Give Me Back My Man

February 28, 2010

Happy birthday Cindy Wilson – 53 today.

This is for Andrei, without whose request I’d never have known about this song.


You Can’t Always Get What You Want

February 28, 2010

Brian Jones would have been 68 today.


Steptoe and Son

February 28, 2010

Harry H. Corbett w.ould have been 85 today.


Did you see the one about

February 28, 2010

If homeopathy beats science  at Forthesakeofscience – Hat Tip: Grant Jacobs at Sciblogs

For control freaks - Quote Unquote has a couple of remote controls which might save a relationship.

Safety at Work - Something Should Go Here with a sign every workplace needs.

Judges could discourage dopey court lies - Stephen Franks has a sensible suggestion.

More Naps - Offsetting Behaviour on how long you should nap for and how siestas help memory.

Full Cream Fifties - Opposable Thumb on  cholesterol’s influence on music.

Let’s get some perspective on mining – Whaleoil puts the numbers into pictures.

Key to Victory - Liberation has a series of posts analysing the 2008 election.


Funsandel

February 28, 2010

The sign at the entrance to the town usually says Dunsandel but last time I drove through someone had changed the D to a F.

There wasn’t much fun about Dunsandel a few years ago, it was just another of the blink-and-you-miss-it towns on the journey to and from Christchurch.

Then the Dunsandel Store had a rebirth, selling delicious, fresh food and some of the best value for money ice creams on State Highway 1.

We often stop there and I’ve yet to be disappointed in the quality of the food.

But I do have one question – who put the door handle on and why did s/he put it so low?


Vegetarians not so green?

February 28, 2010

Vegetables good – meat bad. That’s what we keep being told by people wanting us to save the planet by going vegetarian,

But a study by the World Wildlife Fund has found that the environmental impact of growing some meat substitutes are worse than that from raising animals.

It has often been claimed that avoiding red meat is beneficial to the environment, because it lowers emissions and less land is used to produce alternatives.

But a study by Cranfield University, commissioned by WWF, the environmental group, found a substantial number of meat substitutes – such as soy, chickpeas and lentils – were more harmful to the environment because they were imported into Britain from overseas.

Far be it for me to stick up for anyone advocating we all give up meat, but this is the food miles argument which Lincoln University proved doesn’t necessarily stack up.

How far produce travels is only one factor. Lincoln’s study found New Zealand’s free range meat had a smaller environmental footprint even when transport was accounted for than meat from intensively farmed animals sold on local markets.

The study concluded: “A switch from beef and milk to highly refined livestock product analogues such as tofu could actually increase the quantity of arable land needed to supply the UK.”

The results showed that the amount of foreign land required to produce the substitute products – and the potential destruction of forests to make way for farmland – outweighed the negatives of rearing beef and lamb in the UK.

An increase in vegetarianism could result in the collapse of British farming, the study warned, causing meat production to move overseas where there may be less legal protection of forests and uncultivated land.

Meat substitutes were also found to be highly processed, often requiring large amounts of energy to produce. The study recognised that the environmental merits of vegetarianism depended largely on which types of foods were consumed as an alternative to meat.

It’s good to see an environmental group taking the trouble to investigate claims that vegetarian diets are better for the planet than those which include meat and that the study looked at the economic impact a mass conversion to vegetarianism would have.

This study shows that working out the green credentials of any produce is a complex business and being vegetarian isn’t necessarily better for the environment than eating meat.


February 28 in history

February 28, 2010

On February 28:

20 BC coronation ceremony of Liu Bang as Emperor Gaozu of Han takes place, initiating four centuries of the Han Dynasty‘s rule over China.

870 The Fourth Council of Constantinople closed.

 
Council Trent.jpg

1261 Margaret of Scotland, queen of Norway, was born.

1638 The Scottish National Covenant was signed in Edinburgh.

 

1710  In the Battle of Helsingborg, 14,000 Danish invaders under Jørgen Rantzau were decisively defeated by an equally sized Swedish force under Magnus Stenbock.

Battle of Helsingborg print.jpg

1784 John Wesley chartered the Methodist Church.

 

1787 The charter establishing the institution now known as the University of Pittsburgh was granted.

University of Pittsburgh Seal

1824 Blondin, French tightrope walker, was born.

 

1827  The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was incorporated, becoming the first railroad in America offering commercial transportation of both people and freight.

Francis Blackwell Mayer. The Founders of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (1891), represents the B&O’s history (left to right) beginning with its founding in 1827 to 1880. Philip E. Thomas, George Brown, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, and others are gathered at left. Samuel F. B. Morse is seated at center left (with telegraph tape) and John W. Garrett is seated at right.

1838 Robert Nelson, leader of the Patriotes, proclaimed the independence of Lower Canada (today Québec).

 

1844 A gun on USS Princeton exploded while the boat was on a Potomac River cruise, killing eight people, including two United States Cabinet members.

USS Princeton, Lithograph by N. Currier, New York, 1844.
 

1849 Regular steamboat service from the west to the east coast of the United States began with the arrival of the SS California in San Francisco Bay, 4 months 21 days after leaving New York Harbour.

1865 Wilfred Grenfell, medical missionary, was born.

 

1870 The Bulgarian Exarchate was established by decree of Sultan Abd-ul-Aziz of the Ottoman Empire.

 

1883 The first vaudeville theatre opened in Boston, Massachusetts.

1897 Queen Ranavalona III, the last monarch of Madagascar, was deposed by a French military force.

Queen Ranavalona III

1900 The Second Boer War: The 118-day “Siege of Ladysmith” was lifted.

Ladysmith Town Hall 1900 - Project Gutenberg eText 15972.png

1912 Clara Petacci, Italian mistress of Benito Mussolini, was born.

1914 The Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus was proclaimed in Gjirokastër, by the Greeks living in southern Albania.

1922 The United Kingdom accepted the independence of Egypt.

1925 Harry H Corbett, English actor, was born.

PicSteptoeAndSon.jpg

1928  C.V. Raman discovered Raman effect.

1933 Gleichschaltung: The Reichstag Fire Decree was passed in Germany a day after the Reichstag fire.

Flag of Nazi Germany

1935 DuPont scientist Wallace Carothers invented Nylon.

Nylon 

1939 The first issue of Serbian weekly magazine Politikin zabavnik was published.

 

1939 – The erroneous word “Dord” is discovered in the Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, prompting an investigation.

1942 Brian Jones, English musician (The Rolling Stones), was born.

1942 The heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA-30) was sunk in the Battle of Sunda Strait with 693 crew members killed.

USS Houston

1943 Charles Bernstein, American composer, was born.

1945 New Zealand soldier David Russell was executed by a Nazi firing squad in Italy.

Kiwi soldier faces Nazi firing squad

1946 Robin Cook, British politician, was born.

1947 228 Incident: In Taiwan, civil disorder is put down with the loss of 30,000 civilian lives.

 The 228 Monument located near the Presidential Office in Taipei

1953 Paul Krugman, American economist, Nobel laureate, was born.

Paul Krugman-press conference Dec 07th, 2008-8.jpg

1957 Cindy Wilson, American singer (The B-52′s), was born.

1958 A school bus in Floyd County, Kentucky hits a wrecker truck and plunged down an embankment into the rain-swollen Levisa Fork River. The driver and 26 children died in what remains the worst school bus accident in U.S. history.

1970 Daniel Handler, American writer, better known as Lemony Snicket, was born.

1972 The Asama-Sanso incident ended in Japan.

1972 The United States and People’s Republic of China signed the Shanghai Communiqué.

1974 Moana Mackey, New Zealand politician, was born.

1975 A major tube train crash at Moorgate station, London kills 43 people.

Moorgate station

1985 The Provisional Irish Republican Army carried out a mortar attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary police station at Newry, killing nine officers in the highest loss of life for the RUC on a single day.

1986 Olof Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden  was assassinated in Stockholm.

1991 The first Gulf War ended.

1993 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents raided the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas with a warrant to arrest the group’s leader David Koresh. Four BATF agents and five Davidians die in the initial raid, starting a 51-day standoff.

 

1995 Denver International Airport officially opened in Denver, Colorado to replace Stapleton International Airport

DiaLogo.png
DIA Airport Roof.jpg

1997 – The North Hollywood shootout takes place.

1998 – First flight of RQ-4 Global Hawk, the first unmanned aerial vehicle certified to file its own flight plans and fly regularly in U.S. civilian airspace.

 

1998 – Kosovo War: Serbian police begin the offensive against the Kosovo Liberation Army in Kosovo.

2001 – The Nisqually Earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale hits the Nisqually Valley and the Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia area of the U.S. state of Washington.

2001 – Six passengers and four railway staff are killed and a further 82 people suffer serious injuries in the Selby rail crash.

200 More than 1 million Taiwanese participating in the 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally formed a 500-kilometre (300-mile) long human chain to commemorate the 228 Incident in 1947.

 

2005 Lebanon‘s pro-Syrian prime minister, Omar Karami, resigned amid large anti-Syria street demonstrations in Beirut.

2005 A suicide bombing at a police recruiting centre in Al Hillah, Iraq killed 127.

2007  Jupiter flyby of the New Horizons Pluto-observer spacecraft.

New Horizons

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


National Velvet

February 27, 2010

Happy birthday Elizabeth Taylor – 78 today.

This film showed during school holidays at the Oamaru’s Majestic Theatre and we galloped home through the gardens, kicking up leaves, pretending we were riding like Velvet.


XT truth from Telecom

February 27, 2010

When I rang the Telecom desk for the second time in three hours yesterday because the mobile broadband kept disconnecting the bloke who answered was very helpful.

He also admitted the problem was the XT network.

Phone calls take precedence over data so if/when the system reaches capacity a single extra phone call pushes out the broadband connection.

“But we’re working fast to remedy that and add extra capacity,” he added.

Does this mean that XT has been more popular than the company thought it would be or that capacity was insufficient to begin with?

Whichever it is, I’m giving the company the benefit of the doubt for now and waiting hopefully for delivery to meet the promises soon.

After all, as Not PC points out, other telcos aren’t fault-free either.


Stating the obvious

February 27, 2010

Study: Smokers dumber than non-smokers.

Is that a surprise?


Performance based loans an improvement

February 27, 2010

The suggestion by Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce that student loans be tied to performance would be an improvement on the current system.

It is not in the best interests of the taxpayer or students to keep on paying loans to people who are failing significant parts of their courses.

With a limited amount of money available it should be going to ensuring high standards of teaching and helping students who help themselves, not funding those who fail.

Allowances are cut if students fail more than half their course in the previous year and that would be a sensible model to follow for loans.

Interest-free student loans were one of Labour’s election bribes. National came up with a better idea in 2005 but lost the election and swallowed the dead rat by promising to keep the loans in its 2008 campaign.

That doesn’t mean there can’t be changes to the system and stopping loans to those who fail would be a good place to start.

Helping people who graduate and work in hard to staff areas is better than propping up under-graduates who fail.

Voluntary bonding for health graduates is a good example of this and Health Minister Tony Ryall has announced the scheme will be widened.

South Canterbury has been added to the areas which are hard to staff and surgical nurses have been included in the list of hard to staff specialities.


Oceania Dairy gets resource consent

February 27, 2010

Environment Canterbury and Waimate District Council have approved Oceania Dairy’s resource consent application for a dairy processing plant at Glenavy.

The plant plans to process approximately 220 million litres of milk and produce around 32,000 tonnes of milk powder a year. It is expected to be operational for the start of the 2011/2012 season.

It’s a $95 million development and the company is now concentrating on its $74.75-million capital raising.

Farmers have the option of being shareholders and suppliers or just suppliers. The company is also seeking investment from non-farmers.

Farmers who supply Fonterra have to own shares in the company. With Oceania farmers could supply the company without having to make a capital investment. That could be attractive to people starting in the industry or those already in dairying who want to lower their debt levels.

However, this is a new company and farmers will have to weigh up whether or not they can get a return from a company without a track record which would be close to or better than that from Fonterra.

Only suppliers can own Fonterra shares. Oceania offers an opportunity to invest in dairying for non-farmers but no investment is risk free and only time will tell if this company can succeed in export markets.

Most forecasters are expecting stability or a slight reduction in milk prices in the short to medium term. But most also recognise that the world is short of food and any company from New Zealand selling milk does so with the assistance of our reputation for high standards of food safety.


February 27 in history

February 27, 2010

On February 27:

1560 The Treaty of Berwick, which expelled the French from Scotland, was signed by England and the Congregation of Scotland.

1594 Henry IV was crowned King of France.

1617 Sweden and Russia signed the Treaty of Stolbovo, ending the Ingrian War and shutting Russia out of the Baltic Sea.

1626 Yuan Chonghuan was appointed Governor of Liaodong, after he led the Chinese into a great victory against the Manchurians.

 

1700 William Dampier was the first European to discover the island of New Britain.

1797 The Bank of England issued the first one-pound and two-pound notes.

1807 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet, was born.

1812 Poet Lord Byron gave his first address as a member of the House of Lords, in defense of Luddite violence against Industrialism in his home county of Nottinghamshire.

1844 The Dominican Republic gained independence from Haiti.

1900 British military leaders received an unconditional notice of surrender from Boer General Piet Cronje at the Battle of Paardeberg.

Surrender of Cronje.jpg

1900 The British Labour Party was founded.

Labour logo
 

1902 John Steinbeck, American writer, Nobel laureate, was born.

John Steinbeck with 19 year-old son John (left), visits President Johnson in the Oval Office,

1912 Lawrence Durrell, British writer, was born.

Durrell stands at a podium, gazing at the crowd as he addresses them. He wears a suit over a white shirt with a striped tie, and holds his left arm at his side, with his elbow bent upwards as if to shake his fist. A caption runs below the image that reads "Lawrence Durrell, 1986 - photo courtesy R. Rubrecht."

1921 The International Working Union of Socialist Parties was founded in Vienna.

1922 A challenge to the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, allowing women the right to vote, was rebuffed by the Supreme Court of the United States in Leser v. Garnett.

1930 Joanne Woodward, American actress, was born.

1932  Elizabeth Taylor, British-American actress, was born.

1933 Reichstag fire: Germany’s parliament building in Berlin was set on fire.

1934 Ralph Nader, American author, activist and political figure, was born.

1939 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sit-down strikes violated property owners’ rights and were therefore illegal.

1940  Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discovered carbon-14

1942 During the Battle of the Java Sea, an allied strike force was defeated by a Japanese task force in the Java Sea

UmpCADH270K.jpg

1943 The Smith Mine #3 in Bearcreek, Montana, exploded, killing 74 men.

 Memorial of the Smith Mine disaster

1943 – The Rosenstrasse protest started in Berlin.

 Part of the memorial “Block der Frauen” by Ingeborg Hunzinger, commemorating the protest

1945 Lebanon declared Independence.

     

1951 The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, limiting Presidents to two terms, was ratified.

1951 Troops were sent on to Wellington and Auckland wharves to load and unload ships during the waterfront dispute.

Troops deployed in waterfront dispute

1961 The first congress of the Spanish Trade Union Organisation was inaugurated.

Italian Fascist flag

1963 The Dominican Republic got its first democratically elected president, Juan Bosch, since the end of the dictatorship led by Rafael Trujillo.

1964 The government of Italy asked for help to keep the Leaning Tower of Pisa from toppling over.

1967 Dominica gained independence from the United Kingdom.

  

1973  The American Indian Movement occupied Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

 

1974People magazine was published for the first time.

 

1976 The formerly Spanish territory of Western Sahara, under the auspices of the Polisario Front declared independence as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

1986 The United States Senate allowed its debates to be televised on a trial basis.

1989 Venezuela was rocked by the Caracazo riots.

1991 Gulf War: U.S. President George H. W. Bush announced that “Kuwait is liberated”.

1999 Olusegun Obasanjo became Nigeria‘s first elected president since mid-1983.

2002 Ryanair Flight 296 caught fire at London Stansted Airport.

2002 – Godhra train burning: a Muslim mob killed 59 Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya;

2003 Rowan Williams was enthroned as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury.

2004 A bombing of a Superferry by Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines’ worst terrorist attack killed 116.

2007 The general strike against Lansana Conté in Guinea ended.

2007 – The Chinese Correction: the Shanghai Stock Exchange fell 9%, the largest drop in 10 years.


Those Were The Days

February 26, 2010

Happy birthday Sandie Shaw – 63 today.


A Boy Named Sue

February 26, 2010

Johnny Cash would have been 78 today.


Blueberry Hill

February 26, 2010

Happy birthday Fats Domino – 82 today.


Little things are the big things

February 26, 2010

A reading often used at wedding includes the line: the little things are the big things.

That is at least as applicable to politics as marriage.

A pair of underpants played a major role in Tuku Morgan’s undoing and a couple of bottles of wine led Phil Heatley to resign.

Yet Phillip Field hung on for months in the face of charges which eventually led to his conviction for corruption and Winston Peters clung on to the baubles of power with major questions over his behaviour and trustworthiness.

One reason that there’s been swifter action over something relatively trivial is that this is a different person and this is a different administration with different standards.

But why do little things become big things?

Perhaps because everyone can relate to little things, our own lives are full of them.

That’s one of the reasons the media focuses on what might seem to be very minor matters while giving at best cursory attention to major ones.

But little things are silly things. While never condoning major wrong doing we might understand how someone thought a big gain was worth the risk, but why bother for something trivial?

I’m pleased the Auditor General has been asked to examine all the spending.

I hope that regardless of what he finds she is able to make recommendations which ensure that misuse of credit cards, by ministers, their staff or anyone else in the public service is picked up immediately if it happens and repayment demanded.

It’s no use having rules if the people charged with applying them don’t do so without fear or favour.

Ministers should know the rules and keep them. But the system should provide a backstop should they get something wrong.


Sheep shortage leading to silly prices

February 26, 2010

The ODT’s headline tells a classic supply and demand story: Sheep shortage underpins demand.

You don’t have to be an economist to know that when demand exceeds supply the price rises and people who frequent stock sales say stock agents and farmers are paying silly prices for sheep.

There are several reasons for this.

Sheep numbers plummeted over the last few years because of dairy conversions and drought.

There is an over capacityof killing space in the meat industry.

Last season’s milk price fall led dairy farmers to cut costs so some farms which were growing supplements or providing grazing for dairying are looking for sheep to eat their excess feed.

All of that’s led to an increase in demand which has led to an increase in price for store stock  which isn’t necessarily related to the value of the meat or wool on international markets.


February 26 in history

February 26, 2010

On February 26:

747 BC Epoch of Ptolemy‘s Nabonassar Era.

 

364 Valentinian I was proclaimed Roman Emperor.

 

1266 Battle of Benevento: An army led by Charles, Count of Anjou, defeated a combined German and Sicilian force led by King Manfred of Sicily who was killed.

The Battle of Benevento from Giovanni Villani's Nuova Cronica.

1361 Wenceslaus, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia, was born.

 

1564 Christopher Marlowe, English dramatist, was born.

1658 Treaty of Roskilde: After a devastating defeat in the Northern Wars (1655-1661), King Frederick III of Denmark-Norway was forced to give up nearly half his territory to Sweden to save the rest.

1794 Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen burnt down.

 

1802 Victor Hugo, French writer, was born.

 

 

 

1815 Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from Elba.

Photo of a coastline with the sea, greyish cliffs, vegetation and beige buildingsNapoleon’s Villa Mulini on Elba

1829 – Levi Strauss, German-born clothing designer, was born.

1844 Two Wellington lawyers, William Brewer and H. Ross, undertook a duel as the result of a quarrel that had arisen from a case in the Wellington County Court. When the two men faced off in Sydney Street, Brewer fired into the air but ‘received Mr. Ross’ ball in the groin’. He died a few days later.

'Pistols at dawn': deadly duel in Wellington
 
1846 William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, American frontiersman, was born.

1848 The second French Republic was proclaimed.

   

1852 John Harvey Kellogg, American surgeon, advocate of dietary reform, was born.

1861  Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya, Russian revolutionary, Lenin’s wife, was born.

 

1863 U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed the National Currency Act into law.

1866 Herbert Henry Dow, American chemical industrialist, was born.

1870 In New York City, a demonstration of the first pneumatic subway opened to the public.

 

1885 The Berlin Act, which resulted from the Berlin Conference regulating European colonization and trade in Africa, was signed.

1887 – At the Sydney Cricket Ground, George Lohmann became the first bowler to take eight wickets in a Test innings.

George Lohmann.jpg

1909  Fanny Cradock, English food writer and broadcaster, was born.

1914 Robert Alda, American actor, was born.

1914 HMHS Britannic, sister to the RMS Titanic, was launched at Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast.

Britannic hospital.jpg

1916  Jackie Gleason, American actor, writer, composer, and comedian, was born.

1917 The Original Dixieland Jazz Band records the first ever jazz record for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York.

1919 An act of the U.S. Congress established most of the Grand Canyon as the Grand Canyon National Park.

 

1928 Fats Domino, American musician, was born.

1928 Ariel Sharon, Israeli Prime Minister, was born.

1929 The Grand Teton National Park was created.

1932 Johnny Cash, American singer, was born.

1935 The Luftwaffe was re-formed.

1935 The Daventry Experiment, Robert Watson-Watt carried out a demonstration near Daventry which led directly to the development of RADAR in the United Kingdom.

1936 Adolf Hitler opened the 1st Volkswagen plant in East Germany.

VW-Logo.png

1936 – In the February 26 Incident, young Japanese military officers attempted to stage a coup against the government.

 

1947 Sandie Shaw, English singer, was born.

1949 Elizabeth George, American novelist, was born.

1950 Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, was born.

 

1952 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that his nation had an atomic bomb.

1954 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey, was born.

1954 Ernst August, Prince of Hanover, heir to the deposed Kingdom of Hanover and a husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco., was born.

1955 Andreas Maislinger, founder of Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service, was born.

 Andreas Maislinger in middle

1958 Susan J. Helms, Astronaut, was born.

Helms sj2.jpg

1966 Apollo Programme: Launch of AS-201, the first flight of the Saturn IB rocket.

Saturn Apollo insignia

1968  Tim Commerford, American bass player (Rage Against the Machine), was born.

1971  U.N. Secretary Generlal U Thant signed United Nations proclamation of the vernal equinox as Earth Day.

1972 The Buffalo Creek Flood caused by a burst dam killed 125 in West Virginia.

 

1987 Iran-Contra affair: The Tower Commission rebuked President Ronald Reagan for not controlling his national security staff.

1990 The Sandinistas were defeated in Nicaraguan elections.

FSLN.png

1991  Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein announced the withdrawal of Iraqi troops from Kuwait.

1993 World Trade Center bombing: A truck bomb parked below the North Tower of the World Trade Center exploded, killing 6 and injuring more than a thousand.

1995 The United Kingdom’s oldest investment banking institute, Barings Bank, collapsed after a securities broker, Nick Leeson, lost $1.4 billion by speculating on the Singapore International Monetary Exchange using futures contracts.

Barings.png

2000 Mount Hekla in Iceland erupts.

 

2001 The Taliban destroyed two giant statues of Buddha in Bamyan, Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Statua di Budda 1.jpg

2003 War in Darfur started.

Darfur map.png

2004 – F.Y.R.O.M. President Boris Trajkovski was killed in a plane crash near Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

2005 Hosni Mubarak the president of Egypt ordered the constitution changed to allow multi-candidate presidential elections before September 2005 by asking Egyptian parliament to amend Article 76.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


All My Lovin’

February 25, 2010

George Harrison would have been 67 today.


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