Monday, January 31, 2011

Eastern Newfoundland's Newest Celebrity: A Pacific Coast Hummingbird

When you think of an island paradise Newfoundland, Canada might not be the first place that comes to mind, right?  I would say "island paradise" are two words that most certainly can be used to describe Newfoundland.  From the picturesque landscapes and breathtaking ocean views to the colorful charm of the capitol city, St. John's (which also just happens to be the oldest city in North America), Newfoundland has a beauty and charm a lot of other places cannot claim.

In August of 2010, the island got one more extremely rare thing to add to the already long list of attractions and beauty it's known for:  a tiny hummingbird native to the Pacific Coast.  Yes, you read that correctly.  A hummingbird in Newfoundland, Canada.  Eastern Newfoundland, to be exact.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

UK Television: Law & Order: UK, Episode 4.3 "Shaken"

Law & Order:  UK
Season Four, Episode Three, Shaken
Shaken, Original Air Date:  November 18, 2010 (Canada)

Shaken, Original Air Date:  March 28, 2011 (U.K.)
Based on Law & Order (US) "Homesick", Season 6, Episode 22 (15th May, 1996)

The death of a baby is thought to be because he was shaken.  The suspects include the baby's parents, the nanny and the nanny's boyfriend.  The case takes a twist when it is learned the baby might not have died from having been shaken.

At the home of Michael & Suzanne Raines, Michael Raines arrives home to the sound of loud music.  He yells to the nanny, Leyla Merton (Rebecca Night), who turns the music down then both of them go in to check on the baby who is apparently sleeping.  The baby isn't sleeping and he orders Leyla to phone 999.  Suzanne Raines arrives home after Brooks and Devlin have already arrived.  Autopsy shows the baby had the characteristic injuries of Shaken Baby Syndrome.  He died between 7 and 9 p.m., but the abuse could have occurred anywhere within the last 12 hours of his life.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

US Television: Vampire Diaries, Episode 2.12 "The Descent"

Vampire Diaries
Season Two, Episode 2.12, The Descent
Original Air Date:  January 27, 2011

Rose is getting sicker and sicker by the day as the werewolf bite grows worse despite all efforts to save her.  Stefan feels contacting Isobel for information on Klaus is worth the risk.  Damon battles his inner demons.  Tyler learns some surprising secrets from Jules.  A surprise visitor returns to town.

Jules awakens in the woods after her transformation.  She walks through the woods and finds a trashed camp site.  As she is cleaning it up, a sheriff's van drives up.  As the officer approaches her, she starts to cry and tells the officer a wolf came out of the night and attacked her and her friends.  When he goes to call the attack in, she grabs a log and bashes the officer.

Elena and Stefan share a kiss but Stefan ruins the moment because he wants to talk about Klaus, Katherine and Isobel.  She points out that she made a deal with Elijah.  Stefan understands but he didn't make any deals.  Stefan takes a drink of vervane to try and build his tolerance up as Katherine did.  Elena asks how Elijah is able to compel another vampire and the only answer Stefan can give is that he's an original and he doesn't really know what that means.  No one does, except perhaps Isobel and they should ask her.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

US Television, White Collar, Episode 2.11 "Forging Bonds"

White Collar
Season Two, Episode Eleven, Forging Bonds
Original Air Date:  January 25, 2011

When Peter finds Neal in the same photograph with Vincent Adler, he goes to see his friend wanting to know more about Neal's involvement with the billion-dollar swindler, Adler.  Neal relates to him the story of how he came to know Mozzie, Adler and even Kate and Alex.  Peter, in turn, tells the story of his investigation of Neal and what led him to capture one of the smoothest and best con men in the business.

Peter is going through the case file of a billion dollar ponzi scheme involving Vincent Adler (Andrew McCarthy) and finds Neal in the background of a picture of Adler.  Later that evening, Neal is at home working on a painting, purely for relaxation purposes, when Peter arrives.  He shows Neal the picture of the two of them and asks Neal about Adler.  Neal admits Alder is the man who made him who he is today and that he himself just figured out Adler was responsible for everything that has happened.

Over beer and wine (that cost as much as the beer), Peter asks Neal how he knew Adler.  He wants the entire story from the beginning so they can catch Adler.  Peter will not take 'no' for an answer, even though the story includes crimes he doesn't know about.  He puts his badge on the table and makes Neal a deal:  full immunity for anything he says from that moment until the sun rises over the balcony as long as he didn't kill anyone (which Neal didn't).  Neal takes the deal and starts the story.

Sunday, January 23, 2011 Card Of the Week: Sunday, 23rd, January, 2011

We all have that one special friend we love and adore and would do anything for and these cards work perfectly for that friend.  (Yes, there are two cards this week.  I couldn't decide which one I liked better so I'm including them both.  Send one to a dear friend today!) - If you ever disappeared while hiking, I'd remain with the search party until it started raining - If I only faced time in a minimum-security prison, I'd take the rap for you

Saturday, January 22, 2011

UK Television: Law & Order: UK, Episode 4.2 "Denial"

Law & Order:  UK
Season Four, Episode Two, Denial
Denial, Original Air Date:  November 4, 2010 (Canada)

Denial, Original Air Date:  March 14, 2011 (U.K.)
Based on Law & Order (US) "DNR", Season 10, Episode 3 (6th October, 1999)

A high court judge is shot when she and her husband return from their vacation cottage.  At first, it appears to be a carjacking but, as the details of the case start to not add up the judges husband becomes a suspect for hiring her murder.  However, the judge insists her husband couldn't have done it as he was always with her and never had the opportunity to call the shooter.  Are they suspecting the wrong man or is the judge lying?

Rachel Callaghan (Juliet Stevenson), a high court judge, is shot in a car park and her car is stolen.  A tube of red dye gel is found at the scene.  If sprayed in an attackers face, it will not wash off for seven days.  From hospital, Devlin calls to order the GPS tracking device in Judge Callaghan's car be activated.  He and Brooks talk with the judges husband, Dan Callaghan (John McArdle) who didn't notice anyone suspicious in the car park.

Friday, January 21, 2011

US Television, White Collar, Season 2, Episodes 1-9

Season Two, Episode One:  Withdrawal
Original Air Date:  July 13, 2010

Peter and Neal are dealing with the aftermath of the explosion that killed Kate.  Fowler has disappeared, Neal is back in prison and Peter is trying to get him out again.  Two months later, Neal has made his choice and is back working with Peter and the White Collar Investigation Unit.  The team is working on conducting tests of banking security.  There is the danger that one of the banks the team is working with will be hit by "The Architect" within a week.  Neal is still feeling the effects of what happened with Kate and Peter and Mozzie are both working to keep him focused on The Architect's case.  Neal Caffrey may have very well met his match in their prime suspect, Edward Walker. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

US Television, White Collar, Season 1

Season One, Episode One:  Pilot
Original Air Date:  October 23, 2009

After a final visit from his girlfriend a month prior, genius forger Neal Caffrey escapes from the maximum security prison where he's housed with just three months left on his four-year sentence.  The FBI agent who had originally arrested him, Peter Burke, is called in to find Neal a second time, which he does.  Neal makes a deal with Burke that he will help him find the criminal he's current chasing:  .  The arrangements of the deal is that Neal must wear an ankle monitor and if his assistance doesn't lead to the capture of "" he will go back to prison.

Season One, Episode Two:  Threads
Original Air Date:  October 30, 2009

During Fashion Week, Peter and Neal are going after an Israeli counterfeiter known as "The Ghost".  Neal proposes to throw a party so their sole witness can identify The Ghost's voice.  Peter and his boss reluctantly go along with the plan and it almost succeeds but The Ghost figures out they are onto him and leads them to someone else.  Everything changes when The Ghost abducts their beautiful witness and threatens to kill her if what he wants, and Peter Burke is holding, isn't returned to him.  Neal and Mozzie decipher the code Kate left for Neal the last time she saw him in prison.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

US Television, White Collar, Introduction

What happens when one of the smartest and smoothest con men teams up with one of the smartest and toughest FBI agents?  That's the question White Collar answers every week.

White Collar is an hour-long drama airing on the USA Network.  The popular series is in its sophomore season and stars Matthew Bomer as former con man Neal Caffrey and Tim DeKay as FBI Special Agent Peter Burke.  Peter Burke was the only FBI agent that could ever find and bring Neal Caffrey to justice.  When Kate, the love of Neal's life, says goodbye to him in prison, Neal escapes to find her and find out what's wrong.  Peter catches Neal for the second time and returns him to prison.  Neal presents Peter with a deal:  get me out of prison and I'll help you with your cases.  Peter secures Neal's release and the two become the best white collar crime fighting team the Bureau has.  Neal, now sporting an ankle tracking device, lends his considerable criminal know-how to Peter and his team while, when he's off the clock, he and his friend Mozzie try to unravel the ever-increasing mystery surrounding Kate.

US Television, White Collar, Episode 2.10 "Burke's Seven"

White Collar
Season Two, Episode Ten, Burke's Seven
Original Air Date:  January 18, 2011

Peter Burke and Neal Caffrey begin work on their investigation into finding out who shot Mozzie and bringing that person to justice.  However, their investigation is interrupted when a Department of Justice agent arrives and removes Peter from his job after a single print belonging to Peter is found inside the gun that was used to shoot Mozzie.  Peter and Neal must organize a con to bring Mozzie's shooter to justice and restore Peter's good name.

Mozzie is rushed to the hospital where Neal stands vigil over his friend who is in a medically induced coma.  Peter convinces Neal to leave and get to working on the case so they can get the guy who shot Mozzie.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Sweeter, Faster Ripening Tangerine Discovered...By Baboons

Farm workers in South Africa had been noticing year after year that some of the tangerine trees on the farms were stripped of fruit before others.  This confusing situation wasn't explained until one farm worker saw baboons picking the fruit from the tree that ripened three to four weeks before all the other trees at the farm.  Tests were conducted on the tree and the fruit and those tests revealed the fruit is sweeter and ripened faster.  The owner of the farm, Alwyn van der Merwe, grafted more of the quicker ripening and sweeter trees which will help Van Der Merwe get into a profitable niche in the U.S. market because his trees can produce faster.

According to the head of South Africa's Citrus Growers Association, Justin Chadwick, experts are always looking for ways to ripen fruits earlier or later than they naturally would.  Alwyn van der Merwe feels his tree naturally mutated which Chadwick confirms does happen and should be something farmers should watch for.

Van Der Merwe still hasn't named his new tangerine and might just give the baboons who discovered them a nod when the name is chosen.  Even if he doesn't, he will be leaving a crate of tangerines for the baboons when the next harvest comes around.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

History: John F. Kennedy Documents & Recordings Online for the First Time

Regardless of where in the world you live, you might have an interest in American history or American political history.  If you do, the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts has just put thousands upon thousands of documents, photographs and recorded telephone conversations online that will make you very happy.

Before the digital age, amateur historians, researchers and individuals with just a passing interest would have had to travel from their homes to Boston to read, see and hear the historically significant material at the Kennedy Library and Museum.  Now, anyone with online access can view 200,000 document pages, 1,200 recordings of telephone conversations, speeches and meetings and some 1,500 photographs of the late 35th American president.

Digitizing the material was a four-year project for almost two dozen individuals at the Library and Museum and work is ongoing to further expand the collection.  Even major technology firms were involved in the process to bring these documents to the public.  EMC Corp. donated high-speed storage, Iron Mountain provided secure computing facilities, AT&T provided hosting and networking and Raytheon led project management.

Massachusetts born John F. Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States serving from 1961 until he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963.  Many Americans consider Kennedy to be one of the finest presidents to date and he remains an American hero to many to this day.  The Kennedy years, often referred to as "Camelot" are thought of by many as the closest to having royalty as the United States ever came.

Follow this link if you would like to browse the Digital Archive of the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Missing Pieces of Amenhotep III & Queen Tiye Statue Found in Egypt

In 1889, French egyptologist Auguste Mariette discovered a double statue of Pharaoh Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye at Medinet (Thebes).  Once the massive statue was restored it was learned that six pieces were missing.  Modern stonework was used by an Italian team to fill in missing pieces to complete the statue.

On January 9, 2011, Farouk Hosny, Egyptian Minister of Culture announced the missing pieces of the 18th Dynasty double statue had finally been discovered at the king's mortuary temple on Luxor's west bank by an Egyptian team under the direction of Dr. Zahi Hawass, the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

The missing pieces were from Amenhotep III's right chest area, nemes headdress and leg and a section of Queen Tiye's wig as well as pieces of her left arm, fingers and foot.  A small section of the base of the double statue was also found.  The will be restored and placed into the double statue at a later date. 

For more information about this remarkable find and to see a diagram of the double statue and the location of the newly discovered pieces, you can read this article.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Injured Turtle Gets A Brand New Set of Wheels

There isn't much to this story but I thought it was a truly amazing one.

Tzvika was run over by a lawn mower and suffered severe damage to her shell and a spinal injury which affected her ability to use her back legs.  Veterinarians at the Wildlife Hospital in the Ramat Gan Safari near Tel Aviv, Israel attached two tiny wheels to Tzvika's shell to prevent it from being worn down as she moved and to help her to walk.

It's awesome that the veterinarians worked so hard to save her life and make it as good as it possibly can be.  I can imagine she really gets along at a pretty good clip now that she's got her a nice set of wheels!

To see pictures of Tzvika, you can check out this article.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

An Unlikey Vocabulary Champion: Chaser the Border Collie

It isn't every day that you come across a dog that knows over 1,000 words.  Of course, it isn't every day that you get to meet Chaser the Border Collie.  Six-year-old Chaser currently holds the title for canine word comprehension.  She was trained at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina in the United States.  She knows the names of 1,022 objects and clearly understands the meanings of each word in her massive vocabulary.

Chaser's handlers say her extraordinary vocabulary skills come close to that of a 3-year-old child.  Her skills have made her famous around the globe.

I love this story and it really is proof positive that dogs aren't just "dumb animals" as some would like to believe. 

Source: News Article

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

10-Year-Old Girl Discovers Supernova

10-year-old Kathryn Aurora Gray of Fredericton, New Brunswick has become the youngest person ever to discover a supernova.  Miss Gray discovered the supernova on January 2, 2011. 

Supernova 2010lt is a magnitude-17 in galaxy UGC 3378, in the constellation of Camelopardalis.  It is about 240 million light years away from earth.  Katheryn Gray discovered the supernova from Abbey Ridge Observatory under the watchful eyes of her father, astronomer Paul Gray, and astronomer David Lane.  Supernova 2010lt is Paul Gray's seventh supernova discovery and David Lane's fourth.

Supernovas are stellar explosions that signal the violent deaths of stars several times larger than the sun.  They can be used to estimate the size and age of the universe.  Supernovas are rare.  The Chandra X-Ray Observatory found evidence of one which took place around 140 years ago in our galaxy.  Before that, the last known supernova in the Milky Way occurred around 1680.

Congratulations, Kathryn!  This might just be the start of a long and illustrious career in astronomy for young Miss Gray!

For more information:

Monday, January 3, 2011

AUS Television: Rake, Episode 1.8 "R vs. Corella"

Season One, Episode Eight, R vs. Corella
Original Air Date:  December 23, 2010

When the body of a murdered man is discovered in a construction area thanks to a blown water main, Mick Corella is arrested and charged with the murder.  Mick wants Cleaver to defend him and sweetens the pot for Cleave by offering to make his $80,000 worth of gambling debts disappear and even give him a $25,000 line of credit.  Missy confesses her past to David with disastrous results.  Barney and Scarlett come to an understanding.  It's time for Cleaver to pay the piper in his tax case but things take a surprising twist.

The action (no pun intended) starts at "a social gathering" seven months ago.  Mick Corella (Richard Carter) is holding a swingers party.  At the party, his wife, Kirsty (Robyn Malcolm) sees an old acquaintance, Nigel Turner (Paul Gleeson).  The two strike up a casual  conversation (while still seeing to their current partners, of course).  It's clear Kirsty has had feelings for Nigel in the past, and still does.  Kirsty introduces Nigel to Mick and the two men even shake hands.  Nigel suggests he and Kirsty might be able to get together later to catch up on old times but she declines.  Later, in the kitchen, once they are no longer attending to anyone at the party, Kirsty and Nigel again meet and continue talking.  Nigel notices that Mick has an eye on them and the two old friends stop talking until he leaves.  Kirsty then tells Nigel she would like to catch up and gives him a number where he can reach her.

Fast forward seven months later.  A water main blows up in the area where a car park is being extended and a body is found.  The body of Nigel Turner.  A shopping receipt was left in a bag found with the body giving the police a time and date when the body was buried. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011 Card Of the Week: Sunday, 2nd, January, 2011

It's a new year so I thought this would be a great time to kick off a new feature here at Wigg's Potpourri:  the Card of the Week.

If you aren't familiar with, you really should be.  I will admit straight up that the cards at this site aren't for everyone.  The humor in them is sometimes dark, sometimes terribly risque but always good.  There isn't a single time I don't visit the site that I don't end up spending an hour or two reading through all the cards and laughing like I've gone totally mad.  It's absolutely free to send a card to a friend or loved one (and won't that loved one just love you all the more after getting one of these cards?) so hop on over and find that special card for that special someone.  You'll be glad you did. 

This weeks card: - Now that the holiday blues are over, let's resume our everyday melancholy

Saturday, January 1, 2011

AUS Television: "Tangle" Returning for 3rd Season

It was announced in mid-December 2010 that the Showtime Australia drama Tangle was renewed for a 3rd season.  It has been confirmed that Justine Clarke (Ally), Catherine McClements (Christine) and Kat Stewart (Nat) will be in the third season which will begin production in June of this year.

The new season will look at the separation of generations from one another and the stretching of family ties.

To read more about this exciting news, check out the TV Tonight article.

AUS Television: Second Season of "Spirited" Commissioned

This isn't "new" news but I've been meaning to post about it for a while now and have finally gotten the time to sit down and do a small write up for it.

In September of 2010, FOXTEL announced that pre-production was underway for a second season of the W/FOXTEL drama Spirited.  Shooting for the eight-episode second season begins in February of 2011.  Claudia Karvan, Matt King and Rodger Corser will all be returning for the sophomore season of the drama.

Spirited is a black comedy that follows Suzy Darling (Claudia Karvan), a dentist and mother of two young children who has left her husband, Steve Darling (Rodger Corser).  Suzy soon discovers that there is someone else living in her new home with her:  the ghost of a wild British punk rocker, Henry Mallet (Matt King). 

The first episode aired on 25th August, 2010 and the eighth, and final, episode of season one aired on 13th October, 2010.

This isn't a show that I blogged the during the first season, although I kept up with it every week.  I'm still considering whether to blog it when the new season starts so you might just see more about this show on this blog this year!

For further details on the second season commission of Spirited you can read the article.

For more information on Spirited:
The Internet Movie Database: