Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Queen Elizabeth orders her swans counted

Given the state of the world today what with loss of employment globally, famine, homelessness, war, you have to wonder about the timing of this news.

Queen Elizabeth, she who rules England, has ordered a counting of the swans, known as the annual "Swan Upping." Perhaps some people might use these words as a means in which to express their thoughts about the activity. Seems that the counting of the swans is a British tradition that dates back to the 12th century involving the counting of the swans on the Thames River.

One wonders why somebody - especially a royal - would want to know the amount of swans on any river, actually.

So y'see, the process involves the official Swan Marker, one David Barber, rowing up the Thames for five days(!) accompanied the the Swan Warden, one Christopher Perrins of the University of Oxford, wearing the special and traditional swan counting scarlet uniforms while counting, weighing and measuring adult and cygnets.

One wonders once again, if duplication could enter into the picture. I mean, how can one be sure that swan "A" for example, won't swim down the river and be counted as another swan. But I digresss.

According to custom, Britain's sovereign owns all unmarked, mute swans in open water, but the queen now exercises the right only on stretches of the Thames and its nearby tributaries.

Oh the angst of having one's swans limited to a territory!

This year Queen Elizabeth herself will be joining her team of Swan Uppers for part of the cencus. She will follow them up the river and visit a local school project on the whole subject of swans, cygnets and the Thames.

Yes but will Queen Elizabeth actually count the swans or just smile and do a royal wave?

Here's an older photo of a Swan Upper in full uniform checking (or counting) a swan and a story:

Just wondering why it's necessary for a/swan uppers to wear a uniform? British tradition one surmises.

Still, would have made a great skit for Monty Python.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pastor advises worshippers to bring guns to church

I'm probably opening up a can of worms here but this strikes me as very wrong. I'm also aware that U.S. citizens protect their right to bear arms to the nth however...

A pastor in a church in Louisville, KY. suggested to his parishiners, to carry guns to church on June 27th. Now correct me if I'm wrong but isn't church a place to touch base with one's Higher Power? So how does this pastor justify guns in a place of worship?

"Ken Pagano asked his flock to bring their unloaded handguns - in holsters - to New Bethel Church in Louisville for a celebration of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Consitution that guarantees the right to bear arms."

The pastor called the one-day event, "Open Carry Celebration."

Thing is more than 200 people showed up carrying guns, however, they could not be loaded with bullets. This lead me to ponder as to how he could ensure that the guns were empty. Did he have somebody at the door check the guns and do a body search?Anyway, the event included a handgun raffle, patriotic music and screening of gun safety videos. Some gun owners carried old-fashioned six-shooters in leather holsters. Still others packed modern police-style firearms.

Kentucky allows residents to openly carry guns in public with some restrictions.

I dunno...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Shepherd unaware of the concept perhaps?

So this Croatian shepherd who looks after sheep, decided to follow his flock. This move in itself wouldn't be newsworthy except that he followed them into a minefield. Luckily, the shepherd, one Philimon Zandamela, 34, survived to tell the tale and was led to safety by rescue workers in Sibenik.

The shepherd who hails from Mozambique has become somewhat of celebrity after surviving some unusual events that would or should have killed him.

This is a man who takes every word literally.

For example he accidentally drank sulphuric acid and stabbed himself in the stomach after a fortune teller told him it was time to die. A desire to be in porn films was cut short after his family threatened to leave unless he quit.

In discussing his survival in the mine field, Zandamela said that he was walking along and spotted a large number of strange bumps in the ground until realizing that he was in a mine field. Having a mobile phone he was able to phone the emergency services for help.

"I am very lucky to still be in one piece."

To say the least. There is no information regarding whether the sheep survived their walk or there was chops for a barbeque.