goa in the upcoming nationals includes Anirudh Bhat, Ritviz Parab (5.5), Saish Bandodkar (5.5) and Snehil Shetty (5). The tournament was jointly organised by Curchorem Chess Club and BPS Sports Club. Santosh George, who is the secretary of BPS Sports Club, was the chief guest. Dattaram Pinge and Avinash Malvankar were the chief arbiters and Standrik Colaco did the pairings. Incidentally, both the winners Ivana and Anirudh - are being coached by Dronacharya awardee Raghunandan Gokhale.

Music for a Goddess

From UCLA International Institute Posted February 4, 2008 A new release from Center for India and South Asia (CISA) ethnomusicologists Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy and Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy This narrated DVD explores the sacred music, dance and rituals of devidasis and devidasas, women and men dedicated to the goddess Renuka/Yellamma. Worshipped by millions of devotees in the border regions of southern Maharashtra, northern Karnataka, and adjacent areas of India, this fertility goddess is best known through media representations and social activism protesting practices linked to sexuality and prostitution. Her musical and social traditions have parallels in the devadasi (women dedicated to male deities) system in Tamilnadu before its reform and classicization in the early twentieth century. The DVD attempts to balance the typically negative representations of the tradition, which tend to focus on controversial practices and to exclude the unique musical forms essential to the worship of the goddess Renuka/Yellamma. “Fictive documentary” techniques employed include the autobiographical voice of the Goddess, who reflects on elements of her own varied histories and some of the practices of her followers, and the voice of her son Parasuram. Virtuosic performances by women and men practitioners (jogtas and jogappas, including transgenders) are featured in ensembles including the chaundke, a one-stringed variable-tension ‘plucked drum’ believed to have first been fashioned by Parasuram from a demon’s skull. These musical ritualists are necessary for calendrical festivals shown in the video such as pilgrimage during Rande Purnima (“Widows' Full Moon”), when the goddess and her devidasis are temporarily widowed, processions in the “Baby-Dropping Ritual”, and for biweekly mendicancy rounds and oracle rituals. Police threats to confiscate musical instruments, and protest songs sung within the tradition against the dedication of children, attest to contemporary conflicts surrounding the goddess and her music, the endangerment of her chaundke, and the human rights issues at stake. Purchasing information and more at Apsara Media.

Antiquities Smugglers Busted in Bulgaria

19-member treasure hunt group busted in Bulgaria 20:26 Tue 05 Feb 2008 - Rene Beekman Bulgaria's anti-organised crime unit busted a 19-member group of treasure hunters on February 1, the Interior Ministry announced in a media statement on February 5. The group was involved in illegal archaeological excavations and selling cultural artifacts, said. The operation took place in Rouse, Varna, Dobrich, Plovdiv and Bourgas. The three leaders of the group had been released on bail, the Interior Ministry said. The group had found a collection of more than 2800 coins, more than 790 archaeological artifacts, seven antique matrices for coinage, glassware, bronze and ceramics, said. The artifacts were said to be intended to be sold abroad.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Lewis Chess Pieces Back in the News

Again! A really long article - too long to reproduce here in full - also lots of graphics - and a lot more back-story than I've ever read about the pieces before. It's definitely worth taking the time to read. From the Sunday Herald Online: Stale mate Allan Burnett February 3, 2008 WHO OWNS the Lewis Chessmen? For the SNP government in Edinburgh and their Labour opponents in London, squabbling over whether this huddle of priceless medieval artefacts belongs in Scotland or England, the answer might seem obvious. But the fact they are contesting the issue at all, and that their conclusions directly contradict each other, only goes to prove that the answer is very far from clear. In fact, the truth about the Lewis Chessmen is infinitely more complex and colourful than the usual black-and-white certainties common to the games of politics and chess. The full story of these enigmatic little figurines, where they come from and why their ownership matters, begins about three centuries ago, with a mysterious ship caught in the jaws of an Atlantic gale off the west coast of Lewis. The vessel narrowly avoided shipwreck by sheltering in the mouth of an inlet called Loch Resort. That night, while the crew rode out the storm by drinking, blethering and playing board games, a sailor boy in their midst made plans to escape his personal hell of confinement and on-board bullying. But not before grabbing the most tradeable things he could lay his penniless hands on - the captain's precious ivory chessmen. It may have taken more than one trip, but the boy managed to swim ashore with almost 100 of the fist-sized pieces in a bundle on his back. Unknown to him, however, a cowherd was watching from the shore. When the boy made his final landing, the cowherd sprang to the chase, determined to get his hands on whatever riches the soaking sailor had under his arm. In the struggle that followed the boy was killed. The herdsman buried his victim's remains on the moor and lugged the loot home. Read more.

2008 Moscow Open Round 3 Results

The English translation isn't the best, but the article is a heart-toucher. Unaffected emotions Female tournament is one of the most important events of Moscow open 2008. Such a competition is not only a decoration of the festival, but also a taking breathe fight: all girls have got used to struggle up to the last – that is why we can observe both high result and unaffected emotions. Check out this photographic essay by Oksana Kosteniuk (GM Alexandria Kosteniuk's younger sister). From the official website for the 2008 Moscow Open. Bo. Name Pts Res. Pts Name 1 WGM Melia Salome 2 0 - 1 2 IM Ushenina Anna 2 IM Danielian Elina 2 Ѕ - Ѕ 2 WGM Kovanova Baira 3 WIM Vasilkova Svetlana 2 Ѕ - Ѕ 2 IM Muzychuk Anna 4 WGM Zhukova Natalia 2 1 - 0 2 WFM Girya Olga 5 WGM Manakova Maria 2 1 - 0 2 IM Harika Dronavalli 6 WFM Bodnaruk Anastasia 2 1 - 0 2 WGM Grabuzova Tatiana 7 WGM Mongontuul Bathuyag 2 Ѕ - Ѕ 2 WFM Fominykh Maria 8 Borisova Elizaveta 2 0 - 1 2 IM Tairova Elena 9 WIM Charochkina Daria 2 0 - 1 2 WFM Severiukhina Zoja 10 Kuzevanova Evgenia 2 1 - 0 2 WFM Malgina-Sterliagova Tatiana 11 WGM Golubenko Valentina 1Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ 1Ѕ WGM Pogonina Natalija 12 IM Lahno Kateryna 1Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ 1Ѕ WIM Cherenkova Kristina 13 WIM Gromova Iulia 1Ѕ 0 - 1 1Ѕ IM Krush Irina 14 IM Javakhishvili Lela 1Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ 1Ѕ Ostertag Galina 15 IM Turova Irina 1Ѕ 1 - 0 1Ѕ WFM Kineva Ekaterina 16 IM Gvetadze Sopio 1Ѕ 1 - 0 1Ѕ WFM Kharmunova Nadejda 17 WIM Burtasova Anna 1Ѕ 1 - 0 1Ѕ WFM Airapetian Tatevik 18 WFM Paikidze Nazi 1Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ 1Ѕ WFM Fakhretdinova Margarita 19 WGM Shaidullina Sandugach 1Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ 1Ѕ WFM Karpova Lyudmila 20 WFM Gunina Valentina 1Ѕ 0 - 1 1Ѕ WFM Kostrikina Anna 21 Krestianova Tatiana 1Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ 1Ѕ WGM Huda Maryana 22 Aganesova Evgeniya 1Ѕ 0 - 1 1Ѕ WGM Semenova Irina 23 WIM Iljushina Olga 1Ѕ 1 - 0 1Ѕ WFM Mestnikova Varvara 24 IM Matveeva Svetlana 1 1 - 0 1 WFM Ivanova Daria 25 WFM Gvanceladze Anna 1 0 - 1 1 IM Vasilevich Irina 26 Bukhteeva Viktoria 1 1 - 0 1 WIM Strutinskaya Galina N 27 Zaryvkina Anastasia 1 0 - 1 1 WGM Fatalibekova Elena 28 Kabanova Irina 1 0 - 1 1 WFM Tomilova Elena 29 WFM Ambartsumova Karina 1 0 - 1 1 Dobrzhanskaya Irina 30 WFM Beliaeva Natalia 1 0 - 1 1 WIM Dolgova Olga 31 Savina Anastasia 1 1 - 0 1 WFM Dzhabrailova Inara 32 Kudriashova Irina 1 Ѕ - Ѕ 1 WFM Melnik Galina 33 Miloserdova Irina 1 1 - 0 1 WFM Abramova Ekaterina 34 WFM Shulakova Svetlana 1 Ѕ - Ѕ 1 WFM Zarivkina Victorya 35 Lein Marina 1 0 - 1 1 WFM Bogumil Tatiana 36 WIM Sazonova Elena N 1 Ѕ - Ѕ 1 Avdeyeva Viktoriya 37 Koroteeva Ksenia 1 0 - 1 1 Pustovoitova Daria 38 WFM Suslova Alena 1 1 - 0 1 Semenova Elena 39 WIM Mouradian Knarik 1 1 - 0 1 Gavrjuchenkova Angelina 40 WFM Repina Varvara 1 1 - 0 1 Golban Ludmila 41 Blokhina Elvira 1 0 - 1 1 WFM Karibaeva Elvira 42 Drozdova Dina 1 1 - 0 1 Maliutina Yulia 43 Bavina Lyudmila 1 0 - 1 1 WFM Kalmykova Anastasia 44 Sergeeva Viktoria 1 1 - 0 1 Gorbunova Alexandra 45 Tereshechkina Maya 1 0 - 1 1 WFM Larina Marija 46 Andreeva Elena Ѕ 0 - 1 Ѕ WFM Yanjindulam Dulamsuren 47 Chernyshova Natalia Ѕ 0 - 1 Ѕ WFM Khropova Larisa 48 WIM Vrublevskaya Olga Ѕ 0 - 1 Ѕ Severina Maria 49 Braun Elina Ѕ 0 - 1 Ѕ WFM Yakovich Yuliya 50 WFM Kiseljova Marya Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ Ѕ Grigoryeva Olga A. 51 Kvirikashvili Sofiko Ѕ 0 - 1 Ѕ Abramova Yulia 52 Gataulina Svetlana Ѕ 0 - 1 Ѕ Ognerubova Anastasia 53 Sorokina Nadejda Ѕ Ѕ - Ѕ Ѕ Kluchik Julia 54 Kovalenko Yulya Ѕ 0 - 1 Ѕ Frantsuzova Lyudmila 55 Shalukhina Tatyana Ѕ 1 - 0 Ѕ WFM Della-Rossa Anastasia 56 WFM Kuzmenko Elena 0 0 - 1 Ѕ WFM Styazhkina Anna 57 Ivanova Marianna 0 0 - 1 0 WFM Kalashnikova Larisa 58 Volkova Ekaterina 0 1 - 0 0 Afanasieva Elena 59 Dogodkina Julia 0 1 - 0 0 Chernyh Yana 60 Butneva Larisa 0 1 - 0 0 Grishina Irina 61 Bokova Irina 0 0 - 1 0 Niks Yana 62 Forova Tatiana 0 Ѕ - Ѕ 0 Karimova Karina 63 Soboleva Anastasia 0 Ѕ - Ѕ 0 Belkina Oksana 64 Milashevskaja Valentina 0 0 - 1 0 Kukushkina Angelina 65 Vanchikova Dulma 0 0 - 1 0 Nazarian Marina

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Goddess Brigid and the Birds

Heh heh, thought I was just kidding about the goddess/bird connection? Nah! I wouldn't try to fool you like that. (Image: a crios Bride, or Brigid cross)

Brigid's birds and biddy boys
By Joe Kennedy
Sunday February 03 2008

MOST of the folklore surrounding St Brigid, including various pious practices associated with her, seem at this time to have been forgotten. The practices themselves, visiting holy wells, making 'stations' at specific places linked to the saint's memory, have drifted off into a netherworld of the forgotten like a bank of dispersing fairy mist. It is the opposite in continental Europe. There local saints are publicly commemorated vigorously with colourful pageantry -- and perhaps a bit of religion as well. It's an example to us all.

Anyway, we still have St Patrick, though we are moving him about this year, I hear. And then, of course, St Brigid might not have been a saintly lady after all! But more of that later.

This is her month now, and the time of her traditional birds, the oystercatcher and skylark, to be making themselves more noticeable to mark the beginning of spring and the start of the traditional agricultural year.

Larks, however, have seriously fallen in numbers as have linnets, another Brigidine songster. The lark's soaring notes in the clear air were usually taken as a sign of good weather on the way. There may be fewer of them but oystercatchers are plentiful and have been a common coastal sight over the winter months. Most will be moving off to northern Europe and Iceland now but several thousands will remain to breed.

The oystercatcher's link with Brigid is in one of its old Gaelic names (Ireland and Scotland) of giollabride, or Brigid's servant, and the thinning of the great winter flocks of yesteryear indicated that her feast day was nigh.

But back to the folklore of customs, cures, processions and straw crosses and far from pious practices as house calling by 'Biddy Boys' collecting money for feasts of their own! These groups used to be common in Kildare, Brigid's native heath, and south Kerry where an effigy of the saint called a brideog was carries about. The catchcry was : "Here comes Brigid dressed in white, give her something for the night."

These used to be territorial feuds, especially around the big estates in the Killarney area such as Muckross House. The local gentry encouraged the biddies for their after-dinner amusement!

More innocent children's visitations were recalled on the Great Blasket kin 1922 by Tomas O Crohan who once found two pilgrims on his threshold, a little girl with a figure of a child in her arms and a little boy. He gave them some sugar and they gave him a blessing. But the most widespread custom still remembered and practised was the making of a crios Bride -- it became RTE's symbol -- to hang in the home. These crosses were diamond or lozenge shaped and some primary school teachers still encourage children to make them for the feast day.

However (shock, horror!) there may never have been a St. Brigid in the first place as the original lady was a pagan goddess! According to Sean O Suilleabhain writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of the Antiquaries of Ireland, the saint's feast "would seem to be a Christianisation of one of the focal points of the agricultural year."

Whether she was saint or goddess we all look forward to better weather now that spring is here. After all, she did promise "every second day fine, from my own day onward..." And may it dry up the sodden landscape.
- Joe Kennedy

More on Brigid:

A totally Roman Catholic Church gloss on the history of the "real person" Brigid - see how she single-handedly took over the sacred oak sanctuary of the Goddess Brigid, extinguished the perpetual flame in honor of the Goddess, "re-dedicated" the sactuary to a Christian church and re-lit the flame in honor of Jesus. Yeah, right. And my current measurements are 38/23/34. Ahem.

Check out Spiralgoddess' information on Brigid - if you can stand the never-ending music (turn your speakers off)...

Brigid at GoddessNet

A comprehensive overview of Brigid

Ninja Squirrels - Oy!

From The Mercury News online Squirrel 'Matrix' Contra Costa Times Article Launched: 02/03/2008 02:17:01 PM PST Queen: I believe in ninja squirrels. There, I said it. Driving to work Wednesday morning, one of the furry creatures darted across Oak Grove Road. He scampered quickly and was sure to clear my lane when, for some reason, he stopped. He stood there, right in front of me, head tilted to one side as if he'd suddenly remembered something he left at home. There was no time to brake. I screamed (a little). I lifted my feet up (I always do that, not sure why) and BAM! At least, I expected a bam or maybe even a bump, but no. I caught sight of the squirrel in my rear view mirror. He wasn't flattened, or even ruffled, he just stood there. Somehow this little guy had the intestinal fortitude to stare down the Royal 'Rolla's bumper and duck. Well done, furry grasshopper. Well done. Commuter: Every morning I drive from San Ramon down southbound Interstate 680 toward Pleasanton. I go over the connector ramp from I-680 toward eastbound I-580 and take the first exit, (Exit 30) Hopyard Road, in Pleasanton. There are some barrel barriers to the left immediately after you exit, and one of them has a metal rake stuck in it. This barrel could easily be hit by a vehicle, and the rake head is at just such a level that it could go through a windshield and cause great bodily harm. Or the rake head could deflect off onto another car. In either case, much damage would be done, as it is the hard-metal teeth type of rake, not a leaf rake with softer tines. If you have any trouble with the location of the rake head, let me know. I could get my husband to take a digital picture if that would be important, but it is in plain sight so no one could miss it if they take the proper exit and look left to the barrels. Thank you for any help you could provide to get this removed before someone is injured. Linda Julos, San Ramon Queen: I decided to take advantage of the brief sunshine Wednesday to see the rake for myself. It appears the recent rain and wind has shifted the rake's position among the "CrashGard" (that's how they spell it) barrels. When I drove by, it was leaning off to the right, which made it harder to spot. Hence, my newfound familiarity with the area's onramps and offramps. Good times. Contra Costa maintenance superintendent Michael Terry says he doesn't know why the rake would be there. "Sometimes CHP removes debris and sets it out of the (roadway) as does some private citizen," he said via e-mail. The area in question is out of his region, but Terry sent a request to the appropriate supervisor to have the offending yard tool removed. "We do not always get the call that the item is there," he said. "Those extra eyes out there are sometimes a help." This was one of those times. Ask and ye shall receive, Linda. Before I could finish writing this answer, the rake was removed by Caltran's Livermore maintenance crew on Thursday, under the direction of Bill Kimball. Kudos to all. Surprisingly, rakes along with other yard tools are frequently "left behind" on the highway along with a myriad of other items, Terry said. "The easiest way to say what is dropped on the road would be to look in any major department store catalog," he said. "We do get a lot of repeat offenders though (such as) mattresses, box springs...all sorts of garden tools and ladders, car hoods, dozens of bags of lawn/garden clippings each week and sleeping bags and kiddie pools are popular summer items." There are also life vests that blow out of the back of boats, camper shells that were "bought six years ago" and haven't been tightened down since, he said. Household items such as couches, recliners, washing machines, bookshelves, tables and dressers are also popular roadside finds. Last year, in Contra Costa alone, local Adopt-A-Highway groups picked up over 3,000 bags of trash along the highways to improve their communities and the Caltrans Delta Region litter programs picked up over 29,000 bags. To make matters worse, the figures above don't include the 1,000-plus cubic yards of debris that are intentionally dumped on the highway. "Multiply this times the nine Bay Area counties and this is an expensive process when factoring in manpower, equipment and dumping fees," Terry said. Caltrans and the CHP will be teaming up again on March 4 for a Litter Enforcement Day. ************************************************************************************* Through confidential squirrel sources, I have learned that the California Society of Ninja Squirels Anonymous is sending a contingent to help with the highway clean-up in March. I have also learned (through those same confidential squirrel sources), that it was the squirrels of Oak Grove Road themselves who, in a playful mood, set up the so-called dangerous rake situation. Upon closer inspection, it was revealed that the rake was imbedded in cement inside the barrel and wouldn't have flown out for hell nor high water - any car crashing into the barrel holding the rake would have bounced off of it, and not the other way around. The squirrels say the odds are much greater for one of them to be hit and smushed by a speeding motor vehicle than for a driver of one of said speeding motor vehicles to be injured and/or killed by a flying rake embedded in quick-set cement. Thus sayeth the squirrels.

The Cardiff Giant Hoax

I saw this in my local newspaper yesterday: In 1870, the "Cardiff Giant," supposedly the petrified remains of a human discovered in Cardiff, NY, was revealed to be nothing more than carved gypsum. I had to think about that for a minute. I mean, seriously, people were fooled by carved gypsum? Well, here it is, in all its er, rigid glory, lol! I just love this part: Speculation ran rampant over what the giant might be. The central debate was between those who thought it was a petrified man and those who believed it to be an ancient statue. The ‘petrifactionists’ theorized that it was one of the giants mentioned in the Bible, Genesis 6:4, where it says, “There were giants in the earth in those days.” Those who promoted the statue theory followed the lead of Dr. John F. Boynton, who speculated that a Jesuit missionary had carved it sometime during the seventeenth century to impress the local indians. That was the conventional wisdom of the day. Sort of reminds me of today's conventional wisdom about the origins of chess...
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