Thursday, December 31, 2009
No matter what we wear, though, New Year signifies a new beginning. Flipping open a fresh calendar, with its 12 pristine, as-yet-unmarked months, is perhaps one of the most universally hopeful acts we humans perform: finally, a chance to shrug off a year’s worth of worries, conflicts, and mistakes; finally, a chance to start over.
It’s no wonder we all welcome the holiday with such enthusiasm. In the U.S. (and in lots of other countries), the event is celebrated with fireworks and parades, carousing and toasts. Some cultures, though, have more unusual ways of ushering in the New Year.
In many countries, there’s a shared belief that specific actions taken on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day—or at the stroke of midnight when one becomes the other—can influence the fate of the months ahead. In the Philippines, for example, wearing polka dots and eating round fruits is supposed to ensure a prosperous new year; in Spain, wolfing down handfuls of grapes as the clock strikes 12 is said to have the same effect.
In other countries, New Year’s customs are about driving away the bad spirits of the past year, so that the new one can arrive unsullied and uncorrupted. The purifying power of fire is often used in such ceremonies: during the Scottish festival of Hogmanay, for instance, parades of village men swing giant blazing fireballs over their heads as they march through the streets.
In Panama, effigies of popular celebrities and political figures—called muñecos—are burned on bonfires. Other bad-spirit-banishing customs are less fiery and more fun-like the Danish tradition of jumping off chairs at midnight (which gives new meaning to the term “leap year”).
No matter how odd they may seem to us, though, these customs share an optimism that’s hard not to appreciate. Out with the old, in with the new!
How about a new tradition??Perhaps wearing our clothes backwards on New year's eve to say goodbye to the old year. Or, at the stroke of midnight we could shed all our clothes, wherever we are, to symbolize ushering out the old year and don only fruit and flowers in strategic areas to represent a fruitful new year. I got a million of em.
Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: Dick Clark
(born Nov. 30, 1929, Mount Vernon, N.Y., U.S.) U.S. television personality. He worked as a radio and television announcer before beginning his long engagement as host of the TV show American Bandstand (1956 – 89), a showcase for popular music. He formed his own production company in 1956 and produced over 30 series, 250 specials, and 20 TV movies.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
So Rielle found herself without a place to live - no agreement with John for their daughter's long-term support, she's absolutely furious ,and may take the whole thing public! the abrupt breakdown betweenEdwards,56, and the 45-year-old blonde divorcee came as Edwards was preparing a statement that would finally confrim he'd fathered Rielle's daughter, Frances. In a letter, Edwardsstress that Rielle consider all aspects of support, noting: The more difficult aspect is that when a child is very young,as (Frances) is, there arem't the additional expenses associated with older children, such as, activites, schools, cars, etc. Nevertheless, at this point , I think it imperative that you begin to prepare a budget for yourself and (Fances).
Lets take a look in detail both "current" and "anticipated" monthly expenses for Rielle and their daughter....the biggest "anticipated" expense is a #3,000 monthly mortgage payment for a home purchased "either by Defendent or a Trust." Adding in household expenses, a cellphone and cable TV, Rielle claimed to need $4,485 a month to cover her basic costs. As for "personal" needs, Rielle lists $800 for eating at "restaurants," $250 for "hair" care,"$400 for "domestic help," $300 for "sports and hobbies," $1,500 for "preschool," $2,100 for "babysitting," $1,200 for a "security guard," and other expenses that total $12,850. Throw in $575 for "transportetion" costs on her 2004 BMW SUV, and Rielle claims she'll need $17,910 a month to live and raise her child.Edwards blew his top and told her no way, was she mad. Rielle told Edwards , she'll find her own home and will see him in court. It's driven a new wedge between them.
Edwards has been shunned since he was forced to admit cheating on his cancer-stricken wife Elizabeth after the ENQUIRER exposed his mistress and love child in a series of bloclbuster exclusive stories.He'd hope to "get on with is political life" by making the paterity announcement, but it's now uncertain if he'll make that admission. And before the cutody fight got ugly, Edwards arranged a sercet meeting with Frances and his parents at Rielle's home before Thankagivng, sources say. Eswards wanted his father Wallace and his mother Bobbie to meet Frances before he publicly announced paternity. Edwards really bonded with Frances. The get-together was a huge step for John. At the time , he clearly wanted to put all the lies behind him. To be continued:
My spin on this crap: For one thing John and Rielle stink to high hell and they both have the morals of an alley cat, and that's being nice. It's a shame that so many people are being hurt because one old fool wants to put his cock in every hole he see's and the bimbo sees a chance of getting a free ride. Elizabeth put her faith and trust in Edwards when she needed him most and what did she get? A slap in the face ...and little Frances, she will suffer the most. Her little life has just begun. Okay folks in Carolina, wake up, let old John fade into the night...but hey, thats just me.
Kicking back and keeping it real.....
- Old technology came to the aid of the new in a Brazilian prison, when guards found that inmates were getting mobile phones flown in to them strapped to carrier pigeons.
- Farmers who pay individual attention to their cows, notably by giving them names, are rewarded with higher milk production, a team at Newcastle University in England said, quoting the results of a poll.
- Tired of seeing his parishioners give weird names to their offspring, a Catholic priest in Croatia offered rewards of 195 dollars American to anyone who chose good old-fashioned monikers such as Lana, Petra, Luka or Karlo.
- "There's probably no God - now stop worrying and enjoy your life," proclaimed an ad campaign backed by atheists and aimed at London commuters. Religious groups were not amused, but the advertising standards body ruled that the posters were acceptable.
- For several hours a publicity stunt mesmerized US networks as they scrambled to broadcast live footage of the flying-saucer shaped balloon feared to be carrying a six-year-old boy. The parents later admitted that it was a hoax perpetrated in a bid to land their own reality television show.
- A British academic who spent seven years collecting the dung of rare lizards in the Philippines was devastated when a clean-up team threw it out of his laboratory with the trash. "To some people it might have been just lizard shit... but to me it represented years of painstaking work," he said.
- Fans of a baseball team in the Japanese city of Osaka scoured a river to pull out a statue of the US fast-food icon Colonel Sanders that they had thrown into it 25 years before. They had hurled the object into the water in the honour of a successful player who they said looked like the good colonel -- but ever since they did so their team's fortunes had plummeted. Recovered from the mud, the figure was duly blessed in a Shinto ceremony.
- A Hong-Kong financial journalist was so overcome with emotion when the shares of the HSBC bank plunged 24 percent at the close of trading that she burst into tears while on the air. She later explained that she was upset at the consequences for small investors, and did not hold shares herself.
- A 34-year-old Briton beat over 30,000 competitors to win what Australian officials touted as the "best job in the world" -- spending six months as a caretaker on a tropical island of the Great Barrier Reef.
- A British woman won a famous victory -- and lots of publicity -- in forcing a supermarket chain to stop charging more for large sizes of bras than for smaller ones. The group she founded on the Facebook internet site was called "Busts 4 Justice".
- One of dozens of British members of parliament caught up in a scandal over illegal claims for expenses had to admit that he had been reimbursed by taxpayers for installing an ornamental duck house on his private estate. Announcing his resignation, he had to admit that the ducks had not even liked the thing.
- Australian officials in charge of handing out cash as part of an economic stimulus plan accidentally credited the accounts of 16,000 people who were no long living. Local media dubbed the beneficiaries "the grateful dead."
- Roman Catholics in two Swiss mountain villages said they wanted to give up a century-old prayer that asked for the local glacier to retreat. Due to global warming, the request was being answered more than they had ever wanted, they said.
-Hundreds of fans of the recently deceased US pop singer Michael Jackson started taking great interest in a 3,000-year-old Egyptian artefact at a Chicago museum.They turned up in droves to pay homage. The limestone bust, of an unidentified woman, looked uncannily like their hero.
- An intrepid museum guard saved a national treasure when floods hit the Philippine capital Manila. He managed to move most of the 200 pairs of shoes once owned by the country's big-spending former first lady, Imelda Marcos, onto an upper floor.
- Another museum, in the US state of Ohio, was upset when what it had thought was a lock of hair from the aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart turned out to be only a piece of thread. The International Women's Air and Space Museum had sent it for DNA testing, hoping to find a clue to why Earhart disappeared while flying over the Pacific Ocean in 1937.
- A British woman admitted breaching an anti-social behaviour by-law by having noisy sex. Caroline Cartwright was served with a civil order to appear in court because of marathon sex romps with husband Steve, described in court by their neighbors as "unnatural," "very loud" and "like they are both in considerable pain".
What a year. We all have our own special memories of 2009. Some are pretty good, some not so good. Most of mine are happy and/or amusing and will provide me with smiles for years to come. A few memories are still a little scary to contemplate like the stock market crash and subsequent recession.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Some sexual problems have less to do with organs and chemistry than they have to do with emotions and previous experiences. Sexual dysfunction might be caused by medications such as antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and alcohol or other mood-altering drugs including nicotine. Medical causes include diabetes, heart disease, neurological disorders, pelvic scarring, or menopause. Loss of sexual interest and function might also be due to reduced levels of hormones such as testosterone.
There are specialty clinics dedicated to the investigation and treatment of sexual problems. It's important to be evaluated with a thorough history and physical exam. From the medical evaluation further investigations such as hormone tests or other diagnostic investigations might be ordered.
If the problem is due to mood disorder or even premature ejaculation, then effective treatment will be a combination of cognitive-behavioural therapy and perhaps medications. One man's poison might be another's potion: the same antidepressants whose pesky side effects include loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, or delayed orgasm sometimes prove effective in treating premature ejaculation. A history of previous emotional trauma or sexual abuse requires sensitive counselling by a skilled professional. If an underlying medical or psychiatric disorder is the cause, then effective treatment of that problem will often restore healthy sexual function.
If you have sexual problems the first step could be the hardest: getting up the courage to ask for help. But go ahead, it's worth it!
Are you sick of making the same resolutions year after year and yet you never keep them? Here are some resolutions that you can actually accomplish! Enjoy! :-)
10. Read less.
9. Gain some weight - at least 30 pounds.
8. Stop exercising. Waste of time.
7. Watch more TV - All the crap you wouldn't watch last year.
6. Procrastinate more - but think it over first.
5. Drink - then drink some more.
4. Start being superstitious
3. Spend more time doing absolutely nothing
2. Stop bringing lunch from home - eat out more and eat bigger portions
1. Take up a new habit: maybe smoking, gambling or just eating junk food.You might even give some thought to becoming a sex addict.
You can do it. Call upon your inner strength, your will power and you can keep every resolution on this list.
"I have the gift to speak in the tongue of angels," he wrote to a pen pal from prison. "People tend to believe a person is out of his mind to speak like that but this was all kept hidden for protecting man's future development."
In a rambling, handwritten message that is scattered with references to his faith, Garrido said that he wants to help other sex offenders "have the same freedom I have."
He wrote: "I am so sorry for the pain I have caused everyone. I hope you can forgive."
The note obtained by the Daily Mirror is the latest glimpse into the mental state of Garrido, who is awaiting trial with his wife Nancy for abducting Miss Dugard from a bus stop in 1991 when she was just 11 and holding her captive for18 years in their backyard. Both have pleaded not guilty.
In another letter made public earlier this month he claimed that his faith had helped him restrain his sexual impulses. "Through the spirit of Christ a mental process took place ending a sexual problem believed to be impossible," he wrote.
Miss Dugard was reunited with her family on Aug 27 after Garrido's parole officer raised the alarm.
"I didn't know she was being kept there against her will. I was in my bed and all I knew was this smiley girl who came to see me," Mrs Garrido said. "She always seemed happy to be there. I thought she was my granddaughter. I don't know what's happened to her now but I love her. I hope she's OK."
"I don't remember how her two little girls came to be there but I thought they were Phillip's. He told me they were all his children," Mrs Garrido said.
Patricia Garrido said she saw nothing unusual about Dugard and then the girls living outside the house, saying she grew up on a farm and "was used to there being a lot of noise and spending a lot of time outside".
She defended her daughter-in-law, saying Nancy looked after her for two decades, bathing and feeding her.
"Nancy has a heart of gold and everyone seemed happy. Allissa was a very happy girl. I still call her Allissa because he never told me she was called Jaycee. I just didn't think there was anything wrong with it," Mrs Garrido said.
"They were all lovely girls. I just thought they were my family. I had no idea why he would do something like this. I don't know what's wrong with him but he has made the family very sad," she said.
Phillip Garrido selected the pretty blond girl with the gap-toothed grin as his prey during a “child shopping” trip because she looked “cute” , his wife Nancy has told investigators in California. But the couple decided not to try and snatch 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard that day in June 1991 because she was walking through South Lake Tahoe with a bunch of school friends.
Instead, they apparently trailed her to her home before returning the next morning to complete their horrific mission. Mrs Garrido allegedly jumped out of their car and grabbed her as she walked to nearby a bus-stop, while her husband remained behind the wheel.
She has described the chilling precision that went into the abduction as prosecutors put together the case for multiple charge of kidnapping and rape against the husband and wife. “That’s the one I want,” Garrido told her when he saw Jaycee in the resort town. “She’s cute, but she’s with the other kids. Let's come back later and get her.”
Michael Cardoza, a Californian attorney and former prosecutor, relayed his coldly calculating words to The Sunday Telegraph after being briefed on Mrs Garrido’s testimony by law enforcement contacts. Another source close to the investigation has confirmed that was her account.
“This was nothing less than a child shopping trip,” said Mr Cardoza. “It just makes their actions all the more horrendous and reprehensible.”
The disturbing revelation will further fuel the anguished debate in California about the state’s child protection laws, which effectively encourages scores of former sex offenders to congregate in neighbourhoods - like the outskirts of Antioch - where there is little local government and not much sense of community. It will also add to the frustration across America that so many people who interacted with the Garridos - including police, public officials and close neighbours - failed to grasp what was going on.
Mrs Garrido’s version of how Jaycee was snatched throws an even more sickening light on the advice her husband dispensed a decade later to a child safety campaigner for whom he was printing a kidnap prevention fact sheet. “Phillip offered a couple of suggestions if we were updating the leaflet,” Janice Gomes told The Sunday Telegraph.
“He said: 'Children should never walk to a bus-stop by themselves. They are no match for an adult so there should always be an adult with them,’” she recalled.
Garrido also dismissed the theory of “safety in numbers” for a group of unaccompanied children, telling her that a determined attacker could always pick off one of the bunch as the others fled.
“It just seemed like sensible advice that children should always be in the company of an adult, even if you think they are safe,” said Mrs Gomes, who set up the National Community Empowerment Programme after one of her young daughters was molested three decades ago.
Yet despite his weird personality, a tendency to burst into song and outlandish religious beliefs, it never struck her that the man known as “creepy Phil” by youngsters in the area might have been speaking with such horrifying personal knowledge about the dangers faced by lone children at bus-stops.
And Garrido, now 58, was printing the flyers from the business he ran in the same backyard lair that was home to Jaycee - and by then the two daughters he allegedly fathered after repeated rapes - in Antioch, 45 miles east of San Francisco.
What is known about Nancy Garrido points to an existence of extreme contradictions. For Mrs Garrido worked as a respected nursing aide caring for the disabled and the old at the same time as she helped her husband keep Jaycee and her two daughters captive in their backyard.
Indeed, investigators believe that her nursing expertise allowed her to play the role of midwife when those children, now aged 11 and 15, were born during the 1990s. Her impressive collection of nursing references dated back to 1981 - the same year that she married Garrido in a prison ceremony, well aware that her new husband was serving a then 50-year sentence for rape and kidnapping.
She was born Nancy Bocanegra in Bexar County, Texas, in 1955, the oldest of several children in a Mexican-American family that moved to Denver, Colorado, in 1972. Some time after Garrido’s 1977 incarceration at Leavenworth federal penitentiary in Kansas, she met him while she was visiting an uncle who was a fellow inmate.
She was reportedly an impressionable Jehovah’s Witness who fell for the handsome young prisoner - who was already claiming that he had found God and put the drug-fuelled sex and violence of his youth behind him. They married when she was 26 and he was 30.
Mrs Garrido moved from Denver to Leavenworth in the mid-1980s to be nearer her husband, renting cheap one-bedroom apartments in converted townhouses. And she was already supporting herself by working as a nurse, judging from the CV she later presented. After Garrido’s release, the couple moved in with his mother and step-father on Walnut Avenue, in a scruffy working-class neighbourhood of Antioch.
For the next 10 years, Mrs Garrido worked with disabled patients as a nursing and physical therapy aide in the area - even as Jaycee and later her girls were forced to live in a squalid network of tents and shacks in a compound hidden from neighbours by trees and high fences.
For 38 days in 1993, she was Jaycee’s sole jailer after Garrido was locked up for breaking his parole by smoking marijuana. Yet even then, she made no effort to alert the authorities - seen as crucial evidence by the prosecution that while she may have had a domineering husband, she was actively complicit in the whole operation.
This double life has amazed her former colleagues at the ARC nursing agency which took her on in 1994 after she passed a state background check. “The people who received services through her, they liked her very much. She was a good employee and she was well-liked by the people she worked with,” Barbara Maizie, the agency’s executive director, told a local newspaper. “They cannot believe that this is possible. They’re totally shocked.”
Her family in Denver - her divorced parents and at least four brothers still live there - were just as stunned when her role emerged. In the first comments by a relative, her brother David blamed Garrido for his sister’s plight as he recalled a young woman who would go fishing and canoeing.
“I’ve got nothing bad to say about my sister,” he said. “He [Garrido] turned her into that. She was normal until she hooked up with that guy.”
His sister left the ARC agency in 1998 to look after her elderly bed-ridden mother-in-law - a role she carried out with diligence and care, according to next-door neighbour Helen Boyer. “Nancy was great with Pat [Garrido’s mother],” she said. “She devoted herself to that woman.”
She was always unassuming but also became increasingly reclusive. “The wife was like a hermit,” said Damon Robinson, another neighbour. “She looked like she had no spirit.”
Prosecutors believe she was a full partner in the kidnapping and rapes and will demand multiple life sentences against both Garridos, who pleaded not guilty in their first court hearing.
Gilbert Maines, her court-appointed attorney, appears to be preparing to argue that she was brainwashed, in thrall to her husband’s personality and religious beliefs, as some acquaintances and family members have claimed. But legal experts emphasise that even if he did hold a domineering sway over her - and he of course claimed to be able control minds and hear angels through a special black box- that would be little defence in court.
Mr Maines added that his client came to view Jaycee and the girls as “family”. He said: “She loved the girls very much and she loved Jaycee very much.” Miss Dugard has also reportedly told them she formed a “bond” with the couple who stole her away.
She worked in Garrido’s printing business, oversaw graphic designs and met clients. Former clients say she looked just like a happy young woman, even an aspiring model. That she could have appeared so contented is another mystifying twist to a near-inexplicable story.
The Jaycee Lee Dugard story is apparently for sale and the Hollywood rumor mill is pointing to Lindsay Lohan as the main actress interested in picking up the story. The fallen Hollywood starlet is said to be feverishly negotiating for the film rights to the life story of Dugard. .
Hollywood insiders are claiming that Lohan believes she has a strong resemblance to Dugard, we don’t see it at all. It will be interesting to see if Lohan can turn her trainwreck of a career around with what will promise to be a serious and uncomfortable role.
Monday, December 28, 2009
At only 16 - yes , 16 -years-old, Anderson is the tallest teenager in the world, and the newest member of the Rutgers Prep high school basketball team. The sophomore moved here from her native Jamaica after being scouted by the team's assistance coach right around her 15th birthday. Ater discussing the opportunity with her family - who still live in Jamaica decided to accept a scholarship at Rutgers Prep to play basketball and get a better education.
Thing is, Anderson's new to basketball entirely. In Jamaica, the game of choice is "NETBALL", which has similar rules to hockey and is played on a similar-size court, but there is no dribbling and teams are made up of seven(7) players instead of five (5) players. "Netball" also goes the field-hockey route and has players wear skirts as part of the uniform.
Anderson was the top-scoring "Netball" player in her age group in Jamaica, and her coaches say she's having no problem picking up the "America" sport. Her Rutgers Prep teammates(some of whom are barely as tall as her elbows) are doing the best to help her out. College recruiters are already scouting "BUBBLES" which is her nickname from back home, earned because of her bubbly personality.
As you ladies know, at 16, you still have a few more years of growing to do, so there's still a chance she can still take over the world record for the tallest woman (which was held by the late 7'-7.25" "SANDY ALLEN", of Shelbyville, Ind.)
My spin on this: Way to go "Marvadene" hold your head high and reach for the stars, have fun, but in the meantime get the best education possible, you always need something to fall back on in case you get hurt[heaven forbid] but you will get older and you will definitely need some sort of training career wise...but hey that's just me.
Kicking back and keeping it real:
Fifty recipes to boost your immune system and help fight off flu viruses. Click on the green underlined title of your choice and the recipe will pop up.
Chicken soup may be the gold standard for comfort food, but there are many variations and plenty of other soups to warm you up:
Chicken and White Bean Soup with Herb Swirl - protein is essential for healing, and beans provide a little extra.
Chicken Soup with Loads of Vegetables - great for variety, this soup includes kohlrabi, turnip and parsnips.
Green-Tea Soy Broth - enjoy the benefits of green tea with this quick broth to serve over noodles, stir fry or meat.
Hearty Chicken Vegetable Soup - a good basic chicken soup with vegetables.
Mediterranean Grilled Vegetable Soup - this quick soup uses grilled or broiled vegetables, and it's low-carb, low fat and low in sodium.
Ontario Winter Vegetable Soup - a mixture of bright colours and textures, including cabbage.
Oyster Soup Recipe - enjoy selenium and zinc-rich oysters in this pureed soup.
Roasted Garlic Soup - Need a strong-flavoured soup? This one fits the bill with garlic, leeks, onions and chives.
Tuscan Vegetable & Chicken Soup with Ricotta Cheese Toasts - navy beans provide some extra protein and fibre in this Italian soup.
Did we mention the importance of leafy greens? For some extra nutrients, swap spinach for leaf lettuce.
Orange Crab Salad - no unhealthy ingredients here! Oranges, avocadoes and red pepper team up with crab meat.
Oven Roasted Mushroom and Vegetable Salad - a healthy dose of mushrooms, garlic and veggies.
Raspberries, Marinated Goat Cheese & Toasted Pecan Salad - the dressing and berries provide a double dose of anti-oxidants, along with your choice of mixed greens.
Roast Chicken and Mango Salad with Yogurt - a delicious mixture of mango and lean chicken.
Turkey and Fruit Salad - blueberries, melon and pineapples meet lean turkey and ginger in this tropical salad.
Smoked Salmon Salad - skip the bagel and serve up this traditional salmon on greens instead.
Spinach and Citrus Salad Recipe - coloured peppers and oranges load up this salad with vitamin C.
Warm Spinach & Portabella Mushroom Salad - roasted mushrooms provide a boost of beta-glucans in this simple, warm salad
Baked Kale Chips - a healthy snack that satisfies the urge to crunch (season with your favourite herbs).
Easy Ratatouille Recipe - this classic French recipe can be served hot or cold, on the side or on top of pasta or flatbread.
Lightly Roasted Ontario Tri-Pepper Salad - vitamin C packed peppers take the spotlight in this grilled dish.
Maple Roasted Acorn Squash - get your fill of beta-carotene with the rich flavours of maple and butter.
Ontario Chinese Vegetables Roll-Ups - Asian vegetables and flavours meld in this tasty dish that can serve as an appetizer or main attraction.
Quick Dip Recipe - this honey-based dip will have you reaching for the chopped veggies.
Roasted Vegetables - an easy side dish packed with colour and nutrients.
Simple Sautéed Mushrooms - an easy recipe for a tasty side or topping.
Blue-B-Q Sauce - give your meat a dose of citrus and blueberries (not to mention some garlic and chili too).
Chicken and Veggie Bake - a one-dish dinner that's kid-friendly and good for the heart too with mushroom soup, vegetables and rice.
Chicken with Fall Vegetables and Whole-Grain Couscous - top quick-and-easy couscous with this medley of chicken, chick peas and seasonal veggies.
Chicken Roasted with 40 Cloves of Garlic - garlic lovers will enjoy this aromatic roast chicken, and you can use the cooked cloves for an appetizer too.
Crock-pot Hungarian Chicken - no time or energy to cook? Let your slow-cooker do the work for this spicy dish.
Ginger Turkey Stir Fry - honey, ginger and garlic add some zip to a traditional stir fry (and you can use up holiday leftovers too).
Marinated Mussels - garlic, red wine and balsamic vinegar provide the punch, and the mussels provide the zinc.
Mini Salmon Loaves - these little loaves include healthy mushrooms and red peppers too.
Sizzlin' Shrimp with BC Raspberry salsa - this fruity and savory salsa can also be used to top chicken or fish.
Spicy Oat Crusted Chicken with Sunshine Salsa - oats add some crunch to this coating, and oranges brighten up traditional salsa.
Tea Poached Salmon with Fruit Salsa - use your favourite citrus herbal or Rooibos tea to add flavour to the fish without adding salt or calories.
Vegetarian Chili - get the protein without the meat, and get some fibre too.
It's okay to indulge your sweet tooth, but steer clear of sugary and fatty desserts and keep the portions modest.
Apple-Cranberry Crisp - as an alternative, you can also use anti-oxidant rich berries too.
Lemon-Ginger Frozen Yogurt - the perfect excuse to haul out the ice cream maker.
Microwaved Honey and Cardamom Poached Apples or Pears - a great winter warm-up with a quick prep time. Top with yogurt for some pro-biotic goodness.
Pear Cinnamon Oat Crumble - take advantage of fresh pears this fall as an alternative to apples.
Polenta Cake with Orange Blossom Yogurt, Berries, and Pistachios - polenta (boiled cornmeal) serves as the base for this dessert made with yogurt, berries and fruity honey.
Yogurt with Granola, Tropical Fruit, and Crystallized Ginger - the name says it all: ginger, honey, Greek-style yogurt and colourful fruit
More reasons to not skip breakfast in the morning:
Berry Almond Crumble Oatmeal - add some anti-oxidants to selenium-packed oatmeal with this dessert-influenced idea.
Fruitful Morning Muesli - include some nuts, and this bowlful covers all four food groups.
Harvest Fruit Bars - oats, bananas and dried fruit make this bar easy to grab on the go.
Peach and Honey Omelette - honey and peaches add some sweetness to brunch.
Roasted Rhubarb with Ginger - spoon it over oatmeal or yogurt and granola for breakfast (or angel food cake or frozen yogurt for dessert -- we won't tell).
Teddy Grahams Fruit Toss - kids need a boost too, and the cookies add a hint of sweetness and fun.
Warm Grapefruit Tea - a delicious alternative to juice in the morning, made with honey and all spice berries.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
I was working on a documentary, filming an athlete skydiving over the Kamchatka in Russia. Known as "the land of fire and ice", it has 40 or so active volcanos, and is covered in snow for nine months a year. The idea was to get footage of the athlete "flying" in front of a column of steam hundreds of feet high that was spewing from a vent in the side of a mountain.
During my 12 years in the sport, I've completed around 2,500 jumps, and at that time I was doing it four or five times a week. But there's no room for complacency. Our plan was to exit at 6,000ft, fly past the steam, open our parachutes at between 150 and 200 metres, and land. But after we jumped out of the helicopter, the plan wasn't followed.
I was very focused on my filming and had a viewfinder over my left eye, to help frame the video. To gauge distances, you really need both eyes, and because of the snow covering the volcano it was very difficult to sense height – all we could see was white.
Quite suddenly, I realised I could see the texture of the snow and ice, meaning I had two or three seconds before I hit the ground. I can't have been more than 20 metres up. Terror gripped my heart and stomach, the darkest of darkness. Then I had a clear thought of my wife and three-month-old daughter, and was overwhelmed by sadness as I felt the parachute lift from my back. I'd opened it without even thinking, just as you might instinctively hit the brakes in a car, and experienced a brief sense of hope. This is going to hurt a lot, I thought, or not at all.
The parachute barely unfurled, but swung my feet up above me, like a child on a swing. Then the ground hit me full in the back with the force of a truck. The impact left me unconscious for a few seconds, and as I opened my eyes two overwhelming emotions raced through me. The first was elation at having survived, the second black, jagged fear. I was certain, straight away, that I'd broken my back – the pain in my spine was so immense that I had no doubt about this at all.
We had a crew of about a dozen, mountain guides with first aid and a stretcher, but it took some time for the helicopter to find a safe spot to land and for them to carry me to it. I left a 1m-deep crater in the snow.Meanwhile, the athlete had drifted safely down beside me – his parachute had opened at the correct time.
I'd become very cold, and one of my lungs had filled with blood, which gurgled in my airways. I thought it likely that I had serious internal bleeding and was about to die. I tried to decide what my last words to my family should be – "I'm sorry this has happened, I love you" – then wondered who in the multinational crew to pass them on to. I ended up choosing an Austrian guy who seemed to have the most fluent English.
It took an hour to reach the local hospital, where a diagnosis wasn't forthcoming, and another nine to fly on to Moscow, where a CT scan confirmed my back was broken. There was better news, though – it was a stable fracture and I appeared to have suffered no neural damage. I flew back to the UK for the rest of my treatment. I was fitted with a back brace, and was up and walking within a week.
In the six months since, I've had a lot of time to consider my jumping from other perspectives. I've lived a very internalised life – most of my friends and people I talk to are jumpers, and my whole life has revolved around this extreme sport, this dangerous environment. I've been able to reflect on how it's seen by others, and on my motivation for doing it. My wife, Christina, is also an active skydiver and base jumper, and has jumped since my accident.
In a month or so, I should be fit enough to jump again. I'll definitely do one more, then see how I feel. My conflict at the moment is to define a balance between having a family and following my passion. I really miss it. How could I not? It's the closest realisation of Icarus's dream – you put on a suit and you fly.
A fascinating tale and I think I understand your dilemma even though I have never jumped from a plane. If you never "fly" again you may spend the rest of your life sadly pining for the sky and the last feeling you ever have may be one of regret that you didn't fulfill the destiny you were fashioned for.(Just an opinion)
Lampton Enochs has been making films in northwest Louisiana since 2005. He is co-founder of both Louisiana Production Consultants, a well established production services company based in Shreveport , and "Moonbot Studies" a new animation studio. The movie business is looking a lot brighter for the area and questions answered.
Question: After the recent local slump in filmmaking , presumably a result of both the recession and aggressive incentives offered by other states, what is th e outlook for production to return to northwest Louisiana in 2010?
Answer..: Fortunately, 2010 looks to be a much better year for the motion picture business in northwest Louisiana. There are several projects filming or slated to start prep in the first quarter and numnumerous projects scouting for thr remainer of the year. The new incentive legislation which increased our film incentives and made them permanent, has already had a major effect on industry in Louisiana and we have more than regained our competitive footing with other "incentivized" states.
Question : What remains our major stumbling block to establishing filmmaking as a fixed component of our local economy?
Ansewer..: Our major stumbling block is the one we have encountered from the beginning -- infrastructure. Shreveport needs more crew, more sound stages and more support businesses. Direct flights to Los Angeles would make a huge difference. Having a slow 2009 meant we lost some of the momentum we had gained from the previous two years. We need to keep our "brand" out there-- we are a truly "film-friendly" community with amazing civic and business support. We are an economically advantageous location for filming movies with diverse locations and professional crews.
Question : What can the community do to help this industry sink deeper roots?Answer.. : It would be great to see more local investment in the creative and motion picture industries, " The Celtic Studios" which were built in Baton Rouge are now attracting major motion pictures as the states only purpose-built sound stages. New Orleans has two purpose-built studios coming on line next year.
We need investment in post-production facilities -- sound recording and editing facilities. We also need to support the assets that are already here in "Shreveport" - The Robinson Film Center, the Animation and Visual Effects Program at "LSUS", the Bosssier Parish Community College film program and so many other creative entities. There are some great opportunities for investments that have a double bottom line impact -- economic and quanity of life.
It would also be nice to see more business relocating to downtown "Shreveport". We have a beautiful downtown that is vastly under-utilized. Overall, we need more amenities - cultural, recreational and entertainment venues -- to continue to attract and keep the creative class.
My spin on this: 2010 is looking much brighter and on the up-swing for the coming year, and maybe we will be able to dig ourselves out of this hole. Stay tuned, I may see you in the movies....The saga continues:
Kicking back and keeping it real.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Have a wonderful 'Christmas' and a fantastic 'New Year'. Best wishes from Partners in Crime, Cupcake and Jeannie.
I 've been such a good girl all through the year.
Can't wait to open your package my dear,
You know what I want.The message is clear.
On Christmas eve when the stars shine so brightly,
Hurry down the chimney all frisky and sprightly.
I'll give you you a gift you'll love, have no fear,
You'll want the same thing for Christmas next year.
Merry Christmas to Santa from Santa's 'Baby'.....Cupcake
And to all a 'Good Night' (keep it tight and do it right)
Days before Christmas, archeologists on Monday unveiled what they said were the remains of the first dwelling in Nazareth that can be dated back to the time of Jesus - a find that could shed new light on what the hamlet was like during the period the New Testament says Jesus lived there as a boy.
The dwelling and older discoveries of nearby tombs in burial caves suggest that Nazareth was an out-of-the-way hamlet of around 50 houses on a patch of about four acres (1.6 hectares). It was evidently populated by Jews of modest means who kept camouflaged grottos to hide from Roman invaders, said archaeologist Yardena Alexandre, excavations director at the Israel Antiquities Authority, Based on clay and chalk shards found at the site, the dwelling appeared to house a "simple Jewish family," Alexandre added, as workers at the site carefully chipped away at mud with small pickaxes to reveal stone walls.
Nazareth holds a cherished place in Christianity. It is believed to be the town where Christian tradition says Jesus grew up and where an angel told Mary she would bear the child of God.
"This may well have been a place that Jesus and his contemporaries were familiar with," Alexandre said. A young Jesus may have played around the house with his cousins and friends, she said. "It's a logical suggestion." The discovery so close to Christmas has pleased local Christians.
"They say if the people do not speak, the stones will speak," said a smiling Father Jack Karam of the nearby Basilica of the Annunciation, the site where Christian tradition says Mary received the angel's word.
Alexandre's team found remains of a wall, a hideout, a courtyard and a water system that appeared to collect water from the roof and supply it to the home. The discovery was made when builders dug up the courtyard of a former convent to make room for a new Christian centre, just yards (meters) away from the Basilica. It is not clear how big the dwelling is - Alexandre's team have uncovered about 900 square feet (85 square meters) of the house, but it may have been for an extended family and could be much larger, she said.
Alexandre said her team also found a camouflaged entry way into a grotto, which she believes was used by Jews at the time to hide from Roman soldiers who were battling Jewish rebels at the time for control of the area. The grotto would have hid around six people for a few hours, she said.
However, Roman soldiers did not end up battling Nazareth's Jews because the hamlet had little strategic value at the time. The Roman army was more interested in larger towns and strategic hilltop communities, she said. Alexandre said similar camouflaged grottos were found in other ancient Jewish communities of the lower Galilee such as the nearby Biblical village of Cana, which did witness battle between Jews and Romans.
At the site, Alexandre told reporters that archaeologists also found clay and chalk vessels which were likely used by Galilean Jews of the time. The scientists concluded a Jewish family lived there because of the chalk, which was used by Jews at the time to ensure the purity of the food and water kept inside the vessels.
The shards also date back to the time of Jesus, which includes the late Hellenic, early Roman period that ranges from around 100 B.C. to 100 AD. What amazing timing; to find evidence that the village of legend really existed in the lifetime of Jesus. It supports the stories handed down for centuries. Historically, it verifies that Jesus could have lived in Nazereth and grown up there.
What a dramatic Christmas discovery. The archeoligists will continue digging and hopefully discover more fascinating facts about the life and times of the people who lived and worked with Jesus, perhaps even evidence of the man himself.
Monday, December 21, 2009
The "Christmas number one"--the song that tops the charts at the end of the calendar year--is a big deal in Britain, and for the last few years it's been all but guaranteed that the honor will go to the most recent X Factor winner's debut single. (Last year's X Factor champ, Alexandra Burke, in fact had one of the biggest U.K. Christmas number ones of all time.) But this year, 2009 X Factor winner Joe McElderry (and X Factor honcho Simon Cowell) will have to settle for spot number two--as Joe's single, a cover of Miley Cyrus's "The Climb," has been trumped by a 17-year-old Rage Against The Machine song.
It all started with a grassroots Facebook campaign, "Rage Against The X Factor," organized by RATM fan Jon Morter in a protest effort to stop Simon Cowell's empire from dominating the music industry--since Simon is the main X Factor judge, and X Factor winner McElderry just signed to Simon's SyCo record label. Eventually some big-name rockers--including the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl, Sir Paul McCartney, and Rage's own Tom Morello--pledged their support to the campaign, the goal of which was to make RATM's 1992 political anthem "Killing In The Name" Britain's Christmas number one, instead of the expected X Factor single.
And, incredibly, this campaign WORKED.
But learn to walk Faith did - with the help of some peanut butter, encouragement and well, faith. Since overcoming her congenital learning to walk upright on her hind legs, Faith and her owner Jude have toured the country visiting injured soldiers at evterans' hosiptals. She just walks around barking and laughing and excited to see them all, Jude tells the Associated Press. There's a lot of crying , pointing and surprise. From those who has lost friends and limbs, there can be silence. Some will shake my hand and thank me, some will pat her on her head.There is a lot of quiet, heartfelt, really deep emotion.
Faith is a "Christmas miracle," Jude states on her website. "Faith's real birthday is unknown but we gave her the date of December 22 to celebrate. We know she was born within a few days if that date. This January, Faith will be reunited with her rescuer Reuben, who has been serving in the military, reports the Associated Press.....We hope cameras will be there to capture the emotional reunion.
My spin on this: Faith, the "Partners In Crime" wish you a very "MERRY CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY NEW YEAR." We know the two of you will be happy to see each other. Now folks, you can see what love and a little hard work can do.
Kicking back and having fun.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
What?? I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant
If you saw “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” on TLC, you probably can’t stop wondering how it is possible for a woman not to know she’s pregnant and then slip into a bathroom stall and pop out a baby? It just seems so incomprehensible to me. How could you miss all of the signs—like the 20 pounds of weight gain in your belly or no period for nine months? Not so subtle, people.
In Chile an Olympic weightlifter, Elizabeth Poblete, was in the gym training for a competition when she felt a little bit sick. Wait for it … then as she bent and picked up a dumbbell a baby boy popped out of her. Surprise!
I’m thinking no one even knew what was going on because “weightlifting face” and “labor face” are not all that different. The 22-year-old had no idea that she was even pregnant and had just competed in a strenuous competition one week earlier where one of the judges said, “I could see she was a big girl, round and strong. That’s all I noticed.” Elizabeth and her three-month premature baby boy were taken to a hospital in Sao Paulo but have since been discharged, because Elizabeth claims she can’t afford to continue receiving treatment. I still don’t get it.
The Duggar Family’s 19th Child Has Arrived
Michelle and Jim Duggar (not to be confused with their procreating son and daughter-in-law, Josh and Anna) added baby number 19 to their ever-growing family on Dec 10th. Michelle was taken to the hospital for a gallstone, and Josie, the newest J-name, was delivered by emergency C-section. She weighed just 1 lb., 6 oz. and is currently in the NICU for extended care.
More surprising than the Duggars having another baby is their choice for Josie’s middle name: Brooklyn. David and Victoria Beckham certainly do know how to start trends.
2 Female Teachers Caught Naked In A Classroom Together
High school talent shows make me want to do many things. Wear earplugs. Break out into hives. Run. But they in no way, shape, or form make me want to take off my clothes. That wasn’t the case for two female teachers at a Brooklyn high school, who a janitor found “undressed” in a classroom together while their students were at a talent show. French teacher Cindy Mauro, 33, was known around the school for dressing super sexy and having lots of tats. Students said married Spanish teacher Alini Brito was pretty and friendly but not outwardly sexy. Hey, opposites attract, right? School officials won’t comment and students aren’t even supposed to bring up the subject in class but that hasn’t stopped them from setting up a Facebook group so they can gossip about this craziness. The teachers are currently being investigated and, in the meantime, have been reassigned. What do you think should happen to them, if anything?
Pinkstinks Boycotts Kids’ Stores That Sell Pink
Since I’ve always been a blue girl myself, I’ve never gotten the appeal of pink. So I’m kind of intrigued by Pinkstinks, a grassroots group in the U.K. that calls for boycotts on shops selling pink toys and clothes for girls. They say that the “pinkification” begins a narrowing of attitudes for girls—they fear pink may be the beginning of a convention where girls prefer being pretty to being smart. Pinkstinks hopes that by calling for boycotts, girls in the “pink stage” will be more aware of issues like “self esteem and confidence, raise their ambitions and ultimately improve their life chances,” according to the organization’s website. This seems like a bit of a reach, but Pinkstinks feels that forcing pink costumes and princess dresses on girls’ “is leading our daughters up a ‘pink alley.’” Despite that unfortunate phrasing (euphemism for vagina?), I have to admit that sounds plausible. But then again, can a color really have such influence on anyone? What do you think—worthwhile group or total overreaction?
Free Sex With A Postcard For Delegates At The World Climate Summit
Talk about a hilarious attempt by Copenhagen’s Lord Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard to keep a somber tone while hosting the World Climate Summit (COP15). She sent postcards out to local hotels urging COP15 guests and delegates to “Be Sustainable—Don’t Buy Sex.” Which is strange because prostitution has been legal in Denmark for 10 years. The local prostitute union was not amused. So they are now offering free sex for anyone bearing a COP15 badge and one of these now highly coveted postcards.
German Tabloid Newspaper Erects Giant Penis Sculpture Of Rival Editor
Two rival tabloids in Berlin, Tageszeitung (or Taz) and Bild have a rather hostile relationship, which has resulted in Taz putting a sculpture on the side of its building showing Bild‘s editor, Kai Diekmann, nude except for some slippers. And, uh, his wang spans five floors. Apparently, the art is viewable from the Bild offices and refers to a satirical piece Taz printed in 2002 which claimed that Diekmann had been the victim of genital-enhancement surgery gone awry. But not everyone at Taz thinks it’s funny. The new editor-in-chief isn’t psyched about seeing what he calls “a 6-meter-long schlong” every morning, calling it a “pathetic provocation.” But he also doesn’t want to appease Diekmann by taking it down. I’m no expert on boys, but something tells me that there are worse things you can do to a man than joke about his giant penis.
But, what about the children? Just because they’re German, doesn’t mean they should grow up being exposed to scarily massive manhood at every turn.
16-Year-Old Attempts To Sail Solo Around The World
Jessica Watson, 16, is an Australian sailor who is attempting to set a world record by being the youngest person to ever sail around the world solo. The Queensland resident left Sydney on October 18. From there, she will travel from Australia to New Zealand, Fiji to Kiribati, Chile to South Africa, and then back home to Australia, crossing the Equator along the way. Her journey, if she can complete it, will last eight months and cover 23,000 nautical miles. Not everyone is impressed by the young woman’s moxie, deeming it “ignorant to attempt such a feat, at such a tender age and with so little trans-ocean experience.” Meanwhile, Watson is blogging her adventure. Bon voyage, Jessica!