Wednesday Reads: The King Who Wanted To Be Queen?

Good Morning

Hope everyone is staying dry, and plugged in…by that I mean your electricity is still on and strong!

I could not bring myself to watch the show last night. Even though it looks as if there was plenty to make fun of, and the speeches probably would have got me all fired up…you know, pissed off.

I could not even force myself to read the various pundit’s views on the evening. (Although this one here by Charlie Pierce is supposed to be a good one.) Safe to say this morning’s reads will touch on things that you may have missed the last few days.

This first link is for Dakinikat, I know how fascinated she is with the archaeology of ancient graves: Archaeologists begin dig to uncover grave of Richard III in Leicester

The son of a descendant of Richard III’s eldest sister was on site today as what is believed to be the first ever search for the lost grave of an anointed King of England began in a city centre car park.

Canadian-born Michael Ibsen watched as archaeological experts from the University of Leicester used ground penetrating radar equipment to find the best spots to begin their search today at the car park off Greyfriars in Leicester.


Richard III was brought to Leicester where he was buried in the church of the Franciscan Friary, known as Greyfriars, after he fell in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

But the exact whereabouts of the church have become lost over time.

While hopes are high at finding the site, which is currently being used as a car park for council offices, the experts are less confident about finding the monarch’s remains during the two-week search.

Rumours say the monarch’s bones could have been thrown into the River Soar after the dissolution of the monasteries.

Philippa Langley, from the Richard III Society which has been involved with the project, said: “We know he was buried here but the church disappeared after the dissolution of the monasteries as did his grave so today we begin the search for Richard.

“We know his body was led into Leicester and put on display for three days by Henry Tudor before he was buried.

“I hope we do find him because I want to give him a proper resting place and also to explode a lot of myths around Richard III.”

Myths? I wonder…

For more on the dig, you can take a look at these articles:

As for the myths…when I think of Richard III, I think of Shakespeare…Richard III:

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

Which makes me think of the movie The Goodbye Girl…specifically the scene where Richard Dreyfus is playing the King who wanted to be Queen…

Goodbye Girl, The — (Movie Clip) Don’t Give Me Bette Midler

The first rehearsal of the Off-Broadway Richard III, director Mark (Paul Benedict) offering his unorthodox theory, Chicago actor Elliott (Richard Dreyfuss), cast in the lead, expressing concern, in Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl, 1977.

I’ve tried to embed the video below, so if it does not work correctly, please be sure to give that link a click and watch the scene. Too funny!

Assistant Director: Act one scene one…
Elliot Garfield: Uh, excuse me. Sorry. Just how far off the diving board do you want me to jump?
Mark: Well, don’t give me Bette Midler, but let’s not be afraid to be bold.
Elliot Garfield: Bold.
Mark: Bold.
Assistant Director: Act one, scene one, enter Richard Duke of Glochester.
Elliot Garfield: Now is the winter of our discontent… Sorry, one minute. Now is the winter…
Elliot Garfield: [Very effeminate] Now ith the winter of our dithcontent… may I have a 5 minute break please?
Mark: Five minutes.

Okay, so Richard, complete with club foot, twisted hand and pink polish on his nails. What a sight that would be…which leads me to our next link. New strain of hand, foot and mouth virus worries parents, pediatricians

Bernard Cohen, M.D., director of pediatric dermatology at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, and colleague Kate Puttgen, M.D., have seen or consulted on close to 50 such cases in the last few months and have received countless phone calls from scared parents and concerned physicians. Cohen believes this number may be just the tip of the iceberg with primary care pediatricians seeing the bulk of new cases.

Cohen and Puttgen want to reassure parents that most cases of the disease are benign and that nearly all patients recover in seven to 10 days without treatment and without serious complications.

“What we are seeing is relatively common viral illness called hand-foot-and-mouth disease but with a new twist,” Cohen says.

The culprit is an unusual strain of the common coxsackie virus that usually causes the disease. The new strain, coxsackie A6, previously found only in Africa and Asia, is now cropping up all over the United States.


The new strain, however, behaves somewhat differently from its homegrown cousin, Cohen says. It carries a slightly higher risk for more serious illness and more widespread rash that can involve the arms, legs, face and diaper area. The new strain also seems to affect older as well as younger children.

I wonder if my kids and husband had this strain of the virus, it may not be a club foot, but for some reason the thing with Richard’s illnesses seemed like a pathetic segue into this foot and mouth article. Yeah, I am reaching…I know. 😉

I have yet another laughable connection to the foot and mouth link, this one about a virus that is transmitted by vermin. (Oh, not that the virus is laughable, but that my attempt at making some kind of themed post this morning. Now that is laughable.)  Second Yosemite National Park visitor dies of rodent-borne illness

A second person has died of a rare, rodent-borne disease after visiting Yosemite National Park earlier this summer and park officials warned past visitors to be aware of some flu-like aches and symptoms.

Health officials learned this weekend of the second hantavirus death, which killed a person who visited the park in June, spokesman Scott Gediman said in a statement.

There is one other confirmed case of the illness, and a fourth is being investigated.

Yosemite officials said Monday that the four visitors might have been exposed while vacationing at the park’s Curry Village, and are warning those who stayed in the village’s tent cabins from mid-June through the end of August to beware of any symptoms of hantavirus, which can include fever, aches, dizziness and chills. An outreach effort is under way to contact visitors from that period who stayed in “Signature Tent Cabins,” which have more insulation and amenities than other tent cabins.

Federal health officials say symptoms may develop up to 5 weeks after exposure to urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents, and Yosemite advised visitors to watch for symptoms for up to six weeks.

Of the 587 documented US cases since the virus was identified in 1993, about one-third proved fatal. There is no specific treatment for the virus.

Geez, scary stuff innit?

Moving away from the deformed body of a closet queen, and various viruses…I come to an article that shows the twisted irony involved with the religious right…or should that be better phrased as the fucked up hypocrisy that parades around as the anti-gay right wing? Anti-LGBT Prop 8 activist confesses to molesting young boys

A Yucca Valley, California man associated with the anti-LGBT ballot initiative Proposition 8 has confessed to the molestation of multiple young boys over the course of decades.  According to the Wisconsin Gazette, Caleb Edward Hesse, 52, a first grade teacher and youth volunteer, has been arraigned on 4 felony counts of lewd conduct upon a child.  The San Bernadino District Attorney’s office has said that more charges are pending as the case develops and more victims come forward.

“The crimes are believed to have occurred between the early 1980s and as recently as one week ago,” reads a report from the San Bernadino County Sheriff’s Office.  ”Some of the victims may now be 30 (to) 40 years old.”

Hesse allegedly molested the boys on “countless overnight outings that took place throughout California” and were sponsored by the church where he volunteered, Yucca Valley’s Evangelical Free Church.  Hesse has been a first grade teacher at Friendly Hills Elementary School since 1987.

The Gazette has found that Hesse donated in 2008 to the campaign supporting the anti-LGBT ballot initiative Proposition 8.  He was also the owner of, a now-defunct Prop 8 fundraising site, according to LGBT news service Gayopolis.

You just can’t make this shit up!!!

And speaking of the twisted right…I have a couple of articles to share with you on the Republican Party.

Lawrence Wittner: The Republican “Small Government” Fraud –  This one deals with the kind of hypocrisy we have talked about so many times on the blog.

One of the most widely-advertised but falsest claims in American politics is that the modern Republican Party stands for “small government.”

In the distant past, leading Republicans were sharp critics of statism. And, even today, a few marginal party activists, like U.S. Representative Ron Paul, have championed limited government — even libertarian — policies. But this is not at all the norm for the contemporary GOP.

For example, the modern Republican Party has stood up with remarkable consistency for the post-9/11 U.S. government policies of widespread surveillance, indefinite detention without trial, torture, and extraordinary rendition. It has also supported government subsidies for religious institutions, government restrictions on immigration and free passage across international boundaries, government denial of collective bargaining rights for public sector workers, government attacks on public use of public space (for example, the violent police assaults on the Occupy movement), and government interference with women’s right to abortion and doctors’ right to perform it.

And this barely scratches the surface of the Republican Party’s “big government” policies. The GOP has rallied fervently around government interference with the right of same-sex couples to marry, government provision of extraordinarily lengthy imprisonment for drug possession (for example, in the “war on drugs”) and numerous other nonviolent offenses, government curbing of voting rights (for example, “voter suppression” laws), and government restrictions on freedom of information. Where, one wonders, is the Republican outrage at the U.S. government’s crackdown on people like Bradley Manning who expose government misconduct, or on whistle-blowing operations like Wikileaks and its leading light, Julian Assange?

Oh yeah…preach it baby!

If the Republican Party were a zealous defender of civil liberties, as it claims to be, it would laud civil liberties organizations. But, in fact, the GOP has adopted a very hostile attitude toward them. During the 1988 presidential campaign, George H. W. Bush, the Republican presidential candidate, publicly and repeatedly ridiculed his Democratic opponent as a “card-carrying member of the ACLU.”

Of course, the biggest arena of U.S. government action is the military. Here is where 57 percent of U.S. tax dollars currently go, thereby creating the most powerful national military machine in world history. A Republican Party that wanted to limit government would be eager to cut funding for this bloated giant. But the reality is that the modern GOP has consistently supported a vast U.S. military buildup. Today, its presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, assails his Democratic competitor for military weakness and champions a $2 trillion increase in U.S. military spending over the next decade.

Moreover, the Republican Party is an avid proponent of the most violent, abusive, and intrusive kind of government action — war. In recent decades, as U.S. military intervention or outright war raged in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Grenada, Panama, Kuwait, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and other nations, the GOP was a leading source of flag-waving jingoism, as it is today in the U.S. government’s confrontation with Iran. This is not a prescription for creating limited government. As the journalist Randolph Bourne remarked in the midst of U.S. government mobilization for World War I: “War is the health of the State.”

Read the rest at the link…

Then we have this, a sort of logistical view of the exception rules for abortion…COLUMN: How would a woman prove rape to qualify for Romney’s abortion exception?

In the wake of the Todd Akin firestorm, Mitt Romney and a flip-flopping Paul Ryan have emphasized that their anti-choice stance excludes rape. In a Romney administration, abortions would be outlawed except in the case of women who have been raped, the Republican ticket has promised.

So here’s an idea, first suggested by my daughter and one of her friends: Who’s going to be the first reporter to ask Romney or Ryan how that would work? How would they implement that exception?

Would a woman’s rapist have to be convicted in court? How would that work, given that in most criminal cases it takes longer than nine months from when the crime is committed to catch the criminal (assuming the criminal is caught), prepare charges and reach a verdict. In fact, the window would be significantly less than nine months; it would start from when the pregnancy is discovered and end somewhere around the 16 to 20 weeks left during which abortions can be performed most safely.

I won’t even go into the way these exceptions could become a disgusting bureaucratic mess that makes the woman jump through so many hoops,   getting that abortion becomes impossible…all in the name of pro-life fanaticism.

And that brings me to this last article for you, in a world where women are having to fight for their basic rights…elephants are getting birth control for free! And that ain’t the GOP Elephants…we are talking African Elephants. South Africa goes big on birth control for elephants

A South African province home to thousands of elephants is planning a birth control campaign for the pachyderms to prevent a population explosion that could threaten plants and wildlife.

Unlike other parts of Africa where elephant stocks have dwindled to dangerously low levels due to poaching and a loss of habitat, South Africa has seen its populations steadily grow through conservation, with the country pressed for room to house the massive animals with hefty diets.

KwaZulu-Natal province, in the southeast, is looking to expand a project running for more than a decade where elephants populations have been controlled by injecting cows with a vaccine that triggers an immune system response to block sperm reception.

Yup, I say it again, you just can’t make this shit up!

So, what are you reading about today? Feel the urge to rant about the GOP crapfest? Well…by all means…please do.

Sunday Reads: Babushkas, Ruptured Pipes and Cookie Cutter Sharks

Good Sunday Morning, with Fourth of July coming up I wanted to post some songs that make me think of America…and just a note…they all aren’t meant to be patriotic.

First, I gotta give you the Godfather of Soul! James Brown…Living in America

This next one from John Cougar Mellencamp, Pink Houses for you and me…

One more…Billy Joel’s Allentown.

Okay, now for your morning reads.

This is something I thought only happened in the Gulf of Mexico or an Alaskan waters, but to see the black slime coating the banks of the Yellowstone river, that is just so sad.  Ruptured Pipeline Spills Oil Into Yellowstone River –

Larry Mayer/The Billings Gazette, via Associated Press

Oil swirled in a flooded gravel pit in Lockwood, Mont. after an ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured.

An ExxonMobil pipeline running under the Yellowstone River in south central Montana ruptured late Friday, spilling crude oil into the river and forcing evacuations.

Matthew Brown/Associated Press

The banks of the Yellowstone River near Laurel were blackened by oil from the pipeline.

The pipeline burst about 10 miles west of Billings, coating parts of the Yellowstone River that run past Laurel — a town of about 6,500 people downstream from the rupture — with shiny patches of oil. Precisely how much oil leaked into the river was still unclear. But throughout the day Saturday, cleanup crews in Laurel worked to lessen the impact of the spill, laying down absorbent sheets along the banks of the river to mop up some of the escaped oil, and measuring fumes to determine the health threat.

The leaking pipe has been shut down, and only leaked for about a half an hour according to the article. What a mess…

Boston Boomer sent me this link yesterday, and it gives some insight into a new group in London that is working on getting more women in the boardroom.  30% Club aims to end male domination of business culture | Business | The Observer

Securing a seat at the top table in British business used to involve belonging to the right gentleman’s club and working on your golf handicap with the company chairman. However, at Cass Business School in London on Monday, a new organisation – the “30% Club” – will pledge to throw open the doors of the boardroom to the many talented women who have been locked out for decades.

This reminds me of the recent SCOTUS case about discrimination at Walmart.

She says that can sometimes be because women choose to opt out to pursue caring responsibilities once they have children – but, just as often, it is a rejection of the workplace culture. “It’s to do with organisational cultures that are abrasive for women: they may be very aggressive, they may be macho, there may be micro-inequities,” she says.

Women who have already made it to the top also stress the importance of mentoring promising female staff from the beginning of their careers. Debbie Klein, chief executive of communications group Engine, says: “It’s about how to develop the talent pool so you don’t lose people at the level just below the board.
“It’s about recognising their talent in the first place and saying, ‘we’re really going to nurture that’.”

Amen to that…

This next link was just plain interesting, and very strange…Attack of the Cookie Cutter Shark! | Mother Jones

Ouch. All bite and no bark.
The first ever recorded instance of a human bitten by a cookie cutter shark is described in a paper now online in early view in Pacific Science.An unfortunate human swimmer on a 47.5 kilometer/29.5 mile haul across the Alenuihaha Channel between the Hawaiian islands of Hawai‘i and Maui got nailed twice by this fearsomely ninjalike denizen of the deep, Isistiussp.If you’ve spent any time at sea outside polar waters, chances are you’ve seen the toothwork of this gnarly little predator. It leaves deep round scars on whales, dolphins, tuna, billfishes, squids, and other larger marine life.
(Two cookie cutter shark bites in a pomfret. Credit: PIRO-NOAA Observer Program via Wikimedia Commons.) 

As Kramer used to say: Nature, she is a mad scientist… and never more so than with the hunting technique devised by the cookie cutter shark.

Give the article a look-see, very cool.

From Minx’s Missing Link File:  Babushkas Are Awesome! | Care2 Causes Anything with Babushkas in the title gets my attention.

It’s Cool To Be A Babushka! (VIDEO)

A group of elderly women, or “babushkas,” from the village of Buranovo, 600 miles east of Moscow, is totally changing the image of the elderly woman in Russia.

This group of women, mostly in their 70s and 80s, are a musical sensation, reports NPR, charming audiences across Russia. They sing Beatles tunes and songs by iconic Russian rocker Viktor Tsoi. They fly around the country for concerts. They made it to the Russian finals of the Eurovision music contest.

You can watch the Babushkas get their groove on thanks to YouTube!

Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week:  Greenland Norse Knowledge of the North Atlantic Environment –

Introduction: The arcing Norse expansion across the subpolar North Atlantic ocean traces an inspiring tale of a stoic struggle against the elements. The sequence of accidental discovery, then deliberate exploration and settlement, repeated in turn as Faroe, Iceland, and Greenland were colonised between 825 and 985AD. With each step further west, the difficulty of leading a contemporary Norwegian lifestyle increased. In part, the increasing hardship is linked to the increasing distance from European power, and the dwindling access to essential commodities. Contact with alien native communities is another factor, and it was decisive in obstructing long-term Norse settlements in North America. But at almost every stage, the much colder, more polar, climate in Iceland, Greenland, and eastern Canada dominated the Atlantic Norse decision-making.

Despite the rigours of the climate, the Norse constructed a society in Greenland that endured for nearly 500 years. In total, perhaps 70,000 people lived in the eastern and western settlements in southwest Greenland. Eventually, the farms were abandoned, however, sometime in the mid-to-late 1300s for the western settlement, and sometime in the mid-to-late 1400s for the eastern settlement. The reasons for the disappearance of the Norse settlers has long been debated, and uncontroversial evidence that resolves this issue has not yet been found. What is clear instead is that the Greenland Norse maintained an intimate daily relationship with the North Atlantic environment. Although they did not adopt the native Inuit strategies to survive, the Norse farmed, fished, hunted, and sailed in Greenland with confidence and skill for many generations. Their attitude is presumably reflected in the modern northern Norwegian saying “Vi står han av” (meaning “we stand tall, regardless of stormy weather”; Grete Hovelsrud, pers. comm., 2009).

There is a real cool image of a medieval map of Greenland at the link above, if you find this article interesting, give this other link a peek:  Norse Greenland Settlement: Reflections on Climate Change, Trade, and The Contrasting Fates of Human Settlements in the North Atlantic Islands –

I hope everyone has a safe day tomorrow.  Be sure to post some links below, or just tell us what you are doing this long weekend…