Queen on Queen …

It has been that sort of a day that while i had all intentions of doing a good,
serious blog on this or that; well, this is where i am at!

‘Funny Pictures’ …

I saw this picture at Aneta’s blog on Y360 months ago and took note of it for it caused me to ponder, wonder and I left this comment on the same:

Looking at that gob with the tags in it makes one wonder:

‘How does the poor thing manage to eat at all, at all?!!’

Maybe tearing the chunks of raw meat would be just the ticket,
or only plain liquids poured down past the metal work in there!!

Not to mention: Airport security could be very noisy for ‘im, i say!!

How could one kiss somebody like that and not be shred to pieces in the process?!!
Very romantic. NOT.

Puzzled so am I…

What springs to your mind?

Keep so grand. Rii xx

DUSTIN The Turkey …

Ireland has won the Eurovision Song Contest so many times that it got too much for the tiny nation to cough up the dosh to make a posh do aka to arrange the competition year in, year out, so that the representatives selected on the same from the Emerald Isle have not done well at all for years and years.

But this year there is a very amusing entry, for the Irish voters picked the children’s hand puppet as the best of six finalists in a decision that is likely to ruffle some feathers – LOL!! — at the event in May. The entertainer’s song Irelande Douze Points emerged as a clear favourite in the weeks leading up to the country’s vote.

Dustin has been one of Ireland’s leading stars since he joined The Den with fellow puppets Zig and Zag in the 1990. He is no stranger to being in the limelight, having recorded six albums and performed a host of comical duets with artists such as Bob Geldof, Chris De Burgh, Ronnie Drew, Dervla Kirwan and the late Joe Dolan.

Dustin was plucked – HaHa!! very apt word as we are talking about a turkey — from six finalists to win a televised poll programme in the Republic of Ireland on Saturday night. And such is the contest’s reputation for successful novelty acts that bookmakers have made him 10-1 favourite to win in Belgrade in May. His song is entitled Irelande Douze Pointe, a reference to the maximum of 12 points which each country can award to a song.  Dustin’s song, sung in a North Dublin accent, urges the contest judges to “give douze points to Ireland, for its lowlands and its highlands, for Wogan’s wig and Bono’s leather pants. We brought you Guinness and Westlife, 800-years of war and strife, but we all apologise for Riverdance.”

The Eurovision Song Contest, now in its 53rd year, is known for its glitzy but tacky costumes, bizarre songs and outrageous performances. An estimated 100 million people from 42 countries watched last year’s gala, which took place in Helsinki.

The background of this turkey vulture loved by many is according to the Wikipedia that “Dustin was introduced as a character when one of the puppets, Zag, who was trying to join the upper classes, entered a golf tournament with Tony Fenton the 2fm DJ and came last. The prize was a Christmas Turkey, and a chance to meet movie star Dustin Hoffman.

It transpired however, that the turkey shared the name of the movie star and was not only still alive, but had a Dublin accent and his own building company. Zig and Zag intended to eat Dustin for Christmas dinner, and only changed their minds when a frequent visitor to the show, artist and children’s novelist Don Conroy, provided his taxonomical opinion that Dustin was, in fact a cross between a turkey and a vulture, and therefore unsuitable for human or Zogling consumption (Zig and Zag are aliens from the planet Zog). He makes appearances outside of The Den, including an annual appearance on The Late Late Show Toy Show special at Christmas each year.”

See for yourselves his remarkable talent in this video:.


Tis for now, Rii xx

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/02/24/neurovision124.xml

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=518091&in_page_id=1811

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dustin_the_Turkey

 

HOLOCAUST Memorial Day 27.1.


The photo is part of The Names at the Yad Vashem* Museum in Jerusalem by me.

January 27, aka today is the annual official day for the remembrance of the victims of the Nazi-era worldwide and here is the what the UN has decreed on the same:

“International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27) is an annual international day of remembrance designated by an official resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on November 1, 2005.

The resolution urges every member nation to honor the memory of Holocaust victims and encourages the development of educational programs about Holocaust history as part of the resolve to help prevent future acts of genocide.

“There can be no reversing the unique tragedy of the Holocaust. It must be remembered, with shame and horror, for as long as human memory continues. Only by remembering can we pay fitting tribute to the victims. Millions of innocent Jews and members of other minorities were murdered in the most barbarous ways imaginable. We must never forget those men, women and children, or their agony.” — United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, January 27, 2006. (Wikipedia)

I was wondering as to ’why’ this day of January 27, until I realized that this is the day that the Soviets entered/liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps in 1945 where some 1,1 to 1,6 million people perished; 90 per cent of them Jews. My dad visited these camps about five to ten years later after the events and his comments were ‘that it still did smell very nauseatingly of burned flesh’ – amazing when one thinks of the time-lapse. He also had black and white photographs of the ovens, the barracks, the imposing entrance at Birkenau and generally of the camps. I did find these pictures very haunting to look at, by the way.

A further quote off Wikipedia:

“…about three-quarters of the total, went to the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau within a few hours; they included all children, all women with children, all the elderly, and all those who appeared on brief and superficial inspection by an SS doctor not to be fully fit.In the Auschwitz Birkenau camp more than 20,000 people could be gassed and cremated each day. At Birkenau, the Nazis used a cyanide gas produced from Zyklon B pellets, which were manufactured by two companies who had acquired licensing rights to the patent held by IG Farben….
At the Auschwitz complex 405,000 prisoners were recorded as slaves between 1940 and 1945. Of these about 340,000 perished through executions, beatings, starvation, and sickness. Some prisoners survived through the help of German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who saved about 1,100 Polish Jews by diverting them from Auschwitz to work for him, first in his factory near Kraków and later at a factory in what is now the Czech Republic.”

In my entry on Amsterdam some time back, I mentioned that I visited the Anne Frank House Museum and this is what I said then: ”The horror of the Nazi era came alive in the Anne Frank House where we spent hours looking, thinking and going from room to room in the Annex as it still looks like it was when the people and Anne herself were hiding in there. The bookshelf – so familiar from the book of Anne’s, ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ – is still there…”

In Israel, the day for the Holocaust Remembrance, Yom HaShoah, is in the spring which I have witnessed there myself for a few times; the Wikipedia puts it like this:

“On the eve of Yom HaShoah in Israel, there is a state ceremony at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Authority. At 10:00am on Yom HaShoah, throughout Israel, air-raid sirens are sounded for two minutes. Public transport (including virtually all highway vehicles) comes to a standstill for this period, and people stop and stand silent. During Yom HaShoah, public entertainment and many public establishments in Israel are closed by law. Israeli television and radio channels broadcast mourning songs and documentaries about the Holocaust, without commercials. All flags on public buildings are flown at half mast.

Also during this day, tens of thousands of Israeli high-school students, and thousands of Jews from around the world, hold a memorial service in Auschwitz, in what became known as “The March of the Living“, in defiance of the Holocaust Death Marches.”

Additional information: Oliver Lustig’s Presentation of Historic Holocaust Photograps @ I Survived.org/ Holocaust Remembrance Network.

Tis for now. Riihele xx

Holocaust; the literal meaning of the word is: Completely burnt.
The Holocaust
(from the Greek ὁλόκαυστον (holókauston): holos, “completely” and kaustos, “burnt”).

* YAD VASHEM: The origin of the name is from a Biblical verse:

“And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name … that shall not be cut off.” (Isaiah, chapter 56, verse 5) In Hebrew, “a memorial and a name” translates as yad va-shem. A literal translation would be “hand and name.” (Wikipedia)

(Re-entry.)

Knitting or Stitch ‘n Bitch

“Those of you who feel knitting has changed your life, welcome to the club. I can think of no better occupation to reveal your own creativity.”

Kaffe Fassett

Wikipedia defines knitting as “a method by which thread or yarn may be turned into cloth. Knitting consists of loops called stitches pulled through each other. The active stitches are held on a needle until another loop can be passed through them.”

We had to learn knitting at schools in Finland from very early ages it being compulsory; I do have to admit that my ’products’ at that time were the most sorry sights ever! Really. What I managed to produce after much sweat ’n toil was one mitten, one sock instead of pairs of the same as required, a whirly-twirly scarf that looked like waves, and so on; you get the picture, for I absolutely disliked handicrafts then. That we had a sour teacher on the subject who did not like me, did not help either, it must be said.

Then years later I moved to Sweden where the girls were very partial to knitting and sewing — surprise, surprise!! as the reputation of the Swedish females would bring to one’s mind something totally different interests, eh?! — I learned to love the knitting, sewing et al. And from then on I have been doing my own patterns and whatnot, I absolutely love knitting nowadays.

Ireland, had I in my mind’s eye painted as, THE land of great yarns with the numbers of sheep the land has grazing in the fields, but when I reached the shores of the Emerald Isle, the selection was minuscule and pitiful to the ultimate as far as a variety of yarn was concerned. Sure, the meat of the mutton et al was and is ab fab over there, but as I said…The Irish, of course, are spectacularly gifted at spinning the verbal yarn, that is well-known world over.

It is funny as in ha-ha! to see that when the males want to ‘beat’ the women in females’ own games aka in cooking, etc., and even knitting — even though, Ezer Weizman said this: ‘Honey, have you ever seen a man knitting socks? ’ — they quickly become super celebrities as is Kaffe Fassett. What a brilliant name for kaffe in Swedish means coffee, by the way, and the beverage of choice in knitting sessions many a time. Here is what I found about KF on the net:

”Kaffe Fassett is known as the U.K’s King of Colour and Design – for interior and garden decoration, needlepoint, knitting and mosaic designs; also for his award-winning 1998 Chelsea Flower Show garden. Now he is designing sets and costumes for the Royal Shakespeare Company. His books include magnificent examples of tapestry, knitwear, painting, patchwork, fabrics and the latest mosaics, but the emphasis has to be on his original and daring use of colour.
Born in San Francisco, Kaffe Fassett’s earliest influences were the beauty and colour of his mother’s garden. In 1964 he moved to England and gardens are still what he loves most.” (Radio National Australia)

Great chefs carry their sets of knives, able artists carry their brush sets, and serious knitters have their knitting needle cases!

Stitch ‘n Bitch is a brilliant book of 258 pages on all things as per title; seriously, it seems like a handy guide to everybody who wants to have a fun and comprehensive reference on this grand pastime.

This is an absolutely hysterically funny video about knitting made by sharp-witted Finns:

”No longer shall I paint interiors with men reading and women knitting. I will paint living people who breathe and feel and suffer and love.”
Edvard Munch

Tis for now, Rii — who finds that knitting eases the frazzled nerves very much indeed!!

Fabulously in-vogue pages of knitting et al on Vogue online:
http://www.vogueknitting.com/vkm/?q=node/79
http://www.vogueknitting.com/vkm/

Victoria and Albert Museum great links:
http://www.vam.ac.uk/index.html

Other handy links:
http://www.knittinghelp.com/
http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/learn-to-knit
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knitting

Riverdance on Ice

This is a Canadian couple Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz*
dancing the RIVERDANCE in the Olympics in Nagano (Japan) in 1998.

I suppose I am homesick for Ireland…

Tis for now, Rii 

* He is married to a Finnish ice dancer since 2004 according to Wikipedia.

HUMOUR: Pickled Onions

Some while back Noizy had a photo of an Irish pub in Maine in his blog on 360 and the name of the establishment was:

The Pickled Onion!

My comment was this:

HEEEH!! lol

I think that the onion is not the only one that is getting pickled in that establishment!!

Tis for now, Rii

European Commission announced that the list of products and services to which Regional Indications apply will be updated on January 1st 2008. New items on the list will be Irish pubs (Ireland), saltibarsciai (Lithuania), Koksksu (Malta), Kiselo mljak (Bulgaria)

“Also the protection of the Geographical Indication of Irish pubs is an important step towards including cultural expressions in the GI Regime. Geographical Indications have proven themselves to be very effective in protecting products ranging from Cheese to Wine and Sausages. We hope to be equally effective in protection authentic European cultural expressions. Next year we hope to include such diverse cultural phenomena as the Sirtaki dances from Greece, Latvian folk stories known as Dainas and Finnish smoke saunas, known as Savusaunas.” (Jean-Claude Hulot, Chairman of the Committee for Regional Indications)

A geographical indication (such as “Roquefort”) testifies to the link between a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of a product, a service or a cultural expression and its geographical origin. There are approximately 700 GIs registered under the Regulation today.

http://www.eucgi.eu/?page=press&article=13467

COMEDY: DINNER for ONE

The Menu

Mulligatawny Soup (with sherry)
Haddock (with white wine)
Chicken (with Champagne)
Fruit (with port)

– Little drop of soup, Miss Sophie?
– I am particularly fond of mulligatawny soup*, James…I think we’ll have sherry with the soup.
– Sherry with the soup? Yes… oh, by the way, the same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?
– Same procedure as every year, James.

Dinner for one also known as The 90th Birthday, or by its corresponding German title, Der 90. Geburtstag, is a comedy sketch written by British author Lauri Wylie for the theatre in the 1920s. German television station Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) recorded a performance of the piece in 1963, in its original English language. This short comical play subsequently went on to become the most frequently repeated TV programme ever (according to the Guinness Book of Records, 1988-1995 eds.; later editions no longer have the category). Wikipedia

The 18 minute black-and-white 1963 TV recording features the British comedians Freddie Frinton and May Warden. In many countries New Year, without Dinner for One, would be like Christmas without It’s A Wonderful Life! The German airline LTU shows it on all its New Year flights, and Dinner for One recently ventured across the border to Austria, where it has become compulsive annual viewing. (The Daily Telegraph online)

Everywhere where it is regularly televised, it has become a cult, and translated into many languages, including Latin:

Ceterum, domina, iubesne me sequi eandem rationem procedendi atque anno superiore? – Same procedure as last year, milady? (BBC online)?


This sketch is absolutely hysterically funny, methinks. Rii

* Recipe for the Mulligatawny Soup is in this link.

“Literally meaning pepper water. Mulligatawny Soup is an Anglo-Indian invention. Created by servants for the English Raj who demanded a soup course from a cuisine that had never produced one. You can make this soup a day ahead and you can add chicken pieces in the soup as well.” (All Recipes online)

Haddock and other fish pictures.
Dinner for One BBC link.
Transcript for the dialogue between Miss Sophie and James.
Even a Quizz on the Dinner for One.

LITERACY or Love of Reading

“What I can think about, I can talk about. What I can say, I can write. What I can write, I can read.
I can read what I can write and what other people can write for me to read.”

Professor Roach Van Allen

The picture, – do click at it to make it clearer, please – that I used as the lead photo, is the list of countries by literacy rate as included in the United Nations Development Programme Report 2005. Four countries lead the chart of literacy world wide with 100 per cent literacy rates Georgia, Finland, Luxembourg and Norway. Both The USA and UK are on # 21 with 99 per cent; as are Australia, France, Ireland and Germany. India is # 145 with 61 per cent. China is # 67 with 93,5 per cent.

The UNESCO literacy estimates provide basic information on the number and percentage of adults (aged 15 years and older) and youth (aged 15 to 24 years old) who are literate and illiterate. They indicate the dimensions and patterns of illiteracy within each country according to gender and age-groups, so as to aid in policy- and decision-making with regard to measures to be taken to raise the literacy level of the population. These estimates in a way reflect the performance of the national education system, as well as the quality of the human resources within a country in relation to their potential for growth, contribution to development, and quality of life.

What constitutes literacy aka literacy as defined by UNESCO:

1. A literate person is one who can with understanding both read and write a short simple statement relevant to his everyday life.
2. Literacy is not the simple reading of a word or a set of associated symbols and sounds, but an act of critical understanding of men’s situation in the world.
3. Literacy is not an end in itself but a means of personal liberation and development and extending individuals educational efforts involving overall inter-disciplinary responses to concrete problems
4. A literate person is one who has acquired all the essential knowledge and skills which enable him to engage in all those activities in which literacy is required for effective functioning in his group and community and whose attaining in reading, writing and numeracy make it possible to use these skills towards his own and his community’s development.

The United Nations defines illiteracy as the inability to read and write a simple sentence in any language. So, these literacy rates refer only to basic, not advanced, literacy. UNESCO Portal for the International Literacy Day. September 8 was proclaimed International Literacy Day by UNESCO on November 17, 1965. It was first celebrated on 1966. Its aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies with celebrations taking place around the world.

An estimated 781 million adults live without basic literacy skills, of whom two-thirds are women. In addition, approximately 103 million children have no access to school and are therefore not learning to read, write or count. All these figures mentioned in the previous sentence total more or less one billion so to put in a way that it is easier to fathom: 1 in 6 in the world cannot read, write nor count! How very tragic that the wonderful pleasure of literacy is ’denied’ these folks, methinks.

This is an extract of an old article called ’Gestures not enough to teach the world’ on Guardian online site dated September 8, 2000, but still it is very relevant:

“We have been here before. The high-level conferences, the firm commitments, the hand-wringing, the international agreements that promise the earth and deliver next to nothing – all have been part of the backdrop to the campaign for debt relief. Now there is a threat that the campaign for universal primary education could go the same way.

One third of the world’s population — that is 2 billion people — live in countries which have fewer telephone lines in total than Italy — with a population of less than 60 million! Around 90% of telecommunications traffic takes place between rich countries, while 50% of the world’s population have never made a phone call. As the knowledge economy takes root in the coming years, this lack of access will take a heavy toll and widen the divide still further.

A computer is not much use to a child who cannot read. Out of a global population of 6 billion, 880m adults are illiterate, two thirds of them women, most of them in south Asia. All these figures underestimate the full extent of the literacy problem, perhaps by as much as half. They are based on school attendance figures, and ignore the problem of the numbers of children who leave school functionally illiterate. In Africa, where increasing numbers of children will be out of school unless there is emergency action by western institutions, a new generation of adult illiterates is set to create a dangerously marginalised section of society.

Even in the industrialised world illiteracy is a problem, with almost a quarter of young adults in the US having difficulty reading all but the simplest of texts. In the developed as in the undeveloped world low literacy invariably means poverty and the spiralling problems of drugs, violence and insecurity which go with it.”

Debunking myths about the “Third World” (This video has most fabulous graphics)

“If we talk about literacy, we have to talk about how to enhance our children’s mastery over the tools needed to live intelligent, creative, and involved lives.” (Danny Glover)

Tis for now from Rii – who loves to read & write. xx

These are some of the great links that I used in this article and for further reading:

http://www.literaturepage.com/
http://www.uis.unesco.org/en/stats/statistics/literacy2000.htm
http://dir.yahoo.com/Education/Literacy/
http://www.literacyconnections.com/InTheirOwnWords.php
http://www.literacyconnections.com/
http://www.vocabvitamins.com/

Literacy Exchange: World Resources on Literacy
Nation Master site that has all kinds statistics on all kinds of things!

Boulevard of Plants — ALHAMBRA

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Just want to remind us all that there is summer somewhere…

Tis for now, Rii xx

Photo: Taken by Becki – my daughter. All rights reserved.

Link to Alhambra.

 The plant in the photo is Oleander. Oleander (Nerium oleander), is a evergreen shrub or small tree in the dogbane family Apocynaceae. It is the only species currently classified in the genus Nerium. It is native to a broad area from Morocco and Portugal eastward through the Mediterranean region and southern Asia to Yunnan in southern parts of China.

Oleander grows well in warm subtropical regions, where it is extensively used as an ornamental plant in landscapes, parks, and along roadsides. It is drought tolerant and will tolerate occasional light frost down to -10°C. Oleander is one of the most poisonous plants and contains numerous toxic compounds, many of which can be deadly to people, especially young children. (Wikipedia)