Thursday, January 12, 2017

Alan Rickman and the Words He (Possibly) Never Said

There’s something that has been bothering myself and my fellow Rickmaniacs on Tumblr (and possibly on other sites) for the past few months. It started sometime after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2 premiered, and that is this fictional quote:

“When I’m 80 years old and sitting in my rocking chair, I’ll be reading Harry Potter. And my family will say to me, ‘After all this time?’ And I will say, ‘Always.'”

This quote been a source of debate ever since it popped up on Tumblr, and while it was cute and funny for the first few days, it seems to have become one of those ‘troll memes’, something that a collective group of people decidedly make to annoy others and get them worked up; these people must’ve met up in a chat-room and came up with this nonsense during a spark of inspiration for a work of fan fiction.

While I don’t know for sure that he hasn’t said this in personal conversation with someone in confidence (because I don’t know him personally and don’t hang out with him everyday, nor do I know anyone who does), I’m positive it hasn’t been heard in any interviews that he’s done, and no one’s asked him about it. It’d be great if someone asked him about the quote for his clarification (so people can quit clogging the Alan Rickman tag on Tumblr). It’d also be fun to give this ‘scandal’ some kind of a funny name, but it’s gotten old and it’s time to put the kibosh on it.

I believe that Mr. Rickman may be exhausted with anything and everything Harry Potter-related, considering he’d been playing Severus Snape for ten years. Ten years, yet I could be wrong; he may secretly love it, and it’s possible that he sneak into a room and put’s on Snape’s cloak for old time’s sake.

But the question begs to be asked: can this be put to a stop, once and for all?Rickmaniacs (Alan Rickman fans) on Tumblr have made it clear that they’ve had enough, and it’s getting to the point where people are threatening violence, and no one needs to go to jail over something this juvenile.

So just for clarification:

“He never said that stupid quote, and I hope it dies a horrible death.”
-Deannah Robinson

Labels: Alan Rickman and the Words He (Possibly) Never Said

A Feminist Analysis of Michael Antonioni's Film _Blowup _

A Feminist Analysis of Michael Antonioni’s Film Blowup

By Danielle Travali

I’m sure most of you have heard about feminism all over the media and talked about it several times. Perhaps you’ve even made jokes about it. But before I go into my analysis of Michael Antonioni’s film Blowup and try my best to help us all understand its underlying message about feminism in the 1960s, I would like to start out with a basic definition of the term “feminism.”

Katherine Marie Belen, writer of the article “Feminism is for Everybody,” quotes Bell Hooks, and states, “Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression.” Belen explains that early on, Hooks wanted to stress that the movement does not regard men as the enemy. The enemy was sexism.

Throughout history, feminism has taken several different turns; i.e. a number of women’s liberation movements were started. Since the film Blowup takes place in London in 1966, let’s talk about the feminist movement in the 1960s:

Kathy McAfee & Myrna Wood, writers of the article, “What is the Revolutionary Potential of Women’s Liberation?” first define a few terms before explaining the feminist movement in the ’60s:

They define male chauvinism (or in more understandable terms, sexism, prejudice, bigotry) as “the attitude that women are the passive & inferior servants of society and men” (I will look at how the models prove that traces of this male chauvinism may have still existed in 1960’s London)

This whole idea that females are passive sets them apart from the rest of the working class.

In Blowup, we can see this with the way the men (photographers like Thomas) treat the models in the studio-i.e. call them “birds” and “bitches” several times in the film-McAfee and Wood would argue that these models are the “inferior” slaves of the photographers.

McAfee & Wood define women of the 60s as “docile, helpless, inferior…they are forced into the most demeaning and mind rotting jobs-from scrubbing floors to filing cards-under the most oppressive conditions where they are treated like children or slaves”-one might argue that this is the exact way women are treated in the modeling studio:

For example, although this is not the Victorian period where women were expected to dress in clothing that covered the entire body (this is actually a time where females tend to wear what they please), one might see that this act of modeling for men (serving as their source of income) is almost equal to that of more demeaning jobs; McAfee and Wood would argue that women are still being pushed around and spoken to in an ill manner by their photographer “bosses.”

Further, in his studio, Thomas tells the models, “I can’t see your eyeballs anymore. They’re just slits. Go on, close your eyes. Close your eyes. And stay like that. It’s good for you”-here, we get the sense that Thomas, in the form of a photographer who has “control” over his models, symbolizes the domineering male who, since the beginning of time, exhibited control over the meek, gentle female.

Thomas also commands the women as if they were dogs or some other kind of animal-“put the head up,” “go and fetch [my shots]”

In response, the women, for example, in the scene where the young modeling candidates wish to meet with him, speak in gentle tones of voice as he continues to answer them in a strict, often harsh tone.

In addition, as writer Megan Williams discusses in the Quarterly Review of Film and Video, the models have no names to Thomas-they are objects and animals (he calls them “Stripes” and “Birds”), and Williams remarks that “he pushes them around as if they were mannequins.”

It is interesting to me that the male photographers refer to the models as “birds”-this is intriguing, because although Women’s Rights intended for them to be set “free” from sexism and male dominance, the photographers’ behavior almost symbolizes the fact that in this “modern” society, men still try to “cage” women.
Most of the females appear unhappy-expressionless-a dolls and obey the rude commands of the photographers. A feminist film critic like McAfee or Wood would argue that male dominance, even after women’s rights movements and protests by females around the world, still lingers in the air. One might still see women at this point as meek and subservient to the male.

McAfee and Wood also point out that “All women, too, are oppressed and exploited sexually”(we need to remember that they are speaking in the 1960s)-one might see this as true, especially in the scene where Thomas (David Hemmings’ character) hovers over one of his models and snaps shots of her as she poses to his command. This can be seen as symbolic. Although it’s just a scene of a photographer and a model “doing their jobs”-nothing harmful here-one might suggest that it emphasizes the question of women’s sexuality in the 1960s.

To support this idea, Melanie Gustafson, feminist writer of a book called We Have Come to Stay Gustafson argues, “Women had no sexual rights, let alone sexual freedom.” Again-a person could argue that Thomas act of placing himself on top of the model in a seemingly sexual position symbolizes the idea that women’s sexuality was often controlled or “obliterated” by men. Feminists in the 1960s “tapped into a [gush] of resentment about this”

In addition, Gustavson reveals that even in the 1960s, a time where feminism began to grow stronger and stronger and start the Second Wave of Feminism (the first one was Women’s Suffrage/Votes for Women decades prior), women were “vulnerable to a sexual double standard”-They were still called names like “whore” and “slag” if they “asserted” their right to enjoy sex and act in “male” ways. Blowup seems to draw a parallel toward this idea-we can see this with the way the men (photographers like Thomas) treat the models in the studio-i.e. again, they call them “birds” and “bitches” several times in the film.

Also, we see this idea of females being “labeled” when Thomas asks one of his modeling candidates “What do they call you in bed” without knowing whether she even “sleeps around.” One might suggest that Thomas symbolizes the male individual of the 1960s who, due to this stereotyping of coquettish girls as “whores,” places all girls under the same classification. Feminists like McAfee and Wood would have a problem with this.

Other observations:

About 23 minutes into the film, in the antique shop, the camera zooms in on statues of female busts/other statues of females dressed in stiff, full-body-covering, Victorian style-clothes. Some of the statues have no heads (just their bust is visible). This might suggest a dehumanization of female bodies as an art form rather than focusing on the inner personality/mind of the female (because we do not often see the bust of a male on a platter).

One might argue that the statue of a woman in a bonnet in Thomas’ studio-nodding and smiling coquettishly–suggests her subservience to the male and a sense of flirtatiousness. Perhaps this is an example of how women were “supposed” to behave in earlier times, and possibly an unstated ideal of how they should remain.

Another scene that I thought was symbolic of this female dehumanization is the scene where, about 32 minutes into the film, we see a bust of a woman with a solemn gray face in the window between two men, one of them Thomas, the other one, an older man. Perhaps this symbolizes the female who once felt restricted among males of her time period-perhaps Antonioni is suggesting that this piece of history is coming back to haunt the individuals in London, 1966. Maybe there are some aspects of female restriction that still exist although women are seen as glamorous idols/models, etc. more than they ever were before.

To add to the idea of the female “shackled” to certain “roles,” McAfee states the following:

“All women, even including those of the ruling class, are oppressed as women in the sense that their real fulfillment is linked to their role as girlfriend, wife, or mother”

An example of this occurs at the near-end, where the one of the two candidates exclaims, “I can make an Irish coffee,” and both girls giggle and run into the kitchen to brew it for him. McAfee and Wood would argue that although the girls giggle childishly in this scene, they, like are still women who are expected, by society, to cater to the needs and requests of men. In this sense, they’re still “oppressed” in a sense. For that brief moment, they actually play the role of wife to him.

The girls also dress Thomas-they put on his shirt and shoes after he gets them to undress and “rumble” under the large sheet of purple paper.

To expand this idea, I quote McAfee and Wood: “This definition of women
They define the 1960s as a time where radical women began to realize the power of male supremacy. This is an “assumption of female inferiority, regulation of women to service roles, and sexual objectification.”

Specifically, writer Nancy Chodorow, another writer in Gustafson’s book of the section “Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory,” states that the mid-to-late 1960’s was indeed a time of female material oppression by males.

At one instance in the film, as Williams states, Thomas tells his agent Ron, “I’m fed up with those bloody bitches. I wish I had tons of money. Then I’d be free.” Williams believes that Thomas searches in Blowup for a freedom that can only be achieved through “commodification.” Therefore, one might see the models as commodities that ultimately become Thomas’ source of income (regardless of whether he’s happy with this fact). Because the girls are seen as contributors to Thomas’ salary, one night see that this “new” world of technology (as Williams points out) “suggests a desire for the loss and dehumanization” of certain individuals, especially female models in the mid-to-late 1960’s.

On the other hand, according to Kelly Dinardo, there’s the new feminist 1960’s idea that the female body can “command.” Dinardo quotes Rachel Shteir, author of “Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show.” Shteir states, “Feminism is not just about sex and sexual politics. It’s more than that. But I do think a powerful female performer who’s drawing on these archetypal striptease images can wield a lot of power by compelling all eyes to be on her.”

One might argue that the bodies of Vanessa Redgrave’s character and the two other females who “get naked” in front of Thomas emphasize the “sexy,” desirable side of females rather than those who, due to the pressures society has left upon them, behave and dress according to the stereotypical “roles” of “girlfriend” or “wife.”

Katherine Marie Belen, like Dinardo, defines this as a “new feminism.”

Belen states, “The music thumps. The men and women in the crowd whoop and clap. And the woman on stage slowly peels off a piece of her glittering costume.”

She adds, “Some scholars argue, however, that burlesque can still be interpreted as a form of exploitation of women’s bodies.” (those who would agree with the idea of female “dehumanization” or “loss of dignity” that I already discussed)

Some Feminist Acts:

Gretchen Ritter, writer of the Texas Journal of Women & the Law, discussed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of 1964, Civil Rights Act

“Liberal feminists articulated their demands for economic and political rights in terms of equality”

In 1964, most women supposedly worked in low paid “pink collar” jobs such as “clerical and sales.” Title VII helped to break this stereotype, yet we see that traces of it still existed in London, 1966, as portrayed in the film.

Take a look in the film and you’ll notice how women are seen in the following occupations: the sisterhood/nuns in white (in the very beginning), models (an occupation requiring no education or status in society), at the antique shop at one point says, “I’m fed up with antiques”-Feminists like Ritter would argue that she’s a woman shackled to her profession because of the time period-a period where women are seen as having low-paying, trivial jobs rather than jobs that require an education and produce greater salaries.

One might see this as symbolic of the different types of females in the 60’s-first, the “pure” female, second, the risqué, flamboyant female, and the coquettish female that lies somewhere in between (i.e. the antique shop clerk)

A tedious observation:

One might take notice of the 2 nuns in the beginning walking together, keeping their poise and calm as a cart full of rambunctious teens whizzes by. The nuns might be seen as the “ideal” women dressed in white = symbolic of the way the ideal female was seen in the past as opposed to the “reinvention” of women in terms of the new fashion styles and personal views.

o According to Jane Meredith Adams, writer of the article “Some Sisters Taking Vow of Feminism,” The Catholic nuns in the early ’60s “were more likely to emphasize obedience to the church than spiritual and personal integrity.

o The Second Vatican Council of 1962 to 1965 raised their consciousness, the sisters say, by opening them to new experiences and the changing values in the late ’60s.

o Obviously, these 2 nuns exemplify the few that kept their vows to the church as opposed to the many who eventually left their orders between 1966 and 1981 (many of them, according to Adams, wanted to “rise up against priests,” who, because of their gender, were considered to have more power than the female nuns).

Overall, if you didn’t understand anything I just said, or if you didn’t agree with anything I said, I hope you can at least think about my final point:

After doing research on feminism in the 1960s, and after watching the film Blowup, which takes place in the 1960s, I think one can argue that although the feminist movement was well underway by the early ’60s, and that women made several efforts to assure equality between males and females, the film suggests that there are still traces of sexism, bigotry-whatever you may call it-that still exist underneath the positively viewed “burlesque” feminism. Regardless of what one may think, I argue that the film, in a number of ways, portrays the female as often negatively viewed and still oppressed (in a sense) by males.

Works Cited

Adams, Jane M. “Some Sisters Taking Vow of Feminism.” Boston Globe . 10 Nov. 1985. 33. Proquest Direct. Manhattanville Coll. Lib., Purchase, NY. 22 Mar. 2005 .

Belen, Katherine Marie. “Feminism is for Everybody.” Women in Action 30 Sep. 2001: 55. Proquest Direct. Manhattanville Coll. Lib., Purchase, NY. 24 Mar. 2005 .

Dinardo, Kelly. “U.S. Women: Burlesque Comeback Tries to Dance with Feminism.” Global Information Network. 9 Dec. 2004: 1. Proquest Direct. Manhattanville Coll. Lib., Purchase, NY. 21 Mar. 2005 .

Gustafson, Melanie S. We have Come to Stay: American Women and Political Parties, 1880-1960 Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1999. NetLibrary. Manhattanville Coll. Lib., Purchase, NY. 24 Mar. 2005 .

McAfee, Kathy, and Myrna Wood. “What is the Revolutionary Potential of Women’s Liberation?” Women’s Liberation Movement: An On-line Archival Collection. April 1997. Special Collections Library. Duke University. 23 Mar. 2005 .
Ritter, Gretchen. “Women’s Citizenship and the Problem of Legal Personhood in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s.” Texas Journal of Women and the Law 13.1 2003: 1-39. Proquest Direct.Manhattanville Coll. Lib., Purchase, NY 21 Mar. 2005 .

Williams, Megan. “A Surface of Forgetting: The Object of History in Michaelangelo Antonioni’s ‘Blowup’.” Quarterly Review of Film & Video 17.3. Oct 2000: 245. EbscoHost. Academic Search Premier. Manhattanville Coll. Lib., Purchase, NY 21 Mar. 2005 .

Labels: A Feminist Analysis of Michael Antonioni's Film _Blowup _

A Christmas Tradition . . . and a Break

I have all the fresh pine branches, beautiful red and white mini-carnations, fresh holly, floral foam and lined baskets which are able to hold fresh floral arrangements. Floral artistry has always been a passion of mine so I began the tradition of creating centerpieces for myself and family members each Christmas season. After soaking the floral foam, each floral piece took shape. The pine smelled so beautiful, smelling like Christmas all through the house. The carnations are so vibrant, beautiful and aromatic as well. I was so proud of the finished products that I couldn’t wait to deliver them. “What do you think of these, guys?” I asked my dogs. I have two little girl Chihuahuas, CeCe and Teena, and a little boy named Georgie. I didn’t really think they would answer me but sometimes I think they act as if they were human! “Let’s go to Grandma’s and give her the Christmas plant, OK?”

“Hi mom, I have a surprise for you, a pre-Christmas present from me and the kids” I said as we walked into the house. Mom just adores the dogs and seems to spoil them rotten, as most grandmas do. “Oh the centerpiece is beautiful” she said while placing it in the center of the dining table. “Hi guys” she says, “you want a cookie?” “Mom, you have got to stop spoiling these dogs, they are going to turn into roly-poly’s.” “Oh nonsense, it won’t hurt them!”

After making the trip to the “other grandma” with her arrangement, it was time to get back home plan the festive occasion. “We have lots to do, guys” I said. Yes, it was my turn to have Christmas dinner. “Let’s go home and get those baths I promised you.” Now that’s a statement that made their day! Luckily the ride home was a short one as the roads were getting slick from the freezing rain that just began. Nice holiday weather!

“Ok, who’s first for their Christmas bath?” I exclaimed. Of course, no volunteers so I had to go searching. Holidays are not complete unless the furry kids are groomed and dressed in their party best. Cece has a red velvet dress with white fur trim, Teena’s is red velvet print and Georgie has a handsome black vest with bow tie. How cute. Just as I finished the dogs I heard a very loud yelp, a sound I never want to hear. Teena fell from the top of the couch and appeared to be in great pain. My poor baby girl. Poor me. What do I do? It is Christmas. The Veterinarian is not open. I am sure she broke her little leg.

“Jen, I need you to get over here early and take over the dinner with Chris. I have to run to the emergency vet. I think Teena broke her leg.” I gave her a rundown of the turkey in the oven and what else needed to be done. I had to count on my daughters to come over and pick up where I left off. This would have to happen . . . and on the holiday. Teena is very petite, only 5 pounds, tall and slender with skinny little chicken legs.

Sure enough, the emergency vet had to set the leg and give her a little doggy cast. It was so pathetic to see, as Teena was on pain killing medication with her leg in a cast, all decked out in her pretty Christmas party dress.

Finally after about three hours I arrived back home with the little patient. All the guests were over by now, waiting on us for the Christmas dinner. Great! I was still in my housecleaning grubs! The house was so aromatic from the turkey and trimmings that my daughters took over doing in a pinch. They did a beautiful job. There were other scents of pine and cinnamon, fragrances that put all in the spirit of the season. I quickly changed into my holiday best to join my family and friends for the best Christmas dinner ever, followed by fellowship, gifts and desserts galore. Twenty pounds later, it seemed, and everyone pulled together in my absence at the Vet to make this a warm and happy Christmas.

Teena seemed to be the center of the festivities in her feeble state. She was being carried around everywhere, and some were even signing her little casts. What a lucky girl . . . in a sense. Even with the painful events of what should have been a joyous day of celebration, this holiday season of family banding and bonding together during this time of need made for a most memorable Christmas ever. And Teena, along with all the dogs, loved all the extra attention given by all. I think it may have been their best Christmas ever.

Labels: A Christmas Tradition . . . and a Break

Across the Miles

On the other side of the world;
Dwells a friend whom I hold dear;
We are so very different;
Yet we have much in common;
I don’t know what he looks like;
He has never seen my face;
But I know that much love;
Beats within his kind heart;
I can tell him anything;
Yet he always listens;
He loves cats and videogames;
Writes lovely Haikus;
Devoted to God and family;
A wise soul in a young man;
One day a great husband he will make;
A future that is as bright as the sun;
I am so blessed to know him;
If only from across the miles

Labels: Across the Miles

Alan Stivelman: 'HUMANO' Film Director

Alan was born in the ’80s, in the bustling city of Buenos Aires. He always believed that art and transforming his and others’ conscience is his destiny. From an early age, he knew he wanted to make a living out of filmmaking, generating quality content, and always innovating with different forms of communication. He believes that filmmaking is on the verge of transformation. He’s certainly contributing to the industry’s potential future, one that is more democratic, plural and expansive based on technology and good ideas.

HUMANO is his first feature film. It represents the spiritual awakening and transformation that is taking place in Latin America right now. By listening to his ancestors and exploring ancient Andean civilizations, Alan has been able to open a new door to modern spirituality.

Alan was only 25 years old when he decided to embark on a journey to the Andes, to discover the reasons for his own existence, and the truth behind the origins of mankind. Together with Plácido, an Andean shaman (or “priest”) he sets out on one of the most introspective journeys ever made.

Alan traveled to the Andes mountains with his camera and a notepad with 200 questions he collated throughout his life… questions that could never be answered by traditional religions such as Catholicism and Judaism. Alan wished to discover the origins of humanity on earth, and to do so, he needed to learn to be Human first. Rituals, initiations and new challenges unfurled. These are keys to breaking and broadening his consciousness. Together with Plácido he took on an introspective journey, which has never been documented before.

How did you come up with the idea of researching and filming about human spirituality?

Honestly, I never thought that I was going to make a film about Andean spirituality. In fact, I had no idea such a thing existed. But because I am Latin American, I learned about the rich spiritual, philosophical, archeological and historic legacy that exists in this region. For years, I did my research on religions, esoteric ideas, and mysteries of the Earth. And all of these studies finally led me to the heart of the Andes mountains. I felt the urge to travel, to learn about all of the places I had read about throughout all of those years. I saved some money, bought myself some filming equipment, and set off on this unique journey, taking with me 200 questions in my notepad. The result of this journey is the film HUMANO. Now I want to share my experience with the world.

Did you find any challenges throughout your journey?

I didn’t find any challenges during filming. Everything went smoothly and evolved organically. After wrapping up, I realized that all of the doors had opened very easily for me. Somehow I was meant to make this film. There were times when I lived in the mountains with the shamans and everything was fine, I felt I belonged there and I never had any problems. When I returned to Buenos Aires, I was faced with the biggest challenge: Over 50 hours of film had to be edited. I did not know where to start. But little by little everything fell in its place and after one year of editing we came up with the final cut. Over 40 people worked on this film, and these people worked remotely from distant parts of the world. Without their help, this film would not exist.

Is Latin America the new destination for spiritual reference?

I do feel something is “waking up” in Latin America – something that is now having a global impact – by social, political and economic changes.

From the spiritual point of view, the Kundalini energy has shifted from the Himalayas to the Andes, therefore opening doors to a new awakening in the area. In the Andes, this is known as Pachacuteq (Pacha: time-space, Cuteq: change). This is indeed a time of change, of positive change for all mankind.

Do you think this film will help change human consciousness? Do you feel you are part of a bigger social movement?

That is a very hard question to answer since somehow the film was an accident. It was never planned or scripted, and I never thought I was going to make a film about human consciousness and I never believed such a thing existed. It all started as a mere personal journey, which of course changed me completely: my own perception of reality and my mental structure. I feel that because the story is told as a personal experience, the audience will relate and understand more what I went through.

What was the biggest lesson you learned from this whole experience?

The understanding of the existence of an invisible world, with its own hierarchy and independence, which is bound and interrelated to our own visible world.

When will Humano The Film be available in the US?

The film is available at and can be rented online.

Labels: Alan Stivelman: 'HUMANO' Film Director

A Company Needs a Good Operations Manager to Have a Competitive Edge in Any Industry

It doesn’t matter what the job title says, someone in every company has to perform the duties of operations manager. And what an asset to any company to have a well-trained, knowledgeable manager who understands what it takes to keep things running smoothly. You can learn the skills you need to plan, implement, direct, and coordinate company operations.

If your job currently includes operations management duties and you’re looking for training and insight into today’s best practices, or you’re interested in pursuing a degree to break into a new career, you can find the online training you need.

Operations management is a leadership position and requires proper training to provide the most effective leadership.

Related Activities of Project Management

Often related activities include managing purchases, inventory control, quality control, storage, logistics and evaluations. A great deal of focus is on efficiency and effectiveness of processes. Operations management often includes substantial measurement and analysis of internal processes. The process of operations management is determined primarily by the nature of products or services the organization provides.

Gain the Competitive Edge

Competition for management jobs can be fierce, especially since the high salaries and excellent advancement opportunities attract numerous applicants. Earning a degree in operations management provides you with an edge when applying for that crucial first job or advancing your position within your organization.

Advance Your Knowledge

There are several degree options for operations management. You can earn a bachelor’s degree or, on the graduate level, either a Master’s or an MBA. The MBA degree gives you more general skills applicable to several areas, and a Master’s degree allows you to focus specifically on operations management. Both may help you advance your career. It simply depends on the skills you already possess and what you need to learn to enhance your education.

Gain the Insight You Need in Relevant Topics Such as:

Information Systems

Administrative Theory

Supply Chain Management


Human Resources Management


Managerial Accounting



Project Management

Job Growth in Operations Management Expected Over the Next Decade

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists general and operations managers as having one the largest numerical job growths expected over the next decade. So now is a good time to prepare yourself for a rewarding and lucrative career in operations management.

Individuals with the goal of advancing up the business ladder in management can pusue a degree in operations management in their special areas of interest. Fortunately, many colleges provide great options for earning a degree in this area of business through online programs. This is especialy helpful for those with full time career obligations.

Labels: A Company Needs a Good Operations Manager to Have a Competitive Edge in Any Industry

A Christmas Tradition: The Search for the Perfect Christmas Tree

It is a Christmas tradition for families all over the world to find the perfect Christmas tree. This annual hunt may begin the day after Thanksgiving or a few days before Christmas Eve. For my family, ten years ago, this beloved search began the week before Christmas.

Snow had fallen a few days prior to our big day, as to form a white blanket that softened our footprints on the trek. As we walked by tree after tree, our hope grew by the second, much like the Grinch’s heart in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

We finally came upon the chosen one about an hour into the search, a record for my family of perfectionists. It was the perfect size, large but not too large, and color, green but not too green.

When we arrived to our chariot, the family station wagon, we realized we forgot the rope. A cardinal sin in the Christmas tree hunt. But that was okay. Why? Because we had twine. Yes, twine. In our minds, twine would be strong enough to hold a 50 pound tree to the roof of the car. In reality, we sealed our fate with that decision.

Once the tree was tied to our roof and we stocked up on hot chocolate and Christmas crafts, we headed out to our home. With about an hour left on our trip, what arose such a clatter? The beloved Christmas tree getting ripped from the car from the bitterly cold wind gusts. It was a holiday disaster. On the highway no less, for everyone to see. Our chosen tree had just become holiday road kill.

The tree was too damaged to take home with us, so we put it out of its misery on the side of the road. To this day, we always remember that tree, and the lesser version that became our replacement Christmas tree. But most of all, we remember, always bring rope to a Christmas tree farm.

Labels: A Christmas Tradition: The Search for the Perfect Christmas Tree

A Feminine Feminist

It was 10 o’clock at night on Sunday, I was relaxing with my boyfriend watching a movie in the dark, when he got up to use the bathroom. When he turned the bathroom light on, a little bug, which had come out to play in the dark, shot across the floor and went back into his hiding spot. My boyfriend screamed, slammed the bathroom door, and retreated back into the living room as if the creature from the black lagoon himself was hiding in the bathroom.

As an advocate of equal rights for men and women, I have always made an effort to avoid phrases such as “stop being a girl” or “be a man”, but at this moment all I wanted to do was tell him to suck it up, go back in there, kill the bug, and come back out as my victorious hero! (And a passionate kiss after all that wouldn’t hurt!) Instead I put on my slippers, went in the bathroom, scooped up the little big in a tissue and threw him out the window.

I sat depressingly back down in the couch to finish the movie. But I couldn’t stop wondering… Could I call myself a feminist and still want my boyfriend to kill the bug? I began to examine my life. I proclaimed that I was a strong and independent woman, yet still preferred a man who knew how to use power tools. I constantly say men and women are equal, yet I thoroughly enjoy being treated with “like a lady”. So where does a strong, opinionated, independent woman, who still liked to be treated “like a lady” belong?

Women around the world are repressed and have been since the beginning of time. I am lucky that I have gone to college, make more money than most men my age, and am able to live freely and independently. So part of me feels a little wrong wanting a man to do all the hard, dirty jobs for me. But the other part of me still longs to be swept off her free by her hero (even if the heroic effort is only killing a bug or changing a tire).

For me, knowing that I can kill the bug, that I know how to change a tire, and that I am alright alone is enough for me. I don’t need to go prove it, and so I feel justified wanting to be treated “like a lady” and still calling myself a feminist.

Labels: A Feminine Feminist

A New Christmas Tradition

Carolers singing songs of yore
stirring memories of seasons’ before.

Anticipation shown on every child’s face,
waiting for Santa’s return down the fireplace.

Hopes and wishes seem closer this time of year,
glistening like treasures for those we hold so dear.

People rushing and running around the stores,
buying gifts and material possessions
instead of giving something that would mean even more.

Why is it we wait all year
to show our dearest ones
the love we feel with gifts instead of our time and good cheer?

Let’s all begin a new Christmas tradition,
one that will give us hope and admiration,
and promise to take time from our busy routines
to show those we love how much they really mean.

Labels: A New Christmas Tradition

Alan Trammell and Danny Patterson Respond to Autograph Request

Alan Trammell and Danny Patterson have responded to through the mail autograph requests while an attempt to obtain Livan Hernandez’s autograph has failed.

Trammell is a six time All-Star who played shortstop for the Detroit Tigers for 20 years, never playing for another team.

He played in 2,293 games finished his career with 2,365 hits, and 1,003 runs batted in.

In 1984 and 1987, Trammell saw post season action.

In 1984 the Tigers defeated the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship series and went on to defeat the San Diego Padres in the World Series.

Trammell hit .450 against the Padres and belted two homers, driving in six runs and earned the World Series Most Valuable Player Award.

Trammell is also a four time Gold Glove winner and a three time Silver Slugger Award.

After ending his playing days, Trammell managed the Tigers from 2003 to 2005.

Many believe and hope that Trammell will be voted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

Currently he is the bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks, which is where I sent the autograph request. He responded in only 54 days.

Patterson debut with the Texas Rangers in 1996 as a pitcher.

In 2000 he was traded to the Tigers where he would later play for Trammell.

Patterson saw post season action two times with the Rangers, both times losing to the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

Patterson now lives in Texas and he responded to an autograph request in only eight days.

Hernandez is a pitcher for the Washington Nationals, which is the location I sent the autograph request.

But after over 100 days the request came back return to sender, unable to forward.
Other players that I have sent requests to are: Latroy Hawkins, Tony Pena, Omar Vizquel, Tim Wakefield, Tommy John, Steve Garvey, Ron Gant, Bryan Harvey, Tommy Lasorda, Ray Fontenot, Jason Thompson, Leon Durham, Dave Winfield, Jay Tibbs, Mike Scioscia, Ken Howell, Eric Davis, Randy Milligan, Tim Burke, Jay Bell, Danny Tartabull, Joe Magrane, Roger McDowell, Rick Aguilera, Nick Esasky, Kevin Seitzer, Dave Burba, Chris Sabo, Charlie Hayes, Tommy Gregg, Junior Ortiz, Mariano Duncan, Mo Vaughn, Andy Hawkins, Howard Johnson, Matt Nokes, Julio Franco, Jim Eisenreich, William Van Landingham, Rick Rhoden, Rafael Palmiero, Mike Stanley, Curt Wilkerson, Tim Laudner, Mike Mason, Craig Reynolds, Kevin Bass, Wade Boggs, Matt Stairs, Nolan Ryan, Mark Gardner, Carlos Garcia, and John Mabry.

Labels: Alan Trammell and Danny Patterson Respond to Autograph Request

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