Sunday, December 4, 2016

25 Strange yet Interesting Facts About Cats

One out of four American households has a cat for a pet. However, you do not have to own a cat to appreciate its eccentricities and unique behaviors. If you are an ailurophile (cat lover), the following cat trivia will teach you interesting and probably new facts about cat behavior, lifecycle, senses, and habits.

1. There are more than 500 million domestic cats in the world, with 33 different breeds.

2. Cats “paw” or “knead” (repeatedly treading on a spot – sometimes its owner) to mark their territory. Cats sweat through the bottom of their paws and rub off the sweat as a marking mechanism.

3. Cat urine glows in the dark when a black light shines on it. If you think your cat or kitten has had an accident in your home, use a black light to find the mishap.

4. The print on a cat’s nose has a unique ridged pattern, like a human fingerprint.

5. 25% of cat owners admit to blow drying their cat’s hair after a bath.

6. If your cat is near you, and her tail is quivering, this is the greatest expression of love your cat can give you.

7. If your cat is thrashing its tail, she is in a bad mood – time for you to keep your distance!

8. Only domestic cats hold their tails straight up while walking. Wild cats hold their tails horizontally or tucked between their legs while walking.

9. During her productive life, one female cat could have more than 100 kittens. A single pair of cats and their kittens can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in just 7 years.

10. Sir Isaac Newton, discoverer of the principles of gravity, also invented the cat door.

11. The more you talk to your cat, the more it will speak to you.

12. Kittens begin dreaming when they are over one week old.

13. A group of kittens is called a “kindle.” A group of grown cats is called a “clowder.” A male cat is called a “tom,” a female cat is called a “molly” or “queen”, and young cats are called “kittens.”

14. Cats spend 30% of their waking hours grooming themselves.

15. Each year Americans spend four billion dollars on cat food. That’s one billion dollars more than they spend on baby food!

16. Cats can make over 100 vocal sounds, while dogs can only make 10.

17. The majority of cats do not have any eyelashes.

18. Cats have been used to deliver mail: In Belgium in 1879, 37 cats were used to deliver mail to villages. However they found that the cats were not disciplined enough to keep it up.

19. In a lifetime, the average house cat spends approximately 10,950 hours purring.

20. A cat’s jaws cannot move sideways.

21. Cats rarely meow at other cats.

22. When cats are happy, they may squeeze their eyes shut.

23. Cats don’t use their voice’s natural frequency range to verbally communicate feelings such as affection, anger, hunger, boredom, happiness and fear – this would be inaudible to humans as this frequency is much lower than humans can hear. Some researchers believe cats may have learned we can’t hear them in their natural range and have
adapted so they can relate to us on our terms.

24. The reason for the lack of mouse-flavored cat food is due to the fact that the test subjects (cats, naturally!) did not like it.

25. Cats see so well in the dark because their eyes actually reflect light. Light goes in their eyes, and is reflected back out. This means that their eyes actually work almost like built-in flashlights.

If this is not enough for you, you can find even more facts about cats from the following sources:

Kelly, Melissa
Amazing Facts About Cats!

No Author Name Provided on Site.
Interesting Facts About Cats

Amazing Cat Facts | Strange Cat Facts | Funny Cat Facts

No Author Name Provided on Site.
Fun Facts about Cats
Big Paw

No Author Name Provided on Site.
Useless Cat Trivia and Fun Facts about Cats

No Author Name Provided on Site.
Fun Cat Facts for Kids – Interesting Facts About Cats & Kittens


3 Easy Ways of Making Money with Photography Online You Can Start Doing Today

Photographs are often taken for posterity reasons. The preservation of moments captured by the camera lens in these photographs are very much loved by all people for years to come. In fact, many families around the world have a camera or two in their household in order for them to take pictures of treasured times. There are also those people who take professional courses in photography and upon completing the course, sets up a professional studio to meet the needs of the society for really outstanding pictures.

But if you are just a simple person that has the talent for taking extremely good photographs, and want to make a living out of it, you definitely can. There are several ways of making money with photography. It has even gone beyond the traditional freelancing opportunity that it was years back when the use of the Internet was still limited to a lucky few. Nowadays, people like you have found a good way in making money with photography online. Here are the three ways that you can earn money from the photographs you take.

1. Selling your photos at stock photography websites is one way for you to earn money online. Stock photography websites stores photos that can be licensed for different purposes. Many magazines, publishers, ad agencies, artists, and designers go to these websites to get the photos that they need instead of hiring a photographer, which entail more costs. As the photographer, the photos you shoot exclusively become your stock and are copyrighted to you. This just means that if a particular person is interested in a photograph, he will have to pay you for it and since you hold the copyright to your photos. The big advantage, and asset here is, you can sell them over and over again, reaping for yourself more profits each time you do so.

2. Another way to earn money from your photos is by selling them through your very own website. Before you complain about all the technicalities of putting up a website, think of the advantages it can bring you. First, having a website will definitely establish you as a photographer. Plus, you can sell directly to your clients without having another entity to get a cut from your sales. And it won’t really cost you much to have a company host and maintain your website. In fact, you are looking at about $10 a month for hosting.

3. The third way in getting income from your photographs is through photo-sharing sites. Marketing your photos in these sites will get you the attention that you need to make money with your photographs since many people visit these sites frequently. And though you really can’t sell your photos through these sites, you can subtly imply to the users that licenses to your photos are for sale so they can further contact you.

These are just some of the ways to making money with photography online. If you take any of these steps to create a flourishing online business for something that you love doing, surely you will get the profits that are right for your talents. And it won’t even feel like work because it is something you enjoy in the first place.


5 Reasons Teachers Need to Start Their Own Online Business

Teachers are always looking for a way to make extra money. The Problem is that in order for you to make that happen you have to do after school tutoring, work retail, restaurant. Even then the amount of money you make is not worth your time. As a teacher my time is so important. I don’t want to be working 60 hour weeks I want to do something that can be put on autopilot.

Reason 1: Extra Money

Having Extra money will allow you to buy materials for your classroom. Makes you feel better about yourself not having to worry about where you are going to find the money to pay for things. You can also treat your self to what ever you want.

Reason 2: More Time

An online business will allow you to spend more time with your family and friends. No more late nights of grading papers after you get home from your part time job. You will be able to do more things that you keep saying I wish I could find time to work out. With an online business now you will.

Reason 3: Financial Freedom.

How many of you worry each month where you are going to find the money to pay your bills and at the same time try to pay off debt, student loans and save up for the summer. Rarely does it happen without your head spinning in different directions. Financial Freedom is easier to attain than you have heard.

Reason 4: Teachers can really start their own business

Everyday you go to your classroom and teach your students. It took me a while to realize that as teachers we really are the CEO of our own company. The company in this case is the classroom and your customers are the students. You are always finding new ways to teach the same concepts. You have to keep the students engaged each day so that they will come back. You also have to manage your own time, grade papers, write test, conference with parents. It’s a non stop job.

Reason 5: Summers off

Teachers always look forward to having there summers off. For some it is also the start of finding a job to bring in money to help pay for everyday things. Some teachers only get paid 9 months out of the school year and I know that this can be a stressful time. Having your own online business takes away the stress and allows you the opportunity to earn as much money as you want while you truly enjoy your summer.


5 Tips to Your Best Yard Sale Ever

A successful yard sale leaves your home with less clutter in your life and money in your pocket. Getting rid of extra clothes, toys, knick-knacks and other household items is a great feeling. Preparation and effort before the big day can make the difference between hauling everything back into your garage, and throwing empty boxes away.

  • 1. Bigger is truly better. Talk to your neighbors. If at least one other family signs on, you can advertise as a multi-family yard sale. This will attract a lot more visitors, especially if you are off a main road. More people are willing to stop and browse when there are two, three or more yard sales they can walk to. The most successful yard sale we ever had while I was growing up, nearly every house in the neighborhood put out a bunch of tables. We became the place to browse that Saturday.

  • 2. Advertise! Let people know in advance about your yard sale. Make sure to advertise in the local paper with your address and hours. Place a sign out by a main road one week prior to the yard sale Keep the sign simple! The words ‘yard sale’ your address and hours will attract most shoppers. You need to be able to read any sign from at least 30 feet away. Keep it big and bold. I try to put out at least three signs in addition to the one right at my house.

  • 3. Keep pricing simple. It is easiest to price most things as solid dollars or by $0.25 increments. Dot stickers with simple prices are the best. Alternatively, you can label items in genera with prominent signs; “all glassware $0.25 each.” At my last yard sale, I had a pile of kid’s clothes labeled “0.25 each or 5 for $1” by the end of the sale, it was nearly all gone!

  • 4. Have lots of change. Have lots of small change ready. Lots of one dollar bills and quarters. A little bit of other change if you have non-quarter pricing. Start the day with a few five and ten dollar bills. If you are not prepared with change, your first customer will buy a dollar item with a twenty! I start off with about $50 worth of change, including at least one roll of quarters and $15 in ones. I subtract that amount from my total at the end of the day to see how much I made.

  • 5. Start early, end late. Plan on starting your yard sale an hour before the advertised time. Early birds love to swoop in and make a lot of purchases in the early morning. Planning for this will reduce confusion at the start of your sale. Also, stay open until mid afternoon. This may be uncomfortable with heat during summer months, but can be worth it with extra sales. During the later part of the morning and early afternoon, some buyers will come in to want to purchase a bunch of your leftover items for just a few dollars. If you don’t want to pack it up, take the deal!

Most of all, try to have fun. Make lots of deals for people so they take home more stuff. It will be a tiring day, but worth it.


Apple Cider Vinegar and Your Voice - is it Beneficial?

Your voice is just as unique as your fingerprint, and according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders straining your vocal cords due to constant use can dramatically increase your chances of developing a vocal disorder. Modern research claims that nearly 8 million individuals have a vocal disorder; however, if you wish to avoid ruining your voice then you may do so by practicing healthy talking and singing habits as well as taking certain supplements.

Natural health proponents claim that apple cider vinegar can help clear your vocal chords of phlegm and mucus; however, scientific evidence is lacking to fully support any claim regarding apple cider vinegar and your voice.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Before delving more into the potential benefits and drawbacks apple cider vinegar can have on your vocal chords, I want to discuss the active properties found in this solution. The primary active constituents found within ACV include pectin, malic acid and acetic acid – the latter being the most active out of the three compounds. Proponents of apple cider vinegar claim this solution has almost magical healing properties capable of treating sore vocal chords to healing arthritis; however, the scientific community does not support any claim made by ACV advertisers.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Your Voice

The use of apple cider vinegar for your vocal chords is steeped in folk and traditional medicine; however, upon writing this article there is no solid scientific data to support this claim. While science may not have proven nor disproven apple cider vinegar, you should use extreme caution when supplementing with this solution.

One of the most widely used suggested benefits of apple cider vinegar is its ability to sanitize your mouth from bacteria as well as soothing a sore throat. But, this solution may actually due the opposite as it has such a high acidic content it could potentially burn or irritate your throat.

It is important to note that while many of the suggested uses for apple cider vinegar are not based in scientific fact, acetic acid – the primary compound of ACV – can act as an expectorant, thus gargling with apple cider vinegar may help clear away mucus and phlegm, but it will not prevent or treat the cause of phlegm/mucus buildup.

References Used:

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: Taking Care of Your Voice

Global Healing Center: The Benefits of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

Professor’s House: Benefits of Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar


5 Major Signs that Your Boyfriend Loves You

Men are sometimes unpredictable. As a woman you can’t fully understand the feelings of the man next to you. However, there are five signs that show if your partner really loves you:

1. He’s interested in you

If a man really loves you is interested in all your activities. He will ask about your daily activities and will be a good listener. This man will always be interested of what’s happening in your life and will pay attention to the smallest details. This is his way of showing that he cares about everything related to you.

2. Your boyfriend calls frequently

A major sign that he truly loves you is the number of calls you receive from him throughout the day. Men usually don’t use the phone unless they have something important to say. Many women complain that their partners don’t call back. A man in love will always call back.

3. He introduces you to his family

Family is extremely important in any relationship. If your partner insists to introduce you to his family, it’s a clear sign that he’s interested in you. A man who thinks that you’re not good enough for his family won’t invite you to meet his parents and relatives. Another promising sign that he loves you is that he’s planning a date to meet your parents or to introduce you to his folks.

4. Common excuses

When a man has enough time to spend next to his woman despite his busy schedule, then he truly cares about her. If the man feels something and knows exactly what kind of woman he wants, he will find time to spend with her even if he has a lot to do. One of the most common excuses used by men to avoid dating a woman is that they are extremely busy. As you see, a man in love will never be too busy to go on a date with you.

5. Your future together

Be a good listener especially when your partner talks about his future. Does he include you in his plans? If your partner uses ‘we’ when talking about future, than you are part of his life. Every woman is delighted to hear the man she loves talking about the beautiful moments they will probably share in the future.



An Introduction to a Natural Hemorrhoid Cure

Hemorrhoids are veins that protrude from the anus. These veins are extremely painful and in some cases will also bleed. There are many over the counter medications for hemorrhoids, but it is usually best to find a natural hemorrhoid cure.

Some hemorrhoids are more serious than others. In the most serious cases, a person will need an operation. Thankfully, most cases do not require such drastic action.

What Causes Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are often caused by prolonged constipation. Other causes for hemorrhoids include standing or sitting for long periods of time, carrying heavy objects and anal sex. A person who is overweight or who has just given birth will also be more prone to getting hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoid Treatment Options:

There are various natural and medical treatments for hemorrhoids. Synthetic medications can often bring temporary relief, but usually do not cure the hemorrhoids themselves.

As was noted above, surgery is an option for a person with hemorrhoids. However, it should only be considered as a last resort. Surgery for hemorrhoids requires a month long recuperation time and can have its side effects.

Why Natural Hemorrhoid Treatments are the Best:

Natural hemorrhoid treatments are the best. These treatments do not cause negative side effects. A person who takes a natural treatment course for hemorrhoids will not only eliminate the pain but also the hemorrhoids themselves.

Following are a couple of very effective herbs that can be used to treat hemorrhoids:

Aloe Vera:

Aloe Vera is well known for is healing properties. It not only cures hemorrhoids but can also heal wounds and burns on the skin. In order to cure hemorrhoids with Aloe Vera, one should blend this herb and drink it as a juice. Another options is to extract the Aloe Vera and apply it directly to the hemorrhoids.


Pilewort is another excellent natural hemorrhoid cure. The extract of this herb can be drunk as a tea or the ointment can be applied directly to the hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids are extremely uncomfortable and painful. Fortunately, no one has to walk around with this painful condition. There are hemorrhoid cures that will not only alleviate the pain but also get rid of the hemorrhoids themselves.

Two all natural treatments for hemorrhoids are Aloe Vera and Pilewort. These herbs have been tried and proven to eliminate hemorrhoids. However, a person should still strive to live a healthy lifestyle, as this will prevent the hemorrhoids from reoccurring. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is important, as these foods prevent constipation. One should also exercise on a daily basis and drink plenty of water.

When it comes to treating your hemorrhoids a Natural Hemorrhoid Cure is the best way to go. Just visit now and get on the right track to curing you hemorrhoids permanently!


Ankle Pain After Running: Causes and Solutions

Ankle pain after running has many possible causes. In fact, some causes of ankle pain that occurs after running you’ll probably be surprised at.

Let’s look at several causes of ankle pain after running or jogging, according to Juliet Deane, Elitefts staff member, Elitefts-sponsored figure athlete, personal trainer (NSCA) and co-owner of The Training Studio, NJ.

“Continuing to wear worn-out, unsupportive sneakers,” is one such cause of ankle discomfort that not only can occur after running, but during the exercise. “New sneaks are an investment in your health just like your gym membership or fitness coach,” says Deane. “Taking care of your body means taking care of your feet, so don’t skimp on quality footwear.”

The next cause of ankle discomfort following a running session: “Having tight muscles in your feet: Try using a tennis or lacrosse ball to massage your feet before and after you run; makes a huge difference,” says Deane.

“Stability starts in your foot, and if the muscles are tight and inflexible, your ankles might be the first to feel it, while also putting them at risk for injury. While you run and exercise, your foot grips the floor for stability just like your fingers would if you were walking on your hands. Massaging those muscles will not only bring some relief to your feet and ankles, but also prevent pulls and strains in your ankles and calves.”

Another cause of ankle pain after some running may be simply due to lack of structured motion in the foot. You may think you’re getting plenty of this when jogging all over the place, but jogging or running takes place in a linear path.

Deane recommends “basic ankle mobility warm-ups as simple as circles in both directions. Try 2-3 sets of 20 in each direction, finish on one side and then go to the other and repeat for 1-2 more sets. You could also trace the alphabet with your toes in the air. Try two times through each foot and feel free to switch from print to cursive to switch things up.”

When running causes ankle pain, this may also signal a past, unresolved injury to the foot, such as an ankle sprain that you thought had resolved. Sure, everything feels fine when you’re on the job, for instance, but once the feet get pounding on the pavement or treadmill, pain sets in from a not fully healed sprained ankle or strained tendon from the past.

“Excessive training such as running long distances without rest, places repeated stress on the foot and ankle. The result can be stress fractures and muscle/tendon strains. You might be toughing it out, but chronic ankle pain flared up after running might be a sign that you need to go get checked out, and at the very least add some lower impact variety into your training such as high intensity airdyne bike sprints, conditioning ropes and kettlebells.”

If home remedies aren’t doing the trick, make an appointment with a foot doctor (podiatrist), or at least, an orthopedic or sports medicine physician. Don’t delay if the discomfort in your ankle doesn’t seem to be diminishing once you’ve begun taking corrective measures such as new footwear, arch supports, jogging on softer terrain, stretching, cross-training, etc.


An Honest UserTesting.Com Review from an Actual Tester advertises itself to potential customers as being “The fastest way to watch and hear real people using your website.” This is a great benefit for those building a website for the first time, building an all new site, or even those re-designing an old site or even creating a new Facebook app can find valuable. But what about those real people that test the sites for Is there anything in it for them?

As a tester for User Testing, I decided to write a review to say the answer is mostly yes. pays each tester $10 for every site they test. All you need is User Testing’s screen-capturing software (a very small program), a microphone for your computer (can be bought for as low as $7), and about 15 minutes of quiet time for each site. To test a site, you simply browse the contents or follow a specific set of browsing instructions given, and talk about works or doesn’t work for you as a test “consumer”. A very sweet deal considering how difficult the economy is these days, and no one can sneeze at a few easy bucks.

Don’t run out and quit your day job, though. Because User Testing has some pretty big downfalls to their setup. While they do limit the number of testers they allow to sign up, that number is still too large, and assignments are on a first come, first serve basis. So if you manage to even get the option to test a site, you must be at your computer when it becomes available or very quickly after in order to snatch it up before someone else does. They really do get claimed within moments of being posted most times. A decent month will probably yield 10 completed tests, giving you $100.

I’ve been a tester for for about three months now, and my best month gave me about 21 offers, with only 10 I was able to claim and complete. January seems to be a slow month for (so far), with only four offers and none I have been able to get to in time to claim. This is all not because I spend little time on the computer, either. Considering that I work full time on the internet now and I always have open in the background.

User Testing opportunities are sent to the email address you use to sign up for the site, and payments are sent via PayPal 7 days after the test is completed. This 7 day window gives the site designer(s) time to review your test video and decide whether it’s acceptable. It is very rare that a client will reject your test, but you still need to be aware of the rating system available. gives clients the ability to rate your test video on a scale of 1 – 5 stars depending on how well they think you did. The factors that most often affect this rating are whether you followed all given instructions for the test, the clarity of your speech, whether you did speak, and sometimes whether you met the basic requirements before accepting a job. For example, if a site is made specifically for mothers and it states that you MUST be a mother or expectant mother to claim the job, then be sure you pay attention to that. If you are a 19 year old male and decide to claim the assignment, it will be rejected. If you’re a 32 year old female who has never been a mother and plans to never be, it might be taken, but you will receive a very low rating. The higher your rating, the more likely it is you will be offered opportunities from User Testing in the future. Be aware of this whenever you decide to accept a job.

Even with the few pitfalls of the site, is a great way to make some easy spending money, and can be kind of fun once you start doing the tests. Imagine someone genuinely paying you for your opinion with no strings attached! I would definitely recommend that everyone check the site out and see if there are openings for testers. I’ll probably see you over there!


Anger, Addiction: Genes, Environment Influence Behavior

Donald Hebb likened the nature vs nurture issue to the question of whether a rectangle’s length or width was more significant. His point had been that genes and environment are the two forces of which all humans are unceasingly exposed, the influence of both are reflected in human behavior. As the three following examples will show, like all others, unorthodox behavior cannot function without the proper gene in conjunction with the proper environment, just as a rectangle’s specified area cannot occur without a certain length and width.

One study which found that anger reflected genetics and environment was conducted by the University of Pittsburgh, which found evidence for anger’s genetic marker. With a study concerning 550 unrelated European women, researchers concluded women with one or more variations in serotonin receptors scored a higher index of anger on multiple anger tests. More simply, during a given situation, women with these specific genes are more likely to become angered. Thus, while their genetics cause them to become more angry than a woman with typical serotonin receptor, as found in the majority of individual’s gene pools, a certain environment, whether it be stressful, hectic, and so forth, is still required.

Another study demonstrating genetics and environment working together was reported by BBC, which followed King’s College in London, where the cause of aggression in men were studied. Researchers identified a gene which controls monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), an enzyme which breaks down chemicals that would otherwise cause aggression. Accordingly, a higher level of MAOA will more proficiently eliminate chemicals causing anger than a lower level. Just so, from the over 400 males studied, researchers found that males with higher levels of enzymes were less likely to commit acts of anger than males with lower levels. However, the study also specified that environment played a huge role in shaping a man’s degree of aggressive behavior. For example, a man with a low amount of enzymes was more likely to commit aggressive behavior if he had been maltreated as a child. Here the study indicates that the enzyme and environment work together in shaping an individual male’s behavior.

Furthermore, addictive behavior may demonstrate genetics and environment working in conjunction. As David E Comings M.D. explains, genetic traits will cause a person to be more prone to addictive behavior. Thus, a person constantly seeking to repeat some action, whether it be smoking a cigarette or gambling, may be simply following the demands of an addictive gene. Though, this gene is much less effective in an environment which does not facilitate addictive actions. For example, a person with an addictive gene may be reared in a disciplined home in which addictive behavior is not tolerated. In this setting, a child may be conditioned to ignore his addictive desires and to behave contrary to their addictive gene’s demands. Thus, the proper setting is necessary for the specific addictive genes to take effect.

Though environment may seem indeterminate and therefore different from genetics, which have a higher reputation for being final, an individual may only alter his environment to the degree his genes allow. For example, a delinquent may change his surroundings in order to change himself. He may remove himself from a setting that facilitates crime or perversion and pursue ethical friends, this in turn influencing his own good behavior. However, he first requires the genes which allows him to change his setting. Genetics and environment are both inescapable, and as they both dictate our lives, there can logically be no such thing as free will.


Album Review: Hey, Hey Pioneers by Farewell Continental

In the four albums he’s released with Motion City Soundtrack, Justin Pierre has shown a talent for creating pop rock with an earnest emotional punch. Their last album, My Dinosaur Life, featured confessional lyrics that pushed the band to a higher tier than many of the pop punk groups they’re lumped with.

This year has seen the release of the first full length album by his other band, Farewell Continental. Though Hey, Hey Pioneers has a fuzzier, crunchier sound than MCS, its songs have the same mix of well crafted hooks and lyrics. Even if Pierre isn’t probing as deep into his insecurities this time, nothing sounds false or empty.

One of the album’s highlights is his shared vocal duties with Kari Gray. It’s a case of the male perspective being enhanced by the female counterpoint. Many of the best songs are a conversation (or argument) between the two. One of the best examples of this is “New Tile Floor” where they dissect a crumbling relationship. On “The Greatest of All Time” they tell a story about a couple separated by war. It involves him not making it back before she moves on, his injury, and reality slipping away. In less talented hands the end result would’ve been a song loathed by anyone past their teenage years. In theirs, it comes off as immediate and genuine.

Though one could make the criticism the band’s sound is too backwards looking, which they address head on with “Radio, Radio: Are You Getting This,” I don’t know that it’s such a bad thing. If you’re going to use sounds from the recent past, you could do worse than the Weezer/Pavement era of the nineties.

Given the rushed nature of the group’s work, the album doesn’t come off as a hurried side project. It sounds like the work of a dedicated band looking to make their mark. Sometimes music can suffer from being overworked. It’s why the work you do in your garage can shine brighter than what you produce in a top-line studio. At the same time, no one wants to hear something half-finished. It’s a testament to the band’s talent that they can walk the tightrope.

At the end of the day, Farewell Continental is delivering better music than many other, more lauded groups. Hey, Hey Pioneers is an album with real resonance. It’s worth seeking out.


Alternative Joint Pain Relief: Herb and Deep Breathing Basics

Alternative pain relief options have become far more mainstream in the last several years. I know that I personally do not want to be a slave to pharmaceuticals for the rest of my life. Yet, when pain interferes with quality of life, I need something to calm it down so that I can get things done.

It is important to note that just because something is more natural does not make it completely safe. Natural remedies can be effective for many people, but, like prescription medications, not all natural methods are going to work for everyone. It is critical that you talk to your doctor before starting an alternative remedy regimen. I have had a few bad experiences and know that natural does not equal safe.

Using Herbal Remedies

Prescription medications are not an option for everyone, so some will seek out alternative pain relief in the form of herbs. Keep in mind that while herbs are natural, this does not necessarily mean they are safe or right for you. Always talk to your doctor before using any herbs.

Arthritis pain stems from inflammation. When looking for an herb for this kind of pain, it is important to find one that can fight inflammation, such as capsaicin, the Mayo Clinic reports. This is one that I personally use when my joints become particularly painful. It can be found in a cream form and applied directly to the painful area. This is the way I prefer to use it.

Aquamin is another herb that I personally use for pain. I take the capsule form in a dose that was recommended by my doctor. Your doctor will help you formulate the best dose for you. This is something I take for stiffness in my joints. I take this once a day, every day. I treat it like any medication and take it on a set schedule. According to a study in Nutrition Journal, this type of seaweed is said to be helpful in combating inflammation, especially in my shoulder and wrist joints.

Deep Breathing and Meditation

I have been doing a lot of deep breathing and meditation in the last several years as an alternative pain relief method. I personally do this when my pain gets really bad, but some people will do it every day as a way to stay ahead of their pain. How you choose to do it is completely up to you. Doing these two together is how my doctor taught me. Both are relaxation techniques that are easy to do simultaneously.

What I find interesting about this is that it centers me and allows me to take my mind off my pain. I talked this over with my doctor, as I do all things, and he also found this interesting. I have used deep breathing after breaking bones, for a fractured hip and for times when chronic pain happens to be worse than it normally is.

I find a comfortable position, which for me is usually lying on my back on my bed, with a pillow below my knees and my head slightly elevated. I begin by getting myself in a meditative state. I personally think of things that relax me, but there are other techniques that can be used. I then take very deep and slow breaths. I begin by slowly inhaling until my lungs are completely full and then I slowly exhale. I usually do this deep breathing and meditation combination for about 15 minutes, but you can do it longer or shorter depending on what you need.


5 Fabulous Fun Vacation Destinations in Texas

With the economy the way it is cheaper vacation destinations are looking more and more inviting. The Lone Star state is full of great family fun getaways. This article will give you 5 fun vacation ideas in the state Texas.

San Antonio

San Antonio is a great destination for a fun filled vacation. There is the Riverwalk with the famed boat ride down the river and great eating places throughout. There is also Fiesta Texas. Fiesta Texas is a huge theme park with awesome roller coasters and much more. You can find Sea World in San Antonio too. Sea World has a great water park and cool marine shows featuring Shamu, the whale. Schlitterbahn Waterpark is located in New Braunfels which is a short drive from San Antonio. There is 3 miles of tubing you can do and it is home to the first artificial wave machine. San Antonio is jam packed with loads to do for the whole family. You don’t want to miss seeing the Alamo while you are there too.

Dallas/Ft. Worth

Dallas and Ft. Worth are both great family destinations for a vacation. In Dallas there is the American Airlines Center which always has fun concerts and programs going on. You can catch the Dancing With The Stars contestants there when they are touring. You can also catch some great ice skating shows and awesome concerts. Dallas is also home to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Sixty-six acres of beautiful woods and manicured lawns. Great place for a family picnic. Not far from Dallas, in Arlington, is the ballpark and the new Texas Stadium. You will also find Six Flags over Texas and Hurricane Harbor Waterpark. You can also take in the sites and all the animals at the Dallas Zoo. There is also Fair Park which is home to the State Fair of Texas that goes on in October. You can ride the world famous ferris wheel while your there. In Ft. Worth there is the famous Stockyards. You can catch a rodeo there every weekend. Once a year is the Will Rogers Stockyard Rodeo in the Will Rogers Coliseum. You can also visit the Cowboy Hall of Fame in the Stockyards District. Ft. Worth is also home to the great Ft. Worth Zoo. For a night out on the town you can go to the world famous, and largest, honky tonk, Billy Bob’s Texas.

South Padre Island

If you are looking for a great beach vacation then head to South Padre Island. There are great beaches, restaurants and shopping. You can go sailing, lay out on the beach or you can even go snorkeling. There is something to do and enjoy for the whole family. In South Padre Island you will find live music and fireworks every Friday night in the summer. While there you can golf, go sailing and even horseback riding. If for some reason you get bored, highly unlikely, Mexico is only minutes away!


Austin, Texas is the home of the State Capitol. It is also one of the country’s Music Capitols. You can book your vacation in September and attend the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Austin is also home to great museums. You can check out the Jack S.Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin. The Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library is a great stop too. The Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library is the most visited presidential library in the nation. It has an awesome replica of the Oval Office. While you are in Austin you can check out one of the many lakes.There is Lake Travis, Lake Austin and Town Lake, to just name a few. You can scuba dive, go sailing and even canoeing. Austin has great eateries at every corner as well. You also may want to check out Dinosaur Park.

South Texas

South Texas has lots of fun and family activities you can do. Check out Big Bend Natural Park. Big Bend has rivers, mountains and desert all rolled into one. There are numerous campgrounds and rv parks for those wishing to enjoy the outdoors more. You can go hiking and bird watching. Take a nice walk among their many trails. You can also take a nice drive around the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. You can take in the Chihuahuan Desert and this drive leads you to the great Rio Grande.

You don’t have to go far to have a fabulous vacation with your family. Fun is right around the corner!



5 Basic Steps for Troubleshooting Any Computer Problems

I have been troubleshooting computers for most of my life. I went from fixing the family computer, to fixing my own computer, to building myself a new computer to fixing other peoples computers. So I think its fair to say I’ve encountered a fair amount of computer problems. There are still new problems popping up every day, and even someone who has been working in the computer field for a long time will encounter problems that they have never seen before (some might not admit it, though). So its good for anyone who works with computers to learn how to troubleshoot.

While I cannot impart my entire knowledge of troubleshooting on you in this one post, I can still give you an insight into how I go about troubleshoot computer problems. I have broken the basics of computer troubleshooting into five steps, to give you an understanding of the process being used. This can be used as a basic guide that you can follow for anything problem a computer can throw at you.

Most professionals will tell you that five steps do not even come close to explaining the entire troubleshooting process, and they are (mostly) right. But I am not teaching you how to troubleshoot computers on a professional level, rather I am showing you how the troubleshooting process works so as you learn, you can develop your own troubleshooting method.

1. Identify The Problem

Now you might think that this is an obvious step but sometimes it is overlooked or not done properly. First off, you break the problem into one of two categories, either Hardware or Software. This is done by eliminating all possible causes of one section then the other or simply figuring out what an error message says. So an error message with a path to a program file is probably a software problem, while numerous beeps emitting from your computer during the POST is probably a hardware problem.

Note: if the error message gives you some sort of code, copy that down then google it, or put it in a post on a forum asking for help.

Next you break it down further. If it is a software problem, identify the program and all possible causes that might be interfering with this program such as recently installed software, or other programs running at the same time that do the same thing as the program having (or creating) problems. If it is a hardware problem, attempt to isolate the issue by removing all peripherals one at a time and checking all of your hardware for any signs of damage, disconnected/frayed wires, or anything out of the ordinary.

2. Make A Plan

So you think you have identified the problem. You probably have, but remember, these problems might not be so straightforward as they seem. You want to create a plan on how you are going to fix it. For a simple computer problem, it can just be a little game plan in you head nothing fancy. Make a list of your possible causes and solutions to fix them. Then think ahead, and figure out what to do if those solutions fail. Or if other problems arise.

3. Prepare Your Arsenal

You have a list of probable causes and possible solutions, so now you need to gather the tools and programs you are going to use to fix this problem. If you do not do this often, you will probably have to go around downloading all the tools you need. Many people who do this often usually carry around a USB flash drive with various tools, programs and sometimes even a couple of operating systems. Some of my favorite tools are Hijack This , Defraggler , Ccleaner and Malwarebytes. I usually like to have a linux OS on my flash drive as well, either Backtrack or a rescue OS. Don’t forget to include anti-virus software if there isn’t one already on the computer. Remember, system utilities are still a vital part of any troubleshooting process.

4. Attack!

Everything is now setup, you are ready to start the process of rescuing your computer. get to it!

Remember: go slowly and make sure you are doing everything correctly.
5. Double Check

So now that you have removed all the problems on your system, you should now make sure everything works correctly. Restart several times while checking to make sure anything and everything is working properly. Sometimes you might encounter a problem that you think you’ve fixed only to realized you broke something else in the process. Open all the programs you normally use, and keep your eyes open for any weird behavior or signs of another problem.

There you go, the basic troubleshooting process that I use for fixing computer problems. I hope this aids you in understanding how computers work.


A Book Review of Escape from Bellevue by Christopher John Campion

I do not do many book reviews. Actually, I think that this one is my very first. That being said, I did pick an interesting choice. This one is a well written memoir from the singer of the New York indie rock band the Knockout Drops. I really did like this book and it moved me to tears. I just had to write about it, being the good music lover that I am. I also worked in healthcare for many years and have seen lots of drama, trauma and stuff. This book is worthy of your attention.

Meet Christopher John Campion. Rhymes with we are the champions. And he is, truly. This book describes Chris and his trip through life, his band, his friends, his battle and journey with alcohol and drugs and much humor. Yes, there is sadness, too. But, Chris can write and he does an excellent job of putting all of his thoughts, feelings, memories, happiness and tragedies into this amazing book. From drinking, drugging, love, parental issues, family alcoholism, rodeo clowns, what a story, lots of music and many other things, this book swept me away and was an interesting page turner. I feel wiser from reading this book and that is always a beautiful thing.

Yes, Chris even got to visit Bellevue, one of New York’s most famous mental facilities. Three times. Well, maybe two and half, since he escaped one time. Did you know he was the first patient to actually escape from Bellevue since 1963? Wow. So he says. He was not quite ready and I can understand. Chris is a talented wonder. He sings well, writes amazing song lyrics and totally captured my heart and my support. I had never heard of the Knockout Drops before reading this book. They have opened for great bands like Soul Asylum and Violent Femmes. They have their own unique sound and that is a good thing, in my opinion. Unfortunately, Maverick records did not agree and that is another well told story in this cool book. While not the most radio friendly, this band is talented. Chris is a star and many will agree with me. If you have glimpsed and heard his talent. Check out the song titled wrong side of love and I bet you will be smitten. I was. The video is so good.

This book delivers humor, true stories of a New Yorker who happens to be a singer, a good one, and travels down many good and bad roads. Into dive bars, concerts and venues. On tour, place to place and for a time, sometimes ending with disappointment. Well, Chris had his most magical moments too and he shares them with us in such a brutally honest style, it is endearing. From the heart and soul. Who could ask more? Chris’s story has a good ending and I do not think that is a spoiler, just a nice thing. For those that have drug addictions, alcoholism and musicians in their family or group of friends and are worried what the future might bring for them, you need to read this book. It is the real deal.

Wether you may question your religion, your family or yourself, this book brings a unique perspective to the table from the raw reality. I feel it has something special for all that read it. Hope, faith, pain, love, struggle and why we all wake up everyday. Because tomorrow is there just for us, if we are lucky enough to be there. I am very glad that Chris is there and he can only get better. This creative man brought me to tears with the last few pages of this book. I did tear up at other parts. I also laughed and discovered bands that I had never heard of before. Like the Bogmen. Chris’s little brother fronts this band. Anyway, what a book. Wow! I rate this book five stars out of five stars. It delivered a spectacular roller coaster ride of a true story. It is worthy. This story is also now a hit rock musical. I wish Chris and his band much success and I thank him here for writing an inspiring and entertaining story. Well done. I enjoyed the journey. It was unforgettable. This band is on the VH1’s website.


Are You an Ugly American?

A question circulating throughout the news media today is: “Why do so many foreigners hate Americans?” The simple answer to that question from one who knows is, they don’t.

I spent around fourteen years overseas with the US military in more countries than you can shake a stick at. During this entire time I encountered very few instances of down right hatred. Things may have changed somewhat since I retired but I do not believe they could have changed that much.

Attitude has a lot to do with being accepted in any society, foreign or otherwise, and far too many Americans travel abroad with an improper attitude.

I have personally witnessed American tourists being obnoxious and arrogant with local nationals. I have heard them shout such obscenities as, “You stupid Kraut!” or you ignorant Frog!” “Why can’t you speak English you dumb Wop!” I have also heard and witnessed – much worse.

Too many Americans fail to understand that when they are in a foreign country it is their responsibility to adapt to the language, culture and customs of that country, not the other way around.

For example, why should a Frenchman be required to speak English in order to help you when you’ve made no visible effort to learn the slightest bit of French?

Fortunately for we Americans, more foreign nationals speak English than there are Americans who do.
My first encounter with foreign nationals was many years ago in the small town of Orleans France. I could not speak French and knew almost nothing about French customs and culture, except for what I had read in historical novels.

One of the first locals I met was a Catholic priest who spoke very little English. We got to know each other through Latin. I had studied Latin in school and the priest knew Ecclesiastical Latin and we managed to get along quite well in this supposedly dead language. My American buddies and the French nationals passing by didn’t understand a word we said but the priest and I, as the euphemism goes, really connected.

The priest, who also taught college at a private school and was highly respected throughout the city, took me under his wing and introduced me to many local people, many who spoke English and several families with very attractive young daughters my age.

Had I not gone out of my way to learn their customs and language, I am certain I would have been seen as just another American GI on the prowl for easy fun and mischief – and more.

As it was, I was blessed to learn the wonders of French culture, history, language and society. A culture I love even to this day.

Consequently, I carried that positive and adaptable attitude over to the other countries in which I was later stationed and always managed to make friends wherever I went. The world is unique and a writer can learn so much if he or she thinks of other countries and cultures as new neighbors.

There will always be a small percentage of foreign nationals who do not like Americans because of envy, jealousy, misunderstandings, or due to a difference in political ideology or religious beliefs, but we must never add to that hatred by being the proverbial ugly American that some have dubbed us.

We must do unto others, as we would have them do unto us even if there is a communications barrier. Good deeds and courtesy will overcome any barrier.

We must never forget that anytime we are outside our own country we are, in effect, American Ambassadors.

It takes little effort to be courteous and friendly, but it takes tremendous effort to overcome prejudices left by “Ugly Americans.”


5 Wonderful Gifts Divorced Parents Can Give Their Children

Getting divorced is never easy, no matter what the circumstances. It is even more difficult when there are children involved. Perhaps the circumstances that lead to the divorce were bitter and angry. You cannot simply sever ties with your children’s other parent once the divorce is final. You must continue to have a relationship with that person. Here are five wonderful gifts divorced parents can give to their children to help them adjust to the divorce.

1. Love your children more than you hate your ex. It is difficult to co-parent with someone you cannot get along with and it is easy to hold resentment toward your ex, either for perceived wrongs, or for doing something that you feel goes against your own parenting philosophy. Knee-jerk reactions are often to lash out at the ex and do whatever is humanly possible to make their life difficult and whatever might allow you to get in some sort of dig. Do not do this. You must love your children more than you hate your ex. This may often mean biting your tongue until it bleeds. This may mean giving in and allowing your ex to have his/her way, all for the sake of keeping the peace and to allow your children to have the best possible relationship with their other parent. You might hate your children’s other parent, but that person is still Mom or Dad to your children, and so they will always love that person regardless of their shortcomings.

2. Never talk bad about your child’s other parent to them or within their hearing. While it may be hurtful for the other parent to hear about these things being said about him/her, no one is hurt more than the children are. Even if you believe the other parent deserves every last distasteful thing you say or allow others to say in their presence, I guarantee it will come back to bite you. Children are not dumb. They can see each parent’s virtues and flaws and they do not need either parent to point out the flaws of the other parent. They are not blind. All this does is create a breeding ground for resentment. As your children grow older, they will understand more and more that they may not understand today. Make sure that as they begin to understand, that they will grow up to be proud of the example you have set by the way you have treated their other parent, and by the things you have said and left unsaid in your children’s presence.

3. Get over it. Your marriage is over. Yes, it is entirely possible that the two of you might hate one another. You both may have ample reasons that are completely justified. Maybe your ex cheated during the marriage. Maybe you did. Maybe one of you had an addiction or squandered money. It no longer matters. You are divorced. Right now, the most important thing for you to do is work as a team to raise these children to be productive adults in society. Regardless of how it may seem to you, your ex’s bad behavior has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with their own feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness, and their own insecurities. It has nothing to do with you. Do not engage in bad behavior. Don’t even acknowledge it. If your ex behaves badly, shrug it off, pretend you didn’t see it and address only the pertinent issues. Pertinent issues do not include defending yourself against your ex’s accusation that your new mate is more important than your children are. Address only the facts. If you are unable to have a civil conversation in person or on the phone, do it via email ‘” which also provides a “paper trail” and permanent record of things said and done if you save all emails exchanged. However, never behave in a manner that you would not want a judge to witness because if you ever go back to court, I guarantee your ex will pounce on the chance to paint you in the most negative light possible, and if you have lost your cool, he or she will have that record. I learned this the hard way. These kinds of things harm your credibility with the judge. It becomes difficult to prove you are making a valid argument to the court when you have been so hateful and contemptuous in your emails.

4. Support the other parent’s parenting. This may be one of the most difficult things you might have to do. If your children come home to you after a visit with the other parent and describe how the other parent force feeds them vegetables with each meal when that is something that is not important in your own house, or if your children claim that the other parent makes them go to bed at eight o’clock when you allow them to stay up until ten, it is easy to criticize the other parent’s parenting choices and skills. If their parenting choices don’t mirror our own, it must not be the right thing, right? Wrong. Just because your children’s other parent’s philosophies and rules do not mirror your own rules does not mean that one of you is right and the other one is wrong. It just means that you parent differently. Unless your children are describing abuse, you should still support the other parent’s rules even if those rules are not enforced in your own home. Tell your children that there are different rules at mom’s house and at dad’s house. When you’re at mom’s house, it is important to abide by mom’s rules. When you are at dad’s house, it is important to abide by dad’s rules. If they complain, “But you never make us get up at six in the morning when there isn’t any school,” agree with them that they are correct, but also remind them that apparently this is an expectation at their other parent’s house and they must respect their other parent and his/her rules when they are at that parent’s house. Kids are programmed to divide and conquer. It is important that even if your relationship with your ex-spouse is adversarial, you must present a united front to your children or they will manipulate the weaknesses in your relationship and will exploit those weaknesses to their advantage.

5. Love your children more than you hate your ex. This is so important that it begs to be repeated more than once. Do what is best for your children at all times, even if it tears you up inside. Your children should always come first. Your children’s well-being should always come first. Recently my ex approached me about keeping my kids an extra night because he claimed to be working and could not pick the kids up when he was scheduled to pick them up. I knew there was more to his story than what he was sharing. He lives with his parents, and most of the time it feels as though I share more custody with his parents than I do with him. Our oldest daughter also had a summer practice for an activity she is involved with. It would have been easy for me to tell him I could not help him out which would have forced him to either miss work, or would have otherwise created some difficulty in his life. And believe me, it was mighty tempting! I believed I was being used as a babysitter and for no other reason. However, my children came first. Add to that, I gained some additional time with my kids in the process. I kept my kids an additional night, got our daughter to practice and life stayed pleasant for all. I later learned from my children that apparently my ex had gotten into an argument with his mother and his mother had dug her heels in and refused to pick the kids up and get our daughter to practice. She apparently had refused to make two trips out to the town where I live, the same town where our children go to school. The end result was that I did them both a favor, however I did it because I love my children and because despite my differences with their father, they will always come first. If there is an activity that they are involved with, no matter what the inconvenience, I will play “taxi” and cart them wherever they need to go. That is all part of being a good parent, in my opinion. My relationship with my children is a very close one and they share quite a bit with me. In return, I always strive to only behave in ways that will not make it difficult to look them in the eye as they grow older and begin to understand more about the relationship I have with their father. This has not always been the case. I used to behave just as childishly as I often criticize others for behaving. However, in the past year I have done my best to completely turn that around. My children will always come first no matter how much I might despise or resent my ex. He is still their father, and they will always love him. Therefore it is important that I always behave in a manner with my children that is always respectful toward him.


A Human Prayer

Dear Father, I have lost my way;

Become blind in the truth of day.

I find no words that I can say

Even as I kneel down to pray.

My heart is burdened with my sin.

I beg for mercy once again.

Is there a place I can begin

To find the peace I need within?

What are these errors that I make

That worry me and make me quake?

What makes me falter in your wake

With all of humankind’s mistake.

I see the shadow of the cross

There to remind me of true loss.

Must I remain in tempest’s toss

Just to remind me who is boss?

Why is the path obscured with dust?

Why can I find no one to trust?

Is this punishment something just

For not becoming what I must?

Your mercy, Lord, I ask of you

For it is known to be true blue.

Please take whatever is now due

And turn me into something new.

Show me the way to walk in light;

To serve you with all of my might.

Use me to help turn all things right.

This child now waits your chosen plight.


American-Friendly Foreign Cities Best for Living, Work or Play

The French love to stay at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel Casino in the USA. Chinese from Hong Kong and Beijing enjoy the ambience and haunts of the “Chinatowns” of New York and San Francisco. Even people from Mexico feel the tug and pull of Los Angeles, California that is sometimes labeled the second largest Mexican City in the world. Language, food and familiarity give tourists, job-seekers and immigrants a sense of welcome and security in the middle of a foreign environment. People feel safe and comfortable while being able to explore something new and exciting!

How about Americans traveling, touring or wanting to live or work abroad? What are the best foreign cities that can cater to both adventure and the least jarring adjustments, in terms of language, culture, food and customs? Even road symbols and signs for toilets and stores make a difference. The following short list includes cities which are American-friendly and where English is readily spoken and understood and may even be one of the official languages!

Singapore, Singapore:

This great international city that is a whole country offers cutting-edge technological, environmental and social innovations that allow its 5 million residents to enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world. A financial, manufacturing and transportation hub of Southeast Asia with a Gross Domestic Product of $223 Billion in 2010 (Singapore Department of Statistics @, Singapore has been an international employment mecca for highly skilled professionals in banking, finance, logistics, publishing and construction. Even during the global recession, there has been a labor shortage. English is the language of business, government and media.

Now Singapore is becoming an entertainment destination to the 2 Billion + and ever wealthier Asian markets of China, Indonesia, Malaysia and even India as 2 new casino resorts in 2011 (gaming offered for the first time in its history) are added to a world-class “night safari” zoo, botanical and rain forest preserves, and unique tourist sites in every corner of the city including Sentosa Island. Even Americans can adjust to “left-side” British style driving in a very orderly, clean and polite society. Food is incredibly fresh and varied!

London, England:

“Cheers guvnor!” They may not sound American but accents of Cockney, Oxford English and the King’s Speech are spoken here in one of the great financial and cultural centers of the world. Those with professional and technical skills can vie with the locals for good jobs that were once plentiful and are poised to recover beyond 2011 in finance, insurance, media and management. Even vocational and manual skills such as plumbing, gardening and general maintenance and repair can secure sources of income in this city of 8 million people. Just be careful driving and walking, even if there are clear English signs on posts and the pavement. “They” drive on the “wrong” side of the street!

London offers Americans a sense and feel for their history with not only exposure to Shakespeare, Nelson, Churchill and the British royalty, but also a connection to the Anglo-American “special” relationship with a shared language, customs and world view. Plus crossing the Pond from the U.S. East Coast to Britain is fast and cheap!

Vancouver, Canada:

English is supposed to be a second language, but Vancouver could be mistaken for Seattle or San Francisco with its Americanized Starbucks culture, mild climate, green surroundings and even Stanley Park (that rivals New York’s Central Park and S.F.’s Golden Gate Park as one of greatest urban parks in the world). Visitors can actually drive from America to Vancouver, British Columbia that has American driving rules not British!

Competition for jobs in Vancouver is comparable to Western cities and British Columbia real estate was also driven way up and then down from the pressures of the property booms and busts of its U.S. cousins to the south. Vancouver has big city amenities with much less traffic as similarly-sized U.S. cities and there is a vibrant international community from Asia, Europe and South America.

Manila, Philippines:

English or “Taglish” (combination of Tagalog and English) is the unofficial language of business and government in this one-time American colonial city where even if names have been converted from famous Americans to famous Filipinos, any talented American or foreigner can expect to function and thrive in a hot bustling (traffic, squalor, urban pollution, people and more traffic) metropolis of 15 million people with pockets of wealth and extreme poverty. “American” right driving is observed even if not the traffic rules with signs that are mostly in English or international symbols. Retaining a great deal of American customs, the government structure was once a near carbon copy of the U.S. political system!

There is a large international community with around one hundred foreign embassies and subsidiaries of global multinationals that can offer jobs and opportunities for English-speakers with American and global connections. Although the large U.S. military bases of Clark, Subic and Mactan are no longer present, there are many retired American expatriates who were introduced to the Philippines through the military or multinational companies and who now live comfortable lives with servants and dollar pensions.

Honolulu, Hawaii:

Sure, Honolulu IS an American city but it is overseas and from some U.S. cities is some 10 hours and an ocean away in the tropics. Choosing to visit or relocate in Honolulu, a city of about a million population, is analogous to real Parisians going to Paris Resort in Las Vegas: a different climate with different people but where you can eat, talk, drive and (hopefully work if desired) just like home! Beaches, tans and slower-pace living are just extra bonuses!

Honolulu could be a launching point for places in Asia as Westerners acclimate themselves to tropical conditions in a warming world and gain daily experience with Asian cuisines and different peoples and cultures. A good strategy would be to learn a foreign language especially Mandarin and be prepared to go to a foreign location where English abilities can be combined with valuable work skills and education to land a good job or find business opportunities!


A Profile of Frank Viola's Baseball Career

The Minnesota Twins drafted left-handed pitcher Frank Viola in the second round of the 1981 amateur draft. He quickly moved his way through the minors and made his major league debut less than a year after being drafted. In his first big league appearance on June 6, 1982 he lasted just 4 1/3 innings and allowed three runs as the Twins lost 7-5 to the Baltimore Orioles. He pitched to mixed results over the next two season before enjoying his breakout season in 1984 when he posted an 18-12 record with a 3.21 ERA. It would be the first of five straight winning seasons for Viola.

In 1987 he led the Twins to their fist World Series Championship as their staff ace. He finished the regular season with a 17-10 record and than posted a 3-1 record during the postseason. He was the winning pitcher during the decisive game 7 of the World Series and was named the MVP of the series.

1988 would be Viola’s best season of his career. He led the league with 24 victories and posted a career best 2.64 ERA and was named the American League’s Cy Young Award winner.

After starting the 1989 season 8-12 Viola was traded to the New York Mets at the trading deadline. With the Mets Viola finished the season 5-5. The highlight of his first season with the Mets occurred on August 28 when he faced off against Orel Hershiser of the Dodgers in the first game in baseball history to feature two defending Cy Young Award winners. Viola out pitched Hershiser throwing a complete game three hit shutout as the Mets won 1-0

In 1990 Viola started out the season 6-2 and finished with a 20-12 record. He led the National League in innings pitched with 249 2/3 innings and finished fourth in the league with a 2.67 ERA. Viola continued his strong pitching over the first half of 1991 starting the season with an 11-5 record but as the Mets collapsed during the second half of the season so did Viola. He lost ten of his final twelve decisions to finish the season with a 13-15 record and 3.97 ERA.

Frank Viola became a free agent following the 1991 season and signed with the Boston Red Sox. Over the next two seasons with Boston he won 24 and lost 20 before injuries began to take their toll on his career. After just six starts in 1994 Viola underwent Tommy John surgery which effectively ended his career.

Viola signed with the Cincinnati Reds for the 1995 season but lasted just three games before being released, at the time his record was 0-1 with a 6.28 ERA. He attempted a comeback in 1996 with the Toronto Blue Jays but was once again released in the middle of the season. In six appearances with the Blue Jays he went 1-3 with a 7.71 ERA.

Viola called it quits following his release from the Blue Jays. He finished his career with a 176-150 record and 3.73 ERA.

 source –


Activites for Children to Do on Father's Day at Church

Father’s Day is a special time of year when children can celebrate their dad and why they love him. Help your church’s children create crafts or provide special services during Sunday school or as part of the Father’s Day church service.

One idea is to have each child write a poem for his dad. Children will write about their favorite activities, qualities and reasons that they love their dad. Then the children will read the poems to their dads after church. You also can have the children read the poems during church service aloud too.

Another fun idea to do is to assign the church choir director to find a song for children to sing to their fathers. Set aside time for children to practice the song for a few weeks, and then on the day of the special performance, the fathers can come forward to listen to the children. It is sure to bring a smile to all of the dads’ faces.

Gather some construction paper, glitter, markers, paint, and a special portrait of a child and their father together. Use the supplies for the children to create a Father’s Day card that include a favorite picture of themselves with their dad. Inside the cards, children can draw pictures or write a note to their dads.

To add a little drama for church service, organize a mini play for children to perform for their fathers. It can be a play about why fathers are important and what roles they play in the lives of children. Assign each child to have a few lines to say about what makes a dad special. Lunch may be served during or after the play.

One last idea is to set aside a special time after church service for Father’s day games. For inside games, include bingo, crossword puzzles, word searches, or word scramblers. Let the children team up with their fathers and award prizes for those who get finished first. To celebrate with outside games, fathers and their children can have sack races, basketball contests, and egg tosses. Have prizes for everyone who participated.

There are a variety of ways that Father’s day can be celebrated at church. With plenty of craft activity ideas, games, and many young creative minds put together, you can make it a special day for dad to remember. When children can get a chance to be in the spotlight, create things with paper, and express their love to those who are important to them, it will be a joyous occasion.


Applying Economics: Three Reasons Why International Trade is Necessary

Every day the world is growing closer and closer together. Countries rely on one another for resources that they don’t have available to them otherwise. Because of this, they must trade with one another to get what they need. This allows companies to expand into new markets all across the world. International trade is necessary for three main reasons: it allows countries to get new ideas from one another, it allows countries to resources that they need, and it reduces the risk of an economic collapse.

International trade allows countries to learn from each other and take in new ideas. While one country might be focused on developing one type of product, another maybe focusing on completely different subject. Together, they can share their ideas, benefiting both of the economies for both countries. For example, Japan tends to be ahead of the field in consumer electronics. Countries like the United States can directly purchase goods from them, as well as learn about the new technology is being discovered on the other side of the world.

Another key reason why international trade is needed between countries is because resources that country needs are not available everywhere. For example, the United States imports lots of oil from countries in other continents. Resources do not have to be material goods, but can also be labor related as well. Lots of companies take their factories overseas because labor tends to be much cheaper over there. Because of this, they are able to produce their products for a much lower cost, increasing their profitability. This helps both the company producing the products as it lowers their cost, but also helps the people doing the labor, as it provides a place of employment for them.

Yet another reason why global international trade is necessary is that it reduces the risk for one economy. If one economy has to deal with everything, and if it ever collapses, the country will fall apart. By trading internationally, countries rely on one another and it creates a balance amongst them. If one country’s economy is doing very well, then the economies of other countries that trade with it tend to be doing well also. If a country falls on hard times, but other countries might also suffer. An example of this is the current credit situation the United States. Countries around the world were affected by the credit problem because a lot of them loaned money to other countries.


Al Luplow - His New York Mets Career 1966-1967

After spending five seasons with the Cleveland Indians outfielder Al Luplow was sold to the New York Mets on November 29, 1965. He made his Met debut on April 16, 1966 as a defensive replacement. He would spend the first couple of months of the 66 season serving primarily as a pinch hitter before becoming a mainstay in the Met outfield in June.

Luplow appeared in 111 games for the Mets in 1966, playing all three outfield positions, and hit a respectable .251 with 7 home runs and 31 RBIs. The highlight of his season came on September 17 when he hit two home runs and drove in three runs against the San Francisco Giants. Unfortunately his heroics were not enough as the Mets lost the game 6-4.

Al Luplow returned to the Mets for the 1967 season but struggled at the plate and with his average at just .205 was sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 21, 1967. He finished out the season with the Pirates before retiring.

In two seasons with the Mets Luplow appeared in 152 games and batted .240 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs.


A Few Tips and Tricks in Making a U-turn

Every driver has done a U-turn at some points in his/her driving life. It does seem very simple to do however; it really takes some skill to do a U-turn especially in different traffic situations. My personal rule here is to be beside the center lane as much as possible until I complete the turn. Let me share some tips on how to effectively navigate a U-turn.

One of the most dangerous aspects of the U-turn is when you complete the turn on the other lane. If there are incoming vehicles especially if you’re on a highway, if you U-turn too widely, you can hit incoming vehicles or vice versa.

One a two-way road with singles lanes for both traffic, this proves to be a challenge especially if the road is narrow. Most of the time, in this situation, there’s no other choice but to maneuver back and forth until you are able to complete the U-turn. Just make sure you do it with no or few vehicles around. Be considerate and don’t become an obstruction.

If there’s enough space, the best way to do a U-turn is to be on the second lane from the center and then turn into the U-turn deep. The way I measure if I’m doing it right is when the middle of my car is perpendicular to the center line. I can easily turn into the innermost lane on the other side when I successfully achieve this position.

One really bad decision is to the cut a vehicle so that you’ll be in the inner lane into the U-turn. There are a couple of things wrong here. First of all, you’ll have a hard time going back straight into the other side. You’ll most likely turn too wide and go to the second lane or further on the other side. Next, it is very inconsiderate to the one you’re cutting. He/she must have been there first and they have the right of way to do the U-turn first.

U-turn drifting is such a classy but very dangerous move. Please do not do this on public roads. This should only be done in controlled environments such as race tracks and test roads with emergency equipments and professionals. It takes some skill and a lot of practice to be able to pull off a good U-turn drift. Usually, you can just hit the handbrakes and then quickly turn the wheels into the turn then immediately turning it towards the other direction for the drift. Once you’ve felt the position is good to pull out of the corner, drive straight and hit the gas hard.

These are just some of the ways you can navigate through a U-turn. Follow traffic rules and if there’s a no U-turn sign, don’t force it. It’s there for a reason and it’s most of the time for your on safety. Just remember to be considerate to other drivers, be careful and do it carefully. Drive safely!


5 Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog

All dog owners know the look. Those puppy dog eyes designed to melt your better judgment and make you share your food. What your dog does not realize is some of the food on your plate may be toxic to his system and could even kill him. All responsible pet owners should be aware of the common foods you should never feed your dog.

Five Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog: Macadamia Nuts
Ingesting macadamia nuts can cause vomiting, lethargy, tremors, weakness, loss of coordination, hind-leg paralysis, and an increase in body temperature. Symptoms may take up to 12 hours to appear.

Five Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog: Members of the Allium Family
Members of the allium family include onions, garlic, chives, shallots, and leeks. Some dog foods and vitamin supplements contain garlic, but the amounts are small and properly balanced. Giving your dog anything other than what is included in products designed for dogs can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, liver damage, asthmatic attacks, and red blood cell damage that leads to anemia.

Five Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog: Grapes and Raisins
Eating grapes and raisins can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, lack of appetite, and kidney failure. Dogs that already have health problems may experience other or more severe symptoms. The toxin is more highly concentrated in raisins, which mean it takes considerably fewer of them to poison a dog than fully hydrated grapes.

Five Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog: Artificially Sweetened Foods
Products sweetened with Xylitol can be deadly to your dog. Xylitol can be found in gum, candy, and bakery items. Within 15 minutes, the dog may experience a sudden drop in blood sugar that shows as weakness, lethargy, and a loss of coordination. The dog may also vomit and have seizures. Liver failure may occur within a few days. Get your dog immediate vet attention if it has ingested Xylitol.

Five Foods You Should Never Feed Your Dog: Foods that Contain Methylxanthines
Several foods contain substances known as methylxanthines. These foods include coffee, tea, cola, chocolate, and any product containing caffeine. In the case of chocolate, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to a dog. Eating these foods can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, thirst, abnormal heartbeat, hyperactivity, loss of coordination, tremors, seizures, and possibly death. Symptoms may take up to 12 hours to appear.

Speaking from personal experience on this one, a bag of chocolate chip cookies (left within reach by a certain husband) is the quickest way to discover how much vomit a dog can produce. Thankfully, our dog was a large breed and the cookies were not heavy on the chips. He was fine after vomiting a few times and the vet gave him a clean bill of health.

Seeking Medical Attention
If your dog has eaten any of these foods, or other substances toxic to dogs, contact a vet or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.


5 Ways New Technology Will Make Your Clothes Super Awesome

Technology keeps getting better and better and soon it’ll be changing the clothes you wear. In the past, technology and clothes have made a bad match but these five clothing items show proof that the gear of the future will be absolutely cool.

Electric nanofibers for your clothes

How would you like to make the most out of the clothes you wear and the latest technology at the same time? New nanofibers technology for clothes can convert your body movements into energy. Berkeley University is working on new electric nanofibers that will convert energy from mechanical stresses (movement) into electricity. The fibers are so small that they won’t cause discomfort and will make a cool way to generate lots of energy at the latest rave…wait, do they still wear clothes at those?

Turn your old clothes into clothes for your gadgets

Hello Rewind is a pretty cool organization that recycles, gives opportunities to people in need, and turns your old clothes into laptop sleeves and covers. Hello rewind takes your old t-shirts and makes them into a cool 13″, 15″, or 17″ laptop sleeves to help fight sex trafficking. This is the perfect way to combine technology, clothes and a good cause and provide cool gear for your gadgets.

Oxyfit oxygen backpack

Running out of breath while exercising is a common occurrence, but with the Oxyfit oxygen pumping backpack, running out of oxygen may no longer be a problem of yours. The new technology in the Oxyfit backpack gear will pump natural oxygen through your mouth and nose, giving you extra oxygen to get more out of your workout.

Liquid Glass that will make your clothes clean forever

If you wear the same t-shirt four days straight (like I do), there’s no longer a reason to fear…well, at least one less reason. New spray-on liquid glass technology will make the clothes and gear you wear permanently resistant to dirt, water, radiation and bacterial infections. The jury is still out on defeating four day old stench, but this new technology will finally make your clothes “you proof.”

8-Bit Dynamic Life Shirt

The 8-Bit Dynamic Life shirt lets you know when you’re by loved ones by lighting up bright red hearts the closer you get to one another. This geeky gear is perfect for lovers and other family members that just can’t stay away from each other and it’s the coolest gear to wear to impress other geeks in close proximity.

– Be sure to check out my blog for the latest in technology news.


4 Tips for Ending a Preschool Potty Mouth

You protect your kids from wacky Uncle Jack, who tells great stories but insists on using rather salty language. In fact, you probably already invested in various technology solutions for protecting tender children’s ears from foul language uttered on television. When hearing what seems to be a four-letter word on the playground, you are looking around for a parent to come and whisk away the offending child. All in all, your preschooler is ensconced in a cocoon that eliminates cussing and potty mouthing. So what happens when junior proudly utters a particularly heinous four-letter word over dinner? Stopping a preschool potty mouth is not easy, but there are four tips that make the process at least doable.

Banish potty talk to the bathroom. While my preschooler may not be cussing, the angelic child is enamored with words describing bodily functions, such as “poop” and “pee.” Then there is the unforgettable ” poo-poo head ” (thank you, “A Bug’s Life!”). Going for the gusto, these words get repeated over and over during dinner, while in the car and when talking to nobody in particular. I have decided to not make a big deal of these words but instead let them be uttered ad nauseum – in the bathroom. When your preschooler realizes that he will be stuck in a lonely bathroom just to say a few words, they may soon lose their luster.

Try the silent treatment. Reserve this one for the biggies, such as actual adult cuss words that junior picked up. At the first offense, whisk your preschooler away to a quiet area of the home and explain that this word is off-limits. Warn the child that further infractions result in discipline. Depending on the child’s maturity, she will not try the word again. If you are blessed with a boy, all bets are off. In this case you may have to make good on your threat and once again remove the child from the others. Sit together quietly for about five to seven minutes in another room. There is no talking just utter silence. This silent treatment is sure to be worse than any other form of punishment you can inflict on a squirmy preschooler. If he realizes that silence is the cost of saying a toilet word, the odds are good that he will quit (at least in your hearing).

Give them the words! “The less emotional you are, the less rewarding it is for your kids to use that word again,” says Claire Lerner, LCSW. Being visibly shocked and making a fuss only satisfies a preschooler’s need for attention. Stay matter-of-fact and be reasonable in your request to use a different word. For example, if your youngster is looking forward to watching a television program but dad wants to watch the football game, help junior to say something other than “poopy head” or worse; teach him to bellow out “I’m frustrated!” Even better, give him a word that is not usually associated with preschool use, since it is sure to give him the attention he craves. For example, you might teach him to say “I am exasperated!”

Be consistent in your attention. Sure, there are plenty of daytime TV parenting experts who claim that you should just ignore the bad words. Really? Would you ignore your preschooler’s drawing on the wall? If you are serious about eliminating potty words from the child’s daily use, paying consistent attention is critical.

Of course, in order to curtail your preschooler’s potty mouth, it might be a good idea to examine your own use of language first. Is she picking up some choice words from mom or dad while driving, watching TV or just talking on the phone?

Yahoo! Movies: “A Bug’s Life”
Parents: “My 3-Year-Old Has a Potty Mouth”
Today Show: “Clean up your child’s potty mouth”

More by Sylvia Cochran
Teaching Strategies that Help Children Learn How to Be Patient
What to Do When You Secretly Wish that Your Child Was Average
Is 3 Day Potty Training the Latest Parenting Fad or a Workable Parenting Tool?


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