Tuesday, January 25, 2011

John F. Kennedy with his wife

John F. Kennedy with his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy
A photo dated 1950's shows John F. Kennedy with his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. Traditional black and white is sharing the spotlight with color and new digital formats at a major international photography show that runs through Sunday in New York.

John F. Kennedy's Biography

John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963.

Oswald's Ghost


Past and present collide as Detectives L.C. Graves and James Leavelle escort Lee Harvey Oswald through the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters, as it appears today.

Oswald, Jack Ruby, Leavelle and Graves stand precisely where the murder occurred on November 24, 1963.

Jim Leavelle is the only key player still alive today.

In a twist of belated irony, the posted sign warns that firearms are prohibited.

Threatening - Kennedy tumour life

A family familiar with tragedy … Robert , Edward and John Kennedy outside the Oval Office in August 1963.

AT LEAST one of his Senate colleagues was moved to tears, and the presidential hopeful Barack Obama declared himself shattered at the news that Edward Kennedy's seizure last week resulted from a malignant brain tumour.

The President, George Bush, said he would pray for the long-serving Democratic senator, who has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have yet to decide how they will treat the Kennedy family patriarch, who was said to be in good spirits despite the diagnosis.

Ashen-faced Democrat leaders appeared unprepared for the diagnosis, and Senator Obama described the news as heart-breaking. "Obviously we are all shattered by the news today," he told CNN.

"I think you can argue I would not be sitting here as a presidential candidate had it not been for some of the battles that Ted Kennedy has fought.

"Not only has he been one of my most important supporters … but he is somebody who battled for voting rights and civil rights when I was a child. I stand on his shoulders."

The only senator to have served longer than Senator Kennedy, Robert Byrd, broke down when paying tribute to him on Tuesday.

Doctors identified the tumour as a glioma. The US Society for Neuroscience said that most people diagnosed with a glioma died within 18 months.

Senator Kennedy, 76, collapsed at the family compound in Hyannisport last Saturday. He has shepherded his family through numerous tragedies, beginning with the assassination of his eldest brother, president John Kennedy, in 1963.

He became the family patriarch after his second brother, Bobby, was assassinated in 1968 while running for the presidency. In 1999, John Kennedy's son, John jnr, 38, and his wife, Carolyn, died when a plane piloted by John jnr crashed into the ocean off Massachusetts.

Doctors are expected to begin treating the senator with chemotherapy and radiation.

The President said that he was saddened by the news. "Ted Kennedy is a man of tremendous courage, remarkable strength and powerful spirit," he said. "Our thoughts are with Senator Kennedy and his family during this difficult period."

Senator Obama's rival, Hillary Clinton, said Senator Kennedy was "one of the greatest leaders in our party's history, and one of the most effective senators in our country's history".

She said his career was devoted to improving the lives of millions of Americans as a lifelong champion of social justice.

Letters of condolence on the death of President Kennedy

In her recent book Letters to Jackie: Condolences From a Grieving Nation (New York: Ecco, 2010), historian Ellen Fitzpatrick published 250 letters from ordinary Americans written to Jackie Kennedy following the assassination in November 1963 of her husband, President John F. Kennedy. The letters in Fitzpatrick’s book were culled from thousands she discovered at the Kennedy Library in Boston. The letters detail in deeply personal ways how Americans from all walks of life were touched by the death of their young president.
This photo of Foy Kohler, U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, and President John Kennedy in the Oval Office is part of Kohler’s papers housed in the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections.

This photo of Foy Kohler, U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, and President John Kennedy in the Oval Office is part of Kohler’s papers housed in the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections.

Perhaps a more astonishing story of the impact of tragedy can be found in the papers of Foy D. Kohler that are housed in UT’s Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections. The collection contains more than 100 similar letters written in 1963 to Kohler, who was then serving as the United States ambassador to the Soviet Union. These letters were not from Americans, however, but rather were written by citizens of the Soviet Union.

Coming at the height of the Cold War, just a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis when the United States and Russia had aimed nuclear warheads at each other, these letters show a surprisingly different side of the Soviet Union. Rather than a Cold War, they reveal the great warmth of the Soviet people and the profound sense of tragedy they felt on the death of America’s president.

“Allow me to present my deep and sincere condolences and sympathy in connection with the death of the president of your country, John F. Kennedy. I am only an ordinary Russian citizen, but nevertheless I presume to convey to you my sympathy, since I am so deeply shaken by the tragic death of your distinguished compatriot, a good, wise and great man,” stated A. I. Odintzov, in a letter penned Nov. 23. The letter humbly ends, “Excuse me for bothering you.”

Leonid Victorov, who identified himself only as “a reader,” wrote, “In a period which was critical for the world, this man overcame the most difficult obstacles and took the road toward improving relations between our great peoples. Let us remember the words of another distinguished American, Franklin Delano Roosevelt: ‘Hope springs eternal’ and lead ourselves to this great truth.”

The letters are from Russians of all walks of life, from a class at a middle school to students at Moscow University. One contained a poem:

As a soldier at the battle post
In the prime of his life and creative deeds
He was slain by a villain.

Deserted is Kennedy’s family,
Deserted are the people,
Deserted is all the earth.
Grief and pain are left.

The Frenchman is grieving.
Italy goes into mourning.
Chairman Khrushchev stood silent minutes in Sadovaya
In memory of him —
He stood for us, for Russians.

The poem was simply signed “Iazarev.”

The Canaday Center for Special Collections holds letters received by Foy Kohler following the assassination of President Kennedy.

The Canaday Center for Special Collections holds letters received by Foy Kohler following the assassination of President Kennedy.

Most of the letters convey a common theme. In addition to the senselessness of the tragedy, there is the fear that any hope for world peace was lost. Many of the Soviet citizens appear to have seen President Kennedy as a voice of reason in an unreasonable world. “For us, ordinary peoples of the world, he was the defender and the protector of the peace, the defender and protector of our rights, of our liberties, of our dignities. With these human values his name will always be linked,” wrote M. Mandossian. “We and the Soviet people knew Mr. Kennedy as a very good realist. He saw that the people of the whole world want only the peace,” wrote Igor Yova. Tamara and Volodya Kulishov noted President Kennedy was “known as a great statesman, as a prominent fighter against racism, who has done so much for peace, to promote further cooperation between our two countries. We came to respect him.”
Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s signature is on the top line of this condolence book that is among the papers of Foy Kohler housed in the Canaday Center for Special Collections.

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s signature is on the top line of this condolence book that is among the papers of Foy Kohler housed in the Canaday Center for Special Collections.

One letter even included a photograph of the writer’s two young children.

In addition to providing insight into the thoughts of everyday Russians, Kohler’s papers also reveal the more formal side of the ambassador’s duties following such a shattering event. Included is a copy of the letter sent by Kohler to his counterpart, Andrei Gromyko, minister of foreign affairs, on Nov. 23 that officially conveyed the news of Kennedy’s death and the succession of Lyndon Johnson to power. The letter notes that beginning that day, the American embassy would recognize 30 days of mourning, and that a book of condolences would be available to leave messages of sympathy. Kohler’s papers include that book. It contains the signatures of most of the ambassadors from countries with embassies in Moscow. It also contains the signature of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and several of his close associates.

Ambassador Kohler was clearly moved by the outpouring of sympathy he received on the death of President Kennedy. The files also contain a letter he sent to the editor of Izvestiya, a Moscow newspaper, asking that the paper publish “a notice of our deep appreciation for the sharing of our grief by so many Soviet citizens.”

Foy Kohler remained in Moscow as ambassador through 1966. In his later career, he served as deputy undersecretary of state for political affairs, as a consultant to the Department of State, and a professor at the Center for Advanced International Studies at the University of Miami in Florida. His last position was a senior associate at the Advanced International Studies Institute in Washington, D.C.

Kohler died in Jupiter, Fla., in 1990. Because of the fondness he felt for The University of Toledo, which he attended from 1924 to 1927, he donated his papers to the Canaday Center. The collection of more than 90 linear feet of historical material documents all aspects of Kohler’s career, including that fateful day in November 1963.

Floyd is director of the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections.

The Bhopal Gas Tragedy


The Bhopal disaster or Bhopal gas tragedy was an
industrial disaster that took place at a Union Carbide pesticide plant in the Indian city of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. On 3 December 1984, the plant released 42 tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas, exposing more than 500,000 people to toxic gases. The first official immediate death toll was 2,259. A more generally accepted figure is that 8,000- 10,000 died within 72 hours, and it is estimated that 25,000 have since died from gas-related diseases.

The Bhopal disaster is frequently cited as the world's worst industrial disaster. The International Medical Commission on Bhopal was established in 1993 to respond to the longterm health effects of the disaster.

Today, over 120,000 are still suffering from cancer, blindness, serious birth defects, breathing difficulties and other health complications caused by the accident. This certainly secures India a place on the map of tragic accidents because even up to this day, the Bhopal disaster is considered the world’s most tragic industrial accident in history.

The Halifax Explosion Canada


The Halifax Explosion occurred on Thursday, December 6, 1917, when the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, was devastated by the huge detonation of the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship, fully loaded with wartime explosives, which accidentally collided with the Norwegian SS Imo in "The Narrows" section of the Halifax Harbour. About 2,000 people were killed by debris, fires, or collapsed buildings and it is estimated that over 9,000 people were injured. This is still the world's largest man-made accidental explosion.
This is considered the largest man-made, non-nuclear explosion even up to now. Approximately two square kilometers of the city was obliterated and wiped out. The neighbouring communities of Dartmouth and Richmond were also affected. The blast also caused a tsunami in the harbour. The tsunami caused a pressure wave of air snapping trees, demolishing buildings and grounded vessels and blowing fragments kilometres from the explosion site.

Incidents During The Hajj


There have been many serious incidents during the Hajj (the Muslim pilgrimage to the city of Mecca) that have caused the loss of hundreds of lives. There are an estimated 1.3 billion Muslims living today, each of whom is expected to visit Mecca during the Hajj at least once; during the month of the Hajj, Mecca must cope with as many as four million pilgrims
Another remarkable stampede is the 1990 Hajj tragedy in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The annual sacred Muslim Hajj is attended by millions of pilgrims. Sometimes, even when authorities think they have done everything to avoid stampedes and other disasters, things still go wrong and deadly. Stampedes in Mecca are not unusual. Hundreds of pilgrims are killed in a mad rush of the crowd especially during the Stoning of the Devil ceremony. But the most tragic documented peace-time stampede in history occurred at the 1990 Hajj when more than 1400 pilgrims died in a pedestrian tunnel.

Deadly quake

Deadly quake, cholera hit Haiti
A catastrophic 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince, on Jan. 12. An estimated 3 million people were affected by the quake; the Haitian government reported that an estimated 230,000 people had died, while 200,000 had been injured.

Now quake survivors face another tragedy in a deadly cholera outbreak whose death toll has passed 2,500. The international community has provided millions in aid for medical treatment, food and reconstruction.

The Fastest Show on Earth

Much loved musical theatre classic Starlight Express, written for Andrew's children in 1984, is pure fun and the world's only musical performed entirely on roller skates.

Inspired by the pleasure to be found in the Reverend Awdry's children's stories, the show tells how various trains - steam, electric and diesel - compete to couple up with carriages and see who is the best, and who will reach "The Light at the End of the Tunnel".

Christina Aguilera - Back To Basics

Serious Clinical Depression - Hemingway


The Hemingway curse can be easily explained: serious clinical depression. At 29, Ernest’s literary career was just taking off when his father shot himself. Ernest went on to earn a Nobel Prize, Pulitzers, wealth and international fame, but in 1961, he killed himself with a shotgun at 62 years old. Five years later, his sister Ursula, who struggled with cancer and depression, committed suicide with an overdose. Sixteen years after that, Ernest’s only brother, Leicester, shot himself after learning diabetes would cost him his legs. Then, in 1996, Ernest's granddaughter, Margaux, deliberately overdosed on barbiturates on the 35th anniversary of his death. Photo by Retna.

BruceLee And Brando


In 1973, martial arts star Bruce Lee took prescription medication for a headache. He had an allergic reaction and the fluid in his brain swelled, causing him to lapse into a coma and die at age 32. Twenty years later, his son Brandon was on the wrong end of a faulty prop gun on the set of his film The Crow. A bullet was lodged into the gun’s barrel, which the film’s props team loaded with blanks. When it was fired, the gunpowder was enough to fire the bullet into the 28-year-old Lee, killing him. The death was ruled an accident. Photo by Retna.


Two-time Oscar winner Marlon Brando’s family suffered from so much dysfunction it's hard not to think they were cursed. His mother suffered from alcoholism, and his first wife, Anna Kashfi, developed drug and alcohol problems after giving birth to their son Christian, who grew up to have his own drug problems. In 1990, Christian shot and killed the boyfriend of his half-sister Cheyenne and was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, serving six years of a 10-year sentence. In 1995, Cheyenne committed suicide, and in 2008 Christian died of pneumonia at 49 years old. Photo by Retna.

Kennedy - He Dies in Romeo And Juliet

When Mercutio exclaims "a plague on both your houses" as he dies in Romeo & Juliet, we well know what tragedy befalls them. But cursed bloodlines may not only be in the imagination of Shakespeare. The Kennedy curse is the most notorious, but have you heard what happened to the Hemingways? What about the Brandos? To find out, read our list of 10 famous family trees whose limbs were cut short.


We’re not sure whom Joseph Kennedy wronged, but his descendants seem to be paying for it. His eldest son, Joseph, Jr., died in combat in 1944 and his daughter Kathleen died in a plane crash in 1948. His second son, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in 1963, and John’s brother, Senator Robert Kennedy, was assassinated in 1968. In 1984, Robert Kennedy's son David died of a cocaine overdose. Another son, Michael, died in a skiing accident in 1997. And in 1999, JFK, Jr., his wife, Carolyn Bessette, and her sister died when the small plane he was piloting crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. Photo by Retna.


This family saga is worthy of a Greek tragedy. One of the richest and most famous men in the world, Aristotle Onassis’ world came crashing in when his son, Alexandros, died in a plane crash in 1973. Yet his daughter Christina was perhaps the most tragic character in the family. Soon after her brother’s death, her mother committed suicide, which was closely followed by her father’s death in 1975 from pneumonia. She inherited a vast fortune, but pursued a decadent lifestyle and lost much of it. Each of her four marriages ended in divorce and her weight oscillated unhealthily until she died at age 37 in 1988, from a lethal combination of diet drugs and sleeping pills. Photo by Retna.


Grace Kelly’s marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco in 1956 seemed like a fairy tale, but sadly it did not end happily ever after. In 1982, Princess Grace died in a mysterious car crash. Her youngest daughter, Stéphanie, who was in the car at the time, was haunted by the experience and spent much of her life jumping from one failed relationship to the next. The eldest daughter, Caroline, also had her fair share of suffering. Her second husband, Stefano Casiraghi, with whom she had three children, died in a speedboat racing accident in 1990; soon after her father's 2005 death, her third husband, Ernst August, Prince of Hanover, nearly died of pancreatitis. Photo by Retna.

Karel Svoboda - Czech


Karel Svoboda

It is a year ago when we could read and listen everywhere that Karel Svoboda, who was a Czech notable composer of popular music, was found dead from gunshot wounds in the garden of his villa at Jevany near to Prague. It is believed that he committed suicide. He was not yet 24 hours death when somebody wanted to sell controversial photos to the most well-known yellow press in the Czech Republic– to Blesk. The pictures showed how he was laying and in his hand he held a gun. Next day Blesk published the photo of dead Karel Svoboda; this picture covered the whole front page. I think that it was probably the most productive day for Blesk regarding the number of sold print. People are eager to sensations, especially when they are connected with famous people. However, where is ethics of this magazine? Although it was not Blesk journalist who took this photo, svoboda.jpgpeople from this journal promptly bought these pictures from the policeman who, be on service, took a number of photos of the dead man. They did not mind his family, friends, and they published it next day in the way that everybody had to notice what had happened and bought this press. It is ridiculous that in the same time Blesk states within its magazines how “it is horrible that somebody wanted to sell these photos and even thought there was offered disgusting business Blesk finally bought pictures. The only reason why magazine bought them was to prohibit seller in further propagation. Blesk made a decision to do not use those photos, only on the front page.” It is really nice how redactors and journalists of yellow press such as Blesk have a gift to change even the most immoral and disgusting information for their own benefit.

Diana and her Life with Paparazzi

Haiti gGobal Version of The 1948-1952

Haiti will need a global version of the 1948-1952 U.S. Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Western Europe after World War II.

And it will have to be launched right away. You and I know that pretty soon the Haiti story will fade from the headlines, replaced by the next celebrity tragedy or international political crisis.

The Road to Freedom - South Sudan


© UN Photo | Tim McKulka. Voters turn out in large numbers in Juba, capital of South Sudan, on the first day of polling in the South's long-awaited self-determination referendum. Many voters slept at polling stations to be one of the first to cast ballots

Women have shouldered the burden of warfare in south Sudan for decades. Now they are voting 'yes' to a new nation and setting the agenda for its peaceful future.

When Southern Sudanese from all walks of life went to the polls from January 9 to 15 to cast their vote in an independence referendum, differences between tribes, socioeconomic classes, and gender were cast aside. Former refugees in Cairo, diplomats in London, hotel staff in Nebraska, mothers of eight and 12 in small villages across the south—all of these Southern Sudanese people were united in what has been referred to as the south’s “Final Walk to Freedom.” More than half of the nearly four million registered voters—in Sudan and in the eight countries where diaspora voting took place—were women. Just over a week ago, across the Afghanistan-sized south, women stood in long lines under blazing sun to cast their votes.

The oldest known voter, Rebecca Kadi Loburang Dinduch, who thinks she is about 115 years old, praised God after casting her vote in the Southern Sudanese capital of Juba, saying if she died now she would be happy because her people would soon be free. Young voters like secondary school student Susan Riak, 19, said she’s proud to be Southern Sudanese and proud of this moment in her people's history. Waiting in line to vote in the University of Juba’s chemistry lab, where a polling station had been set up in between rows of sinks with broken taps, Riak said she thinks independence “will change everything.”

This month’s long-anticipated and hard-won vote was a moment of triumph for Southern Sudan, and the mood of optimism that pervaded Juba during the weeklong vote was a marked change from normal life here, where making ends meet every day is a challenge for most people.

The south’s self-determination vote came as part of a landmark peace deal in 2005 that ended the most recent war between north and south, but the fight for southern respect and autonomy is arguably centuries old. Women have been a part of this struggle, some as armed combatants in the two north-south civil wars fought since Sudan gained independence in 1956, many as supporters of the southern rebel movement, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Women cooked for soldiers, volunteered as porters, and took care of children in refugee camps in Ethiopia where young new soldiers were recruited and trained.

“We were always getting beaten and having our huts burned,” a slight but wizened woman told me last fall as she stood in her small field of maize in Lakes state—a place where cattle-keeping dominates most aspects of life, from marriage dowries and inheritance to coming-of-age rituals.

Sea World tragedy tells us

Marine parks like Sea World can be great places to take your kids and introduce them, in a safe way, to the wonders of marine life. I took my daughter to Sea World twice while she was a toddler, and her first up-close view of an orca so thrilled her that she remains, six years later, utterly enamored of them.

But there's also something profoundly disturbing about them, particularly the orca displays. Part of what makes us gasp in amazement at the Sea World shows is watching comparatively frail and puny humans seemingly in control of these five-ton creatures that could crush them like a grape if they so pleased. Fundamentally, they're simply another display of human dominance over one of the most powerful and intelligent species on Earth.

But unlike other large, intelligent predators we keep in captivity -- say, grizzly bears -- we're actually able to create these displays because the orcas permit us. They are the only alpha predator species in the world, in fact, that in all of recorded history has never attacked a human being in the wild.

In captivity, however, is another story. The incidents have been few and far between, but captive orcas have killed humans in the past.

These incidents, like the one Tuesday in which Tilikum, a Sea World bull orca, grabbed and drowned his longtime trainer, Dawn Brancheau while spectators watched, seem always to arise not out of malicious intent on the animal's part, but because they seem not always to understand their ability to harm their human companions.

At least, that was the case with Tilikum, a whale who was captured from the waters off Iceland when he was two years old. Tilikum in fact is the largest orca in captivity, weighing 12,300 pounds. He was involved in the last incident in which orcas killed their trainer -- in 1991 at Sealand of the Pacific in Victoria, B.C. And as with this incident, he (and two other whales) drowned the trainer by "playing" with her. Tilikum, in fact, has a history of behavior indicating he does not understand his own power. (None of this fazes the lizard-brain element among us; today on Fox, Megyn Kelly told her audience that someone wrote in wondering why Tilikum hadn't been put down, the same as we do a dog that kills someone.)

Part of this history is why, when Sealand sold Tilikum, it was with the caveat that he not be used in performance displays. And indeed for years he was primarily kept at Sea World for breeding purposes. However, in recent years he has been used in performance shows, such as the "Believe" show in which he douses audience members. At some point, Sea World will have to explain why it chose to ignore its original agreement and use Tilikum in these shows.

But these are minor, legalistic issues. The real issue that the Tilikum incident raises is a larger, ethical one: Why are we in the business of keeping these animals captive?

Because the power dynamic in which we appear to dominate them is ultimately an illusion, a product purely of the orcas' intelligence, their willingness to socialize with us rather than eat us. Not only are orcas large and powerful, they are incredibly intelligent creatures with huge brains. And like all sentient creatures, their mental health ultimately affects their behavior.

And there is no situation more likely to negatively affect a killer whale's mental health than being locked up in a comparatively tiny pool of water surrounded by blank cement walls.

For a human, it would be akin to locking someone in a white, featureless padded room with maybe a couple of other people and getting fed by doing tricks for your captors. How long before you think people would start cracking and acting erratically in those conditions?

For orcas, it's even more acute. You know the big bulge on the front of their heads? That's not their big brain, which is located behind the whale's eyes. That's a sound receptor -- probably the most sophisticated of its kind in the natural world, though it mostly is a large sac of extraordinarily fine oil.

While eyesight is probably the most important of our primary senses, the chief means we have for perceiving and understanding our world, for orcas, it is at best No. 2 on the list. Their eyesight is reasonably good, roughly comparable to that of humans, but underwater -- which is where they spend 99 percent of their time -- it's of limited utility, since the farthest anyone can see underwater in even the clearest of conditions is a couple of dozen yards.

Killer whales' primary means of sensory perception is their echolocation, and it is a true sixth sense. We're only now beginning to delve just how sophisticated it is, but it's become fairly apparent that orcas are capable of seeing with remarkable clarity for hundreds of yards underwater, and their sound receptors and the brain attached to them are capable of "seeing" with remarkable detail and clarity through this sonic sense.

Combined with the sophisticated communication system of their "calls", or their language, their universe is primarily a sonic one. And so putting them in relatively featureless concrete tanks is akin to being in a blank white soundproof room for a human.

You can make these tanks fairly large, and Sea World's tanks are not cramped, but it's still an incredibly confining and limiting and sense-depriving existence for an animal like a killer whale. Even if the facility were huge -- and none of them are -- it could not come close to matching what orcas naturally experience in the wild.

Sea World loves to boast of its educational mission, and that's undeniable, as my own daughter can attest. But what it really does is make lots of money -- LOTS of money -- off the performances of killer whales. Without the orcas, they would be just another aquarium.

And there are other ways of letting children experience the wondrousness of killer whales that doesn't simultaneously promote an illusion of dominance over them. If you travel to Washington's San Juan Islands in the summertime, for instance, it's possible to see killer whales as they should be: in the wild.

I'm fortunate enough to live near these islands, and instead of flying down to San Diego, in the intervening years since our Sea World visits, I have taken my daughter numerous times out to see the orcas in a kayak, usually off the west side of San Juan Island. I also take along a hydrophone (I picked mine up from Cetacean Research Technology) and we listen to them.

A couple of years ago, with my daughter helping me with the sound equipment in the kayak, we had an up-close encounter with a large pod of about 30 whales. I made a slide show featuring some of the sounds we recorded:

Of course, kayaks are a great way to see orcas, though it's important to be ethical and keep your distance, unless the whales approach you, as they did in this case (we were out of their way in a kelp bed). But there are lots of ways to see whales in the San Juans without them, too; without a doubt, the single best way is to pack a picnic basket and spend a day hanging out at Lime Kiln State Park.

Here's a video taken from Lime Kiln -- a fairly sedate one, actually, since at times the whales stop and play in these kelp beds, and even more spectacularly, engage in play behavior like breaching here:

It's more time-consuming than a trip to Sea World, probably, and there's no guarantee you'll see whales, just a high probability.

But is it more rewarding? Yes -- in ways you can't imagine until you see them with your own eyes.

And once you experience killer whales this way, you'll never go back to Sea World. My daughter is adamant about it. Because you see with your own eyes that animals this powerful and magnificent do not belong locked up inside a glass and concrete tank, swimming in monotonous patterns all day. Nor should they be forced to perform stunts and tricks with human trainers for the sake of our amusement.

Certainly, I can tell you that when you are on the water in a kayak and are approached by a killer whale, there is no doubt about the power relationship. You are completely at their mercy. And the remarkable thing about killer whales -- both in the wild, and in captivity -- is just how merciful they are.

That is what makes the thrill of encountering them in the wild so profound. And what makes the business of keeping them captive for people's entertainment so deeply wrong.

The folks at Orca Network have some similar thoughts.

Imposed Marriage Tragedy


Empower woman; educate her and never bother about the future. An educated woman is a school of virtue.

This is a story of a bravery of a young Sudanese woman who opposed early forced marriage and fell victim . Refusal cost her, her face and she partially lost sight. Superstition, Naivety, cheating and revenge, are main factors in this story.

This tragedy took place in a small village in central Sudan... The hero of this story is a younger woman called Sanaa El Amin. Sanaa was only 17 years at the time. She is ambitious to continue high school and looking forward to join one of the universities in Khartoum. Beautiful Young, and intelligent, was enjoying life and dreaming of tailoring her own future. Fate had another word.
An elderly man who was above forty, from a neighboring village, proposed to her. Her father immediately accepted despite her refusal and the marriage formal procedures completed during her temporary absence while she was attending a boarding school in a near by town.

Her protests and cries went unheard by her father and traditions prevailing in the local community.In a moment her freedom and life has been confiscated.

During the honeymoon she refused to have sex with him. After that she was forced to live with her "husband" in the suburbs of the capital, Khartoum. The husband was still dreaming of having her one day more obedient to him than his own right hand.

What astonishing in her story, despite being young with limited experience, she had the will and power to refuse the situation in which her parents dragged her. For more than four months she didn't allow her husband to approach her, and reject any conjugal relation with him. All efforts to convince or coerce her failed. She had a wish: to divorce, he had a wish to sleep with her. After several months of wrangling, her husband sent her to her family in the village. He had an evil plan in mind.

Feeling hurt, blinded by inhuman desires, and pushed by anger, he decided to avenge his "offended" masculinity. He decided to deprive her, her beauty, and turn her life into hell. He bought a big amount of concentrated chemical sodium hydroxide liquid from a shop close to his workplace, with justification that he needed it to remove and polish some hard stains from one of an iron bean in his house. The buyer explained the best way to remove the stain fast. He then took advantage of the naivety of an elderly brother of Sanaa, who was sympathizing with. Giving him the liquid, he told him that it was blessed water obtained from a well known religious sheikh (marabout). He also told him that the (water) would help Sanaa to love him, accept marriage and enjoy a normal life with him.
The brother, believing the lies of his brother-in-law, agreed to carry out the evil task and accomplish the mission. At dawn, while Sanaa was sleeping peacefully and quietly, in the yard with her parents, her brother approached her, while the husband was supervising the situation from a distance, he sank the "beneficial potion" on her face. She startled and began screaming, shouting in a voice that broke hearts. The "potion" had changed her life forever. She lost sight in the left eye; her face was distorted beyond recognition, in addition to the horror and psychological problems. (See attached photo).

In spite of limited financial resources, she had undergone a number of operations in Sudan and Egypt, with slight improvement. Medical report indicated that she required more operations to rebuild her face and make it once again that human she lost.

For almost a year, she had to cover her face all the time because the light hurt her healthy eye. At last she obtained a divorce certificate. Efforts to bring justice against the guilty were abandoned, following a pardon from her parents; he was set free with a nominal fine.

Her tragedy has been published in newspapers and aired in a number of web sites topped by www.sudaneseonline.com.
This launched a global call for prompting medical attention and giving financial aid to El Amin to help her receive the necessary treatment abroad.

Luckily a generous influential personality from the UAE, Undertook all the expenses of treatment of Ms Sana abroad. Thanks to the generosity of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Al Mubarak, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Welfare Foundation and Chairperson of the General Women's Union, Sanaa continues medical treatment in America, under the supervision of the most famous surgeons in the world,. who plans to finish higher studies and have a future of her own.

The bravery of that young woman encouraged THREE OTHER YOUNG WOMEN to recall similar stories and speak out their sufferings.

The conclusion of this story and how the problem of Sanaa was handled, reflected the importance of women cooperation and solidarity. Sudanese women movements adopted this story as main issue of the anniversary celebrations of the International Women's Day 2008.

In Arabic culture, the name sanna's interpretation means the divine light.

Hillsborough Tragedy

15 April will always be an emotional day for all Liverpool FC supporters worldwide. One of the dark tragedy that "tarnish" the journey a most successful football club in mainland Britain, a tragedy that remains controversial to this day. A tragedy in the future will change and become the foundation will be the birth of rules about safety standards for football stadiums.

This incident started from a main party's FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool vs Nottingham Forest held at the Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield Wednesday cage. enjoyable game that should have suddenly turned into a mass grave for the Liverpudlian.

Due to excessive mass and scramble into Hillsborough, while the capacity of the stadium's club Sheffield Wednesday inadequate causing 95 people died in the incident, and another died after being in a coma for 4 years and thus increase the number of casualties to 96 people. 89 of them male - male and 7 female. By age, most of them aged below 30 years and 13 of them were under the age of 20 years. The youngest victim was a boy - 10-year-old boy, one of whom was the cousin of Gerrard .. CMIIW.
730 people were injured in the stadium and 36 injured outside the stadium. Hundreds of people traumatized by the events of these promising.

The following list of casualties in the tragedy:
96 Brother

* John Alfred Anderson (62)
* Colin Mark Ashcroft (19)
* James Gary Aspinall (18 )
* Kester Roger Marcus Ball (16)
* Gerard Bernard Patrick Baron (67)
* Simon Bell (17)
* Barry Sidney Bennett (26)
* David John Benson (22)
* David William Birtle (22)
* Tony Bland (22)
* Paul David Brady (21)
* Andrew Mark Brookes (26)
* Carl Brown (18 )
* David Steven Brown (25)
* Henry Thomas Burke (47)
* Peter Andrew Burkett (24)
* Paul William Carlile (19)
* Raymond Thomas Chapman (50)
* Gary Christopher Church (19)
* Joseph Clark (29)
* Paul Clark (18 )
* Gary Collins (22)
* Stephen Paul Copoc (20)
* Tracey Elizabeth Cox (23)
* James Philip Delaney (19)
* Christopher Barry Devonside (18 )
* Christopher Edwards (29)
* Vincent Michael Fitzsimmons (34)
* Thomas Steven Fox (21)
* Jon-Paul Gilhooley (10)
* Barry Glover (27)
* Ian Thomas Glover (20)
* Derrick George Godwin (24)
* Roy Harry Hamilton (34)
* Philip Hammond (14)
* Eric Hankin (33)
* Gary Harrison (27)
* Stephen Francis Harrison (31)
* Peter Andrew Harrison (15)
* David Hawley (39)
* James Robert Hennessy (29)
* Paul Anthony Hewitson (26)
* Carl Darren Hewitt (17)
* Nicholas Michael Hewitt (16)
* Sarah Louise Hicks (19)
* Victoria Jane Hicks (15)
* Gordon Rodney Horn (20)
* Arthur Horrocks (41)
* Thomas Howard (39)
* Thomas Anthony Howard (14)
* Eric George Hughes (42)
* Alan Johnston (29)
* Christine Anne Jones (27)
* Gary Philip Jones (18 )
* Richard Jones (25)
* Nicholas Peter Joynes (27)
* Anthony Peter Kelly (29)
* Michael David Kelly (38 )
* Carl David Lewis (18 )
* David William Mather (19)
* Brian Christopher Mathews (38 )
* Francis Joseph McAllister (27)
* John McBrien (18 )
* Marion Hazel McCabe (21)
* Joseph Daniel McCarthy (21)
* Peter McDonnell (21)
* Alan McGlone (28 )
* Keith McGrath (17)
* Paul Brian Murray (14)
* Lee Nicol (14)
* Stephen Francis O'Neill (17)
* Jonathon Owens (18 )
* William Roy Pemberton (23)
* Carl William Rimmer (21)
* David George Rimmer (38 )
* Graham John Roberts (24)
* Steven Joseph Robinson (17)
* Henry Charles Rogers (17)
* Colin Andrew Hugh William Sefton (23)
* Inger Shah (38 )
* Paula Ann Smith (26)
* Adam Edward Spearritt (14)
* Philip John Steele (15)
* David Leonard Thomas (23)
* Patrik John Thompson (35)
* Peter Reuben Thompson (30)
* Stuart Paul William Thompson (17)
* Peter Francis Tootle (21)
* Christopher James Traynor (26)
* Martin Kevin Traynor (16)
* Kevin Tyrrell (15)
* Colin Wafer (19)
* Ian David Whelan (19)
* Martin Kenneth Wild (29)
* Kevin Daniel Williams (15)
* Graham John Wright (17)

The story accompanying these headlines claimed that 'drunken Liverpool fans viciously attacked rescue workers as they tried to revive victims' and 'police officers, firemen and ambulance crew were punched, kicked and urinated upon'. A quote, attributed to an unnamed policeman, claimed that a dead girl had been abused and that Liverpool fans 'were openly urinating on us and the bodies of the dead'.
we can imagine how hurt we see the headlines which were written the sun above, especially for the families of the victims, which is why we are the Liverpudlian boycott tabloid the Sun, even after the Sun tabloid apologized for the mistake that the news has been posted before but since the news already overdo make our hearts sick, so today was the Liverpudlian in the world forbidden to quote or take even the daily news from the news about our favorite club.

in addition, to commemorate the victims of Hillsborough, then after the incident in Liverpool's latest logo added two "caldron fire" on either side of the bird heart, depicting liverbird eternal flame to commemorate the victims of Hillsborough.
it is also every 15th of April - the day when the tragedy occurred, Liverpool fans always held a memorial service. Located in the Kop Stand, thousands Liverpudlian always join with coaches, staff and club officials to reliving the tragedy.
20 years passed since the disaster at Hillsborough, the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG) Liverpool supporters continue to demand justice for the death of 96 family members, relatives, their friends. For nearly two decades tirelessly HFSG Campaign continues to Hillsborough: JusticeFor96.

This Life Is Full Of Tragedy

This life is full of tragedy. In fact if Genesis 3 tells us anything, it tells us that we can expect our world to be full of tragedy and suffering because this world is not as it should be... this is a broken world and tragedy is part of life.

But what is a Christian response to tragedy and suffering?

Currently we are surrounded by stories of personal loss and suffering caused by the earthquake in Haiti. Last year it was the tragedy of bush-fire in Victoria, before that it was the Indian Ocean Tsunami... There are countless tragedies caused by cyclones, or drought, or flooding, or disease... So what does the Bible have to say on suffering? Well the Bible has a lot to say to us in the midst of our suffering, more than we can cover here. So I just want to point out 4 key responses to personal suffering that the Bible offers. These 4 responses come from the examples of Job (pronounced "Jobe"), the psalm writers, and Jesus himself.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Lisa Left Eye Lopes is killed on camera


Lisa Left Eye Lopes

Lisa Left Eye Lopes is killed on camera while filming a documentary about her life at age 30 in a head-on collision in Honduras

Christopher George Latore Wallace aka Biggie is Shot Dead


Christopher George Latore Wallace aka Biggie - Biggie Smalls - Big Papa - The Nortorious B.I.G. is shot dead at age 24 while leaving a star-studded Vibe Magazine party in Los Angeles

Tiger ‘Wins’ - Zooey Wins

Tiger takes home our coveted prize, Disgraced Celebrity of 2009

Who knew? At the beginning of 2009, Tiger Woods would have been a total non-contender for Disgraced Celebrity of the Year. But one 2AM quarrel-gone-wrong (or was it?) and the mighty Tiger has crashed into Infamy. Our Blog voters have awarded him Disgraced Celebrity of 2009.

On the lighter side, based on # of Blog hits, ZOOEY DESCHANEL who debuted on our Blog as ‘It Girl,’ is the Blog’s 2009 champion ‘Hit Girl.’
‘Congrat.s’ in quote marks to Tiger Woods.

Zooey Deschanel: Our Hit Girl/It Girl

All-cap. CONGRATS to Zooey Deschanel. Thanks to Zooey & her followers! Watch for more Zooey here in 2010.

Emily Deschanel, like Zooey, is a Rising Star of 2010

And what about that new year? Who is ‘teeing up’ behind Tiger, as falling stars? Blog fave, CAITLIN, suggests we watch for a Disgrace comeback from Paris Hilton, since she’s been ‘laying low and that can’t be good.’

Lea Michele: Rising star on Glee

I’m keeping my eye on Mr. Brad Pitt– the grey goatee, the glazed dazed stare. And what of rising Stars? How about Emily Deschanel? Or Lea Michele of GLEE?

Who are your Rising and/or Falling Star predictions for 2010?

photos- Emily D: mopo.ca; Glee cast: sitemap.photobucket.com, Zooey D: jongabonga; Tiger: theonion.com; Lea M: thetvaddict.com

David Carradine is Found Dead


David Carradine

06|03|09 David Carradine is found dead at age 72 in his Thailand hotel room hanging by a rope in the room's closet

DISGRACED CELEB - The Dark Side And Our Race

Will Zooey Deschanel be our Blog's 'Hit Girl' of 2009?

What a year it has been in the anals of Disgrace. And now the time has come to pick Disgraced Celebrity of 2009. On a lighter note, we’ve also been counting blog-hits and it looks as if our Hit Girl of the Year may well be Zooey Deschanel, star of our ‘It Girl’ post. More on Zooey soon.

First let’s visit the Dark Side and our Race for Disgrace. Not only did 2009 mark the birth of this Disgraced-Celebrity-Enabling blog, but the birth of a whole new mutant breed of Balloon Boy celebrities, who arrise out of thin air, talentless, bourne aloft by nothing more than high-octane cases of Attention Desiring Disorder.

Levi Johnston bares his armpit in PLAYGIRL

The Heenes, the Salahis, the (now ‘ex’) Gosselins. From thin air they came and soon will vanish. Then at the other end of the celebrity spectrum, we have the SuperStars who SuperStumble. Take Tiger.

Will he join the likes of Disgraced Celebrity of the Summer, Sarah Palin, or Disgraced Dudes of the Fall, Levi Johnston & Jon Gosselin?

Chris Brown took an early lead in the year's Race for Disgrace

(All of these worthies, BTW, still eligible to take the year-end prize). Don’t count out Chris Brown(right), Roman Polanski, Mark Sanford, Kayne West– & Charlie Sheen.

Cast a vote in COMMENTS, before they all fade into thinnest air. As wise woman Judith Podell wrote to us: “Tiger Woods in terms of magnitude of Fall From Grace, but Levi Johnston is so much more entertaining. On the other hand, there’s the Schadenfreud factor with Tiger…it’s been a good year.”

PS: To jog our memories, look at the year’s Celebrity Arrests…as well as Celebrity Shockers.
PPS: Check out new FICTION by ANGELA STILL on our StarLit. page!
… (photos: Levi: blogzap2; Chris B.: justjared.buzznet.com; Zooey D: Blogtown & cbc.ca)

River Phoenix Overdoses


River Phoenix overdoses on a fatal cocktail of drugs at age 23 outside Johnny Depp’s Viper Room in Hollywood

'Payback Is A Bitch, And Then You Die'
A novel exposing the truth behind celebrity crimes and indiscretions.

The Tragedy of Brittany Murphy

For SLaM

Libby Cudmore’s recent publications include Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers, Nefarious Muse and Big Pulp (with Matthew Quinn Martin) with future stories in upcoming issues of The MacGuffin and the Yalobusha Review. She promises that her next Celebrities in Disgrace entry will not be so morbid.


~~Thanks to Libby for reflecting on Brittany M. & to blog-reader Livvy for sending a link to: Untimely Celebrity Deaths RIP, MJ, Farrah Fawcett, Natasha Richardson, John Hughes, Bernie Mac…& Brittany Murphy

Death in Hollywood Anonymity- The Tragedy of Brittany Murphy By Libby Cudmore

“I’ve done a lot of dumb things in my life,” Shellie, Sin City

My friend Braff likes to pretend that nothing is shocking, that the world is such a brutal place that he, tough guy that he is, has become jaded to its cruelty. And yet he’s the one calling me at 10pm on Sunday night to tell me, in quiet, mournful tones, that Brittany Murphy had died that morning.

I am not what you’d call a Brittney Murphy fan. She wasn’t particularly prolific, an actress rather than a movie star, formally of romantic comedies like Little Black Book, now sidelined to ensemble pieces like Sin City (my personal favorite; she will be much missed from the sequel, if ever it gets made) and “indie” (i.e. no one sees them) fare like Ramen Girl. This is perhaps the most tragic part of her death. She died in Hollywood anonymity, not at the height of her career or the bottom of her downfall.

Her death is a passing bummer, like the girl from your gym class in high school—oh yeah, I remember her, that’s so sad. What’s for dinner? At least in a small town, the High School Gym Girl might get a scoreboard named in her honor. There will be no Brittany Murphy Boulevard.

Drugs are rumored to have played a part in her early demise (few people have a heart attack at 32 unless drugs are involved), but there were no stints at Promises, no public intervention, no tabloids screaming Clueless Star in Party Hell!She might make the cover of People next week unless Jon Gosslin puts on an Ed Hardy Santa hat or one of the Kardashians gets a divorce, in which case Brittany will be sidebarred for more important news. And chances are she’ll pull a Brad Renfro at the Oscars and get left out of the tribute. After all, how can the ‘dippy chick’ from Uptown Girls compare to Patrick Swayze, John Hughes and, of course, Michael Jackson?

Hollywood took to Twitter to make sure everyone knew how distraught they were over her passing. I’m sure Lindsey Lohan (who I don’t have to point out is still alive) will do an extra line of coke in her honor. I’m not going to repeat ex-boyfriend Ashton Kutcher’s post, but Murphy’s widower Simon Monjack said it was “very comforting.” Ah, Twitter—when you care to send the very least.

And maybe I’m no better, writing her eulogy to justify my frequent contributor status and that very savage photo of me from the Celebrities in Disgrace launch party. But in my defense, I always liked her, less as an actress and more as a person. When I lived in Manhattan in my early twenties, I worked the weekend 5-midnight shift as a dispatcher at a temp agency, which gave me a lot of time to read the copies of Jane sitting around the office. I still have an article I saved from right after Sin City came out in which she talked, in her sweet, dizzy way, about living with her mom, about how she didn’t really drink or party, that she didn’t know how to drive. Her big on-set diva demand? An hourly peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the crusts cut off. I like to feel like I could be friends with my screen icons, and I could relate to her more than to a Hollywood party-circuit skank. I don’t have a lot of girl friends, so I liked to imagine that her mom would pick me up from the airport and Brittany and I would eat PB&J and watch Edward Scissorhands and cry and French-braid each other’s hair.

Her portrayal of bimbo cocktail waitress Shellie in Sin City was the role that endeared her most to me. And no, it’s not just because I want to imagine that Benicio del Toro and Clive Owen are fighting over me, but because she was just a good girl who wanted to do the right thing, a girl who was addicted to male attention, attempting to be a Manic Pixie Dream Girl and always ending up with the wrong kind of man.

Maybe part of what strikes me so much about her death is that the whole mess makes me think of my ex-best-friend Jason. Jason dated girls like Shellie exclusively, he was my Dwight (Clive Owen) and I was his Gail (Rosario Dawson). We were volatile, and eventually we combusted. Last I knew, he was still with Shellie #4. I wondered if he read the headline and thought of me the way I thought of him, and that maybe for a minute, we were connected in our grief.

Much like Shellie and her titular role in The Dead Girl, I feel like Brittany was probably a good little girl who got mixed up with the wrong kind of man. A man who, specifically, was wanted by a whole slew of people, including the FBI, who tried to extradite him to England for defrauding investors. This may not be the case, but considering he didn’t want an autopsy done and once told her that he’d been kidnapped and held for ransom (he was in jail), he sounds like the type who was standing next to Tiger Woods for Husband of the Year.

I’m not suggesting that we worship Brittany Murphy just because she had the bad fortune to die. We all die, and it’s a drag. What I’m asking is that you remember her for just an extra second. Not to gain sympathy so you can get laid. Not to promote your newest movie or season whatever of your stupid reality show. But I don’t want to see her forgotten either, not yet. If you liked one of her movies, pop in the DVD and smile when she comes on screen. Raise your glass and say aloud, “Rest in Peace, Brittany Murphy.” For as long as she is here, on your TV, she will be remembered.


(photo credits for Brittany Murphy: lahiguerainet/cinemania & the insider.com/media)