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Was chatting with Stacey last night, and realised that our relationship hasn changed much, ne gryn We still jabber excitedly about our favourite books and music, and do everything short of blatant arm twisting to get the other party to try them. We swopped fic reccomendations for HP, and revelation of revelations! She likes D/G! (But doesn care much about slash. Boohoo. But she let on that Rhysenn, who wrote Irresistable Poison, is Singaporean. ^_^ Didn know that.) We known each other since, let see, Primary 2, so it been 8 years! Granted, we haven really had one of those heart to hearts that seems to be expected of most long time chick relationships (so sue me if I stereotype), but we are always able to pick up from where we left off, ie, there never any angst over “we lost touch and it so awkward, oh no!” I don know why, but one of the most vivid memories I have of her, is her (past) ambition to be an interior designer. Uh huh, I have no idea why I remember that , out of all the different memories. shrug The brain is a trs funny thing. The Mother insists on me visiting her every day (which I don really mind), but what really gets my goat is that she expects me to only visit my grandma and stay at home the rest of the time. for “Achievement, Good Leadership and Service” (I quote). Who cares, I get a 0 award voucher (“award voucher” For books, I hope. Boohoohoo. =( I feel so juvenile.

EDS BBQ on monday wasn bad. =S) Didn know whether to laugh or cry over the Incident of the Chicken Juice aka the Incident of the Wonkily Packed Chicken aka Who Had The Idea That Tupperware Meant Foil Container Plus Covering (Of course, it was poor TK who was carrying that plastic bag.) So, they transferred those chicken wings into another (genuine) Tupperware container, dripping “chicken juice” (well, not really) all over the MRT station floor. Interesting.

Went to Delifrance for lunch, with the exception of Vanny who disappeared to a CD store and came back with a Malaysian mag because it featured Jerry Yan (whom she cooed over whenever she had a spare moment.) Tried a quich Lorraine, and nearly choked, trying to suppress laughter at a mental image of TK (who looks suspiciously like Prof. Snape, with his pasty complexion, floppy dark hair and tortured sleep deprived look) with mashed potato on his nose. I nearly throttled Rui because she asked oh so innocently (my foot!) “Why does your shirt have a dip in the middle of the neckline, ah (I flat, ok I admit it! Grah.)

Then, of course, we went shopping for the rest of the food, and it turned out that there were no marshmallows! What a calamity! Vanny and I trooped to White Sands Watsons, Marks and Spencers and Tampines, before ascertaining that Watsons marshmallows were the cheapest. .99 per pack! The big BBQ able kind too! (I feel so ah soh. Argh.)

It was threatening to rain by the time Vanny and I arrived at the park to meet up with the others. (Oh gooshe, you couldn begin to imagine the puns they made on my name. Adoi.)Jeremy and Zhi struck luvverly duelling poses on top of the BBQ pits(no, not on the bit where you actually cook the food la.) and I hope Rui got the pictures of them. ^_^ Zhi, Rui, TK and I went off to collect people at the MRT station, while Rowell, Shan and the others stayed behind to start the fires.

We got there really early, so they bought some stuff to nosh on, and we kia kia ed the big makeshift market near the MRT. Mei Wei was the earliest to show up, and she had 2 of those little plush red strap on hearts from IKEA, and this lovely big one for me! As a farewell present no less, because “we too glad to see you go, so we bought this for you” (I quote). Wah, thanks hor. It was extremely shnoogly, and Rui and Becky ended up scrapping with me, to hug it. Mei Wei then held on to it til the end of the BBQ. _LOL_) Thankew Mei Wei! (Ok, huishan also shared, but Mei Wei said “Don thank her! She haven pay yet, don thank her!”) Wenling and I ended up looking quite twin like, thanks to our similar outfits. We agreed to wear home clothes and biiiig earrings, and in the end, we were both dressed in white sleeveless tops, blue jeans and the ubiqitious biiiig earrings.

Played capball for what seems like the first time in 189974527 years. Vanny was in her element this time, and she played and played and played some more. Sat on the beach, got the seat of my pants seriously wet. >_Went home early, around 9. Geez, I get tired too easily.

And I need to go shopping. Arrrrrgh. Say what you like about my tastes, I just really happy that Christopher Lee finally got into shi da, and that Fann Wong kept her place (it take an earthquake to unshake her. And a bloody big one at that.) Jacelyn Tay got in too, all hail the 2 great beauties in Mediacorp! (If you have differing opinions, you welcome to them. placid smile I am decidedly shallow about beauty. Huang Biren won Best Actress, which made me squeal with glee, because my mom and I kinda got hooked on Beautiful Connections (Yes, I watch TV. A lot of it being in Chinese too.) Although I never watched bao zi dan, I like Li Nanxing (he gives off good vibes to me), so I thrilled he got Best Actor too. However, I have a bone to pick with Michelle Saram. Why Because she is ugly and talentless. bitch alert Anyone notice the striking resemblance between Ivy Lee and Michelle Saram tonight I think it was just the lighting+make up+Ivy Lee weight loss. shudder Scary.

Chen Hui Hui got Best Supporting Actress, good fer her!! (Finally.) Last but not least, I was expecting the girl from Beautiful Connection to win the Green Apple Award. (Well, I empathised with her character, at any rate.)

That, was my ha rant on the Star Awards 2002. Hah. Goodnight people, it the EDS BBQ tomorrow, be there or be square

(I getting lamer and lamer. Not that I could choke anything down anyway, but hey, maybe I finally hit 48kg again! [“Dreams are my reality” and all that jazz]. There nothing really very edible in the house. except Tim Tams. [Resist the temptation!]

Why am I blogging at the unearthly hour of nearly 2 in the afternoon Because I feel a need to rant, that why. My aunt (the youngest one) and her husband are going back to the UK, after Christmas. =( They gonna sell their nice apartment and go back. My uncle from UK, you see, and although they quite like Singapore, they just prefer UK. That fine with me, because it generally agreed on in the family, that when I get my scholarship to study in the UK, I visit them once in a while, to ascertain the fact that I living and reasonably healthy. But, I miss the house, I miss the cat, I miss them! My dad says we might buy the house, if no one wants to buy it, but I think he just saying that to placate me. It so nice! It in a private estate, and it the highest apartment, on the 4th floor. There a small pool, with a swing at the back. The house itself is spacious, but not too big such that cleaning becomes hell. I like the kitchen, it neat and trim and more airy than ours. It my ideal house, damn it! Then there Sourpuss, resident feline, whom my aunt and uncle “adopted” early this year. (Well, it was more of she adopting them, really.) She around 8 years old, a grand ol dame of a cat, and looks really grouchy, because she got a black patch of fur just beside her nose, which makes her look like she squinting at you in a decidedly unfriendly way. But she really sweet at heart, and my aunt and uncle love her. They don think she like the journey to England, and the Chinese have a saying that cats recognise houses and not people. Debatable, yes, but they don think that she make it, if she were to be transported to England. (Hey, she about 56 in human years.) My mommy won let me have her, because no one will be home during the day. (Quite true.) Therefore, I want my dad to buy the house, but he muttered something about it being on the highest level, thus increasing the possibility of a leaking roof when it rains (bullshit!), and that my mom can make the walk up the 4 flights of rather steep stairs, because there no lift. What if the new owner hates cats Hasn anyone thought of that how on earth am I supposed to spend 2 more years, in JC, without my aunt and uncle They nice, and I bet out of the entire family, they understand me the most. (Yeah, well, I like them the most too) They not irritating when they care, they don fuss like the rest of the grown ups, and they actually treat me like I have a mind of my own!

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again”

My HKMahjong software revived today! Revitalised by a round of mahjong, I feel much better. beams at all and sundry Slept my usual 12 hours, and did a little clearing. There so much to pack! The Chinese stuff will go to Matt, the history to ling (there only a few bits of notes left, which I found during the excavation of the scary pile on my computer table.) English to whoever wants it, and SS has gone to jia. My lit notes stay, except for the unseen papers, which are also with jia. Oyez, French will go to tian and melody. The mass of papers in my house is quite astounding. DHS kills a lot of trees,
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no mistake about that.

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Q: Last week in this press room you made it clear you liked to accessorize. Where did you find a tiara that would stay on your head during a tennis match? Did you have to practise with it?

Serena Williams: Actually, I didn’t practise. I played a doubles with it first. It worked well. My mom liked it more than the black one, although I do like the black one more. My mom likes this one more. I don’t know. I just kind of. luck of the draw, I guess.

On the wrong wavelength

Q: Can you talk about all the pressure that Amelie [Mauresmo] was under when she first burst out there and how she’s been able to handle that?

Martina Navratilova: I don’t know. I mean, she didn’t seem to worry about it one way or the other. The press is making a big deal about it, but to her it wasn’t. She handled it very well because she didn’t really care what anybody said. She knew who she was. She knows who she is. If somebody has a problem with it, that was their problem,
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not hers. You know, she’s a very healthy, you know, human, up there. She didn’t have a problem. I’ll put some more in tonight.

Q: Any part of your body that doesn’t hurt?

Krajicek: My elbow actually.

Jennifer Capriati (after defeat by Mauresmo): I’m definitely not the 16 year old body any more.

Q: As someone who has accomplished so much in the sport, do you have any advice for Anna Kournikova, who has accomplished so little?
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Amanda Foreman, living in New York, has become accustomed to being taken for a ditz. Blonde haired like her, dazzlingly pretty like her, and given to expressing herself with similarly hectic animation, the ditz in question is Phoebe from the television sitcom Friends. “I go into the local chemist, and I can hear people saying, ‘Oh my Gaaahd it’s Lisa Kudrow!’,” she says, laughing. “And there’s a famous Amanda Foreman, an actress two years older than me, who appears in Private Practice [an American TV show]. It told the story of Georgiana Cavendish, the 18th century beauty, fashion plate, society hostess and political operator, who became infamous through her passion for gambling and her doomed affair with the future Prime Minister, Charles Grey. Stylishly written it was an extension of her Oxford DPhil thesis, The Political Life of Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire 1757 1806, with added romance and intrigue it sold over 200,000 copies and hit the bestseller lists. Georgiana became the subject of a TV documentary, a radio play with Judi Dench, and later a film, The Duchess, starring Keira Knightley. Her book reviews gobbled up and spat out established academics. At literary festivals, audiences listened entranced to her impression of Georgiana’s affected speech patterns. Once, at a dinner party I attended, the bien pensant conversation between two guests was boring the rest of us. Amanda piped up. “Does anyone,” she asked, “know any Hollywood gossip?”

She never looked much like a historian. AJP Taylor, JH Plumb and Lewis Namier, it has to be said, never resembled film stars. Among the more recent crop of popular chroniclers, Simon Schama, David Starkey and Michael Wood, she stood out like a flamingo at a Rotarian dinner. At the launch of The Duchess, in 2008, Foreman so dazzled onlookers that she threatened to eclipse the lovely Ms Knightley.

Within a year of her debut, she featured in Tatler’s “50 famous people under 40” feature. Somehow, they persuaded her to pose for the piece with nothing on, her modesty concealed by a tall tower of Georgiana hardbacks. The photograph showed her laughing and clearly embarrassed, rather than vampish and seductive, but it came back later to bite her well bred posterior. For, in the wake of her richly textured debut, a sub genre of lesser historical works appeared.

In July 2008, the biographer Kathryn Hughes went on the attack. In an article, “The Death of Life Writing”, she wrote that the biographer’s skill was being devalued, and much of the blame could be laid at Foreman’s door. “By choosing to be photographed nude behind a pile of books,” Hughes wrote, “and by allowing her own life story to become as important as the person she was writing about, Foreman did an accidental disservice to biography in general and to young women biographers in particular.” Hughes was only starting. “Since Foreman’s unprecedented hit,” she thundered, “photogenic young women are commissioned to produce biographies of equally camera ready subjects, regardless of whether they are equipped to do so. The results are often intellectually slight.” In April this year, David Starkey launched a bilious attack on female historians who are “quite pretty” and whose names “begin and end with A”, calling their works “historical Mills Boon”. He could have meant Antonia Fraser, but his remarks seemed directed at Ms Foreman. She is, it seems, insufficiently serious for him, too.

There is, therefore, a lot riding on Foreman’s new book, published next month. Is it another biography of a posh and breathless horizontale, gambling her fortune away and suffering from an awful husband? Actually, no. It’s an ambitious, beautifully written 800 page narrative history of Britain’s involvement in the American Civil War, called A World on Fire. Beginning with the withdrawal of Lord Napier, the British diplomat, from the legation in Washington in April 1859, and ending with the assassination of Lincoln in April 1865, the book tracks six years of conflict, tacking back and forth between the Southern states’ secession from the Union, the battles and political infighting, and the chatter in London salons, where major players, like William Henry Seward (the New York senator who became Lincoln’s vice president), loved to visit, scheme and be lionised.

Ms Foreman sees the book as a hybrid of history and biography. “It’s history in the round,” she says. “You go in, as a reader, you’re tossed into the middle, all the action is happening around you. There’s an enormous cast of characters 197, actually and they’re the dramatis personae. Obviously it’s history, but it’s written as Dickensian drama.” She admits to being inspired by the RSC’s eight hour stage version of Nicholas Nickleby, in which an ensemble cast played all the characters.

What had inspired her to write about the US Civil War? “When I was researching [the Georgiana book] at Chatsworth, I did my best to read everything they had about the family’s history. I got to the 8th Duke, Spencer Cavendish, who, when he was still the Marquis of Hartington, went to America to support the North, but changed his mind and spent Christmas Day 1862 making eggnog for General Robert E Lee and his cavalry officers. I knew then that my next project would be to find out why the heir to the greatest liberal peerage in the country thought the South had the moral advantage over the North.”

Foreman, by the time she made this discovery, was well up to speed with American politics and the background to the war. Her Masters degree was Politics or Providence? Why the House of Commons voted to abolish the slave trade in 1807. Her PhD thesis was Attitudes to Race and Colour in pre Victorian England. “The anglophobia of Americans was incredible. If you were a politician, all you had to say was ‘I hate the English’ and your popularity would go up 10 per cent. When politicians talk about the special relationship, it’s important to remember the Americans were not our friends for a long time. For America,
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Britain has never been more than a strategic player and when it suits them to use us, then there’s been a rapprochement. But if it doesn’t suit them, you’re kicked out the door. In 1860, America was like a big, spoilt teenager trying to get away from its parent.”

The British, by contrast, were entranced by the Civil War. Having abolished slavery, they sided with the North against the slave owning Southern states. But among the 50,000 British who volunteered to fight in the war, a significant minority sided with the South. Why?

“Many British people loved the South,” Foreman said. “They felt it was a pre lapsarian, pre industrial society. You must remember at the time there was a big Young England movement, and a yearning for a time unsullied by industrialism. The South seemed ideal. And it seemed to have affinities with the English aristocracy: they liked hunting, shooting and fishing, they had grand houses. All fashionable people loved the South. It was all hype, though. Scratch the surface, and you realise they’re like the Spartans a society founded on helpless slaves.”

The core of the book is Ms Foreman’s indefatigable tracking down of the records of hundreds of British soldiers who volunteered to fight in the war. “I spent two years writing to every record office and library in this country, America, Canada and Australia. Then two people read about me in the press and got in touch to say, ‘I’ve got my ancestor’s papers, and he fought in the Civil War’. It was totally cool.”

It’s fitting that Amanda Foreman, who chronicles the six year Anglo American stand off with amazing fluency, is herself Anglo American. Her father was Carl Foreman, the Hollywood producer responsible for bringing High Noon, Bridge on the River Kwai and The Guns of Navarone into being. He was blacklisted as a suspected communist sympathiser in the McCarthy witchhunts. Amanda was born in London in 1968 and, at the age of seven, her parents moved the family to Los Angeles. At 10, she was sent to board in England. She returned to America to do her undergraduate degree at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, NY, then went to Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, for her Masters on Georgiana. When the storm about the biography and the not very naked photo shoot died down, at the end of 1998, Amanda decamped to New York to start researching the Civil War. And there she met the man who became her husband, a Malmsbury vicar’s son called Jonathan Barton.

“I went to stay with my friend Vicky Ward, who is a journalist, and she invited him along on my first day there. I’d met him once before, and not liked him, in fact I thought he was rather terrible. But this time he walked in he’d been sent to work for a bank, and it was his first day too and bang, that was absolutely it. So I stayed.” They married in 2000 “and had five children pretty quickly”. The children were named, with increasing exoticism, Helena, Theodore, Halcyon, Xanthe and Hero. But Amanda has always been funny about names. Since she was young, she’s been known as “Bill”, a blokeish nickname for such a classy dame. It’s apparently the fault of her little brother who, on hearing the word “mandible”, took to saying “Amanda Bill” over and over. Oh, and Jonathan is known as “Reg”. Bill and Reg. It doesn’t seem right, does it?

On the morning of 9/11, she was, by spooky coincidence, on a plane bound for JFK airport. “We were due to land at 9.15am, half an hour after the first plane hit. We touched down, then took off again and flew to Logan Airport, Boston. Ours was the last plane to land at Boston before everything shut down. My husband was going crazy. I got a train back to Manhattan and, as it turned a corner, you could see this terrible pall of smoke. It was the most dreadful thing.” Did she think, “This is history, happening right now”? “Yes. I wished I’d been there from the start, on the streets. It was like being at the fall of the Berlin Wall.” Ask her if she wrote about the event, and the answer is a surprise. “I sent a long e mail to George Osborne describing the scene, the relatives sticking up photographs of the missing.” Why him? “He’s a friend. His wife Frances is godmother to one of my children.” What did he do with the e mail? “He read it out in the House of Commons.” Didn’t she feel she should turn it into a proper article? “Not really,” she said. “I didn’t feel I needed to write anything else after that. Not when my letter’s in Hansard.”

Bringing up five children under five, while trying to write a half million word book, while your husband works until 10pm, was she admits, a strain. “It is unheard of to have five children in Manhattan,” she wrote in 2007. “No nanny in her right mind will work for us, since she can get the same pay for looking after one child on the Upper East Side. We live downtown, in a crumbling brownstone. We don’t own a car because there is nowhere to park. Taxis can’t take more than four. How does one get a triple pushchair down two flights into the Subway? Where are Dorothy’s magic shoes when you need them?”

Her days fell into an exhausting pattern. “I’d start work at 7pm, when the children were in bed, and finish at 3am. Then I’d go upstairs and cry on the stairs for 20 minutes because I was so damn tired, and then I’d sleep for four hours and get up at 7.30am to make breakfast. I told myself, ‘This cannot go on like this forever. But you do it because you have to’.”

Things got much worse after the arrival of the twins. Jonathan was diagnosed with non Hodgkins lymphoma. Today, Amanda’s chirpy disposition trembles under the weight of the memory. She remembers one night when she nearly lost it. “It was Christmas Eve, I took Reg out of the hospital, we drove to the country and there was a terrible storm about midnight. I was filling stockings with him, there was a terrible noise, and in the twins’ room the wind had blown one of the shingles off the roof. Water was pouring through, over the twins’ beds down into the dining room below. I had to get the twins out, and get buckets, but the water was coming down so fast that I had to keep emptying them. I really bawled. Reg said, ‘The insurance will take care of the leak, it doesn’t matter. I’ve got cancer why are you crying about the leak?’ I said, ‘Reg, I can take the cancer. I can take the leak. But I cannot take them all at once’.” Jonathan had chemotherapy, and finished treatment last year. “So it’s been nearly 18 months now.”

Foreman has been watching Barack Obama closely, as he approaches mid term elections in a storm of criticism. “American disillusionment is as American as apple pie,” she said. “But what’s more interesting is the breakdown of the special relationship. Almost the first thing Obama did in the White House was to return the bust of Winston Churchill to the British embassy. That suggests a major re ordering of things. It’ll be fascinating to see what happens from now on. It was a genuine break with the recent past perhaps to re connect with the past past.” A past of blood, tears and sweat that this polymorphously charming (and serious) historian has brought to vivid, burning life.

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As we all embraced our inner Gatsby on Saturday, the phrase ‘a little party never killed nobody’ was very nearly untrue. Although for many this was due to the morning after hangover, for me, it was the result of too much Charleston! The Woo Hoo Swing Party has been by far one of, if not the best Stannary event so far. From the music to the live bands, the outfits everyone looked incredible the atmosphere, and most importantly the astounding dance moves.

As a girl who took dance classes for 15 years, I do love a boogie, but attending a Stannary party with a group of dance students (my flatmate and her friends) is a whole other level! Obviously, their dancing outclasses us all ( some people were pulling out some pretty amazing moves how lovely it was to witness proper dancing and not just the bobbing, swaying and jumping of the average Stannary night) but what was both amazing and also inspiring was their utter confidence. A sense of abandonment and the statement that said we came here to dance and that’s what we’ll do, it was great to be part of and great to see so many people admiring and recognising their brilliance too.

Not having their stamina, I woke up on Sunday with sore legs, aching muscles and a still un mastered swivel step sigh. One night as a 1920s flapper girl and I have no idea how they managed it! Must just be exhausted from all that time travel. Not that I’m complaining, it was a truly fabulous night which for a Lit student, Gatsby obsessive, history student with a love for the 1920s and Strictly Come Dancing Charleston’s, couldn’t have got any better. I’d been very excited for this event since its initial announcement and I’m thrilled to say I was not disappointed.

So what did a night out with the dancers teach me?

Always, always wear comfortable shoes.

You’ve definitely got enough energy for just one more dance even if they have been saying that for the last hour

The absolute enjoyment of dancing like no one is watching.

Till the Space Party. Happy Recovery!

About Rebecca Louise Morrison

Hi! I’m Rebecca, an English and History student from Essex and brand new blogger. Unsurprisingly I’m a massive bookworm, but I also love film, theatre, music, quotes, baking, art, dance, period drama, the colour purple and most importantly Cornwall. As I embark upon the rollercoaster (which I happen to be terrified of) that is university life my aim for this blog is for it to be as varied as my university experience thus far. So from essays, to parties, to lazy Sunday afternoons it’s going to be an adventure.
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“We’re really fortunate to have everything we have at the boathouse,” said Stefanik. “We want to kind of give back to the community.”

Half of the donations received are split with LUM’s Good Samaritan Fund. Crew Head Coach David Kucik said the team raised $30,000 last year.

“I went to the President and I asked do you know how much money is coming in? And she says yeah,” said Kucik. “I said are you really okay with giving half of this away? And the president looked at me and said, isn’t that what we’re doing it for?”

The Purdue Crew team’s goal is to support the families in need across Greater Lafayette. This money can help people cover the cost of rent and food.

“We’re very fortunate of the existence we have,” Kucik said. “We’d like to give back to the community any way we can.”

The other half of the money stays with the crew team. So far, the team has collected more than $30,000 and will

“It says a lot about the athletes and also the people in the community who are willing to give so much,” said Stefanik. “It doesn’t take a lot of time to write a nice letter and send it out and it’s amazing that we get such a great response not just from the community, but also people outside the community. I think that says a lot.”
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SportsOlympicsHigh SchoolCNY Central AthleteFriday Night FootballCNY Central AthleteNominate an AthleteMore SportsOrange ZoneCNYCentral Athlete of the WeekHS Game of the WeekScoreboardI challenge NikoSportsOlympicsHigh SchoolCNY Central AthleteFriday Night FootballCNY Central AthleteNominate an AthleteMore SportsOrange ZoneCNYCentral Athlete of the WeekHS Game of the WeekScoreboardI challenge NikoOlympicsHigh SchoolCNY Central AthleteFriday Night FootballCNY Central AthleteNominate an AthleteMore SportsOrange ZoneCNYCentral Athlete of the WeekHS Game of the WeekScoreboardI challenge NikoOlympicsHigh SchoolCNY Central AthleteFriday Night FootballCNY Central AthleteNominate an AthleteMore SportsOrange ZoneCNYCentral Athlete of the WeekHS Game of the WeekScoreboardI challenge NikoSportsOlympicsHigh SchoolCNY Central AthleteNominate an AthleteMore SportsOrange ZoneCNYCentral Athlete of the WeekHS Game of the WeekScoreboardI challenge NikoNubz is set to meet his new ‘father’ on Monday, and will be going to his ‘furever’ home in Salem, Oregon. The formal adoption will happen near Philadelphia, where he’s been fostered, socialized, and gotten therapy. His foster mother reminds us that he does not know he has a disability, but Nubz will need prosthetic devices and extensive physical therapy to compensate for the feet that his mother chewed off when he was a puppy.
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We had been taught in puppy class that when a puppy bites us (they can help it; they explore the world through their mouths, like babies babies with very sharp teeth) we are to emit a high, squeaky EEEEK! and then whirl around and ignore the puppy for a full 15 seconds. The teacher demonstrated this, impressing upon us that 15 seconds is not 5 seconds, nor 10 seconds, but a good long time that will fill the puppy with dismay at being shunned and make him learn that bad behavior brings all the fun to a halt.

So we give him tons of things to chew,
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and our house is a complete mess of shredded stuff and will be for months to come. Still, there are things that seem to keep him out of trouble: The brown paper at the end of a roll of wrapping paper; empty cereal boxes; knuckle bones from a pet store or butcher shop; rope tug toys; empty plastic water bottles stuffed into old tube socks (they crackle splendidly); split elk antlers, and puffy toys that end up as an explosion of cotton balls all over the living room floor.
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Province columnist Michael Smyth, 38, wanted to be a newspaperman ever since he was a kid watching his dad read the Toronto Star over breakfast every morning. In high school, he started up another newspaper and tormented his teachers and student council reps with hard hitting columns and editorials.

The journalism program at Toronto Ryerson University was a natural fit for Smyth. It a practical, hands on school where students are taught by professional journalists. He graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree.

Smyth first job was in Wayne Gretzky hometown with the Brantford Expositor, where he was amazed someone would actually pay him to interview NHL stars at Gretzky annual charity tennis tournament.

His next stop was the London Free Press in London, Ont. He covered the city beat and later served as the paper bureau chief in Woodstock, where he covered everything from the courthouse to the cop shop.

In 1988, Smyth joined The Canadian Press, Canada national news agency. He worked four years on the Ontario Desk in Toronto, winning a CP award for his coverage of the Ben Johnson steroid scandal.

In 1992, Smyth came to British Columbia as CP correspondent at the Victoria legislature. In 1996, Michael Smyth was hired by The Province as its political columnist.
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I’d like to think, even as we remain mired in a protracted hyper partisan political cycle, that reasonable people can still agree to disagree and yet maintain a modicum of civility. You thought I was going there, didn’t ya!?

Nope, I’m talking about the mild disconnect between the state’s resource agency and the recreational fishing community over the value of the Northern snakehead. In the years since this so called Frankenfish a misnomer, really, since Frankenstein was actually the mad scientist who created the monster, and we didn’t create a snakehead was discovered in a Crofton pond, its popularity has grown significantly among many sport anglers and bow fishermen. A few guys I know who are dialed into this feisty fish speak glowingly of its traits as a worthy adversary. I’ve yet to catch a trophy, though truth be told I really haven’t tried that hard. Perhaps I should correct that in 2018, a New Year’s resolution of sorts.

Joe Bruce, about as fine an angler as you’ll find in our region, has caught plenty. He respects their gamefish qualities so much he spends most of his summer chasing them. Why? Simply put, they are a “great gamefish,” says Bruce, who has penned a how to book called, what else, “Fishing for Snakeheads.”

“What’s not to like? They’re a great topwater fish, and you almost always see it (the strike) coming since they follow the lure. It’s a much more visual (experience),” he told me the other day. “They’re also very powerful a four pound snakehead could drag around a four pound bass. Oh, and they taste great.” Yet, as aggressive as their strikes can be, he adds, they can also lay a skunk on you when you least expect it.

State fishery biologists, on the other hand, have remained steadfast in their view of the northern snakehead, which is to say they have kind of an Amityville Horror perspective: Get out! In fact, Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources has a bounty on their heads, encouraging fishermen to catch and kill as many as they want. DNR also prohibits the catch and release of snakeheads.

It’s fair to say, particularly in the early years of the fish’s presence in Maryland, that quite a bit of mythology surrounded its abilities and appetites. For example, there were fears it would disrupt the Potomac River rockfish spawn. Hogwash. Have you ever seen the maw on a fully grown cow striper? You could fit a toddler’s head inside, not that I am condoning such a thing. Others claim snakeheads can walk. Once at a fishing show a guy swore up and down to me he saw one stand up on its hind fins and walk up Pennsylvania to The White House. OK, I totally made up that last part, but their locomotive abilities are one of the things folks like me find fascinating about them. candidate at Wake Forest University, also thinks so. He’s doing his thesis on northern snakeheads’ mysterious locomotive abilities, and our DNR has agreed to help him.

“The department was excited when Noah requested to study overland movement of northern snakeheads,” Fishing and Boating Services Biologist Joseph Love said in a released statement. DNR has provided him information on snakehead biology and management as well as specimens and lab space.

Bressman has studied nearly a dozen northern snakeheads, adult and juvenile, captured by DNR, and has learned that they “make almost the same movements as soldiers (when they crawl),” moving their back fin and head in opposite directions to propel them forward. There’s much research and analysis ahead of Bressman before any conclusions can be made, so he expects to return to Maryland in early 2018.

Yes, there is much to like about snakeheads as a gamefish, and I’m curious to learn what Bressman discovers. American Legion Post 7 at 1905 Crownsville Road.

Jan. 22: MSSA Perry Hall Chapter. Nick Garrott on “Understanding your fish finders.” The Chapter meets at the VFW Hall, 6309 Ebenezer Road, Middle River.

Jan. 25 28: Progressive Baltimore Boat Show. Free daily seminars to increase your knowledge and confidence. Baltimore Convention Center.

Jan. 30: Angler’s Night Out. Film “Buccaneers Bones with Lefty, Season 2.” Hosted by CCA MD, Boatyard Bar Grill, Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Fourth Severn, Eastport.

Jan. 27 28: Kent Island Fishermen’s (MSSA Chapter 7) 8th annual Fishing Flea Market. Kent Island American Legion Post 278, 800 Romancoke Road, Stevensville. Admission $3 (16 yrs. under Free.

Feb. 7: Free State Fly Fishers meeting. Center, 3727 Queen Anne Bridge Road, Davidsonville.

Feb. Free admission, $50 per table rental. Call Dawn Yoder to reserve table, (410) 867 2398.

Feb. 17 18: Pasadena Sportfishing Group’s 26th annual Fishing Expo. both days. $5 each day, 12 under free. Earleigh Heights Fire Hall, 161 Ritchie Highway, Severna Park.

Feb. 24: MSSA Annapolis Chapter’s annual Saltwater Fishing Expo.

Feb. 24 25: Lefty Kreh’s Tie Fest. Admission $10 per day, $15 for both days. Anglers 16 and under and active military personnel admitted free. Lowes Annapolis Hotel, 126 West Street, Annapolis. Contact Tony Friedrich, (202) 744 5013.
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It’s the stuff of nightmares. Your beloved Ugg boot being repurposed as a home for a brown snake.

Straya, etc.

This is the traumatising situation that a resident in Moana, south Adelaide, encountered when she saw the tail of a brown snake disappearing into her footwear. She immediately called Snake Catchers Adelaide to come and evict the reptile.

“We got a call from a woman saying she had seen the tail of a snake going into an ugg boot,” snake catcher Ange Broadstock told Adelaide Advertiser.”When we got there it was all snuggled up in the boot so we just popped the whole thing in the bag.”

The 1m long snake has since been evicted from its fleecy home, but will stay with Snake Catchers Adelaide until warmer weather, when it will be released back into the wild.

The reptile was identified as an eastern brown snake while they are known as the world’s second most venomous snake they are a shy breed, preferring to flee when encountering humans.

His appearance in the Ugg boot has been blamed on the shifting temperatures.

“What happens at this time of year when the weather goes from warm to cold so quickly is snakes get caught out,” Ms Broadstock said.

“When it’s warm they can’t wait to get out, but when it gets cold they lose their place.

“So they snuggle up somewhere warm as soon as they can.”

Rolly Burrell, manager of Snake Catchers Adelaide, told the ABC that the company removed a snake from a shoe about once a year last year from inside a rubber boot that had been hung upside down on a rack.

Ms Broadstock’s advice is for people to keep the number of a snake handler saved in their phone in the unlikely event they need it.

“If someone sees a snake in the their house they need to stay where they are and keep an eye on it,” Ms Broadstock said.

“That way it makes it much easier for the handler and also gives the person peace of mind when the snake is caught.”

Mr Burrell had some dire news for those with a fear of reptiles. He said it had been such a cold winter in Adelaide and “everything wants to come out”.
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