Monday, November 7, 2016

Adam Lambert Leads American Idol's Top 9 Rankings

From now to the finale the American Idol contestants will be making an effort to put their best foot forward. Some will do well and some will falter. This list is just my way of sharing the way I believe the rankings should fall out from week to week. Adam Lambert’s consummate performance in the Motown show puts him soundly atop the leader board, in my estimation, this week. However, he may stumble in a future performance and tumble back a few steps. There’s a great deal of talent in this season’s Top 9 so any one could come and wrest control of the top spot.

(1) Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert takes the top spot, this week, for obvious reasons. His performance of the, Smokey Robinson, classic “Tracks of My Tears” put him in a class by himself. While others were less than certain about his version of “Ring of Fire”, I thought it was handily done and reminiscent of The Doors. Adam does have a penchant for theatricality which Simon has pointed out on occasion. Though several questionable choices in Adam’s private life have come to light since he began his stint on Idol, I figure what he does on his time is his business. His willingness to get out of his comfort zone by playing it like the rat pack made his performance this past week both retro and contemporary. I admire Adam for pushing the envelope and delivering the goods. I am coming late to the Adam Lambert party so I’m anxious to see if he retains the top spot in my rankings as the contest progresses.

(2) Matt Giraud

Number 2 on my list but Number 1 in my heart is Matt Giraud. Sexy with a soulful swagger, Matt has been giving top notch performances each week. His ending up in the bottom three, last week, just shows how important it is to vote for your favorites. Having made the Top 10 secures him a spot on the Idol tour. His solid showmanship, confidence and stage presence make him a sure bet to be a favorite, especially with the ladies. He is either a master at making great song choices or he’s so talented that he makes singing whatever he’s given look effortless. Matt has delivered consistently great performances. If he continues to deliver the goods, he could definitely be a contender for the whole thing.

(3) Danny Gokey

Danny Gokey has to be the sentimental favorite. Coming to the show after the sudden death of his wife does engender a special place in the heart for him. However, Danny has talent and he delivers the goods most of the time. He’s got a great blued eyed soul style and when he’s on it’s hard to touch him. Just recently his focus seems to be off. This has been evident, the past two performances. During Grand Ol’ Opry week, he was aces on the chorus of “Jesus Take the Wheel” but seemed to founder during the verses. Even though his performance for Motown Week was better, it was still not up to my expectations for Danny. In order to remain a viable contender in the competition he needs to get back on track.

(4) Allison Iraheta

Allison Iraheta is a gem. At 16, she has the voice and presence of an old syle rock goddess. Her vocal style is reminiscent of Heart with a contemporary spin. She’s a throwback with great music sensibilities and the ability to make whatever song she chooses, her own. While rocker’s have advanced in the competition, they have yet to take the whole enchilada. Of course with the success of Daughtry, the whole enchilada might be a bit overrated. The exposure she’s getting as part of the Top 10 as well as the tour which will be kicking off shortly after Idol wraps, bodes really well for her chance at having a career in the music business. I’m anxious to see how she handles some of the upcoming Idol challenges.

(5) Anoop Desai

Anoop’s name is just cool. Anoop Dog in the house. With two solid performances since the “Beat It” debacle, has him showing that he’s a contender. A great hip hop style and a pure clear voice make Anoop a threat to the rest of the field. If he’s not careful, he can come sounding a little karaoke. To his credit, he’s been able to take the criticism and use to his benefit. If he’s successful with his song choice from here on, he’ll definitely be in the finals.

(6) Kris Allen

Kris is smart cookie. Quietly he’s been delivering performances that are true to his musical style. Because he’s an unassuming everyman, Simon tends to pick on him, but he’s extremely popular. Kris maintains a solid fan base and was number 1 on the American Idol facebook application rankings recently. Kris doesn’t have the swagger of Matt or edginess of Adam but he delivers songs that are contemporary and is as cute as a button. He could be the one to watch for the finals.

(7) Lil Rounds

Lil is an old school rhythm and blues belter. She’s what American Idol lives for. The fact that she’s this far down the list has a lot to do with poor song choice. Either that or she hasn’t prepared as well as she should. Whatever the case, Lil should be at the top of this list. She should be knocking the bottom out every week. She’s Simon’s favorite kind of singer and he’s been disappointed in her less than stellar showings. The fact that she didn’t shine during Motown Week was a shock. She has time to regain her momentum but things are getting tight and some of the performers are bringing their A games every show.

(8) Scott MacIntyre

Scott is an inspiration and a talent to be sure, but his mediocre showings in past weeks has his drive toward the finals in jeopardy. Scott has a musical style and in much the same way as Brooke White did last year, he’s remaining true to that musical vision. While remaining true to oneself is commendable, part of the show is about stretching to show versatility. Of course winning isn’t everything. However, if Scott is interested in staying in the competition he’s going to need to amp up his performance.

(9) Megan Joy

Megan has gone through several name changes. Perhaps now that she’s settled on a name she can adopt a style instead of the mish mash of cabaret meets camp that her performances have devolved into of late. She’s got a unique style and dares to be different. This wouldn’t be a bad thing if she was fulfilling the promise she had during earlier performances. Megan has some things going for her. She has a solid fan base and they are keeping her in the competition.


Tags:Adam Lambert Leads American Idol’s Top 9 Rankings

a Great Way to Ruin an Online Reputation

I’m all about transparency. But that’s just me. Not everyone is so forthright. Most people prefer to fly a click or more below the radar and never have a light shine on them. I prefer to make sure what’s being said, is said by me and not some troll. My brother used to say “the worst thing that can happen to a person is to end up on one of those stupid talk shows.” Then I proceeded to do every talk show including Howard Stern. But that’s just me.

My only regret was doing the Maury Povich show. That guy just played me and took advantage of me and used me as a pawn on his show. He would ask the audience leading questions adverse to my sound advice and continually allow the stupidest person in the room to answer. Controversy is fine, but bad, potentially deadly advice isn’t.

My point in all this? Things are heading in a direction that if you aren’t transparent, if you aren’t doing things to boost your credibility, if you aren’t “open” and someone decides to use the internet to slam you, then they automatically have the upper-hand. Today a person has less control over what is said about them than ever.

Unvarnished is a new website, in beta, you need to be invited. Users connect with Facebook. PC World seems to allude to anonymous posting on Unvarnished that can only happen if someone fakes a Facebook profile. Anything in the form of anonymous posting doesn’t benefit the common good.

For example, when I read the comments in newspapers or blogs, I often see people throwing up all over everyone and saying the meanest, rudest and most hateful things. These cowards can easily do this anonymously. But none of them have the nerve to assign their actual name to it.

PC World reportsUnvarnishedfunctions like other social networking sites-especially the popular professional social networking site, LinkedIn. Users can create a profile with their resume and work information, and request reviews from their professional colleagues. The difference, of course, is that users can also “create” a profile for non-Unvarnished users-if you, say, want to leave a review of that shoddy intern from two summers ago and he/she doesn’t have a profile-no worries, you can still leave the review. Shoddy intern can then claim said profile later, if he/she so desires.

The best way to gain more control over this kind of site is to set up your own profile. It’s a start. Then build positive commentary. Another tool for managing online reputation management is to go to and grab up all the social media sites and get your name.

And protect your identity.

1. Get a credit freeze and follow the steps for your particular state. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases, it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. This makes your Social Security number useless to a potential identity thief.

2. Invest in Intelius identity theft protection and prevention. Not all forms of identity theft can be prevented, but identity theft protection services can dramatically reduce your risk. (Disclosures)

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing Facebook Hackers on CNN.

Tags:a Great Way to Ruin an Online Reputation

5 Funny Summer DVD Releases for June 2010

Check out these funny summer DVD releases for June 2010, and have a little summer fun while staying in. From fun family movies that the whole family can enjoy to a teen comedy and a little something for the young at heart, the funny DVD releases of June 2010 will have you breaking a smile without breaking the bank:

Funny Summer DVD Releases for June 2010: Family Movies

Alice in Wonderland – It may not be quite as funny as some of the other DVD releases on this list, but plenty of Tim Burton fans will appreciate his darker followup to Alice’s original story and his darker sense of humor. It’s one of the two DVD releases of June 2010 that I’d describe as a funny family fantasy film, with wacky characters like Johnny Depp’s hyperactive Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter’s delightfully devious Red Queen, Anne Hathaway’s space cadet White Queen, and a plethora of bizarre CGI animated critters that create a fantastic feast for the eyes. The absurdity and zaniness of it all (including crazy quips aplenty) make this dark fairytale one of the best funny DVD releases of June 2010 for families to enjoy a night in with this summer. Plus you don’t have to wait long for it: it’s release date is June 1st.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief – And here’s another of the funny family fantasy DVD releases of June 2010. This one brings the gods and creatures of Greek mythology to life in modern times, as Percy Jackson, an average high school kid, discovers that he is actually the son of the god Poseidon. When he’s wrongfully accused of stealing Zeus’ lighting bolt, he sets out on a request to retrieve it in order to clear his name and to try and keep the peace among the temperamental deities, with help from a wise-cracking satyr and the daughter of Athena. It’s not as funny as it could be and I prefer ‘Alice’, but I do like Uma Thurman as Medusa and Rosario Dawson as Persephone (definitely a little something for the dads there). Check it out on June 29th.

Funny Summer DVD Releases for June 2010: Rated R Movies

Youth in Revolt – Here’s one of the funny summer DVD releases aimed at the younger crowd, as those in the know about how to make a Michael Cera movie can enjoy a good giggle at this raunchy comedy while awaiting his new comic book flick ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’. It’s yet another of the movies here based on a book, as Michael Cera transforms from a geeky guy (surprise, surprise) into a devilish Don Juan-type out to win over his dream girl for a devious reason (surprise, surprise). There’s hipster humor aplenty (including a faux moustache) all set against the backdrop of a trailer park, claymation, destruction, adult caricatures, and, of course, loads of sexual jokes. So when it comes to funny DVD releases for June 2010 aimed at the discerning college student, this one is definitely your best bet. Look for it on June 15th.

She’s Out of My League – The guy dating a girl way out of his league thing has been done dozens of times before, but there are two reasons why any guy would love to watch this movie filled with jokes about the perfect, non-panty-wearing girl: Alice Eve. The beautiful, buxom blonde goes for a gangly geek guy played by the likeable beanpole Jay Baruchel in this funny but somewhat touching R-rated comedy. Sure there are sexual jokes aplenty kin to many that we’ve heard before, but if you’re looking for a bit of mindless fun from one of the many movies that takes winning over the hot chick on, laugh it up with this lucky guy’s buds on June 22, 2010.

Hot Tub Time Machine – This movie’s creators were going for gold with a title that explains so well what this movie is about. Sure you might not want to spend much time in a hot tub with the summer sun shining outside, but you can still let this one take you for a ride. 80’s teen star John Cusack and his buds return to the era that made him a household name, struggling with issues like the realization that one of their future wives is a small child in the era they find themselves in. Sure the jokes about folks in the 80’s not getting future lingo (like “e-mail”) fall a little flat, and it would have been more fun to see Chevy Chase and Crispin Glover in larger roles, but the movie does have a few hilarious moments worth suffering through its weaker sequences for. Relive one of our wildest decades on June 29th.

So from hot tubs to hot girls and quirky queens to guardian gods, there’s sure to be some funny summer DVD releases of June 2010 on this list that those of us looking to save a little money by avoiding long theaters lines and 3D fees can enjoy at home.


Tags:5 Funny Summer DVD Releases for June 2010

A High School Baller's Dilemma: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Recently, NBA Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar strongly suggested for the league to raise their minimum entrance age into the draft to 21 years-old. He feels too many players are coming into the NBA unprepared for the on-court and off-court challenges that are ahead of them. And I couldn’t agree more with him.

This has been an on-going debate since they started allowing high school players into the league. One side contends that no player benefits from spending a year in college before entering the NBA, while others feel they would learn the true fundamentals of the game by playing at least two years of college basketball.

Both sides have good merits to their arguments, as there is a definite need to change the approach in developing players’ skill before they enter the NBA. And the league must move forward in making the Developmental League a viable commodity in player development.

They must take a page out of major league baseball’s book in how to correctly utilize their minor league system. The NBA should allow young, inexperienced players an opportunity to develop emotionally and physically into the life of a professional athlete without being under the microscope. Hire coaches that understand how to develop talent, and then you have a win/win situation for all involved. Currently, they’re too many “me-first” personalities in the league right now and that attitude hurts the game overall.

Too many individuals are in the ears of these athletes; as they create too much drama surrounding them in trying to capitalize on their first professional contract. And instead of mentoring the youngsters, they see them as their cash cow for a future payday. By doing this, basketball doesn’t become their no. 1 priority.

The only alternative for youngsters not attending college is heading to Europe to play professional basketball like Brandon Jennings, as he spent the 2008-09 season playing point guard in Italy. And his situation overseas was nearly disastrous, as his team chose not to help improve Jennings overall game. His play suffered all throughout the season, and it was remarkable that Jennings still maintained his lottery pick status. It was only because of his natural ability that was finally showcased in personal workouts prior to the draft.

We all have seen too many “one-and-done” players leaving college in a hurry, as this feeder system is slowly drying up for the NBA. For every KG, LeBron or Kobe bypassing college for the riches of the NBA, you also have youngsters with minimal scoring ability and poor shooting skills demanding their piece of the pie. And before you know it, their career will be over.


The full comments of Kareem Abdul-Jabaar

An article on the frustrations of Brandon Jennings in Europe

Tags:A High School Baller’s Dilemma: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

And the Winner of NXT Season 2 Is..

Eight new rookies entered NXT Season 2 hoping to earn themselves a WWE contract. Kaval, did just that, based on the Pro’s Poll and the Fan’s Votes, Kaval was declared the winner of NXT Season 2. Kaval beat out the following superstars…

Alex Riley

Eli Cottonwood

Husky Harris

Lucky Cannon

Michael McGillicutty

Percy Watson

Titus O’Neil

After being crowned the winner instead of being congratulated by his fellow competitors Kaval was beaten down in the middle of the ring.

What’s next for the eliminated superstars?

I’m not sure what’s going to happen with the losing rookies. Based on what happened to Kaval last night, my only guess is that the losing rookies will form a Nexus 2 and try to take over Smackdown. I don’t like the idea of that since they have already done that with the Season 1 rookies. I would like WWE to keep some of the rookies around to compete in singles matches and just let the rest go. Only time will tell what happens to the rookies of Season 2.

Tags:And the Winner of NXT Season 2 Is..

Adam and Eve Sunday School - a Free Adam and Eve Sunday School Lesson

Important Items: A significant roll of paper and / or poster board together with marker pens or simply colored pencils

(Be aware of: Normally make it easy for students to give their own thoughts to the questions prior to reavealing all the teaching.)

Ask learners, How many of you’ve ever sketched a picture?

Consider the greatest picture you’ve ever before drawn. What was it of? So why did you draw that picture?

(Being the instructor, tell a tale in terms of a time when you crafted an item aesthetic together with show you how you felt about producing it. For those who still have it, bring it in to reveal.)

(Sum up Genesis One, using these queries when you read.)

At the beginning, God generated all things in six days. How many days did it require our Heavenly Father for making all the things? Half a dozen days.

That’s extremely swift for making every thing, isn’t it? Bear in mind that Our God is definitely powerful and He can achieve whatever as quick as can be.

Well at the outset, every thing was dark, however , on the very first day, The Almighty created the light. He commanded, “Let there be light!” and quickly every thing was in fact light. Afterward at night,it all became black for a second time.

On the following day, Our God crafted the sky.

The third daytime, He made all the oceanic masses as well as all the dried land showed up right out of the seas. Demonstrate to everyone with all your hands what it would look like for the land to be brought all the way up out from the seas.

Then vegetation together with foliage started off maturing right out the soil.

Next, on the 4th day time, The Lord crafted the sun and also moon and also stars. How many stars do you think there can be in the sky?

A large amount, correct? There are way more stars than we are able to ever count up. And The Almighty made them all.

On day time five, the Lord developed whatever lives in water. What forms of animals will you see that live in the water? (Perch, whales, whales, sharks, seals, seahorses, starfish, or anything else.)

Next, on that same day, our Heavenly Father developed many different different types of birds which fly in the sky. What are the various varieties of birds which you can identify? (Pigeons, blue jays, robins, cardinals, silver eagles, hawks, crows, or anything else.)

On day time six, our God developed the many critters that live on the ground. What forms of critters live on the ground? (Dinosaurs, bears, horses, dogs, pigs, lizards, elephants, squirrels, or anything else.)

After the Almighty developed all of those many animals, He made a man in addition to a woman. The man was given its name Adam and the woman was known as Eve. The Lord placed Adam together with Eve inside the Garden of Eden and also let them stay there.

The question I’m going to ask you right away is, What was the reason why you consider the Almighty developed all of those things? He desired to.

Like at the time you prepared the images that you said about and that i developed my own, God developed what precisely He made – people together with critters and also whole world – because He desired to. He generated all kinds of things so that He could be proud of it and so that He could love it. Our God loves the world. He delights in the mountains and also wetlands and also creatures and He is in love with people.The Word of God lets us know that the Almighty in fact developed you as you were still within your mother’s tummy. He created you within there because He delights in you and He wanted to make you.

Final Activity: Have children work together on a sizeable bit of roll paper or poster board, sketching some sort of a fabulous collage of all their favorite stuff God has created.

Get more free children’s Bible lessons at Free Children’s Bible Lessons !

Tags:Adam and Eve Sunday School - a Free Adam and Eve Sunday School Lesson

5 Things on Every Packing List You Really Don't Need

An empty suitcase sits on your bed and your entire wardrobe lays scattered all over your floor. It’s time to hit the road again. But like most travelers you are at a lost at what to pack. Every inch of packing space is valuable, and the kitchen sink and one too many pairs of socks can mean the difference between meeting strict luggage limits and paying expensive over limit fees.

Since I started traveling solo I’ve search the net before every trip to get an idea what to pack. Almost every list has the same few items listed that now with a good percentage of the globe covered I can attest; you really don’t need to pack them.

1. Duck tape. This is on every packing list I’ve read. It fixes EVERYTHING, they say. However, you probably will never need to use it and if you do end up needing it, it’s sold everywhere.

2. Clothes hanger/ line. An item that always makes me ask, why?

3. Travel checks. Does anyone still use/accept these? Years ago as a student, I was working in a restaurant next to a hotel, one day a young British lady came in for lunch. Till this day I’ve never seen so many people confuse about a form of payment

4. Swiss army knife. Unless you’re going on some Bear Grylls type adventure this item will most likely sit at the bottom of your bag. It may also cause you a lot of problems at the airport if you forgot to pack it in your check bag.

5. Address book. This item should be placed on extinction list along side travel checks. With cell phones and smart phones becoming so common place there is no need to add extra weight to ones bag. As protection against worst case scenarios, email your contact list to yourself.

Tags:5 Things on Every Packing List You Really Don’t Need

Are HHH and CM Punk Going One on One to Soon?

Since returning to the WWE CM Punk has had a lot of things to say about HHH. This past Monday on Raw, Punk finally pushed HHH to far. As a result Punk will face HHH at Night of Champions. Punk was originally scheduled to wrestle Kevin Nash at Night of Champions; However, HHH made a call to the Board of Directors to face Punk at Night of Champions instead.

It was not a good idea to replace Nash with HHH. Punk should have been allowed to wrestle Nash at Night of Champions. That way his feud with HHH could continue to build slowly until WrestleMania. WWE definitely speed this feud up to fast. It was just last month when Punk made his return to WWE. Now he is facing The COO, HHH, who is not suppose to wrestle because it’s against the rules. It did not take long for that rule to be broken.

Punk would say this is another opportunity for HHH to put himself in the spotlight. I would have to agree with Punk in this case. Night of Champions is suppose to be about The Champions. The focus should be placed on Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, Air Boom (Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne), and Kelly Kelly. Instead HHH choose to make it about himself.

Tags:Are HHH and CM Punk Going One on One to Soon?

Aliayah Lunsford-Her Momma's Federal Problems Be Damned-Find This Child!

I do not care if Lena Lunsford sold $4 mil in food stamps for 50c. There is a precious little girl missing. She has been gone since September 24th. It is time to stop worrying about this woman and her problems. She is an adult, abeit a sorry adult, a baby making machine, but these were her choices. Aliayah has had no choices, she has had a pitiful life in her three short years. With a mother who will sell the food right out of her mouth, for money you can be assured was not used for anything useful to Aliayah, its time for this to stop. Find Aliayah and then take Lena and Ralph and let them sleep with the fishes for all I care. Harsh, yes, but not as harsh as a three-year-old rotting somewhere. She is rotting and poor little Lena is having to undergo substance abuse counseling. Please, someone get a dose of common sense!

This, and she is another Jerice Hunter, she does not deserve to be called a woman. This female has had chances, chances to be a good mother. She has not been forced to have children, she has not been forced to live with a man who cannot support her or her children. She has had children who are not her husbands, so let’s just say, she is not a pillar of the community. Yet, while Aliyah is missing and most probably decaying away, we want to treat this female to the chance to get clean. Yes, she may well go to prison, but that is a little less horrific than what has happened to Aliayah.

Look at the picture of Aliayah with the bruise. An aunt said she got that from running into a door jam, that is possible. Did she get that sunken chest look from running into a door jam? Did she get the sad look in all her other pictures from running into a door jam? Is she missing 4 front teeth from running into a door jam? That child looks like the weight of the world is on her shoulders. At 3, she looks like her life is hell.

Her grandmother says she would never go outside without her mother. Yet the mother hops in a car to look for her, when she goes “missing”. What is wrong with that picture? One could only wish someone who wanted a child had taken her. Too bad the state did not take all of the children before Aliayah went missing. Too bad relatives did not do something about this situation before Aliayah disappeared. People have to start watching out for children. There are parents, actually sperm donors and carriers, who could care less about their kids. This female and her sperm donor, well sometimes sperm donor, could have cared less. She sold food stamp credits instead of buying food for her children, another case of, what I want is all that matters.

Find Aliayah and lock those two away. Let them share a cell with people who want to be home with their children. People who committed horrific crimes but still would have taken care of their children. Let them give Lena and Ralph something they will long remember. The time to worry about these two is not now. Now, for once in her poor little life, lets let Aliayah come first.

Tags:Aliayah Lunsford-Her Momma’s Federal Problems Be Damned-Find This Child!

A Simple Guide on How to Be Happy in the Midst of a Busy Life

The very first step to being happy is to smile. Happiness is a state of mind. Smiling more will make you feel better and is also very beneficial to your health. At first, it may seem silly to smile when you are feeling tired and unhappy, but even a fake laughter will do you good. Trick your brain to think that you are feeling happy and it will release endorphins that will make you feel better. Endorphins are what we can call “happy” chemicals. Who knows perhaps your fake smile will soon turn into a real one as you learn to let go of all or most of negative bog-me-down feelings and become more free-spirited and happier.

Secondly, one has to remember that tomorrow is another day. So when you are feeling that you are on your wits end, stop, take a deep breath and know that everything will be okay. In fact, you will get more things done with a calm mind than with a stressed out one. By slowing down just for one or two minutes, you will be able to find your balance and that inner calm which will help you go through the day just a little bit happier. A clear brain will also get you results. Be strong and persist in that faith and really believe and know that tomorrow will certainly come, perhaps, the bright sun along with it.

The next thing you must do is to think of happy thoughts. This does not mean to blind oneself from reality and see only the positive sides of a bad and difficult situation. However, it does mean to also see the positive side of a situation even if it is not a good one. Brainstorm it out. Rather than bottling up all your confused thoughts and become frustrated. Write out all the facts and look for a solution. In this way, all of your ideas are sorted out on a piece of paper, which makes it easier to see which option is best. Otherwise, you will be perplexed with so many thoughts that will stress you out and make you confused and frustrated. One a piece of paper you can cross out all the bad ideas and thereupon, eliminate that clutter from your mind as well. After you have a nice clean list of things to do and good ideas you will feel satisfied and happy again.

Ask for help. Do not try to tackle everything on your own. Two minds work better than one. A friend, family member, or relative would just be willing to lend a helping hand if they just knew that you are in need of some help. Sometimes others do not know what you need until you actually tell them. Yes, so speak up and ask for help. Even if they are unable to help perhaps they may know of some good way to help you solve the problem which is also very helpful.

Find a hobby. Yes, it is crucial that you find a hobby, even in the midst of your busy life with no time to smile or relax. There is no reason to not find a hobby. You may not be able to enjoy your hobby every day or as much as you like but you must find one to remain happy. If life is all about stress and no fun, there is no way for you to be happy. Treat yourself for a bit of fun after a hard day’s work or completing several days of important projects. Read for 5 minutes. Write for 10 minutes or watch TV for 15 minutes. All of these few minutes will make you less stress and more happy. Appreciate the small things in life. It may not seem much but these few small things will result in big results.

There are many ways to keep a well balanced lifestyle even with a busy life. Of course it is not a carefree ride and certainly not like eating a piece of cake. One family may have more issues and chores than the other. However, the steps above will certainly help you find that inner calm and strike a sense of balance and happiness into your life. Take one step at a time to secure a peace of mind and happiness. The steps above do not take much time and is a reminder to take care of your personal self. Remember one must first be happy in order to spread the happiness.


Personal Experience


Tags:A Simple Guide on How to Be Happy in the Midst of a Busy Life

Amazon Cloud Drive Music Service is a Bust

Amazon is trying to keep with the competition by expanding its MP3 service to include free online storage of the music you have bought from Amazon. They have also upped the ante by providing 5GB of free online music storage in addition, and have larger for-pay plans that suit larger albums. Amazon Cloud Drive service offers free streaming of the music stored online for Mac, PC and Android mobile phones. Currently, an iOS program had not been released which almost makes me think that the debut was premature.

Trying out the service was quite easy, unlike Amazon MP3 downloading program. The sign-up was a flash if you already have an Amazon account for any other purpose. After entering my login information, I was presented with a few contracts to sign and agreements to read. Amazon Cloud Drive has an online upload process which enables you to upload several tracks at the same time.

Upload was fairly slow on a fast connection, but the buffering time to play a track was quite quick – far quicker than Youtube or other media streaming service available online. Although the files I uploaded had been purchased on Amazon, the file size still was counting against my 5GB free allotment. I guess the shop at Amazon policy only works if you buy the songs recently or after your sign up for Cloud Locker.

I cannot attest to the sound quality from statistics, but I would imagine that uploads are not downsampled since the user is in complete control of the file size. So long as each upload is less than 2GB , the audio file will be uploaded without a problem. Of course, the music industry may be up in arms because the potential legal problems that stem from such a service.

The interface is fairly simple, at least at the moment. It features a start/pause, repeat, replay and volume function. There is a small image thumbnail of the album being played, assuming the track is recognized through CDDB . You can also create playlists, which is an attempt at replicating the iTunes experience in a completely Internet based experience. I don’t think that the interface is anything spectacular, and I would expect that if Amazon really believes that people would pay for this service they are going to need to provide a lot more features.

The benefit of a new service to compete with the several other web-based storage solutions available is questionable. Amazon seeks to increase its market share and potentially compete with a future Apple cloud-based iTunes service that has been rumored for many years. The price per GB beyond the free 5GB plan is essentially a dollar per GB per year. The price scheme is still a bit overpriced when compared to services such as Dropbox , especially considering that other cloud services are offering other ways accessing files. Another problem quickly addressed by the blogosphere is the security of the information on the cloud locker.

Amazon has a ways to go here.

Tags:Amazon Cloud Drive Music Service is a Bust

A Day Trip for Families in Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia is a wonderful city for families to visit. There are parks, markets, museums, the oldest zoo in the country, and one-of-a-kind food. If you’re planning a day trip to Philadelphia, the options can be overwhelming. It’s impossible to see everything in just one day, but a family with kids can have a wonderful day trip in Philadelphia no matter the weather by following this plan.

The Franklin Institute
222 North 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

The Franklin Institute is a wonderful science museum in the heart of Philadelphia. Kids and adults will enjoy the many exhibits that teach as well as entertain. Parking at the Franklin Institute is simple; the garage is directly below the museum, with the entrance at the corner of 21st and Winter Sts. This location is simple to find, as it’s right off the exit of route 676, also known as the “Vine Street Expressway.” If you miss your turn, Philadelphia is laid out in a simple grid, so just circle the block and you’ll be fine.

Once you enter, you’ll have many options of where to visit first. There is usually at least one traveling exhibit, which is great to see, but there are a few permanent exhibits that are great for families with kids.

The Giant Heart
Anyone who has grown up in the Philadelphia area probably has fond memories of a field trip to the Franklin Institute and running through the heart with their classmates. This giant model of a heart is so large that people walk through it while learning about blood flow through this organ. It’s probably the most unique (and memorable) feature of the museum, and one you must visit.

The Train Factory
This is one train ride that you can take no matter what the weather is doing outside, since The Train Factory exhibit houses an actual locomotive indoors. Board the train and ride back and forth while experiencing what it’s like to be a passenger in this historic train. The room also holds interactive activities all about the science and engineering behind trains.

The Sports Challenge
If you want to keep your kids occupied and wear them out, then The Sports Challenge is the perfect place to visit while at The Franklin Institute. Kids can block virtual soccer balls at the goal, balance on a surfboard, test their reaction time in race cars, and pitch balls. My kids always enjoy running around and trying out all of the activities. This exhibit is especially great in the very cold or hot months, allowing kids to play without worrying about the weather outside.

There are many other exhibits that are a lot of fun at the Franklin Institute. Don’t forget to visit the giant statue of Ben Franklin in the front hall and buy a block of astronaut ice cream to share in the gift shop. If you want to add extras to your admission ticket, there are also a planetarium, IMAX theater, and usually a unique traveling special exhibit. Look over all the museum has to offer before you go, and enjoy spending time with your kids going to all of their favorites.

After a fun day at the museum, you’ll all be hungry, and there’s nothing better to satisfy everyone’s appetite than the local favorite: Philly cheesesteaks. There are many differing opinions amongst locals as to who has the best, but South Philly is where to get them. Two of the most famous cheesesteak rivals, Pat’s and Geno’s, are located on opposite corners at the intersection of 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue.

This location is about a fifteen-minute drive through the city, and parking is free on the surrounding streets. Across the street from these two restaurants is a park and playground, which runs from 9th to 10th streets. Both restaurants have outdoor seating under awnings, but it’s fun to take your cheesesteaks across the street to the park and let the kids play while you savor the local flavor.

If you’ve never had an authentic Philly cheesesteak, it’s worth it to purchase one from each establishment and compare. Our family’s favorite is Geno’s, but your family will enjoy deciding for yourselves. Decide ahead of time if you like American cheese or Cheese Whiz, fried onions, peppers, or sauce. Add fries on the side, wash it down with a soda, and enjoy your authentic Philadelphia dinner to top off your fun day trip in Philadelphia, PA.

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Apache Junction Teacher Arrested in Arizona

Yesterday Johnathan Krieger a teacher at my old high school was arrested on 8 counts of sexual conduct with a minor. He was arrested near his house in Gold Canyon on his way to work at Apache Junction High school yesterday morning. He was the German teacher at Apache Junction High School since 2002, and also taught a science class. The former teacher was arrested following a week investigation by the Pinal County Sheriff’s department, after they received a tip that Krieger had a relationship with a fellow student. The sheriff’s department received enough evidence and got warrants to search all of Krieger’s computers. He is being held in Florence at Pinal County Adult Detention Facility on a 250,000 dollar bond. Chad Wilson the superintendant of Apache Junction Unified School District issued a statement Friday urging parents with any questions or information to call 480-982-1110 ext. 2005. The Pinal County Sheriff’s department’s detectives are still working on the case and ask anyone with information to contact the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Person Crimes Unit(FOX).

Many people in town are surprised that Johnathan Krieger now has 8 counts of sexual conduct with a minor on his lap. Krieger was what appeared to be an upstanding citizen of Apache Junction, and a dedicated teacher at Apache Junction High School. He has taught previously in Apache Junction at Apache Trail High school. Since 2005 he has taught only at Apache Junction High School as a German and science teacher. He was the singer in a student band name the Joe Bell Project since 2008. The Joe Bell Project has sung at many events at the high school covering popular 80’s hair metal songs. Mr. Krieger also led a German World War 2 reenactment group that featured mock battles with real uniforms and gear. He was all but normal to most of the fast paced high school community of Apache Junction High School. Only a few students noticed that Krieger did all those activities because, he has a darker side that he didn’t want anyone to know about.

Some people like me and my friends noticed that Johnathan Krieger didn’t act all too normal around teenage girls. He would make weird comments and say things that a 47 year old teacher would not normally say. What first set me off was my junior year at AJHS. My best friend was talking to his girlfriend about waffles. That’s when Mr. Krieger told my best friend that he would love to eat waffles off of his girlfriend’s body. Every since that moment 3 years ago we have always know that johnathan wasn’t the average German/science teacher. Krieger also has a Facebook and a MySpace; MySpace is against teacher regulation to have. The one thing that I have noticed overtime is the amount of comments Johnathan leaves on young girls MySpace’s. He leaves comments on photos about girls being pretty, and leaves his opinions on their comments. On Facebook the teacher also leaves his comments on young girls’ walls, and other opinions in the photo sections. Most people just though John Krieger was just a teacher that wanted to socialize, and deemed his behavior just playing around.

Krieger just took his act to far as a teacher at AJHS. Many people though he acted unprofessional but just thought he was playing around. Even if the middle aged teacher was playing around he took his act way too far. He faces 8 counts of sexual conduct with a minor, which at a minimum sentence is 32 years in prison if he is found guilty. One can only hope that these allegations are not true. However, the arrest was following a ten day investigation and the scary thought is that he actually had sexual intercourse with a minor. We can only hope the victim is ok in the aftermath of one of the biggest events at Apache Junction High School. Forever the school will be tainted with the unprofessional conduct of Johnathan Krieger.


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APOLLO 18, the Sci-fi space suspense film, distributed by The Weinstein Company and Dimension Films, details the encounter of alien life form in a Watergate style cover up.

Produced by Timur Bekmambetov, Michele Wolkoff and Ron Schmidt, APOLLO 18 brings to the screen the premise of a manned NASA space mission gone seriously bad and with it ramifications that would gravely injure a budding space program, destroy hope in a people already reeling from societal changes and force the need for cover-up.

APOLLO 18, written by Brian Miller, begins as one would expect with NASA astronauts depicting the known emotions, exhilaration, awe, amazement, associated with others who have completed the same mission and the annexation of the moon with the planting of the American Flag.

The APOLLO 18 Astronauts, played by Christopher Warren and Lloyd Owen, appear to have landed safely, taken the first steps toward mission completion and were in constant communication with Houston. Apparently, as APOLLO 18 progresses, from the dark side of the moon something or a group of unknowns begin to reclaim the moon or defend their homeland, first by destruction of the flag, followed by physical aggression, shooting projectiles strong enough to damage the helmet visor, and finally an alien like virus that penetrates the spacesuits and embeds itself under the skin causing mental duress and ultimately death.

Stanton T. Friendman, world renowned nuclear physicist, author and noted authority on UFO existence and investigations, had this to say, “I’m not saying that this footage doesn’t exist. I’m saying it’s possible that there’s a whole classified side to this and that it would make sense. I allow for that possibility.”

Speaking with William “Bill” Birnes, the publisher of UFO Magazine and creator of the popular television series UFO HUNTERS, on the plausibility of alien or unknown life form existing he offered clear, persuasive arguments that leave one agreeing with the possibility of intelligent life form existing. The idea, of course, is that even with the images supplied by The Hubble Telescope showing the furthest points in the universe, it is still so vast and undefined in scope that the idea of intelligent life, unknown to our civilization, existing in some form somewhere, is not unreasonable.

Birnes, a NYU scholar and author-collaborator of multiple serial killer biographies, had this to say, “Existence of life on MARS is more than theoretical. The fact surrounding life on MARS was proven millions of years ago when researchers found chunks of rocks originating from MARS in Antarctica containing bacteria. In reality, we are all decedents of Martins and not apes.”

Clearly an intellectual with both a Ph.D and JD, Birnes has well thought out and honestly, reasonable responses to questions designed for multiple purposes including determining the depth of study and information available.

As we spoke on the idea of communicating with an unknown life form and the extent of the DOD’s attempt to utilize every known language to establish communications, such as Roland Emmerich presented in the film INDEPENDENCE DAY, using code, lights, sound, dead and active languages, his response was again easily understood, stating, “I don’t think that active communication is through spoken language per se or a written language per se. If I had to take a guess it would either through sound, tones, or colors. “Another language,” he continued, “is Mathematics. Mathematics is a universal language. If you are a culture that has developed space craft you’ve dealt with geometric shapes, triangle, circles and squares. That [geometry] stretches across the universe. Maybe the names are different but the symbols and shapes remain the same.”

Any life form unknown to our civilization, whether that equates to beings able to live, breathe, operate and defend their homeland, country or nation, in the upper levels of the atmosphere or not, is obviously the subject of countless debates and hypothesis. According to Birnes, “We’re not talking about an insecticide machines such as depicted in BATTLE LOS ANGELES.” As far as film, he continued, “Steven Spielberg’s CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND I think is a more accurate portrayal in that there is active communication.”

As we spoke of dealing with invasion or aggression, Birnes added, “The model is no different than it has been throughout our history.” Indicating dealing with alien or unknown life form is as logical as the Dutch purchasing Manhattan Island and negotiating The Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon. “The model,” Birnes stated, “remains the same. Find out what they want and negotiate a deal.”

It’s just figuring out what “they” want.

APOLLO 18 opens in theaters everywhere September 2, 2011.


A Stylish Lauren Conrad Poses for the Cover of Lucky Magazine, Gives In-depth Interview for July Issue

While she’s remained a bit more low-key than usual as of late, Lauren Conrad is front and center in the July 2011 issue of Lucky magazine.

Wearing a Paper Crown blazer paired with some leather shorts and Louboutin heels, the former “Hills” hottie chatted with the publication about topics such as her new fashion line and keeping up with a healthy lifestyle.

Below are some of the highlights from LC’s interview:

On her Paper Crown fashion line launch:
“It’s easier to launch the line without MTV. A lot of people in fashion don’t want to be linked with anything that has to do with reality TV. Showrooms were turning us down.”

On MTV pulling the plug on her reality show: “It didn’t feel like a perfect fit. It’s difficult to compete with all the Jersey Shore-type shows out there. Besides, there weren’t any scenes of me getting drunk or fighting, so what’s the point?”

On why she did The Hills: “I never wanted to end up in entertainment; that wasn’t the goal. I was doing the show to end up in fashion. But I’m totally aware that without The Hills, I wouldn’t be where I am.”

On not being a fan of the gym: “I’m just not a fan of the gym. In fact, I hate it. I understand loving the feeling you get after working out – all those endorphins. But going there? It’s the worst.”

On her always-changing eating preferences: “I’m now focusing a lot more on my health. I no longer eat pork, I rarely eat beef, and I don’t like chicken now because my mother keeps four hens as pets. I’m not kidding.”

On her biggest hair dilemma: “I think whether to go up or down is probably the biggest question. For me, it just depends on how much skin I’m showing on top. I usually don’t wear anything strapless with my hair up.”

The new issue of Lucky magazine hits newsstands on June 10th.

©2011, All Rights Reserved

Tags:A Stylish Lauren Conrad Poses for the Cover of Lucky Magazine, Gives In-depth Interview for July Issue

5 Reasons to Buy a Home in 2010

5 Reasons to Buy a Home in 2010

The last 18 months have been some of the most tumultuous in the history of our great nation. To many, these months have meant misery, stress and financial ruin. To others, they have meant an incredible opportunity to prosper through the purchases of heavily discounted stocks and real estate. Then there are those in the middle, those afraid to get their toes wet or otherwise take a leap and get into the home of their dreams at a price they might never see again.

For those in the middle, torn on what will likely be the largest financial decision of their life here are a few basic points to help you decide:

1. Interest Rates at Historical Lows – With interest rates consistently hovering around 5%, the interest costs associated with purchasing a home are greatly mitigated. Over the life of a loan the ability to lock in at 5% for 30 years can save tens of thousands of dollars on a standard loan and hundreds of thousand on a jumbo.

2. Rates Adjusting – In the early 2000s, many consumers purchased homes that were well beyond their means via interest only loans or loans with very low variable rates for a short duration. With many of these loans ending their variable term and moving into fixed rates, many homeowners will see their mortgages increase by up to 50%. The net result will be a buyer’s market depicted by more sales, more inventory and more foreclosures.

3. Starved Home Builders – With new construction starts just below 500,000 homes nationally in 2009, builders are trimming their margins in an effort to stay afloat. While many construction costs are variable and decline as construction slows many fixed costs such as land remain until units are sold off.

4. Speeding of Short Sales – Previously “short sales” had been anything but short with many offers taking months to get a response from the bank. The net result was vacant properties, lost revenue and TARP bailout of banks. In an effort to eliminate this waste in banks, the government is prodding the banks to improve the timing on short sales and make them a smoother process. For those buyers willing to get involved who can still wait a little while on a bank response, there exists a tremendous opportunity to acquire real estate at prices considerably lower than current foreclosure prices.

5. Banks aren’t Lending – For those in the supreme position of being able to purchase without a mortgage, the time has never been better. Banks unwillingness to lend money the last 6 months has not only helped drive prices down, but also made cash deals that much sweeter. For sellers in a tough position many would rather take the promise of cash today at a lower price point than waiting what could be months for a bank loan to fund the transaction.

Ultimately, the decision to buy will be your own, but remember real estate is rarely a losing bet over time and while nobody can predict the bottom buying in 2010 will guarantee you are buying off-peak.

For more real estate news Check out the Business Insider

Tags:5 Reasons to Buy a Home in 2010

2010 Tracy Fortin Reputation Management Model - How To

Many people do not realize this, but Tracy Fortin does: even the finest among us, beyond reproach in any way, can be challenged to maintain our reputation online. There are spam complaint blogs with no conscience ( a machine or robot does not have morals) that are used to conquest peoples names and reputations to extort money from them. They put Google ads on them to generate money for themselves and Google, damaging good peoples reputations!

If you are in business, or, as in Tracy’s case, are furthering a nonprofit cause, with fans and enemies, this can happen to you: so that when you type your name, or your company name, or the name of your cause into Google, as people often do these days before doing business or donating, as in Tracy Fortin’s case, you can be accused of something you did not do, and even after you have been cleared, an article can remain on the organic search results damaging your reputation and your cause or business.

Now the good news: this can be easily corrected my anyone who has more powerfull properties online, and completely prevented before the fact with social media marketing techniques, as we are doing here.

More on Reputation Management like we are doing for Tracy Fortin is here:

  1. Tracy Fortin | Facebook

    Tracy Fortin is on Facebook. Join Facebook to connect with Tracy Fortin and others you may know. Facebook gives people the power to share and makes the –

  2. tracy fortin – Directory | LinkedIn

    View the profiles of professionals named tracy fortin on LinkedIn. There are 4 professionals named tracy fortin who use LinkedIn to exchange information, –

  3. Tracy Fortin – LinkedIn View Tracy Fortin’s professional profile on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the world’s largest business network, helping professionals like Tracy Fortin discover

Tracy Fortin – all about Tracy Fortin!Tracy Fortin

Tags:2010 Tracy Fortin Reputation Management Model - How To

Applying for Free College Grants

If you are fresh out of high school and planning to go to college, grants are probably the first thing on your mind. The same goes for those who are planning to return to college at a later stage in life. Regardless of which category you belong to, remember that getting a college grant is not so difficult as it is made out to be.

All college students should explore the possibility of getting free grants for college. With a bit of research and organizational work, you should be able to find a grant that is beneficial for you.

Grants are different from student loans and scholarships. They do not have to be repaid. Many grants are not merit based either. This makes them available and beneficial for students of any category. You do not necessarily have to be a top scorer to apply for a free college grant. The very desire to learn and pursue college education will suffice.

Different types of grants are available based on income, subject of study, merit, geographic location, minority status etc. The most common grant we come across is the “Pell Grant”, an income based federal grant for low-income families. When you receive a Pell grant, the government sends money directly to your college. Any money leftover will be handed over to you at the end of the semester. Private college grants are numerous and easy to apply for. A little research on your part should help you find options suitable for your field of study.

If you are looking for a free college grant, approach your local community college’s Financial Aid Office. The financial aid counselors there are well versed in details about grants, scholarships, student loans and so on. You can discuss your options with them. However, many of these financial aid counselors are entry-level employees. They often tend to work like robots, without thinking for themselves. If they ask you a question and your answer seems unsatisfactory, they will simply “shut down” and no amount of coaxing is going to get them to act. This is called “the first question rule”.

Suppose, you have defaulted on an existing student loan. You cannot apply for another loan until you make good on the first. There are several exceptions to this rule. If you are aware of these provisions, you will be able to bypass this hurdle and secure a second loan. If you approach an entry-level financial aid counselor with your situation, they will simply repeat that you cannot apply for a second loan without satisfying the first. They probably won’t even look into the plan that you have worked out so as to qualify for a second loan. Let us not stereotype all counselors into this category. There are several seasoned veterans of financial aid who are willing to go the extra mile to help you out. So, do not hesitate to approach them.

You can find several resources on college grants on the World Wide Web. Your local library is also sure to have some resources to help you find and apply for a grant. Remember to apply for your college grant well in advance.

By taking an initiative, doing some research, meeting counselors and working out a plan, you should be able to find a suitable college grant and secure your career.

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Ariat Women's Cowboy Boots: 2011 Top Picks

The list of Ariat women’s cowboy boots contains some new additions, as well as some tried and true favorites. While the new boot styles are lovely, it seems that the most well known and timeless styles remain the favorites – at least for the most part.

Among the entire list, here are what appear to be the most popular styles among Ariat western boots for women this year:

1. Ariat Heritage Roper for Women – This boot could easily be dubbed “the perfect riding boot” for women. It has a classic and sleek style, while having important features within its construction which make it ideal for women’s practical use. It can be found in both distressed and smooth and sleek leathers.

2. Ariat Plymouth Boot – Here is a newer style in the collection of Ariat boots for women. It has a long, tall and sleek style and is right in line with women’s riding boot styles. For those women who love the taller equestrian styles available these days, this boot is definitely worth a look.

3. Ariat Legend for Women – The “Legend” is another “staple” among women’s Ariat boots. It has a traditional western style, and bears a bit of a rough look which is very much in style these days. One other feature of these boots worthy of note is their detailing – the boot shaft’s designs are gorgeous. It is available in wingtip and smoother vamp styles.

4. Ariat Heritage Western for Women – This boot is one of the more extensive in terms of selection of different looks among the Ariat collection. While the basic design remains the same, it can be found in some dark and rich colors as well as brighter shades such as red. Also some looks such as lacey boot shafts and other gorgeous and intricate detailing can be found, making this one of the most lovely selections available.

5. Ariat Fatbaby Boots – The “Fatbaby” became quite popular several years ago and still remains among the top sellers from Ariat. It has a cute rounded vamp and many styles have shorter shafts, rising only to mid-calf level. This is also one of the most colorful lines of boots available to women, being available with contrasting boot shafts of baby blue, bright pink and butter yellow – as well as some rich brown leather styles with fun contrasting colors.

Some additional styles among Ariat women’s cowboy boots that one might want to see include the Show Baby, Western R-Toe, Adelaide – and let’s not forget the much loved Ariat Dixie boot. Even more styles are available and the entire collection is worth a look and can be purchased online.

Resource: Ariat Boots for Women – Squidoo Fashion and Beauty

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All Aboard for the KDK Trolley Tour of Chicago Restaurants (7/23/09)

The KDK Trolley Tour of 4 of their restaurants located either in the South Loop (Central Station District) or on West Randolph in Chicago, Illinois was held for the second time on July 23, which, coincidentally, was my birthday. The trolley tour takes you to four KDK restaurants and offers patrons a drink and a signature dish at each, for the low all-inclusive price of $50 per person.

Director of Operations Rick Robinson said that the trolley tour was a way of introducing people to KDK’s 4 properties, all of which are very nice. The first trolley started at Marche and traveled to Gioco. It filled immediately. A second trolley with a different route was added, which started its journey in the South Loop (Gioco’s), traveled to the Red Light and Marche on Randolph Street, and returned to the South Loop (Opera).

Although we have eaten at all four restaurants in the past, the added incentive of not having to drive and park (see my articles on the parking situation in Chicago) and the fact that we were in a celebratory mood enticed my husband and son and daughter-in-law to join me on the KDK Trolley Tour, 2009.

We began at Gioco’s at 1312 S. Wabash (Ph. 312-939-3870), an Italian restaurant that has an amazing (and inexpensive) Sunday brunch, as well. Here, we were served fresh fruits and cheeses and Prosciutto ham, a refreshing drink created by the bartender, and a dish similar to lasagna, only made with beef and noodles.

Next, we moved on to the Red Light, where the signature cocktail, a martini that looked like a peach ice cream float was served with a cold noodle salad topped with a shrimp. The Red Light is Asian/fusion food and is located at 820 W. Randolph (312-733-8850).

Next stop was directly across the street, (kitty corner), at Marche, 833 W. Randolph (Ph 312-226-8399), a French/American restaurant which served us a warm crabcake, a cracker hors d’oeuvre, a drink specialty of the house, and a miniature cheesecake. Normally, there is a crowd dining outside, but scattered thundershowers earlier in the evening had driven the crowd indoors.

We then traveled to our final stop, Opera, located at 1301 S. Wabash (Ph. 312-461-0160). Opera is known for its Asian dishes, and the crystal prawns and the home-made ices featured at Gioco’s, as well, are my favorite. We were served various shish-ka-bob items, beginning with shrimp (good), moving on to beef (better) and ending with one of the spiciest items on the menu, a chicken dish. I passed on the chicken dish, enjoyed the drink of the day, and found the shrimp and beef to be tasty.

My own personal favorite of the four was Gioco’s, followed closely by Marche. In terms of d├ęcor, all are beautifully decorated and interesting and the Randolph Street cafes have great outdoor seating areas for nicer weather. Let’s hope that the chain adds even more trolleys next year, as 60 would-be patrons were “shut out” this year.

Tags:All Aboard for the KDK Trolley Tour of Chicago Restaurants (7/23/09)

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