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Saturday, 29 December 2012

Based on Dr. Seuss's final book before his death, this is a story about life's ups and downs, told by the people of Burning Man 2011


"Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.
It’s opener there
in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.
OH!
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
and hang-ups
can happen to you.
You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.
You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.
And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both you elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?
And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.
You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a sting of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
NO!
That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.
With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!
Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.
Except when they don’t.
Because, sometimes, they won’t.
I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.
All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.
And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.
On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.
You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
So…
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!"

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Monday, 24 December 2012

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Gun Control - Celebrities 'Demand A Plan'

The black-and-white video begins with the celebrities recalling shootings including Columbine in 1999, Virginia Tech in 2007 and Aurora this year.

"How many more? How many more colleges? How many more classrooms? How many more movie theatres?" they ask, saying a few words each.

"Enough."

"Demand a Plan," they urge their fellow citizens. "As An American, as a human being, for the children of Sandy Hook.

"It's time for our leaders to act."

"Santa and Baby" - funny interactive video song


Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A musical reminder to safeguard cars and valuables during the holiday season



Around the holidays, shoppers are particularly vulnerable to parking lot thefts. Everyone has heard a story about a friend or family member who accidently left an unlocked car in a mall parking lot and returned to find their electronics or shopping stolen!
This holiday, the Waterloo Regional Police Service expanded on the OPP’s existing“Lock it or Lose It” safety campaign with this video. 

Just hear those windows smashing and dashboards cracking yoo hoo (yoo hoo)! 

Outside there’s someone waiting to make a victim of youuuu!
They stole your GPS, your phone, and presents too. 
It could have been avoided, but you left your stuff in plain view!
Giddy up giddy up giddy up, let’s go. They call the Po-Po (5-0!). 
Where your stuff will end up, we’ll never knooooow. 
Giddy up giddy up giddy up, too bad. It’s gone and you’re sad! 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The origin of the Christmas tree



I’m Father Greg Friedman from Franciscan Communications, with an advent Catholic treasure, just in time to help you get ready for Christmas. Do you know the religious symbolism behind our custom of the Christmas tree?

In medieval times, religious dramas called "mystery plays" sometimes featured evergreen trees decorated with apples. These were a reference to the Tree of Life from the Genesis story of the Garden of Eden.

The apple stood for the forbidden fruit eaten by Adam and Eve.
In later centuries in Germany, it became the custom at Christmas to decorate a fir tree with both apples and wafers, much like the hosts used at Mass.

These two edible decorations contrasted how one forbidden fruit brought death, and another fruit of the Earth, the consecrated bread, which is the Eucharist, brings life. As time passed, oranges were added along with apples and then brightly coloured balls. The wafers became cookies shaped like angels, animals, stars, and so on.

Lighted candles recalled Christ’s coming as the light of the world shining in the darkness. German immigrants brought this custom to America. The evergreen still fills our Christmas celebrations in our homes with its symbolism of life.

It reminds us of the hope-filled birth of the infant Jesus, the Messiah, commemorated at Christmastime in our advent Catholic treasure, the Christmas tree.

I’m Father Greg Friedman from the Franciscans.
There’s more about Catholic customs and beliefs at AmericanCatholic.org.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Charlie Brown - The meaning of Christmas



-Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
-Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.
-Lights, please?
-And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them. And they were so afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying 'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, goodwill toward men.’

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

"Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you."

Monday, 3 December 2012

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge expecting a baby

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are having a baby, it was announced today. Catherine, 30, was this afternoon taken to King Edward VII Hospital in central London with acute morning sickness and is expected to be kept in for several days. In a statement on their website, the couple said they are 'delighted with the news'. 
The baby will be born third in line to the throne. The Queen, Prince Philip and other members of the royal family are also ‘delighted’.
In a statement on the couple's website, they said: 'Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby.







10 Highly Unusual Facts About Christmas

Sunday, 2 December 2012

A brief history of Santa




On the 24th of December every year children around the world put out milk and cookies in the hopes of luring a magic fat man into their home who will leave presents behind before sneaking into the house next door.
How did such an odd tradition begin?
You can pretty much blame Northern Europe, where the winter weather is cold and dark and depressing.
And the coldest and darkest and depressingest day is the Solstice on December 21st or 22nd when the sun only gives a few hours of weak light if any at all.
These sun-deprived people invented magical characters to visit them and lighten the mood by bringing gifts and celebrations.
These characters ranged from elves to Gods to goats, but there are two of particular interest to the modern story.
The first is St Nick, in The Netherlands. St Nick is thin and perhaps a bit stern, but still brings presents to children early in December. He dresses like a bishop in red and white with a staff and rides on a horse named Amerigo, for whom Dutch children are encouraged to leave out a carrot. St Nick is called Sinterklaas in Dutch.
The second character is Father Christmas from England. Father Christmas is a big, jolly pagan dressed in green with a holly wreath on his head.
Traditionally he is less concerned with children and gifts than he is with food and wine and celebration and is perhaps best known for being one of the three spirits of Christmas who terrorize Scrooge.
When Europeans settled the Colonies St Nick and Father Christmas and the other characters began to mix together.
This explains why the US version has so many names. Santa Claus is the Americanization of Sinterklaas, but he’s also called St Nick and Father Christmas and Kris Kringle which comes from Germany.
In the old world these were different characters, but in the new world over time they evolved into one which you can see happening in older stories.
For example, the poem, “The Night Before Christmas” came out in 1823 in New York which established that Santa lands on the roof and fills stocking with toys.
But this Santa is an elf, much like those from the Nordic Countries. He’s very small and drives a miniature sleigh with tiny reindeer – which makes a lot more sense for someone whose job description includes fitting down chimneys.
Also, the word, ‘Santa’ appears nowhere in the poem. The original title is ‘A visit from St Nick’.
As the 1800s continued a fat, human looking immortal Santa evolved into the standard among American authors. It was in the states that he gained both his elvish workforce and a wife.
By about 1900 Santa had developed his current iconic style. It should be noted that, contrary to popular belief, Coca-Cola didn’t change his colors to their corporate scheme but instead used the conveniently red-and-white Santa in 1931 to help sell more soda during their off season.
Though Coke didn’t create him their omni-present ads probably did brand this as the One True Santa in the minds of millions helping spread him round the world to many cultures with no traditions of winter gift-givers.
This American Santa in-turn influenced his relations in Northern Europe to become more like him, although not always to the pleasure of the locals.
In particular, the British Father Christmas has been completely assimilated into the Santa collective to the point where many Britons don’t realize they were ever separate.
In the Netherlands, however, St Nick is still successfully holding his own as a distinct character.
The one last detail about modern Santa that’s still up for debate, at least between countries, is where exactly he lives.
In the late 1800s his home was the magnetic north pole centered under the aurora borealis. While this would be the most diplomatic option for Santa Magnetic North has since moved off the Polar Ice Sheet and into the Ocean, a rather inconvenient place to set up a toy factory.
So Canada claims his workshop is somewhere in Nunavut and has given Santa a post code and – no joke – official Canadian citizenship.
The American response is that the North Pole doesn’t refer to the obviously inhospitable sheet of non-domestic ice but rather to the little town of North Pole, Alaska.
Denmark claims he lives in their former colony of Greenland. And Greenland, not surprisingly, agrees.
The Nordic countries quarrel about his exact location but Finland is the clear winner of this argument with his workshop in Rovaniemi on the Arctic Circle.
For the evidence inclined, you can actually go visit Santa there and see the elves, toys, reindeer and post office, which makes Finland’s claim pretty strong. Santa is even available during the off season.
But, no matter where he might be based, Santa still manages to get round the world in just one night to deliver all those presents… and eat.all those cookies.

Friday, 30 November 2012

King George and Queen Mary


A four-part portrait of Elizabeth II's grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary, which examines the lasting legacy of the couple who rescued the monarchy from potential disaster, and whose influence persists to this day. 


King George V. George could not have been a more unlikely moderniser. Born and brought up in the Victorian age he was conservative to his fingertips. Yet in the face of unstoppable social change after the First World War he turned out to be a remarkable innovator, creating the House of Windsor, embracing democratic reform, and reinventing many of the royal traditions that we know today. When he celebrated his silver jubilee in 1935 the monarchy was more popular than ever.

But as a parent King George V was far less successful - he bullied his children and alienated his eldest son and heir, Prince Edward. As one courtier remarked at the time, 'the royal family are like ducks, they sit on their children'. By contrast, King George had a loving relationship with his granddaughter, and much of Queen Elizabeth's style and commitment to duty can be traced back to this early influence.






Episode three focuses on Queen Mary, who came from a relatively humble royal background, but was picked as a future queen consort by Queen Victoria. At first she was betrothed to Prince Eddy, heir to the throne. But when Eddy died she was unceremoniously passed to his brother George. Despite the arranged marriage, King George and Queen Mary had a loving relationship. Mary revered the monarchy and obeyed her husband in all things - even the length of her dresses. She always put duty and service first. But when King George died in 1935, this once rigidly formal character emerged as a determined if eccentric royal matriarch with a mind of her own. When the abdication crisis threatened the future of the House of Windsor she was the rock to which the nation turned as a symbol of stability and continuity. Queen Mary died in 1953, having lived to see her granddaughter, Elizabeth, ascend to the throne.

   Episode four focuses on Queen Mary, who came from a relatively humble royal background, but was picked as a future queen consort by Queen Victoria. At first she was betrothed to Prince Eddy, heir to the throne. But when Eddy died she was unceremoniously passed to his brother George. Despite the arranged marriage, King George and Queen Mary had a loving relationship. Mary revered the monarchy and obeyed her husband in all things - even the length of her dresses. She always put duty and service first. But when King George died in 1935, this once rigidly formal character emerged as a determined if eccentric royal matriarch with a mind of her own. When the abdication crisis threatened the future of the House of Windsor she was the rock to which the nation turned as a symbol of stability and continuity. Queen Mary died in 1953, having lived to see her granddaughter, Elizabeth, ascend to the throne.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Prince Charles Celebrates His Birthday, New Zealand Style



Prince Charles attended a party to celebrate his 64th birthday in New Zealand's capital, Wellington on Thursday (November 14) along with 63 other guests celebrating on the same day. Charles's birthday cake consisted of 64 small cakes all portraying parts of New Zealand life, such as kiwi fruit and sheep. Earlier in the day the Royal couple were at the Wellington waterfront and watched a crew use a waka, a traditional Maori canoe that took part in the Thames Diamond Jubilees Pageant Charles also inspected members of New Zealand's Armed Forces at a ceremony at Government House with Prime Minister John Key. Charles and Camilla have two more days in New Zealand, which is the last leg of their Pacific tour, organized to mark the Queen's diamond jubilee.

Meryl Streep: Biography

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The tragic beauty of a beach full of plastic

Meet Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang. For more than ten years, they’ve been collecting plastic debris from a 1 km stretch of beach in Northern California, and creating art with it. They admit there is much beauty in the trash they find, but their message is one of concern about the Pacific garbage patch.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

President Barack Obama rolled to re-election and a second term in the White House


TRANSCRIPT
REPORTER: Celebrations in Chicago as U.S. President Barack Obama rolled to re-election and a second term in the White House with a clear victory over Republican challenger Mitt Romney. 

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: "Tonight in this election you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back and we know in our hearts that for the United States of Amercia the best is yet to come." 
REPORTER: Romney conceded the race in his hometown of Boston. 
MITT ROMNEY: "I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory. His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations." 
REPORTER: The same problems that dogged Obama in his first term are still there to confront him again. He will face a difficult task of tackling deficits and a mounting debt and a gridlocked Congress. But after a hard fought victory, for his supporters it was time for celebration in Chicago and other parts of the country.





Monday, 29 October 2012

Michael Jackson - Ghost: video and lyrics



There's a ghost down in the hall
There's a ghoul upon the bed

There's something in the walls
There's blood up on the stairs
And it's floating through the room
And there's nothing I can see
And I know that that's the truth
Because now it's onto me

I don't understand it
I don't understand it!

There's a tappin' in the floor
There's a creak behind the door
There's a rocking in the chair

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Thursday, 25 October 2012