MAGIC


Undefeated Patriots Are Tested Before Overcoming Chargers

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Patriots Return to the Super Bowl

New England Becomes First Team to Reach 18~0 Despite Three INTs From Brady: Patriots 21, Chargers 12With Tom Brady not at his MVP best, Laurence Maroney carries the offensive load with 122 yards and a touchdown as the Patriots vault into Super Bowl XLII with a 21~12 victory over the Chargers.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass., perfection comes down to one game now. Despite a shaky Tom Brady, the New England Patriots were still too much for the banged up San Diego Chargers in the AFC championship game Sunday, pulling out a 21~12 victory that sent them back to the Super Bowl for the fourth time in seven seasons.

“I think there will be a time to sit back and reflect,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “We’ll certainly enjoy this for a few days.”

Brady made several stunningly poor throws that fluttered in the chilly wind, Randy Moss was a non~factor for the second straight game and the highest scoring team in NFL history sputtered all afternoon. Instead, the Patriots 18~0 relied on Laurence Maroney’s spins, cuts and helmet rattling runs.

With injured Chargers star LaDainian Tomlinson reduced to mostly watching in a parka, the Patriots moved on to a Feb. 3 matchup in Glendale, Ariz., against the winner of the NFC title game between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants.

“Now we’re going someplace warm, because I’m freezing my you know what off,” Brady said.

Yet for all the Brady Bunch has accomplished, they’re the only team in NFL history to start out with 18 straight victories, the Patriots are well aware they must win that final game to avoid being relegated to a footnote.

No matter, New England took care of the nuts and Bolts. The sellout crowd at Gillette Stadium chanted “Super Bowl! Super Bowl!” in the closing minutes, anticipating the Pats’ first appearance in the big game since the 2004 season.

Belichick’s team eclipsed the 17~0 mark of the champion 1972 Miami Dolphins, and he’ll soon try for his fourth NFL title. The Patriots beat the Giants in a 38~35 thriller to close their regular season; New England did not play the Packers.

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Brady earned his 100th career victory and advanced without a hint of girlfriend drama, taking notes, Tony Romo? The dimpled Patriots quarterback will bring true glam to Super Bowl: Imagine the paparazzi buzz if Brady is sighted with Gisele Bundchen.

A model of success in the late season, the Chargers 13~6 fell short minus Tomlinson. He was hurt last week in the playoff upset of the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts, and was mostly a spectator as San Diego’s eight game winning streak ended.

Tomlinson carried on the first two San Diego plays, and did not run it again because of a bad knee. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers hung in despite a bum knee and star tight end Antonio Gates did his best with a dislocated toe.

Chargers coach Norv Turner needed to improvise without Tomlinson, a two time rushing champ.

“He really couldn’t get started,” Turner said. “He went and tried to go and just didn’t have the power to push off.”

“Anything you say can’t change the disappointment you feel right now,” he said.

The Chargers gave a better performance than early this season, when they were routed 38~14 at New England. They trailed just 14~12 midway in the third quarter this time, but Brady’s 6~yard TD pass to Wes Welker was enough for New England.

Maroney ran for 122 yards to help hold the lead.

The Patriots seemed poised to pull away late in the third quarter, but a terrible throw by Brady cost them. On third and goal at the 2, Brady tried a touch pass over the middle that NFL interceptions leader Antonio Cromartie easily picked off standing on the New England logo in the end zone.

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Nate Kaeding’s fourth field goal, a 24 yarder midway through the third period, pulled San Diego to 14~12. Too bad for the Chargers, that was the story of their afternoon, they’d drive close, only to wind up settling for a kick.

It was 23 degrees at gametime, making for frosty breaths on the field and putting the Patriots cheerleaders in parkas. Most players chose to ignore the cold and came out in short sleeves.

The brisk wind caused more noticeable problems. The goalposts shook with every gust while passes and punts sailed in crazy directions.

“I didn’t think it was that bad,” Belichick said. “It wasn’t a balmy day, I’m not saying that, but it wasn’t bad.”

Normally solid in chilly weather, Brady took a while to adjust to the conditions. He badly missed his first two passes, he threw a total of two incompletions in 28 attempts last week in the win over Jacksonville.

A few minutes later, Brady lofted a poor toss that Quentin Jammer intercepted. Belichick talked this week about the Chargers’ “ball disruption” and turnovers certainly were a focus San Diego led the league in takeaways, the Pats had the fewest giveaways.

San Diego turned Jammer’s pickoff into Kaeding’s 26~yard field goal with 2:55 left in the period.

This wasn’t what the fans at Gillette Stadium expected, and they grew silent at seeing the highest scoring team in NFL history sputter. The crowd also watched the Chargers refuse to back down, engaging in several post play scuffles with the heavily favored Patriots. Tomlinson stepped in to calm hard-hitting former teammate Rodney Harrison after some early roughhousing.

The Chargers did a good job at blanketing Moss, determined to deny him the ball. New England eventually got it to him on a reverse, and he snaked loose for a 14 yard run that seemed to energize the Patriots. Moss finished with one catch for 18 yards.

Maroney plunged in from the 1 barely over a minute into the second quarter and, with very light flurries falling, the Patriots were ahead.

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Brady later hit Jabar Gaffney over the middle for a 12 yard TD and a 14~6 lead, prompting several of the Patriots to celebrate. Brady merely walked off the field with his head down.

Kaeding kicked field goals of 23 and 40 yards, and the Chargers trailed 14~9 at halftime. San Diego might’ve gotten more, but Rivers made ill timed throws that Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs intercepted.

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Thank you AP News, The Washington Post and Ben Walker, writer
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…WATCH THIS ORIGAMI MASTER…

You might think the most important product that the publisher Scholastic will release this summer is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and last book in J.K. Rowling’s nearly infinitely bestselling fantasy series.

But you would be wrong. Deathly Hallows, which goes on sale at the stroke of midnight on July 21, is merely a by-product, the catalyst for something else.

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The real product is something that Scholastic executives call, in hushed, reverential tones, “the magic moment.

The Epic Saga of the Seventh Manuscript

Or, how the supersecret final Potter tale went from finished draft to hardcover book in 10 very careful, complicated steps
This is the moment of ineffable, intangible ecstasy that occurs when a reader opens his or her brand-new $34.99 copy of Deathly Hallows for the first time.

“All the way through the process, everybody who touches this [manuscript] has the same goal in mind,” says Arthur A. Levine, Rowling’s editor. “Midnight. Kids.” The magic moment is a rare and delicate thing: it occurs only when the reader comes to the book in a state of pure ignorance, with no advance knowledge of its contents. For the magic moment to happen, the theory goes, the reader’s mind must be preserved in a state of absolute innocence—it must be, in Internet parlance, spoiler-free.

So to preserve the magic moment against informational contamination—via the Web or watercooler conversation or the Rita Skeeters of the global media—Scholastic has created an infrastructure around Deathly Hallows unlike anything the publishing world has ever seen.

On Tuesday, July 3, if they stick to their custom, roughly a dozen people will gather in a conference room on the sixth floor of Scholastic’s headquarters in Manhattan, as they have done nearly every Tuesday this year. They are members of the Harry Potter brain trust, the people in charge of every aspect of the seventh coming of Harry Potter in the U.S.

The group includes, among others, Levine; Lisa Holton, president of Scholastic’s trade division; Scholastic’s art director and its heads of sales, marketing, production, communications and manufacturing; and the company’s general counsel. “This room is really the most paranoid room,” says Holton. “We don’t talk to our children and spouses for months.”

The seriousness with which the members of the Harry Potter brain trust regard their collective mission cannot be overstated. “We have always known that the series is already a modern classic,” Holton says. “If you think about it in terms of literature, I can’t think of another series—not just in children’s literature but in adult—that does what J.K. Rowling does. Even Dickens doesn’t come close.”

The job of the Harry Potter brain trust begins when Rowling’s creative process ends. In the case of Deathly Hallows, that happened on Jan. 11, 2007, when Rowling (whose name, let it be said for now and all time, rhymes with bowling and not howling) wrote the very last word of the Harry Potter saga in a suite at the Balmoral hotel in Edinburgh.

The task of traveling to England to pick up the manuscript fell to Mark Seidenfeld, the attorney who handles all things Harry for Scholastic. To make absolutely sure the manuscript was safe on the plane, he sat on it.

But he didn’t read it. Even this close to the book’s release, very few people at Scholastic have had any actual contact with the contents of Deathly Hallows—”a handful,” according to Kyle Good, Scholastic’s head of communications. Among that handful was Levine, who gets to edit the world’s most famous writer. (“She’s very strong, but she’s not blind,” he says. “She seems really to value when we ask her questions. She’ll say, ‘Oh, I knew what that was in my mind, but if it’s not coming across that way, why don’t we say X.'”)

Another early reader was a studious 28-year-old named Cheryl Klein, whose job title is continuity editor. Rowling’s books have become so complex—and their fans so obsessively nitpicky—that it takes a full-time Potterologist to make sure Rowling’s fictional universe stays factually consistent. “I keep track of all of the various proper nouns that appear in the series,” says Klein. “For instance, with Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, I make sure it’s always B-o-t-t-apostrophe-s. Every Flavor is not hyphenated, and Flavor does not have a u.” It’s a tough beat: Klein acknowledges, for example, that in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Moaning Myrtle sits in a U-bend toilet, whereas in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, she occupies an S-bend toilet (this crept in, it should be noted, before Klein’s tenure, which began after Goblet). Klein has either the worst job in the world or the best, depending on how you look at it.

Like everyone else at Scholastic, Klein maintains the Harry Potter omertà. “Most people know better than to ask,” she says. “That includes my friends and my family and everyone else.” After Rowling revised the manuscript, per Levine’s and Klein’s suggestions, Klein flew to England to pick up the new draft. On her way home she was stopped for a random security check at Heathrow. “The woman opens up my bag, and she starts pawing through it. And she says, ‘Wow! You have a lot of paper here.’ And I thought, Oh, God, she’s going to look at it, and she’s going to see the names Harry and Ron and Hermione. But I just smiled, and I said, ‘Yes, a lot of paper!’ And she said, ‘Uh-huh,’ and she zipped it up. That was the end of the scariest two minutes of my life.”

At first the number of copies of the Deathly Hallows manuscript was kept to an absolute minimum. One went to the book’s designer. Also admitted to the inner circle was Mary GrandPré, the Florida-based artist who illustrates the U.S. editions. (If you’ve seen the English cover for Deathly Hallows, you know how lucky Americans are to have GrandPré.) “She is a wonderful lady,” Good says. “She had an image of what Harry Potter looked like, but when she went to actually draw his face, she was really having a lot of trouble. She had the messy hair, the glasses, but what did his jawline look like? She walked over, and she looked in the mirror, and she sketched her own face.”

While GrandPré studied her jawline in the mirror and searched for inspiration, the heavy industrial gears of the Harry Potter engine were beginning to grind up north. The more copies of a book a publisher prints, the more security issues multiply, and Deathly Hallows has the largest first printing of any book in history. By July 21, Scholastic will have shipped 12 million copies for the U.S. market alone. The threat to the magic moment is quite real.

In 2003 a forklift driver at a British printing plant was caught hawking pages from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. A month before Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince went on sale, two men were arrested in England for trying to sell a copy to a reporter; one of them is currently doing 4 1⁄2 years.

As a result, Scholastic won’t give out the locations of the printing plants it uses or even how many there are. (As for Bloomsbury, the series’ British publisher, it fiercely denies a rumor that it forces factory workers to print Deathly Hallows in pitch darkness.) The finished books travel to stores on pallets, sealed in black plastic, in trucks tracked by GPS.

Hello Baby Boomers…this starts off slow and you will probably think…OK…this time she has really lost it…but you have to watch it…I am not giving out the secret…but is is all about music and art!

Watch it thru, you won’t be disapointed!
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

Shark pregnancy baffles aquarium

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In NORFOLK, Virginia, Veterinarian Bob George sliced open the dead shark and saw the outline of a fish.

No surprise there, since sharks digest their food slowly.

Then George realized he wasn’t looking at the stomach of the blacktip reef shark, but at her uterus. In it was a perfectly formed, 10-inch-long shark pup that was almost ready to be born.

George was dumbfounded.

He had been examining the shark, Tidbit, to figure out why she reacted badly to routine sedatives during a physical and died, hours after biting an aquarium curator on the shin. Now there was a bigger mystery: How did Tidbit get pregnant?

“We must have had hanky panky” in the shark tank, he thought.

But sharks only breed with sharks of the same species, and there were no male blacktip reef sharks at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach.

Could Tidbit have defied nature, resulting in the first known shark hybrid?

The other possibility was that Tidbit had conceived without needing a male at all.

A recent study had documented the first confirmed case of asexual reproduction, or parthenogenesis, among sharks: a pup born at a Nebraska zoo came from an egg that developed in a female shark without sperm from a male.

One of the scientists who worked on that study contacted the aquarium, which sent him tissue samples from Tidbit and her pup for testing. If the pup’s DNA turns out to contain no contribution from a male shark, this would be the second known case of shark parthenogenesis.

George hopes to receive a preliminary report soon, but conclusive results could take months.

Tidbit had lived at the aquarium for most of her 10 years, swimming with other sharks in a 300,000-gallon tank.

The sharks get yearly checkups. On May 24, workers guided the 5-foot, 94-pound Tidbit from the main aquarium into a smaller corral to be examined out of public view.

Blacktip reef sharks are sensitive to change, so it was standard procedure to give Tidbit a sedative. This time, Tidbit went under the sedation too deeply maybe because of a combination of the unknown pregnancy and the stress of being handled and of having recently been bitten by another shark, George said.

George and Beth Firchau, the curator of fishes, massaged Tidbit’s tail to get her blood flowing and gave her a stimulant to help her breathe.

The shark swam away, bumped into a wall, headed back toward Firchau and clamped onto her left shin. Whether Tidbit meant to attack Firchau or just collided into her and snapped reflexively is hard to know.

The pain didn’t hit Firchau right away.

“Oh, you’re not supposed to do that. That was weird,” she thought as she felt the shark tug on her leg.

Members of the shark physicals team pulled Firchau out of the tank and began administering first aid. She credits their swift reaction with saving her life.

Firchau was taken to a hospital to get stitches while George and other team members tried to revive Tidbit. The shark rallied a couple times but died about 12 hours later.

George initially was depressed by the events. But something positive emerged out of the negative.

Since Tidbit hadn’t looked pregnant and there was no reason to think she was pregnant the pup likely would have been born and immediately eaten by another shark, without aquarium employees ever knowing it had existed.

But Tidbit’s death led to George stumbling upon a mystery of nature.

In normal reproduction, an egg is fertilized by sperm, producing an embryo that contains a set of chromosomes with half coming from the mother and half from the father.

In asexual reproduction, an egg splits in two and DNA contributed from the mother doubles, so each resulting egg has a full complement of chromosomes from the female. The eggs then fuse, producing a single embryo with no DNA from a father.

Asexual reproduction is common in some insect species, rarer in reptiles and fish, and has never been documented in mammals. Until now, sharks were not considered likely candidates.

But with sharks, “this is probably something that does happen in aquariums, more often than we realize,” said Bob Hueter, director of the Center for Shark Research at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida.

He said the phenomenon is coming to light with the joint Northern Ireland-U.S. research that analyzed the DNA of a hammerhead shark born in 2001 in the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. The study was published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters on the day before Firchau was bitten.

Asexual reproduction among sharks is more likely to happen in captivity, when there is no other option for reproduction, than in the wild, Hueter said.

Crossbreeding, on the other hand, is not known to happen at all among sharks, said Heather Thomas, aquarist at the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

“It’s not natural,” Thomas said. “If you’ve got a shark that needs to swim to breathe and cross it with a shark that can lay on the bottom to breathe, what are you going to get? Are you going to get these weird mutations?”

If the pup indeed turns out to be a hybrid, DNA testing should be able to identify the species of the father. The most likely candidate would be a sandbar shark, the most similar shark to a blacktip reef in the aquarium, George said.

While parthenogenesis “is certainly kind of a spiffy, interesting thing,” George hopes the tests confirm crossbreeding, since that would be a first among sharks.

Thank you, The Associated Press.

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Hello Baby Boomers…

So many of us are losing our mates. There are plenty of reasons…death, divorce. terminal illness.

So for those of you who have spent a life time [or so it seemed] and now are faced with the possibility of looking for a new partner…this is a good article.

Being one, who has been out there for the last 12 years, my personal advice is never to lie! If you are going on line to look for your soul mate or other mates…be honest…Those lies will catch up with you. Starting any relationship based on lies will get you a dishonest relationship.

And remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take your time…be selective. The best part of any relationship is always the first part…so make it last.

Well. those are a few words of sage from me…good luck Baby Boomers…I am here if you need me.

Hugs and kisses,
SMILE!
~The Baby Boomer Queen~
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Top 10 Ways to Get Lucky at Love

Know what you want. Your looks change and fade, character does not. While a certain amount of “chemistry” is nice, don’t rely solely on lust.

What qualities are you looking for in a mate? My book “Find a Sweetheart Soon! Your Love Trip Planner for Women” helps readers define their love goals.

Get clear about what you don’t want. Knowing what you really can’t tolerate in a partner is important. Make a list of your “don’t wants” and then cut it down to the 10 most important. Any more than that and you’ll be too picky.

Live your life. Once you know clearly what you want (and don’t want) in a relationship, shift your focus to living your life. You’ll find that you start noticing those who might fit, and passing by those who don’t.

See the big picture. Don’t try so hard that you miss the obvious. If you are great at focusing, step back now and then and look at the big picture. Work on having a playful, whimsical attitude towards life.

Get out of the house. Cultivate opportunities to
expand your social circle and meet new people
expand your social circle and meet new people. Vary your routine. Have you thought of entertaining to enlarge your social circle?

My new ebook “Looking for Action? The Find a Sweetheart Party Planner” tells you how to throw parties to build a wonderful group of close friends – it’s easy!

Open your eyes and your attitude. Lucky people notice, create and maximize chance opportunities. Chat with other shoppers while you are waiting in line. Be ready with a “calling card” a personal business-type card with basic contact information.

Get curious. Don’t content yourself with the obvious. Ask questions. Wonder why. Find answers.

Try something new. The best way to have things stay the same is to never do anything different. Vary your daily routine, just to keep yourself awake. Shake yourself up and notice what happens. Keep yourself open to chance opportunities, and then take advantage of them.

Expect good luck. Monitor your self-talk for negative messages that interfere with luck. Replace the negative thoughts with positives. Surround yourself with examples of lucky people.

Learn from bad luck. Take steps to prevent more bad luck from what you have learned, then let the “bad” go. Don’t dwell on or rehash the bad experience. Look for the positive elements.
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Thank you Kathy Lord
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Kathryn Lord, romance coach and author, met her now husband Drew online. Out of the dating world for years, Kathryn conquered her fears, found her perfect mate and built a solid relationship. She put what she has learned into writing in “Find A Sweetheart Soon! Your Love Trip Planner for Women.” A psychotherapist, Kathryn has been helping singles and couples for more than 25 years. She is on the web at Find-a-Sweetheart.com.

FREE HUGS…

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