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The Truth is Black and White

While browsing the internet, I came across an article on NYMag.com that shows a picture of the Russian Socialite, Dasha Zhukova, sitting atop a chair that is composed of a  leather seat attached to a statue of a near-naked black woman.  Clad only in very short hot pants and tall leather boots, the woman is depicted in a contorted pose and the leather seat rests upon her laurels.   The image of Zhukova was initially published in an article on  Buro 24/7 on 01/20/14, the day celebrated as Martin Luther King Day in the US.   To say that the public outcry was swift and heated would be putting it mildly.  Miroslava Duma, the fashion editor and owner of the site, quickly cropped said photo and issued an apology for the apparently unintentional act of racism.  Both Duma and Zhukova have issued public apologies, stating their abhorrence of racism.  While I know nothing of either woman, or their personal beliefs, I do know that the truth is black and white. “Artwork” that depicts the objectification, oppression, dehumanization, and/or humiliation of anyone is tasteless and deplorable.

The chair in the photo that sparked the outrage was created by Bjarne Melgaard, a New York based artist born in Norway.

the truth is black and white

The Chair by Bjarne Melgaard is meant to be reminiscent of the controversial Chair by Allen Jones, which was created in 1969 and later damaged with paint stripper by feminists in 1986.

Never mind the fact that one of my daughter’s is bi-racial, this “artwork” is offensive to me on so many levels.  As a Christian.  As a Woman.  As a Wife.  As a Mother.  <–Just to name a few.

What do you think?

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Lucky Day for Elephant Pair

elephant pair stuck in mudA pair of elephants, a mother and her calf, became stuck in quagmire in Zambia yesterday.

On their side of the international date line it was 11-11-11.

According to reports, the pair became stuck when the mother elephant attempted to rescue the baby from the muddy lagoon, and then they refused to be separated.   With drying mud limiting their movement, as they struggled for freedom, they began to tire.  When conservationists at the Kapani Safari Lodge in Zambia saw that the pair were losing the struggle to gain freedom, they broke their customary mindset, that man should not interfere with mother nature, and intervened.

They teamed up with South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS) and the local wildlife authority to come up with a plan to get the two elephants back on solid ground.

elephant calf pulled from mudThe team slipped a rope around the calf’s belly, and after several attempts, managed to pull her to freedom.  Despite being pulled from the mud, the baby elephant was hesitant to leave her mother, and had to be pulled further away before the rope was removed.  She reluctantly turned and ran to the herd who stood nearby watching.

The mother elephant’s weight proved to be too much for the rope and human hands alone.  Rescuers brought in a tractor and attached the rope to the tractor to haul her out.

After the dramatic rescue, rescue team member Rachel McRobb, who is from from the South Luangwa Conservation Society, said: “Most conservationists believe that man should not meddle with the natural order and that we should allow nature to run her course however cruel or grim it seems to be.  We agree on the whole, unless a wildlife problem has been created by man (for instance in the case of snaring or being trapped in a fence, in which case it’s justifiable to intervene) then nature should be left to her own devices. She has a plan.

However – every rule has an exception and the dreadful plight of a baby elephant trapped in the mud of the Kapani Lagoon and her mother, who had also got stuck trying to save her yesterday had us all in a frenzy of activity.

We simply could not stand by and watch them struggle and slowly die.”

I’ve often heard people wish for the luck of an elephant, and say that an elephant with his trunk up brings good luck… in this case, the elephants good luck came from human hands.

Three cheers for South Luangwa Conservation Society and the Norman Carr Safari staff who made 11-11-11 a lucky day for this elephant pair.

I, for one, am glad that they chose to meddle with the natural order.

source: Norman Carr Safaris

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B.D. Sports | Charred But Not Crushed

trophies litter the sidewalk outside of the former B.D. SportsYou might recall, from a previous post, that my brother’s workplace, B.D. Sports, was destroyed by the Alton fire on 10/01/11.  At the time of that posting, the fire was still being battled by several fire departments, and had destroyed two businesses.  When all that remained of the fire was ash, five businesses were destroyed.

When I stopped by a few days later, tears sprang to my eyes.  To see such destruction was devastating—to know how it affected my brother, and his friend Jason, was heartbreaking.

Though Jason had requested quotes from an agent just a few days prior, B.D. Sports was without insurance, and he lost nearly everything when fire destroyed approximately $300,000 in equipment and inventory.  The loss included all of the businesses records, as well as the clothes from their label, CageReady Fight Wear, which Darrel and Jason formed because they are both fight fans and know what fans and fighters like to wear.

<—Trophies, a small testament to the business, litter the sidewalk outside of the former B.D. Sports, which was destroyed by the fire.  To see more photos of the damage caused by the fire, check out my Alton Fire album.

After the fire, Darrel called and asked if he and Jason could use our laser printer.  Of course, I said yes, we would work out the logistics.  I live on the opposite side of the mighty Mississippi River than they do, and generally only go to the Illinois side when I volunteer on Mondays.  So, we hashed out a plan that I would pick him up after my volunteer shift ended, and bring him back home with me.  He would use our printer to print the transparencies that he needed to screen print, and then I would take him back home.  It would mean driving to Illinois twice in one day for me, but it was a small sacrifice, considering all they had lost.

imageOn Monday, though, Darrel called me and told me that a colleague offered to allow B.D. Sports to use the printing press that he had in his basement, saying that if they needed it for six months, they were welcome.  Having access to a printing press so quickly after the fire was a complete Godwink, so they decided it would be a better use of their time if they got a new printer and Darrel stayed on the Illinois side, trying to recover artwork from emails that had been sent to customers while also printing the transparencies.   While I was a bit bummed that he wasn’t coming over (I was looking forward to feeding him dinner), I was ecstatic that a colleague stepped up and offered to share his equipment.

In the two weeks that have passed since the fire, Darrel and Jason have worked like mad to fulfill orders that had been placed before the fire.  And because they are eager to rebuild, they are seeking new business.

Another colleague, from Sport Fighting League (SFL) , has also stepped up to help rebuild the dream by hosting a CageReady Fight Wear Benefit fight on November 4, 2011.

Proceeds from the fight, which will be at the Heart of St. Charles Banquet Center in St. Charles, Missouri, will help Jason and Darrel rebuild B.D. Sports and CageReady Fight Wear.

CageReady Fight Wear will be available at the benefit fight.   If you are unable to attend the benefit fight night, and are interested in purchasing CageReady Fight Wear, contact B.D. Sports.

Tickets for the fight range from $20 to $40 and can be obtained by calling B.D. Sports at 618-462-5861 or 618-530-9630.

You can also contact B.D. Sports by email at bd_sports@piasanet.com with inquiries or quote requests.

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Fire Destroys Businesses | Scorches Dreams in Alton, Illinois

I received a phone call from my sister this afternoon.  It started out something like, “You need to be praying…” and immediately my stomach sank.  Calls that start like that are never good news.  KWIM?

She went on to tell me that the building where my brother, Darrel, works was on fire.

I couldn’t help but think back to the time, years ago, when Darrel was burned in a fire while at work.  That day, our neighbor had come running across the street in a panic and told my Mom that they had rushed Darrel to Barnes Hospital in St. Louis in serious condition.  He nearly died that day.  He spent time in the Burn Unit at Barnes Hospital.  When he came home, Mom had to change his wound bandages routinely, and the smell of his charred imageskin was pretty disgusting.   I was petrified of losing my brother then, and all of those feelings welled to the surface.

“He got out,” she said, “but the building is still burning, and there are at least three fire departments battling the blaze.”

My heart did a little leap when she said that he got out.  That is good news.  But it sank a bit when she said the building was still on fire.  You see, the business where he works is in the one of oldest parts of downtown Alton, Illinois, on the 600 block of Broadway.  The building housed several businesses at street level and tenant apartments above. As you know, a small spark in an old building can reek havoc on the entire place.

image source

I sent my brother a text as I told my husband what was happening, and then jumped on his Facebook to see if there was any updates on there,.

Within minutes, my phone was ringing, and tears of joy sprang from my eyes as I answered the phone and heard my brother say, “Hey Sis, I’m okay.”  Of course, my sister told me that he was, but hearing his voice say it just did something.

I asked him what happened.  He said that he and his boss, Jason, were in BD Sports, where he works, when someone started pounding on the door of the business.  He went to check the door and saw smoke at the ceiling.  He saw smoke coming from under the basement door, grabbed the fire extinguisher, and started to open the basement door.  When he did, a plume of black smoke greeted him.  He ran to tell the others to get out of the building and then saw flames were shooting up through a vent. They were able to get out, and as one dialed 9-1-1, the other ran up the stairs and pounded on the tenant apartment doors to make sure no tenants were up there.

I asked if he knew who had pounded on the door.  He said it was Donna from Donna’s Cakery next door.

Ten hours later, it is reported that fire crews continue to battle the fire that resulted in multiple fire departments being called out.  At lease two of the businesses, BD Sports and Donna’s Cakery, are reportedly destroyed.

As I have watched news coverage of the fire and read the updates online, I can’t help but thank the Lord that Donna thought to alert them of the smoke.

The 600 block of Broadway was home to a lot of mom and pop type shops.  The kind that will find it very difficult, if not impossible, to recover from such devastation.

Your prayers for all of them are earnestly coveted.

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Pre-Order Kindle Fire

I think I just drooled myself… Amazon announced you can now pre-order the new Kindle Fire, which will be released on November 15, 2011.

Kindle Fire

Movies, apps, games, music, reading and more, plus Amazon’s revolutionary, cloud-accelerated web browser

  • 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books
  • Amazon Appstore – thousands of popular apps and games
  • Ultra-fast web browsing – Amazon Silk
  • Free cloud storage for all your Amazon content
  • Vibrant color touchscreen with extra-wide viewing angle
  • Fast, powerful dual-core processor
  • Amazon Prime members enjoy unlimited, instant streaming of over 10,000 popular movies and TV shows
  • Over 2 million free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are also available such as Pride and Prejudice.

Kindle Fire

Pre-order the Kindle Fire for just $199.

The long awaited tablet from Amazon runs a heavily modified version of Android.  It has 8GB storage, wi-fi, and is able to stream lots of stuff.  And, it is pretty comparable to the Color Nook that it is competing directly with.

image

chart from PCMag

The biggest differences, that I can see, between the Kindle Fire and the Nook Color, other than the $50 in price, are:

  • The Kindle Fire does NOT offer expandable storage, whereas the Nook Color does.
  • The Kindle Fire has a dual core processor, whereas the Nook Color does NOT.
  • The Kindle Fire has 22x the number of available apps than the Nook Color.

With the pending release of the Kindle Fire, Amazon has also re-vamped three favorites…

New Latest Generation Kindle-Fits In Your Pocket-Only $79

The new latest generation Kindle is for readers who want the lightest, most compact Kindle at an incredible price. The latest generation Kindle features a new design that is 30 percent lighter at just 5.98 ounces, 18 percent smaller, and turns pages 10 percent faster. Kindle is now small and light enough to fit easily in your pocket and carry with you everywhere, yet it still features the same 6-inch, most advanced electronic ink display that reads like real paper, even in bright sunlight.  You can also now borrow Kindle books from your local library!!!

New Addition to the Kindle Family-”Kindle Touch”-Only $99


Kindle Touch is a new addition to the Kindle family with an easy-to-use touch screen that makes it easier than ever to turn pages, search, shop, and take notes – still with all the benefits of the most advanced electronic ink display. Kindle Touch is also lighter, smaller, eliminates battery anxiety with extra-long battery life and holds thousands of books.
Kindle Touch is available to customers in the U.S. for pre-order starting today at www.amazon.com/kindletouch and ships November 21.

New Top of the Line Kindle e-reader-”Kindle Touch 3G” -Only $149

Kindle Touch 3G is a new addition to the Kindle family for readers who want the top of the line e-reader. Kindle Touch 3G offers the same new design and features of Kindle Touch – small and light, easy-to-use touch screen, storage for thousands of books, and extra-long battery life – with the unparalleled added convenience of free 3G. Kindle’s free 3G connection means you never have to hunt for or pay for a Wi-Fi hotspot – you simply download and read books anytime, anywhere in over 100 countries around the world. Amazon pays for the 3G connection so there’s no monthly fee or annual contract.
Kindle Touch 3G is available to customers in the U.S. for pre-order starting today at www.amazon.com/kindletouch3G and ships November 21.

All three new Kindle e-readers also come with special offers and sponsored screensavers that appear when you’re not reading. Customers enjoy special money-saving offers delivered wirelessly, including discounts on local services, products, and experiences from AmazonLocal, Amazon’s local deals marketplace. Customers can also choose to purchase a Kindle without special offers and sponsored screensavers.

Shop for your new Kindle today on Amazon.

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