Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Review of the Most Fabulous Luggage Sets Ever

Enough with the solid black, red, and navy blue luggage. Suitcases can be fun!

Stanton Madison: 3 Piece Zebra Luggage Set
“This Stanton Madison luggage set lets you escape the jungle of everyday life. Its bold zebra print stands out in the airport and brings extra style to your travels. Featuring two wheeled upright suitcases and a tote bag, these suitcases accommodate all of your travel needs.”
This zebra print somehow manages to be both totally chic and totally fun at the same time. Love it!
$239.99 at Kohls

American Flyer: Grande Dots 4 Piece Luggage Set
“Stop the luggage carousel in its tracks with this fashionable American Flyer Grande Dots luggage set.Polka-dot pattern adds fun styling to your luggage.”
This light pink and chocolae brown color combo is nothing short of adorable.
$189.99 at Kohls

Liz Claiborne: Five Piece Luggage Set
“Liz Claiborne gets you there in style. Enjoy smooth traveling with the Liz Claiborne Signature II luggage collection.”
The classically chic Liz Claiborne trademark in either tan, pink and teal, or black, grey and white. The epitome of sophistication.
Individual pricing at JC Penney

Double Dutch: Pink Dot Satchel and Luggage Set
“Take a trip to a groovier time with the Double Dutch retro satchel. Sure to turn heads as it comes around the baggage carousel, it puts dull luggage to shame with vibrant pastels and a funky polka-dot pattern.”
This pink, purple and gold luggage will be sure to make all your travels happier!
$90.00 at Macy’s

Jenni Chan: Damask Luggage
“Original Jenni Chan design material and hardware detail. -Lightweight construction and tie down strap inside.”
This black and white damask print with pink trim is very possibly the most beautiful luggage I have ever seen. I want to live in it.
$119.00 at Sears

LeSportSac: Arbor Travel Collection
“LeSportSac travel collection is a collection of luggage created in their legendary lightweight material. The wheeled duffel and uprights are constructed of rip-stop nylon in arbor.”
This pretty black and white design is both elegant and retro. What’s not to love?
Individual Pricing at BedBath&Beyond

Yak Pak: Black Multi Birds Luggage Collection
“Your travel plans are fabulous, now your luggage can be too! Yak Pak luggage collection sports water and tear-resistant coated twill fabric with a subtle yet whimsical bird motif that will ensure that your luggage never gets lost on the baggage claim belt!”
Packing will be an easy task as these little birds sing a happy working song.
Individual Pricing at BedBath&Beyond

Britto by Heys: Butterfly Collection
“For the art enthusiast, and someone who appreciates the bold patterns and colors that are trademarks of world renowned pop artist Romero Britto’s artwork, this is must have luggage for the trendy traveler. This light weight, frameless, hardside collection is durable, and splashed with Britto’s trendy patterns.”
Not for the faint of heart, these bold suitcases will catch your eye for sure.
Individual Pricing at BedBath&Beyond

Labels: A Review of the Most Fabulous Luggage Sets Ever

Alabama Offers a Favorable Business Climate

Alabama, like the rest of the U.S., has been severely affected by the economic downturn and credit crisis, resulting in a sharp drop in the Business Leaders Confidence Index for the 1st quarter of 2009. The state’s manufacturing sector, particularly the automotive industry, has been particularly hard hit. But prior to this crisis, Alabama had been recognized for its favorable business climate and had weathered the recession reasonably well through mid 2008.

The Alabama state government has encouraged businesses to locate their operations in the state, make investments, and hire local workers by promoting a favorable business climate. Dr. Deter Zetsche, Chairman of DaimlerChrysler AG, recognizes the great support from the State of Alabama in the success of their plant in Tuscaloosa. And Charles Allen, Vice President of Business Operations for Boeing, points out the well-trained and educated workforce, the positive business environment, and the support from state and local officials as factors in the success of Boeing’s operations in the state. Hyundai set up its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Montgomery, Alabama. With an investment of $1.4 billion, it is one of the most advanced assembly plants in North America.

In its Survey of the Top 25 State Business Climate, Site Selection magazine ranked Alabama as 5th in the country in 2007. And AIDT, Alabama’s workforce training program, which is ISO 9001:2000 certified, was ranked second in the U.S. in 2007 by Expansion Management. AIDT provides job-specific training, free of charge, to new and expanding businesses throughout Alabama.

Alabama offers many industrial and commercial buildings for sale or lease throughout the state, and nearly 600 industrial parks, greenfield sites and reusable property sites. Property taxes are among the lowest in the country. And the Alabama Department of Environmental Management provides “one-stop” permitting for all major federal and state environmental laws.

Tax incentives for businesses in Alabama include a deduction for pollution control equipment, a 15-year carryforward for net operating losses, a basic skills educational tax credit, an income tax credit for capital projects, and certain abatements on property and sales taxes.

When a business is installed in certain designated areas in Alabama called Enterprise Zones, or when the business makes investments or hires workers in these areas, it qualifies for special state tax credits. According to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, Enterprise Zones have been designated in the cities of Birmingham, Montgomery and Prichard, and in various counties throughout the state.

Hiring incentives in enterprise zones include a tax credit of up to $2,500 for each new permanent employee hired, and a credit of $1,000 per permanent employee for the cost of training the employee in new skills. New investments or improvements to existing facilities in an enterprise zone qualify for a tax credit of 10% on the first $10,000, 5% on the next $90,000, and 2% on the remaining investment.

Businesses can also receive an exemption from the Alabama sales and use tax on the materials purchased to construct a new building or to make additions or improvements to an existing building, and on machinery and equipment used in the enterprise zone.

Alabama’s future economic development, beyond the current economic crisis, may depend partially on the fate of the automotive industry and developments in aerospace and biotechnology, in which Alabama is an innovative leader. But the infrastructure and incentives Alabama has established to promote its business climate should encourage investment and employment and contribute to stimulating business activity in the state.


Alabama Business Climate – Alabama State Government

Alabama Enterprise Zone Program – Escambia County Industrial Development Authority

Enterprise Zone Program – Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs

State Enterprise Zones – Economic Development Partnership Alabama

Tax Incentives for Industry – Alabama Department of Revenue

Labels: Alabama Offers a Favorable Business Climate

Advice to a Twenty-Something Me

One of my dear friends recently turned 29. She updated her social networking statuses about the impending dread and concern. To her, turning 29 is a reminder that “30” is just around the corner. Unfortunately, she, like many other young individuals, has some notion that she should have achieved all her greatness by now. As the rest of us realize, getting older, especially escaping your twenties, is quite possibly the greatest gift of all. Of course, we don’t miss the full head of hair or the flawless skin, but a lot of the pressure of youth is gone. That absence of young, idealism – you know the one that makes you think you can be everything everyone else wants you to be – fades. Instead, age spots and wrinkles appear. If you look closely, however, you may see truth and wisdom in the depths of those emerging flaws.

Though I have very few regrets about my life so far, I do wish I could share a few things with my younger self:

  • Don’t drink so much,

  • Take a vitamin,

  • Wear sunscreen,

  • Wake up early every once in a while, just because,

  • Sleep more,

  • Say “thank you” often, and mean it, and

  • Laugh, cry, dance, and love like no one else is watching.

Labels: Advice to a Twenty-Something Me

Apple Trees that Grow in Arizona

Despite its dry climate, Arizona is known for being a large producer of fruits. One of its most plentiful fruits is the apple. Several varieties of apple trees thrive and grow in this state. Some are early maturing, such as the Anna, the Dorsett Golden and the Ein shemer. However, some varieties, including the Gala and the Fuji, bear fruit in mid to late season.

Anna Apple Trees

Anna apple trees flourish well in Arizona. This tree produces large crops that must be thinned out on occasion. The apples are sweet and delicious when ripe. They are perfect for eating fresh or cooking and can be refrigerated safely for up to two months. The Anna apple tree does not require cross pollination, but is sometimes cross-pollinated with the Ein shemer.

Dorsett Golden Apple Trees

The Dorsett Golden apple tree grows very well throughout Arizona. This tree produces firm, sweet, yellow fruits that taste similar to Golden Delicious apples. This apple tree self-pollinates and thrives abundantly in the lower desert areas. It is an early season tree that normally bears fruit in June.

Ein Shemer Apple Trees

The Ein shemer is also an early bearing apple tree. This tree bears heavy crops of sweet, yellow fruit. It normally bears fruit in June and also is commonly used to cross pollinate other apple trees.

Gala Apple Trees

Gala apple trees produce medium-sized apples often used for desserts. These apples are crisp and have a nice balance of sweetness and tartness in flavor. The apple skin is a reddish orange over a soft yellow.

Fuji Apple Trees

The Fuji apple tree produces one of the sweetest apples that grow in Arizona. Fuji apples have a dull, russet-colored skin and taste crisp and delicious. These apples are fine for eating fresh or cooking.

Labels: Apple Trees that Grow in Arizona

A Review of the Most Recent Punisher Movie

The Punisher has been around since the 1970’s and I have to say that for a character with such a wealth of source material to draw from it seems surprising that no one has been able to make an effective movie about this character. I also find it surprising that this latest attempt from 2008 may be the worst one yet.

The Dolph Lundgren version is decent in and of itself but lacks anything that would distinguish it as a Punisher movie. The title seems arbitrary as any connection to the source material appears coincidental and can only be described as gossamer at best.

The Thomas Jane version suffers from similar faults. The only characters to find their way from the page to the screen are secondary characters, the Punisher’s menagerie of bizarre neighbors, from Garth Ennis’ “Welcome Back, Frank” mini-series published in 2000. And even though the villain from the comic, the Russian, found his way to the screen he did not do so without losing his character. In the comic the Russian slings witty banter along with his bowling ball sized fists. The movie reduces him to a grunting behemoth.

This third attempt to start a franchise around the Punisher while it does adhere closely to the source material only does so to fall that much farther.

Anyone who has read Garth Ennis’ eight year run on the character will easily note that the movie draws from the comic as source material, and in that eight year run the Punisher has been depicted as both darkly comedic and frighteningly suspenseful and dramatic. That being said, it is hard to tell if the aim of the movie was to make a dark comedy or a serious drama. The movie seems to attempt to do both but in doing so accomplishes neither. No disrespect to any of the actors, but whenever any of the movies villains appear on screen I feel as though I am watching a cartoon. They come off as goofy and immature rather than insane and dangerous. This does not play well off the attempts at serious drama in the scenes with the title character, of which there is at least one that comes off as effective, the one where he offers money to the wife of the Federal agent he accidentally killed. (Any of the other attempts I leave to the individual viewer to decide for his or herself.) In the end it seems as though the attempts to make a universally appealing movie resulted in a movie that appeals to no one, least of all to fans of the Punisher.

This distaste with the movie stems from a fear that a general audience will not take the character seriously. He comes off as a poor man’s Dirty Harry. If the makers of the movie had taken a more serious approach to the film, and I’m talking about the behind the scenes people, not the actors, they would have produced a more entertaining movie.

While the trend of translating comics into film seems to be and ever growing phenomenon, this does not mean that movie makers need to look at other comic movies as templates. Movies such as Scarface, Taxi Driver, the Godfather, and even the more recent Death Sentence, bear stronger similarities to the Punisher than any of comicdom’s four color characters. Last years The Dark Knight showed us that a movie based off of a comic book does not necessarily need to look like a comic book.

If the makers of the next Punisher movie, if there is one, focus on making a serious movie they might stand a chance to make a movie that will satisfy all, rather than something that will be the thing of cult status at best.

Labels: A Review of the Most Recent Punisher Movie

A Review of Maid in the Shade in Houston, Texas

The cleaning service, Maid In The Shade has been operating since 1988 in Houston, Texas, and is still going strong; however, after using their services twice, I decided twice was enough. It took me a long time to finally find a company in Houston that was bonded, insured and was a member of the Better Business Bureau. Unfortunately, many Houstonians see nothing wrong with hiring illegal immigrants but after reading my review, perhaps they’ll finally see why it is so important to use a “legal” contractor.

The positive points about Maid In the Shade are that the people who own and run the business used to clean houses themselves, so they have incorporated everything they learned about professional house cleaning into an intense training program for all of their cleaning staff. They also pride themselves on their excellent customer care team with communication, professionalism, and friendliness. Maid In The Shade is owned and operated by women – Girl Power all the way – so that was a plus for me, being a woman.

A first time cleaning is not cheap; it is $125 plus tax but if you want to get onto a regular cleaning schedule (e.g. every three weeks), then the price drops down to $90 + tax. If you would like intermittent cleanings which come in handy when preparing for guests, a party, or even spring cleaning, then the cost is $110 + tax (if you’ve already had your initial cleaning). They take your credit card information over the phone and charge you after your house has been cleaned; that way you don’t have to worry about writing a check or having enough cash on hand to give to the cleaning associates.

Maid In The shade takes all of the information about your house (including house size, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, pets, how many people live in the house, instructions as to where you keep the trash etc.) so the cleaning associates have it all on a sheet of paper each time they come to your house. The cleaning associates also sign the piece of paper with their names so you know who cleaned your house. If there is a cleaning associate you do not like, then you can request that they not be sent to your house in the future; or if there is one that you particularly like, then you can request them in the future as well.

So far it all sounds great, right? Well, the first time I had my house cleaning by Maid In the Shade, the two women that arrived were very unfriendly, spoke only Spanish to each other, were laughing, and were talking on their mobile phones the entire time. Since I work from home, I was a tad uncomfortable with this. And being the paranoid, sensitive type, I just assumed they were talking about me. If they did their job then it wouldn’t have mattered, but unfortunately one of them decided that talking on the phone was more important than cleaning our kitchen, so I had to tell them as they were walking out the door that the kitchen was not thoroughly cleaned.

The woman whose job it was to clean the kitchen was out on the porch talking on the phone and couldn’t care less, so the other woman had to do it. I felt sorry for her since she was the one that had to do the bulk of the cleaning. Once they left, I inspected the house and saw that a few things weren’t cleaned sufficiently so I contacted Maid In The Shade and let them know that the cleaning associates were on the phone the entire time and that the one woman didn’t complete her job and just left. Maid In The Shade has a strict policy with regard to their cleaning associates not talking on the phone while at work (unless it is an emergency, a very short call, or is to their boss).

Apparently they had just had a meeting on this very same topic just a few days earlier, so the fact that the cleaning associates disobeyed that rule shortly after being told (again) that this was a “no-no” resulted in their suspension. I felt badly that I was responsible for the women being suspended but then again I was paying $125 + tax and they weren’t providing the service I was paying for; and they broke the rules, not me.

So I figured that since Maid In The Shade was so strict and took my complaint seriously that I should go ahead and have them add me to their regular clientele list every three weeks. Three weeks went by and I received an e-mail confirmation that I was on their schedule. The maids are supposed to come between 8 AM – 5 PM, so I had to get up extra early – which is no fun for an insomniac – to make sure I was ready by 8 AM just in case they came that early. You cannot specify which time period you prefer which I think is a big negative, because it’s impossible to plan your day not knowing when someone will show up.

By 5 PM, there was still no sign of the cleaning ladies, so I was furious that I had wasted my entire day waiting for them; but then at 5:30 PM, they arrived….looking drained and tired. I told the women that I was expecting them much earlier so they apologized and told me they had already cleaned four other houses. That was obvious from their lack of energy and the fact that they look dehydrated; needless to say, I was very uncomfortable with the idea of having them spend another two hours cleaning my house, but what could I do? The office closed at 4:30 PM so there was no one to contact; I had no choice but to let these poor women do their job and hoped they would do it quickly. The least I could do was offer them water which they seemed grateful for; did other clients not even give them water?

I suspect that their exhaustion caused them to be careless because one of the cleaning associates (we’ll call her Betty) knocked over a glass filled with scented oil and wooden sticks. Unfortunately Betty knocked it over on our console table which is made of engineered wood topped with a veneer so the oil stained the table and there was nothing that could be done to clean it. Betty came downstairs to my office and told me what had happened but since my Spanish wasn’t great, and her English was great, I thought it was best if I went upstairs to see the damage first-hand.

Yep, it was definitely ruined. Betty apologized and told me to call the office tomorrow; she relayed that MaidIn The Shade was insured so the item would be replaced. I did a quick check of the rest of the house and spotted one toilet that was not cleaned so I told the other cleaning associate. She assured me that she cleaned it so I had to point out the ring around the toilet. She went on to tell me that she would have to clean it with pumice. I usually clean it with just a Clorox wipe so I don’t know why a pumice stone was necessary but it did the job. They finally left at 7;38 PM, and once again apologized. “Betty” even went out of her way to tell me her name since she was the one who was responsible for the damage. I wondered if this was a tactic to ensure she got fired, or if she was just an honest person.

I made sure I took photos of the damaged console table and sent them to Maid In The Shade as proof along with a detailed e-mail. Fortunately because Maid In The Shade is an honest, insured company, they are going to order the replacement table from Crate and Barrel (where it was purchased), and have someone assemble it before delivering it to our house. They will then take the damaged table in exchange (for insurance purposes I’m sure).

So the moral of the story is to always use licensed, insured, and bonded contractors. If our console table was damaged by an illegal immigrant, then we would have no recourse and would have to pay for a new table on our own. If an illegal immigrant stole something from our house, then we would not even be able to report it to the police. That is why it is so important to make sure that any contractor that performs work inside our outside your house is licensed, bonded, and insured. If you’re looking for a contractor that has already been screened and is guaranteed to have a license, bond and insurance, then check out the Service Magic web site.

Maid In The Shade is located at 1907 Mangum Road, Houston, Texas, 77092. Their phone number is: 713-665-6243; and their e-mail address is: Maid In The Shade’s web site is:

Labels: A Review of Maid in the Shade in Houston, Texas

A Review of Mai Thai Restaurant in Houston, Texas

Mai Thai Restaurant in Houston, Texas receives five star ratings on City Search, so that combined with the fact that I had a coupon (for 50% off one entrée,) made the decision to reserve a table on a Friday night a no-brainer. The fact that they’ve been around since 1989 didn’t hurt either. Mai Thai is located in the Rivers Oaks section of Houston (just off of Kirby) so getting there was no problem; however, parking turned out to be a tricky situation. I was really looking forward to dining at Mai Thai but unfortunately I was let down.

Once inside we saw there were a plethora of vases with bamboo for sale – not your usual entrance décor. The tables were decorated in pink colored linen tablecloths and napkins; the furniture was white rattan reminiscent of Miami in the 1980’s. The light fixtures also looked like they were from the 80s and didn’t produce much light – in fact I could barely see my food once the sun set in Houston. There were lots of vases with faux flowers and bamboo sticks, and dated pictures that appeared as if they arrived via a garage sale. Needles to say, the atmosphere didn’t reek of Thailand, which was disappointing – that’s the one thing I look forward to when dining at a Thai restaurant: gold elephants, statues of Thai women, waterfalls, fish ponds, Thai art, etc.

OK, so the décor was a bit odd and besides one large table, we were the only ones in there, but Mai Thai did receive good reviews on City Search so we overlooked the quirkiness of the interior. Once seated, we were given our menus and asked if we wanted to place our drink order. Our drinks arrived quickly and then the waitress asked if we were ready to place our meal order. We only had our appetizers picked out by that point so we went ahead and ordered those: cold spring rolls ($4.50,) chicken sate ($5.95,) and bowl of white rice (to coat my tummy before I started eating.) The appetizers came out very quickly; in fact, I was surprised at how quickly they could have been made; I could only surmise that the food was pre-made.

The chicken sate arrived on wooden skewers – complete with grill marks, which is always a good sign – but I found the chicken to be quite dry. The sauce had the consistency of liquid with a few diced peanuts thrown in; I tasted a hint of vinegar and chili as well. My husband was a fan of the sauce but I was disappointed. The steamed white rice was sticky and flavorful but I wished they had soy sauce on the table. The rice saved me because it was about the only thing I found to be edible.

The cold spring rolls were a disaster. First of all, the rice paper is supposed to be cut after the roll is made, but they served one long spring roll per person. It looked unappealing and tasted even worse. The rice paper fell apart as soon as we picked it up, and out poured one sliced shrimp, bean sprouts, shredded cabbage and thin rice noodles. There was no sauce to accompany the spring rolls which was odd because usually they are served with a sweet chili dipping sauce.

For our entrees I ordered Pad Thai ($8.95) with shrimp, and my husband had the Gang Ped ($8.95) which is chicken with coconut milk, bamboo shoots, and sweet basil leaves in a red curry sauce. Our entrees took a while to come out but I assume that was because the large table (that was also dining in the restaurant) ordered at the same time as us. My Pad Thai was pretty much a waste of money; it’s not that hard to make this dish – which consists of wide rice noodles, scrambled egg, tofu, shrimp (sometimes chicken,) bean sprouts, ground peanut and green onions in a sauce that has chili, vinegar, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, onion and ground pepper. What came out was a dish that wasn’t very edible. The shrimp was flavorless and overcooked; and the noodles were over-saturated with a sauce that tasted like a bottle of duck sauce and sugar combined – no spices whatsoever were used in this dish. I suspected that the chef was lazy and didn’t want to take the time to actually flavor the food before serving it.

My husband thought the chicken (that came in his curry) was over-cooked and dry, however he enjoyed the curry sauce. Unfortunately, the sauce didn’t like him very much because less than ten minutes after eating it, he was sick to his stomach. I didn’t feel too hot after eating at Mai Thai either, even though I didn’t have much to eat. Who knows what was in the red curry sauce, but I’m glad I didn’t have any.

The service was very good, and the wait staff was friendly and helpful, but this restaurant needs a major overhaul in every area if they want to survive. With our check, we received mints as well as two toothpicks. I had a peek at the restrooms before we left and they were very clean. There is a shared sink outside of the men’s and women’s bathrooms but that’s OK. Mai Thai obviously has an issue with their air conditioning unit – namely, it does not work. Can you imagine being in Houston in the summer without air conditioning or even an open window? It was so stuffy in the restaurant that I started to feel claustrophobic. They had two ceiling fans going at a slow rate in a section not near our table, so they obviously didn’t help us at all. The atmosphere was just unbearable, and for that reason alone, I can see why the restaurant isn’t packed on Friday nights.

I wouldn’t recommend Mai Thai but if you do go, here are a few things to know: Mai Thai does not add MSG (mono-sodium glutamate) in their food. If you’re a vegetarian, the chef is willing to make any dish meat-free. Mai Thai has low calorie dishes which are steamed and served with assorted vegetables.

Mai Thai is open Monday to Thursday from 11 AM – 9:30 PM, and on Friday until 10:30 PM. They are closed during the hours of 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM Monday through Friday; and on Saturday they are open all day from 12 PM – 10:30 PM. Mai Thai is closed on Sundays.

Mai Thai is located at 3819 Kirby Drive, Houston, Texas, 77098. Their phone number is: 713-522-6707 and their web site is:

Labels: A Review of Mai Thai Restaurant in Houston, Texas

2K Sports NHL 2K9 Review for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii Platforms

NHL 2K9 is 2K Sports’s newest sport game, and it focuses on fast action and just playing the game, rather than any of the auxiliary things most sports games harp on, like stats and training. The graphics are fair at best, though the character animations are smooth and suit the game well enough. While it’s not a ground breaking hockey game by any means, it’s still a nice addition and has a few nice gameplay modes that are almost always overlooked in competing hockey titles.

The gameplay in NHL 2K9 is quite smooth and there are no massive control issues, though there’s nothing remarkable about the shooting or passing system – this is all stuff all hockey game fans are familiar with. But, in arena style games like this, it’s not always how you control the players that matters, but what the players do once they’re outside your control and here the game runs into some problems. First off, it’s far too easy to score a goal – the goalies in the game are just completely terrible. You can use the same tricks on them over and over again ad infinitum and always hit goals. While there is one thing to say about having an arcadey style to the game, but it’s another to just make it completely easy to score a goal to the point where it’s just the same motion every time.

The AI also has many other flaws when it comes to dealing with team members. Often times your team members seem to be very interested in your face, and will constantly ram into you and block you at times where they are under no duress that would require them to run into a fellow player. Also enemy units will do the same to each other, but instead of going around each other they will just all clump up and be unable to figure out what game they are playing. The AI is what makes this game trying most of the time, and you’ll definitely find yourself growling at it from the get-go.

One interesting addition was the 3 vs 3 and pond hockey style hockey plays. It was nice to see 2k get outside the NHL games a bit and let you move. Hockey fans will definitely enjoy this feature, though they might enjoy it more if it were present in a game with nice AI and sharper graphics.

The graphics in the game are very “so-so”, and it does depend somewhat on which platform you’re viewing it through. But the two platforms with the highest graphics potential, the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 both leave you rather unimpressed. The models are well animated, but the arenas and crowds, as well as the overall atmosphere just leave you feeling like maybe you wish you where playing one of 2k’s basketball titles instead.

All being said, this is a rather unremarkable hockey game that will be as fun as any other unremarkable hokey game. The AI will frustrate you, and the games will in no way go towards anything anyone could call realistic, but some of the game modes are interesting and will leave die hard hockey fans wishing the mode was implemented in a better hockey game. All in all this game was a general disappointment as it lies with a cluster of mediocre hockey games.

Labels: 2K Sports NHL 2K9 Review for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii Platforms

All Purpose Season

Oh blended seasons
Pagan and christian draw near
Green trees love sunlight.

Labels: All Purpose Season

Are Marriages Happier when the Wife is Skinny?

Apparently the key to having a happy and loving marriage has nothing to do with love. A new study suggests that men and women report being more satisfied with their marriage when wives are skinnier than their husbands.

This new study evaluated almost 170 couples who were under the age of 35 who had recently gotten married. These couples were followed for the course of 4 years and each was asked to complete a survey every 6 months with regards to their level of satisfaction and happiness within their marriage. This study can be found in the Social Psychological and Personality Science Journal.

Researchers of this study discovered that when a woman’s body mass index was higher than their husbands, both the man and woman reported being less satisfied with their marriage. Even after making adjustments for mental health, education, financial stability, and divorce, the results still showed that men were initially more satisfied and women were eventually more satisfied with their marriage when the wife was generally skinnier than her husband.

Researchers point out that the results had nothing to do with the actual Body Mass Index value, but rather the ratio between the body mass index of the husband compared to his wife. While this study may anger heavier set women who feel completely satisfied with their marriages, the authors of the study believe that the results are actually good for women.

Lead author of the study from the University of Tennessee, Andrea Meltzer, notes that there is obvious pressure for women in this country to be a certain size. This study however allows women of all sizes to be happy within their personal relationships granted they find the right partner for them. It is therefore relative weight that truly matter and not actual numbers. According to these researchers, this study is not suggesting the every woman be small, but at least smaller than their husband in order to be happy.

Researchers of this study are unclear as to why the ratio of body mass index between couples leads to happiness, but it is suggested that perhaps these results are correlated with traditional views in society that couples are happier when men have more power in every aspect of the relationship. Researchers also note that men generally link a woman’s weight to her level of attractiveness which is why they have initial satisfaction in their relationships. If a husband is not satisfied, then the wife will be dissatisfied as well.

Researchers warn people not to take this study too seriously and not to base the results as an accurate predictor of happiness in your relationship. Clearly the weight of both the man and woman is not the only factor involved in a happy relationship. To be honest, it is one of the least important factors and is not in any way a guarantee that your relationship will be happy or doomed.


Nazar, R. RN. 2011. Skinnier Wives Make for Happier Marriages.

Labels: Are Marriages Happier when the Wife is Skinny?

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