The Return of the Commodore 64?

Posted in hobbies, Pop Culture on May 9th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It holds the Guinness World record for best-selling single computer model of all time, so who had a Commodore 64?

My family had one when I was growing up, and I enjoyed playing hours of games on it.  I remember how novel it was that we could create a sign, card, or banner on the computer and then print it out –  complete with pixel-riddled graphics and what-do-you-call those side strips on the paper with the holes in them that you tear off and either discard or twist them together and make art out of them.  My uncle had a subscription to Loadstar, which was a Commodore club of sorts – he would get magazines and new games monthly in the mail.  I used to love some of those Loadstar games, unfortunately, I can’t find them to play on emulators now.  I really enjoyed an Activision game called Toy Bizzarre, and my all time favorie game for the Commodore 64 was Maniac Mansion – I was addicted to it until I won it, and then I had to go back and win it with  all the different character combinations.  They did make a version of Maniac Mansion for the original Nintendo, but I was biased toward my Commodore version.  I always thought that game would make a great movie (think Clue), and when I was younger, I tried to write the game into a novel but never finished it.

So what’s got me thinking back to the 80’s days of the Commodore today?  I came across an article on cnn.com about how advance orders are being taken for the resurrection of the Commodore here in 2011.  It’s being made to look just like the Commodores of the 80’s, but it will have today’s computer capacities since the ’64’ in Commodore 64 referred to the unit having 64 Kilobytes of memory – about the equivalent of one long email, according to the article.  If you’d like to read the article, click here.

The Drama…

Posted in church, Kids, music on November 5th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m going on my third month as a youth group leader, and while I always enjoy myself at church on Wednesday nights, in recent weeks I’ve also felt a strange kind of dread.  I couldn’t put my finger on it until last night.  There was a huge drama in our small group of 7th grade girls involving a friendship between two of the girls.  The situation made for a lot of tension and was also a huge distraction from our lesson.  After group, I mentioned this to the other 7th grade girls leader and the youth pastor, and neither seemed surprised, especially given the dramatic nature of a specific girl in my group – their words, not mine.  I came home around 9 pm last night with 4 of my own little kids to put to bed while feeling entirely emotionally drained.  I realized that even though I enjoy being a youth group leader for the most part, that strange sense of dread that I feel in the beginning of the week has to do with bracing myself for the weekly Wednesday night drama.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the other 7th grade girls leader’s attitude has greatly improved since the beginning of the year.  Also, a few weeks ago, two students were transferred into my group because their friends were in my group – so now I have the entire clique in my group, and I get to oversee and facilitate all of their various factions.  Wonderful.  I have a theory that the other leader was very discouraged and emotionally drained by these girls and their drama by the end of last year, and so when I showed up, I was given the clique and their dramatics for my group.  Ah, the joys of being the newbie.  I’m happy to help, and I’m glad the other leader seems much happier, but I really need to find a way to encourage these girls to shift their priorities a little bit.

Complicating the matter is the fact that we meet in the youth pastor’s office, so it’s really hard to supervise everyone at once, especially when there is drama.  I have girls wanting to poke through his drawers, lie under his computer desk, read his post-it notes and memos, and to sit on his desk.  I’m starting to feel more like a babysitter than a small group leader, and the girls in my group are turning 13; it’s not like they’re little kids (which is what I’m dealing with all day and at night AFTER youth group).

Don’t get me wrong; I do enjoy it; I’m just really frustrated right now.  I really like the fact that it’s something I get to do with my husband (the small group part is only about 40 minutes.  For the rest of the two hours, we get to do things together), and I like hanging out with the other leaders and the girls when they’re not acting crazy.  I’m just saying that those times are getting few and far between.  I need to find a way to focus the kids and also to get our group back to concentrating on the weekly lessons.  We can still have fun while we do  that, but step #1 will probably be to get us out of the pastor’s office – I don’t even know where to start if not there.

When I signed up for this gig, I failed to realize that aside from the long-shot of the Chicago Cubs making the World Series, my two favorite yearly live televised events – the Country Music Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards – air on Wednesday nights.  I cannot express how much I enjoy watching these shows, and it’s kind of like an athletic event – it’s not really the same to watch them after the fact.  One year, I even did a live blog while watching one of these awards shows, and it was hectic, but a lot of fun.  Tempted as I am to call in sick to youth group next week, I could not look seven 7th graders in the eyes and tell them that I missed our group to stay home and watch the Country Music Awards, especially after the major drama that was this week.  So next week, I will actually be avoiding cnn.com and the media from late Wednesday night until whenever I will get a chance to watch the recorded CMAs – which might not be until the weekend!!!  Yes, I’m pouting, but I’m going to put my best face forward and just do it.  But I reserve the right to complain about it all I want on my blog!!!!!

Mental Floss

Posted in Cool Internet Stuff on September 29th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CNN.com links to a blog called Mental Floss.  Usually involving tidbits about pop culture in a top-10 format,  these articles can be quite entertaining.  For example, I came across a few the other day about fast food:  Who Approved That?  7 Food Promotions Gone Horrible Wrong and 10 Secret Menu Items at Fast Food Restaurants and enjoyed both of those.  Note the NY Yankees reference in the failed Pepsi promotion in the first article (sorry Jamiahsh!).

Mental Floss has featured other lists in their articles that have interested me; of note is 10 Homeschooled Celebrities (Agatha Christie, Mozart, Alexander Graham Bell, to name a few), 10 Things That Have Deflated the Macy’s Parade, and 5 Weather Events Worth Chatting About.  It’s a well-written, entertaining blog (like this one, haha) – Just thought I’d share it!

Legitimate School Interruption or Propaganda?

Posted in Current Events on September 4th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , ,

Because I have two kids in the local city school system at the same time, I receive double the school memos.  So while Friday’s after-school-folder-clean-out yielded the usual classwork, homework and doodles, there were also some notices clearly indicative of these times in which we’re living: a list of swine flu H1N1 symptoms and (what I thought at the time anyway)  to be a routine parental notice with optional exclusion form.  You know the type –  I would not like my son / daughter to participate in the following school activity (fill in the blank, field trip, sex ed, open lunch, etc.), signed (parent’s name). This time the form was in reference to an address by Barrack Obama, the President of the United States, to the students of the country.  When I  received the memo, I was all in favor.  I would not be one of the parents who declined my child the opportunity to be involved with current events and history in the making.  I thought it was great that the President was making an unprecedented, concentrated effort to make a positive influence on America’s youth.  But then I read CNN.com and the other news outlets, and I saw that some people seemed to be using this as a political soundboard, and I think it’s just sad that some people use everything our President does as a reason to bring up racial tension.

I would like to steer my blog from most politics, however, I am a parent of two kids who are in American public schools, so this is an issue that hits close to home.  So whether you watch the Obama student address or not, whether you approve of the President and/or his message to students, consider the significance of the Presidential address taking place this Tuesday, September 8, 2009 for what it is – history in the making.

Match.com – For Gorillas

Posted in animals, Current Events on August 30th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

See if you enjoy this as much as I did – a group of female gorillas is given posters of their prospective mate.  How did they react to it?  Read:

From cnn.com:
by Nick Hunt

So when three female gorillas at London Zoo heard that they would soon be visited by a brooding French hunk — well, they went a bit bananas.

The latest development in Anglo-French relations sees Yeboah, a 20-stone 12-year-old, leave his current home at La Boissiere Du Dore Zoo, Pays de la Loire, northwest France and head for the British capital by the end of the year.

There he will be greeted by gorilla trio Zaire, Effie and Mjukuu, who were given posters of their prospective boyfriend for the first time Thursday.

One female gorilla shrieked in delight, while another wedged the poster in a tree to stare at it.

A third, clearly overcome by emotion, held the photo close to her chest — then ate it.

Their reception was somewhat unsurprising. The zoo has been without a male gorilla since the demise of Bobby, a silverback, in December.

Tracey Lee, team leader at London Zoo, put in a good word for the hirsute lothario on the London Zoo Web site, saying Yeboah is “a very charming, fun loving and intelligent gorilla.”

But whom will Yeboah choose to charm first?

Zaire, at 34, is the oldest female gorilla and has been at London Zoo since 1984. The zoo says she’s “happiest when she’s taking down and rebuilding her nest in various spots around the island. She loves to play with fabric and often drags it around with her all day. “

Then there’s Effie, 16, who “enjoys seeing toddlers and often makes her way over to the glass when they come to see her,” according to the zoo Web site.

Finally there’s 10-year-old Mjukuu, or “Jookie.” Dan Simmonds, a keeper at the zoo’s Gorilla Kingdom, says she “has this ‘butter wouldn’t melt look’ to her, and she gets away with murder.”

“The other two females get along with her very well; she seems to have them all wrapped around her little finger.”

delete gorilla

Above is a picture of the gorilla who hung up the picture of her new beau.

This Boyle Madness

Posted in Current Events on April 16th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Have you heard about the newest media sensation, Susan Boyle?  She is a woman who appeared on the European tv show, Britian’s Got Talent and wowed the judges.  When I first saw the headlines, I couldn’t imagine how good someone could be to get that kind of attention.  I didn’t click on the headlines because they were only videos on cnn.com and I avoid those – I like to read my news when I get it from the internet.  But I’m a news junkie, and eventually I caught the Talent clip on the real CNN – and the story unfolded.  The woman has talent.  She can really sing, and she makes a difficult song seem effortless.  There are plenty of people with nice voices, so what’s the big deal?  I think it is about the way Susan Boyle looks.  When she stepped up to sing, people (and you can see this in the judges’ and audience’s reactions) did not expect her to be a good singer because she does not comply with society’s definition of “pretty”.  Simon Cowell, specifically, who is a judge on the show, is known for judging people on their looks first and even making comments about them, which I think is immature and disgusting.  But I have to sound off on this topic because it’s been all over the news lately, and this morning, Susan was on The Early Show.  For some reason that I can only attribute to the way she looks, the Early Show anchors were treating her like she was mentally challenged – they were talking slowly, etc.  One of  the Early Show anchors stated, “Let’s see if she can sing early in the morning”, prompting Susan to do an acappella version of the song that made her famous, I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables.  It was wonderful, but maybe that Early Show anchor should be treated as if she is mentally challenged – it was early morning in New York, but Susan Boyle was doing the interview from her home in Scotland, where it was 11:30-midnightish!  Duh.

I personally think it’s an extraordinary story because Susan Boyle is 47 and with a voice like that, I’m surprised she wasn’t discovered sooner.  I’m sick of everyone picking on her looks and using them to define her as a person.  I think it’s terrible that society says that people have to look good to have worth.  Maybe that’s why plastic surgery runs so rampant, but to me, plastic surgery tends to stick out.  A lot of times, I can tell when someone’s had something done.  I think it looks fake and strange, and it baffles my mind that people would risk their lives to get knocked out and sliced open just to change something aesthetic.  Not including those who get disfigured, of course – I can’t blame those people, and I feel really sorry for them especially after noting how society acts about looks.  Good looking people are assumed to be more successful, they’re listened to more often,  and they’re just overall held in a higher regard in society than people who look different or what society deems as “ugly”.  To me, ugly is the mean, heartless person who doesn’t care about others.  I think Susan should be applauded for conquering society’s “ugly”.  Bravo Susan, for a job well done – I hope you get to fulfill your wish of singing for the Queen!

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, here is a link to the clip of the episode of Britian’s Got Talent featuring Susan.  As one of the judges put it, she is a privilege to listen to!  I get chills and tears in my eyes as I watch those snooty judges eat crow while Susan triumphs!

Presidential In-Laws

Posted in History on January 20th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In-laws have a bad stigma in our country, to say the least.  From sayings like, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your relatives” or “When you marry your spouse, you’re marrying her whole family” to classic TV shows which depict the dreaded mother-in-law as a horrible threat or consequence for a character’s bad behavior (The Honeymooner’s, Bewitched, The Flintstones, to name just a few), in-laws definitely have a bad rap.  Scenes from these shows flooded my brain recently when I read the following article on cnn.com – seems even the leaders of the free world have had problematic situations with their mothers-in-law.  The reason the article was published is because apparently Barrack Obama’s mother-in-law, wife Michelle’s mother Marian Robinson, might move with the new first family to Washington.  So will Mr. Obama’s situation be comparative to poor Harry Truman, whose mother-in-law refused to call him anything but Mr. Truman?  Or will it be more like Dwight Eisenhower, who got along famously with his mother-in law – in a good way?  In recognition of Inauguration Day, read the following article for some interesting historical lessons about the complex familial relationships formed as a result of the union of two people:

From cnn.com, by David Holzel
(Mental Floss) — President-Elect Obama’s mother-in-law will be moving to Washington with the first family, at least temporarily, his transition team has confirmed. Marian Robinson will be the latest in a line of presidential in-laws who, for good or ill, lived under the same roof as the president.
President Dwight Eisenhower and his mother-in-law, Elivera Doud, pose for pictures with some of the grandchildren.

President Dwight Eisenhower and his mother-in-law, Elivera Doud, pose for pictures with some of the grandchildren.

Here are four stories that confirm the old truism: While America can choose its president, the president can’t choose his in-laws.

1. Ulysses S. Grant and ‘The Colonel’

You would think that the Civil War was settled at Appomattox, and no question of its outcome would have been raised in the White House of Ulysses S. Grant, who, after all, was the general who won the war.

But you would be wrong, because living with Ulysses and Julia Grant was the president’s father-in-law. Colonel Frederick Dent (his rank seems to have been self-selected) was an unreconstructed Confederate, a St. Louis businessman and slaveholder who, when his daughter Julia went to the Executive Mansion early in 1869, decided to relocate there as well.

The Colonel didn’t hesitate to make himself at home. When his daughter received guests, he sat in a chair just behind her, offering anyone within earshot unsolicited advice. Political and business figures alike got a dose of the Colonel’s mind as they waited to meet with President Grant.

When the president’s father, Jesse Grant, came from Kentucky on one of his regular visits to Washington, the White House turned into a Civil War reenactment. According to “First Families: The Impact of the White House on Their Lives”, by Bonnie Angelo, Jesse Grant preferred to stay in a hotel rather than sleep under the same roof as the Colonel.

And when the two old partisans found themselves unavoidably sitting around the same table in the White House, they avoided direct negotiations by using Julia and her young son, named for the president’s father, as intermediaries, Betty Boyd Caroli writes in “First Ladies”: “In the presence of the elder Grant, Frederick Dent would instruct Julia to ‘take better care of that old gentleman [Jesse Grant]. He is feeble and deaf as a post and yet you permit him to wander all over Washington alone.’ And Grant replied [to his grandson and namesake], ‘Did you hear him? I hope I shall not live to become as old and infirm as your Grandfather Dent.'”

The Colonel remained in the White House — irascible and unrepentant — until his death, at age 88, in 1873.

2. Harry S Truman and the Mother-in-Law from Heck

Harry Truman and Bess Wallace met as children. He was a farm boy; she was the well-heeled granddaughter of Independence, Missouri’s Flour King. When they married in 1919, Truman was a struggling haberdasher, and Bess’s mother, Madge Wallace, thought Bess had made a colossal social faux pas. Until she died in 1952, Madge Wallace never changed her mind about Harry Truman. Her Bess had married way below her station.

Madge had plenty of opportunities to let her son-in-law know it. The newlyweds moved into the Wallace mansion in Independence, and the three lived together under the same roof until the end of Madge’s life.

When Harry Truman was elected senator, “Mother Wallace,” as Truman judiciously called her, moved with her daughter and son-in-law to Washington. In the family’s apartment, she shared a bedroom with the Trumans’ daughter, Margaret. And when Truman became president, she moved with them into the White House, where she cast her cold eye on the new commander-in-chief.

“Why would Harry run against that nice Mr. Dewey?” she wondered aloud, as Truman was fighting for his political life in the 1948 presidential race, according to “First Mothers” by Bonnie Angelo. And when Truman fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur for insubordination, Mother Wallace was scandalized. “Imagine a captain from the National Guard [Truman] telling off a West Point general!”

In December 1952, shortly before Truman’s term ended, Madge Wallace died, at age 90. For the 33 years they lived together, she never called her son-in-law anything but “Mr. Truman” to his face.

3. Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Mother-in-Law of the Year

If Truman’s story sounds like the set-up for a film noir, his successor’s relationship with his mother-in-law might have been a Technicolor musical.

Elivera Mathilda Carlson Doud, Mamie Eisenhower’s mother, was “a witty woman with a tart tongue,” Time magazine wrote, and Dwight Eisenhower thought she was a hoot. “She refuted every mother-in-law joke ever made,” Time wrote. There was no question that she would join her daughter and son-in-law in the White House.

Ike called her “Min,” the name of a character in the Andy Gump comic strip. Ike and Min “constituted a mutual admiration society, and each took the other’s part whenever a family disagreement would arise,” said Eisenhower’s son, John. The New York Times observed, “The president frequently looks around him sharply, and inquires, ‘Where’s Min?'”

Widowed shortly before Eisenhower became president, Min spent the winters in the White House and summers at her home in Denver. It was while visiting his mother-in-law’s home that Eisenhower suffered a heart attack in 1955. Two years later, in failing health, Min returned permanently to Denver. She died in 1960, at age 82.

4. Benjamin Harrison and the Reverend Doctor

Benjamin Harrison’s father-in-law, John Witherspoon Scott, bore a double title: “reverend doctor.”

Scott was born in Pennsylvania in 1800, did post-graduate work at Yale and took a professorship in mathematics and science at Miami University, in Ohio. He was also a Presbyterian minister and an outspoken abolitionist. The reverend doctor was rumored to have shielded runaway slaves in his home as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Whatever the truth, Miami University dismissed him for his anti-slavery beliefs.

He accepted a post at Farmer’s College, a prep school in Cincinnati, where he became a mentor of a student named Benjamin Harrison. During his visits to the Scott home, Harrison became friendly with the reverend doctor’s daughter, Caroline.

Young Harrison spent so many evenings at the Scotts’ home that he got the nickname “the pious moonlight dude,” according to “The Complete Book of the Presidents” by William A. DeGregorio. He and Caroline were married in 1853 at the bride’s house. The reverend doctor officiated.

John Witherspoon Scott later became a clerk in the pension office of the interior department. He gave up the position when Harrison was elected president in 1888. A widower since 1876, Scott moved into the White House with his daughter and their family.

It was the president’s custom to lead the family in a half-hour of Bible reading and prayer after breakfast, Anne Chieko Moore and Hester Anne Hale wrote in “Benjamin Harrison: Centennial President.” When the president was absent, his father-in-law took his place.

Caroline Harrison died in October 1892, two weeks before her husband lost the presidential election. Her father died the next month, at age 92. An obituary described John Witherspoon Scott as “a man of wonderful physical vigor, tall, broad chested and well preserved mentally.”

Cute And Cuddly? I Think Not.

Posted in animals on January 11th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Did you hear the one about the Chinese man who found himself in a dilemma?  His son’s toy fell into the panda enclosure at the zoo, so he jumped in after it.  The panda attacked him, and because the creatures are so coveted in China, he didn’t fend off the animal because he feared he would injure him.  He survived the attack, as did the other 2 victims of this particular panda.  But as the below article notes, in China, there is no “3 strikes, you’re out” policy for pandas because they are so highly regarded.  Particularly amusing is the tale of the drunken tourist who was also a victim of this malicious panda.  Read about Gu Gu the not-so-nice panda here:

(CNN) — Gu Gu is not your typical soft and cuddly giant panda.
Zhang Jiao was attacked by Gu Gu the panda when he fell into the pen at the Beijing Zoo on Wednesday.

Zhang Jiao was attacked by Gu Gu the panda when he fell into the pen at the Beijing Zoo on Wednesday.

For the third time, he’s tasted the flesh of an unwitting intruder in his pen at the Beijing Zoo.

His most recent victim was 28-year-old Zhang Jiao, who told CNN he fell into the panda pen Wednesday while trying to catch a small toy thrown by his young son.

“My son and I were playing with a panda doll, throwing it to each other, when I dropped with the toy” into the pen, Zhang said.

The barrier around the pen is about 5 feet tall, but on the other side is a drop of 9 to 10 feet, and Zhang says he could not climb out.

That’s when Gu Gu went on the attack.

The 240-pound giant panda sunk his teeth into Zhang’s left leg before moving on to the right leg.

“The panda is a national treasure, and I love and respect [him], so I didn’t fight back,” Zhang said. “The panda didn’t let go until it chewed up my leg and its mouth was dripping with my blood.”

Zookeepers needed to use tools to pry open Gu Gu’s jaws.

Zhang said he never imagined a panda could be so vicious.

“I always thought they were cute and just ate bamboo,” Zhang said.

According to Dr. Wang Tianbing, who treated Zhang, his wounds were severe, especially the damage done to the muscle and ligaments in his left leg.

“Normally, we think the panda is very tender animal, but actually it’s a bear, not a cat. If the animal thinks it will be hurt by human beings, it is very dangerous.”

Wang should know. In 2007, he treated another one of Gu Gu’s victims, a 15-year-old boy who climbed into the pen to get a closer look. A year earlier, state media reported that a drunken tourist tried to hug the panda, who bit him. In an odd twist, the tourist reportedly bit back.

But being an endangered species and much-loved national icon means there’s no “three strikes and you’re out” for Gu Gu.

In fact, there’s a possibility Zhang may face charges for entering the panda pen.

Zoo officials did not respond to CNN’s request for an interview but are reportedly considering new measures to keep tourists out of Gu Gu’s pen.

A panda’s mouth dripping with blood?  That sounds like a horror movie!

Biological Treasure Trove

Posted in Current Events on December 16th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As a change of pace from the usual “the world is falling apart”-type articles about conservation, I decided to share the following article from CNN.com about an area of Asia called the Mekong Delta region.  Scientists are calling the place a “biological treasure trove” because of its rich diversity of flora and fauna.  1,068 species were discovered there between 1997 and 2007 alone; including 15 new species of mammals.  Fascinating stuff AND something to read that contains promising news about the status of the Earth, rather than the usual bad news and negativity.  Here is the article – I find the part about the hot pink cyanide-producing dragon millipede particularly interesting – there’s a picture of it on cnn.com, see the link at the bottom of this post.

(CNN) — A rat believed to be extinct for 11 million years, a spider with a foot-long legspan, and a hot pink cyanide-producing “dragon millipede” are among the thousand newly discovered species in the largely unexplored Mekong Delta region.
The “dragon millipede” is among the 1,068 new species discovered in the Mekong Delta region.

more photos »  The region, including parts of Vietnam and five other countries, is home to 1,068 species found between 1997 and 2007, according to a World Wildlife Fund report released this week.

Some of the creatures were not lurking in fertile floodplains or tropical foliage.

A scientist visiting an outdoor restaurant was startled to see a Laotian rock rat among the nearby wildlife. The hairy, nocturnal, thick-tailed rat, which resembles a squirrel, had been thought for centuries to be extinct.

“There is a certain amount of shock because our scientists will sometimes see something that doesn’t fit anything they know,” said Dekila Chungyalpa, Director of the Fund’s Mekong Program. “They run through a catalogue of wildlife in their brain, asking themselves, ‘Have I seen this?'”

Perhaps a more startling discovery than the rat was a bright green pit viper scientists spotted slithering through the rafters of a restaurant in Khao Yai National Park in Thailand.

The Fund dubbed the Mekong a “biological treasure trove.” The organization’s report “First Contact in the Greater Mekong” says 519 plants, 279 fish, 88 frogs, 88 spiders, 46 lizards, 22 snakes, 15 mammals, four birds, four turtles, two salamanders and a toad were found.

Scientists are still trying to determine if they have uncovered thousands of new invertebrate species.

Scientists are discovering new species at a rate of two per week, said Chungyalpa, who said the reason for publishing the report now was twofold.

“We realized that we should highlight these discoveries in part because of the legacy of war and conflict in the region,” she said. “There’s an urgency with the threat of development in the Mekong countries.”

A horned bovine found in 1991 living in the evergreen forests of the Annamite Mountains of Laos and Vietnam has not been found in recent years, she said.

Timber development and mining industries are encroaching. There are 150 large hydropower dams that have been constructed along the Mekong river, and another 150 are slated to be built, according to the Fund. Dams that can trap and kill fish are at different stages of planning in the Greater Mekong.

High variation in geography and climate zones that enabled species to flourish are now jeopardized by climate change, said Chungyalpa.

War is always a threat in countries touched by the Mekong River, particularly Burma. Also known as Myanmar, the largest country by geographical area in mainland Southeast Asia has been ravaged over the years by conflict, political instability and natural disaster.

This summer, for example, the United Nations reported that as many as 100,000 people were killed by a cyclone that hit Myanmar. The country’s ruling military junta blocked the outside world for weeks before allowing aid to flow into the region.

There are cultural obstacles to protecting rare species, too. Many restaurants serve them as food. Restaurants often have rickety bamboo floors that one can look through to see cages filled with exotic animals, Chungyalpa says. The more exotic the animal, the more status it often bestows on the person who consumes it.

“Reports [like the WWF’s] are important because these regions can be educated,” said Maureen Aung-Thwin, the director of The Burma Project, which is funded by the George Soros Foundation and supports local Indonesian organizations working toward an open society.
“People are taking climate change more seriously and even the ruling junta have a forestry NGO. There are glimpses of hope,” said Aung-Thwin. “But it’s also a situation where someone could step forward and say ‘We don’t need this’ and cut it all down.”

WWF said it is working with governments and industry to plan the conservation of more than 231,000 square miles of forest and freshwater habitats that cross borders with all countries in the Greater Mekong.

The preceding article was published on CNN.com.  To read the entire original article, click here.

Indiana Jones-ette

Posted in Kids, Movies on December 14th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , ,

Remember that CNN.com article I wrote about the unusual names?  The article spotlighted a little girl named Indiana Elizabeth Jones and her brother, Dow.  Well, this post is not going to be about them.

Rather, it’s an excuse to post a cute photo of my 4-year-old daughter wearing an Indiana Jones-like costume.  For the real buffs out there, I know it’s not exact, but it’s still cute…