Saturday, January 28, 2017

Analysis of the Mountain West Conference Bowl Season

The first bowl game of the season gave us an indication of what to expect this year from the Mountain West throughout bowl season. Wyoming won the ‘The Thrilla in New Mexico’ by beating a solid Fresno State team. BYU destroyed an Oregon State team that was almost in the Rose Bowl and probably wanted to be there instead of Vegas. Nothing against Vegas. The MWC continued their stomping of all things Pac 10 when Utah took apart a Jahvid Best-less California team. Utah has won 9 straight bowl games-impressive. Air Force might have looked better than anybody in the conference when they destroyed Houston. I have already used this quote in another blog but it might be my best quote ever so I want to use it again. We have the greatest and most efficient military ever, but imagine if we had the technology to display the enemy in Missouri and Houston uniforms. Our military would win flawless victories every time. If TCU wins against Boise the Mountain West will attain a perfect bowl record of 5-0 furthering the argument that they deserve an automatic BCS bid. If TCU destroys Boise I might just jump on that band wagon too.


Labels: Analysis of the Mountain West Conference Bowl Season

A Visit to Historic Fort William Henry Lake George New York

Fort William Henry is located in the village of Lake George. In the midst of all the tourist traps is this wonderful piece of 18th century history. In 1755 the world was poised to explode. In Europe it was called the seven years war in the new world it was called the French and Indian War.

The future of the North American Continent hung in the balance as England and France prepared to square off. The Battle of Lake George in 1755 resulted in the first victory of the British and Colonials against the French and the only victory the English can claim that year. . The English built a Fort on Lake St. Sacrament which they renamed Lake George. The fort was called Fort William Henry and was built in the Vauban style. It was built to be secure with the swamp to the east and the lake to the north. The walls were 20 feet tall and 29 feet thick.


The French were not prepared to sacrifice this part of the world yet and over the next two years things fermented until the next confrontation. Pierre Rigault de Vaudreuil the Governor of New France sent his irregular troops to harass the English and they came to within a mile of the fort in the spring of 1757. The French burned everything around the fort. They then retreated back to Montreal when a late snow storm made the offensive difficult. During the summer the French under Montcalm came down the Richelieu River and put the fort under siege. They demanded surrender and the garrison accepted the generous conditions. As the troops, woman and children were marching off to Fort Edward they were attached by the Indians who had come with the French and many were killed. This was not part of the French plan and they tried and did succeed in saving some of the people. This is a black mark on the career of General Montcalm.


The Fort was then burned and the French returned to Canada. Two years later Quebec fell to the British but that is another story.


Today, what we have here at Lake George a wonderful reconstruction. It is a fascinating place to visit and something that children will enjoy as well. Guided Tours are offered on the hour and the tour begins with a film entitled “At it Happened”. It is interesting enough to keep the children who were part of our group interested. You then proceed on your tour with one of the guides who is dressed as a colonial soldier. He introduced himself and then takes us up onto the ramparts.


This is where the real fun begins. There is another soldier who is one of the British regulars and he does a whole little production show that ends up with him throwing the colonial version of the hand grenade. Little boys especially will enjoy this show which involves swords, rapiers, bayonetes and guns. Later in the tour we learn how to load a musket and the cannon gets fired. The last demonstration is how they made the lead musket balls.


You need to be able to climb stairs to take this tour though I did see a handicapped ramp I imagine it might be a bit difficult using it.


After the tour children are invited to dress as soldiers and learn how to march. There are a lot of exhibits in the rooms of the fort. This you tour on your own before or after the guided part of the tour.


There is a large and well stocked gift store and in the grounds there is the remains of an excavation site where the remains of soldiers were discovered. This site is hallowed ground with the blood of many men, woman and children, English, French and Native American.


Ghost tours are conducted in the evening and it is not hard to imagine that this place might be haunted. Tours are offered nightly between July 4th and Labor Day and Friday and Saturday nights at other times.


$14.95 for adult with $2 off for AAA.


Senior $12.95 Children


9am to 6pm


May-October


Labels: A Visit to Historic Fort William Henry Lake George New York

A Gift from My Father-in-law

I’ve been married for almost 15 years, and have known my husbands’ family since 1988. I don’t feel particularly close to my father-in-law, but admire him just the same. Often times during family parties and holidays, I’m lost in the shuffle of all of the other daughter-in-laws. You see, my husband is the youngest of six, five of whom are boys. When the grandchildren started arriving, six boys and one girl were added to the family. It’s one big jolt of testosterone whenever we all get together. The guys all play basketball, field hockey, softball, or shoot arrows at a target in the five-acre yard, in preparation for hunting season. The women are usually relegated to the patio chairs and picnic table under the outspread arms of the venerable old oak tree in the yard. I sit with my sisters-in-law, mother-in-law, and the family dog. We eat, gossip, and hang out.

Interaction with my father-in-law is usually limited to casual greetings when we first arrive, and a quick wave as we depart. He’s a great guy, but my fairly quiet nature combined with his gruff exterior aren’t conductive to long conversations.


Yesterday, I went into the kitchen to warm up a little (it was windy and cold) and bumped into my father-in-law. He was at the sink washing his hands, and I sat down at the kitchen table, intending to stay for just a minute or two. I don’t even remember how our conversation started, but found myself peppering him with questions that had never occurred to me before.


What was it like when you were in school? “Well, after you got done with junior high, you could either go on to the high school ,or attend a trade school to learn a trade. Most people around (in Detroit) quit school at the age of 16 in order to help out their family. I was the very first person to graduate from that trade school, in 1947. Wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for one of my teachers.” He went on to describe what life was like for a teen in the 1940’s in Dearborn and Detroit. About riding the streetcars, where a ticket was a nickel and a transfer was a penny. Shortages during the war years, and a cousin who never came home. He was moved to tears with his own remembrances of a very special teacher that was tough and encouraging in equal measure. He eventually made a successful career out of everything he had learned from that teacher.


How did you meet Mrs O.? “She lived a few blocks away from me, and we would cross paths every now and again when she went to visit her cousin, who lived across the street from me. All of us guys hung out in front of the confectionery shop, and we would whistle whenever she walked by. We started meeting up at wienie roasts, (he cleared his throat and looked down, a small grin suddenly appearing) and that was that. She was my girl from then on.'”I silently agreed, thinking of the sixty years they have been married.


He talked, and I listened. It was like opening a scrapbook that had been put away for years. I learned about how hard it was to raise six kids, and what it was like when the well ran dry in the summer and they had to haul water from a local source. Stories from my husband’s childhood that I doubt he has any memory of, and the grief my father-in-law feels to have so many people dead and gone now… words unsaid, apologies that can never be extended because it is too late. He talked, and I forgot what time it was as I reflected on the things that I need to say; everything I want to do “tomorrow” or “next week” or “soon”.


My mother-in-law came in, slamming the door behind her. She told us that a bonfire had been built, and we needed to get our butts out there and enjoy it. I borrowed a jacket and followed both of them outside, claiming a seat near the short brick wall that circled the crackling logs. We visited for another hour or so, talking and laughing until the fire burned down to a few charred logs and a pile of glowing embers. As each family left, I pulled my borrowed jacket a little closer and smiled at my father-in-law. I feel more a member of this family now than I could have ever imagined twenty years ago, or even yesterday morning.


Labels: A Gift from My Father-in-law

A Family on the Road

For summer vacation w hen I was 13, my mom packed my brother and me into the old Dodge Caravan for a sojourn so epic we began calling it “The Trip”. It was a rambling affair that took us through nearly every state of the contiguous forty-eight. We started in Fresno, California, and gradually dawdled through Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, through New England to Maine, and so on, and so on. What I remember best wasn’t the states we saw, though they were beautiful; nor was it the relatives we visited, though they were friendly and loving. What I enjoyed most was the intense feeling of family that we shared, as we journeyed together, free of distraction. We had no iPod, or cell phone, or walkman. My mom made certain that the only entertainment we had was the surrounding country, and each other.


“The trip” was planned impeccably. Not that we arrived to places on time and in order. That never happened. It was planned impeccably on a grander timeline. “The Trip” took place before my brother’s freshman year of high school. It was “the last time you boys will be willing to sit still with me for three months”, according to my mom. She was probably right. Any year after that, we would have been so distracted by girls, or beer, or whatever, that we wouldn’t have taken away the greatest lesson I ever learned. It’s not where you go or what you do, but whom you do it with.


Labels: A Family on the Road

4 Things to Tell Yourself when Quitting Smoking

The time has come. It’s time to quit. It’s a long haul quitting smoking, so you need to repeat a few mantras to yourself as reminders that it’s worth it and you won’t go back. When I quit smoking, I found that a lot of things didn’t work, no matter how many times I said them to myself. But these four things did. Hopefully, they can help you, too.

“The urge will be over in thirty seconds.”


That overwhelming urge to pick up a cigarette doesn’t last as long as you think. The real chore is getting through that urge, and that’s when you need a little reminder that it will be over soon. Count down if you need to but just keep reminding yourself, “The urge will be over in thirty seconds. Get through that time and it will pass.” And guess what? It does. You’re home free until the next one. You need to train yourself to take a day one urge at a time.


“Remember the mornings.”


You remember them, right? Painful, scratchy throat. Hacking morning coughs. If you’ve been smoking long enough, you can even feel your lungs hurt just by breathing. Everything that’s happening is your body yelling out to you to stop, but what did you used to do? Light a cigarette, first thing, and continue the cycle. Remind yourself: the mornings were horrible because something was wrong and waking up doesn’t feel so bad anymore.


“Do you smell that?”


Doctors have known for over twenty years that smoking damages your sense of smell. Not only do you smell bad when you smoke, but you can’t even smell yourself accurately enough to know the difference. Not to mention all the other smells you’re missing out on: freshly cooked food, warm summer days, the air after it rains. Doctors have also long told us how interrelated taste and smell are, so you’re affecting two of your senses negatively by smoking. Now that you’ve quit — “Do you smell that?” Your sense of smell is improving and you’re starting to smell things like you haven’t for a long time. A huge part of living in the world is coming back to you.


“I won’t have to live in fear.”

Fear of lung cancer, fear of throat cancer. Heart disease, thyroid disease, artery disease. High blood pressure, muscular degeneration, rotting teeth. There are so many fears that are a part of life as a smoker itching in the back of your mind. Maybe you’d smoked so much for so long that these things had come to the front of your mind. Now that you’ve quit, you won’t have to live in fear as much as you did. Doctors have shown that if you quit smoking and stay quit for ten to fifteen years, you reduce your chances of developing lung cancer to that of a person who has never smoked. There’s a load off your back and a lot off your mind.


Labels: 4 Things to Tell Yourself when Quitting Smoking

Air Pollution in Big Cities May Cause Asthma

Asthma is a serious problem for many Americans, with about 20 million people having had an asthma attack. One of the most concerning things about asthma, is that there is no cure.

During an asthma attack, someone’s airways become constricted with mucous and it becomes difficult to breathe. An asthma attack isn’t a very light matter because an asthma attack can kill. Over 5000 people die every year from an asthma attack.


Asthma not only has the possibility to injure people, but it also puts life on hold. Every year, kids stay home from school a total of 14 million days, due to asthma. Adults stay home from work, 12 million days a year.


Since asthma is such a serious condition, one of the most important things to do is to find out what causes it in order to prevent it, or to stay away from what makes it worse.


Studies have shown that living in big cities with a lot of air pollution may be one of the causes for asthma.


Air Pollution like Ground Level Ozone or Smog May Cause Asthma


One of the disadvantages of living in big cities is the constant air pollution from traffic.


Recent studies show that air pollution may cause asthma by producing ground level ozone, a type of toxin. Ozone is produced when pollution from tailpipes of cars and trucks react to oxygen and sunlight. Big cities like Los Angeles and Houston tend to be the biggest risk for ground level ozone.


The California Air Resources Board did a recent with big cities in Southern California. They found that children living there were more likely to develop asthma than children that lived in smaller communities with less air pollution.


The Effects of Air Pollution On Cell Function


A recent study was done in Fresno, California and Palo Alto, California, to show that air pollution may cause asthma and effect cell function.


Fresno was specifically selected because it’s located in California’s central valley. In the valley, high traffic and heavy agriculture mixes with the air, producing some of the worst levels of air pollution in the country. Palo Alto was also selected because the pollution was lower and they could compare the two cities.


What the result of being exposed to too much air pollution?


Children exposed to high levels of air pollution in Fresno, California, had the their immune system’s T Cells suppressed. They found a link between having their immune system suppressed with more severe asthma symptoms and having lowered lung capacity. The children in Palo Alto had significantly better functioning T Cells and less problems with asthma


Dr. Ira Tager, a professor of epidemiology at UC Berkley’s School of Public Health, led the investigation. Afterwards, he stated “there are people who still question the direct link between air pollution and human health, but these findings make the health impacts of pollutants harder to deny.”


How Allergies Symptoms Can Be Decreased


Many studies strongly suggest that air pollution in big cities causes asthma. However, someone who suffers from asthma isn’t completely without hope.


Dr. David Peden, a professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and is the director of the UNC Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma, and Lung Biology gives some really helpful tips.


He suggests that its better to exercise in the morning instead of the afternoon because between 4:00 p.m – 5:00 p.m is when ozone pollution peaks, while it’s lower in the early morning.


He also suggests changing your workouts, because breathing fast will cause someone to experience more negative effects from air pollution. Some people in big cities like to go out for a run. He suggested considering a fast walk instead of running.


He also says, that the air is usually worst at or near the freeways, so it would be good to avoid them if possible. Some people believe that air conditioning in a car can offset it, but he says it actually makes things worse because more air will be pulled in.


Sources:


Air Pollution in Big Cities and Asthma: Study by UNC


Air Pollution in Big Cities and Asthma: Fresno, CA study


Air Pollution in Big Cities and Asthma: The NRDC


Air Pollution in Big Cities and Asthma: California Environmental Protection Agency


Labels: Air Pollution in Big Cities May Cause Asthma

Aries with Aquarius Love Compatibility

Isn’t it great to be able top get on with your life without always feeling as if you have to answer to your partner? This is a good romance as it is easy-going, fun and it allows you plenty of personal freedom. You don’t have to worry about keeping things tidy all the time.

You don’t have to justify your every thought, decision and action. Your Aquarian partner knows that there are some things you will prefer to do on your own and he or she won’t want to stand in your way.


Aries and Aquarius as Friends and Lovers


Aquarius respects your need for privacy just as he or she will expect you to give them the space they need to get on with their own interests, see their own friends and basically ‘do their own thing’. Because ‘doing their own thing’ is important to the Aquarian. Your Aquarian partner can be very unpredictable at times and yet, perhaps that’s what you like so much about this romance. At the same time, as an Arien, you need plenty of passion and in this area, Aquarius can be lacking!


And so, there are some ways in which you will be able to get on very well with your Aquarius partner. You are both intelligent; you enjoy sharing your schemes and dreams with other people. You are both outgoing and sociable and you like to have a good time. All in all, that doesn’t sound too bad does it?


Aries/Aquarius Compatibility


However, deeper into your relationship, although you are quite impulsive yourself, your partner is ‘unpredictability’ itself. You never know where you are with them and this sometimes makes you jumpy. You might feel as if you can never get really close to your partner and your curiosity makes you wonder what they’re hiding from you.


As an Aries, you are easy going and you will generally accept things at face value. Your Aquarius lover is observant and you could learn a lot during the course of this romance. You might even find yourself delving deeper into some subjects as suddenly a surface interest is not enough. Your Aquarian lover will be indulgent and diplomatic.


He or she will be happy to let you have your own way in many areas but eventually this might frustrate you. As you might start to wonder whether anything is really important to your lover.


Aries with Aquarius Compatibility Astrology


Certainly you will find a good deal of interest in Aquarian’s independent and modern outlook on life. But there’s a strong freedom-loving side to his or her nature that seems to prevent you from getting too close to your partner. Ariens are usually highly sexed while Aquarius can take it or leave it. This is an excellent friendship but it could be a frustrating love relationship.


You see, Aries is a fire sign, Aquarius an Air one. You put a lot of importance on your sex-live, Aquarius isn’t so bothered. However, if you’re willing to meet each other half way, you should get some enjoyment and satisfaction out of this relationship.


© CaroleSomerville. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.


Labels: Aries with Aquarius Love Compatibility

Add Como Park to Your Family Vacation Plans in St. Paul, Minnesota

If you’re planning to take your family to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul this summer, be sure to plan at least one day in St. Paul’s Como Park. For over 100 years this beautiful area has served the people of the Twin Cities, and your family will love it too.

Como Park includes a zoo, a conservatory, a lake, a lakeside pavilion, an 18-hole golf course, an amusement park and four ball parks, as well as playgrounds for the little ones and paved paths through the landscaped lawn and trees: something for everyone.


Como Zoo is a delightful zoo. The newest exhibit is a polar bear habitat, built for $15.35 million and opened on June 3, 2010, called the Polar Bear Odyssey. The Odyssey is home to twin polar bears Buzz and Neil. The bears are loving their home, with 13,410 square feet of outdoor living space, a large holding area, a den for cubs, and of course, pools. It has already received the 3 Diamond Award from Polar Bears International – only the second zoo in the world to receive that honor.


The kids will love watching Buzz and Neil from the Outpost, a climate-controlled structure that lets visitors see the bears close up, with underwater views of them splashing in their pool and playing in their stream, cliffs, and digging pit! From outdoors, you can get as close as 20 feet, and see the entire habitat. Of course, the bears aren’t the only animals in the zoo, so make sure to take a little time away from this popular attraction to see the rest of the inhabitants!


Another favorite spot in Como Park is the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. This glass-domed, climate-controlled conservatory is a bright spot of greenery and flowers in the harsh St. Paul winters, but it’s just as lovely in other seasons. It was built in the park in 1915, and like the zoo, is free to visitors. It’s a great spot to catch your breath and take in some beauty. Both the conservatory and the zoo are open all year round.


If your kids are getting antsy, take them to Como Town, a family amusement park within Como Park. It has over 18 rides, including a Splash Zone (perfect on hot summer days). There’s no entry fee, and you can chose to pay just for the rides you want or get unlimited ride bands or packages for costs from $10 to $100. Como Town is open from March through October.


Hot? Head for Como Lake. Swim, hang out on the beach, fish from the pier, or rent a paddleboat. There are also walking trails around the lake. Tired, hungry, or both? Stop at the Como Lakeside Pavilion for the full-service restaurant, and if you get there on the right day, you may be treated to a free concert or play.


Before you leave, visit Cafesjian’s Carousel. It was installed in Como Park in 2000, but the carousel was built in 1913 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. After serving many years at the Minnesota State Fair, it was purchased by the city of St. Paul, and eventually made its way to the park. The carousel has 68 horses in four rows, all hand-carved and hand-painted, beautifully restored and maintained, that go up and down as the carousel turns, and two chariots for children with physical disabilities. It also has a fully restored Wurlitzer organ, replacing the original organ destroyed in a fire in 1939. Whether you ride the carousel, or just admire the beauty and the history, it’s truly a must-see at Como Park.


(Sources: http://www.thefamilytravelfiles.com/ezine/articles/545/ , http://www.visitsaintpaul.com/, http://www.ourfaircarousel.org/, www.comozooconservatory.org , http://www.stpaul.gov/index.aspx?nid=1070 )


Labels: Add Como Park to Your Family Vacation Plans in St. Paul, Minnesota

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Are Your Children Safe at Church?

Most people who attend church with children, naturally assume that their kids are completely safe when left in Sunday School classes, or in the church nursery. As in all situations though, parents cannot just blindly trust people that they do not know with their children simply because they are on church grounds. The fact that someone attends church does not miraculously make them people who are safe to leave your child alone with. Just as there are Pediatricians, teachers, and daycare employees who are dangerous to children, there are undoubtedly individuals sprinkled throughout churches in this country who are also dangerous to children. In case there are still parents who exist who have not yet heard the phrase, “Pedophiles go where children congregate”, please consider this fact very seriously now. Pedophiles hang out at places like parks, near schools, playgrounds, public swimming pools, Chuck E. Cheese, Golf’N’Stuff, your local skating rink, video arcades, the toy stores, toy departments, and Disneyland. And of course, church. They enter into professions, vocations, and volunteer opportunities in order to be near children, such as teaching, Boy Scouts, sleepaway camp, and any other place where children gather. And whether you believe it or not, in some churches around the country, pedophiles teach Sunday School.

Of course, we have all heard the news stories of adults now coming forward with their personal accounts of having been sexually abused as children by the priests that their families trusted. However, what many people may not realize, is that the Catholic church is not the only one plagued by this awful trend. And if it isn’t bad enough that these predators are making their way into positions of authority and leadership in churches around the country, abusing, or planning to abuse, the children of church members, what’s worse is that the offending adult is not always turned out by the church when they are caught.


Case in point – several years ago in a Southern California city, a twenty-five year old man was under investigation for the sexual abuse of his biological daughter during a court ordered unsupervised visit. Although the examining physician, child protective services representative, and a court recommended child therapist all agreed that the child had been sexually abused during this visitation, and that the father was either the offender, or had allowed another individual to sexually abuse the little girl, he was not charged with a crime because the child was too young to testify in court. Just weeks before this abuse was found to have occurred, this same man began teaching one of the Sunday School classes at a church he had been attending for just a short time. The class he was allowed to take over, was that of the three and four year old girls. When the Mother of the abused child, feeling it was her responsibility to warn the people of the man’s church so that they could properly protect the children of their church members, it was she who was turned away! Not only did church officials completely ignore the threat to the children of their church, they in fact, fully embraced and supported this pedophile, and assumed he was innocent simply because he said he was! What did they expect him to say? Who knows how many little girls he has victimized over the years? And he has done so, basically with the blessing of church staff and officials! It is highly possible, even probable, that he is also still teaching Sunday School classes, full of tiny little girls, in that same city. Perhaps even in the same church.


For those who entrust their children to Sunday School teachers and nursery supervisors at their own churches, it is absolutely necessary to know for sure that your children are safe when left with them. You can’t just assume because they have been allowed to take over the responsibility of monitoring or teaching tiny children in church, that they are safe individuals. Further, you cannot assume that church staff and officials will dismiss an individual with child sexual abuse allegations against them. In fact, you can’t even be certain that church officials would notify you if they had been given information that your child’s Sunday School teacher had previously sexually abused a child. Are your children safe at church?


Labels: Are Your Children Safe at Church?

Activities for Kids in Bloomington, Indiana

Bloomington Indiana is well-known as the home of Indiana University. There is no question that it has many social, educational and sports attractions for college kids. You might be surprised to find out how much there is going on for younger kids too. Read on for my top picks of activities for kids in Bloomington, Indiana.

Play Space and Playgrounds


Bloomington, IN recently received the designation as a Playful City U.SA. by KaBOOM!. It is an organization whose mission is to promote unstructured play. Play for kids, after all, has many health, social, and psychological benefits. You can find a search engine which lists Bloomington’s play spaces at the first link at the end of this article.


Kid City Summer Camps


In June and July, Bloomington hosts summer camps for kids and teens which include a range of activities including sports, camping and arts and media. There is also ‘college for kids’ hosted by Ivy Tech College. To find out more, see the second link at the end of this article.


Bryan Park Pool


If your kids love swimming, check out Bryan Park Pool. It is located at 1100 S. Woodlawn Avenue in Bloomington, Indiana. You can either opt for a low cost daily admission or a family package. See the third link at the end of this article for more information on this Bloomington Indiana activity for kids (and adults too).


Wonderlab Children’s Museum of Science, Health and Technology


This fun museum has tons of interactive exhibits based on learning more about the world around us. There are many special group activities for kids – for instance, on National Dog Day, kids will have the chance to meet retired greyhounds. Activities for kids in Bloomington in Indiana are fun and educational too.


Indianapolis


The proximity of Bloomington to Indianapolis also offers a lot options for kids activities. For instance, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum is only a stone’s throw from Bloomington, Indiana.


Other Ideas


Once your family has worked an appetite, you might want to check out Mother Bear’s Pizza, near the Indiana University Campus. It is well-loved in Bloomington for its tasty delicious and affordable fare.


Also, check out the websites below for more inspiration. The Bloomington Chamber of Commerce website is particularly helpful for find out about events and facilities in Bloomington, Indiana.


Labels: Activities for Kids in Bloomington, Indiana

A BJD Career: Making Asian Ball-Jointed Dolls for a Living is My Dream Job

Ball-jointed dolls or (Asian Ball-jointed Dolls) are realistically proportioned dolls, usually manufactured in east Asian countries, mostly in South Korea and Japan. Most are made out of an expensive french resin that looks like porcelain but is more durable. These dolls are fully articulated with ball joints at the appropriate locations on their bodies which helps them to pose in various positions. For me, these unique dolls are nothing like the famous Barbie dolls that almost every girl grows up with. They are like piecs of art, each one customizable to a doll owner’s preferences. Like many dolls they can be dressed up but these dolls can also have their own painted faces, wigs, and eyes. Almost everyday someone new is being sucked into this doll hobby and is looking for their perfect mold.

To make these little resin people would be my dream job. I would have to work on my sculpting skills and use certain expensive materials to be able to accomplish it. But working with these little beauties would be a dream come true. I have also come to know many who enjoy this hobby through the internet. Some of them have also started their own little companies for selling their own self-made dolls. Bringing to life their creations from their imaginations has been a big accomplishment for them and they are happy to give loving homes for them. I truly do envy them.


Selling these dolls may not seem like big money to a person not familiar to the “dollfie” world. But many of the little babes could sell from no less than a hundred to more than a thousand dollars each! There is a forum on the internet that has taught me all about the BJD world and has helped me appreciation for the hobby to grow. In the forum, some people own as little as one or two dolls. Others actually have eight to twenty dolls! Can you imagine the money they must have spent? But it was all out of love for bringing their dearies home. It’s not crazy. It’s called a hobby.


Selling the dolls themselves would bring in good money if they become popular. But making extra cash wouldn’t hurt. If I become good at sewing and have extra materials available, then making clothes and other items would be very profitable. So many owners want to personalize and complete their doll. They want to find the right clothes, wigs, eyes, and accessories to make their perfect character or maybe for the need to just make them pretty. A set of clothes can sell from ten dollars to around a hundred dollars. The quality and material would determine the price.


If I choose to enter this BJD career, it would mean competing with famous companies like Luts, Dream of Doll, and the company who started it all, Volks. These companies are pulling in thousands of dollars everyday. Their names are very well known. I would have to start as a single seller and maker working from home. If I am able to start pulling in my own thousands, then I could have my own website, have my own workplace, hire helpers, and soon be a match for the famous companies. It would all depend on my skills and how people like my dolls. If I was able to do my dream job and not become a success, I would still be happy and enjoy what I am doing.


Labels: A BJD Career: Making Asian Ball-Jointed Dolls for a Living is My Dream Job

Activities for Kids to Beat Boredom

Boredom for kids does set in, sometimes more than we like. It seems they always need something to do! Here are some ideas that have busted my own kids boredom and sometimes mine too!

Driving the Couch


This sounds funny at first but this idea was actually initiated by my 5 year-old daughter. She bounced down on the couch beside me and said, “mom let’s race!”
She wanted to use my head as a steering will but I declined and said she could drive and I would be the passenger. We used a round mixing bowl as the steering wheel instead of my head. We sat aside of each other and I talked to her like I was teaching her to drive. I said things like “watch out for that tree” and she would steer the other way. She came up with: “oh, no there is a cat in the road” and made a hard turn with her bowl. We stopped at stop signs and red lights. We pretended to drive by the mall, grocery store and by the gas station to fill up. We even took scenic drives and made up all the pretty things we saw, such as, a lake with a duck family swimming by or a nice yard with pretty landscape. Sometimes we play for thirty minutes and sometimes for an hour. It all depends on how active we let our imaginations be for that drive on the couch!


Looking Through Family Photo’s


I a day with digital photo’s taking over, most of us don’t have many paper photo’s anymore. There still might be some from before you got your digital camera or you have some from the family before there was a such thing as a digital camera. Bust out those albums and go over them with your kids. Share your stories on the photo’s of when, why and where they were taken. If you have any from when they were a baby, let them ask questions about the photo’s and answer to the best of your memory. Another Idea is to get those small photo albums and let them pick some of their favorite to put in to as their own little photo album. Pictures hold great memories and sharing them with your children can make the memory even fonder.


Get a Great with Laugh with America’s Funniest Home Video’s


We record all of the America’s Funniest Video’s. This started with an interest from my ever comedy searching daughter Katie. She has a great sense of humor and we love it, she has helped us to see humor in everything possible. America’s Funniest Video’s is still on! Bob Saget is no longer the host anymore. The new guy is better in my opinion. It is on on Friday’s at 8pm on ABC here. Check your local listing for your time.
We sit down together and get a good laugh as a family. We debate which was the funniest and who will win. There are times when the kids will watch on their own and they will come running to where ever I am and pull me into watch something that was so really funny! DVR is great. We record all of them and they watch them whenever they are bored or just need to laugh. Don’t be surprised if they want to catch their own funny moments to record!


Going to the Dollar Store.


My kids love going to the Dollar Store! Even with only a dollar or two. When we are getting bored but really don’t have much money to go and do anything big, we go to the Dollar Store as a trip. They get to pick one or two new items. The Dollar Store always has new and interesting little gadgets. Coloring books and books are a favorite of my kids. 95% of their coloring books come from there! Sometimes you have to wait for new ones to arrive. Whatever they fancy on one trip becomes a new idea for something to do at home. Flash cards, jewelry making kits, play dough, puzzles, dress up items and whatever else they can find. They spend thirty minutes looking for their new item to take home and it only cost a dollar(plus 6 cents tax in Pa)!
My one daughter bought the new dress up bears they carry and each time she goes she buys a new accessory or outfit for it. The ideas are endless and not to mention cheap!


What’s in the Bag?


I use a small cloth bag that has a pull tie on it. First, I line the kids and whoever is at the house up on the couch. Second, I leave the room and find an object to put into the bag and tie it up. We start with the first person in the line up and they can feel around the bag for five seconds and try to figure it out. If they don’t get it is is passed on until somebody else gets it. Whoever guesses is the next person to put something in the bag. Everyone loves it and we have gone on for hours already with each person trying to out smart the other.


Finding new and fun ways to break free of boredom takes some imagination and the motivation to want to try new things. Just scope your house and see what can be used as something different than what it is, like the couch as a car. Boredom is only what you make it and if you really don’t want your kids or yourself to be bored, get up and find something to do! Use these ideas and any others you or your kids can imagine up!


Labels: Activities for Kids to Beat Boredom

Accelerating Fat Loss: 3 Delicious Foods for Energy and Appetite

If you’ve ever tried losing weight, you may have heard about “healthy” foods you HAVE to eat for success. The truth is that only a caloric deficit is required for success and no specific food is essential. This article will show you foods that significantly help you to maintain the caloric deficit required for fat loss by keeping you full, satisfied and full of energy.

1) The first food, probably completely unheard of by most, is home-mad green juice. This juice gives you a huge amount of energy, helps satisfy your appetite and is very inexpensive. It requires a blender, water, dark leafy vegetables, and any other vegetables you choose. An example: cucumber, broccoli, spinach and cabbage blended with 2 liters of water. Simply drink a cup or 2 before a meal to make calorie restriction easier and more satisfying. Drinking throughout the day also helps keep you hydrated, energized, and satisfied. Get your vegetable from local Farmer’s Markets right when they begin closing and strike bargains to save money.


2) Green tea helps because it contains water, caffeine and antioxidants. The water curbs hunger by removing thirst from the equation and the confusion occurring between the 2. Caffeine gives you energy and in itself suppresses appetite. I limit my consumption of any form of caffeine to 3 times a week to prevent addiction and keep my tolerance low, even though green tea is quite mild in its caffeine content. The antioxidants within the tea help keep your body functioning optimally and provide energy to prevent stress eating. Staying busy throughout the day also helps by preventing eating for stimulation.


3) Salads made of varying vegetables are phenomenal for fat loss. They add variety and taste while satisfying your stomach and goals. The one problem with most salads are the dressing, people use way too much and one with way too high calories. I recommend using one you’ve made at home from a variety of oils, spices and lower-calorie fruit. A delicious example is lemon, olive oil and salt with some roasted garlic as a dressing for a romaine lettuce, cabbage and cucumber salad. Try a dash of honey, peppers, hummus, ginger, anything that comes to mind. Worst case scenario is you don’t like the taste and create a better recipe the following time in the process.


Labels: Accelerating Fat Loss: 3 Delicious Foods for Energy and Appetite

About Ganglion Cysts

A Ganglion cyst is a tumor or swollen area on top of a joint or covering of a tendon, usually in the wrist area. Ganglion cysts may also be referred to as “Bible cysts” (www.emedicinehealth.com) because of the old fashioned practice of hitting the cysts with a Bible or other heavy book to rupture them. In today’s modern times, this practice is no longer used for obvious reasons.

Ganglion cysts may appear on the back of the hand, on the wrist joint, and less often, on the palm of the hand. They are not harmful or cancerous but may interfere with the ability to move the wrist properly and may cause pain. The cysts are made up of a sac of liquid that contains thick, sticky, clear, colorless matter of a jellylike consistency. They may feel firm or spongy to the touch. There may be one cyst or several smaller cysts usually connected by a common stalk. They may change in size, appearing smaller, then larger, and may continue repeating this cycle.


Ganglion cysts occur more often in women, with up to 70 percent of cases being with females. They usually occur within the age range of 20-40, with cases of children under age 10 being uncommon. Ironically, my seven year old daughter just had a Ganglion cyst surgically removed from her wrist, as it had grown to a large size that was affecting her ability to grasp with her left hand, and causing her some pain. Many people with Ganglion cysts will experience no symptoms or pain from it. My son developed one in his early 20s and had to have it removed because it was on his writing hand and was causing a lot of pain. I had one in my early 20s, which I believe resulted after a bad sprang on my wrist. Mine was small and hurt a lot, and after several months, went away on it’s own.


Many Ganglion cysts will disappear on their own, never to return again. Some may disappear, only to come back once again, or return several times. Since the actual cause of Ganglion cysts is unknown, this makes methods of prevention nearly impossible. No known cause equals no known way to avoid getting one. Some common forms of treatment are aspiration, where a needle is inserted to draw out the fluid. However, with this method, many cysts return, because the “shell” of the cyst was not removed, allowing the possibility of it re-filling.


Some believe a trauma or injury to the wrist area could be the cause of developing a Ganglion cyst. In my case, I feel that is exactly what happened. Another possible theory is that a flaw in the joint capsule or the covering of the tendon allows the tissue of the joint to bulge.


If you feel you or your child may have a Ganglion cyst, I would strongly recommend seeing your physician to have it checked out.


Labels: About Ganglion Cysts

A Bizarre Twist to Little Miss Muffet

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a Muppet.
Oh no! You sat on Kermit the Frog.
Are you okay Kermit?
“Ah yes, just a little shaky.
It’s not easy being green.”


Labels: A Bizarre Twist to Little Miss Muffet

Alabama State Parks Cabin Camping

The state seal of Alabama, “The Heart of Dixie,” is a map of the state showing all its rivers. And along those rivers stretch many of its State Parks. Since vacations are likely to be the first casualty of our ailing economy, cabin camping in Alabama State Parks may be the answer for Alabamans who can’t afford an RV and don’t want to tackle tent camping.

Eleven of Alabama’s 22 State Parks offer fully equipped modern and rustic cabins, cottages or chalets, available year round for less than or equivalent to what you’d pay for a hotel room. The cabins, cottages and chalets feature fireplaces, bathtub/showers, heating and AC, full kitchens or kitchenettes, and picnic tables and outside grills. Most offer amenities like irons and ironing boards, hairdryers, linens and coffee makers. The kitchens in all but one park are fully stocked with dishes, pots and pans and flatware. Many offer satellite network TV or cable, and DVD players. The Resort State Parks have on-site restaurants and lodges with meeting facilities, hotels and more upscale accommodations, and many of the parks have golf courses.


1. CHEAHA RESORT STATE PARK


Cheaha State Park is Alabama’s oldest operating state park. Located in Northeast Alabama, (less than an hour from Talladega), Cheaha’s 2,799 acres stretch across Clay and Cleburne Counties. Encompassed by the Talladega National Forest, Cheaha is the highest point in Alabama, 2,407 ft. above sea level, its name appropriately coming from the Creek Indian word “Chaha,” meaning “high place.


Cheaha offers four fully equipped cabin choices — Bluff side, camping, deluxe (honeymoon) and 4-capacity. Spectacular sunsets can be seen from the one-room, two-person Bluff Side Cabins, located on the western bluff of Cheaha Mountain, four of them with open ceilings. The “Camping Cabin” is also called the “museum cabin,” for its historically rustic atmosphere. The two one-room Deluxe or “honeymoon” cabins feature rustic wooden furniture, whirlpool and a screened porch. Daily January to March rates range from $91 to $115. April to September rates range from $114 to $132, and October to December rates range from $120 to $135. For more information, check their Website at http://www.alapark.com/CheahaResort/Cabins/.


2. CHEWACLA STATE PARK


Chewacla State Park is located in Central Alabama’s Lee County, about ten minutes from Auburn. Its proximity to Auburn University explains why Chewacla State Park has “football season rates!” Chewacla’s 696 acres include a modern campground, 26-acre Lake Chewacla, playgrounds, rental boats, hiking trails, waterfalls and newly renovated cabins. Chewacla State Park’s six fully equipped 1930s stone cottages feature hardwood floors, and a stone fireplace. One cabin is handicap accessible. Off season rates are $80 to $110 per night, with a free night if you stay seven days. Football season rates range from $126 to $165 per night, the 7th night free. For more information, check their Website at http://www.alapark.com/Chewacla/Cabins/.


3. DESOTO RESORT STATE PARK


Located in DeKalb County (eight miles northeast of Fort Payne) DeSoto State Park sits atop Lookout Mountain, encompassing 3,502 miles of cliffs, waterfalls, wildflowers and mountain overlooks. DeSoto State Park offers a campground, tennis court and swimming pool and a Nature Center with Interpretive programs with live animals. DeSoto features fully equipped rustic cabins, log cabins and A-frame chalets. March to November rates are $85 to $120.00 per night, December to February rates are $97.00 per night. A “Cozy Winter Cabin Special” offer is available at a discounted rate. Check their Website for more details. http://www.alapark.com/DeSotoResort/

4. GULF STATE PARK


Located in southern Baldwin County (an hour from Pensacola), Gulf State Park borders the Gulf of Mexico, and encompasses 6,150 acres. Gulf State Park beaches are home to many species of shorebirds, and alligators inhabit its lakes and wetlands. The park boasts 900-acre freshwater Lake Shelby, and an 18-hole golf course. Within walking distance of the golf course and 2-½ miles from the beach, there are 20 fully equipped modern cabins, with one or two bedrooms and one or two baths, and 11 cottages with three bedrooms and three baths. Four “woods cabins” are located in a pine and palmetto forest. The “lakeside” cabins and cottages are located on Lake Shelby and have fishing piers. In season daily rates for the woods and lakeside cabins are $85 to $160, off-season, $75 to $135. Cottage daily rates are $210 in season, $188.29 off-season. For more information, check their Website at http://www.alapark.com/GulfState/Cabins/

5. JOE WHEELER RESORT STATE PARK


Joe Wheeler State Park is located near Rogersville in Lauderdale County, less than an hour from Huntsville. Wheeler Lake and Wilson Lake provide fishing, sailing, and boating, and the park sports a marina and 18-hole golf course. Joe Wheeler State Park has fully equipped wooden cabins in the forest and brick cabins lakeside, near Wheeler Dam on the south side of the Tennessee River. The cabins accommodate 4 to 15 people, and run from $65 to $170 daily. Ten newly-constructed two or three bedroom Lakeside Cottages are located in the mouth of First Creek. Daily rates run between $175 and $210. For more information, check their Website at http://www.alapark.com/JoeWheeler/.


6. LAKE GUNTERSVILLE RESORT STATE PARK


Lake Guntersville State Park is located in Marshall County in the Tennessee Valley, about an hour from Huntsville. Overlooking 69,000-acre Guntersville Reservoir, Lake Guntersville State Park’s 6,000 acres provide hiking, swimming and boating opportunities, bass fishing, eagle spotting and nature programs. Lake Guntersville State Park has 15 two-bedroom, fully equipped lake-view cottages amidst a pine and hardwood forest near the banks of the Guntersville Reservoir. They sleep 6 and have two baths. On the top of Taylor Mountain are 20 chalets with a spectacular view of the Reservoir from their wraparound porches. Eighteen chalets sleep 6 people, and two handicapped accessible sleep 4. Daily March to October rates are $115 to 125, November to February, $99.00. For more information, check their Website at http://www.alapark.com/LakeGuntersville/.


7. LAKEPOINT RESORT STATE PARK


Lakepoint Resort State Park is located near Eufaula in Barbour County, on the banks of Lake Eufaula, the “Bass Capital of The World.” The park offers fully equipped cabins and lakeside cottages, as well as a modern campground, marina, and an 18-hole golf course. Lakepoint has 29 cabins in a wooded area, 15 two-bedroom cabins that sleep four, and seven four-bedroom duplexes that sleep eight, as well as eight new upscale Lakeside Cottages. Outside plug-ins for charging boat batteries is also provided. Handicap accessible two- and four-bedroom units are available. Daily cabin and duplex rates range between $110 and $195, with a monthly cabin rate from November to February rate of $750. The Lakeside Cottages range between $125 and $265. For more information, check their Website at http://www.alapark.com/LakePointResort/.

8. MONTE SANO STATE PARK


Monte Sano State Park is located in Madison County, overlooking the city of Huntsville. Dubbed “the Showplace of the Tennessee Valley” upon it’s opening in 1938, the park offers 20 miles of hiking trails and 14 miles of mountain-biking trails, that meander along stunning vistas of the valley below. Monte Sano State Park. Monte Sano’s has 14 fully equipped one-room cabins, 11 of them quaint rustic stone cottages dating back to the 1930s, featuring handcrafted stone fireplaces, wood floors and screen porches. Cabins 1 to 11 have working stone fireplaces and one cabin is handicapped accessible. Monday to Thursday rates are $85, weekend rates are $95. For more information, contact their Website at http://www.alapark.com/MonteSano/Cabins/.


9. OAK MOUNTAIN STATE PARK


Oak Mountain State Park is located on the banks of Lake Tranquility in Shelby County, about a half-hour from Birmingham. Oak Mountain’s boasts 9,940 acres of pines and hardwoods and the title of Alabama’s largest state park. Oak Mountain offers camping and hiking, golfing, swimming, boating and fishing, and a horseback demonstration farm and riding facilities. The Lake is home to shoreline and wading birds, as well as migrating waterfowl. Oak Mountain State Park’s ten two-bedroom cabins sleep 6, and boats, paddles and life preservers are also available. Cabin rates Sunday through Thursday are $110 for one night, $200 for two nights, or $660 for six nights. A two-night stay is required on weekends (Friday and Saturday), the weekend rate being $220. For more information, check their Website at http://www.alapark.com/OakMountain/Cabins/.

10. ROLAND COOPER STATE PARK


Located in Wilcox County (an hour below Selma), Roland Cooper State Park runs along 236 acres of the Dannelly Reservoir. Roland Cooper boasts a nine-hole golf course with clubhouse and boat launching facilities. Roland Cooper has six fully equipped two-bedroom cabins (one Handicap Accessible). Rates are $80 daily or $480 weekly from March to November, and $70 daily or $420 weekly from December to February. For more information, check their Website at http://www.alapark.com/RolandCooper/.


11. WIND CREEK STATE PARK


Wind Creek State Park is located on the shores of Lake Martin in Tallapoosa County (seven miles south of Alexander City). Wind Creek is the largest state operated campground in the entire continental United States, offering swimming, skiing, canoeing and boating, and sport fishing. In recent years, eagle sightings have become common across its 1,445 acres. A new addition to Wind Creek State Park, seven camping cabins with back decks are now open, with three more planned. These cabins are equipped with microwave, sink, coffee maker, toaster and small refrigerator,but you must bring your own linens and cooking and eating utensils. Cabin 2 is handicapped accessible and sleeps 3. The rest of the cabins sleep six. Daily rates for these cabins are $70 year round. For more information, check their Website at http://www.alapark.com/WindCreek/Cabins/.


Sources:
http://www.alapark.com/
http://www.alabama.gov/portal/index.jsp


Labels: Alabama State Parks Cabin Camping

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

All of My Heroes Are Dying: Good-Bye Mr. Vonnegut

Well I just read the news. I was getting on the web to do some surfing and there it was. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. has passed on. He was 84. I’m sure that like most people I did a double take and thought maybe I read it wrong. No such luck. As the reality of it sunk in, the memories of his books started coming back to me. I have several on my bookshelf and love them all. For me, Kurt’s writing was very important. When I was in my early teens my brother gave me a copy of Breakfast of Champions. It became the first book I’d ever read all the way though on my own time. I just couldn’t put it down. Or course I’d read books for school and children’s books when I was little, but I really wasn’t much of a reader until I got that paperback. It was magical and changed me and the way I thought about what could be written and how stories could be told. Up until that point I never knew that books were being written like that. The humor and absurdity of it blew me away. I was so taken by it that I started writing my own stories not long after that, a direct result of reading that one book.

Every so often a famous person dies and the story hits the news everywhere. Most of the time its just some old actor or politician who was sick and we all remember when they were in their prime. Then we just go back to our lives and forget about it by lunchtime. But, every once in a while someone famous dies and a little light burns out in our heart. This person wasn’t just a name on TV or the author of a great book. Sometimes that person meant something very special to us. They were a part of our childhood and the memories we have of it. The late Fred Rogers from the PBS show Mister Roger’s Neighborhood comes to mind. I’m usually not that emotional but I actually cried when I heard that he passed away. Imagine a thirty-something me sitting in front of the TV watching the news crying over a the death of a man I’ve never met. I was also saddened when Dr. Carl Sagan died. Like so many others I watched Cosmos and was completely fascinated by all the wondrous things Dr. Sagan would describe and teach us. I went on to read his books too. We lost another great one when we lost him.


It amazes me how we never realize that some of the people who have greatly influenced our lives in a positive way, we’ve never actually met. These people reached out and touched millions. They taught us to think and explore and try something new and have a few laughs along the way. That’s a gift that can never be repaid. I miss them all and can be thankful that they’ve each left something behind that we can enjoy. I can still go to the neighborhood of make-believe when I turn on the TV and watch reruns of Mister Rogers if I want. I can put Cosmos on the DVD player and relive those discoveries billions and billions of times. And of course, I am rereading Slaughterhouse-Five as I write this. Thank you Mr. Vonnegut, wherever you are. And so it goes.


Labels: All of My Heroes Are Dying: Good-Bye Mr. Vonnegut

Anorexia Relapse: How I Am Working Through It

The risk of relapse from a patient suffering with anorexia is very high. An anorexic patient will starve themselves while thinking that they are overweight. It is a severe emotional disorder, and is more common in developed countries than non developed countries. Risk factors also include obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, dieting or avoidant or narcissistic personalities.

I have had a personal encounter with a relapse in Anorexia. I do believe that it is about control. I choose not to eat, when I cannot control anything else in my life. I choose the way that I will look, I choose to fill myself up with drinks and control every morsel that goes into my mouth.


I am on the verge of a relapse. I can feel it in my bones, but mostly in my mind. I am so hungry that I am biting my nails again, I don’t want to eat. I want to prove that I can do it again. I am fighting with this, and I thought I was better. I thought I was able to handle it, but maybe I am not. I drank a small bottle of Sunny Delight today and went for a run for an hour until I became light headed. I have drunk bottle after bottle of water today but it won’t cease the hunger that I feel. I could eat… but than I would feel worse about myself. I have brushed my teeth six times today, to ward off cravings for food.


Anorexia affects the demographics of women, onset into puberty. A fifth of women who suffer from anorexia have a relative who suffered from anorexia at some point in time.


Interestingly enough, a cause of anorexia is said to be overbearing, or critical parents, or other critical people involved in your life. As well, perfectionist tendencies or fear of ridicule are also causes of the disorder.


On a different level, a relapse of anorexia is often caused by psychological distress as hunger feels worse than the pain that we often feel inside our minds. The risk for relapse will always be there, and I will be fighting this for the rest of my life.


This article does not support anorexia in any way; it is informing you about what goes through the mind of an anorexic, which is at risk of relapse. I do not want you to feel sorry for me, for words give me strength – and hopefully I can gain control over my life, not just today but always – finally, I will no longer have to worry about what it is that I am putting in my mouth.


Labels: Anorexia Relapse: How I Am Working Through It

An In-Depth Look at the 4-3 Defense

This is an analysis of the 4-3 defense used in American football. The 4-3 defense is thus called because there are four defensive linemen and three linebackers in the front seven positions of the defense. The 4-3 is designed to get more pressure from the line of scrimmage from the defensive lineman and usually relies less on blitzing.

As you can see here the 4-3 defense was probably invented by Tom Landry who eventually called his version the flex defense. The 4-3 defense uses two defensive ends and two defensive tackles as opposed to linemen used in the 3-4 defense as you can read about here.


The defensive ends line up across from the offensive tackles, and the defensive tackles across from the offensive guards. The ends will usually line up to the outside shoulder of the offensive tackles. Their job is to get to the quarterback on passing plays and to contain the outside on running plays while trying to make a tackle. The defensive tackles in the 4-3 defense try to occupy blockers to keep them off the linebackers, while also trying to pressure the middle of the offense.


The three linebackers are the middle linebacker, strong side outside linebacker and the weak side outside linebacker. The strong side linebacker lines up on the side of the field where the tight end is playing for the offense, if there is one in the formation. The strong side linebacker will usually cover the tight end or a running back on passing plays but sometimes blitzes. The middle linebacker mostly plays run defense first but will also play zone pass defense. The weak side linebackers blitz more than the other linebackers in the 4-3 defense and also cover backs out of the backfield on pass plays.


The defensive backs in the 4-3 defense are two cornerbacks and two safeties. They line up in different places depending on their coverage assignments. The safeties tend to do safety blitzes less than in a 3-4 defense due to less people being back in pass coverage.


Some famous versions of the 4-3 defense or well known teams that used a variation are as follows. The Pittsburgh Steelers “Steel Curtain” defense was a 4-3 with such notables as “Mean” Joe Greene, Ernie Holmes, Jack Lambert and Jack Ham playing their roles. Dallas’s “Doomsday” Defense under Tom Landry was the 4-3 “Flex” as mentioned above. The “Cover 2” defense or “Tampa 2” is a 4-3 defense. Buddy Ryan’s “46 defense” was a variation of the 4-3.


Sources


Football.calsi.com looks at the 4-3 defense


Letstalkdefens.com article on the 4-3


Labels: An In-Depth Look at the 4-3 Defense

Accelerating Environmental Education Towards Sustainable Development

The Philippines is in full-gear as it climbs a step up the ladder of education for the environment towards sustainable development. Through the initiative of the government, and the headstrong coordination of the academe, the media, the non-government organizations, environmentalists, private organizations, and the civil society, the Filipinos would be taking up the challenges, with a vision to keep pushing a national movement towards the betterment of the Philippine environment, through education.

Education is and has always been a crucial component towards environmental conservation, protection, and management. However, all men have all been made aware of the constraints and problems at hand concerning the natural resources – problems brought about by factors varying from technology to population, from lack of discipline and values, to mal-education. There is an urgent need to sustain the precious resources worldwide so that lives would be sustained, and so, emerged a universal program of action, the Agenda 21.


Agenda 21 is a universal campaign to bring the Earth into a sustainable future, and the Philippines, being among the countries participating in it, has created its local version, the Philippine Agenda 21. It is a vision for a better quality of life for all, with five goal elements to keep in mind: Ecological Integrity, Poverty Reduction, Social Equity, Empowerment and Good Governance, and Peace and Solidarity.


Last July 4, 2006, the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) hosted a forum on Accelerating Environmental Education Towards Sustainable Development, attended by no less than Ambassador Madam Preciosa Soliven of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and by DENR officials, noted environmentalists and academes, the media, the church, and the business sector.


The Forum, which has become a venue for educators and environmentalists, focused on one goal element: Ecological Integrity. This is to highlight the urgent need to push for resource conservation, and endlessly lobby for programs on environmental restoration and enhancement.


Let us all be key players who would make sustainable development in the Philippines possible, even through small contributions through environmental education. Let us play the eternal role in making more and more people aware of, and convincing them to take responsibility in, the management of the Philippine environment. Together, let us work towards a vision of an environmentally-literate and proactive citizenry, who would care for and protect the environment.


No government project would succeed without the support of the people. Education is key towards progress. Let us all take the challenge and work together to accelerate environmental education towards sustainable development.


Labels: Accelerating Environmental Education Towards Sustainable Development

Adaptation Postulation

1. Glitz by Elmore Leonard-for the Get Shorty fan

I’m cheating here, because Glitz was already adapted into a movie, but it was a TV movie from 1988. But I’m talking about an actual feature length film, so don’t gripe. Anyone who has read Elmore Leonard’s books (or even see his movies) knows he succeeds at three things: dialogue, humor, and realism. He understands people and how they talk, their mannerisms, and how funny it is to exaggerate stereotypes (e.g. the grandiose gangster, the ultra psycho, the cop with all bravado). More importantly, his stories are never outrageous and improbable, they never take themselves too seriously. That said, Glitz is my favorite of his books Set in the 1980s, Glitz tells the tale of Miami detective Vincent Mora who, while recovering from a gunshot wound, is not only caught up in a murder plot in Atlantic City, but is also being stalked by a vicious killer called Teddy. Of course, twists and turns abound, and the result is a highly entertaining piece of mystery.


For Vincent, I easily cast Russell Crowe, who can bring not only the subtle charm to the role, but also that “Edge” we see in any good Crowe movie. Think L.A. Confidential meets American Gangster and you have Russell Crowe’s character. On the flip side, Jackie Earle Haley, who has now made a career of playing some truly disturbed individuals, is perfect as mama’s boy Teddy Magyk, a creep who isn’t as dumb as he looks.


2. Fools Die by Mario Puzo-for the life crisis and tormented soul fan


Though widely known for The Godfather and his other mob-oriented novels, Mario Puzo also penned this epic tale of redemption, guilt, and personal crisis…basically life. The story begins with a group of friends in Vegas, with one committing suicide shortly after winning a fortune. After that, the plot shifts towards Merlyn, one of the members of this group. I can’t give too much away, mostly because there isn’t a lot to give away. It is dense and there is not a ton of action, but for solid drama, you can do no wrong. This is the book that made me want to write screenplays. Ethan Hawke would be good for Merlyn, , Joe Pantolino for Doran, Julian McMahon for Cully, and in a scene-stealing role, either Philip Seymour Hoffman or James Gandolfini for Osano, the foul-mouthed and outrageous author who befriends Merlyn.


3. The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury-for the Pan’s Labyrinth fan


Note: IMDB.COM states this film is in development, but what does that even mean? Thousands of films are “in development.” In any case, I choose you, Guillermo Del Toro! For Director! Because this is YOUR film! This would definitely be a challenge to adapt, but I think it’s worth it, just for the visual feast it would bring. The lead plotline is about a man who meets a heavily tattooed stranger. This man’s tattoos are able to move and have the ability to tell a story, one for each tattoo. The challenge I mentioned about is that there are over a dozen stories in this novel, all short stories, of course, but how do you choose which ones are most important? That said, Del Toro’s flair for special effects would be PERFECT for these tales, not to mention the Illustrated Man himself would be a sight to behold. I don’t have any preference to actors, as long as they can sell it. For me, it’s all about the stories and the lessons they promote.


Labels: Adaptation Postulation

A Bizarre Error Helped Create the Nobel Prize

Very few people realize that the esteemed Nobel Prize might never have come about if a French newspaper in 1888 had not made a mistake in an obituary. Not only did they have the wrong individual and description about the person’s life, they were also highly critical of that individual.

The evolution of the Nobel Prize began when Ludvig Nobel, recognized as an engineering genius, good businessman and generous humanitarian died in March 1888 in Cannes, France. The local newspapers ran the obituary stating it was Alfred Bernhard Nobel, the younger brother to Ludvig, who just died. The fact was that Alfred, a famous inventor and chemist was very much alive.


As if that was not unsettling enough, the paper was rather judgmental about the life and achievements of Alfred, to the point of labeling him; “the merchant of death.” Alfred was totally shocked that he was perceived in that manner, with such revulsion that his only contribution in life was to bring about death.


Alfred Bernhard Nobel was actually a pacifist by nature. A brilliant man born on October 21, 1833 in Stockholm, Sweden. He grew up with siblings and parents who were achievers. His father, Immanuel Nobel, was an architect, builder and inventor. He had a machine shop in St. Petersburg, Russia and was very successful with contracts from the Russian government to build defense weapons.


Mostly self-educated man, Alfred, became a trained chemist. Besides science, Alfred was an avid reader of literature, plus very fluent in English, German, French, Swedish, and Russian languages.


As a young man Alfred soon began experimenting with nitroglycerine, creating his first explosions in the early summer of 1862. It exploded under unpredictable amounts of heat and pressure. He attempted several different things to make it more stable. By October 1863, Alfred received his fourth Swedish patent, this one for his percussion detonator, what was referred to as the “Nobel lighter” and later called a blasting cap.


He had a small factory at Helenborg near Stockholm to manufacture nitroglycerine. Unfortunately, nitroglycerine is a very difficult and dangerous material to handle. In 1864 that factory abruptly blew up, killing several people, including Alfred’s younger brother, Emil Nobel. He was more determined to make improvements and develop a safe blasting compound. To safely conduct his experiments he set up his materials on a flatboat in the center of Lake Malaren.


While in Manhattan, New York in May 1866, Alfred Nobel demonstrated the explosive effects and safety of nitroglycerine, when properly handled. This was done on a rocky slope at 83rd Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. He was discovering and creating improved substitutes for gunpowder. By 1867, Alfred invented a new and safer-to-handle explosive that he termed ‘dynamite’. He had it patented in Great Britain in May 1867, then Sweden in September 1867 and next the United States by May 1868. Between 1869 and 1872 he had greatly improved the Nitro-Glycerine compound, making it much safer to handle and that was patented.


Nobel looked at this explosive material as a way to end all wars. His belief in the use of dynamite and nitroglycerine was to help establish peace in the world. His thought: “The day when two army corps can annihilate each other in one second, all civilized nations, it is to be hoped, will recoil from war and discharge their troops.” Unfortunately, many other individuals saw his explosive inventions as an extremely deadly product.


He traveled the world selling his products because there did prove to be a demand for the explosives. Alfred became very wealthy by manufacturing from his 90 factories and the selling of dynamite, the preferred explosive.


Alfred was always an ill man, in poor health, suffering from migraine headaches, depression and blocked coronary arteries. Preferring spending time inventing he was not a social outgoing person and in turn never married or had children. Alfred did a three lady friends over the years whom he wrote letters to, but none married him. Being shy, Alfred also had very few friends.


When the French newspaper obituary erroneously headlined in 1888; “Alfred B. Nobel – a merchant of death is dead“, he realized that he did not want to go down in history with such a horrific epitaph. He thought long and hard about how he could change this perception. It would not be until 1895 that he had a most acceptable solution.


In Alfred B. Nobel’s final will, written November 27, 1895, he would leave approximately 94% of his vast estate to establish a worldwide annual award to outstanding individuals in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace. With such an award bearing his name, he hoped the Nobel name might mean more than destruction or death to humanity. He told no one of his wishes, it was strictly written in his sealed final will.


Alfred Nobel, talented chemist and inventor with 355 patents, died alone at age 63 on December 10, 1896 at his villa in San Remo, Italy. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage. There would be individuals years later, with a theory that possibly nitroglycerine poisoning produced the pains he suffered from and aided in an early death.


After his funeral the Nobel will was opened. This was when the world discovered the vast plans Alfred had set up to establish five worldwide prizes. As he stated; he wanted to honor those individuals who made “the greatest benefit on mankind.” He was a wealthy man, so he donated 35 million Swedish kronor (equal to $225 million today); with the prizes coming from the fortune’s annual interest. This news shocked his relatives.


Yet, this was not simple to carry out Alfred’s wishes. Problems arose quickly. First, with relatives not knowing his wishes, they wanted to contest the will. Also Alfred had lived in various counties and had no firm establishment of residence. So the question, which country; France, Sweden or Italy, would his will be valid? Then, there was the question of which country would run such an award foundation.


It eventually took five years to iron out all the details and methods of running the selection and awarding of the prizes. A Nobel Foundation was established with the prizes handed out in Sweden and in Norway.


On the fifth anniversary of Alfred B. Nobel’s death, December 10, 1901, the first set of Nobel Prizes were awarded at the Royal Academy of Music, in Stockholm, Sweden.


Those first winners were:


Chemistry: Jacobus H. van’t Hoff
Physics: Wilhelm C. Röntgen
Physiology or Medicine: Emil A. von Behring
Literature: Rene F. A. Sully Prudhomme
Peace: Jean H. Dunant and Frédéric Passy


The money from Nobel’s rich estate went into a fund managed by the Nobel Foundation. The interest from the fund constitutes the monetary prize each year. The selection process is long and careful. This is the main reason for why so many people give such importance to the Nobel Prize. It is the most prestigious intellectual awards in the world.


In 1968, a sixth prize, that of economics, was added. In each of the subject prize areas, there are between 100 to 250 nominees worldwide each year. No one can nominate themselves. All the paper work and documents used to determine why a person is named a winner for each category are sealed for fifty years. Also sealed are the complete list of nominees, that information is unavailable for fifty years.


Each prize awarded include a gold medal (18 to 24-carat gold), a diploma and a sum of money. Many of the recipients have donated their prize money to benefit scientific, cultural, or humanitarian causes. Just the honor of being selected is tribute enough for most individuals.


The award medal design:
“The back of the medal shows a tunnel blasted by dynamite and a detonator or blasting cap. On the front of the medal is a portrait of Nobel, with the Latin inscription Creavit et promovit, which can be translated “He created and promoted.”


Each December 10th, the anniversary of Nobel’s death, the various prizes are bestowed. The year 2011, with the December ceremonies, will mark the 110th year the Nobel Prizes have been given out. There will be a special remembrance of the man and of the foundation he established. Alfred B. Noble, achieved his goal of being remembered for a far greater achievement that creating dynamite.


Labels: A Bizarre Error Helped Create the Nobel Prize

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Bad Economy Could Help Save the American Family and the Planet

Something good always comes out of a bad situation. Take the economy for instance. Many Americans are unemployed or underemployed, thousands of homes have been lost to foreclosure, and many folks are forced to scale down their extravagant lifestyles. Is this really a crisis, or a sign from the universe that we all need to make some changes?

The current situation in America has compelled us to better appreciate the things that we as a society have normally taken for granted. The planet and our families are in pretty bad shape because of our self-indulgence. Think about it. For decades we have been a throw-away society. We waste food, clothing, energy, money, water, cars, and a whole lot of other goods. American families have simply tossed out useful items that we simply no longer wanted. Restaurants throw away thousands of pounds of food daily, while homeless people starve in the streets. We purchase more clothing that we can store in our closets, wear the same 5 outfits each week, and toss out clothing that was never worn.We own 30 pair of shoes for 1 pair of feet. How and why did we become such a wasteful society focused on collecting ‘stuff’.?


For the sake of the planet, and our own financial situations, we should have been reducing, re-using, and recycling long before the economy collapsed. The good news is that most American families are now reducing and re-using, thanks to the loss of jobs and the bad economy. Many two-income families are now single-income families. We are now rethinking the way we live our lives. We are becoming less wasteful and more creative. We are learning to put our families on a budget, and save a few dollars for the next rainy day.


Hopefully, we will see some improvements in the stability of the American family. Maybe the divorce rate will decrease.With so many people out of work, adults will now have more time to focus on the family unit and the children. Little Suzie is jumping for joy since mom lost her job. “Yeah! Now I don’t have to spend 12 hours at daycare with a bunch of strangers and a room full of other babies screaming for attention.” Perhaps parents will actually learn to prepare home-cooked meals and families will start eating dinner together. Teenagers will no longer receive outrageous allowances to blow in the mall, and will spend time at home playing Monopoly with their parents and siblings, studying, or reading a good book. Now that dad’s work hours have been cut, maybe, just maybe he will attend a parent-teacher conference or a little league baseball game.


American parents have spent far too many hours at work, and not enough time with the family. And this has caused more social problems than the bad economy. How can society succeed if families are falling apart? Strong, unified families lead to a strong unified country. When the economy recovers and you return to work, do not forget that a job should never come before your family. Your family needs you – your time and attention. For the company, you are just a number, a means to an end. To your family, you are their everything.


The good thing about a bad economy is that it may bring the American family closer and remind us of the things in life that truly matter.


Labels: A Bad Economy Could Help Save the American Family and the Planet

5 of the Most Expensive Hotel Rooms Around the World

Imagine you have just hit the jackpot and want to embark on the vacation of a lifetime and stay in one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. These hotels offer more than just a bed, bathroom, and free toiletries. These hotels will make you feel like royalty and you almost must be to afford them. Many of these hotels offer suites that cover entire hotel floors, a personal butler, and even a private helicopter.

Here are 5 of the most expensive hotel rooms around the world.


1. Park Hyatt-Vendôme, Imperial Suite in Paris France


The 750 square-foot Imperial Suite is located on the second floor of the hotel’s Haussmanian building. The suite features a bar, kitchenette, dining room, and high ceilings. The suite also includes a spa that offers a built-in massage table, steam room, and Whirlpool. The cost to rent the suite is $15,500 a night.


2. Burj Al Arab, Royal Suite in Dubai, United Arab Emirates


This excellent suite is two stories with an epic staircase located in the middle. The suite features mahogany furniture and Carrara marble floors. The master bedroom features a four-post canopy bed that rotates. Hermes toiletry products are offered along with Faubourg fragrances. A private cinema and elevator are also features of the suite. A helicopter or a Rolls Royce driven by a chauffeur is available at extra cost. The cost is $18,000 a night.


3. The Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Suite in Moscow, Russia


This 2,500 square-foot suite features a grand piano, a library, and Imperial furniture. There are excellent views of St. Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square, and Kremlin with the windows that are from the floor to the ceiling. Guests receive 5 meals a day and have a secure telecommunications display. The suite also has its own autonomous energy supply system that is approved by KGB. $18,200 a night for this suite.


4. Four Seasons, Ty Warner Penthouse in New York, New York


This extravagant suite almost floats as it is on top of the tallest hotel in Manhattan. It gives guests a 360-degree view of the city with windows that are from the floor to ceiling. The suite has nine rooms with platinum and gold-woven fabrics and mother of pearl inlayed walls. A personal butler and unlimited worldwide calls are included and guests can watch every channel in the whole world on the televisions. You can stay here for $34,000 a night.


5. Palms Casino Resort, Hugh Hefner Sky Villa in Las Vegas, Nevada


This 10,000 square-foot suite is two stories and full of Playboy themed luxury. It is of course themed in Playboy with Playboy bunnies surrounding the suite, with a large bunny on the $700,000 Jacuzzi that extends over the strip. The suite offers a mirrored ceiling, rotating bed, and 24-hour butler service. It costs $40,000 a night.


Source:


http://stylecrave.com/2009-05-15/luxury-hotels-10-of-the-worlds-most-expensive-resorts/


Labels: 5 of the Most Expensive Hotel Rooms Around the World

Ace Rag: To Play or Not to Play?

In the game of poker, aces are the most important card in the deck. Although strong, an ace loses a great deal of value when paired with a low card in your pre flop hand. This pairing of cards is commonly called ace rag in the poker world. What is considered “ace rag” you may ask? Most poker players consider an ace paired with anything lower than a ten as ace rag.

While ace rag is a playable hand in certain positions, it can become dangerous if played at the wrong time. This is one of the biggest mistakes made by players new to the game of poker. So what should you do when dealt an ace with a low card? Let’s take a look.


The strategy of playing ace rag during a Texas Hold’em tournament or cash game depends on a few things. You must first look at your position at the table. If you are in an early position with the chance of being called by multiple bettors, or even raised, it would be wise to lay your hand down. You must always remember that if you encounter a player that is raising the pot before the flop, they most likely have a very strong hand. There’s nothing worse than calling a large raise with an ace with a low kicker only to find out that your hand is completely dominated by AK or AQ. A late position with few callers is a better times to enter a pot if it is possible to limp in for a small amount. The ideal position for ace rag however is the big blind. In this position there is a possibility to get into the hand without having to commit any additional chips to the pot.


Another thing to take into consideration when dealt ace rag is the type of players that are currently sitting at your table. If you study the players around you, you can try to determine if they are loose aggressive, or tight and passive players. If you are considering calling with ace rag and the other player in the pot is an aggressive player, it is somewhat more likely that he is committing chips to the pot with an inferior hand such as a low suited connector or a face card paired with a low card. In this position your ace will have your opponents hand beat going into the flop. If the player you are considering calling seems to be a passive player, it is plausible to suppose that they will save their chips only for powerful hands. In this situation, it is likely that your hand is beat so the best option would be to lay it down.


In the end the decision to play ace rag is yours, but you must always keep in mind that more often than not, the players around you are only going to raise with a considerable hand. The small pot that you may pick up catching an ace or possibly two pair playing ace rag is not worth potentially crippling or even busting yourself against a larger and more powerful ace hand.


Labels: Ace Rag: To Play or Not to Play?

A Race Fan’s Wish for NASCAR

As on-track activities get underway for the biggest week in NASCAR racing, culminating with next Sunday’s 54th running of the Daytona 500, NASCAR officials will continue scrutinizing cars and the racing action all week, an almost endless loop of technical analysis designed to deliver side-by-side, competitive racing to track-side fans, and more importantly, couch-surfing television viewers. NASCAR’s appeal has always been in the everyman approach to technology and an entertaining product of competitive, unpredictable racing with driver heroes making the difference between checkered flag glory and pit lane disappointment.


NASCAR’s regulators have a variety of tools to employ to ensure they manufacture what they deem to be the best racing, and they aren’t afraid to changes rules, mid-season or mid-week. Taking the liberty to speak for dedicated and casual race fans alike, below is my wish-list for John Darby, NASCAR’s Director of Competition and the man dressed in Santa’s red suit this week.


What I don’t want to see:


Everyone seems to have had enough of last year’s two-step tango, and early signs indicate new regulations have cured that ill. Cars running in tandem are interesting for a lap or two. After that, what more do I need to see until the next round of pits stops tells me whether any of the pairs got mixed and matched? Oh, and pity the poor driver who might be the odd one out, running solo and doomed to watching the race disappear out the front of the windshield.


But, in a haste to eliminate the two-step, let’s not go the other way and end up with one amorphous gaggle of 43 cars droning in a thunderous bunched pack, each race lap rife with anxiety that a wiggle causes a chain reaction that eliminates half the field before the half-way point.


A 43-car bunch is a 4-hour roll of the dice, perhaps best taken in by exactly what NASCAR doesn’t want – viewing apathy. Soon, even die-hard fans take to the behaviors of the casual fan: watch the first 10 laps, take a nap, wash the car, watch a movie, and then watch the last ten laps. Later, a cursory rewind of the DVR will show the carnage of “the big one,” the cataclysmic wreck that changed the complexion of the entire race in one long, screeching, crumpling sequence.


What I do want to see:


Differentiation, with the best cars and drivers being able to pull away from the ones who aren’t the best, or at least not up to the best at that point in time. Instead of one pack of 43 cars or 21 pairs of two, I want to see a select pack of nine or 10 at the front, with a bit of separation of the next best, chasing pack of 10-15, with maybe one or two more running groups trailing.


The differentiation doesn’t have to be much – maybe as little as a half a tenth per lap. But, as the fuel and tire stints progress, us fans are able to see which car and driver combinations are hooked up best. With pit stops throughout the race, we can observe how some cars are improving, catching the pace of the leaders and keeping up with the changing track conditions. As well, we can see who begins to struggle with the pace, missing critical car adjustments and thereby dropping further off the pace.


Cars will move deliberately up the field as they improve, or fall, and often precipitously, down the running order when mistakes are made. Every car and driver would start with a chance, and the best team, car, and driver combinations will rise to the select few over 200 laps, bringing a worthy, thrilling conclusion to a day of back-and-forth, up-and-down, side-by-side racing.


That’s the result race fans want, a compelling, green flag to checkered flag race. NASCAR, it’s up to you to figure out how to do that – start with aerodynamic grip on the nose and mechanical grip on the rear. Get to it boys, for we’re ready. More than that, we’re hopeful.



Labels: A Race Fan’s Wish for NASCAR

5 Salty Snacks to Dip in Chocolate

If you love the combination of sweet and salty, chocolate is the perfect addition to your favorite salty foods. While pretzels are often a favorite, there are so many foods you can dip in chocolate. Whether it’s a salty piece of bacon or popcorn, chocolate dipped snacks are such a wonderful treat. The following are just five delicious, salty foods to dip in chocolate.

Bacon


If you love bacon, you’re going to love this treat. Chocolate covered bacon has become popular in candy stores across America, but it is actually quite easy to make at home. The key is to fry the bacon until it’s extremely crispy and to drain away all the excess fat with paper towels. Otherwise, you’ll end up biting into a greasy piece of chewy meat, which is not appetizing. Personally, I think milk chocolate is the best option for bacon because it’s nice and sweet against the super salty bacon.


Potato Chips


Another delicious snack to dip in chocolate is potato chips. The trick with this snack is to find sturdy potato chips that won’t break easily during the dipping process. Also, you want to stick with plain flavored potato chips because no one wants to mix chocolate and cheese or green onion flavored chips. Yuck!


Popcorn


This is one of my all time favorites. Popcorn covered in chocolate is so amazing. You can use any type of chocolate you like and can even mix the flavors by drizzling all three types of chocolate over the popcorn. If you like, you can also add mixed nuts or candied nuts to the mix.


Crackers


A favorite in the South is saltine crackers topped with a spoonful of peanut butter and dipped in chocolate. This is such an amazing combination of flavors. Another simple snack is to dip Ritz Crackers in chocolate. Either way, crackers pair beautifully with chocolate.


Sunflower Seeds


Last, but not least, chocolate covered sunflower seeds are another fantastic treat. While you can find individually covered sunflower seeds in candy shops, it’s almost impossible to do at home. This is why I suggest making chocolate bark loaded with salted sunflower seeds. You can use any flavor of chocolate you prefer in this snack.


These are just a few of the salty snacks that pair well with chocolate. Get creative and see which snacks in your cabinet pair well with your favorite chocolate.


Labels: 5 Salty Snacks to Dip in Chocolate

Acer 20" Widescreen Flat-Panel LCD Monitor

The time had come to replace my computer monitor. I went looking to find a decent one for a good price. I found the Acer 20″ Widescreen LCD Monitor at Best Buy on sale for $99.99. After looking at the monitor in the store, (which I highly recommend by the way) I decided that I could not pass this deal up.

This is a replacement for my first flat panel monitor which I have had for several years. It has done a god job, but I want a larger screen, and the other side of the equation is not knowing how much time the old monitor has left.


As I said, I was impressed with the look of the Acer – 20″ Widescreen. It is a substantial upgrade from my old 17 inch monitor. I took it home and unpacked the box. I thought it was supposed to come with the cable, but it didn’t. Fortunately, I still had the DVI cable I was using with the old monitor.


With that one minor annoyance taken care of, I plugged it in, and connected it to my computer. With the DVI connection, the colors are crisp and clear.


The Acer – 20″ Widescreen is Energy Star compliant which is something I always look for in my electronics. One must try to be green these days!.


Having always used a 1280 X 1024 (4 X 3) the widescreen takes a bit of getting used to. One issue I have discovered is that the buttons on this monitor feel a little “loose” I am concerned that they might fall out after some use. Time will tell. Another issue for me is the fact that there is no height adjustment. I may have to place it up on some books and see how that goes.


Those minor issues aside, the picture on the Acer – 20″ Widescreen is awesome. The colors are much more vivid and bright than my old monitor. I put in a movie DVD into my computer DVD drive, and while it was a smaller screen than I would usually watch a movie on, the playback was just as good as on my HDTV. The digital picture through the DVI input will blow you away.


Overall, I would highly recommend the Acer – 20″ Widescreen for anyone who needs a desktop monitor for a decent price.


Labels: Acer 20" Widescreen Flat-Panel LCD Monitor

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