Archive for June, 2012

Hilary Mantel now has two volumes in her faux-Victorian novel projected to be completed in four volumes.  The first volume was Wolf Hall, winner of the Man Booker Prize, something the English like to consider prestigious.  Wolf Hall covered the period when Henry VIII disposes of his first wife Katherine Of Aragon using the ever helpful Thomas Cromwell.  In the second volume, Bring Up The Bodies, Henry VIII is struggling to get rid of Anne Boleyn, his second wife, again with the very able and willing Thomas Cromwell at his service.

What is there not to love about these two historical novels?  Henry VIII is as double jointed as any of our recent presidents.  And he has the Dick Cheney of the Tudor era darting behind and then in front of him.  Plus the novels have enough characters to populate Washington DC.

This is high-class English gossip, albeit of 1535, and the books are great page turners.  They will hold your attention like an OJ or Sandusky trial on television.  No book on Dick Cheney, now or in the future, is going to be both entertaining and insightful; but these two on his Tudor doppelganger are perfect on both counts.  The parallels are spooky.  Charles Marlin

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The Tri-County Animal Rescue Center Inc. has established a fund contract with the Clarion County Community Foundation, an affiliate of Bridge Builders Community Foundations, for the creation of the Tri-County Animal Rescue Center Legacy Fund.  This means friends of the Center who wish to make a bequest to the Center in their will, or to make another type of planned giving, or to support the fund now, have a legal document in place to protect their gift in perpetuity.

The Community Foundation will be the nonprofit, community directed, public trustee for the fund, charged with prudently investing donations, protecting and growing the principal , and returning to the Center income from the fund.  If anyone would like a copy of the fund contract to study, stop in at the Center and they will be happy to give you a copy.

The Center opened December 3, 2011, in the freshly painted and refurbished building of the former animal shelter at 9562 Rt 322, Shippenville PA, between the junctions of Rt 208 to the West and Rt 66 to the East.  It is a dedicated no-kill rescue and placement center.  The officers and volunteers are careful to not take in animals if space is not available.

It is a sad truth there are more companion animals than there are responsible pet owners; but it is an article of faith at the Center that there are many potentially wonderful pet owners in every community for whom the Center has the perfect animal waiting to be adopted.

The Center needs volunteers to help care for the animals at the Center and to keep the place clean and healthy.  The Center needs donors to help cover the expenses of running an active center.  The Center needs potential owners to come in and fall in love with their future pet.

Currently the Center is licensed to care for cats only, but has renovations planned so they can be licensed for dogs and to run a foster care program.  The renovations await future donations to cover the costs.  The Center also has a low cost spay and neuter program for cats.  For information about this program, please call the Center.

If a pet owner is having a hard time paying for their pet’s food, the Center has a pet food bank that works just like people food banks.  When in stock, the Center has dog food and cat food.  Stop in to take advantage of this program.

To visit, donate, or volunteer, call (814) 918-2032 for their hours, or contact them at contactus@tricounty-arc.org  If visiting, look for their sign with the cat & dog logo.



Our pictures include all of the Center tee shirt colors available; Bill Kaufman, President of CCCF, and Patty Laswick, President of Tri-County signing the fund contract; the officers of Tri-County, from left to right, Carol Lanzoni, Secretary and Treasurer, Debbie Stephens, Vice-President and Medical/Foster Manager, and Patty Laswick with Bill Kaufman standing behind the officers.

Then to touch your heart, Carol Lanzoni is holding up a kitten who is looking for you.  Other kittens in the fight for your heart are also shown.  Charles Marlin

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There is no way I can effectively review Richard Fortey’s Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms: The Story of the Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind; but I can recommend it with gusto to those who have a bit of science in their background.  It was originally published in Great Britain as Survivors, so this should tell you something of the mind-set at Alfred A. Knoph in the United States.

The sweep of time in the book is beyond calibration by the human mind.  We don’t know what the bacteria and archaea are capable of, at least Fortey does not speculate.  I have a feeling that for those who are prepared to understand far more than I, they too will be enlightened and delighted.  Charles Marlin

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“Bird brained” “Don’t have a bird” “Dumb as a turkey” “Ugly as a crow” “You’re chicken” “What a duck” “Damned Vulture,” these and all other pejorative bird expressions got it totally wrong.  Birds have far more going on for them than airborne poop and the taunting and teasing of birders.  For the whole world behind the feathers and beak/bill, read Tim Birkhead’s Bird Sense: What It’s Like to be a Bird.

In separate chapters, the author traces the historical research and current understanding of the various senses birds possess, as in seeing, hearing, touch, taste, smell, magnetic sense, and emotions.  Since we do not have the equipment and body of birds, he readily admits scientific research can only tell us some of what we want to know and that for the rest we must rely upon cautious speculation.

Fair enough, but science is able to tell us a lot of startling, fascinating details.  Every chapter will give the reader something new to think about.  After reading this book, you can say of your day of birding, you saw 40 species while probably 40 species successfully and perhaps purposely avoided you; and you are pleased with both numbers.  You may even be able to explain some of the why-and-wherefore of the numbers.  If you don’t talk and talk and talk, your friends will enjoy your sharing of information.

On a personal note, at a gin joint I occasionally visit I met an old friend of the author of Bird Sense, and the friend gave me a photograph of the author in the early years of his long scientific career, at the time he was studying the competence in high school algebra of a large, cage free rooster.  Despite the carefully written thirty pages of his study, he has never been able to get it published in any scientific journal in any language, with some editors writing caustic remarks such as, “One rooster does not a scientific study make.”

So I state, here and now, if Tim Birkhead will submit his A Big Rooster’s Competence In High School Algebra” to clarionfriends.wordpress.com I will publish it; however, to fit our format, we can only use three or four fairly short paragraphs rather than the original thirty pages.  I hope he understands our constraint.  Charles Marlin

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