Wednesday, August 24, 2016

10 Things Deadbeat Dads Can Do Better

A boy’s father is arguably the single greatest influence in his life. His dad’s presence or absence sends him a strong message and sets an example that he will remember when he himself has a family. Here are 10 ways deadbeat dads can make a positive impact on their sons’ lives, starting today.

  • 1. Don’t be self-centered. Too many fathers only spend time with their sons when it is convenient for them. But when dads make the effort to spend time with their sons every day, those boys develop a sense of value and confidence that will stay with them into adulthood.
  • 2. Realize that time is everything. A dad needs to cherish his son’s childhood and build memories that will last throughout his son’s life.
  • 3. Do everyday things with him. Quantity is quality. Fathers and sons need to cook breakfast together, do errands and chores together, and do grocery shopping together, too. A boy needs to learn more than just how to throw a football.
  • 4. Stop being “here-but-not-here”. When a son has to keep saying “Dad…Dad…Dad…” ten times in a row to get his father’s attention, something is wrong. Nothing builds up a boy’s self-esteem like knowing that his dad is interested in him.
  • 5. Never cut him down, especially in front of others. This will damage him in ways that can never be repaired.
  • 6. Never cut down his mom, especially in front of him. This sends the message that his mom is dumb and doesn’t need to be obeyed or respected, and this is difficult to undo.
  • 7. Make him a priority. Fathers who take time off from work to attend their sons’ extracurricular activities will be remembered. Whether his dad was there cheering for him at every single game, or at every other game, or at no games at all, that boy will remember.
  • 8. Talk to him. Fathers and sons need to have the sex talk, the drug talk, the alcohol talk, the-listen-to-your-mother talk, and the don’t-be-a-player talk, too. Daily communication with his father, even if it’s just small talk, is absolutely essential to a boy’s social development.
  • 9. Be his dad, not his buddy. A boy needs to know who’s in charge. He needs to learn to respect his parents, or he will walk all over them when he’s a teenager.
  • 10. Pay child support. It is every father’s responsibility to provide for his own son, even if they don’t live together. Whether the mom initiates it or not, that dad needs to spend a portion of every paycheck on his son.

Every boy needs his father to be involved in his life. When a boy grows up to be a man, he will use his father’s example as a starting point in working out how to be a husband and father himself, and when that time comes, his own family will benefit or suffer because of the behaviors and attitudes that were passed down from father to son.

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10 Things to Do to Annoy Other Patrons at the Library

Finally! A serious topic. I, for one, am a library groupie/dweller. Wuv, wuv, wuv the place; that is to say that my feelings for these refuges of knowledge, hope, dream, fantasy and assumed wisdom run just slightly less intense than Love, Love, Love. So if you want to annoy me and my brethren, let me offer ten quick tips to assure dirty sideways glances, rolling eyes and the occasional tight-lipped reprimand hissed in your direction:

1. The Home Office…at the Library.
Stroll in, briefcase and papers in hand. Litter the table with your papers, leather-laptop satchel, and a couple thick books for looks. Now, the problem is not the scene unfolding here. The problem is the conference calls you insist on holding.

2. The Deaf Parent…at the Library.
The Christian Bible tells us to, “Suffer the little children…” But, crying babies kill the vibe as much as the unattended car alarm. If your precious doesn’t come with a remote, and you refuse to take your bundle of joy outside, you’re well on the road to annoying even the best of us. *

3. The Parentless…at the Library.
Now, let me preface this with the fact that the majority of unaccompanied minors know how to act courteously. Now, let me follow that up with the fact that the preceding statement is a total and complete lie if kids are in groups of 2 or more. (Hey, I understand the intoxicating power of peers, even as an adult!) One of the absolute best ways to annoy us Library Dwellers is to leave your litter of tweens/teens and their friends behind, while you peel off, leaving only the screech of tires and your maniacal laughter trailing behind you. Most adults are scared of today’s kids (much less “funny” than “true”.) Because of that, this technique is not only annoying, but also frustrating and a little humiliating. Kudos.

4. The Hover-er…at the Library.
For those familiar with the free use of computers at most libraries, you may know that the use is limited to about one hour. Many times, you are also aware of the person sitting nearby waiting to scoot you off your computer as soon as your period is up. You can identify this person by the following: (a) frequent glances thrown your direction, followed by a slow swing of the eyes towards the big clock on the wall overhead. (b) Obnoxious sighs, prompting you to remove yourself, sooner. And, some even resort to © the dreaded “throat clear”. Note, if this person then begins staring holes in the back of your head, RUN…’cause it’s probably me.

5. The Keyboard Player…at the Library.
There are people who play the computer’s keyboard far more intensely than any concert pianist. They fall into two categories: (1) machine guns and (2) canons. Machine guns type as if the keyboard is their enemy, to be beat into submission. You hear the keyboards cry a million miles away. Their assailant’s shots ring throughout the open areas and to the Heavens above. The next group is the Canons. Pray for these, for they are often both silently pitied and hated. These are the key-pickers who type one l-e-t-t-e-r at a time. But, they have determined to make each one count. KaPow!

6. The Blow Horn…at the Library.
Our frail human bodies get germs all the time, so colds are nothing new even to the most faithful Library Dweller. Coughing, sneezing, congestion is acceptable. Yes, the snoot’s toot is understood. But, when your nose could send off ships, or causes criminals to take off running, imagine its affects on the land-dweller and law-abiding. For worst results, repeat often and with increasing length. Couple this with number 8 and you’re a crowd a favorite.

7. Stink…at the Library.
Quite simply, don’t bathe. If you want a room to yourself, this is the way to go. Even better, sit in one of the most comfortable and popular chairs, so we can imagine the funk sinking in and latching onto the fibers. Thanks for sharing.

8. The other Blow horn…at the Library.
This is an obvious one, right? Snoring your way into the Guinness World Book of Records is one way to get that book flung right at you. Understandably, the very nature of the space-its quiet, peace and serenity-can make us all feel a little like Dorothy, lulled to sleep in the deadly poppy field. But, Dorothy’s deviated septum would have been a blessing in that case. In the library…not so much.

9. The Boom Box…at the Library.
Kind of like those drivers who blare their music because, of course, everyone wants to be part of their fun. Headphones’ purpose becomes pretty useless when you turn your music up to decimal 100. The benefit to this tactic is that you will never hear anyone complain. Nor will you hear anything else, for that matter.

10. XXX Does NOT Mark the Spot…at the Library.
As much as you like seeing the naked girls, we don’t like seeing you see them. You’re not that sexy. And, after that, you’re not even appealing. This is not a tactic. This is just true.

So, there you go. Ten ways to annoy the serious minded Library Dweller. I will now warn the Others of your impending visit.


*This scripture is shortened and taken out of context. Please refer to Matt. 19:14 of the Bible for full text.

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10 Things to Do when You Didn't Get the Job Interview

In these difficult times with the unemployment rate rising and costs going up, many are looking for work. It seems intuitive that there will be more people looking for a job than there will be jobs. So, what do you do when you don’t get the job? What do you do when you don’t even get the interview. Getting a job is exciting. Even getting an interview is exciting, so the letdown can really hurt. Here’s how I’m coping with being rejected.

First, be constructive. I immediately write to friends who work in the same place. I always ask, “How can I make myself more competitive?” “How can I insure that I’ll at least get an interview next time?” The answer to this question will be different for each job.

I also go back and check and recheck my application materials. Can I make my resume better? Should I rewrite my cover letter? This process will help me be ready for the next job.

Go and look for more openings. You’ve got to get back on the “horse” so to speak. You might as well try.

Fall back on what you know. If that job interview didn’t pan out, try and make a few bucks doing something else while you apply for other jobs. I’m writing articles for AC.

Do things that make you feel good. Not getting a job or an interview can be depressing. We all look for confirmation that we are worthy. When you don’t get the job or the interview, it can feel like you’ve been rejected. The truth is that, for most of us, it was just your resume against some one else’s resume . Try not to take it too personally.

Go and have a good cup of coffee. That might lift your spirits. Speaking of spirits, sure, have a drink if that’s your thing, but don’t overdo it. Alcohol is a depressant.

Have a good meal. That always makes me feel good about myself.

Do something you’re good at. Are you a musician, a good cook. Do you play ball well? Are you a good mom or dad. Do something you know you’re good at to reaffirm your selfworth.

If you are spiritual, spend some time praying. Prayer has been scientifically proven to do something. We’re not sure what yet though.

Spend time with people who comfort you.

Release some energy! Go running, play a video game, work out, something, anything to work off some of that stress and energy you might have built up.

The truth is that when we’re rejected we can feel depressed. Sometimes we take it personally. Doing something that will improve your chances of getting the job next time, and doing something that reaffirms your self worth can help you get through the tough times. Improve yourself for the next job interview, and for now, make yourself feel better. Your luck is bound to change!

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10 Things You Didn't Know About Oil

Now that it’s costing $4 a gallon or more to fill up our gas tanks, it’s hard not to pay attention to news about the oil markets. Beyond that fact that crude oil prices have repeatedly reached all-time highs this year, though, there’s a lot more to petroleum than you might be aware of:

1. Petroleum isn’t refined into just gasoline for your car. It’s also a critical ingredient for a host of other products, including ink, car tires, antiseptics, soft contact lenses, pantyhose, fertilizers, candles, house paint, vitamin capsules, shaving cream, shoe polish, antihistamines, food preservatives, petroleum jelly, nail polish, deodorants, carpets, dishwashing liquids, heart values and insect repellant. In fact, 18 percent of the petroleum we use ends up not in gas tanks but in plastics, rubber and other products.

2. With oil prices spiraling upward, it makes sense that all those other petroleum-based products are also getting more costly. The Wall Street Journal recently identified 50 things that have been hit by high oil prices, including steeper fees for pizza delivery, more police departments adopting foot patrols, fewer volunteers for Meals on Wheels and higher garbage collection charges.

3. Of the 12.5 million barrels of petroleum a day the U.S. imported in May 2008, only 20 percent came from Persian Gulf countries, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that we import more oil every year from non-OPEC nations than from OPEC countries. Canada and Mexico, for example, both send us more oil every year than does Saudi Arabia.

4. Which other countries send oil to the U.S. each year? You might be surprised to discover they include Aruba (110,000 barrels a day in 2007), Denmark (6,000 barrels a day), Norway (141,000 barrels a day) and the U.K. (278,000 barrels a day).

5. There are 12 member nations in OPEC (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries): Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Indonesia was also an OPEC member until recently, but left the organization in May 2008.

6. Compared to other commodities, this year’s price increases for oil and gas are “about average,” the American Petroleum Institute asserts. In the first six months of 2008, gasoline prices rose 44.2 percent, while the cost of corn shot up 66.4 percent, soybeans were up 37.5 percent and sugar increased 28.6 percent. The worst commodity price hike to date? U.S. natural gas, whose cost has skyrocketed 81.4 percent since Jan. 1, 2008.

7. The rising demand for fossil fuels of all kinds is leading to some unusual discoveries, including a potential treasure trove of natural gas under Jamaica and up to 4.3 billion barrels of oil in the Bakken formation under North Dakota, Montana, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

8. Oil is more than a fossil fuel from the age of the dinosaurs. One team of scientists theorizes that oil might have actually helped kill off the dinosaurs. They speculate the giant meteor that struck the Earth 65 million years ago might have crashed into deposits of oil shale, fueling a massive burn that filled the atmosphere with particle pollution and caused dramatic and deadly climate change.

9. A recent report by CIBC World Markets analysts Jeff Rubin and Benjamin Tal forecasts that oil prices will reach $200 a barrel by 2010. That means drivers in the U.S. could soon be paying $7 a gallon to fill their tanks. By late next year, Rubin and Tal say, we’ll regularly be spending more on gas than on groceries … and looking in droves for alternatives to driving.

10. As of 2006, the U.S. consumed about 24 percent of the world’s annual oil output. Given all of the above, though, that could be changing soon.

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10 Things I Hate About Android

I have been using Android Phones for a long time now, despite the fact that I am a ‘fandroid’ and love Android Phones from my heart and soul. There are a lot of things in Android that needs improvement/replacement in my point of view. People love to hear about the pros but let’s take out a minute and discuss the cons.

1 – User Interface

Everybody would agree that Android’s User Interface is highly inspired from Apple’s iOS. Users that switch to Android from iOS finds it highly disappointing and frustrating due to the lack of animations and the whole experience is a sluggish and very slow.
Android looked like an ugly version of iOS till the Gingerbread update. Post the Gingerbread update the OS got better, but still the User Interface is not uniform. I am using Note for one year but I havn’t yet figured out the ‘Back; button of the device. In some applications it closes the app and in some apps it opens up the last viewed screen from the stack.

Another problem is the uniformity in the UI, even if you compare the google powered applications, you would see 180 degree difference in their UI’s. Some applications are using the Action Bar, others are using separate Menus. One thing more that irritates me highly is there are no set of rules defined for designing the icon of the applications. Different applications have different sized icons that makes the screen look cluttered and ugly.

Plus, the user experience of Android OS is not really good in the sense the animations are boring and in absence of these; it looks like that it takes ages when you open, close some applications, the transitions between applications is not smooth and flow y, even after the latest Jelly Bean update my views aren’t changed.

2 – Force Closes/ Exceptions

This is the biggest problem with the Android OS! It crashes all the time and at moments you least expect it. Android OS has matured in many ways over the last few years but this problem is still here. Force Closes and Crashes freezes the whole experience and either you have to force close the app from Task Manager or you have to restart your device. And this is not a problem with the single android device, each and every device has this problem, post the Gingerbread update my devices crashes more often and at random moments.
Google really needs to look into this problem.

3 – OS Fragmentation

Another serious problem with Android OS is the Fragmentation, more than 75% mobile phones currently doesn’t have the latest Android OS. This is quite frustrating, You spend your hard earned money to buy a device and after two months you get to know that your device is now obsolete – This is highly unacceptable. To top it off, even if your device will get the newly released OS, you will have to wait for at least 6 months so that the vendors could customize the pure android OS for their specific skins that are built on top of it.

4 – Battery Drainage

This is the problem with all the smartphones these days, You use your device for sometime and BAAMMM!! all the battery is gone. But there are some exceptions with the Android OS. The are a lot of buggy apps out there that keeps running in the background and eat up the device’s battery. So every now and then, I have to kill all the running apps from the task manager. Plus, to keep the phone alive for at least one business day, I have to bring the brightness down, turn off the WIFI/Data and GPS, in fact most of the times my phone is in Battery Saver Mode. My question to all the Vendors is: Y U NO CREATE BIG BATTERIES !!!!

5 – Viruses

Another problem with Android are the viruses that spring out from the applications. All of the smartphone OS are prone to viruses but Android due to no significant control over the apps gets the most viruses. There are some good antivirus applications out there that will make the device virus free. But at first place, why do these viruses exist. Google needs to put a check on every application that they approve for the marketplace to get hold of this problem.

6 – Cluttered Market Place

Yes! I think Android’s and Microsoft’s marketplace is so much cluttered! There are a lot of ugly, stupid, spam-my and virus-full applications in the store that shouldn’t be there at first. Secondly, for every 1 good application, there are 100 rubbish applications that pointless and irrelevant. Secondly, the marketplace has different categories for the types of applications we want but more often I find irrelevant applications in a certain category. WHY ?

7 -Terrible Keyboard

I don’t like the stock android keyboard, it’s so hard and the word predictions are not good. Yes! there are plenty of third party applications that are a good replacement of this keyboard but why can’t the stock keyboard be better! In my opinions Windows Phone has the best Stock Keyboard, its soft, easy to use and word predictions are highly accurate.

8 – Android copying Apple iOS

Why can’t Android design something unique on their own, why they always take cue from iOS. I strongly dislike the Grid view of applications in Android – they should come up with something different and innovative, like Microsoft has beautiful responsive Tiles!

9 – Cheap looking Hardware Devices

IPhone, Lumia’s are very beautiful hardware devices that complement their respective Operating systems. But it’s not the case with Android Phones, I haven’t yet found a single android phone that doesn’t feel cheap and plastic like. The whole package should be good – Hardware and Software. As Steve Jobs once said: ‘People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware’
I am also not really a fan of Google Powered Nexus Devices! I think they look cheap and have no personality.

10 – Sense of something Missing, Lack of Innovation

Despite of the fact that Android is a pretty accomplished platform – I always have this strange feeling that something is missing – may be a feature that is exclusive to this OS! Whenever the new iPhone comes it is marketed with the new features it has. But with Android phone we get to see these super sexy models, lots of music, stupid drama, stories and emotional scenes. If the device is not good – it doesn’t have any new features, nobody is going to buy it. Period!!

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10 Things I Hate About People

While hate is a strong word to use, there are certainly things which people do, behaviors they display, and things which occur which could be done without. So for this I offer my list of 10 things I hate about people.

Un-reliability: You really need to be able to rely on others; particularly those who you come into close contact with; co-workers, immediate family, and dear friends. When you can’t rely on those closest to you, you are left with an immense void and feeling of abandonment.

Inconsistency: Not the same thing as being unreliable, but almost as maddening. When others are lulled into a false sense of security and someone who was supposed to, doesn’t come through; there is bedlam. This is particularly maddening with those you work with or only come into contact with on particular occasions.

Meanness: The thing about being mean is that it isn’t even necessary. Nobody wants to be mean to someone who wasn’t mean to them; there’s just no reason for it. The problem is finding out who the first mean person was and giving them a good, stern talking to. But really, our energy could be spent in so many more productive ways. We are all flawed in our own way; there’s no need to be a meanie about it.

Carelessness: Oops, I forgot to give you your life sustaining medicine because I’m a few screws short. Being carless can be anything from cutting in line at the grocery store to not engaging the safety at the nuclear facility; it’s all to the same end though. If you don’t have regard for your own actions you might as well be doing the worst possible thing to everyone, all the time.

Hatred: This is a big one. Hate and $1.50 will get you a small coffee at Starbucks, but really? There’s no need for this; right? We’re all people; just trying to get by. Don’t hate; copulate.

Violence: Unacceptable. To women, to children, to others of equal physical stature and disposition, to those bigger; whatever; violence is not cool. Unless you’re a cage fighter or professional wrestler, we really shouldn’t be hitting each other. The same is true of weapons (guns, knives, scythes). It’s a sad state of affairs when the meek and mild have to walk around on the offensive carrying tasers to feel “safe.”

Spite: Nothings worse than someone who holds a grudge. It’s usually for the wrong reasons and it’s usually got nothing to do with the intended recipient. Most things people resent about others was never anything worth getting worked up about in the first place.

Un-kempt: This runs the gamut from stinkiness to nasty taste in personal hygiene to just a general disheveled nature. We all try our best to look at least a modicum of clean; everyone should abide by some base line standards.

Ego: You look like a fool when you can’t fill out your britches. When all you can do is peddle and not deliver, that is a problem. Of course when you do deliver and you’re vain about it, that’s pretty bad too, but the ego is a dish best served half-baked. When all you can do is talk about how great you are and never deliver, well, then; that’s one of the things which people can just do without.

Liar: There is nothing worse than someone who withholds truth, intentionally misleads, or lies. Being a liar only leads to a bad situation; truth always wins out in the end. You don’t want to be known as a liar because then no one will ever trust you with anything. Many of these other feelings; resentment, carelessness, ego; are all borne out of the lying disposition. So don’t lie; lying is the worst thing you can do; you know?

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10 Things Every Boy Should Experience and Know

It seems that we live in a world that no longer understands the greatness of being a boy. Mark Twain is not used in schools as it contains a word that is unacceptable. What? Kids can’t learn that people in the past used terms that we no longer use today? The Boy Scouts is looked upon as some sort of brain washing sect filled with Neanderthals as they support a belief in God. Boyhood experiences such as pulling a fire alarm, a fist fight and whistling at a girl are treated as seriously as if they stole a car. But regardless of society, we as parents are charged with making men out of our boys and should do so no matter who doesn’t like it!

As such I present a list of ten things every boy should experience. This is in no way an exhaustive list, but rather a list of the minimums.

The first thing that every boy should experience is a regular dose of pain, preferably including a loss of blood. A scraped knee, cut finger, bloody nose are just some examples of acceptable injuries.

Second, a boy should not get to 18 without an injury related trip to the emergency room, doctor, or call to the poison control hotline.

Third, every boy should mow his grandmother’s yard. If this is not applicable, find an older lady that needs some help. Old ladies are great at getting boys to talk respectfully and getting work out of them.

Forth, every boy should camp outside overnight. A lumpy sleeping bag, uneven ground, and uncertain temperature are great character builders.

Fifth, every boy should be involved in an outdoor hobby. Hunting, fishing, rock hounding, fossil collection, hiking, and other activities build character, confidence, responsibility, and burn off energy.

Sixth, every boy should learn to throw a punch. Whether they ever get in a fight or not it is always good to have at least some skill in defending yourself.

Seventh, every boy should learn to throw. Throw rocks, throw a baseball, or throw a football, whatever you can find. Trust me, it will come in handy. If nothing else it will keep them from getting made fun of on the playground. Swinging a bat, kicking a ball, and shooting a basketball should be learned as well.

Eight, every boy should be able to tie a knot. The square knot is better than nothing.

Ninth, every boy should experience culture. Boy / Man culture. Every boy should read Horatio Alger, Jr., Mark Twain, Jack London, Pat McManus and others. Every boy should be familiar with and able to imitate John Wayne, The Three Stooges, Clint Eastwood, and others.

Tenth, every boy should be able to tell a joke. Telling jokes teaches timing, develops social skills, and makes them useful to those around them. To get you started here is the first joke that I taught my son:

Two guys go fishing way back in the mountains. One guy squats down to tie his shoes and gets bit on the butt by a snake. He yells in pain and tells his buddy to call for help. The buddy calls 911. The operator asks what the snake looks like. The buddy describes the snake and is told that is very poisonous and that they need to get to a hospital. The buddy tells the operator that they are back in the mountains and it would take hours to get to a hospital. The operator tells the buddy that the only way to save his friends life is to suck the venom out of the wound. He tells the operator thanks and hangs up the phone. The guy with the snake bite asks, “What did she say?”

The buddy looks at the snake bite on his friends butt and replies, “She said you are going to die.”

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10 Things I Hate About the World

There is a very fine line between love and hate. One of the advantages of this thin line is that is that what you love listens to what you hate and tries to change accordingly. At least, this is the thought I soothe myself with as I pop my Prozac each morning. Anyway, onwards and upwards to the ten things I hate about this world. Any similarity to this list and any late night talk show’s Top Ten list, alive or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Number Ten
: “Sexy Back”

I don’t hate Justin Timberlake specifically. Perhaps he is a fine, upstanding young man with great contributions to society. But if I hear that damn “Sexy Back” one more time, I will not be held responsible for my actions. Do we have to hear it every fifteen minutes? Is it our new cuckoo clock now?

Number Nine: Puppy Mills

Call it my pet peeve if you like, but these are illogical, as well as being sickeningly cruel. We have millions of dogs in need of homes throughout this country and a percentage of our population thinks we need puppy mills? This is something that can and should be wiped out once and for all easily without damaging the rest of the world economy.

Number Eight: Other Human Beings

We have racism, sexim and ageism – but they are all about defining human beings into categories for the purposes of hate. Why stick the whole human race into a category and be done with it? I’m an equal opportunity hater of any human being – doesn’t matter what your race, sex or age. Finally – we are all equal!

Number Seven: My Uterus

I wish my parents had me spayed when I was six months old like they did the cats. It would have saved me a lot of bother later in life – and a lot of bother for my parents, too.

Number Six: Your Uterus

See Number Eight.


Ba dum ta dum.

Number Four: Christmas

See Number Five.

Number Three: The Geico Gecko

Imagine the world without the Geiko Gecko. Wouldn’t that be the world you rather live in? I say it’s time we grab this little faux-Cockney by his computer animated neck and make our dreams come true.

Number Two: Scratched Corneas

This pain is almost as bad as crucifixion. I know – I had my corneas accidentally scratched when I was in kindergarten. But it’s not the incredible pain that bothers me. No – it was, years later, finding out that when actor Malcolm McDowell got his cornea accidentally scratched on the set of “A Clockwork Orange” (1971) that he got morphine shots for the pain. I didn’t get any morphine. I got a damp washcloth and had to sit in the dark for a week. I’m due morphine! Where is my morphine?

Number One: People who say, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”

Self-explanatory, really.

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10 Things You Can Do to Help Struggling Local Nonprofits

Most people do not think of it much but local nonprofits do an awful lot of good for the community; in fact, nonprofits do more, in some cases, than the government. As a matter of fact, during the Katrina disaster many of its victims reported afterwards that it was church groups and private relief effort organizations that helped them get through their ordeal (which was demanding in unique ways for every victim), not FEMA or any other government agencies-though the government did eventually “show up.” One of the main reasons for helping nonprofits (other than the pleasure of succumbing to our altruistic feelings), therefore, is so that these organizations can be there for us and our communities when we need them. As for their being there for us, our present economic crunch is putting pressure on many local nonprofits, so much so that some of them are having difficulty staying afloat. It is in our best interest, as caring communities, and as conscientious individuals, to make sure that we do what we can to help these nonprofits not only survive but get all the resources they need in order to do all the good they can do. Here is a short list of simple, inexpensive things most of us can do to help them out:

1. Join their Board of Directors. Especially if you have high academic credentials or hold a high position in your company, you can greatly help a local nonprofit by serving as one of their trustees. As I have often advised many successful executives (and some local celebrities), just their name being connected with a nonprofit can help that nonprofit to get grants and other types of support. This is because private foundations and government agencies assume (rightly or not) that if notable and distinguished individuals are directly supervising or vouching for an organization, then investing in them is a safer or more promising prospect. As a general rule, also, small and start-up nonprofits struggle to find worthy members for their Board-you can help alleviate their worries by volunteering your services. To find a worthy nonprofit, see .

2. Support their fundraising events. Whether it is a community talent show, a yard/garage sale, a dance, a car wash, a bake sale, make an effort to support these events and activities, especially if conducted by a favourite organization. Keep an eye out for these activities or even suggest one for them, either so you can help organize it or run it, or so that they can just consider it on their own. For some great ideas, check out .

3. Put them in your will. One of the things that impressed me about Michael Jackson (other than the high level of talent that he possessed) was the fact that he left a 20% portion of his bequeathed holdings to charities. In my opinion, that speaks volumes to the quality of his character as a human being, regardless of what people thought of him otherwise. Leaving something for one’s family is expected, but how many people think to leave a little something to local charitable organizations? You would do a great service (a testament to your name and legacy) by leaving a nonprofit of your choice something of what you leave behind.

4. Volunteer your time on their behalf. We often applaud the commendable services of such organizations as the Red Cross and Meals on Wheels, and others, but we often forget how much these organizations depend on volunteers, people like you and me. You can be sure that nonprofit organizations near you are right now hurting for warm bodies to come help them do their “magic.” You can sometimes, as a matter of fact, do more good by just showing up at their door (preferably more than once) than if you wrote them a check. To find a nonprofit to volunteer for, see .

5. Mention them in your daily communication, whether in conversation, in your blogs, in your Twitter, Facebook or other e-community message rooms, in your websites and web pages, in emails, and at work. Word of mouth is a powerful advertiser and you can help get the word out about nonprofits in your community, including events they are sponsoring or programs they want people to support.

6. Offer them free or discounted services or products, if it is within your power to do so. For one thing, you can write these off as “contributions,” when filing your taxes; offering this privilege can also help promote your business, if the nonprofit agrees to disseminate information about your business on their premises in exchange for or in gratitude to your acts of kindness.

7. Send them a check, preferably on a regular basis. People think that nonprofits can just depend on grants but the reality is that grants provide only a fraction of what most nonprofits need. One approach that has always been convenient for me is to put my favourite nonprofits on automatic donations/payments using my checking account; this way, I never forget to make my donations-and, by the way, nonprofits in general prefer to get small but regular donations, rather than one time gifts. On-going donations help them make budget plans and projections.

8. Work for one of them. If there is a nonprofit in your community whose work you respect and which you want to help out, consider the possibility of directly helping them achieve their goals. For those interested in the nonprofit industry as a career, a great place to find out what nonprofits in your county or state are hiring is .

9. Donate things you no longer need or that you can live without. Things that nonprofits are always in need of are electronics, especially computers, printers, copiers, overhead projectors, etc. In addition to actually using these items, nonprofits often hold community yard/garage sales or they directly provide things for the poor-thus the need for everyday new and used things; also, organizations like Goodwill ( and the Salvation Army ( have thrift stores of their own, so they are always looking for contributions of this nature.

10. Ask your church, club or business to hold a special event or function on behalf of a nonprofit. This can be a staff development seminar, a fundraising event, or a collaborative, mutually-beneficial program of some kind. One specific possibility is to hold an award ceremony for members of the community and staff of the organization. This can provide exposure for the nonprofit, as well as much-needed funds, if done as a fundraising event.

Tags:10 Things You Can Do to Help Struggling Local Nonprofits

10 Things to Do on Facebook when You Are Bored

Facebook has taken over our lives! Even when we have other things to do, we sit on Facebook and look for something interesting there to play or say. Facebook has entranced users of all ages, from the very young to the very old. Yes, even your great grandma probably has a facebook account, even if she won’t admit it.

Here are some interesting ideas when killing time.

1. Wait for your asparagus to grow. Yeah, you die hards know exactly what I am talking about.

2. Write a philosophical quote on your status line. There is no quicker way to get everyone wondering how you got so smart. Don’t have a quote? Look up an Einstein….

3. Throw a taco at your best friend. Simply because you can.

4. Take a quick to find out what 80’s rock song you are. We all know we are a song, right? OK, never did get this one.

5. Roll the dice until you farkle.

6. Friend request your high school enemy. As if you will now be friends.

7. Look up your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend just to see how bad off they are now. If they don’t seem that bad off, well…they must be lying.

8. Friend request random people, celebs, local newspeople, just to build up your friend count and pretend you are popular.

9. Send a round of drinks to your friends. Drinks that are not real. Although, they can apparently get you drunk.

10. Become a fan of money….cuz, who isn’t?

So that’s a start for your bored facebook fans. For those of your that are not currently on facebook, or haven’t logged on in a while, what are you waiting for? The asparagus ain’t gonna grow itself, and you really shouldn’t try and get through the day without at least one farkle.

Now, open a new tab, and log in, and let your daily adventure begin. Watch for 10 more things to do on facebook for inspiration, in case you can’t find any of your own.

Tags:10 Things to Do on Facebook when You Are Bored

10 Things It's Good to Know About Firearms


A frightening amount of media gets the silencers wrong. If we were to trust an average action movie, the silencers are perfectly capable of muffling absolutely every sound a gun can make. Well, nope. A silenced weapon is still very loud in confined spaces such as buildings and streets. Its tactical usefulness is most obvious on big, open fields and when there is some background noise to cover it up. See, as good as a silencer might be, it can only dampen the “boom” (I’m so good at onomatopoeia) sound of the bullet exiting the barrel. There is also the sound of the firing needle hitting the cartridge, AND the sound of the bullet soaring through the air. The sound suppressor is unable to do anything about those things. Note that a silenced weapon will blow back much more gas that the “ordinary” gun, so firing without eye protection is a lottery. Plus, the gun operator will most likely get greased up even if the gun is properly maintained.

Dual wielding

This one should be obvious – it’s not practical. As in, at all. Have you ever seen a real life police officer or a soldier wielding two guns at the same time? Of course you haven’t. It decreases the accuracy, makes the operator less concentrated (since he has to think about wielding two weapons, obviously), and makes the recoil much harder to manage. Plus, effectively reloading the guns is nigh impossible. See, an average human only has so much available concentration to distribute on given tasks. When firing dual handguns (for example), the operator will always favour and concentrate on one gun, preferring to empty the entire magazine before firing the second gun. So you can’t really aim at two sides as we’re shown in movies. And yes, high caliber handguns will kick like bionically augmented mules. Say goodbye to your shoulders after firing two .50 cal pistols for a while.


While there might be many techniques and “systems” that tell you that they are usable in every possible situation, the user has to be proficient in multiple methods of aiming. For example, in close quarters combat, the optimal technique would be aiming via CAR. It allows the operator to grip the weapon more firmly, prepares him for CQC and increases accuracy at close range. Also, it makes him look like Sam friggin Fisher, and if that doesn’t give bonus points, nothing ever does. On the other hand, at long range, the classical Weaver stance might be more useful. It’s basically all about holding the weapon properly, and that’s where a lot of people seem to fail. You just shouldn’t fire a gun while holding it in one hand; not if you want to actually hit something. And that’s why extensive firearm training (coupled with mental conditioning) should be mandatory for everybody who owns a gun.

Bullets that throw sparks everywhere

While theoretically possible, in practice it happens rarely, if ever. The bullets are simply made from metal that doesn’t throw sparks even at extremely high hitting speeds. It doesn’t even matter if you’re firing tracer rounds (the glowing ones). The chances of seeing such a thing happen are extremely low. The sparks were “invented” by Hollywood as means to easily show the viewer where the projectiles are hitting. Not much more than a special effect. Also, they are produced by small explosive charges rigged to go boom at a certain moment. You might have also seen how the edges of the bullet holes are sometimes pointed towards the shooter. This is also wrong, and is a side-effect of the aforementioned explosives.

Rate of fire (speed)

Next time you witness a firefight (in movies, not in real life), try to count shots fired from a single gun without reloading. The chances are that the number of bullets fired will exceed the basic 30 round assault rifle magazines, or 12-16 round pistol magazines. Well, the reason is that the gunfights would be a little bit too short if the shows were totally realistic. The fire rate of a basic M16A4 rifle is 800 rounds per minute. Basic because I’m a gamer and I see everything in tiers and levels. Now, we can do a little math to calculate that the given rifle is capable of firing 26 and a half mags in a single minute (without the time required to reload). Some more math, and we come up with the time required to spit out a fully loaded standard 30-round STANAG magazine. It’s 2.25 seconds. And M16A4 isn’t even one of the fastest firing guns out there. The FN P90 (a submachine gun), for example, fires 900 rounds per minute.

The definition of an assault weapon

The US congress has stated that an assault weapon is a weapon that automatically loads a new round after firing and has at least one more characteristic that defines it as such. Some of the characteristics are that the weapon has a detachable magazine (obviously), a pistol grip, a flash hider, a collapsing stock and such. The thing is, this term is often used in the context of political action. So people that have absolutely no idea what is an assault rifle, for example, start throwing it around like it’s nobody’s business. During the media aftermath of the Tucson massacre, a CBS reporter labeled a handgun (Glock 19, to be exact) as an assault weapon. Some debate that this designation should be given only to weapons capable of fully automatic fire. However, it has to be mentioned that it’s actually easier to acquire targets with a semi-automatic rifle, such as the M14. Since the rifle isn’t automatic, the recoil is lower; it’s not as difficult to fire at more than a couple of targets in a short succession. As if the waters surrounding this term aren’t murky enough, there has been an influx of a “new” kind of weapon on the market. The PDW (personal defense weapon) is basically a carbine in the package of a submachine gun. By law, these firearms aren’t designated as assault weapons, but a semi-automatic hunting rifle can be.

Usage (firearm application)

Here is the infamous statistic that the US army fires a little over 250 000 rounds for every insurgent downed. Well, that’s a huge number right there, isn’t it? What everybody needs to understand is that most bullets fired aren’t even supposed to kill. It’s important to provide cover fire and frighten the enemy with a storm of fired projectiles. Squad assault weapons are designed specifically for this task. With high capacity 100-round ammo belts and fast firing rates, they give the operators the ability to fire an immense number of shots downrange in order to suppress the target. And that’s where the most of the bullets go. Other than for tactical usage (not killing, mind you), the guns serve as an intimidation object. The one who holds the gun has control over the situation. A weapon actually serves many purposes, other than the worst one – murder.

The sounds of the weapons

There is a reason why firearm operators use ear-protectors while shooting in controlled environment. It’s quite debilitating to fire a weapon without any protection. The sound of a gunshot is a pressurized muzzle blast escaping after the projectile left the barrel. Except for that, there is also the sound of the bullet breaking the sound barrier. Even though it lasts but a couple of milliseconds, it’s louder than a fighter jet. And you’ve got it going off just a couple of inches from your ears. The thing is, hearing protection doesn’t look all that cool and movies have to throw it out of the question most of the time. Remember, a responsible gun owner takes all the necessary steps to protect other people, himself and his surroundings when firing a weapon. This includes the sound protection, which is neglected in many cases.

Exploding cars

This myth is connected to the one about bullets throwing sparks when hitting stuff. While remotely possible, it’s more of a rare exception than something that happens on a regular basis. To light a fire, you need oxygen, fuel and a spark. For a car to explode when shot, following conditions have to be met: the bullet has to hit the fuel tank, the fuel tank has to be almost empty (otherwise there isn’t enough air to start the fire) and the projectile has to throw a spark. Even when that would happen, the chances are that the fuel would just burn out, leaving us craving for an explosion, or not. Depending on the given circumstances. So, Michael Bay is basically one of the biggest liars currently treading this planet.


This is important. You don’t want people who actually know stuff to laugh if you say something wrong. Let’s start with the most obvious example. The little boxy thing with ammo that you stick into the gun is a magazine. The clip holds cartridges together UNTIL they are about to get loaded into the magazine. Yes, I said cartridges, not bullets. Bullets fly out of the barrel when you squeeze the trigger. Cartridges are the rounds that are held in mags. A lot of people don’t know what exactly does the term “caliber” stand for, too. It’s a measurement for the inner bore diameter of a firearm, based on the decimal part of the inch. So, it’s basically the diameter of the bullet. Moreover, some refer to the revolvers as pistols. This is absolutely wrong. A pistol is a self-loading semi-automatic (or bolt-action) handgun where the chamber and barrel are a single part. A revolver is a repeating cylinder-loaded handgun. So, we can see that they’re both handguns, but quite different nonetheless. These examples are the ones we can currently remember and are the most spread out. If you don’t know what are you using and how, just don’t do it. It’s safer that way. Now, if only all the weapons and violence in the world could be contained in video games…

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Tags:10 Things It’s Good to Know About Firearms

10 Things I Hate About You (1999) - a Movie Review

10 Things I Hate About You is a romantic comedy starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger. The movie is a retelling of the classic Shakespeare play “The Taming of the Shrew,” set at a modern day high school. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Cameron, a new student at Padua High who is instantly smitten with Bianca, played by Larisa Oleynik. Bianca is not allowed to date unless her older sister Kat, played by Julia Stiles, starts dating. Unfortunately, Kat is very unpopular and un-dateable so Cameron and his best friend Michael concoct a scheme to get popular but stupid Joey Donner to pay bad boy Patrick Verona to date Kat. Patrick Verona is played by Heath Ledger in one of his first movie roles. Of course nothing ever goes as planned but love conquers all and the good guys get the girls at the end.

This movie is an oldie but a favorite of mine. My boyfriend watched it for the first time last night with me and he was very impressed, which is a huge compliment because he normally doesn’t like teen movies. It was probably my 20th time watching it but the first time since Heath Ledger’s untimely death in January. It was a bit sad in some parts because the movie reminded me of what a great actor Heath was and I am still saddened by his passing.

The movie is full of great actors besides Heath Ledger. Julia Stiles was perfect in her bitchiness and unwillingness to conform to the popular crowd. Larisa Oleynik was excellent as the snobbish princess who realizes that sometimes popular people really are just jerks. My personal favorite character was Michael played by David Krumholtz. He played a loveable nerd quite well.

The movie is also neat to watch if you want to see how actors change in over eight years. Julia Stiles and Larisa Oleynik pretty much look the same after eight years but David Krumholtz and Joseph Gordon-Levitt look quite a bit more mature and handsome now a days. David Krumholtz is quite attractive in the TV show Numbers. Joseph just acts in movies but he sticks to more mature roles, no more teen movies.

10 Things I Hate About You is also a reminder on how much teen movies have changed over the years and not necessarily for the better. 10 Things I Hate About You is a nice family movie; no cussing, no sex scenes, and no unnecessary violence. Julia Stile’s character can’t even say the word “sex.” She just gets her point across to her sister with some looks. Oh how I miss those days of nice teen movies without sex and drugs. 10 Things I Hate About You is still one of my favorite movies, one that can be watched over and over again without getting boring. I rate the movie 5 out of 5 stars.

Tags:10 Things I Hate About You (1999) - a Movie Review

10 Things You Need to Know About Barbecue

Get to know ten things about barbecue; from its early origin to awesome tactics and tips. Read on and learn!

1. Southern US usually hold a pig-pickin feast due to civil war where an entire pig is cooked and enjoyed by the crowd. This is where barbecues originated.

2. For safety and storage purposes, smoking meat was a common practice for about 6000 years ago. Smoking the meat can help prevent unwanted bacteria and enzyme growths.

3. Barbie is the term that is commonly used in Australia to refer to barbecue.

4. Today, what is popular for North Americans isn’t barbecuing anymore. The most common method they use nowadays is the art of broiling which is cooking the meat for 475-750 degrees F. It requires less time compared to barbecuing that requires cooking for around 180 to 220 degrees F until the meat becomes tender while juices are preserved.

5. Half of all marshmallows consumed in US have been roasted on grill according to Barbecue Industry Association.

6. Using a bathroom scale to weigh the gas tank, you can easily check how much propane is left.

7. The word barbecue’s origin is still uncertain. Some say it came from the French words “de barbe a queue” that means whiskers to tail while others believe that it is taken from the American-Indian word barbacoa which refers to a wood where foods are cooked.

8. A “liquid smoke” is ideal to use to add a smoky flavor to your grilled foods. When the smoke is condensed, you can add it with ease to your barbecue marinade or sauce.

9. A hard cut meat called brisket that comes from the cow’s chest requires one to two hours per pound to barbecue. If you have an 8-pound slab, that takes about 12 hours long to grill!

10. The aiming barbecue capitals of the world include Missouri and Lexington, Kansa City and North Carolina. Recently, Memphis is taking the throne to being the world’s pork barbecue capital.

Now you can start impressing your family and friends with these facts about BBQ on the french dining table! It is one of the greatest dining table designs.

Tags:10 Things You Need to Know About Barbecue

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