Sunday, December 31, 2006

What a beagle!

THIS IS TOM'S BEAGLE DAWSON POSTING TO TOM'S BLOG FOR TOM AND THIS IS WHAT I THINK IS THE STORY OF THE YEAR AND IT WAS IN PARADE MAGAZINE AND HERE IT IS AND ENJOY IT AND THIS IS DAWSON.
Best Friend
A Wet-Nosed Hero

Kevin Weaver, 34, was in the throes of a diabetic seizure, lying unconscious on his kitchen floor in Ocoee, Fla., when his beagle, Belle, located his cell-phone and chomped down on the keypad, triggering a 911 call. Emergency dispatchers heard only barking, but it was enough for them to send help. When Weaver awoke in the hospital, Belle was there by his side, having hitched a ride in the ambulance. “I would have died,” Kevin said. “She’s my best friend. That’s for sure.”

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Now you see her, now you don't

Around 8:30 this evening, here was a graphic from Ch. 5's web site:


About thirty minutes ago, an extended 10 PM newscast came to an end. Tributes to Karen Foss and her 27 years with KSDK were interspersed throughout the program. Co-anchor Mike Bush struggled to hold back his tears as he said good-bye to his friend and colleague. The show ended with a studio full of special guests giving Karen hugs and best wishes. And then, poof! She's edited out of the web site's anchor team graphic:

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Contrast in bread

A segment on the CBS Early Show this morning has whet my appetite to go to London or Paris to check out Poilane Bakery. Poilane is a family-owned bakery founded in 1932. Their loaves of bread, made of wheat, leaven and salt, are still baked in wood-fired ovens in hand-made wicker baskets lined with linen. What's unique about the current state of the bakery is that the owner is currently the founder's college-age granddaughter who found herself taking over the business much earlier than planned when her father was killed in a helicopter crash in 2002. On the CBS program, Apollonia Poilane described her determinism to carry on:
Bread is such an essential ingredient to our lives. Whenever I'm baking bread, I really love the feeling of creating something that's really meaningful.
And now the contrast...

Several weeks ago during the ice storm that hit St. Louis, I spent quite a bit of time at a nearby St. Louis Bread Company while my power was out. Equipped with my wireless laptop, it was quite the opportunity to people-watch. At one point, I overheard a woman mention to her friend:
Just order me a salad... you know I don't eat the bread here.
Intrigued, I transitioned from people-watching to people-talking. I gently introduced myself and inquired about the St. Louis Bread Company bread. Her response floored me. She explained that it's made with "human body parts" -- her words, not mine. I was tempted to dismiss her as a crazy person. But I listened further. She explained an ingredient they use in their bread called l-cysteine. According to Wikipedia:
Cysteine (mostly in the naturally occurring form L-cysteine) is used for applications in the food, pharmaceutical and personal care industries... L-cysteine is also used as a processing aid for baking. Small quantities... help to soften the dough and thus reduce processing time... It is interesting to note that currently the cheapest source of material from which food grade L-cysteine may be purified in high yield is by hydrolysis of molecules in human hair. Other sources include feathers and pig bristles. The companies producing cysteine by hydrolysis are located mainly in China. There is some debate whether or not consuming L-cysteine derived from human hair constitutes cannibalism.
I did a little further digging. On a bread-ingredients page of the Bread Company web site, some of the breads have l-cysteine listed as an ingredient, and others do not.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Where in the world is Mattie?

Where in the world is Mattie? That's the question being asked. On this day before Christmas, the 12-year-old dog's family just wants him back home safe. Or at least some closure to the situation. See a plea from Mattie's owners, Tom & Alice Matthews, and more -- at the new web site Where in the world is Mattie?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Trying to bring Mattie home for Christmas...

12-year-old Mattie has been missing since Nov. 8. His owners' car was stolen from the U City Loop. His owners were visiting from Michigan. They were window shopping at the stores on the Loop. Mattie was in his doggie crate in the back seat. Thieves stole their car, despite it being in a well-lighted parking lot on the Loop. (Very bad PR for the Loop, btw... and where are some of the Loop powers-that-be? Are they helping to find this little dog? Are they helping to finance his reward money? I don't think so. But that's another story for another time.)

I am among the volunteers who have spent time looking for him. We are searching more today. The Jennings/North City area is where we think he is. There have been sightings of him in that area. If you have any information, or any time to help, post a comment.

Click here for related postings.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Are you gooder at grammar?

Take this short grammar quiz and post your results in the comments. I'll start.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Voices from the past

Check out FutureMe.org for something completely different:

You write a letter/e-mail to someone and specify the date -- IN THE FUTURE -- when it is to be delivered. It can be tomorrow, the day after tomorrow... a day next year... or the year after that... or 10 years out... 20 years out... whatever date you specify.

FutureMe.org reports that it has 350,262 letters "written to the future" and counting...

It occurs to me that as the internet becomes a more social place, with personal blogs, photo galleries and such, it's breaking through barriers such as physical dimension and -- with something like FutureMe.org -- perhaps the barrier of physical time.

I can already post to this blog from an e-mail account. I have a "magic address" to which I send an e-mail message. Whatever I put as the subject of the e-mail shows up as the subject of the blog entry. And whatever's in the body of the e-mail shows up as the body of the blog entry.

Hmmmmmm... I may have a way to to communicate to friends and loved ones for years after I am no longer around to do so...

Monday, December 18, 2006

More memories of Snikk...

On the one-week anniversary of his passing, here are some more photos of Snikk, all courtesy of Mark. Click on a photo to see it larger.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

"Charlotte's Web" is some movie!

My freelance review...
Salutations, readers.

The animated film version of "Charlotte's Web," released in 1973, has held up for a third of a century, entertaining multiple generations with its story of the unlikely friendship between a pig named Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte.

This holiday season comes a live-action remake, complete with tons of computer-generated effects showing real animals talking out loud to each other. Exceptions to this are Templeton the rat and Charlotte, both of whom are entirely computer-generated.

As with the cartoon version, the remake is faithful to E.B. White's children's book. The sweet story goes mostly unchanged -- at least in terms of the core characters, plot and theme. The remake retains the simple charm and beauty of the book and the old cartoon version.

The voices of the barn animals are provided by pros such as Julia Roberts, John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Cedric the Entertainer and Robert Redford. And as Fern, the little girl who befriends Wibur, Dakota Fanning is charming and cute.

This remake is a good movie, although I think I prefer the simple sweetness of the original cartoon version. It's great, though, that the movie has been remade, as its sweet, gentle story about life, friendship -- and dying -- will get increased exposure within today's generation. It's also nice to see a kids movie with a decent story and something real to say to kids -- kids who are young-in-age and/or young-at-heart.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Snikk, from the photo archives...

Most of these are not yet posted on scoodog's photos. Click on a photo to see it larger.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

We'll always miss you, Snikk.

More photos of Snikk here.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

What a "Musical!"

My freelance review:
Need a break from the holiday madness? Head to the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and enjoy some light-hearted fun with "The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!"

"Musical" is actually five very creative and very funny 15-minute musicals in one, each acting out the same story but in the style of a different famous Broadway composer -- Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Kander & Ebb.

The laughs come in parodies to popular works by the composers. The homage to Rodgers & Hammerstein spoofs "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" with a corny song called "Corn" (with lines like "Just look at that corn!"). Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Evita" is "Janita." Jerry Herman's "Auntie Mame" is "Auntie Abby." And so forth. Corny is an appropriate adjective to describe the songs and the humor in general.

The more you know about the musicals being parodied, the more you'll easily enjoy "Musical." But, even if don't haven't seen a lot of the musicals, there's still plenty to enjoy.

The show uses the same four actors in each of the five mini-musicals. The cast is quite talented and this shows in the range of the performances, as the style of the actors shifts gears across each of the mini-musicals. Joanne Bogart has some of the funniest moments as the older of the two female cast members. She is also one of the original Broadway cast members and, along with Eric Rockwell, creator of the play.

The show moves along quickly, with three of the mini-musicals before intermission and two afterwards. It's a lot of fun and is just the ticket to help balance the stress of holiday season.

"The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!" plays through December 29 at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Well, here is my 2006 Christmas tree. It's the top of my neighbor Joan's 30-foot-tall pine tree that fell onto my deck during the ice storm a week or two ago. No decorations yet. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Nativity sets from around the world

Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Christmas
Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about. Lights, please...
Linus, A Charlie Brown Christmas
This weekend, see for yourself what Christmas is all about as Saint Mary's Church in Belleville offers a display of 30 nativity scenes from North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

The whole community is invited. Parents, grandparents... artists and travelers... everyone -- young and old! Admission is free. Sunday, Dec. 10 from 3PM to 7PM and Monday, Dec. 11 from 9AM to 7PM.
The nativity set is -- after the cross -- perhaps the most popular Christian symbol in the world! And it's amazing to see how each nationality, each culture has taken the nativity as 'its own'. Children, especially, love the story, the figures, the displays.
As examples of what to expect, pictured above is a European gothic nativity, and below are a copper and wood nativity from India and a "clay thimble style" nativity with straw hut from Vietnam. Click on the photos for larger views.


That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
Linus, A Charlie Brown Christmas

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The day after the ice storm -- IN WIDESCREEN!

Sure, you can see photos of the worst ice storm to hit St. Louis since 1978 all over the web. But, discerning readers, only here can you find WIDESCREEN photos!

(Actually, widescreen is a mode on my new Canon SD600 camera, and I thought it would be fun to play with.)

Anyway, here are a few of my favorites. Click here for the whole gallery of 66 photos.

Update (12/10/2006) -- 42 more pictures here.