Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Few Great Gift Ideas for Sports Card Collectors

If you have a sports card collector on your gift list this year, you know how picky these people can be. Collecting sports cards as a hobby takes a special type of person, but it also takes a few special supplies as well. So to satisfy that picky collector on your list, here are a few ideas to make their season bright no matter what your budget is.

An Unopened Box Of Cards

Want to see that collector smile seven feet wide? Grab and unopened box of sports cards from any number of retailers or hobby stores. Online auction sites like Ebay are a great way to score deals, Dave and Adams Card World is a great online store with thousands of boxes in stock. Be forewarned thought, unopened boxes of any type of sports cards can quickly run into the hundreds of dollars.


Every sports card collector needs supplies. Whether they are rugged hard plastic holders, soft plastic sleeves, binders, nine pocket pages, or boxes made specifically for sports cards, that collector will thank you a hundred times for the supplies. The best part about supplies for this hobby: they are cheap. They are also available at just about every major retailer in your area.

Unopened Packs

Of course the alternative to a box of cards is a pack of cards. While box prices can climb into the hundreds, pack prices can be more affordable starting at $1.50. However the prices can still climb into the $25.00 per pack level. Chances are really good that sports card packs are still available at a number of places that you will be shopping already.

Particular Cards Of Particular Players

Every sports card collector has a favorite, be it a favorite team, favorite player, or even a favorite theme. Visiting a local hobby shop or card shop to pick up a few cards of that favorite will be exactly what a collector loves. As card prices vary from less than fifty cents to over one hundred dollars, you will be able to set your own budget. If you are worried about duplicating a card they already have don’t. Collectors love to have more than one of their favorite cards.

Showcases or Shelves

Collectors love to show off their collection. Many stores stock specific frames used for showing off sports cards, but a normal shelf will do. Craft stores sell small stands that are perfect for standing cards up and letting them be seen. These items are available for around twenty dollars and up, but are often on sale around the holidays so keep your eyes open.

Wholesale Lots of Card

Large lots of sports cards, also referred to as wholesale lots, can be found at various locations. Online auctions and storage sales are the best place though. While most of the large collections or lots will not produce any great material, they do produce a large variety of cards. This is great for learning about the various years and issues of sports cards. While shipping can be a little crazy due to the weight of the lot, the actual cost of the cards is minimal.

Group Gift

If the collector you are trying to purchase a gift for is looking for one high dollar card, getting together with several people is always a great idea. Pooling resources to make that one big purchase will be very appreciated by your collector. Plus, it allows you to keep your budget in check.

Gift Cards

The gift card route is the easiest item to get for a sports card collector. The gift card be in any denomination and can be from any one of a number of stores the sports card collector can use to satisfy their cravings. This is a one-size fits all gift that is sure to please.

personal experience

Tags:A Few Great Gift Ideas for Sports Card Collectors

About Billy the Exterminator and the Vexcon Family

Billy the Exterminator is a reality show on A&E that follows a family business who specialize in pest control. Billy Bretherton is the heart and soul of Vexcon, the family business. The Louisiana business handles the worst pest and animal removal situations in the state. Billy runs Vexcon with the help of his brother Ricky, Big Bill his father, and his mother Donnie. While Donnie runs the office, Big Bill, Billy, and Ricky are in the field removing venomous snakes from people’s homes, exterminating fire ants, and eliminating dangerous alligators from private ponds. However, running a family business isn’t always fun and games. Billy’s wife, Mary, use to work at Vexcon until Billy’s family started interfering in their private affairs.

Vexcon – Everything is a Family Affair

It all started when rumors flew around the office about Mary being pregnant. Non-family Vexcon employees overheard a private conversation between Billy and Mary and what they were discussing was taken out of context. Donnie, thinking Mary was pregnant and she was never told, lit into Billy and Mary as soon as the came into the office from a job. Billy got frustrated with the whole situation because he doesn’t like rumors to begin with. This resulted in Billy being mad at Mary even though she didn’t start anything. This made Mary storm out of the office. Bill Sr. got into the act by trying to calm the situation down, but Mary was still upset and refused to have a conversation with him as well. After a day or two, Billy and Mary thought it was best if she resigned from Vexcon in hopes of preventing the family from being in their personal business. Billy isn’t the only Bretherton who suffers from the meddling parents.

Ricky had a rocky marriage that finally ended in divorce. The family including Billy didn’t like Rick’s wife, Pam, at all, especially Donnie. However, Rick claims that his wife was just like his mother, Donnie. It’s hard to decipher what kind of woman Pam was since she was rarely seen on camera. There was this one occasion when Pam showed up on a follow-up job that Rick and Billy were on. Billy wasn’t happy about it because she was being loud and kept jumping into Ricky’s arms in front of the client. It’s understandable why the family wasn’t happy with this occurrence because her behavior was unprofessional. Plus, she did not work for Vexcon anymore, so why was she there to begin with? Now a bachelor again, Ricky has to deal with Donnie harassing him about finding someone new.

Vexcon Has a “Can Do” Attitude

Despite family drama, the Brethertons still get the job done. Vexcon has an excellent reputation and a very successful business because they do things that other exterminators refuse to do. For instance, Billy was called to help an animal control person to get a snake out of a man’s shed. This was no ordinary snake; it was a python. Most exterminators would have ran out of there and told the client and animal control that they should call a zoo.

Another example of Vexcon’s “can do” attitude was the time that Billy had to go to a dentist’s office to remove a dead animal under the building. This practice called everyone in the phonebook plus animal control for help. All of them refused to come and told the practice that they only deal with “living pest.” These people were becoming desperate. The smell had become so bad that they were two inches away from closing the doors of the practice. Then, one of the employees heard about Vexcon and gave them a call. Billy rushed right over, did a quick inspection, and squeezed into a tiny crawl space to find what had died under the building. It turned out to be a dead cat. It was sad, but at least Billy got it out of there so the office wouldn’t have to close.

Another great thing about Vexcon is that they use organic and non-chemical pesticides that won’t hurt the environment. Another interesting fact is that Vexcon doesn’t kill animals unless they absolutely have, too. Ninety percent of the time, Billy traps animals, like, raccoons, nutrias, and squirrels and relocate them to a more wildlife environment. Sometimes Billy takes animals to wildlife facilities, for example, labs where they use venomous snakes to make anti-venom.

More About Billy the Exterminator

Billy is a former U.S. Air Force Sergeant. He has been in the pest control business for over 20 years. The greatest thing about Billy is the passion he has for what he does for a living. During the show he educates viewers on the vermin he captures or exterminates. He also gives helpful tips for keeping pest out of your home. On a recent episode, Billy found and captured a snake that got into a woman’s laundry room. He went outside to see how the snake got into her home. Billy found that the outside vent to the dryer wasn’t closing all the way, which left a hole big enough for the snake to slither through. “Always check your outside dryer vents. Clean out debris so they can close properly. This will prevent animals from coming into your home,” Billy advised viewers.

You can watch Billy the Exterminator on A&E on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. Eastern Time.

La Byline, “Meet Billy the Exterminator,” Associated Content.

Vexcon Inc.

A&E Billy the Exterminator

Tags:About Billy the Exterminator and the Vexcon Family

A Breath of Fresh Air, Literally : Breathe Deeply, It's Good for You!

Breathing is life! That life is fueled by the oxygenation (breathing) process which cleanses the cells with every inhalation and filters out toxic carbon dioxide from the body with every exhalation. Breathing is so critical to our existence that we took our first breath in our mother’s womb. The better we breathe, the more efficiently our bodies will function. Elementary education schooled us that breathing was an involuntary action, implying everyone was born breathing the right way.


Like most things in life, the truth is not as obvious as it first appears. Studies show as people age the reality of life causes them to breathe shallowly when they should breathe deeply. This stress-induced shallow breathing habit exacerbates existing harmful stress in people’s bodies and could prematurely take their breath away (no joke intended) for good, unless proactive steps are taken. It is high time people re-learned to breathe with their bellies, not just their chests, like newborns. Deep and conscious oxygenation is the right way to wellness, per experts.

Thank goodness, achieving deep breathing proficiency is easy, it takes awareness and practice. “The simplest and most powerful technique for protecting your health is absolutely free – and literally right under your nose,” according to Harvard trained Dr. Andrew Weil and author of the Bestseller ‘Spontaneous Healing’. This is part of the Healthy Body Healthy Mind movement gaining traction in the medical field.

Studies show proper breathing techniques contribute to successful treatment and management of various diseases such as asthma, depression, high blood pressure, high (bad) cholesterol, headache, anxiety, phobia, chronic fatigue, etc. However, the same studies cautioned these benefits shouldn’t be substituted for your doctor’s treatment and prescription.

Experts vouch better oxygenation skills are also effective in helping people naturally fall asleep, enhancing good mood and sexual pleasures. Granted I’ve not read it, on a lighter note I say this: Oh Yeah, there’s a book out there subtitled: “Breathing Exercises for Heightened Pleasure and Deep Intimacy” in bed. There you go, my friend! Eat your heart out on that one; don’t be shy. And don’t ever say I never did anything for you . Do I still have your undivided attention? Let’s get back on track. Ha..ha..ha!

But seriously, what is stress, any way?

“Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences. When people feel stressed by something going on around them, their bodies react by releasing chemicals into the blood. These chemicals give people more energy and strength, which can be a good thing if their stress is caused by physical danger. But this can also be a bad thing, if their stress is in response to something emotional and there is no outlet for this extra energy and strength”, per the Mountain State Center for Independent Living.

The main types of stress are:

  1. Survival Stress uses “fight or flight” reflexes to respond to danger in people and animals.

  1. Internal Stress is when you’re confronted by things you have no control over or worrying for no apparent reasons. Some people take this to dizzying heights. They are worrying addicts who worry themselves to sickness.

  2. Environmental Stress is when your surroundings breed the stress. This is global but is virtually inescapable in African cities where poor sanitation, ubiquitous noise and air pollution from vehicles and their non-stop loud horns, exhaust fumes, generators, overcrowding, work and family pressure, fear of armed robbers, kidnappers, assassins, bombers, sectarian violence, vehicular crashes caused by bad roads and drivers, abject poverty, etc.

  1. Fatigue and Overwork stress takes time to accumulate before it starts to emit deadly toxins straight into one’s blood stream and ravages one’s body from inside out. Working in an air-conditioned environment or living in relative luxury won’t preclude one from being a victim. Google and read my well-received article: Working Until You Drop In America, Is It The Best Way To Live? This is a difficult stress to avoid because people feel it’s beyond their control. Many of us abroad are afflicted because we choose to be all things to all people both here and in Africa,forgetting that “weta suya, weta suya, o bu n’ahu nama” or we’re only humans.

Breathing exercises are highly recommended stress relievers because:

  • They can be practiced any where.

  • They work rather quickly.

  • They are Free.

  • They take very little practice to learn.

  • They enrich your blood with oxygen as you inhale and remove harmful carbon dioxide as you exhale.

  • They can be used before, during, and after any stressful situation.

  • They can effectively reverse accumulated stress to mitigate the harmful effects of chronic stress.

Renowned Western medical doctors Andrew Weil and Deepak Chopra continue to perform extraordinary work in teaching these holistic approaches to better health. Monumental benefits stem from the positive methods of our ancestors. We’re so eager to discard our good traditional ways (in favor of modern medicine)that we forget to explore their merits. Keep the good ones! Both the Chinese and the Indian preserve theirs, why not Africans?

Please note, I’m neither a medical doctor nor do I play one on the Internet. When it comes to the numerous things I don’t know, I listen to and learn from the experts, and do my own research prior to adopting any recommendations. Even for things I know something about, I still keep an open mind to learn more to add to my repertoire; I suggest you do the same to maximize what you get out of this article.

When, not if, you find these deep breathing exercises helpful as I did, pass it forward to others now; don’t hoard it or take it to your grave! You don’t have to be MD or RN to spread the word, especially to those with limited access to good medical care in Africa. After all, it was an Indian engineer (not MD)who enlightened me a few years ago about the benefits of proper breathing exercises. Everyone should dare to make a positive impact, albeit small. Yes you can! It was one lunatic from Aba, Nigeria, who ingenuously uttered in a mixture of Igbo and English languages that, “ama m ihe n’abia na hour na hour”. English for: anyone can be a purveyor of wisdom.

Conduct your own experiment by checking your blood pressure (BP) before and then after engaging in some deep breathing exercises. Try it, you will be amazed.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every three American adults (the number could be higher for Africans) have high blood pressure and many of them don’t even know it because HBP is a silent killer. Lives would be saved via education and proper diagnoses in Africa where some deaths and mysterious sickness are falsely attributed to voodoo, juju, poison, or witchcraft.

To improve diagnosis starting from your home, every family should own and regularly use a good (not the cheapest) blood pressure monitor (BP) to ascertain each member’s complete BP story. Take the reading while laying down and several times a day and chart the reading either manually or use the computer ware that come with the better BP monitors. Play active role in your wellness in partnership with your physician. Though useful, the snippet BP reading taken at your doctor’s office may not be frequent enough to provide complete picture of your BP. Moreover, the ‘White Coat syndrome’ could skew BP reading at the Doctor’s Office.

Importantly, consider donating a few battery-operated blood pressure monitors to people in your own village or town in Africa, if you can afford to do so. They are relatively inexpensive and are easy to operate. If everyone one of us abroad donates just two BP monitors, precious lives will be saved. None of the governments that we often complain about, or any individual (but yourself) can stop you from doing this good deed. The countless African associations in Diaspora can play a positive role in this area. Such meaningful projects are easier and more transparent to administer thereby fostering verifiable deeds. Let us all take this simple proactive measure to help our people while they and we are alive. Wake-keeping is wasteful “medicine after death.”

Uncontrolled HBP claims its victims in rather miserable ways. Children and adults alike are afflicted. “High blood pressure and cholesterol are two major risk factors for heart attacks, strokes, and related vascular diseases, which kill more than 800,000 Americans each year – more than any other condition”, per CDC. Who knows what the numbers are in African countries.

Wellness coach Elizabeth Scott stated “breathing exercises bring wonderful benefits because they can reverse your stress response, which, if chronically triggered and not reversed in a timely manner, can lead to chronic stress. This can really wreak havoc on your body. [Breathing Exercises are] ‘golden’ stress relief strategies that work simply, easily, and are effective for virtually everyone.

Start your day with 15 minutes of belly breathing. This will help relax your mind and muscles and help you power through stress that crops up during the rest of your day, says Woodson Merrell, MD, of the department of Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center. The morning is actually when our bodies feel the most stressed, because it’s when we’re transitioning from inactivity to activity and producing the highest levels of cortisol”. This may explain why strokes and heart attacks often occur in the early morning hours.

A Breathing Exercise: While maintaining positive mental attitude by replaying a peaceful events in your life, sit tall at the edge of a bed or in a chair. Breathe in for a count of four, pause a moment, then breathe out partly via your mouth for a count of six. Repeat a few times. How do you feel? It becomes easier with practice.

As your deep breathing skills improve, up the ante by breathing in deeply but slowly through your nose and counting to six. Hold your breath and count to four. Then exhale slowly through your mouth while you count to eight. The rational is by exhaling more breathes (8 of count) than you inhale (6 of count), you fully cleanse all the toxic carbon dioxide (stale air) in your lungs. It takes time and practice; remember Rome was not built in a day!

A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. After reading this article, watch this 4-minute YouYube video of the bellows breathing by clicking on: breathing Youtube video or

If you google “breathing exercises” and read some of the findings on the Internet, you might think learning to breathe properly is the panacea for all that ails humankind. I don’t know about such claims, but there’s no denying the benefits of better breathing techniques.

In closing, recent studies show the first four months of each year are when most stress-related illnesses are diagnosed. Also, they are the deadliest for strokes and heart attacks and depression, after the chickens have come home to roost. The reason could be, many of us tend to become extra stressed even as we over-eat, over-drink, and over-spend during the preceding (‘Ber) months with the holidays. The health benefits of socializing during the holidays ameliorate the terrible statistics some.

I intentionally timed the publication of this article to provide some relief to the reader, ahead of the holidays. Send a copy to your friends and contacts for their perusal. Take a deep slow breath and fully exhale before, during or after each stressful situation. Use it to help you fall asleep nightly. Use it to reduce your blood pressure and energize you as you awake to a prosperous new day. One more time: While you think positive, take a slow deep breath as you count to four. Pause for a moment. And exhale while you count to six. Repeat it a few times. You feel better already? It’s that simple and free and yet so beneficial. Life’s good; so let us maximize it! Email me a sentence if you agree or disagree.

Tags:A Breath of Fresh Air, Literally : Breathe Deeply, It’s Good for You!

5 Easy & Nutritious Snack Ideas for Children's Sunday School

If you teach a children’s Sunday school class, you know the importance of a good snack. While you don’t want to pump your kids full of sugar every Sunday with cookies, candy, doughnuts and sugary punch you also can’t just show up with a vegetable tray and expect kids to eat it up. So here are some easy, yet nutritious snack ideas for your children’s Sunday School class that they will actually eat and love.

Easy & Nutritious Snack Idea #1
Fruit Slices dipped in Strawberry Yogurt

Cut up slices of some kid-friendly fruits like apples, oranges, bananas and maybe even some grapes. Give each child a small paper plate and place a spoonful of strawberry yogurt on it and let the kids dip their fruit into the yogurt. Even kids who don’t normally like fruit will love this snack. You can use organic fruits and yogurt to make this an even healthier snack. Believe me, kids will never know the difference.

Easy & Nutritious Snack Idea #2
Cereal with milk

Kids love cereal, so don’t be shy about serving it up as your snack. You can buy several boxes of cereal or to make things simple, buy just one variety and have it served in bowls ahead of time. Then simply pour the milk when it’s time for snack. You’ll want to know if there are any kids who can’t have dairy. Ask parents ahead of time and be prepared to have some sort of milk alternative for them – like soy or rice milk.

Easy & Nutritious Snack Idea #3
Trail Mix

You can buy pre-made granola in bulk and then add your own ingredients to make it a delicious trail mix. Try things like almonds (or any other kind of nuts), dried fruit, raisins, chocolate chips, etc. Serve the trail mix up in cute Dixie cups and watch kids gobble it up.

Easy & Nutritious Snack Idea #4
Bite-sized Sandwiches

Make simple sandwiches, like ham and cheese, turkey and swiss, etc. and cut each sandwich up into four bite-sized pieces. Let the kids choose several bite-sized sandwiches and serve them with fruit slices or handful of chips.

Easy & Nutritious Snack Idea #5

Try a little something different by making cheesy quesadillas for them. Buy tortillas and cheese and prepare them on an electric griddle or in a large pan over the stove. Just heat up the tortillas till warm, sprinkle a bit of cheese inside and fold the tortilla over. Warm the quesadilla on each side until cheese is melted. Cut up the quesadilla into triangle-shaped pieces and serve it up!

Hopefully, you now have some ideas for some yummy and nutritious snacks besides the usual cookies and candy!

Tags:5 Easy & Nutritious Snack Ideas for Children’s Sunday School

A Homeopathic Neuropathy Treatment that Works

My wife has pain from Peripheral Neuropathy in her feet, which followed an operation she had that I have previously written about. Pain relievers including Percocet brought no relief at all. Prescription Lyrica brought her some relief but the pain though abated was still problematic after a hard day at work. Nothing else the doctor could recommend added additional relief for her foot pain.

One day I was searching the Web for anything which could help her painful condition. I did find a homeopathic oil, Neuragen PN, produced by Origin BioMedicinals, Ca, which seemed to show significant promise in a survey from the National Pain Institute, Canada.

According to an article on Pure Body Solutions.Com, Dr. Alexander McLellan, a practicing Naturopath in Halifax, Nova Scotia, a specific strain of Geranium Oil provided “pain relief that was almost immediate and lasted for up to four hours” for about 70% of people with peripheral neuropathy.

This ingredient was combined with several others and sold as a homeopathic treatment, Neuragen PN in several Pharmacies and online. While quite expensive $27 or more for the 0.17 fluid ounce size and over $50 for the half fluid ounce size. I did feel that it would be well worth it if it brought relief for my wife’s Peripheral Neuropathy.

It did work for her as soon as she applied it to a small area on each foot. In addition such a small amount was required that the small bottle lasted over four months. She was able to get to sleep using the oil. Prior to using it the sheets on the bed were painful on contact with her skin of her feet. Now she was able to sleep pain free. No cautions are noted other than to avoid eye and open sore contact.

Since I am not a Doctor, I cannot recommend this homeopathic oil for treatment of other people suffering from Peripheral Neuropathy. I would suggest contacting your Physician to see if this might be as useful for you as it was for my wife.

Tags:A Homeopathic Neuropathy Treatment that Works

A Handful of Healthy and Happy Halloween Trail Mix Recipes

Send your costumed trick or treaters out for their door-to-door runs or masquerade parties on Halloween with healthy trail mix snacks, and they may be more likely to save the Halloween candies they collect for later. Try these simple, healthy and happy Halloween trail mix recipes for October 31st or any autumn occasion.

Big Bad Boo Trail Mix

2 cups unsalted peanuts

2 cups basic granola cereal

2 cups small pretzels

2 cups toasted oat cereal (such as Cheerios)

1 cup raisins

1 cup miniature marshmallows

Combine all Big Bad Boo Trail Mix ingredients in a large zippered plastic bag. Seal bag carefully, and shake trail mix to blend all items thoroughly. Serve Big Bad Boo Trail Mix in small cups or sandwich-sized plastic bags.

Happy Halloween Trail Mix

2 cups unsalted peanuts

2 cups basic granola cereal

2 cups small pretzels

2 cups yellow raisins

1 package (12 ounces) Halloween M&M’s (orange and black)

Combine all Happy Halloween Trail Mix ingredients in a large zippered plastic bag. Seal bag carefully, and shake trail mix to blend all items thoroughly. Serve Happy Halloween Trail Mix in small cups or sandwich-sized plastic bags.

Spooky Snack Trail Mix

2 cups unsalted peanuts

2 cups basic granola cereal

2 cups small pretzels

1 package (12 ounces) white chocolate chips (or swirled chocolate chips)

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 package (12 ounces) Reese’s Pieces (orange and black)

Combine all Spooky Snack Trail Mix ingredients in a large zippered plastic bag. Seal bag carefully, and shake trail mix to blend all items thoroughly. Serve Spooky Snack Trail Mix in small cups or sandwich-sized plastic bags.

Wrinkled Wonders Trail Mix

1 cup Corn Chex cereal

1 cup Chocolate Chex cereal

2 cups raisins

2 cups unsalted peanuts

2 cups small pretzels

1 cup dried apricots (diced)

1 cup cashews

1 cup cheddar Goldfish crackers

Combine all Wrinkled Wonders Trail Mix ingredients in a large zippered plastic bag. Seal bag carefully, and shake trail mix to blend all items thoroughly. Serve Wrinkled Wonders Trail Mix in small cups or sandwich-sized plastic bags.

Tags:A Handful of Healthy and Happy Halloween Trail Mix Recipes

A Book Review of Life Strategies by "Dr. Phil"

Dr. Phillip C. McGraw, known popularly as “Dr. Phil,” may rightly be subjected to criticism that he has sold out, that his televised therapy is merely entertainment, and of questionable psychological merit. Even so, his staunchest detractors would have to admit that he is an intelligent, extremely successful man, certainly possessing enough practical knowledge and experience to author a book such as Life Strategies (Hyperion, 1999). His breaking down life’s lessons into ten discrete units seems to be for the sake of expediency. Others might contend that there are seven, nine or even 14 lessons, but a nice even number like ten is much easier for readers to digest. So perhaps Dr. Phil consolidates or extrapolates to reach his magic number.

Dr. Phil’s Life Law #1: You either get it, or you don’t, sounds so over-simplified as to not make much sense without an explanation. Speaking as one of the people who “get it,” Dr. Phil goes on to state that an awareness of what motivates human beings is essential to understanding them and oneself. At least three of the life laws make sense without even reading anything more than the titles of chapters five, six and 11 -You Can’t Change What You Don’t Acknowledge, Life Rewards Action and You Have to Name It To Claim It. After identifying his ten life laws, Dr. Phil wraps up the book with exercises and strategies aimed at implementing what the reader is supposed to have learned in the previous ten chapters.

Dr. Phil’s tone is understanding and sympathetic where necessary, but not delicate or cajoling. He does not feel sorry for anyone, nor does he think that anyone should feel sorry for himself. He challenges the readers to take ownership of their lives. This means realizing that whatever the root of your problems -bad genes or bad upbringing- the problems are still yours and you had better deal with them. Dr. Phil is not rude like Dr. Laura Schlessinger, but he makes clear that he has little patience for whiners.

The stories and life experiences that Dr. Phil relates in Life Strategies very effectively illustrate many of his points. Some of the anecdotes are funny, like the one about a middle-aged colleague of Dr. Phil’s who got into a fistfight in a laundromat and told everyone how childishly “the other guy” was acting. Others will shock and sadden the reader, particularly when Dr. Phil relates how a prominent psychiatrist friend went into depression and shock after witnessing a bank robber fatally shoot three people, and then attempt to kill the psychiatrist, as well. Humorous or horrific, all of these anecdotes are part of life lessons, which are necessary to build effective life strategies.

The book does not profess to be a magic cure for all of the reader’s problems, nor does it make any promises that by merely reading the chapters, the reader will have a more satisfying life. Dr. Phil is pretty demanding, listing exercises that call for the reader to put down the text periodically and think seriously about what he wants and does not want from life. Many of the discoveries may be painful, but Dr. Phil suggests that ultimately, they should be liberating, but only as much as the reader is willing to address those issues.

Reading this book, one could believe that Dr. Phil is as regular as any of us, in spite of the fact that he is wealthy and famous. The book’s introduction, however, could be omitted without any real detriment to the rest of the text, and might even improve the book. He begins with “Target: America’s Sweetheart,” and describes the ordeal that Oprah Winfrey endured when she was facing a lawsuit by Texas cattlemen who claimed that she had maligned and slandered them with a segment about Mad Cow Disease on her show. As in integral member of the defense team, Dr. Phil knows the intimate details of this legal battle. The lawsuit was ridiculous and vengeful, but Oprah was not and is not a poor, helpless victim. Very few readers can identify with the billionaire talk show hostess who, even if she had lost a multi-million dollar judgment, would remain fabulously rich.

Tags:A Book Review of Life Strategies by “Dr. Phil”

5 Marshmallow Toppings for Foods and Drinks

These five marshmallow toppings can be used throughout the year for different foods and drinks. For example, I eat ice cream more during the summer months than the cooler months of the year. However, when it comes to hot chocolate, I drink it during the winter. I have used some type of marshmallow topping with both of the items I just mentioned.

However, the one marshmallow topping I found myself using any time of the the year is the marshmallow frosting. I use it to frost mainly chocolate cakes, but it can be used for any type of cake you like. As far as using marshmallows on yams, I am not that big of a fan of candied yams.

Marshmallows as a Topper on Food1

Whole miniature marshmallows as a topper on ice cream. I hadn’t thought about using miniature marshmallows as a topper for ice cream. I suspect some of you may not have either.

Then there’s the large marshmallows used on top of candied yams. Candied yams are a comfort food and tradition for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter in many homes.

Marshmallow Frosting2

I had a grandmother who got me hooked on the marshmallow frosting when I was a kid. She normally frosted her chocolate cakes with it. I have made this type of frosting a few times myself for chocolate cakes because I love the taste of the marshmallow frosting and chocolate cake.

Marshmallow Fondant

Marshmallow Fondant is made similar to chocolate fondant. It can be used on cakes the same way the fondants seen on Food Network Challenge Cake Shows. The marshmallow fondant is different than the marshmallow frosting mentioned above.

Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows

Of course hot chocolate wouldn’t be quite right without being topped with marshmallows. It doesn’t matter if you like the big marshmallows or the miniature marshmallows on top of your hot chocolate. Sometimes I top my hot chocolate with marshmallows. Sometimes I don’t.

Sometimes, I add a small spoon of vanilla ice cream. The vanilla ice cream is close to the marshmallow taste, but not quite. The vanilla ice cream can do in a pinch if you have it instead of the marshmallows for looks.

Marshmallow Ice Cream Topping

If you’re like me, you’re use to the marshmallow topping that comes on top of the chocolate ice cream in your banana split. I have seen some use marshmallow topping on sundaes too. This type of topping often comes in a jar that is heated to pour over ice cream or other desserts. It is different from the marshmallow creme used to make fudge.


Ezra Montemayor; Pinoy Ice Scramble;

Deb Perelman; Homemade Devil Dog, Ding Dong or Hostess Cake;

Tags:5 Marshmallow Toppings for Foods and Drinks

Anonymous DDOS Attacks Force PayPal to Blink First, Releasing Money to Wikileaks

After a relatively short series of DDoS attacks by the lulz/activist group known as “Anonymous”. The multi-billion dollar company, PayPal, relented and is releasing all the funds that were meant for Wikileaks.

PayPal claimed that their service was not significantly affected by the distributed denial of service attacks. Yet the timing of their announcement would suggest otherwise.

I personally am aware of at least one person who was trying to make a payment using the funds in his PayPal account. PayPal wasn’t able to complete his request with the funds in his account so they drew the funds from his bank account. This was a problem as his bank account was very low on cash and put him in danger of being overdrawn.

I highly doubt that this was an isolated incident. PayPal was affected and was “glitchy” I’m fairly certain that stories, similar to my friends, will be reported very soon. This is likely the reason for PayPal’s abrupt about face.

It would seem that Anonymous knew that it needed a double pronged strategy. The method employed was an announcement by about a united “run on the bank” against PayPal. The second part of the attack consisted of over 9000 other Anonymous members launching a DDoS attack against PayPal.

Today, ZDNET.COM reported that PayPal “has decided to release the donations that had been sent to the whistle-blower website Wikileaks before it restricted its account.”

This is certainly great news for the embattled Wikileaks however PayPal will not be restoring service to the WikiLeaks account. In other words, future donations to Wikileaks will still be impossible through PayPal.

It is unlikely that the DDoS attacks will stop as Anonymous will likely insist that the Wikileaks account be fully restored though that is something that simply may not happen.

John Muller, PayPal General Counsel has now gone on record in saying that the media is responsible for a terrible misunderstanding and that the funds in the PayPal account of WikiLeaks were always meant to be released to them. Anyone who has ever used PayPal and had any kind of dispute knows that these statements by Mr. Muller are ridiculous and untrue.

Is the great Internet war over? Has are there any victors and spoils of war? To be honest, this war is just getting started and as Anonymous gains more media attention it is almost certain that new people will want to join in.

So the war isn’t over but one of the first battles has been partially won by Anonymous as it is obvious that PayPal blinked and cried “uncle”.

I suspect that once Julian Assange is released , most of the Internet attacks will slow or even cease though it is important to remember that this isn’t only about Assange but also freedom of speech.

Two things are certain, the first is that we are witnessing history in the making and the second is that Anonymous must be feeling quite pleased with itself. They managed to force a powerhouse of a company, PayPal, to blink and that is no small achievement.

Anonymous could not be reached for comment but I feel fairly sure that their response would be the following cryptic “Anonymous” signature.

We are Anonymous
We are Legion for we are many
We do not forgive
We do not forget
Expect Us!

Well, we are the public and we are watching and some of us are even cheering.

Tags:Anonymous DDOS Attacks Force PayPal to Blink First, Releasing Money to Wikileaks

A Review of Coffee House Inspirations Breve Creme Dark Chocolate Cream Coffee Creamer

I do love my morning coffee. I also love dark chocolate. When I came across Coffee House Inspirations Breve Creme Dark Chocolate Cream Coffee Creamer in the refrigerated coffee creamers section of my local grocery store, I was intrigued. I just had to buy it, try it and write an unbiased product review all about my personal experience with it. Here is what I discovered!

I purchased an one pint sized bottle of Coffee House Inspirations Breve Creme Dark Chocolate Cream Coffee Creamer for around two dollars. I liked that low price. Each container has thirty-two servings in it. The container is quite attractive. It is silver and brown. It has a nifty flip open pour out spout on it. Perfect for adding just the right amount of coffee creamer into a cup of coffee. This product is made with all natural cream. It is also low in fat. I could not wait to taste it!

I am very familiar with many Coffee House International Delights products and I like many of them. This coffee creamer is made in the USA. Yay! You must shake it well before adding to your cup of coffee. I did. When I tasted Coffee House Inspirations Breve Creme Dark Chocolate Cream Coffee Creamer, I loved it. It is rich, flavorful, creamy and full of dark chocolate taste. A little bit of this creamer will do. Remember that. It is sweet and added a fabulous decadent dark chocolate flavor to my morning coffee. It is delicious. Let me just say that it is not a usual creamy type of creamer, it is chocolaty. Totally. I loved it! Be ready for a pure and magical deep dark chocolate taste. If that is what you are looking for, this one will please. It is yummy. I rate it four and one half stars out of five stars. This creamer may be too chocolaty for some, but not me. Yum.

One serving has 35 calories. 15 of those calories come from fat. One serving has 1.5 grams of total fat, only 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 5 mg’s of cholesterol, 0 mg’s of sodium, 6 grams of total carbs, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 6 grams of sugars and 0 grams of protein. With ingredients like milk, sugar, cream and cocoa, this is a sweet treat. It spoils the dark chocolate coffee lover in me.

I loved trying Coffee House Inspirations Breve Creme Dark Chocolate Cream Coffee Creamer and writing a product review about it. This brand is high in quality and they have a lot of flavors to offer. Flavors like french vanilla, hazelnut, almond joy, cinnamon, amaretto, belgian white chocolate macadamia, hershey’s chocolate caramel, southern butter pecan, vanilla caramel cream, hazelnut cream, caramel macchiato, irish creme, chai latte and skinny chocolate mocha, just to name a few. For more information, you can visit the website. Yes, this dark chocolate cream liquid coffee creamer is a big winner. Be ready for a deep and dark chocolate rush. It’s divine. Low on cream, but heavy on the chocolate. Love it. I will buying it again. It is very different and creative.

Tags:A Review of Coffee House Inspirations Breve Creme Dark Chocolate Cream Coffee Creamer

An Undecided Voter Looks at Romney's Proposed Medicare Reforms

The media has focused a lot of attention on Mitt Romney’s proposed Medicare reforms. I am an undecided voter who is still relatively young. As such, I am interested in understanding how Romney’s suggested changes to Medicare might affect me. I analyzed the information located on the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign website in an effort to learn more about his plan. After reviewing the website, I worry that Romney’s proposal to create a Medicare voucher system will increase the nation’s health care costs. It might also have a negative impact on the quality of patient care in the United States. I hesitate to vote for Romney in November in part because I worry that his plan to reform Medicare might harm the nation’s health care system.

Romney’s Plan to Reform Medicare

On his website, Romney says that he will work with Congress to convert Medicare into a voucher system. People who are under a certain age when the law is passed will be included in this system once they retire. The government will provide the same amount of money to each retiree to purchase a Medicare policy (the retiree will pay the difference in cost). Ideally, the individual will have a large number of plans to choose from. Private insurers will sponsor all but one of these policies.

The Plan’s Potential Impact on Health Care Costs

Romney’s website claims that the competition among insurance companies for Medicare subscribers will help lower health care costs. I think that a Medicare voucher system will have the opposite effect. According to Health Affairs, Medicare can use its large subscriber base to its benefit in forcing providers to cut costs. Hospitals and physicians have to accept Medicare’s contractual payment schemes or risk losing a large number of their patients. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has begun to take advantage of this fact to force providers to become more efficient, thereby saving Americans billions of dollars in health care expenses (over the long run). If the federal government divvies up Medicare subscribers among a number of insurance companies, it might lose this advantage.

The Plan’s Potential Impact on Patient Care

Romney’s Medicare proposal might have a negative impact on quality of care. Currently, CMS can leverage its large Medicare subscriber base to force health care providers to improve patient care. For instance, CMS believes that there is a correlation between a hospital’s readmission rates and patient outcomes. The agency is using this information to attempt to improve quality of care by penalizing hospitals that have excessive readmission rates (among their Medicare populations). CMS has also begun to prod hospitals and physicians to collect patient safety data and to provide it to the agency. The federal government might be hard pressed to continue these quality improvement initiatives if its Medicare subscriber base is significantly reduced.

I like some of Romney’s ideas; however, I do not agree with his views on Medicare reform. My disagreement with Romney on this issue will play a part in determining how I vote in November.

The author is a freelance writer. He has worked in the health care industry for many years and has interned with a health policy think tank. He has a M.S. in Health Systems Administration from Georgetown University.

Tags:An Undecided Voter Looks at Romney’s Proposed Medicare Reforms

Apple's Enemies Fund Literacy NPO in Brooklyn

Apple is a titan of industry, with leadership from the top CEO of the decade and the iPod and iPhone becoming the gold standard in devices of their kind.

Along the way to the top, they’ve wrestled with competitors, most notably Microsoft. With the latest round of the iPhone 4, iPad and new MacBook Air, they have snubbed Adobe Flash, doing their best to keep it off all three devices.

It turns out Adobe and Microsoft are working together to fund a non-profit right here in Brooklyn, one that promotes raising literacy rates and a general societal enjoyment of literature of all kinds. This NPO, the New York Literacy Society, has been in operation over a decade and promotes unique but vague strategies for achieving their goals. For more information, check out their website here.

Tags:Apple’s Enemies Fund Literacy NPO in Brooklyn

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