John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

You're a work of art..................


Cat and Traffic, Wayne Thiebaud

The Observation and Appreciation of Architecture




Pierre Boulez, French Composer, Dies at 90
JAN. 6, 2016

Pierre Boulez, the French composer and conductor who was a dominant figure in classical music for over half a century, died on Tuesday at his home in Baden-Baden, Germany. He was 90.

His death was confirmed by his family in a statement to the Philharmonie de Paris.

Mr. Boulez belonged to an extraordinary generation of European composers who, while still in their 20s, came to the forefront during the decade or so after World War II. They wanted to change music radically, and Mr. Boulez took a leading role. His “Marteau Sans Maître” (“Hammer Without a Master”) was one of this group’s first major achievements, and it remains a central work of modern music.

Mr. Boulez gradually came to give more attention to conducting, where his keen ear and rhythmic incisiveness would often produce a startling clarity. (There are countless stories of him detecting, for example, faulty intonation from the third oboe in a complex orchestral texture.)

He reached his peak as a conductor in the 1960s, when he began to appear with some of the world’s great orchestras, including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra. His style was unique. He never used the baton, but manipulated the orchestra by means of his two hands simultaneously, the left indicating phrasing or, in much contemporary music, counterrhythm.

His characteristic sound — unemotional on the surface but with undercurrents of intemperateness, at once brilliant in color and rhythmically disciplined — suited his core repertoire of Stravinsky (several of whose works he introduced to Europe), Debussy, Webern, Bartok and Messiaen, and it was refreshing in many of the excursions he took into earlier music. It was a sound that depended on his famously acute ear.

As a young composer he had matched intelligence with great force of mind: He knew what had to be done, according to his reading of history, and he did it, in defiance of all the norms of French musical culture at the time. To be a conductor, though, meant working with the existing machinery.

He tried to remake that machinery in 1971, when he became music director simultaneously of the New York Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London. He tried to explore unconventional repertoire, unconventional concert formats and unconventional locations. But he also accepted that he had to rethink some of his own preconceptions, and as his musical outlook broadened, his output as a composer dwindled.

It was his reputation as an avant-garde composer and as a crusader for new music that prompted his unexpected appointment as music director of the New York Philharmonic, succeeding Leonard Bernstein. After the initial shock at his arrival, there was hope that he might, as many said at the time, bring the orchestra into the 20th century and appeal to younger audiences. But his programming often met with hostility in New York, and he left quietly six years later.
His destination was Paris. Dismissive of the French musical establishment, he had spent most of the previous two decades abroad, but President Georges Pompidou, keen to reclaim a native son, had agreed to found a contemporary-music center for him in the capital: the Institute for the Research and Coordination of Acoustics and Music, known as Ircam. It had its own 31-piece orchestra, the Ensemble Intercontemporain. In the 1980s, he gained further government support for his grandest project, the City of Music complex in the Villette district of Paris, housing the Paris Conservatoire, a concert hall and an instrument museum.

Pierre Boulez was born on March 26, 1925, in Montbrison, a town near Lyon, the son of an industrialist, Léon Boulez, and the former Marcelle Calabre. He studied the piano and began to compose in his teens.

A defining moment came when he heard a broadcast of Stravinsky’s “Song of the Nightingale” conducted by Ernest Ansermet; it was a work to which he often returned throughout his conducting career. Against the wishes of his father, who wanted him to study engineering, he went to Paris in 1942 and enrolled at the Conservatoire.

In 1944-45, he took a harmony class taught by Olivier Messiaen, whose impact on him was decisive. Messiaen’s teaching went far beyond traditional harmony to embrace new music that was outlawed both by the stagnant Conservatoire of that period and by the German occupying forces: the music of Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Bartok and Webern. Messiaen also introduced his students to medieval music and the music of Asia and Africa. Mr. Boulez felt his course was set; but he also knew he needed to go further into the 12-tone method that Schoenberg had introduced a generation before.

“I had to learn about that music, to find out how it was made,” he once told Opera News. “It was a revelation — a music for our time, a language with unlimited possibilities. No other language was possible. It was the most radical revolution since Monteverdi. Suddenly, all our familiar notions were abolished. Music moved out of the world of Newton and into the world of Einstein.”

To start on this route, he took lessons in 1945-46 with René Leibowitz, a Schoenbergian who had settled in Paris. Soon, in works like his mighty Second Piano Sonata (1947-48), he was integrating what had been separate paths of development in the music of the previous 40 years: Schoenberg’s serialism with Stravinsky’s rhythmic innovations and Messiaen’s enlarged notion of mode. As he saw it, all these composers had failed to pursue their most radical impulses, and it fell to a new generation — specifically, to him — to pick up the torch.

Though he was outspoken about his historical role, he was much warier of talking about what his music expressed. There was the odd reference in his early writings to the poet and playwright Antonin Artaud; there was also an admitted kinship with the poetry of René Char, which he set to music in “Le Marteau Sans Maître” and other works. But he was also capable of ferocious abstraction, as in the first section of his “Structures” (1951) for two pianos, a test case in applying serial principles to rhythm, volume and color.

About his private life he remained tightly guarded. Jeanne, his older sister, was important to him; few others were able to break through his reserve.

At the beginning of his career, he was hired as music director of a theater company in Paris run by Jean-Louis Barrault and Madeleine Renaud. His 10-year appointment with them was crowned in 1955 by a production of “The Oresteia” of Aeschylus, for which he wrote an ambitious score; they also helped him set up the Domaine Musical concerts in 1953.

The Domaine Musical, intended as a platform for new music, 20th-century classics and early music that was little performed at the time, proved Mr. Boulez’s abilities as an administrator and, later, as a conductor. It also provided a model of the contemporary ensemble that was widely imitated and has remained central to the propagation of new music.

Mr. Boulez made his debut as a concert conductor on March 21, 1956, at a Domaine Musical concert (though the organization was still known then as the Concerts du Petit Marigny, after the theater in Paris in which the concerts took place). The program included “Le Marteau Sans Maître,” which had received its first performance the previous summer in Baden-Baden, Germany. At once delectable and stringent, this work united traditions of Austrian-German discipline and French finesse with the sounds of Africa, East Asia and South America, made available by its variegated ensemble (including alto flute, viola, guitar and percussion besides contralto voice). It was widely admired, not least by Stravinsky, who heard it when Mr. Boulez made his North American debut in Los Angeles in March 1957.

Mr. Boulez had given his first concert with a symphony orchestra in June 1956, when he conducted the Orquesta Sinfonica Venezuela on one of his last tours with the Renaud-Barrault company. During the 1957-58 season, he appeared with the West German Radio Symphony in Cologne in his own “Visage Nuptial” and Stockhausen’s “Gruppen.”

He then began a lasting connection with the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra of Baden-Baden, where he made his home. In 1960 he conducted the orchestra in the first performance of his “Pli Selon Pli,” an hourlong setting of poems by Stéphane Mallarmé for soprano, with an orchestra rich in percussion.

That lustrous score allowed the conductor certain flexibilities in assembling its fragments. A musical work should be, Mr. Boulez often said, a labyrinth, with no fixed route. It might also never gain a fixed ending. From then on he began starting more works than he ever brought to completion, while at the same time submitting older pieces to rounds of revision.

As a conductor, he showed much less hesitation. Where his first concerts had been devoted entirely to 20th-century works, he began to explore earlier repertoires — Haydn, Bach, Schubert, Mozart, Beethoven — with the Concertgebouw and the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra in the early 1960s. In March 1965, he made his debut with an American orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, in a typical program comprising Rameau, his own music (“Figures-Doubles-Prismes”), Debussy and Stravinsky (“The Song of the Nightingale”).

The next year, he conducted his first operas, “Wozzeck” in Frankfurt and Paris, and “Parsifal” at Bayreuth in Germany, and he started recording for Columbia Masterworks. His first releases for the label included “Wozzeck” and albums of Debussy and Messiaen.

His appointment to the New York Philharmonic in 1971 presented great challenges. As music director he had to enlarge his repertoire rapidly. Until then he had conducted very little Romantic music other than Berlioz’s; now Schubert, Brahms, Dvorak and Borodin joined his programs, not always convincingly. Though he refused to compromise on Tchaikovsky, he was becoming much more like a regular conductor, and part of his individuality was lost in the colossal task of maintaining important positions on both sides of the Atlantic — and, in 1976, preparing the Bayreuth centenary “Ring.”

Both his programming and his handling of an older repertoire met with some resistance from critics, audiences and, it was said, even some of his musicians. Harold C. Schonberg of The New York Times called Mr. Boulez “a brainy orchestral technician” whose “scientific approach” lacked heart. Reviewing a 1972 concert that included Edgard Varèse’s 1927 composition “Arcana,” Donal Henahan of The Times reported that “perhaps a quarter of the downstairs audience” at Philharmonic Hall “fled as if from the Black Death” before the piece was performed.

Mr. Boulez wanted to make the orchestra a more flexible institution, and a more modern one. Performances might begin with short programs of chamber music, played by members of the orchestra. More of the repertoire would be explored: During his first season as the Philharmonic’s music director there was an emphasis on Liszt. Then, in order to present more contemporary music, concerts consisting entirely of new and recent works were given at downtown venues. There were “informal evenings” of talk, rehearsal and performance featuring 20th-century composers. And there were summer seasons of “rug concerts,” with a different program every night for a week, played to audiences seated on the floor of Philharmonic Hall.

The rug concerts lasted only two years, and none of his other innovations survived his departure. He had given up his post with the BBC Symphony in 1975, leaving as a parting gift his somber “Rituel.” His last concerts with the Philharmonic were in May 1977; on the program was Berlioz’s “Damnation of Faust.” He went back regularly to conduct in London, but he did not return to the Philharmonic podium until 1986.

His priority after the Philharmonic was Ircam, the Paris research institute, and he severely reduced his conducting commitments; among the few he retained was the first complete performance of Berg’s “Lulu” in 1979, at the Paris Opera. Believing that music’s development since 1945 had been frustrated by a lack of research into electronic possibilities, he set to work at Ircam on “Répons,” for a small orchestra with six percussion soloists whose sounds are digitally transformed and regenerated. The work had its first performance in October 1981.

The paradox was that the man who had such an extraordinary orchestral imagination — and such extraordinary powers to realize the fruits of that imagination in performance — should have been so convinced of his need for electronic resources. “Répons” is in most respects inferior to “Éclat/Multiples,” a work for a similar percussion-based orchestra he had begun and abandoned a decade before. Nor does it begin to rival the orchestral virtuosity displayed in the arrangements of his early piano cycle “Notations.”

He continued to add to “Répons” during the early 1980s, though much of his creative energy was going into new versions of old scores. In the early 1990s, he emerged from his tumult of rewriting to produce at Ircam the greatest of his late works, a new version of “explosante-fixe” initially conceived as a memorial to Stravinsky — for electronic flute and small orchestra.

Also in the early 1990s, he began to appear more widely again as a conductor, with orchestras in the United States (Los Angeles, Cleveland, Chicago) and Europe. (The concerts were often associated with recording sessions for Deutsche Grammophon.) He returned to what had always been his main repertoire, while also developing enthusiasm for Mahler and making occasional visits to territory he had not touched before: Richard Strauss, Bruckner, Scriabin, Janacek. At his death, he was the conductor emeritus of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Among the honors Mr. Boulez received in his later years were the Kyoto Prize in 2009 and the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in 2013. Over the course of his career, he won dozens Grammy Awards.

In 1995, his 70th-birthday year, Mr. Boulez conducted his own and other 20th-century music in London, Paris, Vienna, New York, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Brussels and Chicago. In 2005, he spent his 80th birthday in Berlin, which hosted a retrospective of his music. A few pieces were completed during this period, notably “Dérive 2,” a 45-minute score for 11 instruments that took almost two decades to reach its end point, in 2006. Many more projects remained unfinished, while others were never begun, like the opera on which he was to have collaborated first with Jean Genet and later with Heiner Müller.

Even so, the achievements contained in his published works and recordings are formidable, and his influence was incalculable. The tasks he took on were heroic: to continue the great adventure of musical modernism, and to carry with him the great musical institutions and the widest possible audience.

A brilliant false-color view of Saturn’s rings made from images captured by the Cassini space probe, November 9-10, 2006. (NASA)

Earth, from Saturn courtesy of NASA.

The strange disappearance of Lieutenant Gene Moncla.

First Lieutenant Felix Eugene Moncla, Jr. (October 21, 1926 –presumably died November 23, 1953) was a United States Air Force pilot who mysteriously disappeared while performing an air defense intercept over Lake Superior in 1953. This is sometimes known as The Kinross Incident, after Kinross Air Force Base, where Moncla was on temporary assignment when he disappeared.

The U.S. Air Force reported that Moncla had crashed and that the object of the intercept was a Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft. According to the report, the pilot of the Canadian aircraft was later contacted and reported that he did not see the F-89 and did not know that he was the subject of an interception.

On multiple occasions, the RCAF denied that any of their aircraft were "involved in any incident" on that day, in correspondence with members of the public asking for further details on the intercept.

On the evening of November 23, 1953, Air Defense Command Ground Intercept radar operators at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan identified an unusual target near the Soo Locks. An F-89C Scorpion jet from Kinross Air Force Base was scrambled to investigate the radar return; the Scorpion was piloted by First Lieutenant Moncla with Second Lieutenant Robert L. Wilson acting as the Scorpion's radar operator.

Wilson had problems tracking the object on the Scorpion's radar, so ground radar operators gave Moncla directions towards the object as he flew. Moncla eventually closed in on the object at about 8000 feet in altitude.

Ground Control tracked the Scorpion and the unidentified object as two "blips" on the radar screen. The two blips on the radar screen grew closer and closer, until they seemed to merge as one (return). Assuming that Moncla had flown either under or over the target, Ground Control thought that moments later, the Scorpion and the object would again appear as two separate blips. Donald Keyhoe reported that there was a fear that the two objects had struck one another "as if in a smashing collision."

Rather, the single blip continued on its previous course.

Attempts were made to contact Moncla via radio, but this was unsuccessful. A search and rescue operation by both the USAF and the RCAF was quickly mounted, but failed to find a trace of the plane or the pilots. Weather conditions were a factor hampering the search.

The official USAF Accident Investigation Report states the F-89 was sent to investigate an RCAF C-47 Skytrain which was travelling off course.

The F-89 was flying at an elevation of 8000 feet when it merged with the other aircraft, as was expected in an interception. Its IFF signal also disappeared after the two returns merged on the radar scope. Although efforts to contact the crew on radio were unsuccessful, the pilot of another F-89 sent on the search stated in testimony to the accident board that he believed that he had heard a brief radio transmission from the pilot about forty minutes after the plane disappeared.

Air Force investigators reported that Moncla may have experiencedvertigo and crashed into the lake. The Air Force said that Moncla had been known to experience vertigo from time to time: "Additional leads uncovered during this later course of the investigation indicated that there might be a possibility that Lt. Moncla was subjective to attacks of vertigo in a little more than the normal degree.

Upon pursuing these leads, it was discovered that statements had been made by former members of Lt. Moncla's organization but were not first hand evidence and were regarded as hearsay." Pilot vertigo is not listed as a cause or possible cause in any of the USAF Accident Investigation Board's findings and conclusions.

Information Officer Lt. Robert C. White revealed that “the unknown in that case was a Canadian DC-3. It was over the locks by mistake”.[8] The “locks” refers to the restricted air space over the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, on the US Canadian border at the southeast end of Lake Superior.

It is possible that aircraft parts found near the eastern shore of Lake Superior in late October 1968 were from the missing F-89. A U.S. Air Force officer confirmed the parts were from a military jet aircraft and the news report speculated these might be from the F-89 missing from Kinross AFB in 1953. The identity of the parts was never published and the Canadian government says they have no record of the find.

In late August 2006, an email from a "Preston Miller" was sent to UFO researcher Francis Ridge which contained a quoted excerpt from anAssociated Press story. The quoted "news story" claimed that a group of Michigan divers had discovered Moncla's F-89 that vanished in 1953.

The location of the claimed discovery was at the bottom of Lake Superior in the approximate location where the F-89 had disappeared from radar. The email also contained a link to a website that had recently been created for the group of divers; they called themselves the "Great Lakes Dive Company". Francis Ridge forwarded the email to the Internet website "UFO Updates", a popular forum and message board for UFO researchers and writers. As a result, news of the purported discovery quickly spread through the UFO community and news media sources.

Several reporters attempted to contact the "Great Lakes Dive Company" to obtain more information about the discovery. The reporters were placed in contact with a person who claimed to be the spokesman for the Great Lakes Company. He called himself "Adam Jimenez", and he discussed the "discovery" with several investigators and journalists. "Adam Jimenez" was even interviewed by UFO researcher Linda Moulton Howe on the nationally syndicated, late-night radio talk show, Coast to Coast AM.

The company website initially presented two images of the claimed discovery, both images stated as being output from side-scan sonar. The fuzzy, high noise images depicted an almost completely intact aircraft resting on the lakebed, its nose in the silt, with one exposed wing, tip tank and the upswept tail characteristic of the F-89 "Scorpion" clearly displayed.

The discovery initially caused excitement, as many felt that the discovery of the crashed jet would at last provide an answer as to what had happened to Felix Moncla in 1953. However, as journalists and ufologists delved deeper into the case, their suspicions were raised as the story became more and more elaborate. It was soon stated that an unexplained metallic object had been found near the F-89 and "sonar images" of this discovery were soon published on the website. It was speculated that the "teardrop-shaped" object was possibly the UFO that the F-89 had merged with on radar.

Several factors about the alleged discovery led journalists to claim that the discovery was in fact a hoax. Several investigators began efforts to track down more information about the "Great Lakes Dive Company" and their spokesman, "Adam Jimenez". All efforts to find evidence of the existence of the "Great Lakes Dive Company" led to the conclusion that the company did not exist. Efforts to obtain any biographical data on "Adam Jimenez" also turned up nothing.

The only contact information anyone obtained for Jimenez were an email address and cellphone. Only three weeks after the discovery, the company's website suddenly disappeared without explanation and "Adam Jimenez" stopped answering emails and cellphone calls.

The most haunted home in the United States

The Battery Carriage House Inn is located in Charleston, South Carolina. This beautiful hotel is known for being one of the most haunted homes in the United States. Guests and employees alike have claimed to witness very paranormal activity inside the house. One of the ghosts is said to be of a young “gentleman” who had committed suicide for unknown reasons by jumping off the roof of the house many years ago. Another is said to be a headless torso of a man from the Civil War era - the house was once an active artillery installation during the siege of Charleston.


Carriage House Rooms:

A broad-chested, tall male entity dressed in a buttonless, rough materialed overcoat, whose apparition only appears showing its torso haunts various rooms of the Carriage House. He likes to bother men staying in room 8 for chuckles, but never hurts them. Guests get the feeling that they are being watched by this unseen presence, who isn't deemed to have the nicest character.

Report 1: Room 8 - One guest of the inn told the owners about being in a half-awake/half asleep state, lying on his side. This apparition appeared right by the bedside of this man, standing right up to the side of the bed. The guest could see that it was wearing several layers of clothing. The entity was breathing heavily. The guest was at once fascinated by the material of the entity's cape, made of a material that he had never seen before, as it was from a different era or century! When the guest reached out to feel the rough material of the cape between his fingers, it uttered a growing sound. He fully woke up and the entity had disappeared. This guest got the feeling that this entity in room 8 who shows just his torso is a big, rough, crude character, far from being a distinguished gentlemen.

Report 2: Room 8 - The husband, but not the wife experienced some paranormal occurrences. The wife believed in ghosts, while the husband thought it was a lot of malarkey, until he was awakened several times by the feeling of an unseen presence hovering over him, the crashing of a chair being thrown against the wall and the sound of the toilet seat being slammed down.

 The wife took pictures all over the place, after her husband went to sleep and was surprised to catch a photo of an outline of a torso standing in the courtyard, looking up at the door of their room.

A male entity named 'The Gentleman Ghost."

 Report 1: Room 10 - Two sisters settled into bed for the evening. While one sister went to sleep right away, the other sister laid awake restless and not able to sleep, perhaps a little concerned about someone coming into their room. She was surprised to see a "wispy gray apparition," about 5' 8" with a slender build float right through their locked door. It was an apparition of a young man, with no facial features who lay down next to the awake sister and gently put his arm around her shoulders in a comforting manner. He vanished when the awake sister finally woke up her sleeping sister. Both sisters went to sleep and didn't wake up until the morning.

Report 2: Room 10 - As this guest unpacked his bag, he felt a presence standing behind him. As the evening progressed, this guest felt more and more uneasy. He began to read the 23rd Psalm about 10 times, until the atmosphere became extremely negative, so he stopped. He did sleep with his Bible that night. He felt that the ghost doesn't like Bible readings.

 This same guest heard foot steps follow him out of his room and down the stairs the next morning. As he rounded the corner he saw a figure out of the corner of his eye which quickly disappeared.

Report 3: Room 10: A woman guest was relaxing on the bed, and was in the room alone, Her husband had gone downstairs to ask about something. As she sat there, she saw a shadow of a man on the wall of the room, who was "slender in build and about 5’ 11” to 6 feet tall." The shadow on the wall passed by the bed and "settled onto the closet door that adjoins the main house before fading into the door."

Report 4: Room 10 - A woman and her daughter stayed here one evening. They set up a camera and let it run when they went to bed. Upon developing the film, imagine their surprise when something kept standing in front of the camera tapping the microphone and breathing was recorded. Several orbs also moved around the room.

The ground floor: Raised Basement Rooms:

Room 3: Figures of light with different shapes and sizes gathered together in the sitting room, after lingering a little around the bed, watching the living.

A turned off cell phone in the sitting room began going off by itself beginning at 3 AM during the first night in this room, as if something was playing with the turn on /off button

The sound of dripping water coming out at a fast pace wakes up guests staying here, but when the guest gets up to turn the faucet off, no real water has been dripping in the sink

Sculpture this and Sculpture that

Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770 – 1844)  Statue of Hebe 1816  marble


Charles Hoffbauer, In the Restaurant(detail), 1907

Fred Yates (British, 1922-2008), French Landscape. Oil on canvas, 30 x 36 in.

Vassily Kandinsky - Composition 8 [1923]

THE ART OF WAR............


AND HERE'S SOME ANIMALS FOR YOU................... 


Kiev, Ukraine (by Alexander Serov)

King House, Great Market, Brussels, Belgium

Kronach, Germany (by Stephan Amm)


Alphonse Rocco

MISH MOSH..........................................

Mish Mash: noun \ˈmish-ˌmash, -ˌmäsh\ A : hodgepodge, jumble The painting was just a mishmash of colors and abstract shapes as far as we could tell. Origin Middle English & Yiddish; Middle English mysse masche, perhaps reduplication of mash mash; Yiddish mish-mash, perhaps reduplication of mishn to mix. First Known Use: 15th century

Niagara falls without water. 1969

The art and joy of cinematography

“Zsigmond changed not just the way movies look, but "the way we look at them as well."
American Society of Cinematographers President Richard Crudo

Vilmos Zsigmond, the Hungarian-American cinematographer has died. A 2003, survey conducted by the International Cinematographers Guild placed Zsigmond among the ten most influential cinematographers in history. He was a naturalized citizen of the United States.

His films included;

The Deer Hunter
The River
The Black Dahlia.
McCabe & Mrs. Miller.
The Long Goodbye,
The Sugarland Express
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Academy Award for Best Cinematography.)
Blow Out
The Bonfire of the Vanities
Jersey Girl
The Witches Of Eastwick
Cinderella Liberty
The Rose
The River
Melinda and Melinda
Cassandra's Dream
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.

I'm a big big Fan of Bukowski 

Maybe a damned good night’s sleep will bring me back to a gentle sanity. But at the moment, I look about this room and, like myself, it’s all in disarray: things fallen out of place, cluttered, jumbled, lost, knocked over and I can’t put it straight, don’t want to. Perhaps living through these petty days will get us ready for the dangerous ones. Charles Bukowski, The Last Night of the Earth Poems


Dross\DRAHSS\ 1: The scum that forms on the surface of molten metal 2: waste or foreign matter: impurity 3: something that is base, trivial, or inferior. Dross has been a part of the English language since Anglo-Saxon times; one 19th-century book on Old English vocabulary dates it back to 1050 A.D. Its Old English ancestors are related to Germanic and Scandinavian words for "dregs" (as in "the dregs of the coffee"), and, like dregs, dross is a word for the less-than-desirable parts of something. Over the years, the relative worthlessness of dross has often been set in contrast to the value of gold, as for example in British poet Christina Rossetti's "The Lowest Room": "Besides, those days were golden days, / Whilst these are days of dross" (1875).

John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washington DC. He holds an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University.
He is the author of No Time to Say Goodbye: Memoirs of a Life in Foster Care and Short Stories from a Small Town. He is also the author of numerous non-fiction on the history of organized crime including the ground break biography of bootlegger Roger Tuohy "When Capone's Mob Murdered Touhy" and "Guns and Glamour: A History of Organized Crime in Chicago."
His non-fiction crime short stories have appeared in The New Criminologist, American Mafia and other publications. John won the City of Chicago's Celtic Playfest for his work The Hannigan's of Beverly, and his short story fiction work, Karma Finds Franny Glass, appeared in AdmitTwo Magazine in October of 2008.
His play, Cyberdate.Com, was chosen for a public performance at the Actors Chapel in Manhattan in February of 2007 as part of the groups Reading Series for New York project. In June of 2008, the play won the Virginia Theater of The First Amendment Award for best new play.
Contact John:

AND NOW, A BEATLES BREAK .............

Ötzi the Iceman May Have Suffered Stomach Bug

by Laura Geggel

The famous Ötzi, a man murdered about 5,300 years ago in the Italian Alps, had what's now considered the world's oldest known case of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that can cause ulcers and gastric cancer, a new study finds.
It's unclear whether the ancient iceman did, in fact, have ulcers or gastric cancer because his stomach tissue didn't survive. Today, about half of the world's human population has H. pylori in their gut, but only one in 10 people develop a condition from the bacteria, the researchers said.
However, an analysis of tissues from Ötzi's gastrointestinal tract shows that his immune system had reacted to the potentially virulent strain, suggesting he might have felt ill from H. pylori symptoms on the day he died. [Mummy Melodrama: Top 9 Secrets About Otzi the Iceman]
"We showed the presence of marker proteins which we see today in patients infected with Helicobacter," study lead author Frank Maixner, a microbiologist at the European Academy in Bozen/Bolzano in Italy, said in a statement.
The researchers also analyzed the specific H. pylori strain that Ötzi carried. They found that, although it was unique, it was strikingly similar to a strain seen in ancient Asia but not to those in northern Africa as the researchers had suspected.
Hikers discovered Ötzi's mummified body in a glacier in 1991, and his remains now reside at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy. Studies on the Copper Age man suggest that Ötzi likely lived with aches and pains — during his lifetime, he had bad teeth and knees; a genetic predisposition to heart disease; lactose intolerance; arthritis; a possible case of Lyme disease; and wounds indicating that he suffered from an arrow injury and ablow to the head before he died at somewhere between 40 and 50 years old.
Despite these maladies, Ötzi probably would have lived for another 10 to 20 years if he hadn't been murdered, study co-author Albert Zink, the head of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at the European Academy, said during a news conference yesterday (Jan. 6).

Needle in a haystack
The researchers were curious about whether Ötzi carried the ancient form of H. pylori, which research suggests has existed in humans for at least 100,000 years.
But the new study was no easy undertaking. Thescientists defrosted the heavily tattooed mummy and used an incision made by an earlier inspection of Ötzi to take tissue samples. The team extracted 12 biopsy samples from the stomach and intestine, and analyzed the genetic material from each.
"We had to separate the Helicobacter pylorisequences from the other genetic material," which included the DNA from the iceman himself, food he had eaten, soil bacteria that invaded the body, and other material, study co-senior author Thomas Rattei, the head of the Division of Computational Systems Biology at the University of Vienna in Austria, said at the news conference. "This was like searching [for] a needle in the haystack."
But they did find it. Moreover, Ötzi's H. pylori strain was heavily fragmented because of degradation, providing more evidence that it wasn't the result of modern contamination but rather the actual ancient strain that had infected him during the Copper Age, Rattei said.

Migration clue
After sequencing the ancient H. pylori strain, the researchers compared it to other known strains of the pathogen.
Interestingly, scientists can use H. pylori as a tool to study human migration. The human genome typically mutates slowly over time, butH. pylori mutates quickly. It changes so fast, in fact, that it's usually unique to each geographic population. What's more, if one group of people encounters another — by migrating to a new area, for instance — their H. pylori strains can mix, leaving genetic clues about the mixed strain's background.
Furthermore, these H. pylori strains infect only humans, so it can't be carried by other animals, the researchers said.
"That is why we studied Helicobacter pylori and why it's so important for illustrating all of these wonderful prehistoric human migrations," said co-senior author Yoshan Moodley, a professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of Venda in South Africa.
Modern European H. pylori strains are mixed with those from ancient Europe and ancient northern Africa, but researchers are unsure when the northern African peoples migrated to the continent. They hoped that Ötzi would help them identify when that event occurred, the researchers said.
But they were in for a surprise. Ötzi had very little evidence of an African strain. Instead, his H.pylori was closely related to strains found in ancient Europe and central and south Asia today.
"This would lead us to believe that the population that Ötzi or the iceman strain belonged to must have been the original population that inhabited the stomachs of Europeans 5,300 years ago," Moodley said. "We can say now that the waves of migration that brought these African Helicobacter pylori into Europe had not occurred, or at least not occurred in earnest, by the time the iceman was around … 5,300 years ago."
Of course, Ötzi is just one person, so it's impossible to say definitively that the northern African people hadn't migrated to Europe during his time. But it does offer a small hint, the researchers said.
The researchers plan to study H. pylori more in the future, and are already in talks with experts who study mummies in South America and Asia. Egyptian mummies cannot be included because their stomachs, which would hold any potential H. pylori bacteria, were removed during the mummification process.
The study was published online today (Jan. 7) in the journal Science.

Laura Geggel
As a staff writer for Live Science, Laura Geggel covers general science, including the environment and amazing animals. She has written for the Simons Foundation, Scholastic, Popular Science and The New York Times. Laura grew up in Seattle and studied English literature and psychology at Washington University in St. Louis before completing her graduate degree in science writing at NYU. When not writing, you'll find Laura playing Ultimate Frisbee. Follow Laura on Google+.


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A Halloween play for young children. By consent of the author, this play may be performed, at no charge, by educational institutions, neighborhood organizations and other not-for-profit-organizations.
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“I believe that Denny O'Day is an American treasure and this little book proves it. Jack is a pumpkin who happens to be very small, by pumpkins standards and as a result he goes unbought in the pumpkin patch on Halloween eve, but at the last moment he is given his chance to prove that just because you're small doesn't mean you can't be brave. Here is the point that I found so wonderful, the book stresses that while size doesn't matter when it comes to courage...ITS OKAY TO BE SCARED....as well. I think children need to hear that, that's its okay to be unsure because life is a ongoing lesson isn't it?”
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It's Not All Right to be a Foster Kid....no matter what they tell you: Tweet the books contents
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From the Author
I spent my childhood, from age seven through seventeen, in foster care.  Over the course of those ten years, many decent, well-meaning, and concerned people told me, "It's okay to be foster kid."
In saying that, those very good people meant to encourage me, and I appreciated their kindness then, and all these many decades later, I still appreciate their good intentions. But as I was tossed around the foster care system, it began to dawn on me that they were wrong.  It was not all right to be a foster kid.
During my time in the system, I was bounced every eighteen months from three foster homes to an orphanage to a boy's school and to a group home before I left on my own accord at age seventeen.
In the course of my stay in foster care, I was severely beaten in two homes by my "care givers" and separated from my four siblings who were also in care, sometimes only blocks away from where I was living.
I left the system rather than to wait to age out, although the effects of leaving the system without any family, means, or safety net of any kind, were the same as if I had aged out. I lived in poverty for the first part of my life, dropped out of high school, and had continuous problems with the law.
 Today, almost nothing about foster care has changed.  Exactly what happened to me is happening to some other child, somewhere in America, right now.  The system, corrupt, bloated, and inefficient, goes on, unchanging and secretive.
Something has gone wrong in a system that was originally a compassionate social policy built to improve lives but is now a definitive cause in ruining lives.  Due to gross negligence, mismanagement, apathy, and greed, mostly what the foster care system builds are dangerous consequences. Truly, foster care has become our epic national disgrace and a nightmare for those of us who have lived through it.
Yet there is a suspicion among some Americans that foster care costs too much, undermines the work ethic, and is at odds with a satisfying life.  Others see foster care as a part of the welfare system, as legal plunder of the public treasuries.
 None of that is true; in fact, all that sort of thinking does is to blame the victims.  There is not a single child in the system who wants to be there or asked to be there.  Foster kids are in foster care because they had nowhere else to go.  It's that simple.  And believe me, if those kids could get out of the system and be reunited with their parents and lead normal, healthy lives, they would. And if foster care is a sort of legal plunder of the public treasuries, it's not the kids in the system who are doing the plundering.
 We need to end this needless suffering.  We need to end it because it is morally and ethically wrong and because the generations to come will not judge us on the might of our armed forces or our technological advancements or on our fabulous wealth.
 Rather, they will judge us, I am certain, on our compassion for those who are friendless, on our decency to those who have nothing and on our efforts, successful or not, to make our nation and our world a better place.  And if we cannot accomplish those things in the short time allotted to us, then let them say of us "at least they tried."
You can change the tragedy of foster care and here's how to do it.  We have created this book so that almost all of it can be tweeted out by you to the world.  You have the power to improve the lives of those in our society who are least able to defend themselves.  All you need is the will to do it.
 If the American people, as good, decent and generous as they are, knew what was going on in foster care, in their name and with their money, they would stop it.  But, generally speaking, although the public has a vague notion that foster care is a mess, they don't have the complete picture. They are not aware of the human, economic and social cost that the mismanagement of the foster care system puts on our nation.
By tweeting the facts laid out in this work, you can help to change all of that.  You can make a difference.  You can change things for the better.
We can always change the future for a foster kid; to make it better ...you have the power to do that. Speak up (or tweet out) because it's your country.  Don't depend on the "The other guy" to speak up for these kids, because you are the other guy.
We cannot build a future for foster children, but we can build foster children for the future and the time to start that change is today.
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Kahlil Gibran, an artist, poet, and writer was born on January 6, 1883 n the north of modern-day Lebanon and in what was then part of Ottoman Empire. He had no formal schooling in Lebanon. In 1895, the family immigrated to the United States when Kahlil was a young man and settled in South Boston. Gibran enrolled in an art school and was soon a member of the avant-garde community and became especially close to Boston artist, photographer, and publisher Fred Holland Day who encouraged and supported Gibran’s creative projects. An accomplished artist in drawing and watercolor, Kahlil attended art school in Paris from 1908 to 1910, pursuing a symbolist and romantic style. He held his first art exhibition of his drawings in 1904 in Boston, at Day's studio. It was at this exhibition, that Gibran met Mary Elizabeth Haskell, who ten years his senior. The two formed an important friendship and love affair that lasted the rest of Gibran’s short life. Haskell influenced every aspect of Gibran’s personal life and career. She became his editor when he began to write and ushered his first book into publication in 1918, The Madman, a slim volume of aphorisms and parables written in biblical cadence somewhere between poetry and prose. Gibran died in New York City on April 10, 1931, at the age of 48 from cirrhosis of the liver and tuberculosis.
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