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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Falwell prepares to go to war over Christmas

The story:

Boston set off a furor this week when it officially renamed a giant tree erected in a city park a "holiday tree" instead of a "Christmas tree."

The move drew an angry response from Christian conservatives, including evangelist Jerry Falwell who heckled Boston officials and pressed the city to change the name back.

"There's been a concerted effort to steal Christmas," Falwell told Fox Television.

The Nova Scotia logger who cut down the 48-foot (14-meter) tree was indignant and said he would not have donated the tree if he had known of the name change.

"I'd have cut it down and put it through the chipper," Donnie Hatt told a Canadian newspaper. "If they decide it should be a holiday tree, I'll tell them to send it back. If it was a holiday tree, you might as well put it up at Easter."

Falwell and the conservative Liberty Counsel led a campaign that threatened to sue anyone who spreads what they see as misinformation about Christmas celebrations in public spaces.

The rest of the story is here.

Jeff's Controversy Starting Soapbox Comments:

I was planning a more in-depth look at the winter holiday season and its origins later in the month, but I have to comment on this now. I find it very amusing that Jerry and company are threaterning to sue people over Christmas. Maybe those of us who know the actual origin of Christmas should sue him right back for spreading mis/disinformation. Jerry...buddy...the winter holidays were being celebrated thousands of years before the Church co-opted the season for the birthday of thier Savior, even though it is fairly well known among the scholarly types that Jesus was actually born in or around April. The Pagan peoples of Europe and the Middle East had been celebrating the Winter Solstice, Saturnalia, the birthday of Mithras and many other things before Christmas came calm down, have some eggnog and get into the spirit of the season that you are so vehemently "protecting". You know, Peace and Goodwill Towards Men and all that..

Peace and Light


Ben Fawley: The Investigation Takes a Twist

The investigation into the death of Taylor Behl again resurfaced in the public eye when a request came for the public's help. There are pictures of two ponds taken by Ben Fawley that the task force is trying to identify.

This public request for information seems like a square peg trying to fit in a round a hole. In a quick review of the facts Ben Fawley has a missing time frame of between 9:30 pm on September fifth to 6:30 pm on September sixth. We know in that time frame he met with Taylor Behl in Richmond and her body was later disposed of in Mathews Virginia.

If there was a pond either in Mathews or on the way to Mathews that fit the description of the ponds we have no doubts that the police would easily figure the location of the ponds. We would also suspect that other witnesses in the case would fully cooperate in helping the police locate these ponds. And it is interesting that Ben Fawley himself could have revealed the location. If he is truly innocent being forth coming with all the facts would be to his best interest.

The investigation is under wraps and there is little information coming out, and we can only speculate on the interest of the ponds.

Several possibilities come to mind.

1. The ponds are being thought to be used for the disposal of evidence. Such as the camera and tripod, and perhaps personal belongings of Taylor Behl. This may be a possibility, but I do not think that Ben Fawley would throw his camera in a pond, if anything he would have had plans to recover the camera and its film or digital media when things have cooled off.

2. Forensic evidence was found either in the car or where Taylor Behl was found that would indicate that they were at a pond.

3. And perhaps the most perturbing thought, is that the search for a pond may be in regards to something else entirely. Perhaps another crime, one that may also being associated with Ben Fawley's pictures.

Picture Credit: WRIC Richmond. These are the pictures the police are asking for help to identify the location. If you know this location contact the Mathews County Sheriffs Department.

To read all our post on Taylor Behl go here.

First Fridays Downtown Lynchburg FREE!

First Fridays Downtown Lynchburg
Date: Friday, December 2, 2005
Time: 5:00PM - 7:00PM EST (GMT-05:00)

Tom Fox Iraq Hostage from Clearbrook, VA

Hostage taking continues to be a favorite pasttime in Iraq. Now they have snagged a Virginian. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Tom Fox and his family as well as all other hostages and victims in Iraq of all nationalities

Teenager Repellant

A few weeks ago I was visiting the Bedford Public Library and a friend who lives in the area alerted me to the fact that once school let out, the maze area would fill up with teenagers with less than pleasant conversation and manners. She did add; however, that it was not as bad as it used to be since they started piping Classical Music out there. Apparently, today's teens can't stand it!

Well, here is a new invention in England that also uses sound and it is called the Mosquito! The trail run has met with great success! Check it out! It uses high pitched sounds that only younger people can hear to drive away the teens!

On an interesting note, in the last 10 years I was at my mom's house and she had a device on their chimney to repel birds, the high pitched sound drove me batty! She has moved and I don't hear it when I visit now, but I don't know if that is because they no longer have one or my hearing has gotten to where those really high frequencies no longer bother me.

Citgo Discounts Heating Oil 40 Percent for the Poor

Citgo has launched a plan to provide discount heating oil to the poor. The program started in Massachusetts when 45,000 people have received discounted oil at 40 percent of the market value. (CNN broadcast report).

In December 8 million gallons of heating oil will be delivered to families in the Bronx at the same price 40 percent of the market value.

Citgo is the American division of the National oil company of Venezuela's state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela. Chavez the president of Venezuela had previously made threats to stop exporting to United States entirely. Later last summer he had made a promise to provide cheap oil to America's poor. Now he is making good the promise through Citgo.

Chavez has been aligned with Cuba for some times and also provides Cuba with discounted oil. And now Chavez move is being interpreted as a way to embarrass American owned oil companies to share their profits with the poor. This is reflected by a statement by a Bronx based Democrat who made the deal with Chavez :

"... the agreement provided "an incredible message to other oil companies."
"It tells them," he said, "that that if these people in Venezuela can share their profits with poorer communities, then they should, too."

Chavez has continued to assault the Bush Administration, and the United States in general accusing us as a terrorist state with one hand, as he makes an humanitarian effort with the other.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hazardous Weather Outlook

553 AM EST TUE NOV 29 2005
553 AM EST TUE NOV 29 2005

The dark greens, yellows and red indicate higher precipitation.

In addition to the flood and rain warnings, the Nat'l Weather Svc is also advisingthat the temperature is going to drop significantly in the next 8 to 10 hours,perhaps as low as 25 degrees.

Tropical Storm Epsilon forms in the Atlantic

Amazing! It is almost the end of hurricane season, but the 26th storm of the season has formed. Epsilon is expected to be 'eaten' by other weather systems and pose no danger on land. They warn that even though hurricane season 'ends' on Wednesday, November 30th, storms sometimes form in December...I wonder if Santa knows about that?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Christmas Music Radio Stations

I love Christmas music. In fact we own many Christmas CDs that we like to get out this time of year. We blow the dust off of them and enjoy them between Thanksgiving and Christmas. When I was growing up, I would get up on Christmas morning and start our family's day off with Christmas music on the record player.

There are radio stations in the area that also play a lot of Christmas music during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Check out The Lake 106.9 and Q99 FM (found at 99.1).

Beer: In the Battle Against Cancer

Years ago I pretty much gave up drinking beer. I still occasionally enjoy a beer and it has never been an addiction problem for me. The reason I gave it up was that it would make me sleepy, and I would rather be much more awake. Coffee is my drug of choice now.

Now, there comes out a study that beer may provide the answer to fighting cancer. Hmmm, but in the report, it states that there is just a small amount of the ingredient in beer. Double Hmmm, could it be that I should be drinking more beer. Typically now I buy about one six pack every two months. Well that is my summer schedule. Most of the beer that I do buy I offer to visitors.

Now I am having thoughts, did I make a mistake? Should I be increasing my beer consumption? Should I buy one of those funny hats that holds cans with a tube to my mouth?

Well, I guess I will just have to take my chances I really don't want to drink more beer. One time I did get invited to a strap-on party put on by Lynchburg College students. Well, I was curious what a strap on party was. Turns out what they did was strap on a twelve pack with duck tape to their chest and drank until they either fell down or ran out of beer.

Perhaps they had something there in the fight against cancer. But, I wonder if it was worth the effort in the fight to stand up.

Do You Need a Refresher on Physics?

Are you curious about these questions:

How does a rainbow form? Is levitation possible? Do time machines exist? What does 'quantum' mean? What is the maximum force value found in nature? Is 'empty space' really empty? Is the universe a set? Which problems in physics are still unsolved?

A free online physics text book is available at this site. Chapter by chapter you can explore the solutions or some cases the lack of solutions, in an easy to understand text book.

Bush Video: One Finger Salute

Google has listed one of its most popular videos: Bush gives one finger victory salute. Now, the question is: Is this President Bush or an imposter? You decide.

In The News: How to be Gracious, Fires and Explosions

The Roanoke Times is reporting:

Southerner's may hold the title of being the most gracious people in the United States. Yet it seems that the south with 1/3 of the population accounts for 43 percent of the national homicide rate. The Roanoke Times proposes that this may be related to just what happens when we are offended, in a culture that means what it says.

The Richmond Times is reporting:

Virginia lags in teaching the concepts of evolution. The conclusion:

"The report, conducted by the Bethesda, Md.-based Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, culled 10 evolution-related themes from the National Research Council's recommended standards for science education."

Virginia however disagrees with this conclusion.

News Channel 3 in the Hampton Roads is reporting:

The cause of an explosion and fire in a refinery near Yorktown Virginia, will be kept under wraps. Apparently, they know the cause, but they are not revealing anything.

Channel 10 in Roanoke is reporting:

A huge fire that caused a 150,000 dollars of damage at an auto parts store in Roanoke is still under investigation.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Mad Deer Disease: A Danger to Humans?

The News media is slowly picking up their responsibility on reporting the appearance of Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer. This has not been a particular hot topic in Virginia, but with deer hunting now active in Virginia, you should be aware of the precautions and dangers this disease could pose to humans.

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recommend that all hunters take precautions in dressing deer. These measures include using rubber gloves, and avoiding spinal and organ meat. They are also telling you not to dress any deer that appear sick. Deer that do not appear sick may also be infected with CWD.

Why are these measures necessary? Chronic Wasting disease have been found in deer 12 miles from the Virginia Border. The disease similar to Mad Cow Disease, it is a prion based disease that is little understood. There has been a lot of dispute if this disease is transferable to humans. In tests by the CDC the species barrier was broken with 7 of 10 primates after a 9 month incubation period. There have been cases that are considered anecdotal where humans have developed a similar disease after eating venison. The disease is always fatal in the human form.

Although CDC scientists have broken the species barrier in their tests, they are still stating that transfer to humans is questionable. The Virginia Game Commission is also acting low key, but they are warning you to take precautions. Interestingly, they do not know how this disease is transferred between deer.

Chronic Wasting Disease in Deer has a long incubation period. It could be months after a deer is infected that any outward symptoms appear. If you choose to hunt and eat venison you should read about the precautions listed on the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Site.

To read a previous post that includes the link to the CDC scientists breaking the species barrier with 7 of 10 primates go here.

To read all our posts on Chronic Wasting Disease go here.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Martin Luther King: King of the Road

The dispute about the Marlin Luther King Jr. signs have drawn much controversy in Lynchburg. First, there was the issue if there should be signs at all. Now, the controversy is focused on the size of the signs. And somewhere in there are those that are disturbed at the cost to the city.

Martin Luther King roads, and streets, and boulevards are in every major city in the United States. In fact, there are at least 500 roads named after Martin Luther King. One journalist, Jonathan Tilove made it a point to visit all roads named after Martin Luther King, it took him two years. Now, Lynchburg has made another stop for anyone trying the same.

There are places named after Marin Luther King, memorials and an assortment of other ways that the Rev. Martin Luther King has been honored across the country.

One of the last holdouts to name a street after Martin Luther King was Philadelphia. There is a recreational center, and a school named after Martin Luther King in Philadelphia, but no road. One activist in Philly when asked why said it was just racist.

The racist argument has had some underlying weight in the City Council and public squabble that ensued in Lynchburg. Our City Council is both made up of Blacks and Whites, as is our community. And there have been innuendo that racism played a part in the dispute about naming fifth street Martin Luther King Boulevard, then the subsequent problem with the size of the signs continued the argument.

There is no doubt that most of the signs have costly fancy pedestals, but everyone has to agree that the signs themselves are just too small. The reason why they are too small has turned into a political football itself. A football, after it was passed around in City Council proved to hot an issue for them to handle. And there were subtle and not so subtle references to racism. They passed the football to the City Manager Kim Payne. Soon he will be taking the heat, if he cannot please everyone.

City Council said that the size of the sign was not their fault. It was the computer animation or whatever they looked at that showed the sign as just being fine. They were disillusioned, so they claim, much like that warning on car mirrors that say objects may appear larger than they are. but in this case they were smaller. And the signs look like a spindly protrusion supporting a stingy stick up note that is hard to read. And the public reaction by some have included some statements that this is an intentional insult to Martin Luther King by making the signs too small.

I would indeed agree that the city council was disillusioned by their computer rendition. Much like they appear disillusioned by the computer interpretations of the midtown plan, and perhaps they should take to heart that what appears on a computer monitor does not reflect an easy and accurate transition to reality.

The Lynchburg City Council could learn something from the Virginia Highway Department. They are facing a sign transition themselves. Rather than going into closed and confidential meetings like our City Council, they are letting you, each and every citizen, vote on signs. The signs in question is the Welcome to Virginia signs that are due to be replaced. You can vote at this website. Here the State is honoring your opinion. Not like Lynchburg City Council that will not even return a reply to your emails. There is something to be said for open government.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Christopher Columbus Encountered Arabic-Speaking Natives

Okay, I have mentioned before that I keep my eye on the Watching America website. It is interesting to see what others around the world are saying about us. Imagine my surprise when I rean across the headline that Christoper Columbus Encountered Arabic-Speaking Natives when he reached the New World. Here's the video that tells you all about it.

Lynchburg Link Directory: New

We are adding a new feature to our blog, a link directory. This directory is just in the beginning phase. We have hundreds of links that we will be adding. And when we find links that we may think will interest you, we will add them.

If you have a suggestion for a link we will definitely consider it. You can leave it in the comments here, or on the new link page.

As with all the pages of Lynchburg Virginia we will remain non-commercial. We will avoid linking to sites that are purely commercial in nature. We will weigh the content of each site on the basis if it is useful to you.

Bear with us as we work on this site. Much of the it will be of local interest, but we will include things that we think are just plain neat or useful to everyone.

One category that we will be developing is a Virginia blog directory, that is still in the planning stage.

I wish all our friends and readers of Lynchburg Virginia, Happy Thanksgiving.

Booker T. Washington Christmas Celebration Event

On Friday, December 2, and Saturday, December 3, from 5-8 p.m. the plantation where famous educator, Booker T. Washington celebrated Christmas as a slave child on the Burroughs plantation will show how Chirstmas was celebrated during the Civil War with music, children's activities and refreshments. These tours will begin each night at 5:30, 5:30 and 7:30.

Reservations are required for tours. Call 540-721-2094 for reservations.

Weekend Happenings: November 25-27, 2005

Each week, I try to give you a rundown of some things going on in our area. This week I have discovered there isn't much of anything going on except eating, visiting with family and friends, watching football and SHOPPING!

Happy Thanksgiving! If anyone does know of an event this weekend (or any weekend), feel free to add to the comments section!

President Bush's Thanksgiving Proclamation

George Washington issued the first Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789. These proclamations were made sporadically through 1815 and then there were none at all between 1816 and 1861.

Since the days of Abraham Lincoln, presidents have written a proclamation each year for Thanksgiving. To go back and see what different Presidents have written over the years, check out the Pilgrim Hall Museum website.

Here is the text for this year's Presidential proclamation.

THANKSGIVING DAY 2005 November 18, 2005


Thanksgiving Day is a time to remember our many blessings and to celebrate the opportunities that freedom affords. Explorers and settlers arriving in this land often gave thanks for the extraordinary plenty they found. And today, we remain grateful to live in a country of liberty and abundance. We give thanks for the love of family and friends, and we ask God to continue to watch over America.

This Thanksgiving, we pray and express thanks for the men and women who work to keep America safe and secure. Members of our Armed Forces, State and local law enforcement, and first responders embody our Nation's highest ideals of courage and devotion to duty. Our country is grateful for their service and for the support and sacrifice of their families. We ask God's special blessings on those who have lost loved ones in the line of duty.

We also remember those affected by the destruction of natural disasters. Their tremendous determination to recover their lives exemplifies the American spirit, and we are grateful for those across our Nation who answered the cries of their neighbors in need and provided them with food, shelter, and a helping hand. We ask for continued strength and perseverance as we work to rebuild these communities and return hope to our citizens.

We give thanks to live in a country where freedom reigns, justice prevails, and hope
prospers. We recognize that America is a better place when we answer the
universal call to love a neighbor and help those in need. May God bless and
guide the United States of America as we move forward.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 24, 2005, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all Americans to gather together in their homes and places of worship with family, friends, and loved ones to reinforce the ties that bind us and give thanks for the freedoms and many blessings we enjoy.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirtieth.


I hope that each of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Cranberry Juice Prevents Cavities

I have long been told that Cranberry Juice has healing properties of various sorts. But now they have discovered that it may prevent cavities as well. This is for unsweetened cranberry juice, not the sweetened or mixed varities. It may be that one day they will discover a way to add this property to our toothpaste.

Newport News Shipyards Get New Contracts

US Navy Shipbuilding Contractors hurt by recent downsizing in our Navy's ship construction and have taken on contracts from outside agencies. These Naval Construction Contracts (NCC) should help the economy in the Newport News area, especially welcome at this time of year. US Navy personnel declined to comment.

Dapron Gets 20 Years

From the Lynchburg Prosecutor's office:

Today, Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney William Petty announced that 70-year old Joseph Anthony Dapron pled guilty to felony Possession of Child Pornography. His guilty plea occurred a week before he was scheduled to be tried by a jury. Pursuant to a recommendation by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office the defendant will serve an active 20 year prison sentence.

He will not be eligible for release until he is at least 88 years old. Even if he were to complete his active sentence, his prior record virtually ensures he would be subject to Virginia’s civil commitment laws. In addition to this conviction, the defendant has also been indicted by the U.S. Attorneys Office for federal offenses arising out of the abuse of the children identified in the photographs.

In March 2005, Lynchburg Police were contacted by Lynchburg Social Services regarding an 11-year old girl that reported being sexually abused by the defendant. On April 11, 2005, Investigator R.D. Viar of the Lynchburg Police Department executed a search warrant on the defendant's residence in Lynchburg. Inside the residence police recovered more than 100 photographs of children either naked or semi-naked. In many of the photographs, the defendant can be observed engaging in sexual acts with the children. Because the actual sexual abuse took place in jurisdictions other than Lynchburg, the U.S. Attorneys Office agreed to prosecute those offenses.

Dapron has an extensive criminal history out of the state of California. In 1975 he was convicted of a felony sex crime. In 1983 he was again convicted of four felony sex crimes involving children under the age of 14. After completing a penitentiary sentence, the defendant moved to Virginia . In 2001 was convicted of a felony DUI in Campbell County Circuit Court.

“Dapron is a walking example of why courts must impose lengthy sentences in these cases. He is one of the most dangerous pedophiles we have ever dealt with. Today his conviction and lengthy sentence will ensure that he will never again be able to victimize innocent children.

I am also pleased that we were able to secure this conviction without further victimizing the children by putting them through the ordeal of a trial. I want to commend Investigator Viar and Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Doucette for their tireless work that led to this conviction", Petty said.

Happy Thanksgiving: Caption Contest

I borrowed this picture from a blogger friend that lives across the pond, who has wished us all a Happy Thanksgiving.

We have decided that this would be a great picture for your ideas of a caption.

So if you submit your idea of a caption and we like it, we will post the winner. And as an added incentive to any blogger that wins we will post a link to your site.

We are interested in seeing what you come up with, and hope you can give us a laugh.

Thanks Gary for letting us use this picture.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Dude's Fish Store: Playing with Subliminal Intent

When Yahoo first came out with their beta maps. They played a prank on Google, if you looked up the Google campus you would find The Dude's Fish Store, complete with a fake website. Yahoo has been pranking on Google for awhile, perhaps in good spirits. I have also read how Google provides free meals, showers and a ton of other amenities to its employees. You can even get a massage there.

There have been reports that yahoo employees have snuck into the Google complex for free meals, along with other locals.

One of our favorite conservative local bloggers ran a post that if you type failure in the Google search engine and hit the I'm feeling lucky button you will be immediately taken to the White site on the page that features President Bush. Yes it does work. We rely on Google to be a credible search engine and don't doubt the search didn't have some human input in determining this search result.

Now the Drudge report is showing even something more sinister happened during a live speech by Vice President Cheney, a large X was appearing and flashing quickly over his face, during CNN's broadcast. There are laws about subliminal advertising.

We are wondering if these antics, if intentional performed, by news services should also be outlawed? It is possible that CNN had some technical errors when this occurred. And it is not outside the realm of possibilities that Drudge failed to report the truth about the flashing X.

The point is you the consumer, have to be constantly aware that things are not always what they seem.

Now CNN, is reporting that this was a technical glitch, the X was a computer bug. And they regret that it happened if front of millions of people.

This is what CNN is officially reporting:

"Upon seeing this unfortunate but very brief graphic, CNN senior management immediately investigated. We concluded this was a technological malfunction not an issue of operator error. A portion of the switcher experienced a momentary glitch. We obviously regret that it happened and are working on the equipment to ensure it is not repeated."

Corpse Plant Blooms!

Hurry to the U.S. Botanical gardens in DC this week! You can get a rare glimpse of a Amorphophallus titanum plant, nicknamed the Corpse Plant. This plant comes from Sumatra and this is the first time this one has bloomed in its 14 year life. Normally they only bloom once every five years, but this one has bloomed even less, so it is a rare event.

The Corpse Plant is named such because of the rank odor it emits. It smells like rancid meat. This attracts carrion beetles and other pollinators to it's massive bloom. It can grow up to twelve feet tall and it is the largest flower that doesn't grown on a tree. For the rest of the article, click here.

Americans to Recapture Revolutionary Flags

The News Telegraph is reporting:

"Four rare battle flags captured during the American War of Independence by a British officer have been returned after more than two centuries to be auctioned." Photo credit: flagwire.

The flag shown here is from a Virginia regiment that had surrended to Capt Tarleton Fagan. There are two accounts of what happened after the surrender, one is that over one hundred American patriots were just plain slaughtered. The British account differs saying there was a stray shot that downed Capt. Tarleton Fagan's horse which led to the British troops killing the captured Americans.

In either case, now the four flags will be offered for sale at Southey's in New York. The cost to Americans for recapturing the flags is expected to go in the millions. Only about 30 revolutionary flags exists today and these 4 are among the best that are preserved.

In a previous auction the flag that was purported to be flown at George Washington's Inaugural Address was reported to bring a 1/4 million dollars. See flag below.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Pioneer Days: Wintergreen

Wintergreen: Pioneer Skills Workshop; Nov. 25, 1 p.m. Do you have what it takes to make it as an early pioneer? Find out as you practice some of the everyday tasks of the first European settlers in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Wintergreen Nature Center. Directions: Rt. 29S toI-64W to Exit 107 (Crozet, Rte 250). Take 250W to Rte 151S, turn left. Take 151 to Rte 664, 14.2 miles. Turn right at 664. $5 members, $10 non-members. Recommended for ages 6-12. For more info, email or call 804-325-8169.

Mill Mountain Thank Zoo Day/Black Friday

Looking for something to do the day after Thanksgiving besides shop, or maybe looking for something for your children and husband to do while you spend the morning getting the best sales and the afternoon wrapping gifts? Well, here is just the thing!

Roanoke: Mill Mountain Zoo "Thank Zoo Day"; Nov. 25, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Free! This free admission day is the zoo's way of saying "Thanks" for your support. Come watch the animals receive special treats throughout the day,and shop for holiday gifts in Whiskers Gift Shop! For more information, see: Mill Mountain Zoo.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Winter Predictions: For the United States

This may not be the Farmer's Almanac predictions, but NOAA has released its predictions for weather Dec. through Feb.

Texas Inn: Lynchburg's Most Famous Restaurant

The Texas Inn can only be found in bit and pieces on the internet, and some have doubted if it is really in Lynchburg. This is a picture to prove that the Texas Inn actually exists.

Rarely is the Texas Inn, called the Texas Inn. Part of the reason are the many people go there when the bars close in Lynchburg, and in drunken stupors call it the "T Room," the "Tea Room." and the "Texas Tavern," It should also be said that Roanoke has a Texas Inn also.

Visitors, and college students rarely remember their visit the next day. While fighting off their hangovers, they only suffer a slight recollection that they were there at all.

The fare of the establishment are westerns, cheesy westerns, bowls, bowls all the way, and hots. Few notice that spaghetti is also served, which would be prompted opened from a can and served on your plate.

Despite what appears to be the small size of this restaurant, it brags at "seating a thousand, ten at a time." They don't mess with checks, or bumble bees which many seem to remember seeing posted somewhere on the wall.

Few of the locals that visit the Texas Inn, tell visitors or college students that a mandatory drink to avoid all the side of effects of this fare. Is a Large Buttermilk served in a frosted mug. Without knowing this some reviews have been of an unkind nature.

In one rare review on the internet, it ranks number 71, as one of America's best food buys, which is from the guide to fine dining put out by the prestigious Food and site.

Some other reviews can be found scattered across the internet on various message boards, and on some almost imaginary sites. Here are some of the unedited reviews:

1. Go to the Texas Tavern and have a Cheesy Western. the only good thing to come out of Texas.
Thanks for the info.

One thing though... Isn't a cheesy western one with Roy Rogers or Gene Autry in it?

2. Apparently everyone in Lynchburg knows and takes pride in the Texas Inn and its Cheesy Westerns. I was warned not to ask what it was and have the opportunity to think about it, just order it and eat it. Which I did. A Cheesy Western is a hamburger with cheese and a fried egg, with a super secret mustard relish on top.

Guy goes out drinking with his buddies and pours down a double six-pack of Old Mil, a quart of Mad Dog 20/20 and six boilermakers, then drops by the TT for a late snack about 2 a.m. He orders two hots, a Cheesy Western and a bowl with, passes out in the bowl with and is carted away by his homies. He wakes up at the crack of noon the next day moaning, "Damn, I should never have had that chili."

I'd eat that god-awful mess (we always called the Cheesy Western a gut bomb; it is a tiny hamburger, smothered with a fried egg and slathered with a mustard-relish concoction), then go to bed about 2 a.m. I didn't even have to drink to awaken with a throbbing hangover.

3.Simple fact is that the TT has broken most of the rules of the restaurant business and not only survived for three quarters of a century, but thrived. Its food is terrible. The chili is so bad it isn't even spelled chili, but "chile" (perhaps in order to avoid a lawsuit by chili aficionados); the hot dogs are about the equal of those at the over-valued Roanoke Weiner Stand (where legend is far more valuable than quality), and the Cheesy Western is just completely weird. But when you get the urge, it all works, sitting there on a stool in a tiny restaurant, breathing second-hand smoke and passing pleasantries with a homeless drunk on one side of you and a bank president on the other.

4. For a greasy spoon, if it is still open, eat at the Texas Tea Room downtown. We used to eat there after partying at Randolf Macon with a cheesy western and a bowl all the way (hamberger with cheese and egg and chilli with onions and cheese).

5.Place called the T-Room in Lynchburg all they serve is burger/egg/cheese combos, hot dogs, pie, and TUMs

2 cheesies all the way(cheese burger with egg on top, practically dipped in grease), 2 hots all the way, and a slice of chocolate pie, and I guarantee they'll be using the pay phone in the corner to call ahead to the hospital down the street yeah there are only 11 seats in the entire, place, too

Friday, November 18, 2005

Harry Potter: The Goblet of Fire...Scores Big!

Well, my son and I watched the long awaited movie today and it was worth the wait. The movie was action packed, had great visual effects and stayed true to the story line. I thought this director did a good job, I liked Dumbledore much better in this movie than in the last one for instance. This is a movie you could watch two or three times at least just to see all that is going on onscreen.

The audience laughed (appropriately), applauded when Harry was victorious, and grew quiet with the difficult and tense ending. I do worry that if you haven't read the book you will not understand some of the underlying stuff going on as there was not time to go into it in depth. But the action was great, the major points were covered and our only complaint was that it was over too soon. We were ready to see it again as soon as the lights went up.

Lynchburg: The Grinch is in the City

The Lynchburg News and Advance is reporting:

"A local construction firm has obtained options to buy more than 100 acres at Lakeside Drive and the Lynchburg Expressway."

They continue to report:

"One of the two largest chunks of land is a more than 35-acre mobile home park off McConville Road, which according to city records is owned by J.W. Scott."

When you read the article you get the sense of scope and speed, that transaction is occurring. The article tells how the city is behind this development by English Construction Company, from the City Manager, to the Planning Commission, and to the City traffic Engineer. It appears to be a done deal that only needs the stamped approval of City Council. And you can almost see the smiles on the faces of increasing the tax base proponents, that reside in our local government.

I would like to tell the residents of that 35 acre mobile home park: Merry Christmas, the Grinch is on its way. We do not care if you are elderly, and we do not care if you are on fixed incomes. And we don't care that you will be displaced and have to leave your home behind. You are in the way of progress, and the street will be just fine for you.

Although, in the News and Advance report you can almost feel the sense of excitement, about how our city is changing to the good. There is an underbelly to this story that is not being reported. The tragic consequence for the people who live in that trailer park. Who is going to take up their banner?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Frugality in Lynchburg

I have run across a site that you may be interested in I always enjoy sites that tell me how to save money. Its called frugal for life. Practicing frugality has been a passion for me. It is surprising how well one can live spending very little cash. My budget is most likely a third of what the average person in Lynchburg spends.

When I first started this blog I ran a post about how to live cheap in Lynchburg. I gave away some of my tips, in hopes that it may help others balance their budget.

There are advantages to being a cheapskate. One is that I have more disposable cash to get the things that I really I want. Another is that I can help others out, that is one thing that I do not mind spending my money on. All my life money has never been a big issue. I was never one who had the intention of getting rich. I only had the intention of living comfortably.

For the longest time, in fact most of my life, I never had air conditioning, cable TV, or broadband internet. When I first got on the internet I was mostly happy with the cheapest service I could get.

There are some luxuries that I enjoy now. Cable TV, and broadband are two. And the fact that I haven't watched TV in years, it has been great entertainment just seeing the old shows that are really new to me.

I have managed to reach the point in life that my outgoing expenses do not exceed 550 dollars per month. That figure includes all of my living expenses including food. I perhaps spend another 100 dollars each month on living high off the hog. Sometimes I just can't restrain myself. I imagine most people in Lynchburg would find it impossible to live on that amount of cash, which I do quite easily.

My income is much higher that the 650 dollars a month that I spend. I use the excess for saving, helping others, and sometimes for the extravagant thing that I may not really need.

Sometimes I do have do some maintenance, on either my car or my home, but usually I have enough money to do that.

We as Americans are not thankful for the things that we have. I am thankful for all that I enjoy that people less fortunate than me do not have. I have lived in Asia, and have seen people hungry starving, and dying on the street. I have been to villages were the richest person was one that had a lawn mower engine, he could grind rice, and flour, and run an assortment of tools. I have watched people die because there was no medical care. I have seen what it is like for people not to have pure water. I have lived in places where 1 in 4 people had tuberculosis. I have known mothers to desert their children because they could not care for them. And they died in the ditches.

I am thankful for all that I have.

Rattlesnake Versus Red Tailed Hawk

My son is very interested in birds right now and his favorite is the Red Tailed Hawk, at least this week. We watched a fascinating video of how this predator faces another predator. Hope you enjoy it!

Weekend Happenings: November 18-20, 2005

Friday, November 18th, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

My son and I have been counting the days. Here is the link for local movie times.

Saturday, November 19th, 2005

Bedford Community Orchestra

The Bedford Community Orchestra has announced its 2005 Fall Concert. Music will include Tchiakovsky's March Slav and Sleeping Beauty Waltz, Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, the Titanic filmscore, music by Gilbert and Sullivan, Lord of the Rings-The Return of the King, Manheim Steamroller's Stille Nacht, and more. The performance will be held at 7:30 pm at the Bedford Middle School Auditorium. Admission is free. For more information call 540-947-0208.

Arts, Craft Show

The annual Fall Craft/Arts Show will be held Nov. 19, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., indoors at Campbell County Rescue Squad, 155 Rainbow Forest Drive. The CCRS Auxiliary will also sell breakfast, lunch and baked goods. There will be free blood pressure checks by CCRS volunteers. For more information, call 434-525-3838.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

William Davis Book Signing

Booker T. Washington National Monument. 2:00 PM. Free Admission.
Booker T. Washington NM is located on VA-122, 22 miles southeast of Roanoke, Virginia. From I-81, take I-581, then U.S. 220 South from Roanoke to VA-122. From the Blue Ridge Parkway, take VA-43 South to VA-122. From Lynchburg, take U.S. 460 West to VA-122.
Join the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Civil War historian for a discussion of his book. Following the lecture, Professor Davis will sign copies of his book. Please call (540) 721-2094 for more information.

Lessons Learned: Check Spare

This has been an incredibly busy week for me and it started off with a lesson that I thought I would share with others.

On Monday, I had to make a quick trip into town to deposit a check. Daniel was home with the kids and I promised to be back in an hour (yes, 1/2 hour travel each way). So I get to the bank and there was a long line already in the drive-thru so I decided to go inside. There was a line there too, but in ten minutes I was out and calling Daniel to let him know I was on the way home.

As I reached in my pocket for my keys, I realized I didn't have them and looked in the window...there they were dangling from the ignition! But no matter, I had a spare in my purse. When I first got the car, there was a spare key, I tucked it in my purse for just such an emergency. That was two years ago, and I was finally going to cash in on my preparedness. I got the key out and it didn't fit the lock! I couldn't get it more than 1/2 way in! I couldn't believe it!

So, I called the travel club, waited an hour for them to come and unlock the car (which took less than 60 seconds), all the while trying to not look too conspicuous sitting against a lamp post in the middle of the parking lot! You would not believe how incredibly fast and easy it was for the gentleman to get the keys out of my car.

The two lessons I learned:

1. If you are going to be smart and carry a spare key...make sure it works!!!

2. Locking doors may not be that helpful. I mean, if a criminal can get in as quickly as that guy did, my stuff in the car is only as safe as the criminal is limited. So, hide your valubles in the trunk where they can't be seen to tempt.

Lynchburg: Shootout in The Not OK Corral

Both WSET and the Lynchburg News and Advance are reporting:

First reports was someone got out of a cab and started shooting at the house on 618 Franklin Street. The police sealed off Franklin Street, but the shooter was never caught. Now the story is emerging that two people were involved in shooting at each other.

The Lynchburg News is reporting that they are not sure if this is gang related. Neither person was caught, or injured according to the LPD (Lynchburg Police Department).

Things we do know: A cab driver delivered one of the shooters. Cab records should point to were the ride originated. The cab driver if he doesn't know the rider should be able to give a description. Cabs in Lynchburg receive a lot of revenue carrying young men around making many stops sometimes all night long. People in the area most likely witnessed something.

Things we do not know: Will the cab driver come forward with information, and a description of the rider? Will people in the area provide information on who the shooters were? Was this a planned shootout? And was this gang related?

Things that we think should happen: All city employees be given mandatory drug tests. All cab drivers required to have mandatory drug testing. After all, those that use cabs depend on the drivers for their safety. All city employees became adjuncts to the police department, sworn in and required to report to the police suspected drug activity and gang activity. Water meter readers and street workers see a lot. Garbage workers can tell a lot about people from what people throw away. Every city employee should be utilized in making our city a better place to live. The city should develop a comprehensive plan to reverse this trend toward violence.

Things that exist in our suspicious mind: This was gang related, drug related, and revenge related. And most likely all those related factors played into this shootout that put many at risk from the gangs that don't know how to shoot straight.

Things that we should suspect will not happen: The city will not make a comprehensive plan. This event and the recent spat of violence will be ignored by City Council. City streets will become safer without a plan.

If you agree or disagree with this post please leave a comment. This post along with all comments will be sent to each member of city council, the city manager, the Lynchburg Police Department, and the Commonwealth Attorney. We request that you send this post to all of your friends.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Ashes of 'Star Trek' actor grounded by dud rocket

In life, James Doohan was the "Star Trek" engineer who worked miracles on the Enterprise, but a rocket meant to blast his remains into space has engine trouble.

A Falcon One rocket was to lift the ashes of Doohan, who played engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott aboard the fictional Starship Enterprise, into space next month but the launch has been delayed at least until February, organizers said Tuesday.

"They had an engine test they didn't like so they will do another month of testing," Charles Chafer of Space Services Inc. told AFP.

Unlike Scotty, who told Captain James T. Kirk in a Scottish accent, "She'll launch on time and she'll be ready," the US Department of Defense engineers involved with the rocket mission needed more time to sort out engine problems, Chafer said.

For the rest of the story go here

William Van Poyck: On Virginia's Death Row

On October 3rd, 1999, an unusual thing happened in the Virginia Correction System. William Van Poyck handcuffed arrived in Virginia from a plane from Florida. He was not a Virginia criminal he was transferred here for committing crimes in Florida.

William Van Poyck was no ordinary prisoner, he has the distinction of being the only prisoner transferred to Virginia who is awaiting the death penalty. He was transferred to Virginia, for a range of reported reasons. Perhaps the most likely that if he continued to stay in the Florida Penal system there were serious concerns that he would live long enough to face his planned execution.

William Van Poyck has enemies. And if he did stay in Florida penal system, the guards would be the ones who would most likely see him dead. Guards in Florida had already beat and killed his partner Frank Valdes, and there is no doubt they would like to see the same for William Van Poyck. And if you think the guards acted badly for killing Frank Vales, perhaps you could understand better knowing that Frank and William killed a Correction guard in Florida when they tried to free one of their friends.

There was no reason to kill the guard. They executed him with three shots to the head. William Van Poyck was most likely not shooter, and he may or not have approved that the guard should have been shot, but he knew what he was getting into, and that possibility should not have been lost to him.

I recently received an email from Lisa Van Poyck, William's sister. Here is what it said:

"In response to your comment on my brother's blog, if you had read his autobiography, "A Checkered Past" you would not be asking where Bill's remorse is. Your questions would be answered
Lisa Van Poyck"

I have not read his book, that is listed on Amazon.

But I can tell you, that William is a prolific writer. He has written several books, and short stories, writes his own appeals, and is the only person on death row that I know that maintains a blog, which is published through his sister.

As far as seeing any remorse for killing the guard, I have not found any on his website, or in his blog. When I first delved into who William Van Poyck was. I was open to his plea to mercy, and read all that I could read of his plight, from his point of view.

Then I looked at the reports from others, how he had been a criminal since childhood. How he had manipulated the correction system and even sued them, receiving what some have reported 50,000 dollars. And I realized William Van Poyck is a psychopath that knows how to play his audience. He knows how to be endearing, but his compassion is empty, and only serves as a mask for a more sinister uncaring person inside.

Should William Van Poyck be executed? To me his only redeeming quality is that he is very intelligent. And if you question the logic of putting him to death. I think you should also question why the guard, who had cooperated with him, when they had their gun on him was shot three times in the head. He had a life also.

To read all our post on William Van Poyck go here.

Lynchburg: Violence in the City

WSET is reporting:

"She calls herself a prisoner in her own home. A Lynchburg woman who says she's tried to rid her neighborhood of gangs and drug dealers. But she's says all it's gotten her is aggravation and tens of thousands of dollars in property damage."

The News and Advance is reporting:

"Lynchburg police are searching for the person who shot a 15-year-old boy on Florida Avenue on Tuesday." (Drive by shooting)

These are the events that are happening in the city were we live. We are not a large city compared to many across the country, but we are wrapped in the tragedy of crime and drugs. I would like you to look inwardly for a moment and think of all the people you know that have been affected by crime, violence and drugs. Even in our small city, the problem has been escalting, and I do not think you have to think hard about how this growing problem has made a serious impact on you or your friends.

Dealing with this problem is both frustrating and seems to elude solution. The police are frustrated and so are the citizens. And the problem is growing in scope and magnitude. There are more gangs in Lynchburg and you can see them walking the streets in their colors, and their are more shootings, more dangerous drugs, and more fear in the general population of Lynchburg. Many will not even walk the streets at night, and are cautious during day.

At least 50 percent of the city is under siege by these domestic terrorists. And make no mistake it is terrorism. Gang members, and those loosely associated with gangs are causing a tragic consequence for the many who like to live peacefully in our city.

When I have talked to some friends that work in the Lynchburg Police Department, it is easy to see and feel their frustration. They catch drug users and drug dealers all of the time, but there are more out there, like a well stocked trout pond. They are not even succeeding in putting a dent in the problem. They may arrest one, but each they arrest there are perhaps a hundred more that go un-arrested.

There are neighborhoods were you can live, and avoid most contact near your home with this problem of violence and drugs. Are you rich? Pretty much that is what it takes to move out of the crime ridden areas in Lynchburg.

But if you are like many who have no choice, you have to deal, see, and confront an urban jungle of lawlessness that is growing every day.

In future posts, I am going to tell you how to become active in the this domestic war that is emerging in Lynchburg. I would like to make one suggestion to you right now. If you are even a causal user of drugs, stop. You may not think that casual drug use is harmful to you, but you are building the machine that makes gangs. And you are helping buy the bullets that end up in the backs of fifteen year old boys.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Freebies for Kids!

Waterford Press: Waterford Press publishes some really wonderful activity books about nature and wildlife for kids and adults. You can download and print lots of Waterford's activities and games for free from their website!

E-Naturalist: The Electronic Naturalist is a free, weekly educational series on animals, plants, and environmental issues. The Electronic Naturalist helps bring the natural world to you. As a registered e-Naturalist user, you have access to: Unit preview -- see upcoming units; unit standards -- see how our units align to the national standards; E-Naturalist Newsletter -- receive weekly email updates; Peterson Journal Online -- get monthly nature publications from the Roger Tory Peterson Institute.

30 Thanksgiving Patterns and Projects From Bella Online's Frugal Living page, here are fun crafts, downloads, printables, recipes, clip art and history lessons to share with your family.

Christopher Columbus Awards

The Christopher Columbus Awards : Get Your Kids Psyched About Science!Participating in the Christopher Columbus Awards is a fun and rewarding experience for both students and coaches. It's easy to get started: just visit our website and download the 2005-06 Competition Guidelines. Competition deadline is February 13, 2006.If you have any questions, we're here to help. Give us a call at 800-291-6020 or send e-mail to idea is simple. Three or four students working as a team put their heads together to solve a problem in their own community. You act as their coach, giving them a helping hand with some of the details. This is science at its best. Your team will identify a problem, look into it, come up with an innovative solution, refine the solution ...and have fun doing it! Plus the team - including you as their coach - will be competing for an all-expense-paid trip to National Championship Week at Walt Disney World, a $25,000 grant to further develop their solution and U.S. Savings Bonds of $2,000 for each student team member.This program is for 6th, 7th and 8th graders, and is open to homeschoolers.For complete contest rules and guidelines.

Moscow Boy's Choir

Charlottesville: The Moscow Boys Choir performs at The Paramount Theater; Nov. 25, 7:30 p.m.; tickets cost $21-$30.Founded in 1957, the Moscow Boys Choir is Russia's most prestigious all-boychoir. The Choir has enchanted audiences world-wide, having toured Germany,Italy, Belgium, Holland, Poland, England, and United States. Richly darktones of tenor and bass voices singing along with the sopranos distinguishthe Choir, and make for a unique treat on this special program of holidaymusic from around the world. Also included are classic favorites "The TwelveDays of Christmas," "Silver Bells," and their hauntingly beautiful rendition of "Silent Night." Join us to kick off the season and be musicallytransported to far away places! Tickets start at $21 for children and rangeup to $30. Call the box office at 434-979-1333 or see: Moscow Boys Choir.

Polar Express: IMAX: Richmond

Last year, my family and I were able to see Polar Express on the big screen and at the IMAX theater in Virginia Beach. Now it is coming to the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond. This is a spectacular movie and some of the things you see in the movie will make more sense when you see it in 3D. So be sure to go check it out!

Richmond: Opening of The Polar Express IMAX Film at the Science Museum of Virginia; Nov. 25, 2005-Jan. 22, 2006.Based on the beloved Caldecott Medal children's book by Chris Van Allsburg,this inspiring adventure steams into the IMAX®DOME for the holidays. When adoubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery and learns that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. For information on showtimes and ticketprices, a free Polar Express party kit (with printables for nametags,invitations, crafts and games to have your own party or a fun unit study), a trailer of the film and a teacher's guide with discussion questions and more, see: IMAX.

Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

We are currently reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in preparation for the upcoming movie. Here is something else that looks worth checking into. And you can't go wrong visiting the Science Museum in Richmond. There is tons there to do and see and learn!

Richmond: Live Theater at SMV; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Nov.19, 2005-Jan. 1, 2006. An important part of every scientist's activity is exploration. Join Peterand Lucy as they explore the amazing world of Narnia in an action-packedperformance of this classic tale. This two-actor version of C. S. Lewis'masterpiece originated at Lincoln Center and has been enjoyed by thousandsfrom coast to coast. It's a heroic tale of faith, love, courage and giving.Recommended for children in grades K-6. Shows are at 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturdays-Sundays and 11 a.m. Tuesdays-Fridays. Tickets are $7 for museummembers; $8 general admission; $7.50 for groups with advance reservations.For more information, call SMV at (804) 864-1400 or 1-800-659-1727.

FREE! McCormick Observatory, November 18, 2005

Charlottesville: Public Night at UVa's McCormick Observatory; Nov. 18, 9-11 p.m., FREE! Three telescopes at the McCormick Observatory offer amazing views of our galaxy (weather permitting) while astronomy staff and graduate students answer questions. A slide show and tour are also provided. Open every 1st and 3rd Friday. McCormick Observatory. Directions: From Emmet Street (Rt29)near UVA and Ivy Rd (Rt250) turn onto McCormick, follow signs up the hill. All ages welcome. For more information, call 434-924-7494 or see public nites.

Festival of the Trees: November 18-20, 2005

Lynchburg: Festival of Trees at Amazement Square; Nov. 18-20. This is a fundraising event for Amazement Square children's museum and theForest Rotary Club. Located at one of Lynchburg's largest estates, the historic Villa Maria, this three-day event has become a regional favorite with its wide range of activities geared to excite the entire family! Enjoy the open house and Children's Store on Friday from 3 to 5, a children's breakfast with Santa on Saturday from 9:00 - 11:30 am ($5 advanced registration), an afternoon tea from 1 to 4, and top it off with a Sunday evening gala and silent auction from 6-9 p.m. (tickets are $35). VillaMaria, Lynchburg. Directions: Take 29S. 29 South turns into 501N, theLynchburg Expressway. Follow 501N, Villa Maria is the large estate on theright. All ages welcome. For more information, call 434-845-1888 or see: Amazement Square Fundraising. (at the bottom of the page)

Mother Nature: Time's Person of the Year?

Mother Nature has certainly been in the news this past year: The Tsunami, Katrina, Rita, Wilma, earthquakes and floods. Perhaps, Time will vote her Person of the Year for 2005!

Happy Birthday, Harriet!!!

A birthday kiss for Harriet, the giant tortoise, at The Crocodile Hunter's Australia Zoo Credit: photo, The Crocodile Hunter's Australia ZooHarriet, the tortoise, recently celebrated her 175th birthday in Australia. There is some controversy over whether she was orginally capture by Darwin, but her age is not in question. Can you imagine the things this tortoise could tell us if she could talk. The wars she has lived through, the inventions that have been discovered...

Happy Birthday, Harriet!!!

The Lynchburg News And Advance and the Mondo Ratings

According to Mondo, the the Lynchburg News and Advance rates 4 out of a possible 5 point scale as being one of the best newspapers in the United States. It ranks very good on content, has a no bias rating, and ranks high on credibility.

This rating was obtained currently by four votes, from people that have completed a simple survey. If you would like to rate the News and Daily Advance, or other media outlets you can join modo with a basic membership which is free. Anyone can vote who joins, and perhaps you can lend your opinion of The News and Advance.

Domino Competitor Shot After Knocking Down 23,000 Tiles

USA Today is reporting in Denmark:

In a bid to break the Guinness World Record, there was an intruder who slipped in and sabotaged the effort. The intruder knocked down 23,000 tiles which was a set back for the contestants in planning a 4,321,000 domino fall. Each falling in succession would break their own previous Guinness Record.

Unfortunately, an intruder spoiled their attempt, and continued to pose a danger in knocking down more tiles. The contestants, fearful, called in a hit man, to deal with the intruder who was scared and hiding in a corner. The hit man promptly shot the intruder.

The hit man was actually an exterminator, and the intruder was a sparrow that made its way in through a window.

Want More Old TV: AOL Has a Plan

The New York Times is reporting:

"Looking for "The Fugitive?" Didn't get enough "Eight Is Enough?" Would you like to "Welcome Back, Kotter" one more time?"

AOL and Warner Brothers are planning to air over 100 past TV programs for free on the AOL website early next year. This project will be totally free and you do not have to be a member of AOL to view the content. I would suspect that you would have to have broad band.

The catch is that you will be subjected to two minutes of advertising each half hour of viewing. This compares to eight minutes that you would be normally required to suffer from regular TV.
(Hint to investors there are companies that sell interfaces that converts your TV screen to show what is on your monitor.)

AOL and Warner Brothers have taken a lesson plan right out of Google's book on how to build visitors to their site. In the long run they will hope you will explore their AOL site more carefully. Personally, I am always in favor of free content on the web. If you ask me to pay something I will go elsewhere.

Over the horizon, Google is working on a plan for offering free broad band access for everyone. If this becomes a reality or not is yet to be seen. Internet Service providers I am sure are shaking in their boots.

Randolf Macon Going Coed?

WSET is reporting:

"After 112 years as a single sex school, Randolph-Macon Woman's College will do a study on whether going co-ed is the key to the future. "

They also report that Sweet Briar had previous did a study about possible male admissions, but today on Sweet Briar's website you find this statement about their college: "We're only for women."

The study by Randolf Macon Woman College was prompted by economics, but there may be an underlying political motive. Or even perhaps a political defence. I have reported previously, on Southern Illinois University receiving a letter from the Justice Department stating:

"The University has engaged in a pattern or practice of intentional discrimination against whites, non-preferred minorities and males.''

This type of action from the Justice Department is certain to catch the eye of of college administrations nationwide. What has been accepted before, may fall under the guns of the Justice Department enforcing the idea and opinion, that males are also subject to discrimination under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act.

Could the Justice Department become active in demanding that both colleges accept males. We could look in the past, when VMI was forced to accept female applicants by the Justice Department.

The Roanoke Times reported that in 1997:

A hundred and fifty eight year tradition was broken when:

"U.S. Justice Department filed suit arguing that the state-supported school's all-male admission policy was unconstitutional."

Perhaps both Sweet Briar and Randolf Macon are safe if they do not receive federal or state funds. But if they wanted to accept government grants they would need to consider becoming coed. Regardless, we should never underestimate the direction the Justice Department may take.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Ben Fawley: The Making of a Tragedy

Its been awhile since I have written about Taylor Behl. It has not been because I have not continued to follow the story, but mostly when I do write about her death it seeps into my being.

It has been now reported by the Richmond Times Dispatch that the prosecution may have a problem developing a case for murder against Ben Fawley. I am sure what the Commonwealth wants is a case for murder one, and they want the death penalty, but they have to dispute Ben Fawley's story that Taylor Behl accidentally died by his hands. Is there merit in his possible defense that this was a just a consequence of rough sex gone bad? Personally, I have my doubts.

There are some things that we will never know. We can speculate, and we can conjecture, but what really happened is locked in Ben Fawley's mind. Ben Fawley has not been exactly forthcoming with the truth. He has been caught in his lies from the beginning, each attempt of lying has been an adjustment when the facts showed his falsehoods. His story has been a process of ongoing editing to fit the facts, and still provide for his defense.

Some things we do know. He has admitted that she died during rough sex with him when he constricted her airway. We know that he has a past history of violence toward women. We know that her body ended near Erin Crabil's parents home. And we know that Erin Crabil who was once most likely the closest friend he ever had, became an object of personal hate.

Today as the investigation continues in the death of Taylor Behl, the state has placed a gag order on all the potential witnesses, and they are keeping quiet about the direction of the investigation. The coroners report about the cause of Taylor Behl's death is still pending. Her remains were mostly skeletal, and I am sure determinations can be difficult.

The big question I see is could he have been ignorant of the fact that he was killing Taylor Behl as he claims? Death by strangulation, follows a certain pattern:

"Clinically, a victim who is being strangled first experiences severe pain, followed by unconsciousness, and then brain death. The victim will lose consciousness by any one or more of the following: blocking of the carotid arteries (depriving the brain of oxygen), blocking of the jugular veins (preventing deoxygenated blood from exiting the brain), and/or closing off the airway, causing the victim to be unable to breathe. Only eleven pounds of pressure placed upon both carotid arteries for ten seconds is necessary to cause unconsciousness. If pressure is released immediately, consciousness will be regained within ten seconds. After 50 seconds of continuous oxygen deprivation the victim rarely recovers. To completely close off the trachea, three times as much pressure (33 lbs.) is required. For comparison purposes, it only takes 8 lbs. of pressure to pull a trigger on a gun. "

Now, what they can derive from the autopsy may be telling or may not be telling. We can only wait and see. But as you can see, that first a person being strangled would become unconscious, before death. Would that be enough to indicate to Ben Fawley that something was seriously wrong? And if you were engaged in this act, and you had the least amount of concern for the individual wouldn't you stop with the onset of unconsciousness?

There have been some that have cared for Ben Fawley, one is Erin Crabil, who helped the prosecutors to find the place were the remains of Behl Taylor was found. In a sense I think she cares for Ben, even though he launched a terrible internet campaign against her.

Ben Fawley was a person of impulse, he acted before he thought of consequences. This is what ruined his relationship with Erin, and most likely led to the death Tayor Behl.

Erin perhaps commented on one of my previous posts. I am not going to say if it was actually her, there is a gag order. I will say the comment originated from a computer at Virginia Commonwealth University which she attends. And if it was her or not, it does give insight on her thoughts of Ben Fawley. She like Behl Taylor did not see the dangers that Ben Fawley posed, but Erin did end things before something more serious could have happened to her.

To read all our post on Taylor Behl go here.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Look, up in the's a bird, it's a plane, it's a...meteor!!

THE LEONIDS: The most famous of all meteor showers, the Leonids, peaks on Thursday, Nov. 17th. A few years ago, the Leonids were storming, filling the skies with bright meteors. But not this year. The 2005 Leonids are expected to be few (less than 20 per hour) and hard to see because of the glaring full Moon.

Nevertheless, if you're an enthusiast, you might want to go outside before sunrise on Nov. 17th and look up. The sparkling stars of northern winter will be on full display, along with Saturn and the full Moon, and you might spot a few meteors, too

For more info goto Space Weather

Advice for Bloggers: Our Secret Exposed

Its just a thing. I know that sounds odd, but that's what I think about our blog. We have had relatively a good deal of success with our blog, and it continues to grow, like a well watered plant.

You can find advice all over the internet on how to grow a successful blog. Well, I'm going to let you in on our secrets. We bend things up and turn them around. We generally do the opposite of what others advise. We are like the contrary child, that always gets in trouble, but never getting spanked. But we have learned to be a polite child, if we learn something we share it with other bloggers. Sometimes the favor is returned, sometimes not. But we just enjoy giving so much it doesn't matter.

We have read advice to have a niche, I believe that is some kind of corner you put yourself in, and you hope for a certain audience. Well at first we put ourselves in a niche, hence the name Lynchburg Virginia. But that niche had an itch and we keep scratching our way out of the corner. I don't know how it happened, but it just did.

There is 21 million blogs that technorati ranks. We have scratched ourselves up the ranking ladder, we now rate 105 thousand something. And only being here since mid June that was something that we just didn't suspect. Now, we are wondering if we can keep this blog on the track to reach the top 10,000. Well, this is just a thing too. What we really enjoy, is giving you interesting content. I think that may be our niche now, but I am not sure.

Search engines have been kind to us. I am not exactly sure, some I hear pay for placement. We just try to write good and see how it ends up, when those spidery engines eats us up. So far, keeping our fingers crossed, we have been doing things counterintuitively right.

We have also been trying to explode here, we have been over filling balloons just waiting for them to pop. Have you been to our different pages? We have taken the direction that we will try anything. But I want to tell you more of a secret, we don't follow directions very well. We are more likely to take a left turn when we should have gone right.

Now, if I was just to give one hint on how to make a blog grow, its people. So far we have five people that work on this blog. We may even entertain the idea of new contributors. We quite never know what we are going to do next. But if I were to put one quality, that is causing this blogs success its the people. We just try to treat each other, and you our readers right.

Grab Your Remote, And Make That Person Dance

Netscape News is reporting:

Sometimes the oddities of technical advances are just somewhat startling. Take the case of remote control. It saves you steps in changing the channel on your TV, you can fly model airplanes. and now, you can send a missile from that model down to some unsuspecting terrorist, from the comfort of a control panel somewhere in Florida.

Now, there is a new advance, remote control humans. Make him dance to the left, and swing that partner to your right. Yep science has found the ultimate square dance caller, a remote control. They have incorporated the use of music in some applications.

You put the head piece on and soon you will be obeying every move to the remote's joy stick. What happens is a tiny amount of electric current is sent through your brain, affecting your vestibular balance. And more strikingly, can make you make moves that you cannot resist. This is part of what they have already accomplished:

"There's no proven-beyond-a-doubt explanation yet as to why people start veering when electricity hits their ear. But NTT researchers say they were able to make a person walk along a route in the shape of a giant pretzel using this technique."

Applications range from video games to helping unstable people remain erect. And of course, there maybe some more darker applications. Already at least one defence contractor is looking at the possibilities.

photo credit: US Army Predator control panel

Southern Illinois University Accused of Discrimation

The Chicago Sun Times is reporting:

A letter came from the Justice Department notifying Southern Illinois University of discrimination. The Justice Department has informed the University that it was in violation of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act. The letter read in part:

"The University has engaged in a pattern or practice of intentional discrimination against whites, non-preferred minorities and males.''

Southern Illinois University offers three fellowships that were targeted by the Justice Department on the grounds of either being gender biased or discrimination against white males. The leter required SIU to cease and desist. SIU has not determined what their response will be.

Who would have thought that white males could be discriminated against? The Justice Department did. I wonder if Sweet Briar has any white males in attendance?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Bush Video: Tour of The Oval Office

Yesterday, I commented on the character of Democrat Tim Kaine, who offered Virginia a campaign he could be proud, and no doubt led to his victory at the polls.

Now, I would like to offer you an insight to the character of George Bush. There is a video, that you can view that will give you insights on the positive aspects of his character. This is not from the news, but from an unlikely source that will give you a personal perspective of the man. One that is rarely seen.

And in viewing the video, you will learn some of the history of the Oval Office, and no matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat you will no doubt learn some interesting facts.

When you go to the site click the Oval Office tour, sit back and relax and enjoy the presentation.

Did Planes Collaspe the World Trade Center or Was There Another Cause?

A Physics professor from Brigham Young University is disputing the cause of the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Desert News in Utah is reporting:

"'It is quite plausible that explosives were pre-planted in all three buildings and set off after the two plane crashes — which were actually a diversion tactic," he writes. "Muslims are (probably) not to blame for bringing down the WTC buildings after all," Jones writes."'

While the government does not support his theory he has performed a study and produced a 9,000-word article that he is offering for peer review. Is this just another conspiracy theory or is his speculation valid? Read the article and you decide.

Chronic Wasting Disease: Virginia Media Starting to Pay Attention

The Daily News Record in the Shenandoah Valley reported on Chronic Wasting Disease today.

We have reported about this disease before, and we consider it a grave concern for Virginians and Virginia hunters. It is called Chronic Wasting Disease, and it affects deer. It is very similar to mad cow disease, and there is dispute that the disease can be transferred to humans.

The problem of determining if it is transferable to humans is the incubation period, before symptoms show up, it may take nine months or longer. In lab tests performed by the CDC the "species barrier" has been broken, and the disease was transferred to primates.

What is not coming out through the media, or the Virginia Game Inland Fisheries, and for that matter the CDC is that this disease could pose dangers to those who eat venison. There has been a very low key approach to informing you of possible dangers. Although, there are a few documented cases that some who have eaten venison have developed a closely related disease, which is always fatal. With the long incubation period for the disease to develop in humans, it is difficult to attribute the human form of the disease was caused by the consumption of venison.

The Virginia Game Commission is however telling hunters to take precautions in how they dress a deer, and not to consume certain parts which people have consumed in the past. We encourage all hunters to become aware of the risks, and follow the recommended precautions.

One of the best precautions would be not to eat venison until more is known about this disease.

On our previous posts, you will find the links to information about Chronic Wasting Disease in deer, precautions that you should take, and the source from the CDC on how this disease has shown evidence of breaking the species barrier to primates.

Fun With Science Freebie

Yesterday I learned of a neat website where mom's are selling fun with science units. These units are chock full of information and fun activities. And for the month of November they are offering a unit on bones for 1 penny or you can email them directly and they will email it to you for free. I received the unit last night and it looks great! Over 80 pages of projects, information, and puzzles. So what are you waiting for????