11/17/2012 archive

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

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For Thanksgiving, Why Not Go Greek?

Baked Acorn Squash with Wild Rice

I’ve written before about Greek vegetarian main dishes. The culture is rich with them, both vegan dishes and dishes with cheese and eggs. I know that Greek food is not exactly what comes to mind when you hear the word “Thanksgiving,” yet why not consider this cuisine if you’re searching for a meatless main dish that will please a crowd? It’s certainly a better idea, in my mind, than Tofurky and all of the other overprocessed attempts at making a vegan turkey. If you want to serve something that will be somewhat reminiscent of a turkey, make the stuffed acorn squashes in this week’s selection, and once they’re out of the oven, stick some feathers in the “rump,” as I did for the first vegetarian Thanksgiving I ever cooked: I stuffed and baked a huge crookneck squash, then decorated it with turkey feathers. The filling wasn’t nearly as good as the one you’ll get this week, but the creation was fun.

~Martha Rose Shulman

Baked Acorn Squash Stuffed With Wild Rice and Kale Risotto

Look for small acorn squash so that each person can have one.

Coiled Greek Winter Squash Pie

The filling is wrapped in phyllo cylinders, which are arranged in a coil in a pan, then baked until crisp.

Roasted Eggplant and Chickpeas With Cinnamon-Tinged Tomato Sauce and Feta

Eggplant is always a good, substantial vegetable to use for a vegetarian main dish.

Northern Greek Mushroom and Onion Pie

Use portobello mushrooms for this. They are meaty and make for a very substantial pie.

Giant Beans With Spinach, Tomatoes and Feta

The traditional way to wilt spinach in that part of Greece is to salt it lightly, put it in a colander and knead it against the sides of the colander for about 10 minutes.

Economic Populist: Capping Bush Tax Cuts fixes over half of fiscal problem

Burning the Midnight Oil for Economic Populism

Crossposted from Voices on the Square

Among the many things entirely lost in the mainstream media coverage of the “fiscal cliff” are the nature and magnitude of the country’s fiscal challenge. The magnitude is why it is not a crisis, and the nature is why we would be better off “just doing nothing” ~ letting the whole Bush tax cuts expire and scrapping the zombie spending cuts ~ is better than the vast majority of “fixes” floating around in the mainstream media.

Formula One 2012: Perry’s Pit Qualifying

A Towering Landmark for Formula One Track

By FRED A. BERNSTEIN, The New York Times

November 15, 2012, 3:35 pm

Mr. Miró and Miguel Rivera, partners in Austin’s Miró Rivera Architects, got to design more than grandstands and ticket booths; their work includes a 250-foot observation tower made of thousands of steel pipes, painted red, as if to mimic the streaks of lights trailing racecars at night. The tower, with two winding stairways and a high-speed elevator, culminates in a beaklike protrusion that extends over the track, offering views of the action below through its glass floor.

Bobby Epstein, co-founder of Circuit of the Americas, said he hoped the tower would become a landmark, making the track instantly recognizable to TV viewers. He declined to give the price of the tower, except to say that the steel alone “cost two or three million dollars” and that he expected it to become a revenue-producing tourist attraction.

Texas Taxpayers Finance Formula One Auto Races as Schools Dismiss Teachers

By Darrell Preston and Aaron Kuriloff, Bloomberg News

May 11, 2011 12:43 PM ET

As many as 100,000 teachers in Texas may be fired because of spending cuts to cope with the state’s budget crisis, according to Moak Casey & Associates, an Austin-based education consultant. For $25 million a year, the state could pay more than 500 teachers an average salary of $48,000.

If the financing works as projected, the decision will use $250 million in state tax revenue for the races over 10 years.

“With places struggling, spending that much money on an essentially one-off event is tough to do,” said Michael Cramer, a former president of baseball’s Texas Rangers and hockey’s Dallas Stars who runs the sports and media program at the University of Texas at Austin. “It’s a very high cost of entry.”

Formula One racing attracts the wealthy who sponsor teams and draws fans from around the world, said Zak Brown, chief executive officer of Just Marketing Inc., an agency based in Zionsville, Indiana. JMI, as it’s known, focuses on motorsports.

“It’s a lifestyle of the rich and famous,” Brown said in a telephone interview. “The whole industry has a lot of wealth around it, a lot of politics.”

The cost of holding races has made it too expensive for sponsors without a public subsidy, said Mark Cipolloni, president of AutoRacing1 Inc. in Robbinsville, New Jersey. The company runs a website that covers motorsports.

“It isn’t cost-effective for an independent race,” Cipolloni said. “Most races in major cities wouldn’t be held without public support.”

The state’s $25 million is being paid to London-based Formula One Management Ltd. to hold the race in Austin, Sexton said. Formula One, owned by London-based CVC Capital Partners Ltd., a private-equity firm, is run by Bernie Ecclestone, the chief executive officer of the series.

“It’s going to Mr. Ecclestone and Formula One to get them to bring the event here,” Sexton said.

Paying such a fee goes beyond the intended use of the state fund, which was set up to support bringing annual events to Texas by rebating increased taxes they generate to cover costs including security and traffic control, said Richard Viktorin, an accountant with Audits in the Public Interest. The Austin- based group opposes government support for the races.

In the past, the event fund has been used to subsidize professional football’s Super Bowl championship game, college basketball’s Final Four tournament and business meetings such as a Chick-fil-A Inc. convention.

“It’s off-balance-sheet financing for a rich man’s sport,” Viktorin said. Combs is “supposed to be a fiscal officer for the state. She’s not controlling that fund.”

Austin and the state are unlikely to recover their investment directly, Cipolloni said. However, the race will expose the city to a wide audience of tourists and executives that could help recruit companies and create jobs, he said.

“They won’t collect tax money equal to the $25 million” from the state, Cipolloni said. “It’s just a way to get exposure for the city.”

It’s as easy as ABC.  It’s as simple as 123.

  1. Pay Bernie Ecclestone a $250 Million bribe
  2. ???
  3. Profit!

Texas Billionaires Bet on Austin F1 Track Backed by Taxpayers

David Mildenberg, Bloomberg News

Friday, November 16, 2012

Subsidies for the Austin race, backed by Governor Rick Perry and Comptroller Susan Combs, will depend partly on the effect the first event has on tax receipts. With just days to go before the start, more than 115 hotels in Austin had vacancies, Priceline.com and other travel websites show. That may signal that forecasts of a Super Bowl-caliber boost won’t pan out.

“The economic studies said every hotel would be completely filled all the way down to San Antonio,” a 90-minute drive from Austin, said Danielle Crespo, who runs two websites that link Formula One visitors to lodging. “That isn’t the case.”

Fewer fans are coming to Austin from Europe and Canada than hoteliers expected, and they’re booking three nights instead of the projected five or six, said Randy McCaslin, a vice president of PKF Consulting who tracks the Texas hotel market from Houston. In a normally slow month, the race may boost occupancy rates as much as 2 percent, he said.

Perry, a Republican, called the event “a great opportunity to showcase our state” at a Nov. 8 news briefing in Austin, the capital. Some of the more than 20,000 visitors expected from other countries will include corporate chief executives who may be interested in expanding in Texas, the governor said.

The state’s support has drawn criticism from lawmakers and raised fairness concerns among other motorsports leaders.

“It’s caused a lot of questions and there has not been a reasonable explanation so far,” said Eddie Gossage, the president of Texas Motor Speedway, a NASCAR venue in Fort Worth. More than 700,000 fans in the past two years have attended six NASCAR and Indy Racing League events there, yet it has received a far smaller subsidy, $5.7 million, a state report shows.

“You have a fund that is going to pay them much more for not nearly as large of a crowd as we have,” Gossage said of the Austin group, called Circuit of the Americas LLC.

U.S. Goes From F1 Wasteland to Land of Promise


Published: November 16, 2012 at 7:19 PM ET

With the newly constructed $400 million Circuit of the Americas providing the spectacular beach head, a successful race in the Texas capital could pave the way for even more grands prix in the U.S. with possible races in New York and Los Angeles.

F1 teams up and down the Austin paddock could not hide their delight at being back in the U.S. while Ecclestone gushed a new found enthusiasm for a market he had once dismissed.

“The Americas are probably big enough to have five or six grands prix,” Ecclestone told reporters. “We’re trying to get something sorted out in New Jersey/New York, we’ve had a lot of requests.”

Tavo Hellmund’s United States Grand Prix joy will be shrouded in pain

Paul Weaver, The Guardian

Thursday 15 November 2012 17.34 EST

The man who transformed the United States Grand Prix in Austin from personal fantasy into vivid reality will watch Sunday’s race with a mixture of pride and sadness.

(T)he bigger it is the more painful it is for Hellmund, who will have no official role to play this weekend after an unhappy and unsuccessful power struggle. He says: “This is, after all, my baby. And to see Formula One cars tear down the straightway on Sunday will be the fulfilment of a project I worked on for more than a decade.”

Hellmund had announced in July 2010, that he had signed a deal to bring Formula One back to America. But after realising he needed more backing, he fell out with his fellow investors, Bobby Epstein and Red McCombs, with the former having stepped in to rescue the venture with some last-ditch deal making after Ecclestone had cancelled the contract. Hellmund filed a suit against the other investors, ultimately lost control and then was squeezed out.

Formula One Hoping for Happy U.S. Return


Published: November 14, 2012 at 3:06 AM ET

The penultimate race in a title chase that has taken the glamour series to the four corners of the globe could well be decided in the distinctly unglamorous scrublands of south Texas, as Formula One tries again to establish a presence in the U.S. following a five-year absence.

While Sunday’s race could be the pinnacle of the F1 season, Americans motor sports fans do not view the U.S. Grand Prix with as much anticipation.

Formula One Romance Lost on Americans


Published: November 14, 2012 at 7:02 PM ET

In the United States, however, the appeal of motor racing’s glamour circuit has somehow been lost on the country that sells more Ferraris and Porsches than any other and it is likely more eyeballs will be focused on Homestead, Florida on Sunday where NASCAR’s Chase championship will be decided.

“The truth is we find that there is no crossover,” Eddie Gossage, the president of Texas Motor Speedway near Dallas, which hosts two of NASCAR’s biggest races, told Reuters.

“NASCAR fans tend to look down their nose at Formula One fans and Formula One fans tend to look down their nose at NASCAR.”

“It’s apples and sausages, it’s not even apples and oranges they are so unlike each other.”

Taking Another Shot at a New Frontier With U.S. Grand Prix

By BRAD SPURGEON, The New York Times

Published: November 16, 2012

To capture the American imagination, however, many ingredients must be present in – or added to – a series that differs greatly from the numerous local motor-sports offerings, such as Nascar, sprint car, drag and IndyCar racing.

A major problem is that most Formula One races in the United States are run either late at night or early in the morning because of the global audience, which means they attract only the most devoted U.S. fans.

Also, there is little done to entertain fans beyond the track action at a Formula One race. Any entertainment is provided by local promoters, such as variety acts performing on stages outside the grandstands and activities for children at the Bahrain race.

In fact, Formula One is not much of a family affair, unlike most American sports, as tickets for the race are usually much more expensive than those for other sporting events. In Austin, the tickets are among the series’ cheapest: Three-day general admission is $159, but a seat in the grandstands costs $269 to $499.


Interactive Track

Official Sites

Tires are Hards and Mediums.  The track is brand new and slippery.

Any surprises below.

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

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Eugene Robinson: The GOP’s Listening Problem

I know it’s early, but I have a sinking feeling the Republican Party is taking all the wrong lessons from last week’s election. Short-term, that’s a boon for Democrats. Long-term, it’s a problem for the country.

The GOP should be listening to reasonable voices such as that of Newt Gingrich. Yes, I used the words “reasonable” and “Gingrich” in the same sentence. He has occasional moments of lucidity, and one came on the “Today” show when he said Republicans “need to stop, take a deep breath and learn.”

“I was wrong last week, as was virtually every major Republican analyst,” Gingrich said. “And so, you have to stop and say to yourself, ‘If I was that far off, what do I need to learn to better understand America?'”

Robert Reich: Why BP Isn’t a Criminal

Justice Department just entered into the largest criminal settlement in U.S. history with the giant oil company BP. BP plead guilty to 14 criminal counts, including manslaughter, and agreed to pay $4 billion over the next five years.

This is loony.

Mind you, I’m appalled by the carelessness and indifference of the BP executives responsible for the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico that killed eleven people on April 20, 2010, and unleashed the worst oil spill in American history.

But it defies logic to make BP itself the criminal. Corporations aren’t people. They can’t know right from wrong. They’re incapable of criminal intent. They have no brains. They’re legal fictions — pieces of paper filed away in a vault in some bank.

David Sirota: Ending the Drug War: The Next Serious Step Through the Haze of Comedy

What’s next? Amid all the munchie-themed jokes from reporters, political elites and late-night comedians, this remains the overarching question after Coloradans voted overwhelmingly to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana in the same way alcohol is already legalized, regulated and taxed. Since those anti-Drug-War principles are now enshrined in Colorado’s constitution, only the feds can stop this Rocky Mountain state-if they so choose. But will they? And should they even be able to?

The answer to the former is maybe. Barack Obama campaigned for president pledging to respect state marijuana laws and his Justice Department in 2009 issued a memo reiterating that promise. But by 2011, the same Justice Department countermanded that directive and authorized a federal crackdown. Now, with the results of the 2012 election, Colorado’s Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has been forced into the awkward position of fighting off the feds in defense of a state constitutional amendment he tried to defeat.

Robert Sheer: The Land of Milk and Honey Once More

What’s the matter with California? It is a question once asked about Kansas when that state came to be viewed as a harbinger of a more conservative America. But now the trend is quite opposite, the right-wing is in retreat and the Golden State is the progressive bellwether.

How is it that the state that incubated the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan is now so deep blue Democrat that Mitt Romney hardly bothered to campaign there? Why did voters, including huge majorities in the state’s two wealthiest counties, approve a tax on high-income earners to increase funding for public education?

Joe Nocera: Hacking General Petraeus

This is not going to end well for the F.B.I.

We are now entering the second phase of the David Petraeus scandal. The first phase began on Nov. 9 when Petraeus revealed that he had had an affair and resigned as C.I.A. director. For the next week, the press scrambled to keep abreast of every head-spinning new plot twist. General Petraeus slept with whom? Jill Kelley did what? Petraeus’s biographer/mistress titled her book what? Phase 1 of any big national scandal ends when the New York tabloids stop writing their laugh-out-loud cover headlines (“Cloak and Shag Her” screamed The New York Post) and relegate the story to the inside pages. That happened on Friday.

In Phase 2, people begin to grapple with the scandal’s larger meaning, assuming, of course, that it has some larger meaning.  [..]

But the Petraeus scandal could well end up teaching some very different lessons. If the most admired military man in a generation can have his e-mail hacked by F.B.I. agents, then none of us are safe from the post-9/11 surveillance machine. And if an affair is all it takes to force such a man from office, then we truly have lost all sense of proportion.

Ralph Nader: Tax What They Burn Before Tax What We Earn…

As America faces the so-called “fiscal cliff,” let’s turn our attention to our country’s systemic tax problem. To paint a picture, imagine our country as a mine car with its brake lines severed, barreling toward an uncertain fate. In this metaphor, the brake lines are represented by the U.S. tax code — all 7,500 pages of it — long the victim of severe tampering and perforating by corporate lobbyists and tax attorneys and unattended to by inadequate IRS enforcement. What is troubling is that these metaphorical brakes have been damaged for years, and only now, with an economy fitfully recovering from recession and the livelihoods of millions of Americans at stake, are the dangers ahead becoming headlines. [..]

Former IRS commissioner Sheldon Cohen once wrote: “If you know the position a person takes on taxes, you can tell their whole philosophy. The tax code embodies all the essence of life: greed, politics, power, goodness, charity.” With that sentiment in mind, any significant push toward fundamental tax reform has to start by chipping away at the corporatized, commercial Congress which uses tax breaks, deferrals, credits and exemptions as inventory to sell for campaign cash in increasingly costly campaigns. Until that happens, the metaphorical “brake lines” will remain faulty as America speeds toward increasingly more ominous fiscal cliffs.

Pull Up A Rock And Let Me Tell You How It Really Was

It was a time of gaiety and dancing and singing and fighting and drinking and – well not so much the naughty because Mother Church frowned on such goings on except with the scarlet ladies beyond the pale that my father told me about in Ireland.

A typical household consisted of a straw hut, a mother, father, passel of kids and a pig.  Not only was furniture rare (rocks sufficed for chairs) but so were utensils and dinnerware.  Just outside the front entrance was a pile of pig shit.  If you never smelled pig shit, count yourself blessed.

An Irish peasant with much more than the usual amount of land allowed the Irish peasantry by the English overlords for growing potatoes sadly noted that he had to hire a maid because his wife got so lonely for the gaiety of the commons.

This is part of the beginning of a book on the Irish Potato Famine told largely through drab documents and letters and other tedious products of deep research that puts a lie to the usual apocryphal notions of the famine.  It is a horror far beyond the artistry of even the master of horror, Edgar Allan Poe. It is some hard reading and I will probably never finish the book.

The problem was not so much the hatred and contempt for the Irish by the English, though there is no shortage of that and vice versa to this day, but a misunderstanding of the genius of Adam Smith along with a benevolence that often did more harm than good.  Who can top the widely circulated pamphlet on how to cook rotten potatoes?  The Irish were already and are the only people on earth with worse cuisine than the English.

One has to be insensate not to notice the relief, even among Republican stalwarts, that Romney, who is now revealing himself plainly for what he always was, did not attain the reins of power.  Instead, says Cornell West, we got Romney in blackface.  You don’t have to agree fully even if you can get past the – ahh, umm – insensitivity of Mr. West but how to explain glowing promises that the U.S. will be pumping more oil out of the ground in the near future by a fine fellow who says he accepts the science of global warming which decrees Sandy is just a red-haired stepchild of what is to come?

Contrary to crazed popular notions, America was not founded on Christian-Judaic doctrine (whatever that is supposed to be) but on contempt for the hatred espoused by religions, including atheism.  George Washington and, I think, Adams were Deists.  Deists decreed that God created the world but God takes care of God and man can damn well take care of himself.  Man isn’t doing so hot at the task.

Jefferson was a Unitarian, which is little different but far more elaborate and colorful.  Kinda funny that Jefferson would go for the pomp and circumstance.  But he, like all the others with the usual human failings, wanted real change and respected science and learning.

That was then.  This is now.  Hope there is a tomorrow for the kids and grandkids.

Best,  Terry

On This Day In History November 17

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

November 17 is the 321st day of the year (322nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 44 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1558, Queen Mary I, the monarch of England and Ireland since 1553, dies and is succeeded by her 25-year-old half-sister, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth became queen at the age of 25, and upon hearing of her accession to the throne, she is reputed to have quoted the 118th Psalm’s twenty-third line, in Latin: “A Dominum factum est illud, et est mirabile in oculis notris” – “It is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.”

On 20 November 1558, Elizabeth declared her intentions to her Council and other peers who had come to Hatfield to swear allegiance. The speech contains the first record of her adoption of the mediaeval political theology of the sovereign’s “two bodies”: the body natural and the body politic:

My lords, the law of nature moves me to sorrow for my sister; the burden that is fallen upon me makes me amazed, and yet, considering I am God’s creature, ordained to obey His appointment, I will thereto yield, desiring from the bottom of my heart that I may have assistance of His grace to be the minister of His heavenly will in this office now committed to me. And as I am but one body naturally considered, though by His permission a body politic to govern, so shall I desire you all…to be assistant to me, that I with my ruling and you with your service may make a good account to Almighty God and leave some comfort to our posterity on earth. I mean to direct all my actions by good advice and counsel.

As her triumphal progress wound through the city on the eve of the coronation ceremony, she was welcomed wholeheartedly by the citizens and greeted by orations and pageants, most with a strong Protestant flavour. Elizabeth’s open and gracious responses endeared her to the spectators, who were “wonderfully ravished”. The following day, 15 January 1559, Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey and anointed by the Catholic bishop of Carlisle. She was then presented for the people’s acceptance, amidst a deafening noise of organs, fifes, trumpets, drums, and bells.

The Elizabethan era was a time associated with Queen Elizabeth I’s reign (1558-1603) and is often considered to be the golden age in English history. It was the height of the English Renaissance and saw the flowering of English poetry, music and literature. This was also the time during which Elizabethan theatre flourished, and William Shakespeare and many others composed plays that broke free of England’s past style of plays and theatre. It was an age of exploration and expansion abroad, while back at home, the Protestant Reformation became more acceptable to the people, most certainly after the Spanish Armada was repulsed. It was also the end of the period when England was a separate realm before its royal union with Scotland.

The Elizabethan Age is viewed so highly because of the periods before and after. It was a brief period of largely internal peace between the English Reformation and the battles between Protestants and Catholics and the battles between parliament and the monarchy that engulfed the seventeenth century. The Protestant/Catholic divide was settled, for a time, by the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, and parliament was not yet strong enough to challenge royal absolutism. England was also well-off compared to the other nations of Europe. The Italian Renaissance had come to an end under the weight of foreign domination of the peninsula. France was embroiled in its own religious battles that would only be settled in 1598 with the Edict of Nantes. In part because of this, but also because the English had been expelled from their last outposts on the continent, the centuries long conflict between France and England was largely suspended for most of Elizabeth’s reign.

The one great rival was Spain, with which England clashed both in Europe and the Americas in skirmishes that exploded into the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585-1604. An attempt by Philip II of Spain to invade England with the Spanish Armada in 1588 was famously defeated, but the tide of war turned against England with an unsuccessful expedition to Portugal and the Azores, the Drake-Norris Expedition of 1589. Thereafter Spain provided some support for Irish Catholics in a debilitating rebellion against English rule, and Spanish naval and land forces inflicted a series of reversals against English offensives. This drained both the English Exchequer and economy that had been so carefully restored under Elizabeth’s prudent guidance. English commercial and territorial expansion would be limited until the signing of the Treaty of London the year following Elizabeth’s death.

England during this period had a centralised, well-organised, and effective government, largely a result of the reforms of Henry VII and Henry VIII. Economically, the country began to benefit greatly from the new era of trans-Atlantic trade.

The Day The Mighty MC Turned The Reddest State West of The Pecos Green

Tex, a tall, lean, hard tanned, leathery westerner with the clear glaze of a fellow who spent his life on horseback on the open range said pleasantly to the two ladies sitting next to him in the courtroom, “Just not right what they do to a fellow minding his own business.”

The two ladies were the widows of game wardens killed in cold blood by psychopathic “mountain man” Claude Dallas, when Dallas was caught poaching a wide variety of endangered species.  The circus trial of the purported mountain man, who spent much of the early days of the manhunt searching mountain and desert hiding under the bed of a trailer of a friend, featuring the “Dallas Cheerleaders” among hordes of supporters and fawning press is told inimitably in Give A Boy A Gun by Jack Olsen.

I applied the name “Tex” ironically because in our west where Coloradans were called “easterners,” drugstore cowboys who wouldn’t know a horse from a billy goat were called Tex.  But this Tex was a real cowboy with a handsome spread outside of town someplace near Winnemucca, NV.  This was the west that near as I could tell bore little resemblance to Texas aside from Judge Roy Bean justice.

In the end, Claude Dallas was convicted on a minimal charge because of two intrepid lady jurors uncowed by the mob. A most “unfair” judge stretched his sentencing to normally absurd lengths.

Drive north from Winnemucca just past Paradise Valley, where you hang a left for 90 miles on the road to nowhere.  Nowhere (AKA Adel named for a cow or a sweetheart – nobody knows which) is just past Buzzard Gap before climbing down the cliff featuring the greatest hang gliding jump off on the planet earth.  If you have a car with bad brakes, like I did (at least at the bottom), your wife will hold you tight forevermore and shudder at the memory.

You are now in the large desert valley ruled by the mighty MC that single-handedly turned Oregon green and created a desolation of epic proportions.

To be continued if I stay vertical long enough for the epilogue and perhaps if anyone cares.  I tire rapidly these days.

Best,  Terry

The Last Rhino

As demand for rhino horns increases dramatically Jonah Hull examines the poaching industry from South Africa to Asia.

The winter of 2010 brought the kind of South African weather no visitor expects. It was bitterly cold. People came in their hundreds of thousands anyway, defying the scary crime statistics, resisting the media’s foreboding.

They came for football, or ‘soccer’ as South Africans know it. This was, after all, the World Cup.

I was thrilled to be sent home for the occasion, to join Al Jazeera’s reporting teams in South Africa. I did not particularly mind that our brief was to look for stories of organisational chaos and disaster, half-filled stadiums, mugged and murdered foreign fans. I just hoped none of it would happen.