Thursday, February 21, 2008

Priscilla Presley

Priscilla Ann Beaulieu Presley (born May 24, 1945) is an American model, author and actress. She is the ex-wife of rock 'n' roll singer and musician Elvis Presley and mother of singer/songwriter Lisa Marie Presley. Presley was born Priscilla Ann Wagner in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Anna Lillian (née Iverson) and James Frederick Wagner. Her biological father, a U.S. Air Force pilot, was killed in a plane crash when Presley was an infant. Her mother then married Paul Beaulieu, also a United States Air Force officer. Beaulieu took over the raising of Priscilla and is known as her father. The Beaulieus were stationed in West Germany at the same time as Elvis during his stint in the United States Army. Priscilla, an Air Force brat, was 14 years old when she met Elvis in Wiesbaden.

Elvis managed to talk the extremely reluctant Beaulieus into allowing Priscilla to live with his father (Vernon Presley) and stepmother, Dee Presley, at a home Elvis purchased on Hermitage Drive in Memphis located at the back of Graceland. The seventeen-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu "worked" on her mother to get her support but before finally agreeing, her still reluctant and protective father flew with her to Los Angeles where Presley was filming "Fun in Acapulco". After discussing the "rules," she and her father flew to Memphis where they met with Vernon Presley, made arrangements for Priscilla's enrollment in the Immaculate Conception school and her father confirmed her living arrangements at Vernon Presley's house.

Priscilla and Presley were married on May 1, 1967, in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Aladdin Hotel. Their only child, daughter Lisa Marie, was born exactly nine months later on February 1, 1968. They separated on February 23, 1972, agreeing to share custody of their daughter, this eventually ending in divorce on October 9, 1973.

After her divorce from Elvis, Priscilla bought into a boutique and ran it for a few years before getting into modeling and acting. After signing with the William MoIn addition, she starred in the feature film Breakfast with Einstein, executive-produced the feature film Finding Graceland and made guest appearances on Melrose Place, Touched by an Angel and Spin City. She may be best known as an actress for playing the character Jenna Wade on the television series Dallas for five years, and she also starred in the Naked Gun films. The television version of Elvis and Me was produced by her production company, Navarone Productions. As late as 2003, she planned to develop a Broadway musical about her life. It was revealed in February 2008 that she will appear on season six of ABC's Dancing with the Stars (U.S. TV series).

Presley developed four perfumes in the 1990s. Two, "Moments" and "Experiences", were very successful in Europe, and a third, Indian Summer, hit American shelves in 1996, followed by "Roses and More". She has also successfully sold her line of products live on the Home Shopping Network and was coached by veteran HSN host Bob Circosta. In 2006, Presley flew to Australia for the debut of her worldwide line of bed linens, called the Priscilla Presley Collection. She partnered with Australian designer Bruno Schiavi for the line. Priscilla has also been awarded an honorary degree from Rhodes College.

Romantically, Presley has had a number of serious relationships since her divorce from Elvis in 1973. Immediately afterwards, she lived with karate instructor Mike Stone. She then had a seven-year live-in relationship with bisexual model Mike Edwards, until he began developing feelings for the teenage Lisa Marie. Edwards recounts the tale of their relationship in his book Priscilla, Elvis, and Me.

Priscilla's longest relationship has been with Italian screenwriter-director Marco Garibaldi, with whom she lived for 22 years. Their son, Navarone, was born on March 1, 1987. The two separated in April 2006. She is now rumoured to be dating British TV executive Nigel Lythgoe.

After the death of Elvis's father Vernon in 1979, Presley served as co-executor of his estate. Graceland itself cost $500,000 a year in upkeep, and expenses had dwindled Lisa Marie's inheritance to $5 million. Priscilla examined other famous house/museums, and hired a CEO to turn Graceland into a moneymaker. She became the chairwoman and president of Elvis Presley Enterprises. After Graceland opened to the public in 1982, the enterprise's fortunes soared and eventually the trust grew to be worth over $100 million.

In addition, in 2000, Presley was elected to the board of directors of MGM, with the prime vote coming from Kirk Kerkorian, who dated Priscilla in the 1970s.

Presley and her daughter had a tempestuous relationship when Lisa was a teenager, but theirs has since matured into a smoother, more understanding mother-daughter relationship. Lisa Marie Click here for nude pictures. even imitated Presley by marrying not the King of Rock 'n' Roll but the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Lisa Marie herself now has a daughter (Priscilla's granddaughter), Riley Keough, who models for John Galliano, and Benjamin Keough (Priscilla's grandson).

Presley and Lisa Marie are both Scientologists, introduced to the religion in 1979 by John Travolta. Of the group, Presley said in 1996, "You get answers, and that's very different from other religions. It's gotten me back to basics."

It was announced on February 17, 2008. that Presley would be a contestent on Season 6 of Dancing with the Stars. She will be partnered with Louis van Amstel. She has been in and out of the papers in recent years for speculation about her plastic surgery and cosmetic work. Click here for nude pictures.

Allenna Ward

A female former middle school teacher was sent to prison for six years Tuesday for having sexual encounters with five teenage boys. Click here to see pictures of Allenna Ward.

Authorities said Allenna Ward, 24, met 14- and 15-year-old boys at the school where she taught as well as at a motel, a park and behind a restaurant.

"I apologize from the depths of my heart," Ward said in court.

Police began investigating last year after school officials found a note believed to have been written by Ward to one of the boys. Some of the victims were students at Bell Street Middle School in Clinton, where Ward taught. She was fired about a year ago.

Ward pleaded guilty in September to three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and three lewd acts on a minor.

Forensic psychiatrist Donna Schwartz-Watts said Ward is not a pedophile, but rather a childlike victim suffering from personality disorders and a repressed childhood. Schwartz-Watts said the minister's daughter lived a sheltered life but really was a "free spirit" who never got a chance to break away from her family.

Prosecutors painted Ward's crimes in a harsher light and said she violated the trust that parents place in teachers.

Some of the victims' families attended the sentencing but did not speak during the court hearing.

"I just feel like justice has been served," the sister of one victim said after the hearing. "We're just glad that it's all over." Click here to see pictures of Allenna Ward.

The Way of the Cross by Saint Francis of Assisi

The Way of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Preparatory Prayer

O most merciful Jesus, with a contrite heart and penitent spirit, I bow down in profound humility before Thy divine majesty. I adore Thee as my supreme Lord and Master; I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee above all things. I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, my Supreme and Only Good. I resolve to amend my life, and although I am unworthy to obtain mercy, yet the sight of Thy holy cross, on which Thou didst die, inspires me with hope and consolation. I will, therefore, meditate on Thy sufferings, and visit the stations of Thy Passion in company with Thy sorrowful Mother and my guardian angel, with the intention of promoting Thy honor and saving my soul.

I desire to gain all the indulgences granted for this holy exercise for myself and for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. O merciful Redeemer, who has said, "And I, if I be lifted from earth, will draw all things to Myself," draw my heart and my love to Thee, that I may perform this devotion as perfectly as possible, and that I may live and die in union with Thee. Amen.

STATION 1 - Jesus is condemned to Death

Adoration

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Meditation

Jesus, most innocent, who neither did nor could commit a sin, was condemned to death, and moreover, to the most ignominious death of the cross. To remain a friend of Caesar, Pilate delivered Him into the hands of His enemies. A fearful crime -- to condemn Innocence to death, and to offend God in order not to displease men!

Prayer

O innocent Jesus, having sinned, I am guilty of eternal death, but Thou willingly dost accept the unjust sentence of death, that I might live. For whom, then, shall I henceforth live, if not for Thee, my Lord? Should I desire to please men, I could not be Thy servant. Let me, therefore, rather displease men and all the world, than not please Thee, O Jesus.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!

Sabat Mater

At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

STATION 2 - Jesus is made to carry His Cross

Adoration

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Meditation

When our divine Savior beheld the cross, He most willingly stretched out His bleeding arms, lovingly embraced it, and tenderly kissed it, and placing it on His bruised shoulders, He, although almost exhausted, joyfully carried it.

Prayer

O my Jesus, I cannot be Thy friend and follower, if I refuse to carry the cross. O dearly beloved cross! I embrace thee, I kiss thee, I joyfully accept thee from the hands of my God. Far be it from me to glory in anything, save in the cross of my Lord and Redeemer. By it the world shall be crucified to me and I to the world, that I may be Thine forever.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!

Sabat Mater

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword has passed.

STATION 3 - Jesus falls the First Time

Adoration

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Meditation

Our dear Savior, carrying the cross, was so weakened by its heavy weight as to fall exhausted to the ground. Our sins and misdeeds were the heavy burden which oppressed Him: the cross was to Him light and sweet, but our sins were galling and insupportable.

Prayer

O my Jesus, Thou didst bear my burden and the heavy weight of my sins. Should I, then, not bear in union with Thee, my easy burden of suffering and accept the sweet yoke of Thy commandments? Thy yoke is sweet and Thy burden is light: I therefore willingly accept it. I will take up my cross and follow Thee.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!

Sabat Mater

O, how sad and sore distressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole-begotten One!

STATION 4 - Jesus meets His Sorrowful Mother

Adoration

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Meditation

How painful and how sad it must have been for Mary, the sorrowful Mother, to behold her beloved Son, laden with the burden of the cross! What unspeakable pangs her most tender heart experienced! How earnestly did she desire to die in place of Jesus, or at least with Him! Implore this sorrowful Mother that she assist you in the hour of your death.

Prayer

O Jesus, O Mary, I am the cause of the great and manifold pains which pierce your loving hearts! Oh, that also my heart would feel and experience at least some of your sufferings! O Mother of Sorrows, let me participate in the sufferings which thou and Thy Son endured for me, and let me experience thy sorrow, that afflicted with thee, I may enjoy thy assistance in the hour of my death.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!

Sabat Mater

Christ above in torment hangs,
She beneath beholds the pangs,
Of her dying, glorious Son.

STATION 5 - Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry His Cross

Adoration

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Meditation

Simon of Cyrene was compelled to help Jesus carry His cross, and Jesus accepted his assistance. How willingly would He also permit you to carry the cross: He calls, but you hear Him not; He invites you, but you decline. What a reproach, to bear the cross reluctantly!

Prayer

O Jesus! Whosoever does not take up his cross and follow Thee, is not worthy of Thee. Behold, I join Thee in the Way of Thy Cross; I will be Thy assistant, following Thy bloody footsteps, that I may come to Thee in eternal life. ------ Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Jesus Christ, crucified, have mercy on us!

Sabat Mater

Is there one who would not weep
Whelmed in miseries so deep
Christ's dear Mother to Behold?

STATION 6 - Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus

Adoration

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Meditation

Veronica, impelled by devotion and compassion, presents her veil to Jesus to wipe His disfigured face. And Jesus imprints on it His holy countenance: a great recompense for so small a service. What return to you make to your Savior for His great and manifold benefits?

Prayer

Most merciful Jesus! What return shall I make for all the benefits Thou hast bestowed upon me? Behold I consecrate myself entirely to Thy service. I offer and consecrate to Thee my heart: imprint on it Thy sacred image, never again to be effaced by sin.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!

Sabat Mater

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother's pain untold?

STATION 7 - Jesus falls the Second Time

Adoration

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Meditation

The suffering Jesus, under the weight of His cross, again falls to the ground; but the cruel executioners do not permit Him to rest a moment. Pushing and striking Him, they urge Him onward. It is the frequent repetition of our sins which oppress Jesus. Witnessing this, how can I continue to sin?

Prayer

O Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! Offer me Thy helping hand, and aid me, that I may not fall again into my former sins. From this very moment, I will earnestly strive to reform: nevermore will I sin! Thou, O sole support of the weak, by Thy grace, without which I can do nothing, strengthen me to carry out faithfully this my resolution.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!

Sabat Mater

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
She beheld her tender child,
All with bloody scourges rent.

STATION 8 - The women of Jerusalem weep over Jesus

Adoration

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Meditation

These devoted women, moved by compassion, weep over the suffering Savior. But He turns to them, saying: "Weep not for Me, Who am innocent, but weep for yourselves and for your children." Weep thou also, for there is nothing more pleasing to Our Lord and nothing more profitable for thyself, than tears shed from contrition for thy sins.

Prayer

O Jesus, Who shall give to my eyes a torrent of tears, that day and night I may weep for my sins? I beseech Thee, through Thy bitter and bloody tears, to move my heart by Thy divine grace, so that from my eyes tears may flow abundantly, and that I may weep all my days over Thy sufferings, and still more over their cause, my sins.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!

Sabat Mater

For the sins of His own nation
Saw Him hang in desolation
Till His Spirit forth He sent.

STATION 9 - Jesus falls the Third Time

Adoration

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Meditation

Jesus, arriving exhausted at the foot of Calvary, falls for the third time to the ground. His love for us, however, is not diminished, not extinguished. What a fearfully oppressive burden our sins must be to cause Jesus to fall so often! Had He, however, not taken them upon Himself, they would have plunged us into the abyss of Hell.

Prayer

Most merciful Jesus, I return Thee infinite tanks for not permitting me to continue in sin and to fall, as I have so often deserved, into the depths of Hell. Enkindle in me an earnest desire of amendment; let me never again relapse, but vouchsafe me the grace to persevere in penance to the end of my life.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!

Sabat Mater

O thou Mother! fount of love,
Touch my spirit from above.
Make my heart with thine accord:

STATION 10 - Jesus is stripped of His Garments

Adoration

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Meditation

When Our Savior had arrived on Calvary, He was cruelly despoiled of His garments. How painful this must have been because they adhered to His wounded and torn body, and with them parts of His bloody skin were removed! All the wounds of Jesus were renewed. Jesus was despoiled of His garments that He might die possessed of nothing; how happy will I also die after laying aside my former self with all evil desires and sinful inclinations!

Prayer

Induce me, O Jesus, to lay aside my former self and to be renewed according to Thy will and desire. i will not spare myself, however painful this should be for me: despoiled of things temporal, of my own will, I desire to die, in order to live for Thee forever.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!

Sabat Mater

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.

STATION 11 - Jesus is nailed to the Cross

Adoration

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Meditation

Jesus, being stripped of His garments, was violently thrown upon the cross and His hands and feet nailed thereto. In such excruciating pains He remained silent, because it pleased His heavenly Father. He suffered patiently, because He suffered for me. How do I act in sufferings and in troubles? How fretful and impatient, how full of complaints I am!

Prayer

O Jesus, gracious Lamb of God, I renounce forever my impatience. Crucify, O Lord, my flesh and its concupiscences; scourge, scathe, and punish me in this world, do but spare me in the next. I commit my destiny to Thee, resigning myself to Thy holy will: may it be done in all things!

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!

Sabat Mater

Holy Mother, pierce me through!
In my heart, each wound renew
Of my Savior crucified.

STATION 12 - Jesus is raised upon the Cross and Dies

Adoration

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Meditation

Behold Jesus crucified! Behold His wounds, received for love of you! His whole appearance betokens love: His head is bent to kiss you; His arms are extended to embrace you; His Heart is open to receive you. O superabundance of love, Jesus, the Son of God, dies upon the cross, that man may live and be delivered from everlasting death!

Prayer

O most amiable Jesus! Who will grant me that I may die for Thee! I will at least endeavor to die to the world. How must I regard the world and its vanities, when I behold Thee hanging on the cross, covered with wounds? O Jesus, receive me into Thy wounded Heart: I belong entirely to Thee; for Thee alone do I desire to live and to die.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!

Sabat Mater

Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

STATION 13 - Jesus is taken from the Cross and given to His Mother

Adoration

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Meditation

Jesus did not descend from the cross but remained on it until He died. And when taken down from it, He in death as in life, rested on the bosom of His divine Mother. Persevere in your resolutions of reform and do not part from the cross; he who persevereth to the end shall be saved. Consider, moreover, how pure the heart should be that receives the body and blood of Christ in the Adorable Sacrament of the Altar.

Prayer

O Lord Jesus, Thy lifeless body, mangled and lacerated, found a worthy resting-place on the bosom of Thy virgin Mother. Have I not often compelled Thee to dwell in my heart, full of sin and impurity as it was? Create in me a new heart, that I may worthily receive Thy most sacred body in Holy Communion, and that Thou mayest remain in me and I in Thee for all eternity.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Lord Jesus, crucified, have mercy on us!

Sabat Mater

Let me mingle tears with thee,
Mourning Him who mourned for me,
All the days that I may live.

STATION 14 - Jesus is laid in the Sepulcher

Adoration

We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Meditation

The body of Jesus is interred in a stranger's sepulchre. He who in this world had not whereupon to rest His head, would not even have a grave of His own, because He was not from this world. You, who are so attached to the world, henceforth despise it, that you may not perish with it.

Prayer

O Jesus, Thou hast set me apart from the world; what, then, shall I seek therein? Thou hast created me for Heaven; what, then, have I to do with the world? Depart from me, deceitful world, with thy vanities! Henceforth i will follow the Way of the Cross traced out for me by my Redeemer, and journey onward to my heavenly home, there to dwell forever and ever.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be

Jesus Christ, crucified, have mercy on us!

Sabat Mater

By the cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.

Concluding Prayer

Almighty and eternal God, merciful Father, who hast given to the human race Thy beloved Son as an example of humility, obedience, and patience, to precede us on the way of life, bearing the cross: Graciously grant us that we, inflamed by His infinite love, may take up the sweet yoke of His Gospel together with the mortification of the cross, following Him as His true disciples, so that we shall one day gloriously rise with Him and joyfully hear the final sentence: "Come, ye blessed of My Father, and possess the kingdom which was prepared for you from the beginning," where Thou reignest with the Son and the Holy Ghost, and where we hope to reign with Thee, world without end. Amen.

-Saint Francis of Assisi

Saint Francis of Assisi Patron Saint of Animals

Francis of Assisi was a poor little man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally—not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a mite of self-importance.

Serious illness brought the young Francis to see the emptiness of his frolicking life as leader of Assisi's youth. Prayer—lengthy and difficult—led him to a self-emptying like that of Christ, climaxed by embracing a leper he met on the road. It symbolized his complete obedience to what he had heard in prayer: "Francis! Everything you have loved and desired in the flesh it is your duty to despise and hate, if you wish to know my will. And when you have begun this, all that now seems sweet and lovely to you will become intolerable and bitter, but all that you used to avoid will turn itself to great sweetness and exceeding joy."

From the cross in the neglected field-chapel of San Damiano, Christ told him, "Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down." Francis became the totally poor and humble workman.

He must have suspected a deeper meaning to "build up my house." But he would have been content to be for the rest of his life the poor "nothing" man actually putting brick on brick in abandoned chapels. He gave up every material thing he had, piling even his clothes before his earthly father (who was demanding restitution for Francis' "gifts" to the poor) so that he would be totally free to say, "Our Father in heaven." He was, for a time, considered to be a religious "nut," begging from door to door when he could not get money for his work, bringing sadness or disgust to the hearts of his former friends, ridicule from the unthinking.

But genuineness will tell. A few people began to realize that this man was actually trying to be Christian. He really believed what Jesus said: "Announce the kingdom! Possess no gold or silver or copper in your purses, no traveling bag, no sandals, no staff" (see Luke 9:1-3).

Francis' first rule for his followers was a collection of texts from the Gospels. He had no idea of founding an order, but once it began he protected it and accepted all the legal structures needed to support it. His devotion and loyalty to the Church were absolute and highly exemplary at a time when various movements of reform tended to break the Church's unity.

He was torn between a life devoted entirely to prayer and a life of active preaching of the Good News. He decided in favor of the latter, but always returned to solitude when he could. He wanted to be a missionary in Syria or in Africa, but was prevented by shipwreck and illness in both cases. He did try to convert the sultan of Egypt during the Fifth Crusade.

During the last years of his relatively short life (he died at 44) he was half blind and seriously ill. Two years before his death, he received the stigmata, the real and painful wounds of Christ in his hands, feet and side.

On his deathbed, he said over and over again the last addition to his Canticle of the Sun, "Be praised, O Lord, for our Sister Death." He sang Psalm 141, and at the end asked his superior to have his clothes removed when the last hour came and for permission to expire lying naked on the earth, in imitation of his Lord.

Also known as
Francis Bernardone; il Poverello
Memorial
4 October
Profile
Son of Pietro Bernadone, a rich cloth merchant. Though he had a good education and became part of his father's business, he also had a somewhat misspent youth. Street brawler and some-time soldier. Captured during a conflict between Assisi and Perugia, he spent over a year as a prisoner of war. During this time he had a conversion experience, including a reported message from Christ calling him to leave this worldly life. Upon release, Francis began taking his religion seriously.

He took the Gospels as the rule of his life, Jesus Christ as his literal example. He dressed in rough clothes, begged for his sustenance, and preached purity and peace. His family disapproved, and his father disinherited him; Francis formally renounced his wealth and inheritance. He visited hospitals, served the sick, preached in the streets, and took all men and women as siblings. He began to attract followers in 1209, and with papal blessing, founded the Franciscans based on a simple statment by Jesus: "Leave all and follow me." In 1212 Clare of Assisi became his spiritual student, which led to the founding of the Poor Clares. Visited and preached to the Saracens. Composed songs and hymns to God and nature. Lived with animals, worked with his hands, cared for lepers, cleaned churches, and sent food to thieves. In 1221 he resigned direction of the Franciscans.

While in meditation on Mount Alvernia in the Apennines in September 1224, Francis received the stigmata, which periodically bled during the remaining two years of his life. This miracle has a separate memorial on 17 September.

In the Middle Ages people who believed to be possessed by Beelzebub especially called upon the intercession of Saint Francis, the theory being that he was the demon's opposite number in heaven.
Born
1181 at Assisi, Umbria, Italy as Francis Bernardone
Died
4 October 1226 at Portiuncula, Italy of natural causes; relics in Assisi, Italy
Canonized
16 July 1228 by Pope Gregory IX
Patronage
Patron saint against dying alone; patron saint against fire; patron saint of animal welfare societies; patron saint of animals; patron saint of Assisi Italy; patron saint of birds; patron saint of Catholic Action; patron saint of Colorado; patron saint of archdiocese of Denver Colorado; patron saint of dying alone; patron saint of ecologists; patron saint of ecology; patron saint of environment; patron saint of environmentalism; patron saint of environmentalists; patron saint of families; patron saint of fire; patron saint of Franciscan Order; patron saint of Freising, Germany; patron saint of Italy; patron saint of diocese of Kottapuram, India; patron saint of lacemakers; patron saint of laceworkers; patron saint of diocese of Lancaster, England; Massa, Italy; merchants; diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey; Nambe Indian Pueblo; needle workers; peace; Quibdo, Choco, Colombia; patron saint of diocese of Salina, Kansas; patron saint of archdiocese of San Francisco California; patron saint of San Pawl il-Bahar, Malta; patron saint of Sante Fe New Mexico; patron saint of archdiocese of Sante Fe New Mexico; Sorbo, Italy; patron saint of tapestry workers; patron saint of zoos
Representation
birds; deer; fish; lamb; skull; stigmata; wolf

Prayers By Saint Francis of Assisi
Canticle of Brother Sun

Most High Almighty Good Lord, Yours are praise, glory, honor and all blessings; To You alone! Most High, do they belong, and no man is worthy of speaking Your Name!

Be praised, Lord, with all Your creatures, and above all our Brother Sun, who gives us the day by which You light our way, and who is beautiful, radiant and with his great splendor is a symbol to us of You, O Most High!

And be praised, Lord, for our Sister Moon and the Stars. You created them in the heavens bright, precious and beautiful!

And be praised, Lord, for our Brother the Wind and for the air and the clouds and for fair weather and for all other through which You sustain Your creatures.

And be praised, Lord, for our Sister Water, so useful, and humble, and chaste!

And be praised, my Lord, for our Brother Fire, through whom You light up the night and who is handsome, joyful, robust, and strong!

And be praised, my Lord, for our Sister, Mother Earth, who supports and carries us and produces the diverse fruits and colorful flowers and trees!

Praise and bless the Lord and give thanks to Him and serve Him with great humility!

Be praised, my Lord, for our Sister, bodily Death from whom no living man can escape!

Woe only to those who die in mortal sin; but blessed are those who have done Your most holy will; for the second death can cause them no harm!

Saint Francis of Assisi

Immaculate Conception Novena Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Hail, holy Lady,
Most holy Queen,
Mary, Mother of God,
Virgin made Church;
Chosen by the most holy Father in heaven,
consecrated by him,
with his most holy beloved Son
and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
On you descended and in you still remains
all the fulness of grace
and every good.
Hail, his Palace.
his Tabernacle.
Hail, his Robe.
Hail, his Handmaid.
Hail, his Mother.
And Hail, all holy Virtues
who, by the grace
and inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
are poured forth into the hearts of the
faithful
so that, faithless no longer,
they may be made faithful servants of God
through you. Amen.

Novena to Saint Francis of Assisi

Glorious Saint Francis, who voluntarily renounced all the comforts and riches of your home to follow more perfectly the life of poverty and abnegation of Jesus Christ:

obtain for us, we pray, a generous contempt of all things in this world, that we may secure the true and eternal things of heaven.



Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O glorious Saint Francis, who during the whole course of your life continually wept over the passion of the Redeemer, and labor most zealously for the salvation of souls:

obtain for us, we pray, the grace of weeping continually over those sins by which we have crucified afresh Our Lord Jesus Christ, that we may attain to be of th e number of those who shall eternally bless His supreme mercy.



Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O glorious Saint Francis, who, loving above all things suffering and the cross, merited to bear in your body the miraculous stigmata, by which you became a living image of Jesus Christ crucified:

obtain for us, we pray, the grace to bear in our bodies the mortifications of Christ, that we may merit one day to receive the consolations which are infallibly promised to all those who now weep.



"If we be dead with Christ Jesus, we shall live also with Him," says the Apostle; "if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." (2nd Timothy 2.11-12)

Pray for us, Saint Francis, that we may obtain the graces and favors we ask for in this novena; pray for us, especially, that we may obtain the grace of perseverance; of a holy death and a happy eternity.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

-Pagani

Prayer to Saint Francis of Assisi

Most lovable and popular Saint, son of a go-getting and wealthy merchant of Assisi, you discarded earthly possessions for the Savior you loved so dearly and you won innumerable persons for Jesus. How greatly we need in our day unselfish and just merchants. Inspire them with the love of Christ for others and with the desire for things that endure. Amen.

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.


O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Prayer For Animals

God Our Heavenly Father, You created the world to serve humanity's needs and to lead them to You. By our own fault we have lost the beautiful relationship which we once had with all your creation. Help us to see that by restoring our relationship with You we will also restore it with all Your creation. Give us the grace to see all animals as gifts from You and to treat them with respect for they are Your creation. We pray for all animals who are suffering as a result of our neglect. May the order You originally established be once again restored to the whole world through the intercession of the Glorious Virgin Mary, the prayers of Saint Francis and the merits of Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ Who lives and reigns with You now and forever. Amen.

Saint Francis of Assisi

Prayer for the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi

O God, Who, through the merits of blessed Francis, magnifies Your church, enriching it anew with spiritual offspring: make us, like him, to disdain the goods of earth, nor at any time to lack the comforting gifts of heaven.

-from the Roman Missal

Prayer in Honor of the Sacred Stigmata of Saint Francis of Assisi

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who when the world was growing cold, in order that the hearts of men might burn anew with the fire of Your love, did in the flesh of the most blessed Francis reproduce the stigmata of Your passion: be mindful of his merits and prayers; and in Your mercy vouchsafe to us the grace ever to carry Your cross, and to bring forth worthy fruits of penance.

-To all the faithful who, upon the five Sundays which immediately precede the feast of the sacred stigmata of Saint Francis of Assisi, or upon any other five consecutive Sundays during the year, shall exercise themselves either in pious meditation, or in vocal prayer, or in any other work of Christian piety, in honor of the said sacred stigmata, a plenary indulgence is granted once a year, on each of the five Sundays, on the usual conditions.

-Pope Leo XIII, 21 November 1885

Bernadine of Siena Patron Saint of Gambling Addiction

Also known as
Bernadino; Bernardine of Siena; Bernardino
Memorial
20 May
Profile
Friar Minor. Priest. Itinerent preacher. Theological writer. His preaching skills were so great, and the conversions so numerous, that he has become associated with all areas of speaking, advertising, public relations, etc.

Bernardino's charismatic preaching filled the piazze of Italian cities. Thousands of listeners flocked to hear him and to participate in dramatic rituals, which included collective weeping, bonfires of vanities, and exorcisms. He was a renowned peacemaker, in the Franciscan tradition, who tried to calm feuding clans and factions in the turbulent political world of the Renaissance. His preaching visits would often culminate in mass reconciliations, as listeners were persuaded to exchange the bacio di pace, or kiss of peace.

Bernardino was sensitive to the demands of secular life, and tried to negotiate between Christian ethics and a conflicting code of honor that stressed retaining face in a public world. He argued that the catalyst of civil discord in the urban setting was malicious gossip, which led to insults, and, too often, vendetta by aggressive males. His surprising allies in his peacekeeping mission were the women who comprised the majority of his audience.
Born
1380 at Massa di Carrara, Italy
Died
1444 at Aquila, Italy
Patronage
Patron Saint of advertisers; Patron Saint of advertising; Patron Saint of against hoarseness; Patron Saint of Aquila, Italy; Patron Saint of chest problems; Patron Saint of communications personnel; Patron Saint of compulsive gambling; Patron Saint of diocese of San Bernardino, California; Patron Saint of gambling addicts; Patron Saint of Italy; Patron Saint of lung problems; Patron Saint of lungs; Patron Saint of public relations personnel; Patron Saint of public relations work; Patron Saint of respiratory problems; Patron Saint of Trevignano Romano, Italy; Patron Saint of uncontrolled gambling


Prayer to Saint Bernadine of Siena

Dear Saint of the Franciscan Order, you were a tireless preacher of God's Saving Word. By your growing love for Jesus you spread that love all around, advertising his Holy Name. Be kind to advertisers in our frantic times. Make them broadcast only what is true and what can serve the well-being of humankind, while doing all for the glory of God. Amen.

Venerable Matt Talbot, Patron Saint of Alcoholism

Matt can be considered the patron of men and women struggling with alcoholism.

Matt was born in Dublin, where his father worked on the docks and had a difficult time supporting his family. After a few years of schooling, Matt obtained work as a messenger for some liquor merchants; there he began to drink excessively. For 15 years—until he was 30—Matt was an active alcoholic.

One day he decided to take "the pledge" for three months, make a general confession and begin to attend daily Mass. There is evidence that Matt’s first seven years after taking the pledge were especially difficult. Avoiding his former drinking places was hard. He began to pray as intensely as he used to drink. He also tried to pay back people from whom he had borrowed or stolen money while he was drinking.

Most of his life Matt worked as a builder’s laborer. He joined the Secular Franciscan Order and began a life of strict penance; he abstained from meat nine months a year. Matt spent hours every night avidly reading Scripture and the lives of the saints. He prayed the rosary conscientiously. Though his job did not make him rich, Matt contributed generously to the missions.

After 1923 his health failed and Matt was forced to quit work. He died on his way to church on Trinity Sunday. Fifty years later Pope Paul VI gave him the title venerable.

Profile
Born to a poor family with a history of alcoholism, he took to drink when still a child, and was considered a hopeless alcoholic by age thirteen. At age 28, he had conversion experience, and on his knees, he made a pledge of sobriety; he lived another 41 years without ever breaking that vow.

He was a member of the Transport and General Workers Union, and worked in a lumber yard on the docks of Dublin. He was always poor and never cared, yet was always generous to people in need. He lived a life of prayer, fasting, and service, never taking credit, and trying to model himself on the sixth century Irish monks.

Even as his Cause is being investigated, some consider him a modern patron of alcoholics and other adicts. There are a number of Matt Talbot houses, inns, centers, etc. around the English speaking world, working to rescue and treat them.
Born
2 May 1856 in Dublin, Ireland
Died
7 June 1925 in Dublin, Ireland of natural causes
Venerated
3 October 1975
Beatified
pending; if you have information relevant to the beatification of Venerable Matt, contact:
Vice-Postulation
Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral
83 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, IRELAND

Saint Robert Southwell

Memorial
21 February; 25 October as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales
Profile
Raised in a piously Catholic family. Educated at Douai and at Paris, France. Joined the Jesuits in 1580. Prefect of studies in the English College at Rome, Italy. Ordained in 1584. Returned to England in 1586 to minister to covert Catholics, working with Henry Garnett. Chaplain to Ann Howard, wife of Saint Philip Howard, in 1589. Wrote a number of pamphlets on living a pious life. Arrested in 1595 for the crime of being a priest. Repeatedly tortured in hopes of learning the location of other priests. He was so badly treated in prison that his family petitioned for a quick trial, knowing that his certain death would be better than the conditions in which he was housed. Spent three years imprisoned in the Tower of London, and was tortured on the rack ten times; between abuses he studied the Bible and wrote poetry. He was finally tried and convicted for treason, having admitted that he administered the Sacraments. One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.
Born
1561 in Horsham Saint Faith, Norfolk, England
Died
hanged, drawn and quartered on 21 February 1595 in Tyburn, London, England; while hanging, he repeatedly made the sign of the cross; onlookers tugged at his legs to help him die quicker
Venerated
8 December 1929
Beatified
15 December 1929
Canonized
25 October 1970 by Pope Paul VI

Saint Peter Damian

Memorial
21 February
Profile
Youngest child in a large family. Orphaned. Sent to live with a brother, he was mistreated and forced to work as a swine-herd. Cared for another brother, a priest in Ravenna, Italy. Well educated in Fienza and Parma. Professor. Lived a life of strict austerity.

Gave up his teaching to become a Benedictine monk. His health suffered, especially when he tried to replace sleep with prayer. Abbot. Founded hermitage. Occasionally called on by the Vatican to make peace between arguing monastic houses, clergymen, and government officials, etc. Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia. Fought simony. Tried to restore primitive discipline among priests and religious who were becoming more and more of the world. Prolific correspondent, he also wrote dozens of sermons, seven biographies (including a one of Saint Romuald), and poetry, including some of the best Latin of the time. Tried to retire to being a monk, but routinely recalled as papal legate. Declared a Doctor of the Church in 1828.

"Let us faithfully transmit to posterity the example of virtue which we have received from our forefathers." -Saint Peter Damian
Born
1007 at Ravenna, Italy
Died
22 February 1072 of fever at Ravenna while surrounded by brother monks reciting the Divine Office
Beatified
wasn't
Canonized
never formally canonized; cultus developed almost immediately after his death; cultus approved and extended to the whole Church in 1823 by Pope Leo XII
Representation
cardinal bearing a discipline in his hand; pilgrim holding a papal bull, to signify his many legations

Noel Pinot

NOEL PINOT

Also known as
Natalis Pinot; Natale Pinot
Memorial
21 February
Profile
Ordained in 1771, he served for several years as assistant pastor at different parishes. Parish priest at Saint Aubin, Louroux-Beconnais, France in 1788, with a special ministry with the sick.

In the French Revolution, he was required to take an oath of loyalty to the new government, an oath that was opposed to Church principles. Noel refused, and was ordered to abandon his parish, to come no closer to it than eight miles for at least two years. He left, then returned in secret, and ministered clandestinely to his flock. Some of his brother priests took the civil oath, but Noel convinced several of them to renouce it, and return their loyalty to the Church.

In 1793, a counter-revolution began in western France; when these forces won some victories, Pinot returned to openly ministering to his flock. However, the forces of the Revolution began to win again, and Pinot became a wanted man. Captured by government soldiers while preparing for Mass, he was imprisoned for twelve days; sentenced to death for refusing to take the oath, and encouraging others to do so.
Born
19 December 1747 at Angers, France
Died
guillotined on 21 February 1794; he wore his Mass vestments to execution, and died reciting the opening words of the Mass
Beatified
21 October 1926 by Pope Pius XI
Canonized
pending

Saint George of Amastris

GEORGE of Amastris

Memorial
21 February
Profile
Hermit on Mount Sirik; monk of Bonyssa; bishop of Amastris. Successfully defended his episcopal city during Saracen attacks.
Born
at Kromna near Amastris on the Black Sea
Died
c.825

Saint Eleanora

ELEANORA

Memorial
21 February
Profile
Daughter of Count Raymond IV of Provence. Married King Henry III of England in 1236 at the age of ten. Queen of England. Widowed in 1273 after 37 years of marriage. Benedictine nun. Known throughout her life as a pious and prayerful woman.
Born
1226 in Provence, France
Died
of natural causes
Name Meaning
the light (old french, welsh, norwegian); the merciful one (greek)

International Mother Language Day

21 February was proclaimed the International Mother Language Day by UNESCO on 17 November 1999. Its observance was also formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages.

International Mother Language Day originated as the international recognition of Language Movement Day, which has been commemorated in Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) since 1952, when a number of Bangladeshi university students were killed by the East Pakistan police and army in Dhaka.

International Mother Language Day is observed yearly by UNESCO member states and at its headquarters to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

On 21 February 1952, corresponding to 8 Falgun 1359 in the Bangla calendar, a number of students campaigning for the recognition of Bangla as one of the state languages of Pakistan were killed when police fired upon them. At a public meeting on 21 March 1948, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Governor general of Pakistan, declared that Urdu will be the only language for both West and East Pakistan. The people of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), whose main language is Bengali, started to protest against this. A student meeting on 21 February called for a province-wide strike. But the government invoked Section 144 on 20 February. The student community at a meeting on the morning of 21 February agreed to continue with their protest but not to break the law of Section 144. Even then the police opened fire and killed the students.

Jennifer Love Hewitt

Jennifer Love Hewitt (born February 21, 1979) is an American actress and singer-songwriter. She is well-known for her television and film roles in the Fox television series Party of Five, as Sarah Reeves, and also starred in I Know What You Did Last Summer and its sequel, as Julie James. Hewitt can currently be seen on the CBS television series Ghost Whisperer, as Melinda Gordon, a young newlywed who communicates with the dead.

Hewitt was born in Waco, Texas, the daughter of Patricia Mae (née Shipp), a speech-language pathologist, and Herbert Daniel Hewitt, a medical technician. Hewitt grew up in Nolanville, Texas; after the divorce of her parents, Hewitt and her only sibling, Todd Hewitt, were brought up by her mother. Her first name was given to her by her brother, after a girl he was fond of as a youngster, while her middle name, "Love", was given to her by her mother after her best friend in college.

As a young girl, Hewitt was attracted to music which led to her first encounters with the entertainment industry. At the age of three, she sang "The Greatest Love of All" at a livestock show. Just a year after that, at a restaurant-dance hall, she entertained an audience with her version of "Help Me Make It Through the Night". By the time she was five, Hewitt already had tap dancing and ballet in her portfolio. At nine, she became a member of the Texas Show Team (which also toured in the Soviet Union). At the age of ten, at the suggestion of talent scouts, she moved to Los Angeles, California, with her mother to pursue a career in both acting and singing.

After moving to Los Angeles, Hewitt appeared in more than twenty television commercials. Her first break came as a child actor on the Disney Channel variety show Kids Incorporated (1989 – 1991), where she was credited as just Love Hewitt. During this time she danced in and sang all the songs for a live action video called "Dance! Workout With Barbie" released by Buena Vista.

In 1993, she played Pierce Brosnan's daughter in a pilot for NBC called Running Wilde, which featured Brosnan as a reporter for Auto World magazine whose stories cover his own wild auto adventures, but the series wasn't picked up and the pilot never aired. She later played on television in several short-lived series, such as Fox's Shaky Ground (1992 – 1993), ABC's Byrds of Paradise (1994), and McKenna (1994 – 1995). Finally, Hewitt became a young star after landing the role of Sarah Reeves on the popular Fox Television show Party of Five (1995 – 1999), joining the cast during its second season. She continued the same role in the short-lived Party of Five spin-off, Time of Your Life (1999). Hewitt was also one of the producers, but the show was cancelled after only half a season.

She made her film debut in the independent film Munchie (1992). Hewitt became a film star after a lead role in the horror film I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997). The film had great box-office success (125,000,000 U.S. dollars worldwide), and Hewitt became one of the most popular young stars in the USA (together with her co-stars: Freddie Prinze Jr., Ryan Phillippe, and Sarah Michelle Gellar). She also appeared in the sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), which was not as successful as the first film but brought in more money than the first on its opening weekend. Other notable film roles included the high-school comedy Can't Hardly Wait (1998) and a starring role with Sigourney Weaver in the romantic comedy Heartbreakers (2001).

In 2000, Hewitt appeared in The Audrey Hepburn Story. That same year, she was the "most popular actress on television" due to her Q-rating (a measurement of a celebrity's popularity) of thirty-seven. For that reason, Nokia chose her to become its spokesperson, because of her "fresh image", and her being "a symbol of youthfulness and wholesomeness".

In 2001, she appeared in the music video for the Enrique Iglesias song, "Hero", as the singer's love interest.

Hewitt wrote I'm Gonna Love You for the movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame II because, although she was a well-known singer at the time, her character Madellaine was the only character who didn't sing in the movie. The song won an award for Best Song on DVD Awards.

Since September 2005, Hewitt has starred in the television series Ghost Whisperer. In Australia, Ghost Whisperer has been popular since its introduction; in the United States, the show averages 9-11 million viewers for each new episode. Hewitt has also auditioned for many roles. She lost the role of "Juliet" in Romeo + Juliet to Claire Danes at the last moment. She also had to give up the role of "Darlene" in Brokedown Palace because of scheduling conflicts. Hewitt also auditioned for the role of "Elektra" in Daredevil.

Jenifer Love Hewitt confirmed that she would not pose nude or do nude scenes in movies.

Hewitt is widely considered one of the most beautiful women of the past ten years. The following results in several contests illustrate this:

* 91 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (1997)
* 91 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (1998)
* 31 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (1999)
* 1 in Maxim's Sexiest Women In The World (1999)
* 13 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (2000)
* 50 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (2001)
* 15 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (2002)
* 7 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (2003)
* 12 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (2004)
* 19 in FHM's 50 Sexiest Women from 1995-2004
* 12 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (2005)
* 16 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (2006)
* 29 in Maxim's Hot 100 List (2006)
* 14 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World (2007)

February 21 Birthdays

1484 - Elector Joachim I of Brandenburg (d. 1535)
1556 - Sethus Calvisius, German calendar reformer (d. 1615)
1675 - Franz Xaver Josef von Unertl, Bavarian politician (d. 1750)
1705 - Edward Hawke, 1st Baron Hawke, British naval officer (d. 1781)
1721 - John McKinly, American physician (d. 1796)
1723 - Louis-Pierre Anquetil, French historian (d. 1808)
1728 - Tsar Peter III of Russia, husband of Catherine the Great (d. 1762)
1783 - Princess Catharina of Württemberg, Queen consort of Westphalia (d. 1835)
1791 - Carl Czerny, Austrian composer (d. 1857)
1794 - Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Mexican president (d. 1876)
1801 - John Henry Newman, English Catholic cardinal (d. 1890)
1817 - Jose Zorrilla y Moral, Spanish dramatist (d. 1893)
1821 - Charles Scribner, American publisher (d. 1871)
1836 - Léo Delibes, French composer (d. 1891)
1844 - Charles-Marie Widor, French composer (d. 1937)
1860 - Karel Matěj Čapek-Chod, Czech journalist (d. 1927)
1860 - Goscombe John, Welsh sculptor
1865 - John Haden Badley, English school founder (d. 1967)
1867 - Otto Hermann Kahn, German millionaire (d. 1934)
1875 - Jeanne Calment, French supercentenarian and longest-lived human on record (d. 1997)
1876 - Pyotr Konchalovsky, Russian painter (d. 1956)
1878 - The Mother, Indian spiritual leader (d. 1973)
1880 - Waldemar Bonsels, German writer (d. 1952)
1885 - Sacha Guitry, Russian dramatist (d. 1957)
1888 - Clemence Dane, British novelist and playwright (d. 1965)
1893 - Celia Lovsky, Russian-born actress (d. 1979)
1893 - Andrés Segovia, Spanish guitarist (d. 1987)
1895 - Carl Peter Henrik Dam Danish biochemist, Nobel laureate (d. 1976)
1900 - Madeleine Renaud, French theater actress (d. 1994)
1903 - Fairfax M. Cone, American advertising executive (d. 1977)
1903 - Anaïs Nin, French writer (d. 1977)
1903 - Raymond Queneau, French poet and novelist (d. 1976)
1907 - W. H. Auden, English poet (d. 1973)
1910 - Douglas Bader, British pilot (d. 1982)
1910 - Carmine Galante, Italian-born gangster (d. 1979)
1910 - Eddie Waring, British sports commentator (d. 1986)
1913 - Roger Laurent, Belgian racing driver (d. 1997)
1915 - Ann Sheridan, American actress (d. 1967)
1917 - Lucille Bremer, American actress (d. 1996)
1924 - Robert Mugabe first President of Zimbabwe
1925 - Sam Peckinpah, American director (d. 1984)
1927 - Erma Bombeck, American humorist (d. 1996)
1927 - Hubert de Givenchy, French fashion designer
1927 - Pierre Mercure, French-Canadian musician and composer (d. 1966)
1929 - Roberto "Chespirito" Carlos Bolaños, Mexican actor
1929 - James Beck, English actor (d. 1973)
1933 - Nina Simone, American singer (d. 2003)
1934 - Rue McClanahan, American actress
1935 - Mark McManus, Scottish actor (d. 1994)
1935 - Jean Pelletier, French Canadian political operative
1936 - Barbara Jordan, American politician (d. 1996)
1937 - King Harald V of Norway
1937 - Gary Lockwood, American actor
1940 - John Lewis, American politician
1940 - Peter Gethin, British racing driver
1941 - James Wong, Hong Kong composer (d. 2004)
1942 - Margarethe von Trotta, German actress and film director
1943 - David Geffen, American record producer
1945 - Paul Newton, British musician (Uriah Heep)
1945 - D'Anna Fortunato, American mezzo-soprano
1946 - Tyne Daly, American actress
1946 - Anthony Daniels, British actor
1946 - Alan Rickman, English actor
1946 - Bob Ryan, Boston sports columnist
1946 - Vito Rizzuto, Sicilian-born alleged mafia boss
1947 - Johnny Echols, American musician (Love)
1947 - Olympia Snowe, American politician
1947 - Victor Sokolov, Russian journalist (d. 2006)
1949 - Jerry Harrison, American musician (Talking Heads)
1949 - Ronnie Hellström, Swedish footballer
1951 - Vince Welnick, American musician (The Grateful Dead) (d. 2006)
1952 - Jean Jacques Burnel, British musician (The Stranglers)
1953 - Christine Ebersole, American actress
1953 - William Petersen, American actor
1954 - Mike Pickering, English disc jockey and musician (Quando Quango, M People)
1954 - Ivo Van Damme, Belgian athlete (d. 1976)
1955 - Sir Steven Fayburgh, British diplomat
1955 - Kelsey Grammer, American actor
1958 - Jake Burns, Irish singer (Stiff Little Fingers}
1958 - Mary Chapin Carpenter, American singer
1958 - Jack Coleman, American actor
1958 - Alan Trammell, baseball player and manager
1959 - José María Cano, Spanish musician (Mecano)
1959 - Emmett McAuliffe, American radio show host and lawyer
1960 - Steve Wynn, American singer (The Dream Syndicate)
1961 - Davey Allison, American race car driver (d. 1993)
1961 - Christopher Atkins, American actor
1961 - Martha Hackett, American actress
1961 - Bertha Faye, American wrestler (d. 2001)
1962 - Vanessa Feltz, British television presenter
1962 - Chuck Palahniuk, American writer
1962 - David Foster Wallace, American writer
1963 - William Baldwin, American actor
1964 - Mark E. Kelly and Scott J. Kelly, American astronauts
1964 - Jane Tomlinson, British cancer campaigner (d. 2007)
1967 - Leroy Burrell, American runner
1969 - James Dean Bradfield, Welsh musician (Manic Street Preachers)
1969 - Tony Meola, American footballer
1969 - Eric Wilson, American musician (Sublime)
1970 - Michael Slater, Australian cricketer
1972 - Seo Taiji, Korean musician
1973 - Heri Joensen, Faroese musician (Týr)
1973 - Bowie Tsang, Taiwanese singer and TV host
1974 - Iván Campo, Spanish footballer
1974 - Roberto Heras, Spanish cyclist
1975 - Chris (CP) Powell, American columnist
1976 - Ryan Smyth, Canadian hockey player
1977 - Steve Francis, American basketball player
1977 - Chad Hutchinson, baseball and football player
1977 - Kevin Rose, American television host and Internet entrepreneur
1978 - Park Eun-hye, South Korean actress
1978 - Kim Ha Neul, South Korean actress
1978 - Nicole Parker, American actress
1979 - Pascal Chimbonda, French footballer
1979 - Carly "Carlito" Colón, Puerto Rican professional wrestler
1979 - Lonnie Ford, American football player
1979 - Jennifer Love Hewitt, American actress
1980 - Brad Fast, Canadian ice hockey player
1980 - Jim Vandermeer, Canadian ice hockey player
1980 - Tiziano Ferro, Italian singer
1982 - Bernhard Auinger, Austrian racing driver
1983 - Braylon Edwards, American football player
1983 - Franklin Gutiérrez, Venezuelan baseball player
1984 - Andrew Ellis, New Zealand rugby union player
1984 - David Odonkor, German footballer
1984 - Karina, Japanese model and actress
1985 - Bob Burton, American speedcuber
1985 - Georgios Samaras, Greek footballer
1986 - Charlotte Church, Welsh singer
1986 - Prince Amedeo of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este
1987 - Ellen Page, Canadian actress
1987 - Anthony Walker, British murder victim (d. 2005)
1989 - Corbin Bleu, American actor and singer
1989 - Kristin Herrera, American actress
1989 - Josh Walker, English footballer

February 21 in History

362 - Athanasius returns to Alexandria.
1245 - Thomas, the first known Bishop of Finland, was granted resignation after having confessed to torture and forgery.
1440 - The Prussian Confederation is formed.
1543 - Battle of Wayna Daga - A combined army of Ethiopian and Portuguese troops defeated a Muslim army led by Ahmed Gragn.
1613 - Mikhail I is elected unanimously as Tsar by a national assembly, beginning the Romanov dynasty of Imperial Russia.
1743 - The premiere in London of George Frideric Handel's oratorio, "Samson".
1804 - The first self-propelling steam locomotive makes its outing at the Pen-y-Darren ironworks in Wales.
1842 - John Greenough is granted the first U.S. patent for the sewing machine.
1848 - Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish the Communist Manifesto.
1874 - The Oakland Daily Tribune publishes its first newspaper.
1878 - The first telephone book is issued in New Haven, Connecticut.
1885 - The newly completed Washington Monument is dedicated.
1893 - Thomas Edison receives two U.S. patents for a "Cut Out for Incandescent Electric Lamps" and for a "Stop Device"
1907 - 125 people perish when the S.S. Berlin sinks near Hoek van Holland.
1912 - Ioannina incorporated into the Greek state after the Balkan Wars.
1916 - World War I: In France the Battle of Verdun begins.
1918 - The last Carolina parakeet dies in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo.
1919 - Assassination of Kurt Eisner, German socialist and organiser of the 1918 revolution in Bavaria (in germany) that overthrew monarchy there. His assassination resulted in the establishment of the Bavarian Soviet Republic and parliament and government fleeing Munich.
1925 - The New Yorker publishes its first issue.
1937 - Initial flight of the first successful flying car, Waldo Waterman's Arrowbile.
1937 - The League of Nations bans foreign national "volunteers" in the Spanish Civil War.
1945 - World War II: Japanese Kamikaze planes sink escort carrier Bismarck Sea and damage the Saratoga.
1947 - In New York City Edwin Land demonstrates the first "instant camera", the Polaroid Land Camera, to a meeting of the Optical Society of America.
1948 - NASCAR is incorporated.
1952 - The British government, under Winston Churchill, abolishes Identity Cards in the UK to "set the people free".
1952 - In Dhaka, East Pakistan (present Bangladesh) police opened fire on a procession of students, who demanded the establishment of Bengali as the official language, killing four people and starting a country-wide protest which led to the recognition of Bengali as one of the national languages of Pakistan. The day was later declared as "International Mother Language Day" by UNESCO.
1953 - Francis Crick and James D. Watson discover the structure of the DNA molecule.
1958 - Peace symbol designed and completed by Gerald Holtom, commissioned by Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, in protest against the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment.
1960 - Cuban leader Fidel Castro nationalizes all businesses in Cuba.
1965 - Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City by members of the Nation of Islam.
1970 - Swissair Flight 330: A mid-air bomb explosion and subsequent crash kills 38 passengers and nine crew members near Zürich, Switzerland.
1971 - The Convention on Psychotropic Substances is signed at Vienna.
1972 - President Richard Nixon visits the People's Republic of China to normalize Sino-American relations.
1972 - The Soviet unmanned spaceship Luna 20 lands on the Moon.
1973 - Over the Sinai Desert, Israeli fighter aircraft shoot down a Libyan Airlines jet killing 108.
1974 - The last Israeli soldiers leave the west bank of the Suez Canal in carrying out a truce with Egypt.
1975 - Watergate scandal: Former United States Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman are sentenced to prison.
1995 - Steve Fossett lands in Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada becoming the first person to make a solo flight across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon.
2004 - The first European political party organization, the European Greens, is established in Rome.
2007 - Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi resigns from office. His resignation is rejected by the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano.

St. Patrick's Day Recipes Fried Irish Soda Farls

Soda bread farls are ideal for frying after they have been made a day or so. These taste great with a poached egg on top. Fried soda is also one of the essential ingredients in an Ulster fry.

INGREDIENTS

* 1 prepared soda bread farl
* 1 tablespoon olive oil for frying
* 1 pinch salt, or to taste (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1. Split the soda farl in half horizontally.
2. Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Gently fry soda bread for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until crisp and golden brown. Serve hot, seasoned lightly with salt.

See my recipes below for Soda Bread and Potato Farls should you want to make your own soda bread for this.

Irish Potato Farls

INGREDIENTS

* 4 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
* 1 pinch salt
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
* 1 tablespoon melted butter



DIRECTIONS

1. In a pot, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer on medium-high heat until the center of the potatoes are tender when pricked with a fork, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat. Drain, return potatoes to pot and allow to completely dry out over remaining heat. Mash with a potato masher until smooth.
2. Place warm mashed potato in medium bowl. Stir in flour, salt and melted butter. Mix lightly until dough forms.
3. On a well floured surface, knead the dough lightly. The dough will be sticky. Use a floured rolling pin to flatten into a 9 inch circle about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into quarters using a floured knife.
4. Sprinkle a little flour into the base of the skillet and cook the farls for 3 minutes on each side or until evenly browned. Season with a little salt and serve straight away.

Genuine Irish Fry Up Irish Breakfast

Here's how you should start your St. Patrick's Day!

INGREDIENTS

* 2 thick slices Irish bacon
* 2 sausages
* 1 soda bread farl, sliced in half horizontally
* 2 potato bread farls
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, or as needed
* 2 slices black pudding
* 1 tomato, halved
* 2 eggs
* 1 or 2 Cherry Tomatoes


DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
2. In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon and sausages, until they are browned. Reserving the fat in the pan, transfer to a heat resistant dish. Keep warm in the oven.
3. Fry both sides of the potato and soda farls in the reserved fat for a few minutes, or until they are golden and crispy. Meanwhile, heat oil in smaller skillet over medium heat and cook black pudding slices and tomato halves. Transfer everything to the dish in the oven to keep warm.
4. Crack eggs into the pan with any residual bacon grease, adding more oil to the skillet if necessary. Fry until egg whites are set but yolks are still runny, or to your liking. Divide everything onto 2 separate plates and serve immediately.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

INGREDIENTS

* 3 pounds corned beef brisket with spice packet
* 10 small red potatoes
* 5 carrots, peeled and julienned
* 1 large head cabbage, cut into small wedges



DIRECTIONS

1. Place corned beef in large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer approximately 50 minutes per pound or until tender.
2. Add whole potatoes and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Add cabbage and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove meat and let rest 15 minutes.
3. Place vegetables in a bowl and cover. Add as much broth (cooking liquid reserved in the Dutch oven or large pot) as you want. Slice meat across the grain.

Irish Soda Bread Recipe St. Patrick's Day Favorite

INGREDIENTS

* 4 cups all-purpose flour
* 4 tablespoons white sugar
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup margarine, softened
* 1 cup buttermilk
* 1 egg
* 1/4 cup butter, melted
* 1/4 cup buttermilk


DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

St. Patrick's Day Irish Recipes Irish Beef Stew

INGREDIENTS

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
* 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
* 6 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
* 1 white onion, cut into large chunks
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 cups beef broth
* 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
* 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle Irish stout beer (e.g. Guinness®)
* 1 tablespoon cold water
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch


DIRECTIONS

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Toss beef cubes with flour to coat, then fry in the hot oil until browned. Place the carrots, potatoes, onion and garlic in a large slow cooker. Place the meat on top of the vegetables. Mix together the beef broth and tomato paste and pour into the slow cooker along with the beer.
2. Cover and cook on High for 6 hours or Low for 8 hours. During the last hour before serving, dissolve the cornstarch in cold water and then stir into the broth. Simmer on the High setting for a few minutes to thicken.

2008 Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings Closers and Relief Pitchers

Jonathan Papelbon 1
J.J. Putz 2
Francisco Rodriguez 3
Joe Nathan 4
Billy Wagner 5
Jose Valverde 6
Mariano Rivera 7
Takashi Saito 8
Rafael Soriano 9
Joba Chamberlain 10
Brett Myers 11
Bobby Jenks 12
Francisco Cordero 13
Huston Street 14
Trevor Hoffman 15
Manny Corpas 16
Matt Capps 17
Chad Billingsley 18
Chad Cordero 19
Brad Lidge 20
Joakim Soria 21
Jason Isringhausen 22
Carlos Marmol 23
Kevin Gregg 24
Tony Pena 25
B.J. Ryan 26
Joe Borowski 27
Todd Jones 28
Jonathan Broxton 29
Eric Gagne 30
Pat Neshek 31
C.J. Wilson 32
Zack Greinke 33
Brian Wilson 34
Jeremy Accardo 35
Troy Percival 36
Rafael Betancourt 37
Heath Bell 38
Kerry Wood 39
Jamie Walker 40
Hideki Okajima 41
Scot Shields 42
Joaquin Benoit 43
Chad Qualls 44
Joel Zumaya 45
Shaun Marcum 46

Rankings based on a standard, 5x5 (BA, HR, RBI, R, SB) league format

Fantasy Baseball Pitcher Rankings 2008 Starting Pitchers

Johan Santana 1
Jake Peavy 2
Erik Bedard 3
Josh Beckett 4
Brandon Webb 5
C.C. Sabathia 6
Cole Hamels 7
John Smoltz 8
John Lackey 9
Justin Verlander 10
Dan Haren 11
Aaron Harang 12
Chris Young 13
Scott Kazmir 14
Roy Oswalt 15
Carlos Zambrano 16
Felix Hernandez 17
Tim Lincecum 18
Roy Halladay 19
Rich Hill 20
Javier Vazquez 21
Daisuke Matsuzaka 22
James Shields 23
Yovani Gallardo 24
Kelvim Escobar 25
Francisco Liriano 26
Matt Cain 27
Brett Myers 28
Chad Billingsley 29
Fausto Carmona 30
A.J. Burnett 31
Ted Lilly 32
Ian Snell 33
Ben Sheets 34
John Maine 35
Pedro Martinez 36
Jeremy Bonderman 37
Oliver Perez 38
Dustin McGowan 39
Jered Weaver 40
Brad Penny 41
Adam Wainwright 42
Clay Buchholz 43
Tim Hudson 44
Tom Gorzelanny 45
Derek Lowe 46
Joe Blanton 47
Phil Hughes 48
Jeff Francis 49
Bronson Arroyo 50
Curt Schilling 51
Scott Baker 52
Dontrelle Willis 53
Rich Harden 54
Chien-Ming Wang 55
Zack Greinke 56
Greg Maddux 57
Matt Garza 58
Shaun Marcum 59
Andy Pettitte 60
Randy Johnson 61
Mark Buehrle 62
Hiroki Kuroda 63
Dave Bush 64
Gil Meche 65
Barry Zito 66
Chris Carpenter 67
Randy Wolf 68
Tom Glavine 69
Jeremy Guthrie 70
Ubaldo Jimenez 71
Jon Lester 72
Homer Bailey 73
Kevin Slowey 74
Micah Owings 75
Ian Kennedy 76
Boof Bonser 77
Ervin Santana 78
Chris Capuano 79
Chuck James 80
Brian Bannister 81
Jon Garland 82
Tim Wakefield 83
Shawn Hill 84
Gio Gonzalez 85
Orlando Hernandez 86
Franklin Morales 87
Andy Sonnanstine 88
Wandy Rodriguez 89
Andrew Miller 90

Rankings based on a standard, 5x5 (BA, HR, RBI, R, SB) league format

2008 Fantasy Baseball Outfield Rankings

Matt Holliday 1
Alfonso Soriano 2
Carl Crawford 3
Grady Sizemore 4
Carlos Beltran 5
Vladimir Guerrero 6
Ichiro 7
Carlos Lee 8
B.J. Upton 9
Lance Berkman 10
Curtis Granderson 11
Magglio Ordonez 12
Alex Rios 13
Nick Markakis 14
Corey Hart 15
Adam Dunn 16
Manny Ramirez 17
Hunter Pence 18
Bobby Abreu 19
Chris Young 20
Eric Byrnes 21
Chone Figgins 22
Delmon Young 23
Torii Hunter 24
Jason Bay 25
Hideki Matsui 26
Gary Sheffield 27
Juan Pierre 28
Vernon Wells 29
Nick Swisher 30
Matt Kemp 31
Jeff Francoeur 32
Shane Victorino 33
Brad Hawpe 34
Jacoby Ellsbury 35
Andruw Jones 36
Jermaine Dye 37
Kosuke Fukudome 38
Josh Hamilton 39
Johnny Damon 40
Jeremy Hermida 41
Willy Taveras 42
Raul Ibanez 43
Rick Ankiel 44
Jay Bruce 45
Justin Upton 46
Josh Willingham 47
Pat Burrell 48
Aaron Rowand 49
Ken Griffey Jr. 50
Michael Cuddyer 51
Melky Cabrera 52
Josh Fields 53
Michael Bourn 54
Joey Votto 55
Billy Butler 56
Adam Jones 57
Mike Cameron 58
Colby Rasmus 59
J.D. Drew 60
Rocco Baldelli 61
Corey Patterson 62
Gary Matthews Jr. 63
Garret Anderson 64
Bill Hall 65
Mark Teahen 66
Moises Alou 67
Nate McLouth 68
Cameron Maybin 69
Jack Cust 70
Jose Guillen 71
Lastings Milledge 72
Jason Kubel 73
Chris Duncan 74
Andre Ethier 75
Wily Mo Pena 76
Austin Kearns 77
Luke Scott 78
Casey Blake 79
David DeJesus 80
Franklin Gutierrez 81
Ryan Freel 82
Milton Bradley 83
Barry Bonds 84
Brad Wilkerson 85
Coco Crisp 86
Reggie Willits 87
Xavier Nady 88
Scott Hairston 89
Carlos Quentin 90
Geoff Jenkins 91
Felix Pie 92
Randy Winn 93

Rankings based on a standard, 5x5 (BA, HR, RBI, R, SB) league format

2008 Fantasy Baseball Rankings Catchers

Victor Martinez 1
Russell Martin 2
Joe Mauer 3
Brian McCann 4
Jorge Posada 5
Jarrod Saltalamacchia 6
Kenji Johjima 7
Geovany Soto 8
Ivan Rodriguez 9
Bengie Molina 10
Ramon Hernandez 11
J.R. Towles 12
A.J. Pierzynski 13
Jason Varitek 14
Carlos Ruiz 15
Ronny Paulino 16
Mike Napoli 17
Josh Bard 18
Kurt Suzuki 19
Ryan Doumit 20
John Buck 21
Dioner Navarro 22
Paul Lo Duca 23
Johnny Estrada 24
Yadier Molina 25
Chris Iannetta 26
Yorvit Torrealba 27
Chris Snyder 28
Jason Kendall 29
Gregg Zaun 30

Rankings based on a standard, 5x5 (BA, HR, RBI, R, SB) league format

Preseason Fantasy Baseball Rankings SS Shortstops

Jose Reyes 1
Hanley Ramirez 2
Jimmy Rollins 3
Troy Tulowitzki 4
Derek Jeter 5
Carlos Guillen 6
Michael Young 7
Rafael Furcal 8
Miguel Tejada 9
Edgar Renteria 10
Orlando Cabrera 11
J.J. Hardy 12
Jhonny Peralta 13
Khalil Greene 14
Stephen Drew 15
Julio Lugo 16
Felipe Lopez 17
Yunel Escobar 18
Ryan Theriot 19
Brendan Harris 20
Jason Bartlett 21
Yuniesky Betancourt 22
Asdrubal Cabrera 23
Bobby Crosby 24
Alex Gonzalez 25
David Eckstein 26
Erick Aybar 27
Omar Vizquel 28
Jack Wilson 29
Jeff Keppinger 30
Maicer Izturis 31
Tony Pena Jr. 32
Rich Aurilia 33
Cesar Izturis 34
Brendan Ryan 35
Wilson Betemit 36

Rankings based on a standard, 5x5 (BA, HR, RBI, R, SB) league format

Preseason Fantasy Baseball Ranks 3b

Fantasy Baseball Rankings for third base

Alex Rodriguez 1
David Wright 2
Miguel Cabrera 3
Ryan Braun 4
Aramis Ramirez 5
Garrett Atkins 6
Chipper Jones 7
Chone Figgins 8
Ryan Zimmerman 9
Adrian Beltre 10
Alex Gordon 11
Edwin Encarnacion 12
Mike Lowell 13
Kevin Youkilis 14
Kevin Kouzmanoff 15
Evan Longoria 16
Troy Glaus 17
Josh Fields 18
Hank Blalock 19
Ty Wigginton 20
Mark Reynolds 21
Eric Chavez 22
Scott Rolen 23
Melvin Mora 24
Akinori Iwamura 25
Andy LaRoche 26
Chad Tracy 27
Aubrey Huff 28
Yunel Escobar 29
Pedro Feliz 30
Casey Blake 31
Ryan Freel 32
Nomar Garciaparra 33
Chase Headley 34

Rankings based on a standard, 5x5 (BA, HR, RBI, R, SB) league format

Fantasy Baseball Rankings Second Basemen

Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2b

Chase Utley 1
Brandon Phillips 2
B.J. Upton 3
Brian Roberts 4
Robinson Cano 5
Chone Figgins 6
Ian Kinsler 7
Howie Kendrick 8
Rickie Weeks 9
Dan Uggla 10
Kelly Johnson 11
Placido Polanco 12
Dustin Pedroia 13
Jeff Kent 14
Aaron Hill 15
Orlando Hudson 16
Freddy Sanchez 17
Ty Wigginton 18
Felipe Lopez 19
Kazuo Matsui 20
Yunel Escobar 21
Ryan Theriot 22
Luis Castillo 23
Mark Ellis 24
Asdrubal Cabrera 25
Tadahito Iguchi 26
Brendan Harris 27
Danny Richar 28
Jose Lopez 29
Marcus Giles 30
Ray Durham 31
Erick Aybar 32
Jayson Nix 33
Mark DeRosa 34
Chris Burke 35

Rankings based on a standard, 5x5 (BA, HR, RBI, R, SB) league format

Fantasy Baseball Rankings First Basemen

Fantasy Baseball Rankings for 1b.

Albert Pujols 1
Prince Fielder 2
Ryan Howard 3
David Ortiz 4
Lance Berkman 5
Mark Teixeira 6
Travis Hafner 7
Justin Morneau 8
Derrek Lee 9
Garrett Atkins 10
Adrian Gonzalez 11
Victor Martinez 12
Carlos Pena 13
Carlos Guillen 14
Paul Konerko 15
Nick Swisher 16
James Loney 17
Todd Helton 18
Alex Gordon 19
Ryan Garko 20
Carlos Delgado 21
Kevin Youkilis 22
Joey Votto 23
Adam LaRoche 24
Billy Butler 25
Conor Jackson 26
Casey Kotchman 27
Richie Sexson 28
Jarrod Saltalamacchia 29
Lyle Overbay 30
Casey Blake 31
Mike Jacobs 32
Jason Giambi 33
Ty Wigginton 34
Daric Barton 35

Rankings based on a standard, 5x5 (BA, HR, RBI, R, SB) league format

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter Stockton Thompson (July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005) was an American journalist and author, famous for his novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He is credited as the creator of Gonzo journalism, a style of reporting where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become the central figures of their stories. He is also known for his promotion and use of psychedelics and other mind altering substances (and to a lesser extent, alcohol and firearms), his libertarian views, and his iconoclastic contempt for authority.

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Thompson grew up in the Cherokee Triangle neighborhood of the Highlands. He was the first son of Jack Robert (1893 – 3 July 1952), an insurance adjuster and a U.S. Army veteran who served in France during World War I, and Virginia Davidson Ray (1908 – 1998), a reference librarian and secretary who, while a student at the University of Michigan, had joined the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. Introduced by a mutual friend from Jack's fraternity in 1934, they married in 1935.

Jack died of myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease, on 3 July 1952, when Hunter was 14 years old, leaving three sons — Hunter, Davison, and James (1949–1994) — to be brought up by their mother. Contemporaries indicated that after Jack's death Virginia became a "heavy drinker."

Interested in sports and athletically inclined from a young age, Thompson joined Louisville’s Castlewood Athletic Club, a sports club for teenagers that prepared them for high-school sports, where he excelled in baseball, though he never joined any sports teams in high school. He was constantly in trouble at school.

Thompson attended the I.N. Bloom Elementary School, and then Atherton High School, transferring to Louisville Male High School in 1952 following the death of his father. That same year he was accepted as a member of the Athenaeum Literary Association, a school-sponsored literary and social club that had been founded at Male High in 1862. Its members at the time, generally drawn from Louisville’s wealthy upper-class families, included Porter Bibb, who became the first publisher of Rolling Stone. As an Athenaeum member, Thompson contributed articles and helped edit the club’s yearbook The Spectator; however, the group ejected Thompson from its membership in 1955, citing his legal problems.

Charged as an accessory to robbery after having been in a car with the person who committed the robbery, Thompson was sentenced to serve 60 days in Kentucky’s Jefferson County Jail. He served 30 days of his sentence, and joined the U.S. Air Force a week after his release.

In 1965, Carey McWilliams, editor of The Nation, offered Thompson the opportunity to write a story based on his experience with the California-based Hells Angels motorcycle gang. After The Nation published the article (17 May 1965), Thompson received several book offers and spent the next year living and riding with the Hell's Angels. The relationship broke down when the bikers suspected that Thompson would make money from his writing. The gang demanded a share of the profits and Thompson ended up with a savage beating, or 'stomping' as the Angels referred to it. Random House published the hard cover Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs in 1966. A reviewer for The New York Times praised it as an "angry, knowledgeable, fascinating and excitedly written book," that shows the Hells Angels "not so much as dropouts from society but as total misfits, or unfits — emotionally, intellectually and educationally unfit to achieve the rewards, such as they are, that the contemporary social order offers." The reviewer also praised Thompson as a "spirited, witty, observant and original writer; his prose crackles like motorcycle exhaust."

Following the success of Hells Angels, Thompson was able to publish articles in a number of well-known magazines during the late 1960s, including The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Pageant, and others. In the Times Magazine article, published in 1967 shortly before the "Summer of Love" and entitled The Hashbury is the Capital of the Hippies, Thompson wrote in-depth about the hippies of San Francisco, deriding a culture that began to lack the political convictions of the New Left and the artistic core of the Beats, instead becoming overrun with newcomers lacking any purpose other than obtaining drugs. It was an observation on the 60s' counterculture that Thompson would further examine in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and other articles.

In late 1968, Thompson and his family purchased a modest home and property named Owl Farm near Woody Creek, Colorado, a small mountain hamlet outside Aspen where Thompson lived for the rest of his life. He often described this house as his "fortified compound".

According to Thompson's letters and his later writings, at this time he planned to write a book called The Joint Chiefs about "the death of the American dream." He used a $6,000 advance from Random House to travel on the 1968 Presidential campaign trail and attend the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago for research purposes. From his hotel room in Chicago, Thompson watched the clashes between police and protesters, which he wrote had a great effect on his political views. The planned book was never finished, but the theme of the death of the American dream would be carried over into his later work, and the contract with Random House was eventually fulfilled with the 1972 book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Thompson also signed a deal with Ballantine Books in 1968 to write a satirical book called The Johnson File about Lyndon B. Johnson. A few weeks after the contract was signed, however, Johnson announced that he would not stand for re-election, and the deal was cancelled..

In the late sixties, Thompson also obtained his famous title of "Doctor" from the Universal Life Church. He later preferred to be called Dr. Thompson, and his "alter-ego" Raoul Duke called himself a "doctor of journalism".

In 1970 Thompson ran for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado, on the "Freak Power" ticket, promoting the decriminalization of drugs (for personal use only, not trafficking, as he disapproved of profiteering), tearing up the streets and turning them into grassy pedestrian malls, banning any building so tall as to obscure the view of the mountains, and renaming Aspen "Fat City" to deter investors. Thompson, having shaved his head, referred to his opponent as "my long-haired opponent", as the Republican candidate had a crew cut.

With polls showing him with a slight lead in a three-way race, Thompson appeared at Rolling Stone magazine headquarters in San Francisco with a six-pack of beer in hand and declared to editor Jann Wenner that he was about to be elected the next sheriff of Aspen, Colorado, and wished to write about it. Thus, Thompson's first article in Rolling Stone was published as The Battle of Aspen with the byline "By: Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (Candidate for Sheriff)." Despite the publicity, Thompson ended up narrowly losing the election. While actually carrying the city of Aspen, he only garnered 44% of the county-wide vote in what became a two-way race as the Republican candidate for sheriff agreed to withdraw from the contest a few days before the election in order to consolidate the anti-Thompson votes, in return for the Democrats withdrawing their candidate for county commissioner. Thompson later remarked that the Rolling Stone article mobilized his opposition far more than his supporters.

Also in 1970, Thompson wrote an article entitled The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved for the short-lived new journalism magazine Scanlan's Monthly. Although it was not widely read at the time, the article is the first of Thompson's to use techniques of Gonzo journalism, a style he would later employ in almost every literary endeavor. The manic first-person subjectivity of the story was reportedly the result of sheer desperation; he was facing a looming deadline and started sending the magazine pages ripped out of his notebook. Ralph Steadman, who would later collaborate with Thompson on several projects, contributed expressionist pen-and-ink illustrations.

The first use of the word Gonzo to describe Thompson's work is credited to the journalist Bill Cardoso. Cardoso had first met Thompson on a bus full of journalists covering the 1968 New Hampshire primary. In 1970, Cardoso (who, by this time had become the editor of The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine) wrote to Thompson praising the "Kentucky Derby" piece in Scanlan's Monthly as a breakthrough: "This is it, this is pure Gonzo. If this is a start, keep rolling." Thompson took to the word right away, and according to illustrator Ralph Steadman said, "Okay, that's what I do. Gonzo."

Thompson's first published use of the word Gonzo appears in a passage in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream: "Free Enterprise. The American Dream. Horatio Alger had gone mad on drugs in Las Vegas. Do it now: pure Gonzo journalism."

The book for which Thompson gained most of his fame had its genesis during the research for Strange Rumblings in Aztlan, an exposé Thompson was writing for Rolling Stone on the 1970 killing of the Mexican-American television journalist Ruben Salazar. Salazar had been shot in the head at close range with a tear gas canister fired by officers of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department during the National Chicano Moratorium March against the Vietnam War. One of Thompson's sources for the story was Oscar Zeta Acosta, a prominent Mexican-American activist and attorney. Finding it difficult to talk in the racially tense atmosphere of Los Angeles, Thompson and Acosta decided to travel to Las Vegas, Nevada, and take advantage of an assignment by Sports Illustrated to write a 250-word photograph caption on the Mint 400 motorcycle race held there.

What was to be a short caption quickly grew into something else entirely. Thompson first submitted to Sports Illustrated a manuscript of 2,500 words, which was, as he later wrote, "aggressively rejected." Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner was said to have liked "the first 20 or so jangled pages enough to take it seriously on its own terms and tentatively scheduled it for publication — which gave me the push I needed to keep working on it," Thompson later wrote.

The result of the trip to Las Vegas became the 1972 book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas which first appeared in the November 1971 issues of Rolling Stone as a two-part series. It is written as a first-person account by a journalist named Raoul Duke on a trip to Las Vegas with Dr. Gonzo, his "300-pound Samoan attorney," to cover a narcotics officers' convention and the "fabulous Mint 400". During the trip, Duke and his companion (always referred to as "my attorney") become sidetracked by a search for the American Dream, with "...two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls."

Coming to terms with the failure of the 1960s countercultural movement is a major theme of the novel, and the book was greeted with considerable critical acclaim, including being heralded by the New York Times as "by far the best book yet written on the decade of dope". "The Vegas Book", as Thompson referred to it, was a mainstream success and introduced his Gonzo journalism techniques to the masses.

Within the next year, Thompson wrote extensively for Rolling Stone while covering the election campaigns of President Richard Nixon and his unsuccessful opponent, Senator George McGovern. The articles were soon combined and published as Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. As the title suggests, Thompson spent nearly all of his time traveling the "campaign trail," focusing largely on the Democratic Party's primaries (Nixon, as an incumbent, performed little campaign work) in which McGovern competed with rival candidates Ed Muskie and Hubert Humphrey. Thompson was an early supporter of McGovern, and it could be argued that his unflattering coverage of the rival campaigns in the increasingly widely read Rolling Stone played a role in the senator's nomination.

Thompson went on to become a fierce critic of Nixon, both during and after his presidency. After Nixon's death in 1994, Thompson famously described him in Rolling Stone as a man who "could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time" and said "his casket [should] have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. [He] was an evil man—evil in a way that only those who believe in the physical reality of the Devil can understand it." The one passion they shared was a love of football, which is discussed in Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72.

Thompson was to provide Rolling Stone similar coverage for the 1976 Presidential Campaign that would appear in a book published by the magazine. Reportedly, as Thompson was waiting for a $75,000 advance cheque to arrive, he learned that Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner had pulled the plug on the endeavor without telling Thompson.

Wenner then asked Thompson to travel to Vietnam to report on what appeared to be the closing of the Vietnam War. Thompson accepted, and left for Saigon immediately. He arrived with the country in chaos, just as the United States was preparing to evacuate and other journalists were scrambling to find transportation out of the region. While there, Thompson learned that Wenner had pulled the plug on this excursion as well, and Thompson found himself in Vietnam without health insurance or additional financial support. Thompson's story about the fall of Saigon would not be published in Rolling Stone until ten years later.

These two incidents severely strained the relationship between the author and the magazine, and Thompson contributed far less to the publication in later years.

1980 marked both his divorce from Sandra Conklin and the release of Where the Buffalo Roam, a loose film adaptation of situations from Thompson's early 1970s work, with Bill Murray starring as the author. Murray had to spend several months living with Thompson to get his character down, and it is rumored that during this time Thompson tied Murray to a chair, blind folded him and threw him into a pool[citation needed]. Murray escaped and would go on to become one of Thompson's only trusted friends[citation needed]. Co-actors of Murray's on Saturday Night Live said that it took him months to break Thompson's character and that he would frequently come into the studio smoking a cigarette in a holder. After the lukewarm reception of the film, Thompson temporarily relocated to Hawaii to work on a novel, The Curse of Lono, a gonzo-style account of a marathon held in that state. Extensively illustrated by Ralph Steadman, the piece first appeared in Running magazine in 1981 as "The Charge of the Weird Brigade" and was excerpted in Playboy in 1983.

On July 21, 1981, in Aspen, Colorado, Thompson ran a stop sign at 2 a.m. and began to "rave" at a state trooper. He also refused to take alcohol tests. Because of his refusal he was arrested, but the drunk-driving charges against the journalist were later dropped.

In 1983, he covered the U.S. invasion of Grenada but would not discuss these experiences until the publication of Kingdom of Fear 20 years later. Later that year he authored a piece for Rolling Stone called "A Dog Took My Place," an exposé of the scandalous Roxanne Pulitzer divorce and what he termed the "Palm Beach lifestyle." The article contained dubious insinuations of bestiality (among other things) but was considered to be a return to proper form by many.

Shortly thereafter, Thompson accepted an advance to write about "couples pornography" for Playboy. As part of his research, he spent time at the O'Farrell Theater strip club in San Francisco and his experience there eventually evolved into a full-length nonfiction novel tentatively titled The Night Manager. Neither the novel nor the article was ever published. By the early 1990s Thompson was said to be working on a fictional novel called Polo Is My Life, which was briefly excerpted in Rolling Stone in 1994, and which Hunter himself described in 1996 as "...a sex book — you know, sex, drugs and rock and roll. It's about the manager of a sex theater who's forced to leave and flee to the mountains. He falls in love and gets in even more trouble than he was in the sex theater in San Francisco". The novel was slated to be released by Random House in 1999, and was even assigned ISBN 0679406948, but was never actually published.

At the behest of old friend and editor Warren Hinckle, Thompson became a media critic for the San Francisco Examiner from the mid-1980s until the end of that decade.

Thompson continued to contribute irregularly to Rolling Stone. "Fear and Loathing in Elko," published in 1992, was a well-received fictional rallying cry against Clarence Thomas, while "Mr. Bill's Neighborhood" was a largely non-fictional account of an interview with Bill Clinton in an Arkansas diner. Rather than embarking on the campaign trail as he had done in previous presidential elections, Thompson monitored the proceedings from cable television; Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie, his account of the 1992 campaign, is composed of reactionary faxes sent to Rolling Stone. A decade later, he contributed "Fear and Loathing, Campaign 2004" — an account of a road jaunt with John Kerry during his presidential campaign that would be Thompson's final magazine feature.

Thompson was named a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of Kentucky in a December 1996 tribute ceremony where he also received keys to the city of Louisville.

Thompson ended his journalism career in the same way it had begun: writing about sports. Thompson penned a weekly column called "Hey, Rube" for ESPN.com's "Page 2". The column ran from 2000 to shortly before his death in 2005. Simon & Schuster bundled many of the columns from the first few years and released it in mid-2004 as Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness - Modern History from the Sports Desk.

Thompson died at his self-described "fortified compound" known as "Owl Farm" in Woody Creek, Colorado, at 5:42 p.m. on February 20, 2005, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Thompson's son (Juan), daughter-in-law (Jennifer Winkel Thompson) and grandson (Will Thompson) were visiting for the weekend at the time of his suicide. Will and Jennifer were in the adjacent room when they heard the gunshot. Mistaking the shot for the sound of a book falling, they continued with their activities for a few minutes before checking on him. Thompson was sitting at his typewriter with the word "counselor" written in the center of the page.

Paul William Roberts in his Globe and Mail article of Saturday, February 26, 2005 wrote the following:

Hunter telephoned me on Feb. 19, the night before his death. He sounded scared. It wasn't always easy to understand what he said, particularly over the phone, he mumbled, yet when there was something he really wanted you to understand, you did. He'd been working on a story about the World Trade Center attacks and had stumbled across what he felt was hard evidence showing the towers had been brought down not by the airplanes that flew into them but by explosive charges set off in their foundations. Now he thought someone was out to stop him publishing it: "They're gonna make it look like suicide," he said. "I know how these bastards think . . ."