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March Feedback

Popular Piccolo Player Performs in Palo Alto

From: Cynthia Costell <flossyrabbitATearthlink.net>

You give me great enthusiasm, Eric. My dad was a journalist and enjoyed writing all his life. How often I have wished he had lived long enough to be an "Internet Kid," as you are.

I am a retired teacher (German, Spanish, English as a Second Language). I play piccolo in a very crazy local marching band. In a couple of months, I'll be 65. Enjoy your day!
- Cindy

You can find out more about the band by clicking HERE.


A Lot of Hot Air

After posting a story about the kilometre-high solar tower last month, we read this earlier comment at Gadgetopia:

An Australian company, EnviroMission Limited, is blasting forward with plans to build a totally new type of clean power generating facility. Their concept consists of a monstrous tube that reaches 1000 meters (that's 3280.84 feet) into the sky and is surrounded by a huge glass solar collector. The idea is for sunlight to hit the solar collector, warming the air below, which rises up the tower, driving a bunch of turbines to generate electricity.

It's a great idea, what with the clean electricity that will be produced, but you've got to wonder what kind of unintended consequences might result from operating one, or several, of these puppies. The solar tower will basically be pumping huge volumes of air to places it wouldn't ordinarily go. I'm no meteorologist, but it seems that doing something like that would tend to disrupt the way the weather works in the area surrounding the tower.


Read the Taos Daily & Horsefly!

Ian Scott-Parker <iscottparkerATpishtush.com> of Hurricane, Utah, complained that our guest writer TV Hagenah had overlooked an outstanding publication in his list of oddly-named newspapers in the US state of New Mexico: the Taos Daily & Horse Fly.

TV <hagenahATria.net> replied:

Despite the Taos Daily & Horsefly's name, it is really a monthly. Apparently, it was started as a daily but could not continue as such, then became a weekly and finally a monthly, still keeping the original name. But as a monthly the New Mexico Press Association which puts out the annual New Mexico Newspaper Directory does not consider it a newspaper. Thus it is not listed.
If you'd like to read the latest issue, click on HORSEFLY.

Watch out for wounded weasels

The aforementioned Ian Scott-Parker also commented on our story about weasels and weasel words:

I always thought it amusing that 'ermine' (another name for the short-tailed weasel) was itself something of a weasel word. I often imagined Richard Dimbleby's portentous tones announcing that the Queen's robes were trimmed with weasel fur.

My daughter Alison kept weasels in the UK. One of them became pregnant, walked across the half positioned lid of the clothes washing machine, and tipped herself into the scalding water. The poor animal recovered, but her teats were badly burned, and she was unable to feed her young when they were born.

Alison and her mother, Deirdre, struggled valiantly to hand-rear the babies, but one by one they died. Deirdre was desperately trying to save the last one when the mother weasel became very agitated. Trying to defend her offspring, she attacked what she must have perceived as a predator.

Thinking she might need tetanus shots for her injuries, Deirdre telephoned our family doctor. He asked what was the problem, and Deirdre told him she had been bitten in the groin by a ferret. The poor man began laughing hysterically, and later was fulsome in his apologies for such unprofessional behavior.

It gets worse.

The doctor prescribed the shots, and Deirdre warned him that she had experienced a violent adverse reaction to previous medication. The doc said when that had been administered, the pharmaceutical companies were extracting the product from horse piss, but now the drug was synthesized there were no problems.

He damn near killed her. As soon as he gave her the shot, she went down like a sack of spuds, and had to be revived with adrenaline injections to get her heart going, and put on an oxygen supply to keep her breathing.

There are people who will tell you that ferrets are not dangerous!

There is an interesting expression used in Cumberland: "You will have to get up very early in the morning if you want to piss in a ferret's eye."

Helen Smith, webmaster of the Australian weasewlwords site, sent us this email:
Thank you for your fabulous article. When I get time, I will add a link to your site on our 'links' page.

I love the instructions on how to look for a lost ferret. My brother had them when I was growing up and they were always escaping. One night they got into the local park. We heard a young boy yell out 'I've got your ferret.' Next thing we heard 'Your ferret's got me.' He'd found Slasher.


Another silhouette artist

Beth Lock, a columnist for MyMac.com, told us about a gifted but handicapped man, Gordon Vales, who tore (instead of cutting) marvelous silhouettes in Spokane, Washington.

"Gordon had an amazing talent.," she wrote in one of her columns. "He would take a piece of black construction paper, glance briefly at a person standing before him, and tear the person's silhouette from the paper using only his fingers. He learned to do this at age five in art class at the institution. The residents were not allowed scissors."

You can read Beth's moving story by clicking on MyMac.


Story first posted April 2005

Copyright 2005

Eric Shackle

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