discarded lies: monday, april 23, 2018 10:32 am zst
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daily archive: 12/24/2005
guest author: evariste in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Gun Exchange
Do programs like this really work on cutting down violence? California City Swaps Gifts for Guns.
"Big Daddy" Willis came to Compton to turn an illegal homemade pistol into Christmas dinner. Charlene Watt planned to turn three shotguns into a plasma TV.

The two were among dozens of gun-toting residents who converged on a shopping center parking lot Saturday to anonymously swap firearms for gift certificates as part of a program aimed at reducing violence in this crime-plagued city.

Each was rewarded with a $100 gift card for Circuit City or the Ralphs supermarket chain, the program's co-sponsors.

In a line that snaked across a parking lot, participants from across Los Angeles County carried guns in cardboard boxes, plastic grocery bags and fancy leather cases.

"Hopefully and prayerfully this will cut down on the shootings," said Compton resident Ruther Daniels, 44, who turned in a .22-caliber handgun.

Authorities created the program after a sharp spike in Compton's crime rate this year. Sixty-eight homicides have been recorded so far in 2005, up from 39 in 2004, according to sheriff's Capt. Eric Hamilton.

Over three consecutive Saturdays, sheriff's deputies amassed more than 250 firearms, including 185 handguns, 48 high-powered rifles, 15 sawed-off shotguns and a Tec-9 semiautomatic machine gun pistol.

"The only reason you'd have these guns is to shoot at people," said sheriff's Deputy A.J. Rotella, who came up with the Gifts for Guns concept.

All will undergo ballistics checks to determine if they were used in crimes before being melted down at the sheriff's annual "gun dump."

Authorities said the gun exchange might become an annual program. It was funded by the city of Compton, Circuit City, Ralphs and the Sheriff's Department through its sale of assets seized in drug cases.
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guest author: evariste in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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guest author: unsigned in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
'The city whose praises are sung'
A small love note to my hometown: Thessaloniki - Greece's 'showpiece' city. Take that, Athenians.
Thessaloniki, Greece - "We have nothing against Athens being the capital because we have been given an even bigger honour - living in the most beautiful city in Greece," taxi driver Nikos Papazoglou jokes about the rivalry between the country's two main cities.

Driving along Thessaloniki's waterfront promenade overlooking the Thermaic Bay with the city's landmark, the 15th century White Tower in full view, one instantly understands why it is celebrated as the "mother of Macedonia" and "the city whose praises are sung".

Shaped by centuries of outsiders, Thessaloniki is a city whose former occupants have left a definite imprint - from the Roman ruins dotting the numerous squares and markets to the Old Town with its Turkish flair and a downtown core so overloaded with Byzantine churches and chapels that it has been designated a World Heritage Site.

Once glorified as an important commercial centre and port during the 18th and early 19th centuries, Thessaloniki has suffered countless disasters over the years, including a devastating fire in 1917 that miraculously left most of the monuments and buildings standing - including a large section of the Byzantine city walls.

While Thessaloniki was never quite rebuilt according to the grand plan of French architect Ernest Hebrand, namely because of the 130 000 Greek refugees from Asia Minor that flooded the city between 1922 and 1923, the city was still developed into a more liveable metropolis than Athens; stimulated by its university, international trade fair and the Thessaloniki International Film Festival held in November.

It is surprisingly easily accessible by foot with central avenues running parallel to the seafront and cross-streets densely planted with shade-providing trees.

A good place to start is Aristolelous Square, a pedestrianised strip lined with beautiful buildings, trendy bars and outdoor cafes. From there you can walk to all the main sites of Thessaloniki without much effort.

You can catch glimpses of the city's ancient Roman influence at the Roman agora which is still being excavated and where an odium and two galleries have been discovered, as well as at the Arch of Galerius, constructed in the fourth century to celebrate the Roman victory over the Persian army.

Nearby lies the church of Saint Dimitrios, the patron saint of the city, with its 13th century crypt and mosaics, and the church of Saint Sofia, modelled after the world-famous one in Istanbul.

One should also not miss the magnificent Rotunda: A circular construction that was originally intended to serve as the mausoleum of Emperor Galerius but instead has served variously as a church and mosque.

Turkish influence is still very much evident today in the walled Kastra quarter, otherwise known as the Ano Polis or old Turkish quarter, located on the hillside beyond the modern slew of streets.

There pockets of Ottoman buildings which miraculously survived the fire still stand, as well as a Byzantine fortress complete with seven towers which later served a prison.

For most visitors, one sight which should not be missed is Thessaloniki's exceptional Archaeological Museum as well as the smaller Museum of Jewish Presence. The latter is intended to reflect the important past of the Jewish community in this city since the 15th century, who were the victims of deportations during WW2.

Also interesting is the Ataturk Museum, where the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was born in 1881 in this house on Apostolou Pavlou Street.

Thessaloniki's ancient sites may be the basis for visiting this city, but the food and Anatolian-inspired eating establishments will also delight.

The Ladadika district, the only part of town to survive the great fire, once served as storage and trading place for olive oil. Today, its tiny buildings have been beautifully restored to host an array of traditional and gourmet restaurants as well as trendy bars and cafes.

Dominating an entire corner of the Ladadika is the charming Bristol Hotel. This neo-classical building has been restored with old-time finesse to operate as the city's only boutique hotel.

Also worth trying is the Modiano Old Market, a lively bazaar filled with meat and fish restaurants or the "Louloudadika" or "flower shops" that now host dozens of unique tavernas.

Thessaloniki is accessible by air directly from most European cities and can be reached by train from cities in Europe like Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Sofia, Moscow and Ljubljana. Visitors can also travel to and from Istabul with a new overnight sleeper that takes a little over 11 hours.

A street near the center of Salonica - The streets are much worse in Athens.

Aristotelous square - Whoever took this photo must be an Athenian, he thinks Aristotelous Square is in Bulgaria.

Salonica by day - Athens is uglier.

A walk by the White Tower - Athens doesn't have a tower.

The Arch of Galerius - Notice that Galerius didn't bother to visit Athens.

Salonica by night - I bet you Athens doesn't even have a night.

The wharf - You think Athens has a wharf like this? You're wrong!
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guest author: annie in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Borrow the wrong book, get a DHS visit? Story was a complete lie
The media wants to believe any story that paints America as a totalitarian nation in the making. When I first read that a student had received a visit from Homeland Security for trying to borrow Mao's Little Red Book from the library, I thought "bullshit". The student in question now admits it was bullshit.

Be careful what you believe.
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guest author: barnstorm ברנסטר? in Discarded Lies - Hyperlinkopotamus:
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packen in Discarded Lies:
The Joy of Schutzhund
Although most of you probably never heard the word “Schutzhund" and could very well spend the rest of your life blissfully unaware of this crazy endeavor, this is a subject very dear to my heart, and for some twelve years, until recently, has been consuming my life almost to the exclusion of everything else. As my son used to say, “most children have soccer moms, I have a Schutzhund mom". So humor me for a moment, please.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
So it's almost Christmas...
And my neighborhood has gone nuts. Houses covered in lights, plastic Santas waving at pedestrians, cute dolls in lit creches, smiling sheep, candy canes, sleighs, deer and beautifully decorated Christmas trees in front of living-room windows.

Then there's my house which has no lights, no decorations, no deer or elves. Sometimes I hang pine branches on the front door but not always. And it's not that much better inside, either. I don't have a Christmas tree, I've never had one. I usually have a vase or two with holly and pyracanthus from the yard, a bowl of pomegranates, also from the yard--except my pomegranate tree had only one tiny little fruit this year and I've left it on the tree hoping it will encourage it to make more--and some bowls of oranges and walnuts. I have a silver tray in the hall where I put the Christmas cards I receive and that's about it. Friends have begged me to string lights on the roof or to put some decorations in the yard, even volunteering to do it themselves, but the thought doesn't appeal to me.

I'm one of those people who find Christmas a bit melancholy, I guess. Maybe because I'm a dog at heart and I don't adjust easily to having my daily routine disturbed. Or maybe because I don't get the spirit of the holiday. Or maybe because I'm a cynic who sees no point in wishing for unreachable and unrealistic events such as "peace on earth." Like anyone believes that will happen.

When I was a kid, I liked New Year's Eve because a) that's when Santa Claus came and b) we got to stay up all night while the adults played cards until morning, a Greek tradition to bring good luck in the new year. There was also the New Year's cake, with a coin hidden in it, to be cut at midnight. Coin and cake for a special lucky person, plain cake for the rest of us, the unlucky ones.

The smells I associate with Christmas are lemon-scented wood polish from my mom's freshly scrubbed and waxed parquet floor, burning orange peels in the fireplace, smells of honey and cinnamon from the trays of Christmas cookies sitting out; cooking smells of fried or roasted pork, traditional Christmas food in Greece; the smell of ouzo that my mom would serve to my dad and my uncle while they played backgammon until the rest of the guests arrived.

One time my father was visiting me in the States and a group of strangers stopped by our house on Christmas eve and sang carols. I don't know how this happened, it had never happened before and it never happened again. That Christmas eve became part of my father's "stories from America" that he would entertain people with for the rest of his life.

The last couple of years, Christmas is a little more melancholy and there's one card missing from the tray but my mom makes a point of spending Christmas with me every year and the house will have the same smells of my childhood. We'll gather, family and friends and friends of friends; my mom once invited my neighbors for dinner and I had never met them before. So if you're my neighbor, watch out; we may not know each other but if some nice lady with an accent stops by your house to give you a tray of Christmas cookies and invite you to dinner, it's probably my mom. Don't let the lack of colored lights and plastic candy canes fool you, it's Christmas at our house too.
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