News for Parrots

Yes, this story reminded me of a Monty Python sketch by that name:

Still, it’s heartwarming to read a news story with a happy ending.  An Amazon parrot in Gastonia, NC, flew away from home five years ago, and just now has been returned to her original owner.  The parrot in question is a double-yellow-headed Amazon, not the same breed as our Brin-Brin, but close.

Amazon parrot finds its way home

On the other hand, I’m hearing a lot about natural disasters in the Pacific:  82 dead from a tsunami that hit American Samoa, and 282 dead after a typhoon hit the Philippines, dumping a month’s worth of rain on Manila in twelve hours.  Of course I’m following the story from the Philippines because of my in-laws, though currently the only one I know of in Manila is Magdalena Bendoy, the absentee mother of the kids we are working to adopt.  I’m guessing that if she got washed away by the flood waters, the Philippine government will let the kids come over here with no more foot-dragging.  On the other hand, Leive thinks she is all right, and after folks are done cleaning up from the storm, she’ll still be holding out for money, an American husband, and whatever else she might get for signing over the kids to us.

Meanwhile, did you hear this?  Here is a story that sounds a lot like a scene from a movie.  I can picture it now:

Among those stranded by the floodwaters was young actress Christine Reyes, who was rescued by movie and TV heartthrob Richard Gutierrez from the rooftop of her home near Manila after she made a frantic call for help to a local TV network with her mobile phone.
“If the rains do not stop, the water will reach the roof. We do not know what to do. My mother doesn’t know how to swim,” she said, weeping.
Gutierrez, a close friend and Reyes’ co-star in an upcoming movie, heard of her plight, borrowed an army speedboat and ferried Reyes, her mother and two young children to safety.
“I thought it was our ending but I did not lose hope,” Reyes said, thanking Gutierrez. “Let us help those who have not yet been rescued.”

Among those stranded by the floodwaters was young actress Christine Reyes, who was rescued by movie and TV heartthrob Richard Gutierrez from the rooftop of her home near Manila after she made a frantic call for help to a local TV network with her mobile phone.

“If the rains do not stop, the water will reach the roof. We do not know what to do. My mother doesn’t know how to swim,” she said, weeping.

Gutierrez, a close friend and Reyes’ co-star in an upcoming movie, heard of her plight, borrowed an army speedboat and ferried Reyes, her mother and two young children to safety.

“I thought it was our ending but I did not lose hope,” Reyes said, thanking Gutierrez. “Let us help those who have not yet been rescued.”

Source:  http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,556305,00.html

Winds of Seasonal Change

Over the weekend, nature let us know that fall is here.  The rain stopped, so that on Sunday I finally got to mow the lawn.  This time I did both the back and front yards, just in case the clouds come back.  Today it was both sunny and windy, and quite a few leaves came off the trees on our road, though they’re all still green.  It’s also getting colder.  Today it was in the 60s for most of the day, and we expect the temperature to dip down in the 40s tonight.  Since Leive dislikes the cold, I told her that her time of the year has just ended, and mine has begun.

Come Blast Off With Me!

Two weeks ago at this time, I was completing a trip to Las Vegas.  I went there not for pleasure, but to attend the latest convention of Pre-Paid Legal Services.  I had heard beforehand that they were going to launch a new marketing plan that would overhaul PPL completely, and those who were at the convention would be the first to take advantage of it, so I went.
On the page where I posted the photos of my trip ( see the “Last Vegas, 2009″ link at the top of this page, or go to  https://xenohistorian.wordpress.com/last-vegas-2009/ ), I only told a little bit about the announcement.  Now I’m going to tell you the rest.

Two weeks ago at this time, I was completing a trip to Las Vegas.  I went there not for pleasure, but to attend the latest convention of Pre-Paid Legal Services.  I had heard beforehand that they were going to launch a new marketing plan that would overhaul PPL completely, and those who were at the convention would be the first to take advantage of it, so I went.

On the page where I posted the photos of my trip ( see the Last Vegas, 2009 link at the top of this page), I only told a little bit about the announcement.  Now I’m going to tell you the rest.

The plan is a partnership with a brand new website, the Blastoff Network.  Blastoff is a cool home page/portal page, which allows Internet users to shop online, learn about Pre-Paid Legal, read news and sports stories, watch videos on sites like YouTube and Hulu.com, and even play online games.

The shopping section is what makes Blastoff different from Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites, and what promises to quickly make Blastoff much bigger than the others.  “Bigger” as in a matter of months; by the end of the year both Blastoff and Pre-Paid Legal will be household words, because PPL ads will be at the top of the Blastoff pages.  From the Blastoff pages are links to about 400 online merchants.  Big companies that you probably shop at already:  K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Target, Priceline, Travelocity, The Gap, Starbucks, Macy’s, Avis, and so on.  If you go through Blastoff to do your online shopping with these merchants, you will receive anywhere from 1 to 15 percent in rebates, depending on the store.  If you refer other people to your Blastoff page and they sign up for one, you will get a percentage of what they pay from their shopping, too, as well as a percentage from the people who sign up under them., and so on.

When the network grows, you will get commissions from people as far as ten levels below you, or as some people call it, “ten degrees of separation.”  This becomes twenty levels if you are a Pre-Paid Legal associate.  Thus, those plugged into the network can earn a lot for doing a little.  As the ‘80s band Dire Straits would say, “Money for nothing and the clicks are free!”

Take a look at my Blastoff home page for a better idea of what I am talking about:

http://ppl.blastoffnetwork.com/charlesskimball04

And here are some more videos:

https://www.prepaidlegal.com/blastoff/

http://www.livingalegacy.info

In the half century I have walked on this earth, I have never seen a business opportunity that held as much promise as this one.  Period.  Currently, only Pre-Paid Legal associates are allowed to be in the network; each of them now has a Blastoff page already, and they are in the same organization as the PPL one they are signed up with.  On October 11, we will be allowed to start sending out e-mail invitations to join, and on October 26, it will become possible to join Blastoff for free, without joining Pre-Paid Legal first.  Because of the schedule, and because associates will be allowed to earn commissions from those farther down in the network, those who make the most money from Blastoff will be those who are in Pre-Paid Legal no later than October 10.  Finally, the company has made it a no-brainer, by cutting the price of the $249 Fast Start Package again, this time to $72.  But this special won’t last long, it’s only good for September, so if you want to get in near the top of the network, you’d better do it now.  In that case, I hope to hear from you soon!

Joseph’s Coins?

First, an update to the previous message.  Do football games ever get rained out? I guess I’ll find out today. It rained all night (with lightning), it’s raining now, and there’s an 80% chance of rain for the rest of the day, so I don’t think it will dry out in time for the game between the University of Kentucky and the Florida Gators.  The good news is that not a drop came in through the leaky back door, the one that gave us problems last winter.  I guess the wind wasn’t blowing the right way.

Yesterday I read a strange story from Israel National News, about some coins discovered in Egypt, which are supposedly from the time of Joseph.  They were quoting an article from Egypt’s Al-Ahram and MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, translated it.  Normally INN (also called Arutz Sheva) is my favorite Israeli news source, but somebody, either INN or Al-Ahram, didn’t do enough research, because I am full of questions and skepticism.  Here is part of the article:

“…discovered many charms from various eras before and after the period of Joseph, including one that bore his effigy as the minister of the treasury in the Egyptian pharaoh’s court…”
An Egyptian paper claims that archaeologists have discovered ancient Egyptian coins bearing the name and image of the Biblical Joseph.
The report in Al-Ahram boasts that the find backs up the Koran’s claim that coins were used in Egypt during Joseph’s period. Joseph, son of the Patriarch Jacob, died around 1450 B.C.E., according to Jewish sources.
Excerpts from the Al-Ahram report, as translated by Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI):
“In an unprecedented find, a group of Egyptian researchers and archeologists has discovered a cache of coins from the time of the Pharaohs. Its importance lies in the fact that it provides decisive scientific evidence disproving the claim by some historians that the ancient Egyptians were unfamiliar with coins and conducted their trade through barter.
“The researchers discovered the coins when they sifted through thousands of small archeological artifacts stored in [the vaults of] the Museum of Egypt. [Initially] they took them for charms, but a thorough examination revealed that the coins bore the year in which they were minted and their value, or effigies of the pharaohs [who ruled] at the time of their minting. Some of the coins are from the time when Joseph lived in Egypt, and bear his name and portrait.
“There used to be a misconception that trade [in Ancient Egypt] was conducted through barter, and that Egyptian wheat, for example, was traded for other goods. But surprisingly, Koranic verses indicate clearly that coins were used in Egypt in the time of Joseph…
“Research team head Dr. Sa’id Muhammad Thabet said that during his archeological research on the Prophet Joseph, he had discovered in the vaults of the [Egyptian] Antiquities Authority and of the National Museum many charms from various eras before and after the period of Joseph, including one that bore his effigy as the minister of the treasury in the Egyptian pharaoh’s court…
“Studies by Dr. Thabet’s team have revealed that what most archeologists took for a kind of charm, and others took for an ornament or adornment, is actually a coin. Several [facts led them to this conclusion]: first, [the fact that] many such coins have been found at various [archeological sites], and also [the fact that] they are round or oval in shape, and have two faces: one with an inscription, called the inscribed face, and one with an image, called the engraved face – just like the coins we use today.
“The archeological finding is also based on the fact that the inscribed face bore the name of Egypt, a date, and a value, while the engraved face bore the name and image of one of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs or gods, or else a symbol connected with these. Another telling fact is that the coins come in different sizes and are made of different materials, including ivory, precious stones, copper, silver, gold, etc.”

An Egyptian paper claims that archaeologists have discovered ancient Egyptian coins bearing the name and image of the Biblical Joseph.

The report in Al-Ahram boasts that the find backs up the Koran’s claim that coins were used in Egypt during Joseph’s period. Joseph, son of the Patriarch Jacob, died around 1450 B.C.E., according to Jewish sources.

Excerpts from the Al-Ahram report, as translated by Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI):

“In an unprecedented find, a group of Egyptian researchers and archeologists has discovered a cache of coins from the time of the Pharaohs. Its importance lies in the fact that it provides decisive scientific evidence disproving the claim by some historians that the ancient Egyptians were unfamiliar with coins and conducted their trade through barter.

“The researchers discovered the coins when they sifted through thousands of small archeological artifacts stored in [the vaults of] the Museum of Egypt. [Initially] they took them for charms, but a thorough examination revealed that the coins bore the year in which they were minted and their value, or effigies of the pharaohs [who ruled] at the time of their minting. Some of the coins are from the time when Joseph lived in Egypt, and bear his name and portrait.

“There used to be a misconception that trade [in Ancient Egypt] was conducted through barter, and that Egyptian wheat, for example, was traded for other goods. But surprisingly, Koranic verses indicate clearly that coins were used in Egypt in the time of Joseph…

“Research team head Dr. Sa’id Muhammad Thabet said that during his archeological research on the Prophet Joseph, he had discovered in the vaults of the [Egyptian] Antiquities Authority and of the National Museum many charms from various eras before and after the period of Joseph, including one that bore his effigy as the minister of the treasury in the Egyptian pharaoh’s court…

“Studies by Dr. Thabet’s team have revealed that what most archeologists took for a kind of charm, and others took for an ornament or adornment, is actually a coin. Several [facts led them to this conclusion]: first, [the fact that] many such coins have been found at various [archeological sites], and also [the fact that] they are round or oval in shape, and have two faces: one with an inscription, called the inscribed face, and one with an image, called the engraved face – just like the coins we use today.

“The archeological finding is also based on the fact that the inscribed face bore the name of Egypt, a date, and a value, while the engraved face bore the name and image of one of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs or gods, or else a symbol connected with these. Another telling fact is that the coins come in different sizes and are made of different materials, including ivory, precious stones, copper, silver, gold, etc.”

Source:  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/133601

And here is my response:

Coins from the time of Joseph? Not bloody likely! First of all, most history texts will tell you that money is a Lydian invention, appearing no earlier than 700 B.C. We don’t see coins anywhere else until the Persians started minting Darics, around 520 B.C. Therefore I wouldn’t expect to find any Egyptian coins older than the XXVII dynasty.

Second, it would have helped if the story had mentioned which pharaoh was mentioned on the coins. Probably Thutmose III or Amenhotep II, if the 1450 B.C. date is correct, and they are going by the most widely accepted chronology. However, I don’t know of anybody who puts Joseph that late. Most chronologies have him living around 1662 or 1877 B.C., which would put him either in the Middle Kingdom or the Second Intermediate Period (also called the Hyksos era).

By the way, last spring they had a fine exhibit of 200 Egyptian artifacts at the University of Kentucky, which had been found a hundred years ago by the great Egyptologist, Sir Flinders Petrie. Among other things, I saw a black granite statue of an unnamed, tired-looking court official, from the late XII dynasty. The card on the glass case said he must been been a very important person, to receive a statue that was so realistic. Because of the date, I’m guessing that it’s none other than Potiphar, the former owner of Joseph. I heard once that the last important Middle Kingdom pharaoh, Amenemhet III, had a treasurer named Ptahwer, and this could be another spelling of the same name.

Third, Moslems also believe that Alexander the Great visited Mecca and practiced Islam. Since Mohammed was born 892 years after Alexander’s death, I think it’s safe to say that the Koran is not a reliable source on ancient history. Most Moslems aren’t interested in events before Mohammed’s lifetime anyway, and will dismiss it as the “Age of Ignorance.” On the other hand, the Biblical stories of Joseph and Moses seems to agree with the idea that Egypt had a barter economy; for example, Joseph taxed the people during the seven good years by taking one fifth of their crops and storing it. We don’t hear of him storing gold or silver, and when the Hebrews left Egypt, they took the jewelry of the Egyptians, not their money.

One Year Until the Games

Today marks exactly one year until the FEI World Equestrian Games come here.  I haven’t heard too much about them lately, so I hope we’ll be ready when the horsey Olympics begin.  I know the downtown renovations are behind schedule, anyway.

Speaking of which, tomorrow is another big game in Commonwealth Stadium, UK against the Florida Gators.  Last Saturday they had the first home football game of the season, a match between rivals, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.  It was a big deal, of course, and we were happy to see the Wildcats beat the Cardinals, 31-27.  However, Leive and I drove by the stadium the next day, and we were surprised at how much trash was lying around, from those who set up tents outside.  I don’t know which is worse, that the fans don’t seem to care about where their trash goes, or that the city and the university took so long to pick it up.

Today I took half a day off from work, and went downtown again to take care of the paperwork involved with transferring the title of my mother’s car to me.  The papers came back from Florida last week, and this time I was told that most of them were in order, except for one that my Dad needs to sign and get notarized.  Oh well, at least an end is in sight to this long, drawn-out affair.

It is raining again here as I write this; in fact, it has been raining almost every day this month.  So much so that I have been able to mow the front yard once, but haven’t been able to mow the backyard since I returned from Las Vegas.  Hopefully it will dry out over the weekend, because I understand it will get cold next week.  Maybe the next time I mow the lawn will be the last for this year.

Finally, today marks exactly twenty years since I started working at Ticketmaster, one of the longest-lasting jobs I had in Florida (1989-97).  It is hard to believe nearly a generation has passed since then.  I still remember taking my daughter there when she was two years old, and now she has her own baby on the way!

An Ahmadinejad Top Ten List

Okay, it looks like the gala for villains at the United Nations is over, for this year, anyway.  Gosh, the way Muammar el-Gaddafi acted, taking more than an hour to make a speech that should have only lasted ten minutes, ought to make folks think twice before inviting him again.  And if I was President Obama, I don’t think I’d want to be remembered in the same time and place as Gaddafi, or Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Hmmm, Gaddafi is both a Marxist and a Moslem, do we know anybody else like that?

Anyway, I still hear “top ten” lists from time to time, but it has been a while since I heard one that I liked.  Now here’s one they played on the radio this morning:

THE TOP TEN THINGS MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD DID IN NEW YORK

10.  Went to see Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi,” and was disappointed to learn he’s not a real Nazi.

9.  Saw “The Phantom of the Opera” with his pal, Rosie O’Donnell.

8.  Sent insurgents across the border into New Jersey.

7.  Visited a Virgin Megastore, only to find it had nothing to do with 72 virgins in Paradise.

6.  Went to the Ed Sullivan Theater to find out what a nuclear winter feels like.

5.  Enjoyed a ’70s nostalgia reunion with several former US embassy hostages.

4.  Spent $12 for a cup of coffee.

3. Stood behind Meredith Viera with a sign that said, “Allah Be Praised.”

2.  Draped a giant burqa over the Statue of Liberty.

AND THE NUMBER ONE THING AHMADINEJAD DID IN NEW YORK,

He saw a rat the size of a camel!

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Secret Trip to Israel

In case you haven’t heard, the demonstrations against Iran’s summertime election are continuing; our media seems to have imposed a blackout on coverage of that story.  Thus, former terrorist and President Ahmadinejad must find it a relief to get away from Iran.  He was at the United Nations in September of 2007 and 2008, too; apparently this is an annual event.  Thus, I don’t really have anything new to add about this visit.  I also understand there are quite a few unsavory characters there right now, like Libya’s Gaddafi and Zimbabwe’s Mugabe.  President Obama is going to find it a challenge to avoid meeting them; his fist-bumping with Hugo Chavez a few months back certainly didn’t help him in the polls.
Anyway, here’s a funny video made by an Israeli tour group, of Ahmadinejad visiting their country.  Maybe someday he’ll really do that, should Iran go down the iatoilet.  Watch and enjoy!

In case you haven’t heard, the demonstrations against Iran’s summertime election are continuing; our media seems to have imposed a blackout on coverage of that story.  Thus, former terrorist and President Ahmadinejad must find it a relief to get away from Iran.  He was at the United Nations in September of 2007 and 2008, too; apparently this is an annual event.  Thus, I don’t really have anything new to add about this visit.  I also understand there are quite a few unsavory characters there right now, like Libya’s Gaddafi and Zimbabwe’s Mugabe.  President Obama is going to find it a challenge to avoid meeting them; his fist-bumping with Hugo Chavez a few months back certainly didn’t help him in the polls.

Anyway, here’s a funny video made by an Israeli tour group, of Ahmadinejad visiting their country.  Maybe someday he’ll really do that, should Iran go down the iatoilet.  Watch and enjoy!

http://www.road90.com/watch.php?id=FMRh9Fg5Ng