PORTLAND, Ore. | Cats these days aren’t associated with deities like they were in ancient Egypt, but the Internet has gotten them a little closer.We adore Nora the piano-playing cat. We chuckle as a comical feline named Maru leaps into cardboard boxes. We revel in Grumpy Cat’s permanently sour expression. And with millions watching videos of other kitties getting tongue baths from horses and playing peekaboo with their owners, cats have become online stars.For feline fans, it’s a sea change. In the affections of Americans, cats often get short shrift compared with dogs. Some see cats as aloof, poor companions and indifferent to attention that dogs enjoy.But with cats’ celebrity expanding, experts say cyberspace is aiding their plight.“Social media has put pets front and center,” said Christie Keith, social media consultant for Maddie’s Fund, a California-based foundation that works to save pets’ lives. Social media, she said, “is revolutionizing how we help animals.”The Internet has created a vast audience of potential adopters. To save pets’ lives, animal welfare organizations are reaching out to an audience addicted to cat videos. Shelters use social media to promote everything from adoption campaigns to free vaccinations, spaying and neutering.Although there are no comprehensive nationwide statistics, recent studies of targeted communities and available data indicate increases in animal shelters releasing cats to owners or agencies such as rescues that guarantee adoption.In one of the studies, conducted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, shelters and rescue organizations in six areas from Florida to Washington state supplied data from 2007 to 2011. Overall, the rates for dogs and cats released to people or agencies rose from 41 percent to 65 percent. Cats showed a whopping 111 percent boost.It’s difficult to pinpoint how much of this good news stems from the Internet, but many online campaigns have seen successes.A year ago, just before Christmas, the Dumb Friends League in Denver posted a photo and story on Facebook of an 11-year-old cat that had been in its shelter for nearly eight months. Older cats like Ripley are often overlooked by potential adopters.For her online appearance, Ripley donned a tiny Santa suit. The posting got hundreds of shares and “likes” and netted her a new home, said Megan Rees, spokeswoman for the organization.The organization has increased its adoption rate of adult cats by 13 percent over the past year, with help from its website, Facebook and Twitter.The Oregon Humane Society also turns to Facebook to help get pets adopted over the holidays. The organization’s page, with the headline “Home For The Holidays,” shows four homeless animals wearing Santa hats: a cat, a dog, a rabbit and a parrot.It also has seen social media users share the group’s photos of adoptable pets.On average, kittens featured on the organization’s website find new homes within half a day of appearing online. It takes about seven days for adult cats after they are posted online.Despite the successes, too many cats and other pets still get dumped at shelters because the owner doesn’t like the animal’s personality or can’t afford to keep it.But as viewers keep returning to videos of Nora pawing the ivories and Maru running and sliding into cardboard boxes, they are strengthening their bond with the feline species.“There’s something quite fascinating and fun about cat videos,” said Dr. Emily Weiss, senior director of research and development for the ASPCA. “What’s more compelling than some random compilation of cats doing stuff like knocking things over?”___Follow Terrence Petty on Twitter at www.twitter.com/APOregonPetty .
This undated image released by Genine Babakian shows an old Singer sewing machine in Babakian’s childhood home in Larchmont, N.Y. The most challenging is the thought of letting go. For some people, it is more difficult than for others, says Marlene Stocks, founder of Senior Transition Services in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, who offers help to adult children trying to cope with dismantling and selling the first place they called home. (Genine Babakian via AP) After my mother passed away, my father stuck it out in the house for as long as he could. But his move to assisted living required the next generation to step up and empty the family home as quickly as possible.We divided heirlooms; collected papers; identified items to be sold, stored, donated. We took so many trips to the dump that they asked us not to come back.The process was not without its high points. My mother was a sentimental collector, and the house was full of clutter. You never knew what might be lurking in a drawer or closet. In one dresser, I found a Ziploc baggie full of baby teeth, The New York Times from the day President Kennedy was assassinated, and my grandmother’s Armenian Bible, dated 1906.The sheer volume of letters and memorabilia was both staggering and heartwarming. That haiku I wrote in third grade, the parent-teacher conference report that revealed my trouble with homonyms, the Valentine’s Day puzzle I cut out by hand.Over the course of a few months, we thinned out the contents of the house. Throughout the process, I fell into one of two modes: cold-blooded purger or weepy sentimentalist. With ice running through my veins, I discarded Jose, the monkey head carved out of a coconut that I got as a Christmas present in 1968. My mother’s complete collection of Gourmet magazines — gone. I made the executive decision not to save my grandfather’s crumbling medical diploma.But my icy efficiency could melt suddenly and unexpectedly. Something as insignificant as a torn envelope with a note scribbled in my mother’s hand might instigate the shift. Or trying to figure out what to do with her wedding dress.TAKING INVENTORYWith new clients, Stocks begins with a conversation, “almost like therapy, over a nice cup of tea. We take it slow in the beginning. We talk about the things they’d like to keep; the things we may be able to give to family members. The things that could be sold or donated. Only then, at the end of the process, do we talk about throwing anything away.”“That is one of biggest concerns of my clients,” she adds. “They are worried that some (other) family member will come in and throw things away.”SIBLING STRESSProfessionals who assist in downsizing and relocations warn that family dynamics can be volatile. There may be one sibling who wants to throw everything away, while another may drag out the process indefinitely, finding nostalgic value in every tchotchke. And, of course, there are always those who want the biggest slice of the pie.Parents can make things simpler by divvying up the valuables in advance. But for families without a plan, a personal property appraiser can help.“Children have a tendency to believe the majority of what mom and dad have is far more valuable than it actually is. People often think because it is old it is valuable,” says Julie Hall of Charlotte, North Carolina, who has been an estate liquidator and personal property appraiser for 25 years.At the same time, Hall warns, you don’t want to act until you know what things are worth.CALLING IN THE PROFESSIONALSOnce heirlooms are appraised, family members can divide them more equitably or know the value of items they wish to sell. Then they can call a second professional: the estate liquidator, who helps sell items of value, and donate or discard the rest.Hall, author of “The Boomer Burden: Dealing With Your Parents’ Lifetime Accumulation of Stuff” (Thomas Nelson, 2008), has seen her share of Wedgewood china, painted porcelain and figurines. Emptying closets and crawling through attics, she has also uncovered some memorable finds. Once, in a shopping bag full of wrapping paper and ribbon, she discovered a stash of platinum and sapphire jewelry. In another home, she found loose diamonds hidden in used Kleenex.Her find reminded me of the gold-and-opal pin I happened to notice in an empty dresser drawer that was heading toward the auction house. I retrieved it at the last minute, slipping it into my pocket.As for the wedding dress, I still haven’t found a solution. Perhaps I’ll leave it in my attic, and let my children deal with it in the decades to come. This undated image released by Genine Babakian shows items from a silver collection in Babakian’s childhood home in Larchmont, N.Y. The most challenging is the thought of letting go. For some people, it is more difficult than for others, says Marlene Stocks, founder of Senior Transition Services in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, who offers help to adult children trying to cope with dismantling and selling the first place they called home. (Genine Babakian via AP) This undated image released by Genine Babakian shows old doll house items in Babakian’s childhood home in Larchmont, N.Y. The most challenging is the thought of letting go. For some people, it is more difficult than for others, says Marlene Stocks, founder of Senior Transition Services in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, who offers help to adult children trying to cope with dismantling and selling the first place they called home. (Genine Babakian via AP) This photo shows the exterior of Genine Babakian’s childhood home on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, in Larchmont, N.Y. The most challenging is the thought of letting go. For some people, it is more difficult than for others, says Marlene Stocks, founder of Senior Transition Services in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, who offers help to people like author, Genine Babakian – adult children trying to cope with dismantling and selling the first place they called home. (Julia Rubin via AP) When it came time to pack up my childhood home, it was my mother’s wedding dress that put me over the edge.Mellowed to a uniform shade of custard, it sat in the box it had been stored in for over six decades. Dislodged from its attic perch, it was shuttled around from room to room as my brothers and I chipped away at belongings our parents had collected over a lifetime.We mostly managed to rise above the sibling tension that often accompanies the liquidation of an estate. But as the only daughter, I tacitly became the one to decide what to do with the wedding dress. And I put off that decision until the rooms held nothing but exposed picture hooks on bare walls.“The most challenging is the thought of letting go. For some people, it is more difficult than for others,” says Marlene Stocks, founder of Senior Transition Services in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, who offers help to people like me — adult children trying to cope with dismantling and selling the first place they called home.
Valentine’s Day can throw the best of us into a wild panic. How to show the one you love the way you feel without succumbing to cliches? You know what I mean — booking a table at a romantic restaurant for the set steak dinner with a side of heavy breathing couples, or buying a bunch of roses on the way home. Always lovely, but never original.Best to avoid both, in my opinion. What everyone wants is to feel like they’re being thought about or cared for. For me, making something for someone does exactly that because it’s a simple act of love. It need not be a pudding flambe or an Eiffle Tower-high croquembouche, just something special.These chai spiced chocolate truffles are perfect. They are dark and dense orbs, made using good quality 70 percent dark chocolate infused with cream and the gorgeous sweet spices ordinarily used in chai, including ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. They can be made in advance, then refrigerated, leaving you more time to spend with your loved one. They are perfect eaten after dinner and with a little dessert wine or just nibbled slowly all by themselves.They don’t just have to be for your partner, either. Valentine’s Day is fast becoming a time to appreciate everyone you love — father, mother, siblings and friends. This Nov. 30, 2015 photo shows chai spice chocolate truffles in Concord, N.H. They are dark and dense orbs, made using good quality 70 percent dark chocolate infused with cream and the gorgeous sweet spices ordinarily used in chai, including ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) This Nov. 30, 2015 photo shows chai spice chocolate truffles in Concord, N.H. They are dark and dense orbs, made using good quality 70 percent dark chocolate infused with cream and the gorgeous sweet spices ordinarily used in chai, including ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) ___CHAI SPICE CHOCOLATE TRUFFLESStart to finish: 2 hours 25 minutes (25 minutes active)Makes 48 truffles8 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped1 cup heavy cream2 tablespoons unsalted butter1⁄4 teaspoon ground cardamom1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon1 teaspoon ground dry ginger1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves1 teaspoon sugar1⁄2 cup cocoa powderSet the chocolate in a medium bowl. Set aside.In a medium saucepan over medium, combine the cream and butter. Heat until the butter melts and the cream starts to bubble. Be careful not to burn the cream. Pour the hot milk mixture over the chocolate, whisking to melt the chocolate until you have a smooth mixture. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and sugar. Mix well, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until firm.To make the truffles, place the cocoa powder in a bowl to one side. Using a melon baller or small cookie scoop dipped in hot water, scoop out a little of the firm chocolate mixture and shape into a ball. To coat, roll around in the bowl of cocoa powder until well covered. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.Nutrition information per truffle: 50 calories; 40 calories from fat (80 percent of total calories); 4 g fat (2.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 10 mg cholesterol; 0 mg sodium; 3 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 1 g protein.___EDITOR’S NOTE: Meera Sodha is an Indian foods expert and author of “Made in India: Recipes from an Indian family kitchen.” She lives in London, blogs at www.meerasodha.com and tweets at @meerasodha This Nov. 30, 2015 photo shows chai spice chocolate truffles in Concord, N.H. They are dark and dense orbs, made using good quality 70 percent dark chocolate infused with cream and the gorgeous sweet spices ordinarily used in chai, including ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
In this Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, photograph, Todd Usry, front, chief of Breckenridge Brewery, checks over beer brewing in the company’s factory in, Littleton, Colo. The entry of Anheuser-Busch InBev into Colordo’s craft beer paradise has some brewers worried that the world’s largest brewer could squeeze independent makers out of the booming industry. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) “The fact that beer was being dumbed down over time, over decades is the reason that craft brewing was created and was born,” he said.There are also rumors that another of Colorado’s original craft brewers, employee-owned New Belgium, could also be looking for a buyer. In a statement, founder Kim Jordan said its board “has an obligation to have on-going dialogue with capital markets” and that there is no pending deal.Sitting in the tasting room of Breckenridge’s new $36 million riverside brewery complex in Denver, which includes a farmhouse-style restaurant and a large patio where customers sometimes arrive by inner tube or bike, Breckenridge president Todd Usry said he once shared worries about corporate craft brewing. But InBev has assuaged them.“I found out they wanted to participate in craft, not take craft over,” Usry said.The reaction from beer drinkers has been mixed.Andy Romero, 36, of Denver, who traveled across town recently to pick up some more of Renegade Brewing Company’s limited supply of imperial milk stout made with peanut butter cups in refillable glass containers, said he likes to support mom-and-pop operations but he’s not too worried about the Breckenridge sale.“As long as the beer is good, I’m fine with it,” Romero said.But Michelle Massure, 31, a former Colorado resident who likes to visit her favorite breweries on visits from Houston, was horrified at the thought of a big brewer ever taking over the Strange Craft Beer Company, where she enjoyed a tulip glass of a cherry wheat ale that she said tasted just like cherry pie filling. Ten small sampler glasses of beer were lined up between her and some friends on a wooden table at the tiny brewery tucked into an industrial strip mall next to Interstate 25.“I don’t want the big guy to have everything,” she said. In this Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, photograph, a row of hop dousing vessels stand in a line in the factory of Breckenridge Brewery in Littleton, Colo. Independent brewers are concerned that their profits will drop with the arrival of industry heavyweight Anheuser-Busch InBev into the Colorado craft brewing market. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) DENVER | In a former bakery south of downtown Denver, Matthew Fuerst makes beer flavored with ingredients like Hatch green chiles that he chops by hand. He saves money on heating bills by pushing up space heaters against his fermenting tanks and covering the tops with blankets. He’s invited homebrewers who want to break into the industry to use his expensive brewing system to try making larger batches.Fuerst is one of many transplants lured to Colorado by the state’s reputation as a place where beer drinkers spend hours on breweries’ sunny patios trying every imaginable twist on beer, often with dogs and kids in tow, a state whose governor is a former craft beer magnate who had an array of taps installed at the governor’s mansion. But Fuerst fears that idyllic lifestyle is in danger now that the world’s largest beer maker, Anheuser-Busch InBev, has staked a claim to Colorado’s craft beer paradise.Fuerst worries InBev could use its distribution leverage and buying power to squeeze other craft beers out of liquor store shelves, discount its own craft beer line and buy up raw materials after its purchase last month of Breckenridge Brewery, which was part of the first wave of craft breweries to open in Colorado in the 1990s. In this Jan. 13, 2016 photo, Matthew Fuerst, the founder and owner of Grandma’s House nano-brewery and tasting room, pours beer behind the bar at his tasting room, in Denver. Fuerst and other small craft brewers fear that Anheuser-Busch InBev, and other large commercial breweries, will squeeze smaller operations like his out of the business by using its distribution leverage and buying power. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) In this Jan. 13, 2016 photo, Matthew Fuerst, the founder and owner of Grandma’s House nano-brewery and tasting room, stands behind the bar at his tasting room, in Denver. Fuerst and other small craft brewers fear that Anheuser-Busch InBev, and other large commercial breweries, will squeeze smaller operations like his out of the business by using its distribution leverage and buying power. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) The purchase sent tremors through Colorado’s thriving community of homebrewers and beer purists, who join beer lovers around the country dreading increasing corporate consolidation in the industry. “I think all of us know that if they could put us out of business they would and the actions that they’re taking right now are a threat to us,” said Fuerst, whose brewery is called Grandma’s House.Terms of the Breckenridge deal weren’t released. It follows InBev’s acquisition of craft brewers Goose Island in Chicago and 10 Barrel Brewing Co. in Oregon in recent years and comes as the maker of Budweiser is trying to become even bigger by buying the world’s second-largest beer maker, SABMiller, to create a company that would make nearly 30 percent of the world’s beer.The makers of Corona and Heineken as well as equity firms have also been acquiring and investing in craft beer, the only part of the United States beer market that’s still growing. Craft beer has captured more than 10 percent of beer sales in recent years and, according to the Brewers Association trade group, the country now has over 4,100 breweries, the highest number since 1873. More than two breweries open every day across the country.InBev says it’s not trying to push any brewers out of business and frames the real battle as between beer and the growing wine and liquor market.“Everyone that’s putting great beers out there and has a story to tell is going to thrive,” said Felipe Szpigel, president of The High End, InBev’s craft beer line.Eric Wallace, the co-founder of Left Hand Brewing, which, like Breckenridge, has spread far beyond Colorado since it opened 22 years ago, said he can’t understand how a brewery that worked to bring back flavorful beer to the “scorched earth” left behind by mega brewers can turn around and join one. In this Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, photograph, empty bottles head tot he wash rack in the factory of Breckenridge Brewery in Littleton, Colo. Independent brewers in Colorado’s booming craft beer industry are concerned that they may be squeezed out of future profits with the arrival of industry heavyweight Anheuser-Busch InBev into the market. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) In this Jan. 13, 2016 photo, Matthew Fuerst, the founder and owner of Grandma’s House nano-brewery and tasting room, walks past barrels of beer the back room of his tasting room, in Denver. Fuerst and other small craft brewers fear that Anheuser-Busch InBev, and other large commercial breweries, will squeeze smaller operations like his out of the business by using its distribution leverage and buying power. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) In this Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, photograph, bottles of beer head to be filled on line in the factory of Breckenridge Brewery in Littleton, Colo. Independent brewers in Colorado’s booming craft beer industry are concerned that their profits will drop off with the arrival of Anheuser-Busch INBev into the market. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) In this Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, photograph, Todd Usury, chief of Breckenridge Brewery, is shown on the floor of the company’s factory in Littleton, Colo. The entry of Anheuser-Busch InBev into Colorado’s craft beer paradise has some brewers worried that the world’s biggest brewer could squeeze independent makers out of the booming industry. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) In this Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, photograph, bottles of beer line a shelf in the factory of Breckenridge Brewery in Littleton, Colo. The entry of Anheuser-Busch InBev into Colorado’s craft brewing paradise has some independent brewers concerned that they will be squeezed out of the booming industry. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
In this Dec. 20, 2019, photo, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, founder of MuslimGirl.com, sits for an interview inside her family’s video game and electronic store business in Somerville, N.J. The site’s topics — in categories like #woke, #fit and #fierce — range widely. Posts include a list of the top 10 most beautiful verses from the Quran, a look at Marvel’s newest Muslim superhero and a story about how hijab-wearing Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad has a Barbie doll made in her likeness. (AP Photo/Emily Leshner) In this Dec. 27, 2019, photo, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, founder of MuslimGirl.com, left, sips a soda while talking with old friends Mohammed Ali, right, and Saad Khan outside of a corner market in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Al-Khatahtbeh stays in New Jersey with her family when in town on business. Her home and office are in Los Angeles. Growing up, she remembers not having many friends and was often bullied. “High school kind of like made me into the person that I needed to be to create MuslimGirl,” she says. (AP Photo/Jessie Wardarski) 1 of 5 In this Dec. 19, 2019, photo, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, founder of Muslimgirl.com, records a podcast pilot at Spotify’s headquarters in New York. On her site, Al-Khatahtbeh is especially proud of stories that deal with race and sexuality. “Of course, female sexuality is honored within our religion, and it shouldn’t be something we shy away from or think of as a taboo.” (AP Photo/Emily Leshner) In this Dec. 19, 2019, photo, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, left, films a video with Maryam Saad after recording a podcast pilot at Spotify’s headquarters in New York. Al-Khatahtbeh started the website as a way to defy Muslim stereotypes after 9/11. A decade later, Al-Khatahtbeh has built it into an online magazine with a global audience. (AP Photo/Emily Leshner) NEW YORK | Today she travels the world, attends a red-carpet movie premiere and sits on panels with astronauts, former presidents and feminist icons.But in the years after 9/11, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh was just a New Jersey teenager, writing a blog from her bedroom. She used the blog to connect with other young Muslim girls and defy stereotypes. At the time, the only reflections of herself in the news seemed to be men in orange jumpsuits who looked like her father and women who seemed silent and oppressed, she said.“Being bombarded with those headlines growing up and never feeling represented by them, I did what any millennial would do, which was to turn to social media,” Al-Khatahtbeh said. “I decided to put my own place out there and create that space for us to talk back.”A decade later, her MuslimGirl.com site is an online magazine with a global audience writing about how it feels to be the only woman in a hijab at a kickboxing class, offering beauty tips and covering stories of teenagers fighting Islamophobia. Last year, the domain that she bought for $7 had more than 2 million visitors.The site “is the biggest English-language online platform for Muslim women voices,” the tech entrepreneur, now 27, said at her family’s video game store in New Jersey. “Our goal is to reclaim our narrative.”She was 9 when the airliners struck the World Trade Center towers, and she remembers the warning of her Jordanian immigrant father: “They’re going to blame us.”In the aftermath, she was bullied. People threw eggs at her home and slashed her mother’s tires. Her family faced such a backlash that her father temporarily relocated them to Jordan.While she is proud of being “born and raised a Jersey girl,” it was only in Jordan that she began to take pride in her roots. She learned Arabic and appreciated Middle Eastern food and hospitality. When she returned to the U.S., she began to wear a headscarf as an act of defiance against a rising anti-Muslim tide.“I lost a lot of friends, people started treating me differently,” she said. But she also became an ambassador for her faith. Students, even teachers, stopped her in school and asked about the Quran and Islam.“I had to learn as much as I possibly could about my own religion, the ins and outs of it, what Islamophobes were saying about it, so that I could understand how to respond,” she said.Eventually, she concluded that if the people around her had those questions, so did many others.She started the blog at 17 with help from friends at her local mosque. Most of the work is still a grassroots effort. Her younger brother, Ameer, a journalism student at Rutgers University, helps run communications. Although the site pays a group of editors, most articles are written by Muslim women volunteers.Muslim Girl has also partnered up with companies like ORLY for the creation of a halal nail polish and received support from the Malala Fund. Most recently, VaynerMedia founder Gary Vaynerchuk became an investor.The site’s topics — in categories like #woke, #fit and #fierce — range widely. Posts include a list of the top 10 most beautiful verses from the Quran, a look at Marvel’s newest Muslim superhero and a story about how hijab-wearing Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad has a Barbie doll made in her likeness.The site and its founder have attracted a legion of devoted fans who follow her on social media under the hashtag “#muslimgirlarmy. She also has detractors who say she is too Americanized or too progressive. Some question her appearance, such as the way she wears her hijab or shows her arms. She also has tattoos, an eyebrow ring and long manicured nails.“A lot of times, at any given moment, I can have like two completely different, opposing parties be bonded by their criticism of us,” Al-Khatahtbeh said,These days, she divides her time between Los Angeles and New York, attending meetings for potential business partners and live-recording moments of her life for Instagram and Twitter.In recent years, Forbes magazine chose her for its “30 Under 30” list of top achievers. Michelle Obama asked her to speak at the United State of Women Summit. She was also part of a panel that included female astronaut Cody Coleman and was moderated by former President Bill Clinton. Most recently, she served on an advisory committee for the live-action remake of Disney’s “Aladdin” and attended the premiere.“It was such a full-circle moment for me, because when I was a little girl, Princess Jasmine was one of the only representations that I had growing up,” she said.Being on the committee allowed her “to try to course-correct some of the problematic stereotypes” in the first movie, including some that she did not notice as a child.She pointed to two examples: The opening song talked about a faraway place that is “barbaric.” And Jasmine was dressed in a belly dancing outfit and chains in a “hyper-sexualized and oppressive way.”On her site, Al-Khatahtbeh is especially proud of stories that deal with race and sexuality. “Of course, female sexuality is honored within our religion, and it shouldn’t be something we shy away from or think of as a taboo.”Most of the site’s visitors live in the U.S. and Britain, and an estimated 70% are Millennials and Gen Z ages 15 to 32. One of the site’s most controversial stories was written by a Muslim transgender convert.“We want to push the envelope that way by creating that space and reminding people that they have a place within our religion,” she said. “I’m really proud of that, because one thing Muslim Girl does really well is we attract youth. They want to come in, and they want to learn more about Islam because of the way that we put it out there. We always say that our language is the Millennial tongue.” In this Dec. 27, 2019, photo, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, center, sits near the back of the room at the Islamic Center of New York University during Friday prayers. At 17, she and a group of friends from her local mosque started the blog Muslimgirl.com in response to anti-Muslim bullying they experienced after 9/11. Ten years later, the blog has grown into an online magazine with a global audience. (AP Photo/Jessie Wardarski)
PSC Golf from the Phantom Golf SocietyWednesday, Jan. 27, Bangpra – StablefordIt was a cold Wednesday morning and with an 11.48am tee time it was good to have a bit of a sleep in and we had another excellent field of 39 golfers after one withdrawal due to sickness. Hoping to get off a little earlier we got to Bangpra in plenty of time but as is the norm during the “High Season” we were unable to check in much before 11.00am.The course was very busy but at least they allowed us to have a two-tee start which resulted in both lots getting away just about on time but with heavy traffic ahead of us.Satita Cheoychao. The weather did warm up a bit which made it very comfortable and not too many jumpers or jackets in sight, well not on the golfers anyway and with the golf course looking quite dry at least the greens were very well maintained and in many instances “super quick”.I for one would have thought the colder weather would have kept the monkeys away but in actual fact there were more than I have ever seen before and boy were they a nuisance. It was a full time job for the caddies who were having to guard the contents of the golf carts and on more than one occasion a monkey would pick up one of our golf balls, resulting in a chase from the caddies until the monkey dropped it. Yes, it was quite an eventful day and unfortunately a very slow one with most of us enduring rounds of four hours & fifty minutes, but all in all most of us had a good time and let’s face it, the monkeys have been there a lot longer than we have!With the large field we were able to have three flights, A Flight for 0 to 14, B Flight for 15 to 20 and C Flight for players with handicaps of 21 and over with three places in each flight. In addition there was meant to be four nearest the pins and 2 longest first putts on th 9th & 18th greens but as often happens with a 2-tee start things get confused and we “lost” one of the near pin markers.The winner in A Flight was Ed Wyckoff who had 34 points, 2 more that Dave Edwards in second place and in third place was Mr. San Miguel Light himself, Ian Pickles.Jim Oakley was the winner of B Flight with a fine 40 points and with 2 golfers on 31 points it was necessary to have a count back which resulted in Mark Bonner (15 point back nine) finishing second from Paul West (14 point back nine) in third spot.Breaking through for her very first win was Satita “New St” Cheoychao who was the C Flight winner with 39 points. Odd Holm Hansen came second with 33 points followed by Sean Larner in third place with 31.A Flight (0-14)1st Ed Wyckoff (12) 34pts2nd Dave Edwards (13) 32pts3rd Ian Pickles (14) 31ptsB Flight (15-20)1st Jim Oakley (17) 40pts2nd Mark Bonner (17 31pts3rd Paul West (18) 31ptsC Flight (21+)1st Satita Cheoychao (40) 39pts2nd Odd Holm-Hansen (24) 33pts3rd Sean Larner (22) 31ptsNear Pins: 2nd – Ed Wyckoff, 8th – Dave Edwards, 17th – Paul West.Long Putts: 9th – Torben Lindgaard, 18th – Ed WyckoffNote: The Phantom Golf Society welcomes golfers of any persuasion – low & high handicappers alike, female golfers and beginners. We generally play Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays, meeting at The Phantom Bar in Soi Buakhow at 8.00 am with transport departing at 8.30 am. Breakfast is now available at the Phantom Bar from 7.30am onwards. For bookings or more information please contact Peter on 0806 351 386 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
PSC Golf from Tropical Golf GroupTuesday, Oct. 20, Pattana – StablefordHaving been in bed with ‘Pattaya Flu’ for the last few days the last thing I needed was rain, and as we teed off on the C Nine all seemed well, no dark clouds and not even rain covers on the clubs. However by the sixth it looked ominous and the spots had started. Then it came down and we forged on until on C 8 when I had had enough and soaked to the skin made a dash for the rest stop where we met another of our groups wet and shivering.After an hour’s delay and with the rain only falling slowly, we continued on the soaked fairways where there was no such thing as casual water, you hit it as it lay as all the ground was wet.Steve Truelove (left) with Tom Herrington. We played C & A in that order, and by the time we got to A3 the rain started to slow and by A5 the sun was out and we managed to complete the round. We were all soaked but at least we finished! The other players told me they were also about to call it a day but somehow just kept going, however at least one third of our players packed in and we knew the scores would be bad.On the way back we got a call from Dick saying most of the players had gone home, and by the way I had won with 32 points, Nigel had come second with 28 and John Pierrel third with 26, so that tells you how bad the day had been.Thursday, Oct. 22, Crystal Bay – StablefordThis week the usual Tropical Golf “Friday outing” was held on Thursday to avoid the holiday rates on Friday. The target this day was Crystal Bay and, after loading up on a great breakfast, 13 golfers set out.Derek Brook.Crystal Bay is an underrated course; for just 1050 baht (including caddie) to walk a course in good condition with a fair but interesting layout, it’s hard to beat and deserves more attention.The weather for the day was threatening with some rumbling in the distance. Play was rather slow due to another tournament on the course and the last group had to deal with precipitation as they putted out on 18. So who would shine at Crystal Bay?Two golfers broke handicap and tied for first with 37 points each but winning on count-back off his single digit handicap of 6 was Steve Truelove. Good golfing Steve! Taking second place honors was Tom Herrington (16) and third place was claimed by Barry Oats (21) with 34 points.Long Putts: John Hackett (2), Barry Oats, Mick Coghlan.
Many thanks go to our hole sponsors: Ferdinand Bar, Phantom Bar, RR123 Remodel & Construction, Solens Autolakerer, Anna Coffee & Drink, DTA Transport, Beergarden Restaurant, Alby & Micky Pizza, Lewinski’s, Pizza Italiano, Hotel Dania, Beefeater Steakhouse & Zanzi Bar. Also thanks to Freddy Starbeck and Christian Boysen who assisted with all the organizing and running of this event.Presentations were at the Phantom Bar that evening with the delicious buffet supper provided by Colin Davis from Lewinski’s. Once again the place was packed and excellent live music entertained us all.The rule of the day was that winners had to be present on the evening to receive their awards and any left uncollected would carry forward to the next Monthly Tournament on March 9 at Greenwood. The flight winners were then announced followed by the announcement of the five qualifiers for the Ferdinand Championship at the end of next year, those five being Patrick Poussier, Jim Elphick, Paul Hack, Pat Regan and Sal Brizzi.A Flight (0-14)1st Paul Hack (13) 40pts2nd Pat Regan (14) 40pts3rd Sal Brizzi (7) 39pts4th Colin Greig (9) 38pts5th Thierry Petrement (13) 38ptsB Flight (15+)1st Patrick Poussier (24) 43pts2nd Jim Elphick (24) 41pts3rd Peter McCann (17) 38pts4th Ian Pickles (15) 36pts5th Niall McManus (17) 36ptsMonday, Feb. 9, Greenwood C & A – StablefordWe had a later tee time at 10.47 am today and although it was reasonably busy our first group got away right on time in perfect conditions for golf. The course was in fine shape with the greens firm and true and with few delays a very enjoyable round was completed in four hours & twenty minutes.Patrick Poussier.Your writer managed to find a bit of form and won the day with 40 points – 7 shots ahead of veteran Ken Hole in second place. There were 2 golfers on 30 points so a count back was required and that resulted in third spot being awarded to Graham Parsonage (15 point back nine) from Andrew Woodall (12 point back nine) who just missed out on a podium spot.1st Peter Blackburn (14) 40pts2nd Ken Hole (18) 33pts3rd Grahan Parsonage (9) 30ptsThursday, Feb. 12, Mt. Shadow – StablefordWe were able to tee off right on our scheduled 10.00 am tee time at Mountain Shadow and with no other groups immediately in front of us we maintained a steady pace. The weather once again was great and the golf course was in good shape with the slick greens catching some out, myself in particular. Things slowed down somewhat during the second nine but we still completed our very enjoyable round in four hours & twenty five minutes.After just 12 points on the front nine John Swanson was “looking down the barrel”, but an amazing 25-point back nine enabled him to take out first place ahead of Ken Hole in second spot with 34 and your writer in third place on 32.1st John Swanson (27) 37pts2nd Ken Hole (18) 34pts3rd Peter Blackburn (14) 32ptsNote: The Ferdinand Golf Society generallys play Mondays & Thursdays, meeting at The Phantom Bar in Soi Buakhow at 8.00 am with transport departing at 8.30 am. For bookings or more information please contact Peter on 0806 351 386 or email to petermalcolmblackburn @gmail.com. PSC Golf from The Ferdinand Golf SocietyMonday, Feb. 2, Khao Kheow B & C – StablefordThis was the second of our Monthly Tournaments and once again we had a terrific number of golfers participating in the event which had many lucrative rewards, including prizes on every hole for A & B flights and a fabulous prize for a hole in one on the par three C8 hole. There was also the chance to qualify for a place in the Ferdinand Championship to be played at the end of this year. Our first group was able to get away a few minutes ahead of schedule on a golf course in terrific shape. We had no hold-ups on the way around and our thanks go to the Khao Kheow management & staff for their help & cooperation.Paul Hack.
Donal McGuigan (center) with Tip Briney (left) and Mickey Tighe.PSC Golf from the Pattaya Links Golf SocietyMonday, Dec. 24, Royal Lakeside – StablefordA Flight1st John Doyle (9) 42pts 2nd John Collias (12) 35pts3rd Phil Davies (11) 35pts4th Stan Stewart (16) 35ptsB Flight1st Ralph McConnell (18) 37pts2nd Derek Phillips (18) 36pts3rd Ross Luchterhand (19) 34pts4th Will Brown (17) 31ptsOn Christmas Eve the society golfers took to their sleighs and paid a festive visit to Royal Lakeside to play a stableford competition.Thirty-three golfers were divided into two flights at seventeen and under and scores were generally below the average for the course. In the second flight Wales’ Will Brown managed 31 points for fourth place with visitor Ross Luchterhand taking third on 34. The top two had a closer contest with Derek Phillips recording a level par 36 points for second whilst the returning Ralph McConnell took the win with 37.The top flight saw a countback for the minor places with Stan Stewart taking fourth behind Phil Davies and runner-up John Collias, all with 35 points. Ahead of them, almost out of sight, was John Doyle who finally played to his handicap of nine with a gross 75 giving him a points total of 42. His becomes the 172nd name on the annual PLGS “Sixties Club” roster, a group of golfers recording 69 or less in tournaments during the year.Near pins went to Ian Craigen (3), Wayne Peppernell (6) and Phil Davies (12 and 15).The best front nine award went to Vincent Smyth with 21 points and the best back nine score was Michael Wright’s 19.Tuesday, Dec. 25, Treasure Hill – StablefordA Flight1st Colin Smith (14) 38 pts2nd Stan Stewart (16) 34pts3rd George Mueller (13) 32ptsB Flight1st Stuart Mann (25) 34pts2nd Panda Aree (28) 34pts3rd Ross Lucherhand (19) 31ptsLinks Bar decided to make a big Christmas Day by playing our regular Wednesday game on Tuesday. We played the Xmas Day game at Treasure Hill last year and returned again for this year to find this course in even better condition than last time.With 32 players we had two flights today with the cut at 0-17 and 18+, The “A” flight saw a great return to form from Colin Smith who recorded the best score of the day of 38 points. Second spot went to the very consistent Stan Stewart on 34, followed by George Mueller, also a regular on the podium, with 32.In the “B” flight, sometime visitor to Links, Stuart Mann, won a tight countback to beat first timer with us, Panda Aree, both scoring 34 points. Ross Lucherhand had a placing a day earlier and placed again for third on 31 points.Near pins went to Andy Cowan (2), Dane O’Brien (6), Colin Smith (13), Phil Davies (17)Consolation nines were posted by Wayne Pepperenell (16pts) and Graham Pratt (18pts).For something different we played Mystery Partner. All the scorecards were jumbled into a bag. Phil drew a card, then John drew one, and the two scores added together. The final result of this was a winning pair of George Mueller and Stan Stewart with 66 pointsFriday, Dec. 28, Eastern Star – StablefordA-Flight (0–17)1st Stan Stewart (16) 39pts2nd Colin Smith (14) 36pts3rd Michael Wright (10) 33pts4th Maurice Roberts (13) 32ptsB-Flight (18+)1st Donal McGuigan (19) 36pts2nd Niall Caven (18) 34pts3rd Mike Tottenham (19) 33pts4th Andy Cosway (22) 32ptsColin Smith.For its penultimate golf day of the year the society visited Eastern Star on Friday to find a full course – but one in fine order with excellent greens running with pace and fairways affording a lot of run.Thirty-four golfers were divided into two flights at seventeen and under and play got underway on time from the first and tenth tees.As always Eastern Star provided plenty of challenges and scores were predictably tight and generally lower than elsewhere. In the second flight fourth place was taken by Andy Cosway with 32 points, beating Gabriel Enright on countback and one point behind third placed Mike Tottenham. Second place went to Niall Caven who played bogey golf almost throughout, his handicap giving him 34 points. The flight winner was Irish golfer Donal McGuigan with a fine 36 points.In the top flight Maurice Roberts’ fourth placed finish of 32 points included a near ace on the testing par three 6th hole. In third was Michael Wright with 33 points and he had the pleasure of the boasting rights over his regular jousters Phil Davies and John Doyle. In form Colin Smith recorded 36 points for second but the surprise package was Stan Stewart who again came good with 39 points and the win.The consolation awards went to John Harrison (best front nine, 17 points) and Len Jones (best back nine, 17 points)Near pins were claimed by Michael Wright (3), Maurice Roberts (6), Tip Briney (13) Stan Stewart (17).
3rd Alan Gadsby (18) 36pts4th Patrick Scullion (20) 34pts5th Alan Hanlon (11) 33pts The stormy weather continued but the players were very lucky that the threatened rain did not materialize although the cloud cover continued to provide good conditions for golf but the wet course made scoring difficult.Mark Armstrong went one better than last week, when he scored 39 points, amassing another 40 even though his handicap had been pared by two as he claimed the top spot by four clear shots.Mark Armstrong.Once again his round was underpinned by consistent hitting off the tee, allied on this occasion to an extra measure of accuracy and some excellent putting which all added up to an outstanding round that proved to be his best score ever in both Thailand and Australia and earned another one shot reduction in handicap.Rod Howett although not playing to his full potential, still did enough to take second place but needed to be better in a count back, which he was, by a margin of 18 to 17for second place as Alan Gadsby took yet another podium placing in third.After much toiling and sweat over several courses during his stay in Pattaya, Patrick Scullion at last put together a round that almost matched his handicap in taking fourth spot and with just a little bit of luck could have been challenging for the top position.Alan Hanlon closed out the honourable mentions another shot back in fifth.Unsurprisingly there were no 2’s in either division.Before presenting the prizes the Doc welcomed back Cliff Hornsby, Stephen Brown, Nobutaka Yamaguchi, Jens Gunnarsson and warren Gallop.Wednesday, August 24, Eastern Star – StablefordCSS 75 NC1st Shuichi Kodaka (17) 32pts2nd Gavin Hargrave (29) 31pts3rd Alan Gadsby (18) 30pts4th Rod Howett (22) 30pts5th Al Rolnik (17) 30ptsAfter a tough day out earlier in the week at the other end of Bann Chang, the action moved to Eastern Star where the course was found to be in very good condition allowing for the recent weather, which had left the course extremely wet making the length even longer than usual. Even though the rule of the day was “lift and place” in the fairways, scoring was at a premium with none of the contestants getting anywhere near to their handicaps as the CSS for the day went out by three shots and the event became a non counting one for handicap purposes.Shuichi Kodaka.Shuichi Kodaka returned the best card of the day, a hard earned four over, to take the top spot by a single stroke from Gavin Hargrave.They were followed by a three-way tie a further shot back, that was settled by count back with Alan Gadsby once more getting into the action, winning out with 16 over the inward nine as Rod Howett just pipped Al Rolnik for fourth with a better 10 to 9 on the last six after they had tied at 15 for the nine.With the conditions much harder it was even more surprisingly than Monday’s result, when there were no 2’s, there was a 2 in both divisions today. Trevor Schirmer scored one in the first division and Rod Howett had one in the second division.Note: The Haven group now departs Soi 13 at the earlier time of 9 am until further notice. If you would like to play with the group you can contact mobile 082 219 0965 or call in to the hotel at 185 Soi 13 between Beach Road and 2nd Road. All transportation to the course is arranged and you do not need to sign up prior to the day, but you should be there by 8.30 on Mondays, Wednesday,Fridays and 9.00am on Sundays on the days you wish to play. A schedule of courses to be played can be found on our web site at www.thehaven-hotel.com. IPGC golf from The HavenMonday, August 22, The Emerald – StablefordCSS 721st Mark Armstrong (22) 40pts2nd Rod Howett (22) 36pts