Thought Gallery October 2003

October 1
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So it looks like any random fool with a lights can start an arson fire write ELF on the wall and get away with it now.
Flames rise over a fire that destroyed a five-story apartment complex under construction early Aug. 1, 2003, in San Diego. The fire caused more than $20 million in damages to the unfinished, wood-framed building. A banner reading 'If you build it, we will burn it,' with the initials 'ELF,' was found next to the building. The initials are the same as those of the Earth Liberation Front. The Earth Liberation Front, a movement that originated in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, has claimed responsibility for a string of arsons in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Detroit, San Diego and Philadelphia in the past 12 months.
October 2
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Prime Minister's Daughter to Work at McDonald's
BANGKOK - Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said on Wednesday he will send his daughter to work part-time at a McDonald's next to her high school to set an example for teenagers. "It is pathetic to learn from news reports that a 13-year-old girl had to sell her body to make money for nightclubbing," Thaksin told a seminar on tackling poverty and social evils, citing an example of teenagers taking the easy way out. "I've talked to the owner of McDonald's about allowing teenagers to work part-time at his restaurants and he's keen on that. So I will be sending my daughter to work at the store next to her school after the university entrance examination." Thaksin, one of Thailand's richest men, said he wanted to set a constructive example to encourage good social values and for Thai teenagers to take pride in earning their own money honestly. Thaksin's daughter Paethongtan, 17, the youngest of his three children, was not immediately available for comment. 
October 3
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Texas-Fried Oreos, Anyone?
DALLAS - Welcome to the State Fair of Texas -- a magical land where calorie counters cower for cover and almost every conceivable food product can end up deep fried. Fried potatoes and catfish are old hat to Texans at what is billed as the largest state fair in the United States. What they long for is a new offering for the vats of hot grease to go along with fair favorites such as fried pickles, fried okra, fried corn on the cob and fried cheesecake. 
       This year, 14 new food items were introduced to the fair and eight of them are fried. New to the fair, held in a land that is home to chicken fried steak, are items such as fried Oreo cookies, fried candy bars, and fried cheese curds. "Honey, I would fry pretty much anything because that is what the people like," said Olivia Acuna, who works at a booth that sells fried Snickers bars. The candy bar is dipped in a batter, fried for about 30 seconds and served hot on a plate that quickly becomes saturated in oil. A calorie count was not immediately available. Ron Black, the fair's vice president for food service said people spend an estimated $15 million on food at the state fair. The fair opened last Friday and runs for three weeks. It typically attracts about 3.5 million people. 

       Last year, fried Twinkies were a huge hit, and this year, the new food darling could be fried onion on a stick. Some other fried favorites include fried tamales, fried turkey legs, and ice cream that is lumped into a ball, covered in breakfast cereal crumbs and dipped quickly in hot oil. Dieters can ask to have the ice cream served without chocolate syrup and whipped cream if they want a lighter version. The most celebrated fried item at the state fair is the corny dog, which is know as a corn dog in the rest of the United States. Both items are hot dogs on sticks breaded with a cornmeal coating and deep fried. 

       Skip Fletcher, the head of the company called Fletcher's that has been selling corny dogs at the fair for over 60 years, said he uses peanut oil to fry the food in order to cut down on cholesterol. The first corny dog eating competition at the fair was won by Rich LeFevre, who downed 12 dogs in 10 minutes. LeFevre, an International Federation of Competitive Eating chili consumption champion who has also downed 25-1/2 hot dogs at the celebrated contest on New York's Coney Island, said the fried corny dog was a tough foe for the heavy eater.
October 4
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Saw the movie the duplex this evening.  Overall I would have to give it a rating of 6/10.  The previews for the movie sold me to see it, and though entertaining the script lacked the scene development that could have occured based on the plotline of the movie.  The repetitive scenes of dealing with the embedded tenant and the lack of knowledge of the real world rental/owner real estate laws left much to be desired.  My only comment would be that I would hardly consider a 3 story historical landmark building with a $88 monthly rent a slum-lord duplex building.

Effigy Mounds National Monument
151 Hwy 76 Harpers Ferry, IA 52146
(319) 873-3491

       Along the high bluffs and lowlands in the Upper Mississippi River Valley are numerous prehistoric Indian burial mounds of a type unique in North America. Though different groups of prehistoric Americans built burial mounds at various times and places, only in southern Wisconsin and adjacent areas in Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa were they built in the shapes of birds and other animals. Effigy Mounds National Monument was established to preserve the earth mounds found in northeastern Iowa. Within the monument's borders are 191 known prehistoric mounds, 29 in the form of bear and bird effigies and the remainder conical or linear shaped.
       At Effigy Mounds the visitor can visualize prehistoric man carefully forming each earth effigy to receive the body of the departed, selecting by ritual the most fitting bird or animal form for this solemn purpose. Some mounds are monumental; one, the Great Bear Mound, is 70 feet across the shoulders and forelegs, 137 feet long, and 31/2 feet high. The remains from this period are called Hopewell, a culture dating from 100 B.C. to A.D. 600. Pottery and projectile points collected in the monument show a relationship to certain Hopewellian types. Indians of this period used mica from the Appalachians, obsidian from the Rocky Mountains, seashells from the Gulf of Mexico, and copper from the Lake Superior region.
       Several mounds excavated in the monument are of the Hopewellian period. While certain ones contained traits identified with the Hopewell, the evidence was not as abundant as is usually found in similar centers of Illinois and Ohio. Three of these Hopewellian mounds are adjacent to the visitor center. The Effigy Mounds people occupied the land now within the monument from a time overlapping the Hopewellian period until almost historic times. Their cultural remains indicate they differed from the Hopewellians chiefly in constructing mounds in effigy forms, using copper for tools rather than ornaments and burying their dead with few if any intentional offerings of a lasting nature.
       The first known mention of the Effigy Mounds area appears in Jonathan Carver's"Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America in the Years 1766, 1767, 1768." He tells of leaving his traders at the mouth of the Yellow River while he himself ascended the Mississippi. The next mention of the area implies that a few habitation sites had appeared at the mouth of the Yellow River. During the historic period the mounds on the bluff tops and in the valley went unnoticed. In 1881, however, two men - Theodore H. Lewis and Alfred J. Hill - began an ambitious survey of the mound groups of the Mississippi River Valley. The Lewis-Hill surveys produced excellent maps of the mounds found throughout the valley and the southern United States. Among the groups they mapped in 1892 are some now within the monument, including the Marching Bear Group and a number of mounds which were destroyed before the monument was established.
       On August 10, 1949, the first 1,000 acres to he included in Effigy Mounds National Monument passed into Federal ownership. Another 204.39 acres were conveyed to the United States by the Iowa General Assembly on April 14, 1951. An Act of Congress on May 27, 1961, added about 263 acres and 99 mounds to the monument.Besides its unusual archeological attraction, the area contains interesting historical and scenic values and a varied vegetation and wildlife. The monument is located across the Mississippi River from historic Prairie du Chien, Wis., an important point in the exploration and settlement of the Upper Mississippi valley. The military road from old Fort Crawford at Praire du Chien to Fort Atkinson near Fort Atkinson, Iowa, passes through the monument. For over a century, sightseers have enjoyed the superb panoramas of the Mississippi River country along the monument's cliff-bordered eastern boundary. The forests, the wildflowers, ferns, and other plants, and the varied bird and other animal populations at Effigy Mounds represent a biological community not found elsewhere in the National Park System.

October 5
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This frog, or salamander, effigy is made from hammered copper. The two heads show the Hopewell fascination with mirror-images.
Conservative Episcopalians Meet on Gays
DALLAS - Standing and singing together, 2,600 conservative Episcopalians began an emotional meeting Tuesday where they will discuss how to fight their denomination's liberal steps on homosexuality — with the possibility of a church split in the air. The gathering started with a crowd of clergy and lay people packed into a hotel ballroom and belting out the old hymn "Stand Up, Stand Up, for Jesus, Ye Soldiers of the Cross." The meeting, which concludes Thursday, was originally planned as a strategy session for a few hundred leaders. But it mushroomed as conservatives reacted against two actions at the Episcopal Church's midsummer convention: confirmation of a gay bishop living with his partner, and a vote to recognize — though not endorse or condemn — that bishops are allowing blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples. The presence in Dallas of 45 of the church's 300 bishops underscored the gravity of the situation. "We have two to three weeks to see the future of the Episcopal Church in America," said the Rev. David Roseberry, whose 4,000-member Christ Church in suburban Plano organized the event. He referred not only to the Dallas meeting but, more importantly, an Oct. 15-16 emergency summit in London for leaders of the international Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch. That session involves the Anglicans' spiritual leader, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and the 37 other heads of world Anglican branches. Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold of the Episcopal Church also is a member of that group and defends the decisions reached this summer in Minneapolis. The American Anglican Council, sponsor of the Dallas meeting, says that U.S. conservatives are loyal to Anglican beliefs and the Christian tradition, so it's the Episcopal Church majority that has broken away into schism. Griswold had tried to send four observers to the meeting but they were turned away. Bruce Mason, a council spokesman, said observers were not allowed at the meeting and registration was limited to those who signed the organization's statement of faith, called "A Place to Stand."
Founded in 1996, the AAC has emerged as the most important conservative Episcopal caucus. It reports a mailing list of 50,000 and support from about 500 congregations and 50 bishops. Spokesman Bruce Mason said "we probably represent a minority within the Episcopal Church but are part of the vast majority worldwide." Jim Naughton, spokesman for the Diocese of Washington, D.C., and part of that liberal majority, estimates that, at most, 14 percent of the 2.3 million Episcopalians favor traditionalist protests. Any Episcopal split would presumably be the biggest in the United States since 1976, when 100,000 members quit the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod. The Episcopal Church also suffered 1970s walkouts, over women priests and revisions in liturgy, but they were minor by comparison. The meeting's major action will be a petition to the London summit that's likely to ask the world leaders to provide special bishops to minister to conservatives within liberal U.S. dioceses, instead of their regular bishops. The petition could also repeat an idea approved by recent conventions of the Fort Worth and Pittsburgh Dioceses, asking the London summit to declare the traditionalists to be the authentic U.S. branch of Anglicanism, in effect suspending or expelling the Episcopal Church.
Whatever emerges, "we need a safe place to be, safe from theological and spiritual harassment, harassment to careers, and danger to our property," said Canon David C. Anderson of Stone Mountain, Ga., AAC president.Who gets church property in a split could be among the toughest problems discussed in Dallas. The most radical position came from the Pittsburgh diocesan convention: a declaration that buildings now belong to each congregation, denying the national denomination's claim to control all property under 1979 legislation.
October 6
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The Great Circle at Newark is four football fields across. At the center of the Great Circle is a mound called Eagle Mound. Eagle Mound is probably not an effigy mound, but it has an unusual shape.
October 7
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Preserved Passenger Pigeon Is Unveiled
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - In a rare appearance by an even rarer bird, Adriean Mayor carefully lifted a glass case to reveal one of the few remaining specimens of a passenger pigeon. The stunning 16-inch male, with a bluish gray back, rose-colored breast and bright red eyes, more closely resembles a mourning dove than a pigeon seen waddling down a city street. Captured near Nashville in 1856, it is the only specimen of the extinct bird left in Tennessee.
As many as 500 preserved pigeons may exist today around the world in various collections, but specimens in good condition after more than a century are uncommon, said collections specialist Chris Milensky at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History.  This bird was donated to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1987 by the family of Knoxville ornithologist H.P. Ijams but has never been publicly displayed because of concerns it could be damaged. "It is really one of the classic examples in North America of animal extinction," said Mayor, the park's curator. "Here is an animal that occurred in the billions when it was alive and it took a very, very small amount of time until it disappeared."
By some estimates there once were 3 billion to 5 billion passenger pigeons in North America — up to 40 percent of all birds on the continent — migrating annually from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico as late as the mid-1800s. Fifty years later, they were all but gone. "The air was literally filled with pigeons," ornithologist John James Audubon wrote in 1813, gazing into a Kentucky sky. "The light of noonday was obscured as by an eclipse ... and with a noise like thunder they rushed into a compact mass."The pigeons didn't roost in the Smokies on the Tennessee-North Carolina border, but passed through in massive numbers, giving rise to the locally named Pigeon and Little Pigeon rivers and Dolly Parton's hometown of Pigeon Forge. By the end of the 1800s, the passenger pigeon had been hunted — for its meat, for its feathers and for sport — off the planet.
When a 29-year-old pigeon named Martha — for Martha Washington — died at the Cincinnati Zoo at 1 p.m. on Sept. 1, 1914, it became possibly the only time in history that the exact moment of a species' extinction was recorded. State Appeals Court Judge Gary Wade, who is president of the Friends of the Smokies support organization, said that seeing the preserved bird for the first time in the Smokies' archives took his breath away. "I was just so overwhelmed," he said. "Somehow it just sent the message to me that this is really what our efforts are all about — preserving what God has given us." The Friends group contacted Sevierville artist Robert Tino, an established painter of Smoky Mountains scenes, to create a painting of the pigeon to benefit the Smokies' Tremont Institute — a research and education center for students and scientists from around the country. There are few, if any, photographs of a live passenger pigeon, and certainly none in color. So Tino went to the source. "They take you down into the vault and lock you in a room with it. It is pretty cool," Tino said. "Once I saw the bird and started thinking about the painting, I really got interested and researched it on the Web. "It is really a sad story, but it is a fascinating story just the same," he said.Tino's painting, depicting the pigeon on a dogwood branch, was recently unveiled at a reception in Knoxville. Limited edition prints sell for $200 with proceeds going to Tremont Institute.

October 8
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Democracy. Gotta love it.  Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor. 20 years ago who woulda thought a pot smoking bodybuilder, who talked about orgasms on film (outtakes) would be electable? And, more shockingly, on the GOP ticket?

The Miamisburg Mound is the largest conical burial mound in the state of Ohio and possibly in the eastern U. S. Archaeological investigations of the surrounding area suggest that it was constructed by the prehistoric Adena Indians (800 BC - AD 100). Built on a 100-foot-high bluff, the mound measures 877 feet in circumference. It was originally more than 70 feet high. Visitors may climb the 116 steps from its base to the summit for a view of the surrounding park. The 37-acre park has picnic tables and a playground.

October 9
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Serpent Mound is a giant snake effigy. Some archaeologists think it was built by the Adena culture (800B.C. - A.D. 100). Others think it was built by the Fort Ancient culture (A.D. 1000 - 1650).
One of the few effigy mounds in Ohio, Serpent Mound is the largest and finest serpent effigy in the United States. Nearly a quarter of a mile long, Serpent Mound apparently represents an uncoiling serpent. Serpent Mound lies on a plateau overlooking the valley of Brush Creek. Nearby conical mounds contained burials and implements characteristic of the prehistoric Adena people (800 BC-AD 100).
Many questions surround the meaning of Serpent Mound, but there is little doubt it symbolized some religious or mythical principle for its builders. The museum contains exhibits on the mound and the geology of the surrounding area.
Serpent Mound is on State Route 73, six miles north of State Route 32 and 20 miles south of Bainbridge in Adams County.

 

October 10
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Shrum Mound is one of the last remaining conical burial mounds in the city of Columbus. The 20-foot-high and 100-foot-diameter mound is located in the one-acre Campbell roadside park. The mound is grass-covered and steps lead to its summit. It was probably constructed about 2000 years ago by the prehistoric Adena people. The mound is named for the donors, the Shrum family. The park is named for James E. Campbell, governor of Ohio 1890-1892.
Bill Gates Answers Canadian Cop's Child Porn Plea
TORONTO - A "really rotten day" at work in late January prompted a just-about-had-it Toronto police officer to e-mail a spontaneous plea to the world's richest man for help fighting child pornography. "To be real honest, I didn't expect anything back. I didn't even save the e-mail," said Det. Sgt. Paul Gillespie, a 25-year veteran of the Toronto force. But his effort paid off. Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates forwarded the e-mail to Microsoft Canada. "Three weeks later, I got a call. They said, 'We'd like to talk to you about your e-mail," Gillespie recalled. Microsoft and the Toronto police, where Gillespie is in charge of the child exploitation section, are now developing software that will make it easier for police to investigate the dissemination of child pornography on the Internet. They hope to complete an initial version of the software in a month.

The software is designed to store copies of all the images police find, creating a searchable database that can help them uncover similarities between cases. It can also analyze pictures and classify those that are child pornography, largely automating a job that consumes a huge amount of police labor. "I just wondered if there was a possibility of designing ... software to assist some of our investigators," Gillespie said. "At least so they don't have to always go look at these awful images ... and have nightmares every night." Microsoft Canada has already invested C$600,000 ($450,000) in the software project, which got under way in February, and does not know what the final cost will be. Gates, a college drop-out, is worth an estimated $41 billion and his philanthropic foundation, with an endowment of $24 billion, has made large donations to global health initiatives among other causes. Microsoft said it could not say why Gates chose to support the Toronto project but that the effort is part of the company's contribution to improving the Internet.

The Toronto software, called the Child Exploitation Linkage Tracking System, will document every piece of information available on child pornography suspects and the victims. "There is all sorts of new software out there that is specifically designed to defeat the forensic retrieval (by police) of evidence by using encryption and it just seems like ... the bad guys are winning," said Gillespie. The Microsoft Canada tool will be on an open standard so that it can be tied in with any software used by any agency, said Paula Knight, director of community affairs for Microsoft Canada. "By having this system in place, we'd be able to track the people who collect, trade and distribute these images on the 'Net," she said.

October 11
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Story Mound, of interest primarily to archaeologists, consists of a large, rounded earthen mound located on slightly less than an acre of ground in Chillicothe. This prehistoric burial mound stands 19.5 feet high, with a basal diameter of 95 feet. Erected by prehistoric Adena Indians (800 BC-AD 100) it was excavated in 1897 by Clarence Loveberry. It yielded the first documented example of a circular Adena timber building, a structural type now known as the norm in Adena ceremonial and domestic architecture.

Please note that the mound is surrounded by a chain-link fence and is not accessible.

October 12
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Fort Ancient features 18,000 feet of earthen walls built 2,000 years ago by American Indians who used the shoulder blades of deer, split elk antler, clam shell hoes and digging sticks to dig the dirt. They then carried the soil in baskets holding 35 to 40 pounds. Portions of these walls were used in conjunction with the sun and moon to provide a calendar system for these peoples.
"They engineered the position of the walls with reference to the most secure places with admirable skill. Think of thousands of men and women toiling on the brow of this high hill with wicker baskets, skins, etc., piling up such an enormous earthwork by mere strength of hand and back. They had no shovels, no picks, no barrows; in fact, no tools at all, such as we use."
--Warren K. Moorehead 1890
Fort Ancient is seven miles southeast of Lebanon, in Warren County, on State Route 350. Exit I-71 at Wilmington Road (exit 36) and take Middleboro Road south to State Route 350, turn right to the park.
October 13
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Fort Hill State Memorial is a nature preserve containing one of the best preserved Indian hilltop enclosures in North America. The Hopewell Indians (100 B.C.-A.D. 500) constructed the 1 1/2 mile long earthwork hilltop enclosure as well as at least two ceremonial buildings and probably a village in the Brush creek Valley.

flower-covered hillsideLying at the western edge of the Allegheny Plateau, immediately south of the glacial boundary, this hilly area contains an impressive diversity of bedrock, soils, flora, and fauna. There are 11 miles of hiking trails at the 1,200 acre preserve as well as a picnic area. The museum reopened in the fall of 2000 after an extensive renovation. New exhibits include a variety of hands-on and interactive, multimedia displays depicting the geology, flora and fauna of Fort Hill..


Fort Hill is located off of State Route 41 on Township Road 256, five miles north of Sinking Springs and three miles south of Cynthiana in Highland County.
October 14
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The Newark Earthworks were the largest set of geometric earthen enclosures in the world. Built by prehistoric Hopewell people between 100 BC and AD 500, this architectural wonder of ancient America was part cathedral, part cemetery, and part astronomical observatory.

Originally covering more than four square miles, today only three major segments are preserved: Great Circle Earthworks (formerly known as Moundbuilders State Memorial), Octagon Earthworks, and Wright Earthworks

Maintained by the Ohio Historical Society since the 1930s, these sites are the best preserved examples of the monumental geometric earthworks of the Hopewell culture.

October 15
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Seip Mound is the central mound in a group of geometric earthworks. Farming and erosion have degraded the surrounding earthworks leaving the central mound an outstanding feature. It is 240 feet long, 130 feet wide, and 30 feet high.

Excavations have revealed that prehistoric Indian buildings existed near the earthworks. Today, visitors can see the location of some of these buildings as they are outlined by short posts in the ground. The Hopewell Indians (100 BC-AD 500) built Seip Mound for burials. This culture had a highly developed craft industry, as is evidenced by artifacts found with bodies in the burial site.

Seip Mound is 14 miles southwest of Chillicothe and two miles east of Bainbridge, on U.S. Route 50 in Ross County.
October 16
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The dawn of the second millennium anno Domini in America was not fraught with the portentous significance of all those zeroes on the calendar of Europe. Although we know the aboriginal Ohioans living at that time possessed some sort of calendar, it would be the wildest coincidence if that particular year marked a millennial anniversary for the native Americans.

How do we know these people had a calendar? First of all, many sites built by the Fort Ancient culture (A.D. 1000-1550) and their contemporaries elsewhere in eastern North America often incorporated alignments to the sunrise (or sunset) on the summer solstice-the day in June when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky. At SunWatch Village in Dayton, for example, the Fort Ancient inhabitants used a series of huge central posts to keep track of the movements of the sun-much like ancient Europeans used Stonehenge. In addition, two stone serpent effigies, located in the valley below the Fort Ancient earthworks, are aligned to the summer solstice sunrise and sunset respectively. The Fort Ancient farmers kept track of the movements of the sun to schedule the planting and harvesting of crops, as well as to set the times for ceremonies and festivals.

October 17
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Noah must be wanting to greet the world today. After a normal doctor’s visit we have checked into the neighboring hospital Seaton Central in central Austin. Erin is anxious and scared to be having a kid now, she says she’ll be ready if he can wait two or three more weeks. We checked into the hospital at 4.50pm. The weather outside is nice with clear blue skies and cool weather. Erin says she doesn’t feel that good and that her bed is very uncomfortable. She finds it odd that she has to pee into a hat that she has to poor into a jug that they keep chilled on ice like orange juice.
        The drone of the tv set overhead does little to take her mind of the events that are taking place. The barrage of phone calls to friends and relatives has been made. So now the two cells phones sitting next to me are ringing randomly with news and inquiries from all the families and friends. Amidst all that life proceeds, and I find myself amused to get a call from a curious person inquiring as to the unit for rent in one of my rental properties. If it were any other time I would be in a different mood.
        Timing is everything I guess. My parents were already scheduled to come down for the weekend to visit us. The baby must’ve wanted people to be able to gather around him. Erin’s parents and siblings are coming to visit us and bring us some much desire food. Erin hardly glanced at the tray of hospital food she was bought, which included fish with tartar sauce, square cubed jello, apple slices, mixed vegetables, skim milk, and water. The saving call has been made to bring McDonalds to quench our hunger. Erin’s parents and sister Aimee showed up to bring up some food and encouragement. The company left shortly thereafter to leave us to relax for the evening.

Mississippian Culture's Cahokia

The Cahokia Mounds were bigger. The base of the biggest mound, Monk's Mound, covers 14 acres. It is as big as the base of the Great Pyramid. It is 100 feet high. Monk's Mound is a platform mound. It is flat in the top. There was a large house on the top that the king and his servants lived in. Other mounds were conical. They were used for burials. There were also ridgetop mounds used to mark the borders mound area. There were over 120 mounds in this area. These mound builders also made artifacts. Like the Hopewells, they traded for shells, copper, and flint. They made flint hoes which they used to get dirt and make gardens.
The Indians at Cahokia grew corn. Because of corn, many people could live in one place. As many as 20,000 people lived at Cahokia from 1100 to 1200 AD. They lived in houses made of wood, mud daub, and thatch. In the Visitor's Center at Cahokia there was a "mirrored village," which had lots of buildings. It showed the daily life of the people, and the mirrors made it look like a large village. A two-mile long stockade surrounded the city. It was made of 20,000 logs which were stripped of bark and burned at both ends to keep out insects. At Cahokia there were sun calendars made out of logs, called Woodhenges. We saw one made of 48 posts in a circle with a 410 foot diameter. The Indians used these circles to tell what season it was, and when to plant and harvest corn. Both Hopewell Mound City and Cahokia are still sacred sites to Native Americans.


Central Cahokia Mounds, Collinsville, IL

October 18
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Erin’s extended family showed up today to check in on us. Her grandparents and uncle entertained us for about an hour before they return to San Antonio. My parents showed up around 3pm to stay for the evening also. Erin’s blood test came back normal, her heart rate is still elevated, but the continued to find protein in Erin’s urine. Thereafter our hopes of going home for the evening were change as the doctor’s told us this evening that our stay will be extended to Monday morning after another round of 24 hour monitoring.

The Cahokia site is located in Collinsville, Illinois, and represents the most sophisticated prehistoric Native American society north of Mexico. References to walled villages in historic accounts of southeastern Native Americans led archaeologists to look for a fortification at the great capital of Mississippian culture. Aerial photographs taken of fields near Monks Mound in the 1920s and 1930s revealed light linear streaks that might have been soil disturbances from an ancient wall. Excavations begun in 1966 eventually confirmed that an enormous, two-mile-long stockade surrounded the central portion of Cahokia. The wall appears to have been started around A.D. 1100 and then rebuilt three times over a period of 200 years. Each construction required 15,000-20,000 oak and hickory logs, one foot in diameter and twenty feet tall. The logs were sunk into a trench four to five feet deep and were likely supported with horizontal poles or interwoven with saplings. The stockade walls may have been covered with clay, as well, to protect them from fire and moisture.

Because there is no evidence of invasion at Cahokia some people question the purpose of the Stockade. To a degree, it probably served as a social barrier; however, three things lead most archaeologists to believe that it was primarily a defensive structure: the great height of the wall; the presence of evenly spaced bastions, projections from which archers could shoot arrows; and evidence that portions of the wall were hurriedly built, cutting through residential areas, as if danger was imminent.

October 19
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Erin is getting restless in her bed, being confined to a hospital room can be just as draining as being confined any other place. Oh how I wish for a nice wireless Internet network. I’ve spent the last few days reading through my real estate correspondence book. You can only play so many games of hearts or real estate questions before you want to wander around somewhere outside. Mack was glad to see me this morning, after having spent the first few days in a while sleeping outside. I rescued Oz from the garage, where he spent the morning after following my mom in there to get dog food. My mom finished the curtains for the master bedroom, completing another element of our tropical theme. My parents returned to Houston this afternoon to return to their chores of life. Kris was our only other visitor today, so we had a slower day here around the hospital. I’m glad I don’t work a 12 hour shift, I don’t think my schedule of thing to do would work in that workload.
October 20
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After a long day of work, Erin, Kris, and I relaxed to the tastes of Mexican food from El Churrito and the sounds of Scary Movie 3. While the overall copy cat comedy routines copies memorable scenes out of hit movies for the year, it has an emptiness in its sarcastic portrayal. Overall I would give the movie a 5.0 / 10. It’s interesting to see how mindless some comedy routines can be and still be good market sellers, while movies with more developed unique script comedies like My Big Fat Greek Wedding linger on the sidelines never quiet making mainstream success.
October 21
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Nothing like returning to work and having to scroll through your 900 email messages of junkmail to find a few morsals of real information.
October 22
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I find it interesting in that I was approached with this exact paypal scheme using western union.  I debated about keeping my icq logs for proof, but decided that was better left to someone who's job is to proctect internet security.

Romania Emerges As Nexus of Cybercrime
BUCHAREST, Romania - The e-mail on a computer at the South Pole Research Center warned: "I've hacked into the server. Pay me off or I'll sell the station's data to another country and tell the world how vulnerable you are." Proving it was no hoax, the message included scientific data showing the extortionist had roamed freely around the server, which controlled the 50 researchers' life-support systems. The FBI traced the e-mail to an Internet cafe in Bucharest and helped Romanian police arrest two locals — the latest evidence that computer-savvy Romanians are fast emerging as a bold menace in the shadowy world of cybercrime. Law enforcement documents obtained by The Associated Press portray a loosely organized but increasingly aggressive network of young Romanians conspiring with accomplices in Europe and the United States to steal millions of dollars each year from consumers and companies.

Their specialties: defrauding consumers through bogus Internet purchases, extorting cash from companies after hacking into their systems, and designing and releasing computer-crippling worms and viruses.  Alarmed authorities say the South Pole case underscores the global impact of this new breed of cyber-outlaw. Frustrated with the employment possibilities offered in Romania, some of the world's most talented computer students are exploiting their talents online," the U.S.-based Internet Fraud Complaint Center, run by the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, says in a new report.  Computer crime flourished in Romania because the country lacked a cybercrime law until earlier this year, when it enacted what may be the world's harshest. The new law punishes convicts with up to 15 years in prison — more than twice the maximum for rape.

Varujan Pambuccian, a lawmaker and former programmer, helped draft the new law after Romania's government realized the nation, which is racing to join the European Union by 2007, was getting a bad online reputation. "We want a good name for our country," he said. "I'm very angry that Romania is so well-known for ugly things — for street dogs, street children and hackers." Pambuccian said there was a noticeable decline in criminal activity in the first three months since the law took effect. Although the Russians are better known for online extortion, Romanians have become major players in the scam, a specialty also favored by criminals from Bulgaria, Poland and Slovenia. Information technology is a Romanian forte dating to the former regime, when the late dictator Nicolae Ceausescu saw computers as a way to advance communist ideology. Software piracy took firm hold during the Soviet era, when Romanians too poor to buy licensed software simply copied it. Today, Romanians get their first computer lessons in nursery school. Universities have top-notch IT programs whose graduates are heavily recruited by Western companies. Microsoft Corp. recently acquired GeCAD, a leading Bucharest data-security firm. But all that know-how has spawned a dark side: Internet vampires who prey on victims half a world away.

The classic scam: Offer high-end electronics or other goods for sale or auction, take the order, confirm the "shipment" — and simply vanish the moment the consumer has wired payment. The Internet Fraud Complaint Center said it gets hundreds of complaints daily from defrauded Americans. Many cases trace to Romania, where criminals use Internet cafes to elude capture and avoid leaving a digital trail to their home PCs. Some have developed Web pages that mimic legitimate sites such as eBay, diverting them into the cyberspace equivalent of a back alley. Buyers think they're dealing with eBay, but their money ends up in criminal hands and the goods are never shipped. The most brazen hack into protected corporate databases, where they copy proprietary information and demand cash on threats of publishing the findings on the open Internet. Virgil Spiridon, chief inspector of Romania's national police and head of a newly launched computer crime task force, said authorities have intercepted online traffic, tracked Internet headers and addresses, searched suspects' homes and seized hard drives. But Mihai Radu of Bucharest-based BitDefender, a data security company, says criminals are smarter than local authorities. Romanian police asked BitDefender to help track down a 24-year-old university student suspected of creating and releasing a version of the crippling MSBlaster worm in August. The suspect, Dan Ciobanu, has not been arrested but remains under investigation.

"The Romanian police aren't qualified," Radu said as young analysts in jeans, T-shirts and sneakers disassembled strings of code to detect possible viruses. "They don't have the tools, the skills, the software." Pointing up the criminals' knack for staying one step ahead of the law, FBI documents note that because consumers are reluctant to do business with Romanians, some scammers have found accomplices in other countries. Others pass themselves off as coming from elsewhere. When police caught on that criminals were getting paid through Western Union transactions, they switched to direct bank-to-bank transfers, which are trickier to trace. Lately, they've set up bogus PayPal-style escrow accounts. In an astonishing show of bravado, some cybercriminals dare even to toy with those tracking them. Radu recalls logging on to his PC at home, only to watch in horror as the cursor moved independently around the screen and the CD-ROM tray slid in and out as though possessed by a poltergeist. "I was hacked," he said. "There's a fight between the dark side and the light side." Gesturing toward BitDefender's football field-sized room of programmers, he added cryptically: "They can do anything. If they weren't working for us, who knows what they'd be up to."

October 23
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Here's a artists depiction of an anciet fortified city.
October 24
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Here's some old copper artwork from the Americas.
October 25
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Today we went to the wedding and reception of Saurabh and Courtney Mathur in the Arboretum. The cold front managed to clear up the skies enough for the outside wedding to go off without a hitch. They had a nice small civil wedding and followed up with some of the Indian traditions. One tradition was to setup seven bags of rice and had the couple step on each one and repeat some saying and promises about marriage. They had nice red and white carnation reeves around their necks and Courtney promenaded down the path from the top of the park. Afterwards we had a reception at Boca de Billa a nice Italian restaurant. The atmosphere reminded me of JD Buchanan’s old home in San Diego. We watched the movie Daddy Daycare tonight, a nice mindless comedy to get your mind off the stress of life. I’m sure the movie would be more entertaining to someone who already has a family or children to influence their lives. Overall I would give the movie a 4 / 10.
October 26
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Today we went to Saurabh and Courtney Mathur’s baby shower for Kiran Jora, their baby girl. Their pregnancy is only 1 month behind us and she is due the beginning of December. The baby shower was up in Cedar Park in one of the new cloned housing communities sprouting up around Austin. I’m glad that I’m not loosing 2 hours a day commuting to work like our secretary Dawn Bishop. I spent the morning setting up the front yard with some strings of blue rope lights and lined the sidewalk with pumpkin bags full of leaves. The neighboring kids tried to sell me the leaves in their yard as they saw me gathering up all the leaves in our yard for the pumpkin bags. We relaxed in the evening to the movie Anger Management and then did the last minute cleaning around the house. Overall I would give the movie a 6.5 /10.

Fort Ancient
October 27
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We checked into the hospital at 5:00pm. That’s one way you can tell doctor’s have no sense of the world going on outside. No one picks rush hour to ask someone to show up for an appointment. The room we checked into is pink, which is amusing since we are having a boy. Erin continues to have high blood pressure, and preclamcia. Although the baby seems to have a health heart beat, he hasn’t dropped at all and Erin’s hasn’t dilated at all yet. Tomorrow morning at six in the morning they are supposed to start giving her pitosin to start inducing labor. Erin is ready to have Noah, he body is tired, she’s ready to be able to feel her fingertips, touch her toes, shave her legs, and eat Mexican food without heartburn. Work projects at Capital Commercial look to be picking up in the near future, with several large acquisitions on the horizon. This is a good time for CCI to realized some of the value I provide to the company by being out of the office all week long.
October 28
’The first day of the last day of my new life as a father’
After 14 hours of labor and a se-section Erin & I welcomed our new son into the world and named him Noah Pierce Buchanan.  He was 7 lbs 14 oz and 22 inches long with brown eyes and a full head of hair and born at 6:26pm . Erin wanted a se-section from the begining and after she never dialated beyond a 2 over that time period with pitocin and 14 hours later the doctor agreed on her position also.
October 29
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Spent the day in a windowless room today.  Lacking sunshine, fresh air, or the warmth of the sun.

Serpent Mound
October 30
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Finally moved to a room with a window to be able to admire all the construction workers walking around the lower roof sections from the remodeling work the hospital is doing.
October 31
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Seton Hospital for all it's good service, is extremely slow on the release side.  We told them we wanted to get out early to miss rush hour and that we lived in South Austin, so they made us wait around all day until 4:00 on a friday. 

I'm not yet sure who the *author of the audio for this animation is as it came to me as an email attachment, seems that the person who did the animation clip got in trouble with for using a copywrited car design from ChevronTexaco.