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Topic 50 of 92: Et Cetera

Wed, Jul 18, 2001 (14:35) | Marcia (MarciaH)
12 new of 863 responses total.

 Topic 50 of 92 [Geo]: Et Cetera
 Response 851 of 863: Cheryl  (CherylB) * Wed, Aug 11, 2004 (09:26) * 38 lines 
Cat pounces on pilot mid-flight

An escaped pet cat created a scare on a Belgian airliner, forcing the crew to turn back to Brussels 20 minutes into its journey. A "lot of coincidences", as the airline told BBC News Online, ended with the animal running wild in the cockpit and attacking the co-pilot.

The captain ordered the Vienna-bound plane back after about 20 minutes.

SN Brussels Airlines stressed the incident had been a fluke and the crew had observed all safety regulations.

"We 100% support the decision made by the captain," Geert Sciot, the airline's communication vice-president, told the BBC.

Nobody, he said, could tell what an agitated cat what might do in the circumstances, scrabbling around amid the sensitive equipment in the cockpit of the Avro RJ.

"It took a long time to catch it," he noted, describing the offending beast - said by Brussels newspaper La Derniere Heure to be a tom by the name of Gin - as "very aggressive".

Kick theory

As an investigation got under way into Monday's incident, Mr Sciot explained that it appeared to be essentially a freak accident, caused by a series of circumstances:

* the cat's owner was apparently sleeping when it escaped from its travelling bag

* a child in a neighbouring seat may have interfered with the bag, releasing the cat

* nobody alerted the crew before the cat slipped into the cockpit as meals were being served to the crew

The airline spokesman pointed out that the cat aboard Flight SN 2905, travelling from Oslo via Brussels to Vienna, was being conveyed in accordance with international regulations.

These allow for a single pet weighing no more then five kilos to be carried in a suitable piece of luggage in the cabin.

He stressed, too, that the cockpit had been open for no more than "five to 10" seconds, in respect of safety guidelines brought in after the 11 September 2001 hijackings over America.

The pet's owner had some questions to answer back on the ground as the other 57 passengers were put on another flight but no action was taken against the cat itself.

"It's a very nice animal but apparently, sometimes, an aggressive one," said Mr Sciot, noting that the cat had "travelled a lot" as its owner went to cat exhibitions.

One possible reason for the creature's sudden fit of fury may have been an unconfirmed report that it was "kicked by somebody in business class" on its way through the cabin, he added.

 Topic 50 of 92 [Geo]: Et Cetera
 Response 852 of 863: Cheryl  (CherylB) * Fri, Aug 20, 2004 (12:50) * 79 lines 
A little bit of history concerning the Olympics. One century ago the Olympics were first hosted by an American city, St. Louis. It wasn't really a stellar presentation.

These games were a sideshow in every sense.

We usually have the image in our minds that the Olympics are really big business. The hosting cities go out of their way to make sure that everything runs smoothly and that the best facilities are provided for the competing athletes.

But, it wasn't always this way.

Take the 1904 St. Louis, Missouri Summer Olympics for example. These games were only the third summer games ever held (There actually were no winter games at this time - they were added in 1924.). The original games were held in 1896 at Athens and were then followed by the 1900 Paris games.

The St. Louis games could hardly be called an international competition. Since traveling overseas from Europe was extremely expensive at the time, the competition consisted mostly of Americans and Canadians (of the 681 athletes, 525 were from the United States.). It should be pointed out, however, that the Olympics were not intended to be a competition among nations at the time - it was a competition among amateur athletes from around the world. It was the job of the amateur athlete to find his way to the games at his own expense. No one cared if you couldn't get there.

Needless to say, the 1904 Olympics were of relatively minor importance. They were originally scheduled to take place in Chicago, but President Roosevelt urged for the games to be held in St. Louis because the Louisiana Purchase (World) Exposition was being held there at the same time to showcase the world's newest technologies (electricity, automobiles, airplanes, etc.).

The Exposition organizers built a permanent gymnasium and a stadium with enough seats to hold some 35,000 spectators (This may sound like a lot of people, but it's really nothing when you compare it to the estimated 20 million people that attended the Exposition during its six month run.). The entire event lasted from Monday, August 29 to Saturday, September 3, 1904. There were no events scheduled for Friday, so the entire series of Olympic games lasted for just five short days.

At this point you probably don't see too much wrong with this scenario. Unfortunately, when the games were actually held, they were a disaster.

To start, if you were considered to be a minority, you had to compete in separate games. These games came under the high-sounding name of "Anthropology Days" which were held on August 12 and 13, 1904. These games were designed to face "costumed members of the uncivilized tribes" against one another. Never-to-be classic Olympic games were included - mud fighting, rock throwing, pole climbing, spear throwing, and... you get the idea...

Things went downhill from there.

In swimming, Hungary's Zoltan Halmay won the 100m and 50m freestyle. Originally, Halmay beat American J. Scott Leary by just one foot in the 50m event. However, the American judge ruled that Leary had won. This ruling resulted in a brawl between the two, so the judges ordered a rematch. Halmay won on the second attempt. (They couldn't check the videotape at this time in history.)

An American gymnast named George Eyser won two gold, two silver, and one bronze medal at the games. Quite a remarkable feat when you consider the fact that he only had one real leg - the other leg was solid wood (His leg was amputated when he was run over by a train - Ouch!).

Now for the competition that they would really like to strike from the record books - the Marathon.

The marathon was run on a very humid, 90+ degree day. The 40 kilometer course started with five laps around the stadium track. The runners then left the stadium and embarked on a dusty, unpaved course that took them up-and-down over seven different hills. The path was marked by red flags that designated the way. A vanguard of horsemen cleared the trail along the way. They were followed by doctors, judges, and reporters in the newly invented automobiles. The net result was a constant cloud of dust kicked up into the runners' faces. They were literally forced to eat dust.

The first man to cross the finish line was Fred Lorz from New York City. Lorz had completed the race in just over three hours time. When he entered the stadium, the crowd roared with excitement. Photographs were taken of President Roosevelt's daughter Alice placing a laurel wreath over Lorz's head.

Lorz's moment in the limelight did not last very long. Just as Lorz was about to accept his medal, officials learned that Lorz had been spotted passing the halfway mark in an automobile. It seems that Lorz had been suffering from cramps, so he hitched a ride at the 9 mile point. He then rode in the vehicle for another eleven miles, at which point the car overheated and broke down. He waived at the spectators and fellow runners along the way. Lorz, now rejuvenated from his ride, chose to run the rest of the race.

Lorz claimed that he never meant to fool anyone - he just couldn't resist the praise and adulation of the roaring crowd. Lorz was immediately banned for life from any future amateur competition. This ban was lifted a year later allowing him to win the Boston Marathon (we'll assume that he was closely watched).

So, if Lorz didn't win, who did?

It was a British-born man named Thomas Hicks who ran for the American team. Hicks ran the race in 3:28:53. When he ran into the stadium the crowd was less than enthusiastic. After all, they had already cheered for a winner, even if he had been disqualified.

Of course, good little Alice Roosevelt was again ready to pose with the winner. But she couldn't. Hicks had to be carried off of the track. It seems that Hicks had begged to lie down about ten miles from the finish line. Instead, his trainers gave him an oral dose of strychnine sulfate mixed into raw egg white to keep him going. This was not enough - they had to give him several more doses, as well as brandy, along the way. By the end of the race, Hicks had to actually be supported by two of his trainers so that he could cross the finish line (essentially, he was carried over the line with his feet moving back-and-forth). Hicks was very close to death's door. It took four doctor's to get him in good enough shape just to leave the grounds, eventually falling asleep on a trolley.

Wait! That's not the end of the story! (can it get any more bizarre?)

It seems that another entrant was a Cuban postman named Felix Carvajal. Once Felix heard about the marathon, he announced that he was going to run. He had no money, so he quit his job and went into the fund raising business. He ran around the central square in Havana and jumped on a soapbox pleading for donations. He repeated this several times until he raised the necessary cash.

On his way to the race, Felix managed to lose all of his money in a crap game in New Orleans. As a result, he had to hitchhike his way to the games (not an easy thing to do in 1904). When Carvajal arrived at the games, he lacked any type of running gear. The officials were forced to postpone the start of the marathon for several minutes while he cut the sleeves off his shirt and the legs off his pants. He ran the race in lightweight street shoes.

During the race, Felix didn't seem to fatigue easily. He constantly conversed with the crowd, even running backwards at times while he spoke to them in broken English.

But wait, in keeping with the 1904 tradition it had to get worse for poor Felix:

He blew any chance of victory by getting hungry. He first ate some peaches that he stole from a race official. He then took a detour into an orchard to munch on some green apples. Big mistake - he developed stomach cramps and had to temporarily drop out of the marathon. Eventually, Felix got back in the race and managed to come in fourth place. He probably would have won if he had not gotten the munchies.

Hold it - the marathon is still not over!

The marathon included the first two black Africans to compete in the Olympics - two Zulu tribesman named Lentauw (real name: Len Taunyane)and Yamasani (real name: Jan Mashiani). They wore bibs 35 and 36, respectively.

The only problem was that these two tribesmen were not in town to compete in the Olympics - they were actually the sideshow! Yes, they were imported by the exposition as part of the Boer War exhibit (both were really students at Orange Free State in South Africa, but no one wanted to believe that these tribesmen could actually be educated - it would have ruined the whole image).

Lentauw finished ninth and Yamasani came in twelfth. This was a disappointment, as many observers were sure Lentauw could have done better - that is if he had not been chased nearly a mile off course by a large, aggressive canine!

The marathon was over, but there is still one more little story to go along with this:

It seems that two of the patrolling officials driving in a brand-new automobile were forced to swerve to avoid hitting one of the runners - they ended up going down an embankment and were severely injured.

In the end, the St. Louis Olympics (along with the previous Paris games) proved to be such a disaster that the Olympic Committee was forced to hold interim Olympic games in 1906 at Athens, in an attempt to revive the flagging Olympic movement. These games were not numbered, but were attended by twenty countries and put the Olympics back on a steady course to success.

An interesting useless sidenote: Iced tea made its debut at the 1904 Exposition. It seems that it was so hot during the Expo that the staff at the Far East Tea House couldn't even give away their product.

What to do? What to do?

Very simple - they poured the hot tea over ice cubes! The drink quickly became the Expo's most popular beverage.

And yet another useless fact: A teenager named Arnold Fornachou was selling ice cream at his exposition booth. He ran into a big problem - he ran out of the paper dishes on which to serve the ice cream. In a stroke of genius, he noticed that the guy in the next booth, a Syrian named Ernest Hamwi, was selling waffles. Arnold rolled one of Ernie's wafer-thin waffles up and invented the ice cream cone. Within ten years more than one-third of all ice cream was served in a cone.

Useless? Useful? I’ll leave that for you to decide.

 Topic 50 of 92 [Geo]: Et Cetera
 Response 853 of 863: Curious Wolfie  (wolf) * Fri, Aug 20, 2004 (17:55) * 1 lines 
not useless, where would we be without waffle cones and iced tea *licking my jowels in anticipation*

 Topic 50 of 92 [Geo]: Et Cetera
 Response 854 of 863: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sun, Aug 22, 2004 (03:22) * 1 lines 
That's great Cheryl. I'm going to post some things in the sports conference, there's an Olympics topic there too. Tivo has been working overtime all week.

 Topic 50 of 92 [Geo]: Et Cetera
 Response 855 of 863: Cheryl  (CherylB) * Mon, Aug 23, 2004 (06:57) * 3 lines 
Terry, I'd completely forgotten that there was a sports conference. I've got to get over there to check the Olympics topic.

You're such an omnivorious lupine, Wolfie. Enjoy those ice cream cones washed down with some iced tea. Actually, I love them, too.

 Topic 50 of 92 [Geo]: Et Cetera
 Response 856 of 863: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sat, Aug 28, 2004 (21:04) * 3 lines 
I am going to be heartbroken when there is no more Olympic programming to watch. As ide from the games, I am enjoying the background scenery! I think there has not been such exquisite vistas in all of Olympic history as there has been this time from Athens. My complaint is there has not been any coverage of sailing that I have been able to find. As a veteran sailor, I am most disappointed.

Great stuff from Cheryl. I never thought to worry about cats in the passenger compartment of planes...

 Topic 50 of 92 [Geo]: Et Cetera
 Response 857 of 863: Curious Wolfie  (wolf) * Sat, Aug 28, 2004 (21:11) * 3 lines 

sadly, i've missed most of the olympics coverage (esp one of my faves, gymnastics). hope i don't miss the winter games.

 Topic 50 of 92 [Geo]: Et Cetera
 Response 858 of 863: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Tue, Aug 31, 2004 (07:59) * 1 lines 
It was a great Olympics. Greece, despite naysayers, pulled it off without any mishaps or terror incidents. And the giants of USA, Russia and China competed in many events. Congrats to USA women's soccer, basketball and beach volleyball where they had stunning performances.

 Topic 50 of 92 [Geo]: Et Cetera
 Response 859 of 863: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Fri, Sep  3, 2004 (17:34) * 3 lines 
Applause all round to the organizers and the people of Greece for a most cordial and event-filled safe Olympics. I miss them already.I have also been assured I can have cable put in for the next one - the Winter Games from Torino, Italy.

I judge a great deal by how the Olympic anthem is handled. The men's chorus did an especially beautiful rendition, and in Greek as it was meant to be.

 Topic 50 of 92 [Geo]: Et Cetera
 Response 860 of 863: Cheryl  (CherylB) * Wed, Sep 22, 2004 (09:45) * 45 lines 
Indians mark "historic moment"

By Sara Jean Green
Seattle Times

WASHINGTON — With the dome of the U.S. Capitol as a backdrop, thousands of Indian people from across the Americas gathered on the National Mall yesterday to witness the opening of the Smithsonian's new National Museum of the American Indian.
Before any speeches were made, 25,000 people from more than 500 tribes, including two dozen tribes from Washington state, participated in the Native Nations Procession, a five-block walk from the Smithsonian Castle, the first building built on the Mall, to the museum, built on the Mall's last piece of available land.

Seventeen years in the making, the $220 million, 400,000-square-foot museum is the first in the country dedicated exclusively to Native Americans — and the first to allow Native Americans to tell their stories in their own way. Indians were involved in every stage of the museum's development, from conception to construction, and comprise 75 percent of the museum's staff.

"This is a historic moment. It is the single-most-important achievement for Native people this century," Linley Logan said as the procession streamed past him. He's a Seneca from upstate New York who worked for the museum in the early '90s before moving to Seattle with his Tlingit wife and four children; he's also a board member of the Seattle-based United Indians of All Tribes Foundation.

"This is an insider's perspective on Native values and Native culture," he said of the new museum.

Presenting that perspective — and gaining acknowledgement for the multitude of contributions Indians have made, from food domestication to military service — is long overdue, said Bob Charlo, a member of the tiny Kalispel tribe from north of Spokane. Charlo traveled to Washington, D.C., with a group of Muckleshoots for both the museum opening and a dedication ceremony two days earlier at the Pentagon. The ceremony was to bless one of three totem poles carved by members of the Lummi Nation to honor those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"For me, it's been a real spiritual journey, a kind of quest or pilgrimage," said Charlo, who lives in Auburn. "There's a lot of blank pages in the history books that should be filled with our history ... [but] we're getting past that 'invisible people' stage."

If anything, yesterday's procession and dedication, covered by more than 400 journalists from across the Americas, was meant to show that Native peoples and their cultures are very much alive.

With 8,000 more participants than expected, the colorful and dramatic Native Nations Procession alone spanned over three hours. From Native Alaskans, with their red-and-black wool blankets wrapped around their shoulders, to Aztec Indians, who wore elaborate, plumed headdresses, the procession provided a visible reminder of the vast diversity of the first peoples of North, South and Central America.

Some tribal members sang songs and played hand drums as they walked; others waved to spectators lined up six deep along the parade route, shouting greetings to familiar faces.

Sage sweetened the air, and the sounds of flutes and pipes drifted across the Mall.

Two prominent Indian U.S. senators, Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., walked at the head of the procession with Alejandro Toledo, a Quechua Indian and president of Peru.

Film director and activist Robert Redford and Seattle architect Johnpaul Jones, who was integral to the museum's design and construction, were among the estimated 80,000 people who attended the opening ceremony.

After the procession, a handful of dignitaries addressed the crowd from a stage that would later be graced by singer Buffy Sainte-Marie and the band Indigenous, as part of the weeklong, music-and-arts First Americans Festival.

As the first drum beat sounded to indicate the start of the museum dedication, a woman dressed in fringed leather slid her fingers across her forearm and whispered to a friend, "I just got goose bumps."

W. Richard "Rick" West, director of the museum, said the site, "located in the shadow of the national Capitol itself," would be "a spiritual marker in recognition of the first citizens of the Americas."

"Once in a great while, something so important and so powerful happens that history seems to stand still in honor," said West, who wore white buckskin and a chief's headdress. "We have felt the cruel and destructive edge of colonialism, but in our minds and in our histories, we are not its victims."

The museum, he said, is to be a symbol of hope, representing the potential for "a new, mutual understanding and respect" that can make "possible true cultural reconciliation."

Smithsonian Institution Secretary Lawrence Small predicted that the newest museum in the institution's 158-year history would draw so much attention it would become "a gateway of discovery to all other Smithsonian museums on this Mall."

"It will be yours for generations and generations to come — and that is a promise we will keep," Small said.

 Topic 50 of 92 [Geo]: Et Cetera
 Response 861 of 863: Curious Wolfie  (wolf) * Wed, Sep 22, 2004 (20:28) * 1 lines 
heard about that on the news and then right after that segment, they went on to talk about native american prisons and the filth they live in (both physical and mental). talk was that they might turn it back over to the native americans and get the bureaucracy out of it....i didn't know there were gov't run prisons for native americans.

 Topic 50 of 92 [Geo]: Et Cetera
 Response 862 of 863: Cheryl  (CherylB) * Thu, Sep 23, 2004 (13:17) * 1 lines 
Wolfie, I didn't know that there were still government run Native American prisons. I knew that there had been but wasn't aware that they still existed. I missed that story; thanks for noting it.

 Topic 50 of 92 [Geo]: Et Cetera
 Response 863 of 863: Marcia  (MarciaH) * Sat, Oct  2, 2004 (22:44) * 1 lines 
Native Americans are citizens of the United States of America just like the rest of us. However, they are recognized as autonimous and therefore have jurisdiction over small crimes. If it becomes a federal crime, the FBI gets into it just as it would if any of us committed a crime. (I just asked the house expert on such matters.)

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