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Today, FWF has more than 13,000 official members, plus six times that many who participate in programs such as their annual sweepstakes: You can win a boat or an eco-friendly car, such as a Toyota Prius or a Ford Fusion. The Federation has volunteer activists all over the state and a volunteer board of directors. There are only seven full-time staffers. Once the province of camo-clad WASPs, FWF is now Obama-America diverse: male and female, Wonderbread white and African American, Southerner and Snowbird. Some like to bag game: Jenny Brock, the Northwest Florida regional director, hunts in the Wakulla County woods near her house, and VP for Conservation and General Counsel Preston Robertson goes after deer in Georgia and Illinois with a sixty-four-pound compound bow. Others are content to appreciate Nature unarmed. Diane Hines, FWF’s Pennsylvania-bred vice president for administration, says, “I’m not a wildlife expert or a hunter. I come from a golfing family.” –“Diane Roberts on Greens With Guns,” Diane Roberts, Oxford American
Happy illegal weapon of mass destruction with lingering carcinogenic and other toxic effects day, folks!
scientifically, inexorably, undeniably obvious, or experiments in looking without seeing;
Tom Cruise playing volleyball continues to haunt America’s flying aces
I long ago ceased reading the newspaper’s letters section in the hope of finding a man or woman after my own heart. With the exception of David Brooks, who allows that his general position is slightly to the right of center but who is not otherwise locked into a Pavlovian political response, I find no need to read any of the Times’s regular columnists. Every so often I check to remind myself that Maureen Dowd isn’t amusing, though she is an improvement, I suppose, over the termagantial Anna Quindlen, whom I used to read with the trepidation of a drunken husband mounting the stairs knowing his wife awaits with a rolling pin. I’d sooner read the fine print in my insurance policies than the paper’s perfectly predictable editorials. Laughter, an elegant phrase, a surprising sentiment—the New York Times op-ed and editorial pages are the last place to look for any of these things. –“Adios, Gray Lady,” Joseph Epstein, The Weekly Standard
For centuries, Timbuktu was a centre of the southern hemisphere, a stronghold of trade, an Islamic university city. Where the Niger Delta met the desert, the paths of ages crossed: from the North came the caravans, over the river came gold from West Africa. And after the merchants came scholars; Timbuktu was a cosmopolitan city. Our men murmuring into the evening are lying in the exact spot where West Africa’s Quartier Latin lay in the 15th century, or to be more precise, a Quartier Arabe with 25,000 students. Almost the population of Timbuktu today. Deceptive, this sand-coloured silence, the sense of being lost to the world. –“The scramble for Timbuktu,” Charlotte Wiedemann, Sign and Sight
More from TedRoss:
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”