Saturday, July 28, 2007

Fire tornado (Amazing Photo)

Fire tornado (Amazing Photo)

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Mole Breakfast

Once upon a time there lived a mama mole, a papa mole, and a baby mole, all living in a quaint little mole hole outside of a farm house in the country.

One morning Papa Mole poked his head out of the hole, inhaled deeply and sighed, “Mmmmm, I smell sausage.”

At that, Mama Mole poked her little head outside of the hole, sniffed loudly, and remarked, “Mmmmmm, I smell pancakes.”

Baby Mole tried to push his head outside the hole too, but was completely blocked out by his parents, who were much larger than he. Sulky, Baby Mole sat back down and pouted, “Phooey! All I can smell is molasses!”


Monday, June 18, 2007

Desiree Dolron

Desiree Dolron (Photo)


Sunday, June 10, 2007

His crew? Ew!

You adore your guy, but not his pals? Here are a few ways to keep it together around his friends — even when you'd rather run the other way

You've snagged a major hottie. And he's sweet as strawberry lip gloss. He always sends a "good morning" text and would rather spend his free time chatting with you than playing his Wii. There's only one problem. You don't exactly dig his buds. Your BF may be all romance and coolness, but his friends are more caveboy. What can you do when you are totally crushin' on him but think his pals are the pits?


So his friend Nathan is slightly obsessed with NASCAR and his pal Jacob is only interested in gross bodily functions, but have you ever tried to really get to know them? Your BF picked them and he thinks they rock — and he's pretty cool, right? So, his boys probably have a few redeeming qualities. Give 'em a chance.

Spend some time with your guy's crew. Get some of your own buds together, and suggest a group date. Or go with your BF to see Nathan's basketball semi-final game (see, he's not all NASCAR). Your boyfriend will appreciate you for it and — who knows? — you might find out they're not so bad.


It's a fact of nature that boys aren't as in tune with the whole romance thing as girls are. Your guy is clearly into you, but his friends might still be stuck in the nogo zone when it comes to dating. Maybe they've never had girlfriends, so they just don't understand why their bud would rather go to the mall with you than shoot hoops with them. Take it in stride, keeping in mind that your BF's friends will catch up. Eventually.


Keep things in perspective. If your guy's pals are only a little annoying, blow it off. Nobody's perfect, and (yikes!) your guy might feel the same way about your friends. Dating is about compromise. Sometimes, you need to bend a little. Your relationship will be stronger for it. If what's really buggin' you is how your BF treats you around his friends, take a step back. Is he a little more aloof or less likely to engage in any PDA around the guys? Just keeping it cool around his dudes is normal. He doesn't want to spark any teasing. But if your BF is seriously rude or puts you down in front of his pals, that's no laughing matter. A BF should never embarrass you or be cruel. You deserve respect. If he's not givin' it to you, move on.


Your guy is completely into you? That's great, but don't think it gives you power to dole out ultimatums. If you force him to choose between spending time with you and hanging out with them, it'll probably take him about a nanosecond to make the decision. And, trust us, you aren't going to like the answer.

And even if he were to stick it out with you, he'd ultimately resent you for alienating him from his boys. Bottom line? It's never a good idea to throw your guy that kind of a challenge.


All in all, be accepting. If your guy's friends grate on you, take it in stride. As long as your BF treats you well, you've scored big. Accept him for who he is…and who his friends are. Hang with them in limited doses, and don't point out their flaws. Hello! You wouldn't let him rag on your friends, right?

By Renee Hagar

Friday, June 8, 2007

Eugenio Recuenco

Eugenio Recuenco (Photo)


Monday, May 28, 2007

Bo Bandit and the Steel Driving Man

Retold by Bethany Hegedus

Although i was no bigger than a sack of flour, I set my sights on working for the C & 0 Railroad. I crouched beneath the wheels of a wagon, scoping things out, when a shadow spread over me, blocking out the noonday sun.

Standing a dozen feet away was a man as big as a mountain. His shoulders were the size of two mighty boulders. His arms bulged thick as tree trunks. A hammer hung at his side, black and solid like the night.

"Excuse me, mister. Who's in charge here?" I asked, getting up my gumption.

"Cap'n's in there." The man pointed to a makeshift office. His voice wasn't thunderous like I thought it'd be. It poured outta him like lemonade from a pitcher, slow and easy. "What you want with him?"

"Looking for work. My daddy's taken ill. Bringing in some pay would sure help matters." I stuck out my hand. "Name's Bo Bandit, from down in Virginie. What's yours?"

"John," the man said with a grin. "John Henry. I'm from Virginie, too."

So that's how I came to find John Henry was sure enough muscle and bone and not some tall tale told round campfires. I'd heard his name as I made my way from the fields of North Carolinie to the Chesapeake Bay. Rumors and hearsay traveled faster than spit jumps on a griddle.

"John Henry can do the work a four men and still not need but an hour's worth a rest."

"That hammer of his is darn near the size of a hog's head."

And the one I heard time and time again: "Believe you me, that John Henry's got a steel hammer at the center of his chest. He ain't got no heart, none a'tall."

And here I was face to face with the man himself.

"Tell Cap'n you're a friend of mine." He grinned. "He'll put you to work."

Cap'n was 'bout to show my behind the door when I piped up, "John Henry sent me."

Cap'n stamped out his cigar. "Did he, now? You're too scrawny to be working the steel driving line. Cook just lost a man. You could fill his spot. No sneaking, vittles, got that?"

"Yes, sir." I tipped my hat, happy to have me a job.

The next morning, I slogged helping after helping of grits into the bowls of the growling men. John was the only one to smile and say "thankey" 'fore filling his hurgsry belly.

"Where are they setting off to?" I asked Cook while the men bustled about.

"Headed to the work site, over yonder. The steel drivers and the shakers are cutting a hole in that mountain there for the railroad to go through." Cook shook a pot over the fiery embers. "We got our own work to do. These plates ain't going to scrub themselves."

That evening, long past dusk, the men returned to camp. When I finished serving vittles and washing dishes, I set off to find John. I found him whittling, set off a piece from the men, who raised their voices in song.

I plunked down beside him. "Whatcha carving?"

"A heart for the lady I left behind."

"That so." I rubbed my hands together. John wasn't right talkative, but I had a feeling he liked me fine. Might as well ask what was really on my mind. "Heard it said you don't need no sleep and that you ain't got no…"

"Hear a lot of rumors working on the rails. Ain't many of 'em true." John smiled and let out a low whistle. "Except the one 'bout my belly being as deep as Big Bend Tunnel will be wide. That one's a fact."

Each week I sent Mama my pay. The days went along dandy, until one afternoon when a crowd gathered as a man barked from the platform, "This here steam drill can outlast, outblast any man. It can chop rock like a hot knife slides through butter." Cap'n hung back until the crowd dispersed, then chatted with the traveling salesman.

"Listen here," said Cap'n that evening over the hum of hungry men. "Jim, Hank, and Cole: Go on home. C & O Railroad won't be needing your services anymore. Today I bought me a steam drill, a fancy new contraption that can do the work of three of ya."

Shouts of "Hold up. Nawww," laced with grumbles, erupted from the workers as the three men called got to their feet.

"Ain't fair. We' re good workers," said Hank. "Our blood, sweat, and tears are up on that mountain."

Cap'n's voice rose above the din, "Y'all may think you're free men nowadays, but C & O owns your hides. You boys ain't nothing next to this here machine but lumps of muscle, good for nothing."

John slung his hand on my shoulder and stopped the ruckus himself, announcing, "No machine gonna make me not a man."

"John, hush, or you'll be next," I said, my words swallowed by the cheers of the men.

"We ain't worthless," said John. "None of us."

The men clanged their spoons against their empty chowder bowls and shouted a chorus of "John! John! John!"

"Fine." Cap'n raised his arms to silence the crowd. "If that's how you want it, John. Muscle against machine--a little competition tomorrow morning. We'll see who's worthless after that. You win: the men stay on. You lose: four more men are gone."

When night fell, I snuck over to John's bunk. "You're crazy, John. There's no way you can win."

"Now, listen here, Bo," he said, working a worn rag over the steel head of his hammer. "You was born free. I remember slave days, and nothing--not C & O, not Cap'n, and not some machine--is going to take away the feeling I get when I swing me a hammer. Ever hear a hammer? It's the sound of freedom ringing loud and clear."

"But, John, I've seen that steam drill put to the test. It pounded a block of granite to dust like that." I snapped my fingers.

"Bo, I ain't just doing this for me. I'm doing it for them three cut loose today--and all them others out there who believe they ain't worth nothing when someone like Cap'n tells them they ain't. I'm gonna win or die trying. Now, good night, Bo. I need me my rest."

At breakfast, camp swarmed with a worried buzz. I dillydallied, pouring the oatmeal as slow as I could. But before long, everyone had eaten. John didn't say a word. Just winked when I snuck him an extra scoop.

A long rope held back the crowd at the lip of the Big Bend Tunnel. Being pint-size, I weaseled my way to the front of the crowd. John stood at the ready, towering over Wilkes, Who'd been handpicked by Cap'n to man the steam drill.

My stomach was a jumble of knots as Cap'n's revolver rang out. The steam drill made an awful noise, but John's hammer could still be heard clanging amidst the clatter. What John said was true: it was the sound of freedom! And it was music to my ears.

Dust circled the mouth of the mountain as they pounded into the granite. Wilkes and John were swallowed into the belly of Big Bend. I ran to the other side of the mountain to wait it out.

I slunk through the throng of folks who were already there hooting and hollering one minute and holding their breath the next. I said me a prayer and crossed my fingers, hoping religion and pure superstition combined would make John come up the winner.

With one pound after another, as steady as a heartbeat, John Henry's hammer rattled against the rock. The steam drill hummed and sputtered. Folks began coughing and backing away.

I wiped the dust from my eyes, and there he was--John Henry and his hammer, standing straight as a pine saluting the summer sky.

"He did it," I cried, running forward. "He beat the steam drill!" John threw open his arms, scooped line up, and hoisted me into the air. Sweat and dust were caked into a paste all over his face and neck.

"We ain't worthless," John said, breathless. "'Member that, Bo."

"I won't never forget."

My feet had barely touched the ground before John Henry toppled over as if he'd been struck by lightning.

Move on back now. Give 'im room," called Cap'n, coming through the crowd. "Get the doctor down at camp. Hurry."

I knew before Doc pried the hammer from his hand that John Henry was dead and gone. None of them rumors I heard was true. Not a one. I learned that much from the man himself. It wasn't John Henry's muscles or his hammer that made him beat that steam drill--that had him pound straight through that mountain, as legend is bound to say. Sure enough, it was his heart.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Animal Athletes

Many people are good athletes, but how do we compare to animals?

Who's the fastest runner?

A cheetah. It can run up to 70 miles per hour—faster than a car speeding on a highway. The fastest human runners aren't even half that fast, reaching only about 25 miles per hour, slower than a car cruising down a city side street.

Who can jump the farthest?

People can jump pretty far. The record is almost 30 feet. That's farther than the length of five men. Only a few animals can beat that. Kangaroos can cover 40 feet in one leap, but the best jumpers for their size are fleas. They can jump more than 150 times their own length.

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