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Meet Ardi

Ardipithecus ramidus

 

Ardi was a 110-pound, 4-foot female who’s fossil remains were found in Ethiopia. She is an early member of the human family tree that lived 4.4 million years ago, more than 1 million years earlier than Lucy. This is a truly amazing discovery that will add a treasure trove of information to our knowledge of human evolution.

Ardi has surprised scientists with many traits which do not appear in living African apes or in humans. Most surprising, scientist did not expect such an old human ancestor to walk upright. They expected them to be more of a knuckle walker like a chimpanzee. Ardi shows that humans and apes evolved quite differently from their common ancestor of about 6 or 7 million years ago.

Weird that this discovery was announced the same day I mentioned Lucy in my previous post about “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. Although the discovery of Ardi was officially announced on Oct 1st, the research has been going on for many years and involved 47 scientists from 10 different countries.

It will be interesting to see what the creationists have to say about Ardi.

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Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Back in the early 70’s, I remember my junior high school music teacher explaining to the class the secret meaning of the title “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. He wrote the title on the black board and asked if anyone knew what the title meant. Of course we all knew the song, the Beatles were still very popular even though they had recently broken up, but no one knew the answer to his question. Then he circled the first three letters of the main words in the title and pulled them together; Lucy Sky Diamonds, LSD.

The title was not about a girl named Lucy, he said, the actual meaning behind the code was the drug LSD! Listening to the lyrics of the song, there is no reason to doubt this theory. Especially since the authors of the song, John Lennon and Paul McCartney both admitted to taking LSD.

An interesting side note, a few years later in 1974 came the discovery of the Australopithecus afarensis fossil named “Lucy”. The famous fossil was named after Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. The song was playing loudly on a tape recorder at the excavation sight at the time of the discovery.

For over 30 years, every time I heard the song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, I remembered what my music teacher said about the song’s title. I even remember the teacher’s name. His name was Mr. Ciccone, but the kids used to call him “crater face”. Mr. Ciccone must have had very bad acne in his younger days. Mean, I know, but remember, this was middle school. I also remember that he was very good at spotting kids chewing gum. Even if you didn’t move your mouth at all, if there was gum in there, he somehow knew it. He was way too strict and serious for a music teacher. But I digress…

Yesterday, I read a headline on CNN that caught my eye: “‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ dies”. According to John Lennon, the song title actually came from his then pre-school son Julian. Lucy was a classmate of Julian’s. One day Julian came home from school with a drawing of his friend Lucy. His father asked him about the drawing and Julian said, “That’s Lucy in the sky with diamonds.”

Regardless of the song’s meaning, John Lennon said that his son’s drawing was the inspiration behind the title and that the fact that the letters LSD were in the title were just a coincidence. Here is a scan of the drawing that I found online. The original is probably with Julian’s mother (John’s first wife) Cynthia. Sure looks like Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds to me!

The real Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds has died aged 46 from the chronic disease Lupus.

 

Lucy Vodden

 

Whether the song title came from the drawing or the initials LSD or both, I would venture to say that someone would have to be on some sort of hallucinogenic drug to come up with these psychedelic lyrics:

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Picture yourself on a boat in a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Cellophane flowers of yellow and green
Towering over your head
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes
and she’s gone

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds, ah

Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain
Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers
that grow so incredibly high

Newspaper taxi’s appear on the shores
Waiting to take you away
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds
and you’re gone

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds, ah

Picture yourself in a train in a station
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile
The girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds, ah

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Public Option Please

My letter to Massachusetts Senator John Kerry:

Dear Senator Kerry,

I am an RN and mother of three sons who all have disabilities. I am also an advocate for children with complex health care needs and I network with parents of children from all over the US. Most of these children have tracheostomies, g-tubes and many are ventilator dependent and require 24/7 care.

I am so thankful to live in Massachusetts where we have easy access to quality health care and medicaid waivers for children with disabilities and complex medical needs. But many people in other states do not get the help they need in order to care for their children at home. In some states, children are put on a waiting list for many years in order to get the help they need right now. It is not fair that a child is denied assistance, just because they happen to live on the other side of a state line.

This is just one of many reasons why I support a public option and why I feel that this part of the bill must be included in order to have ‘real’ health care reform.

Thank you for all you do.

Sincerely,
Cynthia Bissell
Grafton, Massachusetts

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Praying for the Death of the President

Is it me, or are religious fanatics getting worse here in the US? We know things are bad in some parts of the world with religious extremists, but since when do religious “leaders” here in the states preach hate?

The Reverend Steven Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in AZ told his flock that he prays that Obama “dies and goes to hell.” WHAT! In an August 16th sermon Anderson said, “If you want to know how I’d like to see Obama die, I’d like him to die of natural causes. I don’t want him to be a martyr, we don’t need another holiday. I’d like to see him die, like Ted Kennedy, of brain cancer.”

Pastor Steve Anderson prays for Obama to die

I was honestly shocked listening to this guy. This is the type of rhetoric you might expect at a KKK meeting, not in a church. This guy is supposed to be a “christian” leader. Would a christian be teaching hate? I’m all for free speech, but this kind of talk should be considered a hate crime. A “hate crime” involves someone who targets a victim based on the victims social group, such as racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, or political affiliation. Does he think all liberal democrats should die and go to hell?

You might say this is just talk. And it is true that sticks and stones can break Obama’s bones, but words could never hurt him. I would also say thankfully that praying is about as effective as wishing on a star and even if there is a God, he sure would not be listening to this hateful person. But the problem is that Anderson’s “flock” does listen to him. Ignorant people can be easily manipulated toward hate and violence.

The day after this sermon took place and Obama arrived in Arizona, a member of his congregation showed up outside an Obama event carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle. This is scary stuff.

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R.I.P. Ted

The last time I say Ted Kennedy was at a rally for Deval Patrick when he was running for Governor of Massachusetts in October of 2006. Here is a photo I took of Kennedy speaking at the DCU Center in Worcester. Behind him is Tim Murray, Patrick’s running mate and current Lieutenant Governor of Massachussetts, President Bill Clinton and Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern.

“For all my years in public life, I have believed that America must sail toward the shores of liberty and justice for all. There is no end to that journey, only the next great voyage. We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make.” –Edward M. Kennedy

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