Saturday, August 13, 2016

10 Top Songs by Pink Floyd

My first close encounter with Pink FLoyd is a long sad story with one small highlight. It was Pink Floyd’s first American concert and it was at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and even though I never got inside but I can say I was one of the very few reasons that David Gilmore, Pink Floyd’s lead singer/guitar player, ever said anything on stage in the early days and that was to tell my then boyfriend that he was wanted at one of the doors. I heard later his face turned pale. Not easy to do when you are a Jamaican.

I did however manage to go to every other U.S. Pink Floyd concert. Needless to say my future Pink Floyd concerts were much more fun. There were times when we would go to the same concert twice, once in San Diego and then again in Los Angeles or visa versa. All concerts were a caliopy of color and sounds. Whether they had a wall on the stage, an airplane crashing overhead or a pig flying through air over your head they were all exciting and energy filled. It was at a Pink Floyd concert where we first quadraphonic sound effects when they opend one concert with what sounded like footsteps walking across the cieling. All were memorable but one stands out for not only being the last but I still think, the best concert.

It was the first concert that my niece and I ever went to together and when we got there we were a little disappointed that we were up in the ‘nose-bleed’ seats and far to the side and were not going to be able to see the screen behind the band, but, again, we were just thrilled to be there.

Just as we were settling in to enjoy the show a guy came walking through offering to ‘upgrade’ our seating to within the first 10 rows on the main floor. Saying that we were leary would be an understatement. Saying that we really wanted it to be for real would have been a massive gross understatement. We had the cash, $40 each, and we had enough faith and were enough of risk takers to go for it. We paid our money and took our chances and off we went to make a run through the usher ‘gauntlet’.

Every time our tickets were deemed authentic we would look at each other and there would be a silent sigh of relief exchanged. We finally got through the last usher and made our way to our seats about 10 rows back and, by far, superior to the ones we had left behind.

But our adventure was not over. Just as we once again got comfortable there was yet another usher with ticket stubs in hand and two people in toe and he is telling us we are in the wrong seats. All of those sighs of relief were now feelings of ‘did we get screwed?’. We got up, gave our seats to the rightful owners, and followed the usher expecting to be, at the very least, ejected from the floor to either get thrown out completely or to climb back up to the not so nice seats.

Much to our collective our delight our fearless leader made a left towards the stage and led us to our correct seats, 5 rows back, on the isle, dead center. We felt like David was singing right to us. It was wonderful.

Now on to my picks for the top 10 songs. This was not easy, but here I go.

10. Have a Cigar
9. Young Lust
8. See Emily Play
7. Welcome to the Machine
6. Shine on You Crazy Diamond (a tribute to the late Sid Barrett)
5. Breathe
4. Echos
3. Comfortably Numb
2. Money
1. Another Brick in the Wall

Tags:10 Top Songs by Pink Floyd

10 Top Songs for Summer Party Fun

Summer is here and you’re planning a party. You’re set as far as food, drink, and locale go, but one crucial task remains — music! Whether you are entertaining tots to teens or mid-lifers to late-lifers, you want your tunes to turn up the energy and engage all your guests. Here are 10 tried-and-true favorites to get your party started:

Ten Magical Tunes

1. ”I’m a Believer,” originally by The Monkees, regained popularity with the Smash Mouth’s version for the movie ”Shrek.” Upbeat and fun, this song appeals to all ages and will get the good times going.

2. The Beach Boys’ ”Surfin’ USA” is the next summer party must-have. Everyone loves to do a little ”land-surfing” so, even if you’re not dancing, you’re laughing.

3. Lynyrd Skynrd’s southern classic ”Sweet Home Alabama” will get even the lawn chair potatoes up and on their feet. If not, they’ll at least be singing along. (That’s a good thing, right?)

4. ”Hotel California,” by The Eagles, is another crowd sing-a-long; one of those songs where you think you don’t know the words until it starts playing. And, if you still don’t, it’s fun to pretend you do.

5. With its happy-go-lucky rhythm and beats, Bob Marley’s ”Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be Alright” will have you believing it actually is. Never mind you’re currently unemployed and scanning dollar menus.

6. The popular Clash song ”Should I Stay or Should I go” is not a question anyone will be asking when you play it. The back and forth slow to fast tempo gives you a second to catch your breath before you start flailing arms and legs about.

7. ”Mony Mony,” by Tommy James and the Shondells, is a surefire party favorite that raises the energy level so much you think the dead will rise and dance. Depending on how late the party is, they just might.

8. Three Dog Night’s ”Shambala” will have you moving like you really are on the road to bliss. You may not feel that way in the morning, but our concern here is the party.

9. The Kinks’ song ”All Day and All of the Night” will make you want to dance just as long as the song suggests — at least while it’s playing and you’re still able to breathe.

10. ”Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” an oldie but goody by Otis Redding, may land you arm in arm with whomever is in reach. By that time you’ll be so worn out from dancing that you may not care who grabs you. Whatever the case, you’ll be safe when the song is over — well, hopefully.

Now that you have 10 top great party songs, grab your grass skirts, Hawaiian shirts, or whatever other party paraphernalia you feel fit, and let the summer fun begin!

Tags:10 Top Songs for Summer Party Fun

10 Top Travel Tips for San Francisco LGBT Pride 2009

San Francisco 2009 LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Pride is the weekend of June 27th and 28th. Thousands of people will be heading to San Francisco to participate in this big celebration of diversity. Want to make your trip a smooth and fun one? Here are 20 Top Travel Tips when going to San Francisco LGBT Pride 2009.

#10 Plan your Vacation ahead of time

If this is your first time going to San Francisco for LGBT Pride, then you are in for a treat. However, always make sure you have the days off for LGBT Pride, and note it in your calendar. San Francisco LGBT Pride falls on June 27th and 28th for 2009. A weekend may not be enough when going to SF for LGBT Pride. Some people will choose to take Friday the 26th or Monday the 29th off. I definitely recommend at least planning to stay in SF three days during LGBT Pride weekend.

#9 Research the different Pride activities

There is so much happening during SF LGBT pride weekend that I recommend researching the different activities that are happening. Some major activities that happen during SF LGBT pride weekend include: Dyke March, Pink Party, SF LGBT Film Festival, Tranny March, SF Pride Parade, and SF Pride Festival. SF Transgender march usually happens the Friday night of SF LGBT Pride weekend. Dyke March happens the Saturday early afternoon. The Pink Party happens towards the end of Dyke March. The LGBT Pride Parade will happen on Sunday the 28th. The SF LGBT Pride Festival will happen both Saturday and Sunday of that weekend.

#8 Don’t Travel Alone, Bring Friends

Traveling to San Francisco for this year’s LGBT pride is not a thing I recommend. It is more fun to travel with friends that you love and can trust. Never travel with strangers you do not know during pride. It is better to be walking around during San Francisco LGBT Pride with a big group then alone. This makes you have more safety especially if you plan on drinking.

#7 Reserve your Flight In advance

If you choose to fly to San Francisco for LGBT Pride I recommend booking your flight as soon as possible especially if you have not yet done so. Flights book fast for SF Pride Weekend, especially in June. The longer you wait to book a flight the more expensive it will be. I recommend Virgin America Airlines if you need to book a flight. Virgin America was one of the sponsors for SF LGBT Pride in the previous years, and they have great rates.

#6 Reserve your Hotel in Advance

If you have not booked your hotel for SF LGBT Pride then do it now. Hotels go quickly especially for SF LGBT Pride weekend. I recommend booking a hotel on Market near 8th street. This location is near the Civic Center area where the SF Pride Parade happens, and the Pride Festival. Another great reason about having a hotel in this area is that transportation is easy to access. If you are still looking for a hotel, I recommend going to Hotels.com, they usually have great rates to compare.

#5 Plan a Budget

San Francisco LGBT Pride weekend can be pricey, so make sure you know how much money you will be needing, and spending.

#4 Plan a Driving Route

If you plan on driving to SF LGBT Pride make sure you have a driving route, maps, directions, or even GPS. I have traveled from Southern California to San Francisco and it can take between 8 to 12 hours depending on what freeways you take. I recommend making 2-4 pits stops in between for resting and getting gas. Usually there are many rest areas on the freeways when heading to SF. I also recommend having more than one driver to avoid sleeping on the wheel or tiredness

#3 Pack accordingly

Always pack accordingly depending on how you are going to be traveling. If you choose to fly I recommend traveling light with one carry on bag, and small travel bag . If you choose to drive, allot enough room in the trunk for each person that is going to be in the car. I recommend telling your carpool pals to bring one bag to make sure everything fits. If you are going to be driving, I recommend packing a small cooler and snacks because it is a very long drive. Don’t forget to pack your rainbow flag!

# 2 Once you get to San Francisco, use the local transportation

Driving can be a hassle once you get into the city of SF for LGBT Pride. If you are driving, leave your car at your hotel and use public transportation. The transportation is very convenient in SF. You can use the BART from the airport to get to your hotel. There is also the MUNI that includes the subway, busses, and cable cars that are very inexpensive, just bring quarters. SF also has alot of cabs available, however, I recommend a private car service instead. You usually can find the number to a car service in the phone book or at your hotel. A private car has a flat rate that is usually $12-14 dollars. This can be useful especially if you get caught in traffic, since their is a flat rate no meter is running like it would in a cab.

#1 Celebrate your LGBT Pride and Be Safe!

The main travel tip to remember is to celebrate your pride during SF LGBT Pride! Be safe, and have fun! Remember if you are drinking, don’t drive back to your hotel. Take a cab or better yet walk. Also bring a condom or dental dam, you never know who you will meet.

Tags:10 Top Travel Tips for San Francisco LGBT Pride 2009

10 Typically Legal Weapons and Devices that Sound Illegal

There are certain weapons and other devices that exist in a general “legal gray area” because most people are uncertain whether or not they are legal to posses. In many cases, state law is very clear on the matter, and the exact opposite is true for other states. Still, many people have no idea on the matter, so they just assume things are illegal in their state. The truth of the matter is that many weapons and devices are legal in most states, so let’s take a look at some of the normally legal weapons that sound illegal.

Body Armor

Body armor is one of those items that people assume only law enforcement officers can own. The majority of states in this country do allow people to own and even wear body armor. Of course, it isn’t recommended that you wear it at a police station or airport – that’s probably illegal. Most states require that a person be a non-felon and at least 18 years-old to purchase and own bulletproof vests. In the end, body armor is a pretty cool thing to own, even if the chances of you needing it are slim. Either way, it’s more than likely legal in your state.

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Lockpicks

Unfortunately, some states constitute lockpicks as a burglary tool, which makes them pretty dangerous to have in certain situations. Lockpicks normally aren’t illegal to own in most states. In fact, lockpicking is becoming an increasingly popular hobby. Anyways, you can get into a lot of trouble if you commit a crime, such as trespassing or stealing a car with lockpicks in your possession. This can increase a misdemeanor crime to a felony crime in many places. Of course, this can be a nightmare if you are wrongfully accused of a crime just because you have lockpicks.

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Tasers

These devices are legal in almost every state to possess and carry because they are self-defense weapons. Once again, individuals assume these devices are for law enforcement or security personnel. Tasers are fairly easy to obtain and can end up saving a person’s life in dangerous situations. Typically, the only real restrictions placed on these devices bar felons from owning them. It should also be noted that the fine for improper use of a Taser device can be extremely hefty.

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Spring Assisted Knives

Spring-assisted knives work differently than switchblades. To get the knife opened, a person has to use their thumb to push the blade at least 25% of the way open – a spring flings the knife open from there. These are basically pocket knives with a spring in them, and almost every state allows these knives – even California. Over the years, they have been found to be incredibly useful for rescue crews and other individuals, so many states have allowed these knives and considered them as a pocket knife.

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Throwing Knives

Actual throwing knives are legal just about anywhere, as long as a person doesn’t carry them around and threaten people with them. In reality, these weapons are treated sort of like guns: a person can own them, they can be legally transported, and they can be used in safe areas. Throwing knives are extremely popular, and most states don’t make them illegal. These knives shouldn’t be taken out in public or in federal buildings – that’s a bad idea that will land you in jail.

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Switchblades

Switchblades are a little tricky. First of all, a majority of states allow people to own these blades. However, many states do not allow a person to carry them out in public. This is a little tricky, but you should never risk getting caught with a switchblade in the wrong areas. Private ownership is usually okay, but many law enforcement officers don’t know switchblade laws and will probably arrest you and confiscate the weapon. Of course, this is a weird situation when a person can own something but can’t carry it, but some states allow ownership and legal carry.

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Sniper Rifles

In reality, a sniper rifle is just a bolt-action rifle equipped with a scope. Most states allow these weapons because they are just hunting rifles. A few states make high-powered rifles illegal though. Anyways, most sniper rifles are perfectly legal in most states because what constitutes a sniper rifle is so varied to different groups of people. Sniper rifles are common in hunting and target practice, but you definitely shouldn’t be walking around with one on your shoulder.

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Sap Gloves (Weighted-Knuckle Gloves)

Such gloves are commonly used by riot police or martial artists for training. Still, they are also an effective self-defense weapon. Some states specifically make sap gloves illegal, but the majority of states allow people to own them and use them. Sap gloves aren’t very conventional for the average person, but you’re bound to see them during various situations because they are a sort of specialty item. In many cases, you’ll see small groups like riot police, martial artists, and security using sap gloves.

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Night Vision Goggles

For some reason, many people believe that owning a pair of night vision goggles or other night vision device is illegal. Some states do bar the use of these devices as hunting scopes, but it is legal in just about any state to own and use night vision. Obviously, you have to be using it for a legal purpose. Too many people assume these tools are only for military and law enforcement. This normally isn’t the case at all because night vision is just a technology that allows a person to see in the dark.

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GPS Vehicle Tracking Devices

Okay, these devices are both legal and illegal. They are perfectly legal for companies to use to track their vehicles, and a person can track their own vehicle(s) to prevent auto theft. Obviously, it’s illegal for a person to infringe upon another person’s rights by using a GPS vehicle tracking device on their vehicle without their consent. Nobody is going to give you consent to track their vehicle though. Companies can legally do this because they own the vehicles; people can’t do it to other people because they are invading a person’s right to privacy. Anyways, these devices come in handy if you want to protect your vehicles.

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Is it legal or illegal?

In the end, you’ll need to check local, state, and federal laws to figure out what is and isn’t legal in your area. The previously mentioned weapons and devices are commonly legal in most states – not all of them. You should never bring a weapon into a federal building, a public school, or other sensitive areas Obviously, you don’t want to spend a few years in jail. In states with a legal gray area on certain items, you should do your best to not get into legal trouble, but you should still exercise your legal right to own that item (if such a right is there).

Disclaimer: All information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only. This is not legal advice in any way, shape, or form. Readers are urged to check local, state, and federal law on all matters discussed here.

Tags:10 Typically Legal Weapons and Devices that Sound Illegal

10 Ultimate Scientific Breakthroughs

“Nature composes some of her loveliest poems for the microscope and the telescope.” – scholar Theodore Roszak. Since Aristotle, science has been a quest for understanding-an attempt to fathom the mysteries all around us. Much of our modern achievements are thanks to the massive building blocks of science. A recent USA Today report highlighted the biggest scientific breakthroughs. Here are the greatest science discoveries that made it to the top ten:

Accelerating Universe – One of the largest scientific debates of the twentieth century was whether our universe was expanding or not. In the 1920s, most physicists (including Einstein) thought that the universe did not expand or shrink, but was static. But in 1998, physicists saw proof that the universe is expanding at a rate that is accelerating, by observing very distant supernovae. This expansion was explained by the existence of “dark energy,” which is about 70% of the mass of our universe. The discovery of our accelerating universe has spurred continued cosmologic studies of the universe’s origins.

Human Genome – It took two decades of biological research and two competing teams (one private, the other public) to crack the code of genetic sequencing in 1999. With a four-letter alphabet consisting of A, T, C, and G, scientists were able to map the roughly 24,000 genes of human DNA. This remarkable discovery has led to a revolution in the field of genetic study.

Climate Accord – Beginning in 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a report that ended most of the debate in the science community: that global warming is “very likely.” There was a large shift in the recognition of climate change, and nations gathered to work towards set targets to combat the real possibility of global warming. In 2005, the Kyoto Treaty was signed by most industrial nations, and went into effect. The huge implication of climate change is an international concern, and a rapidly growing field of study.

Hubble Telescope Launched – In 1990, NASA’s Hubble Telescope was launched. It orbits above Earth’s atmosphere, with a view of our universe far beyond any land-based telescope. Thanks to Hubble, many of the oldest questions of cosmology have been answered, such as the age of the universe. In the two decades it has circled our planet, Hubble has sent back hundreds of thousands of images. The Hubble telescope has been one of NASA’s most successful missions.

Big Bang Fingerprinted – In 1992, astrophysicist George Smoot presented the findings of his team’s experiments with the NASA satellite known as COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer). One of COBE’s three instruments had been used to study cosmic background radiation, which was radiation thought to come from the Big Bang. Smoot’s team confirmed that the cosmic background radiation came from the Big Bang, by matching the radiation spectrum, and astounding the scientific community. Smoot later said of the findings, “it’s the birth of the universe.”

DNA Profiling – In 1985, a British geneticist named Dr. Alec Jeffreys discovered specific regions of DNA that repeated in sections, called VNTRs (variable number of tandem repeats). He noticed that the VNTRs varied by individual, and created a technique to examine them to determine human identity, known as DNA profiling. The fields of forensic science and criminal justice have been revolutionized with the discovery of DNA evidence and profiling.

Animal Cloning – The world was stunned in 1996 when scientists announced the first successful cloning of a mammal, from an adult cell. Dolly the sheep was cloned by Ian Wilmut and his team at the Roslin Institute of Scotland. Since the birth of Dolly, there have been other mammals cloned, but no primates. The impact of cloning is considerable, since scientists believe many diseases and defects could be cured by using cloned human transplant tissues.

Worldwide Web – An Oxford University grad named Tim Berners-Lee is credited with inventing the worldwide web. He envisioned a format to exchange information globally in 1989, as a browser that would allow users to share research by linking pages through an “internet.” Berners-Lee is currently the director of the W3C, a web standards organization known as the World Wide Web Consortium. The W3C works in multiple capacities to optimize the potential of the Web. Today, millions around the world rely on the Internet for everything from business to socializing, and its impact on humanity is an ongoing study.

Ozone Erosion – In 1987, people were shocked to learn that common household products containing chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were destroying the ozone layer in Antarctica, which protects our planet from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The thinning of the ozone layer was discovered by the British Antarctic Survey, and immediately prompted stringent CFC controls. The “hole in the ozone” alarm of the 1980s was the beginning of climate change awareness for millions of people.

Extrasolar Planets – For years, the scientific community had speculated about distant planets. In 1995, astronomers at the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland found something in orbit around the star known as 51 Pegusi: a planet. This was the first of more than 200 extrasolar planets that have been discovered since the mid-nineties. The impact of extrasolar planetary discovery is considerable, as there is now proof of the existence of other worlds in our universe.

Sources:

Dan Vergano, “Straight from the laboratory.” USA Today
“Space Topics: Extrasolar Planets.” The Planetary Society
“Ozone.” British Antarctic Survey
“Tim Berners-Lee”.w3.org
Elizabeth Weise, “Dolly was world’s hello to cloning’s possibilities.” USA Today
Dr. John Butler,”History of Forensic DNA Analysis.”DNA.gov
Donald Goldsmith, “The Fingerprint of Creation.” DISCOVER Magazine
“The Greatest Biological Development in Science History.” Jupiter Scientific
“Hubble Essentials.” Hubble Site
Steven Weart, “The History of Climate Change.” LiveScience

Tags:10 Ultimate Scientific Breakthroughs

10 Unique Non-Tourist Ideas for Paris, France

As a resident of Paris whose French needs some work, I find it comforting to visit blatantly tourist areas from time to time just to hear a bit of English being spoken around me. As a visitor, however, you might want to get away from all that and see some places where real Parisians love to hang out.

1. Parc des Buttes Chaumont (Metro: Buttes Chaumont or Botzaris)
Paris is full of beautifully landscaped, historic parks, but this one is a bit off the beaten path. It’s huge, boasts winding walkways, a lake, a gazebo set high on a rock pinnacle that overlooks Paris to the west, and even a waterfall. It’s best in the spring or summer, when you can see Parisians with their ever-present dogs lying back on the grassy hills alone or in groups having picnics. There are little stands with games for children near the entrance, and it’s easily accessible by bus or subway.

2. Bibliotheque nationale de France (Metro: Bibliotheque Francois Mitterrand)
Maybe a library isn’t the first place you’d think of visiting on any vacation, but this place is something to see. It’s built to look like four huge books open and standing on their ends at four corners of a large raised platform that looks out over the Seine. You can buy an inexpensive day pass if you want to take a look inside. There are also frequent exhibits and tours given. There is an English version of their website available at the top of the page I’ve provided a link to.

3. La Piscine Josephine Baker (Metro: Quai de la Gare)
This is a swimming pool on a barge, docked permanently on the Seine. It’s open all year and has a roof that is retracted in warmer weather. The lower floor holds the pool and the upper is a sun deck complete with lounge chairs. It’s only about $5 to enter, but everyone must follow these rules: Speedos for men and swimming caps for everyone. Bikini tops for women, are, on the other hand, optional. Maybe that will change the man’s mind who is feeling not-so-sure about the Speedo thing. If you like pools, give it a try no matter what time of year you visit. This is a really unique way to experience Paris.

4. Place d’Italie (Metro: Place d’Italie)
Located in the southeast of Paris, this is a busy hub which is the intersection of nine different streets. It’s bustling with Parisians carrying on their daily lives, and has the quaint feel of Montmartre without all the tourists. Wander the streets here, check out the shops and restaurants, and make some discoveries of your own. One of the biggest pleasures of spending time in Paris is to let yourself get lost. You’ll find unexpected passageways, parks, and statues if you’re not stuck to an itinerary the entire time.

5. Rue Sainte Anne (Metro: Pyramides)
Once you’ve had your fill of typical French fare, you might find yourself wanting something different for your next meal. This entire street is full of Asian restaurants, from Korean to Cambodian to Japanese. You’ll see lines outside the most popular ones. Local Parisian businesspeople flock here for lunch; that’s how you know it’s tasty and reasonably priced.

6. Colonnes de Buren (Metro: Palais Royal)
This is an outdoor installation by artist Daniel Buren set up in a courtyard at one end of the Jardin du Palais Royal. It’s comprised of black and white columns spaced evenly, which in itself might not sound very interesting, but which somehow creates a stunning and modern visual. If you find yourself unimpressed, you can continue back to the narrow but lovely garden which has plenty of benches and some very nice fountains. You’ll also notice that the Palais Royal Metro station has that wonderful Art Deco entrance that you’ve probably seen in photos.

7. Canal St. Martin (Metro: Republique)
The shops and restaurants along this canal in the northeast of Paris have begun attracting a more hip clientele in the past few years, but the area is still largely undiscovered by tourists. It’s glorious in the spring on the tree-shaded walkways along the canal. Stop and watch the locks open for the barges and houseboats as they make their way along, or have a drink at a sidewalk cafĂ© and enjoy the relative quiet of this area.

8. Hotel de Ville (Metro: Hotel de Ville)
This is the major City Hall of Paris. Each area of the city has its own smaller version, but there is always something going on at this historic, centrally located building. In the summer, there is beach volleyball set up in the square outside, and in the winter there’s ice skating. Frequently, there are free art exhibits inside that are open to the general public. Free is always good in a city as expensive as Paris, and you’ll get to see a bit of the building as well.

9. Marche aux Puces (Metro: Porte de Clignancourt)
This is a really huge flea market. You can find antiques, clothing, and appliances here. You name it, they’ve probably got it. It’s technically right outside of Paris on the north but you can still get there by a short walk from the subway. Les Puces (means “the fleas”) can be a little shady in the way of pickpockets, but it’s quite an adventure and absolute heaven for those who love antiquing. Just use some common sense with your purse or wallet, don’t wear your best clothes, and ladies, try not to wear revealing clothing unless you like catcalls. It’s open Saturday through Monday, and it consists of winding roads and old covered walkways called arcades crowded with all sorts of merchandise. There’s also a crepe stand centrally located, and this crepe guy is the best. If you’re really hungry try one with sausage, egg, and cheese; it’s to die for.

10. La Promenade Plantee (Metro: Bastille)
This is a two-mile-long garden planted on a viaduct that used to be used as a railway bridge. It’s a unique place for a stroll or a picnic, and gets you up and out of the craziness of this particularly busy part of Paris. There is an entrance a block after the Opera on rue de Lyon. Look for steps in a red brick wall.

Challenge yourself to get off the beaten path during your next visit to Paris. You’ll be glad that you did, and your vacation photos and memories will be that much better because of it.

Tags:10 Unique Non-Tourist Ideas for Paris, France

10 Uses for Coins

Legal tender under the value of a dollar is almost obsolete. Almost, but not quite. There are still several ways your low-denomination money can work for you. Get out your jar of coins and put your money to work with some of these 10 uses for coins.

Tighten a Screw
Most people already know this little handy trick for a dime – it’s just the right width to turn a standard screw. In a pinch, a dime will substitute for a flathead screw driver.

Level Drapes
Don’t purchase curtain weights for window draperies or shower curtains, use coins instead. A few pennies tucked inside the drape hems or taped onto the bottom of a shower curtain will keep drapes hanging level or shower curtain from billowing in and out while showering.

Tile Spacers
Pennies make perfect (and cheap) tile spacers. When installing a new tile floor, stand pennies on-end between the tiles to space them evenly. The on-end pennies are easy to remove when the job is done too.

Cabinet Door

A nickel is a useful coin when doing a DIY kitchen cabinet remodel. Before fastening the hinges to the new cabinets, place a nickel at the door bottom to ensure there is enough clearance room for the cabinet door to swing open.

Door Stop

A sack, jar or sock of coins makes a perfect door stop to hold a wayward door open. Pretty the door stop up by placing coins in a decorative jar or sew a pretty pouch to put them in or s imply put some coins in an old sock and tie the open end closed to keep the coins from spilling out.

Table Leg Fix
Everyone has a wobbly table in their home and a coin or two can easily fix it. Place coin(s) under the problem table leg and stop the wobble.

Fluff Carpet
When a piece of furniture sets on carpet for a long period of time it leaves indention marks. To remove those indentations, steam the carpet, then fluff the nap up with a quarter. As the moisture from the steam evaporates the carpet fibers with remain upright and the indentation will be gone.

Quick Measure

The diameter of a quarter is just a hair under 1 inch. A penny is exactly ¾’s of an inch. And even though it’s not a coin, it’s good to know that a dollar bill is 6 inches.

Pop a Top
Open a soda can without ruining your manicure with a coin. Slip a coin under the rim of any snap-on plastic lid to give you the leverage to pop the top off.

Tire Treads
Gauge the tread on your car’s tire with a quarter. Insert a quarter, upside down, into a tread groove. If it covers most of George Washington’s head or hair, your tires have some miles left. If the tread only touches old George’s head, the tread depth is only ¼ of an inch and it’s time to go tire shopping.

Tags:10 Uses for Coins

10 Vacation Ideas for You and Your Teen

Water parks are the perfect places to bring your family. With the freedom to go down waterslides, stroll down a lazy river or just lay about beside the pool. And your teen can always find someone their age to look, providing the necessary eye candy they may demand.

Any sports hall of fame is the perfect getaway for any sports fans in the family. With the all the sports history in one place, your teen can get a crash course in his or her obsession’s past. These places also are fairly entertaining even for those how don’t quite understand sports.

Hang gliding is an almost criminally fun experience and if they offer it anywhere near your vacation spot take the lesson. Beginner flights are only a few seconds long and with the flyer tethered to an instructor on the ground running alongside. Definitely worth the time if you are old enough to take the lessons.

Airborne tours are plenty fun and can present an old and familiar from a different angle. Give your teen the co-pilot seat if available and they might even get a chance to pilot the plane given your guide’s disposition.

Skiing resorts are the best solution for vacationing in the winter. With the freedom an older kid would want and plenty of family and group deals provide the perfect place to bring your family during a winter break.

If you choose to go to the beach then make sure that the beach you go to have the necessary trappings of a teenager’s definition of civilization (mall, movie theater). Without them a beach quickly could become boring but with them everyone can have a good time.

Older stadiums like Wrigley Field and Fenway Park are also so steeped in sports lore and legend and the tour guides there are very enthusiastic and even non-sports fans will find something interesting to listen to.

Times Square and other unique shopping areas can give any teenager a lot of joy visiting since it isn’t often that you see that many lights, that many people, or a Toys ‘R Us with its own Ferris Wheel. If that doesn’t awaken the child in you, I don’t know what will.

Ask your kid a question: who do they look up to and respect as a role model who would have a museum that you could go to? This is a nice way to let you kid know you care and a good way to learn something about them that you wouldn’t normally find out.

Above all else ask your son or daughter what they would like to do. You may be surprised that once you actually engage them they can come up with things everyone can enjoy. Just be ready to go in with an open mind.

Tags:10 Vacation Ideas for You and Your Teen

10 Unique Ways to Wean Your Child Off a Pacifier

Parents face many pressures to encourage their kids to grow up and move on to the next developmental stage, and giving up a pacifier can be a huge source of stress in some families. Children get comfort from their pacifiers and a happy child means a happy parent, so many parents are understandably panicked when it’s time to get rid of the pacifier. Parenting websites and books have offered countless suggestions for weaning children from their pacifiers, but here are ten unique ways to get your child to give up her pacifier:

Make Your Child Ask For It
Many children who love their pacifiers use their pacifiers when they don’t really “need” it. Try putting the pacifier in a cabinet and only giving your child her pacifier when she asks for it. Give her a half hour or so with it then tell her it’s time for her pacifier to go back to its home.

Try a Star System
Kids love star charts that allow them to get a sticker for good behavior. Consider instituting one for a pacifier. Every time your child willingly gives up her pacifier to you, she gets a gold star, and when the chart is filled she gets a new toy or a special outing. Continue using these charts until your child has completely eliminated her pacifier.

Use It At Bedtime
Eliminating the pacifier except at bedtime is one of the simplest ways to cut down on your child’s pacifier. After she’s done well without her pacifier during the day for a few days or weeks, try taking the pacifier out of her mouth at night after she’s fallen asleep. After this, you can progress to making her request her pacifier at bedtime just like you’ve done during the day.

Trade It In
If your child only uses her pacifier rarely or at bedtime, she may be able to be motivated to willingly give it up. Consider asking her to “Trade in” her pacifier for an awesome new toy or outing with you. Let her know she can take as long as she needs to trade in her pacifier, and you may find she works hard to wean herself off of it.

Ease Into It
Unlike adult habits like smoking or drinking, a pacifier isn’t addictive in the strictest sense of the word. While your child may be dependent on it for comfort, she’s not truly addicted to it, which means giving it up cold turkey may be more difficult than slowly phasing it out. The simplest way to get rid of the pacifier is to slowly cut down on how frequently your child uses it over the course of several weeks or months.

Replace It
Your child almost certainly relies on his pacifier for comfort, so consider replacing one source of comfort with another. You can go shopping with your child for cool new sheets, pajamas, and a stuffed animal, and offer your child the option to trade you the pacifier for the sheets, pajamas, and stuffed animal. Get creative and allow your child to decorate his bed outlandishly if it works.

Cut the Tip
One way to physically eliminate the pacifier over the course of several weeks is to cut the very tip off. Make sure it’s cut evenly so that no pieces can break off and harm your child. Continue to cut more off of the pacifier each week until it’s gone. Reward your child when there’s no pacifier left.

Grow Up and Donate It
Kids love to feel like they’re growing up, and sometimes just explaining to your child that she’s a big kid now can work wonders. Ask her to “donate” her pacifier to a younger child who needs it so she can be more grown up, and then reward her with a new toy or special trip.

Make Your Child “Buy” It
You can teach your child about money and encourage her to give up her pacifier with a simple trick. Give her twenty coins at the beginning of each day. Each coin buys an increment of time with the pacifier (like one minute, five minutes, etc.). When the coins are gone for the day, there’s no more time with the pacifier. Raise the cost of time with the pacifier each week and eventually your child will have less time with the pacifier and ultimately give it up.

Turn It Into A Craft
Talk to your child about giving up her pacifier, and institute one of the methods above to help wean her off of it. When she’s down to only a little bit of time a day with her pacifier, ask her if she wants to “transform” her pacifier. Then work on a craft project together. Consider attaching her pacifier to a doll, turning it into a hat, or otherwise turning the pacifier into something that allows your child to have it but not to suck on it.

Things to Keep In Mind
There’s been a lot of discussion over the past few decades about the negative effects pacifiers have on developing teeth and gums. But the truth is a few more weeks or even months with a pacifier are not going to doom your child’s teeth forever. Orthodontists are now reporting that, as long as a child gives up her pacifier by the age of four, her teeth should be ok. Some parents also worry that a child who still has a pacifier is “immature” or in some way developmentally behind, but the truth is much simpler: kids use pacifiers as a way of self soothing, and your child’s pacifier is probably a help to her in many areas of life. While this doesn’t mean she can have a pacifier forever, it does mean that you shouldn’t feel under constant pressure to eliminate the pacifier right away.

Whatever you do, don’t punish your child for sneaking a few extra moments with his pacifier or for crying because he misses it. Pacifiers are a source of comfort to children, and upsetting your child is more likely to make him stick with the pacifier longer. Instead, reward successes, even small ones. It’s not easy for your child to give up her pacifier, but with patience, compassion, and consistency your child will eventually move past this phase.

Sources:

Sources:
http://ift.tt/2b5bQmZ
http://ift.tt/2bpsYHK
http://ift.tt/2b5bAUN

Tags:10 Unique Ways to Wean Your Child Off a Pacifier

10 Valentine's Day Ideas for Single People

Valentine’s Day is the holiday of love, but what if you aren’t in love, or even seeing someone when the big day rolls around? For a lot of people, this can be one of the most depressing days of the year. If you’re single on Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t have to be the day from hell; there are lots of things to do this day, like any other by yourself, or with a group. Here are some great ideas for staying in, or going out.

Wash Away Your Stress

Relax, rejuvenate and enjoy the finer things in life. Settle down into a nice hot bath and read that book you’ve been meaning to read, or browse through the latest issue of your favorite magazine. Both men and women can enjoy a nice soak in a hot tub, so take advantage of the quiet night, turn off your phone, and put on some music. This is time for yourself, and you deserve to be pampered.

Cue the Laugh Track

If you’re feeling a little down, why not check out one of the latest comedies? While romantic comedies may be tempting, if you happen to be feeling blue about spending Valentine’s Day Single, opt for a different comedy. After a few minutes, it’s guaranteed that you’ll be laughing aloud, and enjoying your time at home much more than those people waiting in line for their tables. So pop that microwave popcorn, and cuddle up with a nice blanket.

Work It

It may not sound like a lot of fun, but it will benefit you. Get to the gym for an evening workout. It’s likely to be less crowded, and you might just meet the also single guy or girl of your dreams. At the very least, you’ll be out among the living, doing something amazing for yourself, and have the opportunity to make some great new friends.

Lucky Strike

When’s the last time you went bowling, or have you ever? If you’ve never tried it, it’s probably never occurred to you. Gather up your other single friends and suggest a night in the alley, the bowling alley. It’s a great social pastime, with plenty of opportunity to talk and definitely an opportunity to try something new. So, put on your bowling shirt and head to the lanes!

Blindfolded

Well, not literally, but you could always meet someone for a blind date. I know it sounds a little clichĂ©, but it could be lots of fun. There are always people looking for platonic relationships as well, so it doesn’t have to be a complete blind date. Remember though, if you’re meeting someone you’ve met online, be sure to meet in a public place, and it’s probably not a good idea to go anywhere alone. Save that for the future, maybe for St. Patrick’s Day, by then you should know each other pretty well, and you can be reasonably sure your new friend isn’t an axe murderer.

The Pen Is

Mightier than the sword they say, so cut through your Valentine’s blues with a little writing therapy. You can write down your thoughts, or do something nice for others with hand written notes. Go ahead; write to your mother, she’ll be surprised and happy to get something so personal. If you don’t have anyone to write to, you can go to My Soldier and find someone in the armed forces that needs a friend too.

Something New

It’s called retail therapy for a reason. While I don’t advocate that you spend a lot of money, you can have a good time shopping alone or with a group of friends. If with friends, be sure to take the time to try on the ridiculous hats and outfits you see, explore different areas of your favorite department store, who knew they had plates with plates painted on them?

Progressive Dinner

This isn’t an entirely environmentally friendly idea, but if you live in a mild to moderate climate, you can always do this on foot, or by other means. With one or two friends, plan ahead to find the most off the wall places that you would never think to eat at, think of something new, something different, something you wanted to try but just never have. Now, get going, have an appetizer at the first place you go, just the appetizer. Move on to the next course at another location, and so on. By the time you’ve eaten an entire meal, you’ll have been to a lot of different places, tried some new food, and hopefully had lots of fun.

You’re a Winner

Even if you aren’t getting lucky at home, you can still get lucky on Valentine’s Day. If you live in an area where gambling is legal, head out to the casino. Be sure to take only the amount of money that you can easily afford to lose. Gambling without a limit is very dangerous. Do not use your credit cards for a cash advance. However, done in moderation, it can be a great way to spend you evening, and you just might get rich. Go with friends, or go alone and meet some new friends, either way, you’ll have a good time. You can also use this same idea with friends and visit an arcade. It may have been 10 or so years since you last hit the arcade, but don’t let that stop you.

You Snooze, You Win

If nothing else sounds appealing, go to bed early and catch up on your sleep. Take an over the counter sleep aid if you have problems falling asleep. You’ll awake refreshed, and be glad that you got the extra rest. Be sure if you do take a sleep aid that you are in bed early enough to devote at least 8 hours to sleep. If you aren’t skip the pills, and try warm milk instead.

Tags:10 Valentine’s Day Ideas for Single People

10 Unnamed American Cities Drug Tested - How Much Can it Tell Us?

Can a whole city be drug tested without citizens knowledge or permission? The idea will have anti drug advocates jumping for joy, constitutional rights advocates protesting and potheads nervously flushing doobies down the toilet. Although now that’s the last place you want to dispose of your dope because researchers have already peered into the drug habits of 10 unamed American cities using their waste water. A teaspoon of waste water was all Oregon State University researchers needed to test for 15 different drugs including caffeine, ecstasy, methamphetamines, and cocaine for the whole city. The story can be found on msn.com.

Now I have a few questions and thoughts and am eager to see what the various extremists will do if city wide drug testing becomes common place. For example, anti drug advocates will think city wide drug tests are a great idea and will not be able to wait until all U.S. cities are tested on a regular basis and the citizens of the worst abusing cities are targeted for anti drug education and heightened police scrutiny. While at the same time those who are for an individuals rights will protest city wide drug testing and call any action resulting from such tests as unconstitutional and a violation of rights.

Yeah, the government could use information from tests like these to monitor drug trafficking and identify which areas of the country have the biggest drug problems, but seriously, the general public doesn’t need waste water tests to know which cities have the most drug users. Everyone knows which cities are the worst, I won’t name names big cities but you know who you are too.

Researchers also found that “One urban area with a gambling industry had meth levels more than five times higher than other cities.” Wow, not much of a surprise there. They also found that small Midwestern cities had virtually no traces of methamphetamine. That’s not a shocker either. Party drugs like cocaine and ecstasy levels peaked during the weekend, when people have the most parties. Don’t get me wrong, this is all good information and can go a long way in helping the war on drugs but we already knew gambling and drugs are common together, small Midwestern communities have low instances of drug use and use of “party” drugs peaks on the weekends.

And what about the drug user estimates we already have from surveys? City wide waste water tests have preliminarily shown that survey data has underestimated the amount of drug use. I have to laugh at that, of course voluntary surveys will underestimate drug use, the hard core crack heads will be too busy looking for their next fix to participate and the pot heads will be too paranoid. A lot of the rest of the participants will lie, it’s human nature.

With this news, for me, comes the realization that there is nothing left to speculation anymore and anyone can find out anything about you, if their motivated enough to crawl around in your sewer. The bottom line is the general public has the right to be defended from drug users who endanger their lives but somehow I don’t feel any more secure knowing that waste water tests call tell us what we already knew. We know certain cities have high numbers of drug users and that effects life for everyone including law abiding citizens. We know something should be done, and many agencies are actively trying to curb the amount of drugs that come into the country and eradicate the drugs that are already here. But at this time, we still don’t know exactly what works to stop illicit drug use or we wouldn’t be testing sewer water at all.

Tags:10 Unnamed American Cities Drug Tested - How Much Can it Tell Us?

10 Very Easy Ways to Save Energy

When looking for ways to save money, a good place to start is by saving energy. Do you really need to use as much energy as you do on a daily basis? If you were to look at your habits and home equipment very closely, you will likely find that a large portion of the money you spend on energy is waste.

Energy waste refers to energy used to produce heat, light, motion, or sound when those forms of energy aren’t needed. If a light is on in an unoccupied room, that’s energy waste. If a home’s air conditioning is running while nobody is home, that too is waste.

A common misconception in regard to energy conservation is that a person must sacrifice to save energy. That’s totally untrue and I’ll explain how you can start saving money with a few simple changes to your lifestyle.

1. Turn off lights when not needed. You’ve heard this tip before, right? That’s because it’s the easiest, and one of the most effective ways to save energy. Leaving just one 100-watt light bulb turned on all day, every day, would cost over $87 in a year. Get into the habit of turning off lights when you leave a room. Your wallet will thank you.

2. Close curtains and blinds. Windows are usually the least insulated part of a house. Windows tend to have an R-value, also known as their ability to resist heat transfer, below 2.0. Blinds and curtains add an extra layer of insulation and additional R-value. That extra insulation can really add up to big savings over the course of a year.

3. Program your programmable thermostat. According to a study conducted by the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, about half of the people who have a programmable thermostat don’t use them properly. They tend to just use the “hold” feature, which turns a programmable thermostat into a wasteful, standard thermostat. If you have a programmable thermostat, learn how to use it properly. If you don’t have one, buy an Energy Star-rated programmable thermostat at the first chance you get.

4. Use a microwave oven to heat foods. Microwave ovens use significantly less energy to heat food than conventional stovetops and ovens.

5. Unplug vampire devices at night. Vampire devices, like televisions, DVD players, stereos, and computers, still use energy even when turned off. For the equipment’s protection, they should always be plugged into a surge protector. You can then save energy by simply getting into the habit of turning off those surge protectors before bed.

6. Use your dishwasher. We often forget that a large part of our home’s energy usage can be attributed to heating water. Dishwashers are much more efficient than washing dishes by hand. Just make sure the dishwasher is completely full before turning it on.

7. Lower water heater to 120 degrees F. Having your water heater set above 120 degrees F is wasteful and dangerous. Use a thermometer to check the water coming out of a nearby faucet and adjust the water heater accordingly.

8. Use your computer’s power-saver mode. Changing your computer’s power plan to power-saver can cut your computer’s energy usage by as much as half.

9. Turn off coffee-makers when done brewing. Coffee-maker heating plates use a lot of energy and place demand on your home’s cooling system. Instead, turn off the heating plate and re-heat brewed coffee in a microwave. You won’t notice a change in the coffee’s taste, but you will notice more change in your pocket.

10. Replace incandescent light bulbs. While my intent for this article is to highlight no-cost (free) ways to save energy, I never pass up an opportunity to mention how wasteful incandescent light bulbs are. There is simply no excuse for anyone to purchase an incandescent light bulb ever again. Replace your incandescent bulbs with Compact Fluorescent (CFL) or LED bulbs immediately. The new bulbs will typically pay for themselves within a few months, and they last a lot longer.

More From This Contributor
10 Energy Saving Tips for Renters
Winning with Smart Meters
Energy-Saving Home Improvement Projects

Sources:
Scientific American

Tags:10 Very Easy Ways to Save Energy

10 Unusally Wonderful Holiday Gift Ideas!

Here is a list of this holiday seasons most unique and wonderful gifts. Included are gift ideas for everyone on your list; Parents, friends, partners, children and even pets!

1. Build Your Own Ukulele Kit ($39.99) – This is a great gift for anyone on your gift list who loves music. They will get even more satisfaction knowing that they assembled and decorated it all on their own. A wonderful gift for adults and children alike! www.perpetualkid.com

2. Bacon of the Month Club ($100-$400) – Do you have a foodie on your list? They are sure to enjoy the variety of bacon supplied monthly from the Bacon of the Month Club. You choose the length of time you’d like to “bring home the bacon”! www.baconfreak.com

3. Vinal Record Bowls ($26.99) – These are perfect for the music fanatic. They are recycled vinal records that can be used as decoration or for dry snacks. http://ift.tt/2bpsIZj

4. The Star Wars Cookbook ($15.99) – Great for the Star Wars fanatic on your list, this cookbook is filled with meals for the everyday family, each meal has a fun Star Wars name. www.thinkgeek.com

5. Architectural Building Blocks – Leaning Tower of Pisa ($40.49) – Give the children on your list a bit of cultural playtime with these fantastic building blocks that will teach them about worldly landmarks. www.oompa.com

6. Waterproof Shower Notebook ($12.99) – Surely you’ve had one of those thoughts in the shower that you’ve forgotten by the time you got out. Chances are, so has someone on your gift list! The shower is a great relaxing spot to let your thoughts flow, now you can jot them down! www.perpetualkid.com

7. Perfect Portions Digital Food Scale ($49.99) – With the ever growing number of conscientious eaters, this is a great gift for the “health nut” on your list. It is an easy way to measure the food you are eating and get portions under control. www.sharperimage.com

8. Williams –Sonoma Meyer Lemon Tree ($69.95) – Who doesn’t have someone on their gift list who loves to cook. This lemon tree is a wonderful, natural addition to any cooks kitchen. Also available in lime and blood orange trees. http://ift.tt/IWWhKu

9. Pez for Pet Treat Dispenser ($12.99) – For the furry creatures on our list, what dog wouldn’t love this great way to get treats! http://ift.tt/2b5c8Kn

10.Whiskey Stones ($19.95) – For the friend or family member who is tired of watered down drinks on the rocks. Now they can have their drink literally ‘on the rocks’ and skip the watery mess. http://ift.tt/2bpsP7e

It is my hope that this list of 10 unusually unique holiday gifts will light up the faces of some of the people on your list! Happy Holidays!

Tags:10 Unusally Wonderful Holiday Gift Ideas!

10 Unusual Christmas Stocking Stuffers

When the time comes to stuff those Christmas stockings this year, shy away from the usual fluff and go unique with these fun and practical ideas. You’ll be glad you did.

Photo M&Ms. Perfect for the chocolate aficionado on your list, the famous ‘melt in your mouth, not in your hand’ candies are now available with full personalization. Why stick with the same old bag of nondescript chocolates when you can go personal? You can choose one of 22 different colors, enter up to three text messages – and hold onto your hat! – upload a photo or two to appear on some of the candies. It’s cool, they’re fun to make using the online function, and they’re a narcissistic chocoholic’s dream! The downside is the cost: Although a single seven ounce bag runs $13.99, there’s a two-bag minimum purchase required, so you’re looking at a cost of at least $27.98. Still, it’s a cute idea if you’re looking for an unusual stocking stuffer. Find out more or place an order by visiting the online M&M shop.

A Photo Charm. Moms and grandmas alike love silver or gold charms engraved with their little ones’ names and birth dates. So it stands to reason that any mom or grandma would love a charm featuring those sweet little faces even more. Shutterfly offers sterling silver necklaces and bracelets featuring a photo of your choice. Simply upload a picture to your account, center it to your liking, click to order, and await the arrival of your perfect gift. Each 5/8 inch photo charm runs $49.99 and includes either a sterling silver bracelet or necklace. It’s a Christmas stocking stuffer to remember.

A Collection of Happy Meal or Kids’ Meal Toys. This one requires a bit of forethought, but it’s a great idea and would make a decidedly unusual stocking stuffer this Christmas. Find out if your local McDonald’s, Burger King or other fast food restaurant is having a great Happy Meal/Kids’ Meal promo. If they are, stock up and save them for Christmas. Just as an example to get your creative juices flowing, this year McD’s offered mini Madame Alexander dolls that feature actual hair and eyes that open and close. They’re of great quality, not particularly expensive at $2 to $3 each, and a 3 to 8 year old girl would likely love a set. As an added bonus, you probably don’t even have to buy the food to get the toy. Some restaurants will sell you just the toy for a nominal amount. To check out current and upcoming McDonald’s Happy Meal promos, visit the official website.

Personalized golf tees or golf balls. This one’s great for the golfer in your life. The folks at GolfTeeGifts.com offer up six personalized golf balls for $12.95, or 50 personalized tees for just $7.95. Or if you want to go for a truly unusual stocking stuffer this holiday season, order a pack of three photo golf balls for as little as $12.95. What grandpa or dad wouldn’t love playing a round using balls that features a photo of the kids? Better yet, have them printed with a photo of the overbearing boss and watch as the grateful recipient whacks them over and over again. The choice is yours, but either way they’re sure to enhance the recipient’s Christmas cheer.

A purse-sized emergency kit. Emergency kits are easy to make and fun to give. For mom or your sister, try including waterless hand sanitizer ($1.50 for a one-ounce flip-top container at Bath and Body Works in several fun scents), a pack of nail files (available at any drugstore; go for a petite pack such as the 12-pack by Ms. Manicure) and breath mints (Altoids are always a good choice; they come in a number of ‘curiously strong’ flavors and retail for $1-$2 per tin). After all, you never know when you’ll have dirty hands, a chipped nail or bad breath. Pack them all together in a small Ziploc bag; it doesn’t have to be fancy to be a good idea.

French Manicure Kit. Neat nails are always an appearance booster, so stuff your teen daughter or niece’s stocking with a mini french manicure kit like this one by Barielle that’s available at Bath and Body Works. The kit comes complete with nail shaper, white and pink polishes, and a bottle of clear top coat, and retails for $15.

Money Soap. This is a great Christmas stocking stuffer for the money grub with the grubby hands. Each bar contains an actual bill of unknown denomination; it could be a single buck, or it could be $50. They’ll have to lather up often to find out what inside. It’s an unusual stocking stuffer that’ll keep on giving. A single bar is priced at $12.95 and can be purchased online here.

Insect Lore Pop-Up Port-A-Bug. The Port-A-Bug is a perfect and unusual stocking stuffer for your budding entomologist. It’s a lightweight, collapsible mesh bug habitat. Capture and observe butterflies, ladybugs and the like, and then set them free. It features a hip clip for easy carrying, and retails for just $7.99 on Amazon.com.

A donation to Heifer International. Just about everyone knows someone who doesn’t ‘need’ or want anything for Christmas, so a donation in that person’s name to someone in need would make a wonderful gift. Via the Heifer International gift catalog, you can buy a goat, flock of chicks, honeybees, or a number of other animals or practical supplies to be given to a needy family or village abroad. These gifts help the recipients to become self-sufficient over time. To make it a stocking stuffer, simply print out a card detailing the donation and present it to your friend or relative. Check out the gift catalog for pricing and more details.

Seeds and a Spade. It may seem odd to think of the words ‘gardening’ and ‘Christmas’ in the same sentence, but just think about it: Garden stuff signals the coming of Spring and new life, and more importantly, the end of the cold winter season. Anyone in need of a little cool-weather cheer would love a pack of their favorite seeds – from flowers to veggies – and a small spade. Wildflowers are always a nice choice, and can be picked up at your local grocery, drug, hardware or superstore for prices ranging from 80 cents to a few dollars. Walmart, Target and like stores carry a wide array of spades, both cheapie (under $1) and pricey ($10 or more).

Tags:10 Unusual Christmas Stocking Stuffers

10 Upcoming Hollywood Remakes: Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

It is very obvious Hollywood is running out of ideas, and in the past few years, remakes of classic films, whether good or bad, have become a mainstay of the entertainment industry. The following is a list of some remakes that are currently in the works:

Friday the 13th

This film has spawned too many sequels to count. This, however, is not a sequel, but a remake of the original horror flick that started it all. I guess now they’ll just add a lot more blood and gore since Americans seem to have decided that these are the kinds of movies they love the most.

The Birds

When will Hollywood stop with the Hitchcock remakes? “The Birds” was great when it first came out, because it was unexpected. No one thought of birds as being bad guys. Now this film is a horror classic, and even Naomi Watts as a Hitchcokian leading lady isn’t going to save it the remake from being a joke.

Casablanca

Madonna wants to remake this classic which many consider to be one of the best films of all time, and star in it. I just don’t even know what to say about this one. Don’t play it again, Sam, please!

Rosemary’s Baby

Roman Polanski originally directed this frightening tale of a woman who is impregnated by the devil, and it is now going to be remade with Lindsay Lohan in the starring role. I guess it makes sense. I can see Lindsay getting it on with the Devil, because I’m sure he loves that fire crotch (I just couldn’t resist.) I’m sure Polanski is absolutely thrilled and just can’t wait to see how much better this remake is than the original.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Keanu Reeves will star in this classic film that has a great message: the way we treat the earth may have dire consequences for our future. Hopefully this remake will have a similar message, but it will more than likely be all about the special effects.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

Will George Clooney star in the remake of this campy film, which in my opinion is one of the weirdest movie ideas ever? He’s wanted for the lead role, but only time will tell. I don’t really care as much if Hollywood remakes movies that were bad to begin with, so I don’t have too much of a beef with this one.

Last House on the Left

This is another of Wes Craven’s films that is long overdue for a remake. (Should you really remake a movie when the director of the original is still alive?) I’m sure producers just couldn’t help themselves with this one, seeing how well torture flicks do at the box office. The original “Last House on the Left” was actually an adaptation of an Ingmar Bergman film, “The Virgin Spring”. But if you’re a fan of the original “Last House”, you’ll probably like the remake better than “The Virgin Spring”.

Heavy Metal

One of the most popular “adult cartoons” of all time is going to be remade. It’s unclear how much it will actually follow the story line of the original, as it is going to be divided into segments and directed by 8 or 9 different directors. It’ll be interesting to see if it will be in CGI and what musicians will do the soundtrack.

Porky’s

Howard Stern is remaking this fleshy film which does have a story line somewhere. I just can’t remember what it is due to all the boobs and bad jokes. If there’s a film on the list that could possibly be made better than the original, it’s this one. I’d actually be interested to see it since Howard’s on board, just to see if he pushes the envelope a little.

Footloose

Paramount is going to do a musical remake of this popular classic that’s all about getting to dance, despite the fact that all the Bible-thumpers in town say it’s sinful. (Some people even call it anti-Christian). Zac Efron of High School Musical fame is set to play Kevin Bacon’s part, so there’s no doubt what demographic this film is going to be focused on. (You probably won’t want to see this film for “nostalgic” reasons if you were a fan of the original. It’ll probably be dumbed-down quite a few notches.)

So there you have it. Hollywood continues to wow us with their originality and their dedication to keeping movies artistic and interesting. I can hardly wait to see what they remake next: “Citizen Kane”, perhaps? “2001: A Space Odyssey?” I’m sure they’ve at least thought about it.

Tags:10 Upcoming Hollywood Remakes: Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

10 Uses for Baking Soda Around the Home

Baking soda is so useful for almost any cleaning task around the house. It is an indispensable staple in my home. So much so that I buy it in large containers at my local bulk store. It can replace the average chemical cleaner, scrubber or deodorizer. It is safe for your family, the environment and it is effective.

Inexpensive laundry booster – To boost your laundry detergents cleaning power add ½ cups to a load of laundry for cleaner clothes.

Deodorize shoes – Is there a household member, or your own, smelly shoes you can’t even stand to be near? Shake baking soda into shoes and let sit over night. Take them outside and shake out the excess baking soda.

Purse – No telling what goes into your purse, especially if you are a mom. When you clean out your purse dust some baking soda on the bottom and then close the purse (if possible.) Dump out the next day or in about an hour, if you do not have all night.

Gym bag – Pour some baking soda in an old foot of a nylon pantyhose, tie it up and place it in the gym bag to keep with your gym supplies and help deodorize everyday.

Closets and small laundry rooms – Place a small open container of baking soda in the corner of the room and it will help absorb odors and keep the room fresh.

Remove marks from furniture – Crayons, scuffs and other marks can safely be removed by applying a small amount of baking soda to the mark or directly to a damp sponge. Rub gently with the damp sponge. Wipe excess off with a dry towel.

Carpet – Daily life of going in and out of the house can cause carpet odors. Dust baking soda over the carpeted area. Make sure to let it sit at least 20 and then vacuum the carpet.

Clean your hands – Some messes are hard to get off your hands, like paint and dirt. Next time sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on your hands and then scrub them lightly.

Freshen your couch – Dust baking soda all over you couch, let sit for a minimum of 20 minutes and then vacuum it up. It will help eliminate all those odors that have built up over time.

Clean walls – Whether you have kids or pets, or it’s just you, dirt seems to find its way onto walls. Thankfully, all you need is baking soda to get them clean. Apply baking soda onto a damp sponge and rub the walls clean. Go over them with a clean damp sponge to remove any excess baking soda streaks.

For more useful baking soda uses try:

8 Uses for Baking Soda outside your Home

8 Baking soda Uses for Pet Messes and Odors

10 Uses for Baking Soda in your Daily Beauty Routine

13 Uses for Baking Soda in your Kitchen

 

Tags:10 Uses for Baking Soda Around the Home

10 Ways the Apple IPad Will Change Our Lives

For most consumers, Apple is just another hardware manufacturer, but for technologists Apple products and services are very polarizing. On one side, Apple fanboys will consider any product released by Apple as revolutionary. Amongst Apple haters, any product released by Apple as over priced. What both sides will agree is that the iPad, like the iPhone before it, will change people’s behavior and online usage patterns. For example, it was reported late 2009 that iPhone and iPod Touch users used, downloaded, streamed, and surfed more data than other smart phone users (Mashable, 2009). The iPad is not an oversize iPhone or a keyboardless netbook, the iPad is one of the first generally available products in a new mobile device category. The iPad will not cannibalize iPhone or iPod Touch sales, it will not compete with netbooks, and it is not even comparable with laptops. The iPad is truly a revolutionary product, not because of it’s specs but because of its form and function and it will change how we plan, learn, and do business.

The iPad, and similar future mobile devices, will change education, health, people with disabilities, senior citizens, casual online users, casual gamers, communication, augmented reality, and more. Ask any iPhone users with kids what apps they have on their phone and you will find them listing several educational apps. The iPhone, and in particular the iPod Touch, are a great device for children, even toddlers. The simple multi-touch interface of the iPhone is easy to master for any person at any age. Devices like the iPad will be the preferred educational tool, replacing heavy, bulky, general purpose laptops.

When Apple announced the iPad, they also announced the iBooks store (Engadget, 2010). The iBooks store, and similar applications on the iPad for the Amazon Kindle book format, will make the iPad a great reading device. Where the current line of Kindles fail, the iPad will shine. An electronic book on the iPad will be read in color, enhanced with video, and decorated with animation where a book on the Kindle is slow to turn pages.

In addition to being a great device to read ebooks, browse blogs, and update your status on your favorite social networking site, the iPad will great mobile device for watch movies and stream videos. The iPad’s 9.7 inch display, 10 hour battery life, and up to 64 GB makes it a perfect device for watching movies on long trips.

No one ever expected the iPhone and iPod Touch to compete with the Nintendo DS and the PlayStation PSP. The user interface, app store, and number of developers makes the iPhone, iPod Touch, and in turn the iPad into one of the best hand held gaming devices. Just like the Wii innovated gaming, not just by adding better graphics chips into the console, but by innovating the user controls with the Wii Remote the iPad has made available a whole slew of games to casual gamers that don’t want to master a series of key combinations.

It is important to note that it is hard to compare the iPad with a laptop, it is like comparing apple and beige oranges. The iPad is not an oversize iPod or a keyboardless netbook, it is in a category of its own. The iPad will change users’ behavior in the following 10 applications and industries including education, health, business, travel, browsing, communication, gaming, people with disabilities, senior citizens, and augmented reality.

Tags:10 Ways the Apple IPad Will Change Our Lives

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