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All posts for the month November, 2011

Ron Fouchier & H5N1

Published November 30, 2011 by Tony

SUPER VIRUS

I did not think that the Netherlands and a Dutch scientist could behave so selfish and irresponsible.
I am referring to the virologist Ron Fouchier, of the Erasmus Medical Centre in Holland, which has shown that it takes only 5 steps to change the dreaded and well-known H5N1 bird flu virus and obtain a highly contagious and aggressive one. The version obtained in the laboratory is capable of much more, easily transmitted from man to man and could infect millions of people very quickly, creating uncontrollable pandemic. But researchers who have produced it, still want publish their work, making it available to anyone, and this is the reason beacuse the controversy is flaring up and that leads me to say what said at the beginning. I do not know what’s behind it or researchers motivations, but I thought that Einstein and Fermi concerns and pangs of conscience, at the time of the atomic bomb studies, were a lesson for scientists.
The scientific community is opposed to the publication just raising doubts about the experiment that could be exploited and used for bioterrorism worldwide.
Besides the Dutch study, the controversy concerns a similar work conducted by American researchers (University of Wisconsin) and Japanese (Tokyo University) still about H5N1. Fouchier, despite claims that it is one of the most dangerous viruses that can be achieved, is determined to let everyone know how he got it.
Mr. Fouchier, if you are doing this for the glory or demonstrate your capabilities, there is no need because we take your word for it and beg you to stop before it’s too late!

What can I say, humanity needs scientists but if these, with the money of the community, conduct research that act against the common good, and even put life at risk, then we can only pray and hope that they mend their ways!

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NAPOLI and Champions League

Published November 24, 2011 by Tony

napoli stadium

My Napoli continues to defy expectations. We don’t have Manchester City’s resources, but Napoli still outplayed the Premier League leaders in the tournament.
Two goals from Napoli star Edinson Cavani turned Manchester City’s European dream into a nightmare as the Premier League leaders came unstuck in Italy. Now Manchester City’s Champions League hopes are hanging by a thread after this defeat. Manchester City are on the brink of being knocked out of the UEFA Champions League after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Napoli at Stadio San Paolo.
The Blues are now third in Group A going into the last game, and must hope that they can beat Bayern Munich and Napoli slip up at Villarreal.
The night in Naples was another learning curve for a side who may be dominant domestically also if are still off the pace at elite European level.
The scene at the San Paolo stadium was electric, with about 60,000 fans filling the stands for one of the biggest crowds since Diego Maradona led Napoli to Italian titles in 1987 and 1990. Before kickoff, Napoli fans put on a fancy display, as fans held up cards in the squad’s blue-and-white colors nearly all the way around the main ring of stands, and formed the outline of the letter ‘N’ with lines of flares on one end.
Napoli won, surging forward, roared on by the 60,000-strong crowd.

Here’s what Walter Mazzarri, Napoli coach said:
”Manchester City are a great side and were in fantastic form. It was difficult even to think about a victory against them on the eve of the game. “Playing like we did tonight all the time is impossible. In games like tonight’s you can find energy” that you cannot even think you have. We don’t have 22 players on the same level. Manchester City have them and they could rest four or five players and win easily against Newcastle at the weekend.
We did something incredible in both games against them. The draw in England was fantastic with so many players making their Champions League debut but winning when you have only one result in mind, as we did tonight, is incredible. We have to learn to win games even when we don’t play very well as only big teams can do. It’s not done yet but tonight we must celebrate this great victory”.

Napoli shouldn’t supposed to be able to compete with teams like Manchester City,  not having the financial backing that the Premier League leaders have, but my city’s football team still found a way to win. I don’t know how far Napoli will make it in this tournament, but the club has performed admirably in the Champions League till now.

!!! THANX NAPOLI!!!

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Homosexuality

Published November 23, 2011 by Tony

Rugby player becomes gay after an accident

"Ambiguous Desires" of Evgeny Mokhorev

"Ambiguous Desires" of Evgeny Mokhorev

It happened to a former English rugby player of 26 years: – after having had a stroke for a freak accident while training, in which he had broken his neck – Chris Birch woke up gay. “I’m happier than ever, I would change one iota”, the young man told to the Telegraph, explaining that as soon as he recovered, his life changed beginning to have a relationship with a man.

I confess, after reading this curious news I had to laugh, because personally think it is a very unlikely event. At first glance I thought, “It was just a ploy for the guy to coming out, declaring his sexuality and sweeten family and friends judgment”.
As if to say: “He is gay, but not for his fault, it was the unfortunate incident to give him trouble!”
The same applies to other similar news affirming that someone suddenly found himself with a different sexuality. Absurd!
My beliefs are based on scientific data. Debunked for years (thank goodness!) the belief that homosexuality is a disease, long since most scientists agree to attribute the causes of homosexuality to a mixture of biological (genetic), psychological and environmental (prenatal and postnatal) factors, although it still is difficult to quantify separately the various influences. It isn’t, therefore, a matter simplistically only mental or of options occurring during the critical stages of the development, because a priori there is already a well-defined genetic and psychological orientation that, willy-nilly, brings people “to prefer” a sexuality rather than another. Thus, no matter what anyone says or thinks, no one becomes gay at once, and neither after an illness or an accident. If so, it will go back to the ancient assumption that homosexuality is just a  “mental” issue and if it really was so, most of psychologists and psychiatrists, by few sessions, could have healed, long since, a myriad of gay subjects. A validation of this, the fact that no gays in the history has ever “regained” the “normal” sexuality with or without treatment.
Today news travels fast, thanks to the internet too, so we know many more things and facts, that take place in the world, than ever before. Do you remember the case of the boy who already at 6 years old confessed to parents to feel like a “girl” inside. But we can find many other similar cases on internet, such as the recent about Bobby Montoya a seven years old kid who prefers women’s clothing and asked parents to enrol in the “Girl scout”. If these cases do not confirm what has already been widely assumed, namely that homosexuality, as sexuality in general, has a genetic basis, then it means to be blind and biased on this topic that should not even make headlines or dismay because sexuality, whatever it is, must be accepted and understood first. The words “different” or “normal”, usually used, must disappear. When it will come to this, the society will then have taken the right way for that change we are looking for a long time and never put into practice, with no need of tormented “coming out” or other incidents to let other accept a “natural” sexuality
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FREDDIE MERCURY

Published November 19, 2011 by Tony

Freddie 20th death anniversary

The King
The next 24th November will be the twentieth anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death and if he were still with us, today, the great Freddie was 65 years old.
The following article is what his personal assistant Peter Freestone, who has dedicated him the book titled “Freddie Mercury: An Intimate Memoir by the Man Who Knew Him Best”, said.
Sex, drugs and reckless life, the most rock among the rockstar narrated by the person closer to him and that at an event organized by the Mercury Band, in Seriate, near Bergamo, released an interview to the Italian magazine Panorama.
The leading contributor of the historic Queen band says: “I am a lucky man. For twelve years of my life I have been a shadow of a great character like Freddie Mercury. I was his personal assistant, cook, chauffeur and the trusted friend. I have traveled the world with Freddie, guest of the nicest hotels on the planet and have known star of all ages”.

<<In the eighties, Freddie was having a relation with a certain Bill Reid, a well-placed and phlegmatic guy in New Jersey, which had met in a bar in New York. It was a turbulent relationship, sometimes with thrilling bits of violence. A day Freddie Reid Peter Freestonebit Freddie’s hand between the thumb and forefinger. He felt a strong pain with the wound bleeding, but he refused any type of emergency and went up on stage, anyway.
I have seen this and much more, I was his personal assistant, his shadow, the first person to whom he turned for every need. I was at his side in the gay clubs, around the world on vacation and at the home of Michael Jackson too. I picked him up in my arms in the rooms of his house in London: AIDS had taken the flesh off under his foot and walking had become a painful ordeal for him. I was there when he closed his eyes forever on the evening of November 24, 1991. You cannot understand what HIV means until you see first-hand how people pined
>>, says touched Peter to Panorama!
<<Freddie loved the Saint, an old theater on the Lower East Side of New York, turned into a spectacular nightclub for homosexuals. I managed to get an honorary membership card so that his name did not appear among the usual customers. The hard part was to conquer the locker. We couldn’t do without it, after having worn fetish clothing, you then had to put away there your clothes and drugs. On Friday afternoon I went to the house of our “friendly” trustworthy dealer in the Lower West Side. On a table were two metal baskets with inside a wide assortment of pills and powders, all labeled with name and price. The only thing missing was a trolley … ..

Barber in New York home of FreddieBut he also loved three hot Bavarian club, Pop-As, the Eagle and Mrs. Henderson’s, that he attended in the eighties along with his German partner Winnie Kirchberger. When he moved to Montreux, instead, chose a villa known as “The House of ducks” because had a garden full of stuffed ducks.
He understood something was wrong when appeared some dark spots around the wrists. For a week he pretended not to, then took the exams in a few days and got the result. One day he called me into the kitchen, closed the door and told me: “Peter, my time is running out. Life has given me so much and now it takes it all. Not only I’m positive HIV but have AIDS too and I will die for sure. But I’ve lived every second of this life, anyway>>.
Remnants of a life over the top, abruptly interrupted by analysis on a piece of tissue taken from the shoulder in 1987:
“I have AIDS, as the best doctors around say, if you want go away I’ll do nothing to stop you, I will understand”, with these words and by an endless hug Freddie Mercury announced to his boyfriend, Jim Hutton (who died of cancer in 2010), that his time was running out. Hutton did not leave, he stayed close him till the last breath. And without interfering with the drastic decision of his boyfriend to terminate all the medical care, except for the morphine-based painkillers.
<<A day at the table he burst out: “stop cooking spicy, it makes no difference, my taste buds are damaged, I no longer feel the taste, everything is the same.
I eat my favorite food, the Indian one that you’re preparing me carefully, and I do not feel anything anymore. But what is this disease? Why does it take away something every day? “. Three weeks before
Freddie Mercury together some New York friendsthe end, Freddie gave me an envelope full of money to buy a painting to Christie’s: 30.000 sterlings. When back with the picture I put it in the living room and called him. Freddie was in his bedroom on the first floor of the house in London. As soon as he started down the stairs realized that his legs no longer held. They were rigid, without bending. So I went, picked up him in my arms and went down so that he could see that craved painting. He was clinging to my neck as a child and saing: ‘Fortunately, my eyes still work “.
When healthy, Freddie was not at home one night a year. He frequented gay bars all around the world and was often zonked. Vodka and cocaine were his vices. When he discovered to be sick has given a cut of everything. “I could go on and give a damn, but the doctor assured me that this would halve the time I have”. I will never forget the day when he said me about the precautions I had to acquaint with the villa’s staff.  At one point he said: “If I cut myself and bleed, keep away from me. Very far”. Three weeks before his death, returned from a lightning trip in France, in front of the front door, he said: “This is the last time I’m coming in my house. It will not happen anymore. My strength is wasted. We have to understand when it’s time to say enough”.  An evening with bright eyes and broken voice he told me: “I would like to know when I had the relationship that is costing me my life now, but I do not want to waste the little time I still have for investigations.
What hurts me tremendously is that AIDS will prevent me from pulling out all the music Whirlpool group (the first left is Thor Arnold)inside me. There were still many things to be heard, so many notes to excite my audience. It is unfair that an artist should die without having expressed his art. I will carry with me many songs and all the faces of my friends. Peter, you have been close to me twelve years, you’ve seen all you could see about me. And I believe you really understood who is the man to whom you gave so much loyalty and dedication. At least once a day, think of me. And take care of my cats”.

[About cats, Oscar the cat went away from home; Tiffany died when Freddie was still alive. Delilah, Goliath and Miko remained in Garden Lodge, Romeo and Lily found a new home].

He who had never increased or decreased by a pound was now drying up. The beard had stopped growing even. In the last month ate only papaya and smoothies. Every movement of the jaw was painful. The other sore point was the foot. He had a hole under the foot that forbad him to put the foot on the ground.
Though destroyed, went every day in the recording studio to leave a legacy, as he could, of his voice and his art. He had excruciating pain in the throat and chest, but he kept singing like nothing had happened. He held out until the end and never give up. He wanted to tell everything to the others in the group but was afraid. Scared that others would tell him not to make much effort, to stop recording songs, treating him as a man with a handicap. At the end of the recordings, as usually, Bryan and the others invited him to have dinner, but he always refused with an excuse. He did not want they saw him in trouble while swallowing solid food. The other three of the group did not know that Freddie had AIDS. They knew it a year and a half before the end. Mary Austin with FreddieHe summoned them to the house, shut in a room for an hour and said everything. At one point I came in to bring tea. No one spoke. Roger and John Bryan were pale with bright eyes gaze down and shoulders slumped. They had long understood that something was wrong, but when Freddie revealed his real conditions they collapsed. More than once, Bryan said: “After the words of Freddie I felt a cold in the bones that will not feel anymore”. They went away in a line from home in silence, staring at the ground without crossing their eyes with mine. I had been knowing everything from one year, but I was bound to silence.
Two weeks before disappearing, Freddie said to me: “No more potions”. He had just returned from Montreux, was weak and had blurred vision. He knew that his hour was about to strike. He entered the house and with a small voice said: “We all know that by this door I nevermore wont go out standing”.  A chill casted over, it was like a knife in his chest in the light of day. I took refuge in the gym room and, for the first time, realized that Freddie had never used any of those tools, he had never done a minute of sport in his life. I started taking pictures every corner of the house with my eyes, aware that soon I would be out of there for not re-enter again. The same knowledge that had Brian May when Freddie called them at home to give the news. I just remember the endless minutes of suffering and silence. He said he would continue to record songs until the end, but on one condition: that none of us had to treat him as a sick person. We enforced his will, but it was an infinite agony to see him singing without energy. People really loved him, I’m not surprised the continuing tribute to his art, even Freddie with Jeckotwenty years later. >>

[November 9 came out “Freddie Mercury, thoughts and words”, edited by Greg Brooks and Simon Lupton, published by Knopf].

<<When I think of Freddie, which happens every day, I see him in the garden of Jackson, disgusted with the white pants and muddy, forced to visit a mini private zoo. It was the summer of 1983 when Freddie had moved to Los Angeles and had been invited by Jacko at his home in Encino. He was terrified by the llama, he feared their spit like a plague. After the tour in the animal world, they two only closed in the recording studio: committed to each other to measure their immense talent. They also asked me to beat for 5 minutes with the fist on the doorpost, saying : “Sorry, we forgot to call the drummer”.  At the end of the visit, Freddie told me: “Lots of money and no taste. What a waste! “.
<<From the crowded arenas to the walls of a room populated only by his cats>>,
sighs Freestone.

<<The last act was to write a statement in which he announced his illness to the world. The next day he would not even see the newspapers. The die was cast and he had nothing to defend. The seconds had become hours, and the minutes days. In the villa, the Garden Lodge in London, no one had the sense of time and space. Just silence. Untill the telephone ringing that we all feared: it was Joe, one of his closest friends, who asked me to go into the bedroom. Freddie was in a coma after an attack of chills. It was rigid, with the head in an unnatural position. We tried to shake it gently, talking to him. But it was all useless. >>

[Editor’s Note. Currently, in the English Freddy’s house, is living Mary Austin, the girl with whom he had the longest and most intimate relationship.]Wayne & Freddie

<<It was the evening of November 24, 1991 at 18.48 when the doctor arrived for the daily check. Freddie was weak in his bed and unable to speak. The visit lasted ten minutes: Freddie had been not taking more AIDS drugs for two weeks but powerful painkillers only. At the end of the visit, I took the doctor to the car. Back home, I went upstairs and found him motionless. I felt bad, but had the heart to put a hand on his chest. No breathe anymore. I ran into the street blocking the doctor’s car who went up again and said: “Freddie is gone”.>>
Fragments of a musical genius’s real life, a star without boundaries who from day to day has seen his world shrink dramatically.

Freddie’s love stories.
Despite being one of the most famous men on the planet, Freddie Mercury has always managed to keep secret his love life, which is quite complicated for a VIP also if we consider that in his bed passed many people, men and women. Among these last ones we may mention Rosemary Pearson, Mary Austin and Barbara Valentin. Freddie began his first serious relationship with a man, in 1975. He was David Minns, an executive in the PA record company.  “He was chasing me. He was so obsessed by people, but at the same time also so sweet“, said David in an interview. For a while David was like a boyfriend, but the singer soon realized that thanks to its reputation he could get any guy he wanted, and also a different one every night. When in 1978 the romance was over, like most of his relationships, Freddie had befriended Joe Fanelli called “Liza”, who Freddie had hired as personal chef. The relationship lasted a year. Freddie liked to put nicknames,
Phoebe, Liza and John Reidusually feminine, to his friends and his success grew together the sexual appetite towards men. In the late 70’s the dancer Wayne Sleep, who Freddie nicknamed “Bridget the midget,” became his new partners in London. In the eighties, he came in contact with the gay circles in New York, where he had a brief affair with a bartender named Vince “The Batman” and another man called Thor “PP” Arnold. Left New York in 1983, the frontman continued to seek for the love of his life, and in 1985 in London, began an affair with the man whot then was with him until his death, Jim Hutton. According to his longtime friend Peter Freestone, nicknamed “Phoebe”, there were other lovers and dear friends including Tony Bastin, John Murphy, Mick “Dorothy” Rock, Eduardo “The Venezuelan”, Peter “Syretta” Straker, Winnie Kirchberger, Trevor “BB The Black Bitch” Clarke, Peter Morgan, Eric “Sophie” Hall, David “Daisy” Evans, David “Claire” Hodo, Lee “Kathleen” Nolan, James “Jane” Arthurs, and Bill Reid. His relationship with Rudolf Nuriev several times disproved, was later revealed by the existence of a number of letters in which Nureyev confessed and described delicately his feeling towards the Queen’s leader. Nureyev died 14 months later, on January 6, 1993, at 54 years old, both destroyed by AIDS. In one of his last letter we read: “he wanted to die alone in his London house. It was raining and I was crying the death of the great Eddie“.

Dancing: Phoebe holds Freddie

Dancing: Phoebe holds Freddie

The residence in Sutton Place, Manhattan

The residence in Sutton Place, Manhattan

A page of the book

A page of the book

In the bed with some cats

In the bed with some cats

The Garden Lodge home in Londra

The Garden Lodge home in Londra

With the cats Oscar e Tiffany

With the cats Oscar e Tiffany

Italian book cover

Italian book cover

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Aliaa Elmahdy

Published November 17, 2011 by Tony

Aliaa Elmahdy Challenge

The twenty-year old Egyptian Aliaa Elmahdy has courage to sell and if her nude photos were not posted on a blog in an Islamic country, they wouldn’t certainly have had the same resonance.
The student in ‘media and communication’ at the American University of Cairo describe herself as an “individualistic and atheistic” and have launched a challenge against the Islamic conservatives in her country. On his Facebook profile, Aliaa appears as the companion of Karim Amer, an Egyptian blogger condemned in 2007 for insulting Islam and also launches a call for  Maikel Nabil release, another blogger detained in prison for criticizing the military police. She says, “I am angry for a violent, racist and sexist
society “, and adds: “Look in the mirror. Why do you hate your body? You must have a problem with your sexuality “.
With regard to the censorship rectangles placed deliberately on the photos, she states: “The yellow rectangles on my eyes, mouth and sex organ resemble the censoring of our knowledge, expression and sexuality”.

Facebook profile Facebook profile:

feeldesain-Aliaa-Elmahdy

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New7Wonders of the World

Published November 15, 2011 by Tony

SEVEN WORLD WONDERS


The Vesuvius was not included among the Seven Wonders of the World of this year. This is the result of voting by SMS or on the Swiss site new7wonders.com. In the last three years, Vesuvius had passed the preliminary stages and it was placed among the top 28 natural beauties vying for the title of Wonder of the world. In July he was still among the top five in the ranking, then the campaigns of other sites around the world have prevailed: the Vesuvius was supported by the Province of Naples, who also made ​​a promotional video with singer Peppino di Capri. Abroad, however, governments and celebrities worked ta, as Nelson Mandela and Lionel Messi.
Here, however, the most voted:


clip_image002
Chichen Itza, Yucatán, Mexico

clip_image004 Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

clip_image006 Colosseum, Rome, Italy

clip_image008 Great Wall, Beijing, China


clip_image010 Machu Picchu, Cuzco Region, Peru

clip_image012 Petra, Ma’an Governorate, Jordan

clip_image014 Taj Mahal, Agra, India

clip_image016 Giza Pyramid , Giza, Egypt

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ABRUZZO

Published November 14, 2011 by Tony

LAKE SCANNO


More places I visit in the neighboring regions, the more I am convinced that the south of Italy is full of beautiful places rich in traditions and culture. Last week I got to spend a couple of days on the little Lake Scanno, in the province of L’Aquila, and was impressed by the beauty of the surrounding countryside and villages. We are talking about the Abruzzo region in central Italy, which extends from the Apennines to the Adriatic sea, and the village Scanno is between the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo and the upper Sagittario valley, surrounded by a rugged and peculiar landscape.
Scanno takes its name from the place in which it is situated.
The Romans gave the name scamnum, “scanno”, stool to the rocky crag on which rest the first buttresses of the hills in the valley. To reach the Scanno lake, the largest natural lake in Abruzzo, I had to cross rocky mountainous road through the Sagittario Gorge with sights sometimes really spectacular. The lake is located at an altitude of 922m above sea level, in the basin between Montagna Grande and Monte Genzana, so the temperature is very pleasant in the summer but kinda fresh and damp in autumn, when the first rains bring water to trickle down from the surrounding mountaintops.
And in this area water is not lacking for sure, with different fountains in every village from which springs endless fresh water.
The lake in the fall gives the opportunity to enjoy the fresh mountain air and the serenity with all the wondrous colors that the surrounding nature offers. This enchanting place is beneficial for body, mind and spirit; the idyllic area amazes and inspires you to dream and relax.
Below you can see some photograph I took while excursioning around.

scanno lake

Lake Scanno viewed by Frattura village

scanno lake

The lake at dusk

scanno lake

The lake is full of fish

scanno lake

A romantic place

scanno lake

The street rimming the lake

scanno lake
Many relaxing and solitary zones
scanno
The village of Scanno
frattura

The old abandoned village of Frattura

fountain in Scanno
Some fountains

Fountain in Barrea

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