Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bush Home Damaged by Arson

From the Odessa American (read the full story here. )

Bush home in Odessa, Texas damaged by fire --
Officials say arson was cause
2007-12-28 07:41:00

Bush Home Officials say someone set the Bush home on fire.
"Mark Knox [an Odessa florist and businessman - DK] worked so hard to restore a window on the restored Bush home behind the Presidential Museum that the window frame is named after him. The window appears undamaged, but much of the house’s front entryway and living room aren’t after an early Thursday morning fire — already named as arson — damaged the historic home located on East University Boulevard, officials said.

'There is no reason for such a thing,' Knox, 76, said of the arson attempt. Firefighters were called to the restored Bush home at 3:04 a.m. Early investigation shows the fire likely started on the front, concrete porch near the wooden doorway, Odessa Fire Marshal Detra White said.

A fire destroyed part of Knox’s flower business’ property once, but the Bush fire angered him more because it was intentional, he said. Knox sanded that window. He puttied it. He sanded it more and more, trying his best to make sure the historic home was able to keep as much of its original materials as possible. So the window is known as the Mark Knox window.

Knox put maybe 50 hours of volunteer work into the modest home. So did many other members of Odessa’s Rotary Club. It was a community affair to ensure Odessa didn’t lose what many consider a piece of the community’s history, Knox said.

Investigators had no suspects in the fire late Thursday, White said, and she expects the case to take some time because investigators have so much to consider. Arson is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The fire spread inside the home, damaging the green carpet inside the living room, the mid-20th century radio console near the door and the ceiling. Much of the porch roof is burned, and smoke damaged the ceilings throughout the home. The Bush family photos in the northwest bedroom were not damaged.

The green house with white trim is a modest example of mid-20th, post-World War II home construction. It’s two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen and the living room. It’s furnished with a Christmas theme all year long, based on 1948 Bush family photos. Lettie England, museum administrator, said 500 volunteers put effort into restoring the home, which belonged to former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, when they lived in Odessa. President George W. Bush also lived inside the home as a child. The Bush family moved here in 1948 from New Haven, Conn. The house originally sat at 916 E. 17th St., before it was moved to be part of the Presidential Museum’s permanent exhibit.

A representative of George H.W. Bush’s office said the president and Barbara are deeply saddened to hear about the fire, but they declined to be interviewed."
And there's more. The ATF has been called in to investigate whether the arson was politically motivated.......

Monday, December 24, 2007

To Touch an Angel by Paul Crume

Merry Christmas! This was written in 1967 and is published each year by the Dallas Morning News. I like it a lot and thought I would share it with you. You can view the animated version here, or learn more about the author here.

A man wrote me not long ago and asked me what I thought of the theory of angels. I immediately told him that I am highly in favor of angels. As a matter of fact, I am scared to death of them.

Any adult human being with half sense, and some with more, knows that there are angels.

If he has ever spent any period in loneliness, when the senses are forced in upon themselves, he has felt the wind from their beating wings and been overwhelmed with the sudden realization of the endless and gigantic dark that exists outside the little candle flame of human knowledge. He has prayed, not in the sense that he asked for something, but that he yielded himself.
Angels live daily at our very elbows, and so do demons, and most men at one time or another in their lives have yielded themselves to both and have lived to rejoice and rue their impulses.

But the man who has once felt the beat of an angel's wing finds it easy to rejoice at the universe and at his fellow man.

It does not happen to any man often, and too many of us dismiss it when it happens. I remember a time in my final days in college when the chinaberry trees were abloom and the air was sweet with spring blossoms and I stood still on the street, suddenly struck with the feeling of something that was an enormous promise and yet was no tangible promise at all. And there was another night in a small boat when the moon was full and the distant headlands were dark but beautiful and we were lonely. The pull of a nameless emotion was so strong that it filled the atmosphere. The small boy within me cried. Psychiatrists will say that the angel in all this was really within me, not outside, but it makes no difference.
There are angels inside us and angels outside, and the one inside is usually the quickest choked. Francis Thompson said it better. He was a late 19th-century English poet who would put the current crop of hippies to shame. He was on pot all his life. His pad was always mean and was sometimes a park bench. He was a mental case and tubercular besides. He carried a fishing creel into which he dropped the poetry that was later to become immortal.

"The angels keep their ancient places," wrote Francis Thompson in protest. "Turn but a stone, and start a wing."

He was lonely enough to be the constant associate of angels.
There is an angel close to you this day. Merry Christmas, and I wish you well.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Blogger's Block ....

... is a terrible thing. This was sent, as usual, by Anonymous:
Lock of Lennon's hair sells for $48,000
By KATE SCHUMAN, Associated Press Writer Wed Dec 12, 10:22 AM ET
LONDON - A lock of John Lennon's hair sold for $48,000 Wednesday in an auction of Beatles' memorabilia collected by the band's hairdresser.

The hair — inside an autographed copy of Lennon's book "A Spaniel in the Works" — sold to an unnamed telephone bidder.

Gorringes auction house had estimated the hair would sell for $4,000 to $6,000.

Lennon gave the book and the lock of hair to Betty Glasow, the Fab Four's hairdresser during their heyday. He wrote in the book, "To Betty, Lots of Love and Hair, John Lennon xx."

"It is astonishing that there is still so much interest in the Beatles and the sale goes to prove that John Lennon is still an icon," said Francesca Collin, a spokeswoman for Gorringes.

"To have some of Lennon's hair along with a signed note from him really does give it fantastic provenance and authenticity," Collin said.

Glasow, who kept the Beatles' moptops trimmed on the set of their films "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!" in the 1960s, decided to sell the items because she wanted fans to have them, said Nick Muston, a director of the auction house.

"She feels that rather than these things being stuck in a drawer with nobody enjoying them, real enthusiasts (could) get their hands on these things," Muston said.

Other items sold at the auction in Worthing included signed photographs of the band dedicated to Glasow, including one that George Harrison signed "George "Dandruff" Harrison." It sold for $13,000.

So ... if his hair were to fall into the hands of South Korea, could they create a glowing John Lennon clone?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Glowing Clone Cats of South Korea

SKoreans clone cats that glow in the dark: officials
Wed Dec 12, 4:00 PM ET

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korean scientists have cloned cats by manipulating a fluorescent protein gene, a procedure which could help develop treatments for human genetic diseases, officials said Wednesday.

In a side-effect, the cloned cats glow in the dark when exposed to ultraviolet beams.
A team of scientists led by Kong Il-keun, a cloning expert at Gyeongsang National University, produced three cats possessing altered fluorescence protein (RFP) genes, the Ministry of Science and Technology said.

"It marked the first time in the world that cats with RFP genes have been cloned," the ministry said in a statement.

"The ability to produce cloned cats with the manipulated genes is significant as it could be used for developing treatments for genetic diseases and for reproducing model (cloned) animals suffering from the same diseases as humans," it added.

The cats were born in January and February. One was stillborn while two others grew to become adult Turkish Angoras, weighing 3.0 kilogrammes (6.6 pounds) and 3.5 kilogrammes.

"This technology can be applied to clone animals suffering from the same diseases as humans," the leading scientist, Kong, told AFP.

"It will also help develop stemcell treatments," he said, noting that cats have some 250 kinds of genetic diseases that affect humans, too.
The technology can also help clone endangered animals like tigers, leopards and wildcats, Kong said.

South Korea's bio-engineering industry suffered a setback after a much-touted achievement by cloning expert Hwang Woo-Suk turned out to have been faked.

The government banned Hwang from research using human eggs after his claims that he created the first human stem cells through cloning were ruled last year to be bogus.

Hwang is standing trial on charges of fraud and embezzlement.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Three Reasons I Like Christmas by Robert Kirk

(This is Robert's composition for school, and it is being blogged against his wishes. But I am bigger and stronger than him. This too shall pass.)

My favorite holiday is Christmas, and Christmas is a time of year for sharing and loving. Jolly old Kris Kringle, otherwise known as Santa Claus, comes and gives me presents. One of the reasons Christmas makes me happy is the chocolate candy, and chocolate coin candies are wrapped in foil and taste wonderful. Plus, they come in gold bags and cost less money than regular candies. Chocolate coin candies just taste wonderful to me on the Christmas holiday. Loving my family is another reason why Christmas makes me happy, and my family bonds like butter. They drink Coca-Cola easily, they watch TeleVision, and they love me so much. And that's why I love them. I light the tree with my family, and they think it is pretty. Plus, the lights sparkle and shine, along with the star. I like Christmas so much, I can't stop thinking about the reasons. So, there you have it, the three reasons I like about Christmas. I hope you enjoyed it, for Christmas is my favorite time of the year!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


On December 13, 1958, I was born. Also on that day, a monkey was shot into space. I bet he was bald and grumpy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Starbright Village

One of Odessa's most spectacular Christmas displays, which we like to visit, is called Starbright Village. Each year the city decorates McKinney Park, on the south side of town right by interstate 20, with lighted Christmas scenes. Some of the scenes include a Nativity, a Gingerbread House and a fountain of animated water made of lights. Some displays are as tall as 22 feet and span more than 200 feet. One of the best sights at Starbright Village is the City of Odessa Christmas Tree. It stands 50 feet tall with 600 separate boughs and is adorned with more than 3,500 lights. This year there is a driving tour of the park as well as a walking tour.

All Too True

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Holiday News

Santas Warned "ho ho ho" offensive to women
Wed Nov 14, 11:04 PM ET

Santas in Australia 's largest city have been told not to use Father Christmas's traditional "ho ho ho" greeting because it may be offensive to women, it was reported Thursday.

Sydney 's Santa Clauses have instead been instructed to say "ha ha ha" instead, the Daily Telegraph reported.

One disgruntled Santa told the newspaper a recruitment firm warned him not to use "ho ho ho" because it could frighten children and was too close to "ho", a US slang term for prostitute.

"Gimme a break," said Julie Gale, who runs the campaign against sexualising children called Kids Free 2B Kids.

"We are talking about little kids who do not understand that "ho, ho, ho" has any other connotation and nor should they," she told the Telegraph.
"Leave Santa alone."

A local spokesman for the US-based Westaff recruitment firm said it was "misleading" to say the company had banned Santa's traditional greeting and it was being left up to the discretion of the individual Santa himself.

December 7, 2007
Manhattan grocery store advertises hams as Hanukkah food
NEW YORK - Here's a food ad that REALLY wasn't kosher.

A grocery store in Manhattan is apologizing after touting its hams as "Delicious for Chanukah."

Chanukah - an alternate spelling for Hanukkah - is the eight-day Jewish holiday that began Tuesday evening.

Hams - as well as pork and other products from pigs - can't be eaten under Jewish dietary laws.

A woman who saw the mistake over the weekend at the Balducci's store on 14th Street took pictures of the signs and posted them on her blog.

Jennifer Barton, director of marketing, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the signs were changed as soon as the food faux pas was noted.

She issued an apology on the company website, saying Balducci's would be reviewing its employee training.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


1. The third room. Lions that haven't eaten in three years are dead. That one was easy, right?

2. The woman was a photographer. She shot a picture of her husband, developed it, and hung it up to dry (shot; held under water; and hung).

3.. Charcoal, as it is used in barbecuing.

4. Sure you can name three consecutive days, yesterday, today, and tomorrow!

5. The letter e, which is the most common letter used in the English language, does not appear even once in the paragraph.

(From Shroyers Time in Salmon)

Friday, December 7, 2007


1. A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms. The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven't eaten in 3 years. Which room is safest for him?

2. A woman shoots her husband. Then she holds him under water for over 5 minutes. Finally, she hangs him. But 5 minutes later they both go out together and enjoy a wonderful dinner together. How can this be?

3. What is black when you buy it, red when you use it, and gray when you throw it away ?

4. Can you name three consecutive days without using the words Wednesday, Friday, or Sunday?

5. This is an unusual paragraph. I'm curious as to just how quickly you can find out what is so unusual about it. It looks so ordinary and plain that you would think nothing was wrong with it. In fact, nothing is wrong with it! It is highly unusual though. Study it and think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you work at it a bit, you might find out. Try to do so without any coaching!

Next time: The Answers!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

For the Person Who Has Everything

Now that you've gone out and bought a Stay Away Law Candle for everyone on your list, here's another great gift idea. From a blog called J-wild:

"Who doesn't need a Wine Glass Holder from Wine Enthusiast for parties and the like. Who hasn't been at a party and wished they had both hands free. I mean it's such a distraction to pick up and put down your wine. If you can just wear it around your neck then you can cut out the awkwardness right!?"

And while you're at it, check out this wine blog.
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