PBS: “The Civil War”

This is the BEST documentary of U.S. History on PBS. In fact, it’s the best ever! Ken Burns and his brother did an excellent job with this. The pictures, the stories, the music is worth seeing this over and over again. Even the actors lending their voices to this was an excellent idea! One of the actors in this is my favorite actor. Morgan Freeman.

I viewed this documentary when it first showed on WETA in 1990. It seem to have gotten better with the digital improvements. I don’t think that anyone could top this documentary not even Ken Burns himself. After “The Civil War” came on the first time, other stations used the same format that Burns used in their documentaries. It is amazing that no one else (not even network TV) wanted to carry this documentary! I’m glad that the PBS stations picked this up.

If I were a history teacher or had kids and home school, I would play the film in the classroom. I didn’t learn all that was in the documentary in school. This stuff wasn’t in the school books.

count of monte cristo

saw the movie last night and it’s just as good at home as in the theatre…nice acting all around and i find this version to be better than the book….

the dvd package is good too, deleted scenes, how they adapted the book to the screen, a lot of little extras…

i recommend it…entire package an a

Harry Potter Fanfic – Wizards Honour. updated 2 Oct 02

Rating: PG overall but PG-13 in some parts for occasional mildly-rude language and some, subtle, adult behaviour.
Setting: Two months after the events in book 4 “Goblet of Fire”

[color=990033]Spoilers: Spoilers for all 4 Harry Potter books.[/color]

Disclaimer: I own none of these characters, except Edgar Greenwood who is such an old duffer that I’m not sure I want to be held responsible for him. The characters and the world of Harry Potter belong to people more talented and cleverer that I. This story is merely intended as a tribute and as a bit of silly fanfic fluff.

Wizards Honour
Part 1

Sometimes huge changes in a person’s life are heralded by huge events, sometimes by tiny ones. Professor Severus Snape did not give the elderly Wizard a second thought when he cursed the Death Eater attacking the old man. It was a minor curse that deflected the man’s attack long enough for the old Wizard to escape. So unconscious was the act that Snape barely remembered the name of the old man who had thanked him but Edgar Greenwood remembered Severus Snape.


“Just breathe, that’s right.” Minerva McGonagall’s calm, commanding tones echoed up the corridor. Intrigued, and concerned that a student may be in trouble, Albus Dumbledore poked his head through the open doorway that led to the corridor.

‘Dear me, that’s a sight you don’t see everyday,’ he though as he watched Professor McGonagall hold her witches hat over the face of a hyperventilating Potions Master. ‘I wonder what’s got Severus into such a state. I haven’t seen him that upset since the Weasley twins rearranged his potions cabinet and he thought he’d drunk some of Remus Lupin’s transformation-control potion.’

Snape caught sight of Dumbledore watching him and went as white as Professor Binns, the ghost who taught History of Magic. This was quite an achievement as Professor Binns was the brightest of all the Hogwarts ghosts most of whom were a sort of greyish colour.

“Thank you, Professor McGonagall,” Snape gasped as he pulled the hat from his face. “I no longer require your help.”

“Are you sure, Severus? You’ve had a nasty shock.”

“No!” Snape snapped, making McGonagall jump. “No more, thank you,” he said more quietly.

“Very well.” McGonagall stared up at him, “But if you fall ill it will be on your own head.” She walked swiftly away towards the Griffindor dormitories.

“I am proud of you, Severus,” said Dumbledore, walking up to the Potions Master. “A few years ago you would not have softened your remarks. It shows a strengthening in your character.”

“Thank you,” gasped Snape shakily, still breathing erratically.

“I think a cup of tea is in order,” Professor Dumbledore said in the gentle tone that Snape recognised as an unavoidable command. “Shall we adjourn to my office?”

Professor Snape followed the Headmaster down the corridor. Snape was keen to avoid conversation but Dumbledore had other ideas.

“You know, Severus, ” said the Headmaster, “If you worked with your emotions rather than against them you wouldn’t get yourself into this kind of state.”

“Thank you, Headmaster.” Snape said in his cold, deadpan way. “I shall try to remember that.”


“Now, Severus,” said Dumbledore over a cup of tea. “What happened today?”

“This!” Snape snarled. He pulled a scroll of parchment from a pocket in his robes and thrust it toward Dumbledore. The older man took the scroll and examined it.

“This does look most formal,” Dumbledore muttered. He undid the old-fashioned rope, touched the legal seal and unrolled the scroll. The Headmaster read the first sentence.

“Good grief!” Dumbledore dropped the scroll and sat back in his chair. “I haven’t seen one of these in years. I can understand why you were shocked.”

The scroll was a contract of Wizard’s Honour; an ancient and rarely used law that could be activated only by a member of a long established, high-ranking Wizarding Family. The law stated that if a Wizard of lower rank saved the life of a Wizard of demonstrated higher rank, the two could activate a contract of Wizard’s Honour. The contract allowed the lower-ranked Wizard to marry into the family of the higher-ranked one. Naturally, being a law for Nobility, the higher-ranked Wizard chose the bride.

“So, can I assume by your reaction that you don’t want to accept the contract?”

“No, I don’t!” Snape snarled then took a shuddering breath in an attempt to calm himself. “It’s difficult enough working here and doing what we have to do to stop…them, without that!” Snape was starting to panic again. “I can get out of it, can’t I?”

“It’s a very old law, Severus,” Albus said gently, “But yes, you can refuse.”

“Then I’ll refuse!”

“You will need a good excuse.”

“It’s for the good of Hogwarts.” Snape said firmly.

“You will need grounds to defend that cl…,” Dumbledore’s words were drowned out by the noisy arrival of Professor Sinistra.

“I’m going to kill him!” Professor Sinistra ranted as she charged into the room. A rare sight for the Astronomy Professor was rarely seen downstairs before mid-afternoon.

“No, I’m going to curse him first.” She paced back across the room, still ignoring the two men who were watching her bizarre behaviour.

‘Perhaps,’ thought Dumbledore, ‘constantly working all night in the Astronomy Tower has unbalanced her.’ He watched the small, wiry young woman, the curls of her mouse-brown short hair bounced around her boyish face as she paced backwards and forwards across the office. She was certainly upset about something.

“No, I know,” ranted Sinistra. “I’ll lock him in a room with Rita Skeeter for a month, then I’ll curse him, and then I’ll kill him!” Happy with her decision regarding whomever it was she wanted to kill, Professor Sinistra suddenly stopped and turned to Professor Snape.

“Severus, I apologise for my batty uncle’s stupid contract. You can rest assured that you will not be forced to marry me.”

“Uh, thank you.” Snape said weakly. The Potions Professor was learning so far away from Aurora Sinistra that he was almost falling off his chair.

Professor Sinistra suddenly became aware of the expression of shock on Snape’s face and the highly amused Headmaster.

“Oh Merlin’s Bum! I’ve made a total twit of myself, haven’t I?”

“You could say that,” Dumbledore chuckled. His chuckle turned to smothered laughter when Snape overbalanced and fell off his chair.

To be continued

More Weird Laws

I came across some more of these, but not sure if I’ve repeated any.

More weird laws:

New York:
It is illegal to throw a ball at someone’s head for fun.
The penalty for jumping off a building is death.

New Jersey:
You cannot pump your own gas. All gas stations are full service only.
In Ocean City is illegal to slurp your soup in a restaurant.

It is illegal to set a mousetrap without a hunting licence.
Women may not drive in a housecoat.

It is illegal to sing in a public place while attired in a swimsuit.
Men may not be seen publicly in any kind of strapless gown.

Women are prohibited from wearing patent leather shoes in public.
It is illegal to get a fish drunk.

Pedestrians crossing the highways at night must wear taillights.
No one may catch fish with their bare hands.

State law prohibits anyone from taking a bite out of another’s hamburger.

Boogers may not be flicked into the wind.

It is illegal to sell peanut brittle on Sundays.

It is illegal to have more than 3 sips of beer at a time while standing.
It is illegal for a person to go barefoot without obtaining a permit first.

Wow!! Standing in The Shadows of Motown

I just saw one fabulous movie. It’s a documentary on Motown’s “The Funk Brothers”. These guys are the unsung heroes of motown and are the session players that played on almost every single Motown Hit in the 60s and 70s. They invinted the motown sound, yet they didn’t get any credit for it. This film makes you appreciate the session player. I’ll do a full review when the film comes out, but as it stands, it’s definitely one of the best movies of the year, documentary or otherwise. I would give this an A+

Accident Reports

Who Knew Accident Reports Are So Funny?

An automobile crash is no laughing matter…or is it? Maybe it’s because folks are shook up after a collision, and they just aren’t thinking straight when they fill out the required accident report. Or maybe it’s a combination of the need to blame someone else and the very small space in which to do it.
Whatever it is, the result can be humorous. Here are accident explanations culled from REAL insurance claim forms, courtesy of the very creative and funny people at RinkWorks.com:

Just Blame the CAR!
“I had been learning to drive with power steering. I turned the wheel to what I thought was enough and found myself in a different direction going the opposite way.”

“The accident happened when the right door of a car came around the corner without giving a signal.”

“My car was legally parked as it backed into the other vehicle.”

When What Wasn’t There Before…Now Is
“Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don’t have.”

“I thought my window was down; but found it was up when I put my hand through it.”

“I had been shopping for plants all day and was on my way home. As I reached an intersection, a hedge sprung up, obscuring my vision.”

“As I approached the intersection, a stop sign suddenly appeared in a place where no stop sign had ever appeared before. I was unable to stop in time to avoid the accident.”

Pedestrians Have the Right-of-Way? Always?
“A pedestrian hit me and went under my car.” “The pedestrian had no idea which direction to go, so I ran over him.”

“I saw the slow-moving, sad-faced old gentleman as he bounced off the hood of my car.”

“I was sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him.”

“To avoid hitting the bumper of the car in front, I struck the pedestrian.”

You Mean This? Literally?
“I had been driving for 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.”

“I was taking my canary to the hospital. It got loose in the car and flew out the window. The next thing I saw was his rear end, and there was a crash.”

“I was thrown from my car as it left the road. I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows.”

“I was on the way to the doctor with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way causing me to have an accident.”

I Sense a Pattern
“I was backing my car out of the driveway in the usual manner when it was struck by the other car in the same place where it had been struck several times before.”

Oooh, That Must Hurt
“I told the police that I was not injured, but on removing my hat, I found that I had a fractured skull.”

“My wench slipped, losing my balance, and I hurt my back.”

Why You Need to Pay Attention to Your Driving
“In my attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.”

“I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law, and headed over the embankment.”

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