Lady with a Secret: A chalk-and-ink portrait may be a $100 million Leonardo.

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Possible Leonardo da Vinci painting
Possible Leonardo da Vinci painting

Story is from National Geographic.Com
By Tom O’Neill
Photograph by Gianluca Colla
Published February 2012

Bianca Sforza attracted few stares when introduced to the art world on January 30, 1998. She was just a pretty face in a frame to the crowd at a Christie’s auction in New York City. Nobody knew her name at the time, or the name of the artist who had made the portrait. The catalog listed the work—a colored chalk-and-ink drawing on vellum—as early 19th century and German, with borrowed Renaissance styling. A New York dealer, Kate Ganz, purchased the picture for $21,850.

The price hadn’t budged almost ten years later when a Canadian collector, Peter Silverman, saw Bianca’s profile in Ganz’s gallery and promptly bought it. The drawing might actually date from the Renaissance, he thought. Ganz herself had mentioned Leonardo da Vinci, that magical name, as an influence on the artist. Silverman came to wonder, What if this is the work of the great Leonardo himself?

That someone could walk into a gallery and buy a drawing that turns out to be a previously unknown Leonardo masterpiece, worth perhaps $100 million, seems pure urban myth. Discovery of a Leonardo is truly rare. At the time of Silverman’s purchase, it had been more than 75 years since the last authentication of one of the master’s paintings. There was no record that the creator of the “Mona Lisa” ever made a major work on vellum, no known copies, no preparatory drawings. If this image was an authentic Leonardo, where had it been hiding for 500 years?

Silverman emailed a digital image of Bianca to Martin Kemp. Emeritus professor of art history at Oxford University and a renowned Leonardo scholar, Kemp regularly receives images, sometimes two a week, from people he calls “Leonardo loonies,” convinced they have discovered a new work. “My reflex is to say, No!” Kemp told me. But the “uncanny vitality” in the young woman’s face made him want a closer look. He flew to Zurich, where Silverman kept the drawing in a vault. At 13 by 9¾ inches, it is roughly the size of a legal pad. “When I saw it,” Kemp said, “I experienced a kind of frisson, a feeling that this is not normal.” read more at NationalGeographic.Com

Note from the editor & chief:

Leonardo da Vinci is ranked among the World’s greatest artists. An artist who’s talent and merit has been proven over the centuries. Very different then, say, an unnamed heavy-metal screamer who’s tauted as being a great singer in the current society, then “dis-proves” it by not being able to “sing” at all at a sports game.

“By changing accepted rules and creating one’s own rules, one can fool the people for awhile, but eventually posers will be revealed.” Who said that?

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Chinese New Year: 2012 The Year of the Dragon

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Blue Dragon
Blue Dragon

Story from InfoPlease
by Holly Hartman

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4710 begins on Jan. 23, 2012.

Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.

Breathing Fire into the New Year

Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in dragon years are innovative, brave, and passionate. Salvador Dali, John Lennon, and Mary-Louise Parker were all born in the year of the dragon.
Read more: Chinese New Year: 2012

More from TheHistoryChannel: The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival as it’s been called since the 20th century, remains the most important social and economic holiday in China. Originally tied to the lunar-solar Chinese calendar, the holiday was a time to honor household and heavenly deities as well as ancestors. It was also a time to bring family together for feasting. With the popular adoption in China of the Western calendar in 1912, the Chinese joined in celebrating January 1 as New Year’s Day. China, however, continues to celebrate the traditional Chinese New Year, although in a shorter version with a new name–the Spring Festival. Significantly, younger generations of Chinese now observe the holiday in a very different manner from their ancestors. For some young people, the holiday has evolved from an opportunity to renew family ties to a chance for relaxation from work.

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2012 National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado

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First published January 3, 2012


2012 National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado: January 7 – 22, 2012

What it is: PRO Rodeo, Mexican Rodeo, MLK Jr. African-American Heritage Rodeo, Trade Show, Livestock, Western Art, Horse Show, Food/Merchandise Vendors and much more.

Where it is: The National Western Complex is located just east of I-25 on I-70 and is easily accessible by taking the Brighton Blvd. or Coliseum exits.

National Western Complex
4655 Humboldt St.
Denver, CO 80216

From the website.

EDITORS NOTE: This is the first in a series of four articles recounting the colorful history of the National Western Stock Show, Rodeo and Horse Show, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2006.

By Keith and Cheryl Chamberlain

The year was 1906. Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House, there were 45 states in the Union, Colorado was getting ready to celebrate its thirtieth birthday and sirloin was ten cents a pound. On the outskirts of Denver, a growing town with a population of 200,000, stockmen from around the West gathered to show their animals, buy and sell breeding stock and encourage a meatpacking center to rival those in Kansas City and Chicago. From this beginning, the National Western Stock Show, Rodeo and Horse Show was born. The grand champion steer that first year was a Shorthorn that tipped the scales at 1,150 pounds and befitting its status, fetched an eye-popping 33 cents a pound.

The West Needs A Stock Show

In the early years of the 20th century, western stock growers faced a problem. They lacked a large market center in the West to receive their animals and the cost of shipping to eastern markets cut into already lean profits. Though there was a small meat packing industry in Denver, it was a poor cousin to its larger rivals in Chicago and Kansas City. There was also the feeling among western stockmen that they weren’t getting fair prices for their cattle, sheep and hogs. Livestock raising in the West was a tougher proposition than in the more humid East where concentrated corn and grain feeds were used to fatten livestock. The solution would be improved breeds that could thrive in this more arid region and a meat packing center in the West to compete with the big eastern packers.

Beginning in the 1890s, there had been efforts to get a regular livestock convention established in Denver, but what was needed was an ongoing stock show that met every year. In July of 1905, Elias Ammons, Fred Johnson and G.W. Ballantine met to talk over ideas for an annual stock show. Ammons was a Douglas County rancher, Colorado State Senator, and newly elected president of the Colorado Cattle and Horse Growers Association. Johnson was the president of the Daily Record Stockman, a livestock industry newspaper, and G. W. Ballantine was associated with the Denver Union Stockyards. Ammons proposed that they organize a show to be held in conjunction with his association’s convention in Denver coming up in January, 1906. January was a practical choice because, coming after the fall harvest and before spring calving, it was a convenient time for stock growers. Denver businessmen liked the idea of a January show because the post-Christmas period was the slowest time of the year for sales. What better fix for the mid-winter doldrums than a convention that would draw large numbers of visitors and get Denverites out of their homes to see the stock show read more…

Ticket Info: Ticket prices for reserved‐seat events range from $8 to $100. Grounds admission per person 12 years old and older is: $7 Jan. 11‐15 and Jan. 19‐22; $12 Jan. 16‐18 and Jan. 23; $10 Jan. 9‐10 and Jan. 24. Children’s admissions (ages 3‐11) are $2 on weekdays and $3 Saturday and Sunday and Martin Luther King Day. Children 2 and under are free. Tickets are available at King Soopers stores from Cheyenne to Pueblo, at Coors Field and Rockies Dugout Stores or at the National Western Ticket Office, 4655 Humboldt Street, Denver. Tickets also can be obtained by calling 1‐ 888‐551‐5004 or at

National Western’s Official Website

Colorado mother, daughter make Miss America history

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1974 Miss America Rebecca King Dreman and daughter 2012 Miss Colorado Diana Dreman.
1974 Miss America Rebecca King Dreman
and daughter 2012 Miss Colorado Diana Dreman.

From Denver’s Fox 31 News

Kim Posey
FOX31 Denver
9:18 p.m. MDT, September 13, 2011

DENVER — Being crowned Miss Colorado 2011 was an amazing experience for Diana Dreman. It was pretty special for her mother, too.

It was 1973 when Rebecca King Dreman was also crowned Miss Colorado, before moving on to become Miss America in 1974.

“It’s been fun to be able to share history with her,” Diana said.

She is now gearing up for the Miss America competition that will be held in Las Vegas January 14.

It is the first time in the Miss America Pageant’s 90 year history that the daughter of a former Miss America will compete for that same title.

The 23-year-old CU graduate is hopeful.

All of this gives the family something exciting to think about during an otherwise tough time. Rebecca has melanoma, but is doing well.

Diana has now made fighting cancer part of her platform.

“It’s touching,” Rebecca said.

Access the MissColorado.Org page
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Teen in revealing yearbook photo flap: ‘It’s artistic’

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This story is from MSNBC

Sydney Spies - Today People
Sydney Spies - Today People

By Michael Inbar contributor
updated 1/9/2012 9:25:33 AM ET

Teen in revealing yearbook photo flap: ‘It’s artistic’
Aspiring model, 18, objects to fellow students’ decision to reject the photo she submitted

18-year-old Sydney Spies wants a future in modeling, and she figured she would make that clear with her senior picture in her high school yearbook.

But the Durango, Colo., prospective graduate found herself embroiled in controversy when her school’s yearbook editors put the kibosh on running a photo of Sydney posing provocatively in a black shawl and short yellow skirt that exposed plenty of skin.

Sydney and her mother Miki Spies are butting heads with the yearbook staff and school administration over a case they believe smacks of censorship, and they appeared live on TODAY Monday to make their case that Sydney should be able to represent herself the way she wants in the annals of her school’s history.

“I honestly think (the picture) describes who I am,” Sydney told Matt Lauer in an exclusive interview. “I’m an outgoing person and I really do think it’s artistic.” read more from

This is from LasVegasBuffetClub

Wow, tough call. The school has standards. The girl’s trying to bust out because she know’s she might have it. A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do, so I’ve heard. Good luck girl. WOW!

second photo Spies submitted
'second photo Spies submitted'

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Full Moon: January 9, 2:32 A.M. Las Vegas time

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Full Moon
Full Moon

The Moon will be 100% full: January 9, 2:32 A.M. Las Vegas time.

From the Old Farmer’s Almanac
Full Moon Names
January is the month of the Full Wolf Moon. It appeared when wolves howled in hunger outside the villages. It is also known as the Old Moon. To some Native American tribes, this was the Snow Moon, but most applied that name to the next full Moon, in February.

From Western Washington University
American Indians gave names to each of the full moons to keep track of the passing year. The names are associated with the entire month until the next full moon occurs. Since a lunar month averages 29 days, the dates of the moons change from year to year. Here are titles most closely associated with calendar months.

Cherokee – East Coast, Carolinas

Cherokee Woman
Cherokee Woman

In the Cherokee language the word for January’s moon is unolvtana or cold moon.

Hopi – Southwest, Arizona

Vision Quest
Vision Quest - generic photo

In the Hopi language the word for January’s moon is paamuya or moon of life at it’s height.

Western Washington University

Help Protect the Pryor Wild Horses – BLM Now Accepting Email Comments

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Original email from the Cloud Foundation

2-year old Adelina, granddaughter of Blue Sioux & Red Raven
2-year old Adelina, granddaughter of Blue Sioux & Red Raven

Dear Cloud Friends;

The Billings BLM has decided to accept emails ( and faxes (406-896-5281) for comments on their Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) which calls for the permanent removal of 30 young horses (ages 1-3 years) from the Pryor Wild Horse Range during 2012. Comments are due by close of business (4:30 pm MST) January 6th.

The removal will bring the herd to the “Appropriate” Management Level of 120. This drastic plan is completely unacceptable and dangerous for the future survival of the Pryor Wild Horse Herd.

The herd currently numbers only 150 adults (one year and older), the bare minimum to maintain genetic viability.
In 2011, mortality equaled births which is exactly what BLM states as their goal for the herd.

The PEA includes an alternative (which was considered but not analyzed – why?): “This alternative consists of initially removing ten wild horses and re-assessing every year until the recruitment rate is equal to the natural mortality.” This is already the case! In 2011 mortality equaled recruitment (surviving foals).

Bottom line, it is dead wrong to remove any horses of any age before knowing how many foals are born in 2012, how many horses survive the winter, how many foals survive going into the fall, and the level of predation.

We urge you to write, email or fax (currently broken according to Billings BLM). Please encourage BLM to select the No Action Alternative.

Stand up for Cloud and the young horses of the Pryors, including Cloud’s look-alike grandson, Echo (Killian) and so many other youngsters who are the future of the herd. They deserve to live their lives in precious freedom!

Happy Trails!
Regular post letters can still be mailed to:
Jim Sparks
BLM Field Manager
Billings Field Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, MT 59101

Further confirmation:
I confirm that the Billings Field Office will accept electronically transmitted public comments, but definitely do encourage comments being mailed or hand delivered since malfunction of the electronic means when receiving a high volume of comments can lead to comments not being successfully received in their entirety. Thank you.
– Richard Hanes, Ph.D.
BLM Acting Assistant Director, Washington D.C.

The above article was copied verbatim, including photo (cropped) and punctuation.
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