Thursday, February 19, 2009


The History and Origin of Valentine's Day
BY Tony Luck

The oldest Valentine card still in existence was sent in 1415 by Charles Duke of Orleans, at the time a prisoner in the Tower of London, to his wife. The Duke's Valentine's card is now preserved and displayed in the British Museum.

However, the origins of Valentine's Day lie in ancient Rome. Over the years the ever expanding Roman empire became more difficult to police and there was an increasing shortage of soldiers. Believing that married men were too attached to their families and unlikely to sign up for active service, Emperor Claudius II banned marriage, thinking this would increase the number of quality recruits.

The story goes that a Christian priest by the name of Valentine, seeing the unhappiness and trauma that resulted, secretly married couples in defiance of the new law.

It wasn't long before Emperor Claudius found out about Valentine's actions and the priest was imprisoned and eventually executed on February 14, 270.

Whilst in prison, Valentine was befriended by his jailer, a character called Asterius. Asterius had a blind daughter and the jailer asked Valentine to cure her, which he supposedly did. Shortly before his execution, Valentine asked for writing implements and signed a farewell message to the jailer's daughter "From your Valentine", a phrase that has lived on, much to the delight of modern day florists, rose growers and card companies!

Friday, February 6, 2009


CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP): President Hugo Chavez condemned Saturday's attack on Caracas' main synagogue, which he said was being used by "the bourgeoisie" to fan unrest ahead of a crucial referendum next week on his bid for unlimited reelection.

"They accuse me of being anti-semitic. I don't hate Jews, and I call on all Venezuelan Jews not to let themselves be used," Chavez said during a military parade in Maracay, 80 kilometers (50 miles) southeast of Caracas.

"The government rejects any attack against any temple of the Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, or any other faith," Chavez said in regards to early Saturday's attack on the Tifert Israel Synagogue by 15 people who destroyed scripture books and sprayed the building with anti-semitic graffiti.

President Hugo Chavez as he delivers a speech in Maracay during a military parade. AFP PHOTO
Chavez accused the "Venezuelan bourgeoisie" of turning the attack into an "international scandal" to promote anti-government unrest ahead of the February 15 referendum on a constitutional amendment lifting term limits for elected officials.

"Don't let yourselves be used by the war laboratories of the bourgeoisie, who are trying to stop the 'yes' vote from winning," Chavez told the Jewish community.

The brainchild of Chavez, the referendum is his second attempt at keeping himself in power beyond his constitutionally mandated two terms in office that expire in 2012. A similar referendum was defeated in late 2007.

Elias Farache, president of Venezuela's Jewish Association, last week blamed the synagogue attack on tensions fueled by Chavez' decision to break diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv in protest over Israel's military assault in the Gaza Strip.

Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro met with Jewish leaders Wednesday to convey Chavez' repudiation of the synagogue attack, which he later described to reporters as a "top-level professional, surgical operation" that was under close investigation.

"We'll capture (the culprits) and we'll punish them with the full weight of the law, whoever they are," he added.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Spain issues Cuba's first 'grandchildren' passport

Published on Friday, February 6, 2009
By Esteban Israel

HAVANA, Cuba (Reuters): Spain issued on Thursday the first of a projected 200,000 passports for Cubans who qualify for Spanish citizenship under the country's "historical memory" law.

The first recipient, 38-year-old cardiologist Norberto Luis Diaz, said he already had his bags packed for a flight on Sunday to Spain, retracing in reverse the journey his grandfather made when he emigrated to Cuba in 1916.

"It's the most important day of my life. I am happy," he said upon receiving his purple-colored passport in the office of Spain's consul general.

The Law of Historical Memory makes grandchildren of Spanish immigrants eligible for citizenship, and Spain has estimated 1 million people around the world, including 200,000 Cubans, could apply.

There are special provisions for descendants of exiles who had to flee the country and renounce their citizenship due to the Spanish civil war.

The Spanish consulate in Havana has received more than 25,000 applications since the law took effect on December 29.

A Spanish passport will allow Cubans to emigrate legally to Spain or, if they stay in Cuba, make it easier for them to travel abroad.

"This passport will allow them to travel, but our evaluation is that this in no way signifies an exodus of Cubans," Consul General Pablo Barrios told reporters.

Cuba, battered by economic crisis for more than 15 years, could have the second highest number of people qualifying for Spanish citizenship, following only Argentina.
Diplomats at the Havana consulate did not know if other "historic memory" passports already have been issued in other countries.

While a smiling Diaz received his passport, dozens of other Cubans waited in line outside the consulate to make their applications.

Some arrived from the farthest corners of the island, including Reymundo Puentes, who came from Puerto Padre, more than 435 miles east of Havana.

"I have always had the desire to know my ancestors' roots. If they have given us this opportunity -- OK, it's good," said the 58-year-old evangelical preacher.

An estimated 1 million Spaniards emigrated to Cuba at the beginning of the 20th century, including the father of Cuban leaders Fidel and Raul Castro.

"I don't feel like I'm going to a strange country. I return to my ancestors," said the cardiologist Diaz, who said he has a work offer waiting for him in the Spanish city of Valencia.

"Long live Spain," he shouted.

Monday, February 2, 2009


These are our rules!
Please note.. these are all numbered '1 '

1. Men are NOT mind readers.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat.
You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down.
We need it up, you need it down.
You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday sports. It's like the full moon
or the changing of the tides.
Let it be.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want.
Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work!
Obvious hints do not work!
Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only IF YOU WANT HELP SOLVING IT. THAT'S WHAT WE DO.
Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument.
In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days.

1. If you think you're fat, you probably are.
Don't ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the OTHER ONE

1. You can either ask us to do something
Or tell us how you want it done.
Not both.
If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during commercials..

1. Christopher Columbus did NOT NEED DIRECTIONS AND NEITHER DO WE.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings.
Peach, for example, is a fruit, not A COLOR. PUMPKIN IS ALSO A FRUIT. WE HAVE no IDEA WHAT MAUVE IS.

1. If it itches, it will BE SCRATCHED.
We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say 'nothing,' We will act like nothing's wrong.
We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, Expect an answer you don't want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine... Really .

1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball or
motor sports

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape. Round IS A SHAPE!

1. Thank you for reading this.
Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight;

But did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.

Pass this to as many men as you can -
to give them a laugh.

Pass this to as many women as you can -

to give them a bigger



Sunday, February 1, 2009


Seagulls attack shoppers for food
SOUTH SHIELDS, England (UPI) -- Pedestrians on a South Shields, England, street say aggressive seagulls have been stealing food from shoppers.

One shopper, a 27-year-old woman, said a seagull snatched a sandwich out of her hands on King Street, The Telegraph reported.

"All I was doing was trying to eat my sandwich and I get attacked by a giant seagull," she said. "It was quite scary -- I had no idea they were so ruthless. It was like that Alfred Hitchcock film, 'The Birds.'"

Catriona Campbell, 19, a sales assistant who works outside on King Street, said the seagulls are "horrible."

"I once saw one land on a man's head. It just reached over and grabbed his pasty out of his hand then flew off," she said. "It happens all the time. It's because people don't dispose of their leftover food properly and the seagulls take advantage of an easy meal."

Copyright 2008 by United Press International


DAYTON, Nev. – Gabriel Hurles' sixth birthday party wasn't a surprise, but his present sure was. The kindergartner was so engrossed in the cupcakes his mother brought to his class on Wednesday that he didn't notice the enormous wrapped box off to the side.

"That's one big, giant present," a 6-year-old classmate told him. "See what you got, Gabriel."

Gabriel peeled back the wrapping paper to find the surprise of his young life — his father, an Army mechanic back in Nevada on leave from his second tour in Iraq.

"It's my dad!" he announced to his classmates at Sutro Elementary School in Dayton, a few miles northeast of Carson City. "Hi, Daddy."

Army Spc. Casey Hurles, 23, hadn't seen his son since he left in June. When he learned his leave would coincide with his son's birthday, he hatched a plan to hide out in the 4-foot-tall box.

"It was such a rush of emotion," said Hurles, who said he got butterflies in his stomach while waiting in the box.

After Hurles sat down and ate a cupcake with the birthday boy, teacher Dawn VanSickle presented him with a banner from the class that read, "Welcome Home. Thank you for your service."

VanSickle said she was happy to arrange the reunion in her classroom.

"One of the first things (Gabriel) shared about himself was that his dad was in Iraq and that he was waiting for his dad to come home," she said. "He talks about his dad all the time."

Hurles, who joined the Army four years ago, is a mechanic in the 1st Cavalry Division stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. He completed one tour in Iraq and is seven months into his second tour. He expects to finish sometime this summer.

Gabriel said he looks forward to playing with his dad over the next two weeks but understands why he has to leave again.

"He has to work," Gabriel said. "He works in the war."