Monday, July 11, 2016

20 Essentials for Hurricane Firsttimers

FIRST PERSON | As Irene approaches, some of my military wife friends who are new to the East Coast are concerned about their lack of experience in dealing with hurricanes. I created this “hurricane preparedness” list for them and figured it would be helpful to anyone in Irene’s projected path who may be feeling unprepared.

As a native Floridian, if there’s one thing I’ve experienced it is hurricanes! What you need for the duration and aftermath of a storm really depends on the severity of the storm. Sometimes, if it’s just a small one, you’ll simply lose cable service or power for a short time. However, in the aftermath of the bigger storms – where you could lose electricity for weeks at a time, deal with water contamination, and have local businesses shut down for a while – it’s important to have as much of this stuff as possible.

Above all else you’ll want to make sure you have protection for the windows in your home. Hurricane shutters are your best bet, but people also use wood sheets to board up the windows or duct tape in an “X” across the windows to prevent the glass from shattering in case of wind or damage from flying debris.

1. Bottled water

If the power goes out or you lose access to clean water, you’ll need bottled water for drinking and sanitation, so get plenty. The typical guideline is about 3 gallons per person. Usually you’ll still have clean water after a storm unless it’s a big one, but no hot water. Cold showers are a lot of fun!

You’ll also want to make sure you have plenty of soap, disinfectant, liquid detergent, bleach, garbage bags, and other hygiene items just for personal sanitation purposes.

2. Paper Goods

Toilet paper, paper towels, feminine products, wet wipes, paper plates and utensils. These are good in case local stores lose power and you are unable to purchase supplies for a while. Using paper and plastic supplies also saves on water if your supply is contaminated because you don’t have to wash them.

3. Baby Stuff

If you have any small children or babies in the home, make sure you stock up on the stuff you need for them daily: formula, bottles, powdered milk, diapers, medication, and wipes.

4. Pet Stuff

The same applies for pet supplies. Make sure you have enough food and water for your pets. Additionally, you may need leashes, harnesses, carriers, sanitation supplies (cat litter, etc), and your pet’s health records.

5. Important Documents

You want to ensure you place all important documents in a waterproof container. This may include health records, important phone numbers, bank records, family records, inventory of household items, wills, insurance information, titles, deeds, passports, credit cards, Social Security cards, etc. Remember that these storms sometimes cause severe wind and water damage. You’ll want to protect anything important in a safe place.

6. Flashlights or Battery-Operated Lamps

It used to be the experts suggested candles. However, I don’t like candles because they generate heat and are a fire hazard. We have industrial flashlights and numerous battery-operated LED lamps in case the lights go out.

7. A Battery-Operated Radio or TV

It is helpful to have a battery-operated radio for news updates in case your power and cable go out. We also have a portable, battery-operated “sports” TV so we can also watch the news if we can manage to get a signal.

8. Extra Batteries

You’ll want to be sure to have extra batteries for all battery-operated items in the house. We have lamps, flashlights, a radio, a television, and a fan that all require batteries.

9. Gas and Cash

Try to fill your car up with gas and get cash from the ATM prior to a storm in case the power goes out and you can’t get access to fuel or money. This may seem a little extreme until you’re sitting in eight-hour gas lines, which are less fun than cold showers.

10. Bagged Ice and Coolers

If your power goes out, you’ll want to have ice and coolers to keep perishables fresh. This is another item people often stand in line for after a storm.

11. A Generator

Most people don’t have these; we don’t. However, you can purchase small gas-powered generators at home goods stores (i.e. Home Depot). Whether or not you want to make the investment is up to you.

12. Canned or Non-Perishable Food

Food items such as peanut butter, jelly, and bread that can be eaten without having to be cooked are helpful. Or, if you have a gas grill to cook with, supplies for that. Just make sure you have a good stock pile of stuff to eat. You might also want to consider dry cereal, powdered milk, canned fruits and veggies, canned meat, canned soups, energy bars or other snack bar items.

Remember to grab a handheld can opener to open all this stuff with!

13. Medications

Make sure you have refills for any and all medications you or your family members may need. Remember this can also include any medications you may need for children and pets. Additionally, you might want to make sure you have some basic over-the-counter medications, vitamins, etc.

14. Entertainment

I will load up my Kindle with books to read for entertainment. My husband has battery-operated video games. We will also make sure our laptop battery is fully charged. We have a battery-operated TV. Some people have portable DVD players. What you stock up on here really just depends on your preference for entertainment.

15. A Working Telephone

Many people no longer have land-line phones (the kind that only require a phone jack to function). If you do not have access to a phone that doesn’t require power to work, then make sure your cell phone is fully charged or you have a car charger so you can communicate with others. Our phones are all portable and our phone line is through our cable service, so if all that goes down we have to have car chargers for the phones in order to make calls.

16. A First-Aid Kit

It’s always good to have a basic first-aid kit around the house, just in case. If you are unsure what you’ll need for a kit, you can find some tips from the Red Cross.

17. Basic Camping Supplies

You never know. You’ll want to make sure you have sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows for everyone in the house. You’ll need matches or a lighter of some sort. You may even want to keep a map or compass in the house.

After Hurricane Andrew, it was very disorienting because all of the buildings and landmarks were wiped out. A map and compass (or GPS) could help you in the event that it is difficult to find your way around. In really bad storms, many people lose their roofs or even their houses. Please just use common sense in gathering things which may help you be comfortable if you have to sleep in a house without a roof, or even outdoors.

18. Clean Clothes

Make sure you have clean underwear! Your mother will be proud.

19. Mosquito Repellant

For some reason these storms bring out the mosquitoes. Typically, these aren’t your normal mosquitoes either; they are mosquitoes on steroids. Make sure you have something to repel them!

20. Eye Care and Medical Supplies

If you wear contacts, be sure to have plenty of solution and eye drops. Make sure you have your glasses. If you monitor your diabetes or blood pressure, make sure you have all of the medical supplies you need to ensure you can continue your health care regime.

Some of this stuff may seem a little overwhelming, but in the case of storms like Hurricane Andrew (which hit South Florida 19 years ago this month) or Katrina, you will be glad you took the necessary precautions. After Andrew, all local stores, gas stations, and banks were closed, so Floridians had to take it back to the Stone Age for a while.

Because I witnessed the aftermath of a storm like that, I’d much rather be over-prepared than sorry. Besides, all the stuff listed here is stuff you will eventually use, so it’s good to have. On a positive note, if the storm ends up turning or not making an impact, you can always plan a camping trip when hurricane season is over – you’ll definitely be prepared!

Tags:20 Essentials for Hurricane Firsttimers

20 Ft. Burmese Pythons May Spread from Florida Everglades as Far North as Kentucky and Delaware

The Florida Everglades is teeming with Burmese pythons. The pythons are spreading north through Florida from the Everglades. Quoting U.S Geological Survey, “Wildlife managers are concerned that these snakes, which can grow to over 20 feet long and more than 250 pounds, pose a danger to state- [sic] and federally listed threatened and endangered species as well as to humans.” Many people have seen a photo of a python. which swallowed a 6 ft. alligator with disastrous results for both. The photo with this article shows a python with a death hold on an alligator.

The USGS has prepared maps showing the potential habitat for the python if the spread cannot be stopped. Wildlife experts are trying to develop strategies to contain the spread of the pythons and other “non-native giant constrictor snakes.” The maps were drawn by comparing the climate of the United States with areas of similar climate in their native habitat where the pythons thrive, which is “(from Pakistan to Indonesia.)”

The states where they can live include most of California, the southern part of Arizona and New Mexico, most of Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, the Gulf and Atlantic Coast states up to and including parts of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. Although it is not certain, they may be able to survive in parts of Kansas, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The second map, based on the projected rate of global warming by the year 2100, extends the ‘maybe’ area to southern Illinois, Indiana and West Virginia. You may view the maps by accessing the USGS website.

The python population in the Everglades is attributed to snake owners who could no longer keep them, could not bear to euthanize them and turned them loose in the wild. A reproductive Burmese python colony was first observed in the Everglades in 2003. The park biologist said it is “important that pet owners be responsible in their choice of pet and dispose of it properly should they need to. Releasing them into the environment is bad for that pet, bad for native species, and also illegal.” I fail to understand the appeal of a snake for a pet, especially a giant constrictor.

Let’s hope that the Wildlife Service can stop the spread of this monstrous snake. I have a feeling that they could depress Florida home prices even more if they begin showing up in urban settings. I would really hate to find one slithering across my lawn or wrapped around my shade tree.

Slideshow: Burmese Python Swallows 6 Ft. Alligator and Explodes


U,. S. Geological Survey/”USGS Maps Show Potential Non-Native Python Habitat Along Three U.S. Coasts”/USGS

Tags:20 Ft. Burmese Pythons May Spread from Florida Everglades as Far North as Kentucky and Delaware

20 Fourth of July Alcoholic Drinks: Celebrate Our Independance with a Punch!

All American

1 oz. Bourbon
1 oz. Southern Comfort
2 oz. Coca-Cola

Serve with two ice cubes and you can vary the amount of Coca-Cola depending on how soft or strong you want your drink to be.

American Flag

1/3 Grenadine
1/3 Crème de Cacao
1/3 Blue Curacao

When prepared properly this shot will look red, white, and blue, and taste like a chocolate covered cherry. First pour the grenadine, then the Crème de Cacao then the Blue Curacao.

Army Green

1 oz. Goldschlager
1 oz. Jagermeister
1 oz. Tequila

Pour it into a shot glass and drink it… then grab a chaser.

Betsy Ross

Crushed Ice
2 oz. Brandy
1 ½ oz. Tawny port
½ tsp. Triple Sec

In a mixing glass half filled with crushed ice, combine all ingredients, stir, and strain into a cocktail glass.

Born on the 4th of July

1 ½ oz. Blue Curacao
1 ½ oz. Sloe Gin

Fill Collins Glass with ice Pour in Blue Curacao first Next pour in Sloe Gin but be careful, the appearance of the drink is very important. Pour onto the ice so as to layer it. Next fill it with cream also layering it. The result should be a blue and red drink with tendrils of white shooting through the colors.

Chocolate Soldier

1 ½ oz. Gin
¾ oz. Dubonnet Rouge
½ Lime

Mix with ice and serve!


2 oz. Wild Turkey
4 dashes of Tabasco Sauce

Just pour it all in a shot glass and take the Firecracker!

Five Star General

½ oz. Jagermeister
½ oz. 151 proof Rum
½ oz. Rumple Minze
½ oz. Goldschlager
½ oz. Taquila

Put them all in a shot glass and put it down like the General does!

4th of July

½ oz. Grenadine
½ oz. Blue Curacao
½ oz. Cream

Layer them in a shot glass, it will look red white and blue.

Navy Seal

2 oz. Cuervo Tequila
2 oz. Jagermeister
Ice Cubes

You may need a chaser with this wild shot.

Patriotic Blow

1 part Sloe gin
1 part Blue Curacao
1 part Whipped Cream

Layer it and drink it!

Uncle Sam

1/3 oz. Aftershock
1/3 oz. Peppermint Schnapps
1/3 oz. Rumple Minze

Chill all ingredients before pouring them into a shot glass.

All American Daiquiri

For the Blue Layer of the drink you will need:
¾ oz. Light Rum
1 ½ oz. Sour
Mix ½ oz. of Blueberry Flavoring or 10 blueberries
1 Cup of ice
For the Red Layer:
¾ oz. Light Rum
2 oz. Strawberry Daiquiri Mix or 4 large strawberries
1 cup of ice

Blend each layer separately until very thick, layer blue, layer red, then top with whipped cream!

Old Glory

½ oz. Grenadine
½ oz. Cream
½ oz. Crème Yvette

Pour ingredients in order into a pony glass, you should be able to see the ingredients float on top of one another.

American Glory

3 oz. Champagne
2 oz. Orange juice
2 oz. lemonade

Add ingredients to a frosted ice filled glass.

Blaze of Glory

2 tsp. Dark Crème de Cacao
1 ½ Grand Marnier Orange Liqueur
1 ½ oz. Dark Rum

Shake with ice.


4 oz. Champagne
1/3 oz. Gin
½ oz. Tangerine Schnapps

Mix into a champagne glass and garnish with a twist of orange.

Patriot Missile

½ oz. Black Haus Backberry Schnapps
½ oz. Blue Curacao
6 oz. Smirnoff Ice
¾ oz. Grenadine Syrup

Pour half a bottle of Smirnoff Ice into a pint glass. Then add ¾ oz. of grenadine along the inside of glass, so it settles at the bottom. In a separate shaker, combine ½ oz. Black Haus and ½ oz. Blue Curacao with ice. Shake contents and pour into a 1 oz. shot glass. Drop the shot glass into the pint glass and drink quickly.

American Death

1/3 oz. Peppermint Liquer
1/3 oz. Cinnamon Schnapps
1/3 oz. Aftershock

Good luck!

American Dream

¼ oz. Kahlua coffee liqueur
¼ oz. Amaretto
¼ oz. Hazelnut Liqueur
¼ oz. Dark Crème de Cacao

Chill with ice and strain into a shot glass.

Fourth of July is a great chance to celebrate our independence and have a few drinks! Just don’t try all of these in one 24 hour time frame!

Tags:20 Fourth of July Alcoholic Drinks: Celebrate Our Independance with a Punch!

20 Free Downloadable Song List (aka DLC) for Rock Band 2

On November 4th, Rock Band 2 owners with XBox 360 and the Playstation 3 will finally be able to get the 20 free DLC songs that Harmonix promised when Rock Band 2 was released.

In order to get the songs, you need to enter the download code on the back of your Rock Band 2 instruction manual on your console’s marketplace.

20 Free Rock Band 2 DLC Song List

* The 88 – “Sons and Daughters”
* Authority Zero – “No Regrets”
* Between the Buried and Me – “Prequel To The Sequel”
* The Cab – “Bounce”
* The Chevelles – “Get It On”
* The Cocktail Slippers – “Give It To Me”
* Dealership – “Database Corrupted”
* Endeverafter – “I Wanna Be Your Man”
* The Ghost Hounds – “Ashes To Fire”
* Hollywood Undead – “Young”
* Kutless – “The Feeling”
* The Len Price 3 – “If I Ain’t Got You”
* Lesley Roy – “I’m Gone, I’m Going”
* Opiate for the Masses – “Burn You Down”
* Semi-Precious Weapons – “Magnetic Baby”
* Shaimus – “Like a Fool”
* Thenewno2″ – Crazy Tuesday”
* Tickle Me Pink – “The Time Is Wrong”
* Underoath – “Desperate Times, Desperate Measures”
* X Japan – “I.V.”

20 Free Rock Band 2 Songs Not Big Names

While many people expected to see big name artists on Rock Band 2’s DLC list for the 20 free songs, the new bands do represent some up-and-coming bands that many people have taken a liking to since hearing some of the music in the wake of the DLC announcement. Since Harmonix is already giving people tons of new songs each month through DLC ad because the 20 songs on this Rock Band 2 list are free, perhaps people shouldn’t complain too much.

Remember to give the 20 free DLC songs a listen on youtube before downloading them because you don’t want to get stuck with songs you don’t enjoy playing on Rock Band 2 for your mystery setlists in the career mode for example.

source: Rock Band 2 Free DLC Revealed,

Tags:20 Free Downloadable Song List (aka DLC) for Rock Band 2

Two Strength-Training Exercises Most Women Don't Do and Why They Should

How many times do you see women at the gym doing pull-ups or push-ups on their toes, not their knees? Not often enough. These are two exercises that most women shy away from, because they think they’re too difficult, or they believe they’ll build big muscles that will make them look masculine in a tank top. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, push-ups and pull-ups are a challenge, but most women can do these strength-training exercises if they practice and persevere.

Why Do Them Anyway?

Push-ups and pull-ups are two of the best ways to develop upper body strength, something most women are lacking. Developing the muscles of the shoulders, arms, back and core makes every day functional movements such as lifting a heavy child or moving furniture easier. Plus, building upper body strength gives you the tone and definition you need to look great wearing everything from a short-sleeved top to a bikini. Contrary to popular belief, push-ups and pull-ups won’t make you bulky or masculine-looking.

Start By Mastering Push-Ups

Push-ups are the easier of the two exercises to do, so start with them. They have the added advantage of working the chest, arms, back and core all at the same time. Start by learning to do push-ups on your knees using perfect form. Once you can do thirty push-ups with good form without stopping to rest, add in a few military-style push-ups where you’re on your toes instead of on your knees. Begin by doing three, and then finish the set on your knees. Gradually increase the number of military-style push-ups you do with each set until you can do thirty without dropping to your knees.

Vary the intensity and focus on different muscles by moving your hands closer or further apart and by varying the speed. If you do a push-up slowly, your muscles will work harder and become stronger more quickly. Don’t use momentum to push yourself up too fast, and concentrate on getting your chest as close to the ground as possible with each push-up. It’s more effective to do a few push-ups using good form than it is to whip out thirty where you’re bouncing around and not bringing your chest close to the ground.

Tackle Pull-Ups Next

Most women balk at the idea of doing pull-ups, but it’s one of the most effective upper-body strengthening exercises there is, and nothing looks more impressive than a woman who can do even a few at the gym. Don’t sell yourself short. With a little training and focus, most women can learn to do full pull-ups without assistance.

Many women train to do pull-ups using an assisted pull-up machine at the gym. With this machine, you can vary the amount of support on your lower body while pulling yourself up above the bar. This isn’t the ideal approach since you won’t push yourself as hard when you have a support underneath you. Instead, do negative push-ups. To do this, use a stool or other support to step up to the bar. Grasp the bar with both hands with your palms facing away from you, and hold your chin over it. Slowly lower your body down as slowly as possible. Count to five as you glide down rather than just dropping your body. Repeat this movement as many times as you can. Negative pull-ups build the upper-body strength you need to do a full pull-up and help you get accustomed to the movement.

Once you’re comfortable doing negative pull-ups, challenge yourself by trying a full pull-up. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t do it the first time. Keep working at it, and the day will come when you can pull your chin up and over the bar.

Don’t Ignore These Two Strength Training Exercises

These two strength training exercises are among the very best for building upper-body strength. Make them a part of your training program to reach peak fitness.

Tags:Two Strength-Training Exercises Most Women Don’t Do and Why They Should

20 Creative Bulletin Board Ideas for Art Teachers

Most art teachers brainstorm each school year to think of fresh ideas for their classroom or hallway bulletin boards. While some art teachers may have one display board, other teachers may be assigned three or more to continually rotate. If you’re looking for some creative new bulletin board ideas, here are 20 unique displays – fun, educational, and all promoting art!

Bulletin Board Idea #1: Art Class Vocabulary – Write out the important art terms and definitions relevant to what you are teaching your students at the moment. For example, if you are discussing drawing, write the vocab: “shading”, “value”, “charcoal”, “highlight”, “crosshatching”, etc.

Bulletin Board Idea #2: Get-to-Know the Artists – Pick an artist to focus on. For instance, pick Vincent Van Gogh, display his self-portrait, some of his works, a brief biography, and describe his role in the history of art. Rotate artists every so often.

Bulletin Board Idea #3: Art Mysteries – Design an ‘art history mystery’ question for students to research, or display an artwork and have students figure out who made it. Consider giving prizes for first correct answer (or draw randomly from all correct answers).

Bulletin Board Idea #4: Our School’s Artists – Have each student – and staff member – create a small self-portrait and display each portrait on your display board. Students will have fun finding themselves, their friends, and teachers in the mix (like a “Where’s Waldo?” of artists)!

Bulletin Board Idea #5: Highlight a Local Artist – Look into your community’s art organizations or galleries to find local artists to spotlight on your display board. Consider inviting the artist come and be a guest speaker for your art classes.

Bulletin Board Idea #6: Variations on an Art Genre – Put “Still Life” or another art genre heading at the top of the board. Find artwork variations on this genre and display underneath so students can see there are many creative options available. (For instance, display a Renaissance still-life, a Cezanne, a collage, print, photo-montage, even a sculpture still life.)

Bulletin Board Idea #7: “Art Is…” – Invite your students to write what art is or what it means to them (or they can draw instead of write). Display as many as possible under the heading “Art is…”

Bulletin Board Idea #8: “Art Inspires!” – Explain to students how all artists are inspired by others. Display an artwork of your choosing (or multiple artworks from one artist), and have students create their own original artworks, inspired by what they’ve seen.

Bulletin Board Idea #9: Teacher Artwork – Invite other teachers or the administrator to sit in on an art class and create artwork along with your students. Display their finished work on a special board. As an alternative, ask the staff if they have anything they’ve made in the past they could display (even if it’s needlepoint, quilting, woodcarving, etc.).

Bulletin Board Idea #10: Artist Quotes – Find quotes from famous artists online, type in fun fonts and colors, then print out to display on your board. For instance, many know of Picasso’s: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain one when he grows up.” Check out the Incredible Art Department’s “Quotes about Art” for many artist quotes

Bulletin Board Idea #11: “All About (Medium, Art Element or Design Principle)” – Create an educational presentation all about an art subject, such as “Printmaking”, “Sculpture”, “Balance” or “Color.” Explain it, show examples, list the qualities and characteristics, and more.

Bulletin Board Idea #12: Highlight an Art Movement, Culture or Time in History – Dedicate a rotating display to educating students about various art movements (“Impressionism”, “Dada”, “Surrealism”), time periods (“Art in the Industrial Revolution”) or cultures (“The Art of Japan”).

Bulletin Board Idea #13: Which Item/Artwork Doesn’t Belong? – Display several artworks that are linked by a common thread (photographs, Expressionist paintings, or the work of a similar artist), then display one which does not belong. Have students make an informed guess on which one does not fit with the others.

Bulletin Board Idea #14: Cool Art Websites – Display a variety of appropriate art-related websites that students can visit. List the title, URL and a brief description (or even a page printout). Find a great resource of online art games and activities for kids here at the Incredible Art Department’s “Online Art Activities for Kids.”

Bulletin Board Idea #15: Visit an Art Museum – Dedicate a rotating display to different art museums around the world (or just in your country). Print out the name of the museum, show where it is on the map, and print out small copies of the museum’s collection.

Bulletin Board Idea #16: Art Satires – Find media satires of famous artworks. Spoofs can be found online, in magazines, and even calendars. Alternatively, focus on one artwork that is spoofed – such as 10 satires of “Mona Lisa”, “American Gothic”, etc.

Bulletin Board Idea #17: Art in the News – Save (or have your students collect) recent newspaper, magazine or internet clippings about art in the news. Consider focusing on one aspect, such as art museum burglaries, high-priced art auctions/sales, etc.

Bulletin Board Idea #18: Art Careers – Educate your students on art careers by creating a display board listing various art-related jobs. Consider listing as many careers as you can, or focus on explaining the duties, responsibilities, outlook, salary, and required education for a few specific careers. For a list of art-related careers, read: “55 Careers for Anyone Interested in Visual or Fine Arts.”

Bulletin Board Idea: #19: Document an Art Field Trip – Planning an art class field trip? Plan ahead by bringing a camera and photo-document your trip. Create a display board showing where the students went, what they learned and photos of the activities.

Bulletin Board Idea #20: Explain What All Grades/Classes are Learning in Art Class – This is a great presentation idea when you need a display for an Open House or Parent’s Night. List each grade or class (when applicable), and write what each is currently working on, as well as the state standards being taught, and which artists/artworks the students are learning about. Attach a small artwork sample.

Never be bankrupt of creative art class bulletin board ideas again! Use any of these 20 ideas to fulfill your classroom or hallway board requirements, and create educational, imaginative, unique art-related presentations that will be admired by administrators, teachers, parents and students alike.

Tags:20 Creative Bulletin Board Ideas for Art Teachers

20 Most Significan American History Events (1825-1865)

1. (1828) Tariff of Abominations: This was a tariff that was passed by the Democrats to broaden support for Jackson in the upcoming 1828 election. Most support of Jackson was in the South and this was to get support in the North. The tariff raised the price the South had to pay for manufacture items. This made the South very angry. They were against protective tariffs.

This affected America socially because it sparked the idea of “nullification.” This in turn created a divide throughout the nation and made it so there was the “North” and the “South.” People in the South did not like the people in the North because they felt it protected the North and did not help all states just the North. This was significant politically because the Nullification crisis created many State and Federal government disagreements. A huge debate came up if it was legal for a state to “nullify” a law. Calhoun came up with idea of nullification because he thought it was unfair for the North to benefit if the South suffered. It also decreased popularity of Jackson in the South, which affected the upcoming election. This obviously affected the South economically. They had to pay more for manufactured items, which would ruin the Southern economy. This set a precedent for other tariffs, which scared the South.

2. (1830) The Indian Removal Act: This was intended to move the Native Americans west of the Mississippi. Native Americans and their supporters were very angry with this. Arguments were brought up about why they were not given rights that other Americans were given since they were there before the Americans.

This affected America because groups were created in the Native tribes. Pro-assimilation and anti-assimilation were the two groups. Some wanted to fight and others wanted to be conservative. Also there were some supporters of the Native Americans in the North. Most of these supporters were Religious people. These supporters were not widely accepted in America. It affected America politically because it sparked debates about what should be done. In two Supreme Court cases they ruled in the Natives favor but then the president overruled it. This showed the power that the president had. It affected America economically because it allowed them to control rich agricultural lands that would be good for growing cotton. They were able to now have the land that the Natives once owned without paying for it.

3. (1832-1834) The Bank War: This was where Jackson kept vetoing a recharter of the National Bank. He felt that it gave too much power to the nation government and allowed rich investors to benefit rather than the majority of the people. The national bank made sure that state banks kept metal specie to back up their money. This kept the state banks from not issuing too many notes or causing inflation with paper currency.

This affected America socially because he kept going against Congress, which was sometimes thought about as going against the liberties of the people. This made people angry and they were divided on what should be done. It made people think about Jackson as a king rather than a president. This also affected America politically because Jackson was going against Congress wanted. The system was designed with checks and balances but they could not reverse his decision with a two-thirds vote. This made Jackson to be able to force himself into the lawmaking process and gave him more power. Congress could do nothing about it. This affected America economically because the state banks were not regulated any more and it caused major inflation. The banks were able to make a lot of money and just keep adding it and taking people’s money. This devastated America’s economy.

4. ( 1836) Gag Rule: This made it so that neither people nor Congress could talk about slavery. Abolitionists were angered about this and it led to many riots. Some people brought up the point that it was unconstitutional and it impeded on people’s first amendment right of speech. It also postponed the issue of slavery rather than solving it.

It affected America socially because people now couldn’t talk about slavery and the issue built and built into violent riots. People were angry about the whole situation. It also affected the country politically because it stopped Congress from debating about slavery. This was a big deal because with the addition of new territories it would be tough not to talk about it. It also was tough economically because it just delayed the issue of slavery and the North and South had such different economies with slavery so it was hard to work together.

5. (1846-1848) Mexican American War: This war started because of the annexation of Texas and the dispute about where the border should be. Mexico thought the border should be at the Nueces River but Texas thought it should be at the Rio Grande. Then the American army crossed the Nueces River, which made Mexico very angry and they considered it as an invasion.

This affected America socially because it increased the idea of Manifest Destiny. It changed the way people thought about the West. People now wanted to move west to California or Oregon. People thought about how they were superior to other countries. This affected America politically because some political parties were against the war such as the Whigs. It brought up debates in congress if it was legal or moral to fight a war for expansion. President Polk claimed that Mexico had shed American blood on American soil. It affected America economically because it gave the country more land to settle in the West and also a way to get to California. It would be much harder to get to California if you couldn’t go through Texas. This was especially important before the Gold Rush.

6. (1848) Gold is Discovered in California: In 1848 large amounts of gold were found in California. Although people knew there was gold before that it was the first time that large amounts were found. The president then confirmed this in the State of the Union Address. He said this because he wanted to increase settlement in the West so they would be sure they could keep the territory.

This affected America socially because it made people want to go west. It was part of Rugged Individualism. It also brought up talks about if it would be a slave or free state once it got enough people. It affected America economically because it allowed people to get gold. A lot of people found little to no gold but it did spread out America’s economy to the West. It also sparked the idea of settling in the West. It affected America politically because it brought up debates about if the state should be free or a slave state. It eventually led to the Compromise of 1850, which was a very big deal because it allowed people to go to the North to catch their slaves.

7. (1850) The Compromise of 1850: This was a compromise that solved the problem about if California should be a free or slave state. They needed to for a state government quickly there because anarchy was starting to happen. The people that were immigrating there were not respecting the natives or whites that were there before them and the property rights of people. There was chaos because of the discovered gold there.

This affected America socially because it included the Fugitive Slave Act, which required white northerners to aid in the capture of run-away slaves. This enraged abolitionists and fueled the conflict between the North and South. People were extremely mad in the North and it made the divide in the states greater. It also affected America politically because it kept slavery legal in the District of Columbia and abolished slavery in California. Also it made it so Congress couldn’t regulate slave trade in the states. It also affected America economically because it made California more mining, manufacturing, and fishing rather than an agriculture economy. It also made it so the lands won from Mexico would be undetermined and possibly be slave economies or free economies.

8. (1852) Uncle Tom’s Cabin is Published: This was a novel about the horrors of slavery. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel startled the north. It made people think about slavery and if it was moral or not. This scared many Southerners also. This changed the way people thought about slavery.

It affected many things. The graphic descriptions of the brutality of slavery inspired many northerners to fight for abolition, which resulted in a great increase in abolitionists within the United States. This novel was incredibly effective in persuading people to act against slavery. The images of the south provided by the book provided for a justification of war for some Americans- specifically in the North. It did not change much politically except getting congress thinking about slavery again.

9. (1853) The Gadsden Purchase: The Gadsden Purchase provided a route for a transcontinental railroad in the South. It was purchased from Mexico in 1853 for 15 million dollars. The US originally wanted Baja California also but Mexico was not interested. It allowed for the transcontinental railroad in the South, which made people happy.

This was a revolutionary mode of transportation that would later change the nation both economically and socially, through the facilitation of the travel of people and goods across the nation. Since the transportation of goods and people was now much quicker- and much less expensive- the nation’s economy boomed, and Americans began to spread across the continent in much greater numbers, searching for new opportunities. In addition, the Gadsden Purchase defined the final borders of the continental United States.

10. (1854) Kansas Nebraska Bill: This was a bill that proposed that people in the new territories should decide for themselves if the new state should be a free or a slave state. Stephen A. Douglas proposed it. It was created so that territories would become states faster. They could not build railroads through unorganized territories it just wouldn’t work.

This affected America socially because territories couldn’t decide to make it a free or slave. Massive conflicts broke out. Most of these conflicts were in Kansas and Nebraska. Everyone wanted himself or herself to benefit. If they were agriculture based then they wanted it to be a slave state but if they were manufacturing based then they wanted it to be a free state. This also affected the country politically because now it could possibly offset the balance in the Senate. If all the new states decided they wanted to be slave states then the free states would be outnumbered and most new laws would be in favor of the South or the other way around. It also changed things economically. It made it possible for states to choose the type of economy they wanted and also it made it possible for the railroads to continue to be constructed. It also gave more places for immigrants to go.

11. (1856) Dred Scott Case: This case determined if a slave moved into a free state if he or she would still be enslaved. The court ruled that blacks were not citizens so they had no rights to begin with or to even be at the trial. Northerners were worried after this decision that the South would reopen the slave trade with Africa and slavery might extend to the northern states.

This affected America socially because it basically ruled that African Americans were not even people they were property and they had not rights. This just place blacks even lower on the social status and gave them no rights. It also affected America politically because political parties such as the Republicans fought against it. It fueled the abolitionist movement and started debates on what would happen if slavery started spreading. It also affected the country economically because it made it so slavery would most likely be around for longer. It made it so the South would remain a slave economy for much longer than expected.

12. ( 1858) Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The Lincoln-Douglas debates were a series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas for the Illinois seat in the US Senate. These debates covered many issues. The most significant issue, however, was that of slavery. Lincoln expressed that slavery should not be allowed in new United States territories. Douglas, on the other hand, felt that popular sovereignty should decide the fate of the new states.

This affected the country socially because Lincoln wished to unify the country with either all slave states or all free. He felt that it would result in serious conflict if they were not unified. It also affected the country politically. The debates sectionalized the political parties of that time. Democrats mostly agreed with Douglas, and republicans generally agreed with Lincoln. This, consequently, created conflict and opposition between the two parties, which resulted in the sectionalization of political parties. It also changed many things in the country economically; with Lincoln’s proposal of a unified country this would mean a more unified economy. This would be very important because they could pass tariffs in favor of all the country.

13. (1859) John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry: John Brown was an abolitionist who greatly advocated the expression of beliefs through violence. One way he showed his beliefs was through his raid on a federal arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. He could only recruit twenty-one men, five of whom were African American. The raid commenced on Sunday, October 16th; Brown’s men quickly seized the arsenal and rifle-manufacturing plan. Although Brown hoped that the black community would hear of this revolt and know that their day of liberation was coming, the white community got a hold of the news first. Whites quickly surrendered Brown, killing or capturing eight of his men. Militia and federal troops rushed to the armory. Brown was tried and found guilty of treason within a couple weeks, and was sentenced to be hanged on December 2.

His actions shocked the nation, and he quickly became known as the first American terrorist. Brown’s actions were significant because they proved to be catalysts for the Civil War, as it showed that people had strong viewpoints and weren’t afraid to take action for what they felt was right. Many people followed Brown’s example, which led to many of the revolts that directly caused the Civil War. It also affected America socially because it got whites thinking about how immoral slavery was. Some debated him as a hero not a villain.

14. (1960) The Election of 1860: This election was mainly between the Democrat, John C. Breckinridge and the Republican, Lincoln. The North was in favor of Lincoln and the South was in favor of Breckinridge. Lincoln didn’t campaign in the South and Breckinridge didn’t campaign in the north. Lincoln only won 39% of the popular vote but won 59% of the electoral vote. The South was angered because Lincoln wasn’t even on their ballot. They claimed that north only cared about themselves.

This affected America socially because it even further divided the North and South. The South was angered at the North and there were major sectional differences. This furthered the process to secession of southern states. This affected the country politically obviously because it was a new president. Lincoln appointed many people from different political parties to his cabinet. It also affected the country economically because Lincoln was interested in unifying the country by making it all free. This would make the economy in the South more about manufacturing because they would not have slaves to work in their fields.

15. (1961) The First Secession: This was when South Carolina left the Union. They inaugurated Jefferson Davis as their president. This led to the decision at Fort Sumter. This was important because it opened the Civil War. It was the first secession, which made other states secede from the Union and it broke up the Union. The new confederate constitution guaranteed states rights and it guaranteed slavery for the South.

This affected America socially obviously because it created the confederates and it made two distinct sides of the country. There were many fights over slavery. Also it split the country in completely in two. It also affected the country politically because after this all of the southern states dropped out of the Union and left Congress only for the North. It also created a government in the South. It also affected the country economically because it made it so most of the South didn’t trade with the North so the factories in the North couldn’t produce clothing because they didn’t have cotton. Also the South started selling cotton to Europe.

16. (July 1-3, 1862) The Battle of Gettysburg: This was an attempt by the confederates to weaken the North and lower their spirits. It was a three-day war and they were trying to make it so the North couldn’t invade the Union by making them focus on protection. Most of the time they were fighting for high ground. If the South would have won this battle the war might have gone in the South’s favor.

This affected the country socially because it brought the spirits up of the Northerners. They now were fairly confident that they would win the war. It also affected the country politically because the Union was now connected with the Gulf of Mexico. By winning Gettysburg and Vicksburg they were able to control the Mississippi and split the Confederacy. Splitting the Confederacy in two also hurt it economically. They had a blockade east and south and the Union army north and west. They were running on limited supplies and their currency was almost worthless.

17. (September 17th, 1862) The Battle of Antietam: This was the bloodiest battle of the war yet. There was no clear winner of the battle. The Confederates lost 13 thousand and the Union lost 12 thousand. After this battle the South fell back in Virginia. If the North had defeated the South the war may have ended without the end of slavery. There were many battles to come after this.

This affected America socially because it showed that the South wasn’t just a push over. Just because the South was outnumbered didn’t mean it was an easy victory. This also affected the country politically because Lincoln considered this too be enough of a victory to justify his announcement of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. This was a big deal because it meant that if the South joined back into the Union there would be no slaves. This also affected the country economically because the Emancipation proclamation meant that if the South rejoined the Union then they would probably be a little more manufacturing based because they wouldn’t have slaves.

18. (Spring, 1863) Impressment Act: This was an act by the Confederates that made it so they had to sell there goods to officers at the price the officer said and if they didn’t like the price they could appeal to the local authorities. Many people hid their produce. They wanted either inflation or the prices to rise before they sold.

This affected the Confederates socially because people got mad about the government. They also it went against what secession was for, increased states rights. This also affected the South politically. The government lost a lot of support from the people. Also there were no political parties so they could not remove enemies from office. They needed the support to keep carrying on there cause. This affected the South mostly economic. This showed how much trouble the Southern economy was in. The armies needed food that badly. The Southern economy was in a lot of trouble because of the blockade, which was part of the northern anaconda


19. (1863) Emancipation Proclamation: The Emancipation Proclamation served a couple of strategic goals for the union. It emancipated slaves where confederate fighting occurred. This meant that Southerners needed to give up their slaves when they surrendered. It officially freed no slaves but it made sure that if the Southerners came back to the Union they would not be allowed to do slavery. This was another example of Lincoln’s attempt to unify the nation.

The proclamation also caused some problems because the country had to adapt to life without slaves and freed blacks had to adjust to the loss of the little security they had, which resulted in social and economic issues within the United States. It caused trouble socially because blacks had new freedoms that whites were not used to. The south also had to adjust into an economy without slaves.

20. (April 9th, 1865) General Robert E. Lee surrenders at Appomattox: Lee was trying to lead his troops to the train station at the Appomattox Court House but was stopped just short by Grant’s army. Lee had no reinforcements and no way to escape so he surrendered. There were many Confederate armies who hadn’t surrender yet but this pretty much signaled the end of the war.

This affected America socially because now that the war was pretty much over they had to deal with all of the freed slaves. Nobody knew where he or she would go or work. It also hurt the South economically because now that they had to join back in the Union they had to free their slaves in turn making their plantations very hard to run. It also was tough politically because they had to recreate new governments for the South.

*All dates and Statistics are from the text book “American Passages”
Edward L. Ayers, David M. Ochinsky, Lewis L. Gould, Jean R. Soderlund, “American Passages”

Tags:20 Most Significan American History Events (1825-1865)

20 Fun Activities for Baby Boomers in Boston

“Baby Boomers,” born in two decades after World War II (1944-1964), are approaching retirement age yet are probably the most active and assertive generation to reach that milestone. Not only still kickin’ but enjoying life, Baby Boomers look for active rather than passive pursuits when traveling.

What better way is there to identify 20 Fun Activities for Baby Boomers in Boston than to ask some Baby Boomers who live there? As a former Bostonian of the Baby Boomer generation, I asked some friends who still live there for recommendations for fun Baby Boomer activities in Boston.

Christine Tetreault recommended the Boston Harbor Hotel summer concert series. These concerts are held weeknight evenings near the waterfront. The schedule for the summer of 2008 can be found here. Soul, swing and blues fill the Tuesday through Thursday night schedules while Fridays offer movies by moonlight.

Visitors with literary inclinations will find the best visiting authors at Porter Square Bookstore and PaperBack Booksmith in Coolidge Corner, Brookline.

Enjoying the active lifestyle that is typical of Baby Boomers, Christine finds fun in going sailing or canoeing at the waterfront and jogging. Community Boating is a well established outlet for renting boats on the Charles. Christine’s jogging trail recommendations can be found here.

Dave Burk responded to my initial email inquiry asking him to suggest fun activities for Baby Boomers in Boston with typical sarcasm, “Drinks at the metamucil bar?” I could hear his familiar growl in the words, even without sound.

We are on the young side of the Baby Boomer generation, so perhaps the label didn’t sit well. After some coaxing, Dave recommended a nearby out-of-town concert series, the Lowell Concert Series. The link to this season’s offerings can be found here.. Dave noted that walks in the Middlesex Fells Reservation in nearby Melrose are also increasing in popularity for fun-seeking Baby Boomers in Boston. Middlesex Fells is a place for scenic hiking with challenge levels from easy to difficult. Mountain biking is permitted at Middlesex Fells. There is also a variety of unusual flora and intriguing fauna to observe while meandering along the trails.

Of course, there are also those universal pursuits that appeal to all ages, although perhaps Baby Boomers can better afford them and opt for the box seats in lieu of bleachers. Popular spectator sports include the Red Sox, Revolution and Celtics.

No Baby Boomer herself, Glenna McPartland is not even old enough for Generation X. But, as an observer of her Baby Boomer parents and their friends, she noted that Boston Baby Boomers flock to theaters, from traditional to Shakespeare to the Boston Ballet to Improv Boston and tons of community theater and avant garde new works at Playrights Platform. The Boston Symphony is also popular with Boston Baby Boomers, Glenna says.

The Museum of Fine Arts offers studio art classes and art lectures for Baby Boomers who have exhausted the exhibitions.

Friends report that Boston Baby Boomers Paul and Erin, on vacation and not available to participate in this survey, have enjoyed cooking classes recently. Terence Janericco, Helen’s Kitchen, The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, and Sweet Basil’s all offer single class sessions, perfect for Baby Boomers with a variety of culinary tastes who happen to find themselves in Boston.

Fine dining is also a favorite fun activity for Baby Boomers in Boston, from summertime open air cafes to the plentiful seafood restaurants for which Boston is rightfully famous. Of course, those who prefer other cuisines will also find myriad choices. Though her credentials are somewhat suspect (she’s from Chicago), Associated Content content producer Christine Bude has recommended fine French and Italian restaurants in Boston whose quality is substantiated by locals.

Finally, those Baby Boomers who didn’t get enough of childhood (and are still aghast at how quickly the years passed) might take a gander at this list of fun kids’ activities in Boston. For the Baby Boomers are kids at heart and will likely enjoy many of the alluring activities that excite the younger generation.

Tags:20 Fun Activities for Baby Boomers in Boston

20 Most Distinctive Female Operatic Singing Voices of the Last Century

There are and have been many wonderful female opera singers currently performing on the stage, so, of course, any list of only 20 will omit many worthy artists that other opera fans may include. Their exclusion from this list doesn’t reflect my judgment on their vocal instrument… The talent pool is large and even though I have been driving my roommate, her dog, and our neighbors insane by playing opera on the stereo almost every evening I have not come close to having listened to them all. Since the main requisite I had in mind when I compiled this list was the possession of a distinctive female operatic voice (the kind of voice whose owner you can correctly identify instantly after just one or a few hearings), not every singer on the list is my favorite either.

For those who aren’t that familiar with the opera and would like to be introduced to some of the most unique-voiced female singers of the last 100 years, however, this list might be a useful starting point. I am not ranking the singers, but am listing them chronologically based on their date of birth: (click on their names for sample clips on youtube)

1. Ernestine Schumann-Heink (Lieben, Austrian Empire 1861- California, USA 1936). Contralto active from 1877-1931, not counting later radio shows. Mme. Schumann-Heink was one of those rare true contraltos with a rich deep voice than can sound like the Mother Earth herself. She was known for her Wagnerian roles and as the originator of Klytämnestra in Richard Strauss’ shocking opera, Elektra.

2. Kirsten Flagstad (Hamar, Norway 1895- Oslo, Norway 1962). Soprano active from 1928-1952. Flagstad started her career as a soubrette (light soprano) and seemed destined to a career-ful of Zerlina’s and Sophie’s until her voice decided to super-sized itself upon the birth of her daughter (amazing what childbirth can do for you, isn’t it?) in 1920. Thereafter she became one of the greatest Wagnerian dramatic sopranos to ever graced the planet. Her sweet warm and, needless to say, large voice gives the illusion of the infinite in its cozily textured sonic blanket. Even now, nearly 50 years since her death she is still considered by many as the gold standard of how a Wagnerian dramatic soprano should sound.

3. Astrid Varnay (Stockholm, Sweden 1918 – Munich, Germany 2006). Soprano active from 1941-1995. Born in Sweden to Hungarian parents before emigrating to Argentina and then New York, where she had her career debut on the day before Pearl Harbor bombing, Astrid Varnay was one nationality-confused woman. That was perhaps just as well since it might have contributed to her dramatic versatility on the operatic stage. Hers was the quintessential Hochdramatische voice that was both big and massive (it wasn’t just loud the way most other big voices were, it was a fully loaded monster truck of a voice that left a lasting impression on all who heard were lucky enough to have heard it live (and lived to tell the tales afterward). The richly textured voice had a knack for vocal coloration and dramatic expression and can sound angelic one moment and demonic in the next. A terror of the most hypnotic proportion…

4. Birgit Nilsson (Skåne, Sweden 1918- Skåne, Sweden 2005). Soprano active from 1946-1984. Still remembered today for her silvery (and piercingly large) voice as well as for her earthy wit and stinging one-liners (possibly the only woman who could call Herbert von Karajan ‘Herbie’ and still be allowed to live). There was no shortage of great Wagnerian sopranos during her active years, but none had the clarion high C’s that could give her a run for her money in roles like the Valkyrie Brünnhilde or Turandot. The voice had a laser-like edge and coldness to it, however, so she was rather more convincing in larger-than-life goddess and princess roles than in more humane ones.

5. Martha Mödl (Nuremburg, Germany 1912-Stuttgart, Germany 2001). Mezzo-soprano active from 1942-1992. As far as distinctive voices go, this one is more distinctive than most. Mödl was a natural mezzo-soprano who has secure enough high notes to enable her to sing Wagnerian dramatic soprano roles for a while. It is a dark and warm voice that turned quite fascinatingly hoarse and eerie as it aged. I’m tempted to call it ugly… but it is the sort of ugly that you can’t stop listening to. Her technique was iffy and every flaw in it was exploited to fantastic dramatic end. A true artist who never let a bad note go to waste!

6. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Jarotchin, Prussia 1915 – Vorarlberg, Austria 2006). Soprano active from 1938-the late 1970’s. Schwarzkopf had probably the friendliest voice of the artists on this list. It was a small-ish sound as clear as a bell and as sweet as fresh honey left unguarded by stingy bees. A thoughtful and deliberate singer rather than an intuitive one, you always get your money’s worth when you buy her recording.

7. Eileen Farrell (Connecticut, USA 1920 – New Jersey, USA 2002). Soprano active from 1942-1993 (date of last recording). The only thing that was small about Eileen Farrell was her physical size. Her voice was one of the hugest in an era-ful of vocal titans. It was also one of the most beautiful soprano voices by any standard, blessed with a near perfect blend of sweetness and metal, textural lightness and beautifully focused density. She could and did sing everything as was perhaps even better known to pop music fans than she was opera crowd. A voice ideally suitable for Wagner that also reveled in singing Bach…. And she could jazz, too!

8. Renata Tebaldi (Pesaro, Italy 1922 – San Marino 2004) Soprano active from 1944-1976. The epitome of ‘beautiful operatic voice’, Renata Tebaldi had a lush and velvety voice that could melt any heart that wasn’t already claimed by her colleague, Maria Callas, and inflamed by the rather childish if also commercially useful tabloid-fanned rivalry between the two divas.

9. Maria Callas (New York, USA 1923- Paris, France 1977). Soprano active from 1942-1974. Known as La Divina, Callas was a rare phenomenon whose unusual dramatic coloratura soprano voice was matched by her sense of drama and musicality. Callas was also unfortunately what everyone thinks about when pressed to come up with the greatest cautionary tale in opera. She lost weight too precipitously and sang heavy Wagner dramatic roles in succession with lighter agile bel canto ones, either of which could do in a young singer’s promising voice. Callas’ voice was never beautiful in a conventional sense, but it was a remarkable instrument in her early (pre-1959) years; full and secure with a huge 3 octaves range. Even though the voice precipitously deteriorated in the early 1960’s, though, her vocal artistry still commanded attentive devotion. Divine she truly was, in many different senses of the word.

10. Joan Sutherland (Sydney, Australia 1926-). Soprano active from 1951-1990. Known as La Stupenda for her astounding vocal technique and voice size, Sutherland and her frequent sidekick Marilyn Horne played huge roles in the revival of previously forgotten baroque and bel canto music. Timbre-wise her voice isn’t all that individualistic, but a voice that hefty in size that can also seemingly effortlessly navigate the tricky vocal sprint coloratura passages of Handel, Rossini, Bellini and Rossini come around only once in a many blue moons.

11. Régine Crespin (Marseille, France 1927- Paris, France 2007). Soprano active from 1949-1989. Beloved as much for her personality as for her gorgeously glucose-enriched voice, Crespin had a gift for diction and could sing in just about any language to please both music hounds and pronunciation police alike. Her voice has all the attitudes and coyness one would expect from a French woman but none of the aloofness. A very womanly voice that could fill the largest of operatic amphitheater with ease.

12. Leontyne Price (Mississippi, USA 1927-). Soprano active from 1953-1997. There surely has never been a more aptly named soprano than Leontyne Price. She sounds like an imperious lioness. Piercing top register perched seamlessly on an alluringly dusky middle and chest tones, with silky smooth legato and endless breath control, Price was an ideal Verdi and Puccini heroine who was perhaps best known for her Aida and Leonora (in La forza del destino).

13. Marilyn Horne (Pennsylvania, USA 1934 -). Mezzo-soprano active from 1954-1999. Known as ‘Jackie’ to her friends and ‘General Horne’ to her adoring fans (because they couldn’t pay her enough to sing heroic pants roles from the Baroque and bel canto periods), Marilyn Horne was and is one of the most influential singers of the late 20th century. She had a huge and gorgeous voice with distinctive dark coloration and could sing just about anything from lovely lullaby to fleetingly agile bel canto music. She started her career as a soprano (finding enormous acclaims singing Marie in Alban Berg’s Wozzeck) but made most of her bread in jump starting the revival of the florid baroque and bel canto repertoire. She was the queen of cross-over before cross-over became hip and was probably as well known to pop music fans as she was to opera fans in her prime years. I must say, as famous as she is doing Rossini and Handel, I like her best in simple tunes like Stephen Foster’s Jeanie With A Light Brown Hair or Beautiful Dreamer.

14. Anna Tomowa-Sintow (Stara Zagora, Bulgaria 1941-). Soprano active from 1967 to present. Not as well known as most other names on this list, perhaps, but no less distinctive than any. Hers is a richly creamy dramatic soprano voice with a distinctive dark Slavic tinge that sooth the musical palate like that bitter black edge enveloped in the richness of milk chocolate. Her being a Bulgarian, of course, means that every deliciously produced sound she makes exude facets of the opera character she embodies. Yes, when it comes to Tomowa-Sintow, you can have your cake and eat it, too…

15. Jessye Norman (Georgia, USA 1945-). Soprano active from 1969 to present. If there was ever a voice that was made specifically to sing opera, and to be exact, Richard Strauss opera, it is that lush flowing sound that rushes out of Jessye Norman’s throat like a superfluid river of molten gold. Silky and endless. Drown in it… and die happy.

16. Ewa Podles (Warsaw, Poland 1952-). Contralto active from 1975 to present. If the earth itself could sing it would undoubtedly sound something like Ewa Podles… Enough said (why say anything while I can shut up and just listen to that voice, eh?).

17. Nina Stemme (Stockholm, Sweden 1963-). Soprano active from 1989 to present. Womanly and sweet is how I would describe her voice, though with the caveat that there are many ways of being womanly or sweet and Nina Stemme seems to know and sound all of them.

18. Vesselina Kasarova (Stara Zagora, Bulgaria 1965-). Mezzo-soprano active from 1989 to present. Unusual, distinctive, and even odd have been used to described this versatile Bulgarian mezzo-soprano. The basic sound is intoxicating in its androgenic quality, the burnish copper coloration and full burgundy texture. The years have added a smoky layer and a glowy overtone to it along with more heft, pushing her more and more toward the seductive dramatic French and Verdi repertoire. The voice remains one of the most agile of any active singers, however, and that makes her in great demand in baroque and bel canto trouser heroic roles as well as the dark femme fatales grandmothers warn their young pups about every night before they go to sleep…. For good reasons.

19. Cecilia Bartoli (Rome, Italy 1966-). Mezzo-soprano active from 1987 to present. Perhaps the best known opera singers among non-opera fans today aside from Anna Netrebko, Cecilia Bartoli is a hard fish to vocally label. She has a dark vocal color but with a light texture of a soprano. It is not a graceful voice nor is it a particularly authoritative one, but it has its own individual charms and is always expressed with a superb sense of drama. She sounds like your insistent little sister who can be both adorable and worthy of a slap all at once… Though I’ll bet that your little sister can’t sing Vivaldi the way Bartoli does.

20. Anna Netrebko (Russia 1971-). Soprano active from 1993 to present. It takes great physical beauty to draw attention away from this darkly beautiful and boldly powerful a soprano voice… and yet Anna Netrebko’s look does precisely that for so many. I wonder what she thinks of it. She is also a great theatrical actress… though most of it is physical and not in the voice itself. For many, though, the sheer beauty of the sound is more than enough. And since the voice has reportedly been supersizing itself following childbirths… So, there is now even more of her to love!

As I mentioned before, this is not a list of my favorite female opera singers (such a list wouldn’t omit names like Ghena Dimitrova, Galina Vishnevskaya, Res Fischer, Regina Resnik, Joyce DiDonato, Jennifer Larmore or Anja Harteros, among a few others). It is a list of 20 female operatic voices I deem most ‘distinctive and individualistic to the point of instant identifiability’… And the fact that there are so many singers that fit into this category means that it does pay to listen around for new singers you hadn’t heard of before. It was well worth wading through piles of not-as-rememberable CDs and DVDs to find every individualistic vocal pearls that make up my list!

Tags:20 Most Distinctive Female Operatic Singing Voices of the Last Century

20 Million Mobile Phones to Be Cut Off in India

The IMEI is an essential mobile phone tracking device that is used to keep tabs on the mobile phone and its user. This directive comes in the wake of terror attack in India, which awoke the need by the Indian government to tighten security, now that insecurity has become a major concern to the government. The installation of an the IMEI on all mobile handsets is one of the many steps the government is taking to combat terrorism

The over 20 million users constitute a big chunk of mobile phone users in the world largest democracy most of them who own the cheap china handsets. The china phones do not have the IMEI tracking device, which enables the mobile service providers to keep tabs on the usage of the phone even if the user is frequently changing the service providers. It can be used to trace stolen mobile phones and lost mobile phones and recover them. It can also be used to keep tabs on mobile phone users who are suspicious. The china imports are cheap and come with fancy features including mp3 players, cameras radios and even TV screens. They are therefore very attractive to the masses but are all lacking the essential IMEI mobile phone tracking device.

This has not been a sudden move by the Indian government, as it had warned the mobile phone users, suppliers and service providers of its impeding action for a long while. Even after extending various deadlines for this action, some of them did not heed the government’s call. For that reason, they do not have service right now.

The real victims of this directive are the mobile phone service providers. While the customers might remedy their current predicament by buying handsets that are IMEI compliant, the revenues that mobile phone service providers will miss out on this month may never be replaced and this may cause a serous dent in their profit margins. They are not sleeping on it, the mobile phone service providers are burning the midnight oil trying to make sure their customers have won back their confidence by offering them an IMEI number on their phones at a low price of 200 Indian rupees.

Instead of discarding their now inefficient china phones, a customer in India just has to have an IMEI number implanted onto the mobile phone handset that he currently has. Even then, the 199 rupees is a little too high for the population and the service providers will not win back all their clients in the short term- it is better than buying a new mobile phone though. It will be months before all the customers are reachable through their mobile phones. The government is the real victor in this case since it will now be able to keep track of all mobile phones and prevent terror attacks on Indian soil.


Tags:20 Million Mobile Phones to Be Cut Off in India

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