Author Paul Rance's website

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tell a friend about Freecycle!

Neat idea this one.

The Freecycle Network™ is made up of many individual groups across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them's good people). Membership is free. To sign up, find your community by clicking on the region on the left. You may then go directly to your local group by clicking on "Go To" or you may immediately joining by clicking on "Join." It will generate an automatic e-mail which, when sent, will sign you up for the local group and send you a response with instructions on how it works. Can't find a group near you? You might want to consider starting one (click on "Start a Group" for instructions). Have fun!

The Freecycle Network was started in May 2003 to promote waste reduction in Tucson's downtown and help save desert landscape from being taken over by landfills. The Network provides individuals and non-profits an electronic forum to "recycle" unwanted items. One person's trash can truly be another's treasure!

When you want to find a new home for something -- whether it's a chair, a fax machine, piano, or an old door -- you simply send an e-mail offering it to members of the local Freecycle group.

Or, maybe you're looking to acquire something yourself. Simply respond to a member's offer, and you just might get it. After that, it's up to the giver to decide who receives the gift and to set up a pickup time for passing on the treasure.

Our main rule: Everything posted must be free, legal, and appropriate for all ages.

Non-profit organizations also benefit from The Freecycle Network. Post the item or items you want to give away and specify that you wish the gift to go to a nonprofit cause. It's entirely your choice! It's a free cycle of giving. The Freecycle Network is incorporated as a nonprofit organization and is tax-exempt under the IRS 501(c)3 ruling.

Think globally, recycle locally. The Freecycle Network is open to all communities and to all individuals who want to participate. Freecycle groups are moderated by local volunteers from across the globe who facilitate each local group - grassroots at its best!

Tell a friend about Freecycle!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Jonny Still Good

Jonny Wilkinson made an awesome return to the England rugby union team last Saturday, in England's 42-20 win over Scotland in the 6 Nations, after over three years out. Champions of any sport just have a different mentality, and so, for Jonny, coming back to a struggling England side at Twickenham was obviously not going to faze him.

It takes a lot to get this cynical old git excited (and my silent friend Helga has a puncture again), but Jonny Wilkinson did the trick. Brilliant kicking, brilliant handling, 27 points, and even the officials decided to reward his efforts by giving him a try - which even my dodgy peepers could see wasn't.

Jonny seems a nice bloke, too, and he must be good on the guitar now. He's had plenty of time to practice...

Jonny Wilkinson Biography

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Turkey Massacre - Britain's Shame1

I agree with this Animal Aid statement 100%. The soulless turkey slaughterers said the killing was "going very smoothly". Spare a thought for these poor creatures tonight - the turkeys, of course.

Animal Aid statement on Bernard Matthews bird flu outbreak

With government-appointed killing gangs preparing to destroy as many as 160,000 birds at a Bernard Matthews Suffolk turkey farm, it is time for the intensive poultry industry to acknowledge that its own ruthless animal production and slaughtering systems are the root cause of the deadly new strains of bird flu.

The global poultry industry has so far succeeded in diverting blame for the Avian Influenza outbreaks onto wild migratory birds. But with the migratory season over, industry apologists are devoid of excuses.

In its natural state, the influenza virus has existed for millions of years as a harmless, intestinal infection of aquatic birds such as ducks. In poultry, bird flu has gone from a rare disease that occurs once a year to a far more lethal condition that is striking more and more frequently. The deadly H5N1 strain emerged in 1997 in Hong Kong. Since then, lethal outbreaks have hit the Far East, China, North America and Europe, including Norfolk and Fife. Millions of birds have been brutally destroyed and more than 100 people have died, mostly in Asia.

Broiler sheds are perfect breeding grounds for the new, deadly viral strains and there are any number of ways that they can spread across countries and continents - not least through transportation of chicks and poults, poultry products, feed and equipment.

Countries that have not yet developed a large-scale intensive poultry industry have been largely spared. Despite poultry sheds being nominally sealed off from the outside world, diseased material can easily enter them. An expert in the field, Dr Mohammad Yousaf*, has indicated that H5N1 and other such strains can find their way in through faecal traces or moisture in the air - or through the medium of feed, water, supplies, cages, clothes, delivery vehicles, mammals and even insects.

That a Bernard Matthews production unit should be hit by bird flu comes as no surprise to those who have monitored the company’s activities over the years. Undercover investigations in 2002, 2005 and 2006 produced evidence of crowded, dirty conditions with severely injured, diseased and dead birds.

In September last year, two of the company’s workers at Beck Farm, Haveringland were convicted of battering turkeys with a broom handle, used like a baseball bat. The solicitor defending the men described the conditions in the unit as "appalling" and said: "You can see why people move to an organic, more open type of farming."

Intensive farms, like those that Bernard Matthews run, are little more than disease factories. Overcrowded, filthy conditions, and stressed animals are a recipe for an outbreak.

The first priority of the meat industry and its government allies has been to insist that poultry products are safe to eat and that the public should continue to buy and consume them. Cooked chicken and turkey might be purged of viruses but how safe are the bodies of dead birds - fresh from supermarket chillers - that reside in millions of fridges around the country?

The birds in that Holton shed, whose fate under ‘normal’ production regimes would be appalling, are set to endure even greater suffering. Government ministers indicated in recent months that they would be prepared to allow mass asphyxiation of birds under just these circumstances.

Animal Aid is calling for a boycott of all chicken products as a means of waking up the government, the industry and the consumer to the vile and deadly nature of intensive animal production in the UK.

Notes to the Editor
For full background and interviews, contact Andrew Tyler on 01732 364546 (out of hours 07918 083774)
ISDN line available for broadcast-quality interviews.

* Avian influenza outbreak hits the industry again, Dr Mohammad Yousaf, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, World Poultry, Vol 20 No 3 2004.* Avian influenza outbreak hits the industry again, Dr Mohammad Yousaf, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, World Poultry, Vol 20 No 3 2004.

© Copyright Animal Aid 2007

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Poets & Folkies By The Score

Everyone loves lists, don't they? Here's a couple, though not definitive.

A list of English-speaking poets, and links to their books:

A list of hundreds of folk artists, and links to their music:

George W. Bush - Comic Genius

This previously appeared on my MyWasteOfSpace page:

It can be argued that the American President has produced more (unintentioned) laughs than any other comic in the 21st Century. But, even before he became President, Dubya was making 'em roll in the aisles. Here's some classics from his pre-President days.

"We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe."
"A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people gong to the polls."
"It's time for the human race to enter the solar system."
"One word sums up, probably, the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is 'to be prepared'."
"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
"People that are really weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history."

So many more, but I've only got so many hours in any given day.