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Pope Francis using respected charity foundation to bail out corrupt medical institute

Pope Francis using respected charity foundation to bail out corrupt medical institute
Last summer, Pope Francis asked the U.S. based Papal Foundation to direct $25 million to the Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata (IDI), a dermatological hospital in Rome that has been plagued with corruption and financial scandal for years.

Founded in 1990, the Papal Foundation has a noble record of assisting popes in helping the poor in under-developed countries. Therefore, the $25-million grant requested by Francis has lay members of the Foundation up in arms, seeing that the money is going to the corruption-plagued, Church-owned dermatological institute accused of money laundering and which has liabilities of over $1 billion USD – an amount larger than the national debt of many nations.

By David Martin - Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - Full Story

Behold history’s worst Olympic halfpipe run. ...Also, oddly, one of history’s best

Meet Elizabeth Swaney
Meet Elizabeth Swaney.  She’s a thoroughly average skier, probably no better than anyone you could find at your average, regional, Mount Trashmore.  Unlike your average skier, she just competed in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in women’s ski halfpipe.

Thanks to her ability to read the rules, she figured out a way to qualify while having little actual ability.

By Robert Laurie - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - Full Story

A Crawfish Cook Calamity

A Crawfish Cook Calamity

That warm, spring Mississippi Delta Saturday was ideal for doing anything outdoors, but the calamitous way it turned out was less than ideal.

When it comes to preparing delicious, deep-south cuisine, nobody outperformed my lifelong best friend and mentor, the old black man known affectionately by all as Jaybird. When we asked him to boil several hundred pounds of crawfish, he said, “Sho’ — get the water boilin’; let’s enjoy some country-style cuttin’ up.”

By Jimmy Reed - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - Full Story

“Tio Amo”,  Two Words that Lasted a Lifetime for my Grandparents

Ti Amo
Pietro Menotti stood on a ship’s deck among throngs of weary, penniless immigrants like himself. Staring into the haze of a hot summer day, he saw the first of two women who would determine the course of his life.

She was the mighty lady with a torch whose message to foreign lands had attracted millions: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The Mother of Exiles brought tears to Pietro’s eyes. Another woman brought his heart into his throat. She was the petite, raven-haired beauty standing next to him on Ellis Island. The name on her tattered suitcase was Videlma Zepponi. In his eyes, she was an angel sent to earth by the God they both worshipped. 

By Jimmy Reed - Saturday, February 10, 2018 - Full Story

Bermuda Reverses Marriage Decision

Bermuda Reverses Marriage Decision
HAMILTON, BERMUDA - The governor of Bermuda signed a law that reverses an earlier law and will no longer recognize marriage between two people of the same sex. The law, known as the “Domestic Partnership Act 2017,” passed the legislature by a 2-1 margin in both the Bermuda House and Senate. It will allow domestic partnerships for same and opposite sex couples, but will no longer permit same-sex couples to be married. The Bermuda Supreme Court in May 2017 issued an opinion in favor of same-sex “marriage,” but that opinion was met by opposition.

By Liberty Counsel - Friday, February 9, 2018 - Full Story

Panasonic combo oven worth getting steamed over

Panasonic combo oven worth getting steamed over,
Don’t tell my wife, but I’ve just spent a couple of weeks with a new “grill friend.” It’s a kitchen appliance that could clean up some precious shelf space because it blends the duties of disparate appliances into one unit.

Panasonic’s Combination Oven NN-DS58HB, despite its $699.99 CAD retail price, is a pretty compelling piece of equipment, though it isn’t without its issues. Heck, depending on your lifestyle and food habits, it could do a lot, if not most, of your cooking all by itself.

By Jim Bray - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - Full Story

January Hortic Birthdays

January Hortic Birthdays
A tip of the garden hat to a few of those who have improved our gardens, health and lives in general: “Whoever could make two ears of corn grow where only one grew before would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.” Jonathan Swift 1667-1745

Ganapathi Thanikaimoni 1 January 1938—5 September 1986

A leading Indian palynologist, who studied contemporary and fossil pollens, killed age 48 during a military assault after terrorists hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 from Karachi. He was reportedly helping a child when hit by fragments of a grenade set off by the terrorists.

Johann Heinrich Heucher 1 January 1677—22 February 1747

German physician and natural scientist, professor of medicine at Wittenberg, physician to King Augustus the Strong of Dresden; if you have Heuchera in the garden, the genus is named in his honour.

By Wes Porter - Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - Full Story

Which is Worse - False Prophecy or No Prophecy?

Which is Worse - False Prophecy or No Prophecy?
The 100% accuracy rate of Messianic prophecies (First coming of Christ) makes ignoring the premillennial prophecies (Second coming of Christ) the single greatest folly in the history of mankind. That would include the church or anyone who dismisses these warnings out of hand.

As to the question of which is worse; it is like finding that there is no exit door available when someone cries fire in a crowded room, or conversely, having someone pointing to a door that does not lead out of the burning building. It is a lose-lose situation.

By Rev. Michael Bresciani - Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - Full Story

You’ll Love Flying The Pup

You’ll Love Flying The Pup
Inflated egos are dangerous. When my flight instructor certified that I was a licensed pilot, my ego and I were flying high … too high, as was made terrifyingly evident the day I flew the Pup.

Elliott, a student pilot, was constructing an ultra-light, tube-and-fabric, aircraft known as the N3 Pup, and asked me to go with him to look at one that was completed.

The Pup resembled my airplane, a J-3 Piper Cub, but was much smaller — indeed tiny. After discussing its construction, Elliott asked Susanne, the owner, about its flight characteristics.

By Jimmy Reed - Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - Full Story

Alice Eastwood, Canadian-American Botanist

Alice Eastwood, Canadian-American Botanist
Toronto’s Necropolis is the last resting place for many a distinguished person. One such is Alice Eastwood, acclaimed Canadian-American botanist credited, amongst many other achievements, with building the botanical collection at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco.

Her path to a successful botanical career was not an easy one. Born in Toronto on 19th January 1859 her father was a steward at the Toronto Asylum for the Insane on Queen Street. His wife died when Alice was but six, so she spent some time living with a physician uncle, an ‘avid gardener and amateur botanist’ who introduced her to botany and scientific terminology. At eight, she and her younger sister were sent to board at a convent in neighbouring Oshawa. This was another stroke of good fortune since there she met a young priest who was another amateur botanist as well as naturalist.

By Wes Porter - Monday, January 29, 2018 - Full Story

Bad Beatles musical looks and sounds great in 4K - while Geostorm blows

Bad Beatles musical looks and sounds great in 4K - while Geostorm blows
Somewhere, Ken Russell looks down (or is it up?) and smiles.

That’s because director Julie Taymor’s “Across the Universe” is arguably as much a tribute to the late Mr. Russell’s visually excessive style of filmmaking than it is a tribute to the Beatles. To me, the film felt like they took Ken Russell’s interpretation of The Who’s Tommy and put it into a blender with Milos Forman’s Hair, but the result - other than looking and sounding fantastic in its 4K incarnation - was less satisfying to me than either of those other films.

By Jim Bray - Monday, January 29, 2018 - Full Story

Vatican Standing by its Decision to Award Dutch Abortion Advocate

Vatican Standing by its Decision to Award Dutch Abortion Advocate
Early this month, Catholics throughout the world were outraged upon learning that Pope Francis awarded abortion advocate Lilianne Ploumen with the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory, an honor traditionally conferred upon those who demonstrate outstanding service to the Holy See or to humanity. Ploumen, who boasted in a video broadcast that she had received a “high distinction from the Vatican” was granted the award in June 2017 when she assisted the Dutch Royals in their visit to the Holy Father.

In the wake of conservative backlash, the Vatican is not backing down from awarding Ploumen with the Pontifical honor, but is doubling down on the action. A Vatican official recently told NCR reporter Edward Pentin that this was “a very traditional procedure” for such a “historic occasion” and was really meant as a way of “honoring the king.” If that’s the case, why didn’t the king get the award?

By David Martin - Saturday, January 27, 2018 - Full Story

Bears burned in California wildfires treated with fish skins

Rescuers brought two adult bears, a cub and a young mountain lion to veterinarians with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the University of California, Davis. Veterinarians used acupuncture, fish skins and other alternative medical treatments to help wild animals recover from the burns.

By Fox News - Friday, January 26, 2018 - Full Story

Turning the Heat on Firewood

Turning the Heat on Firewood
There is something about a wood fire that appeals deep down inside most of us. As Jerry Smith has observed, “Playing with fire is bad for those who burn themselves. For the rest of us, it is a very great pleasure.”

First though there is the fuel for the fire. This comes down to two considerations: which wood and how is it supplied?

By Wes Porter - Monday, January 22, 2018 - Full Story

Blade Runner sequel was meant for 4K -  and ‘IT’ isn’t too bad if given a chance

Blade Runner sequel
Warner Brothers may have pulled off the impossible with Blade Runner 2049. They’ve taken a movie for which no sequel or remake was needed, and given it a sequel/remake that’s worth seeing and owning. Heck, it’s much better than I expected going into it.

It’s much the same with IT, a remake of a Stephen King story about a clown that terrorizes innocent people in a manner reminiscent of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Two D’oh! 

It’s a 4K twofer!

By Jim Bray - Sunday, January 21, 2018 - Full Story

Slick Willy

Slick Willy
In barbershops, even the most sanctimonious listeners accept professional grade lying as entertaining tall tales.

One day, while Larry the barber clipped the white scraggly hackles festooning my haggard old head, he related a tall tale, after which one of the waiting customers said, “Reed, you make a living out of lying by writing stories that never fall within the realm of truthfulness; tell us one that will top Larry’s.”

“I’ll bet the cost of this haircut that he can’t,” Larry boasted.

By Jimmy Reed - Saturday, January 20, 2018 - Full Story

Flags and Flowers Honor Veterans Every Day, Not just on a Holiday

Flags and Flowers Honor Veterans Every Day, Not just on a Holiday
When I called Preston Sharp, he answered the phone.  I heard the voice of a very young person.  However, as the conversation ensued, I heard words of commitment, well beyond the age of the person on the other end of the line.

When I met Duane Ehmer in Red Bluff, California, he handed me the business card of Preston C. Sharp.  He had obtained the card when he visited Preston at a cemetery where Sharp was busy planting flags and artificial flowers (Red Carnations) on the graves of military veterans.

Duane, a veteran himself, knew that I was a Vietnam Veteran, and felt that I would be interested in this story.  That has become an understatement, as I interviewed with Sharp.

By Gary Hunt - Friday, January 19, 2018 - Full Story

‘Sniffing’ out counterfeit liquors

'Sniffing' out counterfeit liquors
Watered-down or fake liquors can reap financial rewards for nefarious individuals, but the adulteration of liquor cheats consumers and can even lead to health hazards from added contaminants. Scientists now report in ACS Sensors a portable device with an advanced sensor array that can identify liquors and determine if they’d been altered, offering a strategy for liquor quality assurance.

By American Chemical Society - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - Full Story

Questions We’re Often Asked: Slugs as Pollinators

Questions We're Often Asked: Slugs as Pollinators
Slugs pollinate aspidistras. The assertion dates back about a hundred years to Europe. Observers there noticed slugs around the ground-level flowers of the popular houseplant and concluded this was their mode of pollination. (Hopefully this was in a greenhouse and not a dwelling). Amongst flowering plants, this remains unique—or is it?

A September 2014 paper in the American Journal of Botany labelled it “highly controversial” while admitting to a “most unusual pollination biology” for this complicated genus. Researchers cited mollusks, crustaceans, flies, collembolans; a species from Vietnam was confirmed as being pollinated by gall midges.

By Wes Porter - Monday, January 15, 2018 - Full Story

‘All we need is Jesus’, A Belated Christmas Story

'All we need is Jesus', A Belated Christmas Story
This holiday season I was especially looking forward to Christmas, much due to the yearly reminder of the unconditional love and blessings that I need so badly and that I’ve been given in Jesus - coupled with the reunion of my beloved family members. It had been an extremely rough year for me. And I was looking to hide from some of my grief by just celebrating God’s unfailing love in the company of my beloved, visiting Christian children. My (now grown) babies are great gifts of unconditional love from my Heavenly Father. And they are this old man’s joy in the face of even life’s darkest moments.

As we prepared for the day, my wife sneaked down to the basement to get our Nativity scene. I love the reminder of Jesus’ birth that I’ve seen traditionally since I was a boy. And she knew that my seeing that all set up would brighten my day. Just as I realized she was missing, I heard a loud crash from beneath our living room floor. A few minutes after that, she reappeared and sadly told me that our beautiful, classic Nativity pieces were destroyed - all but the baby Jesus. She had dropped the box containing the fine porcelain figures , and its contents were shattered. I used that moment’s last bit of strength to assure her that it was ‘no big deal’. Nevertheless we were both really disappointed.

By Dave Merrick - Sunday, January 14, 2018 - Full Story