Saturday, January 01, 2005
Like it so far? Hang on tight... For all five of you and the legions more waiting in the wings who HAVE been/will be checking here with any semblance of "regularity", the luminous blog will be getting more and more... shall we say... focused?
That's right folks... time to embark on my crusade! Arlene (a blogger) has her anti-Bush stance... Magz (a blogger) has her diffuse rants on life... Dave (another -you've guessed it- blogger...) has... something else going there... Me? Why, I must be a man on a mission too... read on in the coming days and weeks and find out what THAT is all about...! Won't you? ;)
New Year - new style in many ways... the articles prickled from the net shall go on the comments section now... since my adversaries are so afraid to leave any, and my admirers have no time to figure out how to post a comment... (that's my take on that story and I am sticking to it! LOL). Thus, I shall make use of the feature as I see fit! The comments shall be mine, first and foremost, on the aforementioned prickled off the web articles... I am INVITING your comments though... especially you - you know who you are out there... ;)
Still... for today... let's do it again THIS WAY... "in-post"... out in the open!
Read on... and marvel at the depths man will go to massacre his language...
Wardrobe malfunction, strippergate among the year's new words 15/12/2004 5:29:00 PM
TORONTO (CP) - This was the year of the wardrobe malfunction, a televised breast-baring event of such phenomenal interest that everyone talked about it - and the English-language was enriched by it.
It was also the year of bird flu and phishing and strippergate, all bad things, agrees Katherine Barber, editor-in-chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary.
"They're pretty depressing," says Barber of most words that entered the vocabulary or "leapt to the forefront" in 2004.
That is not surprising given the fact that new words are spread by the media, which have a predilection for bad news, she said Wednesday.
"I'm sure there are all sorts of wonderful discoveries in the health field that will make great differences to people but didn't make the headlines quite so much as bird flu."
Janet Jackson's brief breast exposure at the Super Bowl "created such a big brouhaha," says Barber, explaining why the term wardrobe malfunction caught on in general parlance.
"And also I think a lot of people just thought it was funny. It seized people's imaginations because of it's being euphemistic."
She adds it became a "classic vogue word," with ordinary people applying it to their own clothing mishaps. But Barber is not convinced it has staying power.
"We see words like that all the time every year. ... They're very popular for six months and then you never hear of them again. Unless there's a real need in the language for a word to designate something, then the word won't stick around. So we'll see."
Phishing arrived in the cyber world, always a rich source of new terminology. It's a type of spam whereby e-mails from seemingly legitimate businesses entice computer users to divulge personal information.
And political scandal was represented by strippergate, referring to the commotion over a temporary residence permit given by Immigration Minister Judy Sgro to a Romanian exotic dancer who had worked on her election campaign.
Other notable new words of 2004 identified by the Canadian Oxford Dictionary team in Toronto:
-Gas and dash: Drivers filling up at self-serve gas bars and leaving without paying - a phenomenon brought on by the skyrocketing price of gasoline.
-Clostridium difficile: A superbug that hit hospitals, especially in Quebec.
-Celebrity justice: With an increasing number of celebrities having run-ins with the law, the term has become a part of the language.
-Nearshoring: As U.S. high tech firms lost jobs to offshore companies in Asia, some Canadian firms offered themselves as "nearshore" alternatives.
-MOOTWA: An acronym for Military Operations Other Than War, from the book The Ghosts of Medak Pocket, about Canadian peacekeepers.
-Orange Revolution: Supporters of Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yuschenko turned out en masse bedecked in orange.
-Janjaweed: Pro-government Sudanese Arab militias.
Bird flu made it into the latest Oxford, published in June. The dictionary's editors will wait to see whether the other words remain in use before deciding whether to include them in a revised edition.
Friday, December 31, 2004
19/12/2004 9:27:04 PM (from msn.ca)
NEW YORK (Reuters) - President Bush's bold, uncompromising leadership and his clear-cut election victory made him Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2004, its managing editor said Sunday. Clear cut... right...
Time chose Bush "for sticking to his guns (literally and figuratively), for reshaping the rules of politics to fit his 10-gallon-hat leadership style and for persuading a majority of voters this time around that he deserved to be in the White House for another four years," Jim Kelly wrote in the magazine.
Bush was also Time's choice to appear on the cover in 2000 after winning the presidential election despite losing the popular vote.
His father, President George H. W. Bush, was named "Man of the Year" in 1990 for what Time called his mastery of foreign policy and his wavering domestic record.
Last year the magazine picked "The American Soldier."
"Obviously many supporters of the president will be pleased, many people who do not support the president will probably sigh," Kelly said.
"But even those who may not have voted for him will acknowledge that this is one of the more influential presidents of the last 50 years."
Kelly said he and his staff debated giving the award to others including Karl Rove, the president's influential political adviser, and filmmakers Michael Moore and Mel Gibson.
The winner must be "the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse," he said.
U.S. aviator Charles Lindbergh was Time's first "Man of the Year" in 1927. Some selections have been notoriously unpopular, such as Adolf Hitler in 1938, Josef Stalin in 1939 and 1942, and Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979.
This year the magazine named the conservative "Power Line" as its first "Blog of the Year." Kelly said blogs, web sites that often mix news, gossip and opinion, are "here to stay." Reuters/VNU
Here to stay, eh? Time will tell - and surely confirm that too!
The Luminous Blog sure is... that much we can agree on! ;)
Thursday, December 30, 2004
U.S. Environmental "Protection" Agency approved new year resolutions...
Well, it never hurts to follow some sound advice (and hey - sound actually DOES travel through water better than it does through air... scientific fact... Jack! But I digress...). So, without further ado...
******* Water Efficiency Measures for Residences *******
Never use your toilet as a waste basket.
Do not let the water run while shaving or brushing teeth.
Take short showers instead of tub baths. Turn off the water flow while soaping or shampooing.
If you must use a tub, close the drain before turning on the water and fill the tub only half full. Bathe small children together.
Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it - such as watering a plant or garden.
Kitchen and Laundry:
Keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool.
Wash fruits and vegetables in a basin. Use a vegetable brush.
Do not use water to defrost frozen foods, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Use a dishpan for washing and rinsing dishes.
Scrape, rather than rinse, dishes before loading into the dishwasher.
Add food wastes to your compost pile instead of using the garbage disposal.
Operate the dishwasher only when completely full.
Use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine.
Sweep driveways, sidewalks and steps rather than hosing off.
Wash the car with water from a bucket, or consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water.
When using a hose, control the flow with an automatic shut-off nozzle.
Avoid purchasing recreational water toys which require a constant stream of water.
If you have a swimming pool, consider a new water-saving pool filter.
Lower pool water level to reduce amount of water splashed out.
Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation when pool is not being used.
Repair all leaks. A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons per day. To detect leaks in the toilet, add food coloring to the tank water. If the colored water appears in the bowl, the toilet is leaking. Toilet repair advice is available at http://www.toiletology.com/index.shtml
Install ultra-low flow toilets, or place a plastic container filled with water or gravel in the tank of your conventional toilet. Be sure it does not interfere with operation of the toilet's flush mechanisms.
Install low-flow aerators and showerheads.
Consider purchasing a high efficiency washing machine which can save over 50% in water and energy use.
Blessings, water wasters...!
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Beach Combers 2005...?!?
A deadly bacterial infection outbreak has medical officials in B.C. urging gay men there to get vaccinated against it.
"We think we're seeing the beginning of an outbreak in gay men in B.C. and if we nip it in the bud, we can save a lot of people some grief," said Dr. David Patrick of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
Since October, three men have died as a result of meningococcal C disease. Four others have become ill but recovered.
There have been 19 cases detected all year. Sixteen of those occurred in men.
The infection, caused by the meningococcus bacterium, can strike very suddenly. It can cause brain damage and death. Symptoms include high fever, headache and a stiff neck.
The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority said in a news release that investigation showed no common link between the victims.
"The absence of a link or identifiable source has led the BCCDC (B.C. Centre for Disease Control) and regional Medical Health Officers to implement an inoculation campaign targeting gay men including teenagers to reduce risk and minimize further infection," it said.
"The bacteria is spread via saliva through sharing drinks, water bottles, eating utensils, toothbrushes, cigarettes, joints, kissing and sexual contacts where saliva sharing occurs," the release said.
"It is important to note that although we are seeing a current increase in meningococcal C infections in gay men, these infections can occur in men and women of all ages, but at this time we are not seeing an increased rate of infection in other groups."
The vaccine is free. The authority's Dr. Patricia Daly told The Canadian Press that 3,000 doses have been distributed to clinics.
While those outside the gay community aren't believed to be at risk, there were fears it could spread with the start of the holiday party season.
"If we don't vaccinate the group that is experiencing the high rates of disease now, it could spread to others who may have contact with these people," Daly said.
While health officials say the problem doesn't extend beyond B.C., that could change as people travel over the holidays.
With a report from CTV's Todd Battis and files from The Canadian Press
It would have been appropriate if it had been the CBC news service reporting this - then it really would have had "Beachcombers: the Next Generation" written all over it... eh?
And this is just what we needed too - another epidemic spreading with holiday travel... Terrorists boarding planes are NOT the worst thing that could happen, after all... If you really think about it...!
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
U.S. researchers optimistic about new AIDS drugs they believe can destroy HIV Provided by: Canadian Press Dec. 13, 2004
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) - Researchers at Rutgers University have developed a trio of drugs they believe can destroy HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to a published report.
The drugs, called DAPYs, mimic the virus by changing shape, which enables them to interfere with the way HIV attacks the immune system.
Tests conducted in conjunction with Johnson and Johnson have shown the drug to be easily absorbed with minimal side effects. It also can be taken in one pill, in contrast to the drug cocktails currently taken by many AIDS patients.
"This could be it," Stephen Smith, the head of the department of infectious diseases at Saint Michael's Medical Center in Newark, told The Sunday Star-Ledger of Newark. "We're all looking for the next class of drugs."
A research team led by Rutgers chemist Eddy Arnold pre-published details of the most promising of the three drugs, known as R278474, last month in the electronic edition of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. Full details will be published in the journal in early 2005.
Arnold, 47, has worked at dismantling the AIDS virus over the last 20 years. He uses X-ray crystallography, a technique to determine the structure of molecules, the smallest particles that can retain all the characteristics of an element or compound.
The research has targeted reverse transcriptase, a submiscroscopic protein composed of two coiled chains of amino acids. It is considered HIV's key protein.
"Reverse transcriptase is very important in the biology of AIDS," Smith said. "If you can really inhibit reverse transcriptase, you can stop AIDS."
The optimism about R278474 stems from its potential to interfere with an enzyme that the virus needs to copy and insert itself into a human cell.
"We're onto something very, very special," Arnold told the newspaper.
Arnold established his lab at Rutgers' Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine in 1987. His current 30-member research team is partnered with Johnson and Johnson subsidiaries Janssen Pharmaceutica and Tibotec-Virco NV.
An important advancement in Arnold's research came in 1990 when Belgian scientist Paul Janssen was added to the collaboration. Janssen, considered a drug pioneer, published a paper that year that described a new drug that blocked reverse transcriptase but caused resistant strains of the virus to pop up too quickly.
Janssen sought out Arnold, who used crystallography to detail the structure of RT. Their work ultimately led to the RT inhibitors.
Two earlier relatives of R278474, called TMC-120 and TMC-125, have showed promise in clinical trials. Johnson and Johnson officials told the newspaper that the two drugs are of major interest to them, but did not discuss R278474.
"We may eventually win the war against HIV/AIDS. That would be an extremely rewarding and satisfying outcome," Arnold said. "But even to have contributed to helping the health and well-being of the many people infected with HIV will be very satisfying if that were to happen."
He Lives... He Lives Not... He Lives...
Yasser Arafat fighting for his life CTV.ca News Staff
Insisting reports Yasser Arafat is dead are gravely exaggerated, doctors treating the Palestinian leader concede he is fighting for his life.
As reports of Arafat's condition grow increasingly pessimistic, anxious Palestinian officials are scrambling to take steps they hope will prevent unrest should the ailing 75-year-old leader die.
They have confirmed that Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia has already assumed some of Arafat's administrative and financial powers.
Arafat has never appointed a successor, but his duties are being shared by Qureia and former prime minister Mahmoud Abbas, who is considered Arafat's number two.
Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath said top officials were keeping in touch with the French military hospital where Arafat is being cared for, calling every 30 minutes to check on his condition.
"The Palestinian leadership is in constant meeting to follow up on the president's health," Shaath said from Ramallah, where leaders of the PLO and Arafat's Fatah movement were meeting.
There is still a great deal of confusion over the exact state of Arafat's health, even after the French doctors treating Arafat at the Percy Military Training Hospital outside Paris emerged to quash reports of his death.
"Mr. Arafat is not dead," Christian Estripeau, a spokesman for the Percy Military Training Hospital in Clamart outside Paris, said in a brief statement.
Aside from denying Arafat's passing, however, the doctors would say little else.
Their statement followed a report on Israel's Channel Two news that said Arafat had either died or was clinically dead. Radio Monte Carlo, Al-Arabiya Television and Israel's Haaretz newspaper also reported that he had died.
French television station LCI, however, quoted an anonymous French medical official as saying Arafat was in an "irreversible coma."
Arafat's personal physician, Dr. Ashraf Kurdi, later told Al-Arabiya TV that Arafat hadn't suffered a hemorrhage or stroke. "Arafat has no type of brain death," Kurdi said.
Those are just some of the steady flow of conflicting reports about Arafat's health that have been issued since he first fell ill more than three weeks ago.
Arafat's health took another turn for the worst on Wednesday night, prompting doctors to rush him into intensive care at the French hospital he was airlifted to last week.
Doctors have conducted a battery of tests on Arafat, and say they don't know what is wrong with him. However, they have ruled out leukemia and other forms of cancer as the cause of his blood and digestive disorder.
"He is not getting better, but not getting worse either. He is being examined. He is not in a coma," Shaath said Thursday, encapsulating the mystery that continues to surround Arafat's illness.
"There is no explanation for what has happened."
As expectations for Arafat's recovery shift, the repercussions are already being felt in the West Bank and Gaza.
Approximately 1,500 Palestinians demonstrated in the West Bank town of Qalqiliya, and another 500 marched in the Balata refugee camp on Thursday -- to cheer their support for the man who has become one of the most powerful symbols of Palestinian resistance.
Israeli security officials met Thursday to discuss what their plan of action may be if Arafat dies. They have decided to secure borders, but will give people space to grieve.
"There have been some changes in the military strategy in saying the army will hold off on operations in certain parts of Gaza and West Bank until there is some resolution on Yasser Arafat's condition," CTV's Janis Mackey Frayer said, reporting from Jerusalem.
"But they are starting to plan for what happens next, not only from a military point of view, but also from a political point of view."
U.S. President George Bush, who has refused to meet with Arafat on the grounds he is an obstacle to peace, responded to reports on Arafat's health during his first post-election media briefing on Thursday.
"We will continue to work for a free Palestinian state that is at peace with Israel," Bush told reporters.
In Canada, Prime Minister Paul Martin predicted that at some point, Arafat's ill health could have an effect on the Middle East peace process.
"A change of authority under any circumstances obviously affects the consequences that will follow," he told reporters in Ottawa.
With files from CTV News and The Associated Press
Monday, December 27, 2004
To mourn the loss of life in Sri Lanka and Tamil territories, in Indonesia and India, Thailand — in Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Somalia, and elsewhere in Africa.
The earthquake and tsunamis that ensued are assuredly but the first of many cataclysms to come - enhanced in strength and power of devastation by many factors joining together in our ever-changing planet.
Like pain on a human body signals a deep-rooted problem, likewise here this and the other cataclysms to come -whether they are hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, more quakes, triggering more tsunamis, floods and the like- are a definite signal the planet is hurting... bad.
LONDON - Tom Wolfe recognized for writing bad sex scenes --- AT LONG LAST!
(Wasn't it about time that they bestowed this umpteenth honor upon his venerable sexagenarian shoulders... hmm? hahaha ;)
Author Tom Wolfe has been given a rare honour – his latest novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons, has been picked as the recipient of the annual Bad Sex award.
Given out by the Literary Review, the accolade is intended to "draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel."
Wolfe's novel, which runs almost 700 pages, is about an ingénue at a fictional university in Pennsylvania.
The judges said that the descriptions of sex in the book are ghastly, inept and unrealistic.
Wolfe's past works include best-selling classics like The Bonfire of the Vanities.
The author who receives the award is given a statuette and a bottle of champagne if he or she attends the ceremony. Wolfe is the only winner in the 12-year history of the award to decline the invitation.
The Sex May Be Bad But It's Ironic, Says Tom Wolfe
20/12/2004 10:42:03 PM Rebuttal...
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Novelist and social critic Tom Wolfe admits some of the sex scenes in his new book "I am Charlotte Simmons" are tasteless but he didn't expect to win a prize for the worst sex in fiction.
Britain's Literary Review announced last week Wolfe had won the year's most dreaded literary accolade -- the Bad Sex Award -- but the 74-year-old author made clear that his sex scenes were meant to be more ironic than erotic.
"There's an old saying -- 'You can lead a whore to culture but you can't make her sing.' In this case, you can lead an English literary wannabe to irony but you can't make him get it," Wolfe said in an interview on Monday.
The prize awarded by the London-based magazine aims "to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel."
"Slither slither slither slither went the tongue," one of his winning sentences begins, describing the first significant sexual encounter of the heroine, a naive country girl, with an arrogant and popular frat boy at a prestigious university.
It continues: "But the hand, that was what she tried to concentrate on, the hand, since it has the entire terrain of her torso to explore and not just the otorhinolaryngological (ears, nose and throat) caverns -- oh God, it was not just at the border where the flesh of the breast joins the pectoral sheath of the chest -- no, the hand was cupping her entire right - Now!"
The judges described Wolfe's prose as "ghastly and boring." The new novel -- his third after "The Bonfire of the Vanities" and "A Man in Full" -- has had mixed reviews, though it has been on the New York Times best seller list for five weeks.
"I've had a lot of fun with that award. You don't receive it so much as get the pie in your face," Wolfe said, describing the Literary Review as a "very small, rather old fashioned magazine" and the judges as out of touch.
Wolfe, a former New York Herald Tribune star writer, did his research by hanging out in student bars and coaxing kiss-and-tell stories out of 19-year-olds.
"I take the man from Mars approach," he said. He makes little effort to fit in, the only concession being a blue blazer in place of his trademark white suit.
TASTELESS TONSIL HOCKEY
Wolfe defended the passage picked out for the prize as an honest description of the feelings of a hesitant virgin when first experiencing "tonsil hockey."
"She's not aroused, she's clinically curious and she wonders what this thing is doing probing her otorhinolar...," Wolfe said, stumbling over the medical term which refers to ear, nose and throat.
"I purposely chose the most difficult scientific word I could to show this is not an erotic scene ... there's nothing like a nine syllable word to chase Eros off the premises."
"It's certainly tasteless," he added. "This poor girl has never had somebody else's tongue in her mouth before and that's tasteless."
The book presents a bleak picture of binge drinking and over-sexed students at one of America's top universities, the fictional Dupont, where athletes are demigods and many students care more about looks and money than academic achievement.
"I didn't write this book with the idea of shocking anybody," Wolfe said. "People say it's an indictment but frankly, just the way I was with 'Bonfire of the Vanities,' I was in awe that people live this way."
Wolfe took lessons in slang from his own college-age children and admits some of it has rubbed off -- though he still sounds like a Southern gentleman from Virginia.
"I've been cowed into not saying 'fabulous' any more. I will tend to say 'awesome' instead but as soon as I say it, it sounds so juvenile."
Wolfe questioned the assertion by the organizers of the prize that he was the first winner in the 12-year history of the competition to decline an invitation to pick it up.
"I love coming to London if they would only be so kind as to invite me," he said. "They never invited me. I have not heard a word from them. Why don't they send me the invitation?"
"Ask them how they wrote me. What form? Cleft stick?"
You reap what you sow, Mr. Wolfe...? *LOL*
Chasing Eros off the premises like that with unsightly multi-syllabic words most Virginians would frown upon and scoff at... that is not the way to go about it, surely!? Chasing Thanatos away, now there I would agree...
Happy New Year to you too, Mr Wolfe... and all! ;)
Sunday, December 26, 2004
On Admitting... or... Boxing With Reality! On Boxing Day... the Irony!
If you don't know what the... hell I am talking about... well... Heaven Knows! ;)
Bush admits Iraqi troops not ready to take over CTV.ca News Staff
The day (last Monday) after a series of attacks claimed more than 60 lives in Iraq, President George Bush admitted that U.S.-trained Iraqi troops are not ready to take over their country's security.
"Car bombs that destroy young children, or car bombs that indiscriminately bomb in religious sites, are effective propaganda tools," Bush told reporters at a rare White House news conference on Monday morning.
"But we must meet the objective, which is to help the Iraqis defend themselves, and at the same time have a political process to go forward," he added.
In the 17th solo press briefing of his presidency, Bush acknowledged attempts to put security in the charge of Iraqi forces have produced "mixed" results.
"There have been some cases where, when the heat got on, they left the battlefield," he said. "That is unacceptable.
"... We are under no illusion that this Iraqi force is not ready to fight in toto."
But the president made it clear the upcoming Iraqi vote will go ahead as planned.
"The elections in January are the beginning of a process and it is important for the American people to understand that," he said.
-Defending Rumsfeld Sheesh - Dubya has hit an all-time low - defending Rumsfeld... Of course he will, though - birds of a feather stick together ;)
Bush was also compelled to defend his embattled defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, who is increasingly out of favour on Capitol Hill.
Deflecting the latest criticism, that the secretary's signature was stamped on condolence letters to families of the approximately 1,300 U.S. troops who have died in Iraq, Bush said he knows Rumsfeld's heart.
"I know how much he cares for the troops," he said, describing Rumsfeld as a "good, decent man" and "a caring fellow."
"Beneath that rough and gruff no-nonsense demeanor is a good human being who cares deeply about the military and the grief that war causes."
To drive his point home, Bush said he was very happy to give the Pentagon chief a fresh vote of confidence when he invited him to stay in the job.
"He's doing a very fine job," the president said.
In his 55-minute appearance, Bush touched on a host of other issues including:
Plans to submit a federal budget next February, that will halve the deficit in five years. "It's going to be a tough budget, no doubt about it," he said, suggesting his plan will mean holding the reins on spending.
Recently signed legislation to reorganize America's intelligence operations. "Because we acted, our vast intelligence enterprise will be more unified, coordinated and effective than ever," he said.
The controversy over his first nominee to be Homeland Security secretary. "In retrospect he made the right decision to pull his name down," Bush said of former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, who withdrew over a tax dodge. "The lessons learned is continue to vet and ask questions."
Washington's "complex" links with Moscow, in light of disagreements over the war on terror and elections in Ukraine. "The relationship's an important relationship and I would call the relationship a good relationship," Bush said of his ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
With files from The Associated Press