Saturday, September 29, 2007

Drink More Tea!

And then buy lots more.

AP: A storied industry falls on hard times---

India has long been famous for its tea, and the $1.5 billion industry launched by British colonials nearly two centuries ago is, after China's, the world's second largest. More than 1 million tons were grown in 2007, much of it here in the northeastern state of Assam.

But production costs are mounting and a brutal insurgency has targeted the planters. Globalization, with the spread of cheaper tea from countries such as Vietnam and Kenya, has increased competition. While there have been glimmers of good news recently — a $320 million revitalization package announced by the government, and an uptick in prices from historic lows — the business is still at the bottom rungs of profitability.
[. . .]
This is a business that seems to attract trouble. Yet here is the contradiction: It's hard to find a planter who wants to give up. These are well-connected landlords who could sell out if they wanted, yet few do.

"For me, looking after the garden is a great joy," said D.N. Boruah, a planter whose family has been growing tea for nearly a century. "I may not be earning anything — I'll tell you that — but the joy is to be involved."
I promise to do my part!

And thanks to whomever recently bought Twinings Earl Grey Tea Tea Bags through Lady Jane's Diversions, my store. I really appreciate it!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fancy Marie Antoinette's Pearls?

. . . you could buy them.

Reuters: Marie Antoinette's pearls up for auction---

LONDON (Reuters) - A set of pearls once belonging to Marie Antoinette and taken to Britain by a friend for safekeeping will go on sale in December, and are expected to fetch up to $800,000.

Now part of a diamond, ruby and pearl necklace, France's last queen gave a bag of pearls and diamonds to Lady Sutherland, the British ambassador's wife, before she fled revolutionary France in 1792, a year before Marie Antoinette's death.

"Lady Sutherland was wife of the ambassador and friends with the queen, and they had children of the same age," said Raymond Sancroft-Baker, senior director of Christie's jewelry in London.
[. . .]
Marie Antoinette was executed by guillotine in October 1793.

The diamonds were made into a necklace, while the pearls were mounted later for the occasion of the marriage of Sutherland's grandson in 1849.
You can see the pearls (in the necklace, obviously) here.

More about Marie Antoinette:
Royalty: Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette
PBS: Marie Antoinette
Portraits of Marie Antoinette

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Am The "Sense"

You scored as Elinor Dashwood, You're Elinor Dashwood, the "sense" of Sense & Sensibility! You tend to hide your emotions, but you feel deeply. You also feel obligated to carry the burden of keeping everyone in your family under control.

Elinor Dashwood


Elizabeth Bennet


Fanny Price


Marianne Dashwood


Catherine Morland


Emma Woodhouse


Anne Elliot


Which Jane Austen heroine are you?
created with

Found Cannon from Lost Colony?

I have always thought the Lost Colony of Roanoke was fascinating. And, I like reading about naval history/artifacts. This story sort of combines the two and caught my eye.

AP: Archaeologist takes 2nd look at cannon---

Rod Mather, a professor of maritime history and underwater archaeology at the University of Rhode Island, has studied the 25-square-mile area surrounding the site where the cannon was found the past two summers.

Some historians believe the 4-feet-long, 300-pound cannon, which was loaded when it was found 24 years ago, is an English cannon from the 1580s, making it one of the oldest English artifacts ever found in the Americas.

Others argue that even if the cannon dates back to the 1580s, it could have been in use in the early 17th century when more ships were up and down the Virginia and Carolina coasts.

"If it's a shipwreck, and it's an English shipwreck, it would be the earliest English shipwreck in the New World," Mather said. "If you think about what we know about American history, the fuzzy part is the part about the early exploration of America."

Mather also questions if the cannon could have even more significant historical value — possibly answering the question of what happened to the so-called Lost Colony.

The "disappearance" of 117 English colonists in the late 1580s on what is now Roanoke Island in North Carolina has baffled experts. Mather suggests the cannon possibly could have been left by the colonists — either because their ship sank or by simply falling overboard — as they fled in search of better living conditions.
Do read the rest of the article, as it has more on the Lost Colony and where the cannon might have come from.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

710-Year-Old Magna Carta Copy for Sale

I would love to own this. Or, actually, even just see it.

Reuters: Rare Magna Carta to be sold at Sotheby's in NYC---

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A rare 710-year-old copy of the Magna Carta valued at up to $30 million is due to be sold by The Perot Foundation at Sotheby's in New York in December, the auction house said on Tuesday.

The Magna Carta established rights of the English people and curbed the power of the king. The U.S. Constitution includes ideas and phrases taken almost directly from the charter, which rebellious barons forced their oppressive King John to sign in 1215.

Sotheby's said the Magna Carta was ratified and reissued with each monarch who succeeded John. It was enacted as law in 1297 by the British parliament when it was reissued by King Edward I. The copy to be sold is from 1297.
According to the article, there are less than 20 copies of the Magna Carta and this copy is one of only 2 outside Britain.

Learn more about the Magna Carta:
British Library
National Archives
Avalon Project

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Arrrr!!!! Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Today is Talk Like A Pirate Day! I love Pirates (of the Captain Jack/Will Turner type---did you see Will by the end of Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End???).

There are lots of fun things online and here are a few I enjoy:

Get a Pirate name here.
Songs to sing here.

Visit the Talk Like A Pirate page for lots of great ways to celebrate Talk Like A Pirate Day.

I also recommend watching Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, which is one of my favorite movies.

You can read this blog in Pirate Speak here.

How do you celebrate Talk Like A Pirate Day?

What are your favorite POTC (all 3 movies) lines?

Have a Pirate-y Day! Arrrr!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Slughorn is Cast

Don't know what that means? Then you need to read the Harry Potter books!

According to (and numerous HP sites),

Broadbent Lands Potter Role

Oscar winner Jim Broadbent is set to become Harry Potter's latest teacher after signing on to play Horace Slughorn in Harry Potter And The Half-blood Prince. In the Potter books, Slughorn is Hogwarts' potion master and the brains behind the fictitious magic school's Slug Club. The British actor tells, "Slughorn is drawn back out of retirement because he's got some secrets Harry and (headmaster) Dumbledore need in the battle against the Death Eaters. He's quite star-struck as a teacher, and he's drawn back into the fold because he likes to notch up celebrity students."
He'll be perfect!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six Years

I cannot believe that today is the six year anniversary of September 11. Times goes so quickly and yet for many the pain is still fresh. We must continue to pray for the families of the victims, for our military, and for our nation, and the world.

I will hopefully be posting more later, as I like to observe this day with remembrances from around the world, etc. I have to have oral surgery in about 1/2 an hour, so I don't know how I will be feeling.

I wanted to post something, however, so I decided to repost my contribution to last year's 2,996 Tribute. This is my tribute to Betty Ann Ong. Please read it and remember Betty and the other victims/heroes of 9/11. God bless us all.


This is dedicated in Memory of Betty Ong and in Honor of the Ong Family. May God bless you all.

2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers
will join together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11.

Today, September 11, 2006, I remember Betty Ong, Flight Attendant, American Airlines, Flight 11.

On September 11, 2001, Betty Ong was just doing her job . . . a job she loved. She was a flight attendant for American Airlines, on Flight 11, which was going from Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles, California. Betty had been with American for 14 years and loved her job and
was a tireless worker. Whenever she worked a late night flight, she would never sit down and relax. Even when passengers were sleeping, she would walk down the aisles and softly talk to the passengers who were awake and provide blankets to those who were asleep. It would not be unusual to find Betty caring for a passenger's baby while their parent's rested. (Source)
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She was a people person and it was safe to say people loved her too.

Betty didn't start out life as a flight attendant. She was born in San Francisco, California, on February 5, 1956 to a family with four children. Betty and her siblings grew up in Chinatown and she attended George Washington High School (Source).

She had a special place in her heart for children and senior citizens:

She paid special attention to them whenever they were aboard a flight she was working. On many occasions, Betty would drive a half hour from her home, into Boston, to have lunch and take walks with senior citizens. She shared stories about her far away travels with the neighboring children and often had trinkets to give them. (Source)
Betty's loving personality made her a perfect candidate to be a flight attendant:

She was feminine, very humorous, very caring, and she loved people," said Cathie Ong, [Betty's sister]. "She saw the humor and loved to bring out the humor. And she just loved to laugh. She had this habit, when she laughed, it was just very distinct. She would slap her knees when she would laugh, yet on the plane she was very professional."

Passengers and crew members loved Ms. Ong, 45. "She made everybody feel like they knew her right away," Cathie Ong said. "She had a knack for making people feel at ease. But if you were out of line with her, she wouldn't hesitate to put you in place. She was tough when she had to be." (Source)
On September 11, 2001, Betty showed just how tough she could be.

At about 8:20am on that day, Betty managed to get a call through to a woman named Nydia Gonzalez at the American Airlines Reservation center. It was one of, if not the first, calls with information about the hijackings. She stayed on the line for 23 minutes. (Michelle Malkin has a post up about Flight 11, here, which has a lot about Betty's role that day.)

Betty didn't panic. She calmly and professionally relayed information from the passengers and other members of the crew of Flight 11.
After Ong's description of the scene on board, Gonzalez and a second call-taker asked Ong what seat she was in.

Ong identified herself and her seat number, and said, "OK, our number one got stabbed, our purser is stabbed. Nobody knows who stabbed who, and we can't even get up to business class right now because nobody can breathe." (Source)
Betty's bravery and serenity under pressure helped alert the authorities to the terror that was about to unfold. Her call helped air controllers to decide to ground planes.
Ong calmly told ground staff there were possibly four hijackers of Middle Eastern extraction on board.

Ong also reported on the carnage taking place -- the First Class galley attendant, stabbed; the purser, stabbed. The terrorists also slashed the throat of a passenger, who was bleeding profusely. The hijackers locked themselves in the cockpit.

Amid the mid-air horror, Ong remained cool. She identified the seats the terrorists had occupied, enabling the FBI to learn the hijackers' passport details.

Fifteen minutes after Ong first alerted the world to what was happening, the big Boeing suddenly lurched, tilting wildly. She said the pilots were probably no longer flying the airplane. The 767 approached Manhattan, flying ever lower.

Still on the line, Ong said in a composed voice: "Pray for us. Pray for us."

Seconds later the line went dead.

Her ground contact asked: "What's going on, Betty? Betty, talk to me. Are you there? Betty?" (Source)

Betty Ann Ong was only 45 when her life was ended, much to young. She has so much left to do.

Only a portion of Betty's call was recorded. A small segment was played for the 9/11 Commission and Betty's family in January 2004.

"She was outstanding, under those circumstances," Cathie Ong said. "It's hard for us all to imagine ever being in those shoes. My family and I, we cried. She was just exemplary in her performance, her attitude and everything. "

"She was very take-charge, and we were very proud of her. She was very calm." (Source)

The audio from that four minute portion of Betty's call can be heard here (The transcript can be found there too).

Betty Ann Ong was a Hero on September 11, 2001. She made a choice not to passively accept her fate and did her best to save the Crew and Passengers of Flight 11.

Betty Ong will never be forgotten.

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Of course, Betty was a lot more than a victim of 9/11:

She was the youngest of four siblings, a loving daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. She was warm, caring, thoughtful, and considerate, always thinking of others before herself. Gifted with a sense of humor, Betty had a knack for making people feel comfortable and putting them at ease. She had a smile about her that could light up a room and lift up a spirit. She could feed laughter to anyone's heart. (Source)
Betty's brother Harry paid tribute to her with this poem:

Dear Bee:

I don't know fully why you left us
I don't know fully when you left us
I don't know fully how you left us
But I do know that I miss you so very much

I do know that you left us doing the job you loved best
I do know you left us fighting to the very end
And I do know you did your job most heroically

Oh how I wish I could turn the clock back to make things whole again
This is so much like a dream
I never expected to write you this letter..
Let alone a letter like this for you before me

Each day I wake up waiting for you to call or I.M. me just to say "Hello"
I go over and over the moments we shared together and wish we could share even more
And now as I slowly wake up each day, I realize that I can only talk to you in my heart and know that you are here in spirit

I whisper a little "hello" when I walk by your picture each day
Bee, I will never really say goodbye to you
because you are forever in my heart and soul
Bee, I just want to say I'm so very proud of you
And I really miss you so

Your loving brother, Harry
In honor of Betty, her family has established the Betty Ong Foundation:

a not for profit public charity, [it] was established to continue her legacy. The advocacy of the Betty Ann Ong Foundation serves to educate children to the positive benefits of lifelong physical activity and healthy eating habits and to provide opportunities for children to experience the great outdoors so that they can grow to become healthy, strong and productive individuals.

Betty's memory will live through the Foundation's work for the advocacy of children and to give recognition to heroic flight attendants who continue to work hard to keep the passengers safe in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

You can pay further tribute to Betty Ong at one of the following sites:

September 11 Victims
Remember September 11
9-11 Heroes
Living Tribute

In Memory of Betty Ong and All Who Died on September 11, 2001.

May we NEVER Forget.

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I know I will never.