Friday, June 27, 2008


I'm having a bit of pain on the left side, waist down. Have been to the docs twice, had an MRI and will be seeing a neurosurgeon on Tuesday. Can't sit for long, can't lay down for long, can't walk for long---so you see that's why I haven't blogged.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Horse Racing

I'm so into thoroughbreds and dogs and their careers that I might start another blog. Today, I'm going to post the racing schedule for ESPN--all these races are important stakes races--and I bet they count for the Breeder's Cup at the end of the year.

Date--Network--Time (ET)--Race/Event--Track

June 28--ESPN2--7:00-8:00 p.m.--Hollywood Gold Cup--Hollywood Park

July 5--ESPN2--6:00-7:00 p.m.--United Nations, Salvator Mile Stakes--Monmouth Park

July 13--ESPN2--5:00-6:00 p.m.--Delaware Handicap, Barbaro Stakes--Delaware Park

July 19--ESPN2--7:00-8:00 p.m.--San Diego Handicap--Del Mar

August 2 ESPN--5:00-6:00 p.m.--Darley Test Stakes--Saratoga; West Virginia Derby--Mountaineer Pk.

August 9 ESPN--5:00-6:00 p.m.--Arlington Million, Beverly D. Stakes--Arlington Park

August 23 ESPN--4:30-6:00 p.m.--Travers Stakes, NetJets King’s Bishop Stakes, Bernard Baruch Handicap--Saratoga

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Important to me

I love horses. I hate what is being done with them after they've served mankind. I hate the slaughter of such animals.

Unwanted Horses: How Serious a Problem?

By Tom LaMarra

Posted: Wednesday June 18, 8:49 PM at

It tends to get lost in the shuffle because it’s not as sexy as anabolic steroids, race-fixing, or catastrophic breakdowns from a media perspective. But talk to people who work in the horse industry every day, and they’ll tell you the issue of unwanted horses is serious and so broad it impacts the entire United States, not just the horseracing industry.

Perhaps it’s time for a wake-up call.

“We need to focus our efforts on the front end of the problem rather than the rear end of the problem,” said Dr. Tom Lenz, a past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners who is active with the Unwanted Horse Coalition formed after an AAEP-sponsored summit in 2005. “Honestly, the average horse owner hasn’t thought about this issue, but they need to give serious thought to changing the way they operate.”

Lenz offered his thoughts June 18 during the day-long “Unwanted Horse Forum” sponsored by the American Horse Council and the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. The forum was fairly subdued even though the lightning-rod issues of horse slaughter, euthanasia, and consumption of horsemeat colored much of the proceedings.

The USDA titled the forum “The Unwanted Horse Issue: What Now?” It was timely by accident; the United States Supreme Court two days earlier denied an appeal from an Illinois slaughter plan that challenged an Illinois law prohibiting the killing of horses for human consumption.

The meat at the Illinois plant and two in Texas that closed in 2007 was mostly shipped overseas for consumption.

According to USDA data through 2006, about 70,000 horses per year were slaughtered in the U.S., 25,000 a year were shipped to Canada, and 7,500 a year were sent to Mexico (that number jumped to 40,000 last year). There are about 20,000 un-adopted feral horses and another 6,000-8,000 waiting to be adopted. It all adds up to about 100,000 unwanted horses in the U.S. each year.

“I have no doubt there is an unwanted horse problem in this country,” Lenz said. “We cannot completely eliminate it, but we can certainly minimize the problem.”

Can't escape slaughter issue
The Unwanted Horse Coalition, which falls under the AHC umbrella and has about 25 member organizations from various breeds and disciplines, has focused on education given the fact it can’t issue mandates. The coalition published an “Own Responsibly” guide, while the AHC issued in booklet form care and handling guidelines for horse owners.

The Humane Society of the United States, which has been quite active on the slaughter issue, has an equine division and prints horse-care guides. But the HSUS position often is at odds with horse industry groups given its campaign to end slaughter.

“We are definitely anti-slaughter,” said Holly Hazard, chief innovations officer for the HSUS. “Our position is slaughter is inhumane. I think the issue really is whether slaughter is adding to our ability to create a more humane world for horses. I don’t see that’s true.”

And that’s the major split: Does the shutdown of U.S. slaughter plants help address the unwanted horse issue or make it worse?

“Is there a chance things could become worse than the scenario right now?” said Camie Heleski, coordinator of the Michigan State University Horse Management Program. “The public doesn’t always have all the facts when it comes to making decisions, and that has complicated the issue even more.”

Former Congressman Charles Stenholm of Texas took it even further. Stenholm, current a senior policy adviser at Olsson Frank and Weeda, a Washington, D.C., law firm that specializes in regulatory affairs, served as a member of the House Committee on Agriculture for 26 years and spent a lot of time on the slaughter issue.

“Everyone is entitled to their opinion,” Stenholm said, “but everyone is not entitled to their facts.”

Stenholm, who has been a lobbyist for the three U.S. slaughter plants, said the issue of the unwanted horse as it relates to horse slaughter is in need of hard facts rather than emotion, which he said has led to anti-slaughter legislation in Congress. Stenholm said those in the animal industry “all agree today that all animals should be treated humanely from birth to death,” but there are various opinions on what qualifies as humane.

The former lawmaker said the HSUS “did a beautiful job politically” in lobbying for anti-slaughter measures. But those who disagree, he said, see a problem that could only worsen.

How about private property rights?
“At some point, you are going to have horses that have no place to go,” Stenholm said. “When you begin to address the real world, I do see a little problem. This has become a 50-state issue...Horses are livestock, folks. Be careful of arguing that horses are pets, because you might get what you wish for. Pets are not tax deductible.”

Stenholm said he is disappointed the Supreme Court, in its Illinois slaughter ruling, didn’t address private property rights in terms of horse ownership. “We’re getting on very thin constitutional ice that has serious ramifications,” he said.

States are now studying the unwanted horse and slaughter issues, and a committee was to be formed perhaps June 18 to look at the issue from a national standpoint. There are hints that the U.S. hasn’t seen the end of slaughter plants despite the developments of the past two years.

“A lot of people are beginning to take a look at this with a realistic eye,” Stenholm said. “(Slaughter) has been an acceptable practice in the U.S. since we became a country. Only recently has this become un-American. If we lose this one, it’s over.”

U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky was scheduled to speak along with Stenholm, but moderator Richard Reynnells of the USDA announced Whitfield had a conflict that prevented him from attending his scheduled 45-minute session. Whitfield’s wife, Connie, is director of development for the HSUS.

Working on solutions
Tom Persechino, senior director of marketing for the American Quarter Horse Association, outlined potential solutions and options, such as rescue and retirement facilities, asking friends with acreage to take horses, contacting colleges and universities that have equine programs, and using horses for the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association.

Persechino said it’s not practical to force breeders to limit the number of horses they breed, but it is feasible to educate them. He said the Unwanted Horse Coalition “believes teaching people to own responsibly will help lower the number of unwanted horses.”

“The proposition that there are large numbers of unwanted horses in this country in need of slaughter can be answered with a resounding no,” said Hazard of the HSUS. “There are many horses in need of the commitment of the people with a stake in the horse industry to take responsibility for reducing the numbers that are bred, educating novice horse owners about proper care and training, creating new equestrian opportunities that allow more people to become a part of the equine community, and calling for an end to the unnecessary brutality of slaughter.”

Karin Bump, a professor at Cazenovia College in upstate New York, recommended a signal organization be in charge of collecting and maintaining data so there is no confusion. That, she said, would go a long way toward unifying the disparate groups.

It’s generally believed all the groups in play on the unwanted horse issue agree 90% of the time. It’s the other 10% that puts the unwanted horse at the mercy of politics.

“I think five to 10 years from now we’ll have a pretty good grip on things, but it’s going to take some time,” Lenz said.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Kings and Queens

I found this bit of info on a stamp-collecting blog and have given the name of the person who posted it first at the bottom of this. I thought this a clever way to do the kings of England, which also were the kings of Scotland and Ireland at one time. By putting it on my blog, I can keep the information to use when I write my next historical novel, Saratoga Winter: 1865. This was a good resource for me.........all in one place.

Prince William2 (1982– )

The first child of the Prince and Princess of Wales. He is sometimes called Wills in the press.

William I (also William the Conqueror) (c. 1027–87)

The king of England from 1066 to 1087. He was the Duke of Normandy, in northern France, when the English king Edward the Confessor died, and claimed that Edward had promised him the right to be the next king of England. He invaded England and defeated King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Later that year he became king. He gave power and land in England to other Normans, and built many castles to control the English people.

William II (also William Rufus) (c. 1056–1100)

The king of England from 1087 to 1100. He became king when his father William I died. He was a skilful leader but his attempts to take money from his barons and the Church made him unpopular. He died in an accident while hunting, but many people think he was murdered so that his brother Henry I could be king. He was called Rufus, meaning red, because of the colour of his hair.

William III (also William of Orange) (1650–1702)

The king of Great Britain and Ireland from 1688 to 1702. He was a Dutch prince, married to Mary, the daughter of James II. They were invited by British Protestants to be the king and queen of Britain in order to prevent the Roman Catholic James II from being king. William became king in the Bloodless Revolution and defeated the forces of James II in Ireland at the Battle of the Boyne. He is remembered by a group of Protestants in Northern Ireland who are opposed to Ireland becoming one republic, and call themselves Orangemen. See also William and Mary.

William IV (1765–1837)

The king of Great Britain and Ireland from 1830 to 1837. He was the son of George III and spent many years in the Royal Navy. He is also remembered for having had ten illegitimate children (= ones born outside marriage) with a female actor. His most important action was to create 50 new Whig (1) peers to vote for the Reform Act against the Tories in Parliament who were opposed to it.

Edward the Confessor (c. 1003–66)

The king of England from 1042 to 1066, a son of Ethelred the Unready. He was considered a very holy man, and in 1161 the Pope made him a saint and gave him the title of ‘Confessor’. However, he does not seem to have been very interested in government, and there was great confusion when he died over who had been promised the throne of England. His brother-in-law Harold Godwin became king, but was soon removed by William of Normandy in the Norman Conquest of 1066.

Prince Henry5 (1984– )

The second child of the Prince and Princess of Wales. He is usually called Prince Harry by the British press and public.

Henry I (1068–1135) king of England (1100–35).

The youngest of three sons of William I, he became king when his eldest brother William II died, because his other brother Robert was away on a Crusade. Henry improved the administrative system of the country and established a system by which judges travelled around the country giving justice.

Henry II (1133–89) king of England (1154–89).

He was the grandson of Henry I, succeeded King Stephen, and was the first Plantagenet king. He reduced the power of the barons and increased the power of the state. He wanted to reduce the power of the Church, which led to his dispute with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, which ended in Becket’s murder. During his rule England established control over Ireland. Henry also introduced various systems of justice which can be seen as the beginning of common law.

Henry III (1207–72) king of England (1216–72)

and the son of King John. He was not popular with the barons, who disliked his use of foreign people to advise him and criticized him for poor judgement in financial matters. In 1264, Simon de Mont fort led a rebellion of the barons and Henry was defeated and put in prison. He took back power in 1265 after a battle in which the rebels were defeated by an army led by Henry’s son (later Edward I).

Henry IV (1366–1413) king of England (1399–1413)
after his cousin Richard II. He was born Henry Bolingbrook, the son of John of Gaunt, and was a leading opponent of Richard’s. In 1398 Richard sent him into exile, but in 1399 he returned to England, defeated Richard and was accepted as king by Parliament. While he was king there were rebellions against him in Wales and the north of England. He was forced to accept the principle that the king should govern through Parliament, and in 1407 Parliament took control of the country’s financial affairs.

Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 two plays (c. 1597–8) by Shakespeare based on the period when Henry IV was king of England. The play’s main characters are Prince Hal (Henry IV’s son and later Henry V) and his friend Falstaff. In Part 1 Hal drinks and jokes with Falstaff and others in the Boar’s Head, a London tavern (= old pub), and his father worries that he is not serious enough to become a king. However, at the end he accepts his responsibilities and fights in a battle to defeat a rebellion against his father. In Part 2, Hal is still friendly with Falstaff, but when Henry IV dies and Hal becomes king, he rejects him with the famous line: ‘I know thee not, old man’.

Henry V (1387–1422) king of England (1413–22) and son of Henry IV. He is regarded as a symbol of English patriotism (= love of one’s own country), especially because of Shakespeare’s play Henry V. He took an English army to France during the Hundred Years War and defeated the French at the Battle of Agincourt (1415), putting an area of France under English control.
Henry V a play (1599) by Shakespeare which celebrates the military victories in France of King Henry V. It contains several famous patriotic speeches, including the famous speech before the battle. There have been two film versions, the first in 1944, directed by Laurence Olivier with himself as Henry, and the second in 1989, directed by Kenneth Branagh who also played the title role.

Henry VI (1421–71) king of England (1422–61 and 1470–1) and son of Henry V. He was not popular, mainly because England finally lost the Hundred Years War while he was king. Opposition to him led to the Wars of the Roses, in which the House of Lancaster was defeated by the House of York and Henry was put in prison. As a result of this, Edward became king, but in 1470, with the help of the powerful Earl of Warwick, known as Warwick the Kingmaker, Henry became king again, but he was defeated once more in 1471. He was put in the Tower of London, where he was murdered, and Edward became king again. Henry established Eton College and King’s College, Cambridge.
Henry VI, Parts 1, 2 and 3 three plays (c. 1590–92) by Shakespeare, set during the period of the Wars of the Roses. They are among Shakespeare’s earliest plays and some people believe that he may only have written parts of them.

Henry VII (1457–1509) king of England (1485–1509),

the first Tudor (1) king. Born Henry Tudor, he was brought up in France. In 1485 he led a rebellion against Richard III, defeated him at the Battle of Bosworth Field and became king. In 1486 he married the daughter of Edward, uniting the House of Lancaster (to which he belonged) and the House of York and so bringing the Wars of the Roses to an end. Although there were rebellions during his rule, including those led by Lambert Simnel and Perkin War beck, Henry established greater order in the country, introduced a more modern system of government and greatly improved the country’s financial position.

Henry VIII (1491–1547) king of England (1509–47)

and son of Henry VII. He is one of the most famous of all English kings, partly because he had six wives. For political reasons, he married Catherine of Aragon, the wife of his dead brother Arthur, just after he became king. They had a daughter, later Mary I, but because they did not have a son who could be the future king, Henry decided to divorce her. The Pope refused to give the necessary permission for this, so Henry removed England from the Catholic Church led by the Pope and made himself head of the Church in England. This act, together with others such as the Dissolution of the Monasteries, was the beginning of the establishment of Protestantism in England. Henry divorced Catherine of Aragon and married Anne Boleyn in 1533. They had a daughter, later Elizabeth I, but Henry had Anne executed for adultery. His third wife was Jane Seymour, who died giving birth to a son (later Edward VI). Henry married his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, for political reasons, but soon divorced her and in 1540 he married Catherine Howard. She too was executed for adultery. Henry’s sixth and last wife was Catherine Parr. As a young man Henry was known for his love of hunting, sport and music, but he did not rule well and the country was in a weak and uncertain state when he died. See also Cromwell. See also Green sleeves. See also More, Wolsey.
Henry VIII a play (1613) by Shakespeare, possibly the last he wrote. Some people believe he wrote it with somebody else, perhaps John Fletcher. It is about events surrounding King Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon.

George I (1660–1727) king of Great Britain and Ireland (1714–27). He was the first of the Hanoverian kings and came to Britain from Germany on the death of Queen Anne. He was not popular in Britain, mainly because he did not learn to speak English, and because he arrived with two German lovers who were not liked by the British people. He did not get involved in British politics, leaving most decisions to the Cabinet, which became much more important during his time as king.

George II (1683–1760) king of Great Britain and Ireland (1727–60).

He was the only son of George I and, like his father, was not very interested in the government of Britain, allowing the development of the constitutional monarchy. He was, however, interested in the army, and fought against the French in the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–8). He was the last British king to lead his army into a battle.

George III (1738–1820) king of Great Britain and Ireland (1760–1820).

He was the grandson of King George II. He was very interested in the government of Britain, and worked closely with prime ministers such as Lord North and William Pitt. He was strongly opposed to American independence, and was blamed by the public for losing the war of the American Revolution. He suffered from illness for some periods of his life and in 1811 he became so ill that his son was made Prince Regent.

George IV (1762–1830) king of Great Britain and Ireland (1820–30). Before becoming king, he ruled as Prince Regent because his father George III was ill. He had many lovers and shocked many people by the way he lived, spending a lot of time eating, drinking and gambling.

George V (1865–1936) king of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1910–36). He was the son of Edward VII. He became popular with the British people for supporting the British armed forces in World War I. In 1917 he dropped all his German titles and changed the family name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor1 (2).

George VI (1895–1952) king of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1936–52).

He was the second son of George V and became king after the abdication of his brother Edward VIII. He was greatly admired by the British people during World War II for staying in London when it was being bombed. He was the last British king to be called ‘emperor’ and the first head of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Prince Edward (1964– )
Earl of Wessex, the fourth child of Queen Elizabeth II. He was educated at Gordonstoun in Scotland and at Cambridge University, where he studied history. He joined the Royal Marines in 1986, but left the next year to begin a career producing plays for the theatre and films for television. In 1999 he married Sophie Rhys-Jones. Their daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, was born in 2003.

Edward I (1239–1307)The king of England from 1272 to 1307, the oldest son of Henry III. He spent a lot of time trying to control Wales and Scotland, fighting, among others, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. As a result he was called the ‘Hammer of the Scots’. In 1296 he brought the Stone of Scone to England.

Edward II (1284–1327)
The king of England from 1307 to 1327, the son of Edward I and the first Prince of Wales. He took his armies to Scotland, but was defeated at the Battle of Bannock burn (1314) by Robert the Bruce. He was a weak king who upset the English barons, and in 1327 his son Edward III replaced him. Later that year he was murdered.

Edward III (1312–77)The king of England from 1327 to 1377, the son of Edward II. He had continuing problems with the Scots, but he had some success in his attempts to become the king of France, for example at the battles of Crécy (1346) and Poitiers (1355). After his death his grandson became the king of England as Richard II, because his son Edward, the Black Prince, had died the year before. See also Hundred Years War.

Edward IV (1442–83)The king of England from 1461 to 1470 and from 1471 to 1483. He was the son of Richard, Duke of York3 (3). In 1461 his army defeated the soldiers of Henry VI of the House of Lancaster. Edward had the support of the powerful Earl of Warwick, known as Warwick the Kingmaker, to whom he was related, but in 1470 he lost this support and also for a short time his throne (to Henry VI). After the defeat of Warwick and Henry in 1471, England had a period of great stability under Edward, who encouraged the development of art, music, etc. as well as the new science of printing. See also Wars of the Roses.

Edward V (1470–83)
The king of England for three months in 1483, a son of Edward IV. It is generally believed that his uncle, who took the throne by force to become King Richard III, murdered Edward V and his younger brother. See also Princes in the Tower.

Edward VI (1537–53)
The king of England from 1547 to 1553. He was the son of King Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour, and the half-brother (= brother by a different mother) of Mary I and Elizabeth I. He became king at the age of ten, so other people, called regents governed on his behalf. One of them persuaded him to change his will, giving the throne to Lady Jane Grey, but the plan failed and Mary became queen when Edward died. During this period, with Edward’s support, England became much more strongly Protestant, so that Mary was unable to change it back to Catholicism.

Edward VII (1841–1910)The king of Great Britain and Ireland from 1901 to 1910, the son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. He was the Prince of Wales for most of his life, while his mother ruled. Victoria did not let him play much part in state affairs, so he spent most of his time at social events, such as parties, horse racing, etc. When she died in 1901, he became a popular king. His reign was a period of peace and economic success before World War I.

Edward VIII (1894–1972)The eldest son of King George V. He became the king of Great Britain and Ireland when his father died in January 1936, but never had the crown officially placed on his head. He had fallen in love with Mrs. Simpson, an American who was divorced, and it was not acceptable at that time that he should marry her and remain king. So in December 1936, he abdicated (= gave up his position as king) and his brother became King George VI, giving Edward the title of Duke of Windsor. Edward married Mrs. Simpson in June 1937, and they lived in France for many years. See also abdication crisis.

George I (1660–1727)
King of Great Britain and Ireland (1714–27). He was the first of the Hanoverian kings and came to Britain from Germany on the death of Queen Anne. He was not popular in Britain, mainly because he did not learn to speak English, and because he arrived with two German lovers who were not liked by the British people. He did not get involved in British politics, leaving most decisions to the Cabinet, which became much more important during his time as king.

George II (1683–1760)
King of Great Britain and Ireland (1727–60). He was the only son of George I and, like his father, was not very interested in the government of Britain, allowing the development of the constitutional monarchy. He was, however, interested in the army, and fought against the French in the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–8). He was the last British king to lead his army into a battle.

George III (1738–1820)
King of Great Britain and Ireland (1760–1820). He was the grandson of King George II. He was very interested in the government of Britain, and worked closely with prime ministers such as Lord North and William Pitt. He was strongly opposed to American independence, and was blamed by the public for losing the war of the American Revolution. He suffered from illness for some periods of his life and in 1811 he became so ill that his son was made Prince Regent.

George IV (1762–1830)
King of Great Britain and Ireland (1820–30). Before becoming king, he ruled as Prince Regent because his father George III was ill. He had many lovers and shocked many people by the way he lived, spending a lot of time eating, drinking and gambling.

George V (1865–1936)
King of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1910–36). He was the son of Edward VII. He became popular with the British people for supporting the British armed forces in World War I. In 1917 he dropped all his German titles and changed the family name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor1 (2).

George VI (1895–1952)
King of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1936–52). He was the second son of George V and became king after the abdication of his brother Edward VIII. He was greatly admired by the British people during World War II for staying in London when it was being bombed. He was the last British king to be called ‘emperor’ and the first head of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Queen Victoria2 (1819–1901)A British queen who ruled from 1837 to 1901. She was the granddaughter of King George III and became queen after the death of King William IV. Her rule was the longest of any British king or queen, and happened at the same time as Britain’s greatest period of world power and industrial development. In 1840 she married her cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. They had nine children. After Albert’s death Victoria took no further part in public affairs, but was persuaded to return by her Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, who gained for her the title Empress of India. She is often remembered as a bad-tempered old woman who once said, ‘We are not amused.’ However in her early life she was a happy and enthusiastic queen who was very popular with ordinary people.

Prince Albert (1819–61)
The husband (and also cousin) of Queen Victoria. The son of a German duke, Albert married Victoria in 1840, and in 1857 he was given the title of Prince Consort. He took great interest in the arts, as well as business, science and technology, and was a strong influence behind the Great Exhibition of 1851. Albert died suddenly when he was only 42, and the Queen wore black clothes for the next 40 years as a sign of her great sadness.

Elizabeth I (1533–1603)The queen of England and Ireland from 1558, after the death of her sister Mary I. She is regarded as one of England’s greatest rulers. The daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth was an extremely strong and clever woman who controlled the difficult political and religious situation of the time with great skill. She once said to her soldiers before a battle, ‘I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a King, and of a King of England, too.’ During her reign the country’s economy grew very strong, the arts were very active, and England became firmly Protestant and confident in world affairs. However, Elizabeth is often seen as a very lonely figure and is known as the ‘Virgin Queen’ because she never married, although she is known to have had a relationship with the Earl of Leicester and, late in life, the Earl of Essex. See also Armada, Mary Queen of Scots.

Elizabeth II (1926– )
The queen of the United Kingdom since 1952. She is the daughter of King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth. She had one sister, Princess Margaret. In 1947 she married Prince Philip of Greece, who had just been made the Duke of Edinburgh, in Westminster Abbey. Her father died in 1952 and Elizabeth was crowned on 2 June 1953. She is a highly respected and much loved monarch with a great interest in the Commonwealth. The Queen and Prince Philip have four children, Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward.
ò note at Royal Family Of the period of the British kings George I, II and III, most of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. British architecture, furniture and silver of this period are considered particularly attractive. Many British towns and cities have areas of simple but elegant Georgian houses. Some people also refer to the time of George IV as Georgian, while others call it Regency: a four-storey Georgian house.

Diana, Princess of Wales (also Princess Diana) (1961–1997)
The former wife of Prince Charles and the mother of Prince William and Prince Henry (Harry). Her name before she married was Lady Diana Spencer. The Spencer families are descended from the English kings Charles II and James II, and Diana’s father was the 8th Earl Spencer. She was married to Prince Charles in 1981 and soon became the most popular member of the royal family, often referred to informally as Di. However, the marriage failed and in 1992 the prince and princess separated. Although Princess Diana gave up her public duties and was divorced in 1996, she continued some of her work with charities and she remained an object of intense interest to the press and the public. She died in a car accident in Paris while trying to escape from photographers, and her funeral, like her wedding, was watched by almost a fifth of the world’s population.

Alfred the Great (849–99)King of Wessex (871–99). He is remembered for defending England against Danish attacks, for establishing the English navy, and for encouraging education and the use of the English language. There is a popular story of King Alfred and the cakes. After a battle he was hiding in a woman’s house. Not knowing who he was, she told him to look after her cakes which were cooking by the fire, and then became very angry when he let them burn.

Posted by SADANAND R. MEHARWADE at 7:13:00 PM

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Being a horse lover

I am a horse lover and I freely admit it. I have written about horses in all my novels and have owned several 'from the track' thoroughbreds. The more folks that help those horses, the better I like it. This particular article is from as is the article on my other blog.

Rehab Specialist

Leigh Gray and Fusaichi Samurai

By Tracy Gantz
Monday June 16, 3:59 PM
Hundreds of former racehorses owe their second careers to Leigh Gray. Manager of Dr. Don Shields’ lay-up facility, Winner’s Circle Ranch in Bradbury, Calif., Gray not only rehabilitates racehorses for a living, she does it in her spare time.

Usually, Gray fixes up former claimers, geldings, and horses that might not have had a future without her help. But one of her current projects is a more distinguished individual—Fusaichi Samurai, who in 2004 sold as a 2-year-old for a then-record $4.5 million. Gray is retraining “Sammy” to begin his new career as a riding horse.

First on her own and now under the nonprofit Thoroughbred Rehab Center (which she established five years ago), Gray has retrained and placed more than 200 former racehorses in loving homes in the last 15 years. She serves as president of the TRC, while other members of the board include vice president Cindy Wilson, Mary Knight, and Pam Mabes.

Eventually, Fusaichi Samurai will be turned over to Japanese translator Mikki Tsuge and retired to Wilson’s Blue Dog Ranch near Creston, Calif. Wilson already has provided a home at her ranch for a couple of geldings Gray rehabilitated.

“Mikki followed Sammy his entire career,” Gray said. “She really wanted to make sure he’d have a good home, and she asked if he could be donated here.”

Following his arrival at Winner’s Circle Ranch, Fusaichi Samurai was gelded. He is adjusting well to life at the lay-up farm and enjoys his regular sessions on a Eurocizer, the tie-free exercise machine that functions somewhat similarly to a mechanical hotwalker. Tsuge has ridden show jumpers and eventers, and though she plans to make her new mount primarily a trail horse, she may also teach him to jump.

“Mikki had told us that his disposition was wonderful,” Gray said. “Even as a stallion, he was very friendly.”

A 6-year-old son of Fusaichi Pegasus—Hidden Storm, by Storm Cat, Fusaichi Samurai was purchased for the sale-topping price at the Fasig-Tipton Florida select sale at Calder by Fusao Sekiguchi. Sekiguchi had bought Fusaichi Pegasus at auction as a yearling for $4 million and won the 2000 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) with him. Fusaichi Samurai was from Fusaichi Pegasus’ first crop.

A series of injuries kept Fusaichi Samurai from fulfilling his potential following a sparkling debut at Hollywood Park in December 2004, when he won a maiden race by two lengths. For trainer Neil Drysdale, he started four times in four years, finishing eighth in his final race at Hollywood in May 2007.

Fusaichi Samurai is one of seven horses that Gray is currently rehabilitating. Many horses she has retrained have gone on to competitive second careers, one even making the long list for the Pan-Am Games.

A former exercise rider for the late Charlie Whittingham, Gray began rehabilitating racehorses while working as a veterinary technician for the Southern California Equine Foundation. When a horse suffered a career-ending injury, she and SCEF hospital administrator Karen Klawitter would often work with veterinarians who provided pro-bono surgery. Gray then performed the aftercare and found homes for the horses.

Gray received the Race Track Chaplaincy of America’s inaugural White Horse Award in 2003 for heroism when she was the foot person on the carriage at Santa Anita that takes the patrol judges to their trackside positions. Fireworks caused the four carriage horses to bolt, throwing the driver, but Gray managed to safely stop the team.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Historical Facts of Scotland

Anniversaries of Scottish Historical Events
June 15 1567 - Mary Queen of Scots' last night in Edinburgh, at the house
of Sir Simon Preston, the Lord Provost, on the Royal Mile, prior to her
imprisonment at Loch Leven castle two days later.
June 16 1971 - Lord Reith, "father" of the BBC, died.
June 17 1390 - Wolf of Badenoch burns Elgin Cathedral.
June 17 1823 - Charles Macintosh patented the waterproof cloth he was using
to make raincoats.
June 18 1746 - Flora MacDonald met Prince Charles Edward Stuart and
persuaded him to wear women's clothes as part of the escape plan from the
Outer Hebrides to Skye.
June 19 1566 - Mary Queen of Scots gives birth to the future King James VI
of Scotland and I of England.
June 20 1969 - First announcement of the discovery of high-grade crude oil
in the North Sea.
June 21 1796 - Scottish explorer Mungo Park reached the source of the river
Niger in Africa.
June 22 1725 - Malt Riots, Glasgow - against higher taxes imposed on
Scottish malt.

June 23 1650 - Charles II sailed into the estuary of the river Spey and
signed the Covenant before going ashore. ****THIS IS THE ONE THAT INTERESTS ME THE MOST. iT MIGHT BE A FACTOR IN THE CLAN GUNN SEQUEL--that I owe to my publisher.

June 24 1314 - Robert the Bruce defeated Edward II at Battle of
June 25 1876 - Seven Scots, including John Stuart Forbes, were in the US
7th Cavalry with General Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
June 26 1488 - James IV crowned king at the age of 15 at Scone. He reigned
until 1513 when he fell with the flower of Scotland's nobility at the
Battle of Flodden Field.
June 27 1583 - James VI (aged 8) escaped from Castle Ruthven.
June 28 1838 - Queen Victoria crowned at Westminster Abbey.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chocolate --

Chocolate digestive takes the biscuit in hunt for best treat of all time

The digestive biscuit was originally marketed as a health food-with the inventor unaware that the baking process cancelled out any of the benefits offered by using bicarbonate of soda as a rising agent Picture: TSPL

Date: 14 June 2008
IT WAS developed 150 years ago by a Scot and marketed to the Victorians as a health food. Now a survey has named the McVities chocolate digestive the nation's favourite biscuit.

It was closely followed by the chocolate HobNob and another Scottish classic treat – Walkers shortbread.

The history of the digestive began in 1892 in Queensferry Street in Edinburgh, when young Alexander Grant, who worked alongside Robert McVitie in his biscuit emporium hit on the idea of using bicarbonate of soda as a raising agent.

He mistakenly believed the use of the ingredient would aid digestion – not realising that bicarbonate of soda loses its stomach soothing properties when baked.

The new type of biscuit was a huge success – and Mr Grant closely guarded his secret recipe. Chocolate was eventually added in 1925.

According to industry legend Mr Grant insisted on mixing the ingredients himself and when he went on business trips the mixing machines had to wait for him to get off the train from London to Edinburgh.

Later Mr Grant passed the recipe to his daughter Elizabeth, who continued to work in the McVitie's St Andrew's biscuit factory in Edinburgh.

Today Britons munches their way through 60 million digestives a year and the market for digestives and Hobnobs is worth £250m a year.

Chocolate varieties dominate the top ten with Chocolate Chip Cookies, Bourbon Creams and Chocolate Fingers all scoring highly.

Old-fashioned recipes are also popular, with Custard Creams coming in at No 5 and Jammie Dodgers taking eighth place.

Stuart Payne, founder of and author of a book on tea and biscuits, said people still believe the digestive is a 'healthier option.' He said: "It has always outsold all the other biscuits by a mile.

" It has got a lot going for it. People tend to think it is quite a healthy biscuit because it has that nice crumbly texture.

"In fact it is very high in fat – people just like to kid themselves that some biscuits are healthier than others."

Mr Payne said the notion that the digestive was invented by a Scottish doctor as an aid to digestion was a recurring myth.

"There were a lot of Victorian doctors who had a sideline inventing biscuits. The Abernethy biscuit was invented by a Scottish doctor and the Bath Oliver was invented by a doctor from Bath to be eaten when people were taking the waters.

"The idea that the chocolate digestive was invented by a doctor is a myth."

Mr Payne, who has spent years researching the subject, has also discovered a rival Scottish inventor – who also claims to have invented the digestive. Rumours persist that the true inventor was Robert Middlemass, who had his own bakery on Causewayside in the south of the city.

The OnePoll survey revealed 60 per cent of people enjoy dipping their biscuits into tea or coffee, with Rich Tea the preferred dunking biscuit.

The survey proved that once we have chosen our favourites we tend to stick with them – over 16 per cent have been buying the same biscuits for 20 years.

A third of people enjoy biscuits as a mid morning snack but 39 per cent say their favourite moment to eat biscuits is in the evening when watching the television.

John Sewell, of, said: "When it comes to the crunch the chocolate digestive is the clear favourite. The biscuit has been filling the nation's biscuit barrels for 83 years now.


1. CHOCOLATE DIGESTIVE: Britain's favourite biscuit and top of the charts since 1925.

2. CHOCOLATE HOBNOB: An instant crumbly classic first seen in 1985.

3. SHORTBREAD: The classiest choice – all-butter shortbread is seen on the finest tables.

4. CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE: An American usurper – but one which has many fans.

5. CUSTARD CREAM: A touch of luxury which you can buy for pennies.

6. BOURBON CREAM: A hint of sophistication with a name which evokes the lost French monarchy.

7. HOBNOB: Crunchy, crumbly, nobbly and delicious.

8. JAMMIE DODGER: A silly biscuit with a silly name. Nonetheless these jammie treats are a favourite.

9. PLAIN DIGESTIVES: The supposed health-giving properties were a myth – but the wholesome image lives on.

10. CHOCOLATE FINGERS: Melting chocolate fingers are a nostalgic choice – whisking you back to childhood parties.

The full article contains 729 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Simple facts News - Headlines

Brown: World needs 1,000 more nuclear power stations

A THOUSAND new nuclear power stations are needed across the world to tackle the oil crisis, Gordon Brown warned yesterday. More info...

Sir Sean takes on star role at book festival

SIR Sean Connery will be returning to Edinburgh to unveil his long-awaited autobiography on his 78th birthday at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, it was announced yesterday. More info... WISH I HAVE SOME SECRETS TO SPILL AND SOME TO KEEP HIDDEN WHEN I'M 78.........

Fact of the Day

On this day in 1893, Lady Margaret Scott became the first women's golf champion in the tournament held at Royal Lytham, Lancashire.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

MS sufferers

My eldest son has MS. Some days he suffers, other days, he feels okay. So far, it's not the serious kind that is totally debilitating--but added to Epilepsy, it's downright awful. I worry and this article interested me.

Will my husband face jail for helping me die? MS sufferer wins latest fight for answer

A MULTIPLE sclerosis sufferer yesterday welcomed the High Court's decision to allow her to seek clarification of the law on assisted suicide.

Two judges ruled that the "nature and sensitivity" of Debbie Purdy's human rights case justified letting her seek a judicial review.

Ms Purdy, 45, of Bradford, West Yorkshire, said she was "really pleased" with the decision – and added that a successful legal challenge could help to prolong her life. The case will be heard in October.

She is accusing the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Sir Ken Macdonald, of unlawfully failing to publish details of his policy on whether, and in what circumstances, people might be prosecuted if they help loved ones to die.

Under the Suicide Act 1961, aiding or abetting a suicide is a crime punishable by up to 14 years' imprisonment. No-one has been prosecuted so far, but Ms Purdy's lawyers argue that the law is in urgent need of clarification. If there was no policy, there should be one, they argue.

Ms Purdy, who lived an adventurous life including trekking through jungles and jumping out of planes before illness set in, says she plans "to live forever".

But if her condition becomes unbearably painful, she plans to choose her moment to die and is a member of Dignitas, the Swiss organisation that operates clinics where people can go to end their lives.

She wants to know whether her husband, Omar Puente, who was with her in court yesterday, would be prosecuted if he helped her travel to a clinic in Zurich to take her own life.

Jeremy Johnson, appearing for the DPP, submitted that her case was unarguable as there was no specific policy on assisted suicide, and there was no legal obligation on the DPP to publish one. He also argued that her bid to have the law clarified under Article 8 (right to respect for personal and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights was blocked by legal precedent.

However, Lord Justice Latham, sitting with Mr Justice Nelson at London's High Court, ruled that "without wishing to give Ms Purdy any optimism that her arguments will ultimately succeed", she did have an arguable case which should go to a full hearing. She said in a statement after yesterday's hearing: "If the DPP does clarify that my husband will not be prosecuted for accompanying me to Dignitas, I will be able to wait until I'm ready to go.

"I want to wait until the last possible moment – if I can no longer bear being alive – but I cannot do that while there is a chance my husband will be prosecuted. If the DPP does not give me this assurance, then I would need to go to Dignitas a long time before I want to die, but at least I would know where I stand."

Sarah Wootton, the chief executive of Dignity in Dying, said the decision was an important step forward. "We hope that common sense prevails and the judicial review will clarify the law, so that people considering travelling to Dignitas will know where they stand."

She added: "Of course, the decision to travel to Dignitas is far from ideal. People who are terminally ill and mentally competent should have the option of requesting a medically assisted death in the comfort of their own country, surrounded by the people they love."


EUTHANASIA has been "decriminalised" in a number of European countries, namely the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. Additionally, the American state of Oregon has a "death with dignity act" and Australia has the Northern Territories ruling.

"Physician-assisted suicide" is now practised with increasing openness in the Netherlands.

Swiss law clearly decriminalises assisted suicide without the involvement of a doctor. This means that non-physicians can participate in assisted suicide.

As the law stands in England, Wales and Scotland, deliberate or "active" euthanasia will normally leave anyone assisting suicide or death liable for murder. Under English law, a difference is made between acting and refraining to act – an act of omission.

Active euthanasia occurs when treatment is administered with the intention of ending the patient's life.

The full article contains 705 words and appears in The Scotsman newspaper.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Fact or Fiction

I believe Scotland claims Donald Duck.............there goes my childhood. News

Fact of the Day

Short-tempered water fowl Donald Duck made his film debut today in 1934, and despite (or because of) his irascible personality, he was eventually to become one of Disney's most popular characters. Mr Duck's usual outfit is that of a sailor's shirt and cap, but controversially he rarely wears anything on his lower half - except when he goes swimming! Amongst his close relatives are ill-disciplined nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie and tight-fisted Uncle Scrooge McDuck, possibly the most famous Scottish duck in history.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The only horse that might have had a chance against Big Brown in the Belmont has been scratched. I will be watching the Belmont festivities and the races all day.


Casino Drive is out of the Belmont.

By Ron Mitchell
Saturday June 7, 9:51 AM

About an hour after giving the all-clear for Casino Drive to run in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), trainer Kazuo Fujisawa said the colt was favoring his left rear hoof and was scratched from the classic.

Earlier, Fujisawa was all smiles after watching Casino Drive canter three furlongs and gave a thumbs up for colt to run in the Belmont.

But when the colt was being bathed following the exercise regimen, he was favoring his foot and the trainer decided to scratch.

"He is sound," Fujisawa declared earlier, after watching Casino Drive leave the track following a three furlong canter. Winner of the Peter Pan (gr. II) at Belmont, Casino Drive is considered one of the leading contenders to upset Big Brown's Triple Crown quest.

The colt's status was thrown into doubt Friday when he did not go to the track because a stone bruise had been detected in the left hind hoof.

Accompanied by Nobutaka Tada, spokesperson of owner Hidetoshi Yamamota, Fujisawa followed Casino Drive to the track at about 5:30 a.m. The colt and a stablemate walked the circle in the paddock for about six laps before going onto the track for his exercise.

Tada said the colt appeared to be favoring the hoof and the trainer decided to scratch. He said a veterinarian, whom he declined to name, inspected Casino Drive and confirmed the right decision had been made.

Tada said Casino Drive would ship to Japan Tuesday with his stablemates and would return to the U.S. later in the year.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wind Power

I think this is a great idea and they're doing two off Scotland. I'd love to put one up in my back yard. We get enough wind to supply our whole village.

Go-ahead for offshore wind farms

GalleryPublished Date: 05 June 2008
By Jenny Haworth
A MAJOR expansion in offshore wind power has been announced, with 11 new sites identified around the UK, including two off the Scottish coast.

A MAJOR expansion in offshore wind power has been announced, with 11 new sites identified around the UK, including two off the Scottish coast.

Up to 7,000 more turbines could be built in the seas around the UK within ten years, providing a quartADVERTISEMENTer of the nation's electricity. The two Scottish zones identified lie off the east coast – one in the Firth of Forth, the other in the Moray Firth.

Yesterday's decision came as the country steps up its efforts to meet European Union targets to provide 20 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

It will boost the energy to be generated from offshore wind power to 33 gigawatts – triple current levels.

The 11 areas earmarked have been chosen because of their levels of wind, water depth and potential for connecting to the grid. Shipping and environmental concerns have also been taken into consideration. Two offshore turbines have already been built in the Moray Firth, in a trial called the Beatrice Demonstrator Project.

The sea off the east coast of Scotland is shallower than in the west, making turbine construction easier.

Yesterday's announcement by the Crown Estate, which owns the UK seabed, was welcomed by environmental groups, the wind energy industry and the Scottish Government.

Malcolm Wicks, the UK energy minister, said developing offshore wind on a large scale would be key to delivering the UK's share of the EU target. He said wind power would help tackle two of the big challenges faced by the country: climate change and energy security.

"The expansion of wind energy is already a real success story for the UK. We will shortly become the leading country in the world in terms of the number of wind farms operating offshore," he said.

Jim Mather, the Scottish energy minister, said he wanted to see more offshore turbines in appropriate locations around the Scottish coast. "Offshore wind can play a vital role in Scotland's renewable future," he said.

Maria McCaffery, chief executive of the British Wind Energy Association, said Britain's seas were now "open for business".

She said: "This is fantastic news for the UK wind industry. This has brought delivery of the 2020 renewable energy targets a great deal closer."

Under the new plan, zones for wind farms generating a total of 25GW will be put out to tender. This compares to the 8GW already allocated for offshore wind. But Robin Oakley, Greenpeace's climate campaign chief, said even more had to be done, and he urged the government to abandon plans for nuclear power in favour of green energy.

"Offshore wind is a 21st-century, frontier technology that can deliver clean electricity to every home in Britain and secure our energy supplies for years to come," he said. "Our country could be the Saudi Arabia of offshore wind – and John Hutton (the Business and Enterprise Secretary] knows it.

"Instead, he's lost in a nuclear fantasy and flatly refuses to introduce the policies that have delivered huge economic benefits for Germany and Spain, which now lead the world in renewable energy.

"Britain is sitting on a treasure chest of green-collar jobs and clean, renewable energy – now we need to unlock it."

Jason Ormiston, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said the announcement was hugely important, considering how it compared with current allocations for wind power. He said: "We are talking three times what has already been planned. It's an enormous step-change and it's been largely brought about by the EU targets."

He said he was "pleasantly surprised" the Crown Estate had identified two sites off Scotland. But he added that any optimism had to be balanced by an understanding of the potential constraints – such as shipping and environmental damage.

Duncan McLaren, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said if the sites proved appropriate, they could become an important contribution to Scotland's renewable energy needs.

"They are talking about something equivalent to multiple nuclear power stations, so it's not small beer," he said.

Dr Dan Barlow, head of policy at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said offshore wind would become more and more attractive and could play a "critical role", especially with the urgent need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

He said: "Given the rising cost of fossil fuels, it's not surprising that renewables are going to become an even more attractive economic option. It's perhaps not surprising that we are now seeing more movement."

Opposition to the wind farms could come from the Ministry of Defence, which in the past has expressed concern that wind turbines could interfere with radar and get in the way of flight routes. A spokeswoman said: "They are not trivial issues. There are serious safety concerns."

Yesterday's announcement was made at the British Wind Energy Association's Offshore 08 conference in London.

• The ScotsmanDebates series discusses wind power and renewable energy at the Town Hall in Jedburgh on 14 October at 7pm. To reserve tickets, go to or write to David Lee, Scotsman Debates, The Scotsman, 108 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AS.

Territorial boundaries mean turbine sites may not be the last

THE wind farms set to be built off the coast of Scotland may not stop with those sites identified yesterday.

The two zones put forward by the Crown Estate both lie outside Scottish territorial waters, which extend up to 12 miles out to sea.

This area lies under control of the UK government, rather than the Scottish Government.

Last month, the Crown Estate made a separate announcement about the procedure for offshore wind farm development within Scottish territorial waters.

It asked for expressions of interest from firms wishing to be considered to build offshore wind farms in Scottish territorial waters.

This means, in addition to wind farms in the two zones identified yesterday, further turbines could spring up in Scottish territorial waters in the future.

Just how much interest there is from the wind industry in building wind farms in Scottish waters is likely to become apparent in the next few months.

The Crown Estate announced it would decide which locations in Scottish territorial waters are suitable by the end of the year.

One drawback of the sea around Scotland is it is far deeper than most of that around England as the continental shelf drops off suddenly off the coast.

The technology to construct turbines – which can be up to 300ft tall – in deep water will need to be more advanced than for shallow water.

How the breeze is harnessed worldwide

THERE are 16 offshore wind-power projects currently operational worldwide.

Denmark is leading the way with seven of the schemes – including the Horns Rev project with 80 turbines, at present the largest project in the world.

Sweden has three offshore wind farms, while the Netherlands has two.

In Scotland, two offshore wind turbines have been built in the Moray Firth as a trial project by Talisman Energy and Scottish and Southern Energy.

Scotland's first full wind farm is a 180-megawatt project under construction at Robin Rigg, in the Solway Firth. It will be made up of 60 turbines and, when complete, is expected to provide enough electricity for about 150,000 households annually.


THE next step will be for the UK government to carry out an environmental assessment to decide whether the identified 11 sites are suitable.

It will examine issues such as impact on wildlife, shipping lanes and fishing. It is expected to be complete by early next year, when those zones considered suitable will be put out to tender.

The zones will be allocated to developers by the end of 2009.

The Crown Estate will then work with the developers to identify specific sites within the zones and it is expected there will be more than one wind farm within each zone. Companies will have to apply for planning permission for the wind farms from the UK government.

The Crown Estate, which owns the UK seabed, has agreed to invest up to 50 per cent of the cost of obtaining planning consent for the sites.

The wind farms should start being built from 2014 and will be operational from 2018, in time to meet 2020 targets.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

An Irish Surname

I have two Irish attorneys in my suspense novel, VENGEANCE IS MINE. The older one's name is Leo Sullivan, changed from another name that didn't suit. He's a wonderful guy, intelligent, law-abiding and grand.......... The other is Devlin O'Hara. I just adore most Irishmen..........

Irish Family Surnames - O’Sullivan family History and origins
Sullivan is an Irish surname and is actually the same as O’Sullivan. In Irish both names Ó Súilleabháin.
Variations on the name are many. Sullivant, Sillivant, Silliphant, and Sillifant.
The actual meaning of the same name is not clear. The root of the name is the word Suil – eye, but whether the full name means one-eyed or indeed hawk-eyed is still disputed.
The O’Sullivan clan are descendants, like so many of the Irish clans, of Milesius who were the first Celts to colonize Ireland. The Milesians were originally settled in North West Spain where they had a city Brigantia. The migrated to Ireland about 800 B.C and indeed after the fall of Gaelic Ireland to foreign conquest the O’Neil fled to Spain where he saw many ruins associated with Milesius over 2400 years earlier. The Milesians conquered the people that lived in Ireland at that time, the Firbolg and the Tuatha de Dannan. Irish mythology is full of the stories about this this period.

The O’Sullivans are descended from Eoghan (Owen) Mor, the father of the famous Oilioll Olum, they were, with the O’Callaghans, the MacCarthys and the O’Keeffe, one of the leading families of the Munster Eoghanacht. Suilleabhain himself was a direct descendant of Finghin who was a king of Munster in the year 620 A.D. Suilleabhain was born 8 generations later which would place him in the year 862.
The name O’Sullivan is the most common name in the province of Munster and the third most common name in Ireland. Today almost 80% of all Sullivans live in Munster, their original area of rule.
In 1169 the Normans launched their first invasion of Ireland, the beginning of just over 800 years of foreign invasion and occupation. The O’Sullivan clan was driven southwards from their original territory of Tipperary in 1193. They moved to west Cork and south Kerry. Soon after, they divided into two groups - O’Sullivan Mor (Mor indicating larger or greater) in south Kerry, with their principal castle at Dunkerron on the shore of Kenmare Bay and O’Sullivan Beare in west Cork. The Beare suffix came from the Beare peninsula that was named for the Spanish princess Bera, the wife of the first King of Munster. The war with the Normans continued and a notable victory was achieved by the clan, with their O’Donahue and McCarthy allies in 1261 at the battle of Caisglin near Kilgarvan and just north of Kenmare, Kerry.
The O’Sullivan Beare clan was further divided in 1592. When Donal O’Sullivan, the chieftain, was slain in 1563 his son of the same name was but a child two years of age. The Irish succession laws of Tanistry required that the title of chieftain be passed on to the most capable of the dead chief’s family. As a result the clan decided that Owen, one of the brothers of the dead chief, would take over control of the clan and become Lord of Beare and Bantry. Owen acknowledged the English crown and was made a knight by Queen Elizabeth. In 1587 young Donal, now twenty-six years old, decided to claim leadership of the clan. He petitioned the authorities in Dublin, using as the basis for his claim English lineal law, whereby the oldest son should inherit his father’s title regardless of his age at the time of his father’s death. The English Commission wished to see English law implemented across Ireland and sensing the opportunity to divide the O’Sullivans approved his claim.
Owen O’Sullivan had also lost influence due to his partaking in the Desmond rebellion. The O’Sullivans and other clans provided shelter to 12 year old Gerald FitzGerald when Henry’s troops sought to capture him, the last member of his family and the heir to the Earlship of Desmond. The war of the Munster allies continued through the reign of Elizabeth. In the late 1590s, it was the O’Sullivan Mor clan and their close allies the McSweenys that bore the brunt of the fighting with the English forces. Donal O’Sullivan, now chieftain of the O’Sullivan Beare clan, held back from the fighting until the O’Donnells and O’Neills, the great clans of Ulster and those who would have claimed the title of High King of Ireland except for the invasion, entered the campaign.

Munster was in 1600 was a land at war. The Munster clans were being evicted from their lands which were being handed over to colonists.

King Philip III of Spain agreed to send help to the Irish under the command of Don Juan D’Aquilla. Rather than landing in Ulster, as suggested by O’Neill, the Spanish forces landed at Kinsale in County Cork to avoid encountering the English warships in the Irish Sea. The war weary and decimated Munster clans had difficulty mustering an army to join the Ulster and Spanish forces. Donal O’Sullivan Beare was given command of the Munster forces which consisted mainly of soldiers of his clan and those of the O’Driscolls, McSweeneys, and O’Connor Kerry. Daniel O’Sullivan Mor could only contribute token support because of the losses he sustained in the previous years.

The Spanish soldiers were given the responsibility of forming the garrisons for the castles of the O’Driscolls and the O’Sullivans so as to free the Irish troops for the battles to come. The rest of the four thousand Spanish soldiers remained at Kinsale to await the arrival of the Ulster forces. Donal marched to Kinsale with an army of one thousand men. He sent a letter to King Philip swearing allegiance to him as his sovereign. The letter was intercepted by English agents and was later used as reason for denying him pardon.

On December 24, 1601 at the coming of dawn the battle began. It was over in a matter of hours. It was a resounding defeat for the Irish forces. This was due in large part to the reluctance of the Spanish troops to leave the protection of the walled city of Kinsale and join the battle until it was over. O’Neill retreated back to Tyrone with his battered troops. O’Donnell handed over command of his soldiers to his brother and embarked for Spain to plead for more help from King Philip. General Aquila sued for peace and Lord Mountjoy, commander of the English, was only too happy to accept his request. Aquila agreed to surrender the castles his troops were defending. This meant that the O’Sullivans and the O’Driscolls had to fight the Spanish to regain their castles. Donal O’Sullivan wrote to King Philip complaining about the behavior of Aquila. When Aquila returned to Spain he was held in contempt by King Philip and put under house arrest.

Many of the O’Sullivan clan’s non-combatants were sent to the island of Dursey to keep them out of harms way. An English force led by a John Bostock attacked the small garrison guarding the island. They butchered the entire population of the island, women, children, and the garrison. They cast their bodies, some while they were still alive, onto the rocks below the cliff overlooking the sea. It was a dreadful omen of Ireland’s future.

The Lord President of Munster, George Carew, now moved to destroy Dunboy castle, the O’Sullivan Beare principle fortress. After two days of cannon fire the castle was almost destroyed but still the gallant defenders fought on, though only 143 in number. It was now the last rebel stronghold to hold out against the English. Meanwhile Donal was waiting at Ardea for reinforcements and weapons, and gold to pay his troops. He had been promised money and supplies by the Spanish. After two more days of fighting the remaining defenders, having retreated to the cellar of the castle, attempted to surrender. It was accepted but they were treacherously hanged the next day.

Donal O’Sullivan now realized that the Spanish reinforcements were not coming. It was obvious that all was lost in Munster. Famine conditions now existed and though he had considerable Spanish gold, there was little food available. With one thousand followers consisting of soldiers and civilians they began a long journey to Leitrim to the castle of his ally the Ó Ruairc (O’Rourke). He believed that he could hold out longer amongst his northern allies, the O’Donnells and O’Neills. . Throughout the 300-mile (480 km) trek they were attacked by English forces and treasonous Irish that were loyal to Elizabeth. The country-side had been ravaged by war and famine; the people along the way were trying to stay alive themselves. They could ill afford to provide any aid or food. Of the 1000 odd who set out only 30 odd made it. It had been an unusually cruel winter and the conditions are described in detail by Philip O’Sullivan Beare, a cousin of Donal O’Sullivan.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Love of Horses

I have a deep love for horses, especially thoroughbreds. I've had several myself and have loved them dearly. Right now, I'm looking forward to the Belmont, hoping beyond hope that we have a Triple Crown winner--Big Brown!!!

Among Broodmares, She's the Mother of Them All

By John Scheinman
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, June 3, 2008; Page E03

When asked about Better Than Honour, a broodmare whose 3-year-old son, Casino Drive, will attempt to defeat Big Brown on Saturday in the Belmont Stakes, Kentucky bloodstock adviser Michael S. Brown speaks with a voice full of wonder.

In the long history of horse racing, a sport that focuses on pedigree the way baseball obsesses over statistics, there has been nothing like her. A horse of regal and enormously successful bloodlines, Better Than Honour somehow has manifested her ancestors' best genetic traits -- stamina, speed, competitive nature -- in offspring that twice in a row have won one of the most coveted prizes in the sport.

If Casino Drive, brought to America by Japanese interests solely to win the Belmont, can knock off Big Brown, he would become the third consecutive progeny of Better Than Honour to win the 1 1/2 -mile classic, following siblings Jazil and the filly Rags to Riches.

"It's every bit as impressive as [Hall of Fame trainer] Woody Stephens winning five straight Belmonts; maybe more so," said Brown, who has bought and sold racehorses and breeding prospects for more than 25 years. "You have a 30,000-foal crop every year and to have three straight Belmont winners -- I'm not a statistician, so I wouldn't venture the odds. It's remarkable."

At this point, even before Casino Drive runs, Better Than Honour is worth about $12 million, Brown speculates. Yet in recent years she has been sold for less than that, leaving a trail of regret and a breeder who managed to get her back.

At the end of her brief racing career in 1999, in which she placed in three stakes races, Better than Honour was purchased by John Sikura, president of Hill 'n' Dale Farm in Lexington, Ky., one of the top thoroughbred operations.

Sikura had concentrated on assembling an unmatched band of broodmares and Better Than Honour fit the profile as a daughter of champion Blush With Pride, a descendant of the temperamental British stallion Nasrullah, whose import to the United States in 1949 had a profound impact on the industry. Nasrullah's son, Bold Ruler, fathered Secretariat.

Bred to leading sire Storm Cat in 2000, Better Than Honour's first foal the following year, Teeming, won three of four starts before getting injured. After Teeming hit the track, Sikura received a call from Ira Gumberg, whose father, Stanley Gumberg, made a fortune in real estate and started a breeding operation called Sklara Glen Stables. The Gumbergs were friends with Sikura's father, who had died in 1994 in a car crash.

Ira Gumberg wanted to buy Better Than Honour, but Sikura turned him down. Gumberg made a second offer and Sikura took it.

"I can't tell you for how much, but it was an elite number," Sikura said. "There were lots of zeros."

With Sklara, Better Than Honour gave birth to a son of the top sire A.P. Indy that never raced. The Gumbergs bred her twice, first to Seeking the Gold and then back to A.P. Indy. The offspring were Jazil and Rags to Riches.

In 2004, while pregnant with Casino Drive, Better Than Honour was placed in an auction at Keeneland and purchased for $2 million by BBA Ireland, a company representing Coolmore Stud, the most powerful racing operation in England. "I thought she would have brought north of $3 million," said Stanley Gumberg. "We shouldn't have sold."

Sikura, who watched the sale from the sidelines, said he usually doesn't dwell on a lost horse.

"In this business, it's not helpful to have regret," he said. "Horses are fluid; they have foals every year. If you sell a mare one year, four years later she could have produced a Grade I winner or an important horse. It's not helpful to say I should have kept that mare."

But after Jazil won the Belmont in 2006, Sikura knew he had to have Better Than Honour back. Michael Moreno, an owner of an oil drilling platform and refinery construction company, was looking to get into the broodmare game and Sikura brought him on as a partner to help pry Better Than Honour away from Coolmore.

Sikura declined to reveal the cost. "At the time, Rags to Riches had run once and chipped an ankle," he said. No one knew she would win the Belmont, too.

Sikura will watch the Belmont on Saturday hoping for the unimaginable, the broodmare's own version of the Triple Crown.

"It's really an impossibility what's happened so far," he said. "This whole business is about exaggeration and childlike belief and most things let you down. You think about greatness and immortality and undefeated and in real-world parlance those things almost never occur. But they occur just so often that you still can believe."

Monday, June 02, 2008

Some Scottish Snippets

These two articles are from the Scottish Snippets newsletter

DNA Study in Orkney and Shetlands

The genes of hundreds of residents in Orkney and Shetland are to be studied
to try to establish why Scotland - and the northern islands in particular -
has the highest rates of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the world. Residents
who suffer from MS as well as those who have no history of the disease,
will be asked to give blood. Scientists will then compare the two samples
in the expectation that they will be able to unravel the mystery as to why
rates of MS are so high in Orkney, Shetland and Scotland and also to
provide possible answers for patients who suffer the disease around the
world. They hope to be able then produce new drugs to combat the effects of
the debilitating illness. Due to the stable population and lack of
immigration in Orkney and Shetland it will be easier to pick out the signal
of a genetic effect there from all the "background noise".

First Jewish Tartan
The first record of a Jew in Scotland is in 1691 and since then they have
been an integral part of the country and its people. Jews were never
persecuted and there were no pogroms, no Holocaust, no national or state
sponsored antisemitic laws. When England was burning and exiling its Jews
in the Middle Ages, Scotland provided a safe haven from English and
European anti-Semitism. Now, after over 300 years, an official Jewish
tartan has been created and registered with the Scottish Tartans Authority.
It was designed by the only Scottish-born Rabbi living in Scotland, it's
100 per cent Kosher - being a non wool-linen mix. It incorporates many
aspects of Scottish-Jewish cultural and religious history, with the
colours, weave and number of threads picked for their relevance to
Judaism.The blue and white represents the colours of the Israeli and
Scottish flag with the central gold line representing the gold from the
Biblical Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant and the many ceremonial
vessels. The launch of the new tartan coincided with Israel's 60th
anniversary celebrations.