News Hugs

February 29, 2008

I Like Cows

cows1.jpgWouldn’t you rather eat beef from cows that were pampered as opposed to cows that are tortured? Same goes for eggs and chickens. I would much rather have the chicken come first, cage free and running wild. It seems common sense that eating the flesh or the offspring of an animal that has been well taken care of would be better to digest.


February 26, 2008

Philharmonic Plays in North Korea

Filed under: music — Tags: , — newshugs @ 9:57 pm

With only 48 hours access, the New York Philharmonic plays to emotional North Koreans. The power of music.

PYONGYANG, North Korea — As the New York Philharmonic sang out the opening notes of “Arirang,” a beloved Korean folk song, a murmur rippled through the audience. Many in the audience perched forward in their seats.The piccolo played a long, plaintive melody. Cymbals crashed, harp runs flew up, the violins soared. And tears began forming in the eyes of the staid audience, row upon row of men in dark suits, women in colorful high-waisted hanbok dresses and all of them wearing pins of Kim Il-sung, the nation’s founder.

And right there, the Philharmonic had them. The full-throated performance of a piece deeply resonant for both North and South Koreans ended the orchestra’s historic concert in this isolated nation on Tuesday in triumph.

The audience applauded for more than five minutes, and orchestra members, some of them crying, waved. People in the seats cheered and waved back, reluctant to let the visiting Americans leave.

“Was that an emotional experience!” said Jon Deak, a bass player, backstage moments after the concert had ended. “It’s an incredible joy and sadness and connection like I’ve never seen. They really opened their hearts to us.” NYT

Cannoli Gram

Filed under: fun — Tags: , — newshugs @ 2:54 am

cannoli.jpgToday I clicked on one of those google ads because it said “cannoli grams.” mmmmm. I love cannolis. I grew up in New York, where cannolis ran rampant through the bakeries. You just had to catch one. Here on the other coast, cannolis are scant.

Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.

February 25, 2008

Glamorous Grammar

Filed under: fun — Tags: , — newshugs @ 4:14 am

grammar-cafe.jpgI read this in Mental Floss magazine: In the Middle Ages, grammar was the most important of seven liberal arts because it helped people understand the Bible and alchemy, things with magical glamour (a magical spell). From “glamour” comes “grammar.”

You look grammarous tonight!

February 23, 2008

Ode to Mambo

Filed under: critters, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — newshugs @ 4:32 am

mambo.jpgMy beloved cat, confidant and friend of 20 years has passed on to finer kitty meadows.

It was a slow death, or so it seemed. 17 days. She became listless, then began to stumble around. She had been to the vet about two weeks earlier with a kidney infection but the antibiotics seemed to take care of it. She had only been sick once before when she was a few weeks old.

Next, she stopped eating. Soon she would only drink if I put water under her chin. Then four days before she died, she stopped drinking water. I wondered how long could a cat survive without water. Apparently, a long time.

She lost her vision. Lastly, she could no longer hear me. I just sat by her side and gently petted the top of her head. I wasn’t sure if I was disturbing her so mostly I just sat by her side. 

The last two days were awful. She let out small meows and on the final day, it seemed like she wasn’t even in her body anymore. I went to bed that night thinking it might be the night. I heard a small exhale shortly after I laid down. I got up and she was gone.

I scoured the web for information on the dying process but found only one site that offered solace. Every other bit of information suggested euthanasia as the only option. But I couldn’t see taking my cat to a sterile vet office and having him stick her with a needle. It seemed she would be happier to die naturally in her favorite spot, her purple bean bag chair.

For her burial, I bought a giant tree pot, filled it with dirt, put her in, covered her body up and planted beautiful flowers on top. She’s on the patio! If I lived in a house, she’d be in the garden.

She was the finest kitty ever! She had an M marking on her head and I named her after my favorite dance, the Mambo.

She was always there when I needed her. Furry and purry.

February 22, 2008

Tunnels: The Next Harry Potter?

Filed under: books — Tags: , , , , — newshugs @ 12:21 am

tunnels.jpgTunnels is about a 14-year old boy, appropriately named Will Burrows, who loves to dig. When his father disappears, he digs his way into an underworld. The book, published first in the UK, is now for sale in the US. Some are calling it the next Harry Potter, partly because the man who discovered the book, Barry Cunningham, also discovered J.K. Rowling.

Amazon had more than one million preorders. Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams, neither a writer to start, wrote the book together. They self-published 2,500 copies of the book before they found a publisher.

Publisher’s Weekly, which reviews books, dissed it: 

Encumbered by verbose and flat descriptions (“His whole being emanated evil, and his dark eyes never left Will’s, who felt a wave of dread wash over him…. {Will] was unable to tear his gaze from the sinister man, whose thin lips twisted into a sardonic smile”), the novel is nearly one-third over before the boys enter the underground Colony-where they are promptly imprisoned and tortured. 

But kids are loving it.

February 21, 2008

Get Your Total Lunar Eclipse

Filed under: science — Tags: , , — newshugs @ 3:10 am


It’s the last one til 2010. Astrology wise, the lunar eclipse is a time to go nuts! So if you’re feeling a bit loony, you’ll know why. Beware the werewolves.

A lunar eclipse is a time of beginnings, endings, exposure and major changes. It always has something to do with “relationships”. The changes are tied to how we relate and will have a lasting impression. Emotions run high, causing upsets and feelings of disorientation. Actions taken often do not have the expected results, but they do bring awareness and enlightenment. The energy of an eclipse is at its strongest during the two days before and three days after its occurrence.

At lunar eclipses we: merge, unite, announce, contact, present ourselves, bring something out into the open, make decisions, engage, rise to the challenge, make an effort, change, get a new perspective, join with others, take on greater challenges, travel at a faster pace, feel restless, feel pressured by deadlines and a buildup of emotions, and experience excitement and crisis.

February 18, 2008

Sandra Boynton

Filed under: books, fun — Tags: — newshugs @ 4:13 am

momcat-on-phone.gifWow! I’ve never seen a story about Sandra, the woman behind the pigs, cows, cats and other animals that dance with top hats and have big toothy smiles in books on cards and always on my calendar.

She said she had an “absurdly happy childhood.” I’ve never heard anyone describe their childhood in that manner. Sandra’s website.

February 17, 2008

The Power of Whimsy

SANDRA BOYNTON’S studio, in a converted barn next to her Connecticut home, bears the milestones of her singular career: a long rack of greeting cards featuring quirkily drawn animals; a room full of small, sturdy children’s books, with names like “Snuggle Puppy!” and “Barnyard Dance!”; and, upstairs, where she does much of her work, old-time radios and jukeboxes representing her more recent foray into music CDs for children.Ms. Boynton’s CDs have garnered three gold records and one Grammy nomination. These accomplishments, on top of the hundreds of millions of cards and tens of millions of books she has sold, are all the happy — and profitable — results of an unconventional approach to business.

As an entrepreneur, Ms. Boynton maintains a firm grasp on market realities and her finances, but she says she has succeeded by refusing to make money her main objective. Instead, she says, she has focused on the creative process, her artistic autonomy, her relationships and how she uses her time.

“I don’t do things differently to be different; I do what works for me,” she says. “To me, the commodity that we consistently overvalue is money, and what we undervalue is our precious and irreplaceable time. Though, of course, to the extent that money can save you time or make it easier to accomplish things, it’s a wonderful thing.”

While Ms. Boynton may make all of this sound relatively straightforward, she has overcome hurdles in three industries that have routinely tripped up or roundly laid low legions of would-be entrepreneurs.

MS. BOYNTON, 54, describes what she calls an “absurdly happy childhood” in Philadelphia. The third of four daughters, she attended Germantown Friends, a K-12 Quaker school famed for its arts education and interdisciplinary teaching. Her father, Robert Boynton, was an English teacher at the school. “The best English teacher I ever had,” she says. read more.

February 17, 2008

The Joy of Pond Skating

Filed under: environment, fun — Tags: , , — newshugs @ 6:18 am

ice-skating.jpgI spent my childhood skating on a pond in upstate New York, where ponds were abundant, even in my backyard. I set up my radio, which blasted “Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers (good grief) and I skated my heart out. On the big pond near my parents business I skated with all the kids in the neighborhood. There was always a hockey game going on.

It’s all any of us did in the winter time. Wet and cold, we always had hot chocolate afterward.

Here is a story that reminded me of those days, an Elegy for a Vanishing Pasttime. Ice skating outdoors is vanishing because the ice doesn’t freeze over anymore. Global Warming.

February 15, 2008

New Solar System

Filed under: science — Tags: — newshugs @ 4:18 am

inflatable-solar.jpgAmid the hearts and flowers and chocolates of heart day comes a new solar system. I don’t think this story made the 6 O’Clock news, but a solar system, similar to ours has been discovered.  

In the newly discovered system, a planet about two-thirds of the mass of Jupiter and another about 90 percent of the mass of Saturn are orbiting a reddish star about half the mass of the Sun, at about half the distances that Jupiter and Saturn circle our own Sun.

Neither of the two giant planets is a likely abode for life as we know it, but, as Dr. Gaudi pointed out, warm, rocky planets — suitable for life — could exist undetected in the inner parts of the system. “This could be a true solar system analogue,” he said.

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