Saturday, January 29, 2011

Was the fox prehistoric man’s best friend?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Early humans may have preferred the fox to the dog as an animal companion, new archaeological findings suggest. Researchers analysing remains at a prehistoric burial ground in Jordan have uncovered a grave in which a fox was buried with a human, before part of it was then transferred to an adjacent grave.

The University of Cambridge-led team believes that the unprecedented case points to some sort of emotional attachment between human and fox. Their paper, published January 26, suggests that the fox may have been kept as a pet and was being buried to accompany its master, or mistress, to the afterlife.

If so, it marks the first known burial of its kind and suggests that long before we began to hunt foxes using dogs, our ancestors were keeping them as pets – and doing so earlier than their canine relatives.

The cemetery, at Uyun-al-Hammam, in northern Jordan, is about 16,500 years old, which makes the grave 4,000 years older than the earliest known human-dog burial and 7,000 years earlier than anything similar in Europe involving a fox.

Rest of article.

My take - it's divinatory, darlings :)

Snow, snow, snow! Ice, ice, ice! Figure Skating! U.S. Championships!

Shoveling snow today.  I'm cheating, actually, since the snow I finally removed from my driveway fell over the last 2 weeks!  A dribble here, a dab there, it all added up.  Today, for awhile, the sun came out and I had time, so I put on my fuzzy slippers with the rubber bottoms and my beret, and my shoveling gloves, and I tackled the driveway. 

There was a path, half the width of the driveway, previously shoveled out before the most recent five inches fell, in dribbles and dabs, over the last week, so today I cleared the rest of the drive in two shifts.  Who knows?  The weather forecasters are uncertain -- while it seems fairly certain that our neighbors in New York City will get yet more snow on top of their already record snowfall for this 2010-2011 winter season - within the next few days - we dont' know what may happen here.  I can tell you this much - I've done a lot less shovelling this year than last, if my memory serves me correctly.  In the meantime, the forecasters on the local news are mouthing dire warnings that a big storm is brewing and we may be in its target.  Yeah, well, when it gets here I'll deal with it.  Otherwise, just shut up.  I'm sick of winter already.

This weekend, however, is all about ice when it comes to the 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which I have been keenly tracking all week for news of novice and junior results, LOL!  The bigs, of course -- that is, the ladies' long program, the pairs' long program, the ice dance free dance, and the men's long program -- those sly officials at the US Figure Skating Federation saved for live broadcast on NBC today and tomorrow!  Yippee!  Figure skating championships always signal that winter is almost ended for me!  The Worlds are typically held near the end of March and, as we all know, the Spring Equinox is on March 21st (more or less)! 

Decided thus far - this afternoon as I eagerly cast mine eyes upon the television whilst working on a family tree project - the pairs (a new couple crowned as 2011 U.S. Pairs Champions) and the ice dancers (Davis and White repeat.  Davis and White won the Olympic Silver in Ice Dance in - somewhere in Canada... (my memory is going, going...)

So tonight the big drama on prime time commercial television will be the ladies' long program.  Right now, Alissa Czisny (spelling?), Marai Nagasu (spelling?) (I think she will go VERY far, this young lady, if she just lets herself GO there), and Rachel Flatt, who just, unfortunately, leaves me very flat when I watch her skate, are in 1, 2, and 3.  Talented and promising skaters are right behind.  I especially like Christina Gao, who I think is in 5th place right now.  I think she's got the full package and, at only 16, has a lot of time to develope prior to Sochi 2014!  It may come down to an eventual showdown between Gao and Nagasu, also 16.  Just saying...

Prime time coverage of the U.S. Figure Skating Champi8onships picks up at 7 p.m. eastern, 8 p.m. here, with the ladies' long program - the PREMIERE event! 

I've got to tell you, I'm just excited that I saw Amodio in the news a few days ago at the European Championships that have been going on the past week too - he so impressed me just about a year ago at the 2010 Olympics that I just had to blog about it then.  I fell in love with the young man - the total package in a male skater, be calmed my beating heart, oh my Goddess!  Whew!  Okay, wiping sweat from my brow just thinking about that young man, I saw tonight after just - really - just checking the news online that AMODIO WON GOLD AT THE EUROPEANS!  Yippee!

Update:  I watched the ladies' freeskate from start to finish.  In my opinion, the correct skater won the championship (Czisny) but I think Nagasu skated a better program than Flatt and Nagasu should have been in second place, not Flatt.  That is crucial because only two women can go to the worlds at the end of March and, frankly, I don't think Flatt will represent us very well.  Oh well.  Now Nagasu will have to wait for another year.

2011 Gibraltar (Tradewise Chess Festival)

From The Week in Chess - after R4:

Nigel Short beat Deep Sengupta with the black pieces to 4/4 alongside Nadezhda Kosintseva. Vassily Ivanchuk made a nice rook sacrifice to win a game that otherwise would have been drawn. 79 year old Viktor Korchnoi remains undefeated.

Go, Nadezhda!  Go Korchnoi, you old fart!

Tomorrow sees N. Kosintseva face off against Nigel Short.  Here are top standings (232 players) after R4:

Rk Name Ti FED Rtg Pts TB1
1 Short Nigel D GM ENG 2658 4.0 3308
2 Kosintseva Nadezhda IM RUS 2552 4.0 3231
3 Rapport Richard GM HUN 2531 3.5 2914
4 Ivanchuk Vassily GM UKR 2764 3.5 2873
5 Fridman Daniel GM GER 2655 3.5 2846
6 Kotronias Vasilios GM GRE 2599 3.5 2749
7 Korchnoi Viktor GM SUI 2544 3.0 2772
8 Sengupta Deep GM IND 2530 3.0 2748
9 Sasikiran Krishnan GM IND 2690 3.0 2737
10 Felgaer Ruben GM ARG 2585 3.0 2728
11 Zhu Chen GM QAT 2495 3.0 2723
12 Cmilyte Viktorija GM LTU 2526 3.0 2722
13 Adams Michael GM ENG 2723 3.0 2709
14 Buhmann Rainer GM GER 2572 3.0 2706
15 Kulaots Kaido GM EST 2577 3.0 2683
16 Roiz Michael GM ISR 2649 3.0 2678
17 Harikrishna Pentala GM IND 2667 3.0 2674
18 Akobian Varuzhan GM USA 2618 3.0 2666
19 Sandipan Chanda GM IND 2641 3.0 2662
20 Lafuente Pablo GM ARG 2551 3.0 2635
21 Gopal Geetha Narayanan GM IND 2597 3.0 2634
Krush Irina IM USA 2483 3.0 2634
23 Caruana Fabiano GM ITA 2721 3.0 2633
24 Georgiev Kiril GM BUL 2669 3.0 2616
Kacheishvili Giorgi GM GEO 2585 3.0 2616
26 Kosintseva Tatiana GM RUS 2570 3.0 2568
27 Zatonskih Anna IM USA 2493 3.0 2564
28 Ikonnikov Vyacheslav GM RUS 2580 3.0 2555
29 Kanep Meelis GM EST 2531 3.0 2551
30 Mikhalevski Victor GM ISR 2579 3.0 2524
31 Vaarala Eric SWE 2152 3.0 2508
32 Lemos Damian GM ARG 2553 3.0 2463
33 Robson Ray GM USA 2532 3.0 2446
34 Sarkar Justin IM USA 2418 2.5 2722
35 Vallejo Pons Francisco GM ESP 2698 2.5 2620
36 Dzagnidze Nana GM GEO 2550 2.5 2616
37 Weber Tom FM LUX 2310 2.5 2610
38 Bellon Lopez Juan Manuel GM ESP 2404 2.5 2571
39 Erdos Viktor GM HUN 2593 2.5 2563
40 Bologan Viktor GM MDA 2693 2.5 2560
41 Berg Emanuel GM SWE 2627 2.5 2555
42 Melia Salome IM GEO 2449 2.5 2539
43 Onischuk Alexander GM USA 2689 2.5 2533
44 Nisipeanu Liviu-Dieter GM ROU 2678 2.5 2529
45 El Debs Felipe De Cresce GM BRA 2499 2.5 2484
46 Valgmae Toomas EST 2190 2.5 2475
47 Oberhofer Andre GER 2270 2.5 2470
48 Edouard Romain GM FRA 2634 2.5 2468
49 Speelman Jon S GM ENG 2524 2.5 2463
50 Soffer Ram GM ISR 2489 2.5 2452

2011 Wijk aan Zee (Tata Steel Chess)

Results of the ladies (only 2, both playing in C Group):

Round 11 - Friday the 28th
I. Nyzhnyk - B. Bok 1-0
R. van Kampen - D. Swiercz 0-1
D. Vocaturo - K. Lahno 1-0
M. Kazhgaleyev - I. Ivanisevic ½-½
J.W. de Jong - S. Siebrecht 1-0
M. Bluvshtein - M. van der Werf ½-½
T. Sachdev - R. Pruijssers ½-½

Round 12 - Saturday the 29th
B. Bok - R. Pruijssers 1-0
M. van der Werf - T. Sachdev 0-1
S. Siebrecht - M. Bluvshtein 0-1
I. Ivanisevic - J.W. de Jong 1-0
K. Lahno - M. Kazhgaleyev ½-½
D. Swiercz - D. Vocaturo 1-0
I. Nyzhnyk - R. van Kampen 1-0

Last round tomorrow.

Standings after R12:
1. D. Vocaturo 8½
2. I. Nyzhnyk 8
3. I. Ivanisevic 7½
4. K. Lahno 7
D. Swiercz 
6. M. Bluvshtein  6½
M. Kazhgaleyev
T. Sachdev
9. B. Bok 6
10. S. Siebrecht 4½
11. J.W. de Jong 4
R. Pruijssers
M. van der Werf
R. van Kampen

Tomorrow's pairings:
Round 13 - Sunday the 30th
R. van Kampen - B. Bok
D. Vocaturo - I. Nyzhnyk
M. Kazhgaleyev - D. Swiercz
J.W. de Jong - K. Lahno
M. Bluvshtein - I. Ivanisevic
T. Sachdev - S. Siebrecht
R. Pruijssers - M. van der Werf

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dog(s) Guarded Treasure Hoard

Sacrificed dogs - this kind of story drives me nuts!  But people of different times and different cultures have other sensibilities about dogs as pets and faithful companions.  Suffice to say that on more than one occasion my dogs ate - and I did not.

Loyal dog still guarding coins after 2,000 years
By tim healy
26 January, 2011

The skeleton of one of the dogs guarding the
Hallaton Hoard
Archaeologists have pieced together the remains of a 2,000-year-old guard dog whose spirit is believed to have protected a hoard of treasure.

The skeleton, which is about the same size as that of a retriever or Alsatian, was discovered in a pit at the site of an Iron Age shrine in Hallaton, near Market Harborough.

Experts think the animal was sacrificed and buried to protect the Hallaton Treasure – a collection of more than 5,000 gold and silver coins.

The hoard was discovered a decade ago and is now housed in a gallery at Harborough Museum.

The dog's skeleton, which was pieced together by experts from the University of Leicester's archaeological services, will go on show at the museum for the first time on Saturday.

Vicki Score, the university's project manager, said: "The Hallaton site is surrounded by a boundary ditch.

"The skeleton of the dog was discovered at the entrance to the site, buried in a slot in the ground.

"We believe it was bound and sacrificed and buried to guard the coin offerings. It was in an awkward position, looking at the hoard."

Mrs Score said the archaeologists had pieced together most of the skeleton, which dates back to between AD1 and AD50.

"Unfortunately, the back legs are missing," she said. "They could have been ploughed away."

She said the skeleton was buried on top of the remains of another dog and there was evidence of a third.

Mrs Score added: "It may be it was felt the previous guard dog had lost its power to protect.

"It would have been considered an honour for the dog, which was probably quite old, to be sacrificed in this way." [What - they can't tell the age of the dog from the bones they used to 'reconstruct' it? If they know enough about dog physiology to be able to reconstruct a dog skeleton, shouldn't they be able to hazard a guess as to the age of the dog when it was killed?]

The dog bones will be housed in a case in the entranceway to the Hallaton Treasure Gallery, imitating the location of the dog burial at the shrine.

David Sprason, Leicestershire County Council's cabinet member for adults and communities, said: "It is fitting that the remains of this dog be reunited with the magnificent objects from the Hallaton Treasure and find a new home at the award-winning Harborough Museum.

"The dog's story is yet another intriguing aspect of this nationally-important find and illustrates the special relationship between humans and dogs that has existed for thousands of years." [Yeah, the poor dogs seem to get the short end of that relationship, more often than not!]

66th Armenian Women's Chess Chamionship

From The Week in Chess
The Armenian Women's Championships took place 11th-19th January 2011. Siranush Andriasian took clear first place with 6/9. Naira Movsisian withdrew from the event and her results were cancelled. The top Armenian female chessplayers skipped the event.

66th ch-ARM w Yerevan ARM Tue 11th Jan 2011 - Wed 19th Jan 2011
Final Round 9 Standings:
1Andriasian SiranushWIMARM22176.021.5040.0
2Kharatyan AnahitWFMARM20474.518.5040.0
3Martirosyan LiaWFMARM20824.517.0050.0
4Gasparyan NarineWIMARM21254.516.2540.0
5Gevorgyan MariaARM20644.015.5040.0
6Sargsyan ShushannaARM20003.514.0050.0
7Kalashyan VarduhiARM20173.512.0050.0
8Babayan ArmineARM20533.010.0030.0
9Meseljyan AstghikARM18922.510.7540.0
10Movsisian NairaWGMARM21000.00.0020.0

68th Georgian Women's Chess Championship

From Georgia Today

Steady Lomineishvili wins Georgian Woman’s Chess Championship
28 January 2011
Alastair Watt

Maia Lomineishvili produced a late charge to overtake early pace-setter Nino Khurtsidze and claim the coveted honour of Georgian Women’s Chess Champion of 2011.

The 68th Georgian Women’s Chess Championships were held in Ankalia in western Georgia from January 10 and Lomineishvili was crowned champion after the final round on January 23.

After round 9, Lomineishvili found herself just behind Khurtsidze and on level points with Bela Khotenashvili. With four rounds remaining, and with all three genuine contenders to the title separated by only half a point, it promised to be a tense finale.

In round 10, the leading Khurtsidze began to falter as she was held to a draw by Salome Melia while the chasing Khotenashvili yielded the same result in her match with Sopiko Khukhashvili.

Lomineishvili took full advantage of her stuttering rivals as she defeated Meri Abaridze to catapult herself into first place and she would not lose her grip on top spot.

Having said that, Lomineishvili was held to a draw in round 11 by Melia but Khotenashvili could only manage a draw with Nazi Paikidze and Khurtsidze continued to slide out of contention as she suffered defeat at the hand of Miranda Mikadze.

Khurtsidze was not due to play in round 12 thus her challenge was effectively over when Lomineishvili and Khotenashvili both emerged victorious from their encounters in the penultimate round.

With one round remaining, Lomineishvili lead Khotenashvili by half a point and knew that even a draw in her final match with Khurtsidze would clinch the national title.

Khotenashvili did all she could in round 13, beating Mariam Danelia, but Lomineishvili kept her cool to earn a share of the points with 3rd-placed Khurtsidze thereby securing first place and the esteemed title of Georgian Women’s Chess Champion.

68th ch-GEO w Anaklia GEO Mon 10th Jan 2011 - Sun 23rd Jan 2011. Category: 6. Ave: (2377)
1Lomineishvili, MaiaIMGEO2345#1=1===01=1118.52537
2Khotenashvili, BelaIMGEO24400#===1=1=11118.52530
3Khurtsidze, NinoIMGEO2436==#11=10==0=172429
4Purtseladze, MakaIMGEO23230=0#===1111==72438
5Javakhishvili, LelaIMGEO2438==0=#=11=0=1=6.52401
6Melia, SalomeIMGEO2449=0===#=1=10=16.52400
7Khukhashvili, SopikoIMGEO2437==0=0=#101=105.52343
8Nikoladze, SopioWIMGEO22541010000#0=1115.52358
9Paikidze, NaziWGMGEO24550==0==11#=00=52313
10Batsiashvili, NinoWGMGEO2396=0=0100==#1==52318
11Mikadze, MirandaWIMGEO23620010=1=010#==52321
12Danelia, MariamWIMGEO224800==0=001==#14.52301
13Arabidze, MeriWIMGEO2315000==010===0#3.52224

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bronze Goddess Stolen Out of English Garden

Outrageous!  But I suppose no more outrageous than a couple of Milwaukeeans who were arrested a few months back for stealing bronze flower-holders out of a local cemetery and selling them to a scrap dealer for cash - the dirty rotten JERKS!  Get this - they tucked the stolen vases into the back-end of their baby's stroller. 

From BBC News

Bronze goddess statue stolen from Nottinghamshire pond

Here's a photo of the missing Goddess bronze - I
haven't the slightest idea who she might be - her
hands look rather like fins, don't they.  Photo from article.
Thieves sawed the five-foot-high (1.5m) statue of a water goddess, which was located in the middle of a pond, from a metal support post.

Nottinghamshire police said the statue was stolen between 1700 GMT on 20 January and 0900 GMT 21 January.

The statue was made by sculptor Laurence Broderick, who also made the Bull Ring statue in Birmingham.

The sculptor's name is inscribed in the goddess's hair.

Police have appealed for anyone who saw any suspicious activity around Cropwell Butler or has been offered the statue for sale or for scrap to contact them.

2011 Gibraltar (2001 Tradewise Chess Festival)

It seems like yesterday that The Chief named Spain's Monica Calzetta as a female player to keep my eye on.  And over the years I have faithfully done so, in honor of his memory.

In Round 1 of the Masters Tournament, Calzetta defeated the USA's youngest Grandmaster, Ray Robson.  I don't know whether to smile and nod and give a thumbs-up to The Chief, wherever he may now be, or feel sad because Robson, who is a nice young man and one of the USA players besides, lost the game! From the Week in Chess:  The biggest surprise was Monica Calzetta's defeat of US GM Ray Robson which is analysed in depth.  You can find the analysis in the Round 1 report

There are 232 players in the Masters Tournament! If I counted correctly, there are 30 chess femmes in the Masters.  Right now I'm only going to report on the top-rated femmes. Standings for R 2 have been calculated - here are full standings.

Summary of top-rated chess femmes (results only):
GM Tatiana Kosintseva (RUS 2570) 2.0
IM Nadezhda Kosintseva (RUS 2552) 2.0
GM Nana Dzagnidze (GEO 2550) 1.5
GM Antoneta Stefanova (BUL 2546) 1.0
GM Viktorija Cmilyte (LTU 2526) 2.0
IM Harika Dronavalli (IND 2520) 1.5
GM Pia Cramling (SWE 2516) 1.0
GM Zhu Chen (QAT 2495) 2.0
IM Anna Zatonskih (USA 2493) 1.0
IM Irina Krush (USA 2483) 1.5
WGM Natalia Pogonina (RUS 2472) 1.5

2011 Wijk aan Zee (Tata Steel Chess)

Round 10 - Wednesday the 26th
B. Bok - T. Sachdev ½-½
R. Pruijssers - M. Bluvshtein 1-0
M. van der Werf - J.W. de Jong 0-1
S. Siebrecht - M. Kazhgaleyev 1-0
I. Ivanisevic - D. Vocaturo 1-0
K. Lahno - R. van Kampen ½-½
D. Swiercz - I. Nyzhnyk 1-0

Standings after Round 10
1. D. Vocaturo 7½
2. K. Lahno 6½
3. I. Ivanisevic 6
I. Nyzhnyk
5. M. Kazhgaleyev 5½
6. M. Bluvshtein 5
B. Bok
T. Sachdev
D. Swiercz
10. S. Siebrecht 4½
11. R. van Kampen 4
12. R. Pruijssers 3½
M. van der Werf
14. J.W. de Jong 3

Tomorrow is the final rest day.  The final three rounds will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  GO LADIES GO! 

Crosstable of grandmaster group C

1M. van der Werf0½11½0000½3.5
2S. Siebrecht1½000101½½4.5
3I. Ivanisevic½½½½1½10½16
4K. Lahno01½½½½½1116.5
5D. Swiercz01½½1100105
6I. Nyzhnyk½10½01½½116
7R. van Kampen10½½0010½½4
8D. Vocaturo110111101½7.5
9M. Kazhgaleyev10010111½05.5
10J.W. de Jong10½00000½13
11M. Bluvshtein½1½10011005
12T. Sachdev1010½1010½5
13R. Pruijssers½½000½0½½13.5
14B. Bok½½001½101½5

Match-ups for Friday:

I. Nyzhnyk - B. Bok
R. van Kampen - D. Swiercz
D. Vocaturo (7.5) - K. Lahno (6.5) 
M. Kazhgaleyev - I. Ivanisevic
J.W. de Jong - S. Siebrecht
M. Bluvshtein - M. van der Werf
T. Sachdev (5.0) - R. Pruijssers (3.5)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Here's a New Take on Elephants in Ancient Egypt!

I am familiar with art from Rekhmire's tomb but I sure don't recall anything about an pygmy elephant or - what? - a surviving pygmy mastodon in the Bronze Age?

The depiction itself is fascinating, the article is interesting and the discussion is very on point - and hardly an assinine or rude comment in the lot!  That's amazing in and of itself, but perhaps I've just been reading the comments sections at and too long.   

Elephants are of particular interest to me and I did quite a bit of research back in the early to mid-2000's on the subject of elephants in the Middle East.  The comments about a small surviving herd of elephants in Syria are right on, and they were most likely hunted to extinction in the 10th century BCE.  How sad. 

Anyway - here is a graphic of the "small hairy elephant" in question and a link to the article by Darren Nash and comments.  The elephant is the figure on the left, the bear [suggested by Darren Naish, or lioness, suggested by readers] on the right - with the collar on and leash!  My comments: it's definitely hair or fur on the elephant figure.  The Egyptians were familiar with elephants and would mark their sking with cross-hatching to denote the tough, creased hides. 

To get the timelines correct, Rekhmire was a Vizier of Egypt for two Pharaohs, Tuthmose III and Amenhotep II (c. 1479 to 1401 BCE) during the XVIII dynasty, so the dwarf mastodon(?) in question would have been alive and presented at the Egyptian Court during Rekhmire's lifetime.

Did the ancient Egyptians know of pygmy mammoths? Well, there is that tomb painting.
Category: mammalogy
Posted on: January 19, 2011 8:52 AM, by Darren Naish

Ancient Navigation and Ancient Trade: The Journeys to Punt

This is a nice review of the discoveries at Wadi Gawasis since 2004, and mentions some upcoming television specials.

Sailing into antiquity
BU archeologist unearths clues about ancient Egypt’s sea trade
By Colin Nickerson
Globe Correspondent / January 11, 2010

[Excerpted] The archeological digs at Egypt’s Wadi Gawasis have yielded neither mummies nor grand monuments.

But Boston University archeologist Kathryn Bard and her colleagues are uncovering the oldest remnants of seagoing ships and other relics linked to exotic trade with a mysterious Red Sea realm called Punt.

“They were the space launches of their time,’’ Bard said of the epic missions to procure wondrous wares.

Although Nile River craft are well-known, the ability of ancient Egyptian mariners to ply hundreds of miles of open seas in cargo craft was not so fully documented.

Then the team led by Bard and an Italian archeologist, Rodolfo Fattovich, started uncovering maritime storerooms in 2004, putting hard timber and rugged rigging to the notion of pharaonic deepwater prowess.

In the most recent discovery, on Dec. 29, they located the eighth in a series of lost chambers at Wadi Gawasis after shoveling through cubic meters of rock rubble and wind-blown sand.

However prosaic they seem, the finds at Wadi Gawasis - including the ancestor of the modern package label - really speak of the glitter, gold, and glory of a long-ago civilization that bewitches us still.

The remote desert site at the sea’s edge was established solely to satisfy the cravings of Egypt’s rulers for the luxury goods of faraway Punt: ebony, ivory, obsidian, frankincense, precious metals, slaves, and strange beasts, such as dog-faced baboons and giraffes.

Starting in the middle of the last decade, the Bard-Fattovich team grabbed the attention of nautical archeologists with the unearthing of ship timbers, limestone anchors, steering oars, and hanks of marine rope. The precisely beveled deck beams, hull planks, and copper fittings belong to the oldest deep sea vessels ever found, dating back at least 3,800 years.

The craft appear to have been up to 70 feet long, powered by rowers and sail and capable of navigating deep seas.

This month, Cairo’s Egyptian Museum will open a special exhibition, “Mersa/Wadi Gawasis: A Pharaonic Harbor on the Red Sea,’’ featuring, among other things, cargo seals, voyage accounts, and a shipping crate marked in hieroglyphic text: “Wonderful Things of Punt.’’

Meanwhile, the PBS science series NOVA tomorrow will broadcast “Building Pharaoh’s Ship,’’ a documentary detailing the reconstruction of a Wadi Gawasis vessel by archeologist Cheryl Ward of Coastal Carolina University. The film airs in Boston on WGBH (Channel 2) at 8 p.m.

The journeys upon the “Great Green’’ - as one hieroglyph-inscribed tablet found at Wadi Gawasis refers to the sea - involved fantastical feats of organization, navigational skill, and daring. Overland trade between Egypt and Punt dates to the third millennium BC. But by 1950 BC, the rival Kingdom of Kush had cut off traditional desert routes, forcing Egypt to find a new passage.

Egypt’s eastern coast - then as now - was too parched to sustain a full-time port and shipbuilding center.

So, using timber hewn from the mountains of Lebanon, Egyptian shipwrights built big vessels on the banks of the Nile, near modern Qift, according to archaeology-based theory.

“These were then disassembled and transported, with all other supplies, over the desert by donkey, a journey of 10 days’’ to reach Wadi Gawasis, Bard said. The site adjoined a lagoon, in which a port was built. The ship parts were marked and rebuilt by number or color code.

The lagoon has long since been swallowed by sand, but satellite images hint at the remains of a slipway or dock.

Sea voyages to Punt would have been so costly and required such a massive logistical effort - probably involving thousands of workers, scribes, quartermasters, sailors, and pack animals - that they probably were launched only a few times per century.

Punt’s whereabouts remain a mystery. Scholars can’t even pin the realm to a continent. Bard places it on the Horn of Africa, in the region of present-day Eritrea and parts of Sudan and Somalia. Other researchers put it on the Red Sea’s Asian shore, in today’s Yemen.

Voyages from the port appear to have been suspended for two or three centuries because of political instability. There is evidence that Queen Hatshepsut, the female pharaoh, dispatched a last sea mission to Punt around 1480 BC, partly to obtain “mortuary incense.’’

2011 Wijk aan Zee (Tata Steel Chess)

Round 9 - Tuesday the 25th
D. Swiercz - B. Bok 0-1
I. Nyzhnyk - K. Lahno ½-½
R. van Kampen - I. Ivanisevic ½-½
D. Vocaturo - S. Siebrecht 1-0
M. Kazhgaleyev - M. van der Werf 1-0
J.W. de Jong - R. Pruijssers ½-½
M. Bluvshtein - T. Sachdev 1-0

Standings after round 9
1. D. Vocaturo 7½
2. K. Lahno
I. Nyzhnyk 6
4. M. Kazhgaleyev 5½
5. M. Bluvshtein
I. Ivanisevic 5
7. B. Bok
T. Sachdev 4½
9. D. Swiercz 4
10. S. Siebrecht
M. van der Werf
R. van Kampen 3½
13. R. Pruijssers 2½
14. J.W. de Jong 2

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bhakti gets Woman Grand Master Norm

From The Times of India
PTI, Jan 24, 2011, 06.37pm IST

PANAJI: International woman master Bhakti Kulkarni of Goa became the first from the State to win the Woman Grand Master norm after she finished second in the Merianbad Open Chess Championship in Czech Republic.

Bhakti scored 5.5 points out of 9 rounds as she beat Matras Ondrej, Jurek and Bulmaga Irina and drew with Volodi Viktor and Antipov Milhail of Russia, Mickiewicz Piotr of Poland and Dimitrijeski Boris of Germany, a press release issued by the Goa Chess Association, said.

A brand ambassador for Carbon Group of Dempo, Bhakti was recently awarded the WIM title by FIDE.

The Goa Chess Association said it expects Bhakti would complete her two other WGM norms and get the WGM title.

2011 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

Well, I'm disappointed.  In early December I posted this list and it promised a possible rematch between GM Koneru Humpy of India and GM Hou Yifan of China - and neither are actually playing now. Sheng Yang of China and Jovanka Houska, England's highest-rated female player, were also - literally - scratched through on the list.  I did not see Koneru Humpy's name on the list at all, which is very strange.  I know I didn't dream it!  Here is the latest list.  What a bummer.

Hou Yifan withdrew due to a family emergency:


Yesterday, 24th January 2011
Hou Yifan the current Women's World Chess Champion has had to pull out of the Gibraltar Tradewise Chess Festival 2011 at the eleventh- hour. The young Chinese player informed the organisers of her decision, due to persona l reasons because of critical illness in her family, as she was about to travel to the Rock for the tournament.

Tournament organizer Brian Callaghan obviously disappointed at the news, nonetheless said,he understood her decision: “Here in Gibraltar like in many other countries family comes first; and we fully understand Hou Yifan’s decision not to travel. Our thoughts and best wishes are with her at this time."

Play in the Masters starts tomorrow.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

210 NFC Champions: Green Bay Packers

I can say that the "official website of the Packers" SUCKS -- its blog hasn't been updated since January 21st.  Oh give me a fricking break. 

I don't know nothin' about football and I maintained a nearly constant blog-stream of commentary during today's game.  So how hard can it be, I ask you?

NFL coverage:  Rodgers leads Pack to Superbowl, beat Bears 21 - 14

We have had more than a dozen players on the IR throughout the season.  The Pack was an early pre-season favorite to go the Big Dance.  Well, we proved those prognosticators right.

How can someone do this an entire game???

Third and one Packers at the Bears 34 - incomplete pass.  Packers must punt.

Good punt, ball bounces on the 12-or -10 deep in Chicago's field.  7:22 to go in the 4th.

I am now listening to coverage on the Packers radio network.  I've got the sound turned down on the t.v. and there's a bit of a time-delay --  I tossed out the last cupful of nuts and peanuts for the squirrels for the day.  I am SO happy to see that it's still fair daylight out at 10 to 5 in the evening!  Spring will be here in 60 days...

Forte tries to run the ball and gets about nothing, so it seemed to me, but the radio is saying he may have got 2.  Haney through to Bennett who was brought down at the 15.  Gain of 3.  3rd and 5 for the Bears. 

Whoa - Chicago takes a time out at 6:12.


Hero of the game #80, B.J. RAJE, run back for a touchdown, a 340 pound nose-tackle.  Goddess is definitely smiling on the Packers today.  Told you so - she does not appreciate dirty play.


6:04 to go (I expect the website I'm checking for that is off by several minutes in real time).  Bears make a first down at the 35 of Green Bay.  Earl Bennet catches a pass and runs it in with no resistance from the Packers.  That sucks.


Packers will have the ball...

Ball returned to about the 25 by Charles Woodson.  Packers take over --

Looks like we may be trying to take time off the clock now - kept the ball on the ground, no gain on the play.  2nd and 10 -- Nelson runs the ball but loses a yard.  Okay dudes, this isn't working.

Rodgers was back to throw and had no one open, he runs but has nowhere to go, slides and is down with the loss of a yard.

Packers have to punt.  Hester is back to receive.  So - let's see what's going to happen - Goddess, please bless the Packers.

Chicago has the ball on its own 29 yard line.  About 3:07 to go. 

Now 2:49 to go.  2nd and 10 Chicago.  Gain of 1 on a pass bobbled by Haney.  Ball received by Forte.

3rd and 9 for Chicago, 2:44 to go.  Bears have 2 times outs left, Packers 3.

Blitz is on, sonofagoddess got the first down on a pass.  Ball now at the 39 or so.  First down, Haney incomplete pass.  OHMYGODDESS, a grounding call on the quarterback!  Now all of a sudden it's 2nd down and 20.

Forte catches a pass and gains 10 yards, 3rd and 10 for the Bears at their own 40.

1:54 left - Packers lead by a touchdown but the Bears are driving.  It appears that Forte has the first down near the Bears 50 yard line but now it's a commercial and and I can't tell --

Ohmygoddess, please spare my poor heart and give the Packers a victory.  I can't take much more.  Thank you and Amen.

4th and inches for the Bears...

29 makes the first down with 3 yards.  1.43 to go.  Pick up of 12 on short pass and run, first down for Bears.  1:27 to go.

Haney has to throw it away.  1:21 to go, 2nd and 10 Bears.

Olsen catches a Haney pass for about 7.  1:15 remaining.

3rd down and 3 -- Chicago takes a time out after what appeared to be a snap. 1:13 left?

Haney sacked NEAR THE 30 YARD LINE, loss of 2. 

OHMYGODDESS - INCREDIBLE.  I can't even describe what happened - Shields intercepted a long pass and started a run back and I was jumping of my chair and screaming my head off,  but looked like he fumbled but the ball but appeared to be recovered by a Packers player, but now they're saying Shields recovered his own fumble so is it a fumble?  At any rate - ITS FRICKING OVER, DARLINGS!!!!!!


As our Green Bay Packers announcer, Wayne Larrivee, says, THERE IS YOUR DAGGER.




Okay, need to take a serious break here. OHMYGODDESS!

P.S. added at 5:19 p.m.  I had to take a pee and immediately afterward I ran to the Christmas tree in the front room and plugged in the lights, with maybe a minute to go on the play clock?  Anyway - I think my Magic Christmas Tree did the trick!  GO PACK GO! GO PACK GO!

SUPERBOWL BOUND!  Thank you, Football Goddess.  Thank you.


A stupid play by Tramon Williams to grab the ball on the Bears' punt put us in jeopardy when he fumbled the ball but another Packers player fortunately bounced on the ball - and the whole thing was rendered moot by a Bears penalty called upfield.  So, it's the Packers' ball.

2:59 to go Third Quarter.  Ball handed off to John Koon for 2.

2nd and 8.  Brandon Jackson goes nowhere and gets hit in the backfield for a loss of 5, Urlacher makes the play.  Well, we have to give the Bears something.

Rodgers throws under pressure, incomplete.  4th down.  Rodgers is pissed off at the execution by his players.

Hester catches the ball in relatively good position and had room to roam, but his own man had to run into him.  Unfortunately, Packers had an inelligible man down field and was penalized 5 yard and have to kick again.  SONOFAGODDESS!

Okay guys, suck it up. 

Wow, a nice punt - Earl Bennett for the Bears runs it back for 21 yards.

Bears player gets a first down, runs for 11 yards - didn't catch his name, sorry.  It's now about on the 44 Bears ard line.  Forte runs the ball for a gain of 4.  END OF THIRD QUARTER.


Forte picks up a first down after an 8 yard run.  Oh my Goddess - Collins is now out as substitute Bears quarterback and someone named Caleb Haney is now in????  Is that right? 

Forte gets 11 on the ground for another first down.  Ball sacked behind the line of scrimmage.

Haney throws and completes to Johnny Knox at the 1 - he was forced out of bounds.

First and Goal Chicago, TD Chester Taylor running the ball.

Green Bay 14 - Bears 7

12:35 left in the 4th.  The Bears fans are making noise again, after having been remarkably quiet during the third quarter. 

So - will the Packers try to keep it on the ground to run up time, or go for the quick score?????  I say - quick score.  But I don't know nothink!

Commercial break --

James Starks catches the punt and runs it out to the 24.  Packers ball.

Starks running the ball.  No gain. 

Rodgers throws way down field - incomplete - but a roughing the passer penalty is called agianst Peppers and we get 15 yards and first down.  DIRTY PLAY DIRTY PLAY DIRTY PLAY!

And now a bullshit call against the Packers, just to show that the refs are "balanced" - called the 5 yards false start against the Packers.

Penalty flag called against Chicago against 46 on a pass play to Donald Driver.  Automatic first down.  You betcha!

At the Packers 48.  Pass dropped off to Koon, who takes the ball to the Bears 45.  2nd and 4 Packers.

Starks on the ground picks up 2.  Third down and 2. 

Incomplete pass to Quarless #81.  Packers have to punt.

Packers down the ball inside the 5 - nice!  Oh - the bullshit is going on now - the officials are saying it's a touchback.  Yeah, right.  I've seen the replay 3 times already.

9:19 to go in the 4th and it will be Bears' ball on the return from commercial break.  And I'm going to sit back and watch the rest of the game.

NFC Championship 3rd Quarter - Packers have the ball...

James Starks runs for 9, but a penalty flag is down.  Oh shit, holding against Scott Wells, our Center, for 10 yards.  Damn!

Now it's 1st and 20 at the 17...

Pass complete for only a yard to Jennings.  Jennings makes a big first down catch on second down of 22 yards!  GO PACK GO!

We're now about our own 34 - James Starks picks up a yard after a lot of spinning.  Time off the clock.

Second and 8 - oh oh - penalty called against Green Bay - holding.  Against Chad Clifton (76).  Rodgers didn't have anywhere to go anyway.  Now 2nd and 18.

Pass complete to Jordy Nelson for 10.  Third and long at about the 36 --

Rodgers pressured, Rodgers dodges sacks - but has to throw the ball away.  Packers punt.  Hester catches the ball at about the 22 but he slips and goes down.  So much for the National Football League declaring that Soldiers' Field was PLAY READY.  YEAH, RIGHT.  In this case, it helped Packers.


Taking a break for a bit --

Packers at Their Own 17...

Jennings missed the pass, but he was blocked out.  2nd and 10 Pack at their own 17.

A gain of 2, it will be 3rd and 8 for the Pack.  The Bears fans are trying to make some noise now.  BUT JORDY NELSON MAKES A 22 YARD CATCH ON 3RD DOWN - GOOD TO MOVE US INTO BEARS TERRITORY, ABOUT THE 50.


Rodgers now hits Jennings for another first down at about the 40.

Starks running the ball for 9 - short of the first down but close, very close.  GO PACK GO.  GO PACK GO.

Starks gets stuffed behind the line of scrimmage, third and short.  Oh oh - Rodgers threw down the field to James Jones - PASS INTERFERENCE CALLED as 26 Bears Jennings grabs Jones' left arm.  AUTOMATIC FIRST DOWN inside the 10!

Wow, 23 yard penalty.   First and goal.

Starks runs the ball for 2.  Incomplete pass to drive deep in the endzone - the ball was overthrown and Driver was too close to the line, even if hehad come down with the ball he probably would have been out of bounds. 

Oh shit, on third and goal Rodgers threw a pass that was intercepted by Urlacher.  Rodgers tackled him at the Bears 45.

Todd Collins, Bears substitute, replaces Cutler.  Jake Cutler is out with a knee injury.

Collins' first pass is incomplete.  False start called on #68 for five yards on the Bears.  Collins is hit on his throw, it's now 3rd and 15 and Bears fans are booing.  BOOING - the dirty rotten assholes - booing their own players when they should be standing up cheering --

Packers' Nick Collins appears to have intercepted Collins' pass on third down, but the ball appears to have been picked off the ground.  It's ruled an interception, and Lovey Smith is challenging the call.  It's now a commercial break and I'm getting another glass of wine --


After review, pass was incomplete and hit the ground, no interception, it's 4th and 15th for the Bears.

They have elected - wisely - to punt.

Tramon Williams waits for the punt in the backfield.  Garrett Wolf taps the ball inside the 20.  PACKERS BALL.

Be Calmed My Beating Heart...

WHEW!  Trying to catch my breath here.  Packers lead, 14-0 against the Bears and the second half is about to begin.

There is a LOT of football chess left to play and I am by no means sanguine that the Packers have this one in the bag.  That being said, I believe the Packers have a slight edge on the better players, starting with the quarterback position.  Rodgers has been efficient and FAST today. He's not giving the Bears defense time to key in on him, getting rid of the ball quickly and has been relatively accurate, I believe he's completed something like 75% of his passes during the first half.  Packers are balancing passing with running and have well over 100 yards the first half.  Rodgers has been outstanding, I think, and a full host of Packers players have stepped up and made plays when they had to.  It is truly a team effort.

Wow - over 250 yards and 14 first downs.  The announcers are - can you believe this - pooh-poohing this because "it's only a 14 point game."  You know what - well, I will try and be a lady and not say what I really want to say right now.

Bears receive and run the ball to their own 40.  Cutler evidently may be hurt but will stay in the game (for now).  Forte has been stuffed trying to run the ball twice.  It's 3rd and 4 and an incomplete pass makes it a punting situation for the Bears.

Tramon Williams is back to catch the ball but he lets the Bears down it at about the 14.

A frustrating start to the 2nd half for the Bears, who needed to make some big plays and move the ball down the field.  I can feel the change in the air all the way up here in Milwaukee - it's definitely showing green and gold in the sky right now, and the sun is shining more brightly than ever for Packers gold.  Damn - even my hair is starting to look better.  What's up with that???

Packers will have the ball when we return after commercial break...


Packers ball - Rodgers had to take a time out because of play clock and crowd noise and confusion on the field.  Packers have over 200 yards in offense not quite first half.  Fourth down - Starks was not able to make the down and Packers have elected to punt.  The ball landed deep in Bears territory but bounced back and ended up downed at the 11 yard line.

Still a lot of time to go in the first half:  5:02 minutes.  I have my toes, eyes, arms, and most of my fingers crossed (except those needed to type) against the Bears scoring anything in this half.  It is important the Packers go into the half with a big lead, cuz you know the Bears will come out in the second half all re-charged. 

Ah shit, Tremon Williams just got called for a holding penalty and give the Bears, who weren't doing jack shit after 2nd down, an automatic first down.  Booo hiissss boooo. 

Cutler put the ball up for grabs and Clay Matthews of the Packers nearly had an interception - but Greg Olson knocked the ball away (which was meant for him).    Now, running the ball, Forte gets 13 yards for a first down.  Trying the run again, Forte is knocked down with next to no gain.  Yep, it's second and 10.

Meanwhile, time is ticking away - just checked and it's 3:59 to go in the first half.  Forte just gained some yardage after a short pass.  A.J. Hawk for the Pack is getting the guys revved up...

Third and seven coming up for Chicago and it's the 2 minute warning - time to go pee...

I have relocated to the Toshiba laptop downstairs in the kitchen-dinette.  The floor seems to be more sound here.  It was making ominous creaking noises upstairs but after so much jumping up and down I'm sure I've damaged the joists, particularly since I haven't been able to lose these last 5 pounds.

WOOOOHHHHHAAAAA!  Packers just made a really BIG PLAY!  Cutler was stripped of the ball and the play is marked dead within about the 15 yard line of the Bears.  Punt ---- ball hops out of bounds about the 40?

Packers ball!  Now we'll see Rodgers and the Pack going into their minute drill.

Packers have the ball on about the 30, Rodgers looks to pass but no one is open, he runs AGAIN with the ball and no one is covering him!  He picks up an easy 12 yards and a first down!

Packers have 1 time out left.  Rodgers missed a pass, it's 2nd and 10.  Donald Driver picks up his first pass for 9 yards and we're close to a first down.  Rodgers takes the ball over the line himself.  First down!

Oh shit - Donald Driver loses the ball and it's intercepted - but I tell you, that ball was DOWN.  That's a bullshit call, Packers should have challenged.

But they probably figure it's not worth it, this close to the half. 


Oh - and now those assholes are reviewing the interception.  Gee, good sportsmanship, Bears.  I predict - the call will not be overturned, unless they're seeing something that is not being shown to us on television...

CALL IS NOT OVERTURNED.  One announcer said he thought the call should have been overturned because the ball held by Shields "moved" as he hit the grounds.  Yeah, right - watch the replay over again, and get some glasses, dude.

HALF TIME! Packers 14 - Bears ZERO. 

PACKERS LEAD 14 - ZERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


2nd quarter 9:44 remaining.  Bears are down by 14.  They have managed to move the ball with some success down the field thanks to a fine run by Hester and a lucky throw by Cutler.  but Cutler has missed two easy passes to advance the field; second down and Bears will soon be within field goal range...

Cutler found Davis about the 20 yard line, but a holding penalty against the Bears wiped out the gain!  Now it's 2nd and 20 back at the 41...

Cutler runs with the ball for about 10...  Second and 11...

Cutler looks to throw but has nowhere to go and takes off with the ball but slides far short of the first down line.  Add a Bears penalty and it's 4th down.

Bears put - a really good one that looked to be downed at like the half yard line (YIKES!) but the player was not able to stay inbounds with the ball, so it's a touchback.  Packers will start at the Bears 20 yard line.  STAY TUNED DARLINGS!

I've a feeling the Packers are going to make short work of this possession and will score in 4 plays,  maybe less.  Well, let's see if I'm psychic or not...

Who's Your Daddy Revisited

So we thought we knew who Tut's daddy was, and the family line was now relatively firmly established, based on the last most comprehensive round of DNA analysis?  Guess again, darlings...

Royal rumpus over King Tutankhamun's ancestry
14:09 21 January 2011 by Jo Marchant

Can we be sure which mummy was the daddy? When a state-of-the-art DNA analysis of Tutankhamun and other ancient Egyptian royals was published last year, its authors hailed it as "the final word" on the pharaoh's family tree. But others are now voicing doubts.

The analysis of 11 royal mummies dating from around 1300 BC was carried out by an Egyptian team led by Egypt's chief archaeologist Zahi Hawass. The project was overseen by two foreign consultants, Albert Zink of the EURAC Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano, Italy, and Carsten Pusch of the University of Tübingen, Germany.

The researchers used the DNA data to construct a family tree of Tutankhamun and his immediate relatives. The study, published last February in the Journal of the American Medical Association (vol 303, p 638), concluded that Tutankhamun's father was the pharaoh Akhenaten, that his parents were brother and sister, and that two mummified foetuses found in Tutankhamun's tomb were probably his stillborn daughters – conclusions that have since become received wisdom.

But many geneticists complain that the team used inappropriate analysis techniques. Far from being definitive, the study is "not seen as rigorous or convincing", says Eline Lorenzen of the Center for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark. "Many of us in the DNA community are surprised that this has been published."

Degraded DNA
Ian Barnes, a molecular palaeobiologist at Royal Holloway, University of London, is also concerned. "In my experience it is not very easy to get these results," he says. "I can't do it, and I've spent a long time trying."

Zink and his colleagues used a genetic fingerprinting approach that involves testing variable regions of the genome called microsatellites, which are made up of short sequence repeats. The numbers of repeats vary between individuals, and by comparing the number of repeats across several microsatellites it is possible to work out whether or not individuals are related.

However, researchers rarely attempt this approach with ancient samples because the original DNA is likely to be degraded, and dwarfed by modern contamination. It's more common to sequence mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) – cells contain around a thousand times more copies of mtDNA than of genomic DNA, improving chances of finding large intact samples.

Zink and Pusch defend their choice, saying that they took extensive precautions to guard against contamination. For instance, they extracted samples from deep inside the mummies' bones, and genotyped lab staff to rule out contamination.

Not deep enough
But others doubt the precautions were sufficiently rigorous. Robert Connolly of the University of Liverpool, UK, who carried out blood typing of Tutankhamun's mummy in the 1960s, argues that it would be difficult to reach deep enough inside Tutankhamun's thin, fragile bones – or those of the two fetuses – to reach uncontaminated material.

Lorenzen adds that many people – not just the Hawass team – have handled the mummies since they were first unwrapped. The authors should have tested non-human samples from the tombs as negative controls, she says.

To judge the quality of the team's results, Lorenzen and others are asking for access to raw data not included in the Journal of the American Medical Association paper – but Zink is reluctant to oblige, fearing the data would spark "a lot of arguing" over technicalities.

However, Zink, Pusch and colleagues insist that they will soon be able to put any doubts to rest. They say they have also extracted the mtDNA that Lorenzen and others consider necessary for rigorous genetic analysis and are still working on the data. They hope to publish the results this year.

But the critics are still advising caution. "When working with samples that are so well-known, it is important to convince readers that you have the right data," says Lorenzen. "I am not convinced."


WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!  I've had my first ham and swiss sandwich and glass of wine and the Packers scored entirely by keeping the ball in the air!  FANTASTIC!  PACKERS LEAD 7-0.  84 YARDS, 7 PLAYS - RODGERS PERFECT.

Rodgers takes it in for the score...

Bears first possession - after completing a pass and long run, DID NOTHING.  Just punted and the Packers will start deep in Bears territory, about the 7-8 yard line.

Packers are moving the ball at 2:24 p.m.  Rodgers is perfect so far.  ALL RIGHT - Jackson just ran the ball for a nice first down...

Honor Killing Defendant Set to Stand Trial in Arizona

I hope he fries - I really really hope he fries.  Life in prison is too good - and a waste of taxpayer money.

From Yahoo News (Reuters article)
Arizona "honor killing" trial set to start
By David Schwartz David Schwartz – Sun Jan 23, 9:08 am ET
PHOENIX (Reuters) – An Iraqi immigrant is due to begin trial on Monday to face charges he murdered his daughter by running her over with a Jeep because he believed she was too Westernized.

Opening arguments are scheduled to begin in Maricopa County Superior Court in the case of Faleh Hassan Almaleki, accused of what prosecutors say was an October 2009 "honor killing" over his daughter's behavior.

Police say he crashed his Jeep Laredo into his 20 year-old daughter, Noor Almaleki, and her boyfriend's mother, as the two walked across a parking lot in the Phoenix suburb of Peoria. The daughter died two weeks later; the mother recovered.

The 50-year-old Almaleki faces life in prison if convicted by the 12-member jury.  He is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault and two counts of hit and run.

A spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office declined comment on Friday. Jeff Kirchler, Almaleki's public defender, did not respond to a message left with his office.

Almaleki told detectives and witnesses that he was angry at his daughter because she was "too Westernized," and he felt she was defying Iraqi and Muslim values, said Jay Davies, a spokesman for the Peoria Police Department.

The daughter had shunned an arranged marriage, and was living with her boyfriend and his mother, police said.

The United Nations has documented honor killings in Egypt, Iraq, Turkey and other countries, but the practice of killing a family member -- often a woman or a girl -- over perceived shame is relatively rare in the United States. [Baloney - it's only because the dudes are getting hip to the fact that we don't like that kind of shit here in this country and actually prosecute people for murder for killing a female family member - and so they are getting trickier in how they arrange the deaths.]

Following his daughter's death, Almaleki fled to Mexico and later to London, where he was taken into custody upon his arrival. He is being held on $5 million bail.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Jerry Norton)

36 Minutes to Start Time...

The snow has stopped! The sun is shining here in Milwaukee and in Chicago - I can see it on TV.  The Football Goddess is smiling on us today and giving us excellent football weather!

I'm just scrolling through Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel coverage of the BIG GAME and loving some of these photos!  LOL!  Packers fans are the best in the world - and have come from all over the USA to attend this Championship game.  Wow!  That cheering from Soldiers Field - it's Packers Fans - I can hear them already.  Expect to see an OCEAN of Green and Gold in Bears territory.

Andrea Hughuse from Des Moines, is a huge packer fan and was showing her spirit while
tailgating outside Soldier Field Sunday.   Credit: Rick Wood
 Hey - what's that Bears fan doing there in the background?  Booo hisssss boooo...

Packers fans at the Miilwaukee Intermodal Station to take the train down to Chicago for the BIG GAME! 
All Hiawatha trains going 90 miles south yesterday and today were PACKED (har!) 

GO PACK GO!!! Countdown to NFC Championship Game Time!!!

Packers fans tailgate outside Soldiers Field before game time - from
Milwaukee/Journal Sentinel online game coverage.
I treked to the Pick n' Save which was, of course, absolutely mobbed, about 10:30 a.m.  The weather was cold but clear - now, however, we are getting some lake-effect snow, as has Soldiers Field 90 miles to the south in Chicago.  It's light fluffy stuff and there is no wind to speak of; temperature here in Milwaukee is about 15 degrees F but with the calm winds it's quite pleasant outside; I actually was overdressed on my trek to the store and especially back hauling two bags of groceries!  Chicago game time is supposed to be about 20 degrees F - perfect football weather.

As I was going through my pre-game shopping checklist and stopped in the liquor department for my must-have wine, I noted several shoppers with a cart FULL of beer, booze and wine.  BIG parties are obviously planned - I had to laugh.  Me, I'm watching the game by myself so I can hoot and holler and curse at the t.v. without restraint.

Pre-game Checklist:

1.  TV works - check.
2.  Back-up TV works - check.
3.  Radio works - check.
4.  Back-up radio works - check.
5.  Stocked up on cheap wine - check.
6.  Snacks - check.
7.  Badger baked ham - check.  Badger baked ham is the BEST and it is NEVER on sale.  The Patrick Cudahy ham tastes like crap and is ALWAYS on sale - $2 a pound less.  Silly people were buying the Patirck Cudahy ham - they will be sorry...
8.  Rye bread - check.
9.  Bread spread - check.
10.  Swiss cheese - check.
11.  Cucumber salad - check.  It's expensive - I only splurge on special occasions - and this is a premiere special occasion!

In honor of the day I thawed out the "chocolate lovers' chocolate cake" that Sis sent to me as part of my Omaha Steaks gift pack - YUM!  I couldn't resist - I had two pices this morning for breakfast with my one cup of coffee for the day and munched with delight while I read the Sunday Journal/Sentinel.  Tonight to celebrate a Packers win I have filet mignon, fresh green peas and apple tartlets for dessert.  DOUBLE YUM!

I just checked the latest line on betting Packers-Bears - not that I understand how all this works, but it appears at the moment that the Packers are favored by a point spread of 3.5 to 4 points.  Everyone is anticipating a hard-fought, close game.  I hope my heart can stand it.

I'm wearing my lucky Packers 1996 NFC Champions sweatshirt, along with my magic gold beads - which only come out on very special occasions (the sweatshirt still looks brand new, but I have to say it has gotten smaller over the years - I will still a babe in 1996 and had a babe's shape back then - now I'm fighting off grandma bushka mode.  I'm set!

2011 Wijk aan Zee (Tata Steel Chess)

Round 8 Group C results (the only two chess femmes are playing in Group C):

Round 8 - Sunday the 23rd
B. Bok - M. Bluvshtein 1-0
T. Sachdev - J.W. de Jong 1-0
R. Pruijssers - M. Kazhgaleyev ½-½
M. van der Werf - D. Vocaturo 0-1
S. Siebrecht - R. van Kampen 1-0
I. Ivanisevic - I. Nyzhnyk 1-0
K. Lahno - D. Swiercz ½-½

Standings after round 8
1. D. Vocaturo 6½
2. K. Lahno 5½
I. Nyzhnyk
4. I. Ivanisevic 4½
M. Kazhgaleyev
T. Sachdev
7. M. Bluvshtein 4
D. Swiercz
9. B. Bok 3½
S. Siebrecht
M. van der Werf
12. R. van Kampen 3
13. R. Pruijssers 2
14. J.W. de Jong 1½

Tania Sachdev 22 Jan 2011, photo from Chessbase
Tournament: Tata Steel 2011 C
Round: 08
White: Sachdev
Black: De Jong
Date: Sun Jan 23 2011
Result: 1-0

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. Qa4+ c6 6. Qxc4 b5 7. Qd3 Nbd7 8. e4 b4 9. Na4 Qa5 10. b3 c5 11. Be3 Bb7 12. Nd2 cxd4 13. Bxd4 Be7 14. f3 O-O 15. Rc1 Rfc8 16. Nc4 Qd8 17. Be2 Bc6 18. Nab2 Bb5 19. O-O Nc5 20. Qe3 Qf8 21. Rc2 Rd8 22. Rd1 Rac8 23. Kh1 a6 24. Rdc1 Nfd7 25. Qf2 Nb7 26. Rd1 Nf6 27. Rcd2 h6 28. Qf1 Nd7 29. e5 Qe8 30. Be3 Nb8 31. Nd6 Nxd6 32. exd6 Bf6 33. Bb6 Bxe2 34. Qxe2 Rd7 35. Nc4 Rb7 36. Qe4 Qd7 37. Bc7 Rbxc7 38. dxc7 Qxc7 39. Nd6 Bc3 40. Nxc8 Bxd2 41. Ne7+ Kf8 42. Qd4 Bf4 43. Nc8 Nc6 44. Qc5+ Ke8 45. Nd6+ Bxd6 46. Rxd6 1-0
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...